What I Want for Christmas: Not a Damn Thing

John Scalzi:
For a number of years, I’ve told people who have been thinking of getting me something for Christmas or whatever holiday excuse they have for gift giving that I’d simply prefer they not get me anything at all. The reaction to this often ranges from confusion (i.e., how can you not want gifts?) to exasperation that my insincere “no, no, you don’t have to get me anything…” ways just means they will have to be extra crafty in getting me a gift, since I’m not helping them by hinting at what I want.

I feel the same way but for different reasons. People ask me “what do you want for Christmas?” and don’t believe me when I say “nothing.” Yeah – they know I’m lying but I can’t tell them what I really want because they can’t get it for me.

In fact, there’s ALL KINDS of things I want for Christmas. If you have a spare $16,000, I’d LOVE to have one of these.

I’d love to have a real job that paid real money. I’d love to be able to start my Photography Seminars. I’d love to have an iPad 4. A Nikon D3s. A villa in Perugia. A boat (but not a Steve Jobs designed one). A girlfriend.

So yeah – there’s lots of things I want for Christmas.

MITs adorably nerdy hack during 1982 Harvard-Yale game

The Verge:
Saturday marked the 129th installment of Harvard-Yale, one of college football’s most storied rivalries. Known simply as “The Game,” the Ivy League series dates all the way back to 1875, and although its national significance has waned with the rise of power conferences and the Bowl Championship Series, it never fails to inspire memorable pranks and frat boy stunts.

Yet few are as audacious as what a group of MIT pranksters pulled off 30 years ago, when a mysterious weather balloon suddenly emerged from beneath the field at Harvard Stadium.

Then vs Now: Imagine the utter panic this would have caused today.

What Remembrance Day means to Canadians

CBC News:
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians are asked to pause in memory of the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives in military service.

Remembrance Day is a solemn occasion in Canada and something I, as the son and grandson of members of Canada’s Armed Forces, have great reverence for. A few years ago, I recorded the famous poem, “In Flanders Fields”. You can listen to it here.

You've never wanted to be a man named Angus more in your life…

Dewar’s is running a series of ads for their blended Scotch whisky, “Dewar’s White Label”.

I’ve never had it but, after seeing this first advertisement, I definitely want to try it:

The SMOKING HOT actress is Claire Forlani who is, sadly, not nearly as Scottish (Irish?) as she appears but is still SMOKING HOT.

After watching this second ad:

I realized I’d crawl naked through broken hot glass to drink her bathwater….

(Too much information?)

And then there’s the ninety second mini-movie version of the first ad:

I’ve never wanted to be a man named Angus more in my entire life…

Although, I can completely understand how, for some men, that kind of woman would scare the ever loving hell out of them. 🙂

How would You make Elections "better"?

Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi, in the October 25th issue says, “What we Americans go through to pick a president is not only crazy and unnecessary but genuinely abusive”.


Ask anyone who grew up in another western democracy (I’m from Canada) and they’ll tell you the American Process is a colossal mess. And there’s no way to fix it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t think about it.

What would you do to fix the process? If I gave you one wish but with the caveat that you had to use it to make American elections better, what would you do? What are some examples of how the process is better/different in your country? What are some ideas you’d like to see implemented here in the US? I’ll start:

1) In Canada, the election of the Prime Minister has a set time limit. The length of election campaigns can vary, but under the Elections Act, the minimum length of a campaign is 36 days. But because election spending is strictly controlled and limited to X amount of dollars, elections tend not to be too much longer than that.

2) Campaign spending limits. The amount of money spent on this election is utterly insane.

3) All TV ads must have prior approval before broadcast. We would set up an unbiased commission that would investigate the claims made in campaign advertisements. If the ads are not true, they can’t be broadcast.

4) All negative attack ads will cost four times as much a positive ads.

I’ve got lots more ideas but I want to hear yours.

Steakadelphia Review on Yelp – from a Vegetarian

Last night, my friends (Michel, Hannamari and Yee) went to a place in SE Portland called Steakadelphia. According to Michel, they make traditional Philly Cheesesteaks so I was really looking forward to it. I’d been to Philly a couple of times but never long enough to get to one of their two famous Cheesesteak places.

Steakadelphia is a small, plain, unassuming place. Absolutely nothing special. But the cheesesteak (even if I didn’t have the “traditional” one) was greasy and messy and freaking delicious!

So I wanted to go to Yelp to leave them a review. As I was checking it out, I read what has to be the funniest review I’ve ever read:

Honestly, in the 14 years that I’ve been a vegetarian I have never had such a horrifying experience.

LMAO Well, I imagine it would be!

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, do yourself a favor and stay FAR FAR AWAY.

Well….DUH…. 🙂

So Princess…WTF makes you think that you would get good vegetarian service from a restaurant that revels in their carnivoreness!?

Good advice for riders, bad advice for riders

The latest issue of Wired magazine offers some good (if odd) advice for beginning motorcycle riders. Things like “How do I learn to ride?” and giving buying advice. It’s not detailed but every little bit helps.

But then they ruin it with their “Commuter Motorcycles” recommendations.

The Honda NC700X is an excellent choice in my opinion but I would *never* suggest a bike from Moto Guzzi. Don’t get me wrong – I love the idea of a Moto Guzzi (I almost bought one instead of my Yamaha FJR1300) but they don’t have much of a dealer network. Same issue with the Cleveland CycleWerks (a manufacturer I’ve never even heard of).

I’m not saying they are bad bikes – but for a new user, you want as few problems as possible. There are all kinds of bikes that are similar in spec to their recommendations – Suzukis, Yamahas, Kawasakis – that would serve a new rider much better than an “exotic”.