John McAffee's insane life →

In the pre-dawn hours of April 30th of this year I woke to the sound of a bullhorn yelling un-intelligible orders. I ran naked outside and saw a military formation whose uniforms identified them as GSU, creeping slowly down my driveway. I laid down the pistol that I keep for protection and, contrary to Josh Davis’ assertion that I said “Motherfuckers”, said nothing and went back inside. I woke Amy, the 17 year old with whom I was living, and calmly told her to get dressed – that the GSU was invading the property.

Did you know John McAfee has a blog? Did you know it's the most insane-slash-interesting thing ever?

Nike+ FuelBand micro-review

I picked up a Nike+ FuelBand in San Francisco a couple of months ago. It's a nice piece of kit. On the wrist, it's comfortable and, more importantly, unobtrusive. In black at least, it looks just like a charity wristband, so hardly anyone even notices it. The tiny little light-up display is both adorable and looks futuristic as fuck.

But I have a couple of minor problems with it.

  1. What the fuck is Nike+ Fuel? I've set a daily goal of 2,0001, but what does that actually mean? Is 2,000 a little or a lot? If I'm using this as a way to track my activity or to lose weight, I'd love to know exactly what this is supposed to represent2.

  2. This isn't FuelBand-specific, and is more a problem with all phone peripherals, such as the Jawbone Up: If your peripheral has shitty battery life (the FuelBand gets less than a week per charge), can you not figure out some way to charge the peripheral off my phone? I've already have three things charging beside my bed each night, so if it's between your stupid peripheral and my Kindle or my phone, you're not going to win. Even some sort of pass-through between the phone charger and the phone that would siphon off enough to charge the peripheral would work for me.

Overall, it's not bad. It would never replace my Nike+ app on my phone (I've logged 1,493kms run - I am locked in), but it's a great supplement to it.

1

Sub-problem: how am I supposed to refer to these units? "Nike+ Fuel Units"? That's a bit of a mouthful, no? 2: This is like the problem when buying things off Xbox Live - the currency is "Xbox Points", which doesn't translate easily to euros, dollars or pounds. They're obfuscating how much you're spending. Why would Nike obfuscate the amount of exercise you're doing?

Welcome to Flavour Town →

What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?

Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds? Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?

Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?

If you read just one restaurant review today, make it Pete Wells' review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in the New York Times

Ashamed

To her family, I want to say: I am ashamed, I am culpable, and I am sorry. For every letter to my local politician I didn't write, for every protest I didn't join, for keeping quiet about abortion rights in the company of conservative relations and friends, for becoming complacent, for thinking that Ireland was changing, for not working hard enough to secure that change, for failing to create a society in which your wife, your daughter, your sister was able to access the care that she needed: I am sorry. You must think that we are barbarians.

-- I am ashamed that Ireland's medieval abortion law still stands - Emer O'Toole - guardian.com

The Best

An interesting side effect, which I hadn’t anticipated, was that I developed a blind trust in the things I used. I trusted my lamp to be bright enough to light up the wheel well of a truck when its tire went flat, and it was. I trusted my wallet to hold cash, boarding passes, and IDs without deforming or falling apart, and it did. I trusted that my towel would dry quickly, because it was designed for travel, and it did. I trusted the zippers on my backpack to stay closed as I hiked through the night, and they did. These might seem like stupid things to worry about, but when you have trust in everything you own, you don’t have to worry about anything. It’s liberating and an amazing feeling. My life was markedly better because of it.

I've got a bit of a bag problem. By this, I mean that I seem to accumulate bags, because I have this wild, irrational fear of not having the correct bag for any given situation.

(Look, I already acknowledged it was wild and irrational. Shut up.)

For Christmas last year, my wife got me a GoRuck GR1. It is, hands down, the best bag I've ever owned. It's the perfect size for a weekend away. It's the perfect size for carry-on luggage on an airplane. I've used it in the worst weather Ireland can throw at it and it's never once leaked or even gotten soggy. When I had my bike accident, the bag completely protected my MacBook Pro. Again, the best bag I've ever owned.

And I haven't bought another bag since I got it because I haven't needed another bag.

So I totally understand what Dustin Curtis is saying. It's always worth doing your research and spending a little extra money, if necessary, to make sure you get the best.

Let's start the foodie backlash

Let's start the foodie backlash

The OED's very first citation of "foodie" is from 1980, an oozing New York Times magazine celebration of the mistress of a Parisian restaurant and her "devotees, serious foodies". "Foodie" has now pretty much everywhere replaced "gourmet", perhaps because the latter more strongly evokes privilege and a snobbish claim to uncommon sensory discrimination – even though those qualities are rampant among the "foodies" themselves. The word "foodie", it is true, lays claim to a kind of cloying, infantile cuteness which is in a way appropriate to its subject; but one should not allow them the rhetorical claim of harmless innocence implied.

Bicycle Helmets

Elisabeth Rosenthal has a piece in the New York Times Sunday Review about whether helmets should be worn when cycling. Her argument is that, yes, helmets probably save lives1 but making them mandatory actually discourages people from cycling.

Recent experience suggests that if a city wants bike-sharing to really take off, it may have to allow and accept helmet-free riding. A two-year-old bike-sharing program in Melbourne, Australia — where helmet use in mandatory — has only about 150 rides a day, despite the fact that Melbourne is flat, with broad roads and a temperate climate. On the other hand, helmet-lax Dublin — cold, cobbled and hilly — has more than 5,000 daily rides in its young bike-sharing scheme. Mexico City recently repealed a mandatory helmet law to get a bike-sharing scheme off the ground. But here in the United States, the politics are tricky.

Last year, I had the worst bike accident of my life. I was coming from the north side of the city. As I came around the corner of the Matt Talbot bridge - at a point where two cycle lanes cross over each other in the middle of a pedestrian crossing - when another cyclist on a Dublin Bike was coming the other way. We both saw each other too late and we both swerved in the same direction.

The results weren't pretty.

I landed on my head, lost consciousness for a few minutes and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

There were two things I realised. First is that I don't think cycling helmets should be mandatory, but for my style of cycling, which I would call 'assertive' rather than 'aggressive', I probably should wear one. The other thing I realised is that people on Dublin Bikes are, generally, awful and dangerous cyclists. They have no idea of the rules of the road. No concept of spacial awareness. They're oblivious to other road-users (and especially, other cyclists). What I have observed myself is that their first use of a Dublin Bike is usually the first time they've been on a bike in a few years, so they're a bit wobbly and nervous. And then, after about fifteen minutes, they remember how much fun cycling is and they start cycling like lunatics. And that's when you have to watch out for them. Because they are the heaviest bikes on the road and an accident with them will fuck you up.

Believe me. They will fuck you up.

So, speaking as a cyclist, I guess my point is that I think bicycle helmets shouldn't be mandatory. Regardless of what I just said about the majority of Dublin Bike users, I think the Dublin Bike scheme is a terrific asset to the city and I also believe that it would get no use if people were forced to buy and use a helmet before using one of the bikes. I think that the decision should be left to the individual cyclist, that people should wear a helmet if they feel like they need it.

1

Although she seems to suggest the life-saving benefits of helmets are largely apocryphal

Advice

Floss at least once every day; buy the nice kind that doesn’t chop your fingers up. If you’re wearing a jacket, you probably need both a pocket square and a tie. You don’t need more than one computer anymore. Build a fire pit in your backyard at all costs. Sync everything. Try to strike up friendly conversations with every driver who calls you a cunt. Splurge on a cell phone with a data plan; if you already have one, splurge on a solid state drive; if you have both, you don’t need anything else.

Nickd gives some great advice about capital-L living. I really want a fire pit now.

Tintin in R'lyeh

fckyeahhplovecraft:

Muzski’s reinterpretation of Hergé’s famous comic series feature Tintin, Captain Haddock, Snowy and all your beloved characters in an exciting new light as they unwittingly stumble upon soul-shattering vistas from Beyond.

Watch our brave adventurers flee from shoggoths, Deep Ones, fish folk, ghouls, Formless Spawn, Mi-Go, Elder Things, nightgaunts, Old Ones, Outer Gods and foreigners (i.e. non-Anglo-Saxons) as they face many an existential crisis regarding their insignificance on a cosmic scale!

What eldritch horrors await our companions as they unearth the secrets from untold aeons in the dark corners of the earth? Will they heroically flee from these abominations from the stars, or will they choose the merciful oblivion that is death by throwing themselves on squalid pavements or shooting themselves in the head? And what trick does Nyarlathotep have up ‘His’ sleeve this time?

Find out in The Weird Adventures of Tintin, by H. P. Lovecraft!

Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods is the best deconstruction of the horror genre since Scream. Actually, fuck that. Cabin in the Woods is much better than Scream. Wes Craven was happy enough to just list out the tropes of slasher movies, leading to a nudging, winking circle-jerk of "You know we know these tropes. And now we know you know we know them."

Cabin in the Woods is better than that. It lists out the cliches -- the things we love about horror movies -- and gives them context. And not in some po-faced way. It's got convictions and goddamn if it doesn't follow through on them. Asked if he had any plans for a sequel, director Drew Goddard answered "Have you seen the ending to my movie?"

You need to see this ending. And the middle. And also the beginning. Multiple times, if possible.

Things that have made me cry (this week) →

Caine's Arcade

I usually hate flashmobs. I even hate the idea of them. I think they're usually selfish things, usually at someone's expense (c.f. Improv Everywhere's "Best Gig Ever"). But this was genuinely sweet. And I love that random strangers have chipped in over $40,000 to put this kid through college.

An Invocation for Beginnings

I'm so glad Ze Frank is back, because the world needs more disarmingly sincere people who rarely blink. The sentiment at 1:09 is just beautiful.

Fiona's Rescue

WAAAAH.

Suspended

Over the weekend, while my wife was away, I came up with a few dumb ideas for things to keep me busy. One was an iPhone app that's maybe a little too PG-13 for this blog - let's just say it involved dicks and iPhone pictures thereof. The other was a twitter bot that would reply whenever someone tweeted one of the main lyrics from Ice Cube's Today was a Good Day. You tweet "Didn't have to use my AK", it would reply and say "@foo didn't have to use his AK. Today was a good day". I spent about an hour writing it and launched it on Monday night.

I guess some people didn't get the joke (although I was amazed at the amount of retweets and favourites it got), because the account was suspended today.

This is my first time seeing the Twitter "account suspended" page and I'm amazed. I'm amazed at how stern it is. I'm amazed that there's nothing you can do about the fact your account has been suspended except tick the two checkboxes which say "I promise I'll be good from now on". I'm amazed there's no contact details if you want to appeal this decision. But mostly, I'm just amazed there's no option to say "Fuck it, this joke isn't worth it - delete this account".

‘Out There’ at the Barkley: Portraits From the Edge of Endurance →

The Barkley is the world’s toughest race you’ve never heard of. With 59,100 feet of climb and decent over 100 miles, it’s considered the most difficult endurance event on the planet. In its 25-year history, only twelve men, the same amount of men who have walked on the moon, have actually been able to finish the race.

Before and after shots of some of the competitors. Look at these faces. These people have stared into the abyss.

Compare

Is this some kind of joke? There's no way this isn't deliberate.