Wednesday, February 27, 2013

González & Steenkiste - Through the Mountain

Music is the soundtrack to my memories. I listen so I don't forget. 

I have shelf of tapes on which I catalogue my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Each tape represents an important part of my life. I pull González & Steenkiste's "Through the Mountain" from the shelf when I want to reflect on a day I spent in Vienna a few months ago. I received the tape in a trade with the Viennese label, Feathered Coyote Records, and was surprised to learn after a few listens that González & Steenkiste are based in Belgium; surprised because of how well the tape compliments my memories of the experience. I hear Vienna in the tape. I feel Vienna in the tape. And I close my eyes and see Vienna. 

The Foot & The Belly. On the train from the airport to downtown. Exhausted from days of being sick and nights without sleep. In a daze--almost dozing off while staring out the window at the Austrian plains--I found comfort in the subtle geography. A light layer of fog collected near the ground, separating the green fields from the blue sky. I hadn't seen the sun for as many days as I was sick, and I welcomed its warmth.

The Chest. The beautiful city: an enigmatic organism, whose mystery grew each minute. I could feel the pulse of the city's rich cultural history, but from which direction I could not tell. Still there was something else there--something everyone was aware of, but not talking about. I can't describe it, but I felt it. I felt secrets, sadness, and repressed emotions. I listen hoping one day I'll understand. 

The Eye. I was sitting in chair looking out the window of my hosts' flat. The window slightly open to welcome some fresh air, but not so much to disturb the warmth of the room. The sun shining on my legs, we all sat listening to a record without talking. Viennese windows will forever remain a symbol of peace.

Purchase a copy of the tape. Other reviews: Microphones in the Trees, Honest Bag

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Get a Haircut Like an Idiot

Something I think about a lot is how communication sometimes breaks down in human relationships for totally unexpected reasons. Through some combination of stupidity and ignorance sometimes you say or do something that is received in a totally different way than intended. Imagine touring a foreign country and giving someone a thumbs-up only to realize later it means "go fuck yourself" or something. These things can pop up for all sorts of reasons be it culture, gender, geographic location, whatever. Sometimes somebody gets offended, or you realize you ordered the wrong thing on a menu. These opportunities should be welcomed as a chance to learn and understand different people and what makes them tick. There's a lesson to be learned from the following story; exactly what it is I'm not sure.

I turned 25 a few weeks ago and it made me a little self conscious. I a lot of ways I'm an adult (job, paying for shit, being mad at the economy) and in a lot of ways I'm not. For example I've just never been able to really care much about clothes and style. Going clothes shopping for me elicits the same emotional response as pulling styrofoam out of a cardboard box, or watching videos of people hitting themselves in the dick with a hammer. Anyways now that I'm a full quarter century it's sorta dawned on me finally that absolutely everyone is judging me at all times for this and that I need to look fresh if I'm going to be taken seriously. Since all the clothes stuff is still a little a little too unsettling for me I thought a nice first baby step would be to get a decent haircut. I've been rocking the shaggy emo kid look for about 13 years now and it looks stupid. I thought this time when I got it cut I'd go a little shorter. This exposition is basically just to set up what happens next but I'd like to make a very clear point: I set out today with a very reasonable goal. At no point for the rest of the story will I revisit this seemingly clear thinking.

San Jose is sort of an interesting place cause it's really pretty diverse and you end up interacting with people on all sorts of strata. I think this is different than what I've seen from other "diverse" places because it seems like there's not one predominant theme that dominates any one place (at least in the neighborhood I live). There's a bit of fluidity between the young yuppie tech guys, Vietnamese immigrants, Indian VISA workers and the Mexican and black families that lived here before Silicon Valley exploded. It seems like everyone mingles pretty well. 

One of the things I've noticed over the last year is the abundance of barber shops. These aren't like Supercuts or hair salons but straight up barber shops where nobody uses scissors and they shave your lines in the end with a hardware store razor blade. And what I learned about this is that "urban" men (ie non-whites) really like to get their hair cut often. Like sometimes once a week. This is an entirely foreign concept to me since I'm a 2-3 month haircut guy. I mostly just trim everything down but this is more of an involved affair. You buzz 'em down, square off the sides and then shape everything straight and super clean. It's kinda cool to watch and I've had a couple good hair cuts from these places. The barbers are usually pretty good with scissors and keeping things longer and the price is always pretty good. I used to go to a Vietnamese place that would give me a haircut, shave and face massage for $14 bucks. The last place I went (in December) catered mostly to Mexicans (I think) and I got to witness this exchange:

Customer: (comes in quickly) Hey man are you still open?
Barber: No I've been working all day, sorry.
C: I'm begging you, I've got some out of town strange coming in and I need to get my cuts in before tonight.
B: Sorry man.
Me: (slowly figuring out the definition of "strange" using critical thinking and context clues)
C: I will pay you twice whatever you want.
B: Ok.
Me: (Oh! This guy is trying to get laid!)
Me: Good luck man!

I thought that was pretty interesting and if it hadn't been for the barbershop I never would have learned that new word. Anyways this is a lot of buildup but basically this is how I decided to try out a black barbershop. I rode my bike over and I was in the chair of a big black guy within about 5 minutes. He had actually been using a leaf blower when I showed up and I asked if it was for blowing all the hair around. He said it was for blowing leaves off the sidewalk. I suggested using it for the hair and we both laughed.

Normally when I get a haircut I go down to a 1" on the top, then whatever on the sides. It's really not a lot of direction. Since I wanted to do the "adult" thing I decided this time to go for 3/4". So I told Joel that I wanted 3/4. And he laughed again and said okay. And then he spun me facing away from the mirror. 

Things are going along nicely until I get a look at what kind of hair buzzer thing he's using. This is when I realize that there's a BIG difference between going to a scissors place and asking for 3/4" and going to primarily hair buzzer-based barbershop where 3/4 is also the size of a (as it turns out incredibly short) buzz length. I'm not sure what the units are on buzz cut numbers but right now my best guess is centimeters. He's about half way done with the top of my head at this point. Once my body internalizes what's going on I get kinda queasy and start to sweat. I wonder if Joel notices. The funny part is, for what it is, he did a pretty good job.

I'm going to go ahead and take like 90% of the blame for what happened. I paid Joel and even tipped him because he gave me exactly what I asked for. I want to give him maybe 10% of the blame because he probably should have known that a piece-of-shit white kid who rides up on his bike in a dirty white undershirt and long-ass unkempt hair probably doesn't want a sick fade. Is that a reasonable expectation? I really have no idea whether I should expect people to call me out for being an idiot. I mean as far as I know most black men probably internalize the idiocy of white men at an early age. Now that I'm an adult maybe people just assume I know what I'm talking about. 

Wikipedia says that human hair grows at a rate of 0.5 inches/month but they don't specify if head hair grows faster or shorter than other hair. I figure at this rate I only have to stay holed up in my apartment for about 6 weeks before I can start socializing again. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about work. I had a couple ideas. Calling in sick is a little too dramatic. I could wear a hat but most people at work know I never wear hats and it would strike them as weird and the truth would eventually come out anyways. I briefly considered the moral consequences of saying I shaved my head in solidarity with a friend with cancer but then I realized it would lead to this inevitable conversation several months later:

Coworker: Hi Max, how is your friend with cancer?
Me: I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

I thought maybe I could just shave it to the skull but realized that by Monday it would then be at the length it is now (I wrote this on Saturday). It would serve as a good opportunity to race my beard hair against my head hair but that will look even stupider (if that's even possible). At the very least I would be able to add some information to Wikipedia (just kidding, they don't let you cite your own research). 

Anyways I'm going to wrap this up and go curl into a little ball and feel sorry for myself. If you're keeping score at home here's a list of lessons I learned about myself today:

1) I need to communicate in a clear manner. I should be very specific when describing my thoughts and desires. I should use units when appropriate.
2) I am much shallower about my appearance than I thought. 
3) My skull is not as smooth as I expected.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Hey Kids, this week old man Stambaugh's gonna lay down the wisdom on roadkill and what it's all about. There will not be a quiz but it is still recommended that you pay attention because what follows here is LIFE SKILLS and also craaaaaaazy stories which may or may not work to your favor to tell at a party. Depending on how your party circle intersects with the readership of this blog, you may not have much audience at the party who hasn't already heard or told these stories.

Roadkill. What's that all about? I'll tell ya. Roadkill is how you get quality meat for FREE, WITHOUT STEALING. Full disclosure, it is still illegal (in California), but MORALLY PERMISSIBLE. Just don't get caught. Some people think eating roadkill is weird. I don't know why. I mean, I know why they think it is weird, but I don't know why they think what they think. They'll say something about parasites or diseases in the animal, as if this was a condition transmitted through contact with cars at high speed. That is a silly notion. Roadkill is just like any other game animal. If you're worried about parasites or diseases, COOK IT. Boom.

FIRST RULE OF ROADKILL: BE CHOOSY. The meat is free, so you can afford to be particular about which parts you keep and which you toss. Always use your eyes and your nose to assess the quality of the meat. If it is not the color of meat (such as green), do not eat it. If it is bloodshot, do not eat it. If it is a ruptured organ, do not eat it. Actually, don't eat any of the organs, unless you saw the animal die, or if it is fucking cold outside. Those things spoil so quickly. I'm a fan of hearts and livers and kidneys and whatnot, but they ain't worth the risk.

I'm gonna switch to stories now. I don't know why I tried to do this in a structured manner.

FIRST ROADKILL STORY: I saw a dead deer on Foothill once, just past Patricia. The girl I was traveling with at the time was not really into the whole roadkill scene, and encouraged me to leave the corpse. If we hadn't been in a serious relationship, I would've told her to walk home while I snagged that sweet, sweet corpse, but we were in a serious relationship, so I didn't tell her that. Neither did I snag the corpse. I should've broken up with her on the spot, once it was clear that she was trying to control me, but I didn't have the clarity of mind, nor the balls to do so. She broke it off 2 months later, but the deer was already gone. God dammit.

SECOND ROADKILL STORY: I was on my way to Costco on a Saturday morning to get some bread flour. I jokingly suggested to my co-pilot Patrick, who is ultra-squeamish about this sort of thing (I mean REALLY, like, damn, as little as 200 years ago this guy would not be viable as a human being. Sorry Pat, I love ya, but you are impractical in a pre-supermarket world) that he keep an eye out for dead deer on the side of the road. He spots one. We haul ass to Home Depot, where I get a 5 gallon bucket, a tarp, some gloves and other stuff, then go back to the body and hoist it into my trunk (I drive a Corolla). I stopped at home to get my best knife, then I took the body to 50 Del Mar where Max and Taylor were living, among other people. There were a lot of people there, but I am only mentioning Max because this is his blog and Taylor because he is a farm-boy/bio guy and was really useful in showing me how to clean roadkill and stuff. I couldn't do it at my own house because Patrick is squeamish and we lived together. Now Patrick lives with Max. Anyway, I show up at 50 Del Mar, and who is outside but Jim, the landlord! "Aww shit" I says to myself, not sure how Jim feels about me (not his tenant) butchering a deer in his yard. Turns out he was okay with it. We butchered that deer and sent Jim home with a good piece. I boiled the head to try to preserve the skull but it didn't turn out very well. I also tried to tan the hide but ended up just salting it. It smelled quite strongly of deer for a long time. I wore it to a few parties as a cape, but it was not well received. Some people speculate as to the contributions this made to a sexual dry-spell which I experienced around that time. Well, it certainly didn't help. Max asked me later to not bring any more dead deer to his house for butchering. Taylor said to disregard what Max said (they had equal seniority at the house). Oh also the deer was a lady and she was pregnant with twins which I put in a jar of rubbing alcohol for my sister. Turns out that alcohol is not a preservative. Sorry, Sis.

I took the head to Connor's house because I wanted to use the brain to tan the hide, and Connor was the most likely person to have a Dremmel. His dog went absolutely apeshit over my shoes. Somehow she knew that I had been walking around in deer blood all day. He offered me a circular saw as well, which I declined at the time but did actually return for later. I ended up botching the brain-tanning process because I was totally unprepared and rushed the whole thing. Don't do that when you brain-tan your own hides. Thanks, Connor. You're the best.

THIRD ROADKILL STORY: In my 5th year of college I drove around town on Saturday and Sunday mornings looking for deer which had been hit by drunk drivers the night before. Winters in SLO are just barely cold enough to preserve a body for a few hours at night. I had been searching 3 weekends in a row and found nothing. I chatted with Tracie on Friday night (she was in Malawi at the time) and she said she would eat roadkill if I found some and saved it for her (this is significant because she is a vegetarian). Anyway I found a poor widdle Bambi by the army base the next day. Tracie denies praying on my behalf. I believe her. I drove the dead Bambi straight to Max's house against his wishes. It so happens that Noura (a vegetarian) was in town that weekend. Thankfully they were not at the house when I came by. I strung the deer up in a tree and went to work, and a neighbor started givin me shit about deer being out of season. I told him I found it on the road. He didn't seem to care. Screw that guy. I gave Max the backstraps for his birthday, but he didn't really receive them too well. I guess I should have expected that. It's okay. I buried the remains on Bishop's Peak during the Superbowl so that I wouldn't be spotted. Clever, no?

FOURTH ROADKILL STORY: I picked up a dead deer in Fremont after I came back from France. Michael and I butchered it in his back yard. Lisa won't let us do that anymore. Here are some pictures:

I've messaged a lot of girls on OKCupid about roadkill. Most of them don't get too turned on by it, but the ones who are into it are REALLY into it. Try out this pickup line fellas: "Hey baby, I've got a bucket, tarp, gloves, hack saw, ropes, pulleys, chains, and a fuckin sharp knife, all in the trunk of my car. Want to drive out into the woods with me (looking for roadkill. I'm not gonna kill ya, I promise)." That one actually worked out okay for me. We decided that it was not really a first-date sort of activity (she proposed it, I agreed). I think we settled on 5th or 6th date? Whatever, we never made it that far because WOMEN ARE WEIRD. I'm glad I'm not one. I did eventually go on a roadkill-searching date on a Saturday morning with a lady with whom I was already involved. We didn't find anything.

Here is an excerpt from a failed conversation (did not result in a date).
FROM HER PROFILE: You should message me if: You want to! I would go on to list potential arbitrary little idiosyncrasies that you might have that might appeal to me but....I won't. ;)

First message (7:53pm):
Hey I'm Mark. I read books and used to drink Mate when I lived with an Argentinian guy, but not so much since then. Also I pick up and butcher, and eat roadkill. I hope that is one of the idiosyncrasies that you are into. If it is, respond to this message and maybe we can have a little chat. If the roadkill thing is a major selling point and you are already thinking about sharing a gourd with me, I can promise that I do not have any orally transmitted diseases. Hope to hear from you!

First response (8:15pm):
That sounds really unappealing actually (the roadkill part)... may I ask why?

Second message (8:22pm):
I'm not a hunter, but I like venison. Also, it's free meat! Also, I think butchering animals is a pretty neat skill to have, but I would feel bad buying animals to practice on. A roadkill deer is already dead anyway, and it will either rot or get eaten by birds or thrown in a landfill if I don't take it. The meat is still good (no parasites yet!) and also it is free.
How did the rest of it sound?

Third message (8:25pm):
Oh I forgot to mention that many of my vegan/vegetarian friends will eat roadkill, since they don't see it as morally wrong to use an already-dead animal. I like to cook, so it is nice to be able to expand my vegan-friendly repertoire. There are so many great dishes that would be great for vegans and vegetarians if the main ingredient wasn't beef. With free scavenged venison, it is not a problem.

Fourth message (9:22pm):
Come on hit me with another question, I'm on fire tonight.

There was no second response. WOMEN. AM I RIGHT, FELLAS?

FROM HER PROFILE:  You should message me if: you're in san diego and want to meet new people. you're down to earth and funny. and preferably not an ax murderer

First message: Hi. I'm the down to earth and funny guy you requested. I'm also in the SD area and looking to meet new people. Oh and also I'm not an ax murderer (despite what the contents of my trunk suggest). I guess all that makes me exactly the guy you're looking for, which might make you the first person to have any success on a dating website. Aren't you lucky! Anyway, take a quick glance at my profile and if you see anything that I like to do which you also like to do, send me a response and we can maybe arrange a time to do those things together. Or we can just talk about them. Whatever you're into.

No response.

FROM HER PROFILE: The first things people usually notice about me: I have to say its my eyes since I'm asian. But, I have huge knockers for an asian girl so that comes soon after.

First message: Hey I heard you've got huge knockers for an asian girl. How huge are we talkin here? Like, cow udder huge, or pregnant woman huge, or what? More information is required. If you don't want to talk about it, that's cool. I see that you're into Harry Potter. What house would you be in if you could choose? I've already made up my mind, and if we're in opposing houses, I won't be sending you any more messages. I can't tell you what my house is though because I don't want to skew your preference. Remember when Harry was like "Not Slytherin!" ? That was total BS of him, so just be straight with me. I'll judge you more harshly if I think you're a liar than I will if you're in an opposing house.

No response.

FROM HER PROFILE: You should message me if: You have something good to say, or maybe something fun to do. I'm usually always down for fun.

First message: So ya like fun, huh? Here's a fun thing to do. Drive out in east county with me looking for roadkill on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Winter is the best time to do it because the cold helps preserve the body. If we find a deer, we'll put it in my trunk, take it to some wilderness area, hang it from a tree, skin it, butcher it, and head back to my place to cook up the tenderloins. Then we'll split the meat and you can take the bonus of a ridiculous story which your friends will laugh at you for. They'll say "Holy shit Natalie, you could have been raped and murdered and chopped into little pieces and fed to wolves." Then you tell em to buzz off cus ya had a good time and you'd do it again, but not for awhile cus there is still a lot of venison in your freezer.
Anyway, just think about it. If that doesn't sound like a good time to you, I'm open to suggestions.

Got a profile view. No response.

I'm a graduate student at UCSD. I moved out here last fall to start the program. I was born and raised in Michigan (yes, the midwest). I'm really looking for someone who can be a friend, a confidant, an adventurer, and give me that feeling of excitement when we make plans to see each other. Kind of corny, I know. But true.
I'd like someone to be interested in what I do, even if its not something they'd want to do. My work and school takes up a lot of my time and if you're not willing to hear about it once in awhile, it probably won't work out.
You should message me if: you have something interesting to say

First message: Hi. You're cute, I'm bold. I'm messaging you because I have something interesting to say. Are you ready? Get stoked.
It is illegal to pick up roadkill in California. This has not stopped me in the past. Three times I have picked up deer off the side of the road, and three times I have eaten them. So there, I'm a criminal, on the loose, still acting like a normal part of society. I'm an electrical engineer working in Carlsbad. I rent a condo and drive a corolla. It's the perfect camouflage. Nobody. Suspects. A. Thing.
Anyway if you want to hang out some time and share secrets, we can totally do that. I guess I'd like to be someone that you are excited to see now and then. We can talk about your research if you need someone to nerd-out with. You just tell your story and I'll interject with the "fuck yeah!"s and the "that's awesome!"s. I'll mean em, too.
So that's what I'm offering. I don't know what more you're looking for in an internet stranger. I guess whatever it is, you can just ask and I might have that too.

Got a profile view. No response.

That's enough for now, Kids. Send your requests for more information to . I'd like to try doing an advice column if some people want to throw their concerns at me. Complete anonymity and discretion etc. etc. All topics are good, all questions will be answered completely, unless a complete answer would require details of my sex life which I do not want to divulge. This is mostly out of courtesy to the women who had sex with me and may now regret it.

Editor's note: Stories #2 and #3 actually involved Mark cleaning the deer in my backyard while women I was romantically interested in were at my house. Additionally, before Story #3 I told Mark explicitly "please do not bring any more road kill to my house" which he ignored. This bit him in the ass later on when he wanted to do a Hawaiin BBQ in this big grave thing he dug in the dirt and the same neighbor got mad at him again. So yeah I feel a little vindicated. Seriously though that guy was a major dick.

Author's note: the BBQ turned out real well.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

VA - A Guide to Looking Inward

I submitted this mix for my friend Lemoncat's blog for promotional purposes a few months ago and thought I'd also post it on here. I was asked to include some of my own music, so sorry for the self-promotion--it won't happen again.

Close your eyes and use this as a tool for some meaningful introspection.


1. Reframing Moment - Sparkling Wide Pressure
2. Ascension - Lace Bows
3. Float the Plains - Sky Stadium
4. Many Moons - Former Selves
5. Juicy - Julian Lynch
6. Maroon Bells - Kevin Greenspon
7. Of Maple - Hedia
8. A Bycaught Feeling - The Exhalers
9. Glass Corridor - Panabrite
10. Common Years - Former Selves
11. Wind Return - Grouper
12. Future Nostalgia - Former Selves
13. 07:00 - Sundrips
14. Hope - Former Selves

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Spits!

When was the last time you heard some straight-up punk fucking rock? I'm not talking about the emo shit I always post on here, or some sort of post-punk sludge-wave blah blah blah whatever. This is The Spits. All their albums sound exactly the same and all the songs on all the albums sound the same. Their lyrical subject matter consists of partying, skating, punk rock, playing in a punk rock band, playing punk rock music at a party, drinking, fighting, sniffing glue, fighting at a party, etc (I've actually only heard The Spits I, II, and V but I've interpolated III and IV using a simple linear regression and I ended up getting a pretty high correlation so I feel comfortable predicting the themes of the missing albums). In my research for this article I read that they were originally based in Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Washington (state) and I think even Kansas. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ormo - The Diamond Face (Ford Buicks)

Sorry everybody.

Friday, February 15, 2013

PX$H6XD - Retarded Beach

I'm going to leech off of all Mark's hard work and long writing and funny stories by posting some real gross music. I have nothing to say about this band. I have no information. This is what I listened to on Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

V-day special

Hey Kids, Old man Stambaugh here with a special emergency blog post for Valentine's Day.

Some people go all crazy for Valentine's day like it is super special. Some guys if they are in a relationship will be extra nice to their lover on Valentine's day even if they are a dick to her the rest of the year. I am not like those guys because when I am in a relationship I am fuckin great to my lover every damn day (references upon request). There are some other guys who if they are not in a relationship they will be super bitter and angry or maybe just sad and depressed on Valentine's day, even if they are happy and stuff being by themselves the rest of the year. I'm not like those guys either because when I'm bitter and depressed about being single I do it consistently every day but unlike being a fantastic boyfriend I do not have references who will attest to my consistent bitterness. This is because I am not the heartache-bitterness type of guy. I would prefer to be in a relationship, but I also like being single because I can daydream about packing up all my shit and fleeing the country or whatever at a moment's notice, which is not something I can do when I am involved with a lady. In my dreams I have amazing adventures and make lifelong friends and save a civilization and am made an honorable member of their society and in the end I'm super rich and also a smokin' hot redhead is my wife and shit's grand. Another great thing about being single is that I have a lot more time to play video games, so I can finally finish all the quests I was working on and get my characters to maximum level and get all the best armor and swords and potions and ride a magical horse made of solid gold which isn't really very fast or robust but serves mostly as an expression of my wealth and success to taunt my rivals and discourage new players or people with girlfriends who will never match my glory. I guess you could say that my fantasy lives improve drastically on all fronts while my real life takes a nose-dive into a shit-heap. I cook a lot fewer meals and eat a lot more pre-sliced cheeses with barbeque sauce and also I hardly ever laugh or smile except for during the aforementioned fantasies. BUT I'M NOT BITTER. That is the point I am trying to stress here. I am not bitter about it. Not on any day, even Valentine's day when lesser men are. It's mostly spite which keeps me from being bitter. If there were not bitter men out there for me to feel superior to with my acceptance and nonchalance, I would probably be them. Thank you, bitter men, for making me a better person. I guess "better" is not the right word. Thank you for making me bad in a different way which makes me at least FEEL better.

Anyway here are some Valentine's day tips for everyone out there who is still in a relationship. I guess these are comin in pretty late so if you're just now reading this blog lookin for V-Day tips, you're basically fucked. If your partner doesn't really care about V-day stuff then you're in the clear. Either way here are some tips which are good for relationships any day of the year, not including days like SO's mom's funeral or whatever. I don't have many tips for you on that day. I guess I could think of some, but at this time I have nothing ready. Shoot me an email ( if you're lookin for some advice on that subject. If I get enough questions I will make a blog post of it. OK here are the tips. They are good for use with boys and girls alike, so if you were worried that these tips would not be useful to you because your lover is not the same gender as my preferred lover, you were worrying about nothing and you can stop now.

1) Be nice to your lover. Being nice to someone should be fun. If it is not fun, you are doing it wrong. You can be nice to them by cooking dinner or giving them a massage or whatever. Just don't be an asshole.

2) Surprise your lover. It is a fact that girls like surprises. It is also a fact that boys like surprises. A surprise ain't gotta be tickets to a show or otherwise fancy expensive thing, it just has to be unexpected. One good surprise is to say that you are going to cook something really boring for dinner but instead cook something awesome. Or say you will cook something awesome and then actually do that but also get a drink that you know she likes (but don't tell her that you are getting it). If you can't cook then you are totally F'd in the A and frankly I do not understand how you managed to score a lady or dude at all. Here is a blog where you can get a few tips about cooking: .

3) Objectify your lover. Some people say they only care about what's on the inside or that they want a lover who likes them for their brain, and that's all cool, but still you should go crazy for their body. Men and women can both have body issues and it feels really good when someone views you as a piece of meat that they want to get nasty on. There is a song called " Fuck you like an Animal" by Nine Inch Nails. I am not really a scholar of their works but this song was sent to me by Noura for reasons which I cannot remember, but I am absolutely positive that they were not remotely sexy at all. Not one single little bit. I do remember that she sent me the link over facebook chat. Anyway there is a line in the song which goes "I want to fuck you like an animal." which sums up my feelings on objectification real well. I don't exactly want to get fucked by an animal or fuck someone as an animal would fuck them, but it is nice to be wanted in that way. It is real nice. Quick note, this song is not about "animal style" which is in-n-out lingo for "with pickles, grilled onions, and in-n-out proprietary thousand-island-style spread". I'm not sure what animal-style sex would be like, but I am pretty sure that I would probably like it. This is based off of my experiences with regular burgers (good), animal-style burgers (better), and regular sex (good). If anyone reading the blog has experience with food-fetish sex or has worked at in-n-out and can clear up the mystery of the proprietary spread, shoot me an email at to arrange a Q/A session for a future blog post. Please mention in the subject line of your email which category you belong to (fetishist or grill monkey).

That's basically all the tips I've got for the general audience. If you've got specific questions about Valentine's Day, other days, or a subject which is not even a day at all, shoot me an email ( and I'll hook you up.

Here is a funny story about Valentine's day. In my senior year of college my buddy Greg was out of town for a surf trip in San Diego (300 miles from SLO, where we went to college), so I took Tracie (his girlfriend) out for Valentine's Day. I actually just met her at her place on Eto Circle that night and we hiked up in the Irish Hills. She told me a lot of things which are not really secrets but probably still shouldn't be broadcast in such a public forum, even years later, so it must suffice to say that nobody got eaten by a mountain lion and a good time was had by all. Maybe if she becomes very famous I will sell the transcripts of our conversations to a sensationalist magazine. A year later Tracie was in Malawi studying why the people there are so skinny (it's a bacterial thing, she says. They did research with twins which involved weighing their poops), and so I was Greg's date on Valentine's Day. I made a big ol' batch of chow mein and we had a great feast. Max was there too. He hasn't told me so but that was probably the best Valentine's Day he's ever had (Max, not Greg). Anyway Greg and Tracie are married now so they are usually together on Valentine's day. I'll probably call them tonight or send them an erotically-charged text message or something. I'll do anything I can to force myself into their happy relationship since I am now totally unnecessary.

The only time I've ever been involved with a girl on Valentine's day who was not somebody else's girl was in my second year of college. I got 2 big blocks of chocolate at Trader Joe's and carved each piece into the shape of half of a heart, and then I printed out some pictures of myself and my girlfriend and traced them in the chocolate. In the end it was a big (6 inch diameter) piece of solid chocolate with our faces carved in it, so that was pretty cool. The twist is that I gave it to her on February 13th when she wouldn't expect it and I don't think I did anything special on valentine's day. It was well-received. My gay roommates and a straight girl next-door thought it was really cool, and also I probably got a kiss or whatever upon delivery but I tended to get those anyway so that is not conclusive. My documentation from that period is extremely poor and so I cannot comment on how effective it was at getting me any closer to "dat nookie" (which is NOT what gifts are all about), except I am absolutely certain that I was still a virgin on February 15th. It was definitely a hit, though. Maybe this should have gone in the tips section. Let's call it tip #4.

I already mentioned a failed Valentine's Day effort which I guess had to be from my 4th year of college when I baked a sourdough loaf in the shape of a heart for a girl who was entirely not interested in me in that way. If you want to read about that story, check out my bread post from earlier. I probably gave the bread to her roommate and booked it over to Tracie's. That was a busy night.

I hope that's enough V-Day advice to get ya started, cus that's all I've got for now. Here's some universal advice for the romantically involved and the singletons alike: Use protection if it is not your express intention to conceive, and never mix alcohol with tranquilizers. Good night, kids.


Saturday, February 9, 2013


Alright Kids, we're back with a new food blog entry, except that it is really better suited to a drink blog. Or a tea blog. This is no longer a music blog, it is a Tea blog. Tea is our primary focus, and I will not hear another word about it. The importance of this will be explained later.

Important announcement: This post is going to be super long, so if you have to pee, do it now.


Some people think it is, but those people are wrong. Coffee IS a diuretic, but coffee is absolutely loaded with caffeine. Tea would also be a diuretic if it had as much caffeine as coffee, but it doesn't, so it isn't. Here is an experiment you can do at home to test this: Take a really good whizz before you go to bed tonight. Take another really good whizz in the morning. Now drink only tea for the whole day, and measure your intake. A good way to do this is to measure your water before you brew the tea (spoiler alert: tea is made mostly from water). Any water lost due to evaporation or absorption into the leaves (spoiler alert: tea is made with leaves) is negligible. This is much easier than measuring the tea after it is made, unless you make it all at once, which is good for the science but bad for the tea (sometimes). Now when you whizz throughout the day, whizz into an empty milk jug or other vessel of known volume. This is a good experiment to perform at home because carrying a half-full jug of piss with you around town is going to lose you more friends than this science is worth. About 3 hours before you are going to go to bed, stop drinking tea. Take one final whizz right before bed and observe the final volume. Is it more, or less, than your tea consumption? For good science, repeat this experiment 10 to 20 times (total, so 9 to 19 more times). It's important to do this all on consecutive days because any extreme changes in weather or activity level or general health can invalidate a day's results. You should probably just take some time off work if you have any vacation days saved up. It is important to not "chug" the tea, or "shotgun" the tea, or participate in any other sort of "tea-drinking games" (such as presidential speech or bad science fiction movie tea-drinking games) because drinking too much tea too quickly WILL get you majorly hopped up on caffeine and produce a diuretic effect. That doesn't count. This science is all about normal tea consumption, NOT TEA ABUSE. Before you even ask, I will just tell you, the Tea Bong is completely out of the question. Just to clarify, a Tea Bong is like a beer bong, not a marijuana bong. I do not know what happens when you burn tea leaves in a bong in place of marijuana. That is a different type of science which this blog and this blogger do not explore.


It's true. If you read the spoilers above, you already know that! Tea (the drink) is actually made from Tea (the leaves) and just plain ol' water! Some people like to use special water for their tea, but these people are snobs. Or they live in areas with really bad water. I've lived in three cities in California and one city in France and I've never had a problem with the tap water, but I'm also digestively incredible. Robust. Stalwart. Rugged. Vigorous. Incredible. Either way, the water gets boiled anyhow, so don't even worry about it. Any micro-organisms are dead, but the heavy metals are still in there. They sink though, so just be sure to always leave a little bit of the finished product in the bottom of your cup or bowl, and in this way you will avoid those. I don't always do this because my water is pretty good, but still, it is a good practice, just like always using your turn signals and stopping at stop signs, even when you are alone on the road. If you are brewing the tea in a larger vessel and decanting into a smaller vessel, it is okay to leave some tea in the bottom of the larger (henceforth called the "Brewing Vessel", capitalization arbitrary) and empty the smaller vessel ("Drinking Vessel", same capitalization rules apply (no rules)).

Ok so the water doesn't have to actually be boiled. Usually you want to get the water to just under boiling, I have heard snobs say 175, 186, 190, 200, whatever. It's still fuckin' hot, so don't drink it right after you make it. If you can drink your tea right away, you've fucked it up with the cold water, just like you fucked up that steak with the cold skillet. At least tea is cheap, so you can try again. Some teas come with instructions on how to prepare the tea, and they will say to use boiling water. This is because they do not want to alienate potential customers by putting some bullshit "186.05° Fahrenheit or 85.583° Centigrade". The customer thinks they are not suited for this product because they do not have the money to invest in a fancy thermo-meter, or some kind of automatic tea-water-heating device with integrated solid-state thermo-meter and a negative feedback closed-loop control system. They think they're just fucked for being a plebeian and are being unfairly targeted by the tea companies who want to keep their product exclusive, and so they put the tea back on the shelf and go home with a six pack of lite beer, which they feel was made for them. No thermo-meter required. And before anyone gives me any shit about significant figures on that °f to °C calculation, I know the god damn rules and I have maintained a consistent number of sigfigs despite the appearance of otherwise since the second number extends further past the decimal point. I know what I'm doing.

So your water is hot. You've heated it on the stove or in the microwave or basically anywhere except the inside of your car's radiator. At this point it is still just water. Now add some tea leaves to the hot water. Or, if your Drinking vessel is the same as your Brewing vessel, put your leaves in the Drinking vessel, and then add the water to them. If both of these are the same as your Heating vessel, you can add the leaves to the heating vessel. Now you wait. You should wait a few minutes. The water should have changed color. This is how you know that the tea leaves are working. If the water does not change color, something is wrong. Is your water hot enough? Do not test this by putting your finger or tongue in the water. Do not put any part of your body or someone else's body in the water. You can check the temperature by the presence of steam rising from the surface of the water. If there is no steam, or not much steam, your water is cold, and you fucked up. If the water is hot and you have waited a few minutes but the water is still clear, you probably aren't using tea leaves. Check your leaves. Oregano will not change the color of the water, so if you thought you were being clever, saving some money by using household ingredients as a substitute for tea, your thought was stupid. You were not being clever. You were fucking up. At least the tea is not ruined, because it is not even tea at all, so there is that small bit of comfort. The tea mafia is not going to beat you up. They don't even know about you.

There's only one kind of leaves you can use for this: Tea leaves. Most tea is green tea when it is picked off of the plant. Sometimes you will see "black tea". This is made by fermenting green tea. I don't know what the hell Oolong tea is. It might be from another planet, I just do not know. Ask Wikipedia, the Online Encyclopedia (free). I like to use green tea with Jasmine flowers in it. This is also known as "Jasmine tea", but it should really be called "tea, with Jasmine". I think this misnomer is due to a bad translation from Chinese or French where grammatical rules and syntax are different. The Jasmine smells nice and also changes the flavor a little bit I guess. That is another bit of science you can do. The tea that I use comes "loose leaf", which means that it is just a box with the leaves and flowers in it. Some teas come "bagged", which is where the leaves (with or without flowers) have been put in a little bag with tiny holes in it which let the water in. These come with a little string on them and are really convenient if you want to remove the tea leaves from the drinking vessel before you drink from it. It is my estimation that the addition of the tea bag adds about 2 cents to the cost of each serving, so make sure you really give a shit before you invest in it. 2 cents doesn't sound like much, and it isn't, if you are buying a horse, or a beachfront condo, or a jet, or an island, or a hamburger, but tea is actually pretty god damn cheap, so the 2 cents represents a significant increase to the "loose leaf" price. If you've got spare money lying around, be my guest. Go crazy. Buy tiny little bags full of tea. Don't come crying to me if someone makes a tampon joke and you reflexively splash hot tea in their eyes and get into a fight and maybe even killed, because I WARNED YOU. There is another joke which can be made in this circumstance because "tea bagging" is a slang term which means to put your testicles into another person's mouth! It originated as a sexual act, but is now used mostly on the internet in juvenile circles as trash talk in video games or discussion forums. Seriously though don't kill anybody over a cup of tea. Tea is a drink of peace enjoyed even by Buddhist monks and also Ghandi before he got shot. Don't be the guy or girl who gives tea-drinkers a reputation of violence. Special note: Do not eat the leaves after you drink the water. They don't actually taste very good.

Chinese warlords and also British warlords have been drinking tea for like a thousand fuckin' years. Their days went like this: Wake up. Drink tea with breakfast. Kill a thousand innocent people. Drink tea with lunch. Sodomize (figuratively) an opposing army. Drink tea (no meal, just straight-up tea, or maybe some small cookies or a bit of light cake. Tiny sandwiches too if they are in season). Subjugate a nation. Drink tea with dinner. Go to sleep. The pacifist tea community is trying to take this one back. Don't be the guy or girl who undoes what is basically like at least 20 years of progress. 25 years? When did Apartheid end? According to Wikipedia, the Online Encyclopedia, it ended on April 27th, 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. So that was 18, almost 19, years ago. Don't undo almost 19 years of progress by being violent with your tea. While I was at Wikipedia, the Online Encyclopedia, I looked up Oolong tea. It is made from regular tea which has been left out in the sun for awhile on purpose, then fermented, like black tea, but not as much. Black tea is the most-fermented of all the teas.

What I've described above is what I call "The Chinese Method" for preparing tea. It's pretty plain. It is almost an expression of how frickin' poor those people are (I have heard). They just drink water, dirtied with leaves. You can't get much poorer than that. If you've read The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (winner of the Pulitzer prize for her House of Earth trilogy, the first book of which is The Good Earth, and also seemingly the only book of the trilogy that anyone has ever heard of (the other 2 are "Sons" and "A House Divided")) you will know that in Chapter 1, Wang Lung, basically the poorest guy around, is making breakfast for him and his old dad, and they are just having plain hot water for breakfast. They are so poor that they cannot even drink tea unless it is a very special occasion. Wang Lung thinks the day of his wedding is a special occasion. His father explains gently with great patience (JUST KIDDING) that he is mistaken, and a reckless spender and a threat to the survival of their entire family. It turns out that the only truly special occasions are the occasions when a friend or even more so, a stranger, comes into your home, and you try desperately to create the illusion that you are not poor as hell. Anyway, it is said that in the Great House of Hwang even the slaves drink tea, so that is like, a complete mind-blower for Wang Lung. At one point he is so poor that he cannot even afford any tea at all, even on special occasions. Although, thankfully, not many special occasions of the sort I mentioned came up while he was absolutely broke, pulling a rickshaw in the city while his family begged for what would be a nickel in today's money. Anyway, I drink my tea this way because even though I am not poor like Wang Lung on his wedding day, I like to pretend that I am. Then I feel very wealthy when I drink the tea. This is how I have amassed such a fortune by age 24: CHEAP HABITS. Also my parents paid for my collegiate education, but this blog is not about that. Cheap habits still help a lot.

There is another method of preparing tea, which I call "The British Method". This is where you make the tea as described above, but you drink it out of a special Drinking Vessel which could cost as much as FIFTY FUCKING DOLLARS. There are other subtle distinctions, like the addition of milk, lemon, sugar or honey, and opium, to the tea, but I don't care about that, really. I just can't get past the expensive-as-fuck drinking vessel. They made the cups as ornate as they could, but they were not satisfied, so they put little plates beneath the cups, and made those ornate too. They've got ornate Brewing Vessels, which is stupid because you could just use any pot for that if you aren't even going to drink out of it, and also there are little ornate cups for the milk and sugar and an ornate plate for the lemons probably and an ornate tray to carry it all on and if you are having little cookies or something you need ornate plates for that too and in the end you are looking at FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS for a tea set for FOUR PEOPLE.


That's basically all I'm gonna say about tea right now. Don't even ask me about Mate (2 syllables) because even though I do know all about it from when I lived with an Argentinian dude, I do not want to talk about it now. Same for iced tea, tea-balls, green-tea ice cream, and coffee (ask Max, he loves that stuff).

Real quick shoutout to The Association of TeaBaggers which handles a lot of online tea publications. I've looked at their charter and I don't qualify for admission into their secret cabal (cartel? clique?) because this blog has not been primarily about tea for at least six months, but that is starting RIGHT NOW, see above (way up there, second line). There have been requests to apply for early membership for the sheer amusement of navigating their application process which I'm sure includes a number of email exchanges, but I am not going to take that route because I am too timid and ALSO because I want to continue to promote the image of Tea as a Drink of Peace, not a Drink of Assclownery, even though the people I'd be trolling are snobs. Those of you who actually know me know that this attitude is a stark departure from basically my entire life thus far, but I actually just came up with the "Drink of Peace" thing as I was writing this, and I'm committed to that now. I'm "turning a new leaf". Heh heh heh.

Here is a snobbish tea blog you can read for actual tea advice if you are into that sort of thing, it should be clear that I am not, but I don't despise you if you are, unless you are a dick about it (this applies to many things, including religion. Mostly religion, actually).

Also here is the tea snob community on reddit. These guys are hilarious. They use words like "tea-ginity" (I AM NOT MAKING A JOKE HERE, THIS IS FOR REAL), so, be warned.

Also here is the tea that I like to use: It's 7 or 8 bucks for a 1 pound box at any asian market. That's, like, at least 200 cups of tea. Probably 300. I haven't used a precision scale for this, but I use less than a teaspoon (holy shit, I get it now!) for one cup of tea. Do your own science on this one. It's still a shitload of tea for 8 bucks, and also I reuse the leaves for my second cup, so it is even more. You're comin down to about 4 cents for a cup of tea (high side estimate), so now you see how that 2 cents for a special bag and string is pretty outrageous. The tin is pretty cool too after you've used all the tea. I have some on my table filled with coffee and black tea, just to confuse thieves.

I'll post more things about tea here later maybe. I don't know if I have any other interesting things to say about tea. Send your questions to and you might see an answer in the space below this one, or this exact space if I am getting bombarded with emails and remove the request for questions altogether.

First Question comes from reader "KJ", who writes

Dude, that was a pretty nifty. What are your thoughts on doing this as a video? I would be up for helping to plan, film, and edit. This could even be part of a larger "this is how you be a person" joke instructional video thing.

First Answer goes to reader "KJ". I write

Thanks KJ, that is very sweet of you to say. I guess I could do a video, I dunno. I've heard from one reader already that these posts are funnier if you read them in my voice, which she does, because she knows me in the fleshverse. Maybe a video would help capture the spirit of the piece better and help a wider audience appreciate the message here. As an aside, my current employer is doing layoffs and my apartment lease expires at the end of the month, so there is a greater-than-zero chance that I will be living on reader KJ's couch in the near future, which would certainly be conducive as hell to getting a video made. Not conducive to getting a video made would be losing my job and having no income. Will you work pro bono? Will you work for tea?

Second question comes from reader "BL", who writes

 You forgot to put in the link to Reddit's bulljive. But overall, good. It was extremely long. Are you bored?
Jk ;)

Second Answer goes to reader "BL". I write

Good catch! Aren't you astute! Will you be my girlfriend? Here is the link, if you didn't guess it:

Yes, yes it is extremely long. THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!!!

For the record, in the previous statement she = Karen Thurston, renowned film critic, on the subject of the most recent Lord of the Rings movies. She is praising Peter Jacksons' lengthy adapatations, for their effort to capture as much of the story as possible.

I'm not bored, I just have a lot to say about tea. This post has been brewing (zing!) for almost a week, which accounts for some of its length. I think about it every time I'm on the pot at work since I don't have a smart-phone.

Third Question comes from reader "AS", who writes

You forgot to point out the other advantage of re-using your tea leaves, which is that the tea is now decaf, or at least less-caf.

What follows is purest drivel regarding bacon, her husband, and their unattractive or unavailable friends. Eventually she gets to

Do you like chai? I have a recipe for kick-ass chai tea. It involves lots of spices, and you can taste them all. It is so much better than bagged chai tea.

 Thank you, reader "AS". Your point about decaffeinating the tea by pre-brewing is valid, but not endorsed by this blogger. The flavor of the second cup is never as potent as that of the first, and second-brewings should only be used to save money, with the understanding that the second cup was essentially free, so one cannot complain about its flavor. Never pre-brew your tea for the express purpose of decaffeinating it. That is bullshit and a disgrace to the tea. Especially never re-brew your tea if you are doing any diuretic science.

Third answer: Yes.

Here is a special update with a picture I saw on reddit (not in the tea section). It is a special cup for teabaggers. . This is not a necessary purchase if you wish to enjoy bagged tea. You can still have bagged tea in a regular cup, you just have to be careful when you remove the teabag because it may swing like a pendulum of near-boiling water, so watch out. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Panabrite - Glass Corridor

Life doesn't have to be heavy.

Purchase the tape on which this perfect song appears.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I really can't decide if I think this is an awesome band name or a horrible band name. Oh well whatever. I've been listening to this basically non-stop for the last two weeks. I can honestly say that if you're anything like me, and you like the same music I like, you will like this band. I originally thought that his voice originally sounded like a sort of rip-off Eddie Vedder 90's alt-rock thing but now I've decided he actually sounds like good, drunk Isaac Brock which is way more awesome. They have lots of great Built to Spill guitar parts and they meld it together with great Pavement-sounding detuned guitar tone. The best thing is that they have three solid full lengths + some other stuff on their Bandcamp so there's lots of cool stuff to go through. I think Dripping is probably their best album but Jerk Routine and Magic Isn't Real also have some great tracks. They sometimes fall into some of that weird country-influenced singing thing that I feel is popular nowadays but it's pretty tasteful and not that distracting. I would recommend this to almost anybody.