Category Archives: Oh Noes!
10 days from now, March 12th, will mark the 10 year anniversary since my father passed away. It’s been looming a bit on the horizon for me, and I wanted to make sure I commemorated it in a way befitting the meandering course my relationship with my father took up until the day he died. And the now 10 years that followed.
I think about those things quite a bit, our relationship up until that overcast Sunday morning he passed away, and the 10 years that have followed. I think on who he was, how he became who he was. I linger on who I was, and how I became who I was. And inevitably I settle into thinking about who I am, and how fundamentally different I am from the 32 year old version of myself who had just lost his father.
I often wonder if 42 year old Adam would have tolerated 32 year old Adam.
As this date has gotten closer I’ve discovered that I increasingly wonder if 32 year old me would have liked the person 42 year old Adam has become, and I wonder if Adam32 would see his father when he talked to Adam42.
And how much would he see?
And in those things he sees, would they be those things he loved about his father, or those things he didn’t? What has Adam42 learned from the experiences of Adam32, and the years since? Did he keep promises to himself to evolve, or is there a genetic predisposition to collapse into some of our father’s less desirable quirks?
And then, most importantly, I think about Dad and wonder what he would think of Adam42? Would THEY have been friendly? Or are they too similar to ever be friends?
As it happens, there’s only 3 people in the entire universe who can answer those questions. Unfortunately, of those 3 people, one is dead and another is ten years removed by a linear perception of time.
So that leaves me, Adam42 left to answer those questions and many more. And what better way to commemorate my father than to try and make sense of those questions. Perhaps an answer can be found. Perhaps not. But I invite you to indulge me in the hunt.
For the next 10 days I’ll post daily on some different aspect of these questions, the life of my father, and in a very real sense his death. I’ll unpack some boxes buried deep in the back attic of my mind and try to answer honestly how the three of us would have felt about each other? Is the nucleus of Adams within the probability cloud of Bob’s electron shell a stable atom, or would it decay into nothingness?
Giddyup, pop. We’ve got some adventuring to do.
Post Script: You’d be proud of me Dad, I waited to start writing this until the VERY last minute, just like I did with your eulogy. So now I gotta scramble every day for the next ten days to meet my own self-imposed deadline. I partly blame your questionable decision to shuffle off this mortal coil during what would turn out to be a very busy season for me. We always were a bit of an uphill battle, weren’t we? I’m excited for this, Dad. I hope I do you proud.
It would appear, from watching the video, that Google is impressing upon us that in the future hipsters will roam the cities, distracted from the outside world like the Walking Dead in scarves, eager to block their vision incessantly with technically useless shit because they’re too lazy to raise a goddamned phone to their faces.
Sure, Google might have released it as a “preview” teaser showcasing the theoretical possibilities of their augmented reality glasses, but watching this video I can’t help but think, “Goddamn! This guy is a TechnoHipster douchebag from the moment he gets out of bed to the moment he VIDEOCHATS A ROMANTIC EVENING WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND!”
This self-important asshat goes out of his way to meet an equally detestable hipster punk jerk-off for coffee from a food truck before teaching himself to play shitty ukulele* in an hour (great planning there dude, what is it your anniversary?) and STILL showing up late for his videodate with the poor girl stupid enough to say, “Yes, I will date you” to a guy who needs a heads up display to navigate the city he lives in.
Let’s contemplate for just one second here: He is wearing glasses that tell him how to do everything, where everything is, even how to navigate a bookstore and he STILL ends up LATE to a date he’s clearly planned. A date with a hot flesh and blood woman who is now sitting alone in an apartment while he’s out saying “look at the beautiful streaming, pixilated sunset I bring you, along with this shitty ukulele music, rather than taking you out to hold you on a building top at sunset before I serenade you spontaneously.” Unless this chick is the hot female version of the Boy in the Plastic Bubble, then this dude is a self-important technohipster douchebag scrotum sore. Take the girl out! Keep the girl in. Either way, go be WITH the girl!
All I can say is, by the time they hit the market I hope they can help the wearer with fist avoidance suggestions, because Simpson/Hemstead will punch those visually obstructive nightmares right off your bearded hipster face.
Welcome to the future, everyone! Self-important technohipster douchebag apocalypse! Brought to you by Google!
No word yet on if the glasses will come in Ironic thick frames, Ironic 90’s Oakley frames, or Ironic Irony frames.
*Simpson/Hemstead would like to point out that it does not hold any ill will toward the ukulele or it’s fine musical prowess. We enjoy the uke and know folks who have spent more than 2 hours teaching themselves how to play at a professional level. We just really f*cking hate technohipsters.
FROM THE SIMPSON/HEMSTEAD SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
Okay, while I’m on a tear here, I’ve got another beef with your education policies, America. Surprise, surprise. I guess I shouldn’t have expected less from the country that last week allowed sexting and twitpics to count as “writing”, but the people at Vote Simpson/Hemstead occasionally gets a wild hair up their collective asses and decide to hold out hope, or hope for the best.
Well, not anymore America. I naively forgave you National Writing Day only to be stabbed in the back by the Common Core State Standard Initiative.
To give you some background on the enemy as taken from their website: The Common Core State Standards Initiative is “a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)”. 44 out of our 52 states have formally adopted the educational standards set out by this organization. Of course, there is always wiggle room for individualized state practices, but 84% of the powers at be in basic American elementary school + high school education have basically consented that “hey, these guys over here — I like their thinkin’”.
Now, where does Vote Simpson/Hemstead take offense? State coordination isn’t the issue. Having some universality in education standards is, you know, nice and prevents any one state from creating an army of angry adolescents creepily well versed in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.
The issue at hand is that aforementioned standards omit the teaching of cursive entirely, but does include mention of keyboarding skills. And thus began the winter of our longhand discontent. Indiana and Illinois were the first to fall – removing teaching cursive in schools in its mandatory curriculum for the young ‘uns.
To that we say: JesuAllaFasa, America…really? No, seriously, Really? Sure – we’re in a digital age, but let’s not forget out roots. Interactivity with words is key in the learning process. The fine muscle control that is learned in cursive writing benefits children far beyond their composition books. There is an inherent value in how freaking hard cursive is to learn. Man that capital Q and Z were damn near impossible, but struggling with how to string letters together made you use your noodle more than scrawling whatever was easiest to get your point across.
Contrarily, punching keys to make words on a luminescent screen disassociates you from the words and letters you are writing and impedes memory retention (this is my way of saying you guys are lucky this makes a lick of sense you ignorant wretches).
To be clear, the message that the current government and the Common Core State Standards Initiative is putting out is that THIS is writing and should be applauded and heralded with it’s own day, but THIS is meaningless and should not be formally taught to our children.
For all our followers with little ones: teach your Twitted little booger munchers cursive yourself. Think of it as a post-apocalyptic survival mechanism. When the computers crash, you want to be apart of the select few cursive readers + writers – who can communicate where food and shelter is in code simply because the masses will have no clue what those weird loops and squiggles mean.
P.S. John Dillinger, while a notorious criminal, was taught cursive writing and was well-known for his gentlemanly nature and good manners.
I was going to post something about the death of the large format film camera, and something about Quaddafi, but then I saw this and my brain needs a little bit of time to reboot.
My nerd region is so happy, but my good taste lobe is in exquisite, tortuous pain.
I need to sit down.
EDIT: If you are already on Pottermore you can skip down lower to the WHERE IT GOES WRONG section if you’d like (but the whole article isn’t so bad), there’s a few questions about the sorting hat experience asked later on. Please read and comment. All comments are private until approved by moderator. Requests for anonymity will be feverishly observed.
A Brief History Lesson
Well folks it’s true, Simpson/Hemstead has found its way into Pottermore! For those of you who don’t know, Pottermore is the online experience from J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books. If you who don’t know what a Harry Potter is, you probably have just arrived here from the 19th century by way of a time/space anomaly. And we do commend you for being clever enough to not only learn how to use a computer, but possibly teach yourself english and find your way to this website. Welcome to the future!
But before you go along thinking “Harry Potter” is slang for a woman’s doo-dad, let me explain what the phenomenon of Harry Potter is so you can understand what’s coming next:
Harry Potter is a series of books about three awkward 12 year old kids who go to a really exclusive private school for wizards called Hogwarts that many believe to be located in Scotland. These kids are consistently NOT ONLY left unsupervised, but often times put into harm’s way INTENTIONALLY by the staff of the school, with predictably tragic results. Also it would appear that one of the pre-requisites for graduation is the murder of at least one of your classmates or instructors in a “winner takes all” pass or fail final exam against the school’s biggest bully. Not just YOUR class’s biggest bully, but the biggest effing bully the school has ever seen, who kinda hates you and your whole family for trying to kill him.
These wildly successful books about wizardry, witchcraft, and really spotty supervision begat wildly successful films about wizardry, witchcraft, really spotty supervision. The films themselves created an almost epidemic level of “when will he/she be 18 so I can stop being confused by my thoughts” throughout 20/30 somethings, but that’s another post.
And so now the highly successful book series about consistently endangered magically-inclined youths that spawned a highly successful film series about consistently endangered, magically-inclined youths has spawned Pottermore,* the highly successful web experience that recounts the adventures of consistently endangered, magically-inclined youths; all the while allowing the reader/watcher to become part of the experience.
The general overall experience of it is entertaining, if not a little unintuitive for the beginner. The first book (all that is unlocked at the time of writing), is presented as chapters along the ornate vines on a golden gate. Chapters for all the books are found woven into this gate, and it becomes the launching point for your adventures through the books. The player, or student, relives important details from each of the tomes told through multi-planed digital paintings rife with clickable content and collectable items. These are things you will ultimately need during your tenure at Hogwarts. Things like galleons for purchasing items in Diagon Alley or ingredients for potions, or chocolate frog cards. Each chapter also contains excerpts from the book, as well as some original “behind the scenes” content such as J.K. Rowling’s character sketches, interviews, and occasionally video messages from the blonde creator herself.
Outside of touring the books, the player/student can also learn and make potions for points toward their house (this idea of houses will be discussed later), as well as learn spells to duel other player/students. Although at the time of this writing that function has never worked and has been down for maintenance. It is a beta release after all.
And that, in a rather large nutshell is the basic idea behind Pottermore, so now let’s get into the cool stuff.
Where Things Start Getting Interesting:
Part of the experience of Harry’s first day at Hogwarts, and chapter seven in Pottermore, is the sorting hat. In the books, the sorting hat judges the character of a young wizard on their first day at Hogwarts School of the Possibly Criminally Insane and Infinitely Powerful, and puts them into one of four houses; Gryffindor (the brave), Ravenclaw (the nerdy/smart), or Slytherin (the cunning/devious), and Hufflepuff (the emotional core). These are somewhat like fraternities or sororities, or fraterorities since they’re mixed company. I think it’s in place to help introduce the Future Sociopaths of Great Britain with a friendly way to compete, hate, and be afraid of one another while being taught God-like powers*citation needed. Picture Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but where Captain Picard holds gladiator games with the students on Thursday nights.
In Pottermore, the experience of the sorting hat is a series of questions written by J.K. Rowling herself, run through an algorithm that I believe assigns a point value to each answer, and subsequent questions are asked based upon the values tallied in different categories (but I am just guessing, I have no idea.) Simpson/Hemstead ran through this process and it’s pretty well done, leaving very little room to attempt to fix the results (we didn’t try, we wanted to see where we fit into Rowling’s universe honestly), and asking some fun and thought provoking personality questions to boot.
The interesting thing that has come out of this is that there are many people, male and female, mostly around high school/college age, who are going through severe identity crisis over their house placement by J.K. Rowling. At first I thought it was kinda funny, the way that people who started support groups after Avatar came out to help them get through the idea that they can’t actually go to Pandora are funny. But then I started talking with people, people who have lived with Harry Potter since 1998 and grew up into adulthood with Harry Potter as their contemporary. I came to the realization that in many cases the first culturally significant role-model of their lives who is still AS relevant 15 years later. I don’t have something from my childhood to compare that to.
I had Star Wars. It was groundbreaking. It created a new mythology and new characters that fueled imagination like nothing in it’s decade. But I didn’t grow up with Luke Skywalker as a contemporary. He was older than me. He lived a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I had no means of travel to get to where he was, no TARDIS, Time Machine, or Transwarp spaceship to be found.
My generation could only WISH. Also, we only had 3 movies, spread over 7 years to contend with. Well, that and a shit-ton of marketing, toys, a weird Christmas special, a bitchin’ Muppet Show episode, and some non-canonical books.
We had no internet. We had no books that became movies. We didn’t have interactive gaming, and easy to access fan fiction. It was just those three movies, our toys and our imaginations; and for most of us probably countless futile hours straining to roll a Matchbox car or turn the page of a book with gnarled, white-knuckled fingers tensed against our outstretched arms.
In stark contrast, the Harry Potter universe is set in a world that could very easily be our own, and indeed happening as we speak. Any muggle-born child with an aptitude for magic could find themselves standing on platform 9 and 3/4 at King’s Cross Station sometime around 10:45 in the morning waiting for a very special train.
Beyond that, the Potter generation has had, since 1997 the following: 7 books, 8 movies, 10 videogames, internet forums, fan fiction, tumblr, fan art, facebook groups, myspace groups, fan films, toys, clothing, and now an interactive immersive web experience. This is a generation that has grown up, part and parcel with Harry Potter as a constant participant in their lives, as an external entity constantly rife with fresh input in some manner rather than the imagination of childhood playtime. Although I imagine every kid who saw an owl in the woods, barn or even a zoo hoped and prayed it would fly right to them carrying a letter in his talons…
To illustrate the bombardment, here is a list of release dates for the Harry Potter franchise in the US (the first two books released a year earlier in the UK)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 1 September 1998
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on 2 June 1999.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 8 September 1999.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on 8 July 2000
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 21 June 2003.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 16 July 2005,
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 21 July 2007.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 14 November 2001.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 15 November 2002.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 4 June 2004.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 18 November 2005.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. July 2007
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 15 July 2009.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 19 November 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 15 July 2011
That is an astounding assault of input! Look at those numbers: from 1998 to 2011, that’s 14 years, there have only been 3 years WITHOUT a new Harry Potter intellectual property released from the creator of that universe. 11 out of 14 years! For many in the Potter generation, that’s 50% of their lives, the same as kindergarten through middle school.
Harry Potter is a friend. Dumbledore a mentor, Hagrid a weird uncle that you only see on holidays and who always is the most fun to be around, and Tom Riddle is that kid in class that scares the shit out of you who seems to hate you for some reason. You’ve imagined yourself having a feathered messenger drop out of the sky with an acceptance letter. You’ve fantasized about standing before the Sorting Hat and being placed in Gryffindor (the brave), Ravenclaw (the nerdy/smart), or Slytherin (the cunning/devious). Just please God not Hufflepuff (the emotional core). You knew where your loyalties lay, and you knew, without a doubt, where the hat would place you.
Where It Goes Wrong?
In Pottermore, you get closer to that dream of your childhood. You got a digital letter delivered by a painted owl. You went to King’s Crossing Station. You stood on platform 9 and 3/4. You walked through the shops in Diagon Alley. Your wand chose you. And then, you answered the questions J.K. wrote herself. You were sorted…
…into a different house.
How could this be? The creator of the world that has been a part of your life since early childhood told you that you were someone different in her world than you had always imagined. Maybe you always felt like the hero and were sorted into Slytherin, or maybe you always thought you were the brain and you were sorted into the dreaded Hufflepuff. It didn’t make sense. Was it a feeling of confusion? Betrayal? Gassy rage?
Where did the feeling come from?
I’ve been asking a number of people this question, both from the Potter generation and from the Skywalker generation to get opinions. I tried asking the baby boomers but they’re too concerned with making sure Social Security doesn’t collapse they had no time for it, and the Great Generation just says, “are you f@cking kidding me?” From both the Potter and the Skywalker generations, these are the most likely culprits:
- The feeling that you are not who you wished you were.
- A feeling of having been somehow dressed down by a person who has helped shape your life.
- A disassociation of brotherhood/sisterhood from the characters for whom you have felt a strong kinship.
- The feeling that this thing that you have put so much love and energy and money and attention into, that you know like you know your own voice, doesn’t love you and know you back the same way.
What are your thoughts? I’m really very interested to hear your experiences, good and bad with the sorting hat. The phenomenon is unlike anything we have ever as a culture been presented with, and Simpson/Hemstead is very interested to understand it from the point of view of those who have gone through the process.
Please comment below, please forward to others, and leave your house assignment and screen name as well if you’d like.
Oh, and for those who are curious, we are Simpson/Hemstead. We are Slytherin.* And we are called GoldVine100.
*Yes, that’s the house we thought we’d get in.
When I first joined Facebook I was all like this:
But now, after repost after repost after repost of the same bullcrap and an almost uncountable number of status updates that equate to something and inane and pointless as, “tacos for lunch” or “today sucks”, I’m kinda finding myself feeling more and more like this:
There’s apparently an invisible rapist skulking his translucent, rape-hungry schmeckle through Asia, soul-raping young wives in the still of the night, while their husbands are RIGHT THERE!
Holy shit, that’s a cock-sure invisible soul-rapist right there. He’s not even waiting for the husband to go out of town, or to work, or having the decency to shoot him and put shards of broken mirrors in his eyes like a rational god-fearin’ rapist. No, this cat doesn’t care if you’re home with your husband, having a good old-fashioned opium orgy, or playing bridge with the girls; when this cat gets the urge, he indulges.
According to the report from the Asian News Network story:
The man: said his wife would remove her clothing, touch her own body and moan while sleeping at night, since a month ago.
He sought help from a medium, who then told him that someone had used black magic to take away the wife’s “soul” and rape her.
Now, we might not have to worry so much in the states yet, the invisible soul rapist seems to be sticking to Asia for the time being, specifically the Bintulu, Sarawak region of Malaysia. Personally I didn’t know where that was, but don’t worry, I’ve already done the Googling for you.
Apparently, Bintulu, Sarawak looks like the OMG Cat.
But just because invisible soul rape is happening in OMGCatgurg, Malaysia, does that mean we shouldn’t be concerned? Not in the least, in fact we should be hyper-vigilant, for what starts as humorous across the world invisible soul rape soon becomes a national epidemic right outside our own doors that registers a 9.2 on the Dodson scale.
To combat the imagined threat of invisible soul rapists, Simpson/Hemstead has had the ScienceWerks put together a computer generated composite sketch of what the invisible Malaysian soul rapist might look like:
So, if you see yourself an invisible guy with rape in his eyes, contact the local authorities.
However, if you see a hot asian girl in her 20’s slipping out of her clothes and touching herself while moaning in her sleep, contact Simpson/Hemstead as well as EVERY OTHER GUY YOU’VE EVER MET, so that we might get all Bintulu, Sarawak on that scene.
Vote Simpson/Hemstead: Bro’s before ho’s.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to grow up to look like Sean Connery or Harrison Ford, which seems pretty reasonable.
I also, inexplicably, kinda wanted to look like Quint from Jaws. I’m assuming that would be because I knew even back in my impressionable youth that women loved sea men.
But really, I thought that Harrison Ford (1980’s Harrison Ford, not approaching his 80’s Harrison Ford) was a totally achievable goal.
And then I grew up. Clearly I was not going to look like Harrison Ford. Sean Connery is still a possibility, and if my father was anything to go off of it’s a strong possibility. But as I’m approaching 40 I’ve come to realize that I look like someone entirely different: Harvey Keitel.
That’s not really such a bad thing, I mean go back and look at young Harvey Keitel, he’s not a bad lookin’ cat. He’s not Harrison Ford, but he’s not Robert Shaw either. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Harvey I resemble. No, I look like Point Of No Return’s version of Harvey Keitel;
I know what you’re thinking, “No way, you don’t look like him.” So I’ve had my assistant take a photo of me as I look today, under the worst possible lighting conditions, on the realization that I look like PONR Harvey:
I know, it’s hard to tell with the goatee and so forth, and the lighting is horrible… but you get the picture I think. I’ve had the photoshop wizards at the ScienceWerks add a goatee to Harvey to help you see the uncanny similarities:
The more I look at this the more I’m thinking maybe little Sim pson was just aiming realistically low with the Quint aspirations.
Jesus, I had no idea how much I looked like Bill Hicks, too.
So there you have it, in some alternate universe, Harvey Keitel and Bill Hicks got frisky after a night of watching Jaws and apparently I was the outcome. Try and sleep well tonight.
My question to you is, who did YOU want to look like when you were a kid, and who do you think you look like now? Please comment below or on the facebooks (here is nicer, but I can’t stop you from being not nicer).
Photo Credits: Honestly I have no idea who any of these photos belong to, so I shall link you to the source material –
And this is a serious problem since a good portion of our supporters live in Southern Southern California.
Currently 1.4 million people are without power, from the Mexican border to Laguna Beach, and as far east as Arizona. Can someone go make sure my Grandma has a flashlight? She’s 90. K Thanks.