Secret Societies that Run the World

I make fun of conspiracy theorists all the time but I think I’m turning into the very thing that I ridicule. I’ve been noticing some shit and it’s like…every where man! There is no hiding from…them.

I’m serious, man; we have overlords, and they are all members of the following secret societies that I have exhaustively documented.

1. The Brotherhood of Dudes with Hammers Who Knock Coat Hooks Out of Toilet Stalls

2. The Illuminati of Leaving Damp Paper Towels on the Counters and in the Sinks of Public Bathrooms (the odds that this group works with or is possibly even the same as the above group are extremely high)

3. The Secret Distributors of Broken Glass and Bottle Caps in Parking Lots

4. The Brotherhood of Putting Wood and Shredded Tires on Freeways

5. The Secret Coalition of Office Workers Who Print Shitloads of Documents and Then Leave Them on the Printer All Day

6. The Illuminati of People Who Put the Wrong Discs into the Wrong DVD and/or Video Game Cases

7. The Fraternal Order of People Who Will Bag Their Dogs’ Shit But Then Just Leave it on The Sidewalk Anyways

8. The Secret Society of People Who Put Cracks in CD Cases

9. The Illuminati of People Who Clearly Don’t Pet Their Cats Enough

10. The Clandestine Collective of Facebook Programmers Who Keep Sending You Notifications for Shit You’ve Already Seen

Star Wars Celebration After Action Report

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I got to take a selfie with BB-8.

Star Wars Celebration was a sensory overload in a mostly positive way. Unfortunately, it has left me completely unable to organize my thoughts on it, so this after action report will come in list form. Writing is hard and I am lazy.

1. I’m pretty sure the term “bucket list” is a cliché now, so I’m trying to use it less, but should you ask: yes, attending a Celebration was absolutely at the top of mine.

2. Last year in June, Facebook helpfully shoved an ad in my face announcing tickets had gone on sale. This could be the only useful thing Facebook has ever done. It cost me roughly $250 for a five day pass.

3. I didn’t go alone. I successfully lobbied a dear friend of mine I almost never get to see to come along and we split a hotel room. I am eternally grateful to him and we had a blast.

4. I absolutely adore the Rebel special forces guys that accompany Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, Artoo and Threepio to Endor and I knew immediately that that was what I wanted to dress up as. Assembling this costume involved multiple trips to a Vallejo military surplus store, becoming a lifetime REI member, spray painting a Nerf gun and buying a plastic pot from Home Depot which I cut into a helmet ring. Altogether, this costume was…adequate. There were other people doing a much better job at that same cosplay which made me feel a little envious, but I’m still glad I dressed up. Even shitty cosplay is fun.

5. I’m not even going to try to describe every single amazing cosplay I saw because there was just so much of it. There are some really talented people in this world; I’ll leave it at that.

6. You could easily spend the entirety of Celebration stumbling around the expo floor in awe of all the stuff packed onto it.

7. If you absolutely must buy a celebrity photo op, get one with one of the voice actors, as they go for considerably cheaper than the live action ones.

8. We ended up staying for four of the five days on account of the fact that we didn’t book our hotel past the last night of Celebration and that the bus ride was long. Plans change sometimes and I’m adaptable. At any rate we were pretty much spent four days in and we had absorbed a whole lot.

9. Fun times always come with a cost, and not just in a monetary sense. Among the many sacrifices you’ll be subjected to at Celebration: not getting into a panel you really want to see in person, waiting in lots of lines, having to sit on floors, having to skip meals to hold a position in line and having to eat convention center food. And no matter how much you do and see, you will still dwell a little bit on all the things you missed. For instance, I’m kind of miffed over not getting the exclusive Clone Wars poster, despite the fact I got to see the panel itself, which is a far more substantial experience than acquiring a sheet of paper to hang on my wall. I’m outright embarrassed by that small, nagging disappointment; what the hell is wrong with me?

10. As far as I can tell, the toxicity of online fandom was all but absent from McCormick Place. Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico) and Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) both received standing ovations and I spotted a bunch of Admiral Holdo cosplayers in the exhibit hall. The notion that “everybody” hates those characters is a load of bantha shit. Star Wars is for everybody; deal with it.

11. We got into the Galaxy’s Edge panel but I couldn’t attend because it conflicted with one of my photo ops. As far the larger panels went, we got to see half of Alan Tudyk’s interview with Warwick Davis, the Clone Wars panel (check out this sweet trailer) and we got into one of the streaming rooms for The Mandalorian

12. The Mandalorian‘s trailer was exclusive to its panel attendees (which thankfully included those of us in the overflow rooms where it got streamed). That show looks pretty sweet and it has practically guaranteed that I’ll fire up a Disney+ account come November. The trailer still hasn’t been officially released but there are some bootlegs of it on YouTube.

13. It would have been remiss of us to not get Chicago pizza, so we got some at Giordano’s. I’m no authority on Windy City pizza, but this place was excellent. It was also flooded with Star Wars fans, because you couldn’t go anywhere in Downtown Chicago without seeing at least a dozen.

14. Star Wars Celebration was a profoundly wonderful and life affirming experience. I don’t know if I’m up for going again so soon but there will be another one in Anaheim next year – probably to coincide with the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. If you love Star Wars and have the money and the time off, you should consider going.

The Hillary Step Had Some Amazing Troll Reviews

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The Hillary Step had four and a half stars on Google. It was open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays but not on Wednesdays or weekends. This screenshot and all the subsequent ones were captured from my phone.

Living with a baby means that sleep is occasionally hard to come by. She’s not my kid so I don’t actually have to partake in the raising process (thank Christ) but it can still be pretty rough. One of my favorite activities is Googling stuff and I’m especially prone to this when I’m feeling half awake. So one morning after a particularly restless night, I decided to Google Mount Everest’s famed Hillary Step, the 39 foot tall rock face which was the final obstacle climbers had to traverse before reaching the summit. Due to an earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015, the step is no longer with us but thankfully we have some amazing troll reviews on Google that will help us remember it for all eternity.

Here’s some good old fashioned cheeky bullshit:

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As expected, there’s a reference to a certain Everest book you may have heard of. Kidding aside, it’s a terrific read that holds up well 21 years later. Check it out if you haven’t already.

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Faux restaurant ratings are pretty common with these troll reviews. The highlight here is Jack Rollet Chhetri, since everything he’s saying is technically accurate; especially regarding his fifth point.

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Liam Keating had me at “pro mountain critic:”

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This one appears to have been written by Dr. Steve Brule. I must have missed the Everest edition of Check It Out!

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This Google search was an extremely productive case of doing nothing at all. I hope there’s many more in my lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lincoln Lounge: 2008-2018

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The Lincoln Lounge and some of its Lincolns. Photo by me.

My favorite bar closed its doors on June 30.

I have two conflicting emotions about this: I feel bad (duh) but I also feel bad about feeling bad. Given literally everything currently going on in the world, feeling bummed about your favorite bar shutting down feels embarrassingly trivial. That being said, it is a place that is strongly associated with a handful of close friends of mine, one of whom is no longer with us. It really does feel like I can’t go home again.

Lincoln first opened in 2008 but I didn’t become a regular visitor until 2010; maybe 2011. While living in Reno, it was my go-to spot. Somewhere along the way, I became a member of its fabled Mug Club; to join you had to drink all of their beers (initially 70 but it grew to more than a hundred) within the span of a year. For your efforts, you were awarded your own mug and a t-shirt. It felt impressive at the time, though in retrospect it doesn’t feel like that much of an accomplishment. Are you willing to spend tons of money on beer and also to drink it? If yes, then you have what it takes to join the Mug Club.

Granted, that one year deadline sneaks up on you much faster than you anticipate. There were times when I went to some fairly ludicrous lengths to keep myself on schedule. On multiple occasions, I would park my car at my fraternity’s house, walk into Downtown Reno, go to Lincoln and knock anywhere from three to four beers off the list and then I’d stumble back to the house and crash on the couch. I ended up finishing with about a week left, and I drank the last seven beers in one night.

It was worth it, I swear.

In addition to my ascension into the club, Lincoln saw host to my informal graduation party in December of 2012, my moving away party almost exactly a year later and at least one spirited game of darts with the roommates. It was also the site of my first – and so far, only – puke and rally, which was immediately followed by a brief nap on the pool table. It’s that kind of place.

I’ve been back in the Bay Area for the last five years, so opportunities to drink at Lincoln have been scarce. I typically made a point to visit at least once whenever I was in town. The coolest thing to happen there recently was when I popped in around midnight right after seeing Mastodon at the Reno Ballroom (an awesome show despite the terrible venue) and I was promptly recognized as a club member and had my beer served in a mug. That night might have been perfect.

When I heard Lincoln was shutting down, I felt like I had no choice. I absolutely had to drive up to Reno for its last two nights in business. June 29 was the last ever Soul Night (DJ’d soul and funk music from the ’60s and ’70s, dancing, etc) and June 30 featured an album release party for a local band called Pink Awful. I had never been to either a Soul Night (Lincoln didn’t allow patrons to work on their Mug Club lists on those nights, so fuck that) or a record release party, so I got two new experiences out of this sendoff.

It’s not a massive place, but Lincoln got a huge turn out for the last Soul Night. Even Pink Awful (they were fine) managed to pull in a respectably sized audience. I didn’t realize just how many people could fit in that establishment until last weekend. I managed to meet up with four friends and even ran into a fifth whom I hadn’t seen in forever. We had a jolly time; I even got a couple of free green tea shots out of it.

Long live the Lincoln Lounge.

Flipping the Bird to the Universe and the Cosmic Order of Things

Just look at these smug jerks, enjoying themselves on a Monday! Photo by me.

Just look at these smug jerks, enjoying themselves on a Monday! Photo by me.

Yesterday evening, I decided to celebrate my staggering mediocrity as a human being by hauling some beers in a laundry basket into my out of town neighbors’ backyard and jumping in their pool. There was nothing wrong with this per se; we had permission to use the pool and by the time I got home, my sister and cousin were already hanging out back there. I simply made it more lively by bringing some beverages and throwing on some Lionize.

On the subject of Lionize, they are a perfectly respectable, fun, summer gathering playlist sort of band. You don’t have to play country songs for every July evening shindig. Shocking, I know.

Anyhow, joining the impromptu pool party meant not going to the gym, so no complaints there. I entertained the notion of swimming some laps, but, you know, beer got in the way. At any rate I had already eaten two bagels at work, so today was already wildly off course. They weren’t even toasted with cream cheese or anything of the sort. They were warmed up in the microwave and eaten plain. I’m such a failure. The most noteworthy thing that happened at the office today was when I listened to the entire discography of Hundredth. No, seriously…Hundredth. There, uh, vocalist looks like Bruce Timm with a throat tattoo. That’s about all I have to say about Hundredth.

I needed a distraction.

Skipping the gym has never felt better. Between the beer, the company, the water and four spectacularly overexcited dogs, it was the best wrong decision made for the right reasons that I’ve ever committed to. Not that your fitness is something to be neglected. I mean, unless you eat two bagels at work, in which case you should just submit right now and sign up for hospice care. But maybe, If I learn nothing else from this, it’s that the weekend’s end isn’t something to be dreaded. Maybe? That’s my take.

Enjoy.