Moon Shot: Pittsburgh

Legendary roboticist Red Whittaker is a professor who splits his time between teaching future engineers at Carnegie Mellon and owning/operating a working cattle farm in rural Pennsylvania. With a crack team of former students, he co-founded Astrobotic because he believes robots are the best solution for exploring remote, harsh environments — from nuclear disaster zones to the moon.

This is so cool. And mad respect to this dude and his team.

New Nerf Herder Album is FAN-tastic

We Opened for Weezer – Nerf Herder

Nerf Herder has been one of my favorite bands since, well, since I first heard their first single Van Halen on MTV. You might not have heard of Nerf Herder. However, they did the theme song to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show. And their lead singer, Parry Gripp, writes a mean jingle.

Anyway, a few years back they launched a new album project on PledgeMusic. I jumped on that SOB right away and it got funded right quick. They put the thing out to pledgers last month and now it is open to buy for the general public.  And it is great.

My favorite, though, is the song titled “We Opened for Weezer”. Weezer fans will recognize all the little Weezer references in the song as well as song’s early Weezer style.

“Pinkerton was getting Some bad reviews The guy from Rolling Stone Didn’t like the songs The guy from Rolling Stone Was totally wrong ”

Indeed.

PS I’ve been gone a week because my first kid got sick. Then my second kid got sick. Then I barfed my stomach out an entire night and it took my body 4 days to like food again. And I think my brain is starting to reboot finally. Of course this happened as I was starting to feel some writing momentum.

“Leap Day”

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I think we can all agree that Facebook is a pretty brutal and terrible place, especially if you don’t use the “unfollow” feature on certain friends and family. It is what it is, I guess. Every once in a while, though, it posts some interesting stuff from the “On this day feature”. Such as the one below. Past me was way funnier than current me.

Last night I hastily captured in my iPod some notes on a novel I’m planning, from an idea that came to me in a dream. Here’s one of them: “Each family gets a bare-bones dork room”.

Nobody steal that one from me, okay?

I never did write that novel about the “bare bones dork room”. Interesting enough (debatable, I know) I am currently planning a novel. Seems like I was doing the same on the last leap day.  May I not, however, waste the next 4 years not writing.

Thousand Eyes by Of Monsters and Men

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I find this song, Thousand Eyes by Of Monsters and Men, haunting. It recently played at the end of Episode 5 of Season 3 of The Hundred. It also happens to be the background music of the “Jessica Jones” theme on my Playstation 4. I love all those things.

Anyway, the song is cool and you should listen.

Book Recommendation: The Postmortal

I was up till midnight finishing a book I was reading, The Postmortal, and then up a couple hours after that just processing my feelings. If you like speculative fiction, and post-apocalyptic stuff, I recommend it. Here’s the review I posted on my Goodreads:

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It’s speculative fiction. What would happen if there was suddenly a cure for aging. Like, you could never die from old age. People still die, from murder, illness, etc., but not old age. And not only that, but your appearance doesn’t change from the moment you receive the cure. So, people 100 years old walking around looking 25.

And it’s pretty bleak, to be honest. But never not entertaining. It’s well written and the protagonist is like-able.

But what happens to things such as marriage when you’re talking about a 200 year lifetime rather than an 80 year one? Can the planet sustain an undying population? And with the need for money (no cure for capitalism) and you live indefinitely, could you ever retire?

These are some of the themes in the book. It is worth your time, in my opinion.

Anyhow, it’s a good book. Let me know if you read it and what you think.

Don’t Read Books When You Are Sick

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I’m currently sick. It’s not a big deal. I just have a head cold. It’s more of a nuisance, just something that inhibits my sleep a bit (it turns out breathing greatly increases ones ability to sleep). I like to think of Winter head colds as my annual weight-loss program, as I instantly lose my appetite when I’m sick.

Unrelated: do those in climates that don’t really have temperature fluctuations in line with the seasons still get “Winter” illness?

Anyhow, the point of this post. Don’t read books when you are sick. Now, I don’t really believe that nor do I follow it. I’m currently reading an excellent novel by Drew Magary called The Postmortal.  But I know the risks involved in reading while sick.

A few years ago I had more than a head cold. Strep throat most likely. It was the worst. I missed multiple days of work. It was miserable. But at least I had my trusty book to read. Only I didn’t finish it completely while I wasn’t feeling well. And I haven’t looked at it since. Because my mind associates that book with that feeling of being sick.

Anybody else have a book ruined by the circumstances of when you were reading it?

The 100

Hayden Calnin – For My Help

I came across this song in an episode of a CW TV show called The 100. It was in one of those scenes where there dare you not to cry. It’s good stuff.

The 100 is a really excellent show you should watch. I’m working my way through Season 1 for the second time as I also watch the current season, week by week. This is what wikipedia says about The 100:

The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors lived on 12 space stations in Earth’s orbit prior to the war. The space stations banded together to form a single massive station named “The Ark”, where about 2,400 people live under the leadership of Chancellor Jaha.[1] Resources are scarce, so all crimes – regardless of their nature or severity – are punishable by ejection into space (“floating”) unless the perpetrator is under 18 years of age. After the Ark’s life-support systems are found to be critically failing, 100 juvenile prisoners are declared “expendable” and sent to the surface – nearby former Washington, D.C.[6] – in a last ditch attempt to determine if Earth is habitable again, in a program called “The 100”, for which the show is named. The teens arrive on a seemingly pristine planet they have only seen from space. They attempt to find refuge and supplies at an old military installation, Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, they land some distance from the intended target and soon face other problems. Confronting both the wonders and the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. They soon discover that not all humanity was wiped out – some people on Earth, called Grounders, survived the war, and there are more dangers lurking: Reapers (Grounders who have become cannibals) and Mountain Men (who live in Mount Weather, The 100’s original destination).

So, it is sci-fi, with a slight mix of drama. Now, the first few episodes of Season 1 are quite CW-ish: pretty people doing young people things. But things escalate and mature quite fast.  And you soon realize NOBODY is safe. And then you are hooked.

So give it a shot. The first two seasons are on Netflix and the current season is on Hulu. It is worth your time.

New (to me) Music – Clarity: DNA

I realize these music posts are a bit lazy, but oh well. I like music and I especially like finding new good music you won’t hear on the radio. So I figure maybe you all like that too?

This one is a band(?) called Clarity and the song is called DNA. I honestly don’t know where I came across it, but I’m glad I did.

Here Come The Low Gas Prices Are Bad Articles

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Here it comes. After years and years of telling us that the cost of goods have gone up due to gas prices rising they are now telling us that lower gas prices are bad: NPR: Why Cheap Gas Might Not Be Good For The U.S. Economy. You know what? I’ll take something that is not great for “the economy” but that will help the poor and middle class save a little money on their drive to their job every morning, keeping “the economy” running.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. I predict more and more articles like this, especially from corporate news sources. Once they get us all worried about how bad cheap gas is, then the President will be blamed for it, just as he was blamed for higher gas prices. And certainly don’t hold your breath waiting for cheaper bread and milk prices. Money rarely trickles down in that direction.

But whatever. It’s Friday and payday, which means I get to head out to my huge money bin for a nice little swim.