Once upon a time Stomp Tokyo was an active member site of an esteemed group of internet schlock-mavens known as the B-Masters. It is the practice of the B-Masters to console each other after particularly harsh experiences while watching b-movies, but also to come together from time to time for review “roundtables” in which they all review movies along a similar theme.
While only Dr. Freex of the Bad Movie Report is the only denizen of stomptokyo.com who still participates in the B-Masters, it’s a comfort to know that they soldier on after more than a decade of mutual misery.
The latest group effort (their thirty-seventh!) from this Cabal of cinematic horrors is Secret Santa’s Revenge, in which each participant was permitted to inflict gift another member of the group with a film of his or her choosing. Each recipient must then watch and report back on what they saw.
Today I’m starting my second November Twitter fast, about a week late. Last year I took the entire month of November off from Twitter except for automated processes (blog entries, Flickr photo posts, etc.) and I really enjoyed unplugging from the hive mind, so I’m going to do it again. I might even try to make up the lost week in the first week of December. I’m going to cut down on Facebook too, although that’s a little more difficult. So many people use it as an alternate email system that I’ll need to log in about once a day to not miss important messages. But that whole “reading everyone’s status” thing – I’m going to try to avoid that. How many minutes (hours?) a day do I lose in the process of checking out everyone else’s lives? I don’t know and I’m a little scared to find out.
A few of the things I plan to do instead of absorbing the internet’s collective consciousness:
Write. As my dad said to me recently (on Facebook), could the Constitution or the Theory of Relativity have been conceived in 140 characters? In the wake of my daughter Margaret’s birth I have all but stopped writing for this blog and for Film Festival Secrets. (There’s also a monthly column on movies for parents in Austin that I’ve promised to write for Slackerwood – stay tuned.) It’s time to shake the dust off the keyboard and lay down some words. I’ll be using the intriguing 750 Words site to track my progress.
Watch. I have screeners for SXSW to plow through. Those indie gems ain’t gonna find themselves. I may even take my own advice from the movies for parents and take Elizabeth to see something in the theater.
Parent. (It’s a verb, look it up.) Margaret is four months old, Elizabeth is four years. There’s always some new project in the works to mold them into socially acceptable humans.
Cook. Thanksgiving is coming up, y’all.
Exercise. See the above re: Thanksgiving.
So as of now I’m removing the Facebook and Twitter apps from my iPhone. If I could take a break from email I might really get something done. See you on the other side.
If you’re not yet playing Qrank, the daily trivia game, you should be. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Ranking high on Qrank’s local, state, national, and global leaderboards is harder now than it was when there were fewer players. (Gone are the days when I even hope to crack the top ten locally, never mind globally.) However, it’s still possible to pump up your score and dominate your circle of friends. Just do a few simple things before and during your daily game.
Keep up on current events. I hope this is an obvious one, but just in case you haven’t noticed: a number of questions on Qrank are based on current events. If you’re particularly good or bad at current event questions, look for the little leaf symbol in the corner of the question square. The leaf means that a current events question lies beneath.
Read the same sites that Qrank does. I’m sure that the Qrank trivia team is always on the search for new sources of material, but there do seem to be a few mainstays for current events questions. These include Wired, NPR, and BoingBoing. To discover others, see if you can trace the day’s questions back to their web origins with Google. Bone up on your Ray Bradbury – there have been a number of questions featuring the sci-fi author lately.
Keep tabs on Austin, Texas. Qrank is based in Austin, so Austin news and trivia pops up regularly. The Austin American-Statesman site is a good place to start.
Check out the Qrank Twitter and Facebook accounts. Every day there are two different clues posted to these accounts. The Twitter clue tends to be more obscure (do a little research to see if you can figure it out), while the Facebook clue is simply the day’s question posted on their wall. These are basically free points – if you don’t check these before you play you’re handicapping yourself.
Play later in the day. This is my power move and I’m a little reluctant to put it out there, but I find that I score better when I play later in the day. It gives me more time to absorb current events during the workday and my commute, so I’ve been exposed to more potential question info. Of course, I know plenty of people who play Qrank before they get out of bed in the morning, so I’m not sure how worried I should be about people adopting this tactic.
Read the questions thoroughly and give yourself time to think the answers through, especially if you’re guessing. Because you get fewer points for taking more time, I’m often at a rush to guess. Usually I guess wrong and I feel sheepish when I realize I could have deduced the answer if I’d given myself more time. Just a few points for a late correct guess is way better than no points at all. Lower scoring questions often have hints embedded in the wording so give yourself the time to read thoroughly.
Use the power-ups – and save them for the higher scoring questions. If you don’t know what the power-up icons are for, read about them at http://qrankthegame.com/questions. Then save them up for that last row of high-point questions – or perhaps for a bonus-multiplied question in the rows just above.
Play lower scoring questions first. The power-ups take time to regenerate. If you used the power-ups at the end of your previous day’s game, you’ll need to give them that refresh time. I do it by playing a few 100-point questions first, then the 200s, and then the 500s. I try to make sure I have room for all the 200s and 500s, so I usually go back for a couple of 100 point questions at the end of the game.
Now that I’m letting these tips out I’m sure my standings will be even lower but hey, it’s only a game. Right?
In my junior year of high school, my parents told me I had two choices: find a full ride scholarship to a private college, or live at home and go to the local state university. I eventually did get a scholarship but recently I’m beginning to understand how insanely lucky I was. Former Stomp Tokyo writer Chris Magyar pointed me to this page titled “The Student Loan Scheme: Gateway Drug to Debt Slavery.” It makes me glad that I wasn’t fully aware of student loans as an option for college.
Like a lot of people, I love productivity porn. I’ve spent hours trying out GTD-type productivity schemes when I could have been working. (When it gets really bad, I visit the Ultimate Productivity Blog for inspiration. I’m also a sucker for to-do systems and applications – past favorites include Things and Put Things Off, which I still use to some extent. But my current favorite is TeuxDeux (pronounced “to-do”) which works the way I work – put the urgent stuff up front, schedule things to be done by important deadlines, and push today’s stuff to the next day if it doesn’t get done today. (I spent way too much time rescheduling and organizing stuff in Things.)
TeuxDeux has a great web app and an iPhone app that syncs to the web version. No desktop version, but so far the web version has been so lightning-fast that I haven’t really felt the difference. If you’re still looking for that perfect to-do system, you need to check out TeuxDeux. SwissMiss (the makers of TeuxDeux) just released some new features that make it even better. Check out the video below for more.
Back in the day Scott and I would have hunted this movie down to write an hilarious review. Now, I just link to the YouTube video of what is undoubtedly the five most entertaining minutes of INDIAN HULK. Less satisfying, perhaps, but certainly more efficient. Enjoy!
In a world where we just can’t let well enough alone with anything, bacon at it’s elemental level is pretty hard to mess with. Yes there are variations on the smoke, the thickness of cut, you can throw some pepper on it. But bacon is bacon. Irish bacon is a pork chop and Pancetta is bacon masquerading as a sexy Italian babe. True bacon helps satisfy our lust for simpler times.
The classic model of venture success in the dotcom and IT eras – some three to five years to a 10x return exit — doesn’t commonly ring true for energy startups. They’re requiring heaps more investment and many more years to get to market (if they make it). The returns – even for successful IPOs like A123Systems and Tesla – are generally on a smaller scale for most of the investors because the companies have needed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in equity. At the end of the day it takes a lot more money to manufacture cars and batteries than, say, build Twitter.
A fascinating analysis of innovation in the energy sector. Sobering, but encouraging to see that money and effort are being put into the space by some of the same folks who drove innovation in the internet.