January 2007 Archives

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I've been conversing on an irregular basis with our mutual friend and comic nerd Rob about the state of Marvel's X-men comics. I was hoping that he would start posting about his beloved addiction to comics in general here on Pop 5, but, alas, he has not, even though we'd all enjoy it.

My attempt to goad Rob into posting aside, I thought I'd post my thoughts on X-men as they currently appear since I last read them in September of 1995, back before a number of horrendous things happened.

Rereading this whole thing, I've decided that this might be the most pointless post I've ever done. Plus, it's filled with conjecture and opinions based on other people's assessments of events that have occurred. oh well!

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So, how is it that they band performed a few years ago when they got inducted into the hall of fame, but this is considered a 'reuniting'? Are they actually gonna tour as the Police or is this a one-shot deal?

And, the real question is, does anyone even fucking care? Seriously. If I have to hear Sting sing anymore, I think I might shoot myself. with a gun full of bees!

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This weekend, I went to my first Latin dance class, attended Mike's photo exhibition with most of his family and most of Pop5, played the Wii, and got sick. I also made bread with my newest kitchen toy, a bread machine.

Bread Machine

My mom got me one for Christmas, but it was late arriving, so I didn't get it until this weekend. And yesterday, I tried it out for the first time.

I ended up having to make two batches, because I seriously messed up the first batch. After reading all about the delicate ratio of ingredients needed to make the bread perfect, I figured I would increase my chances of success by weighing my ingredients with my little kitchen scale. So I weighed out three cups of flour - since one cup is the equivalent of eight ounces, I measured out 24 ounces. When I went to check the dough, it was much too dry, and I ended up adding a lot of water. I started to suspect I had done something wrong, so I looked on the internet at the King Arthur flour site, where I found that the flour ratios are of course in volume not weight - a cup should only be approximately four ounces. So not only had I put not enough yeast to match my flour and water parts, but I had put in almost double the dough my bread machine could handle. So I stopped the cycle and tossed the dough.

Bad Dough
Dough, dead and wrapped in plastic. I threw it into the garbage, where it proceeded to rise and take over my kitchen, until I was able to beat it back with a wooden spoon.

So for the next batch, I didn't try any new innovations, but used the classic spoon and level method of measuring out my flour. And I checked it at the specified point, to make sure.

Now, I have never made bread before, but, as has been the case many times in culinary efforts, I benefited from having seen my mother do it many times. So when I saw this in my bread pan -

Wet Dough

- I knew that was not the sticky ball of dough I was supposed to see. The problem this time - too little flour. So I added and adjusted until I saw what I wanted to see. This:

Good Dough

My instincts proved good, and before long, I had this:



That's Mike presenting, by the way.

This is a simple white bread recipe, on the Basic setting, with a medium crust. The crust was really yummy and crunchy on the ends, but not too hard, kind of like the perfect dinner roll texture. The middle of the bread was softer, and it was perfectly baked all the way through. I couldn't wait very long to cut into it, and it was hard to cut because it was so soft. If I waited longer for it to cool, it might be easier. But it smelled wonderful while baking, and it tasted that way, too.

Finished Bread


I've already started looking for recipes to try out, and I am looking for a good one for cheese bread. I am stating now for the record that if I find a really good recipe for cheese bread, I may never again leave the house. Except to buy more ingredients for cheese bread.

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Two points:
1) I realize that posting this will mean we are now being monitored as possible communists. Which is hilarious, because communism sucks (in practice) as much as capitalism sucks (also in practice). So there.

2) in terms of the bill, i'm interested to see what the definition of 'sweat-shop' is and how the working conditions are going to be monitored.

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Some photos from our recent travels north. These were shot with my Canon AE-1 - I am afraid the meter might be going, because they came back a little overexposed. It was a very sunny day. I fixed it a little in Photoshop.

This is downtown Providence. The far building looked like it was shimmering - you can kind of see it in the picture.

The Custom House
A bar/pub? I don't know, it wasn't open.

Black & White Photo Studio
This was a black and white photo studio that was completely empty on the inside. Apparently black and white photography is not that profitable.

This was near the Rhode Island School of Design.

The drawbridge in Mystic, CT.

A boat in Mystic, CT.

Unofrtunately, I cannot claim to have taken this photo. In fact, I stole it from Gizmodo. I liked their additions, though. It is a commentary on the upcoming Vista as compared to OSX.

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While President Bush attempted to bring in ratings for all the major networks, Veronica Mars premiered in the first new episode of the 2nd half of the season. Mostly it was standard a Mars-style one-shot episode with a few bits about the mystery we all knew was going to happen -- who shot the Dean?

But the real mystery is this: Is Veronica a dumb-ass slut?

Seriously, I realize that Piz has a stupid name and a haircut rejected from the OC makeup room. But COME ON. Is she that dumb to think Piz was encouraging her to go back to that bum-fight taping douche who lives in a freaking hotel with a guy who takes polaroids of his own genitals? (a hilarious moment, nonetheless)

Seriously. what is wrong with this woman?

My guess is that what's-his-name gives Veronica herpes, cementing their relationship until she finds a dating website specifically for people who have herpes (and thus can have unprotected sex without the guilt of spreading the 'incurable itch.')

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So, I'm a daily visitor to Best Week Ever.tv. Today they posted a video by Donnie Davis, a man who claims to be a reformed homosexual. That's right, he once was lost but now he's found. God. he's in love with a man, a man named God. Does that mean he's gay? Is he gay for god? You betcha.

But aside from paraphrasing Charlie from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it also made me check out his 'ministry's homepage:


They have OSCAR WILDE on the homepage. He, apparantly, was a reformed homosexual too.

Yup. It's a laugh riot. Check out the list of bands that might be gay or have pro-gay messages. It seems that Elton John (who is the very last one on the list) is definitely gay, but Morrissey is "questionable." How is Morrissey QUESTIONABLE?
The list of 'safe' bands is pretty short. But, repent, it has CYNDI LAUPER.

Oh. this site gets better and better. Rob, maybe you shouldn't visit it. The power of Christ may compel you to not be gay anymore. Or it may compel us all to find this guy and laugh at him. for a full day.

There's also a video for Davis's song, “The Bible Says (God Hates Fags)." The question at BestWeekEver.tv is whether this guy is 100% serious or a completely hilarious parody. If he's not a parody, then I hate America.

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So, I don't normally watch Deal or No Deal. But sometimes I cannot resist the greasy lure of Howie Mandel's bald head. Tonight, a woman -- who was billed as a NASCAR fan (and thus the briefcases were 'checkered flags'). She even said she wanted to use her winnings to start an animal shelter, so I figured i should root for her. But when she turned down 82,000 and never got anywhere closer, the show became a hilarious example of bad television. At one point she elimnated the 1,000,000, the 400,000, the 750,000 and the 50,000 briefcases in less than a minute. Did she quit with the 28,000 she was offered? no.

what did she go home with? $500. But the best part was that NBC had to spend 10 minutes with this undramatic conclusion since it had a Heroes preview slated for the commercial break.

which reminds me, i have to go get my wife so she can watch the other NBC crapfest -- HEROES.


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So I was having trouble coming up with a good present for Mike for Christmas this year. I asked him if he wanted a Nintendo Wii and he demurred. He wasn't interested in another gaming system. He wanted something practical, books on design and typography.

But he and Buddy one night decided they wanted to rent the Wii from WOW! Video just to see what it was like. And I think you all know where this story is going.

Buddy Boxing
Buddy Wii-Boxing

Well, it took them at least an hour to just create the avatars. And although I have several grounds for not wanting actual photos of me up here on this site, I won't hold my objections against my Wii avatar. I will mention, however, that it is entirely Mike and Buddy's doing, which may account for its permanent scowl.

Wii Victoria
Wii Victoria

Wii Mike
Wiii Mike looks like he is wearing eyeliner. Oh well, he is a fan of The Cure.

Wii Buddy
Wii Buddy is the only one of us who's natural state is smiling.

They also made a Wii Rob, but when Real Rob stopped by later, he totally redid himself. And there was a Wii Rama, who promptly started talking to all of the girl Wiis in the Wii room. This is not even a lie. Also, I won at bowling. Over the course of the rental period, the guys got better and eventually beat my high score, but I refused to play again, so as far as I am concerned, I am totally undefeated.

Of course, Mike changed his mind and now he wants a Wii. Of course there are still absolutely none to be had. So maybe for Valentine's Day, instead.

Both Buddy and I were able to purchase Wii's the day after I posted this. Which means countdown to the repetitive stress symptoms caused by Wii Bowling.

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Sausage. ha!

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Here a list of the top 20 guitar solos. I took some of the songs off because either I felt they sucked or they were not a true solo (example - Hotel California has a duo, Don Felder/Joe Walsh, playing a solo. Not really a solo now is it....)

1 Stairway To Heaven Led Zeppelin
2 Eruption Van Halen Van Halen
3 Free Bird Lynard Skynard 1975
4 Numb Pink Floyd The Wall
5 all along the watchtower Jimi Hendrix
6 Crazy Train Ozzy Osbourne
7 November Rain Guns 'n Roses
8 One Metallica
9 Crossroads Cream Strange Brew - The Very Best of Cream
10 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Jimi Hendrix Experience Hendrix (The Best of Jimi Hendrix)
11 JOHNNYBGOOD Chuck Berry
12 Pride and Joy Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Greatest Hits
13 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen Greatest Hits I II & III Platinum
14 Time Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon
15 Fade To Black Metallica
16 Aqualung Jethro Tull Aqualung (25th Anniversary Edition)
17 Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
18 Mr. Crowley Ozzy Osbourne The Essential Ozzy Osbourne Disk One
19 Stranglehold Ted Nugent
20 Paranoid Android Radiohead OK Computer

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So, I'm teaching a writing class at Rutgers and my theme for the semester is immigration. it's nice to have a theme -- it helps me pick out related essays for them to read and it helps the students focus on something in their writing. I like to do a little introduction at the beginning of the semester and so I was doing some research and found this little gem of a website that made me laugh:


The idea itself isn't so hilarious -- it's a petition to remove the poem about the 'tired and poor' b/c that's just encouraging immigration, dagnabit! The really funny stuff is in the 719 signatures of the petition. Everyone gets to sign AND comment! HILARIOUS stuff:

529. robin abbott
So, is she writing in capitals to suggest she's shouting?

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So I just bought the Toast, and now do I need to buy this too?

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So this week has been a busy one, what with the starting of new classes (ugh) and the traveling (but no photos yet). On Saturday, Mike and I met some of his friends in NYC, and we headed out to the Brooklyn Museum, which is hosting special exhibitions by Annie Leibovitz and Ron Mueck. Everyone probably knows who Annie Leibovitz is; Ron Mueck is a sculptor who builds larger (sometimes smaller) than life sculptures of people. Verdict: CREEPY. High points of this NYC visit: figuring out how to get there by train from the Hamilton station (very easy, cheap, and convenient); dinner in Little Italy; and finally going to Brooklyn, which I have never done, even though I lived in NYC for three years. Low points: now, I have a tendency to exaggerate, but it is no lie that there were at least a million people in the museum that night. On the first Saturday of every month, Target hosts extended hours at the museum, until 11pm, and free admission, and it was so crowded in the special exhibition section that we were brought to a standstill for minutes at a time, surrounded. The exhibits were interesting (except CREEPY), but I definitely think I need to go back to see them, and the rest of the museum. There were just too many damn people.

Then, Monday night, Mike and I headed to Providence, Rhode Island, to visit the Rhode Island School of Design, which I know mainly as the alma mater of the Talking Heads. Everything about this short trip was good: Providence is a beautiful little city, we stopped in Mystic, CT on the way back, where we took photos and ate a nice lunch, and we timed it perfectly so the trip back on 95 through Connecticut, past NYC, and down the Jersey Turnpike took just the amount of time it should take, with no standstills and accidents.

And when I got back to work this morning, there was news of the new iPhone (the Apple iPhone, that is), a brand new Toast with Mac-enabled Tivo-to-Go (which I will download when I get home), and the Official Favorite Band of 12-Year-Old Boys will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I am very afraid that this will prompt Mike to play their music loudly to celebrate.

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I've had it. Or, enough of it. And by 'it' i mean 'the pop shop's inability to do what most fast food joints that employ high school dropouts and criminals get right -- my fucking order.' That's right, I'm boycotting the place that serves amazing grilled cheeses and even accommodates vegetarians with vegan cheese and veggie patties and even vegan hot dogs and breakfast sausage! I'm forsaking it all, because 90% of the time, they fuck the easiest shit up. And I say this with great respect for all my friends and relatives who have served food honorably in various shitty restaurants. In fact, if given the choice between supporting our troops and supporting America's food servers, I'd fucking salute the waitstaff in a second. Sure both groups have bad apples that fuck things up -- often with the same spiteful behavior and bodily fluids. But, man, do waiters and waitresses put up with a lot of shit that's probably just as emotionally scarring, in the long term, as trying to figure out who's an insurgent and who's just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you've been screwed on a tip over a thousand times in your life, you'd probably be ready to fight in a quagmire just for something new to get angsty about.

As always, I've digressed. Back to The Pop Shop.

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I don't like putting commericals up but I thought this one was funny and I like Bruce Campbell.

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A man lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every morning he takes the elevator down to the lobby and leaves the building. In the evening, he gets into the elevator, and, if there is someone else in the elevator - or if it was raining that day - he goes back to his floor directly. Otherwise, he goes to the seventh floor and walks up three flights of stairs to his apartment. Can you explain why?

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This a Profile test I guess to see how other think of you compared to how you see your self


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I don't know if all these character will be available for the US release.

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!