Letter of Recommendation: Fanny Packs

What other accessory ensures the safety of your essentials, with easy access, while also liberating your hands? The fanny pack, when used properly, enables a whole host of activities that other bags render awkward: a deep embrace, a dance party, the ability to quickly find and swipe and secure your MetroCard. Through its rare combination of aesthetic contrarianism and functionality, it enables a life of wild abandon. Source: Letter of…


Nerd Break! Listening To: Wilhelm Scream / Castle Thunder / Amen Break (While Watching Lights Blink in an Oft-recycled Sci-Fi Prop)

In order to provide some context for a blog post on a blinking lights prop we’ve all seen in dozens of different TV shows and movies, I opened different tabs for compilations of the Wilhelm scream, the castle thunder sound cue, and the Amen break drum solo. All three of those sound effects are now playing at once, and I am watching the lights blink on this prop. And for a moment, I felt so very…

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Why You Hate Google’s New Logo

The new logo retains the rainbow of colors but sheds the grownup curlicues: it now evokes children’s refrigerator magnets, McDonald’s French fries, Comic Sans. Google took something we trusted and filed off its dignity. Now, in its place, we have an insipid “G,” an owl-eyed “oo,” a schoolroom “g,” a ho-hum “l,” and a demented, showboating “e.” I don’t want to think about that “e” ever again. But what choice…


Grumpy Gamer – Happy Birthday Monkey Island

I guess Monkey Island turns 25 this month. It’s hard to tell. Unlike today, you didn’t push a button and unleash your game to billions of people. It was a slow process of sending “gold master” floppies off to manufacturing, which was often overseas, then waiting for them to be shipped to stores and the first of the teaming masses to buy the game. Of course, when that happened, you…


How The Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive

In Death of a Salesman, Biff impulsively steals Bill Oliver’s fountain pen. That would be roughly culturally equivalent to a modern Biff swiping a businessman’s custom iPhone case, rather than a modern pen. This history of the ballpoint argues that the new pens cut down on leaks, but in the process made handwriting more physically demanding. The ballpoint’s universal success has changed how most people experience ink. Its thicker ink…