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Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Notes of Fury: 8 Bit Books

As an irrational iPhone 5 mania sweeps the nation and my inbox runneth over with lolcats, isn't it about time we stepped back to a simpler time? When "social" meant face time, not Facebook. When "notes" meant paper and a fine ballpoint pen. When 8-bit music was 8-bit music because it was actually 8-bit music...

Control your notes with 8 Bit Books
Well, lo-fi friends, look no further than the simple irony of 8 Bit Books on Fight back against digital doom with notebooks crafted from actual, de-constructed Nintendo cartridges.

From Mario Brothers to Skate or Die, from Fester's Quest to Wrestlemania, they're all here in a form practically guaranteed to grind any status meeting to a halt. (Not to mention, catch the 80's-bred eye of Jill from Accounting. Wink. -ed.)

Per the pictures, craftsmanship looks like it could err a little on the loose side. However, if you're looking for the ultimate irony, that patina of love - with a delicious dash of hand-crafted sawce - will give your Super Mario super doodles even more old skool street cred. And who doesn't like that?

Best of all, these babies aren't Chinese reseller leftovers. Oh, no, they're recycled for your anti-hero hipster pleasure in greater Detroit, USA. (Or what's left of it, anyway... -ed.)

8 Bit Books - Super Mario Bros.
Iconically Ironic.

8 Bit Books - Inside
This is where the words go.

8 Bit Books - Skate or DIE
Make it so.

 The Verdict: If irony is art, frame these biznitches and toss 'em on your wall. Or use 'em to take notes like your grandpappy did... with a damn pen. You know, whatever....

Price: Averaging between $12-$15

Get 'em here: 8 Bit Books on Etsy

Friday, September 14, 2012



The video above is the recently released pilot of NBC's Revolution. And the ungrateful trolls orbiting the darker comment sectors of the nerdly interwebs seem to have a quibble with it.

Well, after a delightful 45 minutes, or so, of pleasant viewing during my lunch hour, I'm here to stand up for Revolution with ten incredibly well-reasoned counterpoints - whether JJ Abrams likes it or not. (Caution, possible spoilers ahead. -ed.)

#10) It's post-apocalyptic done positive.

There's light at the end of the tunnel. People aren't dropping dead of plague the whole time. It's not about the beginning of the end, it's the path to a new beginning. Despite the setting, the story is a bard's tale of a quest for rebirth, not the death of civilization. Something we're woefully lacking lately... Not pointing fingers, CNN. (He's totally pointing fingers. -ed.)

#9) Giancarlo Esposito's Capt. Neveille is wicked good fun.

Friendly, yet icy. Handsome, yet frightening. Gentlemanly, yet psychopathic. His character is the prime time television friendly version of Christoph Waltz's Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. And he's deliciously vile. One of the best characters you'll see this season. No, I don't have a man crush on him. Yet.

#8) It totally rips off the best parts of every other post-apocalyptic tale and doesn't give two shits.

The Hunger Games, The Postman, Road Warrior, I am Legend, et cetera, et cetera and stuff and junk. You name it, it's here. Hell, if you look shallow enough there's even a whole pound o' Tolkien's Lord of the Rings going on in there. And I'm ok with that. Just because it doesn't have an original bone it it's focus group scripted body doesn't mean it's friggin' fun and worth an hour of my time vs. the alternative:

The alternative.

#7) It makes you think.

"Gosh, what would I do?" you'll ponder. "I'd definitely be one of the tough, peace-loving survivors living a simpler life and farming corn in my McMansion's living room." Guess what, you won't be. But it's ok to think about it anyway. Now get off your iPhone and do some pushups, softy.

#6) It's a western with crossbows and totally out of context Desert Eagles.

And who doesn't love that.

#5) Tracy Spiridakos, starring as Charlie, actually looks like she could kick your schlumpy couch potato ass.

Whoever keeps sticking stick-thin, bag o' bones Summer Glau in TV shows where she pretends to be a female action lead needs to be strapped in an uncomfortable chair via duct tape and forced to watch Revolution until their colon bleeds. (No, I have no idea how that's possible.) Charlie is a fun character. Relatable, tough, attractive. And she actually looks like can kick your ass if she wanted to. No, she's not ripped. No, she's not Jessica Biel or Kate Beckinsale - and, believe me, I love a little Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale in skin tight latex - but she's believable and fun to watch. And that's just nice for a change. K?

Gratuitous Biel.

#4) It's not all hyper-realistic, uber-gritty and super-serious-look-at-me-I'm-making-serious-cinema-here-peopley.

You work hard, right? So sometimes you just want to kick back with a High Life, suspend a little disbelief, have a little fun and not want to slit your wrist after an evening of prime time viewing. Am I right? Of course I am.

That's the High Lifes.

#3) There are no zombies.

I love a good zombie flick. But they're played. Done. Finito. Revolution is proof positive you don't have to manufacture danger via some stumbling imbeciles sporting chintzy halloween masks your prop department picked up a Spencer's going out of business sale. Same goes for aliens, Falling Skies. Good riddance.

#2) The story isn't built to create the world, the world is actually a setting for the story.

I can't explain this. But it just feels right for a change. Go ahead and argue, but I won't listen because I don't give a flying fudge. (Keep it clean. -ed.)

#1) I hate JJ Abrams. But I don't hate this.

And that's a good thing.

Did I hail it? Or did I fail it? Leave your comment below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


PAL Review: Saucony Hattori AW

I met the current trend of minimalist footwear with a heavy dose of skepticism, tempered with an ounce of curiosity and shaken over ice with a splash of incredulity, served on the rocks with a spring of “that seems like an awful lot for a shoe made out of nothing.”

As an attorney, my default mindset is that any revolutionary new footwear is probably a class action lawsuit waiting to happen (see, e.g., Skechers Shape-ups). Based on my experience with running, less padding almost certainly would mean more joint pain.

But when I had a chance to snag a pair of barefoot shoes – the Saucony Hattori AW – at a low price, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, I had to purchase them online, meaning I was rolling the dice a bit. I owned a pair of Saucony Guides, and they had served me well, and the online reviews of the Hattoris were mostly positive. I figured I could use them for shorter runs and certain training routines in the gym.

When I first took them out of the box, my initial reaction was not totally positive. They were light, to be sure, but also felt, well, just a little cheap. The Hattori AW (the AW stands for “All Weather”) comes in black only, and the laceless design makes them look like rugged golf socks.

Saucony Hattori from above

The normal, non-all weather Hattori's come in lively color combinations, but don’t offer as much warmth for cold, rainy runs due to a different choice of material.

Despite the water resistant construction, the Hattori AW still carries all the hallmarks expected of minimalist shoes, from the extremely limited cushioning to the zero drop. (That is, no offset from heel to toe. -ed.)

Both Saucony. Both Size 10.
Saucony v. Saucony. Size 10.

The Hattori’s sole is lightly reinforced at the heel, the ball of the foot, and at the big toe. This struck me as a little odd, considering the goal is to strike at the midfoot (in fact, heelstriking in a minimalist shoe is a recipe for injury). But, hey, it works.

Saucony's Soul.
Nice soul.

I started my first run full of nerves and trepidation, worried that I’d roll my ankle in the first quarter mile. It took about ten minutes before I could think about anything other than how much it would hurt to tear various important ligaments in my feet and/or knees. Once I found my stride, however, the “shoes” felt pretty good. I actually ran a little bit further than I had intended.

The fit is a little snug with the AW, too tight to wear anything but thin socks underneath. That’s probably okay, because they didn’t seem super breathable and they can get a bit warm. Quick turns are problematic. Sprinting was awkward at first, as I had to keep my stride short and increase my turnover.  I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re supposed to do, but heavily-padded shoes create some bad habits.

Unfortunately, thanks to near drought conditions in these parts, I haven't yet been able to test experience the joys of the claimed all-weather capability, but we'll see what the next few months have to offer.

Overall, I’m pleased with my first minimalist shoe experience. Barefoot shoes might not be all that fashionable, but I’m starting to see the allure. If you want to try barefoot running and don’t want gravel and shards of glass embedded in your feet, give these guys a try.

Verdict: 8/10 Gavels

Get 'em here: Saucony Hattori AW

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



Between the ski gear and the bike gear and the kayak gear and the trekking gear and the camping gear and the climbing gear and the gear gear, living the sporting life gets hella expensive. Hella quick.

With the upcoming fall camping and winter ski seasons barreling at me like an ambulance to a double black diamond on townie day, I had to find another solution for my hardware source. But who could save me the cash I need on the brands I want? (No, this isn't an ad. -ed.)


The Clymb


How do savings of up to 70% below retail on big-time outdoor brands strike you and your ever shrinking wallet? The deals swap about every three days, so you never know what you're going to get. Which isn't really a big problem when you're scoring mad kizzy on awesome brands like Kelty, Litespeed and Fjällräven.

Per their FAQ, The Clymb's offerings are not defective merchandise, factory seconds or knock-offs. They are an authorized dealer of 100% authentic hardware. Rather than ordering in advance like most retailers, it sounds like they operate in a similar fashion to stores like T.J. Maxx. Picking up gear last minute and passing the savings straight to our dirt-encrusted, calloused mitts. (Minus the ugly purses... -ed.)
Mount Moneybags
Mt. Moneybags beckons.


While savings of up to 70% below retail sounds too good to be true, the site appears to be legit. Several orders have arrived clean, properly billed and totally awesome. Additionally, anecdotal evidence floating about the office seems to back up our positive experience. Just keep an eye out. Like Ikea, most of the sales are totally killer, but we've notice a few merely average deals tucked innocently into all the awesomeness. Shop smart and you'll be money, my friend.

Scout's Honor
Scout's honor.


The Clymb is invite only. However, if you do need an invite to this illustrious and elite club, just drop us an email with your name, email address and a few words explaining why you deserve it in the body, and we'll see what we can do...

Verdict: 9 out of 10 Hup-Huzzahs!

Check it here: The Clymb