Episode 115

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Jet Lag: Where and When the Hell Am I?

Oh, how I’ve missed you so! Finals have been tackled yet again for this perpetual real-life-avoider, which means the time has come. It’s that time of year when I go to celebrate a newly discovered Christian holiday involving fat men who B&E to leave gifts, laziness in the form of an all-day pajama-fest, and an amount of food that my Jewish roots are more familiar with. I have set off to see the in-laws in Jolly Ol’ England for Christmas, which happens to be the Good Doctor’s birthday, an association that he also happens to hate. While the Good Doctor and I have developed a system to travel very efficiently to see the small town yokels that live in the English countryside, it takes an extra level of skill and preparation to avoid the perils of jet lag while traveling such a distance. Jet lag is that fun circadian rhythm altering voodoo that occurs when you physically plane-travel to another time zone while you mentally remain in the previous time zone. Thankfully, this privileged white Jewess has crafted a system to avoid this machination entirely!

Step 1: Hydration

While you may not want to get up and crush the toes/legs/nards of the inevitably larger person sitting adjacent to you to pee, tough. Get a bottle of water before you get on the plane, or take every plastic cup of water offered to you by the oddly-sinister-yet-smiling flight attendant. This fights the headache, body ache, and other general malaise that comes from traveling. Also, you’ll need some water to assist with step 4.

OK, OK - let me just undo my seatbelt first, sheesh

If you step on my toes one more time I SWEAR TO GOD

Step 2: Eat in the time zone you want to be in

The best way to realign your circadian rhythm to a new time zone is to eat in the right time zone. You can start doing this before you arrive at the airport, especially if you’re doing an overnight flight. Eat dinner when it would technically be dinnertime at your port of call, and then sleep the plane-ride away to wake up feeling hunky-dory.

Aw Patrick, it's 3am. You're fucked.

Aw Patrick, it’s 3am. You’re fucked.

Step 3: Avoid the perils of the drink

Obviously, this is a step I pretend is merely suggestion. And if you had the mother I have, you would know that it is bad form to waste all of the free United drink vouchers that you’ve collected over the past year. So, if you must drink, which I assume one always must whilst being projected for long distances in a tin can for hours on end with little to entertain you, make sure you hydrate as well, otherwise you’re going to feel like the cranky asshole you are when you land.

And don't we know it.

And don’t we know it.

Step 4: When you got it, flaunt it

To help you catch some much needed Z’s on a redeye, you can opt for the natural alternative (Melatonin), or whatever funstuffs your ‘doctor’ has prescribed for your 50’s housewife syndrome (namely Xanax or Ativan). Make sure you try whatever you’re planning on tinkering around with BEFORE you travel. No one wants to find out that they’re the sleepwalker who pees their pants and yells about Uncle Paul’s bad days on an overnight flight. No one.

But don't forget your limit...we all know where too many sleeping pills will getcha

But don’t forget your limit…we all know where too many sleeping pills will getcha 

Step 5: Be prepared

Mustafa knows what it takes to travel long distances to thwart his rivals. Wait, what the hell was I talking about? Oh yea, fighting jet lag. If you need to sleep on the plane, make sure you have all of your creature comforts. Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, eye mask, neck pillow, coat that can serve as a neck pillow, a recording of Rafi’s greatest hits, whatever helps you get to sleep and stay asleep.

Seriously, what the hell was I on about...

Seriously, what the hell was I on about…

Well, that should be enough to get you through your more difficult holiday travels. Can’t help you deal with the in-laws, though – that’s an entirely separate list of suggestions. Good luck getting to wherever you need to be, drink and eat more than should be allowed, and I hope someone gives you something better than socks for Christmas. And if you celebrate Hannukah, I hope you liked your socks. This is Kitty, signing out.

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Great Work, Gumshoe.

Where in the damn World is Carmen Sandiego?

You know how the theme goes.

I’ve never actually watched the show or played the game, but I understand the concept of the franchise:  You play as a detective (aka “gumshoe”) whose sole purpose is to catch Carmen, a criminal mastermind who travels the globe stealing valuable items and landmarks.  The focus of the games was meant to garner an interest in geography, which — since I didn’t play it — is precisely the reason why I have no idea where anything is on a map.

You know, like

You know, like Helsinki, Sweden.

Much like my conversation with Danny over Charlie Brown this week I had an incredibly fun (and exceptionally nerdy) conversation breaking down Carmen Sandiego with an old friend and designer of our whiskey glass logo, Zanetta.

E:  Did Carmen Sandiego ever fence any of the shit she stole?

Z:  It was kept pretty ambiguous, but you’d think the Golden Gate Bridge would sell quickly.

E:  It seems like a niche market.

Z:  Not everyone wants a leaning tower, or a giant rock at any given moment.  It’s hard to sell one-of-a-kind things because they are easy to track down.  Unless you’re putting it on display in a place where no one will ever go.  The risk probably isn’t worth it.

E:  Does that mean that Carmen has an entire warehouse of priceless landmarks and artifacts and shit that she’s stolen over the years, and she doesn’t even sell it…?

Hangar51

Cataloging must be a bitch.

Z:  It’s not like she’s ever at home to enjoy any of it.  She’s out stealing the Hollywood sign, or Big Ben, or something like that.  Seems like a waste.

E:  But then who is it all for, if not for profit?  Carmen Sandiego is just a collector?

Z:  Did she ever have a boss?  Or was she just a freelancing, globe-trekking thief?

E:  I don’t think she ever had a boss, but I don’t think she was just a mercenary.  She was self-employed.

Z:  Her whole livelihood doesn’t make sense.  If she’s not selling any of the shit she steals, then where is the money coming from?  How is she paying for her airfare, and the ton of gadgets she needs to commit her incredible acts of larceny?

E:  1) She has racked up a lot of miles, has a lot of pilot friends, and 2) The gadgets all come from Skymall.

Around this time the next round of drinks came, so Carmen talk was done.

EIFFEL for her immediately.

EIFFEL for her immediately.

Though Carmen Sandiego has appeared in many forms and incarnations there has never been much depth to the titular character.  There is a reason why we sympathize with villains like Mr. Freeze and Walter White.  Carmen Sandiego has always just sort of been there, always one step ahead of the player, but forever leaving puns and clues for the player to find.

She’s like The Bandit without a Smokey, and her one-dimensional personality seems to be enough for most folks.  I’m not like most folks — I’m all about adding layers and dimension to characters.

She'll make them stick 'em up down under, then go pick-pocket Perth.

…about that whole “layers” thing…

So here is how we change Carmen for the better:

What if Carmen Sandiego fails to steal something?  Has she ever failed?  (Serious question)  …Unless you played the game and you personally were a great gumshoe I’m pretty sure Carmen walked away with a lot of priceless things that she had no personal attachment to.  She probably uses the Statue of Liberty as a towel rack, and an Eastern Island head as a car passenger so she can cheat the HOV lane.

carmen_carpool_lane

“Her itinerary’s loaded up with moving violations”

It is time to change that and give Carmen Sandiego a white whale; some piece of art (or a landmark) that she has wanted all her life, and has been trying to steal for years.

Unfortunately every time she gets close something goes wrong;  The guard deviates from his usual patrol, the exhibit was moved to a different wing.  As far as we know Carmen Sandiego has never had to improvise, so to have things go sideways for her would be a great step up from always seeing her confidently airlifted away with the Great Sphinx, the Reclining Buddha, or the Space Needle.

"They never Arkansas her steal the T-Rex or the MOMA"

“They never Arkansas her steal the T-Rex or the MOMA”

Imagine her frustrations in trying to secure the Wright Brothers plane from the Smithsonian?  How much more devastating is it when she has a personal stake in the unattainable piece?

Then the item she wants gets stolen, and she needs to become the gumshoe.  Flip the conventions of the franchise, and then poke a ton of holes in it from her perspective.

“How do you steal the entire goddamn Great Wall of China…?”

It takes a thief to catch a thief.

How badly does she need the Sydney Opera House?  What if she puts it back as bait for this new thief?

She ultimately becomes Nathan Drake, but without all that climbing shit.

So…a less revealing Lara Croft?

But with better, uh, connections....

But more of a badass and less sexy cardboard cutout.

I expect my check in the mail.

Or this concept to show up on next years Blacklist, fuckers.

And just as a cheap shot to end this article, let’s make the unattainable thing she wants something from North Korea.  Or Kim Jung Un’s favorite blankie.

And no, Sony Pictures, you’re not allowed to have this one.

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I’m in Connecticut!

It’s cold. Somebody was bleeding out of their ear. I’ve had a lot to drink and inhaled some wood stain. Accidentally, of course. Probably. One of my bestest friends from my days in The Great Game is back on this coast for the holiday from his grad school where he learns about money and business or some horseshit. So that’s why I’m here and so very, very drunk. Last time we shot guns in the woods. If that happens again, I’ll let you know.

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Episode 114

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I’m Back(ish)

And you just love it, don’t you? Yeah you do. God how you sicken me. And I bet you’re expecting me to have all sorts of wild tales of adventure from my two weeks worth of missing posts about how great I am and how brilliant all my ideas are, huh? Well, for your information my adventures were all awesome and my ideas were continuously brilliant. I figured out a way to create cold fusion from ham and swiss cheese sandwiches, traveled to Massachusetts twice, forgot how to do the cold fusion thing, took an overcrowded ferry trip across a windy and unforgiving sea, and drank plenty.

Such power...such easily forgotten power...

Such power…such easily forgotten power…

Yes, there was Thanksgiving and all its edible trimmings in there somewhere (I won the paper turkey contest my sister’s future mother-in-law held! Well, I tied.). My dad did a lot of singing/complaining through various car rides, and I’ve had Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried stuck in my head for about ten days now. Also I did some real work and some of that there writing I actually get paid to do (check out my great/spiteful holiday shopping advice put upon the InterWEBnets2.5 by the fine folks at Task & Purpose!) and played some video games.

At least it don't have Kevin Spacey.

At least it don’t have Kevin Spacey.

So if you want more details or were expecting a lengthy tale of wonder and eroticism from me, too bad. I had lots to do the last two weeks and I have lots to do today. In particular, I’m emailing my friend Rob photos from the classic 1975 porn Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS before I go to some veteran’s skating even where I will probably drink beer and giggle at my girlfriend after she injures herself on the ice. Yeah, that’s right, I have a girlfriend. You don’t know her. She goes to a different high school. And she’s a model. So suck it. I’ll have something funny next week. Probably.

If you need something to do in the meantime, may I recommend watching this? No, I may not. It's horrifying.

If you need something to do in the meantime, may I recommend watching this? No, I may not. It’s horrifying.

Now, I’m off to finish this episode of MST3K (season 8, episode 1 The Revenge of the Creature, notable for the small role by a young Clint Eastwood) and then sing in the shower for a while. And just so it’s stuck in your head too:

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Episode 113

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