6/28/11

Post Apocalyptic MELTDOWN! (Or, "If the shit hits the fan, you're dead!")

I really dig the shit out of Post Apocalyptic fiction. It doesn't matter what medium either, comics, movies, books. Doesn't matter, I love it all.

I am always stoked on the newest "after the world ends" video game. I watch the Mad Max movies at least once a year and I still watch them with the zeal that I had for them as a kid.

There is something so fucking frightening about the idea of civilization collapsing on itself, something frightening and somewhat liberating. I don't know what the combination of those two feelings does to me, but it's really awesome.

So, the other day I took a break from thinking about space and started thinking about what I would do in the case of an extinction level event happening and I being one of the "lucky" ones to survive. Question being; what would I do in this new liberated future?

The answer is, die. Just like the rest of you.

If you don't think that's the case, you are a fucking idiot. Unless you are an Army Ranger or avid survivalist, odds are you'd last about ten seconds in an "End of the World" type of scenario. I have decided today to do the world yet ANOTHER service and give my dear readers an idea of what to expect when shit finally jumps off.

In the following I will do my best to address your inadequacies, your lack of survival skills and eventually your demise. VARNUNG!  This one might get a bit, uhm, how shall I say? "Visceral".

First, let us establish the parameters of our little disaster scenario. I am talking of a strict ELE type of thing here, like less than 10% of the world's population is still around. No electricity, no fuel (aside from scavenged) and certainly no communications equipment. I am talking fucking dire.

With that laid out for us, let's begin:

1.) You don't know how to make a fire.

Oh fuck off! I can hear what you're thinking already; "Whatever Bill, I can totally start a fire. I accidentally do it in the work ashtray all the time.","How hard could it be?".

It's incredibly hard you moron! Starting a fire requires a lot of ingenuity when you don't have a lighter. Now, some of you may be thinking about flint at this point and good for you for getting that far. Flint would be a nice option, but how many of you have flint in your house? One, maybe two? You'd have a better chance scavenging for Bics with a little fuel left.

Let's say, by some miracle, you have a flint or a fire-stone in your possession. Well fucking great! Now you'll be exhausted and cold!

Even with a fire starting kit, it still takes a ton of work and lots of effort to get one going. Check out this douchebag Montana resident (only guessing there!) spend ten fucking minutes starting a fire using full on fire-starting equipment.


And that dude is a survivalist! He spends his free time trying to figure this shit out and it still takes a fucking meal's worth of energy for him to get that little pussy-fart of a fire going. Now, most of my readership is in the Northwest and Northeast of the country. Think about this. Really think about it. How often does it rain where you live? Now add that to the fact that building a fire takes a lot of work and really think about your odds of doing it consistently and without breaking any of the tools. Like I said before, you're fucked!

Ok, the dude above might not be the best example. So here are two girls from Survivor (yes, my favorite show) who are sent in to a duel where they compete to start a fire. First one to start their fire and have it burn for a few SECONDS gets the win. Now before you watch this, keep in mind that these girls have been on an island "surviving" for 38 days at this point. They are on a "set" on the island, there is no wind and they are sheltered by the fake rocks behind them. (action starts about 1 minute in)


Do you see what I'm saying? Fire starting is hard. Really hard.

But don't worry! You'll probably be to busy getting raped and eventually cannibalized by savages to know that you're cold. Which brings me to my next topic:

2.) You can't protect yourself.

Sorry to say, but you can't do shit to defend yourself! I don't care if you know Karate, if you have a fucking handgun, it doesn't matter! There is nothing that YOU can do to protect yourself after the world tries to shrug Humanity off like so much dandruff.

Have you ever thought about what you'd do if someone broke in to your home? If you're like me, you probably answered "yes". Now my answer is always, "Well, I'd shoot the shit out of them.", which sounds great in theory. In practical application though, well, that's another matter entirely.

I have been around guns my entire life, I am comfortable with guns and have discharged them on many occasions. Hell, I like guns. They're fun and they make a really loud noise (which is kind of my only prerequisite for any good time activity). I have shot at targets and animals, both of which lack one key feature of the overall equation.

They can't shoot back.

Truth is, shooting at a target is easy. You just look down the barrel, line up the sight and gently squeeze (not pull) the trigger. See, super easy. Well, not quite. For example:


Straight up, that's YOU with a gun if you've never shot one before or very rarely. Shooting guns isn't like it is on TV or Movies. You don't just point it in a direction and everything happens for you. It takes control to shoot a gun, let alone hit a target accurately.

Now I was trying to sound like a tough-guy, but that's far from the truth. When it comes down to it in our little post-apocalyptic scenario, I'd fall prey to same thing all of us would. I've never killed someone. I have never shot at another Human, nor have I shot anything that was aggressively running towards me.

So let's say that you're out scavenging for food one lonesome day (since you can't build a fire you have to find any canned goods you're able to) and you come across a lock-box with a gun in it. Great! Now you're armed. We'll assume that you found the necessary ammunition for it and it works as well. So you've loaded up your pistol (or rifle, really whatever imaginary gun you want, go for it!) and you take off on your merry way.

Then, up ahead on the trail, you see a figure nestled in between some trees. He's bent over shuffling through a box, most likely doing the exact same thing you are. He hasn't seen you yet, so here's your chance! You can level your gun at him right now and take his head off before he even knew what happened. Go ahead! C'mon!

You pussy! You totally could have shot him dead without so much as a "Hello!". You were too morally opposed to it though, just like any other sane person would be. Instead you decide to move a little closer and try to see what he's up to. Who knows? He might have some food that he'd be willing to share. Or perhaps some knowledge of any upcoming dangers on the trail. So you start off towards him slowly, your loaded gun still in hand.

You start getting fairly close to him, about 10 meters. He's still digging around in what looks like box of cans, but it's too hard to tell from where you are. He hasn't seemed to notice you yet, but you can see from the look of him that he's been around the block. His clothes are tattered and it appears that he's wearing some kind of logo t-shirt, but you're just a little too far away to make it out.

Suddenly, he jerks back. He turns on his heels in an awkward fashion and looks directly at you. That's when you notice that he's holding a pistol. You think of something to say to him, but you keep staring at the pistol, thinking about the loaded gun in your hand. You decide to "break the ice" by throwing up your hands and telling him you're not going to hurt him.

BAM!!!

He fucking shot you! Shot you dead, from ten meters away. Didn't say a goddamned word to you.

You know why that is? Because that guy had been there before and knew that if he didn't shoot you dead right there you'd either do it to him, or become another mouth to feed. Another mouth to feed is something no one in our scenario could afford to deal with.

My point being, you have to be a hard motherfucker to just shoot someone in cold blood. In the milliseconds it takes you to formulate a thought it all could be over. All it requires is one asshole who is really motivated to survive. Or an asshole that's just a better shot than you. Either way, you're fucked.

3.) You're not a doctor.

Come the fuck on! You know this one already! Even if you were a boyscout or worked search and rescue, you're not a fucking doctor. Why is this important you ask? Because of this:


WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? No seriously, what are you looking at there? I mean, I couldn't tell you. The only reason that I know is because I was the one who found the picture. I will seriously give $1 to any person that emails a correct response.

You know why I'll make that wager? Because you're not a fucking doctor and you have no idea what that is. From that picture you could misdiagnose a million conditions because there are too many things that have a similar symptoms for you to nail it down from one out of context image. That's what doctors do though! They look at random information and upon that make a diagnosis hoping that it's the correct one.

Let's continue to get hypothetical for a moment and say that you are out on the trail in our Post Apocalyptic playground. You found a can of beans and some meth, so you're super happy and just chugging along. You set yourself a nice pace and start covering ground rapidly. You're admiring the trees and the silence of it all when you trip over a half-buried rock. OH SHIT! You fall in to a ditch and feel the worst pain you have ever felt directly in the lower half of your right arm.What is it? A bad sprain? A break? You don't know, because you're not a fucking doctor!

Let us assume that you can tell, from the pain, that it's a break. What's the first thing you do? Splint? Make-shift cast? I mean, do any of us know how to make a cast that would actually immobilize a bone? Maybe, but it's doubtful. Even if you could create a make-shift cast, how do we keep the limb from getting gangrenous? How would we know if the cast was too tight?

See what I'm saying? There are too many variables in any medical situation for us to make due with a half-assed solution. That's not say that these scenarios are completely unsurvivable, but the odds of you fucking it up are a lot higher than the odds of you getting it right on the first whack.

So hypothetical bone fractures aside, what about disease?

There are tons of diseases that we don't often encounter that could easily kill you without proper medical treatment. On top of that, there are common infections that could kill you just from lack of shelter and food. The Flu used to kill thousands and thousands of people a year and guess what? It still does.

In 2010 alone 2,117 people died from the flu in the United States. Keep in mind that is WITH medical treatment. So imagine you get the flu in our little Wasteland and are sleeping in a damp wooded area. Remember the last time you got the flu? How your comfy house felt like a personally crafted hell? Now try and transpose those feelings to a fucking cave or other unpleasant place you could find yourself in our wasteland. You're starving, you're cold and you can't move because of the aches. The flu has become really "real" for you as you lay in the cold and wish, truly wish, that you were able to get some Thera-flu.

Don't worry though, it'll all be over soon. Since, let's face it, you're not a fucking doctor.


4.) There is no Facebook.

You read that right! In our hypothetical future it's safe to assume that all communications technology has ceased to function. With that said, how would a social creature like a Human deal with the intense isolation of our new planet?

Short answer, we wouldn't.

Let's really put this in perspective. Here are some stats directly from Facebook:

  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
Now think about that! 500 million active users, an average of about 250 million users a day. In our scenario that's several times more than the population of the Earth!

Now what happens with all those people's delicate psyches when they don't constantly have other people to comment on their lives? What if you went from a community of millions at your fingertips to almost complete isolation? Even a small scale regional Nuclear attack would result in the loss of MILLIONS of lives, leaving just small pockets of civilization at best.

"A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2006 asserted that even a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more. In a regional nuclear conflict scenario in which two opposing nations in the subtropics each used 50 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons (ca. 15 kiloton each) on major populated centers, the researchers estimated fatalities from 2.6 million to 16.7 million per country. Also, as much as five million tons of soot would be released, which would produce a cooling of several degrees over large areas of North America and Eurasia, including most of the grain-growing regions. The cooling would last for years and could be "catastrophic" according to the researchers."

Now when you read that above paragraph and REALLY digest the numbers, it's a bit overwhelming.Millions of people gone in a few short days is a tough idea to deal with. Also, keep in mind that the above mentioned information only relates to ONE possible scenario. Super-volcanoes, asteroid/meteoroid collisions and severe climate change could have potentially tens of millions of more causalities than an all out nuclear war.

Every service in the world would shut down, no police, no cell phones, no internet. There might be a military still functioning but we would most likely not know as they would be too busy trying to figure out who was in charge and why.

This is a pretty startling prospect, the loss of all communications technology that is. Our world has grown considerably smaller over the last few decades, begging the question, "Can we live without the entire world being at the touch of a button?". I'd like to think so, but I highly doubt it.

For example; when I wake up I usually grab my phone and check my email. At some point in the two or so hours that follow I'll check in on my Facebook and Twitter. In that time I have made contact with at least 500 people. 30 years ago that simply wasn't possible.

With all of the people who are now present in my life, would I be able to cope mentally with the fact that there would be no one to give a shit? Now you know me, there's no doubt I would go fucking insane within like 2 days.

Here's a quote from James House that you may find interesting:

"The magnitude of risk associated with social isolation is comparable with that of cigarette smoking and other major biomedical and psychosocial risk factors. However, our understanding of how and why social isolation is risky for health—or conversely—how and why social ties and relationships are protective of health, still remains quite limited."

So, even some of the smartest people on the planet know isolation is bad, but don't know why. Since we already established that you aren't a doctor, odds are you'd be at a loss too. Some of you more introspective types might be thinking "Fuck that. I'd be fine. I HATE being around people.". Well good for you, but you're wrong.

"First is the idea that isolation from others is anxiety-arousing or stressful in and of itself, producing physiological arousal and changes, which if prolonged, can produce serious morbidity or mortality; and, conversely that affiliation or contact with others reduces or modulates physiological arousal, both in general and in the presence of stress and other threats to health. A growing body of evidence from experimental studies of animals and humans is consistent with this hypothesis."


I don't care how much of a hard-ass you are, given a few weeks without interacting with another person and you are going to go a bit nuts.


So if we add it up at this juncture; you are a freezing, diseased, helpless and possibly insane mess. Point being, Mad Max makes it look cool, but the truth is just COLD. Very, very cold.

6/25/11

Why Astronaut John W. Young is the most badass human in recorded history.

I love space. I love space with a fervor typically reserved for twelve year old girls (and 25 year old gay men) at a Justin Bieber concert.

I am constantly thinking about space travel, literally. If you ever see me staring off in to the distance, brow furrowed, mouth twisted into a tiny smirk; odds are I'm thinking about manned spaceflight (most likely the Apollo program). Ever since I was a little boy I have been fascinated with the human adventure in space, there is something so promising about the whole thing. I can say with great certainty that space travel has inspired me more so than the most impressive piece of artwork, than the greatest written word. Hands down, nothing can top space in my mind. Nothing.

Sitting atop the great mental Ziggurat of space in my imagination, there is one man. One man so mythical in his proportions that as a kid it was hard for me to believe he really existed. He was like Pete Venkman to me, a character devised by a person's imagination for the simple purpose of telling a story. Well the difference being, this man was real. Really real.

His name is John W. Young.

"Hey there."
John W. Young, born in San Francisco in September of 1930. Spaceman, in the truest sense of the word. No one could have known at the time, but baby John was on a path of greatness that would be unrivaled by any human being even 80 plus years later.


In the course of his Astronaut career John Young flew almost every spacecraft that had been built, went to the Moon a few times and helped to save Apollo 13 in order to make sure that Ron Howard would have something to do before Arrested Development started.

An engineer, a pilot, a scholar. A surly bastard, a hero, a genius. Yes, all of the above.

Today I'd like to share with you a few hallmarks of this great American's career, in order to familiarize you with someone you probably have no idea expanded the boundaries of human understanding forever (no joke!).

There is too much to cover for just one article, so I'll try to go through the highlights and give you the coolest nuggets I can think of.

1.) John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich in to space.

You read that right.

On March 23rd 1965 Gemini III lifted off from the Cape on it's way to space in order to perform the first Orbital Maneuvers in manned spaceflight. Added note:  In order to pronounce "Gemini" like the astronauts say it like this, gemi-KNEE.

The launch went off without a hitch for America's 7th spaceflight (the seventeenth overall at that point, if you count early upper atmosphere test flights of the X-15), Virgil "Gus" Grissom and John Young rode atop a Titan rocket on their way to make history.


Gus Grissom was a bit infamous in the NASA ranks at the time, for accidentally blowing the hatch on Liberty Bell 7 (his Mercury capsule) and sinking it. So in honor of this event he named Gemini III's capsule the "Molly Brown", in hopes that it would be unsinkable. This was the first and only time a Gemini capsule got named, so really drink that in. No, really drink it in. Ok, good. Now we can move on.

Everything was going according to plan (minus a few mechanical failures here and there) when about two hours in to the flight the following conversation was overheard by the CapCom (capsule communicator, not Street Fighter):

Grissom: "What is it?"
Young: "Corn beef sandwich."
Grissom: "Where did that come from?"
Young: "I brought it with me. Let's see how it tastes. Smells, doesn't it?"
Grissom: "Yes, it's breaking up. I'm going to stick it in my pocket."
Young: "Is it?"
Young: "It was a thought, anyway."
Grissom: "Yep."
Young: "Not a very good one."
Grissom: "Pretty good, though, if it would just hold together."
Young: "Want some chicken leg?"
Grissom: "No, you can handle that."
Grissom: "What was the time of that booster again? What elevation?"


Now reading that, it may not seem like much, but this was a big fucking deal to NASA. So much so, that NASA thought about grounding John Young permanently (They wouldn't do that to Gus, as he was technically a hero per his Mercury 7 status.).

The press had a bit of a field day with the story (and rightfully so, considering how awesome it is) and started spreading it around. At that point spaceflight wasn't as "common" as it's become today, people used to go APE-SHIT over astronaut stories. Much like today's media, the most sensational things get the most coverage and soon John Young's sandwich was in bed with the communists. Here's a quote from then NASA administrator Jim Webb:

"The training program should have been so impressive to these men that they would not have done a thing like that. I do not agree that you can tolerate this kind of deviation from what is clearly the purpose and requirement for success on these flights."

Unconfirmed reports state that there was buzz around Star City (Baikanur) in Kazakhstan that the Americans had no regimented astronaut training or regulations, which made those Commie bastards think they had an edge on us! Well, the Russians totally did have an edge on us, the beat us to nearly every first in space (mainly because instead of engineering a problem to death they just skipped the engineering and went straight to the death. Which I plan to cover in another update, but check this out in the meantime.).

John caught a lot of heat over this incident, but luckily it didn't end with him getting grounded.

Now you may be asking "How the fuck did this all go down?","Did NASA not do a pre-flight contraband check?". Remember, this was the Wild Wild West of Aerospace, when there were no rules and only a handful of dedicated dudes trying to kick ass on the future of flight.

Here's the "unofficial" version of how it went down:

Wally Schirra (another famous Gemini astronaut and notorious practical joker) wasn't scheduled for flight training the day of the launch and knew how much John Young hated the prospect of eating the "space" food.

Morsels!
Who could blame JY? I mean the Gemini food looks like bags full of stuff that came OUT of people, not something that should be put IN them. So ol' Wally went to a local deli and bought the infamous corned beef.

Now there are conflicting reports about Deke Slayton's (head of the astronaut office) take on the sandwich, but some say he let John take it, most say he was unaware. Either way, the space-wich was stealthily added to John's kit and the rest is, well fuck, mentioned above.

2.) John Young was "all up in" the Apollo program.

Ok, so you had Gemin-KNEE, which was essentially a bunch of test flights to show that we could go places other than really high up in our own atmosphere. That was great stuff, with lots of groundbreaking science and exploration, but it was merely the tater-tot appetizer to the big meatloaf main course that was the Apollo program.

I prefer to call it "making love".
Apollo was a mission so grand in it's scale that trying to sum it up on one sentence would be foolish. You need a kick ass phrase to describe it instead; "Incredibly fucking epic."

May 25th 1961 then President John F. Kennedy made a big announcement, probably the biggest proclamation in the history of civilization. He let the world know, we were going to the Moon.

I recommend that you listen to the whole thing HERE.

No one knows what Kennedy's motivation TRULY was. There is a lot of speculation that it was a calculated political move, others claim he was just an avid Space-nut. I really feel like the true answer is neither. I think the real reason that Kennedy issued the challenge to go to the Moon because of one man:

"I'm not wearing pants."
Lyndon B. Johnson.

When he wasn't pulling out his dick in foreign countries, he was going to bat for America's future in space. Johnson had a wicked hard-on (oh I love writing about LBJ) for getting America in the front of the space pack. He worked hard to give the burgeoning industry a voice and to get lawmakers to see the benefits of having a robust space program. I mean fuck, Johnson Space Center ring a bell?

Of fucking course they put that thing behind the sign. LBJ approves.
LBJ really pushed for the Apollo program and it made a big difference on the President's view of the thing. So during his speech Kennedy didn't mince words, he told us we were putting a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. That didn't give us much time.

It turned out that about 500,000 Americans didn't have much going on, so we were able to get the ball rolling on visiting our closest neighbor. Thank God that when we got up to 499,999 people involved there was still room for one more. John W. Young.

AKA Badass
John was put on the backup crew for Apollo 7, maybe as a little slap on the wrist for the space-wich. Apollo 7 was the first manned Apollo mission (it took NASA a while to recover from the Apollo 1 fire that killed Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and America's first space-walker Ed White) so it was a pretty big deal! Luckily for history the Apollo 7 flight went off without a hitch and moved John Young a bit closer to the Moon.

John's next step in Apollo was Apollo 10, the second manned flight to the Moon. John flew the command module around the Moon solo, while Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford farted around in the LM testing it out. Apollo 10 also set the record for highest speed attained by a manned vehicle, 24,791mph.

So just to put Apollo 10 in perspective; John Young flew a spaceship around the Moon by himself and then went faster than any other person, ever (well him Cernan and Stafford). All this before the real shit even started!

He was also the backup commander for Apollo 13, the flight Tom Hanks was on. When shit hit the fan with 13, John Young went to work. I'll cover that in a minute, don't worry.

After 13, John Young did something that only 12 people in history have done. Joined a fraternity so exclusive that membership required you be pretty fucking amazing.

On Apollo 16 John Young walked on the Moon.

That is the motherfucking MOOOOON he's standing on!

Which leads us to our next topic:

3.) John Young did really awesome shit on the Moon!

Now John Young wouldn't travel 250,000 miles trapped in a little can eating "food" out of a bag only to get to the Moon and walk around a bit. No, he had other plans.


A big Navy salute.
Yeah, that's right. You see JY in that picture, jumping like 5 feet in the air and giving a salute. How fucking awesome does that look? I mean really, in the history of pictures with people doing awesome shit in them, you really can't top that.

You have to think about the logic on this one too, to really get an idea of how rad this is. There is John Young on the Descartes Highlands, on a different fucking planet! Charlie Duke says "stand by the flag and give me a big navy salute". John Young not only delivers the salute, he jumps as high as he can in the fucking air! On the Moon! I mean, holy shit! He does this for no practical scientific purpose, but just to get the raddest picture a human being will ever take. And BAM, he nails it. So fucking rad.

Ok, ok. I'm getting off topic here. Sorry about that, I just love that fucking picture!

So not only did they take a bunch of glamorshots on the Moon, they did tons of science and exploration as well. Apollo 16 had the luxury of fast transport, they had the lunar rover.

Watch it go!
The Lunar Rover was essentially an electric car, with four independent electric motors that powered each wheel. It could go pretty fast, but no one knew quite how fast it could get going on the Moon. Not until John Young showed up that is.

John put the rover through it's paces. Really. He was cruising so fast in the thing that Charlie Duke later joked that all four wheels rarely contacted the ground at the same time. NASA really couldn't do much to stop John from getting rad with the rover, so he and Charlie had a bit of fun.


John got that bad-boy up to speeds exceeding 30mph, which may not sound like much for Earth driving, but 30mph in one-sixth gravity is pretty fucking amazing.

Not only did JY get to race around on the Moon, he got to break things while he was there as well! There is nothing quite as "punk rock" as smashing shit, so John Young got punk-as-fuck on the Moon.

For the Apollo landings, they had a package of experiments that the Astronauts launched once they were doing an EVA on the surface. It was called the ALSEP and some of the instruments in those packages still send us useful data today. Well all except the one from Apollo 16 that is.

When John went to deploy 16's ALSEP, he tripped on a chord and broke the shit of the experiment. Which, in turn, made a bunch of scientists back on Earth shed a single tear. To John's credit, it was really hard to get around in the Spacesuit! Check it out:


So not only was there a bunch of falling down on the Moon, John Young did the two most awesome things the Moon has ever been a party to.

John Young cursed and farted on the Moon. A lot.

When you read the transcripts of the communications between Earth and Apollo 16 there is a lot of truncated material and for a good reason. John Young really had gas.


Go ahead and try and tell me that he's not your favorite Astronaut now too.

4.) John Young saved Apollo 13's ass.

So I'm not going to spend forever on this one, since you know the fucking story from the movie. One thing that didn't get covered in the film enough for my tastes, was JY's involvement.

As a backup crew you run the same training as the "prime" crew just on a different shift. So while Jim Lovell was getting ready for what he though was going to be a walk on the Moon, John and crew were getting ready in case one of the prime guys broke a leg. That meant that John Young was contemplating every contingency, getting familiar with every system. As much as badass as he was, he was also an incredibly talented and versatile engineer, with a mind like a focused laser. You had to be not only an accomplished pilot, but a great student of engineering to work on the Apollo program, there wasn't room for slouches.

When Apollo 13's cryo-tank blew and oxygen was getting low in the freezing death-tube a group of engineers got together at a room in Houston and went to work on how to get a square peg in a round hole, literally.

This Square Peg does not have a nerdy Sara Jessica Parker.
The "scrubbers" that removed carbon-monoxide from the recycled cabin air in the lunar module were only set to work for a few days for two people. When John Young proposed the idea of using the LM as a make-shift lifeboat, the one problem was clean oxygen as instead of the two people the LM was made to support, it was going to be three people for about four times the duration of the LM's initial mission. It was suggested that the Command Module's scrubbers be moved from the CM to the LM in order to facilitate the LONG trip home. It was a great idea except for the fact that the LM's scrubbers were round and the CM's were square. It was an engineering mistake that NASA would never repeat.

John Young corralled every piece of material the Astronauts had with them (including every part of the ship that could be safely removed and all toiletries etc.) and the engineers got to work. A few hours later the produced what you see above, a duct taped masterpiece. They assembled a filter system using only spare parts that not only got Apollo 13's crew safely home, but also worked 90% as efficiently as the original equipment. So there, John Young helped save three humans 200,000 miles from Earth. Beat that Clooney.

"Already did. Twice. And I made this."
5.) John Young is pissed!!!

John Young walked on the Moon, he almost did it twice (as backup for Apollo 17 he almost replaced Gene Cernan who was close to being sidelined with a knee surgery, which would have made John Young the last man on the Moon). Once John had been there, he wanted to go back. That seems to be a common thing with the Moon-Walkers, wanting to go back. John just takes it to a whole new level, by trying his best to get people to understand that hindrances of being a one-planet species. Here he is on SuperVolcanoes:



His whole thing is based on the idea that at any time there could be an extinction level event that we would have no escape from. John Young has dedicated many years to getting this point across to the world, but people just don't seem to be listening. READ THIS.

His whole philosophy is summed up pretty well in this quote from a lecture he gave, ""If you want to see an endangered species, get up and look in the mirror.". Going to the Moon wasn't as much a spiritual experience to John as it was to the others, for him it seemed to be a wake-up call about just how fragile our planet is in the grand scheme of things. Ever since he got back, he's been formulating ways to get us off the planet and save ourselves from what he feels is an inevitability.

Here is a good interview with the Houston Chronicle that has John talking about the Moon and how ridiculous it is that we haven't gone back. Check it out, as it's best to hear the argument straight from the man's mouth.

John Young is right and we're foolish for not listening closer to what he has to say. His prospective is unique to a group him and eleven other men. All of which has expressed the same concerns for the safety of our planet. These men are the ONLY people to have seen the entire Earth in one glance, they have traveled farther from home than anyone else. And yet we treat them like museum pieces and don't offer them the courtesy of learning from their incredible experience.

John just wants us to go back. I want us to go back. Cosmologically the Moon is incredibly close and it's ours. And by "ours" I don't mean America's or Russia's, I mean all of us. When we look up at night,  we are all witnessing the same thing. We see a place that could offer the jumping off point for living up to our destiny as a species. We see a land so intrinsic to our very way of thought that we often take it for granted. But, we've been there. We've touched it, Astronauts will tell you about the smell of the Lunar soil (like struck matches). We have a group of men that can RECALL the place, not just imagine it. To me there is no greater benchmark for Human achievement and no better testament to a versatility and capacity for understanding. Human civilization has always thrived on exploration, it's hard-coded in our DNA. So why stop with Earth?

We have the chance to gain experience from the most traveled men in history. We have a unique opportunity to learn every time one of them opens their mouth, we just have to shut-up and listen.

John Young is telling us something now and after all you just learned about him, how could you not give a shit?

Take that Clooney.

6/16/11

Why I HATE your band. Yes, YOUR band.

You might be asking yourself, "Why does Bill hate my band so much?", as I typically hate around 99% of bands.

Now this is a legitimate question, I mean, your band might have hundreds, even thousands of fans. Yet every time someone mentions your band name, you can see my disappointed look in the back of your mind. Me, shaking my head in disgust, long luxurious locks flowing in the breeze as I vigorously try to shake the fart smell of your crappy music out of my brain.

The truth is, I have developed a fool-proof system for quantifying the quality of each band. I have spent years honing this mental tool in order to save my delicate psyche from the garbage that pollutes the airwaves and fiber optic cables of today's popular culture.

In an effort to do a great service to the rest of humanity, I am going to offer you a little insight in to this highly polished mental process.

Let us cover a few basics first:

If you band features members of any of the following you are automatically disqualified:

MxPx, DC Talk, Blink 182, (hate to say it) Motley Crue, any "Nu-Metal" band ever.

There are others, that's just a small taste. If you are ever approached by former or current members of any of those acts make sure to decline requests to "jam". If you accept I will instantly hate you.

Now, let's cover the basics:


1.) Your band has a stupid name.

No, really. A fucking stupid name will KILL your band, at least in my eyes. You could play the most badass music in the history of sound but it doesn't matter if your name is retarded.

Example, "INfliKted", a stupid transposition of one letter takes a mundane, boring band name and makes it ridiculously idiotic. Replacing a "C" with a "K" is like wearing an Ed Hardy shirt, it instantly identifies you as a douchebag.

"Dudes, you have to come and check out my band on Saturday."- Douche

"Oh cool, what are you called?"- Me being polite

"The band's name is "MissStykk"." - Douche

"I hope you have life insurance that covers murder." -Me

The trend of trying to be "clever" and have a band name that is comprised of pidjin English wore off the minute Fred Durst did, which is to say 15 minutes after we heard about him. And that really is the main problem, if you swap a "C" for a "K" you are directly following in the footsteps of Fred Durst and we all know where that road leads....


The best visual metaphor ever created. 
 2.) You play shitty music. 

Ok, so let's say you've sorted out the band name. Changed it from "KandlleKrusH" to something respectable like "Seeger's Beard" or something rad like that. 

Great! You're one step closer to not being a complete waste of time. Now we need to take the ol' magnifying glass to your music, which might also require taking the flamethrower to it as well. 

The vast majority of the bands I hear don't have a fucking clue what music is. Before you start getting worried that I'm going to say it's not music unless it's Metal, that's not the case. A lot of Metal bands I hear nowadays suck just as much as their folk counterparts, because the problem isn't with the genre choices, it's with the actual music writing itself. 

When you listen to a song like "Opium Trail" by Thin Lizzy, you can hear exactly what they were going for. You can feel the desperation in Phil Lynott's voice as he tries to convey a complex message over incredibly well arranged and thought out music. There is something monumental about good song writing, something that transcends the physical and grabs you in the darkest reaches of you mind. 

Then there's this:


 FUCK YOU CRAZY TOWN! FUCK YOU IN YOUR GLITTER-COVERED, BLEACH TIPPED, STRIPPER FUCKING ASSHOLES!!!!!

Whew. I needed to get that out. 

That is a prime example of writing for the lowest common denominator. The idea of music like that being that you only should write something that lies very close to the surface, something that any idiot with 20 dollars in his wallet would gladly suspend his forthcoming birth control purchase to drop money on (hence creating a whole new generation of idiots for guys like this to rip off when they inevitably become record executives). It's a proven formula for success (or "SukkSekks" as they would probably spell it) that has been going on since recorded music began. There will always be vapid fucking clueless idiots that will listen to whatever TV tell them to and this is not me being jaded, that's the truth (Color Me Badd ring a bell? How the fuck did they have a career?). 

So odds are you write music like that, so I hate your band. If you could take the energy you use tuning your fretless bass to C and make an attempt to write something from the soul I might get on board, but probably not. 

Songwriting is a craft, much like crochet or woodworking, it takes practice and skill with a liberal dose of natural talent to make it work. The difference between songwriting and other crafts is that not every idiot thinks they can crochet a cozy or build a bookshelf. 

Take the time to think about what you're writing, to pull influence from something other than the local Hot Topic and write a fucking song with some depth! Also, don't release every shitty thing you've recorded! 

In this day and age with information being SO prevalent, things you put out there last forever. Inevitably your first songs are going to suck, so don't put them on YouTube! Wait until you've garnered the skills required of the task and keep your early efforts a secret. Speaking of experience...

3.) You missed the fucking boat. 

You heard me! You missed the fucking boat. 

I'm older now, especially in the musical arena, and have gathered a lifetimes worth of failure to look back on and build off of. I've never been THAT successful, but have done much more than the average musician gets to and for that I'm grateful. I have no ideas that I will ever "make it" as once I hit 23 years old I knew that "making it" is bullshit. What that term really means is that you have a HUGE debt to the IRS and possibly debilitating herpes. 

We all had dreams of being a famous rock star, because it looks rad and seems easy! The truth is, very few people reach that status because that kind of success is so reliant on luck. There is no marketable formula for who gets to be the rockstar and who ends up the session musician, if there was we'd all be rockstars. 

What there is out there is loyalty, which is thousands of times better than stardom. Take for example Brett Michaels. In his prime, he strutted around stages in front of thousands and thousands of fans. Getting blowjobs, drinking Coors and farting in the face of the established scene. Yeah right. Well anyway...
Fuck off.

During the late Eighties this motherfucker was on top. If it wasn't for Axl Rose and Sebastian Bach this douche would have fucked every bleach blonde girl on the planet.

Then it all came crashing down, fast. The bottom fell out of that comfortable lifestyle and guys like BM (haha!) were left to wipe the cum off of their own bellies. No more Perrier in the limo, no more lines of crazy groupies. Everybody put on a flannel and fucked these dumbasses right off.

So BM (haha pt.2) went "underground" which is to say no one called him for a few years and then, he became ironic. That's when shit got really sad. 

VH1 called and up and I assume the conversation went something like this:

"Uh, Hey, Brett Michaels?"- VH1 producer

"Speaking. Is this CC?"- BM (haha pt.3)

"Um, no sir. This is the producer of Flavor of Love. We were interested in trying to get a few bucks out of the fact that you are so not cool that you are kind of becoming cool again." -Prodoucher.

"Will I get to fuck strippers?"- BM (not this time)

"Of course, that's the whole premise of the show."- VH1 guy

"Sign me up!"- BM (ok, this time. HAHAH)

To a guy like Brett, this was awesome news! To the rest of the world its just sad as fuck. 

His latest "Poison" is botox.
The point being, that even if you do make it to the TOP, the top turns out to be the bottom of something else. Only Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Huey Lewis ever made money off of music. You're too fucking late.

Also, if you are in your late thirties or early forties and trying to start the "next big thing", fucking give up. Just write music that you'd like to hear. Don't cultivate an image, don't recruit guys that are in their twenties to back you up. Just find dudes your own age that play the way you like, jam and have fun. 

If you are  25 or above and still trying to "make it", make a noose and fucking hang yourself. At least you'll succeed at that.

4.) Nobody cares.

That's right! Nobody gives a flying fuck about your band! 

 
"But we're trying so hard!"
In a world where nearly every album that has ever been recorded can be found within the touch of a button, no one will ever give two fucks about "Wykked Warlokk"s debut album.

Since all the good shit is available anywhere, any time, most people won't be intrigued by variations on a theme. You need to be doing some original shit to get anyone to notice and you have to do it well.
 
"We missed that last part."

You can't just keep putting out the same shit that the guy down the street is doing and expect everyone to just jump right on board. You need to craft your songs with expertise (no matter what kind of music you play) and forge your stage show in the fires of creation!

I hear so many bands that I confuse the crappy late-era Metallica albums it's starting to get ridiculous. Why don't those bands try to do something original you ask? Because they don't know how, because that involves skill. As I mentioned before, making GOOD music is hard, really fucking hard. Writing something that your friends like is one thing, writing something thousands of people like is nearly impossible.

The best thing to do, like I also said earlier, is to write something YOU like to listen to. It won't be perfect, but if you like it, it will be perfect for you. And let's be honest, since no one else gives a shit, that's all that matters.

The greatest bands just "are". You can't recreate that, no matter how much you bite their sound or gimmick. Just stick with what you know and I won't throw bottles of warm piss at you. Much.


5.) Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Now that everyone has a computer and audio software is cheap as fuck, most people think they are some kind of engineer. The truth is, they pay people to do that for a reason. So unless you are a total audiophile or big nerd for engineering, don't bother. You will always fuck it up and most likely take any chance you had of getting fans and fucking it right off. 

It was nice when it costs thousands of dollars to record, it kept bands like "Cyklikal Cirkis" from putting out ten albums. They'd do one and then fail and rightfully hang it the fuck up.

Now those same cunts will put out three hundred singles and ten albums. It's getting stupid, real stupid. 

I love the availability of independent music and great albums, but the vast majority of bands riding this digital wave are absolute shit. You have to wade through metric tons of diarrhea to get to the one gem in the bunch. You used to only have to wade through a cowpie at best, it's getting out of hand. 
My suggestion; Don't fucking start. Do the garage band thing (not the recording program either). 

I guess my whole point is this; you do NOT need to make every band you play in THE band. It's ok to just jam with friends and to rock out in private. If you get to play some shows, rad. If not, that's ok. If you want to record a CD and give it out to your friends, rad. If you want to record a CD and present it to labels, don't bother. 

The listeners will tell you if you've got something. If you don't have listeners, you obviously don't have shit. So do your thing, have fun and don't sweat it.

6/15/11

Five reasons Portland OR is not as cool as you'd think.

Let me preface this post by saying that I LOVE Portland. I moved here ten years ago in order to get the fuck away from Western Washington and still be in a place that has good weed and rain. I can say, that in those ten years I haven't encountered much about this place that I don't like, BUT...

In recent months there has been an influx of "cool" here that really twists my balls around. Thanks to Fred Armisen dropping his 50% assed Obama impersonation in order to do a show about Portland and how ironic it is, we've had a large contingent of douche bags that think something is actually going on here. Well, they're sadly mistaken and here's why:

1st.: Portland is in Oregon.

I know what you're saying "But Bill, oh manly, sexy and witty Bill. Oregon is beautiful and has a vibrant and living history that has roots in the very discovery of the west!". Well yeah, that's true. Oregon has some of the most beautiful geography in the world, from the craggy and windswept coast, to the high desert of Eastern Oregon, the state is something to behold.

                                                                   BEHOLD!

Well yeah, natural beauty is great and all and you can get plenty of it by driving just a short distance from Portland. Most often times an hours drive in any direction will get you to a place of natural splendor.

An hours drive from Portland also gets you closer to this:

                                                     CONSERVATIVE ASSHOLES!

That's right hipsters, as most of you found out on your first drive to the coast, Oregon is only "blue" in like three locations. Luckily those locations are the places you'd actually want to live, but if you travel anywhere get ready to explain why your boyfriend is wearing a flannel shirt but has a girl's haircut. The dude pictured above is a real piece of shit teacher from a city here called "Beaverton" (no joke). He told his kids to make art with racist slogans on it to make sure all of the kids in his care would feel "welcome". Check it out.  I have no idea what that website is, but it's the only one that has an article on this HUGE dickhead.

That embodies what I'm talking about though. The second you leave the caring sugar-walls of Portland you encounter the zombie horde of Palin supporters and people who think gay is a "choice". You know the type (especially if you're from Everett or Montana)! So there, reason #1 Portland is much less cool than you think.

2.: People here drive like shit.

Ok, so everyone complains about the way people drive in their town, so I know you might not think much of this, but hear me out. People here drive the way I imagine downs syndrome kids do math, slowly and very badly.

For one, the speed limits here are set ridiculously fucking low. When you first cross the river to get here from Washington, get ready to see a lot of these:

                                                                   BOOOOOO!!!! :(

That is a speed limit you will see on a 4 lane highway. ON THE FUCKING HIGHWAY! That is a speed most Vespa Scooters could achieve. The rule of the road should be; If a euro-douche could reach the speed on a gerbil powered magic-carpet scooter any American speed limit should be no less than forty miles an hour faster.

                                He is laughing because he "scoots" faster than Oregonians drive

Not only are the speed limits set really fucking slow, the drivers go even SLOWER! No joke, I have seen Oregon drivers going 30 on the freeway. More than once... This week!!!!

The vast majority of Oregon drivers do not realize that things are happening outside of the interior of their vehicle. They drive like they are in a fishbowl. The one upside to this is that when you honk at an Oregon driver, they duck like they're being shot at. I witness that effect all the time because I'm constantly honking at the "speed bumps" as I affectionately call the other drivers on the road here.

                                                  "Welcome to Oregon! I suck!"

Here is a final point on the shit nature of Oregon drivers; our bus drivers all learned to drive from watching the Road Warrior flicks. Seriously, I feel like bus drivers down here are either killing someone(s) or getting in trouble for video taping themselves doing something really fucking stupid and posting it on the internet. Tri-met is like a mix of Jackass and a terrible episode of the "Hitch Hiker". This is what I'm talking about!

                                 "When you see me coming through your hood, you best duck."

3.: Hipsters.

OOOOOOOH! These assholes get my goat. They get my goat and they fuck it before they get it again and give it a stupid haircut and make fun of how out of touch we are for not wanting to "get" people's goats and fuck them.

                                            I am literally trying to kill this guy with my mind right now.

When I first moved to Portland around 2000 I kept thinking how rad it was that the entire town was populated with burned out Northwest Punkers from the eighties and chicks that looked like a mix of Wendy O. and a librarian. I told no one. I kept Portland a secret to most as a way of protecting it like a wetland. A wetland of hot girls, good music and cheap beer.

Somehow the word got out.

Suddenly I started seeing a bunch of lily white, skinny guys wearing clothes that I used to get made fun of for wearing in the 80's. I couldn't figure it out, I thought they were a gang. I would literally bump in to one of these fuck-holes at a bar and ask him about another fuck-hole from another bar thinking to myself that they simply had to be related.

They started infiltrating every bar in my then not very "hip" neighborhood. I would go to get a pounder at the bar down the street and I'd have to wade through a huge contingent of "dudes" (I use that term loosely) who were really stoked to hear C+C Music factory on the jukebox. Read this shit, sums these cum-stains up better than I can.

                                                     URGE TO KILL RISING!!!

Here's my stance on it; If you are wearing clothes that someone needs to "get" or that your uncle who graduated in 1991 gave you, FUCK YOU. Hipsters are so prevalent here that I often wish that someone would just blow the whole fucking place up. Which leads us to....

4.: It's not fucking safe here!

Portland has tons of crazy VIOLENCE. We have gang shootings all the fucking time. Like at least a few a week. We have a shitload of domestic violence, a shitload of theft (of which I have been a victim on more than one occasion), tons of junkies and some of the highest rates of identity theft in the country.

                                          The only job you can actually get in Portland.

Now hold on to your asses! Not only do we have the run-of-the-mill shit down here, same as any other town, we have some straight up INSANITY as well. Like the woman who killed the pregnant lady and cut the fetus out of her dead body.

If that shit isn't quite crazy enough for you, there's also the lady who threw her two kids off a bridge.   I mean really? This shit is just nutty!

But wait, there's more! Portland has been the subject of a straight up terrorist attack! Like full on! It was totaly botched, but still! No bullshit!  

He must have been getting sick of the hipster assholes too.

                                                    "Who me?"

5.: There are "bike commuters".

Ok, now this is going to get some of you a bit irritated, but hear me out.

I have no issue with people that commute by bike, that is like the Chinese do, riding your bike as a conveyance from point "A" to point "B" (as in Bike, right?) . My proverbial "beef" is with the bike "commuter" sub-culture.

                                         These dudes are cool though.

You know the type, three thousand dollar bike, tight assed Lycra shorts and a fucking terrible attitude

                                  "What was that? I can't hear you over the smug."

I have nearly killed a thousand of these shart-jockeys on the roads here. Not by almost hitting them with my car but by strangling them with my bare hands for cutting me off at big intersections.

As I mentioned earlier, people here drive like senior citizens fuck, then you add these smug-merchants in to the mix and it's like the world's slowest clusterfuck.

Most of these guys think that they are the cast of Quicksilver, the most stupid movie on Earth.

The vast majority of you know that I am a fairly eco-friendly person. I recycle, I conserve energy, I eat granola sometimes. So I'm not morally opposed to riding a bike, I'm morally opposed to being a dickhead in public.

          I bet you're not scared of them "coming from behind". Fucking commuter.

I don't really have any cool facts about why bike commuters suck so much, I just really hate them! Maybe because I'm a driver and I just generally hate vehicles that are primarily made of meat.

                                        Good. I fucked your mom today, so we're even.

So in summary; If you were planning on moving to Portland, it's great! Just be prepared to take up drinking in order to stop yourself from jumping off the Fremont Bridge.

                                            BEHOLD!

6/14/11

The Mystery of Whitehorse Trail!

So as many of you may or may not know, I used to live in a stinky little town full of sailors and retards called "Everett Washington". This town was started by loggers and continues to thrive via a meth-based economy and child prostitution/smuggling funds to local government.

Towards what one might call the "head" of this stinky cock of a town there is a building, a building shrouded in mystery!!!


If you go to the northern tip of Everett you'll come to a street called "Bridge Way" that you can use to access and even smaller street called "Medora Way". You'll have to drive by a bunch of funky ass dumps and dens of iniquity but eventually you'll come to this:





                                                                          FEAR!

So there is this HUGE fucking building at the end of this crappy street and when I say HUGE I mean, pretty big.

All through my teenage years I would explore Everett with friends in an effort to find places that offered privacy for our dirty moral-free doings. Privacy for more than one person is hard to come by when you're a teenager as most public restrooms do not allow double occupancy and your home bathroom isn't the best place to smoke pot.

A little fact that you might not know about me is that I love to finger hot chicks and to get drunk! I especially loved those activities when I was a teenager but didn't really have a good place to do either, until...

I discovered this creepy fucking hellhole in the very north of the city. A place so secluded that no one would find you, well except the people that live next door who totally found us every time we went there.

                                                                          Assholes!


Well upon further exploration of place I found something VERY disturbing. It looked as if at one point there was a giant oven in the back of the place. There were exhaust chutes that lead from these big iron openings up along the side of the building. Following these tubes of creep one comes to a tall skinny window and inside, there were, wait for it.... wait for it.... CRYPTS!!!!!


HOLY FUCK!!! I know!

The crypts are the type that are stacked on top of each other much the way my teenage friends were at every party, which is to say; stacked with zero dignity. About four of them to a column and spanning the length of the entire building.

The windows were dusty and foggy in that total crappy horror movie way and when you looked in it was staring directly in to Satan's eyes, or Dan Cool's butthole (both frightening in similar ways).

Inside there were flowers, motherfucking fresh flowers, on some of the tombs. That shit was insane! Like totally fucking crazy! WOO! Gives me chills (much like the aforementioned DC butthole).

Needless to say the place was so scary that after I was done drinking 40s and fingering chicks, I left in a hurry!

                                                                  YES! THOSE FINGERS!

Years passed, I moved further and further from Shitstain, uh, I mean Everett. I forgot about the creepy solace almost completely, only reminded of it by the slight sexual arousal I felt at Haunted Houses.

About two days ago I was baked and sitting in my easy chair surfing the internet. I was looking at maps of Northern Canada, specifically the Yukon territories, even more specifically Whitehorse Yukon Canada.

That started me thinking about Whitehorse related things, which got me thinking about stinky drunk Indians in Marysville, Marysville is really close to far North Everett, which is where that fucking scary building is (coincidentally on Whitehorse Trail)!

I thought long and hard about metal and then tits and then I thought about the building again. So I decided to do something about my lack of knowledge and test the boundaries of human understanding by embarking on a journey of discovery and doing something no one in Everett history had dare do: Learn.

So I looked up the only bastion of logic and culture in Fart: The Town (aka Everett) the Everett Public Library! (Stop laughing dumbass, I said "puBlic".)

                                                  Most Everett residents have not seen the interior.

I remembered going to the Northwest Room in said library very often as a kid. It was fun and smelled like old books, which beats the Benson and Hedges I was used to smelling all the time. I would pour through old yearbooks and records of the town, ask questions about murders and famous people from Everett. I decided that based on my past experiences I could write these scholars and get an answer to what the fuck that building was. Here's how it went down:

From me:

"
Former Everett resident Bill here, just had a quick question for you.
What is the building at 2905 Whitehorse Trail? I remember it being a masoleum of some sort, but as a teenager never thought to look it up or come by and ask you guys in person.
There isn't much information on the internet about the building hence my email."

After about 9 hours of waiting, biting my fingernails and masturbating an astounding 35 times (in five minutes), I received this STARTLING answer:
"That’s View Crest Abbey Mausoleum (and crematory). Evergreen Funeral Home & Cemetery is now managing it. They were recently acquired by the Houston firm Dignity Memorial that owns cemetery properties all over the country. There have been problems with vandalism at View Crest over the years, most recently in 2007, but there are still occasional interments there and the facility is open to the public on a regular basis. I think it may have been involved in some financial problems years ago and wound up as a sort of “white elephant” for which Evergreen inherited responsibility."
  
It turns out that vandalism is the least of hell houses worries! There is fucking Radon like a motherfucker! That shit is radioactive! I mean, fuck! Like Einstein and shit!

                                                                     OH SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

So not only was I risking my teenage ass by drinking and messing around with slutty chicks I was also getting radioactified! HOLY FUCK!

So, mystery solved, I guess. I'd like to apologize to any girls who got irradiated vaginas and to the caretakers if they considered smashed 64oz. Mickey's bottles as vandalism.

Note: I am also available to solve riddles for you! For a small fee. Or a large fee, depending on how stupid you are.