Cheeseburger Gothic

Alexa in the house

Posted February 12 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

It's hard to believe I got an Echo before an Apple Homepod, but I did. The Echo is now sitting in our kitchen, where I would never dare put a Homepod. I've had a Bose bluetooth speaker in the kitchen for a couple of years now and it's given sterling service. But it's getting old, the charging brick has fallen apart, (I shudder to think how much it would cost to replace that sucker) and the whole unit looks like shit. Over the years it's picked up a second skin of cooking grease, microscopic organic debris, oily particulates and crap.

There is no way I want to drop $500 on a piece of Sir Jony Ive's handiwork in that environment.

The Echo, however... meh.

It's a fraction of the price, a literal fraction, about 1/5 I think, and it's not going to look any better once it's been exposed to a couple of weeks worth of cooking, but it's not going to break my heart either. Also, to be honest, the Echo is likely to be a lot more useful in the kitchen. The Homepod's inability to settle multiple timers has already been noted by most reviewers, as has Siri's constrained functionality compared to Alexa (and Google's eponymous AI). I think that misreads the purpose of Homepod, which is a mid-range premium speaker first, and a smart speaker a distant second.

Still, it creates an opening for Alexa. I've had her parked on the kitchen bench for a few days now and I'm getting used to the syntax and constraints native to Amazon's lady in a can. Because Alexa's APIs were opened up to developers immediately, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of 'skills' she can learn that are completely beyond Siri and probably Google.

I've taken to asking her for the surf report from Bondi every day.

Not having listened to the radio anywhere but the car for nearly a decade, I found myself listening to news bulletins again to start the day, because it's such a simple matter to ask Alexa to bring you up to speed. There are cocktail recipes, bus and ferry timetable information, cooking suggestions, podcast players, dictionaries, weather reports, all sorts of useful shit. It's a device focused on very broad but low-level functionality. That makes it a perfect fit for the kitchen. Or maybe just a very good fit. I don't find Alexa to be any more intelligent or responsive than Siri. There were some hilarious misfires when asking her to play music from an Internet radio service. (It's better now I've picked up an Amazon Music subscription on a free trial for three months).

I suspect the functionality will also greatly improve when Amazon Prime launches locally, and the Beast of Bezos starts competing with Coles and Woolworths for the food delivery market. The ability to add an item like butter or baked beans to a shopping list and have it turn up a day or so later will be a compelling use case. It's pretty much why I got the device.

It's a lot cheaper than Homepod, of course, and it sounds it. There are some types of music which sound authentically awful coming out of this speaker. OTOH there are plenty of other types, usually older albums for some reason, which sound just fine. Maybe it's the way music is produced these days, I don't know. But my old man music does sound way better than my new music playlists on this device.

It's hardly a dealbreaker, though. This is a kitchen speaker, and kitchens are terrible places to intensively listen to music. There's always something else going on, usually something noisy. Everything echoes of the hard surfaces. And people tend to be talking at or over each other. In that sort of environment a speaker which can pump out tracks at a reasonable volume is good enough, and this bad girl is more than good enough.

10 Responses to ‘Alexa in the house’

Therbs puts forth...

Posted February 12
So basically Alexa is your default breakfast radio crew without the zany hijinks. Be careful of the secret sound.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 12
Hard to capture the depth of my loathing for zany fucking hijinks.

Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted February 13
The surf has been crap at Bondi for weeks.

As for radio - the car stereo is stuck on 2MMM (and the attendant shouty tradie ads interspersed with Zaniness and popular 'rock' music....or JJJ if thats too much. Or CDs. Don't bother with radio at home for the above reasons.

Dunno if I want one of these things spying on me at home. My luddite inner self is a bit suspicious....

NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 16
+1
I now podcast 6-7 hours a day. My Utes antenna was snapped off 2 years ago. Haven't bothered to replace it.

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Dirk would have you know...

Posted February 12
Looks good JB.

The problem I have with it is that it doesn't understand Dutch at the moment. But neither does El Goog at the moment (and Fruit IMHO is better bought at a green grocers ... ). But that is bound to change in time. Dutch will be in Home this year probably, and if Bezos comes over here (and he is making overtures to do so) Echo will support it also.

Would I buy one?
For a stand alone music system, maybe. But I would want to use more of the features and have it plugged in a total domotic infrastructure. So, music, video, lights, curtains, heat etc. And that "landscape" is at the moment to fragmented. To many different protocols, standards, interfaces. And with another battle of the brands brewing like in the 80-s with VHS, Betamax and V2000, i think i'm on the sideline for the moment.

But you made me curious what's out there.
I did some digging, and found something that might could be a reference for the 3rd generation. It's called Homey.
https://www.athom.com/en/
(note: site is best viewed in chrome, FF doesn't do the features that good).

IMHO it's not totally matured yet, but it could be the direction in which this battle will go.

The pro's:
1. what i can see it talks to about everything even old protocols like your tv via IR, bluetooth, different light systems, heating and WIFI/DNLA stuff.
2. It can operate with Alexa and Home.
3. It's an open system like Alexa, so there is room for growth

The con's
1. It's price is still a little on the hefty side (EUR 300, $ 370, A$ 470) but if that goes down to let say Eur 150-200, well then maybe.
2. The user friendly ness has to go up; what I've been reading in reviews installing it has kinda sorta steep learning curve at the moment, so that needs maturing.
3. What I can see it doesn't work in an Apple universe, except for the app. So no Apple TV interfacing etc. Not a big problem for me, but could be a downer for some.

PS: Google is teaming up over here with the largest grocer, so when Home finaly learns Dutch the shopping list could be made digitally. There is an app already for scanning the barcodes on products you want with your phone, so that won't be a biggie. add a cam to a next gen alexa/home maybe would be another option.

jl would have you know...

Posted February 12
Albert Heijn strikes again? The last time I was in Holland I was shocked by the little personal barcode scanners at the door of my mother-in-law's little village grocery, the Plus. You would scan your own groceries as you put them in the basket. It made shopping soooo easy- a much different experience than here in the US at Wal-Mart, where there are huge bottlenecks at checkout. And Alexa makes it easier yet.

Dirk asserts...

Posted February 12
Yep. They even took it a step further in the last 6 months...

For the uninciated: Albert Heijn is the biggest dutch grocer (think TESCO/Wallmart). Sister companies include among others ETOS (eq. Boots/Walgreens), Gall & Gall (off license/spirits) and Bol.com (eq. Amazon).

Shopping and paying:
1. You can pay at a normal nice girl operated till (cash/direct debit)

2. You can use a handscanner, a dedicated phone app or if you have only few items a fixed scanner at the automated till, check in with your loyalty card and pay by direct debit. You can also drop your empty bottle receipt there, which is subtracted from your bill.

3. You can order online, and pick up your groceriers packed and all 2-6 hours later or have them home delivered within 24 hours (exc sundays for now) for a fee. They are working on a system to cut that back to 6 hours, and add your bol.com/ETOS/Gall&Gall deliveries aswell.

The app also points you to the discounts of the week, can be used as a personal groceries list (just scan the barcodes, or use you loyalty card info: they know what you bought earlier), and gives you special bonus on products you buy regularly. So in my case for ex microwave meals, milk and coffee beans.

If that ain't fast enough, they are experimenting with Near Field Communication, so anything you dump into the trolley is automatically added to your bill. Swipe your loyalty card and Direct debit card (also NFC) at the exit and you can go on your merry way.

Bol.com is one of the reasons Amazon is not here yet. Starting out as a online bookretailer they added and added products (electronics, pet supplies, beautyproducts etc.) and also cater to other retailers, who for a fee can sell via the system and use the logistics track. Standard delivery is within 24 hours (which is de facto standard over here for about everything you shop for only unless its from Germany (Zalando/Correct + 1 day) or China (allibaba 4 day minimum), express delivery is for an extra fee within 6 hours.

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Spanner asserts...

Posted February 13
I'd already tweeted this but it warrants repeating.

Mr17 got a goog home mini in his bedroom.

I told him that Google now listens to him masturbate.

The look of horror on his face was priceless. It works because there is a grain of truth in there. Just what is the sneaky bastard listening to?

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Dave W asserts...

Posted February 14
It looks like there is a pod-coffee machine off to one side. I trust that this is to keep the junior Birminghams away from the aeropress and single origin civet-cat bespoke beans.

But anyway- we have the el goog at home and much fun and hilarity ensued when we ask it to put ham and bay leaves on the shopping list. Instead, cam and Bailey's wound up on the list. Glad there isn't a one-touch buying yet.

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insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted April 12
Have you asked Alexa to open the pod bay doors?

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Finished plotting: The Golden Minute

Posted January 31 into Writing by John Birmingham

After lying fallow for most of last year, I've got plans to do at least five books this year. Yep. Five. One is already drafted up - The Cruel Stars. And now another one has been plotted out. At least in draft form.

The last four or five days I've been stalking around my office, muttering at the dogs. This is my preferred method for blocking out a story. I talk myself through it before I write the first word.

It's surprisingly hard to do, even if you're using a template like Blake Snyder's fifteen story beats from his screenwriting How-to, Save the Cat. (Thanks to Girl Clumsy for putting me onto this. It's been a bit of a golden goose.)

The hardest part isn't filling out the beats (Opening image, catalyst, protagonists debate, and so on). It's later when you get most of the way through and you're tempted to just throw the plan aside and get writing. After all, it's sixty, maybe even seventy percent done! What could go wrong? You'll work it out on the page later. The characters know what they're doing.

Yeah, nah. Keep hacking away, JB.

So I kept hacking away, and today I finally filled out the last card.

Tomorrow I can start writing.

Friday, I start plotting WW 3.1.

And I already have the plots beaten out for two other books.

15 Responses to ‘Finished plotting: The Golden Minute’

HAVOCK21 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 31
YEAH BABY. FKN GUNNA GET SOME! " AWAY BORDERS"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1
I am off on holiday next week with no Birmingham representation in my reading folder. Disappointing but... Five books, looks like next summer is sorted.

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insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1
Have you ever seen The Rewrite with Hugh Grant? Without having to watch the whole thing, check it out on Youtube at about 50.30 for a minute and hear him talk about a story line one of his students has written. Spooky.

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Surtac would have you know...

Posted February 1
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."
- Terry Pratchett

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted February 2
Dunno which one to most look forward to? And that is some tortured English....

Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted February 5
Easy. Three point one.

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted February 6
YAAAAS!!! This is great news :)

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Therbs reckons...

Posted February 7
Beer 'n books is a real thing. The excitement of starting a new book is joyfully enhanced by a freshly poured beer.
Here is a suggested beerage guide to JB's books.
Felafel - Coopers Sparkling Ale
AOT - Budvar Pilsener
Disappearance - Pirate Life Pale Ale
Dave v Monsters - Little Creatures Pale Ale
Girl In Time - Feral Hop Hog
Cruel Stars - Stone and Wood Cloud Catcher

Dave W mumbles...

Posted February 8
I am intrigued. Very intrigued.

I would have thought, though, to best understand the sleazy grime of Felafel one would have to drink cans from a 30-block of XXXX?

Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8
That was my first thought but after readapting the stage play version of Felafel for more recent times Bedes had Coopers Sparkling as a rider when he attended performances. So its a nod to Felafelling in this decade.

jl would have you know...

Posted February 8
Enjoyed Felafel. Over here, I would re-read it with a choice beer called Natural Light. Almost cheaper than bottled water at Wal-Mart.

Therbs asserts...

Posted February 8
And that would fit right in with the Felafel style

jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8
Oh yeah. Stained bean-bag chairs, piles of empties, pissing in refrigerators, and seeking the dead junkie's money stash. Time to pop open a cold Nattie Light.

Rob asserts...

Posted February 9
ah cheap beer and a sympathetic ear.

Although with a Dave book I think some slab of non- descript Aussie beer would be in order, xxxx, VB or Cascade Lager. Mainly for the snark, Dave would drink non craft beer just to be bloody minded and sniff at those annoying hipsters with their slick beer. But then drink a Kaiju IPA while no ones looking. Dave's like that, a smug asshole.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted February 10
For your consideration https://www.vox.com/world/2018/2/7/16974772/north-korea-war-trump-kim-nuclear-weapon. Via next draft

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Death Wish

Posted January 29 into Movies by John Birmingham

I rewatched this Charlie Bronson classic on Netflix a week or so back. A couple of things struck me. First, it's really badly made – in the way that lots of classic 70s flicks are really badly made. Choppy editing. Shitty music. Some terrible, terrible acting.

But I watched it all the way through because I'd never seen it before, and it is a pop cultural touchstone. I aslo enjoyed it, the same way I enjoy beer and tacos, or greasy hamburgers. If they are true to themselves they can still be great.

A couple of observations.

The fight choreography is awful, but the violence is more realisitc because of it. The home invasion and rape which provide the 'inciting incident' are difficult to watch. They are intimate but not voyeuristic. It's like watching CCTV footage.

Jeff Goldblum is one of the baddies!

But you never see him again. Bronson's architect doent hunt down the men who attacked his wife and daughter. The city is so full of scum there is no chance of ever finding them.

In this way, Death Wish is a revenge movie, but one firmly rooted in realism. In the dozens, even hundreds of later movies and TV shows inspired by it, the grieving father always gets his man. Liam Neeson's Taken series even dispenses with the grief and cuts straight to the vengeance in response to the mere threat of violation. Bronson's character would be impressed.

The other thing that stands out? The lack of guns. This is actually a lietmotiv for the movie; the disarming and emasculation of the American male by an earlier and very different 'gun lobby'. The anti-gun lobby. I found it weird to spend time an America so denuded of guns that one man with a pistol could constitute a clear and present danger to the civilised order, as Bronson does.

In searching for an image to run with this, I discovered that Bruce Williss has a reboot of DW coming out this year. Tere is more cinematic artistry in the two and half minutes of the trailer than in the entire running time of Bronson's original. But the realism is gone. And I have no doubt Bruce will have his revenge.

5 Responses to ‘Death Wish’

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted January 31
DW was on TV last year sometime, and I'd never seen it either. I started watching but I can still say I've never seen (all of) it, mainly due to the crappy acting etc, but if you really want to see truly bad acting try Murder on the Cape (or something like that) on Netflix. Any movie where the lead "actress" is the wife of the writer/producer/director probably isn't going to be a masterpiece.

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted January 31
Interesting.

I've never seen this film, but I did read the original book it was based on some years ago. I'm pretty sure I still have my copy somewhere. And you're absolutely right. The lack of readily available guns stands out quite starkly.

The Bronson film I do quite like and rewatch reasonably often is Death Hunt - Bronson as the suspected 'mad trapper' with Lee Marvin and Carl Weathers as RCMP guys trying to catch up with him.

And he's pretty good in 'Once Upon a Time in the West' as well.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 31
Yeah, quite a few people have praised Death Hunt since I posted this.

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HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted January 31
never thought too much of it, but that bloke in the vid clip above sure does fkn look like me. FOR I AM A FKN GOD!....Dam good loking the pair of us!

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w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1
To be fair, the acting never looks great in the cheesy genre style of the director, Michael Winner.

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Banzai for Victory Day!

Posted January 26 into Politics by John Birmingham

Tonkatsu Abbott-san, the first native Ōsutorarian to be appointed a Deputy Assistant Governor of Imperial Nippon’s southernmost prefecture, has lauded the extension of The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere to the Chrysanthemum Throne’s vanquished enemy. Speaking today from the grounds of the royal palace on Yamamoto Harbour to mark the anniversary of the fall of Sydney in 1943, Abbott-san supported Victory Day remaining on January 26, the day the American war criminal Douglas MacArthur surrendered all gaijin forces on the antipodean continent to General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

“Victory Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all of the things we've achieved under the firm but benevolent guidance his Imperial Majesty, and of course his father before him,” Abbot-san told the small crowd of dignitaries, including Her Imperial Highness Princess Ayako of Takamado, the first of the blood Royal to visit Ōsutoraria Prefecture and stay in the Harbour Palace. The Princess was attended by exalted representatives from the Diet in Tokyo and conquered prefectures throughout the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Guests watched a re-enactment of the moment Lieutenant Colonel Masao Kusunose led the 144th Infantry Regiment ashore to crush the few remaining enemy forces which had survived the collapse of the Brisbane Line.

"What happened on the 26th of January 1943 was on balance, for everyone a good thing,” said Deputy Assistant Governor Abbott-san, “because it brought civilisation to this country, it brought Ōsutoraria into the modern world. All of the things that we know and love about modern Ōsutoraria are the lineal descendants of the attitudes that came ashore with Lieutenant Colonel Kusunose on that day back in 1943.”

He bowed in deep abasement to Princess Ayako and Members of the Diet to express the bottomless gratitude of all his countrymen for ending the rule of foreign devils in the great south land.

Cheering crowds later turned the Avenue of a Thousand Years into a sea of red and pink, as they waved banners and flags emblazoned with the Rising Sun, and threw cherry blossoms at the soldiers of the 55th Division, marching from the site of that historic landing under the shadow of the Yamamoto Harbour Bridge, up the grand avenue to Imperial Square in front of Central Station.

Most of the crowds were young families from the Home Islands and Manchurian Colonies, some of them celebrating their first Victory Day in Ōsutoraria after successfully applying for the right to migrate and take up grants of land and property within this vast, underpopulated continent.

The loudest cheers, however, were raised for the small company of white native children, fostered out to decent and honourable Nipponese settler families, who watched on with pride as their wards, dressed in the old-fashioned Pacific War era combat fatigues of the 144th Regiment marched in lockstep to Imperial Square.

There they had pride of place at the execution of dissidents who had dared protest the Victory Day commemoration by flying the so-called Southern Cross flag of the defeated Commonwealth.

The native children’s cries of ‘Banzai’ as the dissidents were beheaded were acknowledged by Her Imperial Highness with a smile.

Speaking to reporters from Tokyo after the executions, Deputy Assistant Governor Abbott-san, was more forthright in his comments.

“Those seeking to change the date of Victory Day aren’t bent on making things better for those less well off,” he said. “They aren’t really interested in what the Emperor’s loyal native subjects in this prefecture actually think. Not a single real Ōsutorarian has ever told me that they want the date changed,” Abbott-san told reporters. “These dissidents are just displaying their hatred of Ōsutoraria,” he said, before leading the loyal reporters in a series of Banzai cheers.

aliensideboob.com​

2 Responses to ‘Banzai for Victory Day!’

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 27
Made me think of the obscure 1988 Australia movie 'As time goes by' where the time-traveling alien Joe Bogart played by Max Gillies explains his time traveling shenanigans as "I had to do it, the Japs won the war. You were all eating sushi. And you didn't like it".

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 28
I can so imagine Gillies saying that line.

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A prince of men

Posted January 23 by John Birmingham

Sometimes i get tired of writing grown up columns. Then things like this happen:

Finally! Prince William got a proper haircut.

I’ve been urging the bloke to go the number one comb for some time now. It’s been obvious for many years that he was thinning out on top and as I said to him, “Will,” I said, “we’ve got the rotten Frenchies where we want them at the moment, but you never know when the Dauphin or the Grand Constable is likely to start stirring up trouble around Agincourt again. You can’t expect the happy few to follow you into wanton slaughter if they’re distracted by your bald spot.”

At Blunty.

2 Responses to ‘A prince of men’

Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted January 23
When I first saw this news I said to my wife 'there you go! If its good enough for me then its good enough for royalty!'

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ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted January 24
Should have gone the orange comb over, it's apparently so in right now.

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Ibrahim's Grill and Transmission Vector

Posted January 22 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Not being a foot fetishist, I’ve never dreamed of drinking champagne from one of Jimmy Choo’s finely crafted stilettos. I’ve never thought of drinking champagne out of anything other than a champagne flute, or in a pinch, a coupe; one of those shallow, wide-rimmed glasses reputed to have been modelled on Marie Antoinette’s boob.

I’ll allow that taking a sip directly from the royal fun bags might not be terrible. But there I draw the line. I do not want my bubbly wine suggesting a tincture of athlete’s foot. And there’s no way known I’m drinking soup from a shoe. This atrocity was most recently catalogued by the excellent ‘We Want Plates’ campaign and no words can do it justice.

I’ll simply let your eyes feast on what your tummy could not possibly stomach.

At what point in the accelerating collapse of our civilisation did we agree that this bullshit was not just permissible, but worth a business plan? The story of humanity’s climb to the top of the food chain, starts not with our emergence from the primordial ooze, but with our decision to not slurp that ooze from our cupped hands. Anthropologists speculate that we might have started by using sea shells as our dinner bowls, but it was not long before we graduated to agriculture, nation building and dinner plates. Along the way we experimented with eating off rocks and bits of wood or bark, but the inherently superior nature of plates, bowls and cups is shown by the fact that they are found in abundance wherever human beings leave traces of their fallen civilisations. When everything else has been lost to time, a simple porcelain plate endures.

Wooden platters do not endure.

They split and rot and harbour living filth within their cracks and crevices. The term ‘trench mouth’ for ulcerative gingivitis, traces back to the use of wooden trenchers, or shared serving bowls in medieval times. They proved to be excellent transmission vectors for all manner of exciting infectious disease. Our return to these vessels, and worse, is our surrender to entropy. If human progress is no longer possible, why not stick a plastic cup full of tinned soup in a red shoe with a cheese cruller? Nothing matters anymore.

But! But… all is not lost.

A restaurant in the UK was recently fined £50,000 (or eighty-six grand in dollarydoos) for serving bad food on worse letters. After poisoning a dinner party of fourteen guests, Ibrahim's Grill and Steakhouse was ordered by local government health inspectors to stop serving food on cracked, dirty wooden boards. Of course, in the restaurant biz cracked, dirty wooden boards are so fucking hot right now… so Ibrahim kept right on poisoning those fashion-obsessed foodies.

It would be a shame. I think, if this small victory went nowhere. Wooden platters are not the worst things food has been served on, of late. This big fucking chunk of steel I-beam would be in with a shot...

… Were it not for the horror of meat on a clipboard…

Or, seriously, wasps in a biscuit.

The madness must end.

11 Responses to ‘Ibrahim's Grill and Transmission Vector’

Oldy mumbles...

Posted January 22
...but guzzling beer out of the coach's boot after a football championship win is still ok, right?

Asking for a friend, obviously...

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jl mumbles...

Posted January 22
Strongly agree with above.

One of the most sincerely held desires I had when serving in various unpleasant locales was for normal, won't-give-me-dysentary food served in sanitary conditions with people around me who didn't want me dead. Why would anyone want, short of Siege of Leningrad conditions, a biscuit filled with wasps? Or why eat some repulsive looking repast off of something salvaged from a scrap heap or a garbage dump?

One of the blessings of civilization is readily available, healthy and nourishing food. Damn, people must be bored with life, kind of like those seekers of the Darwin prize who eat Tide detergent pods.

Ennui kills as surely as a bullet. Look no further than the expensive slop on your trendy wooden plate.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted January 24
i'm glad this fad is dying in the arse.

Saw a funny joke about the tide pods going around the traps (disclaimer, funny cause i'm a dad and it definitely fits in that category):
It's easy to deter girls from eating tide pods but much harder to deter...gents

God. That has lost its shine in less than 24hours :(

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Dave W mutters...

Posted January 22
Food served on something that reminds me of a workplace, such as a clipboard (yes, I know, I haven't used a clipboard in decades, but office supplies in general), might drive me to a bigger drinks bill. But I won't go back to that place after the initial unpleasant experience.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 22
I think the clipboard is easily the worst one.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 22
This sort of wankbadgery is down to Gen InstagramFoodie ignoring the bit about function in the whole "beautiful" design process. Steve Jobs would be appalled.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 22
There's something amiss with the comments, again. So I'm posting this one by Jim Kable, who emailed it to me.

I spent many years in Japan - and was served food on some of the most spectacular pottery and porcelain - some the work of Living National Treasures (even of some who had passed away - and I don't want to rework that LNT appellation). Commiserations re the wooden platters, etc. - and the drinking from shoes option. Trying to drink out of glass jars is already bad enough!

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jason ducks in to say...

Posted January 23
I put my hand up to take some of the blame for this. I live in hipster central where this sort of frippery was encouraged and glorified. Sipping a short double shot espresso while riding a fixie after eating off a recycled toilet seat on the way to get an ironic tattoo is a way of life here.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 23
You sir, are history's greatest monster.

Dave W puts forth...

Posted January 23
I am convinced that this is all a sign of the end of days.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted January 24
If it's not it should be

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