Bad Advice Comix!

Yes, the last “Storm Will Give You Bad Advice” was only two posts ago. B-but…this one is a COMIC, illustrated by none other than Len Peralta of Geek-A-Week, Monster By Mail, and too many other projects to mention. You can imagine how busy he is, but if y’all like it, we’ll make more. And even though I’m providing my advice in comix form, the usual disclaimer still applies:

I’m not an expert of any kind, I cannot vouch for the efficacy or legality of my advice, and as a blanket statement recommend that no one should follow it, ever. It is bad advice. I will also not be held accountable if any of my advice is found to be thought-provoking, or if any portion therein could be deemed to be, by a deranged mind, constructive.

Would YOU like some bad advice? From ME? Simply send an e-mail to, and please put the words “bad advice” in the Subject line so that I can tell it apart from all of the space junk. But before asking, visit this post for complete details, disclaimers, and other caveats. Because it’s the right thing to do. NOTE: some questions will receive written answers, some will be made into comix, and others might not be answered at all. It’s the muse’s call.

Fuck Pepsi (or, The Scrappy-Doo of Beverages)

Calvin peeing on an older Pepsi logoYes, you heard me correctly.

Now to explain, because at heart I’m a reasonable guy: I have no particular beef with PepsiCo, or at least no more or less so than any other multinational corporation (a topic for another time). My statement is aimed at their namesake flagship product, Pepsi-Cola.

No, this is not going to be a rehash of the “Coke vs. Pepsi” debate (though I suspect the comments section may devolve into one). I do not see beverage preference (or nearly anything else) as a zero-sum game, and the meat my grievance is more of an indictment of certain marketing/advertising practices in general. So if you enjoy Pepsi-Cola more than anything else in the world, without irony I say “good for you”; once you have found her, never let her go.

It’s true that if forced to choose between a Coca-Cola and a Pepsi-Cola, I will choose the former every time. But not because I think that Coke is innately superior, or because it’s officially endorsed by Santa Claus (it’s not), or any other reason that The Coca-Cola Company has spent a lot of money over the past hundred-plus years engraving into the collective consciousness.
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A Lawn Pimp, I

I tend to analyze everything I see, do, and think to an unwarranted degree, which today means explaining why I find Steely Dan to be the perfect sound track for doing yard word. But to get there, I have to start with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

During our most recent road trip, Mike Phirman and I found ourselves discussing CSNY’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”. Mike told me he hadn’t encountered it at all until college, and I audibly gasped. He elaborated by stating that he bonded with it immediately, but it seemed inconceivable to me that a musician of his caliber, with his wide-ranging musical sensibilities, wouldn’t have had it chiseled into his mind at an early age.

Of course I quickly realized I was projecting onto him my own mind’s reaction to the song. And after apologizing for staring at him like he was a five-legged chimpanzee, I explained that, to me, CSNY’s “Woodstock” is a song that has always existed. Not just in the sense that it was on the radio even before I was born, or because it was one of the first songs I can remember hearing. It’s more like a feeling that it was formed whole at the dawn of time, waiting patiently for billions of years until there were hippies and suburban kids soiling their diapers in the 1970s, and college students in dorm rooms in the 1990s, to listen to it. I still get the tingles and my eyes go kaleidoscopic when I hear the sweeping harmonies on the line “…and we’ve got to get ourselves…back to the ga-a-a-a-ARRRRRR-DENNNNNN!”
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ASOIAF and the Geek/Nerd Universe Spectrum


Many of you probably got very excited to see that word; more of you are likely puzzled by it. SPOILER ALERT: he’s a character* in George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) series of novels. The much-anticipated adaptation of the first book, “A Game of Thrones”, will be airing soon on HBO.

I’m not going to go into great detail about why I think the series is so terrific, other than to say that Martin has created a swords and sorcery world with incredible depth and integrity. Oh, and that his characters are complex and dynamic, and he has a talent for keeping the reader engaged and guessing without resorting to cheap narrative tricks. But what interests me right now is how deep the universe of ASOIAF will penetrate into the long-term collective geek/nerd psyche.

Of course it’ll depend heavily on the quality of and reception to the HBO series, and its penetration will be tempered by its appearance on a pay channel. But many people will likely be drawn to read the books because of the exposure, even if they don’t watch the series, which would help push it higher up in influence among universes occupying territory in the geek/nerd spectrum.

That’s the short, pithy answer.

< ----begin ¾-baked overwrought analysis---->

[NOTE: I will probably get clobbered for a lot of what I say below. I’m comfortable with that.]
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The Art of the Photobomb

I don’t know if it’s risen to the level of uber-pervasive meme, but photobombing is now at the very least a minor sport, no doubt encouraged by the sheer number of snapshots published every second on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else where the walls are plastered with people’s lives.

All sports need rules and a system of scoring–especially nerd sports. But given the chaotic nature of photobombing, I propose the following short and simple guidelines:
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Hidden In Plain Sight

It’s an achievement to be anonymous these days. Everyone and their dog is on Facebook, and a few keystrokes on Google usually turns up the rest. Yet there are dozens of people that we see every day who, for all intents and purposes, don’t really exist.

You see them on sites large and small, perfectly lit and photographed, smiling, and doing things Just Like You And I Would. Often you see them after mistyping a web address like that of the New York Times ( A genius move by the web squatters really. Instead of feeling rage because you’ve fallen into their trap, they distract you with a symmetrically-faced human being. Kinda takes the edge off of becoming an unwitting pawn in their efforts to extort money from, in this case, the New York Times (or, for all I know, there’s a band, philanthropic society, or dodgeball team called the New York Tims).

I’ve heard that Miami and L.A. are the modeling capitals of the U.S., but given how the avatars of the stock photography world usually look like they were poured straight from a milk carton, my guess is that they’re actually lassoed down or grown in Utah. But it doesn’t really matter, and I’m sure they’re grateful to get stock photo modeling gigs. And if Chrissie Hynde can stomach her music being used as the audio calling card for Rush Limbaugh, I’m sure these folks can handle falsely shilling for the New York Tims.

So hold your heads high, anonymous stock photo pixies. Hold. Your. Heads. HIGH.

Down and Out On Sesame Street

I wouldn’t call myself a news junkie, but I probably follow current events more than the average bear. And being an avid NPR lister (one of the sponsoring “listeners like you”, in fact), I couldn’t help but notice the recent efforts to defund public television and radio funding. Now I’m hardly an expert, and I’ll leave it to more knowledgeable and established pundits to debate the proper role of government, or whether or not the federal government should be involved in broadcasting at all during this golden age of cable and internet.

My interest is much narrower and far more lighthearted: if the proposed cuts do go through, what will happen to all of the newly unemployed Sesame Street Muppets? The following takes place on a New York City street, in one possible not-too-distant future…
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Thank You, Phil Collins

Grocery aisle photo by ThomasHawk (Flickr) (alterations by me)

I am not a Phil Collins fan.


I have never been to a Phil Collins concert or bought a Phil Collins solo music or video product. And I don’t say it to be mean, but many’s the time in the past 20 years that I changed the radio station because I heard his voice.

So yes, my first reaction to the news that Phil Collins was retiring from music was “so what”, and my second was “he’s still doing music?” I’ll even confess that I had other, less kind thoughts, fueled by memories of treacly ballads pushed into my ears in grocery store aisles, at shopping malls, and other public spaces that disgorge music that’s “universal”–and bland as bleached white rice. And don’t even get me started (or most especially Mrs. Storm) about “Sussudio”.
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