Author Archives: Jon

Caption This!


Greetings, fellow readers!  Figured I’d try a new line of posts during my busy work week.  Today is the first of what I call ‘Caption This!’, a series of post where I showcase my caption idea based on the picture.  Here’s the first caption:

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Caption: Looks like the Trump family is auditioning for season 7 of American Horror Story!

Favorite Audio Logs From The Witness, Part 4


Happy Wednesday everyone!  It’s hump day, meaning just a few more days until we get into Friday.  I figured I would take this day to introduce more of my favorite audio logs from The Witness.

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Stemming from the first audio log series (see here), this series of posts is dedicated to some of the best audio logs from the game.  Each audio log revolves around the theme of religion, philosophy, science, and other complex ideas.  So let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.  Here are some more of my favorite audio logs:

Audio Log #1: Activation

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Our hangnails are incredibly real to us; whereas to most of us, the English village of Nether Wallop and the high Himalayan country of Bhutan, not to mention the slowly swirling spiral galaxy in Andromeda, are considerably less real, even though our intellectual selves might wish to insist that since the latter are much bigger and longer-lasting than our hangnails, they ought therefore to be far realer to us than our hangnails are.  We can say this to ourselves till we’re blue in the face, but few of us act as if we really believed it.  A slight slippage of subterranean stone that obliterates 20,000 people in some far-off land, the ceaseless plundering of virgin jungles in the Amazon basin, a swarm of helpless stars being swallowed up one after another by a ravenous black hole, even an ongoing collision between two huge galaxies each of which contains a hundred billion stars —such colossal events are so abstract to someone like me that they can’t even touch the sense of urgency and importance, and thus the reality, of some measly little hangnail on my left hand’s pinky.  We are all egocentric, and what is realest to each of us, in the end, is ourself.  The realest things of all are my knee, my nose, my anger, my hunger, my toothache, my sideache, my sadness, my joy, my love for math, my abstraction ceiling, and so forth.  What all these things have in common, what binds them together, is the concept of “my”, which comes out of the concept of “I” or “me”, and therefore, although it is less concrete than a nose or even a toothache, this “I” thing is what ultimately seems to each of us to constitute the most solid rock of undeniability of all.  Could it possibly be an illusion?  Or if not a total illusion, could it possibly be less real and less solid than we think it is?  Could an “I” be more like an elusive, receding, shimmering rainbow than like a tangible, heftable, transportable pot of gold?

~ Douglas Hofstadter, 2007

Audio Log #2: Uncertainty of Science

Image result for Richard Feynman

If we were not able or did not desire to look in any new direction, if we did not have a doubt or recognize ignorance, we would not get any new ideas.  There would be nothing worth checking, because we would know what is true.  So what we call scientific knowledge today is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty.  Some of them are most unsure; some of them are nearly sure; but none is absolutely certain.  Scientists are used to this.  We know that it is consistent to be able to live and not know.  Some people say, “How can you live without knowing?” I do not know what they mean.  I always live without knowing.  That is easy.  How you get to know is what I want to know.  This freedom to doubt is an important matter in the sciences and, I believe, in other fields.  It was born of a struggle.  It was a struggle to be permitted to doubt, to be unsure.  And I do not want us to forget the importance of the struggle and, by default, to let the thing fall away.  I feel a responsibility as a scientist who knows the great value of a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, and the progress made possible by such a philosophy, progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought.  I feel a responsibility to proclaim the value of this freedom and to teach that doubt is not to be feared, but that it is to be welcomed as the possibility of a new potential for human beings.  If you know that you are not sure, you have a chance to improve the situation.  I want to demand this freedom for future generations.

~ Richard Feynman, 1963

Gettin’ Down with the Party of Five!


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Yesterday I was on a nostalgic 90s-mood.  I caught the last few minutes of my childhood favorite Pinocchio, watched a few minutes of Disney’s Hercules before starting my blog post, then heard some good tunes from Nirvana and Sublime while strolling through the beach.  We may be pacing through 2017, but my mind has been craving for some nostalgic 90s content.  As a matter of fact, one classic series I’ve been binge-watching lately is Party of Five.

Image result for Party of Five

Image result for Party of Five

Party of Five is a classic 90s teen drama revolving around the Salinger family in San Francisco.  The cast stars Scott Wolf as Bailey, Matthew Fox as Charlie, Neve Campbell (star of the Scream films!) as Julia, Lacey Chabert (voice of Eliza Thornberry on The Wild Thornberrys!), multiple kids starred as Owen, and Paula Devicq as Kirsten.  The parents of the household were killed by a drunk driver, forcing the kids to grow up real fast.  A lot of dark issues pop up during the series, especially with the long-term effects of parental loss.  Other controversial themes that come up during the series include cancer, domestic/substance abuse, abortion, and other ideas.

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After binge-watching two seasons, Party of Five has been amazing to check out.  It’s an emotional roller-coaster through some of the episodes, yet it’s got some mature content for a TV-PG rated series.  This is one 90s classic you can easily binge-watch all seasons on Netflix.

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If Full House and Shameless got together and made a baby, that baby would be Party of Five.  As a matter of fact, I noticed some strikingly similarities to Showtime’s Shameless in many ways.  For one thing, both sets of kids had to grow up quickly once their parents weren’t around (Frank and Monica are alive, but they were deadbeat parents that really weren’t around for the Gallagher clan!).  Both series explore some controversial ideas within each season.  Only difference is that the Gallaghers aren’t shameless about their actions (it’s called Shameless for a reason, duh!).

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Party of Five didn’t have as much diverse characters, but there were truly some colorful people hanging around the Salinger gang.  Ross Anderson came out to Claudia when she set them up on a date on season 1.  Either way, the family accepted Ross for who he was (because the 90s weren’t that homophobic).  Shameless featured not just one, but multiple gay characters in the series.  Ian Gallagher came out to Fiona near the end of season one and had an on-off relationship with Mickey (btw props to Ian for being shameless about his sexuality!  #GoIanGallagher).  Both Shameless and Party of Five have their share of colorful characters in each season.

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Other than the bold characters, both shows features characters doing drugs/alcohol in some of the episode.  Bailey’s former girlfriend Jill was hooked on speed and died of a cocaine overdose at the end of season 1.  There’s lot of drinking scenes, but the craziest of them all was when Claudia got caught drinking with Jody in her tent (FYI, Marla Sokoloff’s bad-girl personality can also be seen in Full House & Fuller House!).  As for Shameless…well, pretty much EVERY drug was used each season.  Cannabis, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, meth, and many other substances were shown since the end of season 7.  While drug/alcohol use was a big deal in the Party of Five household, everyone in the Shameless family were shameless about it (especially with weed!).

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At the end of my rambling between Party of Five and Shameless, I conclude that Party of Five is definitely an interesting show to start on Netflix.  It’s definitely a toned-down version of Shameless, yet features similar concepts between the two series.  I haven’t gotten through half of the series and I look forward to see what new adventures arise for the Salinger clan.  Who knows what crazy drama will stir up next in season 3 of Party of Five.  Who knows, we could see some shameless characters in the future!

Viceland’s Epic TV Criss-Cross!


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After the first day of my work week, I am most excited to come home to watch the new episodes of Weediquette and Bong AppétitWeediquette may have aired their final episode of the season (boo!), but Bong Appétit is still going strong.  Last week’s episode featured Abdullah Saeed throwing a pizza party for his friends featuring cannabis-infused pizzas.

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            Other than showcasing cannabis-infused pizzas, there were some notable guests that dropped by for the celebration.  These guests appeared on Bong Appétit for what is known as – wait for it—a TV CRISS-CROSS!  That’s right, folks!  Today’s post features a crazy TV criss-cross that brought together various guests from other TV series.  It was a TV Criss-Cross so spectacular that it is known as…the Viceland TV Criss-Cross!

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Image result for The Pizza Show

            So let’s break it down:  For the pizza-themed episode, the Bong Appétit crew welcome Frank Pinello from The Pizza ShowThe Pizza Show follows Frank Pinello as he travels across the country tasting various pizza pies.  Frank’s own series can be watched on the Viceland network!  Since The Pizza Show was on hiatus until season 2, Frank dropped by the Bong Appétit house to help out with making three infused pizzas.  He isn’t a heavy cannabis user, but he was enthusiastic about adding cannabis products into his pizza pies (props to him for that amazing dab hit at the end!).  Cannabis and pizzas, two beautiful commodities here in America, melded together for one fantastic Bong Appétit episode. 

Image result for King of the Road Viceland

Image result for King of the Road Viceland

            But wait, there’s more!  The episode featured guests from Viceland’s other series King of the RoadKing of the Road follows three teams that go on a skating trip of a life time, shredding their dignity (as well as blood!) to be crowned as King of the Road.  It’s a wild scavenger that leads three teams all across the country to cross off each item on the list (for those of you who remember the scavenger hunt episode on MTV’s Viva La Bam, it’s basically that concept for the series!).  Some of the King of the Road crew dropped by for some pizzas, smoke some amazing weed, and to shred on the half-pipe ramp.

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And there you have it – three amazing shows on Viceland under one roof for Bong Appétit It was an amazing TV criss-cross that featured three shows from one awesome TV network.  There were pizzas, there were radical skaters shredding the half-pipe, and of course…LOTS of weed!  Skateboarding, cannabis, and pizzas…can it get any better than this?  This was the best Viceland TV Criss-Cross to date!

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            I haven’t done much TV Criss-crosses for MakeSandcastlesNotWar lately and I’m glad I found the time to write about this one.  It’s funny how you discover TV series intertwining for one amazing television event.  TV series have been crossing over each other for decades and it makes for great entertainment.  Viceland’s criss-cross of Bong Appétit with The Pizza Show & King of the Road made for a fantastic episode last week.  Who knows what other fantastic TV Criss-crosses we’ll run into in the future.