Category: Essays

Longer form pieces.

The Tale Of The Hot ER Doc

Emergency room entrance to Legacy Meridian Par...
Emergency room entrance to Legacy Meridian Park Hospital. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Which of my many poor decisions brought me here?” she thought to herself. Was it owning a body that exceeded its warranty? She’d had a good run. Thirty years is a long time to keep yourself alive if you really have no skill at it. She’d been awfully careless with her allergies. Every decision to eat or touch or breathe had to be in delicate balance with the outside world. It became so exhausting after a while. She did the things she shouldn’t, just to prove she still could. Continue reading

Dale Comer: Words Of Remembrance

Dale & Carly
Dale & Carly

This Saturday, June 27th, 2015, was the memorial for Dale Comer. This is the text of the speech I gave. 

At the memorial, the Dale Comer Scholarship was announced, providing at least $500 a year for Broadcast Engineering students at Bates Technical College in Tacoma. If you would like to make a donation, send a check with “Dale Comer Scholarship” on the memo line to:

KBTC Public Television
2320 S. 19th St
Tacoma, WA 98405

When Dale passed away, I was devastated. He was my best friend. The last time I talked to him on the phone, it sounded like he was actually on the upswing, so when I found out he was fading fast, it hit extra hard.

I was lucky enough to visit him before he passed, and even though he couldn’t really talk, he was still there, he could still communicate. And… even as he lay dying, HE comforted ME when I broke down crying. That’s kind of Dale in a nutshell. Continue reading

Wikipedia Article Word Counts, Compared

New wikipedia logo
New wikipedia logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Punic Wars: 3,478 words

Star Wars: 13,311 words


Horatio Nelson: 15,229 words

Optimus Prime: 16,469 words


Ching Shih (the 19th-century pirate queen who commanded one of the largest pirate fleets in human history): 2,115 words

Samus Aran: 4,713 words

Continue reading

RIP Dale Comer

Dale & Carly
Dale & Carly

About two weeks ago, on April 14th, 2015, one of my best friends in the entire world, Dale Comer, passed away after fighting for 14 months with aggressive brain cancer.  It’s taken me a while to write this, but since I’ve stopped crying all the time in real life, I think I might be ready.  (That said, I keep having crying jags over Dale in my dreams.)

I just don’t even really know what form this is going to take, and I’m not sure if I’ll do too much re-writing just because it’s really painful.  I’m glad I got to see him the Saturday before he passed, and I’ll always remember the very last time I saw him, when we were saying goodbye — Dale couldn’t really talk in the end, it hurt him too much, so he could only make gestures — as we left, he gave us the peace sign, as he often would.  It was so Dale.

I’ve known him since I was a freshman in college.  We both worked at the student radio station.  I think I’ve told the story a few times on Crush On Radio about how we met, where I made a joke about our current slogan during the show I did with Jeremiah while he happened to be in the booth fixing something.  And, after that, we ended up hanging out a lot.

It was one where we just did a lot of stuff together.  There was one summer where I was still in college and thankfully didn’t have to work, and Dale was currently between jobs.  (This was shortly before he got hired for the Delilah show.)  And pretty much, we hung out every day, watching movies, watching his tapes of Kids in the Hall, doing all sorts of stuff.

This is kind of the interesting thing, we were both hardcore comedy nerds, and we both had the same favorites, Mystery Science Theater 3000, SCTV, the Kids, Night Court, and we’d kinda stumbled upon them growing up and latched onto them.  The thing that always blew me away is that Dale had a photographic memory for this stuff, and would sometimes drop really obscure references to sketches I’d only half remember — and they usually wouldn’t even be the punchline, but other lines that were equally hilarious, even if not as memorable to people who weren’t Dale.

And we were both music nerds, except that he could actually play.  We turned each other on to stuff — I got him into the Who, and brought him to a couple Residents concerts, and he got me into folks like Don Ellis.  He’s on some of the Kittysneezes music tracks, which I always deeply appreciated even though I think he’d sometimes get frustrated at how.. wrong? they were?  Since I didn’t have any compositional background or anything.  I know we’d sometimes argue about technical skill in music, since he came especially from a jazz background, and I liked self-taught bands like Half Japanese.  But there were tons of crossovers, including POLYSICS, whom he loved probably as much as I do.

One of the things I remember especially about his skill is one time when he and I and Carly (his longtime girlfriend who cared for him for his entire illness, and is one of the strongest people I know) were playing around in my dad’s studio on some of my weird instruments, and he was able to actually play a song on my theremin.  Which is amazing.  He claimed to only have relative pitch rather than perfect pitch, but, dang if he wasn’t close to perfect pitch.  I’d sometimes ask him what a note was, and he’d deliberate a bit, and then get it right.

One other time, we were killing time in the studio, and bored, he walked over to the drum machine and started playing the drum track from DEVO’s version of “Satisfaction” live.  Which again, pretty dang amazing.

But then Dale was and is amazing.

I feel really bad that I didn’t talk to him as much as I should have when he was ill.  He didn’t want to see anyone, since I think he didn’t want to worry anyone.  But still, it was hard talking to him on the phone, as the tumor had made him slur his words, and have trouble thinking.  But the last time I talked with him on the phone, I kept getting snatches of the real Dale there, with his normal, non-slurred voice.  It really sounded like he was getting better, and would get to beat this.

Unfortunately I was wrong.  It was a week before he died that Carly let me know that his time on earth was best measured in weeks.  And it turned out to be week, singular — exactly, in fact.  She called the Tuesday before he died — which was on a Tuesday.

In Seattle, we’ve actually had really nice weather lately — with the notable exception of two days.  One, the Saturday when my parents and I visited him for the last time, and Two, the day he died.  Carly even said that very shortly after he passed, a bolt of lightning hit nearby, and the resulting thunder was so lound and strong his entire house shook.

I don’t go in for miracles or supernatural things like that, but every once in a while, something coincidental happens that just seems magical.  And that’s one of those things.

It’s Dale’s birthday today.

I miss you so much dude.

I love you.

And I always will.

The fine folks at KBTC, the public television station where Dale worked as an engineer, put this video together and has been running it between shows. Thank you so much for doing this. Dale clearly touched you as much as he touched us all. I’ve been having a bit of trouble with it showing up via FB, but the direct post is here.

We miss you, Dale!

Posted by KBTC Public Television on Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Most Popular Fitness Tips of All Time

English: Blanched almonds. Gaelg: Almonyn gial...
English: Blanched almonds. Gaelg: Almonyn giallit. हिन्दी: भुने बादाम. മലയാളം: പുഴുങ്ങിയ ബദാം പരിപ്പ്. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bikini season is almost upon us, but you gave up on your New Year’s resolution last February. Don’t spend another summer in a one-piece! Try these fitness tips gleaned from a survey of diet devotees. Continue reading

Somewhere in the Middle

The Hammer of Witches which destroyeth Witches...
The Hammer of Witches which destroyeth Witches and their heresy like a most powerful spear The English translation is from this note to Summers’ 1928 introduction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now now everyone, let’s all calm down a minute. Let’s quiet down, all of us. You too, Hildegard. I know we’re all a little over-excited right now, but before we do or say anything else, let’s all just take a minute to work out our problems.

I’m just a moderate, a neutral observer to this fight, and I’d like to mediate between the two sides. I know it might seem that you’re diametrically opposed, but there’s a lot of common ground here, and I hope that by taking a minute to discuss our problems we’ll be able to find a solution that benefits everyone. Continue reading

Video Premiere: “Theatre of Magic”

I have made a video, called THEATRE OF MAGIC, using 26 minutes of the 40 minute long original cast recording of The Tim Heidecker Masterpiece’s rock opera of the same name. If you’re wondering why you should bother watching an action figure stop motion rock opera, then you should probably just do something else and not bother. But if a rock opera with action figures and/or the music and awesome of Tim Heidecker gets you even the slightest bit juiced, please do yourself a favor and watch this thing I’ve created.

Continue reading

With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus — 4 Honorable Mentions

Anyway — as you’ve probably seen, I got to interview Lauren Lapkus for Unicorn Booty! (And thanks to my editor, Daniel Villarreal, for the idea to ask her in the first place!) I’d originally written the article as a personal Top 5 list — but when Lauren agreed to be interviewed, the focus changed to be HER Top 5, because DUH.  So, anyway — these are from an earlier draft of the article where it was going to be just me.  (And, hey, anything that gets you to check out With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus is a good thing.  Seriously, that podcast is SO Brilliant.)

Continue reading

Hey, Look! It’s some PODCASTIN’ TIPS!

English: The Superego Podcast logo (2009)
Man, SuperEgo is AWESOME. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’ve been doing podcasts for a while now, between working with Rich and Andrew on Crush On Radio and my own Painful Threshold (speaking of, a new episode should be coming soon!) — and I figured I could maybe help out anyone out there who wants to do a podcast themselves but doesn’t know where to start.  So hey, have some advice in a handy-dandy bulleted list! Continue reading

Exploring Infinite Time Loops

Sarah Connor (Terminator)
Sarah Connor (Terminator) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are cases in many stories (usually science-fiction or science-fantasy stories) in which an infinite time loop is used. What is fascinating about this idea is the way a seemingly impossible premise is presented: the fact that certain events in time repeat endlessly, or that certain points in time serve as starting points for infinite events.

To explore the basics of the infinite time loop, what will be discussed are the two most common infinite time loop examples: The fixed infinite time loop and the unfixed infinite time loop.

A fixed infinite time loop is like a circle; it has no definite beginning or end, but repeats itself eternally. To explain a fixed infinite time loop, two different stories will be used as examples.

Example number one is the story told in the Terminator film trilogy. The first Terminator’s entire story pretty much revolves around an infinite time loop: Events cause other events that, in turn, end up causing the original events. Continue reading