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I’m on vacation in Tucson, staying in a tiny house and I just watched “Passengers” on a tiny TV– but it sucked huge. The suckage doesn’t fit in this tiny house and it needs a place to go and that place is here.

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“There is a reason they woke up.” Yeah. It’s because Chris Pratt is a total asshole.

It’s the future and Earth sucks so a big company ships 5,000 rich people through space to a new planet called Homestead II. Of course it takes hundreds of years to get there so everyone is tucked away snoozing in pods. Chris Pratt’s pod (don’t remember his character’s name, don’t care) malfunctions and he wakes up 90 years early. He spends a year never shaving probably because he saw “Castaway” and thinks that’s what you’re supposed to do with your stranded time.

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But while Tom Hanks manages to cope for four years by building a meaningful relationship with a volleyball, this guy can’t deal with being alone for one year— even though he has 3-D Dance Dance Revolution AND a full bar with a British android bartender– and so he caves and ruins Jennifer Lawrence’s life by waking her up because he’s a big dumb awful man baby.

AND HE FUCKING TALKS WITH HIS MOUTH FULL. After he lies to her and tells her both their pods just happen to have malfunctioned and she’s coming to grips with the fact that she will die on this spaceship, she shares some of her “Gold Class” breakfast with him because he’s been, boo-hoo, eating Cheerios for a year.

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Then he starts talking to her through a wad of scone and I screamed “OPEN THE POD BAY DOORS HONEY AND JUMP!” That shit is bad enough when you can actually kick someone out of your house for doing it, or just never text back or whatever, but being resigned to a lifetime under fluorescent lights with full-mouth-talking Space Pratt? I’d be fumbling for those cyanide capsules. Or a crowbar. Either way the movie would be more interesting.

But because this is a Lifetime in space– a Lifetime movie in space– of course this happens:

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And this:

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Ugh those shoes. Anyway they do dumb romantic shit like they have a choice and she says baffling things like “for the first time in my life I don’t feel alone” until the British android bartender spills the beans that Chris woke her up on purpose.

Then a crowbar actually does make an appearance. She flips out on him, heaving the anachronistic tool above her head, almost making the movie a good one; I can’t believe there are no pictures of the crowbar scene. But she reins it in and the rest of the movie is just her being frosty to him until some bigger spaceship problem happens and they have to work together to save the day.

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Blah blah she ends up saving his life with the old “my spacesuit tether is still connected and I’m brave” trick and there is much weeping and trauma bonding and probably also a lot of Stockholm Syndrome.

Of course there had been no way for them to crawl back in their pods and go back to sleep because movie, but in all the hullabaloo Chris finds out that the medical pod has a “suspended animation” feature.

The talking-while-eating was bad, but here’s where the movie gets truly dark if you ask me. There’s only one medical pod and Chris is all “you take it– you can go back to sleep now.” Are you fucking kidding me? You were such a weak, blubbering, piece of shit that you had to destroy her life because you were BORED and now you’re like “it’s ok, I’ll be fine, go live your life” and basically manipulate her into saying “no, I can’t leave you,” thereby assuaging all your guilt about having selfishly woken her up in the first place???

 

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And then they get married the end.

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I literally have no idea where to start with this one:

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The word ARTISANS emblazoned under the instantly-recognizable Domino’s logo was powerful enough to halt my brisk walk to the train station and deglove my hands in 1°C weather to take a picture. Upon closer inspection I saw the “not,” and the combination of delight and confusion hit me so hard I thought I was going to puke. I started to read the text but “we don’t wear black berets…” was instantly too much, and tears of silent, body-shaking laughter started to freeze on my cheeks.

This pizza box essentially triggered a bout of full-blown mania, and I feel like God is speaking directly to me through it. My life makes sense. The world is a beautiful place. My thoughts are so rollicksome that I will have to make a simple list to point out everything that is going on here in this nugget of perfect, perfect awfulness:

1. Why all the pride in sucking?

The care taken in embellishing the word “NOT” is sad and confusing. The first sentence implies that “this pizza is going to be 100 times worse than any other pizza you have ever had.” I mean, you can make a pizza with all the passion you want (and how do you apply integrity to pizza-making, anyway?), but if you’re cooking it in a microwave or whatever the hell Domino’s uses, it’s still going to suck.

There’s also a bit of a hipster dive bar vs. craft cocktail establishment going on here. Like, “not sucking is so mainstream; we sucked before it was cool and we’re going to keep on sucking.”

2. Pizza chefs DO NOT wear “black berets”

Does this guy look like he’s about to start tossing some dough in the air?

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No, it looks like he’s going to war.

3. And in the end they call their pizza artisanal!

PICK AN ANGLE, GUYS. Are you or aren’t you?

4. That blank signature field says it all

Bitch, please. Nobody wants their name attached to that shit, Domino’s. And what the FUCK is the tiny “oh yes we did!” referring to? We totally lied to you and now you’re eating something that an excess of twelve rats scampered across since yesterday when we made it and heated it up in microwave for you just now?

There was certainly a lot going on in the grocery store today, and not just because of an impending blizzard. There was also a quiet kind of mayhem afoot: out-of-control claims and typos on some weird nature cereal!

Grain Berry? What was I thinking?

Grain Berry? What was I thinking?

The Silver Palate, eh? Who the FUCK are you and what are you doing in my cereal aisle?

The beauty of this discovery is that I didn’t register a single thing about this cereal box until I was back home standing in my kitchen and saw “Network of Smart Antioxidants;” I almost dropped the box. My eyes, contorted by wonder, drifted down to find:

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High Tannin WHAT? I can’t hear yoooou

I thought this was just some shredded wheat, for shit’s sake. Should I use red wine instead of milk so I can get some RESVERATROL PLUS ANTIOXIDANTS PLUS TANNIN too?

The best of all is the side panel. Behold:

"Drink every time you make a mistake!"

“Drink every time you make a mistake!”

No. No, you don’t “grow” the antioxidants you senile old man. And even if you did “antioxidants” do not “makes” anything. Oh, and nice title, “Grain Berry Grower…”

The back of the box contains too much text to want a picture of, but I will share with you some choice quotes.

“If you have access to a computer and the internet, I urge you to check the discussion about antioxidants by leading medical institutions and universities” Uhm, don’t tell me to just go Google shit about your product, you lazyface.

“Bottom line, antioxidants, and its helper bioactive compounds, fight the attack of these chemicals called free radicals before they can do serious damage and other very bad things.” Science just exploded.

“A leading university of public health states unequivocally that ample evidence suggests that a network of various antioxidants from fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide protection against many of the ‘scourges of aging.'” That’s some flowery language from a leading university of public health…

– –

BONUS CHECK-OUT AISLE MAGAZINE MENINGITIS MAYHEM:

Mmmmeningitis

Mmmmeningitis

What does public health have against ice cream?

Like, an Alice in Chains music video or something.

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Two hours of meaningless, empty, vapid, BORING plotless meandering emo bullshit. I fell asleep THREE times– on purpose! There’s that part In Amadeus where Salieri is explaining that if the Emperor yawned three times during an opera it would be a one-hit wonder and fail that same night.

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Here’s what I was able to glean from the movie in between naps. Tilda Swinton looks like Powder’s sister:

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Modern vampires are nothing more than loathsome bohemian hipsters who drink artisanal blood like Fernet and make whimsical blood popsicles:

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Oh, and there’s no plot.

A.O. Scott is weirdly gentle in his two-and-a-half star review:

“What sustains “Only Lovers Left Alive” is less a story than a sensibility, an attitude of nostalgic and somewhat cranky connoisseurship. Plots are for squares, which is not to say that nothing happens.”

Of course things happen– vampires mope around wearing sunglasses, looking for blood, feeling suicidal, playing the lute, looking like Robert Smith– but in the end, who cares? You can go to Brooklyn or a Whole Foods and see this shit in real life and STILL not care!

If Nihilism is the underlying theme here, then really embrace it and just stay home.

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Knowing that nobody would want to see this movie with me and might feel awkward coming up with an excuse, I, as a benevolent friend, headed to the theater solo. “Date night!” I declared enthusiastically to my parakeets, and stopped to consider that I was going to see a rom-dram Stephen Hawking biopic. Perfect.

There were no theater beers to be had at the venue, so I bought a giant brownie and some Earl Grey. I figured mainlining sugar and caffeine would keep me awake during the film, as Matthew McConaughey does not play Stephen Hawking (but wouldn’t THAT be something). No, the cast was basically a bunch of unknown British actors and before the opening credits stopped I had come to a beautiful realization: in addition to being yet another movie mashup, The Theory of Everything is also Lifetime movie. It’s like they tried to establish a unified theory of how bad movies are made. Some observations:

Aspergerporn

Most Lifetime movies feature a bunch of hunky guys for the leading ladies to fall for and reject, but ToE serves up a gaggle of awkward geniuses gallumphing around the well-manicured lawns of Cambridge University.

The Right-Hand Rule never looked so good

As someone who’s first crush was Spock, I’m okay with all of this. In addition to cluttering up chalkboards with Calculus, these physicists fraternize (read: clutter up napkins with Calculus)  in dimly-lit pubs where they make winsome-yet-minimal eye contact with the occasional group of ladies standing in the corner. This is how Stephen ends up meeting his wife, and is basically exactly the same as the beginning of A Beautiful Mind.

The future Mrs. Hawking’s outgoing personality and nerd love make it an idyllic match, and awkward Stephen cuts loose. She gets him to dance which is, like, huge– it’s like the money shot of aspergerporn.

Our love still exists behind a wall of math

You gotta do you

The whole “leaving someone who needs you because you need to take care of yourself” Lifetime theme (The Dive from Clausen’s Pier) takes a twist in ToE. Typically Lifetime presents a strong woman who can’t tied be down to, say, her quadriplegic boyfriend. In ToE it’s fully-Lou Gheriged Stephen Hawking who decides to run off to America with his nurse, leaving his long-suffering wife with the billion children he managed to sire. Nice move, Dr. Asshole.

Next he’s going to buy a sportschair

He takes old wife to meet the Queen, at least.

Stupid ending

It’s the whole movie rewinding to the first time he met old wife. Derp. We have to see Hawking’s decline in reverse; the chalk he broke during a Lou Gherig’s-onset moment is repaired in an impossible reversal of entropy, etc. Then it’s over and they slap up some “where are they now” text. Classic Lifetime plot wormhole where tons of shit happens in the last 10 minutes– montages, speaking engagements, a big ceremony where the whole audience slowly starts standing and slow clapping-to-fervid applause. That definitely happened in Mr. Holland’s Opus at least once.

Bonus: Cumberbatch comparison

On my way out of the theater I remembered that Benedict Cumberbatch played Stephen Hawking in Hawking.

No.

I’d never heard of the new guy who plays him in ToF (Eddie Redmayne) but he definitely wins the Hawking-Off.

Yes.

Cumberbatch looks straight out of Hufflepuff; soft, naive, and generally lame. Redmayne has it nailed down. Case closed.

Also, don’t see this movie.

I’m going to be upfront here and disclose that I drank two pints of theater beer during this movie and although these were not potent drinks I may have blacked out for the last 20 minutes. It reminds me of the time I nibbled on a xanax before taking the GRE subject test in biochemistry and molecular biology. By the end I was just filling in random scantron bubbles and giving zero shits.

Clocking in at 3 hours– about as long as it takes one to complete the GRE subject test– Interstellar became as trying an ordeal for me as it was for Matthew McAstronaughey and the rest of the mission crew. What I’m trying to get at here is that it simply wasn’t very good– certainly not as gush-worthy as so many seem to think. It was an extended remix of Gravity, Contact, 2001, Apollo 13, Moon, and maybe even a little Powder and E.T. sprinkled in there too. The only thing that was able to hold my attention after a certain point was McConaughey’s complete and utter hotness. Like most people with a brain and two eyes, I have been reveling in the so-called McConaissance ever since “True Detective.” In Interstellar he’s both a rugged Carhart-wearing farmer AND a sexy astronaut– SPLOOSH.

Ahem. Anyway, if you want pith, I’ll give you a one-word review: Intersmellar. But, because I had to sit through 3 hours of it, I’m going to bloviate.

Hour one:

Everyone on Earth wants to pack up and head to another habitable planet because they are forced to reenact Ken Burns’ “The Dust Bowl,” which, as we know, is super boring. Old people are interviewed, black and white photographs are slowly zoomed in on– all that’s missing is a mournful violin whimpering out Ashokan Farewell.

We meet the family McConaughey (Cooper and his kids Murphy and Tom) and boy do they love Science. Mom is out of the picture for whatever reason, and Cooper takes the kids on irresponsible adventures like plowing through a cornfield in his pickup truck to fly the family drone around a quarry. Murphy, affectionately “Murph,” is a tomboy and very obviously Cooper’s favorite of the two kids.

Hey kids, let’s play a game called “foreshadowing”

Murph (very unscientifically) thinks that there is a ghost in her bedroom because books keep falling off her shelf. Cooper calls her out on her illogical thinking, but Murph has been taking careful Rainman-like notes documenting the patterns of which books fall. When she leaves her window open during a dust storm and sees some perfectly normal looking lines on the dusty floor she and dad make a giant conceptual leap that “it’s gravity!” I’m all “whuhh?” Wikipedia helps me not feel so dumb by describing this part of the plot thusly: they discover the “ghost” is an unknown intelligence sending coded messages using gravitational waves, leaving binary coordinates in the dust that direct them to a secret NASA installation led by Professor John Brand (Michael Caine).

Oh.

It’s like they wadded up a bunch of sci-fi and threw it at my face. It was jarring and felt unfair.

Hour two:

Michael Caine is in charge of Secret NASA and his most memorable (and irksome) character trait is that he quotes “Do not go gentle into that good night” FIVE TIMES throughout the movie. I guess we can add The Cider House Rules to the movie melange.

“Goodnight you prince of Space, you king of the Universe”

He’s also dying, like the old guy with cancer who funds the space travel machine in Contact. His daughter, Anne Hathaway (Amelia), is a biologist (a nice “soft science” for a pretty lady). Cooper makes a shitty remark about her looking too good to be a scientist and I hate McConaughey for about a second– until I see his glistening cheekbones and degrade him in my mind– he’s too pretty to be a scientist.

Toss in a couple sarcastic robots and some expendable crew members, and they’re ready to boldly go explore habitable planets. Murph is heartbroken and extremely pissed that dad is going to space and literally leaving her in the dust, and she has decoded some more book patterns into a message reading “stay.” He doesn’t. He gives her his watch. We’re supposed to cry now.

Sadsville: population Murph

The all-star crew is whisked off to space towards some planets scattered around near a black hole that have been identified as potentially life supporting. I don’t know what these people were smoking when they decided this, because the first planet is just a planet-wide ocean with giant killer waves. Water only equals life when it’s not drowing you. Amelia tries to haul some data storage machine that’s floating around back into their spacecraft but is doing a real bad job so Expendable Crew Member (ECM) slogs out to try and help. Amelia makes it back to the craft, but the other guy does not. Then everyone is mean to Amelia because she sucked. And is a woman.

We definitely need this wet machine that will probably contain data telling us NOT to try and establish civilization here

Cooper’s all pissed off because on this planet for every one hour spent on the surface, years pass on Earth. This is because it is too close to the black hole, and is yet another reason this planet sucks. He is concerned about Murph growing old without him (still couldn’t give two shits about whatever the son’s name is) and she’s indeed now 20-something years older. She’s followed in dad’s footsteps (but is still super pissed at him for leaving) and is now working with Michael Caine to solve the money equation that will let them harness gravity to launch humanity into space. But after Michael Caine wheezes out a few more do-not-go-gentles, he admits that he made everything up and there is no way to get everyone up into space. It’s a lot like grad school. He packed a bunch fertilized embryos from god knows who and figured we’d just begin anew. Murph is, like, WAY pissed and also assumes that dad knew this all along.

“Shut the flux up.”

Hour three:

Up in space, they try for a second planet inhabited by Matt Damon– always a bad idea. Matt Damon is stationed on an ice planet– again NOT habitable; someone seriously needs to get fired– and lures the crew so he can try to get the fuck out of there. He’s gone crazy in the hostile and isolating environment and tries to kill Cooper when they arrive by smashing his helmet. Lots of explody stuff happens and we lose another ECM and Matt Damon. Amelia does something right for once and rescues Cooper, swooping him up like a Rescue Ranger.

Now we get into the hot and heavy screamy-fake-science-word-commands time, followed by wormhole visions (a la Contact). This is where I start to black out. Again, I defer to Wikipedia’s total WTF-inducing plot summary:

Nearly out of fuel, Cooper and Amelia plan to slingshot Endurance around Gargantua on a course toward [the third “habitable” planet]. [Snarky robots] detach into the black hole, sacrificing themselves to collect data on the singularity and to propel Amelia by dropping the ship’s mass. They emerge in an extra-dimensional “tesseract“, where time appears as a spatial dimension and portals show glimpses of Murphy’s childhood bedroom at various times. Cooper realizes the alien beings have constructed this space so he can communicate with Murphy and save humanity. Using gravitational waves, Cooper encodes [robot’s] data on the singularity into the adult Murphy’s watch, allowing her to solve Brand’s equation and evacuate Earth. Cooper awakens years later aboard a NASA space station and reunites with the now elderly Murphy, who has led humanity’s exodus. Murphy advises Cooper and [robot] to search for Amelia, who has begun preparations on [the third] planet.

The “slingshot” move has totally been used in another space movie, maybe Apollo 13 or Gravity. Using gravitational waves to encode the singularity onto a wristwatch has not been used in any other movies because it is stupid. Anyway, Anne Hathaway ends up stuck on the third planet, doomed to toil away raising the embryos in another kind of dystopian grad school scenario, while Cooper’s snug as a bug in a space station. I’m sure he’ll get around to finding her sometime.

And then Neil deGrasse Tyson says “for every hour you spent watching this movie, you aged 20 years!”

SURPRIIIISE you are almost dead!

“Why not,” I asked myself, standing in a gas station. Now I am seated at my desk, indoors, vaping away; my mind races from the droplets of nicotine mist percolating in my alveoli. Am I experiencing the sensation of modernity? Let’s defrag this a little.

“Hey can I bum your laptop to charge my electronic cigarette?”

“Algorithms”

“The VUSE Digital Vapor Cigarette contains a Vapor Delivery Processor that uses algorithms in the same way a computer does, therefore we refer to it as ‘digital’.” Of course algorithms! I hated simple exothermic reactions anyway. Are menthol algorithms different? Will less-complex algorithms be used in “light” e-cigarettes? Is it possible to hack into an e-cig and get it to generate bitcoins with every drag?

See, when I want a cigarette it’s usually because I’m trying to avoid algorithms.

0s and 1s may increase your risk of brain cancer

“Great tasting vapor experience”

This is true if you consider huffing the dust at the bottom of a box of Lucky Charms to be a great tasting experience of any kind. It’s like there are cereal marshmallows stinging your lungs. Those are my complete tasting notes.

These marshmallows were sorted using an algorithm

Indoors vs. Outdoors

Let’s be honest: what’s the point of smoking a cigarette if you’re not going to freeze in the cold and come back smelling disgusting? And even if all you do is release quickly-dissipating puffs of breakfast cereal smell, people are still going to look at you like a criminal for vaping at your desk. It just happened to me.

Yeah?

Ergonomics

I just weighed my VUSE and it weighs 16.02 grams. I’d estimate a real cigarette to weigh about one gram. If you try to hold your e-cigarette in a jaunty, care-free manner, its burdensome weight makes the unit hang limply between your digits. In this way, the VUSE e-cig is not digital.

Overall, this is nothing like smoking an actual cigarette– for better and worse. Cereal does have a nice taste, and those little marshmallows are probably carcinogenic anyway.

BONUS IDEA: throw some Lucky Charms in a humidifier and create the World’s worst hookah.

“Wholly shit” is a bit harsh, but I wanted the word play. I think most “computer movies” are hilarious, and old ones are the best. War Games was made in 1983, thirteen years before SkiFree would blow my mind. The trailer was irresistible, so I went for it.

Things are looking “post-apocalyptic” (read: “dusty”) and now two men are in an air force base and it’s business as usual. Their business is extremely boring. Is that Leo from West Wing? YES!

“I’m shocked that I’m in this movie too!”

They are decoding something with *laminated* code keys. The secretary must be super bored too.

“Rotate launch key to set” Their technical talk is boring to the max. And yet they are launching some giant missile and clicking all the switches… except ONE. They’re like fuck it, I don’t care, we’re going to DO this. Leo is sweating. His co-worker just started pointing a gun at his head because he’s not turning the LAUNCH KEY. WHY?

“You didn’t drink when they said ‘War Games’!”

That might be the most exciting thing that happens. This is starting to smell like Internet M*A*S*H. There’s even a helicopter, and I wish I was hearing “Suicide is Painless” right now instead of these “edgy” trumpets.

Matthew Broderick is in this. Is he related to Betty Broderick? I’m just musing as the credits roll forward, boringly.

Big doors that are like 6 feet thick and sound an alarm when they’re open are a big part of this movie. 2 big door shots so far.

I thought this was supposed to be about an internet whiz kid? It’s just boring old people and big DOS screens.

It was only a test?! Everyone was pissing their panties, sir. They wanted to see if the people could actually turn the key to start a nuclear missile attack, and Leo totally failed. Hence the gun. One guy says he wants the president to make the call, but then COMPUTERS will do the rest. Specifically, the War Operation Plan Response, or, WOPR. It thinks about World War III constantly. It plays WAR GAMES (DRIIIIINK!). It has already fought World War III as a game! It estimates damage, counts the dead…. Basic DnD shit. We are arguing that men should be replaced by computers now. Obviously these real live men have problems with this. They’re going to float it by the Prez and see what he thinks. We cool?

I bet she’s looking forward to men being replaced with WOPRs.

Ah. NOW we meet boy wonder, playing Atari in an extremely 80’s arcade. Running to school, LATE, entering biology class where a bunch of catatonic kids are going over a test. Computer boy, David, is sassy as you please. Equally sassy classmate Ms. Jennifer Mack was talking and got busted. Now she has to answer a question about nitrogen fixation! “Why do nodules attach themselves to the root?” (I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works) She says “LOVE!” NO YOU TRAMP, IT’S “SYMBIOSIS.” Next, “who first suggested reproduction without sex?” David has an answer.: “YOUR WIFE?!” Daaaaamn.

David is now in the principal’s office for obvious reasons, life hacking by looking at post-it notes and remembering information. I’m guessing it will help him woo this sassy Ms. Mack. It’s after school and she’s picking him up on a moped type thing. She’s got the kind of nerd pants a girl has when she is very serious about being a nerd.

“I can tell by your pants that you will like my boring life.”

She’s going to his room, which contains shelves worth of antiquated hardware. “You’re really into computers, huh?” Uh oh, he’s hacking high school and changing grades! She got a D in Home Economics because she’s not a real lady because she’s a nerd! She doesn’t want him to change her grade because she has MORALS. She is super turned off and is leaving. EPIC FAIL.

Meanwhile, back at the airbase, Leo is shaking his head at some baffling machines.

Back at home with David and his family. He is looking at a brochure that speaks to him because it’s computery and there is Are You Afraid of the Dark music. All bad movies seem to have AYAOTD music! Dad (who was definitely in M*A*S*H) HATES the corn because it’s RAW. Mom likes it crispy. I agree with mom. David escaped the table and is pulling some fiendish shit on the phone, conning his way to some information regarding that brochure, and is HACKING.

Ms. Mack is back and seems to have decided she wants him to change her grade after all, in an attempt to win his computer dong. Maybe I was too harsh about the pants. The computer is dialing numbers with the last number going up by 1 each time. He’s mansplaining modems. He already CHANGED her grade! He gave her an A! Aw yeah girl. He’s trying to hack them to Paris? Making fake airplane reservations. Lame. She’s trying to show him her tits by leaning in with an unbuttoned blouse, but he is too computer retarded and cannot sense the nearby tits. She literally has half her blouse open. He just wants free games.

“Why. Won’t. He. Look. At. My. Tits.”

…and some of the free games are WAR GAMES (DRIIIINK!)

Now we are in a very technical looking place with a few nerd boys scattered about. Ms. Mack has to wait outside because the nerd boys can’t handle a GIRL. David is basically an 80’s computer version of Mark Cherry from Arrested Development. A nerd tells another nerd “remember how you told me to tell you if you’re acting rude or insensitively? You’re doing it right now.” Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, bitchez. Clearly I missed the whole point of this scene.

Back in his room, David is hacking without his shirt on and I am unokay with this. Bad “Airwolf” music. Baby Broderick chest. Everything is bad right now. There are no pictures available of how bad this is. I am alone with this badness; it is all mine.

Ms. Mack is a power runner. She comes to visit David and he is still shirtless. She’s sweaty in a vaguely alluring way, but seems to have given up on trying to tear David’s eyes away from that glowing screen. He is showing her that computers, by connecting wires to chess pieces (haha wtf), were able to LEARN. Dr. Falken, a clearly amazing wizard of a man, did this way back (10 whole years ago) in the 70’s, and Mack has extremely forward professor hots for him. He had a son and his password is… his son’s name! Now we are hacking like the dickens. “We’re in!” (a phrase that must be uttered at least once per computer movie). Falken’s intelligent computer is chatty and wants to play a game of chess, not war. But David wants to know about this “Global Thermonuclear War” game– chess later! “Fine” says computer.

I PROGRAMMED YOU A SHIRT.

They are playing WAR GAMES (DRIIIINK!) now and he’s on the side of the Russians. They want to blow up Las Vegas first, then they went straight for Seattle. Interesting priorities.

So, I rented this on Amazon. Using money. I don’t remember what happened, but I didn’t finish the movie within 24 hours and I just can’t justify paying another $3.99 to do so. I hope that the rest of War Games contains the following:

– Leo punching Dr. Falken (who clearly wizards his way into the situation somehow) in the face. Or, maybe more ideally, Leo punching a computer.

– San Francisco getting blown to smithereens, like it does in most action movies. In a computer action movie it would especially poignant and thought-provoking.

– At least 4 more big doors.

– So many bad Russian accents.

– Mack ending up with Dr. Falken’s son as her boyfriend, even if he’s just a password. She should end up dating a password.

– David ending up in COMPUTER JAIL for thermonucleating the world. And for shirtless hacking as a pre-pube.

During my undergraduate education I worked in labs that imaged pond scum using confocal microscopy, studied estrogen receptor ligands in rats whose ovaries I removed, and  used yeast to show how errors in the center of the Central Dogma, RNA processing, can potentially lead to the mutation of its parent gene. Then I worked in a poxvirus lab at the CDC for a year, optimizing an old immunodiffusion technique for use as a hassle-free diagnostic tool for monkeypox in the DRC.  In graduate school I rotated in a cryo-electron tomography lab because why not?  It certainly wasn’t my cup of tea, and I ended up in a lab that used fruit flies to investigate the neural mechanisms and genes in involved in thermo- and chemosensation; I worked with maggots. I dropped out of the lab and the PhD altogether, rolling up my MS and sticking it in my back pocket.

As is clear, I got to do a lot of cool stuff– but nothing was as cool as this machine is:

Yes, yes it is

Is that the sound of me not doing any actual work?

I’m currently back in the bowels of Brandeis, preparing the needs of a 177-student intro to biology lab techniques. It’s a required course if you are pre-med. Suckers. A couple of the labs they are doing require that they make serial dilutions to measure transformation efficiency, and select for cells that have taken up the antibiotic resistance-confering plasmid DNA. That means their bacteria will need a nutrient-rich substrate, both with and without antibiotic, and that’s where I come in. But really, it’s where PourMatic comes in.

It’s like something Picture Picture would show you and Mr. Rogers, am I right? It makes me so excited I said something as dumb as “it’s the tits!” I don’t even know that means but it seems pretty sexist so I’m sorry I said it. But it can pour 320 agar plates in, like, 5-10 minutes!

You saw how it works, and now you can see the kind of freedoms the PourMatic allows for.

If this were an infomercial, we would also have footage of a scientist trying to pour 320 plates by hand– slopping the hot molten agar around, burning herself, lighting her hair on fire with the Bunsen burner necessary to sterilize the pipet for each plate, running out of room on her bench, knocking shit over and then looking at her plates the next day and finding the surface coated in a thick mold.

And then we cut to 7 years later and she hasn’t gotten her PhD yet.