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Happy birthday, Edward Vishnevetsky. I’ll start wearing purple for you

My friend died a weeks back. One of my best.

He died on vacation in Costa Rica while white water rafting. He died at 34, leaving an entire life unfinished, and today would have been his birthday. His name was Edward Vishnevetsky. 

Life is about more than what you did or did not do. I chuckle as I write that, because on this he and I didn’t always agree, but Ed’s life is about much more than the mere unrealized potential. He also left all of us here too. He left a legacy you can donate to help a kid have as much fun at camp as we did. Ed also left us with love, admiration, respect friendship, and each other, but most importantly he left us with collections of stories, a wealth of shared culture, and an encyclopedia of lessons during his life and after it.

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Why Presidential Politics Aren’t Worth It

Jeb Touch My Bush Mixtape

Touch My Bush Mixtape coming 2016 from Jeb! 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… if you’re a media outlet or comedian that is. We’re in month 200 of coverage for the 2016 Presidential Election and we still have about 7 more to go. After that, we’ll have a brand new President of the United States of America (‘Murica for short) and after that, we’ll go back to feeling utterly powerless about what how the Government controls our lives until the next Presidential Election where we can get all excited about something we’ve already ceded our control over.

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Why I SKA

BVB- RedDog Logo-300dpi

Since about 2007, I have been the frontperson for Austin ska outfit, Benny Versus The Beast. We play blistering, mostly third wave ska with a hip hop twist courtesy of yours truly. We’ve got a 3 piece horn section, lots of distortion, plenty of punk and ridiculous songs about everything from sweating out your problems and feminism, to pirates, and jumping people after school with your girlfriend. Still… any way you slice it I’m a grown man in his 30’s that’s still in a ska band.

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Bangkok Dangerous – OR – The Fast and the Tuk Tuk

 

Unrelated photo: Due to the relevitiy and the nigh unbreakable laws of physics, capturing Bangkok traffic is impossible without a flux capacitor camera lens

 

It’s funny how familiar it all seems while being vastly different at the same time. Bangkok in particular is like a melding of every city I’ve been to, shifting to a new one every few miles or blocks. It’s Orlando; big palm trees everywhere, wet and muggy. The hot sun is the skyline’s most prominent feature, bathing everything in a moist, inescapable blanket. Modest buildings eclipsed by billboards so large that the designers consider them failures if it can’t the seen not just from space, but from Jupiter. It’s Las Vegas. Flat stretches of traffic choked streets. People all over every single corner selling everything to what looks like no one. Every corner repeating somehow at a different vibration than the last as new half dressed just jock to get noticed. It’s Houston because it has that magic that somehow makes smog and uncomfortable heat feel blue collar charming. Everybody’s got an angle, and everybody seems rather nice about it. It goes on and on like that, but as a city of 13 million, I suppose it’s more accurate to say that every other city is aping Bangkok.

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NYE – FMP – ILU


So we’re going to do this thing. We’re going to do this thing because we are grown men who want to experience everything the world has to offer. We’re going to do this because we refused to be shackled by the preconceived notions of the world around us.  We’re going to do this thing because it must be done. It needs to be done by us. It needs to be done for those like us that have toiled away New Year after New Year looking for the epic party that would never come. Looking for the memories that would never betray and the stories that would never grow tiresome. We’re going to do this because it exists for us, through us, and because of us.

We’re going to the New Years Eve Full Moon Party.

It’s a balmy day on Koh Phangnan, an island off the coast of Thailand – a backpackers paradise filled with sandy beaches, nimble scooters and incredible value. We’ve spent the day riding bikes through rain and mud; up hills and through cafes where we made new friends and swapped new stories. Now, it’s time to make our way to what may be the biggest and most ridiculous party in the world. So I’ve been told anyway.

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Signland

One thing I unequivocally love about Thailand is how they’ve seemingly mastered the art of the billboard and maybe even marketing as a whole because their commercials are fantastic too. Seriously, I’ve been drinking Birdy since I got here. Like… Every day… Any time of day… Because Craig T. Vishy and I have a problem. Just don’t be surprised if the dragon we bring with us from the east is espresso flavored.

Anyway, as a hot bed of tourism, Thai businesses have their work cut out for them explaining proper etiquette to a variety of peoples in a variety of locals… And the results are ridiculous.

Same Same But Dookie

Remember that How I Met Your Mother episode about how much of a rite of passage it was to have a sign erected due to your callous activity, and the more ridiculous the better? Whatever bumpkins caused this downtown Bangkok club to put this sign up have won the contest as far as I’m concerned.

And this one not only tells you where to go, but what to do when you get there.

 

If it weren’t for this sign, the knees of many pissing men would still work today

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Literal Bikinis, Figurative Pancakes 

Well it’s finally happening. I’m here on a plane about to land in Bangkok, Thailand to do my damndest to not get arrested as Craig T. Vishy and I bob around Southeast Asia to tear some shit up in the most respectful and culturally aware way as possible. 

This marks my first time ever going overseas, and only second leaving the country though many people tell me partying in Mazatlan, Mexico doesn’t count. Screw those people, because I had never had a bacon wrapped hot down before then and I’m the weird kid that tried one with grape jelly because I read it in “Wayside School is Falling Down.” It was pretty good. 

So we’re going to have some fun. We’re going to meet some people and make some memories, and I’m going to be chronicling our adventure here on Bikinis and Pancakes. Hopefully, you’ll be so entertained you’ll donate money to make sure I don’t get Brokedown Palace’d out here. I’ve never seen the movie, but foreign prison somehow seems more awful than domestic prison. Luckily, last weeks bus ride introduced me to some guys who taught me a few tips about eye contract, praising Jesus, and making a mouthpiece out of rolled up news paper. I’m sure those tips are just as useful in Vietnam as they are in Huntsville, Texas. 

As the Thais say, “same same, but different” right? 

So stay tuned to Bikinis and Pancakes as we hit you with some crazy and not so crazy traveler stuff. Hopefully, you can have as much fun reading about it as we’ll have doing it. That goes double for foreign prison. 

 

How to Know Robots Will Take Your Jobs

Businesswoman Surrounded by Robots

In the ’80s we fantasized about the robots coming for our lives. Sentient futureware hurtled through time to kill the most important of us and cement their cold mechanical future.

In the ’90s we fantasized about the robots coming for our minds. Post-apocalyptic Hugo Weaving using internet virtual reality to keep us in a ’90s mental state to feed off our body heat and creativity.

In the 21st century we’ve fantasized about the robots coming for our sexuality: conversational, sensual  machines with whom we could fall in love and never live without…. ever.

Whether whether robots kill us, enslave us, or get us pregnant and skip out on child support may be up for debate, but in the meantime, robots will continue to do exactly what they’re designed to do. They will take our jobs. As surely as the steam powered hammer drove folk hero John Henry to karoshi (Japanese word literally meaning “death from overwork.”), so too will the robots come and replace us all.

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