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25 Ways to Spend a Snow Day

14 Nov

It’s a snow day here in town, so a good time to resurrect this post.

Maximum Know-How

Are your children home unexpectedly due to overwhelming snowfall, sheets of freezing rain, or a school district paranoid that some parent will sue them for $40 million dollars if their kid suffers “emotional distress” during a snowball fight on the way to school? Maximum Know-How has you covered.


Here’s how to spend a snow day:

  1. Build a snow fort.
  2. Make snow angels.
  3. Create an army of deranged mutant killer monster snow goons.
  4. Achieve peace in the Middle East.
  5. Make a list of your 25 favorite songs.
  6. Walk to the local drug store and get a flu shot.
  7. Do a deep clean of all the bathrooms in your house.
  8. Anguish over the fact that you personally can’t stop global warming.
  9. Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk and driveway.
  10. Make a list of your 25 favorite movies.
  11. Savor the multicultural joy of R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People” music video. Gotta love Kate.

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Song of the Week: “The Different Story” – Peter Schilling

27 Feb

German synthpop singer Peter Schilling is best known in the U.S. for 1983’s “Major Tom (Coming Home),” a paean (knock-off?) to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” It was a catchy song, sure, but I found 1989’s “The Different Story” just as danceable, though I don’t think it charted in the States. Plus, the video is filled with a catalog of 80s-era genre clichés and erratic symbolism that left you thinking, “I don’t know what it all means, but it must be deep.”

Bad Valentine’s Day Gifts

10 Feb

Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I thought I’d repost this informative guide to getting safely through the week.

Maximum Know-How

23 items you should definitely NOT give your significant other

Bad Valentine's Day Gifts

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, so it’s time to start thinking of the perfect offering to hand your loved one next Thursday. For those people who tend toward last-minute panic buying—for example, those who race to the local drug store at 11:30 the night before trying to remember their companion’s favorite type of candy bar—Maximum Know-How has your back. We understand that panicked procrastinators often practice poor decision-making in the heat of the moment, thinking that a really bad gift idea will be just the thing to show their love and devotion. To help protect these vulnerable shoppers from (usually well-deserved) post–Valentine’s Day wrath, we offer this list of what not to give on Valentine’s Day—even if it’s on sale and you can find it fast.

  1. Coupon for a free consultation at the weight-loss center
  2. Vacation tour…

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Song of the Week: “Mr. Taxi” – Girls’ Generation

4 Nov

In a sign of the increasing international influence on pop music, Korean girl group Girls’ Generation just won the inaugural YouTube video award for video of the year, beating out western pop divas like Lady Gaga, Miley, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber. While the hyper-sugary “I Got a Boy” song and video make my teeth ache more than a Halloween Tootsie Roll, I wanted to give a shout out to one of their earlier hits that I think is one of the best dance-pop songs ever.  Let me just say that, if you have trouble turning away from the video or find yourself singing “mr taxi taxi taxi soutou jeukshi jeukshi jeukshi” for the rest of day, it’s OKAY. We understand.

Song of the Week: “Don’t Take Your Love Away” – VAST

20 Mar

I was totally blown away the first time I heard VAST (aka Jon Crosby), particularly the one-two punch of “Here” and “Touched” that opened his debut album, Visual Audio Sensory Theater. This tune from Nude, while not so intense, still captures the richness (or depth, or whatever it is) that I like about his sound, along with his typically evocative symbolism.

28 Dec

Mining the cellar of the information superhighway uncovers echoes of some former media—archaic but longer lasting than what we produce today.

Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.

And when you walk past the janitors office, with the wonderfully decked halls…


And tromp down a sunken hallway…


You find a old room. Mostly empty, dusty, and dead quiet.


And then you start to look closer at the walls.

And you start to see things.





(You see that Brown didn’t often pay his dime for coffee.)


(You see that a lot of calculation was done right on the wall.)


(You see that World War I was front and center on everyone’s mind.)


(You wonder what was being tallied, and if it was better to win or lose.)


(And you learn the tongue-in-check “rules” of the room.)


And eventually, you crawl behind a corner, and discover a bundle of conduit.


Conduit for…

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Ignore the Impulse

1 Nov

When people first start blogging, they often begin with an extensive post detailing their internal debate about starting a blog and what their first topic will be, as if thousands of people are reading along (rather than just some NSA computer somewhere), all anxious to understand the writer’s motivations. These posts conclude by promising years of entertaining commentaries about their fascinating life, “so stay tuned!!!” Then the second post, if there is one, is about the emotional trial of choosing exactly the right visual theme to capture the essence of their multifaceted personality. Or, they just start posting dirty pictures first thing.

I will take the high road, and instead talk about something wholesome, exciting, and deeply relevant to our society. I haven’t figured out what that is yet, though, so stay tuned!!!