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OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living

OTP Offseason Guide Logo 200It’s the offseason in BSU football land, spring athletics are just now firing up, and winter sports are still a bit away from their post season. As such, it’s time to pass on your OTP leadership’s recommendations on things you shouldn’t be living without. Between the folks that run this here site, our tastes and likes run the gamut. We pass that diversity in entertaining pursuits on to you in a little thing we like to call OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living, where you can take our word on things that you should promptly put in your possession. Enjoy…

Movie of the Week
Inside Llewyn Davis AmazonInside Llewyn Davis
Coen Brothers movies are admittedly not for everyone. For me, it gets no better as they were the driving forces behind such classics as O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, and Raising Arizona. They even gave Muncie a shout out in The Hudsucker Proxy. All great flicks, all for different reasons. The Coen’s latest creation, Inside Llewyn Davis is THE film to check out if you enjoy movies that have killer music, a not so sappy happy ending, a tremendous study in characters, and a cinematic adventure that at the conclusion leaves you thinking about a whole host of different things depending on how you interpret the last couple hours that you just invested. The cliché of Hollywood about a character who is troubled or ill-fortuned coming to a point of reckoning can often times be hokey or even ridiculous. Not this time. Not this character. At its base, it is a few days in the life of a struggling musician attempting to make it on the East Coast folk scene in the 1960s with a cast of characters he meets (Bonus for the ladies: Justin Timberlake!). That attention to character is what made it so well received at the Cannes Film Festival last year and what won it the Grand Prix. Normally, I’m cautious of a movie that receives rave critical reviews as, for the most part, film critics love what I hate and vice versa, but they have finally got something right with Llewyn Davis.

Book of the Week
No Asshole Rule AmazonThe No Asshole Rule
Odds are if you have ever worked in an office, you’ve had colleagues and coworkers who were the epitome of everything you hated. Perhaps they were annoying. Perhaps they talked to much. Perhaps they didn’t talk enough. Maybe they were doing bong rips in the bathroom and pissing all over the toilet seat. There really isn’t a finite list of things that could encapsulate all the behaviors that would qualify someone as a royal pain the ass at your workplace. I can say in my career more than a few times I’ve wondered how many of my officemates even got themselves dressed without Velcro shoes. Suffice to say, Robert Sutton’s No Asshole Rule was sorely needed. Business self-help psychology books are at base root sort of elementary. This however at least finds a humorous way to pass on some coping strategies for the incompetent momos you surround yourself with or the things you’re doing without realizing that are making your coworkers want to brain you with a three-hole punch. Which, if you feel like these things don’t apply to you and all your coworkers exist in harmonious joy, either you have not had a real job or you, in fact, are said asshole. I would advise you to stop leaving pictures of body parts on the copier and please put on some damn pants.

Game of the Week
Apples to Apples AmazonApples to Apples
We recommended Cards Against Humanity a few weeks ago in our Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living and classified it as an adult version of Apples to Apples. For those who aren’t adults, like to play games with non-adults, or have delicate sensibilities that may be a bit easier wronged on the offensive scale, nothing beats the original. Believe me when I say, this game could not be easier. Or more family friendly if that’s important to you. One person draws a source card, the other players lay down descriptive words and phrases from their hand, and the person who’s turn it is picks a winner. The person who laid the winning card gets a point, once you hit a certain point total, you win. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. For example, let’s say Edge, Bababrewey, RV and myself are playing. I draw a card that says Modern Day Love Story. Edge throws down his “Di and Charles” card, Bababrewey throws down a “Sports fan” card, and RV throws down “Justin Bieber”. I don’t know who threw which, because they are subsequently mixed up. I just pick whatever card I deem the funniest/wittiest/most inappropriate/etc. There is no rhyme and reason and fun ensues. For the record I would pick Bieber. ALWAYS PICK BIEBER.

Gadget of the Week
Blue Yeti AmazonBlue Yeti USB microphone
One of the questions we get most often at the Pylon other than age/sex/location? is how we get such a clear sound on the OTPcast. Part of that comes from Jason being a great producer, part of it comes from the equipment we use to record it, as it’s hard to run the Kentucky Derby on a donkey. Without getting too technical, largely because I am too ignorant to do so, it is difficult to achieve premium sound from two remote locations connected by Skype, yet the OTPcast is recorded with one of us in Indianapolis and the other in central Kentucky. The reason it sounds so clear is because of the mics we use, the Yeti Blue USB microphone. I could dazzle you with terms like latency, gain control, and audio pattern selection, but I don’t know what they mean and neither do you. What you need to know is it sounds boss and it makes your recordings sound bosser. What’s that? You don’t record a podcast? Good. Because we have that on lockdown anyway. But odds are you do use your mic more than you think. Any kind of audio or video production? Need a mic. Skype with relatives? Need a mic. Want to try your hand at some voice overs or recording music? Need a mic. Hell, even going to Chatroulette and playing around until someone shows up taking a dump is best with a mic. So trust us, get this and wow your Skype friends with your silky smooth sounds.

For each of the above, you’ll notice that we’ve also included a purchase link to Amazon.com, a site where OTP is an affiliate. By purchasing through our links, you’ll give a small little kickback to the Pylon and help keep the site afloat. If you’d like to help the site in a free way, you should check out an Amazon Prime 30 Day Free Trial by clicking here. It’s a great opportunity for streaming video, free express shipping, and all sorts of other goodies.

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OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living

OTP Offseason Guide Logo 200It’s the offseason in BSU football land, spring athletics are just now firing up, and winter sports are still a bit away from their post season. As such, it’s time to pass on your OTP leadership’s recommendations on things you shouldn’t be living without. Between the folks that run this here site, our tastes and likes run the gamut. We pass that diversity in entertaining pursuits on to you in a little thing we like to call OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living, where you can take our word on things that you should promptly put in your possession. Enjoy…

Movie of the Week
The Wolf of Wall Street AmazonThe Wolf Wall Street
This past weekend saw the Hollywood elite rub shoulders, take selfies, and eat pizza a the annual Self Importance Olympics known as The Oscars. I’m sure the forces fighting for Ukraine to remain an independent country were thrilled to hear that Matthew McConaughey’s hero is himself ten years into the future just as much as a starving child in Ethiopia was totally stoked to see Ellen order $200 worth of free pizza for millionaires. I can only imagine how hungry they got having their ego stroked, and let’s be honest, those goody bags won’t carry themselves! That’s why you have the help. But don’t take my cynicism of award season to mean I am anti-Hollywood. In fact, quite the opposite. I am pro-Hollywood because it is one of the few things that can allow you to release from reality for a short time frame and just enjoy the hell out of something. That’s where this week’s movie of the week comes in. The Wolf of Wall Street is exactly what it is and nothing that it isn’t. It’s not a moralistic message passer on. It’s just good old fashioned fun. Put a great actor (DiCaprio), a halfway decent actor (Hill), and a legend (Scorcese) together and you get something that is meant to entertain without making you feel like a scumbag who does nothing for humanity in the process because you haven’t adopted Malawi children or started a club for AIDS medicine. Cynics will tell you they liked this movie better when it was called “Boiler Room”. Those people are assholes.

Book of the Week
Sycamore Row AmazonSycamore Row
I have come to the conclusion as I move through life that there are ultimately two kinds of people in the world: those that read and those that don’t. For the non-readers, there is nothing I could possible recommend here that you’d enjoy. If you think you’re in that camp then perhaps you should stick to the movies, gadgets, and games your OTP staff share with you. If you are a reader though, usually you fall in to one of two camps: those that love John Grisham and those that think he’s a hack. Self disclosure time boys and girls. I love John Grisham. I’ve probably read most every book he’s released. People that are either anti-legal book or just depressing elitist douchebags will say his writing style is too formulaic, paint by number, and predictable to count as something to celebrate. Those people are the absolute worst. My way of thinking is you find something you’re good at it, and you do it. Or in the case of the reader, you find something you enjoy and just enjoy it. Sycamore Row is just another good read in a long line of good reads. There’s enough intrigue to keep you guessing, enough non-law stuff to keep even non-counselors vested, and a quick enough pace that it’s one of those books you start in on and before you know it you’re finished with the book, you’ve grown a beard, and you’ve missed three days of work. Don’t be that guy. That guy gets fired.

Game of the Week
Settlers of Catan AmazonSettlers of Catan
When I first came across Settlers of Catan, some friends of DemonEx introduced us to it. Admittedly, their explanation along with the general nerdery left me concerned about my ability to enjoy this. I figured it was closer to Magic the Gathering than Madden, but I gave it at least an opportunity to impress, and that it did. Explaining it is actually harder to do than playing it is, but at base root, it’s a dice-based board game centered around resources and cornering the market for certain things to advance your standing among your competitors. At its most basic, it’s a bastard love child of Monopoly and Risk with resources like brick, ore, grain, lumber, and wool. Your goal is to accumulate ten victory points quicker than others from the resources you have. It’s been one of the best-selling games in the US and Germany for a while now, and it’s exceptionally easy to see once you play it. Trust me. There’s a bunch of expansion packs and add-on type things but don’t worry about those. Really, the only thing you need to enjoy this like a boss is the expansion pack that lets up to six people play. Much like RV in a hot tub, playing with three other people is enjoyable, but playing with 4 other people is where it’s at, lawya.

Gadget of the Week
GoPro Hero 3+ AmazonGoPro Hero 3+
I decided to reach out to Jason (aka Bababrewey) since his Gadget of the Week last week was our most popular. His recommendation this week may not be as economical as ice spheres, but it may just be cooler. The GoPro movement has been gaining steam all over the place, and odds are you know at least one someone who has it. If you don’t, then you need to expand your circle to people like mountain bikers, skydivers, surfers, dog owners, etc. all of whom seem to be tailor-made for the GoPro. This is high-resolution high frame rate filming that’s able to be mounted damn near anywhere, even on a helmet. According to Jason, “The GoPro Hero 3+ is perfect for everything from tailgating for the Cardinals to home movies with the kids! The GoPro Hero 3+ can do it all. Document every win for the Cardinals this year in blazing HD from your vantage point.” As a brief aside, even if you don’t have kids you can use this for home movies. You know… home movies. You know.

For each of the above, you’ll notice that we’ve also included a purchase link to Amazon.com, a site where OTP is an affiliate. By purchasing through our links, you’ll give a small little kickback to the Pylon and help keep the site afloat. If you’d like to help the site in a free way, you should check out an Amazon Prime 30 Day Free Trial by clicking here. It’s a great opportunity for streaming video, free express shipping, and all sorts of other goodies.

OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living

OTP Offseason Guide Logo 200It’s the offseason in BSU football land, spring athletics are just now firing up, and winter sports are still a bit away from their post season. As such, it’s time to pass on your OTP leadership’s recommendations on things you shouldn’t be living without. Between the folks that run this here site, our tastes and likes run the gamut. We pass that diversity in entertaining pursuits on to you in a little thing we like to call OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living, where you can take our word on things that you should promptly put in your possession. Enjoy…

Movie of the Week
HerAmazonMy selection for this week’s Movie of the Week in the Offseason Guide is perhaps the hardest one to explain that I could have chosen. As I was lauding it to people while it was in the theaters, if I didn’t do a fantastic job of explaining it, folks would fall somewhere on the continuum of “Oh… so it’s like tech porn?” to *blank stare* and at face value, I can understand either or all of those reactions when you tell someone the basic plot line of a movie is a man falling in love with an operating system. For Her to be explained that way is like explaining Heat being about a bank robbery. If you stop on step 1, you would be correct. But that’s ignoring myriad other steps which are all valuable, intriguing, and thought-provoking. To give away significant themes explored in the film would be to ruin some of the self-realization that I hope you find, so I’ll walk gingerly around the topic. Suffice to say, Her is at its most basic a personal study of paradoxes and how an antiquated old-fashioned feeling adapts and evolves in a highly evolved technologically savvy world. It’s one of the rare escapes in film that gives you a case of the feels, the wows, the sads, and the thinks all at the same time and all related ultimately to one another.

Book of the Week
Crash and Burn AmazonI am not ashamed to admit that I am a fan of Howard Stern. Anyone should know this when they hear the nickname I’ve dubbed Jason (Bababrewey). The Stern universe is an immense one, filled with Wack Packers, odd characters, and general nonsense that people like me pay around twenty bucks a month to Sirius satellite radio to enjoy. Even with all the ridiculousness, strippers, porn stars, and celebrities, there is perhaps no more fascinating a story than that of Artie Lange, the Sten show comedian who despite being paid handsomely well battled heroin and alcohol addiction to the tune of a suicide attempt and his removal from perhaps the greatest gig in comedy. Lange’s most-recent memoir, Crash and Burn, tells that story with gut wrenching honesty and a personal look at addiction and its demons. For Stern fans, it’s a behind the story look at a story that has colored the Sirius years for the Stern crew, and for those unfamiliar with it or Lange, it’s a chance to introduce yourself to a comedy genius who happens to have his fair share of baggage like the rest of us. Like some of the best autobiographies of celebrities, this one tells the story warts and all, and it’s a story that you’ll love from the introduction on through to the moment you take a lengthy exhale, close the cover, and wonder just how Artie made it as far and as high as he did.

Game of the Week
CardsAgainstHumanityAmazonIf someone tells you that board games or card games are not for adults, then they have been living under a rock for a while. I’ll grant you that standby favorites like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders are for a younger subset, there are a whole host of games for the inner child within the adult in all of us that is making this the golden age of adult games. We’ll be spotlighting some of these treasures in this space during the weekly Offseason Guide, but the first one comes hard and may very well be the belle of the ball. Cards Against Humanity was explained to me as a politically incorrect Apples to Apples. That’s perhaps the best way to describe it and if you’re an A2A player, no further explanation is needed. If you haven’t had the pleasure, picture friends and you sitting around, one person pulls a topic card, other players answer that topic with their own submission cards. That’s where people’s sarcasm, wit, and downright off-color humor can shine. Few rules, great cards, and a cult following make Cards Against Humanity the first OTP Game of the Week you should pick up. I wouldn’t play it with kids. I wouldn’t play it with your grandparents. I would play it with a group of friends who can sit back, laugh, enjoy a beverage or three, and not take life too seriously. Basically, the target market of this site.

Gadget of the Week
IceBallMoldAmazonThough not a gadget per se, it is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while and was brought to my attention by OTPcast co-host Jason, who is not traditionally known for his coolness but serves as living proof that even a blind squirrel can find a nut from time to time. I would count on Jason to bring me tidings of electronics or kitchen appliances, as those are his strongest forays, but his first contribution to the OTP Offseason Guide is an epically stellar one. If you are a person who enjoys a beverage of the distilled variety occasionally like your OTP leadership and you are using old school antiquated square ice cubes, then you are missing out on elevating your awesome by a substantial margin. We are subjects to old-fashioned ice cube geometry no longer thanks to the Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds. Fill the molds with water, let them freeze, then your booze gets poured over a perfectly round ice ball and then down your thirsty booze-hungry gullet. I can safely say after seeing Jason use these, my booze hasn’t seemed as cool as it normally does. Don’t believe me? Jason has proof of the freezing badassery that you end up with to lord over your friends with and show your booze who, in fact, is boss:

ice ball glass

For each of the above, you’ll notice that we’ve also included a purchase link to Amazon.com, a site where OTP is an affiliate. By purchasing through our links, you’ll give a small little kickback to the Pylon and help keep the site afloat. If you’d like to help the site in a free way, you should check out an Amazon Prime 30 Day Free Trial by clicking here. It’s a great opportunity for streaming video, free express shipping, and all sorts of other goodies.