Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

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A response to a thread on Reddit, here are ten skills I think everyone should possess:

First: how to balance your budget. Note that I didn’t say “balance your checkbook,” because it’s 2014 and we have computers to do our math for us now. Sure, look over your statement (which you should be getting online) for errors, but come on.

By balancing your budget, I mean knowing how much money you have coming in, knowing how much money you have going out, and making sure the first number is bigger than the second. If you have a steady job, this is dirt simple. It might not be easy, because middle class wages are currently a joke and the cost of living is skyrocketing, but it isn’t complicated.

Ramit Sethi has a great post on how to automate your finances, which everyone should read and follow. Again assuming a steady job, there is no reason not to have your bills pay themselves, and automatically set money aside in savings.

Second: how to do your own laundry. This is simple and easy, and if you’ve lived your whole life with mommy washing your underwear, it’s time to grow the fuck up. The Art of Manliness has a lesson for all of you mamma’s boys out there.

Third: how to cook. You don’t have to be a master chef, but your list of recipes needs to be more extensive that “a cell phone and a credit card.” You only need to know a handful of dishes, maybe fifteen or so, and you can eat a different, healthy meal three times a day, every day, for a week. Tim Ferriss can help you pick up the skills you need.

Fourth: how to exercise. I know, you’re hot shit now, but trust me, some day, maybe some day soon, you aren’t going to be able to drink a fifth of whiskey, eat Taco Bell, pull an all nighter, and hit the next day running. Your knees are going to start to hurt. Your belly is going to go from “cute paunch” to “Jesus what the fuck happened to me?” Your stomach is going to start violently objecting to the calorie-dense, nutrient poor, semi-solid masses you currently refer to as “food.” So do yourself a favor, lift weights, stretch, and get your heart racing every once in a while.

Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is the best program for people new to weightlifting, bar none. Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 is a great program for more experienced people. Bike Sprints will keep your heart working for the long hual. If you’re pressed for time, Tabata will kick your ass in four minutes flat. Kino MacGregor will teach you the basics of Yoga, and if that’s too girly for you, hearing Diamond Dallas Page scream namaste motherfucker! might be more up your alley.

My recommendation: lift weights twice a week, and end the session with a five 30-seconds bike sprints, then do some kind of bodyweight/yoga work three days a week.

Fifth: how to back up your computer. Everything lives on our laptops now, and if your hard drive crashes, you’re screwed. If you’re an Apple fanboy, you already have Time Machine installed on your computer; just hook up an external hard drive. If you’re a dirty Windows user, Crashplan is probably your best bet. If you’re using Linux, you don’t need my advice.

Sixth: how to use your mouth. Public Speaking is one of the most common, most debilitating fears. If you can speak confidently in public, people will think you’re some kind of wizard, and shower you with love, money, affection, and sexual favors.

Seventh: how to use your mouth. Here’s a lesbian who will teach you how to eat pussy, and here are some tips on the art of the blowjob.

Eighth: how to argue. Your friends, family, and lovers are going to piss you off, because people suck. You are going to piss off your friends, family, and lovers, because you suck, too. Don’t keep that shit bottled up. Fight. Fight quick, fight fair, and fight to heal. Here are some tips.

Ninth: how to not get pregnant. Maybe you want to never sleep and dedicate all of your finances to diapers and formula, but personally, I like to stay up late, get up at noon, and blow obscene amounts of cash on alcohol and cars. No glove, no love, folks.

Tenth: how to think critically. The world is full of people trying to put one over on you. Marketers. Newscasters. Con men. Swindlers. Politicians. Bosses. That girl you met at the bus station last night who is a little trashy but still kinda hot and she’s totally gonna bang you but first she needs to borrow a hundred dollars. Don’t let someone else do your thinking for you.

The Lady submitted a picture of Neville to, and the consensus is in: Neville Shortbottom is the best name for a Corgi ever.

I happen to agree.

It’s no secret that I’m kind of in love with Veronica Mars, but after this video … so is The Lady.

Also? One of The Lady’s life goals is to hold a koala. I approve of this ambition.

The Lady has written up an expose on Nevile the Corgipire, including some pics of the Little Man (and some bonus photos of our enormous kitten Pixel).

It’s that time of year again. Jingle bells and snowflakes and trees and lights and candy canes and oh Jesus make it stop.

I hate Christmas. I hate the crowds, and the sales, and the travel. I hate the girl at Bed Bath & Beyond who tried to sell me moisturizing socks. And don’t even get me started on those asshole bell ringers.

But, I’m not a complete Grinch. If other people can enjoy the holidays, more power to them. Especially if they’re kids. Especially if they’re kids stuck in a hospital.

Child’s Play is one of the (very) few things I don’t hate about this time of year. They’ve been running since 2003, and their aim is simple: to provide games and toys for sick kids around the nation and, increasingly, around the world.

I’m not a gamer – My Wii is basically a fancy machine for watching 30 Rock – and the fact that this is a “gamer’s charity” doesn’t mean anything to me. I like Child’s Play because they’re efficient (their overhead is around 2-3%) and because they’re helping kids.

There are three really easy ways to donate: you can donate directly via PayPal*, text GAMERS to 50555, which will make an automatic five dollar contribution, or pick a hospital (you can even pick one close to you, if that matters), and select something from their Amazon wish-list.

Everything on these lists is something that a sick child wants for Christmas, and none of them are bank-breaking. You can get a kid a Nintendo game, or a Twilight movie, or whatever. Hell, one kid asked for a package of SuperBalls. These things cost six dollars. I spend more than that on lunch, and there’s some kid hoping that someone will make his goddamned Christmas and buy them for him. How can you say “no” to that?

You can also follow Child’s Play on FaceBook or Twitter.

Christmas sucks, but Child’s Play rocks. I hope you’ll get involved.

*I’m not a fan of PayPal, and one of the big reasons is that they’ve screwed over charitable organizations in the past. Child’s Play hasn’t had any problem with them, though, and I’m not going to punish them for PayPal’s dickheadedness.

The Lady of the Manor: Hey babe? Do you wear gloves?

Thomas: …when it’s cold out, sure.

The Lady of the Manor: And do you need a pair of gloves?

Thomas: No, I bought a new pair last month.

The Lady of the Manor: Why did you buy yourself something so close to Christmas?

Thomas: …Because it was cold? And I have to shovel snow?

The Lady of the Manor: But now I don’t know what to tell my mom to get you for Christmas!

Thomas: Yeah, but even if I hadn’t bought gloves, she couldn’t get me a pair for Christmas. You know, because I wouldn’t have hands anymore. You know, because of the frostbite.

The Lady of the Manor: …Okay, that’s fair.

This Week on the Web brings you The Lady’s first batch of wedding photos, the Battle of the Corgi Names, Black Friday brawls, Dianne Sylvan’s top three moments of TVD Season Three, the end of the Batman franchise, a sweet-looking new eReader, and more!

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Right now, about fourteen million Americans are out of work.*

Right now, there are about three million job openings.*

That means that even in every single out-of-work American was doing absolutely everything in their power to find a job – sending out resumes and pounding the pavement and making phone calls and cashing in favors – there are eleven million Americans who cannot get a job, through absolutely no fault of their own.

These people aren’t slackers, or lazy, or bad, or any other pejorative. Can we agree on that? And if they aren’t bad people, can we also agree that they deserve some basic human rights, like food and clothing and shelter? We can? Good.

This sounds like it’s the beginning of a political rant, but I promise, it’s not. Instead, I want to take the current situation, and look ahead ten, twenty years.

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This Link Blast brings you people facing their worst fears, cars that drive themselves, Amish on Amish violence, the best hobbit costume ever, and more!

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In the movies, when someone dies, you run your hand gently over their face, and their eyes close. It doesn’t work like that in real life.

I’m talking about a cat, but it didn’t feel like that at the time. Her name was Beauty, but pet names are more suggestions than facts in our house, and lately she was called Floobey Boosh more often than not. Boosh came from “Beauty,” and “Floobey” came from… well, it’s a long story.

Beauty used to be… portly, would be a kind way of saying it. The Epitome of Obesity would be a slightly less kind way, and that’s how the Wiswell Sisters referred to her for some time. Then it was just Chubby, which became Flubby, which became Floobey.

The cat didn’t mind. Cat’s ignore anything that isn’t a can of food being opened anyway.

She was twenty-plus years old, which is about ninety-seven in human years. She was old and fraile, but dammit the girl just wouldn’t die. For a while, I was convinced that she would outlive all of us, which led to another one of her names: Rasputin.

She’d been going down hill for a while now. She wasn’t as quick to jump up on the couch, and when she laid down, you could tell that she was trying to align her joints just so. She was deaf, and her eyesight was going, and she couldn’t really clean herself anymore.

When she got an abscess in her jaw, we had it drained, gave her a course of antibiotics, and hoped for the best, but the infection came back. The vet said that one of her teeth would have to come out… but that at Beauty’s age, she just wouldn’t survive the anesthesia. There was really only one thing to do.

She sat on my lap all last night, and slept in bed with us all night long, cuddled up next to us, nestled in our arms. And I know that it’s just my sentimental side wanting this to be true, but even Pixel, who thinks everything on earth exists to be hunted down and nibbled into submission, seemed to take it easy on her last night.

Beauty slept in our bed until half past eleven this morning. She had her favorite food for breakfast, and some of the treats that she seemed to love. She sat in my lap during the car ride, alternating between looking out the window and trying to wedge herself under the brake pedal. When we parked, she ate more of her treats from the palms of our hands.

We waited for the vet for what felt like forever, but it was probably less than ten minutes. Beauty lay on her side, on a blanket made of soft felt. We cradled her face and stroked her hair.

It was over faster than I expected. In a scant few seconds the vet took the stethoscope away and told us to spend as much time with her as we needed. He said he was sorry, and then we were alone.

She didn’t look any different. There was no eerie stillness, no sense that she wasn’t really there. It was just Boosh. And her eyes wouldn’t close.