Archive for October, 2014

Assassin’s Creed Halloween costume

October 31st, 2014

Nothing is true,
Everything is permitted.

     – The Creed

Assassins. Seems like they’re everywhere these days, murdering it up. So for Halloween this year I made my own modern-style Assassin’s Creed costume.

The white hoodie is pretty much standard as far as assassins go these days. The felt patch on the hood is a tribute to Connor Kenway’s patch in AC III. It’s clipped on with safety pins.

And for good measure I’ve got dual hidden blades.


My hidden blades use a pair of telescoping drawer sliders from a local hardware store. The “blade” is made from a freebie paint stir stick painted gray. It’s held to the slider with fishing wire.

For the wrist straps I bought some old belts at Goodwill, cut them down to size, and bolted them to the opposite side of the slider. I glued a couple excess pieces of belt to this side for extra grip.

The blades pop out with a flick of the wrist and can be held in place with a finger.

Hidden blade Hidden blades


And of course we have an Apple of Eden. You can’t really call yourself an assassin if you don’t go around collecting artifacts from the First Civilization, so I made this one by dremeling out the lines in a styrofoam ball and painting it.

The apples vary from one game to the next, this one’s more or less like the one Ezio found in the second game.

Apple of Eden


And that’s all there is to it! If you spot anyone dressed as a Templar, please let me know.

Surge resurges in 2014

October 20th, 2014

Surge 2014 edition

Before Red Bull reached American shores in 1997, there were no “energy drinks” on our store shelves. Not knowing what we were missing, we went about our daily lives content with plain old coffee, tea, and soda. Hard to imagine that only 17 years ago, your local liquor store didn’t have an entire shelf dedicated to Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, and 300 other beverages, each more foul tasting than the last.

But it wasn’t a sudden transition. A year before we had Red Bull, Coca-Cola introduced Surge. In both look and taste it was like an alien version of Mountain Dew. Similar amount of caffeine, similarly artificial flavor, but dyed slime green instead of neon piss yellow.

Around the same time Pepsi countered with the incomprehensibly marked Storm, another lemon-lime flavored soda that was also caffeinated — sometimes. This confusion caused more than its share of caffeine withdrawal headaches and it was dropped in 2000.

Sadly, three years later Surge met its demise as well. In spite of protests from enthusiastic fans and nerdcore rap songs about the beverage, Coca-Cola ignored cries for this fan favorite. Until now.


Coca-Cola is selling Surge again in limited quantities through Amazon in twelve packs of 16oz cans. I was able to get my hands on one of these rare shipments of Surge just before they sold out. Technically you can still find this neo-Surge online, but it’s from hoarders trying to resell the stuff at 20x the price. (Never underestimate the power of nostalgia.)

So, how does it taste? Pretty gross, actually — and exactly like I remember. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish this retro soda so I can stay up all night playing Nintendo 64 while listening to the Stone Temple Pilots.


October 8th, 2014

The other evening while waiting for a train, I decided to write an intentionally terrible rap song about a relationship gone sour due to irreconcilable differences. Here it is in all its glory:

You ride Muni and I ride BART
That’s why we’ll always be apart
I like the Giants, you don’t like baseball
There’s no chance we’ll get along at all
You smoke pot, and I, crack
The differences between us are a fact

I say “SF” but you say “Frisco”
The only word that rhymes here is “disco”
At first I liked you, you made me feel at ease
Until I found out you still like Thee Oh Sees
Our differences are tall as Sutro Tower
I give you zero stars like Michael Bauer

I live in the Mission but you’re in West Portal
My love for you will never be immortal
Your startup is funded, I’m at the loan shark
We’re as unnatural as Golden Gate Park
Sorry baby but we have to disband
I’m flat broke, I’m moving to Oakland


I’m looking forward to my Grammy nomination.

Mission Workshop coming to Valencia

October 1st, 2014

Mission Workshop

Local backpack and messenger bag company Mission Workshop appears to be moving to the old Therapy Furniture spot on Valencia at 16th. But here’s the interesting thing: their old store on Rondel is right behind the Valencia location.

Here’s a map (original) that I’ve colored for you. Mission Workshop’s new location is in orange, the existing one’s in green:

Map of the two storefronts sharing a common wall

So the old and new locations share a common wall. If they wanted to — and I should stress that no building permits have been filed as of today — they could bust out some axes and make one huge store. It’d be like a hipster version of Jack Nicholson in The Shining:

Hipster Shining

“Here’s, uh… John Oliver?”

In the end, I can’t really bring myself to say anything too snarky about this particular change on Valencia. It feels like a step sideways; Therapy’s furniture was well made but pricey. Same caveat for Mission Workshop’s bags. At least we can emit a collective sigh of relief that it’s not another overhyped, overpriced eatery.

UPDATE: Mission Workshop sent me an email confirming that All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy the new Valencia storefront indeed is connected to the original Rondel location via a shared wall. Of course if you’ve been to the store (it opened recently) you already knew this.