The world needs a House of Cards / 24 crossover

Like many others, I’ve been bingeing on the latest season of House of Cards over the past several days. This morning I woke up with an idea for a crossover between House of Cards and another show I’ve been guilty of bingeing on–24. The idea wasn’t for a full series or episode–just for a single scene.

The scene opens at the top of the back stairwell in the White House with Jack Bauer interrogating President Frank Underwood.

“Who else knows about this,” Bauer demands, referring to some dubious plot Underwood concocted.

“Just you,” says Underwood, unfazed.

“Who else knows!” shouts Bauer, pushing Underwood against the railing.

Underwood does not look afraid, just annoyed. He glances at the camera for a moment–breaking the fourth wall.

Bauer, unlike every other character in the series, notices the glance and comes closer to the camera. He looks directly at the audience.

“You stood by and let this happen!? I will find you.”

The screen goes black, and the episode ends.

And now I’m a guy that writes fan fiction.

Albums in the age of the algorithmic playlist

Today I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness from beginning to end. The two-disc album has more than two hours of music spread across 28 tracks. This album was one of the musical staples of my college years. I bought a second-hand copy of it on my way freshman orientation and listened to it throughout my undergrad. The album has some amazing hits, some strange lyrics, some hidden gems, some bad songs, and even one that can only be described as musical malpractice. When you listen to the full album you get everything the band had to offer at one particular moment in its history.

Listening to a band’s playlist or radio station on services like Pandora and Spotify will get you the hits from throughout their career. However, you will miss out on the many songs that make a band what they are. I don’t listen to many to albums from beginning to end anymore, and I don’t know many people who do. In this age of Spotify’s smart playlists, themed radio stations, and algorithmic DJs, you can listen to hours of back-to-back hits. But I think I’m missing out on something important when I listen that way. There is a lot of value in hearing a full album in the order the artist chose.

There were so many albums that defined my teens and early 20s. I think it might be time to go back to listen to my favorite bands’ albums in their intended order. Playlists give me the hits, but I feel like I’m missing out on the depth and variety of music that my favorite musicians have produced over the years.

You might want to try it too. I am certain that there is more to [insert your favorite band name here] than their “best of” compilation would suggest.

Turning three

Today my middle child turned three. It has been so amazing to watch him grow up this year. It seems like he just turned two, and suddenly he has grown into this big kid.

He is such a sweet boy and a good friend. It is so cool to see how he—as a middle child—can adapt his play between roughhousing with his older brother and being gentle (most of the time) with his baby sister. I am looking forward to another year of watching him grow up and turn into an independent young man.

climbing high

reading with sister

(Timehop)

Nobody lives there

According to recent census data, 47 percent of the United States’ territory is uninhabited.

A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.

Overcrowding in cities and other population centers is more about people wanting to be where the action is than the restrictions of physical or inhabitable space.

The green on the map below shows the all territory where nobody lives.

Nobody lives there