Thanksgiving, 1993: The Admiral Theater

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To the best of my recollection, this was Thanksgiving 1993.

I was 21 and living in Chicago. I’d moved there a few months earlier, under the promise of a job at the Second City, a famed comedy club, that evaporated before I’d ever set foot in the door. Being young and refusing to give up, I stayed for the adventure. My apartment was incredibly cheap, and I was performing a lot more than I had been in LA. I thought I’d make this my new home.

My two roommates had left town to visit family. Greg, a fellow improvisational comedian who’d suffered the same retracted job offer as I, was off to Massachusetts. Marko, a 6’6″ pre-frontally lobotomized hoarder who suffered from homophobia, anti-semitism, and only experienced joy while performing as a children’s party clown, was someplace I did not care.

My friend Kevin came into town from Los Angeles, we didn’t even think about dinner. Mostly, we liked to drink. We were 21 and it was cold.

It was Thursday, everything was closed and we were hungry. We realized it was Thanksgiving. I am absolutely certain this very-good-idea-were-we-not-broke-as-fuck was Kevin’s and not mine: we would go to the Chicago Ritz-Carlton and join their Thanksgiving dinner.

We decided that appearances would matter and that we should look nice if we intended to have dinner with rich and fancy people at a rich and fancy place. We put on our very nicest clothes. We still looked like shit.

Moments after arriving at the Ritz, while I marveled at the lovely reception area, Kevin asked the Concierge for directions to the Thanksgiving Dinner. There is no finer magician than a five-star hotel’s Concierge. He had a better idea! If we’d give him just a moment the hotel limousine would deliver us to a theater for dinner and a show! The tickets were going to go to waste, he’d feel great if we used them!

The driver was super friendly and happy to give us a ride as well. People at the Ritz-Carlton were very cool. We couldn’t believe our good fortune and hopped in the black stretch. We were bound for a theater neither of us had heard of, about 15 minutes away, called The Admiral.

Not all theaters have the same sort of show. Once, when serving as the COO of an advertising start-up, one of my finance folk brought an expense to my attention. I needed to see a large charge on a salesperson’s company card attributed to the “O’Farrell Theater” in San Francisco. Due to my Thanksgiving experience at The Admiral Theater, I knew immediately why this accountant was concerned. Salespeople shouldn’t expense strip clubs.

After presenting our tickets, and clearing a brief weapons check, we entered a room full of smoke, enlisted Navy guys, strippers and a full Thanksgiving buffet dinner. We each had two complimentary drink tickets. Tips were not included.

The turkey was like cardboard. The gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes were as one. The cranberry sauce was strangely made from fresh whole cranberries, and the headlining dancer was billed as “Sacajawea the Apache Princess of Fire.”

I knew this was culturally inappropriate long before I thought of things as culturally inappropriate. It was just wrong. I was mildly horrified. It was free dinner. I was 21.

Sacajawea ate fire and juggled fire with her boobs out. We ate cardboard turkey. The Navy guys were thrilled. I paid the $20 for a Polaroid with Sacajawea. I regret having lost it.

We did not finish our two drinks. The night ended at the Old Town Ale House. Every night in Chicago should.

Glue Gun Teardown Reveals Microcontroller Mystery

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[electrobob] got a Bosch GluePen cordless hot glue gun. The thing has some nice features — it heats up in fifteen seconds, and charges via USB, and is generally handy for those small and quick jobs that hot glue guns were made to perform. At first glance it seems like a huge improvement over the plug-in varieties, which seem to take forever to heat up when all you need is a quick dab of glue.

As cool as the product sounded, [bob] did what any right-minded hacker would do and opened it up to see how that sucker work and …read more

This literal gravy train is here to ruin Thanksgiving

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Gravy is a magical thing. It can rescue even the most bland holiday meals. But too much of anything can be a bad thing, even gravy — especially when it’s being blasted from the tiny cannon of a toy boat strapped to a plastic train.

That mad lib sentence will make more sense when you watch the above video. In it, intrepid YouTuber and sauce delivery pioneer William Osman gives in to the apparent demands of his viewers and tries to make a literal gravy train.

A few grocery store and drilling montages later, he has something that is kind of in the same ballpark as the gravy train from Coraline. His version, which uses a toy boat instead of a gravy boat, clearly has more kinks to be worked out. But the resulting mess is fun, and it’s a…

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How to Grow 3D Game Development Skills With Blender 3D

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Animation has changed and grown drastically over the years. While it has evolved in terms of drawing, technology does have a large part to play in it. Old characters were required to be hand-drawn frame by frame, a larger version of the flipbook if you must. These days there are computers and animation software to help you not only create the characters but also animate them.

With the different programs, you can now create 2D and even 3D characters with a few clicks. So, if you don’t have any background in drawing or sketching, that’s okay too. Simply create your characters with different polygons and shape them as you see fit.

Co-founder of unicorn InMobi is launching a bike-sharing startup in India

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 Over in India, there are a handful of startups working to get the country’s billion-person population on bikes. One of them is Yulu, co-founded by Amit Gupta, who formerly co-founded profitable, billion-dollar startup InMobi. In the next three to four weeks, Yulu will launch its bike-sharing service in Bangalore with a few hundred bicycles. Yulu is starting with regular, dockless… Read More

Hackaday Store Discounts to Satiate the Shopping Urge

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Score everything in the Hackaday store for 50% off right now.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a time when people migrate back home to spend time with families, fill themselves with Turkey and cranberry sauce, and are inevitably dragged out to the big box stores in search for that one great deal to satisfy their consumer urge.

Whether you observe the holiday or not, you can grab some geeky stuff from the Hackaday Store without the early rise or the need to be in a specific place. You’ll find a collection of some of our favorite hardware, sweet …read more

Tesla’s electric Semi truck starts at $150,000, reservations now live

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 The Tesla Semi, the automaker’s all-electric transport truck, will retail starting at $150,000 for a version with 300 miles of range, and will also be available in a $150,000 version with 500 miles of range. Interested parties can pre-order them with a base reservation price of $20,000 – or, if they want a “Founders Series,” they can get one for $200,000, with the… Read More

How to patch the velveteen side of an air-mattress

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Welcome to the holidays!

After many a slumber party, my kid told me the air mattress had developed an annoying slow leak. I used this patch kit.

The guy in the video found his leak a lot faster than I did. A LOT. Sigh. I used a spray bottle of soapy water. I used a safety razor to shave the fuzz off the mattress.

Tear-Aid Repair Type B Vinyl Inflatable Kit via Amazon


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A year ago today, Scots blogger Kevin Gray posted the final daily item at Nothing To Do With Arbroath, a “daily mish-mash” and perhaps the best blog ever to grace the web.

He posted again a few times to update readers on the serious illness that was consuming him, but the last we saw of Gray’s inimitable eye for “stuff, fluff and nonsense” was this photo of police helping a family of ducks cross the road, published on November 23, 2016. A final update warned readers he had months to live, not years; he died days later, aged 56.

I’m thankful for two things this year: my baby son and Kevin Gray. May his sense of wonder guide us onward, with the diligent empathy of a Japanese traffic police officer, through chaos and heavy traffic.

Building a Skyrim Quest Marker

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I’m working on a Skyrim quest marker. You probably know what this is even if you never have played the game. When a character or location in the game relates to a quest, an arrow floats over it so you don’t miss it. If it’s a book, the book has the arrow floating over it. If it’s a person, it floats over that character’s head. It is that quest marker I aim to re-create.

I sat down in front of my sketchbook and drew the basic parameters. I wanted it to be approximately to scale to the human/elf/orc heads it …read more

The BBC is adapting Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys as a radio drama

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Last year, the BBC Radio released an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved novel Stardust. Now, the network has announced that it is adapting another of Gaiman’s novels for the radio, Anansi Boys.

The six-part radio drama will premiere on Christmas day on BBC Radio 4, and will run through Friday, December 30th, and it will also be available online for overseas fans. The play will star Lenny Henry as Anansi/Mr Nancy, Jacob Anderson and and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett will voice Charlie and Spider, respectively. Dirk Maggs, who adapted BBC Radio’s adaptations of Stardust, Neverwhere and Good Omens, will helm this adaptation.

Gaiman published the novel in 2005, which follows a character named Charles Nancy, who’s life is upturned when he…

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These Thanksgiving-themed cover songs are stuffed with corniness

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If you’re looking for some sick holiday jams to liven up your turkey binge today, look no further! YouTube and Twitter are full of the perfect holiday-themed covers to get you in the spirit to eat until you vomit.

A holiday cover is exactly what it sounds like: a popular song, rewritten and performed with lyrics about, say, Thanksgiving. Twitter user @LydiaBurrell has a running thread featuring clips from these songs if you just want to sample what’s available — a mix of songs like “Despacito,” “Hello,” and “Blank Space.” I’ve hand-picked a few of my favorites for you:

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Putting the “AI” in ThAInksgiving

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 Welcome to Thanksgiving table talk circa 2017. It’s true that AI and machine learning are changing the world, and in a few years, it will be embedded in all of the technology in our lives. So maybe it makes sense to help folks at home better understand machine learning. After all, without deep knowledge of current tech, autonomous vehicles seem dangerous, Skynet is coming, and the… Read More

Best Motherboards 2017

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In our series of Best Motherboard guides, here’s the latest update to our recommended motherboard list. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing (Nov 22nd).

Best Motherboards 2017

This year has had an extremely wide selection of motherboards and chipsets to choose from. AMD’s Zen and Threadripper, Intel’s Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake, and enterprise options mean there is a lot to choose from. For this guide, I have asked our motherboard reviewing team to choose some of the boards that appeal to them based on testing or what they have come across.

AnandTech’s Best Motherboards 2017
  Motherboard Amazon Newegg
With Our Own Money
Joe ASRock X299 Taichi XE $322
Ian ASRock X399 Taichi $310 $310
MSI B350 Tomahawk Arctic $110 $110
The Impressive Option
Joe ASUS X299 Rampage VI Extreme $750 $650
Ian MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming $494 $500
ASUS X399 ROG Zenith Extreme $500 $500
Small Form Factor (SFF)
Joe MSI X299M Gaming Pro Carbon AC CAD$429 (NCIX)
Ian GIGABYTE Z370N WiFi $184 $160
GIGABYTE AB350N-Gaming WiFi $130 $100

Just to be clear, we all wrote down our choices independently. Joe has been reviewing X299 boards and Ian a bit of everything due to our CPU content. This table may be updated soon.

The AnandTech Buyers Guide Series

In case you missed one of our latest Buyers Guides, click on the images to see what we are recommending. The links always auto-update to our most recent guide.

Spending Our Own Money

The first segment is an obvious one: if we were building a system today, what motherboard would we choose? This depends on which CPU we are selecting and the system budget, but needless to say that as enthusiasts, we would want something beefy that hits a nice price point.

Joe: The ASRock X299 Taichi XE ($322)

The best Black Friday 2017 games deals on Nintendo, PS4, Xbox, and PC

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It’s been more than a year since Sony released its PlayStation 4 Pro, and just one month after the release of Microsoft’s similar (but more powerful) Xbox One X. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines of this particular mid-generation console race, now might be a good time to jump in.

Not only are there are a bunch of good deals on affordable 4K HDR TVs to take advantage of the visual upgrades, but there’s finally a healthy slate of games optimized for the faster, more powerful hardware.

We’ve rounded up the best deals on standard console hardware and PC parts, games, and accessories so you don’t have to comb through those confusing, anachronistic holiday flier PDF files. With Black Friday starting this Thursday on Thanksgiving and…

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The Mr. Robot Hack Report: Worst Thanksgiving ever

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Mr. Robot is back, and the C Y B E R is back, too. The show takes a special interest in showing off the details that usually get glossed over, often drawing on real hacks and real cybersecurity problems. So after every episode, I’ll be breaking down who got hacked, how, and with what. It turns out, there’s a lot more to each one than you can see on-screen.

Well that was extremely upsetting! There’s no show this week because of Thanksgiving, which is probably just as well because I am FURIOUS. Trenton and Mobley were arguably the coolest characters on the show (more Trenton than Mobley, if we’re being real), and now they’re both gone, sacrificial pawns in the Dark Army’s fiendish game. Leon must have known, right? No good.

In a broader…

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Twitter is now testing Bookmarks, its save for later feature

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Twitter is testing a new feature called Bookmarks, which allows users to privately save tweets for later. Staff product designer Tina Koyama tweeted a sneak peek into what the feature looks like, with a bookmarks option listed on the users’ navigation menu.

“We went through all the designed flows and picked the ones that are the easiest to navigate to test out with our community,” she tweeted. “You told us that you want tweets you’ve bookmarked to be private, so only you can see it. We kept this in mind while creating designs for the feature.” A previous demo shows how the bookmark function might work: users hit on the corner button of a tweet, a menu pops out and an “add to Bookmarks” option appears.

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Stranger Things cast answers web’s most-searched ‘autocomplete’ questions

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What do people most want to know about Stranger Things? Google’s search engine’s autocomplete will tell us. Here’s Stranger Things stars Joe Keery and Gaten Matarazzo to answer those most-commonly asked questions about their hit show and themselves.

It’s called the WIRED Autocomplete Interview: Stranger Things is based on a true story, kinda

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