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Sep 19, 2016

You Should Make a Throwback "Frankenstein" Lightswitch for Your Home

As a kid, I shared a bunk bed with my younger brother and every night we'd argue about who had to turn off the light and make the frightful journey through the dark to the safety of his own covers. Eventually our parents bought us The Clapper which was swiftly taken away from us due to the racket we made every night for fun...   

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Aug 29, 2016

What's Good for August 2016: What We're Reading, Watching and Listening to This Month

What's Good - August 2016

We're back with some of our favorite media for you to devour as the summer draws to a close. Here's what's good:

Reading

Chris:

I'm about two-thirds of the way through A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. It's a fictional exploration of the shooting of Bob Marley in December 1976, and the following decades of political, social, and criminal aftermath. I won't lie - it's intense. It has 50+ characters (and one of those little dramatis personae keys at the beginning, which I reference about every three pages). It feels like reading Joyce's Ulysses ... Biblical in scale, and I'm looking up some fact or reference (or rocksteady

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Aug 15, 2016

How to: Make a DIY Streaming Music Speaker from a Vintage Radio

There's no better way to say: I freaking love projects like this. Reddit user mxmln23 used the case from a stylish vintage radio, and did some clever hacking that allows it to become a wireless speaker that can stream from Spotify, Google Music, SoundCloud music player, Apple Airtunes, web radio stations, and Last.FM.  

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Aug 12, 2016

Take A Break: 5 Animated Shorts Worth Watching

DuelI'm a fan of animated shorts. They're moving and inspiring, and usually just long enough to give your brain a rest without checking out entirely. So click here and check 'em out. 

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Aug 11, 2016

Meet One of the Few Jukebox Repairmen

Meet Perry Rosen, a jukebox repairman keeping mechanical music alive in a mostly dead industry. But as we all know, there's a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead. And that makes it all the more fascinating...   

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Aug 09, 2016

The 50 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century (So Far)

With summer blockbuster season in full-swing, and all its explosions and aliens and smashy smashiness, The Playlist decided to take a look at real science fiction films. Those movies that explore the relationships between the organic and technology, opportunities to explore what our moral standards actually are, and what really happens when we encounter the unknown.

I've never been a huge genre fiction person, and for a while, I think I inadvertently dismissed sci-fi for fantasy. It's not, and I know that now, so it's been fun to catch up with some of the better pieces that have stood the test of time. Here's my take: I appreciate world

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Jul 28, 2016

How to: Learn Another Language - Quickly

Most adults find learning a new language to be particularly difficult. In fact studies show that the number one way to increase your odds of picking up a new language is to already speak a couple languages. But don't lose hope! There are still some streamlined ways to get yourself self off the ground and immerse in a new culture's way of communicating...   

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Jul 22, 2016

The Surprisingly Fascinating History of the High Five

created at: 07/29/2014

So, where did the high five come from?           

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Jun 20, 2016

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

In 1982, three eleven-year-olds saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and it changed their lives forever when they decided to make a shot-for-shot remake that summer. Well that summer turned into 7 years, with full sets, choreography, fire effects, broken hearts, and endless devotion. Twenty-five years later, they return to shoot the missing scene....   

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Jun 06, 2016

The Fascinating (and Delicious) History of Pho

If you ask me, the world of Vietnamese soups and broths is a world well worth spending time in. And none is better known, or more essential, to Vietnamese culture than pho, a seductive blend of aromatic broth, bright herbs, and bold chile slices to make things interesting. And though the broth is served hot, it's flavor profile makes it the kind of thing you can still enjoy in warm months, making it the ultimate year-round lunch.    

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May 31, 2016

The 100 Greatest American Films

created at: 05/31/2016

I think lists like these are always worth a look. Not because they offer a whole bunch of new ideas, of course. You already know what number one is, you can easily name the filmmakers whose work occurs the most, and you'll certainly get a passing score on what makes the top twenty-five.

But it's fascinating to see how the rest of the list shakes out. What order are
Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest, and Marnie? Does Taxi Driver rank higher than Raging Bull and how far ahead are they from Mean Streets? And how many Billy Wilder movies did make the cut?

This list comes from the BBC, and the opinions come from critics around the world, so it's interesting to see how international criticism weighs in on the ranking.    

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May 13, 2016

The Ultimate Cycling Library: The 8 Essential Bicycle Books Every Man Should Read

created at: 05/02/2016

If you search for a list of best books about bicycles, you'll find several... and among them, you'll notice a definite trend. They're all about "cycling" - the competitive racing of road bikes - rather than "bicycles" - the thing with two wheels and a chain and handlebars.

Not that we have anything against competitive cycling (we love it), but only true dedicated fans of the sport need a list of biographies and recaps of historic Tour de Frances, and the like.   

So instead, we set out to create our own cycling library that encompasses all aspects of the simple, brilliant machinery that is the bicycle, and all the fun that comes with it.

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May 13, 2016

7 Great Cycling Movies You Can Stream Right Now

created at: 05/02/2016

For our money, there's no better way to spend an afternoon than spinning on two wheels. But if the weather's not cooperating or the sun gone down too soon, then there's no better way than spending an afternoon getting inspired to ride tomorrow by watching a great movie about bicycles. Here are seven you can stream right now with your Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts.

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Apr 21, 2016

What's Good for April 2016: What We're Reading, Watching, and Listening To

What's Good April 2016

Welcome to What's Good, ManMade's monthly Show and Tell day, where we let you know what we've been reading, watching, and listening to. 

Here's what's good this month ...

 

Reading

Chris:

I recently finished "King Dork" by Frank Portman. It's a "young adult" book, meaning it's about and appropriate for teenagers, but I loved it. Portman, to me, will always be Dr. Frank, the singer/guitarist/songwriter of the Mr. T Experience, my very favorite band from the 80s/90s Bay Area/Gilman Street/Lookout Records punk rock scene.

The book is about growing up, and rock and roll, and literature, and relationships, and all the good things coming-of-age

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Apr 20, 2016

How to: Find All the Music from Your Favorite Movie and TV Shows

created at: 04/20/2016

Right now, the three TV shows that my wife and I are in the midst of - Love, Togetherness S2, and Girls S4 share one (though probably more) thing in common: they all make great use of music. Good scores, yes, but also amazing pop songs that give each show a cohesive vibe, emotional weight, and has me reaching for that Shazam button non-stop.

Of course, with the way movies and TV shows work, they play four bars of a song to set the tone, then drop the music so the actors can be heard and the story moved forward. So, by the time the phone is grabbed and the app opened, the opportunity is usually lost. Sure, you can pause and rewind, but that

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Apr 19, 2016

How to Drink Vodka Like a Russian

created at: 04/19/2016

It's an interesting contrast. Vodka is among the most simple and pure of spirits, distilled many times to show off the basic essence of its grain (or potatoes) and water source. But perhaps there's no other bottle that carries with it such a variety of contexts in which its imbibed. Because of its straight-forward, back-to-basics presentation, you can drink vodka like, say, a college student who wants to mask the taste. Or a James Bond-inspired martini drinker who hasn't learned about gin yet. Or for its, um, less-hangover-y nature and overall lower impact to your systems the next morning. And countless other ways.

Or, you could drink vodka like those people who invented it - those from Northeastern Europe, where long, cold winters mean grapes won't really grow, and the best source of sugar to ferment and distill are hardy cereal grains.    

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Apr 13, 2016

"The 501 Jeans: Stories of an Original" Documentary

created at: 04/04/2016 The brand name Levi Strauss is so well known it's practically interchangeable with "jeans." And I'm a huge a fan of jeans in general. They're perhaps the most iconic form of American apparel. They can be classy and dressed up, or rugged and practical. And here's a one of a kind documentary from Levi tracing the brand's history, examining manufacturing techniques, and discussing the relevance of the cut on society. With gorgeous retro cinematography, it's inspirational to watch, and it's narrated by Ramblin' Jack Elliot to boot.    

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Mar 24, 2016

What's Good for March 2016: What We're Reading, Watching, and Listening To

Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
Welcome to What's Good, ManMade's monthly Show and Tell day, where we let you know what we've been reading, watching, and listening to (and where you can share with us too!). We're going to be doing this series once a month throughout 2016, and I'm really excited about it! No more vacantly staring at Netflix wondering what to press play on; we'll all have a bunch of good recommendations to pick from... 

Here we go!

Reading

Chris:

I just finished "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn. It's a (sorta) Oregon novel by a Portland-based author, and I finally decided to settle down with it this winter. I was into it for the first 60%, but admit to rushing

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Feb 26, 2016

Good Books and Where I Read Them

Good books and where I read them
Every book you read leaves two stories with you; the story told in the book, and the story of its reading. Here are some of my favorites:

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Feb 25, 2016

How One Woman Makes Prosthetic Pinkies for Ex-Yakuza Members

Ritualized finger-shortening, or “Yubitsume”, is the ancient tradition of cutting off the end of one's own pinky finger just above the joint to atone for mistakes. Traditionally this was done on the left hand making it harder for the culprit to wield a katana properly; the ritual was then so eagerly adopted by the Japanese mafia that ex-mafia members have an incredibly hard time re-integrating into society due to the stigma against their obvious deformity.   

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