Chris Michael Shea

(aka @tierack on Twitter)

Co-host of A Fine Show, Indeed, Wednesdays, 8:30pm, at Bushwick Public House


Can reading a book be as fun as playing Tetris? What if what the protagonist is playing Tetris? What if the protagonist is you?

Tetris Adventure

Be sure to have your sound up (if you want sound).

01 November 2015

Syrian Refugees Have Stalled Your Vacation. What Now?

You had planned your vacation of Central Europe for months. The current Syrian refugee crisis didn’t even exist when you bought the tickets (at least, not to your knowledge). But now you’re in Austria, rail travel is suspended and there are asylum seekers everywhere, ruining what was supposed to be a relaxing two-week jaunt.

Here are some ways to reclaim your travel bliss in the midst of a humanitarian crisis:

Architecture tours

Austria has a long history of architectural grandeur. And there’s nothing quite like a guided architectural tour to keep your eyes pointed up and away from the weak, starving escapees of the horrors of Syria (which is maybe having a civil war?). Keep your camera aimed at the spires and statues above eye level and document real history. The stateless throng all about you don’t seem to care about taking pictures of the Vienna State Opera House, but that’ll just make your Facebook photo gallery look so much more cultured in comparison. Nice!

Go to the beautiful churches

You may not have planned on being stuck in Austria, but you’ll be happy to find that it is home to some beautiful old churches. Ones with extravagant altars and old frescoes that suggest a rigid order to the universe that isn’t evident on the streets crawling with displaced people outside. Oh and don’t worry that the brown-skinned aliens pouring across the southern border will go straight to church. Because unlike the brown-skinned aliens pouring across the southern border back home, these ones are Muslim. Church is yours!

Act British

It’s frequently said that it can be a liability to be American when traveling abroad, and that’s even more true now. Some of these Syrian castaways are blaming America for creating the situation from which they’re escaping, but that’s not your fault! Expect better service at restaurants and museums by putting on a British accent. As a bonus, the émigrés seem to understand that England is hostile to the idea of taking any of them in, so they might just stay out of your way. It’s win-win!

Avoid major highways

Try sticking to the smaller roads in and around city centers. Not only will they be more quaint, they’re less likely to be barricaded by Austrian officials still trying to figure out what to do with the tens of thousands of desperate people escaping death, some of who have decided to go on foot to Germany, blocking even more roads. Twisty little cobblestone paths are no place for hordes of political asylum-seekers, but perfect for finding a little souvenir to bring to your secretary!

Spurge on dinner

Central Europe is cheap, so all those Euros in your pocket will go a lot further than you think. That six-course meal at the fancy restaurant down the block is within your reach. And these refugees don’t have any money, so it doesn’t matter how hungry they are: they won’t be there. Enjoy some Austrian wine and Schnitzel in opulent luxury, promising yourself to read up on whatever’s happening outside once you get back to comforts of home.

There you have it. Five simple ways to turn this international inconvenience into a fun footnote of an otherwise fabulous vacation to Central Europe. Prost!

09 September 2015

8 Things Bears on Railroad Tracks Say

1. Choo-choo, I’m a train!

Bear 1

2. All aboard!

Bear 2

3. Look down and step carefully over the gap as you enter or exit the train.

Bear 3

4. Stand clear of the closing doors.

Bear 4

5. Tickets please!

Bear 5

6. Assaulting a conductor is a federal offense and carries a minimum sentence of 5 years.

Bear 6

7. If you see something, say something.

Bear 7

8. We are being held by the train’s dispatcher because of train traffic ahead.

Bear 8

07 September 2015

Hardcore Coop Building Rules

  • Trash and recycling goes out Mondays. Compost is Wednesday. Thursday is screamo night.
  • Dogs under 35 pounds are allowed and must be kept on a choke-chain collar attached to a hemp leash at all times.
  • Laundry machines are located at your parents’ homes.
  • Bicycle storage is just wherever you leave your bike on the front lawn.
  • No meat is allowed in the building at any time. (Unless it’s late and McDonald’s is the only thing that’s open and it’s vegan cheat day.)
  • Satellite dishes are not allowed. They are an eyesore and corporate media weakens the spirit.
  • Priority parking spaces are reserved for vans with drummers sleeping inside. Vans with bassists will be towed.
  • Renovations do not require board approval. However you cannot construct a stage, as a band should never be elevated over the community.
  • Skateboarding is not a crime, but is against building rules between 9am and 5pm.
  • Overnight guests are permitted, provided it’s a band whose most recent 7-inch was released on an approved hardcore record label.
  • The record label you run out of your bedroom is provisionally an approved hardcord label pending a review of its catalogue in an approved straight-edge zine.
  • The straight-edge zine you make in your living room is provisionally an approved straight-edge zine, though you can’t review your own records and expect to retain any kind of cred.
  • Membership to the coop board will be extended to those residents who most clearly demonstrate the building’s twin commitments to anarchy and city regulations.

06 September 2015

The Wire, Season 6: Improv

Episode One, “Yeah… And?”: Judge Phelan makes a call to Commissioner Valchek, who clearly isn’t listening. Marlo Stanfield starts over with a new crew that has an usual characteristic. McNulty’s improv 101 class is taught by someone who didn’t even study under one of the founders of the theater.

Episode Two, “It’s All in The Game”: Slim Charles gets too many suggestions from Clay Davis. Lieutenant Carver reacts truthfully when he hears an arrested hopper say Marlo’s name. In his final 101 performance, McNulty spends too much time exploring the base reality.

Episode Three, “Object Work”: An understaffed Major Crimes unit is very obviously struggling to make progress on an assets investigation. Narcotics officers mistakenly think they see Fat-Face Rick on a cell phone, so he plays along. McNulty discovers registering for 201 requires more than just $450.

Episode Four, “Crazy 8s”: As the hours count down to a police strike, eastside dealers shake hands on a new deal. Marlo’s aloofness makes it hard for partners to connect with him. McNulty annoys his practice group by constantly rebelling against their director.

Episode Five, “Monoscene”: The police strike is averted, but a rare hurricane stops the city in its tracks. Slim Charles spends a night in jail for show. Sydnor juggles two phone calls while walking back and forth through a swinging door. McNulty sleeps with the only woman in his class.

Episode Six, “Group mind”: A loose affiliation of dirty cops solidifies. Marlo’s crew keeps the count correct without communicating. In his 301 class McNulty stops getting support from the back line.

Episode Seven, “Hot Spot”: A group of westside officers’ karaoke night ends with a suspicious death. Slim Charles doesn’t know what to say to his lieutenants, so Fat-Face Rick jumps in for support. McNulty can’t get out of his head.

Episode Eight, “Transaction scene”: Marlo changes tactics, resulting in a very confusing controlled buy. Sydnor gets the hard sell from Poot at Foot Locker. McNulty fails to commit to a third beat.

Episode Nine, “Crazy town”: With more cops dying from tainted heroin, Mayor Campbell can’t explain how the city got to where it is. A meeting at the Baltimore Sun ends with everyone more confused than when it started. A sober McNulty learns to focus his walk-ons in a demanding 401 class.

Episode Ten, “Zip, Zap, Zop”: In the thrilling 2-hour finale, everyone finds they need to get back to basics. Unable to get in on the police connection, Marlo returns to his old ways and everyone’s a target. Sydnor finds that even police corruption doesn’t rate at the FBI. Slim Charles provides the drugs for Mayor Campbell’s “drugs on the table” press conference. McNulty, failing to land a spot on a house team, wonders if he should have been trying stand up instead.

05 September 2015