The Midnight Brew

Good conversations at the best virtual diner on the Internet.

The Midnight Brew is a podcast hosted by Cailean Babcock out of Osaka, Japan, at the best virtual diner on the internet. Episodes feature interviews with inspiring individuals from around the world, as well as discussions about creativity, art, movies, current events and culture. Released every other Friday at midnight Japan Standard Time.

Watch Maker

As I tie up the last few, dangling threads of my time as a Native English Teacher in Osaka, I find myself faced with the accusing message on a computer screen: "Last update performed in 2011".

In the last year before I resigned as union president of OFSET back in the very same year mentioned, I put together (or so I thought) was a comprehensive amalgamation of software and cloud-based features on a sleek, simply-configured MacBook (2010 edition), intended to be accessible to any user, regardless of their level of computer-savvy. It was the the fisherman's perfect tackle box designed for those special trips at 3am: everything to hand, and everything handy. I was hopeful that it would be a fool-proof, not to mention future-proof solution, ready to go at a moment's notice for years of union officers to come.

And yet, with one fell swoop of neglect, it was all brought to naught, thanks to a single person's click of the cancel button (or more likely, a failure to click anything at all).

Thank goodness I'm not a tech support person by trade (although I have been). You wouldn't believe the number of things that people in that thankless, noble profession are blamed for, despite their complete lack of involvement in the dire circumstances that drove the misbegotten, complaining end-user to the point where they had to get on the phone.

Yes, I'm looking at you. And, no, that's not a cupholder.

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You


NHK (the Japanese version of the BBC) called me up today for a survey. Despite telling them I didn't think I was qualified to participate, they insisted (it's just the way they roll).

I'm fairly certain that I told them I was unhappy with the government, I wasn't happy with my salary (har har), and that the government should change its economic strategy. 

I also may have authorized restarting the nuclear reactors. That, or a military strike on China. If it's the latter, my bad. Totally on me.


In traditional sci-fi, there has always been a very distinct line drawn between two camps: Star Wars, and Star Trek.

I always saw the former as sci-fi light; the kind you enjoy when you want your swashbuckling fantasy served up with rockets and swords made of light. Unapologetically campy, Star Wars is for when you want to save the princess with a laser pistol. It caters to the little kid who wants to go out on a summer afternoon right now to make "pew pew" noises and whack at your friends with sticks. There's nothing wrong with that.

Star Trek, on the other hand, for all its faults, was the real thing. It was something you could aspire to. It was what you were going to grow up and be someday: an astronaut, a scientist, an explorer, who was going to go out and see things that no human had ever seen before. To find out where the edge was, and what lie beyond it. The stuff that dreams were made of.

Today we lost one of the greats, who set the bar for so many others to follow. Goodbye, Mr. Nimoy. As Simon Pegg said so simply and so well,

And in the man's own words:

I may not be

I may not be
I may not be the fastest
I may not be the tallest
Or the strongest

I may not be the best
Or the brightest
But one thing I can do better
Than anyone else...

That is
To be me

— Leonard Nimoy

The New Digital Divide

You need to see “Noah” right now (Careful! Some scenes NSFW): a brilliant, insightful take on the contradictory, dualistic nature of modern communication. Within the last two decades, the internet and its peripheral technologies have grown exponentially. With only a few clicks of a mouse (or swipes of a smartphone screen), we have virtual, instantaneous access to almost every human being on the planet. We tweet, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook our lives away.

Our social circles are tucked snugly into our bags and back pockets, providing an ever-present sense of community. And yet, while perpetually within arm’s reach, this false security blanket of intangible companionship has its dangers.

It's Friday. Put away that smartphone, get out of the house, and spend some time with someone special tonight.

Galvanizing Inspiration

UK Artist Kendra Haste is a true inspiration. She has created one of the most remarkable innovations in 3D media I've seen in years (and I'm not talking the digital kind). A graduate of the Royal College of Art, she has made her name creating startlingly life-like animal sculptures out of chicken wire.

Click on the post title to see the original article and a list of places where you can go see more of her work. (via