2016: Our Hipster Mattress Moment
Where we hit our tedious stride. Two weeks into 2016, the newsletter had one of its earliest, if most unlikely, success stories, when we wrote a takedown piece on the mail-order mattress, which was a major phenomenon by this point. The post drove people crazy, and ensured I would get hundreds of emails on the topic over the next three years. Also of note in 2016 was our first outside post, from writer Andrew Egan, on one of the most extreme sports I've ever heard of. Check out the full collection below!
2016 in Tedium
We're Eating Animal Feed
Sometimes, asking questions about the things around us leads us into interesting directions, and one of those directions was what I found when looking up the history of the cheese curl, an object that people eat absent-mindedly. It blew my mind when I learned that the cheese curl had strangely agricultural roots. It proves that the difference between food an animal feed is our perception of it.
A Serious Commodity
Tedium is very much a research-based publication, but sometimes that research leads to real people and real interviews, and in the case of the mousepad, it led me to Bob McDermand, an early Apple Macintosh user who came up with a way to improve the movement of the computer mouse on all kinds of desk surfaces—something that was particularly necessary in the days when mouse-motion was driven by a ball, rather than a laser. McDermand is perhaps one of my favorite interview subjects.
Do It For The Hot Pockets
Hot Pockets are barely food. They're only sometimes edible. They make a good use of microwaves, however, and they're easy to cook in a pinch. But they represent one of the low points of food culture. However, there is much to admire about their founders, who took their highly prepared culinary know-how and made a lot of money off of it—money that they then put into charitable and cultural pursuits.