Thursday, August 28, 2008

Food Logic Volume 7: Oreo + Apple Juice


A wise person has revealed to me a breakthrough discovery in the science of food mathematics. Here is the formula:

Oreo Cookie + Apple Juice = Dirty Sweaty Gym Sock

There is no logic behind this. It is an irreducible truth.

On a related note, remember Neon Oreos? So do I! But it seems that records of their existence have been all but eliminated from the internet. A Google Image search for Neon Oreo finds absolutely nothing. I think it's an attempt by Nabisco, under the shadowy umbrella corporation of Kraft Foods, to cover up the horrible 80s obsession with neon colours. Sure, we all know it was a mistake, but censorship is not the answer.



Here are some beautiful song lyrics for you:

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oooreo. oh, oh, oh, oh, ooooreo.
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oooreo. oh, oh, oh, oh, ooooreo.
Get loose everybody cause were gonna do our thing.
(rap:) cause you know it aint over till the fat lady sings.
Hangin tough, hangin tough, hangin tough.
(rap:) are you tough enough?
Hangin tough, hangin tough, hangin tough.
(rap:) were rough.
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oooreo, just hangin tough. Oh, oh, oh, oh, ooooreo, hangin tough.

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See also: Food Logic, Volume 6.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Don't Like / Do Like

Here are two things that I do not like:

  • The fact that, when I see two houseflies buzzing around, tangled together, humping each other, I start to feel kinda lonely.
  • Seeing posters on every other lamp post, reading LOST DOG, $250 reward. The kids, especially, want her back. She is sick and needs medication. These make it hard to go anywhere without wanting to burst into tears.


Here are two thing that I do like:

  • Hearing music I've never heard of before from, and sharing music with, awesome people.
  • Seeing ice cream trucks drive by on a hot day. I remember being a kid, and being just overjoyed when the ringing of the ice cream dude approached. I guess that joy still hasn't worn off.


The Sacred Mushroom

OK this is long, but worth watching. It's a show called One Step Beyond, from 1961, about psychedelic mushrooms (i.e., magic mushrooms) and whether or not they enhance ESP.



There are so many fascinating / hilarious things about this video. The way they talk funny ("a man was shot!"... "and shot AT!"); the host himself eagerly gobbling up mushrooms, then totally tripping balls ("I feel like I'd like to dive in the middle of it!"); the revelation that reality TV has never really been "real."

The results of the test are also interesting. It's done in an at least somewhat scientific, controlled manner, and there are some dramatic results there even if you consider that it's been heavily edited. It's too bad that shrooms are now illegal to grow or possess, because some better research along these lines could've been illuminating. Plus they are good clean fun. I doubt that anyone has ever gotten into much trouble while seeing pretty colours and thinking they're psychic. Alcohol, on the other hand...


(I found this via Dean Radin)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bell, Bring Back Beavers

Have you seen this new Bell Canada ad? The father asks the ugly teen kid where the laptop is. He says he checked email in his room, played video games in the living room, and watched videos on the deck with it. The dad immediately becomes uncomfortable; "don't tell me," he says. The bathroom. I LEFT IT IN THE BATHROOM, the kid emphasizes.

Wait, did I just witness a masturbation joke on mainstream television?

Because here is the complete list of things that ugly teenagers do with computers:
-> Email
-> World of Warcraft
-> Youtube
-> Porn

It's process of elimination here.

Beavers have their own set of jokes, but that's better than family chats about shaking hands with Mr. Winky. Please Bell, bring back Frank and Gordon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This Place is the Best

So think about this. People often think that their city is the best in several different ways. Wherever they live has the greatest bars, the most beautiful women, the best tacos, whatever.

But how do people come to hold these opinions? Well, one way would be to try to remember the best members of the category in question that the person has ever experienced, remember which city each was experienced in, and note that most or all are from their own city. The problem here is that, even if there are no differences in quality between cities, any person is going to have experienced more in the city they are from. So chances are that the top 10 will mostly be populated by things from their own city, regardless of actual quality differences.

For example, if I've had 100 tacos in my home town of London, 5 tacos in Toronto, and 5 tacos in New York, chances are my top 10 tacos will mostly be from London even if New York truly has, on average, the best tacos.



This may seem obvious. But there is one surprising consequence: this also applies when you substitute "worst" for "best" in the above reasoning. Thinking of the bottom 10 will lead one to their own city more often than not. So, paradoxically, I bet most people would say that their own city has both the best of the best and the worst of the worst, depending on how you ask it. "The worst tacos? Well, I got really sick after that one at Taco Bell in London, so London has the worst tacos." "The best tacos? Well, Si Senor in London has great tacos, so I guess London has the best tacos."

I bet that if you surveyed people from a given city, asking half of them about the worst city for any given thing, and half of them about the best city for the same thing, both groups would choose their home town the most. Yet another example of how people are dumb and their brains betray them.

Welcome, Cake Haters

Welcome to everyone coming from Epicurious. It's awesome that they linked to our ugly global warming cake and described it as "godawful". Be sure to check out our Other Ugly Cakes, and come back for more in the future (I've still got pictures of at least two others to post).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Puppy Scratches and Handwritten Bar Stamp



I woke up on my couch, my shirt covered in crumbs. I tried to swallow, and my mouth was full of crumbs too. I guess I was so dehydrated that the nachos I'd stuffed in my mouth and half-chewed, in a futile attempt to avoid a hangover, had dried to a crumble.

The picture above was on my phone. I guess I was impressed with the badass scratches all over my arm.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bike



This is my sweet-ass new bike. Thanks Yvonne! It doesn't actually have a headlight; that's just the reflector being all reflecty with the flash.



Now I can get places in a fraction of the time that I could before. And I can do it [SMUG ALERT] without harming the environment with stinky car fumes [/SMUG ALERT]. No, but for serious, a bike isn't a lifestyle, it's a mode of transportation. Getting from point A to point B (especially if there are nice trails in between) is all that matters, and being all ethical and stylish about it is just gravy.

Here is what I plan on doing with my bike:



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Me Literate

So remember I told you that I submitted a short story for publication? Yeah, well, for some reason they thought it was good enough to buy. I guess I'm a real fiction writer now.

I got my check in the mail today. It's a small amount, but that's not the point; the fact that someone thought the ideas in my head that I scribbled into a computer were good enough to buy and share is a nice ego boost. I can't decide if I want to cash the check or frame it and hang it on the wall. Then, when I hit the big time, I can be all like "thanks for coming to visit and solicit writing advice, Stephen King. Would you like to see the first check I ever got? Follow me, it's in the museum wing."

The story will be available online when it is released, and I will be sure to link to it. It's very short, so you'll barely have to spend any time to pretend that you care. Also, I emphasize that the story has almost nothing at all to do with polar bears.

P.S. Oh look, Raymi posted another of my works of creative genius.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Awkward

Watch this extra-wide video:



What I relate to most is the "enjoy your meal" , "you too" exchange. I do that all the time, and it really shows how insincere most small talk is. I remember traveling after very little sleep once, doing the same in response to the really cute Air Canada girl's "enjoy your flight", then starting to walk away, realizing it made no sense, turning around to explain, realizing I really didn't need to explain, kinda half-waving / smiling at her and mumbling something incoherent, turning back around and getting the hell out of there. Probably with a very red face. That sucked.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Minor Issues


I've been thinking about music a lot lately. Yesterday, I had a conversation about why certain chords tend to "sound good" together. It seems like a lot of it has to do with the physical layout of an instrument; certain chords are easier to play together on a guitar. Since most rock music is based on guitars, chords that are easy to play together "sound good" together in rock music.

The thing with this is that it's arbitrary. There's no real, underlying reason why certain patterns sound good; it's just a matter of what was easiest to play, and thus what musicians played, and thus what we've been exposed to our whole lives. Other cultures hear different patterns growing up, and would think ours sound weird. If we'd grown up hearing random patterns of chords (within certain limitations, I'm sure), those would sound natural together.

This seems unsatisfying somehow. Music feels like this transcendental, magical stuff that, when done right, can tickle the deepest reaches of our souls. If the line between beautiful music and shitty music is really just a proxy for the line between familiar and unfamiliar, filtered through historical accidents in our culture (like the layout of a guitar), it seems less magical, less eternal.

I think an even more striking example is the difference between major chords and minor chords. To people in Western culture, major chords usually sound happy, and minor chords usually sound sad. Why? Did one of the first popular musicians happen to associate minor chords with sad lyrics, then later musicians just followed suit? Could it have just as easily gone the other way?

I dunno. I'm inclined to refuse to believe in the arbitrariness of music. Maybe minor chords are more similar to the sounds of crying and other expressions of sorrow, so their sadness is deeply imprinted in our genes and our souls. Maybe there is a deeper reason to prefer patterns of chord progressions, even if the specific set of chords in them is arbitrary.

I tried to look this up, as I figure it'd be a common issue and is certainly subject to scientific scrutiny. However, Google only comes up with speculation, and a quick search of PsychINFO (a database of psychology research) only comes up with only 10 results. One of them is an article from 1942 titled "The preference of twenty-five Negro college women for major and minor chords", which might be a bit outdated. I guess, then, that this is still an open issue, and I'm one of the only nerds who spends time thinking about crap like this.

Of course, overthinking music is, while fun, pointless. No amount of intellectual pondering can take away the fact that music feels magical, and that is what really matters.

Friday, August 08, 2008

My Insomnia Impression

When someone disapproves of the way someone else is living their life, they often say "at least I can sleep at night." The implication is that the other person is, deep down, so overcome with life dissatisfaction, usually because of guilt over some moral atrocity, that they can't even get to sleep.

This is rather dumb.

There are a lot of good reasons to avoid sleeping at night. Let us start with the obvious: Boning someone you care about. But there's also staying up all night chatting with someone you care about. There's staying up thinking about someone you care about but can't be with at the moment. There's staying up drinking and partying with friends who are just such good company that sleepiness gets pushed to the side. Hell, there's even staying up playing some horribly addictive video game, or pulling an all-nighter to make up for the procrastination brought on by the same wonderful things that prevented you from sleeping the night before.

Ain't nothing wrong with any of that. "At least I can sleep at night" might as well be "at least I have nothing better to do with my time than lie around doing absolutely nothing for 8 hours a day."


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See also: Sleep Sucks.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Straight to DVD, Straight to Awesome

Do you realize how many movies get made? The handful of new releases in theaters are just a sampling of the movies released each week. I'm talking about the straight-to-DVD crap that you never hear about before it comes out, and probably never hear about after it comes out unless your eyes happen to wander past the one copy on the bottom shelf at Blockbuster.

Here are some of these rare gems released in August so far:









So we've got weird low-budget horror movies, what looks like a kid's version of Rambo, a creepy Chinese robot, sequels to movies that probably shouldn't have sequels (one of which we're told is an ALL NEW MOVIE, just in case you miss the number "2" there), and...well, you've probably heard of Postal, but I think it's appropriate to mock Uwe Boll movies whenever given the chance.

Now, one's reaction may be, "Why do they even get made? Who the hell actually rents or buys these movies?" The answer is, my parents rent movies like this. Whenever I go over to their place, I find stacks of these unrecognizable movies. If there is one semi-known actor in a movie, or it looks good from the back cover, they'll rent it. And apparently sometimes they're pretty good. Since almost every movie in theaters is either a sequel or a remake or crap, maybe they're onto something.

How bad can "Triloquist" be? It's already got one compelling mystery going for it: where did the "ven" go? Look, a synopsis:

This is that old coming-of-age tale of two wide-eyed siblings who go on a life-changing road trip to Las Vegas, taking nothing with them but a creepy dummy that appears to be alive, some loaded weapons, and their own twisted and dangerous psychoses. It's the kind of simple, straight story that rekindles the nostalgia of your youth. Renowned horror director and creepy-little-monster lover Mark Jones (LEPRECHAUN, RUMPLESTILTSKIN) writes and directs this horror-comedy.


As far as creepy-little-monster movies go, that sounds pretty good. Maybe even better than your average Natalie Portman movie. ZING! Get it? Because she's short? And ugly?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

No Idea

When I open my own restaurant, it will only serve foods that you cannot get anywhere else in the world. Adventurous eaters will come from far and wide to eat rare and potentially disgusting food. Its slogan will go thusly:

"You have no idea what you're getting into yourself."

Monday, August 04, 2008

You Don't Write on Your Own Facebook Wall



A peculiar fact about Facebook is that you are not supposed to write on your own wall. Because that really could have gone either way, eh? With blogs, conversations take place on a single blog, often with the blog's owner commenting on his or her own blog. It has the advantage of the entire conversation being in one place. But a disadvantage is that anyone who comments on a blog will have to go back to that blog to see if anyone responded to it.

What I wonder is who decided that posting on your own blog is OK, but posting on your own Facebook profile is not. Was it one person who persuasively argued for a position? (e.g., I've seen it argued that posting on your own wall is like leaving a note on your own fridge and hoping your friends will stop by to read it) Or did it just happen naturally due to subtle properties of Facebook that make having conversations between walls easier than having them on a single wall? Or was it completely arbitrary, with one position that just happened to spread around and eventually became codified as a new taboo?

It makes you wonder if other taboos develop in similar ways. Like, who decided it was wrong to wear a hat at dinner time? I'm sure there was a good reason for it at one point, but now, I see no reason why having a piece of cloth on your head disrupts a meal.

Of course, a good source of LOLs is breaking taboos, so I'm gonna go write inane messages to friends on my own Facebook wall while I eat pizza in a cowboy hat.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Rogers Again

Maybe this is an unhealthy obsession, but...

Salem sent me this new Rogers flyer:



My response: What's it trying to say? That Rogers fits your multiple-personality fragmented nightmare of a life?