Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Secondhand Transmission From a Distant World

Everyone is an alien to someone.

I'm in my late 20s. To anyone under the age of 18 today, I'm from a world they have never been to, and never will. A world we call the 1980s. It was inhabited by creatures with big curly hair that listened to cheesy pop music and grazed on Pixy Stix and Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip (aka sand you can eat). I grew up there; I have vivid memories of the world around me and the formative first experiences I had in it. But anyone under 18, they can only dream of such things.



See, this isn't even the packaging I remember, but it's all I could find on the internet. That old Lik-M-Aid packaging, it's lost to time; it only exists in my memory of that alien world (and maybe partially rotted in an old box in someone's basement).

Space aliens are separated from us by distance; we are separated from other people by time. But really, time is just the distance between two things that happen in the same place.



Which, of course, means that anyone older than me is an alien too. If a little grey man stepped out of a flying saucer that carried him from a planet I could never visit, I'd be treating him like a sort of god, asking him every question I could think of. Maybe elders should be treated with the same respect and reverence.

This isn't limited to time. The subjective experience of any one person can't, by definition, be experienced by other people. To anyone else, it's an alien sensation that can only be indirectly and imperfectly expressed. But even second-hand transmissions from the alien landscape of another person's mind should be fascinating. Indeed, it's what makes conversation with someone new so great. It's what gives mass expressions of one's consciousness - art, music, poetry, writing, whatever - their magic. SETI is cool 'n everything, but Earth's own idiosyncratic aliens are just as fascinating.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Sixish Random Things

OMFG I got tagged.

The Rules
1. Link to the person who tagged you who in this case is Darius Whiteplume.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

#1) I often have 10 or 15 tabs open in my browser. This is because I often get a random thought, then immediately drop what I'm doing, open a new tab, explore the random thought, then that reminds me of something else, new tab, etc. For example, as I was writing this, I thought, "what would happen if I typed 'I'm feeling lucky' into Google, then clicked the I'm Feeling Lucky button?" I was kinda hoping it would break the internet, but it didn't.

2.0) When I'm on the phone I doodle. I have a whole page of doodles of robots vomiting. Keep this in mind when you talk to me on the phone.

C) Dr. Jason sent me this cheesecake recipe (from here) yesterday. It looks so good that I said I had an orgasm in my mouth, but I didn't really fully think through the implications of that. It does look delicious though; gotta try making it.



Episode IV) I've finally started running my psychology experiment for my PhD. It's about attitudes towards things that are both pleasant and unpleasant, like horror movies, and I'm pretty excited to see the results. I should tell you more about it sometime.

5 x 5) Oh but speaking of horror movies, I saw the movie Teeth last night, which isn't really a horror movie but kinda is. Especially if you are male. The less you know about it the better, but it's basically about the dangers of being a sexually repressed religious douchebag, but also the dangers of being a sexually obsessed rapist (which apparently every man is), and it's also about vaginas and Darwinian evolution.

666) These tag meme things that spread across blogs and Facebook are a bit annoying, but secretly I like being tagged and filling them out because I am a self-centered jerk who enjoys talking about myself. But more importantly, I genuinely like seeing how friends will fill them out, because everyone has their own interpretation of the questions and their own style, and it really demonstrates the diversity in personalities and opinions that makes living with humans so interesting.

7) I dislike authority and actively reject arbitrary rules.


The blogs I tag to fill this out are Engadget, Joystiq, and Busblog. If you're reading this, you're tagged too. Fill it out if you feel like it.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

#LTC

Hey while I'm documenting awkward conversations with service people...

(getting on the bus labeled "Downtown")

Me: Where does this bus go?

Bus Driver: Downtown.

Information required to see the humour in this: Downtown is a big place.



...I'm seeming kinda bitter lately eh? I'm not bitter. I love everything. My next post will be about kittens and cookie dough ice cream and other nice things.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Roger Roger

My internet connection stopped working a few days ago, then again last night. I realized how dependent I had become on being constantly connected with the world in real-time, and felt some anxiety about not being able to. I could have taken this as a precious gift, then gone to do some low-tech activity like reading a book or actually talking to people to remind myself that life need not always be a fast paced technological blur. Instead, I called Rogers to politely tell them to get it the fuck working so's I can get my internet fix.

The dude on the phone was nice and helpful, troubleshooting the problem without assuming I'm an idiot. He sent someone over the very next morning, and the guy who showed up was also nice, quickly replacing a few different things just in case they were at fault. I thought to myself, self, is it possible that you just dealt with Rogers and had nothing at all to complain about? Except maybe that the repair guy left his shoes on when he came in, which is kinda weird because who does that in Canada? But no biggie, it was mostly good.

Also, this ad is actually kinda funny (unlike their other ones):



But then I got a call a few minutes later.

Rogers Lady (with heavy accent): This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes. Blah blah blah. We value you as a Rogers customer.

Me: [Okay self, let her talk, maybe it's just a follow-up call]

Rogers: We are calling today about a very special offer for Rogers Home Phone.

Me (interrupting): Oh, thank you, but I have a cell phone so I have absolutely no use for Home Phone.

Rogers: Is your cell phone with Rogers? You can get a 15% discount if you get Home Phone.

Me: Yes but it would still cost money and I have absolutely no use for it. Plus I already get a 15% discount.

Rogers: That's wonderful! Now let me tell you about how installation for Rogers Home Phone is free, unlike stupid Bell. Shall I sign you up?

Me: I would never use it. Ever. So, no.

Rogers: I understand. You can try it free for the first month to see what it's like.

Me: I have seen phones before. I am aware of how they work.

Rogers: Oh, do your friends and family have phones? What if they need to reach you and your cell phone is out of batteries?

Me: ... Yes...my... friends and family have phones...listen, I'm just not interested.

Rogers: It costs less than a cup of coffee a day.

Me: I told you, I would never, ever use it. Never. I wouldn't want it if it cost $1.00 a month. It is not worth the space it would take up on my table.

Rogers: I understand, but-


Etc. etc. Repeat in about a week.

You're back in my bad books, Rogers. It must have been a glorious five minutes of having my respect, though.

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See also: More signs of my unhealthy obsession with mocking Rogers.

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P.S. If I worked at Rogers, I would say "Roger that" every time someone said anything to me.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ice Cream and War: How to Find Phronk.com

Here is what people were searching for when they found this blog:

  • 1 in 9 tim horton's my ass roll up rim
  • judge a person by how they take their coffee


  • i scream, you scream! we all scream for ice cream! & war! if you are not pissing someone off, you are not playing right! ;-)



  • motherfucking snakes and halifax
  • chupacabra in ontario
  • tell bell canada to bring back the two beavers
  • octopusology
  • psychology of cougars

  • ovary punching

  • porn fish
  • porn bow arrow fur



  • isaac hayes vegetarian
  • isaac hayes douchebag
  • products in patrick bateman cabinet

  • how to have awesome facial hair



  • ugly surgery games
  • ann hathaway is hideous
  • terry bauer was ugly on 24

  • how to burn a peanut in science things
  • is there a scientific reason for eating when happy or sad


Oh, and lots of people searching for some variant of "horror movie ideas." I imagine that these people are responsible for the latest crap Hollywood horror movies, and are now so desperate for ideas that they are Googling them. Which I guess is a step up from remakes.

Just send the royalty checks and I'll be happy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Future of Advertising?


Virgin Mobile Canada has recently launched a blog called Screw You Recession. It's a bizarre mish-mash of money-saving tips, celebrity gossip, and random entertaining links. Like everyone else lately, there is also an @virginmobilecan Twitter account with similar content (e.g., they tweeted from the recent Britney Spears show in Toronto).

In one way, this is sorta awesome. They're embracing the new reality of the internet and trying to connect with people through content they relate to. People like celebrity blogs and Twittering, so why not create those things then sprinkle in plugs for their product?

Well, because, in another way, there's something inherently dishonest about the whole thing. They don't really care about creating a quality finance/celebrity blog. They don't really care about connecting with people through Twitter in the way it was intended. They're only tweeting from Britney concerts because Virgin is the sponsor of the tour. When they tweet "only mins away from britney!! anyone see her??!!", I really doubt they expect any of the 100 people following Virgin's twitter account to be within eyeshot of Britney.

And it spreads. They're reaching out to bloggers, paying them to write about all this marketing gunk. Unless this post doesn't really count, I'll get $30 for those links up there. But see, I don't really care about plugging Virgin Mobile. The only way I can keep from feeling like a dirty sell-out blog whore is to make fun of it all.

Wanna know how to play the internet right? The best example I can think of is a local one. London's main newspaper, the Free Press, has all sorts of staff members that blog and are on Twitter. Dan Brown, the senior online editor, has a blog and a Twitter account where he actually writes about stuff he cares about and interacts with the people who read it. Sure it draws attention to the newspaper, but it does so without sacrificing that all-important authenticity.

Authenticity can't be faked by jumping on the nearest technological bandwagons.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Signing Off

There is a lot of variety in how people sign off their emails. One that I find particularly hilarious is when someone writes something like "Regards" or "Thanks" or whatever, then a comma, then their name.

For example:

Hi Mike,

You were right, it turns out I forgot to carry a decimal place. Looks like the creationists were right all along. Teehee, whoopsy!

Thanks, Charles


This is hilarious because it looks like the person is thanking himself. Do people not realize this? Would Charles end a real-life exchange with "thanks, Charles"?

This is why I end every email with "THIS IS MIKE, SIGNING OFF. OVER AND OUT." It leaves no ambiguity as to who I am and when the email has concluded. The capitals also look like I am yelling, ending the email in an exciting bang that adds colour to an otherwise dreary text exchange.

THIS IS PHRONK OVER AND OUT BYE ETC.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Horrors of Internet Dating

Ok after that last post, my taste in women was questioned several times. Well you know what? That's what being single for a while does to you. Warps your perspective 'n shit.

To alleviate this condition, I have joined a few online dating sites. Now I know, I know, you're probably thinking, why would such an amazing person, who probably has his pick of all the women in London, stoop so low? Well, 1) Because online dating is cool now; 2) I'm only joining free ones, so there is nothing to lose; and 3) I know I'm awesome but STOP CALLING ME.

This venture has been mildly successful so far, but it is quite difficult. Know why? Look. Look what I have to work with here:


Damn, no interest in white men? But I've been looking all my life for a confused professional mama who doesn't want children and is into baskettball.



Well, she looked pretty good in the picture, but apparently she's a man.



She will shit on your motherfucking face.



All women care about is dating a doctor.



Laughing out loud at her own "whit."



More incredible wit.


But she already loves Brad. Also: something I've learned from online dating sites is that "prefer not to say" is a synonym for "obese," and "average" is a synonym for "fat but not quite obese yet." I prefer a few extra pounds to not enough pounds, but honesty trumps both.



Ok but maybe not this honest.



I think I know why. Because being branded with "save a horse ride a cowboy" is fucking retarded.

But let's end this on a positive note.



Ok this person is actually pretty awesome. That's how to write an online dating profile.

Unfortunately, the vast majority are more like the preceding ones. I guess I'll have to go back to meeting attractive people in real life and through my blog (HI LADIES).

Friday, March 13, 2009

You Suck at Blogging

Hey so yeah, I've been forgetting to blog for a while. Stupid Twitter is getting all mainstream now, which makes it very addictive. And I never really got on the whole "Youtube is addictive" bandwagon, but there is actually some good homemade stuff on there. For example, You Suck at Photoshop is hilarious (watch them in order...it's very much a continuous story).

For example number two, this Natalie chick.

E.g.:



She is pretty much the perfect woman, because of the following constellation of traits:
  • Australian accent
  • Hot
  • Funny
  • Cures yellow fever
  • Nerdy
  • Is pretty much a blogger except with videos

Like, most people can have one or two of those things, which is more than enough, but all of them? Insane.

I'm thinking of making another blog. Since this one doesn't really have any coherent topic (even within a post. See: this post), the new one will be on one specific thing. Maybe that'll attract more people and make me a million dollars 'n junk. STAY TUNED.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The New iPod Shuffle



The new iPod Shuffle comes one step closer to realizing my dream of the future. A future in which all technology is reduced to small buttonless gray boxes. Soon, small gray boxes will connect wirelessly with other small gray boxes. Soon after that, they will connect wirelessly with implants in our retinas, eardrums, and smell receptors. Yes kids, the future looks bright indeed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Food Review: Kin-Dee Instant $1.00 Pad Thai

Holy fuck you guys! We're in the middle of a financial crisis. I can't afford to be buying fancy fresh foods from fancy grocery stores. No sir, tonight I stopped by the neighbourhood dollar store for an affordable dinner.

I present to you: Instant Pad Thai, by Kin-Dee Instant Food Products.


The packaging for this is rather unique. It comes with its own lidded plastic tray, containing some rice noodles, a package of oil, a package of seasoning, and a fork. Yup, it comes with its own fork.


You just pour some water on the noodles, then microwave them for 3 minutes. That is when the magic happens. The lid of the tray has slits in two of its corners. When you remove the steaming tray from the microwave, you simply put the lid on, then pour the excess water out of the slits in the corner. When one slit inevitably gets clogged or starts leaking noodles instead of water, you switch to the other one.

Yes, the flimsy tray you are holding over the sink is hot enough to melt flesh, and the splashing boiling water will cause nasty heat blisters, but dude, pad thai for a dollar!


The lid says "microwavable not for cooking." Wait...what? The instructions say to cook the noodles without the lid. But it says "microwavable." But also, not for cooking. Does that mean, if you wanted to, you could microwave the lid on its own? Like, go ahead, microwave the lid, just don't put any food you want cooked near it.

After the noodles are cooked, you pour the oil and powder seasoning on them. I added a few shrimps too.


You know what? It really didn't taste bad at all. There was just the right amount of spiciness to it, a bit of sweetness, and a bit of peanutiness. It's not going to win in direct competition with restaurant pad thai, but dude, it came in a box and cost one dollar. I will probably buy this stuff again for a quick, cheap, and mildly tasty lunch.

Score: OM NOM NOM NOM

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ugly Car Crash Cake

To be honest, I forget who we made this cake for, or who came up with the idea, since it was created many years ago. But what an idea it was: a cake depicting a car accident in Africa.

I love old Polaroid pictures. We take it for granted now, but back then I was overjoyed with the ability to snap a picture with my Polaroid Joycam then immediately see what it looks like.


The tree and grass were made of various vegetables and herbs. It was a very healthy cake. Jard came up with dying some lasagna grey to create guard rails, ensuring that the cake contains all four food groups.


Notice the attention to detail, like the curious rhinos coming over the hill to see what the racket is about.


The guts of the unfortunate car occupants and giant antelope are made from grade-A 100% pure pepperoni stick. I said it had all four food groups. It was mostly edible, and delicious as always.



See also: Other Ugly Cakes.


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BREAKING NEW UPDATE: Nick has used his incredible process-of-elimination powers to figure out whose cake this was. It was created in the summer. There are 3 cake recipients with summer birthdays. Jard was with us when we made it, so not his. Danna outlawed the use of meat on her cakes after several past incidents. Therefore, it must have been....JEFF'S. Hm. Yeah.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Love Crime

You know those atheist bus signs in Toronto? Well it looks like someone has vandalized one of them...sorta.



Um. Maybe I'm not fully understanding the author's intention, but the sign (er, piece of paper) they put on top of the ad really isn't at odds with the ad. It's a bit ambiguous, scratching out "prob" and covering "bly no go" with the sign ("there's a D?") But the message that love is the most important thing is something most atheists would agree wholeheartedly with. With no supernatural being demanding faith, of course love for others is the most important thing there is. It's all there is.

Some commenters at BlogTO suggest it's a hate crime. But it's more of a love crime. It's like smashing a church sign then spray painting a cross on it.

Maybe the vandal is just confused. Or maybe it's deeper; maybe they are pointing out the common belief that atheists, religious folks and The Beatles agree on: all you need is love.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lessons From The Bachelor

I think the whole Bachelor fiasco can teach us valuable lessons about life and love.

For those who don't watch it, here is what happened. The final three girls were Jillian, who is not only beautiful but also seems to be an awesome person and would probably be perfect for any sane dude; Melissa, who is a sweet and cool person too; and Molly, who has bug eyes and seemed to treat the entire season like an extended job interview.

Jillian got kicked off first, which was the first sign that something ain't right in Jason's head. But he redeemed himself somewhat by picking Melissa, who clearly really did love him as much as one can after dating them on camera for a few weeks, then immediately falling into the role of a cute happy couple (just minutes after bawling tears over Molly that smelled vaguely of crocodile, but whatever). Oh, but then we cut to 6 weeks later. Oops, Jason screwed up, he actually loves Molly more. So, on camera, he completely destroys Melissa's dreams and acts all weepy. Which is sorta fine. Dude's gotta follow his heart. But then Molly comes back, and immediately after destroying someone's life, he's sticking his tongue down the throat of the woman who he'll love forever and ever until he realizes how much he misses Deana from last season. Cue romantic music.

Everyone knows it's an artificial train wreck. But what can we learn from it?

First, we can learn that being a man-whore just doesn't work. No matter how attractive and how much of a good guy a dude is, he can't date 25 women at the same time, narrow it down to 3 who are good enough to boink when the cameras go off, then expect to choose one and have it work out. In reality, nobody has that many people to choose from at the same time. It may seem like it would be nice, but I think it'd turn even the nicest guy into a confused douchebag.

Second, love can't happen when everyone is watching. It leaves no room for lies or secrets. Yeah yeah, deception is bad, but in real life many things rightly remain implicit. In reality, for the first few dates, it's understood that the person you're seeing might be seeing other people, but it's not being videotaped, he's not forced to talk about it in front of you, and every woman he's dating isn't roommates with every other woman he's dating. Leaving some things unshared is essential for real relationships to work.

Third, we learn that relationships can't follow a forced timeline. Setting a deadline doesn't work in real relationships, and on The Bachelor, setting a deadline at the very point when the guy has been forced into the most awkward situation he could be in is even worse. Love's gotta happen naturally. Whether it's artificially rushed by TV producers or by a woman worrying about her biological clock, it ain't gonna work.

I have no idea why I'm writing a long ass post about shitty reality TV. Oooooh but omg omg did you see that Jillian is the next Bachelorette?!?! I'm for seriously thinking of applying even though A) I'm not retarded enough to get chosen; and B) Jillian seems cool now, but by the end of the season she'll be forced into douchebaghood just like every other one. Ahhh, but wouldn't it be nice to dry hump her in a hot tub...with cameras everywhere...in the same hot tub she grinded with Jason in? Hm. Maybe not.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Nosebleeds

Phronk with a nosebleed.I got a nosebleed today. I don't get them often, but thanks to countless movies and TV shows, every time I do, my first instinct is no longer to worry that there is something wrong with my nose. Rather, a nosebleed is an obvious indication that something is wrong with my brain.

And it's probably caused by one or more of the following:
- Someone using psychic powers on me.
- Me misusing my psychic powers.
- Time travel.
- Teleportation.

In other words: I've got brain damage. If I don't blog any more, you know why. But don't look into it or the psychic Scientologist assassins will explode your head too.



References:
- Scanners (which may be the origin of all psychic nosebleeds)
- The Ring
- Johny Mnemonic
- Scrubs
- Lost
- In Heroes, characters have gotten nosebleeds approximately 300 times, whenever they are straining to use their powers, have psychic powers used on them, or are mildly stressed out. There is an entire Wiki article about it.
- Etc. etc. Pretty much any science-fictiony fiction contains at least one psychic nosebleed.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Game Review: Last Tango in Jadac

OK so I was asked to write about this game called Last Tango in Jadac, created to promote some show called ZOS on The Movie Network. I didn't think it was worth wasting my time on some crappy promotional Flash game, but I clicked anyway, and got sorta sucked into the whole fuck-up-edness of it.

The game is like a cross between a David Lynch movie, Doom, the strangest version of Guitar Hero ever, and one of those horrible full-motion-video games from the early 90s when video games first started coming on compact discs, and the best use of all that storage capacity was to make games more like movies.

Like, remember games like Night Trap and The 7th Guest? We all thought the graphics were amazing because they looked sorta real, and it didn't matter so much that you didn't actually play the game so much as watch it and click stuff once in a while. The most fun I had with The 7th Guest was going with friends into A-Plus Software (remember when there were stores that just sold software?), finding the game's sex scene on the demo computers there, then turning the volume to max and running away. Those were the good old days.

Ah, but speaking of sex scenes, one of the best parts of this little web game is when you get to direct a porn video. Not exactly something you see every day. Ok...well...something you see every day (perv), but not in such an interactive way.

The game really comes down to clicking stuff and hoping you do it in the right order and don't randomly die. I couldn't figure out how to not die, actually. Maybe that's the point. I dunno. Have I mentioned it's really fucked up? But it's worth seeing for the creepy atmosphere, and it certainly served its purpose of getting me interested in a show that I had absolutely no desire to see after just reading a description of it ("a Canadian mini-series about the life and death struggle to enforce a U.N.-brokered ceasefire in the fictional, Sarajevo-like town of Jadac." Sorry, but you lost me at "Canadian.")

Click if you've got nothing better to do for an hour.

Here's a little taste, mostly for the ladies.