Friday, August 28, 2009

The Horrors of Internet Dating, Volume 3

It's time for another trip into the seedy bowels of the internet. Dating sites; you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy they're bad sometimes. Here are some of the more interesting people I've encountered there lately.


Ahh, the group shot. I don't mean to single out this person in particular, but just in general, a group shot is a bad idea. Especially as the primary photo that people first see. It prompts thought processes like "Are you the one on the left? Oh, ok, looking through the 5 other group shots, I can deduce which one is you. I really wished you were the one on the left." Because chances are, if you include 5 other people among your pictures, any given person is going to be more attracted to one of them than they are to you. That doesn't exactly inspire people to shower you with messages and makeouts.


Can you be more specific?


Sexie Brunette is a Caucasian with red hair. So who is the black-haired non-Caucasian in the picture?


RealliShy is suffering from an identity crisis too.


So is this person. The hypocrisy of demanding punctuation is just icing on this cakefull of FAIL.

A fun game to play when browsing profiles is "find the deal breaker." This happens when you see someone extremely attractive and click on their profile. At this point they are already too good to be true; really attractive people don't need dating sites. So you scroll down, and usually the flaw becomes obvious pretty quickly. Perhaps the first picture you saw was their only flattering angle. Or they have 15 kids, 3 boyfriends in jail, and 0 legs. Sometimes they actually continue to seem impossibly interesting, until you get to this paragraph:


Jesus fucking Christ.

Don't get me wrong, religion is not a deal breaker on its own. Putting faith in Jesus before the people closest to you, and specifically excluding non-Christians from what you're looking for, are.

But I must close on an at least somewhat positive note:


This person's list of interests both terrifies and intrigues me.

In other news, apparently being picky and mocking people I'm incompatible with isn't conducive to finding a life-partner. But hey, when I do find someone kickass enough to end this current run of singlehood, she can read this blog and realize how special she is.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Me, Elsewhere

Oh hi blog. You know you'll always be my first love, but I've been writing stuff in other places too.
  • I have a guest post about horror movies over at The London Free Press's Dan Brown's Cool Blog Name to Come. It's kinda deep. Tell me if you agree / disagree with my little assessment.
  • If you haven't already listened to my very first musical horror story, Thinking About Polar Bears is here. Reviews are in, and it has been described as "eh," "okay," and "I could hardly STAND [it]" (though I think that last one was meant as a compliment). I might put a PDF of it up soon. We'll see.
  • Putting Weird Things in Coffee is still going strong, having recently received a few thousand visitors from Reddit and StumbleUpon. It's all about cheese right now, with the current post and one that's coming up soon ("coming up" in more ways than one, btw).
  • My Tumblr Scrapbook just broke into the top 1000 tumblogs in Canada, so it must be okay. If you like Phronk.com, you might like the crap I post there too.

I know this is all masturbatory tooting of my own horn, but it's my blog and I'll masturbate if I want to. It's also my party, and I'll cry if I want to. Or cry while masturbating. If I want to.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

PSA: Forest City Fashionista's Story Slam, August 29th

I was kindly invited to this event, but I can't make it. If any of you London people can go, it sounds like a kickass creative community type thing:

The Forest City Fashionista is hosting a Story Slam on her front porch on Saturday, August 29th from 7 pm - 9 pm. If you are interested in participating as a storyteller, please email her at slong88 (at) hotmail (dot) com by Friday, August 28th. Stories must be no more than 10 minutes in length. If you'd like to be part of the audience, bring a cushion or blanket to sit on. Non-alcoholic beverages will be supplied. Parking is available across the street.


Check out her blog, too, for some tips on how to not dress like a slob.



Monday, August 24, 2009

The Endless Cycle of Checking Stuff

My use of the internet has reached a critical point. A point where, if I'm not careful, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle that is nearly impossible to escape.

It used to be, I'd wake up, check my email, respond if needed, then get on with my day. Maybe check my email again an hour or two later.

Now, it's wake up, check my main email, check Facebook, check Twitter, check Friendfeed, chat on MSN a bit, check Tumblr, check Google Reader, chat on Google Chat a bit, check my other email address, check the news, and oh, it's been an hour, so there might be something new at my main email. And Facebook. Can't forget Twitter. Maybe in between, if there's time, I think of something to blab about on the blog - hi - and then it's time for the cycle to resume.

Then, oh, whoops, it's bed time. I've been at the computer for 16 hours. And I've wet myself.

What I should do is unplug my router. I should turn off my computer. For seriously, what I should do is, I should cut off my electricity and chop up my desk to burn for heat. You know, really get back to the basics and focus on what's important - family, friends, pets, a good book.

I'll just check my email one last time.










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Edit: In related news, here's an article on multitasking in Wired Science. It's interesting, but could also win the award for most blatant contradiction between the headline and the article.





Thursday, August 20, 2009

Movie Reviews

Here are some movies I've seen lately and the definitive word on how good they are.
  • The Happening: Director M. Night Shyamalan is known for creating movies with twist endings. The big twist here is that, when the credits roll, you realize that he created a movie called The Happening in which nothing actually happens. It's genius! Except not. Yeah seriously, it sucks.
  • Funny People: Unlike The Happening, Funny People has an apt title, because it included a lot of people, and a lot of funny. But also some dark depressing drama stuff, which was cool too. I liked it. And I have a bit of a girl crush on Aubrey Plaza. She may have a weird name, but she was awesome in this movie.
  • The Time Traveler's Wife: I'd heard not-so-good things about this movie, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It takes a simple concept - what would happen if an ordinary dude trying to live an ordinary life randomly traveled in time? - and just runs with it. Good stuff. Sad, too. I'd cry if I had anything resembling a soul.
  • The Trailer for Avatar: M. Night Shyamalan James Cameron apparently waited 14 years for special effects technology to catch up with his epic vision for this movie. So why does it looks like a generic sci-fi video game? Like, I'm mildly interested in seeing it, but after 14 years in the making, it should've made a bigger splash.
  • District 9: District 9 is a deep social commentary about immigration, apartheid, racism, and- OMG THE ALIENS PEE-PEE AND BARF! Heehee and there are robots and explosions and space ships and people blowing up!!! Best movie ever!!! LOL


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Review: Living Dead in Dallas, by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas is the second book in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, and the basis for the second season of True Blood. It follows the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, redneck vampire fucker, as stuff happens to her in her small hometown of Bon Temps, then different stuff happens in the titular (bwahah, tit) Dallas, then in Bon Temps again.

Most of what I said about Dead Until Dark still applies here. Harris's writing is full of personality and small moments of brilliance that almost make up for the rest of the awkward prose. It's nice light beach reading, though, because of both the simple writing and the tendency for characters to mindlessly repeat events that just happened (sometimes on the previous page), ensuring that if you get distracted there will always be a "previously on True Bl- Living Dead in Dallas" style review.

The plot is kinda interesting, but I don't think it's appropriate to describe this book (or the last one) as a detective story or murder mystery. First of all, there are pretty much two entirely separate stories in the book. The main plot taking place in Dallas has nothing to do with the murder occuring on the first page. Second, the murder plot that bookends the Dallas stuff is only a detective story in the Harry Potter sense: i.e., the main character happens to be around when the rest of the characters spell out the solution to the mystery then proceed to resolve it, but she didn't do much "detecting" other than knowing where to show up.

I also need to comment on some of the, uh, "character flaws" here. Sookie is a selfish, petty, and manipulative "hero." Her biggest worries seem to be not about the safety of her loved ones, nor even her own safety, but rather the state of her hair, and whether she is wearing an appropriate outfit or not. Seriously, she cries over messy hair. She is also willfully stupid, specifically refusing to think through actions that destroy others' lives. Her boyfriend has the excuse of being a vampire, but he's not entirely innocent either; he's a bit of an abusive rapist who thinks all problems can be solved with sex, violence, or violent sex. But Sookie seems to fully agree, so maybe it's a match made in heaven.

Just like the TV show, Living Dead in Dallas is glorious cheesy mess of violence, sex and character drama that, even if not thrown together very tactfully or providing any heartfelt messages about doing the right thing, is damn entertaining. Which is why I will resist the urge to end this review with "hah! More like Living Dead in Dallass".

Oops.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ugly Conservative Cake, and It's a Small World, After All

Recently, this appeared in my inbox:

You may not remember me-and it's totally okay if you don't-but my name's Aimee. [...] I found your blog because my Google reader recommended it based on my other reading habits. It turns out it was right, I was interested because I've met you and you are, in fact, funny. Your blog is ten different kinds of awesome- I really enjoy it.
The actual point of this email is that I was showing your blog to my boyfriend Dave, and telling him about Ugly Cakes. He was a man obsessed. He was insistent on an Ugly Cake for his birthday this year, and who am I to argue? So we took a photo of it, and I thought if you like you could add it to your collection of Ugly Cakes. [...]




(Dave and I are very into American politics, and we're both big lefties. The inscription is pretty illegible, but it says: Happy Birthday Dave, XOXO Bill O'Reilly. He was appropriately disgusted and hungry.)

Isn't this just fantastic in every possible way? First of all, the cake is a perfect continuation of the ugly cake tradition with gross colours, random sprinkles, and malformed mounds for stars, all wrapped around a strong ugly concept. Apparently it was delicious though, which is key. Aimee also said nice things about my blog, which is just so flattering and makes me love this whole blogging thing, so thanks Aimee.

But the most amazing part is the small-worldness of all this. What are the chances that Google Reader would recommend my blog, out of all the world's blogs, to a person who I'd met several times before?

Further evidence of the world's diminishing size: last night was quiz night at the Black Shire Pub here in London Ontario. And who happened to be there? Well, it was Aimee. Before I'd even had a chance to respond to her email, there she was real life.

My good friend Nick, having kicked everyone's ass at last week's quiz night, was appointed the quiz master, asking all the questions for the night. He threw in some local content, including a question about London band The Gandharvas, who were pretty huge in the 90s. Later a dude approached him about that particular question; he found it interesting that the question came up, he explained, because he was the bassist in The Gandharvas. Again: small world.

And guess who won quiz night and will become quiz master next week, seeming to fulfill some sort of karmic Hindu cycle. None other than Aimee's boyfriend, Dave, the recipient of the above ugly cake.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

At the Gym, Volume 3: Misread Signs

I often know what an ambiguous sign is trying to communicate, but I like to imagine alternative and more hilarious meanings. At the gym, there are plenty of signs for intentional misreading.

One sign reads:

"A person trainer CAN:
  • Help you lose weight
  • Help you build tone and definition
  • Add 3 inches to your penis
  • Etc."
By emphasizing the word CAN, I think they mean to highlight the ability of the trainers; to contrast it with CANNOT. However, I look at the word CAN and emphasize the uncertainty of it; I contrast it with WILL. The sign might as well read "A personal trainer CAN (but won't):" or "A personal trainer MIGHT CONSIDER:".

At least it doesn't say "CAN".

Another sign shows before and after pictures of a dude, the after picture, as per usual, skinnier, with a better tan and a big fake smile. It reads:

"I am a
changed man."

Nothing wrong with that on the surface. However, a thick frame outlines and overlaps with the sign. It covers up most of the "C" in "changed", making it look more like:

"I am a
hanged man."

Which is much more ominous and makes me want to avoid the gym for a while.


In the locker room, another sign reads1:

"Any lock left on after closing will be cut off nightly."

In addition to reminding us that anyone with glorified scissors can steal our stuff at any time, what the sign means is that every night, all the locks still on lockers will be cut off and disposed of. But what I imagine, due to the strange use of the singular "lock", is that the same lock will be cut off one night, fixed, put back on, then cut off again the next night. There could be locks from the 1980s that have been snipped and fixed thousands of times due to this nightly ritual sacrifice. They probably stand in a circle wearing black Goodlife-branded robes, chanting motivational clich├ęs, while Patch performs the snippity snip.

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1 I'm writing these from memory so it might not be the exact wording. It's something like that, though.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Flow Chart to My Heart

This blog, man, is it ever a chick magnet. It's just a constant flow of propositions, marriage proposals, and nudie pictures in my inbox. I need a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. To tell the cream from the crop. To find that needle in the haystack. What I'm saying is, I need to identify people who stand out when spoken about in agriculture metaphors.

Luckily, quiz-site-turned-dating-site OKCupid has this new feature where you can answer a bunch of questions and it will plot a chart to the answers I need. Everyone reading this must now follow this flow chart to see if I would date you:

(click to embiggen. If still too small, try this)

If you got Sure or If You're Paying, then, hey, how you doing? Your hair looks very nice. Hey wanna hang out sometime? Go email a Twitter on my Facebook or something.

If you failed that one, you can try a more complicated version here. If you fail that too...well, sorry to break it to you, but you sorta suck. Was it because you're into sports? Apparently that's a deal breaker for me (but being married isn't?).

You can also make your own chart over here. It's very useful for printing out, laminating, and reviewing on a first date.



Saturday, August 08, 2009

Ready to Eat

I used a slow cooker for the first time today. I tossed some chicken breasts and vegetables in there, waited a long time, then they came out delicious. Awesome.

Now, all my food will be prepared over extreme time scales. Either in 10 seconds with my Magic Bullet, or in 10 hours with my crock pot.

Oh and look at the bag of carrots I put in there:


It's not just my perverted mind seeing this as blatantly sexual, is it? That highly feminine rabbit is lovingly gripping that big stiff shaft; she's only admiring it for now, but she just can't wait to shove it into her mouth. I gotta admit, I winced a little when I chopped the carrots.



Thursday, August 06, 2009

Stick It In My Plot Hole

A criticism I often hear about movies is that they are full of plot holes. But I wonder how many of these gripes are about genuine plot holes, and how many are more about the griper's lack of imagination.

A genuine plot hole is an inconsistency that is integral to making sense of the plot, but left unexplained. For example, in the horror movie Haute Tension (HUGE SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT), the twist ending is incongruent with some of the events that came before it (e.g., a person chasing herself in two different cars; a female getting a blowjob). It's not necessarily a flaw; people can debate what really happened and come up with perfectly good theories. But it's a hole.

But, demanding answers to questions the movie didn't even bring up, that's not an indication of a plot hole. Yeah maybe it's kinda weird that Harry Potter didn't just use the time travel compass thing from Prisoner of Azkaban to prevent all the horrible deaths in the later books. Why didn't he? Well, who cares? Make up an answer. Maybe it would be too dangerous. Maybe he's just a dick. Maybe Dumbledore dropped it in the shitter off-screen. It's not a question that's brought up in the plot, and it's not integral to figuring out what happened, so it's not a real plot hole.

My main point is that plot holes usually ain't so bad. At best they can make you think more about the movie, and at worst they're irrelevant.

That said, I just saw Southland Tales, and that movie is one giant plot hole. I've never before sat through an entire film and at no point had any idea what was going on. It was cool to see a bunch of comedic actors in semi-serious roles (Stifler looks like he's about to laugh even when he's crying), but really, it was just three hours of WTF. I'm sure some people will be motivated to watch it over and over again until they decipher it, but I won't be one of them.



Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Reduce Heat

Here is some art I made for you after dinner.


Quick! Somebody submit it to That's Not Art. Or write something douchebaggy on it and submit it to Post Secret.

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This is the second in an unintentional series of posts about pretending to be a bitter former hopeless romantic, even though I'm totally not. Here is the first.



Monday, August 03, 2009

Amor Ex Machina

As I was editing the final chapter of my novel, it occurred to me: maybe love is only prevalent in popular fiction because it's a convenient plot device.

Surely many writers struggle to provide their characters with strong motivations. Why would anyone willingly put themselves in the risky, dangerous situations that often make a good story? One ready-made motivation is to drop the deus ex machina of love into the plot. We all readily accept it; normally, no sane character is going to run, unarmed, into a building full of terrorists and explosives. But put the dude's ex-wife, who he still loves, in the building, and everyone is like, "oh, yeah, that makes sense."

The best stories are made up of people doing crazy shit, and people will do crazy shit for love.

But is this a case of art imitating life, or life imitating art? Does romantic love resonate as a literary device because there is such an emphasis on it in real life? Or do we only put such a large emphasis on love in real life because we see it in movies, where it only exists as a literary device?

Does love even really exist? My gosh, does love even really exist?