Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Horrors Delights of Internet Dating, Volume 7

Not everyone on internet dating sites is deeply flawed (since I'm on them AMIRIGHT?CRICKETSETC). So this time, instead of making fun of poor people's grammar, I'm going to highlight some profiles that are sort of awesome.

(As usual, you might have to click to embiggen [that's what she said {?}])

First, not everyone is on PlentyOfFish looking for dates. I'd never heard of this before, but apparently there are people who want "friends" that they have no intention of mashing genitals with.


Poking fun at the very site you're on is a nice self-deprecating way of winning my heart.


"Genius forever" is what makes this a win. Plus, I put pretty much the exact same thing in my profile.

Two things I really enjoy are: things that come out of nowhere, and food.


I have no idea what she's talking about. But she is hot and apparently likes turkey. Mmm turkey. Speaking of girls who like meat:


Just the one Henderson?

Mmm chicken wings. More random interests punctuated with gustatory goodness:


It's the last line that really tugs at my heart strings. Mmm, deep-fried salad.

Two other things that catch my attention, in addition to non-sequiturs and meat, are honesty and dark humour.


She should start a blog.


It's good to get these things out of the way. Imagine going on a first date and being surprised by the Roseanne laugh? At least this way you'd know to avoid being funny.


Okay, maybe there's such a a thing as too much dark honesty.

Here is a healthy balance of cynicism and knowing how to have a good time:


But mostly I'm all about the positive.


I love you.

(And yes, I see it. But I told you, I can overlook grammar issues when I need too. We all maek mistakes some times.)





See also: Volume 6 and Supplemental Issue

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Become a Good Housewife

You'd think that being single for a long time would make a guy more stereotypically masculine. Wanting to fuck anything that moves, losing respect for women, becoming a slob, that sort of thing.

However, for me at least, being single for a while (over a year and a half, you guys) has had some opposite effects. I spend more time cleaning. I'm saving up for a nice bed frame. I keep plants. And this morning I was pretty excited about using new dryer sheets, because they smell pretty.

Now my clothes smell pretty.

The reason for this, I think, is that I have to care about girly things because there isn't a girl around to care about them for me.

Someone save me before I branch out into women's clothing and makeup.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Horrors of Internet Dating, Supplemental Issue

Here are a few things that are related to my Horrors of Internet Dating series.

Inspired by my adventures, Wendy has posted about her own OKCupid horrors: Must be Capable of Preparing a Turkey Dinner.

I'm reminded a bit of Dimitri the Stud (you gotta listen to that if you haven't already).1

On my last post, in response to this:

Jen posted this:

(One of the best comments ever.)

I'll be back with a real HOID post next week.



1 Wow, apparently this dude is, like, a real person in Toronto. Watch his hilariously offensive video and follow him on Twitter. He seems to have seen Magnolia one too many times.

P.S. I am complacent in Facebook's ambitions to obliterate your privacy and take over the internet, so I added a "Like" button to the bottom of every post here. Don't click it or Big Brother will molest your online identity and the world will end! Or, you know, it'll add a single line to your Facebook wall.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fuckin Science. How Does That Work?

You've probably seen this:



The take-home message seems to be that people should just enjoy "miracles" like trees, dirt, and cell-phone-eating pelicans (?) without questioning them. These lines in particular reveal where ICP is coming from:
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don't wanna talk to a scientist
Y'all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed
Oookay.

First of all, anyone with access to Google, or a library, or an encyclopedia, can pretty easily find the answer to "how do they work?" Scientists figured that out a long time ago. Are they lying? Well, no, because we've used the fruits of this science of magnets to create a lot of cool stuff that actually works, like speakers1. The same speakers that pump out the "pure motherfucking magic" of music.


Yeah, it's amazing that invisible magnetic fields create invisible waves in the air that can hit the eardrums of 15000 people, sending electrical signals up neurons into their brains and evoking emotional reactions. Even if that emotion is a dull anger at the world set against the constant mild confusion that characterizes the average Insane Clown Posse fan (oops, sorry, Juggalo).

So yeah, music is mindblowing, even eyelid-shocking. But it's not an unexplainable miracle. It's the result of the hard work of people who came before us. I find more beauty in recognizing human achievement than in attributing it to magic that happened in spite of lying scientists.


I mentioned chiropractic on Twitter yesterday, and how it, too, relies on magic more than science (though it's certainly not the worst alternative medicine out there). Some people questioned this approach, as well as science-based medicine in general.

Listen: science isn't a bunch of people in lab coats telling you what they think is right and what they think is wrong. Science is just figuring out how stuff works in the best way possible. That's it. It's full of human bias and contradictions and gaping holes. But so is everything else. All other things being equal—or rather, given that all other things are equal—science is the best way of gaining knowledge about anything.

I appreciate the idea of miracles. Like, there are times when I just lie in bed, looking at my hand, and I'm like "whooooaa look at my hand, man. LOOK AT MY HAND." Usually when I'm not even high. But instead of giving up at the point of calling it a miracle, I can go beyond that, to the science behind it; why did my ancestors have hands like mine? What evolutionary purpose do fingernails serve?

Like seriously, are they just there to pick at shit in my teeth? Since cavemen didn't have nail clippers, were they all nail-biters?

At least I can take comfort in the fact that ICP's video has gone viral, and everyone realizes how ridiculous it is. Ridiculous enough that it's not worth writing an entire blog post about? What? Where am I?


1 This was also pointed out on the latest episode of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. See also: Rebecca Watson's hilarious speculation on where the song came from.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Indian Hot (Feeling a Draft, Volume 1)

For every few blog posts that I actually, uh, post, there is a post that I start writing, then get bored or distracted, so I abandon it. I post-date these posts a few months or a year ahead, so I see them at the top of my list of posts and don't forget about them, then save them as a draft post.

Post.

Of course, I forget about them, then come across them a year later. Often these are written as quick sketches of ideas, sometimes they are written while intoxicated, and always they make almost no sense. Instead of letting this brilliant writing go to waste, I have decided to share out-of-context drafts, in a new series I will call Feeling a Draft.

This one was written after ordering Indian food from Curry's. In addition to the usual Mild, Medium, and Hot options, I saw "Indian Hot" on the menu. I love spicy food, so of course I was all over that. This fragment of a post was my reaction.

Indian hot.

This should include something to ease the burn, like yogurt, or tongue cream, or a girl to pretend to be tough in front of.

Uuungh, it burns so bad. Oh God. It's like sucking on Satan's cock.

Seriously, when the Spartans said they'd dine in Hell, they didn't know about this, or they'd've been like fuck these gates let's go eat some yogurt.

And of course I chose yesterday afternoon to clean my toilet.




Here is another one:

Screaming "woo" when drunk.

Throwing beer bottles off of balconies. And cigarette butts. If only you didn't throw that beer bottle off the balcony, you could have used it as an ashtray.

Good point, past self. Good point.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Konzo

A few important things:
  • Phronk.com is a real web site now! All the URLs around here now start with "phronk.com" rather than "phronko.blogspot.com", which never really made sense, and nobody took me seriously, and I cried about it a lot. NO MORE.
  • However, this has caused a bunch of comments to be lost. I guess this is a known issue and hopefully not permanent.
  • There's a new header image. I wish I had more time to work on it, but it's fine for now I guess. And it's not huge any more, so the blog should load faster if you're on dialup. 
  • I wandered into a different grocery store than my usual one a few days ago. I saw something called "frozen cassava" in the freezer, and I had no idea what cassava was, so I bought it. 
  • It is cheap enough that I could probably eat it exclusively for a few weeks, in order to save money.
  • This is cassava:
  • It looks kinda like a hairy ... let's say ... finger.
  • When I researched the vegetable, this is what Wikipedia told me:
Konzo is an epidemic paralytic disease. The outbreaks are associated with several weeks of almost exclusive consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava. 
  • If you don't see me for a while, please call a doctor, and tell her that I am paralyzed in my apartment, sick with konzo.


    Thursday, April 08, 2010

    iPhone, iPad, iPeople

    I managed to play around with an iPad yesterday at the local geekfest (see also). It's a beautiful little slab of glass. I won't be getting one, for a while at least, because it excels mostly at content consumption, and I'm more about content creation. My laptop does that just fine.

    Then there's the new iPhone operating system, announced today. It brings a whole lot of overdue but awesome shit to the iPhone (and later the iPad), like multitasking and improved organization of apps. I can't wait.

    You know what I love about technology? That it keeps getting better every day. The software on existing devices is constantly improving, doing more, and doing it more efficiently. When the hardware can't handle it any more, we jump ship to the new model, twice as good for the same price.

    In that way, technology is the opposite of people. Our software is constantly getting worse. Our memory gets downgraded with every passing year; our processes start to run sluggishly and crash often. We're stuck with the hardware we're given; no chance of upgrading, and features are slowly removed until we're bricked for all eternity.

    Technology surrounds our lives, but our lives haven't yet merged with it. We're sinking like stones while our creations soar like rockets. And one day I think we'll reach a point where iProducts can't improve any further, but the blockage won't be behind the screen, in battery life or heat management or chip technology; no, the weak link will be in front of the screen. What good is a fast, multitasking computer to a brain that can't keep up and can only do one thing at a time?

    Computers have gone from the workplace to the home office to the living room to the lap to the pocket, and personally I can't wait until they take one more step right into our heads. Until then, I'm happy to gawk at beautiful machines that at least hint at the possibilities of an upgraded life.





    Update Apr. 9: A recent Maclean's article—Aliens Among Us?—touches on this idea. Some argue that any advanced alien life we find is bound to be at least partially manufactured by earlier versions of itself. Even more intriguing is the idea that we may already be partially manufactured, and can find clues of alien intervention in our genetic code. The article's written by Kate Lunau; the very same person who interviewed me and wrote up my Maclean's appearance.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2010

    Me in Maclean's, + Wrinkly Nuts

    Sooo there's an article about me in Maclean's Magazine (April 12th issue, page 62). It goes like so:

    Plain old coffee can be boring, so Mike "Phronk" [my last name] of London, Ont., likes to put "weird things" in his (he keeps a blog about it). [etc.]

    Conspicuously absent? The address of said blog. I guess there won't be an influx of millions of visitors who will buy my crappy merchandise.

    Oh well. At least when I'm old, I can brag to my grandkids about my greatest accomplishment. I'll be all like, "STOP TALKING. Did you know that I was in Maclean's?"

    And they'll be all like, "WTF is Maclean's?"

    And I'll say, "It was one of Canada's most popular magazines."

    And they'll say, "WTF is a magazine?"

    Then I will get angry and rant about the good old days when you had to physically leave the house to get information, then slowly absorb it from paper to your brain, rather than instantly downloading it into your neural implant. Then I'll graphically demonstrate how the iPad can suck my wrinkly nuts.

    Redesign of Phronk.com

    It's been a while since I've changed the look of this blog, and the Christmas lights were getting a little old, so welcome to the new Phronk.com.

    Blogger has some nice new tools for customizing blogs, but I still had to learn the entire language of CSS in one night to get these fancy transparent backgrounds to work. Unfortunately, looking pretty will not make my writing any better, nor will it get me laid.

    At least Youtube videos won't get cut off at the sides now.



    It's still under construction. People either loved the zombies in the banner at the top, or hated them. Well...
    So the zombies will be back.

    Stay tuned.



    Update Apr. 6 4:40pm: Sadie alerted me to this:



    OMG. It's my two favourite things in the entire world mashed together. I'm in love. UUUGH...MY HEART CAN'T TAKE IT GOODBYE A.SDFLDASKNnfsdal


    Monday, April 05, 2010

    Abortion


    I'm posting this for Women's Writes, which Shine co-created and explains like so: "We’re thinking that it would be really awesome if, on April 5, 2010, we all posted on issues that affect women."

    So let's talk about abortion. This is a sensitive and divisive issue, but one that I have no strong opinions about. That's not because I don't think it's important—it's extremely important—but I think that it is such a complex and multifaceted topic that no simple opinion is a justified one, no matter how forcefully it is expressed.

    I'll tackle a few sub-issues I think it is important to discuss. You may disagree, and you may have good reason to disagree. Because there are so many things to consider, I may very well have missed one that invalidates my opinion. I would be happy to be proven wrong.

    I have heard it said that men should have no (or less) say in the abortion issue, because it is exclusively a female concern.

    No. Abortion is a human issue. In most cases, creating a life takes two people—a man and a woman—and our laws, culture, morals, and logic all dictate that both should remain involved in that life for some time. Thus, any decisions about whether or not to end that life should involve both of them. The fact that it starts inside one gender and not the other is largely irrelevant in the larger human rights issues that come out of such termination.

    To argue that only women have a have right to talk about abortion would be similar to arguing that only farmers have a right to talk about food. Or only minorities have a right to talk about racism. These are things that affect, and should be discussed by without dismissal, all of us.

    I have heard it said that abortion should be a mother's choice, because it only involves her body, and she can do what she wants with her body.

    No. Having a life inside your body does not mean it is part of your body. The timing of it is up for debate, but at some point we all agree that a baby becomes a living, conscious being, and there is no reason to arbitrarily place that point at the moment of umbilical chord snippage.

    [INCOMING GROSS NERD REFERENCE]

    When Luke Skywalker crawled inside the Tauntaun for warmth, he did not suddenly become a Tauntaun organ. If Darth Vader found Luke's arm hanging out of the creature, he wouldn't be like "aw shit, I really wanted to perform an 88th trimester abortion, but this is a Tauntaun rights issue now." And if he succeed, Han Solo wouldn't be like "well, I have no right to comment on Luke's death, since I am not a female, nor a dead Tauntaun."

    [/GROSS NERD REFERENCE]

    Defending a fetus, and/or weighing its value against the mother's choice and well-being, is an issue not only for the mother, but for other women, men, and indeed all people.

    I have heard it said that people who vote for liberal political parties are pro-choice, and people who vote for conservative political parties are pro-life.

    No. Like I said, it's a complex issue, and boiling it down to agreeing with the majority of people who share your political leanings is lazy and dangerous. Conservatism is correlated with religiosity which is correlated with pro-life leanings. But that doesn't mean one should follow from the other. I can think of perfectly secular reasons to be pro-life. Similarly, I can think of conservative (or even Biblical) reasons to be pro-choice.

    The collections of beliefs associated with each side of the left/right dichotomy are, I think, more arbitrary than we give them credit for. A well-informed opinion requires rising above such simplistic groupthink.


    I also think that indecision can be a perfectly well-formed opinion. And that's where I personally stand on abortion. It is too complex, with too many variables containing too much uncertain data, to make any blanket statements about what is always right or always wrong. Any definite propositions—even the ones I've made above—can be shot down with a counterexample.

    My point isn't to express any specific viewpoint on the rightness or wrongness of abortion, but rather to emphasize that determining its morality is something that everyone needs to participate in, and it is not going to be easy.

    ----------

    See also: My post about abortion from 5 years ago that's not as good as this one.

    Thursday, April 01, 2010

    The Horrors of Internet Dating, Volume 6

    I got this message a while ago:


    So mysterious! Is "garte" even better than great? What exactly does "hi sexie tattoosit" mean? Nothing is more alluring than mystery, so I clicked to see her profile.

    RELEASE THE CRAKING.


    First we get what she doesn't want. Fair enough. A few spelling problems there, but I don't judge people based solely on their grammar, nor think I'm better than them, so I have no reason to "step." Let's see what she does want:


    Let's stop there for a second. Wanting peace is usually considered a pretty noble goal. So she can't mean that. Wait...she can't mean..is she trying to say "more than a piece of ass"? Because that's not even a spelling mistake or a typo. That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the underlying concept she is trying to express.


    I know where I going in I live.

    Well, at least she got to 10, a nice round number, and ended it on a coherent sentence fragment. Wait what's that? There's more?


    A second creative spelling of great! Worm at night! BABBIES!

    There is nothing I can say to make this funnier. I literally LOLed at it until I cried.

    But somehow it gets better. Interests:


    Can't...breathe...too...hilarious.

    Again we see another seemingly random word with "tattoo" thrown in. What is tattooingstorts?! What does it have to do with "hanging out with my zoo"?!

    WHAT IS BINKE?!

    Then a double dose of irony, with "lren from," and yet again, an interest in poetry.

    Oh and you'll never guess what kind of tattoo she has.


    Whyyy?!

    I feel a bit horrible for singling out one person like this. But come on.

    Binke.





    See also: Volume 5