Saturday, July 23, 2011

Evolution's Failures

I think it's hilarious to imagine evolution's failures.

Think of how our digestive systems are able to function no matter which way we're sitting or lying, carrying food to the right place in a peristaltic wave, even if it's going against gravity. Think of the pre-human who didn't get that gene. He's all like, "check out this handstand!", then as soon as he's upside-down, all the wooly mammoth he ate earlier is pouring out of his face. He suffocates, dying before he ever had a chance to procreate, and his shitty genes never get passed on. Hilarious.

Thing is, one day that guy will be us.

Evolution is not only biological, but technological. We already pity the people of the past—most of human history—who didn't expect to live past the age of thirty. Technology has doubled our lifespan just by tuning up our default biological hardware from the outside. Think of what we can do once technology moves inside.

It's a near certainty that we will merge with technology. We already rely on it, and there's gotta be a better way of interacting with it than through our fingers. When our brains and bodies are made more of bits and bytes than nerves and leukocytes, the people of today will be the pre-humans.

Looking back, we'll think that our squishy biological way of doing things was hilarious. "That's right son," we'll say, to our sons. "We had computers we plugged into walls, but our own method of recharging was—hah, it's so gross, but get this—we mashed up other living things with our teeth then let them slide down our throat. There were actually people who couldn't find things to eat, and they died. Forever! They didn't even have a backup."

And our sons, they probably won't even understand how (or why) we managed to get through the day.

Evolution makes failures of us all.

See also:

  • Transcendent Man on Netflix. This documentary about futurist Ray Kurzweil will change your life if you even half believe his predictions are correct.
  • ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Concert Review: The Black Keys with Cage the Elephant at the JLC, July 12 2011

The Black Keys were slow to grow on me. For the last five years I've heard the muted hype surrounding them, but it wasn't until last year's album Brothers that I really gave in to their genius. At least I was primed in time for when the John Labatt Centre's Twitter feed announced1 that they were looking for internet-savvy people to go see the Keys' show and review it. I was all like HEY, pick me, I review crap all the time, and the JLC was all like, OKAY.

Three other reviewers joined me: Laura, Naomi, and Amanda.

A few of us got to go see Cage the Elephant (the opening act) in a private little acoustic set yesterday afternoon.

There is something awkward about a high-energy dude like Matthew Shultz screaming his lungs out in front of a politely-sitting audience of 15 people. But they held up in acoustic form, and it was awesome shaking hands with the band I'd see rocking the shit out of thousands of people a few hours later.

You can see a bit of the performance on FM96's site (with a few shots of my shiny head!).

At the show that night, Cage the Elephant not only sounded heavier than the acoustic set, but heavier than anything on their albums. I think electric and live is what they're made for. It'd be hard not to enjoy it when Shultz was so into it, flailing around and stage diving like a kid at his first rock concert.

Everyone was sufficiently pumped for the Black Keys, then, and they obviously didn't disappoint.

Their music is visceral. You feel like you gotta be moving to it, whether it's driving down a shimmery-hot road with the windows down, screwing, or crowd surfing, as many people did at the show even though it's not the type of music you'd usually mosh to. The sound guy couldn't help moving to it:

It's hard to believe that such rich sound came out of two dudes; so much so that it was barely noticeable when a full band joined them on stage.

As they proclaimed their final song, a sign behind them lit up the words "Black Keys" (finally alleviating the confusion for everyone who came for the Black Eyed Peas), like the title of a movie popping up at the end instead of the beginning. But of course, they wouldn't waste such a sweet sign on one song, so the crowd chanted "black! keys!" in unison with the lights until they came for the encore. Even after that, they left us wanting more.

Thanks to Chris at the JLC for the tickets (and for the beer/food vouchers on top of that, which were enough to get drunk and buy 3 boxes of chocolate), to FM96 for the pre-show show, and to my fellow reviewers (and Shawn and Ed) for an awesome time. This sort of semi-natural engagement with fans via Twitter and other social media is the future of hyping events and organizations; even if we were just a promotional tools, it's good to be a part of it.

Oh and check out Naomi's review of the show here.

1 Which my sister Andrea alerted me to. Thanks sister!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Device Review: Condiment Gun

Back on Father's Day, I figured The Met market was the perfect place to find a gift. Fathers are, after all, old, and thus have probably already acquired all common material possessions they need at some point in their long lives. They need something unique.

Few are lucky enough to have acquired possessions from the collection of rare items at Über Cool Stuff. My dad barbecues a lot, so the instant I saw a gun that shoots sauce, I knew it was the gift to get.

Chris, who owns Über Cool Stuff, hadn't tried the Mustard-brand Condiment Gun yet, and kindly gave me a few bucks off in exchange for reporting back about how it works. Well, it works, and here's a report.

You load the sauce into a plastic, uh, magazine I guess you call it? Stick the magazine in the gun, and it's loaded. You have to be careful closing it up, or you will set it off prematurely, and shoot yourself in the nuts with BBQ sauce. By "you" I mean me.

But if you can get it all loaded safely, then it's ready to go. Then you say to your meat, you say, I'm going to give you to the count of ten to get your ugly, yellow, no-good kiester off my dinner plate.


You know what's probably not a good idea though? Filling this with mayonnaise, putting it on your lap during an R-rated movie, then shooting it into the air during the sexy scenes. Not a good idea at all. Why'd you even think of that?

Here is a creepy video about the condiment gun.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Concert Review: Soundgarden at the JLC, London Ontario, July 3 2011

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.

The above video features a guest appearance by the one and only Brian Raymond, who you may recognize from the local blogging world. He later grabbed my boob.

But yeah, pretty awesome concert. Soundgarden was a huge part of my musical upbringing, and although it makes me feel old to be seeing a "reunion tour" of such a band, it was great finally seeing them in person.

Coheed and Cambria opened, and kicked some ass themselves. Their quiet virtuosity was a contrast to Soundgarden's flashier but less musically complex show.

Anyway, here are some pictures of pretty lights:

Friday, July 01, 2011

Meat Bender 2011

I've been on a questionable food bender for the last 48 hours. How have I committed sacrilege against the temple of my body? Let me count the ways:

ONE) The Twitters were circulating with rumours that Gig's Grillhouse had new super-spicy wings called "Disclaimer," which require a disclaimer before eating them. Obviously I had to check those out.

The waiter very seriously told us that he'd have to see our licenses before ordering the wings. He copied our deets into a rather lengthy disclaimer form that waived all of Gig's responsibility if we got sick or exploded or murdered someone by smothering them in the corrosive sauce. After we'd all signed, the gloves came out.

Like really, they made us wear rubber gloves while eating them.

Of course, it was more theatrics than anything. The wings were some of the spiciest I've ever had, and did make my lips feel like I just made out with an alien, but they were bearable. And the pleasant surprise was that they had a good amount of flavour in addition to the heat.

The main worry was what they would do to my insides later, and that did not disappoint. It took about 12 hours, but the next morning, I ... well ... I hope nobody needed that bathroom at work for a while.

Despite my intestinal trauma:

TWO) Indian buffet at Massey's Fine Indian Cuisine for lunch. Delicious, but not kind to a stomach that has already half eaten away by spice. Then later that day:

THREE) The McRib is back! The illusion that McDonald's rib-shaped pork burger is only around for a limited time, never to come back, gets me every time. I shoved my face all over that ribby goodness as if it were the love of my life leaving on a jet plane.

I had big plans for all sorts of fun things to kick off the long weekend last night. I got dressed, got on my shoes, left my apartment, took two steps, then realized something was wrong with my insides and leaving was not practical. I spent the rest of the night in a solitary self-loathing huddle.

Ah but why learn from my mistakes, because today, FOUR) It's Canada Day, and thus the perfect day for the Great Canadian Bacon Fest. I'm so looking forward to the variety of bacon creations. I got a preview of the bacon cupcakes (apparently free at the event), and the combination of chocolate and bacon is something I'm surprised isn't a breakfast staple yet.

I am going to eat so much bacon that I will be sweating grease and crying tears of meat.

See also: Review: KFC Double Down.