It isn’t easy coming up with top quality blog posts full of wit and deep insight. It also isn’t easy to do what I do, which is crap out a post full of dick jokes and pointless rants. Sooner or later you run into writers block, life just doesn’t always provide the necessary stimulus needed for a 1500 word tangent about politics or movies. They say you should write about what you know but short of reviewing hardcore pornography I am running low on ideas that interest me.

Still, it is a big old internet out there and surely it has some good ideas I can steal…I mean borrow…I mean liberate for the betterment of all mankind. I found a site that claims to have 100 nifty blog ideas. Let’s try a few out, shall we?

Write about your favourite colour – Hmmm, seems a bit bland. Still, let’s power through and see if anything can be made of this. Most of my young life I have claimed that my favourite colour was red, which is a fine colour I suppose. At first it was just an arbitrary decision, someone asked what colour I liked in Kindergarten so they could quantify my sad little ass to make themselves a chart of some kind. I chose red for precisely no reason whatsoever because even as a kid I realized it was sort of a silly question that had no bearing on my life. I was young and stupid and my brain hadn’t fully cooked yet so my preferences were sort of dependent on the last thing I had seen or what my brothers thought were cool.

Eventually I did form a preference because all children eventually come into their own but I still stuck to red when asked. In all honesty my favourite colour is purple but as a child in public school I was always afraid of saying that because I thought it made me “the gay”. Try not to judge me to harshly for my youthful idiocy, that is precisely the sort of stupidity that youth, peer pressure from equally stupid young people and the public school system tend to breed into small children.

I am into my thirties now and have long ago realized that other people can certainly piss off because I have no interest in the opinions of 90% of the burping, farting, fornicating rabble that calls itself humanity. I have since come to learn that purple is in fact associated with sexual frustration (it really is, feel free to Wikipedia that shit). Considering the last 20 odd years of masturbating to increasingly shameful pornography it really comes as no surprise that purple is my favourite.

Write about your favourite number – Ummm, no. The only answer I have is the same one anybody who has ever read The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has, so screw it. There have to be better post ideas than this.

Write about something you can’t believe you used to like – Full House…seriously, why the hell did I sit down and watch that drivel. In fact, most of what was the oddly named T.G.I.F comedy line-up. We currently live in an era of some of the best televised entertainment ever so I guess hindsight has kicked in but still, why in the name of all that is good and great in this world was the adventures of the Winslow family and their nerdy neighbour Urkele every a thing?

It lasted 9 damn seasons!!! I am sure I watched more than my fair share of those 9 seasons but the only lasting impression the show made is that one of the daughter’s on the show went on to become a porn star. I imagine you have already closed this tab and are googling that while you look for a tissue. Damn, I should have put this one at the end.

Write about your most favourite body part – Someone on this blog idea site apparently wants me to talk about my penis. I don’t know why, I don’t know what sick,deviant pleasure they get out of loving descriptions of my skin flute but I am hardly going to validate this perversity without at least getting dinner first. Some place nice, with tablecloths and real napkins.

Write about the most disgusting thing you’ve ever experienced – Alright, if you have a weak stomach I suggest you skip on by. I once worked for a company that did demolition and one of our jobs was to strip out an old restaurant to the bare walls. There was a lot of disgusting things involved with that particular job but the very worst was the urinals. We had stripped the bathroom walls and such out so basically we had two urinals in the middle of a giant empty space that used to be the men’s room. Imagine two urinals hanging in empty space with a few buckets under them and some wires tying them upright to the selling so the stayed up straight, mostly just hanging off their own plumbing.

Problem being we needed the urinals gone so the plumbers could take apart the plumbing. The decision made was to smash the urinals off the plumbing by tossing a hammer at them and breaking them apart. Apparently smashing the porcelain also freed up the smell of fermented salty/ammonia leavings that had been sitting in the pipes since the place had closed. That is a smell that will haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life. There is never enough showers to wash that shit off. After 3 minutes it became less a smell and more of a taste. Thanks for reminding me of that you stupid site.

Discuss something you fear – Heart attack, clogged arteries, diabetes, birds, aliens coming down to probe me in unpleasant places, demonic possession, nuclear war, serial killers, the new Star Wars movies being really bad, asteroids colliding with the earth…

Just write about your daily travel from your home to workplace – It is a hour and a half bus ride, why would anyone in their right mind be interested in hearing about it? I have to do it every day and even I couldn’t give a shit.

Share an unconventional way of doing something – Instead of peeling a banana from the stem where it hangs from the bunch, grab it at the little tip at the other end and squeeze it together gently (I imagine whoever wanted me to describe my penis is probably throughly satisfied now). Should pop apart much easier than cracking it off at the stem.

What would people think if they went through your garbage? – They would probably wonder what the hell all these are.

sprue
You are intrigued now, aren’t you?

Your opinion on the latest world news – We have a new Pope. This hasn’t altered my life in any way, shape or form.

Describe your childhood in sounds and smells – This is the sort of nonsense that gives blogs a bad name. This is where you wax all nostalgic about the smell of fresh baked bread and newly mown grass as the reader rolls their eyes and wonders why they have to put up with this. They were only humouring you in the first place because it seemed like the polite thing to do. They were worried you might ask them questions about it the next time you met. Wow, two whole paragraphs about the sound of an ice cream truck on a summer’s day?! Well, to hell with polite then.

Dispel a myth – It is Rancid Monkey with the “Y” taken off of the end to be hip and cool. It is not, nor will it ever be, Rancid Monk with a silent and pointless “E” tacked on.

Your life in six words – Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck…sushi.

If you could be anywhere in the world right at this moment, where would you be? –  I would be in Anna Kendrick’s underpants, the implication there being that I would like to be having intimate relations with her, not that I want to be running around in her frilly lace panties and staring at myself in a mirror or something. Clearly that would be insane…haha, haha…*sigh*.

Write an article describing the focus and purpose of the blog itself – The original purpose was to impress women with my sparkling wit and personality so they would throw their moistened underwear at me as I passed. Not particularly successful so far.

Think of the unknown – I think this suggestion is broken…

Write about something that you’ve noticed that makes you like a person – Boobs? Is the answer boobs? I feel like the answer should be boobs. You know how they interview people on the street from time to time and they ask “What do you notice first about a women?” and there is a few seconds gap before the guy being asked says “Her eyes”? That is because he is trying to think of something besides boobs. Don’t look at me like that, if you didn’t want the truth you should never have come here.

Write about a new trend that you hate – I really don’t know who decided that leaving the sales sticker on the brim of a ball cap was the height of fashion but they are an idiot. It isn’t hip, it isn’t fashionable, it doesn’t make you an individual and certainly doesn’t constitute a style. I can’t imagine what type of women would be impressed by your stickered hat but I imagine they would be as equally impressed if you had “got their nose” or did that trick where you make a pencil look like it is all rubbery.

All it does is make you look like a wanker. It is literally a proud little badge you wear upon your head advertising to the world that you are the sort of irritating little pecker that thinks this sort of nonsensical shit is what makes a person cool. I know that probably sounds to you kiddies like I am too old to know what cool is but I can assure you that neither of us knows what cool is cause I am too old to give a fuck what cool is and you are running around with a FUCKING STICKER ON YOUR HAT.

People who are cool don’t worry about what is cool. They don’t follow trends, they set them. People with “swag” don’t use the word “swag” because it makes them sound like an insufferable ass. Sadly, none of the stickered masses will get that until well into middle age. I hope their parents are taking lots of embarrassing photos.

Write about what you did today
6 am – Woke up
6:05 am – Had bowel movement
6:10 am – Started cooking breakfast
6:20 am – Watched episode of Dr. Who, ate breakfast
7:20 am – Started this stupid blog post

Well…that wasn’t really riveting.

What you like and dislike about your boss – Sure, why don’t I just take a shotgun to my foot as well? Or maybe I can stick my genitals in this bear trap? This is almost as bad as Cosmo Magazine giving out sex advice.

Write about the life lessons you learned in high school or college – People suck. Not all of them, not all the time and there are certainly varying degrees of suck but in general terms, people suck. Also, I am naturally pessimistic.

Write a blog about writing blogs – One of the most thankless hobbies I have ever had. I don’t get any money for this so my only reward is page views and the satisfaction of hearing from people that they had a laugh at something I wrote. It is rare to get any comments and almost as rare to get re-tweeted or a Facebook share. Tried posting on Reddit but with no success. Every once in a while I will end up in a conversation with someone and low and behold they have been a fan of my blog for ages, something I wouldn’t have known or even have guessed at until they mention it in passing.

I don’t want to whine on about this, nor am I looking to hit the big time or sell ad space, I just want to feel that this all has a point. All I ask is if you have the time and like what I am doing here please pass it on so I don’t feel like it is a waste of my time. There are buttons at the bottom of every post that allow you to share on several forms of social media as well as the option to subscribe to post updates by email if you check all the nonsense on the left side of the page.

A goal in your life – Promise you won’t laugh? Someday I want to be a New York Times best-selling author. You’re laughing aren’t you? I hate you so much right now.

Rancid Monke

I bought an Apple TV a few months ago, mostly so I could rent movies off of iTunes and play them in glorious 1080P on my computer monitor (I spent an entire 8 hours taking Apple product sales courses at work recently, some nights I still wake up screaming about the virtues of the new Lightning connector).

Having exhausted my credit card and re-watched my meagre collection of purchased items for the fourth time I decided to spend Saturday night checking out the movie trailers. This really illustrated two useful things to me.

#1 I need to find a girlfriend…or at the very least I need to stalk Anna Kendrick all the harder.

#2 Filmed entertainment in the modern era is pretty godawful.

Let’s have a look at a few of the gems I managed to dig up.

3G – You really need to watch this trailer. I wouldn’t wish a viewing of the movie on anyone but I think the trailer is something that needs to be experienced to be believed. At first it seems like some sort of disaster horror movie, then there is a completely out of place minute or two that seems straight out of a particularly pornish foreign soap opera before just going bat shit insane and making what I assume was the protagonist from the first two thirds of the trailer run around looking evil in heavy mascara.

I fucking dare you to watch it and try to make any sort of sense out of it. Check out the poster too, it is just as schizophrenic as the entire thing looks like it should be for a romantic comedy except the evil eyed chick hiding in the logo. I don’t think this movie has decided what it wants to be when it grows up.

By the way, 3G refers to the 3G cell service most of our smart phones use. It is as generic and confusing as calling your movie HDMI or George Foreman Grill.

World War Z – I actually read the World War Z novel so it is pretty clear to me that this movie really shares nothing with it’s literary fore bearer other than a name and “ARGHH! Zombies!”

Being from the modern era of zombie movie, the rotting corpses of the recently risen are all olympic sprinters barely hindered by rigour mortis, missing limbs, spotty motor function or even common sense. They also seem to have gained a sort of disturbing hive mind as several scenes in the trailer seem to depict the zombies coordinating to climb on or over their undead brethren to achieve goals. They display more teamwork as corpses than most companies can get out of live employees no matter the bonus pay structure.

Silver Circle – I have seen better animation in a PS2 game and the entire plot seems to be based on a group of armed rebels trying to return us all to the silver standard by casting coins. If any of that turns your crank than you are probably the exact target audience for Silver Circle…that isn’t something to be proud of.

The Frankenstein Theory – A found footage horror movie. This time instead of witches or trolls or Justin Bieber they picked Frankenstein’s monster…I imagine because that was where the dart managed to hit the board during the cocaine fuelled pitch meeting.

Found footage style movies are insanely predictable so expect 45 minutes of pointless build up with them filming every minor annoyance on the journey (Oh no, the car broke down. Let’s film 20 excruciating minutes of repairing it and call that plot development). Follow that up with some shaking footage of running that will probably make you want to heave and that green night vision crap that makes everything look like Oregon Trail on an Apple 2 before topping it off with some completely out of place CGI of the actual scary shit. Then the camera will fall over sideways and slowly fade to black as the last member of the film crew dies excruciatingly.

The Collection – Serial killer in a mask plans elaborate traps to kill people? Why does that sound familiar…Ahh, from the writers of Saw 4,5,6 and 7. Well I am glad to see they are stretching themselves artistically. I would try to explain the plot that I was able to gather from the trailer but I have pretty much hit all the key points already. For bonus points they decided to make the last scene of the trailer that old faithful cliche of “Oh my God, the killer has snuck up right behind you, why won’t you turn around you big dumbass!!!”

Dark Skies – The trailer starts with a mother talking to her son on the phone, telling him to come home. Apparently he tells his mother he is playing Modern Warfare and can’t come home right now, she rolls her eyes and looks to her husband for support to which he quips “That is what save buttons are for pal.”

The kid is clearly playing a multiplayer game so either they want the father to look clueless or the writer is just an oblivious dickhead, either way I have lost all sympathy for both of these characters and I think they deserve whatever the ominous music is foreshadowing throughout the scene. Honestly, any movie that reminds me of having to do tech support for my luddite parents in the first 5 minutes deserves to end the careers of all the people involved.

The highlight of the trailer is of course watching Keri Russell violently bash her head repeatedly into a patio window which seems an apt metaphor for her ridiculous attempts to have a relevant career. The trailer ends with the killer/ominous threat sneaking up behind her while she stares off in the wrong direction. Sounds like I could make a trailer watching drinking game out of that, although my liver might not survive it.

Jack the Giant Slayer – The only reason this peaked my interest is because it is oddly foreshadowed in the comic series Fables. Jack of the Fables goes to Hollywood and finances 3 huge major motion pictures in order to gain the sort of fame that allows him to become immortal according to the story logic of the series. I certainly hope I wasn’t the only Fables fan slightly creeped out when I saw this trailer.

The Last Exorcism Part 2 – I didn’t bother to watch the trailer, I was just struck by stupidity of making a sequel to a film called The Last Exorcism. Doesn’t that make the title of the first movie just blatant false advertising? Someone in Hollywood needs a good punch in the head for this.

Fast and the Furious 6 – There is going to be a sixth film in the Fast and the Furious franchise. I blame you for that, dear reader, because I have never once seen one of these movies. Not even a censored version on a late night cable channel.

Until next time, good people of the internet.

Rancid Monke

What can I do to mark this special occasion? 100th post and my second anniversary on WordPress. Currently sitting at 2400 views. Don’t get me wrong, I imagine there are bloggers out there who could pull those kind of numbers in an afternoon but it has also gone beyond my friends humouring me as well. Some poor bastard in Chile once landed on my page after a Google search and the top views after the US and Canada are Russia. Apparently my sparkling wit is crossing language barriers, what the fuck did you manage to do this week?

Well if television has taught me anything it has certainly taught me that it is time for a clip show. Ah clip shows, the great blue balling of televised entertainment. In tonight’s episode I will be dragging in some of my best quips from Facebook, Twitter and various washroom stalls. I provide them with as little context as is humanly possible, so they can be enjoyed as nature intended.

Interwebz

So…if ever my Google searches become public then I will have a hard time explaining today’s activities. I also need to delete a few pictures before handing anyone my phone again.

– My ex-boss’s dog is now showing up as a “friend I may know”. Nice work Zuckerberg.

– Facebook is like German porn. No one is having fun until someone gets pissed on.

Television

– I may have to stop watching Justified for a few days. My internal monologue now has a Kentucky accent.

– Why do they even need ads for tampons and pads anymore? Have you ladies not formed some sort of brand loyalty by now? Are you really watching TV in hopes of gaining some fresh perspective on it between shows?

– I have regrets. There are parts of my past that I would like to forget, questions about my behaviour that I can never fully answer. Like why the fuck did I ever watch Full House?

Babysitting

Teaching my nephew all about survival of the fittest. Specifically, I am teaching him he can survive for a few minutes while I go whiz.

– This is why you don’t want me to babysit your kids.
redrum

Dinner

– That wiener wasn’t very tasty at all, that was a substandard wiener as far as I am concerned. I like my wieners to explode with flavour, dammit!

Time for a breakfast of regrets followed by a lunch of shame. Sensible dinner though.

– “All the flavours of Tuscany in our new Tuscan chicken sandwich.” – apparently the flavour of Tuscany is raw onion. 

“All the flavours of the Southwest in our Turkey chipotle sandwich.” – apparently the flavour of the Southwest is also raw onion.

– We are sitting around having turkey dinner and both my nephews come back over from the kiddie table to stand beside their father’s seat with their plates held out in front of them, waiting patiently for the chance to ask for help getting seconds.

I gazed at them, I gazed over at my brother and in my best British accent I said “Please sir, can they have some more?”

Maybe you had to be there…

Exercise

– So I go to a job interview in the river valley and I am climbing back up one of those horrible long wooden staircases to get back to the top of the hill to catch the LRT. I look behind me and there is an attractive young women following me up in her jogging attire. I am near the top so there is NO chance I can even pretend that I am not a wheezing, sweaty mess by the time she catches up…fucking great.

So she gets up next to me and I say “Wow (pant,pant) guess I am really out of shape (wheeze).”

She says “Well, stairs are always hard for everyone.”

I look over at her and she isn’t breathing heavily or sweating or even working hard. 

BEGONE HARLOT, YOU HAVE MADE THIS STAIRCASE A HOUSE OF LIES!!!!!

Politics

– If you think your stockpile of assault rifles and canned goods are the only thing keeping you safe from the government coming to get you, then you clearly don’t know what a Predator Drone is.

Warhammer

– Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne…and I call Big Spoon.

There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods…and their unending hunger for cuddling.

–  I love the Imperial Fists (mostly because it reminds me of fisting and I have the maturity level of a 13 year old) but why did they think canary yellow armour would strike fear into the hearts of their enemies?

– If I ever become a millionaire I am going to build all of the Warhammer 40K flyer kits and have a team of scientists test them for aerodynamics and feasibility. That is the sort of thing us rich folk can waste our time with.

Love

love is

Miscellaneous

– Some days I just don’t feel all that mentally sharp. Thankfully nature gave me a penis to do most of my thinking with. I am currently using it to do my typing as well.

– LOL?!! NONE OF YOU ARE LAUGHING OUT LOUD, STOP THE LIES YOU BASTARDS!

– I want to start a band called Misfiring Neurons, every set will have the lead singer flailing his hands about or staring off into space like he is trying to remember the words to the song. Meanwhile the band will do instrumental versions of classic hits.

– I am starting my own gang, that is how bad ass I am. We will smuggle porn to the pornless masses and hang out at our clubhouse eating sandwiches our moms make for us. Probably tuna fish and pickle.

– I need a sugar momma to buy me some acrylic paints. Also some mints to get the taste of rich old lady out of my mouth.

– Much like Tupperware I must be burped to maintain freshness.

– Hopefully they are doing fine at work without me, But not to fine…don’t want them figuring out how non-essential I really am. (as true today as when it was written)

– There is just some shit you can’t Photoshop your way out of.

– I had an epiphany…but I cleaned up after.

– The weekend is almost here and it is time for my favorite things. Staying up late, sleeping in, reading a good book, watching a good movie, cooking bacon in the nude, applying ointment to my third degree burns…

– Soft rock with less talk? Why that sounds like witchcraft, sir and I shall not abide it in my home.

Video Games

– So I sneak up on a guy in Dishonored and strangle him unconscious while he is pissing on a bush. Just one problem…why did he STOP pissing when I strangled him?

My Pity Party (man, even I feel bad for me now)

– I would like to invite you all to my Pity Party. 

Cocktails will be at 5 (although they will probably be sub-standard). I couldn’t get a band or DJ so the entertainment will instead be dramatic readings of some essays titled “My terrible inadequacies as a lover” and “Why my parents never loved me”. Dinner will be store-brand mac and cheese with past pull-date hot dogs cut up in it…because that is all I deserve. There is only enough for about four people though, so the rest of you will just have to wonder why you weren’t special enough to get any.

Party games will include “Mock the genitalia” and “Guess how successful my siblings are”…and possibly Twister if there is a demand for it. The entire party will be held in one corner of the kitchen while a better party filled with more interesting people will simultaneously be happening in the next room. We will no doubt be wrapping up early so we can all get home to feed our multitude of cats and read a book before falling asleep alone and unsatisfied. No need to R.S.V.P. as I already know you wouldn’t come anyway.

Goals

– People tell me to follow my dreams, do what I am passionate about. How do you explain to people that you never wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or a writer? I wanted to be a Jedi Knight. I wanted to be Batman. The best I can shoot for in the real world is a decent career, nice house, wife, kids, maybe a dog. I am not mad I can’t be Batman, nobody else gets to be Batman either, I just don’t view those other things as the consolation prize. Your reality sucks and I am happy to substitute it with a few Neil Gaiman books and some good video games. 

I know it is hard to explain but I am pretty sure the thousands of people preparing for a zombie apocalypse that is never coming or have sex in furry costumes are aware of what I am trying to say.

Rancid Monke

The Fat Tax and YOU! – It all started with my post about a group of Ontario doctors proposing a tax on high calorie items. They proposed it as a way of combating obesity but to me it seems more about profiting from obesity than actually putting effort in to stopping it.

I should mention that as part of my research I found out that both Denmark and Hungary have proposed such taxes, in fact Denmark worked on a fat tax and a separate sugar tax. About a year after Denmark imposed the fat tax it is contemplating rolling it back and is considering abandoning plans for the sugar tax. Although I didn’t find any information on if the tax was having the desired effect of decreasing obesity (it was probably too early to see useful data on it anyway) the reasons for considering dropping the tax were mostly political and echoed in all of the articles I read. Firstly, many labour groups were claiming that the tax was costing people jobs in the food and beverage industry and secondly the Danes were just border hopping to buy and horde food from countries without the tax (which explains why the jobs were disappearing).

Although I still oppose the tax vehemently these are  obviously very real problems that would have to be addressed if this proposed tax is actually considered for Canada. Many people in cities within driving distance of the US border are already crossing for shopping deals and smuggling cigarettes is big business. Do we really have the time and interest to search every citizen returning from the US for hidden compartments full of bags of chips and bottles of cola? Will contraband cupcakes become a thing?  If they do, I want to be known as the Cupcake Kingpin…I will require a cane with a cupcake shaped handle and some sort of pimpin’ hat with a feather in it…although I might be mixing villain archetypes there. Anyway, the point is that suddenly a lot of the money generated by the fat tax will used up policing the border, and extra border security hasn’t really worked to stop the drug trade from flourishing so it’s effectiveness is sort of questionable.

The Obesity Conundrum – Then I moved on to looking at some of the obstacles to a healthy life style. Mostly it was from my own experience and more than anything it was a stepping stone to this post.

Now I am ready to wrap this up and move on. What started as an insulting post on someone’s Facebook has spawned three blog posts that I am pretty proud of, it has gotten me more views, likes, shares and follows than anything that has come before but it is time to finish off and put it to bed. I can think of no better way to do that than with a quick brainstorm of alternatives to the Fat Tax, I once stated I could think of a hundred better alternatives to the Fat Tax and despite that probably being gross hyperbole it is still time to put my money where my mouth is.

I should mention that the ideas listed below for curbing obesity range from the mundane to the insane to the completely infeasible to the down right moronic. I am not trying to establish policy, I am trying to brainstorm and there are no “stupid ideas” in brainstorming…except for every idea besides mine, those are clearly idiotic and should be mocked accordingly. Anyway, I will try to keep this post as coherent as I can but I am also hopped up on cold meds…so odds aren’t stellar that it will be readable. Without further ado…

Rancid Monke Patent-Pending Obesity Combating Tips

More money spent on playgrounds, nature trails, community sports programs and recreation centres – If we can get kids to make a habit of exercising through sports and playing then that habit will continue into adulthood. Not only does it make sense to me but I have seen this theory in action. While I never really got into any sports my brother spent years in junior hockey leagues as a goalie. Despite the fact that he never made it to the professional level the habit of playing hockey followed him into adulthood and he has been in and out of both ball hockey and ice hockey leagues for years. There is probably an equal amount of beer swilled to hockey played but he is still in better shape than I am likely to ever be.

Mandatory cooking classes in school – if people can cook they aren’t nearly as reliant on fast food. I am perpetually surprised by how many people I meet who can’t cook. I am no culinary master but I am talking people who can’t even make there own macaroni and cheese unless it comes in those microwave cups. I was forced into taking a lot of bizarre classes in junior and senior high including gym class, industrial arts and career and life management (in which we listened to our gym teacher tell pointless life stories). Seems to me a few cooking classes would be infinitely more useful than almost all the algebra I ever learned.

Government caps on max sugar and fats in foods – Set a limit to how much crap they can actually put in any given product.  

Subsidies for gym membership – Subsidize the insane costs of joining a gym so more people can afford it. 

Tax credits for purchasing home gym equipment – They gave tax credits for house  renovations here in Alberta a while back, why not for people improvement? Save up your receipts for any exercise or sports equipment you bought in the year or for your gym membership/personal trainer and be able to claim it.

Artificial fat flavour – We have artificial sugar flavouring in Aspartame and Splenda so why can’t the same be done to make the flavour of kettle cooked potato chips into my bland ass rice cakes? Sorry, but baked chips just don’t taste the same, so why isn’t anyone working on fixing that?

Meal partners – I think this would make for an excellent website idea. Being single and living on my own tends to leave me fairly open to ignoring proper meal planning or preparation. Why put effort into a nice dinner when I can wolf down a bag of chips and watch Netflix instead? So what if I could go on a site and get paired up with someone else who likes to cook but doesn’t feel much obligation to when they are all alone. The site could allow you to find someone within a easy to accommodate radius of where you live and then allow you to set up a schedule for making meals you can share. Sort of like a dating site but replace the awkward touching with a nice spaghetti dinner. Instead of a profile rife with lies, sexual innuendo and self shots in the bathroom mirror you would have a list of your favourite recipes so anyone interested would know what sort of things to expect if they partnered up with you.

Mandatory sizes on apartment kitchens – I have been in a variety of apartment kitchens over the years and the expectation of an ability to cook a meal in some of them is laughable. Nothing makes me want to cook less than having no counter space to work on and no dishwasher to help make clean up easier. I propose that any new apartment or  housing development should be required to devout a specific square footage of space toward a properly designed kitchen.

Panini shops – Why the hell are their no panini fast food places? I am not even sure if a panini would be considered all that much healthier than other fast food items but considering how tasty they are why has no one set up a panini franchise in Canada yet?

Food court restrictions – What if food courts were required to have a specific number of health alternatives kiosks per each burger, pizza or fried chicken shop?

All fast food for commercial ads has to be from an actual store – Currently any of the food used in advertisements and posters at a fast food place needs to consist of 100% edible products. Unfortunately with things like edible food lacquers and the massive amount of advanced prep time that burger in the poster will look nothing like what they wrap in coloured paper and hand to you. I think they should make it so that any food used in advertising needs to be randomly sampled from an actual store kitchen instead of the corporate kitchen. Either the food at the chain would start looking better overall of the posters would start looking much more realistic and less appetizing. This might not have much effect on obesity per say but it would make for more honesty in food advertisement.

Specific times fast food commercials can’t air – By preventing the airing of fast food commercials during standard breakfast, lunch and dinner time periods we may be able to prevent impulse purchasing. Commercials for mouth watering burgers or pizza just as you are trying to decided what to do about making dinner is not very conducive to making smart and healthy choices.

Convince the companies, not the public – It may be difficult to convince a board of directors of a large company that reducing fats or sugars in their product or to make healthy alternatives would be in their best interests but it is still small groups with a fairly easy to define goal in mind (to make money for the share holders). Compare that to trying convince millions of average citizens with wildly different motivations that they should eat healthier.

Rancid J. Monke
rancidmonke@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rancid.monke
Twitter – @rancidmonke

2012 in review

Posted: December 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

So my last post – The Fat Tax and YOU!, was about a proposal by a group of doctors in Ontario to raise taxes on unhealthy food and lower taxes on healthy food. I went over in some detail why I think the proposal is not just a bad idea but also probably not particularly feasible (among the reasons being that as far as I know, food isn’t actually taxed on a federal level to begin with).

Obviously I could leave it at that and consider myself done, many is the time that people offer criticisms but not any ideas or alternatives. However as I stated in the last post this is an issue close to my heart (most specifically in the clogged arteries surrounding my heart). Plus my last post got some decent views (and I am nothing if not an attention whore). With that is mind I started piecing together this post with the hope of finding out what the barriers are to healthy eating. I really want to explore better alternatives to a Fat Tax as I think the tax is less about combating obesity and more about profiting from it.

One of the things they harped on about at my last job was that 90% of fixing a problem is determining what the problem is. They weren’t well known for practicing what they preached, as the preferred method of problem solving there was to ignore it and hope the problem went away. Regardless of their less than stellar implementation of the strategy it was still true, you can’t solve a problem unless you know what that problem is.

Obstacles to a Healthy Life Style

1) Cooking – I have met many people who just plain can’t cook. That becomes problematic considering the alternatives are usually fast food or processed stick-it-in-the-microwave type meals. Most of that stuff is terrible for you, heavily processed, heavily salted, light on nutrients and they treat vegetables with more disdain than I have for the humanity…and I have an official looking document from my career counsellor that says I REALLY hate humanity.

Anything that is actually healthy usually tastes like cardboard, or it is more expensive, or there is much less of it so it just isn’t really filling. So the question becomes; are we better off teaching people to cook their own healthy food OR demanding better alternatives in our processed or fast foods?

2) Time – People just don’t have time to cook a good meal anymore, I know it’s true because all the TV commercials tell me so. All the bagged, boxed and frozen dinner commercials have preyed on the “fact” that the working classes don’t have time to prepare a meal from scratch for so long that even if it wasn’t true people have long since bought in. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that not having enough time to cook good meals IS an issue. That said, I think there is also the problem of people PERCEIVING they don’t have enough time to cook a good meal. You flip on the Food Channel and every dish is a culinary masterpiece, you go to Pinterest and every photo is of an edible work of art that someone slaved over  for hours. Well of course no one has time for that shit. What don’t you see in those cooking shows? The army of people doing the chopping and measuring for one…five hungry people waiting around the table impatiently for another. As for the people on Pinterest I haven’t completely ruled out the theory that they are all fucking nuts.

So now that people are already short on time due to long hours and all the extra curricular activities they may have to  get their kids to, they are also feeling guilt over the fact that whatever they prepare won’t be “good” enough because it didn’t take half an hour to prepare and require pulling out the lemon zester. I know many people who judge serving processed prepared foods as “bad parenting”. Is it any wonder people are frustrated? All they want to do is feed their kids or themselves but unless they do it right then someone somewhere will be judging them…even if it is the nagging little asshole in the back of their head that commercials and food magazines built.

3) Bad Habits – This is a huge one for most obese people. You start learning bad habits and they can become damn near impossible to break. As a single guy on my own, one of the habits I have is to not bother making dinner and just eating a bag of chips instead…I really wish I was kidding. What starts off as lazy can quickly become habit and the only solution for breaking a habit is completely retraining yourself. That is a hell of a lot of time and effort.

To be honest it would be easier to give all of us currently obese people up as a lost cause. How much harder is it for an obese person to lose weight and get healthy than an already healthy person to stay that way? We are talking about the difference between trying to push a rock up a hill compared to down a slope. Not that I want to be given up on but the better use of government time and money is to guide the next generation down a healthier path than trying to fix the problem after it is already broken. Most industries would refer to it as preventitive maintenance (unlike percussive maintenance, which is just beating the shit out of things until they work).

4) Confusion – Science is finding new information about foods and health all the time. Some foods have gone from good to bad and back again. Sugar substitutes like Aspartame and Splenda were supposed to be a great alternative but now you get articles about all the horrible side effects they are supposed to bring with them. Suddenly you are weighing diabetes versus alzheimer’s and trying to separate credible sources from conspiracy blogs. Add to that the “scientists” that are hired by various special interest groups that will render any finding you like for some hookers and blow. So now I am standing in an aisle trying to remember if it was butter or margarine that was supposed to be better for you (I am pretty sure it is neither but I also stopped caring). Our only option is to keep abreast of all the new findings, follow the blogs, read the ingredients on all the products…fuck it, I don’t even feel like finishing the sentence let alone putting the work in.

I suppose I could just let one of my  health nut friends do all the work and then just follow their advice. Problem being that most health nuts are…well…nuts. Talking to a health nut feels like talking to a conspiracy theorist about JFK and 9/11. They start mixing morality advice in with their health advice, and the health advice isn’t regular health advice, it is tofu/wheatgrass advice. If they have the time and interest to scour the internet for health news they aren’t going to flub it at the last minute and tell you which brand of aerosol cheese is the least lethal. Unfortunately, that will be what I ask about because that is what I want to know.

5) Snow – This is may not be an issue where you live but I live in Edmonton, Alberta. Snow can start as early as October and stays till it is damn good and ready to leave…April if you are lucky. Some of that time won’t be terrible but there are stretches around January where they start warning you not to go outside with any exposed flesh for fear of frost bite. This means all the fun summer activities I could be persuaded to get off my ass and do are packed up and waiting for 6 to 8 months. I have a hard enough time finding things I can do in bright sunshine and green grass, among my bad habits was a lack of interest in sports and the like. Now I need to find a completely different set of activities that I can do:

– in at least a foot of snow
– in the dark (I have had some jobs where I haven’t seen the sun all winter)
– in the city (I can’t head to a ski hill every day)
– doesn’t actually involve skiing or skating (because I fucking hate both of them)

All of which won’t matter for at least two months when the only reason anyone goes outside is to start the car and let it warm up enough to be drive-able.

6) Support – Not many people have any idea how to support obese people trying to lose weight. Considering most obese people don’t know what they need or want for support that isn’t surprising. I had a personal trainer who constantly wanted to weigh me so he could cheer on my weight loss but despite the fact I was looking and feeling better in some cases I was actually gaining weight. Nothing makes you feel better than finding out all your hard work has gained you two pounds. I never wanted nor cared about weigh-ins but this guy made it seem like it was essential for my weight loss. It wasn’t long after that I started to notice that the support from gym staff seemed as fake and plastic as their smiles. As soon as I didn’t progress to the ball crushingly expensive next level of personal training I was left to my own devices and barely acknowledged, but maybe that was just my shitty choice of gym. By the way, gym patrons themselves are actually pretty supportive of the obese folks looking to lose weight. All but the most dickish were just glad to see you out there trying, which did not fit the perception I had built up of them before I went.

Compare that to the internet, if you follow an obesity article online there will always be the few commenters suggesting that shaming fat people will bring them into line. Like somehow fat people aren’t already a bundle of shame and only this idiots razor sharp input will put them to right. I have had people talk about obesity on Facebook like their years of healthy eating, clean living and superior genetics has given them a keen insight into battling obesity…skinny people talking to me about “solving” obesity always sounds like fundamentalist talking about how gay marriage will effect their lives, they talk with that same fervour that suggests that I am clearly too fat to know what I am talking about or what is best for me. I don’t know much but I do know it is best to leave those people behind, if you aren’t here to help I am sure as hell not going to let you stick around to hinder me.

Rancid Monke

I have been overweight all my life, so no story hits closer to home for me then when someone starts talking about the “obesity epidemic”. It hits even closer to home when the story is a group of skinny apathetic people trying to “solve” the “problem” of obesity, like I am an errant X in an algebra equation that they are hoping will sort itself out if they calculate hard enough. So a group of doctors in Ontario have come up with a list of recommendations for battling obesity. Not suprisingly they are taking the exact same stance on fatty foods as they do on cigarettes, why screw with a winning formula I guess. The current list of suggesstions includes:

– Restricting marketing of fatty and sugary foods to children.

I would also like to restrict marketing of mass market, over-priced toys to children. oh, and insultingly stupid children’s movies. It would be nice if they didn’t watch all those pointless and violent cartoons either. So I guess it’s watching C-Span and eating rice cakes from now on kiddies. I mean, this isn’t necessarily a bad idea but it’s not like you are going to get Bran Flakes to start sponsoring kids shows either, so there needs to be something to replace it with.

– Placing graphic warning labels on pop and other high-calorie foods with little to no nutritional value.

I don’t remember a single smoker going “Boy, that label is just damn gross, I am done with these things.” Actually, the labels would probably be counter productive once kids figure it out. The package with the diabetes amputation warning is the tasty stuff kids! This is actually pretty insulting to be honest, like there is someone who mistakes sugar frosted corn-syrup flakes for a healthy breakfast and it is only the keen insight of an Ontario doctor who can set that person straight. Assuming your audience is too thick to figure it out on their own without a medical professional taking them by the hand is the sort of contempt that makes average people’s teeth grind.

– Adding retail displays for high-sugar, high-fat foods that prominently advise consumers of the health risks.

I ignore the retail displays now, adding a big sign with nutritional facts and warnings is LESS likely to make me stop and care. I am there to shop, not read about all my bad life choices in order of nutritional value.

– Restricting the availability of sugary, low-nutritional value foods in sports and other recreational facilities frequented by young people.

Get rid of Coke machines, because recreation centres exist in the land of make-believe where convenience stores aren’t 2 blocks away at most. Regardless, most of those places are getting some sort of rent or a cut from the vending company. That is money that suddenly has to be made up somehow. I am not saying it is a bad idea necessarily but if one rink or basketball court has to close over not enough funds than it will actually cause considerable more harm than any good it did.

Then comes the big one and my personal favourite.

– Increasing taxes on junk food and decreasing taxes on healthy foods.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the FAT TAX. It won’t matter what the government calls it (food rebate adjustment?), that is what it is and that is what everyone will call it.

So besides it being an inelegant solution born of a lack of empathy and understanding of the causes of obesity, besides it sending a strong message of judgement to those who aren’t at the government approved average body weight, beside it being the exact opposite of everything I know about the psychology of the obese and those hoping to lose weight (by being a punishment against the obese instead of an incentive and reward for losing weight) let’s look at why this idea is just plain old going to fail.

– To me, taxes are a purely political maneuver and this will be seen as such. The story won’t be about the healthy benefits of the program, the focus will be raising taxes on an already highly taxed nation. Motives will be questioned to the Nth degree and any politician who tables it had better be squeaky clean and probably vegan or he will be viewed as a hypocrite. If he is a vegan he will be viewed as biased and out of touch with common citizens. Talk about a no win scenario. This isn’t about luxury items, this is about essentials and it will be taken as a political scheme no matter how honourable the intentions.

– There is no tax on food in this country (at least none that I know of), they are talking about raising and lowering a tax that doesn’t exist. I thought food might be subject to the GST (goods and services tax) but it turns out that the government that implemented the tax was so afraid of the backlash of taxing food that they raised the actual tax rate but exempted food. The only exemption to the GST food exemption (I shit you not, this is an actual thing) is for savoury snacks (chips and chip like snacks), salted nuts, granola products and snack mixture. So essentially there is already a fat tax on the worst offenders of the food world and it has done sweet fuck all to curb obesity. So other than those listed in order to have a lower tax on good food and a higher tax on bad food you would have to CREATE a tax which would mean the price of everything would go up. Instead of a punishment/reward system, everybody gets punished and it is a matter of degrees. Good luck getting elected officials to support that or average consumers not to openly rebel. That is a burden the lower class can’t afford.

– You could create a tax on just bad food but it wouldn’t correspond to any decrease on the other end, thus it would just be a money grab, none of the money raised by the tax would be used for the intended purpose of lowering the cost of good food. If you attempted to get companies to lower prices by handing them the fat tax money that would be government trying to directly control the market which would be massively frowned upon. Setting prices is not really the job of the government in a capitalist society and no one wants to see their tax dollars wasted on private corporations.

– You could remove GST exemption for food I suppose, I mean, they already have their exemption to the exemption. Then you have all the bad parts of creating a food tax PLUS the money raised would just be part of the standard budget instead of being earmarked for anything like obesity studies or cancer research. That would be officially giving up all pretence of it being a positive attempt at curbing obesity and would just become discriminating against fat people for the sake of extra tax dollars. That is on top of the fact that taxing chips doesn’t seem to be stopping people from buying them (I honestly didn’t know I was being taxed for them until I researched this blog post so it wasn’t slowing me down in the slightest).

– Actually, it wouldn’t even really punish just the obese. Who the hell hasn’t had a shitty meal from time to time? Who hasn’t popped a frozen pizza in the oven between work and soccer practice for the kids. Why can’t a perfectly healthy person chow down on a bag of chips from time to time. He isn’t about to become a burden to the healthcare system, so why must he face punishment? It is easy to tax cigarettes or booze, not only are they not essential but it won’t effect millions of people several times a day. Try telling the entire population that their food court lunch just increased a buck or two and watch your party get shit-canned in the next election.

– This all begs the question of who gets to decide what is considered bad and good food. Do we let a vegan decide and eat tofu for the rest of our lives? Do we let government decide? I don’t trust politicians to sit the right way on a toilet seat. Do we leave it to doctors? What about that 1 out of 5 doctors that doesn’t recommend my brand of flu medication? Does he get a vote or not? Again, cigarettes and booze are easy to tax, it either is a cigarette or it isn’t, there isn’t a grey area. Considering the way science flip-flops on food health every day there is no straight answer on what should or shouldn’t be taxed. Sure, potato chips seem obvious but it become REALLY subjective, REALLY fast. Is butter good or bad? Is it better than margarine? What kind of cheese is considered the healthiest? Should I show up to the grocery store with a graphing calculator and some loose leaf?

– In the end I think the biggest problem is that the obese aren’t a “problem” to be “solved” (despite what this group of doctors seems to believe), it is a group of people who need help. Having lived with it all my life, I know that if I ever do get to a healthy weight it will be because of my hard work and the help of supportive people cheering me on, not because the government made Cheese Poofs and Coke a dollar more expensive. Maybe it is time for these doctors to bring on a psychiatrist as well, maybe even actually talk to a fat guy not just talk down to one. I am always available for consult.

Rancid Monke

Make Way for the Future!

Posted: September 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Have you seen anyone ripping down the street in a horse and buggy lately? Unless you live in Amish country, probably not. We evolved beyond the need for them, we left them behind in favour of cars and most of the population has never looked back. Obviously humanity is making huge strides in technology on a daily basis but what are we going to be leaving behind in the next 5, 10, 20 or 50 years?

Here are some of the most likely next victims of our great technological revolution. Some day you will be trying to explain this crap to your uninterested grandkids while they humour you in hopes of getting in your will.

1) Phone Booths – These are already dead, I shouldn’t have to explain this one. Who wants to sit around in a urine soaked booth full of graffiti to talk to someone for 35 cents a pop? The fact that there are already far fewer of them around then even 5 years ago makes it an unreliable way to communicate anyway. This death spiral will continue until they are obsolete.

2) Keyboard and Mouse – Half the planet can’t even spell properly WITH a damn spellcheck but we still include long rows of jumbled letters and punctuation with every computer sold. It is just begging for people to violate the English language like a pervert in a truck stop bathroom.

With the advances in touch screens and voice recognition I don’t think it will be a stretch to see people of the future leaving greasy finger prints all over every monitor and babbling to their computer in order to send e-mails, tweets, facebook status updates or draft thing up in a word processor. This means the only way you will be able to tell a sane person from a complete nut job when they are sitting at a computer is whether it is actually turned on.

3) Computer Monitors – You know the fancy hologram projector thing that gets used in the Iron Man and Avengers movies? You see it a lot in sci-fi stuff now. It’s a combination of keyboard and monitor but it just sort of floats in the air. I saw it in the Mass Effect games too. Right now the movies are just using post production magic to make it happen but some day this will become a reality (it it isn’t being worked on already) and computer monitors will be done. Who needs a screen when any reasonably uncluttered surface would make a decent backdrop. It will also get rid of the need for keyboard and mouse interfaces if the voice recognition software and touchscreen don’t first.

4)Physical Media – Movie studios, record companies and game producers sure do like boxes, manuals and discs. It makes it much easier to sell the price tag on the front if it comes in a nice, hefty package to hold on to. Despite the fact that iTunes, NetFlix, Hulu and Steam are taking off in a big way, content creators are still holding on to the idea of buying and owning discs. Some day that will come to an end though, at this point it isn’t even a question of “will this happen?” or “when will this happen?” but “why the hell hasn’t this happened yet?”

Sooner or later they are going to realize the costs of having factories overseas where you exploit the hell out of the labour force with insignificant wages then have your product bulk shipped back to North America for distribution is still more expensive than putting some decent servers together and putting the digital file up for direct sale. Or to put it more plainly, they will finally figure out what internet pirates realized YEARS AGO and try to get on board to make a profit. Maybe instead of trying to shut down the big torrent sites they should be looking to partner up with them?

5) Books – I love books, not just the stuff on them but the smell and feel of the ink and paper of a book. I understand why people are so dead set against things like Kindles or Kobos or  iBooks. The problem is, I think us physical book lovers (that is not what I meant you pervert) are eventually going to lose. Truth is I have sat down and read entire books on my teeny tiny iPhone screen before. Want to know why? Same reason I stay up all night to finish “just one more chapter” of a real book, it was a damn good story and I couldn’t put it down.

Most North Americans that actually do bother reading are pretty trained to read things off screens now anyway. News sites, Facebook, Twitter if your desperate, WordPress Blogs if you are desperate and slightly masochistic. We are there for the content and although we might appreciate the pretty wrappings of a well designed site at the end of the day text is text, whether it is on paper or a screen isn’t as fundamentally important to your enjoyment of it as the fact that it is well written. In the end, the book will die for the same reasons that all physical media will die, it just might take a little longer for us to wrap our head around the fact that paper and bindings does not a book make.

6)Movie Theatres – I hear stories about how the poor movie chains are struggling to make it through with the movie studios screwing them out of box office take on one hand and internet piracy screwing them out of paying customers on the other. The question I always ask myself is WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING?!! The fact that most people would prefer to enjoy movies in the privacy of their own homes coupled with the fact that most people’s movie watching etiquette has become APPALLING means that internet pirates aren’t the only reason ticket sales aren’t what they used to be. Maybe instead of crying over the fact that they can’t sell overpriced popcorn and sugar water to people anymore the theatres could be thinking about how to repurpose themselves to become relevant again.

As with sports stadiums and arenas the big money sink is having massive amounts of space sitting empty most of the time while it still sucks up heat, water, power and tax money. They could be selling off their prime consumer real estate for good money and start investing in bringing first run movies to the internet or integrating it into the next generation of game console.

I will miss the thrill of going out to an actual movie as much as the next person but if that means I can get the movies I want in my home without trying to dig someone up to go with me so I don’t look like a huge dork than I am all for it. Nothing says “please silently judge me” like showing up at a semi-social event and sitting by yourself in awkward silence. Plus I don’t have to find a nephew or niece to drag to a Pixar movie anymore, nor will I have to put up with someone else’s kids shitty behaviour while I am there. Win-win for everyone really.

Feel free to add your comments below. Either tell me what you think will disappear from society or disagree and just call me a liar right to my face, whatever makes you happy.  

Rancid Monke

If you had told me fifteen years ago that I would ever use the internet for anything besides the viewing of pornographic images I would have called you a damn filthy liar. Fifteen years ago was when I started my first computer programming course in high school. We made a ascii image of a horse out of random keyboard characters and then programmed 4 of them to race across the screen using a random number generator. I believe it looked something like this:

-(*)^>
………….-(*)^>
………………………..-(*)^>
….-(*)^>

It was a simple time, we were simple folk…simple and easily amused.

The only other thing we did in the class that I can even remotely remember was made our own webpage. It was a simple affair, white background, black text, blue links, tables still had borders around them instead of being set to zero. My page was all about the Predator because I had just started collecting Predator graphic novels under the mistaken impression they were good (a handful were decent, most were utter crap.) Anyway, I got to scrounge the internet for pictures to slap on to my page. This was literally my first interaction with the world wide web. You kids might not believe what I am about to tell you but I swear it is true.

1) Before Google there was actually several different internet search engines. It wasn’t just Google and then Bing if you were too lazy to switch your search bar over. I remember liking Lycos because it had a cool sci-fi looking logo . I was also fond of HotBot because I could never find shit on Lycos. Never liked Yahoo! and still don’t.

2) There was a time when you could perform an internet search and it wouldn’t come back with a link to hardcore porn in it somewhere. I mean, you could still find porn, but you would have to use pretty specific porn friendly words…like “porn” or “hot porn” or my favorite “pornicopia (the porn of plenty)”. In modern times, every word ever has been used as sexual innuendo at some point. Wiggle your eyebrows suggestively while talking and suddenly you are a master seducer. Honest though, I swear to you kiddies there was a time when looking up “Cleveland Steamers” wasn’t so much of a harrowing experience.

Of course I couldn’t look up porn in the middle of a computer class without getting into trouble. Even if I threw caution to the wind and my pants to the floor, the rapid hand movements under the desk would be slightly suspicious. It would be 3 more years and a useless college certificate before I finally managed to convince my father that a lack of a computer and internet at home was all that was stopping me from taking the graphic design world by storm. My memory after that is just a blur of filthy images but I am pretty sure I was convinced that this would never get old, this would be all I would ever need to entertain myself for the rest of my pointless existence.

I think in the end it was the porn tubes that killed the dream for me. When you can literally type any filthy act in to a search bar at the top of a site and be rewarded with a selection of videos organized by either date uploaded or length of clip (perverts choice) then the thrill of hunting and downloading porn is sort of gone.

So it was that in 2007 I decided to create a Facebook account and see what the hell else was going on with the rest of the internet. Short answer: not a whole fucking lot.

Facebook

The Concept – Keep in touch with your friends no matter where in the world they are. Share photos, stories and interesting articles with your nearest and dearest. It’s like hosting a wacky dinner party and all your friends are invited…but the food is all just photographed.

The Reality – Of the over 100 “friends” I have on Facebook there is only about three or four I interact with on a regular basis and two of those people I have never met in real life. One of them was a friend of a friend who had some interesting current events posts and her opinions on them (which meant I didn’t have to bother watching the news any more) and the other accidentally friended me in what I can only assume was a drunken stupor. Most of the rest of my time on Facebook is spent scanning my newsfeed for interesting stuff to read or statuses I can make witty replies to.

When it comes down to it, the newsfeed is just sort of the natural evolution of the mass e-mail. Back in the day the big thing to have was your own e-mail address (I now have four and at least three of them are for junk mail). The problem is a personal e-mail address, as opposed to a business address, is really not all that exciting most of the time. When I first got mine I used to check it  hourly under the misguided impression that I was always mere moments away from receiving some earth shattering correspondence from a friend or relative or an ex-classmate who wanted to admit to a huge crush on me and would I like to meet them somewhere for coffee followed by casual sex and cuddling (seems overly optimistic in hindsight). After several months of a whole lot of fuck all happening I started to do what every one with an e-mail address eventually did, I sent amusing shit I found on the internet to my friends. When I got something in return I would forward it on to the next hapless victim so we could all see “this amusing shit I found on the internet”. That to me is the entire concept behind the facebook newsfeed. Take all the pointless shit you used to e-mail back and forth to your friends and stick it in one place that all your friends can see. Of course, it still relies on you having friends who want to put up with that type of shit. Luckily, the internet solved that problem too.

Reddit

The Concept: A place for people to find like minded individuals and share the best the internet has to offer.

The Reality: This is it, this is the internet showing other parts of the internet some of the cool shit it found on the internet. This is where the mass e-mails and the Facebook feed evolved past the need for friends. Now you just throw stuff out there for the amusement of random strangers and hope they like it enough to vote it a little higher up the page so your ego can be thoroughly stroked.

Twitter

The Concept: Kind of like Facebook, only not?

The Reality: The only upside I have found to Twitter is that you can cyber stalk celebrities with an ease never before known. All you need to do is find your favorite celebrity and follow them, they don’t have to do anything from their end. Then your Twitter feed can become “a list of my future crimes and evidence of there pre-meditation.” Compare this with the unfortunate downsides of Twitter.

1) Reading the uncensored stream of thought of your favorite celebrity isn’t really all it is cracked up to be. Either they are as maddeningly mundane as you are and tweet about which airport they are currently bored in or show they are currently parked in front of OR they are no where near as savvy or witty without a talented writer putting words in their mouth and they tweet about their current kill to death ratio in the latest Call of Duty game as if it has significant meaning in life (it means you have too much time on your hands).

2) 140 characters limit on posts?! What the holy hell? I have had more verbose fortune cookies than that. So say goodbye to communicating complex ideas. Try to think of what newspaper headline would capture your intent the best. “Dr. visit leads to surprise gov’t colon inspection, story on page 6.” There is an amazing amount of third party support sites designed around allowing you to tweet over your character limit or add photos and videos. Maybe they should hire these people at Twitter and MAKE THE DAMN SITE BETTER.

Comment Sections

The Concept: Take the awesome abilities of interaction that makes the internet so unique and add it to every news article, comedy site, video or blog. Share  your opinions instantly on whatever you read or watch.

The Reality: Well the first three comments are bound to be “F1rst!!!1!” (one winner and two sad little runner’s up). Odds are that the commenter didn’t bother wasting time actually reading the article or watching the video and it isn’t likely they ever will. They came to stake a claim on the top of the comment section and then crept off into the night. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why they bothered, then I created the Rancid Monke Therom of Internet Users. You see, it is my belief that internet users are at any given time either Bored, Horny, or Stupid. Obviously there is a lot of potential for overlap but I am far too lazy to create the necessary Venn diagram. Obviously “F1rst!!!1!” commenters are smack dab in the middle of the Bored and Stupid section. The Bored part is obvious and the Stupid part is also pretty self explanatory because there has to be at least a literal million more entertaining things that these people could be doing but instead they choose to waste time reminding people where exactly the top of the comment section is. These people are to intellectual discourse what a plate of fecal matter is to fine dining. Clearly they aren’t Horny though or they would find a porn site to troll.

The rest of the comment section will be filled with people questioning the article or video writers intelligence, sanity, sexual preferences and/or  potential promiscuity of their maternal procreator in regards to the commenter on the previous evening. There will be a sprinkling of supportive comments and some commenters will treat the English language like it did something deviant and needs to be punished (no one will ever really decipher what they were trying to say nor what they have against vowels and punctuation). In the middle of it all will be one guy trying to sell pills to make your genitals the talk of your local PTA meetings or prayer group (The entrepreneurial spirit…it is what makes this country great).

Forums

The Concept: Get together with others from around the world to discuss books or movies, swap tech support tips, share news about video games. Whatever your hobby or interest, there is a forum for you out there somewhere.

The Reality: The important thing to remember is that forums are where intelligent discourse goes to die…then have it’s corpse urinated on.

Need a little tech advice for your laptop? “ha…should have bought a Mac.”
Excited about the latest release for PlayStation 3? “PS3 Sux…XBOX 4 Life.”
Having problems with your iPod? “You are such a mindless sheep…you should have bought a Zune like the rest of us.” (Yes, this was an actual post I saw and Yes, forum users are apparently irony impaired.)

Good luck trying to have an intelligent conversation about any topic on a forum when every third reply is someone suggesting they are just leaving for or coming back from a sexual rendezvous with your mother (must be some latent oedipal thing…I don’t really get it.)

Online Shopping

The Concept: Buy anything you want and have it delivered right to your door (including boner pills). Why bother leaving your home to waste time at a mall ever again?

The Reality: I actually really like the idea of online shopping. I hate malls, crowds, people invading my personal space, and those asshole kiosk workers trying to flag me down so I can buy their pointless shit (I do not need a remote controlled helicopter…not today, not ever). If I could skip all that and have everything sent to me then why the hell wouldn’t I? Not just books and movies, I would buy small appliances and flatware and towels and pens and fleshlights, whatever the hell I needed. Unfortunately there are three major problems I have with online shopping:

1) Shipping Costs – The price of not getting off my lazy ass is that I will have to pay for someone to send it out of their warehouse and have a courier of some kind drop it off. That shit ain’t cheap. I have spent 2 years as a shipper/receiver so I know how quickly the costs can add up. Heading over borders? That will cost extra. Live out in a remote area? That will cost extra. Want to insure the package in case the courier decides to drop it off a cliff never to be seen again? That will cost extra.

Some places will ship for free assuming you spend over a certain price cap. The problem is I never have enough on the first try to get free shipping. I always have to dig in to the website and find that extra book to add to my order. The idea of online shopping was supposed to be that I could get what I want delivered right to my door without hassle. Instead I get what I want, plus some extra crap that seemed okay and padded the bill out nicely.

2) The Waiting – The other problem of online shopping is waiting for delivery. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you realize how many companies manufacture their products in overseas factories. I once tracked a friend’s iPad order from China to Alaska to Kentucky to Concord, Ontario to the Depot in Edmonton. Who wants to wait that long when I can spend 20 minutes on a bus and have one in my hand before I leave the store? Unless the item is out of stock or I want one but am not eager to get it in my hot, greasy hands right away. How often is that the case?

3) No One At Home – Here is probably the biggest obstacle I have to online shopping. Every time I have ever ordered online I have had to put much time and thought into where to have the item delivered so that someone will actually be able to sign for it. Odds are most couriers will require a signature and odds are they will show up when you are at work and leave a “we will come back at an even less convenient time” card. Couriers are off work at the same time as the rest of us (for the most part) making it near impossible to schedule around your work day. Do you dare have it shipped to your work and hope it doesn’t get lost in the mail room shuffle or stolen by your light fingered co-workers? Can you send it to a friend’s house or work and trust them to sign for it? How many times will they try to deliver before you have to come down to the piss poorly located depot and get it? Unless you are a stay-at-home parent or unemployed your shit is never going to be “delivered right to your door”…at least not on the first try.

Blogs

The Concept: Be the writer you always wanted to be, only with no editing or paycheck.

The Reality: I have been doing this blog for over a year and written over 86 posts. I still have no fucking idea what you people want to read about. Mostly I just try to amuse myself between the days of drudgery at my various dead end jobs and the nights of pointless self pleasuring in the bathroom of the local food court. God do I ever need an editor and a sense of shame.

Rancid Monke

If you have ever been to a fast food taco chain (of which we only really have two in Canada) then you should know the evil they have wrought on the innocent french fry. At the one chain you can drop a few extra dollars for them to add taco meat, the mysterious orange cheese fluid, onions, tomatoes and sour cream on your fries. At the other major chain the do the same thing to “mexi-fries” which is a trademarked name for “tater tots” which is in itself a trademark name for “pressed potato peelings with a floor sweeping crust.”

No matter where you go, the result is the same, when you get to the center of the dish you find that all the liquids piled on top of the fries/tots has turned it into a chunky paste that is difficult to swallow without gagging a little.

The problem is I really like the idea of taco fixings on tater tots. The execution is god awful and almost instantly regrettable but the idea seems to have merit. A few nights ago, as I pondered the cruelty of fate, the indifference of the universe, the delusional nature of the human race and the excessive build up of lint in my navel (deep thoughts indeed) I realized that it should be possible to re-create this dish at home without the gastrointestinal stress the fast food variety creates. I had a mission. A very, very fucking stupid mission.

I donned my usual cooking attire. Some people prefer an apron, others just like to put on something grubby and roll their sleeves up. Because I live alone, I prefer to strip down to a pair of boxers and get to work.

For clarification:

– Yes, I actual do this.
– Yes, I am aware that it is disturbing.
– Yes, even when I am cooking bacon.
– Yes, that does sting like crazy.

So with the non-judgmental breeze from the hood fan caressing my chest hair I set out to make history.

1) Fry up some burger, add taco seasoning.This was my first hurdle as I realized I don’t actually buy taco seasoning. I buy taco kits with the seasoning in them. Between the pre-packaged seasoning and the square bottomed tacos that stand up on a plate I have labeled the taco kit one of mankind’s greatest creations. As I was just about to break open my last kit to get at the powdery goodness inside I remember that my parents bought me a small pack of taco seasoning (along with a shit load of powdered gravy) when I moved out on my own. Umm, dried powder doesn’t go bad does it? I should be fine…

2) Chopped tomato, salsa, sour cream, onions, shredded cheddar – The salsa probably could have been a little more full bodied. It was a weak no name store brand that was more liquid than chunk. The cheese I sort of assumed would be a waste. Even the strongest, oldest and rankest cheddar was probably not going to have the goods to overpower salsa and primordial taco seasoning. It was mostly just there to add calcium and orange colouring, more to comfort the mind with it’s presence than to actually effect flavour. The onions I browned in a fry pan because raw onions and I don’t get along. I am pretty sure cooked onions and I aren’t the best of friends either but at least they are more subtle about their hate. Tomato and sour cream are pretty hard to fuck up.

3) I was definitely going to have to brown up the tater tots. With all the added weight of the toppings combined with the liquid nature of some of them (sour cream and salsa) they were going to have to stay crisp in the face of adversity. I kept watch through the oven door, waiting for the moment when they were as crisp and brown as they could get without ending up burnt. My apartment building is apparently very serious about fire detection. The detector is hardwired into the suite’s electrical AND has a battery back up. Needless to say I was not eager to test the response times of the local fire hall today.

Presentation: Hmm, I needed sides, that much was clear. It wasn’t going to sit right on a plate and all of my bowls are either too small or too big. In the end I settled for a plastic microwave container. I am classy as fuck.

Result: Well, not the raving success I had hoped for. The cheese was pointless as expected. It didn’t so much add a cheese flavour as much as subtly hinted that cheese was a flavour out there in the broader world and some day I might actually get to taste it. Sadly the tater tots didn’t add much either. They were sufficiently crisp and stayed that way to the last bite but they were overpowered by the taco meat and salsa to such a degree that it was like biting into a crispy null space in the middle of my food. I could have replaced the tater tots with Styrofoam packing peanuts and not noticed the difference. I could have used up a taco kit and been 100 times happier.

Lasting effects: Currently unknown. I have little hope that this meal will sit well and not come back to haunt me tomorrow morning. That said, it went down well enough and hasn’t threatened any of my vital organs yet. I guess if you don’t see me post anything else then you will know not to try this at home.

Rancid Monke