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

I remember a day when I was just a wee little monke. I had probably just started into real school, not the playing with toys and taking naps kind of school but something where they actually try to drum some knowledge into you in the vain hopes that you might actually become a productive member of society eventually (31 years old and still proving them wrong). We had just started to learn about the continents and I was all eager to show off my smarts. My family were all sitting down to a movie at some point (details are a bit fuzzy, I was pretty young still).

Well, not that fuzzy I guess, we were sitting down to watch Spies Like Us – A Chevy Chase/Dan Aykryod movie from the 80’s. There was a scene where they end up in…I am pretty sure it was Russia. They end up in Russia surrounded by soldiers and one of them puts his hands up and says “Don’t shot, we’re American.”

I turned to my mother completely proud of myself “We are Americans too, right Mom? Cause we live in North America.”

She shook her head with a look of profound look of sadness. No doubt she was beginning to realize she didn’t need to save up any university tuition for me. “Not exactly, honey” she finally said.

This was the first hint I had that I was different from other kids. Not the being stupid part, I figured that out in kindergarten. This was something else, something more elusive. I was Canadian.

It took several discussions, a few diagrams and a world atlas to get me to understand what it meant to be Canadian in a geographic sense. I still struggle on a daily basis to understand what it means to be Canadian in a spiritual sense. What does it mean to be Canadian?

We Are Not American – Being a Canadian is like being a celebrity stalker. You are always aware of what is happening south of the border. We are kept informed of both major and minor news events on a daily basis. We watch American TV and movies, eat at American fast food franchises, drink American beer and pop and crystallized fruit drinks and drive American vehicles. We are pretty much saturated in the States, in some way it will affect our lives daily. Meanwhile, most Americans give no more thought to Canada then they do to any other country…or to their own bowel movements for that matter. We exist, we are up north somewhere, we get snow – a complete summary of all they need to know to live their lives.

It makes for a weird relationship when you depend so heavily on someone (or somewhere) else that is simply oblivious to you. You end up loving them and yet hating them. You want their approval or maybe you just want to laugh at their mistakes to make yourself feel better. The point is, a huge part of our cultural identity is tied up in us being a separate entity from America. Not being American is about 80% of what being Canadian is all about.

Beer Commercial Pride – So what does it really mean to be Canadian then? What is the other 20% of the equation? For that answer you’ll need to start watching beer commercials. No, I am not kidding. A while back, probably late 90’s, a beer company created an ad centered around a guy on a stage giving a rant about being Canadian. Mostly it is about beavers and toques and Not Being an American. This (sadly) is probably one of the most stirring examples of national pride we have on offer and it was written and filmed for the purpose of shilling beer to the masses. No speech by any politician since has had the universal appeal or approval that this sad little 30 second spot did.

Watch for yourself – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRI-A3vakVg

Quebec – What does being a bi-lingual country mean in Ontario and Quebec, heart of the country and home of the majority of the french speaking population? No idea. What does it mean in the mono-lingual province of Alberta, where I have lived all my life? It means I ended up being taught French all the way through elementary and any time I try to phone a governmental hotline I have to wait through the introduction in both English AND French before I can pick the language I want to be served in.

British Monarchy – As a Canadian you will get to spend most of your life ignoring the British Monarchy. If their role in British government is mostly ceremonial now then their role in Canadian government is almost inconsequential. Then one of them will decide to visit Canada and people will LOSE THEIR SHIT. The queen made a pit stop in our city and they ended up re-naming a highway AND the city museum after her. I have no idea why someone thought renaming a stretch of roadkill festooned and poorly paved roadway would make the Queen excited, but there you go. So there we are renaming shit and having parades and reveling in her stopping by and giving us the slightest bit of attention. Meanwhile, I can’t shake the feeling she is stopping by the ignored family estates and checking the servants aren’t running off with the silverware.

Spelling – Honour, Colour, Flavour. Every one of those is spelled correctly according to the Queen’s English and my piss poor education. Every single one has the red squiggle line under it that indicates that Apple’s spell check software thinks I am an idiot. Every time I go to spell one of those words on my iPhone I know it will be a two minute fight with Auto-Correct to get it right. Why do I bother? Because I am not an American, that’s why!

Tim Hortons – I don’t really understand what is uniquely Canadian about a doughnut and coffee shop but then again I don’t drink coffee. It is also owned by Burger King now. 

Rancid Monke

Disloyalty Cards

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

When the hell did they start making shopping so difficult? I walked into a bookstore today, picked up the new Terry Pratchett hardcover and headed to the cashier. Turns out my ex-employers have added a new layer of aggravation to  the simple concept of commerce. They now have 2 separate loyalty cards. One you can buy for a steep price which gives you 10% or so off books, the other is free and gets you…a series of vague promises of savings and/or rewards. I don’t know about you but I already have a wallet full of these friggin’ cards. In fact I have a wallet full of the useful ones and a kitchen drawer full of the useless ones. I tried to explain to the “Customer Experience Representative” that I wasn’t going to bother keeping the card in my wallet, I already had enough of them in there.

“But sir, you don’t have to keep the card. We can just give you a sticker and you can add it to a card you already have in your wallet.”

– Ummm…no, I really don’t want to add your sticker to my bank card just to collect points for a new bookmark.

“Well, we can just pull you up in our database. You don’t need the card at all.”

Then why the fuck do you have cards at all? Why were you so desperate to cram one in my hot, sweaty hands a couple of seconds ago? Anyway I suppose I should tell you I was lying earlier, I already have one of your cards in a drawer at home. If it means I will get out of this fucking mall any time in the near future then please feel free to look it up.

“Can’t seem to find it listed here.”

– Suddenly I am less confident in your database.

“Well, we will just add a new account with all your details so that they can look it up next time”

– Suddenly I foresee a future when I get a new one of these fucking cards every time I buy a book.

So why did I bother signing up? Because I knew they would waste time trying to pitch one to me EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME I WENT IN. That is the reason most of us break down and get one, so we don’t have to listen to some over eager store manager explain the virtues of signing up every time we stop in to buy something. Handing over my personal data is literally the price I have to pay to make buying items from that store quick and convenient again. If I know I am going to interact with the company again then odds are good I will break down and sign up for the card at some point, it is just a matter of the right cashier pestering me at the right time.

I remember back when the started with these damn cards, it sounded like a great idea. You fork over some personal information for a reduced cost on items. Mostly it was for grocery stores and they were kind enough to make it worth your while. Now every store, boutique, and barely legal massage parlor has a card like this*. After people ran out of room in their wallets and started leaving the damn cards behind some genius thought up those key fobs. Now a person would need an entire keyring just for those alone.

But what are they doing with all this personal info anyway? The idea was to use it to better market to individuals and track market trends. It isn’t working though. The e-mails I get from the bookstore are just the picks from the CEO of the company and her only philosophy for book choices seems to be “What Would Oprah Read?” I also get weekly e-mails from a grocery store about their deals. Like I am supposed to clear my schedule for the day because they are having a sale on tampons and baby food (just what every bachelor needs kicking around in his pantry). Plus the marketing data collected would probably be more overwhelming than useful. Unless some fairly obvious trends cropped up the purchasers would probably still decided what items to carry in their stores the old fashioned way, whichever company offered the best steak dinners and lap dances.

Maybe it is just me getting nostalgic for a time when serving customers was the point of customer service, when did pestering the shit out of your clients become a good sales strategy?

Rancid J. Monke
* – Kentucky Fried Chicken has a fucking loyalty card! What possible use does the Colonel have for tracking my fried chicken consumption? Is he using it to figure out when to send flowers to my next of kin? When the card stops getting used on a weekly basis does he send a team out to harvest my organs for experimentation or something?

I imagine there are people all over the world who are satisfied to wake up in the morning. There are places where such mundane things as clean drinking water and not getting killed by vicious animals, religious fanatics or drug enforcers overnight is cause for celebration.

Your droughts, mudslides, famine, earthquakes, low wages, no wages and lack of medical care make it hard for me to bitch about my petty little problems. I go on Facebook to complain about my day in a cryptic status update, hoping someone will sympathize with me. Instead I get the standard “things could be worse” comments. Despite the fact I am not making shoes for $1 a day, I have my own hassles that are very real to me.

Every day I face off against some of the most mediocre threats to happiness and well being any person can face and I sure as hell will not be silent about it. My suffering will not go unrecorded.

Download Envy – My internet connection isn’t great. That isn’t to say it is bad, it is just not as fast as it could be. No matter how much porn I can download in a night or how many noob corpses I teabag in a match I will always know that I am not at my full potential. As my digital balls rest lovingly against the lips of my victim I will never see the shot that ends my killstreak.

Cheap Seat Numbness – When the hell was it decided that movies could top the 2 hour mark?! The most I can sit in a poorly cushioned seat with a group of people with questionable hygiene is 1 and 45 minutes. After that I am itching to hit the door and get some fresh air. Remember when the last Lord of the Rings movie hit theatres with it’s 5 separate “Fade to black…head fake them into thinking your about to roll credits” moments. I was already squirming in my seat before the first one hit. By the time they hit the docks for the emotional hugging I was experience intense pain in the places that weren’t completely numb. Some people might ask why I didn’t just get up for a bit and walk around…These would be the same people who buy the large cola and have to take 5 trips to the bathroom or don’t bother to turn off their cell phones. Here is the only etiquette you need in a movie theatre. Sit down, shut up, don’t move till the credits no matter what you are doing to your long term health.

Food Court Blues – When I used to go to the food court my only issue was choosing which of the greased up treats I wanted to indulge in. Now I have to weight all my options –
Which ones can I eat without getting the taco shits for 2 days after?
If I eat what I really want will I be able to make it home or should I pick out the cleanest restroom stall now?
Which of the healthy alternatives is actually healthy and which ones would be the equivalent of a bucket of fried chicken while still lacking any flavour?
Are they seriously expecting me to shell out $10 for a forced colon evacuation?

Personal Trainer Insanity – When I first started at the gym I shelled out for the basic personal training sessions. To put this in perspective, I spent so much of my day being a lazy, shiftless bastard that I needed to pay someone good money to watch me go through a series of exercises designed to simulate what my grandfather would probably describe as “a light day of work”. After about 6 months I was so very proud of myself for managing to drop a pant size. After switching to my new job I accomplished the same thing in 2 months without setting foot inside a gym (despite the fact I still pay them dues). The mere thought of working out after I get home is ridiculous, I barely have time to eat, shower and sleep before I have to be up and at work again.

Dating Profile Adversity – Have you ever tried to write a dating profile? It is like an amateur trying to cut his/her own hair. Despite the fact that more and more people are meeting online there is little to no quality info on how to write a profile. It is like trying to write an essay on the most awkward subject you can think of without any prior research. Trying to think of an awkward subject, hold on. Ah, got it, It is like trying to write an essay about geriatric sex by avoiding retirement homes (and the entire state of Florida). The idea is to stare into your soul, peer in to the inky blackness of your hate, regrets and shame and then write a lighthearted 3 paragraphs about how much you like quadding and dressing up in your high heels. One might think that was a gender specific example but it probably wasn’t, dating sites are kind of messed up like that. Point being, No sane individual usually has the type of self awareness necessary to write an honest profile and asking your friends is sort of like asking “Who farted?” in a packed elevator. No one is going to tell the truth and it will leave stains…umm on your heart, somehow. Listen, these analogies are hard to make up on the spot. I am taking time out of my busy masturbation schedule to write this, would it kill you to be nice?

Fuck it then, I am going to bed.

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

You know how I know I am getting old? Whenever I walk into a food court now I know that there isn’t a single place I can go eat that won’t cause later violent bowel distress. Even the more healthy options are guaranteed to take the short and distressing trip through my colon like a fat kid on a greased water slide.

None of it even tastes very good any more. I sit down to a burger and fries and all I really notice is how bland it is under the mountain of sauces. I could pour myself a big cup of mustard and ketchup and pretty much achieve the same flavour experience. I think that is why most of those places are so liberal with the onion use. Nothing like violently assaulting your taste buds with raw onion to make you ignore the flavour of grade F beef.

When I was a kid this food was like the golden standard. It was the mark of a delicious meal that it came with moist towelettes and individual satchels of ketchup. Now my golden standard is any home cooked meal I didn’t have to make myself. If I get to put 0 effort in and get to have a decent meal out the other end then I have had a successful day. I can cook, don’t get me wrong, but nothing tastes as amazing as something that was made while I got to sit on my ass contemplating my navel lint. 

Seriously though, who are all the people who won’t eat leftovers? What the hell is their problem? Like somehow the perfectly acceptable meal from last night has somehow become inedible in the span of a night in the fridge? Maybe you need to CLEAN THE DAMN FRIDGE THEN! You people irk the shit out of me, that is all I am saying.
Rancid Monke

A few years ago I finally decided my bill to the cable company was taking far to much of my work life to pay off every month. I cut the telephone land line, that was an easy call since I already had a cell bill bending me over the table and using me impolitely but the big question was cut the internet or the cable TV. One of these services provided me with top quality porn, bottom quality porn…in fact a wide range of porn quality options, as well as video gaming abilities, email access, the list goes on. The other service provides me with re-runs of CSI 4 times a day. Both my head and my nether regions agreed that high speed internet had reached a point just below clean water and shelter in my list of “things I sort of like to have” and the Las Vegas Forensic team would just have to solve crimes without me watching like a Cheeto-covered pervert. Still, even when you are devoid of TV itself, you hear all about it. The internet is full of news stories and forums and hateful rants about shows. You go into anyone’s home and need to kill 10 minutes then you will probably flick on the TV and start scanning channels. I mean, unless you plan on spending the time sniffing their underwear drawer, who am I to judge? Point being, I have been absorbing a lot of second hand television and I am starting to get a little concerned. I just think TV may have stopped taking it’s meds at some point.

Talent Shows- There are honest to god talent shows on TV now. The last time I saw a talent show was in grade school. In amongst the people who actually practiced a musical instrument was a couple kids who applied googly eyes to their chins and lay upside down trying to pull off a vaudeville act while the blood rushed to their heads. There was also some interpretive dance that could only be interpreted as “I have a spastic colon, please don’t laugh”. The thought never occurred to me that someone would go through the process of holding auditions of people playing the spoons or burping classic show tunes in order to make a show. Oh look, a panel of judges. The cross-looking humorless dick at the end must be Simon Cowell, heard so much about him. Haha, he ripped into that persons hopes and dreams for my amusement, what fun!

The Bachelorette – The last time I saw ten guys vying for the attention of one girl it was in a porno. It didn’t really end well for that young woman, I imagine she got some awkward looks when she had to bring in her dry cleaning. Honestly, this feels more like a Westminster Kennel Club Show, I keep waiting for her to check each of their teeth and cup their genitals to test firmness. Oddly enough, she usually will at some point. I keep trying to decide who is being more degraded here. The men putting on a dog and pony show so they don’t get cast aside into loveless TV oblivion, or the woman who needs a multi-million dollar television production to find a mate. Seriously lady, you’ve never heard of putting on a slinky dress and heading out to a club? It works for MILLIONS of women a year.

I Have Massive Amounts Of Children, Please Film Me – WHY?!! Seriously, I have 2 nephews and 2 nieces and none of them has pulled off anything that would be worthy of a nationwide audience. Not even the really cute 1 year old, not even on her best day. Watching people pop out kids like a clown car at a circus then try to go about their daily lives is not the basis for a show, I don’t know how anyone thought it was. If anything it is the basis for a planned parenthood pamphlet or a condom ad.

MTV Cribs – I don’t need MTV to remind me how much nicer rich people’s stuff is than mine. I have an uncle who will do that for me.

Music Video Channels – “Alright, so here is the plan. You fanning out money in front of the camera, shot of women’s asses. You throwing money in front of the camera, shot of women’s asses. You spanking a woman’s ass, shot of…well you get the picture. Now I know this is going to be a bit of a departure from your other videos, Elton, but it is trending positively with the vital 18 -35 douchebag demographic…Sure you can keep the tiara on.”

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? – So if you loose then you may as well hand your GED back in and apologize to all your teachers personally and if you win all you managed to prove is you made it out of grade school with a basic understanding of the subjects taught.

Combat Hospital – I keep seeing ads for this popping up. It appears to be a show about life in a combat hospital…just a guess though. I wonder if anyone has shown the producers a re-run of M*A*S*H. Anyway, it basically looks like some exec somewhere said “Boy, that ER show sure was popular…Why don’t we do something like that but jazz it up a bit and make it more relevant to today by adding terrorism and patriotic flag-waving bullshit”. You know what else is popular TV execs? Boobs, Bacon, Chuck Norris, Ninjas, Pirates, Zombies and Boobs.  I smell a “Walker, Texas Ranger” remake brewing.

Ice Truckers, Deadliest Catch -You know, there is a lot of danger inherent to my job as well. Those cardboard paper cuts are the very dickens I tell ya. Plus there is risk of infection. Once I stubbed my toe. WHERE IS MY CAMERA CREW, DAMN IT! I don’t care if you are a lion-taming fire fighter, I watch TV to escape my job, not watch you do yours.

Dog the Bounty Hunter – How the hell does this man manage to sneak up on anyone dressed like the drummer from an 80’s big hair metal band? The guy operates out of Hawaii and Colorado, yet he dresses in black leather. Wouldn’t the smell of rank sweaty ass be a bit of a tip-off for fugitives to head to the back door?

Intervention – “Honey, all of us are here to talk to you about your meth using, and we brought a camera crew along to make you extra defensive.” Good plan folks.

Operation Repo, Parking Wars, Billy the Exterminator – What the hell? What is this? Why are we filming people doing shitty jobs? When did that become a trend? I have done shitty jobs all my life and no one has considered it noteworthy enough to send a camera crew. Add in the things like “The Osbournes” and “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” and it paints the picture that all the average person wants to watch is celebrities being twits and blue collar workers shuffling through their dreary days. I mean how is this entertaining? At least when they pandered to the masses in ancient Roman, somebody’s carcass had to be dragged off to the lion pit when they were done. I am actually quite surprised no one has thought of televising deadly gladiatorial combat to keep the masses occupied and happy…


Jersey Shore – Fuck off.

Rancid Monke

Let’s face it, After 12 years or more of having your little sponge mind filled with facts, figures, dates, formulas and god awful poetry you will step out of the warm embrace of academia and run face first  into the brick wall of real life. You will realize that among all the things school was cramming into you your brain-hole they were also doing a smashing job of creating unreal expectations about how the world works. At the same time they were also neglecting to teach you basic life skills that every person should know but few of them actually do. Well, I am nothing if not the bearer of bad news and harsh realities.

Let’s start with the beautiful lies school taught you.

Vacation – Are you kidding me? You set up a lot of unreal expectations about life when you hand a kid 2 months of freedom every single friggin’ year.   No one is going to let you wander away from your job for 2 months out of 10, that shit just doesn’t happen. Even teachers will tell you the myth of them getting a solid 2 months off is utter crap, there are tests to grade or lessons to plan or supplies to buy. I have also never received more than a few days off at Christmas time in the real world.  Spring break is utter horseshit that only seems to exist in the academia. “You young people have worked hard enough for now, those exams can be very taxing. How about you head on down to Cancun and spread some of your STD’s around. ” No one in the real world will give a rats ass about over stressing you until the day you snap and make an attractive Jackson Pollock out of their lower intestines in the staff room.

Recess- School starts off by teaching you that you only have to show up for half a day, and most of that time is about learning to tie your shoes, having stories read to you and napping. Honest to god, they thought my 4 hours of playing at the rice station might take it out of me, so they dropped mats on the floor and got us all to lie down quietly for 15 minutes. When I woke up they fed me celery sticks, which is the nutritional equivalent of flipping me the bird. Water and dental floss in a green little stick, YAY! Then you hit a grade with an actually number associated with it. Naps are gone but you still have two breaks a day to go play in the sunshine. You move up to the next stage and the breaks get reduced to “whatever amount of time it takes you little shits to get to your locker and back” which turns out to be about 10 minutes. Even then, at least you are working on different subjects every few hours. No one is expecting you to do eight straight hours of calculating the area of a circle despite the fact that your math skills topped out at the basics needed to figure out how to tip on a restaurant bill (and you still tip high in hopes the waitress will be so impressed she will throw herself at you) . No matter how many mundane classes you have to take, there is probably one that peaks your interest if only because the teacher has a interesting stories or an amusing speech impediment.

Welcome to the real world. You may very well be tasked to do the same repetitive, mundane, mind-numbing labour for eight hours a day for the next 40 odd years. Whether it is building the same fences, writing the same pointless reports or grinding out the same lines of code. If you are lucky you get two 15 minute breaks in your day to go sit in the staff room and stare a hole in the wall. You could try chatting up your co-workers but odds are the struggle to communicate with them during the rest of the day is enough to make you pour vodka in your water bottle every morning. Some guy in the corner will be yammering out a story about how things would be different if he ran the place, you sit there half listening/half wondering if it would be possible to decapitate him with the plastic knife someone left on the table after the last staff birthday cake.

You are a beautiful, unique snowflake – Yes, it is true there is no one out in the world quite like you. However your deep seated perversion towards wearing a diaper during sexual encounters is not really something the rest of the world is going to celebrate. Neither is your ability to play the spoons half assed well or your photographic recall of all the lines spoken in original Star Trek episodes. Unless you excel in a useful or sellable way you will end up holding down a mediocre job like the rest of us. Likely your own hope is to trot out your amazing ability to impress some girl at a party, and odds are she is still going home with the guy who has a motorcycle.I mean, he has a motorcycle for god sake, all you can do is burp the national anthem after a few beer. (switch genders in above example to your preference as needed).

You can grow up to be anything you want – Sesame Street and other kiddie programming used to tell me this shit all the time. The topper used to be “You can even be President of the United States some day”. Turn out that as a Canadian citizen I fucking well can’t. Get your facts straight Big Bird. Even in school (where they at least had a basic understanding of what country I came from), they liked to tell me that hard work and determination would get me far in life. I suppose the existence of Justin Beiber and Kim Kardashian came as a bit of a blow to guidance counselors everywhere. Of course, a career in guidance counseling probably came as a bit of a blow. Some git puppet with a hand up it’s arse probably convinced them they could run a foreign country.

Rancid Monke

I had been thinking about going on an internet dating site for a while, but all the ones I knew about cost a monthly fee. When I heard about Plenty of Fish about a year back (and the fact that it was free to use) I finally decided to bite the damn bullet and join. Expectations were high, common sense was lacking and pandemonium ensued. Here is all the stuff I wish someone had told me before I started. Maybe they can save you some time and anxiety.

1) Get some good pictures first – This is where pretty much every single person stumbles out of the gate. You write the perfect profile, you add in all the details on age and height and profession, you are all ready to post and start raking in the attentions of lonely single women (or men) in your town. Then it asks for a recent photo. Unless your an actor or model or incredibly vain then odds are your not sitting on a stack of professional headshots. After combing through any Facebook photos or vacation shots or grad photos from ten years back you finally decide to take matters into your own hands. You grab a camera and head to the bathroom mirror to cook up the ultimate in enticing fish pucker faces.

First, If you are going to do this please remember to flush first…goddamn that is gross. I shouldn’t have to remind you of that. I don’t care how awesome the shot was or how you finally found a position that showed off your butt and your winning smile at the same time you should not be posting that.

Second, if you use the flash on your camera it is going to pretty much obliterate your face in the mirror. Turn it off or find some creative way to shoot the picture that doesn’t leave a giant white splotch where your face used to be. Also, while you are flushing and cleaning the toilet maybe clean the mirror too. No one wants to see the crust of toothpaste splatter you left on there.

Third, you will forever be the kind of person who takes a picture of yourself in a bathroom mirror…live with that shame or make a better plan for getting good photos.

2) Your profile needs to be unique – My profile was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to write. They really should have some sort of learning annex class on how to make a useful and attention getting profile. The only advice I gleaned was

Keep it positive – No one wants to date your sorry, depressed and bitter ass. Fake it if you have to but try to stay positive and upbeat. No one on the site is going to be interested in your story about how your ex screwed you over and made you into the twisted shell of a person you are today.

Keep it short – No one but you really cares about the tedium of your job unless you tame lions for a living. Nor does anyone need to know a complete list of bands you like. Open with a joke, talk about your life, mention some future plans, list your hobbies. The profile is a means to an end and the end is the awkward coffee date.

Make some damn sense – “I like the outdoors.” I swear to god I saw this on EVERY profile. There is only the 2 options and I can’t imagine anyone getting excited by your love of the indoors.

Skip the full disclosure – “Just so you are aware, I have a 2 inch penis and a personal odor problem…wait, where are you going?!!”

3) No matter what you do, you will be called a jerk – Inevitable you will get contacted by people you are not interested in. At first I tried to ignore them. I was called a jerk. Then I tried to lie so I didn’t hurt their feelings. I was called a jerk. Lastly I tried to be honest about my thinking it just wouldn’t work. Yep, still a jerk. My advice here is do whatever you feel comfortable with and meets your moral needs, cause your just going to be called a jerk anyway.

4) The things people can be shallow about are MIND-BLOWING – “I need a guy who is over 6 feet because I like to wear high heels” Well I like to wear crotchless panties and a french maid outfit but that doesn’t require a special mention in my ad, that is third date info. At 5’10” I was apparently incompatible with this persons need to wear stilettos to all occasions. I will of course go away shamed by my choice to not grow an extra inch to better match your evening wear.

5) Niche sites aren’t worth it – At the same time that I joined Plenty of Fish I also joined every other site I found advertising itself on Plenty of Fish (which is a pretty weird advertising style but I digress). The most obviously intriguing was a site called Geek2Geek. I’m a geek, I like being a geek, perhaps meeting a fellow geek would bring meaning to my life on a whole new level. First off let me say that a crippling addiction to World of Warcraft is not sexy on either side of the gender line. Second, it had the same problem all niche sites had – lack of users. It wanted me to pay 5 bucks a month to peruse the same 30 profiles from my area. Plus it seemed to think of my entire province as an acceptable pool to draw from, possible as a way to look like it was worth the money they wanted me to spend on a full access membership. Nothing is as disappointing as finding a great profile only to realize they are 2 cities over and a 4 hour drive away. That is a long way to go for an awkward coffee date.

6) This isn’t something you should be paying for – I also checked out e-harmony. I had seen all the ads and heard all the stories and I was ready to get down to the business of finding a serious relationship so it just made sense. So I went through the 20 page multiple choice exam that passes for a questionnaire so they could start matching me on the 2000 levels of compatibility that only questions like “If you decided to stay at home for the evening would you tend to do:” could generate (None of the listed options for that one were “masturbate like a bonobo chimp” so the results were already tainted).

Well, the thing e-harmony doesn’t tell you is they won’t show you the images of the profiles they send your way unless you pay for it. Well played e-harmony, I will go get my wallet. $15 later and I was a full fledged member capable of viewing the bathroom mirror pucker faced pics. Hey wow…these are the same women who rejected me on plenty of fish…well then…Crap!

Don’t waste your money folks, when I tried to quit e-harmony it explained that I should give it time. Apparently it takes the average e-harmony user up to a year to find their soulmate. That didn’t seem any statistically better than random encounters at a grocery store…where the hell was all this compatibility bullcrap? Why did I have to tell you my deepest darkest secrets in multiple choice form?

7) There will be Nazi’s – That isn’t a euphemism or witty catchphrase. I was once messaged by an attractive young woman from the next province over. We chatted over the course of several days and I ended up giving here the info to find me on Facebook. She friended me and made a few witty remarks on my current status. I decided to check out here photos because I was both nosy and generally horny and all evidence so far was that she was smokin’ hot. There was several of her in a bikini mixed in with the regular nonsense that ends up on a Facebook profile. So her I am thinking “JACKPOT” until I notice one photo out of place. It was a picture of a women in a bikini’s back, someone had thoughtfully applied sunscreen to the back in a distinctly swastika-like arrangement. WHA?!

A quick perusal of her remaining photos brought up various other logos of a racially intolerant nature. I never did find a picture of her in a white sheet and hood but I figured I had all I needed. We aren’t talking some crap she found on a Google search, she had posted official logos from some serious white supremacy groups. I wasn’t actually aware that such groups had a need for graphic design on this level, the thing looked like some sort of family crest with hatefulness at the center. Meanwhile, back on my profile she was having a lighthearted back and forth on my status with my Malaysian art teacher. Before it all went any further down the crapper I de-friended her and sent a polite but firm note suggesting she go sell her brand of crazy elsewhere. I believe she called me a jerk.

Rancid Monke

1) School supply lists are a suckers game – Every year from grade 1 to grade 12 my parents spent hard earned money to buy me a box of page reinforcements for school. Every year I found the flattened box of them at the bottom of a locker when I cleaned up on the last day of school. Every year I used up the whole damn thing sticking it to my face or the faces of other people.

The only reason to buy pencil crayons after elementary school was to colour in the borders of one map as an assignment for Social Studies class. Any Social teacher worth a damn had a box of pencil crayon stubs at hand just for this waste of an assignment anyway.

Everyone needs a miniature ruler to carry around all year for that one week of measurements in elementary math class. If your child doesn’t have access to a protractor at all times they will never make it in the real world. I always had binder dividers but since I never used page reinforcements they fell out halfway through the year. Somehow I managed to graduate, but I imagine it was a close thing.

Speaking of graduation.

2) Your entire life up to grade 12 can be summed up in 2 pieces of paper, your diploma and your grade transcripts from your last year. Unless you were the top of the class, all the rest of the time, energy, effort and anxiety you had every day before that is as meaningful to your future academics or career as the bowel movement you had this morning. No one cares about the experiences you had, only the marks you came out of it with. A little humbling to think 12 years of your life could be replaced by a 30 second montage in the movie that is your life. On the plus side, I am sure some perky 80’s theme would be playing.

3) Watching TV will not get you anywhere in life – I wasted hours a day on TV that I could have spent studying, reading, drawing, masturbating, or learning the accordion. Any one of those would have had a more significant impact on my current life than such brilliant shows as Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, Full House, ALF and the whole TGIF line up. Why, for the love of all that is holy, did I ever need to see the daily tribulations of Danny Tanner and his idiot children? I am depressed by my apparent lack of good taste more than anything else. I want someone to give me those hours back damn it, the only thing standing between me and a mountain of horny single women is my lack of accordion skills.

4) Most of your mortal enemies aren’t sitting at home worrying about you – The boss that fired you, the boss that drove you to quit, the women who rejected you, the people who stabbed you in the back. You probably didn’t make enough of an impact on them for it to even register that you hate them. It is sort of like writing angry letters to the editor. Be as pissed as you want, no one ever reads that page anyway.

5) Politics is another suckers game – It takes massive amounts of time and energy to become well versed in the political landscape in my country, province or city. It is way easier to go with my gut instincts or my general party alignment or even just vote for the incumbent. In the end it is surprising how little it effects my life who is actually running the show. My taxes are still high, the services I get for them are still lacking, my government still takes the opportunity to screw me over when it can. I can’t help but feel knowing all the ins and outs, knowledge of all the major players and their stance on the issues would only lead to frustration over how little everyone else really cared.

6) The toys you get from a fast food place are as cheap and disposable as the food – When I was a kid we never got McDonalds. My Dad had spent too many years eating this junk as my grandmother had this weird need to buy it in bulk whenever there was a sale. She would would tootle on over and buy a couple bags worth then freeze them. I cannot for the life of me imagine how gross reheated McDonalds was, but thinking about it now makes me pretty queasy.

Long story short, McDonalds always had the best toy lines to tie in with whatever the summer blockbuster was and I was always pissed about missing out. I was too young to know any better. Now I watch my nephews get excited by the same crap for the same reasons. Sorry kids, but in the scheme of life, your bobblehead Green Lantern is not worth my eating mechanically separated proto meat. You’ll only break it in a week anyway.

Rancid Monke

Last year I hit thirty and realized that unless I wanted to end up having a heart attack before my fortieth birthday I was going to have to shed the massive amount of extra weight I have been carting around since I was old enough to figure out how to budget my allowance well enough to afford chips and pop. On my birthday I vowed that I would never again take my health for granted and decided to work my butt off (figuratively and literally) until I was a body building Adonis like Hollywood kept trying to tell me to be. The day after my birthday I forgot all about my promise and ate two pieces of left over cake. Well over 6 months later I was pounding back a quarter pounder with fries when I realized that the time had come. It was either time to give up and eat myself to death or get my tubby self to a gym.

The story should end with me losing weight, finding my true love and beating my arch rivals at some sort of  athletic competition. Apparently no one bothered to mention that I wasn’t going to get an 80’s montage to healthy. What I did get was a whole lot of suck in fat guy pants.

1) Weight loss is about 90% mental – Most of weight loss is about finding the will power to not eat junk food, prepare proper healthy meals and get your butt out exercising. Considering your starting out overweight your self-esteem has already taken an ass-kicking of major proportions from all corners of main stream media and then public opinion has squatted over the remains and urinated on it. You know those shows where the overweight people go to lose weight and everyone watching goes “How did they let it come to that?!” I know how it came to that. You hit 300lbs and you don’t suddenly stop eating, you just stop looking at the damn scale. When your health starts to deteriorate you get depressed, your depression makes you want comfort, your comfort comes in a bucket from KFC. Breaking the cycle requires drive and energy. The heavier you are the less energy you have to get yourself out of the pit.

2) Fat tastes good – It is a universal truth that fat tastes good. Most of the flavour in our food comes from the fat, oil, sugar or salt it contains. Which means if you are a fat guy with diabetes and potential blood pressure issues your life on the wagon is going to taste like cardboard. So your best bet is to eliminate temptation. Cut the bad eating out of your life, out of sight, out of mind. The problem is that you will still have to go to work, hang out with friends and family, have holiday dinners. Despite the fact that you are working hard on eliminating bad food from your life, no one around you is obligated to. There will always be that box of donuts that someone thoughtfully brought in. There will always be that person offering you a slice of cheesecake 4 times because they want to be a good host. If I could just say no to temptation I WOULDN’T ALREADY BE OVERWEIGHT.  Again, it goes back to a mental thing, you need to accept that other people are more than welcome to pound back a dozen donuts and their metabolism will just accept it. You on the other hand, will be eating a damn salad and hating every minute.

3) Gyms are a huge time sink – In order to lose weight, my personal trainer suggested I work out for an hour about three times a week. I am also supposed to do 20 minutes of cardio at least 5 times a week (including days I am doing the workout). So three times a week I have to give up an hour to a workout, 20 minutes to a treadmill, 5 to stretching and about 10 to changing. Include travel time, dinner and other chores, your life quickly becomes about work, working out and sleep. It is something I accepted, but I don’t have kids or a wife or a girlfriend or even a standing date with a prostitute. Even assuming you can find or make the time you are eventually going to stop going. You will get sick, you will be on vacation or you will plain old give up. During that time you will begin to remember what it was like to have a life. You will miss the days of having no obligation to your beer gut besides filling it. Now good friggin’ luck trying to go back to working out. Now you know what you are sacrificing plus you know how hard the actually working out routine is.

4) Instant gratification is instant – Working towards a healthy body takes time. Ordering and eating a bacon cheeseburger takes minutes. My brain is wired such that the cheeseburger makes it just as happy in the short term. So I could take the long, hard road of life altering change or I could just keep eating cheeseburgers. I don’t think skinny people really get this. While I was working out I was in a fragile state of finally feeling better about myself. I was losing weight and starting to look better. Trainer guy decided the best thing to do was weigh me. Behold my massive 2 lbs weight loss. Suddenly he is scrambling for explanations while I am picking my self-esteem off the floor before someone urinates on it. Now I seem to have stalled in the losing weight department and in the motivation to keep going department. Meanwhile, Cheeseburgers still taste good.

I started up with a dating site thinking that now that I was losing weight it was time I started looking for someone I could be with. This was a BAD IDEA. I jumped in to early, once again hoping for the good old days of instant gratification. Even at the best of times it can be very trying to face utter rejection based on little to no discernible reason. If you or the other person just don’t feel it then it is not going to work, but it is sometimes hard to describe what is not doing it for you. Add your fragile tiny new ego in the picture and watch him get turned into mechanically separated meat patties. After having my self esteem once again savaged and tinkled on I was back at square one. Working up the 90% mental that would get my butt back in the gym. At about 85% when I started writing this. Hovering at 89% right now. Meanwhile, Cheeseburgers still taste good.

5) Everything I like to do involves sitting – I have a list of hobbies as long as this ridiculously long post. I can’t think of one of them that involves leaving a chair. Painting, reading, video games, comics, writing, facebook, napping. I guess cooking does but I can hardly put that in the win column. I was jealous of all the personal trainers for being hard bodied healthy types. Then I realized it wasn’t the job that kept them skinny. Working out was their idea of fun and there is only so many jobs you can get after devoting your life to exercising and eating right. No software company gives a crap how much you can bench. Work the mind or work the body. Now I have to find a way to blend the two, or at least accept the necessary evil of exercising like all the other sad sack overweight people at the gym. It’s 90% mental and I am nothing if not mental.

Rancid Monke