Guess I finally have a political platform to run on

I don’t know when you last watched Family Guy, but maybe keep it that way.

When I was 14 or 15, I loved Family Guy. It was this blend of irreverence, dirty humour and pop cultural references that gelled perfectly with a burgeoning teenage brain. It was something fresh, a kind of amalgam of The Simpsons and South Park, an animated comedy where reality played second fiddle to a good joke. The archetypes were way out there, and I watched a lot. It got cancelled, eventually, then brought back. It’s had 17 seasons now, which is probably 14 seasons too many.

At work last night I had to describe some episodes from season 12. It was fun to work on, with a huge variety of description, but egads, what a shitshow. I mean, also a shit show. It’s abysmal. I swear it wasn’t always this bad, but who knows? The plotlines are contrived and unnecessary. There’s very rarely ever any message or meaning to them. Just an excuse for crude comedy. That makes me sound like I’m trying to shit on the hoi polloi, but I’m not. I like crude comedy. Have you seen how often I talk about poop here? I think farts are funny, but part of that is how you use them. Crude comedy for the sake of being crude or edgy lacks real bite. Do something clever with it. I dunno. There was an episode I worked on yesterday where Peter gets a whip (the entire plotline got discarded after ten minutes). During this time he slashes Meg, whips Stewie (the infant) across the face, enough to leave a bloody gash. He goes to a Devo concert and whips fellow concertgoers. That’s about it. I’m not coming at this with any hesitation over an animated show causing violence to an animated, talking infant, but there was no point to the gag. He whips his kid for retreading a dumb “cool whip” joke from early in the show’s run. The kid sits there with a bloody face for two seconds. End scene. The crowd roars with applause?

Here were some plotlines I saw last night:

  • Peter, Jo and Quagmire get ousted from their usual booth at the Drunken Clam by some tough looking dudes. They feel emasculated, and everyone in their lives starts taking advantage of them. Lois tells Peter to Man Up, so they go back to the bar and get the shit beaten out of them by the dudes in a 3-4 minute fight scene. It turns out the dudes were soldiers, and the bar holds them up as heroes. End episode.
  • Stewie and Brian become blood brothers to cement their friendship. Stewie gets herpes from Brian. Turns out Chris got herpes from Brian too. They enact revenge. They sabotage his date. Chris steals his car. Stewie and Brian make up.
  • Chris starts dating Pam, the daughter of Jerome (bartender at the Drunken Clam). Pam is black. The family has no issue, but Jerome doesn’t want his daughter dating a white man. There’s a dumb song (and it’s seen as dumb in the show. Great lampshading there /s) about all the amazing things that white people have given black people. Eventually, Jerome is okay with it. End episode.

I can only imagine what season 17 is like. Who knows? Maybe the show had a major mea culpa and changed course. Maybe it has something to say. Somehow I doubt it. Then again, since Family Guy‘s popularity waned, there have been a ton of great adult animated shows to take its place. Rick and Morty, BoJack Horseman, Archer, Bob’s Burgers. It’s not like the show even needs to be relevant any more, so maybe who cares?

Now that I think about it, “maybe who cares?” is a great motto.

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To be honest, I deleted Bumble pretty quickly

There are many situations in which I really don’t know what I’m doing. Camping encompasses nearly all of them.

First mistake, we set off late. I picked up my friend and her boyfriend, who thankfully didn’t give me shit about the absurd amounts of things I packed. Leaving late wasn’t the most dire outcome, but we 100% got stuck in Friday long weekend traffic. What can you do in that instance other than go with the flow? Now, I’m a fine driver. Significantly not the worst. I also have no bearings when driving around or out of Toronto. My companions/navigators tried all manner of turns and alternate routes, but really there was nothing to be done. It was chaos all the way down. This highway was jammed, that back street, also totally choked. Traffic lights with short windows became our nemeses and I just have a natural disincentive to run reds. So it took a while.

Then we hit the accident. Along some highway, we first saw the lights. Blue and red, significant in number. Next we saw the cop. She was standing in the middle of the road, telling traffic to split and take alternate routes. Left or right, her hands indicated. We looked past her, towards the intersection. A few police cars, fire trucks, water spilling everywhere. Debris littering the ground. Two cars had beaten the everloving shit out of one another. It was rough. I gambled and took the road to the left. Then things really choked up. We were nigh on a standstill for maybe fourty minutes. Cars going nowhere. A couple of times my friend’s boyfriend (I should probably just give him a pseudonym by now, he’s his own person. How about “Carl”?) got out to stretch his legs. At one point he and I swapped driving so I could walk off to take a leak. Eventually we cleared the line up, and fluked ourselves into this quiet back road where we could zoom along unencumbered by traffic. We arrived just as the sun was setting which, as we all know, is the ideal time to bungle your way through setting up a tent.

Having borrowed a tent from friends, I had no idea it was an eight person monstrosity. Carl and, well, I guess we’ll call her Sarah, helped me a ton. Because tents are one of the many areas that aren’t my expertise. We got everything set up relatively without issue, but it turns out we don’t have tent poles. It’s fine, the structure is up, but my massive tent is entirely untethered. I’ve weighed the corners down with my gratuitous quantities of stuff and it’s all holding just fine. I guess that’s one way of saying that it’s a fucking mess already, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re at a backyard music festival in Meaford, Ontario. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a literal backyard festival. It’s all set up on the acres of property in someone’s backyard. In its 14th year, it’s this brilliant combination of low rent and very well organised. It doesn’t look like much, but there’s an order that’s working really well. Helpful signposts everywhere, abundant porta-potties, camping plots well away from the music. It’s great, and everyone’s super friendly.

I’m also apparently not great at packing a chilly bin. The thing is a fucking mess. I had zero order putting drinks and food alike in, and now everything’s all jumbled. No, I’m not surprised it’s wet, but there are more sticky things than I expected. I brought some weed gummies, lurking in the bottom of the chilly bin. We’ve been keeping them in the fridge as directed. Turns out they really don’t want to be submerged. The little tin was airtight, but the condensation and chill caused them to decompose. Last night when I picked up the tin, they were all weird amorphous blobs instead of the cute hard-jube teddy bears they normally are. This morning they’ve all dissolved into a sugary liquid. I think I’m better off not drinking that. There was also a severely battered banana that’d broken. It was kinda gross. “R.I.B” I said. Sarah, my friend who’s probably the quickest punster I know chimed in. “Don’t you mean R.I.P.E?” Yes, let’s pretend I did mean that. I got rid of the dreaded deceased banana, got changed and ready to party. Or at least I mixed a few drinks for us. Party we did.

I have to mention one of the grossest experiences I’ve had in a while, because it happened last night. By now y’all should know what level of trashbag I am. I may have just levelled up. At some point in the night I came back to my gargantuan tent to mix more drinks. I put some ice and whisky into my beloved sippy cup (Dr. Tipples, PHD), and reached for the coke. THE SIPPY CUP TIPPED WITHOUT ITS LID. Whisky spilled out onto the floor of the tent. I looked around desperately for a paper towel, something to soak it up. I had nothing. Like Bradley Cooper in Limitless, I was desperate. I didn’t want this stinking up the tent, living in some kind of hot-boxed whisky boudoir. Not my style. I did what anyone would do given the context, I got down to the floor and slurped that fucking whisky up. Ugh. I was more drunk than I intended, but at least there was no longer a puddle of spirits on the floor. I decided to grab my water instead of another whisky, and keep it at that for the night. Hey, I’m a trashbag, it’s fine. Comes with the territory.

Anyway, it’s the morning. I’ve characteristically underslept. It’s time for more bumbling adventures. Because at least bumbling is something I’m good at.

The LAN before time

Remember how things mattered until they didn’t?

I used to be meticulous with my music curation. Okay, let’s take it down a peg. I used to Care A Lot about my iTunes metadata. I downloaded a ton of music and ripped all my CDs for the digital realm. Just years and years worth of stuff. It was all organised in a way to make hearing exactly what I wanted to hear as simple and efficient as possible. I’m sure this doesn’t make a ton of sense to all y’all, but when we used to torrent stuff or grab it from Napster/Morpheus/Kazaa/IRC or whatever, it often had weird characters, was misnamed, etc. It was a bunch of work. The number of times I’d download the same track, but with different names, was astounding. They even used to sometimes insert weird SFX into tracks as an odd form of copyright protection. Hell, I used to burn albums by downloading each individual track, then arranging them in order on a CD. It was the opposite of sophisticated. So I’d spend the time to get everything in order on my computer before porting it over to my iPod. End of story. Sorta.

I used to go to LAN parties (we’d all bring our desktop computers around to someone’s place, then spend the evening getting loaded up on caffeine, snacks and stay up all night gaming). The unspoken law of LAN parties is that while everyone was up, computers were for gaming. Inevitably we’d crash at some point, usually after sunrise. One of the exciting aspects of LAN parties was getting to leech content from each other. You could load up on anime, games, movies and music. Maybe it was that I got used to having limited space, needing to be conservative, etc. Or perhaps I was just a control freak. I would be discerning as to what I grabbed. When it came to shows, movies and music, I’d go through and only take what I thought I’d use. This wasn’t the case across the board. A bunch of people with massive hard drives would just take everything. They could, they had the luxury of not needing to care.

When it came to music, this always made me feel really uncomfortable. Why would you take everything? What if there was tons of stuff you weren’t into? I took a personal stake in it. I’d spent all this time curating my collection, making sure it was exactly how I wanted it. These people, however, would just absorb it into their own. Most of it would likely never even be heard. For them it was about having more data. For me it was about tailoring specific experiences. After all the work I put into it, I felt almost betrayed. They wouldn’t appreciate it like I did. Did I really want them to have it in that case? I never said anything, but it stewed up inside me something fierce. An unspoken grievance that stayed with me. It was weird.

These days, of course, streaming exists. Music is all free and accessible, with collections that are exponentially larger than mine. None of it matters. What a load of wasted energy.

I wonder if anyone wants to come over for a LAN party…

Screw courage in the sticking place. Next time I’m buying instead

Seriously, can I call myself an adult if I don’t know how to use a hot glue gun?

Hot Glue Gunning is not one of those things you’d expect to be harder than you think. In reality, it probably isn’t. It’s not a fully complicated activity. I, however, posess a certain level of ineptitude that’s as awe inspiring as it is frightening. Making things from scratch requires a certain skill base. I don’t have that skill base, so I didn’t try to make things from scratch. I thought I was finding the easy route, when it turns out I don’t know how to do things easily. Or that easy routes are harder to traverse for the clumsy.

I spoke yesterday about what needed to be done to put this damn loin cloth together, right? Measure my hips. Find pillows that are slightly smaller than that and stuff them in a plastic bag. Stuff those into a pair of cut-off leggings and safety pin them on. Cut up my big patch of fake fur. Glue it on. Doesn’t sound too complicated, right?

Cutting the fur was work enough. I tried holding it up against my hip to vaguely measure. Then measured again on my pillow simulacrum. Then measured again on me. Then got a pen to mark it, since I’d forgotten one of those. I measured again, then marked down to what I thought would work. Measure four times and cut once is the mantra, n’est ce pas? I cut it and fur went fucking everywhere. These little fibres covered the floor, two tables and the rug. I got my brush and shovel to clean it, then carrying it from one table to the other left even more castoffs. The brush and shovel was always within arms reach from that point onwards. I tried tugging all the edges where I’d cut to pull any remaining fur off. That seemed to work. I tried to guess how the other pieces would be arranged, but really had no idea so I winged it. Still, in my mind I was ready to glue.

I didn’t bury the lede, I had no fucking idea how to use a hot glue gun. My girlfriend had two, and some spare glue sticks. I knew the basics. I knew that a hot glue gun gets hot, melts the glue inside and that comes out the nozzle. I messaged my crafty friend with a bunch of questions, but they disappeared. My girlfriend was off at a work meeting. I needed to get this done. I tried asking the internet, but I couldn’t get full answers to questions. What kind of questions? I’m glad I posited you as asking.

  • Do I use the gun on high heat or low heat?
  • How much glue do I put on?
  • What kind of coverage do I need? Do I need to cover the whole thing or just outlines?
  • How long until the glue dries/cools?
  • Do I have time to put down all the glue, then put it on? It’s a large piece, I need to get it all on there.
  • Why does the other gun not have a trigger?

The internet didn’t give me much, so I metaphorically said fuck it and got to work. I tried using my smarts to figure it out. I have at least three smarts, which I hoped would be ample. I practiced on a small fur sample to see how long the glue took to dry, and how much glue I could get out before it did. The answer was Not Much. So I decided to try gluing in small lines, pressing down, lather, rinse, repeat. It worked! For a line or two. The problem was, once the glue got to a certain point in the barrel, the trigger no longer pushed it down. Nothing was coming out. I tried pushing the end of the glue with a skewer to some success. So I was holding the fur with one hand, holding the gun in another and stabbing the end of the skewer into my shoulder to try and get more leverage. After a line or so, the skewer pushed too far and went down the barrel. I pulled it out, disappointed that my smart improvisation wasn’t so smart after all.

I grabbed a chopstick from the drawer, convinced that my idea wasn’t terrible, but it was a surface area issue. This worked for all of a single glue line before suffering the same fate. I asked the internet. Some people suggested getting another glue stick so the trigger could catch it. Genius. Only problem was that it churned through my glue very quick. I got another stick, then another until I was out. The barrel was still 2/3 full of glue, but useless glue. I had all of one line left to do on the big fur patch.

I grabbed the other glue gun.

This one took larger glue sticks, which I still had. Thing was, it had no trigger. So I thought, fuck it. I got a glue stick and jammed it in, pressing down with my thumb. Success! In fact, while it was physically more demanding, it was working. The big fur portion seemed well stuck. Now I just had to figure out the rest. It turned out that I’d placed it sort of crooked, or hadn’t measured well enough (as a surprise to nobody). It was uneven, so I had to do some quick repositioning on the fly. I rotated things, made a cut or two and BAM. Full (ish) coverage. Knowing what I was doing, I made quick work of sticking the smaller patches on. I checked how well it was on by shaking the bag. It was stuck fast! Everything seemed sturdy. Had I emerged from the battle of attrition as a victor?

I took out the safety pins and let the pillows run free. I handled the loin cloth carefully. It still seemed stable in my hands. The big test: I put it on. It fit. It was snug and comfy and I couldn’t find major structural issues. I looked in the mirror. Aside from one bum cheek kind of hanging out, it was sorted. I’d made a thing. It wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, and likely wouldn’t survive more than one costume party, but I’d made something all by myself.

Think I can paint my shirt tonight without tearing my hair out?

You’re just a dead animal and a shape

20 minutes ago I reached the level of bored where I went to the kitchen to fill up my water bottle just to kill time. The worst part is, they’d just fixed the filter so it didn’t take very long.

Business as usual.

Sorry, I got distracted for the past 20 minutes by a shitty ad I saw on a supermarket flyer. Apparently there’s a product called Meatbar and its main beef seems to be with jerky. It’s clearly their central competitor and they’ve gone after it guns blazing. The copy on their site reads:

“Step aside, jerky.
Meatbar is so NOT jerky. This is the real deal, friends. Grass-fed, slow cooked, slow smoked, perfectly seasoned beef. No artificial preservatives, flavours or colours, and 35% less salt to boot.

We don’t mean to brag, but… yes, we do.

100% Grass-fed beef = more Omega-3, CLA and Antioxidants
Top quality, lean cut meat (hello, mega-protein)
Certified gluten-free all the way
USDA certified”

It’s transcendantly cringeworthy. It’s like parents trying to appeal to teenagers, but in the most embarassing way. Their caps and seats are turned backwards and they’re ready to rap with you kids. It’s so not jerky bee tee dubs. Crammed with all that mega protein and gluten-free all the way, so you know it’s full of them sick nutrients, fam. I took to reading their FAQ and it’s full of assorted gems.

  • When a cow is fed a diet rich in grass and free of drugs and hormones, they get to live their next life as an incredibly fulfilling Meatbar.
    FATHER. WHY WAS I BROUGHT INTO THIS WORLD ONLY TO FEEL PAIN?
  • Jerky gets stripped of natural fats, then it gets dried, and then salt is added to prevent bacteria from forming. Meatbar, on the other hand, is made with 100% grass-fed beef made from high-quality, top round cuts. It hasn’t been stripped of a darn thing, which is where all the taste comes from.
    DO THEY STILL DO THE THING WHERE THEY PREVENT BACTERIA FROM FORMING? THAT SEEMS AN IMPORTANT STEP.
  • Meatbar is kind of in a league all on its own. It’s here to shake up how you get your protein fix, but it’s definitely no jerky. Just all-natural, 100% grass-fed beef bar that’s super high in protein with no artificial preservatives or flavours. No bigs.
    NO BIGS. MEATBARS ARE CERTAINLY NOT JERKY HIDING IN A MEATBAR SHAPED SUIT. NO SIREE.

Aside from shitting on jerky (which is great, btw), they repeatedly go after its use of artificial preservatives and flavours. They even say some bollocks about not having ingredients you can’t pronounce. What kind of David Avocado Wolfe bullshit is this? Do people actually believe that all chemical compounds and artificial preservatives are worth demonising? What fucking year is this? Are y’all flat earth anti-vaxxers? Science is our friend and should be treated as such. Of course be skeptical, but a blanket dismissal is as ignorant as refusing to question anything. If anything’s about questioning everything, it’s science. Trust science, not Meatbar.

This is fucked up. I’m supposed to be the target market for this kind of product. I love eating straight up chunks of meat. They couldn’t have punted this harder in their quest to be relateable. None of this this ain’t your Daddy’s animal product.

  • MEATBAR – IT’S STICK SHAPED MEAT. THAT’S IT.
  • MEATBAR – IT’S LIKE EATING CROSSFIT.
  • MEATBAR – IT’S JERKY PLUS MARKETING.
  • MEATBAR – WHAT TO GET THE KID WHO HAS EVERYTHING.
  • MEATBAR – CURE FOR THE COMMON SNACK.
  • MEATBAR – IT’S TOASTED.
  • MEATBAR – SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL YOU CAN TRULY OWN.

Dear Meatbar. If you’re hiring, I’ll apply just to stop your awful copy.

You and me, we’re in this ConsterNation together

I don’t know that having nothing to talk about has stopped me before. I’m lacking in sleep, motivation and shits to give. In short, I could go for a coffee about now.

Last night I became a narc. I swear I didn’t mean to. The tl;dr is that I thought graffiti was racist, but it turns out it wasn’t. A local bus stop had “BLOOD 4 OIL” written in big black dripping font. My mind immediately went to racist protests like Charlottesville. Didn’t they chant something along the lines of “blood and oil”? I dunno. I think it’s a convoluted Israel thing. So being the Concerned Citizen that I am, I dobbed it in. I called the number and talked to an exasperated call centre rep who obviously disagreed with my narc-issistic tendencies. She told me someone would be out to take care of it. Disheartened at the complacent racist shit heap Canada was becoming, I posted an angry status commensurate with my outrage.

Satisfied that I’d done the situation its due diligence, I began to walk off. Not before giving the shelter one more smirk. I looked closer. The ad it covered was one for military conscription. The shoe dropped. I realised that “Blood and Soil” was the racist remark and deleted my post immediately. I remembered that Blood for Oil was a common post Iraq war callout. Didn’t I feel like a self-righteous dweeb? I wish now there was some way to remove my complaint, but the damage was done. You can’t restore innocence. Not without one of those Men In Black pens.

While markedly not sleeping this morning, I spent time on Facebook, as I do many times a day. I was scrolling through my feed and wondering why I wasn’t seeing any of my friends’ posts. Group posts, posts from organisations, then once every 12-15 posts, it’d be a friend’s post. By now it’s no secret that the Facebook app has become bloatware. They’ve added all sorts of unnecessary features like Marketplace, Stories and so on. This morning I discovered that they’ve thrust a Groups tab up the top left. I rarely seek out groups, let alone want non specific notifications that posts had been added. I wondered what the last great version of Factbook was, before all this needless shite. I googled, and while I didn’t get a concrete answer, I did discover something. There were official Facebook Lite apps. A Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite app.

Designed for nations where bandwidth was expensive and hard to come by, they were low tech versions of the apps that cut out most of the unnecessary features. Stories were still there, but the marketplace and groups tabs were nowhere to be found. Videos weren’t auto playing. Everything was loading faster. It was a dream come true, provided that your dream was to have a more functional use of an app where you’re the product. I don’t know that I’ve ever wanted more than that.

Okay folks, that’s all I’ve got in me today. Join me again tomorrow when I’ll inevitably try to make something out of nothing again.

Laws of equivalent exchange be damned.

No more Ace in the hole.

Ace Ventura re-he-heally has not aged well.

Let me preface this by triple underlining what a massive Ace Ventura fan I was as a kid. After seeing The Mask, I thought Jim Carrey was a literal embodiment of God among men. For a long time in my life I refused to watch anything that either a) wasn’t a cartoon b) didn’t have puppets or c) wasn’t super hero oriented. The fact that I was willing at all to give Ace and his fine feathered friends a go was a big coup for me. While watching, I realised that Ace Ventura was a cartoon, just depicted by a flesh and blood human. I was in. Ace was goofy, talked through his butt and had so many animal friends. He was my kind of dude. I watched Pet Detective, I watched When Nature Calls, I watched an absurd amount of the Pet Detective cartoon on Saturday mornings. Big fan.

Watching at age 31 in 2018, things have changed. Credit where credit is due, Jim Carrey overcommits to an Olympic extent in every single scene. His neck is always protruding, jaw janked in some odd direction. He’s tossing out a silly voice or doing an imitation maybe 80% of his time onscreen. I don’t know how one directs Jim Carrey because it seems like he’s constantly doing bits. I don’t know how one writes for Jim Carrey because all evidence points to him improvising half of his scenes. I feel like the script is mostly exposition and [Jim will insert something funny here]. The whole film is basically a setup of scenarios in which he can do some kind of impression. His brand of physical comedy is still bloody impressive to watch 24 years later. He’s a talented dude, no doubt.

Egads though, the movie is one big clusterfuck of gay panic, transphobia and obnoxious male posturing. Given how much society has shifted, it’s hard to just turn your brain off and let things slide. The most egregious example is of course the central plot revolving around someone transitioning. The punch line in the climactic scene is not only the gay panic induced vomiting by the entire police squad, but the second beat of her promiscuity. Har har. Also for a character as fey as Ace Ventura, they do a remarkable amount of work to try and fit him in a comfortable box for red blooded American males. He’s still a rough and tumble dude who doesn’t think twice about getting into a physical altercation. He can do car stunts, and LOVES sex. There’s even a scene where he takes a blow job from a busty client in lieu of payment, the punchline being a fourth wall breaking “well, could you say no?” or something of the like. I feel like comedy didn’t have to try as hard back in the 90s. They have to put in SO MUCH WORK to make him a “palatable” representation of masculinity. Stuff that as a kid I probably lapped right up. Ace was the coolest.

In 2018, Ace isn’t quite so cool.

You know what else hasn’t aged gracefully? Sixteen Candles. Holy shit does it ever smack of being a film written about a woman by a man. It’s broad strokes of character all the way through, but really it’s more about the central male characters. If Ace Ventura was egregious, Sixteen Candles is a relic. She’s basically lusting over The Coolest Guy in School, who’s a Sensitive Jock type. But he’s with The Hottest Girl In School (we know this, because we get a naked shower scene that shows basically everything). The Geekiest Dude in School is lusting after her. So what’s the resolution? The Geekiest Dude sexually assaults her a bunch of times. She’s like “ugh. You’re not a bad dude, but that was embarrassing”. The resolution? The Coolest Guy just gives The Geekiest Dude The Hottest Girl as if she’s chattel. She’s drunk out of her skull and the Coolest Guy is all “here, thanks for hooking me up with Molly Ringwald, now go fuck my drunk ex-girlfriend in a parking lot or something.” It’s woeful. Times have changed and thank fuck for that.

I wonder how Blazing Saddles plays in 2018…