Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holy Fucking 100 Posts Batman!

I have nothing applicable to say about the current situation, guy
Well this is it.  The official 100th post here at Feed the Voices in Your Head.  I guess that means... something.  100 is a significant number in our culture.  100 is basically the benchmark by which we measure success.  100 percent is the best you can do.  Plus if you physically rearrange the numbers you can make them look like a cock and balls.

My first instinct to mark this momentous occasion was to compile a list of my Top 100 Blog Posts and then list all of the my blog posts up to and including this one, which seemed self-serving narcissistic and just plain lazy which I suppose kind of encapsulates the general spirit of this blog.  Then I thought about doing something cute like reviewing the movie CENTURION which I recently watched and sort of fit into the 100 theme and the movie theme.  Then I thought about just posting various shots of almost nude Spartan warriors from 300 because what's better than 100 than 300, right?  Then I thought about jerking off.  So I did.

Then in that zen moment that always comes after choking one's own chicken I realized that mine was just another self-obsessed relatively ineffectual blog in a sea of self-obsessed ineffectual blogs in that amorphous, nearly undecipherable realm known only as the Blogosphere which was only slightly more annoying than that other amorphous, nearly undecipherable realm known as the Twilight Zone.  Unfortunately because of a whole slew of dipshits who use blogs to complain and/or obsess about celebrities who have completely destroyed what little credibility the rest of us who have at least a modicum of intelligence had left.  Blogs have become synonymous with whiny, lactose intolerant, overweight losers living off of Doritos and Mountain Dew in their parent's basement wasting what little time they have left due to the early onset of diabetes and malnutrition by complaining about Christian Bale's Batman voice (which was perfect, you dickheads, just like everything else he does).

In the grand scheme of things perhaps most blogs aren't all that significant outside of a very small circle of influence.  Back in the day when blogs were more of a novelty and there was still a remnant of elitism the Shit to Awesome ratio was a lot lower and people were probably more likely to keep searching and reading because there was a higher probability of reading something (relatively) significant, or entertaining, or -god forbid- artistic.  There was apparently a Golden Era of Blogging when it was even possible to Rise Above, get noticed, and become a commercially viable celebrity, probably the most famous example of which is Julie & Julia.  Now that everybody and his transgendered grandmother has a blog the genre itself has become watered down and lost a great deal of credibility.  Because you have to wade through so much shit to get even a nugget of awesomeness it deters all but the most stalwart of adventurers from donning their snorkels and flippers and diving into that great ocean of feces to find something that makes enduring the general stink worthwhile.

For the most part all you end up with is snorkel full of diarrhea, a limp dick, and balls that smell like shit.

But every once in a while you find something worthwhile.  Something entertaining.  Something significant.  Something artistic.  Something with copious references to male genitalia.  In writing this blog I've attempted to fill all of these roles in varying capacities, and whether or not I've succeeded is a matter of personal opinion and whether or not you are a bona fide douchebag.  Now I'm not going to sit here and try to argue the merits of my fucking blog in the grand scheme of the universe, because quite frankly any such argument wouldn't hold up for very long.  However, while I may not be at the top of the cosmic heap neither am I circling the metaphysical drain.  And so, in honour of my 100th post I am going to provide a list of 100 things in the universe that you could experience that are worse than reading this blog to help put things in perspective for all of us.

100 Things in the Universe (In No Particular Order) Worse than Feed the Voices in Your Head

100) Two and a Half Men.
99) Charlie Sheen's comedic pursuits (except for Hot Shots)
98) Turducken
97) Cancer
96) Paper Cuts
95) Adolf Hitler
94) Adolf Hitler's ghost
93) Botched circumcisions
92) Being blinded by staring at a solar eclipse
91) Being blinded by staring at a solar eclipse while being stabbed with a rusty railroad spike
90) People who wear cardigans unironically
89) Disco
88) Ugly babies
87) Having to lie to the parents of ugly babies about how cute you think they are due to social constraints
86) The Snuggie
85) The cancellation and subsequent (and baffling) erasure from the public consciousness of Junkyard Wars
84) Ditto for Robot Wars
83) Taxation without representation
82) Taxation in general
81) Spontaneous combustion
80) Premeditated combustion
79) The presidency of anybody with the first name "George" and the last name "Bush"
78) Any nickname that uses the word "dog" (except Mad Dog)
77) Leprosy
76) Getting a toothpick lodged in your nasal cavity
75) Fucking a stranger without having the common courtesy to give him a reacharound
74) Idiots texting other idiots who are in the same room as them
73) The need for constant validation through texting
72) Being beaten to death by a naked mob of STD-stricken lunatics who club you to death with their penises and dying with the knowledge that you have contracted all known STDs known to man in the space of about twelve seconds (setting a new world record) through bodily orifices (ie. ocular (a second world record, by the way)) that no one should contract STDs through
71) Eating a bowl full of shit
70) Eating a bowl full of shit and discovering that you actually enjoyed it
69) Waking up one morning to discover that the high point of your day is eating a bowl of shit
68) Waking up one morning to discover that the high point of your day is bashing your head against the wall of your office in a futile, half-assed attempt to either A) kill yourself or B) go on workman's comp because eating a bowl of shit has become so routine for you that it is no longer the high point of your day
67) AIDS
66) A giant meteor NOT killing all the dinosaurs and having them run amok in downtown New York
65) A fork in the eye
64) Being the last man alive in the entire world and having to live out your days with Natalie Portman who it turns out is the last woman alive in the world (after some horrible apocalypse, potentially viral in nature) and it also turns out that she is willing to have sex with you as frequently as you want and in increasingly depraved scenarios involving farm animals and biological waste, but discovering that the two of you aren't actually sexually compatible and the spark "just isn't there"
63) Those really, really, tight jeans that emo kids wear
62) Crucifiction
61) Eating your own words
60) Eating somebody else's boot with a side of your own teeth
59) Nicholas Cage's inexplicably changing and increasingly bizarre hair styles
58) Being stuck on a desert island with Rosie O'Donnell
57) AIDS
56) Top 100 lists
55) Getting my pubes caught in your mom's teeth
54) Waiting in a line
53) Making a heap of all your winnings and betting on on a game of pitch and toss then losing and subsequently starting again at your beginnings and never breathing a word about your loss
52) Obscure poetry references
51) Watching golf
50) Playing golf
49) Hearing about golf
48) Ditto for 51-49 about baseball
47) Having a rabid wolverine in your underwear
46) The secret death of George Lucas and his subsequent replacement with a robot programmed by a jealous Steven Spielberg to completely destroy Lucas's legacy
45) Blue balls
44) Green balls
43) Snorting a pile of sewing needles into your nasal cavity
42) The Cleveland Show
41) People with a sense of entitlement.  Like people who (slowly) cross the street whenever and wherever they want without looking for traffic, simply expecting vehicles to magically stop for them despite icy conditions, Toyotas with malfunctioning brakes, distracted drivers, or larger vehicles that can't stop on a fucking dime you self-absorbed morons!  I know cars are supposed to stop, but there are myriad reasons why they might not be able to stop.  It's not the fact that I don't want them to get hit by ten tons of transport trailer carrying biohazardous waste (because I kind of do) but just the fact that they feel so entitled that they literally expect the world to stop for them
40) Dehydration
39) Kissing a corpse
38) Getting rusty fish hooks caught in your ball sack
37) Being raped by a silverback gorilla
36) Having regular sex with a silverback gorilla (they don't like to cuddle afterwards)
35) A botched suicide attempt.  There's really nothing more depressing than being so inept you can't even commit suicide properly
34) Meet The Parents, Meet the Fockers, and The Third Retarded Meet The Parents Movie
33) Improperly fitting underwear
32) Cum stains on your clothes.  I always thought it was some kind of urban myth, but I'm slowly discovering that they really are very difficult to get out if you allow them to set, even after multiple runs through the wash
31) Your mom in a three way with me and my lubed up fist
30) Waaaazzzzzzzuuuuuuppppp!!!  (need I say more?)
29) Vegetables on a pizza
28) Vegetables lodged in your rectum
27) The letter Q.  What a fucking useless letter.  It's so unversatile.  It's used in only about 1% of the words in the English language (in fact I'm pretty sure this is the first and only time it appeared in this entire post, although I'm too lazy to actually go back and check), is so codependent it always has to be paired with the letter U and could easily be replaced by other letters (ie. C, K, and W).  In fact, while we're cleaning up our alphabet, can we please get rid of either the C or the K seeing as they represent THE EXACT SAME FUCKING SOUND!  I don't care which one.  Put them both in the ring of death and let them duke it out.  (And no, we don't need the C to make the same sound the S already makes as well).  What, was Jesus on crack when he invented English?
26) Podcasts with less hits per month (or all time on Jellycast) than Cylon Bingo
25) Frostbite
24) Nuclear holocaust
23) Zombie apocalypse
22) Having to shoot a family member who has become a zombie
21) Chocolate without peanut butter
20) A lifetime devoid of orgasms
19) Puncturing your ear drum with shards of broken glass
18) Walking in on your parents having sex
17) Your parents walking in on you having sex (with your hand or a real human being)
16) Going to an orgy and finding out the next day that the guy in the pink flamingo mask who you gave a blow job to (the first and last time- for real this time, I swear) was actually your own father
15) 80 year old breasts
14) Losing a race to a turtle.  Stupid fucking rabbit.  The only moral to that story was never trust a rabbit to complete even the simplest of tasks
13) Third degree burns
12) Home movies
11) Shitty Halloween costumes
10) Dollar store condoms.  Just imagine a warehouse in China full of children crafting your prophylactic then put it back on the shelf
9) Organized religion
8) Getting shot in Reno by some fuck who just wanted to watch you die
7) Arrogant raccoons
6) 90% of Saturday Night Live
5) Vampires that sparkle in the day light
4) David Letterman Top Ten Lists
3) A football in the groin
2) That awkwardness after you make a really cool reference that nobody else in the conversation gets and the subsequent frustration when you realize that all those lamos think you're lame even though your reference was totally awesome and applicable to the situation and they're the ones who are out of the loop and who are uneducated swine with no culture or sophistication.  It couldn't be you.  Your reference was bang on and you have your finger on the pulse and not far from the pulse and up your ass
1) Any time in your life when you're not fucking

There you go, another 100 reasons to stay home and read this blog than go out in the real world and put up with a bunch of bullshit.  Just in case you were so insecure that you needed some kind of validation for what you do in your own free time.

Because I know I sure don't.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nectar of the Gods or a Big Barrel Full of Greasy Death? Can't It Be Both?

Recently I have been receiving oral pleasure from a source other than my wife.

And it's fucking great.

It started a couple of weeks ago and I'm pretty sure it's more than a fling.  It was intense the first time.

Heat beating wildly.

Fingernails tearing at flesh.

Bodily fluids staining clothes.

Eyeballs rolling back in ecstasy.

Don't get me wrong.  I still dig my wife's "home cooking."  She has some great recipes.  But they just can't compare to my new obsession.  The real bitch of it is, it was my wife who introduced us.  It's not going to be pretty, I can already tell.  These things never end well.  But life is too fucking short to be bound by self-imposed moral constraints.  Consequences be damned.  If romantic love was a real thing like it's portrayed in the movies I'd say I was in love, but as it stands this is just lust, pure and simple.  I don't want to love; I want to mouth fuck.  All day and all night long, even though I'm pretty sure that prolonged exposure to my new lust will probably only lead to a broken heart and an early grave.  Right now there is only one thing on my mind:

Popeyes Chicken.

If there was a god and he had a heaven then in between all the orgies with beautiful famous people and their pets he would serve buckets of chicken from Popeyes.  With a side of biscuits.  And iced tea.  And occasionally root beer (A&W, not of this Barq's crap).  I mean, goddamn it's good eating.  I can't believe my mouth has been lied to all these years by Colonel Sanders.  I realized some time ago that KFC was fucking balls.  I mean, growing up I really didn't know any better because I came from a small town where there was no alternative.  If you wanted fast food and chicken then you got KFC.  Well, there was Dixie Lee Chicken, but they weren't any better.  For some reason whenever I try to conjure up specific memories of Dixie Lee the only sensation I get is a dry throat.  Weird, right?

KFC was just pure shit though.  But like most people, I kept coming back for more because it tasted so damn good.  I used to love biting into that greasy, disgusting mess of chemically-enhanced muscle and sinew and the Colonel's special herbs and spices.  And I always remember whenever I ate KFC that despite some unspoken, nagging voice in the back of my head I could not overcome my desire for immediate gratification.  I would scarf down as much of that shit as I could and then sit back and relax.  I would usually manage to maintain this strange sense of calm for about half an hour before the inevitable stomach cramps sent me running to the nearest bathroom/sink/closet/my brother Matthew's pillow case to void my bowels of all their contents of the last twelve hours.

Say goodbye to your assholes, kids
And it wasn't like a normal shit.  It was more like violent, explosive evacuation.  It was a wet, sloppy, brown/green mess of slop that shot out into the toilet so violently that I'd invariably get the dreaded "toilet splash back" on my ass.  Besides the fact that they were usually accompanied by very painful cramps, these sorry excuses for bowel movements weren't even satisfying in the conventional sense.  Not like the kind of satisfaction you get from pushing out a solid log of shit.  You know, the kind your sphincter has to expand in order to squeeze around and so solid that it can be touching the water in your toilet bowl and the inside of your large intestine at the same time.  The kind that can clog up your toilet and cause hundreds of dollars in damage to your plumbing if you don't break it up with a crowbar first.  With the KFC shits, you get no sense of accomplishment.  Just an overwhelming sensation of defeat and a wet, burning asshole.

And it would happen every fucking time too.  Every time I would somehow trick myself into thinking that maybe this time it would be OK.  This time my System could handle it and bend it to my will.  But it never worked out like that.  Every time I ate KFC it just brought me more pain and misery and a terrible sweaty night of frequent, uncomfortable trips to the bathroom.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I discovered there was a way I could eat fried chicken from a fast food restaurant and have it both taste good and not tear my asshole to shreds.  As soon as I moved to go back to school my wife started bugging me about Popeyes.  Naturally I ignored her as I usually ignore most women who aren't talking about giving me a blowjob or how far they can get a banana inserted into various bodily orifices, but then I started getting hungry as we were driving around exploring our new habitat and my survival instincts kicked in and through the haze I could make out a few words:

"Popeyes... chicken.... fantastic... Korea."

I had little to no idea what the hell was going on by that point so I simply veered as hard as I could to the right.  By sheer fate (aided slightly by our GPS) we ended up in the parking lot of Popeyes chicken.  It was like you hear about, with the lights shining down from the heavens and bare-breasted angels singing hymns of praise.  I hurried inside, then remembered the kids were still in the back seat so I ran back to get them before some snoopy cop came along and called Children's Services again (I left the window open a crack for air to get in.  I'm not stupid.  I know kids need air.  And oil changes every 50,000 km).

Now the thing about Popeyes that makes it better than KFC isn't just because the chicken is less greasy.  It isn't just because they have a crispier coating that comes in both normal and spicy.  It isn't just because their servings are bigger.  It isn't just because their combos come not only with fries but also with a biscuit.  I tisn't just because you can order all of their various sides separately and in three different sizes and that every day of the week they have a $3.99 special on one of their mouth watering meal deals.  It's a combination of all of these things and the fact that it didn't make me shit buckets of watery goop for the next four hours after eating it.

Of course the name threw me off at first.  If you're from my generation when you hear "Popeye" the first recollection that pops up in your traumatized brain is images of Robin Williams prancing around for two hours with grossly deformed forearms you can only hope are prosthetics and not the result of years of chronic heroine use.  The cold sweat usually stops when you realize that it was just Williams "acting" in the live action adaptation of the beloved Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons and comics.  I don't think Popeyes Chicken is named after the sailor as I kept looking around to see his squinty-ass mug staring at me and could find no sign of any lame-ass mascots of any kind.  I don't know if Popeye is allowed to sponsor any other products as his last endorsement of candy cigarettes helped inspire an entire generation of kids to take up smoking from the tender age of five.  But the association is somewhat fitting.  Popeye was a (thinly) veiled reference to drug addiction and Popeyes Chicken is as addictive as crack (while only being half as deadly).
Phallic symbol?  No, no, it's just an inanimate object whose shape reminds me  of the human penis

(I don't want to get wildly off track here, but as the hooker said to her John I need to get this shit off my chest.  The connection has probably been made before, but I have to point out how Popeye was a positive spin on substance abuse.  First of all the whole thing about eating spinach and then getting "super powers" was obviously meant to represent whatever drug was popular at the time (I'm guessing LSD).  Without his spinach Popeye felt weak, but as soon as he got his fix, the motherfucker could practically fly.  He would bounce Bruno around like baby even though the asshole was twice his size (so maybe PCPs).  Then there's the pipe he constantly has in his mouth, uhhhhh, crack pipe much?  Then there's his squinty eyes like he's been in an opium den for days on end and can't stand the natural sunlight.  His hideously deformed forearms are obviously meant to draw attention to that part of the anatomy which is often used by heroin users as a place to shoot up (thank you REQUIEM FOR A DREAM).  And then there's his strange speech where he'll constantly be talking and mumbling to himself under his breath and making these weird inarticulate sounds.  You tell me he's not fucking tweaking.)

Fortunately for me there was no sign of that naval jackass around to stare at me while I enjoyed some of the best eats of my life.  And unfortunately for my wife, her "home cooking" (sounds so dirty in quotation marks) just can't stand up by comparison.  I'll still let her cook for me, but from now until the day I die every one of her meals that I eat I will secretly be yearning for Popeyes.  And she makes some good shit.  She made this honey mustard pork tenderloin one time that fucking blew me... away.  It's a good thing she made it before, because now everything she makes I'll enjoy just a little less because deep down inside I know that I could be eating at Popeyes instead.  Every part of my digestive system from my esophagus down -that is to say, all of it- now belongs heart and soul to that too-much-orange-in-their-decor fast food chain and their fucking delicious, crispy chicken.

The problem with experiencing even a taste of nirvana is that everything else seems to get that much duller and insignificant.  The best day of your life just makes the rest of it seem that much shittier.

Some would say that's a fair trade off.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fuck a Duck

What the fuck are you lookin' at, pal?
The other day I was standing outside on my back deck grilling some kind of meat on the Bar-B-Q.  It was a beautiful evening.  Blue skies.  Nice breeze.  I love Bar-B-Qing.  I’m not sure what it is.  Maybe the mystical power of fire, some primal instinct left over from my Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon ancestors as they gathered around the campfire at night in silent awe of this strange beast dancing in the night.  Crackling.  Hypnotizing.  A caged beast.  The Bar-B-Q is the closest most of us get to that primordial weakness to the hypnotizing effects of fire.  There’s something that still holds some magic for us in those flames.  Even the staunchest literalist and hardened stoic will soften as they sit around a campfire and turn into a philosopher. 
As I stood outside brandishing my tongs I noticed two shapes in the sky at twelve o’clock.  They were far away, but closing in fast.  Two bogeys backdropped by a transparent, blue sky.  I breathed in deeply getting a lungful of Bar-B-Q smoke and smiled slightly as a cool breeze swept over my skin.   As the two birds got closer I could feel the power of The Fire.  I thought about my own secret desires to be able to fly and what it represented.  Freedom.  Adventure.  I thought wistfully about some of my favourite dreams where I was imbued with the power of flight, though upon waking I could never remember the exact combination of elements that were required for flight nor their precise measurements.  My most vivid flying dream was me in my old schoolyard able to sort of float up into the air.  In the dream it didn’t feel crazy that I could fly this way.  Concentrate.  Wait for a certain current of air.  Lean to just the right angle.  Let your feet leave the ground like they wanted.  It as always so precarious, though.  In my dreams.  As soon as I tried too hard, or thought about the mechanics of it or started to dream lucidly, I would start to fall back to the ground.  Not hard.  Just float down, like a hot air balloon with a hole in the side.  Gently. 
The birds were close enough now that I could tell that they were in fact ducks.  I opened the lid of the Bar-B-Q to check on the chicken or sausage or hamburgers or whatever I was cooking.  It didn’t matter.  It was all good.  Close the lid.  The ducks were closer now and it looked like they were circling around to make a landing in my yard.  My daughter would love that shit.  She loved looking at the ducks.  Any animals, really.  As this pair of ducks prepared for their final decent, however, something was amiss.  Their trajectories were all wrong for a backyard touchdown.  All of the sudden they swerved back in an S pattern over my backyard and drastically dropped altitude.  Jesus!  Before I knew what was happening I had a fucking duck flying straight toward my head, dive bombing me like some kamikaze pilot from WWII.  I barely had time to duck (now I know where the expression comes from, though) before they were both past me.  While dodging for my life all I caught was a glimpse but I saw one duck land on my roof and the one who had tried to take my head off touched down briefly on the roof of my neighbour’s deck and then flapped down to the lawn.  And then it occurred to me.
Ducks are  bunch of assholes.
As I thought back on all I knew about ducks the more I was sure of it.  Think about it.  Not only are ducks assholes, but they also rub our faces in it.  They flaunt it.  Think about it.  Ducks somehow get away with all kinds of things that ordinary citizens like you and me would get locked away for.  First of all, they walk around completely nude.  All the time.  In public.  An even when they do wear clothes -like, say, Donald for example- they’re always revealing.  All Donald Duck wears is a sailor hat and vest.  No fucking pants.  Like he’s flaunting that shit in our faces.  Now if I felt like walking around naked -even in my own backyard- I could actually face criminal charges.
And then they just go around eating shit off the ground.  Like it’s no big deal.  My daughter throws little pieces of bread in our front yard and watches the ducks come and eat it and then laughs hysterically.  But when I accidentally dropped my sucker on the floor of the men’s room at Wendy’s and picked it up before the Five Second Rule came into effect and put it back in my mouth after brushing some errant pubes off of it, this other guy totally gave me this disgusted look like I just bit the head off of a baby Panda or something.  How come it’s OK for ducks, huh buddy?  Would it be so funny if I ate scraps of bread off of your front yard because -damn it!- I get hungry too sometimes when I’m out and about and just a few nibbles of whole wheat would really keep me going.  When a duck does it it’s cute, but when I do it I’m suddenly some kind of social pariah?  Bullshit.  That’s discrimination pal.
And to top it all off, ducks don’t even get sick from eating disgusting shit from the ground.  I mean think about the last time you were in the ER. Were there any ducks there getting treatment for food poisoning, or bacterial infections or salmonella?  It makes me angry just thinking about it.
Pucker up, big boy.
And then there’s my two friends.  That was really just too fucking much.  I mean, imagine you’re a duck and you have the ability to fly anywhere you want.  Anywhere.  Soar with the eagles.  Head down to a nude beach to check out some (of the nice) titties.  Stop by the dumpster behind McDonald’s and score some free fries and Big Macs and shit.  Check out an Our Lady Peace concert without paying.  Or even if they wanted to stop by my place, my back yard isn’t small.  There’s lots of room back there to land and easily avoid me, who even as a full-grown human being probably takes up about one percent of the available surface area in my backyard that could be used as a viable landing strip.  And they come right at my fucking head.  That’s not just luck.  That’s intentional.  That’s premeditated.  Like Hey we could go down to the YMCA and check out the hotties in their skin-tight, black work out pants that climb right up their asses and show every nook and cranny, walk around all cute-like with our duck dicks hanging out with no repercussions whatsoever, but oh, look: let’s go dive bomb that dickhead who’s innocently Bar-B-Qing on his back deck just to fuck with him.  Shmuck.
What a piss off.  Those ducks scared the crap out of me and ruined an otherwise pleasant grilling experience.  And as much as I hated them, I was also jealous.  Ducks are like your asshole friend, the one who gets a free social pass and gets away with saying and doing shit that would get you slapped or arrested.  Ducks are like that one loud, drunken, foul-mouthed uncle who likewise gets away with murder and whose behaviour only earns him a chuckle and a shake of the head from fellow family members who brush his shit off with a knowing “Oh, that uncle So-And-So,” like he’s incorrigible, but if you were to comment on the fact that cousin Kyle is getting so fat he has to shop at maternity stores for his clothes (it’s not a moo-moo, it’s a fucking dress) or point out that Aunt Judy’s moustache is getting so thick you could swing from it like Tarzan you’d get a smack upside the head and threatened with disownment.  Ducks are like old people who can get away with anything because they’re old and their offensive/off-colour/slightly racist ramblings can be blamed on “that’s the way they were raised” plus it’s still socially unacceptable (for some reason) to beat up little old ladies, even when they’re totally asking for a shot to the kidneys.  That’s right, granny, I just put you on notice.
For whatever reason these groups get a social impunity that most of us can only dream of.  And while it might be nice to fantasize about being a duck, the truth is it’s probably not going to happen (unless that whole reincarnation thing is true).  But there is something we can do before this duck problem gets totally out of hand.  The next time you see some ducks in your yard or down by the old watering hole just stop for a second.  Get some bread.  Toss some over towards them.  Lure them in nice and close.  And then kick them in the fucking head.  And if it looks like they still haven’t learned their lesson get them in a headlock and then suplex those assholes.  Then bite their heads off.  If we don’t nip this shit in the bud soon we’ll have a full-fledged uprising on our hands.  And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves because all the warning signs are there.  We mastered fire for god’s sake.  Certainly we can put these arrogant water fowl back in their place in the food chain.  Fucking ducks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm CEO, Bitch!

For some reason in recent years our society has become obsessed with the concept of authenticity especially in relation to movies.  This is a curious development and is both evidenced and perpetuated as a marketing tool for major motion picture events.  The tag line "Based on a true story" has become a cinematic mainstay on movie marquees the world over for films about everything from young men trapped under boulders cutting their own arms off to small children whose earliest memories revolved around being involved in organized crime to giant black dudes who are adopted by middle class white families and then made to play sports for their amusement and somehow win an Oscar for Sandra MISS-fucking-CONGENIALITY Bullock.

Just like a crack dealer checking to make sure his product hasn't been cut with bleach Hollywood seems intent on assuring us of the authenticity of its movies that are "based on true stories."  It seems that legitimization is highly marketable.  Or rather the perception of legitimization is highly marketable.  People seem to be willing to open their pockets for a small piece of "the truth."  Somewhere along the line they got confused between "historical fact" and "objective truth."  The confusion comes because the first one is regarded as secular gospel but at it best is an ongoing process to chronicle (mostly) human existence and the second one doesn't exist.

Yet we all sort of fall into that trap sometimes.  Even me.  We get really excited when we hear that something we saw in a movie "really fucking happened, dude."  Perhaps part of it is that we desperately want to believe that what we see on screen has some connection to our own mundane lives.  We want to believe that "real life" is exciting and valid enough to portray on the big screen so that by extension we can believe that "my real life" is exciting and valid enough to portray on the big screen.  We desperately want to believe that "real life" is as captivating and engaging and relevant as whatever our imaginations can conceive of.  Of course that's all bullshit, but sometimes we need to feel better about human existence and by extension our own lives in order to keep the barrel of that gun out of our collective mouth for one more day.  Some days you take what you can get.

When people begin to talk about authenticity I immediately think about breasts.  For one, I spend a great deal of time thinking about breasts in general.  Also I think about the modern "anti-breast implant" sentiment that I've noticed popping up in the zeitgeist recently.  There seems to be a grassroots movement whose goal it is to  emphasize the validity of "natural breasts" over "fake breasts."  I don't fucking understand this.  First of all, who are these assholes who have their choice of so many tits that they feel they can be so picky?  What, like tits are raining from the heavens and these dickheads just have to turn their umbrellas upside down and sort through the titties picking out the ones they want?  Fuck these guys.  The first problem I see here is the definition of "real."  Technically both "natural" and "fake" boobs are "real" in the sense that they both exist.  They both have corporeal form that can be detected by all five senses (if you're lucky:  I love the smell of titties in the morning!).  So for the sake of this discussion we'll use the terms "natural" and "enhanced" as opposed to"real" and "fake."

For some reason a lot of heterosexual men are very concerned about the perceived authenticity of a woman's melons.  There seems to be more value attributed to something occurring naturally.  For some reason when it comes to tits humankind's creative power is somehow devalued.  I don't understand where this shit all started.   First of all, when did it become an "either/or" debate?  Can't we examine the pro's and con's of each breast on a boobie by boobie basis and appreciate each breast for what it is?  Can't we like both "natural" and "enhanced" breasts, but for different reasons?  Second of all, when did this whole mentality of the inherent superiority and authenticity of the natural as opposed to the produced come into play?  It's the same bullshit ethic that AVATAR shoved down our throats.  Whatever happened to the idea of progress?  Of humankind's taming of the natural world?  Of our dominion over the natural world?  Why is a breast somehow less valid because it has been crafted by a human being?

I only bring it up because... well for no other reason that to talk about tits.  No wait, my point was that for some reason our society is currently in a state of high hypocrisy in regards to it's attribution of value to the natural over the produced.  This is directly reflected in that "Based on a true story" bullshit.  The qualifier that most people often overlook is "based on."  Most times fairly loosely.  To me this seems incredibly short-sighted and really self-deprecating, and not in the ironic, comedic inversion sense of the word.  It robs us of any sense of agency.  In this model we passively experience whatever the universe throws at us instead of actively interpreting our experiences and positing them in the framework of narrative to give them meaning.  Ultimately our own perception and interpretation of events is really the only true agency we ever have in this universe.

Three movies in recent memory that made me start thinking about this strange concept of authenticity our culture seems to have is 127 HOURS, THE FIGHTER and THE SOCIAL NETWORK.  These are three movies whose marketing campaigns were heavily centered on the "Based on a true story" moniker.  And while some audience members may fool themselves into thinking that this automatically lends a certain credibility to the narrative being presented, that somehow the events portrayed are more significant and meaningful because they "really happened" the truth is that it's simply a marketing strategy to sell more tickets.  It's a commodification of authenticity.  "Basing something on a true story" is a tactic to attract a certain kind of audience and get noticed at awards shows which in turn is a way of further marketing your film.  Filmmakers themselves aren't concerned about staying true to the actual, historical events.  Or at least, they shouldn't be.

From what little information I was able to glean off the internet both 127 HOURS and THE FIGHTER stayed fairly close to historical events and some audience members might catch themselves in that trap of believing that they are somehow more authentic than movies that weren't "based on true stories."  That what they are watching on the screen is somehow more "real."  There is no hope for these people.  First of all, no matter how close to historical fact the on-screen portrayal gets, you cannot escape the fact that no matter what you are watching on screen it didn't really happen.  What you are watching is not "real": it is the conglomeration of actors, scripts, make-up, CGI, props and sets.  It is a fabricated, constructed world.  No matter how good his performance was, the truth of the matter is you were watching James Franco trapped on a Hollywood set, not Aron Ralston trapped under an actual rock.

What about documentary films you say?  They are more than "based on a true story": they are the true story.  Again, you'd be mistaken.  Documentary film makers film "actual" events, but they choose what to show and how to show it.  In editing they create their own version of events.

Let me cut you off at the pass: nothing on film is "real" in the sense that, say, the breasts we talked about before are "real."  Film -whether it be static or in motion- is merely able to create a representation of events.  I suppose if you wanted to get the "real story" on Aron Ralston you'd actually have to have been standing next to him at the time it happened and then stood there and watched him instead of going for help like some kind of sadistic douchebag.  And even then you'd be witnessing the events from your own, personal perspective with your own interpretations.  In that sense everything we experience-both on and off the screen- is merely "based on a true story" for we cannot ever completely passively observe something; it is always filtered through our perception and interpretation.

127 HOURS is also a great example of how we kind of trick ourselves because a lot of stuff we see on the screen like his haluccinations and dreams are actually impossible to capture on camera and didn't actually happen in the historical sense of the word.  I mean, not in the way that Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman in the eighth round on October 30 1974 or that Monica Lewinski was sucking Bill Clinton's dick or that Ricky Gervais was the single greatest awards shows host ever.

But that's OK because 127 HOURS fucking rocked cock.  And it wasn't because of it's historical accuracy or lack thereof.  Take for further example the case of THE SOCIAL NETWORK which details the rise of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and Jesse Eisenberg lookalike to become the youngest billionaire in history (by allowing us to post inane facts about our lives and potentially career-damaging photos involving rhythm gaming and exposed genitals) and presumably the owner of a Swiss bank account because apparently that's what you do when you have an ass-load of money.  The movie starts off showing Zuckerberg's formative years at Harvard (except for his experimenting with homosexuality like we all did at university.  Right?) and the seeds for his eventual Facebook creation in the form of something called Facemash and an idea put forward by the preppy Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer and Armie Hammer) for an exclusive Harvard online network of pretentious douchebags.  Then we see Zuckerberg's friendship/partnership with Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) as they develop the Facebook brand and Zuckerberg's friendship/man crush with Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) who gets involved in their (mostly) heterosexual love triangle as Sean helps grow the brand with helpful suggestions like getting rid of definite articles from company names to bring the sexy back.  Unfortunately all does not run smoothly and as the catchy tag line for the movie suggests Zuckerberg does make a few enemies along the way and the movie is framed by a couple of lawsuits: one from his ex-best friend Eduardo and one from the Winklevoss twins.

Now from what I can glean from the internet and a few interviews with Zuckerberg that I found there are a lot of glaring inaccuracies in the movie THE SOCIAL NETWORK when compared with, say, Zuckerberg's life.  Not the least of which was the girlfriend he had during the time period the movie covers where movie Zuckerberg was pining for the girl he broke up with in the opening scene through the same time period which was used as emotional motivation for some key elements.  There was also a certain episode involving a one-legged hermaphroditic hooker whipping his balls with Twizzlers which didn't make the cut in the movie either, although I'm not entirely sure if that was a story about Mark Zuckerberg or Tom Cruise.  Either way.  Apparently from all accounts Zuckerberg also didn't give a shit about the elite social clubs (another motivation for movie Zuckerberg to create Facebook) and he's not really so much of an arrogant, unsocial prick in real life and his buddy Eduardo (who sounds like he should be Mexican, and that bugged me through the whole film) isn't as much of a victim as he's portrayed in the film either.

But all that shit doesn't matter.

Because THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a fucking great movie.  It's a compelling, cohesive narrative and that's what's important.  Not strict adherence to historical accuracy.  The goal of film making -just like all narratives- is to try find or make meaning.  It's interpretation.  It's examination.  We use narratives to try to add structure to a chaotic world.  The Universe -and all the Events that occur therein- is chaotic and random and meaningless.  The reason we tell stories is to try to arrange all those random events and meaningless elements into some type of comprehensible pattern that we can make sense of and can be digested by our brains.  We use archetypes and social frameworks to create patterns out of what we perceive.

That's why it doesn't matter that historical Mark Zuckerberg may be a nice guy (and not a coke-snorting, hermaphrodite loving fiend) in real life.  It's more compelling from a narrative standpoint to portray him as the Tortured Genius.  Arrogant yet vulnerable.  That his genius is a gift and a curse: that he had to suffer in order to bring his vision to the world.  There is no gain without suffering.  Within the context of this movie this archetype -specifically adapted- "makes sense."  It's compelling to an audience to believe that Zuckerberg pines for his lost lady friend (or special lady) or that he and his best friend Eduardo (yep, definitely should have been Mexican) had this huge falling out to the point where they're involved in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit.  Unattainable love and sibling alienation (if you'll allow the metaphor of brotherhood for a close heterosexual bond between two men) are understandable and poignant themes.  We need protagonists and antagonists for the story to work.
No I'm telling you that's a dude.  Don't ask me why I'm so sure...

David Fincher -a cinematic genius in his own right- wasn't telling the story of a single man.  He was using the framework and elements of one man's story to explore the zeitgeist of a generation.  And even though that generation's only aspirations are to comment endlessly on random comments they make, answer trivia about each other, cyberstalk people they went to high school with or write random shit in blogs nobody will read, THE SOCIAL NETWORK still made for a great movie.

Speaking of great movie, I have to note at this point that I was really blown away by a few aspects of this movie which I really must mention, because I'm compelled to drone on about... whatever.  First, I was blown away by Jesse Eisenberg who up until this point I kind of had pegged as a Michael Cera 2.0.  Which was not necessarily a bad thing, but THE SOCIAL NETWORK really allowed Eisenberg to play a slightly different character (although still a nerd) and stretch his acting muscles a bit.  This is the movie that also put Andrew Garfield on the map for me.  There's been a lot of talk about the new Spider-Man movie and Garfield is playing Parker/Spider-Man and before watching this movie I couldn't give a shit.  I didn't know who Andrew Garfield was and, quite frankly, didn't care to know.  He was certainly no Toby Maguire.  Now after seeing THE SOCIAL NETWORK (and THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS) I'm totally stoked to see this kid in more shit.  Get him in shit.  Lots of shit.  Right now.  Buckets of shit.  Mountains of shit.  The more shit this kid is in, the better.

I also have to comment on the seamless CG douche-replicating technology used on Armie Hammer so he could play both Winklevoss twins in the movie (not to insinuate that Hammer is a douche bag -I was referring to the characters- although he might be a total douche in real life; I have no way of knowing at this point).  The technology is becoming so seamless that I can't wait for George Lucas to use it to fix all CG in the STAR WARS movies and re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-release them yet again.  Maybe we can get two Jar-Jar's!  Hooray!  (The sad thing is I'll still buy them all regardless.)  

Alright, enough about me.  If you want a good time go and buy THE SOCIAL NETWORK, invite your best hermaphrodite friend over, bust out your finest bottle of iced tea, get naked and do what you do best.  I give THE SOCIAL NETWORK a 9.5/10 =  One Tortured Genius Head Arrogantly Turning Up His Nose at A Couple of Snooty Harvard Twin Heads Trying to Pull Themselves Out Of Each Other's Asses

Friday, October 14, 2011

Death App: Steve Jobs Powers Down for the Last Time. Recollections of a PC User

On October 5 2011 Steve Jobs, the king of Apple, downloaded his final app.  Apparently he finally succumbed to the pancreatic cancer that had plagued him in recent years.  But unlike most of his loyal subjects -anybody who has ever owned an iPod, iPhone, iMac, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, iPad, or one of those shitty Mac computers in the 90's- Steve Jobs' legacy will live on at least for the indefinite future.  Before I go on I must confess (profess?) that I am not an Apple guy.  The company, not the fruit.  I really dig Royal Galas.  So sweet and crunchy... But anyway.

I never dug Apple computers.  I suppose this dates back to high school when one of those tiny Macs  (I think the Mac Classic) deleted a whole shitload of my schoolwork at a time when I completed precious little work as it was and cost me precious marks in chemistry class (that I took for some reason) that I could ill afford.  Plus it was so small, and for some reason I remember the output on the screens as only in black and white.

This dislike and distrust of Apple products followed me into university where one of my roommates and good friends Dave seemed dedicated to Apple products.  He had not one but two computers at a time when I still didn't own one: an iBook and an iMac.  I distinctly remember the iMac because it was completely lacking in the requisite tower that accompanied other PC's.  It was tower and screen in one.  Plus the back half of the casing was translucent blue so you could see the inner workings of a computer which, admittedly if you're not a computer guy are pretty fucking boring.  I started university in 2000 and at the time DVD's were just, just starting to come out, and DVD players were a rare, expensive commodity.  But the iMac had a built in DVD player so we ended up hauling it out to the living room so we could gather around its 15" monitor.  If memory serves, the very first DVD I ever watched was AMERICAN PSYCHO on an iMac in my university residence.
Give me your soul

But I never really dug the Apple hardware and it wasn't until years later I realized I wasn't supposed to.  This was the first part of Steve Jobs legacy.  Apple computers weren't marketed to guys like me.  They were expensive off the get go and due to their lack of upgradability they would need to be replaced at a startling rate.  Plus they had software and operating systems that I -as a layman and starving student- had absolutely no knowledge about.  This was not by accident.  On one end of the spectrum Apple created an air of elitism unparalleled in the consumer market.  Even now Apple computers are associated as much with pretentious douchebags as much as they are with, say, editing software which everybody seems to acknowledge is one of their strongest points.  Even more so, I'd say.  Even the Apple retail outlets seem elitist and condescending.  You can't enter one unless you're a Mac person and you can't become a true Mac person without entering one.  But you can't, because they're like exclusive clubs and somehow just getting close to one makes you feel small and dirty and unworthy somehow.  Like you're not good enough.  I've heard that sometimes Apple douches will just go into these places just to hang out and talk about their computers.  Dicks.

This pretentiousness really came off in those annoying commercials in the early 2000's with the Justin Long and John Hodgman "I'm a Mac / I'm a PC" commercials.  I know the point of the commercials was to illustrate the supposed benefits of buying and owning a Mac as opposed to a PC, but to me the Mac always came off as kind of a dick.  And the whole ad campaign -while funny at times- left a bad taste in my mouth because they seemed more like political attack ads you see during an election: the kind that don't actually address any real issues, but just attack your opponent making you look like the bigger douche in comparison.      

This sometimes blows my mind because the other half of Steve Jobs legacy seems diametrically opposed to this cultivated elitism.  Arguably the product that has really captured the public's consciousness and has become most associated with the Apple corporation is the ubiquitous iPod.  And unlike Apple's line of computers which foster a sense of hierarchical separation and class distinction, the iPod seems to be the unifying thread in the electronics world that breaks down barriers and fosters a sense of equality and the kind of classless society that would make Marx vomit in joy.  It has permeated Western society from the lowliest grade 5 student to the most hard-nosed businessman.

Apple -under the leadership and direction of Steve Jobs- singlehandedly altered the entire music industry from production to distribution to consumption.  Not only did the iPod decimate its competition in the MP3 player market (yeah, nice try Zune) and go on to replace the discman and become the dominate technology in the way we listen to our music but the online store iTunes helped shape the music industry on every level.  Because of the pervasiveness of the iPod all of the big labels (and the small ones) had to pass through the hallowed gates on iTunes.  You could buy entire albums or just a single track.  Apple set the (originally) standard price of 99 cents a song.  The great equalizer.  Now "releasing an album" probably means "releasing an album on iTunes" what with the apparent slow but steady death of physical media like CD's.  Apple made music more available more affordable and more mobile than it ever had been in the history of music.

Then came the app craze which is still in full effect and the iPad which is apparently revolutionary in ways that I -as a non-Mac guy- cannot comprehend or fathom.  Perhaps the consequences and effects only Steve Jobs alone knew, and now the secret is gone with him to his grave.  It was only in recent years that I became of the person Steve Jobs and that in itself says something.  How many other CEO's of multi-billion dollar companies could you name off the top of your head (that haven't been popularized in the media like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg)?  And how many could be characterized as "visionary" or be attributed with being the driving force behind a culture-altering company?  How many seem to be such a positive approachable guy as by all accounts Steve Jobs was?

I don't know much about Jobs' personal life, and I'm not going to do any research right now.  I'm waiting for the movie, the rights for which are already in negotiation with a major studio.  I can only speak to his paradoxical legacy of cultural elitism and unifying community.  And watching my first DVD on that cold fall night some eleven years ago huddled around the glow of that 15" screen watching Christian Bale mutilate and kill dozens of people in digital clarity.

Thanks Steve Jobs.          

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sex, Drugs and Princess Leia: Attack of the Geeks... True Stories of Societal Disenfranchisement and Action Figures

I've never really considered myself a true part of any social or cultural organization except, of course, for the International Community of United Masturbators.  At one point I even considered running for president of ICUM until I realized that my competition, Jorge Valenzuela had broken the Guiness World Record for Average Daily Masturbation (87, in case you were wondering).  With dreams of presidential candidacy shattered I had to resign myself to toiling in obscurity at the one job I was actually good at (no complaints so far).  Aside from this little anomaly I have been consistently on the outskirts of human social interaction for as long as I can remember, although now it has consistently become more and more a conscious choice.

I enjoy it.  I like being on the outside.  I just can't summon up the requisite interest or passion necessary for entrance into the inner circles of any socially constructed unit.  I just don't feel that emotionally invested in anything the human race has to offer.  It's a difficult tightrope to walk, though.  It has become necessary at times to associate myself with certain culturally constructed groups, for example at work.  It is necessary in order to reap the benefits (ie. the money, booze, and/or hookers) that are associated with that particular group.  So in some ways I have to construct myself as an insider.  However,by self-marginalizing myself I don't get caught up with any of the thousands of pointless games that are played within these social constructs and absolve myself of all responsibilities when the group I am (loosely) associated with A) Pisses off another group and/or individual or B) Inevitably fucks up (like all human individuals and organizations eventually do).  I can reap the benefits in times of plenty and keep my distance when the proverbial shit hits the fan.  

This can be a potentially dangerous zone to inhabit -there's always some self-righteous douchebag ready to start "calling people out" for not "getting involved" or "caring enough" about whatever- but just like any socially constructed status it has its rewards and its own subtle satisfactions.  All in all its a good place to be.  It's the philosophical equivalent of mooching, but applied to my entire life.  It may sound easy, but it takes total dedication and complete commitment in day to day life in order to maintain social relationships you have absolutely no interest in maintaining (outside of whatever personal gain you are in a position to receive) while putting forth the least amount of energy possible to maintain it without the other party/parties involved realizing your lack of interest.  Usually it's fairly easy because most people are either A) too stupid to notice, B) too caught up with themselves to really notice anyone around them, C) too drunk to care, D) busy banging your best friend at the prom while you were waiting by the punch bowl.  But in anticipation of those few people who might actually be paying attention it's important to practice important life skills like lying and feigning interest in conversations and refraining from strangling people and not referring to your waitress as a "serving wench" apparently.  

This is a shade of grey, however.  The two basic modes for constructing identity within a societal group are the same two modes of existing in a world where herpes exists:  yeah or nay.  You either exist in harmony with a social group or in rebellion to it.  You either have herpes, or you don't.  Of course human society is only slightly more complex and interesting than genital warts, but only just.  The simple fact is that most people inhabit that first space of complicit, passive acceptance.  It's just easier to do what everybody else is doing and agree with what everybody else is thinking.  This is really the cornerstone not only to representative democracy in the West, but basically of a (relatively) peaceful coexistence in Western society.  Many might call it apathy, but it is really just passive endorsement.  The truly apathetic wouldn't wipe their asses after they shit, or even gotten off of the couch.  Passive endorsement is taking a shit, wiping your ass, knowing that your waste is being pumped into the drinking water of a village in the middle of the African desert and doing it anyway.  It's easier not to argue.  There are a few who try to exist in opposition to societal norms, railing against "the establishment" condemning our use of fossil fuels, proclaiming their love of bands nobody's heard of because nobody's heard of them and then deriding these same bands when they achieve some modicum of success, or protesting outside of fast food restaurants.  These people see themselves as outsiders, but are ultimately still constructing their identities based on what they perceive to be societal norms.  So whether you act in accordance with or in opposition to societal norms you are still just existing on different sides of the same coin of societal construction.  

The only true way to escape this paradigm would be to ascribe to the tennets of nihilism, which is extremely hard to do because by definition you have to literally have an intrinsic belief that there is no value in anything.  This is surprisingly hard to do.  The only person I know who has personally almost succeeded in removing himself from the equation is my friend Adam.  First off if you asked him if I was his friend he would probably not answer in the affirmative.  He would probably question the institution of friendship with a jest about the chastity of your mother, a hearty laugh, and some homemade explosives rigged to go off when you started your car.  But he doesn't view friendship the way you or I do at all.  He doesn't seem to feel the need for social interaction the way most people do, outside of maintaining dialogue with those few people he deems "acceptable."  The rest of the world he holds in complete disdain.  While I have striven to maintain bare minimum levels of emotional investment in human proceedings (much like a Vulcan meditating for the IDIC), he seems to have the innate ability to refrain from emotional investment altogether.  He is one of the lucky few.  If I was to sever all ties to him tomorrow I honestly believe he would not bat an eye.  If one of my wife's friends severed all ties to her, she might be devastated.  I would be somewhere in the middle.  A psychoanalyst might say that my friend Adam has sociopathic tendencies.  I wouldn't necessarily be in a position to disagree with this analysis.

It was about three or four years ago that another friend of mine, the notorious Ryebone, who having recently been cleared of some charges involving a high-powered telescope and a window to the room of his neighbor's daughter across the street wanted to celebrate his newfound liberty by indulging in a passion of his: crystal meth collecting comic books.  I awoke in the hospital one day to the news that someone had apparently stolen one of my kidneys.  Human kidneys, Ryebone tells me, can go for upwards of fifteen grand on the black market.  The doctors told me I had traces of rufelin in my system, though when pressed for an answer Ryebone had no explanation despite my last memory being drinking with him at his apartment.  He said he had been drugged too because when he woke up he discovered that someone had stolen his wallet as well.  As a way to cheer me up he told me about something called "FanExpo" that was held each year down in Toronto and that he wanted me to go with him.  So it was in order to try to keep Ryebone sober for 48 hours and to distract myself from my severely weakened immune system that we made our first trip down to FanExpo.

Fast forward three or four years to August 29/ 2011.  Our third or fourth time down.  We were becoming experts.  For instance we had learned through bitter experience that first year that it is essential to prebuy your tickets online lest you end up standing in line for upwards of two hours with a bunch of smelly, whiny, stereotypically sexually unappealing 30-something comic book geeks who (admittedly) still lived in their parents' basement (sadly I didn't even make that up and am still confused as to how it comes up in casual conversation and how the confessor of such a thing is not mocked and ridiculed by his friends).  It was situations like this, however, that brought to mind these questions of identity vis a vis the inclusion/exclusion social model I discussed above.

For those of you who have not been initiated into the fold the FanExpo is a convention whereby fans of comic books, movies, anime, horror, and video games can come together to meet celebrities in these fields and buy various products.  Mostly the commerce thing.  The main event is the "selling floor": basically a giant open room with a bunch of vendors set up their wares and hundreds of people buy Force FX lightsabers and have impromptu battles.  There is always a section in this main area where some celebrities charge exorbitant amounts to sign autographs.  There's also a fairly expansive video game section where this year they were previewing the newest Assassin's Creed game giving hardcore fans a chance to play it before it hit store shelves.  But the main part is the vendors: commerce and consumerism at its finest.  Walking in this year I felt the same kind of marginilization that I felt in all previous years.

First off I am not a huge comic book fan.  I'm a movie fan.  A video game fan.  Not a fan of casual drinking.  (If something's worth doing, it's worth doing right, goddamnit.)  Like any red-blooded male in North America over the age of one, I have a general knowledge about super heroes and have red and/or owned some comics or graphic novels and have masturbated at least once to some iteration of Catwoman (or a picture of Kristin Bell with a Catwoman mask drawn over her face with a marker).  I knew I was on the very outskirts of the comic book community, but I was unaware of how close I was to the brink.  Diving into the crowd at FanExpo I realized I was on the fringe of the fringe.  I didn't collect runs of individual comics searching through bins to find the numbers I was missing, I couldn't tell you the name of a single artist who drew in my favourite comics (even Alan Moore's collaborator on The Watchmen escapes me at the moment), and I certainly wouldn't have spent money buying the same edition of a comic with slightly different covers.  I knew the classics: Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wolverine.  I had a modest collection of graphic novels at home.  I wore t-shirts with super hero logos on them.  But I was obviously not one of These People, though nobody really seemed to notice but me.  I was acutely aware of the fact that I simply did not belong there.  I was a mere pilgrim: a tourist at best.  While others walked around in various costumes for no good reason other than "they felt like it" (or "their wife/girlfriend wasn't around to nag them") and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves I was experiencing a strange euphoria brought on by a combination of awe, wonder, and a strange, black substance I had eaten off the floor at lunch mistaking it for a pepperoni that had fallen off my pizza.  (The pepperoni was never heard from again...)

It was an odd spectacle to see pure consumerism laid bare with none of the usual trimmings or social proprieties in place to keep to mob in check.  It was nothing but bare bones stalls piled high with merchandise while the hungry jackals crowded around, pushing, teeth bared, their sweaty fists holding out wads of cash in exchange for some shiny new treasure.  It was intoxicating and I wanted everything to do with it.  I tried my best to join in the frenzy and suddenly I realized another absurdity, a consumerist paradox that only we here in the West would even claim to understand.  For most people the selling floor was The Thing to go to, but in order to get in you had to pay at least $30 for a ticket.  You had to spend money for the privilege of spending even more money inside.  It was bizarre and perverse and not something I think I could ever rationalize to anybody at any other time and place (including myself) but here it just made sense.  You have to spend money to spend money, as the old saying goes.  

In years previous I had tried to make a go of things as a fringe comic book fan, but I swore to myself this year that comics be damned I was here for the deals.  I wasn't going to start randomly buying comics or graphic novels like I had in the past "just because."  I was looking for a few specific things like a few volumes of The Walking Dead, and I was looking for some kick-ass deals, which it turns out I never found.  Instead my first kill was six Star Wars figures for the bargain basement price of $10.  One of them was Lando (Lando!) and the another was the medical droid from EMPIRE who helped Luke after Han rescued him from a cold death on Hoth and spent a (totally not gay) night with him in an improvised shelter waiting for Wedge Antilles and the rest of Rogue Squadron to locate them.  I can't remember the rest, but ten fucking dollars!  That's the shit that gets me hard.  The deals.  I also managed to find my new favourite toy: a twelve inch fully articulated model of Quentin Tarantino as Mr. Brown from RESEVOIR DOGS.  It was totally kick-ass.  It came with sunglasses, two guns, a holster, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and a tiny model of a CD of Like a Virgin that can actually be removed from its tiny case.  I ended up buying a couple of movies and a Superman t-shirt to replace the the police still have.  But no comics or graphic novels of any sort.  It was liberating.  I was finally only buying the shit I really wanted to buy.

Ryebone's adventures were not so visceral however.  He was always the mastermind behind these trips, but this year he seemed to be off of his game.  See, for some reason he's always totally stoked to go down (yes, in that way too) but when we get there he seems to get all flustered.  We'd been there for three hours and I'd joined in the frenzy, but he was still walking around empty-handed.  It was only with my encouragement/chronic beratement that he finally grew some balls and bought the Knightfall series.  I'm not sure why, but Ryebone seemed a little off the whole trip.  Later as we were scouring Toronto for board and video games he ended up driving on a raised platform with tracks intended for a system of streetcars.  About halfway down the street he suddenly swerved to the right over the edge of the platform -a good ten to twelve inch elevation from the street below- screaming like a wild banshee about "the end of things."  At first I was scared, but then I realized we were both buckled in so if we did die and they found our charred corpses no one would ever wrongly suspect the accident of being caused by a case of highway head gone terribly wrong and I was able to calm my already battered nerves.  Then after our little joyride through downtown Toronto we stopped at a small games and hobbies store where after spending three hours at the FanExpo he only reluctantly spent forty bucks on some comics it took him less than ten minutes to decide to spend a hundred dollars on a hardcore edition of Settlers of Catan.  It was well worth the money, don't get me wrong, it was just his erratic behaviour that worried me.  

Perhaps the energy on the selling floor had overloaded his circuits somehow.  Fused his brain.  Besides the raging tides of people pushing us ever onward there was a bevy of characters walking around that had previously only existed in our imaginations or had been separated from us by some kind of transparent screen.  It was a veritable carnival where Freddy Krueger could be seen standing next to Boba Fett.  The Joker could be seen mingling with Lara Croft.  Ghostbusters were rubbing shoulders with Starfleet captains.   Various -and mostly Asian- dudes and dudettes were dressed as anime characters with giant swords that I had no idea who they were.  And young women in varying degrees of hotness (and notness) could be seen rocking every fanboy's ultimate fantasy: the Princess Leia slave outfit.  Ryebone said he felt "kinda dirty" after looking at some of the hotness there, but I didn't really understand.  This was coming from the man whose measuring stick for a mature, adult relationship was the size of the "vag gap" of a potential mate.

All in all the trip was successful insofar as we left hundreds of dollars poorer, had probably caused serious structural damage to Ryebone's car, punched a storm trooper in the nuts, Ryebone had managed to stay sober for almost 34 hours, and I had had my little epiphany about estrangement and marginalization as a philosophically acceptable means of constructing one's identity.  Can't wait for next year.  I'll see you there.

(Just a note: all pictures in this article were taken by me... at last year's FanExpo.  I forgot my camera this year, and I was just going to let it slide, but for the sake of artistic integrity I thought you should know the truth.  Or, at least, whatever version of it works best for now.  Tits.)