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Absence makes the heart grow fonder/The worst blog post you’ve ever read

February 20, 2012

This is just a short post. All is good in the hood but I’m moving to London so things are crazy which has led to neglect of WordPress. It’s terrible. I’m so out of date with blogs that I’ve got no idea which classes of people Mitt Romney doesn’t care about this week. I had to read a newspaper to keep up with the news, ridiculous, I didn’t even know papers still existed. I was genuinely shocked at the array of newspapers my local shop stocked given that I don’t know anyone who reads them. Our village has about three hundred people in it and there were at least that many papers in the shop. I hope they recycle all the unsold ones but even still I think I’ve uncovered some sort of conspiracy that’s causing the economic crisis. Unfortunately I’m moving to London so I can’t chart the increases and decreases of papers in the shop and compare it to the FTSE and Dow Jones over the next few weeks to confirm my theory. Trust me though, Rupert Murdoch is up to something.

Look at his threatening pose. He eats people like you for breakfast, after liquidising you first so he doesn't have to chew. (Picture from the Guardian)

I feel like my absence from WordPress has done me the world of harm. I’d grafted away to trick a few people in to thinking that I had things to say that were funny or interesting or made them hungry. That’s right, I used the weapon of delicious food to attract people to my blog. I promise you that as soon as I can get my internet set up in the new pad I’ll have something to write that is worth reading. Originally I wrote something to say that is worth hearing but that was insane, what a fool I am. I’m typing so fast right now and I’m sure that it comes across to anyone reading/hearing this that I’ve got absolutely no purpose in what I’m writing/saying.

Just so I accomplish at least one thing in this, the world’s worst blog post, I’ve decided to assuage the masses and accept some thing/award/thing that means I have to tell people stuff. Fortunately I’m typing so fast that I’m going to have to do an express version of it.

These are the rules and my reaction to the rules

THE RULES

1) Add the Versatile Blogger Award to your post. I don’t know what this means so…no. 

2) Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog. Thank you to Cristy Carrington Lewis. I wasn’t watching the grammy’s or I’d have nabbed one of their thank you speeches. I feel like I should say I’m blessed because people do that a lot. I’m blessed. CLICK TO READ HER BLOG AND STOP READING MINE BECAUSE I’VE NOTHING OF VALUE TO SAY TONIGHT 

3) Share 7 completely random pieces of information about myself. Completely random. Challenge accepted.

I blatantly chose this image because it matches the Murdoch pointing thing a bit. Picture from sodahead.com

4) Include this set of rules in your post. I’d done this before I read this rule. 

5) Nominate 10 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award in this post. I’m going to duck out of this one by saying that anyone who has ever commented on my blog has shown a level of versatility that deserves the bequeathing of this award. They have shown versatility by not just blogging, but clicking on other blogs, reading them and commenting. Kudos.

6) Notify each of the nominees by posting a comment on each of their blogs. Y’know this reminds me of when I received chain mails about 9 years ago. What happened to them, why do I no longer receive emails that say ‘If you don’t pass this on to 7 people you’ll be fondled by a zombie in the middle of St Swithin’s day’. 

That random 7 things part


1. I have a cow onesie. It is both hilarious and comfortable.

2. I’m afraid to use the word nonchalant in real life because people pronounce it in so many different ways that I’m not certain which way to say it.

3. I frequently put myself off eating meat by thinking about what actual bit of the animal I’m eating. I mean, when you eat a chicken breast you’re not eating fat, or cartilage, or skin, you’re eating a muscle. What the hell, a muscle, imagine eating a bicep.

4. My favourite board game is Cranium and if you disagree you’re wrong.

5. My pet hate is people spelling the word lose ‘loose’. I say pet but that makes it sound playful. My explosive hate is people spelling the word lose ‘loose’.

6. I like portraying myself as a ladies’ man to nerds because they buy it and others don’t. This is because I’m a nerd.

7. I often convince myself that if I put my mind to something I can do it. There have been times where I’ve honestly believed I could play at Wimbledon or win the London Marathon. I generally accomplish very little as you can tell by reading this post.

Now time to quickly proof read this and add a few pictures to make it seem more interesting. Psychology. I promise I’ll be better next time.

 

My goal is to make you hungry

February 7, 2012

So this post won’t be overly smart… In fact I think I’m only writing it because I’m so damn hungry but I’m in bed and it seems completely ridiculous to get up and cook. The word ‘food’ is only one letter away from ‘good’ which in turn is only one letter away from ‘God’ therefore food is awesome. QED.

I recently spent 3 months in North America, mostly the USA but a couple of weeks in Canada. Watching the Superbowl last night made me reminisce about some of the excellent and almost all unhealthy food that I ate on my travels. As much as I loved the sites and people of the lands across the pond, the food was way more important. Here are some of the great things I had along the way:

New York City: Dos Toros Taqueria’s Burritos

The burrito was born in San Francisco, but these guys have done excellent things with it on the complete opposite site of the continent. Chipotle is good, and something I’d love to have in the UK, but it doesn’t come close to the brilliance of the burritos I enjoyed here. Also their hot sauce is probably the best I’ve ever had. Have a look at these tacos:

(picture from newyork.seriouseats.com)

Buffalo: The Anchor Bar’s wings

Another thing we really don’t do in the UK are wings. It’s insane. When it comes to sports, drinking with friends, friday nights, romantic first dates, wedding receptions, funeral buffets, wings can do the job. If you want wings that do more than ‘the job’ and you’re in Buffalo (just an aside, Buffalo is…well…boring, so wings are all it really has….and the Niagara Falls I guess) then you’ve got to head to the place chicken wings were invented. Yes you heard me, chickens did not have wings until the Anchor Bar genetically modified an entire species and gave them wings. Before this chickens were classed as reptiles. The best thing about the Anchor’s wing is the blue cheese sauce which is better than any competitor I’ve ever tried. Here’s what I had to eat the night I was there (3 of us couldn’t quite finish it and I’m still ashamed of myself for leaving some):

(taken by me in September 2011)

Washington DC: Five Guys Burgers

Wow, what a burger. Five Guys are the Mario Manningham catch from last night’s Superbowl of burgers. The concept is simple, order a burger and add as many toppings as are humanly possible for no extra cost. I never saw another Five Guys after I left DC, I’m pretty sure they are quite widespread but I couldn’t find them. Another thing, their jalapeno peppers are just so much spicier than anyone else’s, be warned. I can totally understand why this guy goes to Five Guys:

(from the Huff Post)

San Antonio: Chicken Fried Steak from LuLu’s (featured on Man vs Food)

Chicken fried what?! When I was first told about Chicken Fried Steak my brain went into shock. I ran through various ideas of what it could mean and couldn’t work it out. For me it epitomises Texan food, big, fried, battered, unhealthy, delicious. Rather than a weird chicken-ey steak which I thought it would be, it is actually just a massively tenderised steak, coated in Southern style batter and deep fried. Being Texas you generally get two gigantic side orders and a wallop of ‘country gravy’ which is an odd white sauce that tastes like chicken gravy, and you pay around $6. This is the most palatable picture that I can find, there’s some pretty messy looking ones out there on google images.

(picture from freeingmymartha.blogspot.com)

San Francisco: The salsa from Papalote

Papalote was made famous by beating Bobby Flay in his Throwdown show. I know their burritos SHOULD be better than the one I had in NYC, but for me, it actually came a close second. The salsa however was out of this world and I’ve a heartbreaking story to tell you about it. I was in Papalote for the last time, I was flying to LA the next day and knew I’d probably never be back. I decided that because of this I should be generous with my tip…WHAT A MISTAKE. Minutes after paying and leaving my tip I noticed that they had jars of the world’s best salsa for sale and it was $7. I counted the cash in my wallet and it came to…..$6.40. I’m not entirely certain what the etiquette is for walking to the tip jar and removing your tip but I’m pretty sure it is frowned upon. My stupid, idiotic generosity cost me dearly and I will forever lament the decision. A slight silver lining is that they post the salsa, but only to North American addresses…i’m sure that I’ll make some friends on WordPress and they’ll be willing to organise it so I get some!

(from the Papalote website. PS, where Meatloaf ‘won’t do that’ for love, I’ll do it for this salsa)

Halifax NS: Poutine from Alexandria’s Pizza

Poutine is a fancy French word for such a simple thing. Fries topped with mozzarella cheese and covered in gravy. Everything melts, the fries become soft, tangled together with cheese and saturated with gravy. I’ve had a lot of food when drunk in an attempt to ‘cure drunk’ but this is the best. Though it sounds pretty plain the fast food places have added so much variety, you can get almost any meat added to the Poutine and it makes things even better. I generally got my Poutine from Alexandria’s because they have won their fair share of poutinerie awards. I want this so badly right now:

(from the Alexandria’s pizza website)

And that’s it. Your journey from East to West and then North East again is over and chances are you’ve put on some weight. But it was so worth it.

Treading Water

February 3, 2012

I’m very new to WordPress and so far I’ve been amazed by the breadth of blogs out there. I’ve been in the stage between finishing being a student and starting my first job for a little while now so I feel my brain has become stagnant and it’s great to read peoples’ views on such a wide variety of things that get my mind working a bit.

Reading so many great blogs has got me thinking, what type of blogger should I be? Should I write about interesting news, humour, TV, politics, my life, your life, the MetLife blimp, the possibilities are endless. So let’s go for it, lets write about ALL these things in one post, it might just be crazy enough to work! (but the organiser in me requires clearly distinct sections!)

Section 1: Super interesting news

Russian scientists are days away from drilling through ice hundreds of thousands of years old to an actual lake of water, kept liquid by the heat of the earth’s core. Who cares? The reason I think this is cool is that this lake hasn’t seen light in 20 million years, who knows what they’ll find. If any life is found then it could mean that there is life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons where it’s also believed that under thick ice there is vast amounts of liquid water.

Want to read more? Check out the Washington Post article here

Section 2: Hahahumour!!

I honestly believe that I’ve made a huge mistake. Who puts themselves on the spot to be humorous? Stand up comedians you may say, and you’d be correct, and you’d make me look like a fool. My funny moment for the day was seeing that this ‘person’ was following me on Twitter:

It made me actually laugh out loud. We’re all used to spam and over the years it has got more subtle and conniving. What’s great about poor June Pedroza is that the scam is just so hilariously basic. Let’s get a picture of a pretty girl and add a link with not just the word ‘sex’, but also ‘gangbang’ and ‘hardcore’. What man wouldn’t immediately believe that this woman is a genuine sexual partner opportunity? It’s foolproof. I’ll take a break from writing this post while I head over to her website to woo her and make her mine.

Section 3: TV

I’m not American but when it comes to TV I really am. The USA is lucky to have so many great sitcoms, animated shows, hosts like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, dramas, it’s brilliant. What does the UK have to compete with the behemoth of American television? The answer is of course a show where the creators took a pretty famous British model and turned her into….A BODYBUILDER! I proudly present, Jodie Marsh: The latest victim of King Midas:

Section 4: Boring depressing politics

Even though I’m from the UK it’s impossible to avoid hearing about the Republican nomination contest. What makes this politics so depressing is the money being paid for advertising and smear campaigns. I’m genuinely shocked by the millions of dollars that these guys are spending to insult people in their own political party, at least the UK does something right. Please America, set a cap for the amount that can be spent on election campaigns. While the average person finds their income falling and their chance of employment reducing US politicians are building a multi-million dollar war chest to spend on defamation and mud-slinging. It’s one thing for politics to be boring but you guys are making it depressing.

Section 5: My life

As I said at the start of this crazy post, I’m just waiting to start my first job. It means that I’m in limbo at the minute because there’s no point doing any other jobs as I start in 4 weeks, but I’ve no money to do anything fun. If I could sum up how being stuck in this limbo makes me feel I’d do it by showing you this actual picture of what the sky looked like today where I live. I mean seriously, what are you supposed to do when it looks like this outside…

Section 6: Your life

Well, you’re just going to have to click on the comments box and let me know that you are in fact alive, and not June Pedroza inviting me to another one of her scrumptious gangbangs on twitter!

Section 7: The MetLife Blimp

I said I’d cover everything that I mentioned above… Did you know that the giant MetLife blimp is available for hire? You can get the blimp to do an actual flyover for your birthday party. With my birthday only a couple of months away I’m going to make sure that the MetLife blimp comes to the UK and drops a giant birthday cake down for me.

And so we’ve reached the end of this post, and discovered next to nothing about what kind of blogger I’m going to be!

 

(Lake Vostock photo from Washington Post, Jodie Marsh photo from kissandmakeuptv, Sad Face cereal from elgoog.cc, Metlife blimp photo from blog.amycrissman.com)

How Family Guy tackled a very real legal issue

January 31, 2012

I watched the most recent episode of Family Guy last night and as well as being very funny it raised the issue of Christian Scientists and other denominations who don’t believe in many forms of modern medicine. I’ve got to say right off the bat that I’m not religious, I’m not trying to advocate any sort of religious viewpoint, I’m just trying to write objectively.

When I was studying law I read a few cases on Jehovah’s witnesses who refused surgery and blood transfusions because it went against their religious beliefs and inevitably, they all died when they could have possibly been saved. One particular case involved a man who stabbed a female  Jehovah’s witness. The woman then died as she refused life-saving treatment. The defendant in the case argued that he shouldn’t be convicted of murder. He stated that his actions would not have led to death if not for the decision to withhold medical treatment.This argument was flatly rejected by the UK Courts, and rightly so.

Nobody should get off with murder simply because they feel the religious beliefs of a certain individual are crazy and irresponsible. It may be that the views of the individual are irresponsible but it comes down to simple common sense that is dressed up in a long-standing principle of law, the ‘thin skull’ principle. When you choose to attack someone, you take the risk that they may have, for example, a thin skull or in this case a religious belief that prevents them from surviving and that your attack will kill them even though it wouldn’t kill the average man. You will be punished for the murder irregardless. Ignorance is not a defence.

What is however very tragic is that ignorance is a defence in many societies when it comes to parents and their children. If you are a Christian Scientist or a Scientologist or a Jehovah’s witness and you make medical decisions on behalf of your children that are deemed by contemporary society to be irresponsible should you be punished?

For me what it comes down to is that every citizen is a citizen of the state, with rights that ought to be protected by the state. An adult has the right to choose whether or not they refuse treatment, a child does not have the mental capacity to do so yet. People in this vulnerable position need the state to step in and make the right decision for them. In reality, often parents will not be found culpable by the courts and the state, in the form of the legal system, will have failed to step in after the death of a child. This is a double failure for the state who should have first stepped in, in the form of child services, when the medical treatment was refused and again to punish the parents.

Family Guy made an excellent argument. In the episode a family refused to have their child treated for cancer as they planned to pray the disease away, Lois Griffin responded with the following:

“I know you don’t believe in modern medicine, but you do believe in the power of prayer. And through the years when there was disease or infection people of good faith would pray to God for a cure. Well then isn’t it possible that penicillin, vaccines and antibiotics are all actually answered prayers? And isn’t it possible that the amazing men and woman of medicine who brought about these miracles could be the instruments of God’s answers to our prayers? It’s wrong for you to ignore what very well could be the Lord’s will, what’s the point of praying to God if you’re just going to wipe your butt with his answers?”

We should all embrace Lois Griffin’s message. Thanks Seth MacFarlane.

Being anonymous

January 31, 2012

The world is changing incredibly fast due to social media, and with it I feel we are becoming more afraid of what people think of us. When you post a status to facebook you judge its popularity by the number of likes that it gets, the same happens on twitter with the number of followers that you have. It all becomes very depressing because you get sucked in to a world where someone clicking their mouse can have a real effect on your emotions.

I will sometimes find something funny that I’d like to share on facebook and I come close to posting it before I think, oh no my young cousin might see that or that I don’t want a family member or even a certain friend to see it. Often I also decide not to post something because it will make me seem really weird. If I comment about how good an episode of Firefly was then the vast majority of my so called ‘friends’ will give me a mental ‘-1’ in their minds. They’ll think ‘oh, what a loser, I’ve never even heard of that show, he must have no life’. The worst thing of all is that even if nobody does think negatively of me I have it in my head that they will and it prevents me from being who I am and expressing myself in the way I would like to. I am censored before I even start writing, censored by fears that may or may not be rational. I won’t get invited to birthday parties if people think I’m too much of a nerd, I won’t find happiness, I’ll die alone, bla bla bla. What a pile of crap, but I think it is the world that most of us live in.

That’s why there is a real incentive to publish something anonymously. Of course, the downside to such a thing is that nobody, nobody in the world will ever read what you have to say. I’ve done a bit of blogging before and in my experience the method of getting hits is to reveal to your world of friends that you have a blog. Human curiosity, nosiness, the desire to find a flaw in everyone will force people to click on your blog desperate to expose you as a loser to make themselves feel better. When you try and be anonymous you lift the shackles upon yourself, but you lose any chance of your message being heard. This however doesn’t matter for the many blogs as their message doesn’t really add much to the world, I’d love to be able to selectively cauterise the Kardashians, Justin Bieber, Big Brother, all that terrible stuff that exists in the blogosphere.

This leaves me in the position that I find myself in tonight. I am free to write without my (ir)rational fear (perhaps pathetic) of my facebook friends demonising me. I can talk about anything I want without someone bringing it up when I’m in the pub. I can be free, which is what the web is really about. What about the fact that nobody will care, nobody will want to hear what I have to say, everyone will be too busy reading their blogs about celebrities and their pet iguanas? I don’t mind that nobody will read what I have to say, the joy is in writing.

I guess this brings me to the main question, what in the world is there to write about that deserves such a grandiose entrance. What am I being prevented from saying on facebook, what do I have to say that can really change things, that can really add something to the way the world should act? I’m not special. I am one of 7 billion people and I can’t promise that anything I write will be worth reading, thus removing the problem of the fact that nobody will read it. What I can say is that anyone who is free from the shackles of  acquaintances’ judgment is in a great position to write.

I want to offer something unique. It is rare to find someone on the internet who isn’t trying to get a laugh, who doesn’t think they are always right, who simply wants to talk, who is happy to listen, who wants to offer an insight into anything and everything and who doesn’t want to gain any popularity, money or power. I’m just here for the ride.