Doo doot, Doo DOOT!

On today’s VTAN, Kyle and Callie talk about how life has changed one month since their wedding then discuss ideas for their upcoming marriage/movie review podcast. Josh tells us a little something about his 30 Day Vegan Healthy Living Challenge and posits the question: Do YOU know the name of that song that goes “Doo doot, Doo DOOT. Doo doot, Doo

 

April Fool’s (Wedding) Day!

Kyle and Callie got married.

Josh watched.

Now, a week later the three of them talk about everything that went into planning and executing the greatest wedding of all time.

(P.S. A nasty cold has been going around and Callie’s mic cable kept falling out, so please excuse all the coughs, sniffles and intermittent fuzzy audio)

subscribe on iTunes

Screwy Guy Pod

It’s finally here!

Suicide-SquadNope, we’re not just talkin’ about Suicide Squad, we’re talkin’ about VTAN!

A new episode of the podcast is also FINALLY here and we’re giving our thoughts on DC’s latest.

Did we love it? Hate it?

Find out on today’s episode of the VTAN Podcast!

 

Deadpool 2: The Future

The VTAN boys are back and they’re ready to finally talk about Deadpool.

Did they love it?
Spoiler Alarm: Yes, but they have plenty of salty things to say about it.

Stay tuned ’til the very end to hear Josh’s crazy ideas for Deadpool 2

VTAN Rewind: Top 5 Movies of 2014

Today is Oscar Night! The “best” movies and actors will be announced, but here at VTAN we like to throw around our own movie awards.

We know you LOVED our Top 5 of 2015, so in the spirit of nostalgia here’s a re-release of last year’s Top 5 episode. It’s presented here as it was, in it’s original form, unedited, not like George Lucas’s bullshit Special Editions!

It makes an excellent companion piece with this year’s Top 5 Episode

Top 5 Movies of 2015

Hoe.

Lee.

Fuck!

It has been FAR too long since the last episode and EVEN LONGER since we recorded what you’re about to hear. This was recorded about 2 weeks after new year’s when (as is VTAN Tradition) Kyle and I counted down our 2nd Annual Top 5 Favourite Movies of the Year List!

If you’re feeling sentimental you can check out what we had to say about last year’s movies here.

Did our picks match yours? Was there a really great movie that we somehow missed?

Am I crazy for thinking 50 Shades of Grey is the funniest movie of the year?

Listen and find out!

Star Wars Review-cast

 

Kyle and Josh recorded a review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens shortly after the New Year, but we decided on holding off on the release until everyone had a chance to watch it.

Of course Josh thinks that it was a perfect, flawless, piece of imaginative film making and Kyle is just a jerk determined  to find fault in anything that makes Josh feel even the tiniest shred of happiness in his cold, dark, soul…

So we talk about Star Wars and Josh briefly mentions his obsession with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Brodway masterpiece Hamilton.

All Star Team Up

The VTAN Podcast’s unscheduled and uncomfortably long hiatus has finally come to an end! We’re back, bitches!

This episode was released simultaneously on The whyCarly Podcast feed in an effort to get some of that sweet crossover traffic.

It worked for Flash and Arrow, right?

Today we open Christmas gifts, we get a Hollywood insider scoop on some of the movies Kyle’s been working on and we speculate on how good Josh would be at giving handjobs.

My guess?

REAL GOOD!

Did You Say “Fecal Position”?


Kyle is outta town for two months working with Bill Paxton on a big Hollywood movie. Now Josh is stuck taking Kyle’s girlfriend shoe shopping in his absence. How is that fair? At least he has his burgeoning Periscope addiction to keep him happy…

On Today’s VTAN the lads get on Skype to talk a bit about The Martian, season 19 of South Park and which celebrity deaths would be the saddest. (hint: The correct answer is Paul McCartney).

This episode ends with an exciting cliffhanger that will be resolved next Wednesday on The whyCarly Podcast.

Kyle's bummed 'cause he can't tell the difference between Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman.

Kyle’s bummed ’cause he can’t tell the difference between Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman.

 

Flight of the Last Starfight in Paris (whyCarly Crossover)

If you listen to VTAN and for whatever reason aren’t already aware, Kyle and Josh host a second podcast all about the acclaimed Nickelodeon show iCarly. 

Today’s VTAN started off as an episode of whyCarly, but the boys ended up getting way off track and started talking about The Last Starfighter, The Flight of the Navigator, the infamous “butter scene” in Last Tango in Paris and a pornographic prequel to the classic cartoon show, Rugrats.

There was no other option  than to release it here on The VTAN Podcast where such topics are just par for the course.

This special episode of VTAN is the perfect gateway drug into whyCarly because it’ll show you that an appreciation (or even a cursory knowledge) of iCarly isn’t necessary to enjoy a podcast about two grown men watching a kid’s show.

You can subscribe on iTunes or follow on Twitter @whyCarlyPod

FANT-4-STIC

Kyle and Josh and Callie (oh, my!) just came back from a late night screening of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four.

Listen to our ridiculous rambling as we try, with varying degrees of success, to figure out how to work our new sound mixer.

Do we agree with all the negative reviews?
Could we, ourselves, write a better ending to the movie?
Will we ever figure out how to adjust the sound levels?

Find out on today’s VTAN Podcast!

Kyle stared at his microphone for 2 hours and then just burst into tears

Kyle stared at his microphone for 2 hours and then just burst into tears

SUPER SPOILERS!!!

whyCarly?: An Experiment

For those stalwart few devoted listeners of the VTAN Podcast who are wondering why it’s been so long since we’ve released a new episode, prepare for some exciting news.

We’re not gone. We’ve just been busy preparing our newest endeavor.

On July 1st (that’s Canada Day to the international crowd) we will be launching our new iCarly appreciation podcast whyCarly at whyCarly.Rocks

whyCarly-logo

I’m sure a lot of you are asking yourselves, “Why Carly?” and the answer is simple.

iCarly, a show that ran for 109 episodes (or 107 depending on who you ask) from 2007-2012 is a Nickelodeon show that was aimed at tween girls.

It is also (along with The Simpsons, Battlestar Galactica, Community and Frasier) one of my Top 5 Favourite shows of all time.

Listeners of the podcast will have heard me talk about it before and you almost certainly have heard Kyle make fun of me mercilessly for it.

That’s the point of this new podcast. To show my best friend and co-host Kyle the value of a seemingly innocuous kid’s show and to try to get him to change his mind. To convert him, as it were, into an iCarly fan.

Look for us on iTunes this Canada Day and follow us on twitter @whyCarlyPod

Devil Worship

Today’s VTAN starts and ends with an in depth analysis of the Netflix Original Series Daredevil.

In the middle is a big ol’ Suicide Squad geek out and if you stick around ’til the very end you’ll get a sneak peak of Josh’s upcoming summer single/auto-tune masterpiece “Spoon Sucker”.

[This episode was recorded 15 minutes before we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron]

Revengers 2: Asia Voltron (part II: The ACTUAL Review)

OK folks, I know the last episode barely scratched the surface. We hardly talked about the movie but not so today! Today we get into it. No more foreplay! Today I am a man… or at least a 12 year old girl. Here’s the Bat Mitzvah pics to prove it.

imageThat’s just a picture of some of the shenanigans Callie and I got up to during Kyle’s 40 MINUTE BATHROOM BREAK while we were waiting to get into Avengers : Age of Ultron this past Saturday night.

Listen to our spoiler full review.

 

It’S GOT TONSA SPOILERS!!!

 

Revengers 2: Asia Voltron (Part I)

Kyle, Josh and Callie are back after a long hiatus to talk about The Revengers… eventually.

 

In today’s episode we PRE-view the movie one hour before watching it and discuss our expectations all while getting side tracked with long winded digressions about Furious 7, Arrow, Daredevil and (most randomly) Star Trek Voyager.

Stay tuned for Part II when we actually review the movie after having seen it.

 

1 Non-Troll: The Day of the Dress and the Power Ranger Freakout

Is Josh crazy for hating Gotham to religiously fundamentalist proportions? Would Allison Williams make the best Link in a live action Zelda movie?

I dunno…

All I do know is that the dress is goddamned blue and that power rangers short film sucked so goddamned many balls!

 

 

Also, personal anecdotes re: orthodontia are interesting to NOBODY!

50 Shades of VTAN

Kyle, Callie, Josh and friend of the show Dan Fisher went to the Queensway V.I.P. Theatre to watch the 4:20 SHOWING OF 50 SHADES OF GREY.

The 4:20 show… take from that what you will.

FullSizeRender

Dan is sleeping, perpetuating the stereotype of the post coital drowsy man.

 

 

Top 5 Movies of 2014

‘sup?

Here, almost a full month into 2015, Kyle and Josh bring you their top five movies of 2014. Interestingly enough Top Five wasn’t on either of our lists… is that racist?

Who knows?

 

Special Announcement

On February 8th in The Year of Ted Kord, Two Thousand and Thirteen, Jaron Francis and Josh Alferez launched Long Distance Bromance.

lobro1400

The logo was made using MS Paint & Lagavulin 16

It was a podcast about two guys separated by 3000 kilometers, tryin’ to maintain a (relatively) adult, (supposedly) heterosexual relationship and recording their conversations for all the world to hear.

It was a big hit and it was a lot of fun to make. It’s been almost a year since we released what seemed to be our final episode, an interview with Robin Williams recorded last March.

We’ve decided to give ‘er another go.

Check out longdistancebromance.com to get caught up on all our old episodes, and keep your eyes peeled for a new update within the next week or two.

 

Frankencast 2015

An 8 minute intro followed by a cut-and-paste hodgepodge of “deleted scenes” from 3 unreleased episodes.

What better way to start the year?

[Caution: If you love cats, Lord of the Rings, Fiona Apple or Dungeons and Dragons prepare to hear me defend them all while other people shit all over them.]

In all seriousness I must apologize for the lack of updates in recent weeks/months but we should be able to get our shit together from here on out.

Pictured: Guy with shit together...

Pictured: Guy with shit together…

Hobbit 2: Electric Bilbo-loo (Bonus Episode)

In anticipation of The Hobbit 3, we present a blast from the past.
The first ever podcast that Kyle and Josh ever recorded!
A comprehensive review from over a year ago plus Kyle’s inside celebrity gossip about Alison Brie and Colin Hanks straight from the set of No Stranger Than Love

Bored Games 6: Settlers of Catan

It’s that game that everybody seems to think is so good! Settlers of Goddamned Catan!

I Can Sense Your Sarcasm and I F$#king Hate It, L.P. !

So Kyle & Josh attended the open casting call for Big Brother Canada and made a friend standing in line. His name was L.P. and Josh got fed up with his goddamned sarcasm pretty quickly.

Bored Games #5: Bohnanza

Kyle, Callie and I play the German, bean based, economics simulating, card game Bohnanza.

bohnanza

Something about hoes? I’m too hungry to write jokes.

If you hate your liver take a shot any time somebody says “bean”.

Also Kyle’s brain is tested when Josh asks him the following hypothetical questions?

1) Would you take $10M if it meant you had to transform into a Disney character everytime you ejaculated? SUBQUESTION: Which Disney character would you choose?

2) How would you take advantage of the seemingly worthless superpower of being able to see through your eyelids?

3) Would you blow a wild rhino for a rockin’ Dolph Lundgren body?

4) If you could send your consciousness back in time to inhabit the body of any 80’s superstar, who is broke and washed up by 2014, who would it be?

Which of these two dudes does Kyle secretly want to be?

Which of these two dudes does Kyle secretly want to be?

Ultimate Spider-Man is Just Twilight Fanfiction

 

Kyle says he’s “not surprised” that Jennifer Lawrence took a buncha nude selfies. Josh is still crossing his fingers that Meryl Streep’s pics get leaked.

Can you believe there are 19 episodes of this bullshit show?

 

I Don’t Care About Battlestar Galactica

Today Kyle and Josh argue about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Also, what does it say about you when Youtube’s “Recommended For You” videos are all a bunch of softcore fetish porn? On top of that Kyle refuses to let Josh talk about Battlestar Galactica… what an asshole.

 

Bored Games IV: King of Tokyo

 

Today on The VTAN Podcast we give you another edition of Bored Games with our special guest Mr. Dan Fisher.

dan

His beard is good.

We tried to play  Sing King of Tokyo but ended up reminiscing about the 90’s and singing 20 year old songs like a buncha drunken sailors.

This episode is short and sweet because after we finished playing with monsters we got into the greatest most contentious game of UNO the world has ever seen. That will be another episode that we’ll release in the weeks to come.

009

SPOILER ALERT! The cat wins every game

Until then enjoy this watered down version of Pacific Rim with a bunch of dummies.
( I intentionally DIDN’T make a “Pacific Rim Job” joke. We’re way too sophisticated for that here at VTAN)

 

Betcha Forgot: Musi-bation

 

Kyle wants to talk about music… Josh keeps trying to steer the conversation towards “jackin’ off”.

An epic struggle.

Apologies for the inconsistent audio quality. The middle third sounds better than anything we’ve recorded, but the beginning and end sound like we’re in a cave… underwater.

Memory Lane:

Beat the Geeks
Rock & Roll Jeopardy
1D
Burgess Meredith
Taylor Dane
Blackstreet
Pitch Perfect No Diggity
MAGIC! – Rude
Ashley MacIsaac
Great Big Sea
Informer
Joy in Small Places
Legal
Lady Marmalade
Dirrty
Memoirs of an Invisible Man
Scrambled porn
GOB
I Hear You Calling
Sam Roberts
Bedouin Soundclash
OLP
Dean Blundell
Sault Ste Marie
Joy Drop
Trebler Charger
Jonovision
Sum 41
Smirnoff Ice
Staind
Joan Osbourne
On a Day Like Today
Dishwalla
David Copperfield
The Fugees
Josie and the Pussycats
KIDS
Butt Selfies
Degrassi
Six Flags Ads
S Club Party
Agent Cody Banks 2
Sex and the City
Girls
Shiri Appleby
Pirates
Backroom Casting Couch
Beautiful Agony

Eat the Giant Cock

20140616-213020-77420391.jpg

I watch a lot of television. Well, to be fair, I use my laptop to watch a lot of TV shows.

I bought every season of It’s Always Sunny on iTunes.

I watched all of The League on Netflix.

Recently I illegally downloaded The Americans which is something I never do.

I like to pay for my entertainment. I know many people who work in the entertainment industry and it makes me feel guilty to steal movies and TV shows.

I felt so guilty about stealing from Keri Russell that I turned off the computer and started watching some actual TV.

I feel like subjecting myself to watching the commercials is my way of paying my way.

Rogers is currently offering a free preview of FXX and I caught an episode of The League on TV for the first time.

Right before it started the gravelly voiced announcer warned us about the content and finished by saying “Viewer Discretion Advised”.

I stopped to think about that warning.

What the fuck does it mean?

Based on the definition above that warning makes no fucking sense.

What they SHOULD say is Content Creator’s discretion is tempered by advertiser’s openmindedness or lack thereof.

My understanding of television standards maybe be incomplete and I’m probably talking out of my ass BUT I PAID FOR THIS URL. I OWN THIS PEICE OF INTERNET REAL ESTATE AND I’LL USE IT TO GET UP ON A SOAPBOX AND MAKE WILD, UNINFORMED, PROCLAMATIONS!!!

Cable networks like AMC and FX operate outside of the control of the FCC. They use that freedom to let Ruxin call Taco a “shit sipper”, to let Dennis and Mac call Dee’s boyfriend “retarded” and to let me see Keri Russell’s bare ass and some Russian broad’s “underboob”.

They have freedom to say the swears that delight me so.

But they ask for MY discretion?

My understanding is that they can drop F-Bombs and show some real tits and dicks but the reason they don’t go full Showtime and HBO is because they think advertisers will pull out if the show is to risqué.

Dis some bullshit!

Remember that episode of Breaking Bad?

I.F.T?

Skylar White’s last line in that episode is “I Fucked Ted” and it’s so goddamed impactful.

I watched that episode on Netflix.

No censorship.

I can’t IMAGINE watching on TV and having an ADR with poor syncing, change the line to something lame like “hump” or “screw” or even worse a god dammed fucking BLEEP.

We need more dirt on TV.

The characters need to talk like real people.

I want to see GIANT COCKS on NBC.

I want to see an episode of Friends With Better Lives where some lady tells her fella that she won’t blow him until he gets rid of his bush.

I wanna see that episode!

James Van Der Beek needs to get his balls waxed.

That show would break all kinds of records!!!

He gets some tiny Asian lady to wax his taint.

AND WE SEE IT!

They show it all.

In motherfucking HD, yo!

They show her spreading that wax on Dawson’s browneye and YANKING IT OFF!

I wanna hear him shout as she pulls off that first strip.

He lets out a loud, “MOTHERFUCKER!!!”.

That’s my vision for the future of broadcasting.

The FCC is just a bunch of fucking buzzkills.

They should all go suck a giant cock…

and fucking finally let me see Keri Goddammed Russell’s tits for once.

Jesus!

Blackout! pt 2: The Fall of BlockBuster & The Rise of Josh

We get real in this episode. It was never meant to come out so we spoke more candidly than normal. You’ll hear LOTS of bleeps to hide names of people or other possibly incriminating details and lots of interruptions midsentence because huge sections have been cut out.

 

So if you’re a devoted listener you probably heard Kyle, Callie and I sitting at The Duke of York for our weekly trivia night when the lights went out. The blackout last April affected a pretty substantial part of the west end of Toronto.

The subway wasn’t even working so I couldn’t get home.

I take prescription medication for anxiety and my intense, irrational, fear that the power will never come back made me take more than I should have. You’ll notice I talk super fast and you can tell by how I talk that I’m riding an intense high.

Kyle and Callie, (heretofore to be known as Kylie) being proud “Eastenders” where pretty sure their building would have power.

In Part 1 of The Blackout we walked to Kylie’s and the episode ended right before we got into one of our famous 6 hour conversations since I figured nobody would want to hear it.

I managed to chop it into just under an hour of interesting conversation.

In this episode I try to convince Kyle to watch One Direction: This is Us on Blu-Ray and since he vehemently refuses we end up talking about the poor business decisions that caused BlockBuster Video to go out of business, my rampant alcoholism, the possibility of having a child and being a good parent and all the reasons why, after taking a crazy ride on the pussy train and having a revolving door of meaningless sexual relationships, I don’t want to date

ever again.

The intro song is Gold Rush by Ed Sheeran.
Buy his album.

The Legend of VTAN: A Link to the ‘Cast (part 1)

Literally no one, except for me, has been excited for this episode to come out, but it’s finally here and I’m giddy with girlish glee.

 

Kyle and I decided one lazy Sunday afternoon to play Zelda III from start to finish.

Since he’s gonna be gone for another 3 weeks I re-purposed this recording, which I had never intended on releasing, and turned it into a new edition of the VTAN Podcast.

Once Kyle returns we can go back to having real  episodes.

Commit the Mass Genocide

Ok.

For those of you who doubt the extent of my craziness. For all you out there who overestimate my sanity.

Allow me to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of my sick, diseased mind.

This morning… I had a runaway train of thought. An uninterrupted stream of consciousness that ends with a crash landing into a valley of self loathing.

This morning I thought to myself… “I might be the next Hitler!”

How did I come to this realization?

You’ll have to imagine me as Richard Attenborough in a white safari outfit and straw hat, crouching down to whisper in your ear, “I’ll show you” as a beautiful John Williams score melds itself with the majestic braying of a genetically engineered Brachiosaurus.

This morning I woke up smiling and thinking to myself, “Goddamn, do I LOVE Batman!”

It’s not uncommon for me to think this, or something like it, first thing in the morning but today I did something a little different.

I got up, still smiling, and sidled up to my bookshelf to survey my collection of Batman books.

While purusing Snyder & Capullo’s amazing run on New 52 Batman, I looked at the inside of the cover page and saw the “Batman created by Bob Kane” credit.

I noticed the original publication date of 1938.

I chuckled to myself when I thought idly, “They had Batman during World War II.”

This is where things turn ugly.

In my head, I CANNOT FATHOM the idea that someone doesn’t love Batman.

Anyone I meet who says “Yeah, I’m not a fan,” or even worse “I like Superman better,” is immediately added to my enemies list. I feel like they’re liars. Contrarians who like to disagree with conventional wisdom in an attempt to seem interesting and different.

So OF COURSE, I think to myself “Hitler was probably a Batman fan.”

Now I start to panic.

If you’ve had a 5 minute conversation with me, or worse, if I met you at a party and you didn’t know why you were, seemingly for no reason, the target of my scorn and derision, then you know that I passionately hold fast to the belief that “It’s WHAT YOU LIKE, not what you ARE LIKE that matters.”

I’ve made friends with terrible human beings because they understood that Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica WAS NOT science fiction but rather an exploratory drama about the human condition.

So I started thinking. If Hitler loved Batman… would I be his friend?

To my everlasting shame, I couldn’t help but tell myself, that if he in addition to loving Batman also hated Superman and people who prefer Clark over Bruce then…yes

… probably.

This is where I start to hyperventilate and start with the hardcore whiskey cravings.

I’m just like Hitler.

But you love the Jews,” I tell myself reassuringly.

Then I start thinking… I’ve dated a girl or twelve in my time on this earth and I’ve never discriminated.

Italian, Portuguese, Good Ol’ Fashioned White Canadian, Asian, South East Asian, Middle Eastern and of course a Jew or two.

Does it count as anti-semitism if I treated my Jewish girlfriends poorly?

What else, besides an all consuming love of Batman, do I share with ol’ Addie… Jesus Christ I’m already giving FUCKING HITLER a diminutive pet name!

Fuck that guy!

What a fucking asshole!

And now here I am… I’m as bad as Hitler…

I’m just the goddamned fucking worst!

As if I needed more reasons to hate myself…

Make the Minimal Effort

Sane people, I’m told, regularly have cravings for certain foods.

Most of the time when I experience that feeling most aptly described as “craving” it’s for experiences. Sometimes I’ll restlessly get out of bed because I crave a late night walk through deserted streets. Other times I can’t sleep because of an addition-like “jonesing” to watch Gremlins or Jurassic Park.

Today I have this itch… this craving to make a blog post.

I don’t even have anything interesting to write about.

OK, let’s see, let’s see. What can I write about today?

I got nothin’ .

 

 

 

That was wildly unsatisfying.

 

BLACKOUT! (Kill the Lights)

A few weeks ago there was a pretty big blackout that affected some parts of downtown Toronto. I was at The Duke of York for Tuesday Night Pub Stumpers Trivia so I took out my iTelephone and began recording the shenanigans.

 

On this special edition Kyle, Callie and I are joined by two of our trivia team members, Eric and Rowena, as we navigate a dark pub and the apocalyptic streets of T.O.

Find out what happens when we Kill The Lights

Kyle will be gone for the next 6 weeks and so in order to pass time I’ve been listening to recordings of his voice to fill the empty void in my soul. It only worries me when I start trying to have a conversation with these recordings.

To stop myself from becoming the kind of crazy person who talks to himself, I’m gonna try to actually get some use out of the recordings we never intended to release to the public.

Also, we’re finally  on the iTunes click here to subscribe and while you’re there downloading our podcast FOR FREE, buy some of David Usher’s songs. He’s my number one favourite recording artist of all time and it’s always good to support Canadian Arts.

Footnotes:

Kill the Lights (Accoustic Ver.)
Duke of York
Toronto to Barrie
Wentworth Miller comes out
CHUD
Skittle Bräu
Magic: The Gathering
Joe Flaherty
Jim Flaherty Dies
Rock Death Hoax
Ultimate Warrior Dies
John Pinette Dies
Mickey Rooney Dies
Canada Gun Ownership
Our friend Brian’s Uncle Fred
Kill the Lights

Make the Missed Connection

For 2014 I didn’t want to engage in anything even resembling romance until after Valentine’s Day.

There’s no logical reason as to why, it was just one of the random, inflexible decisions I make. It’s like how I’m always hatin’ on “Whovians”, how I never trust people with blonde hair or my instant disdain towards anyone who uses “club” as a verb.

Despite my resolution I ended up meeting with a lovely young lady almost two weeks ago and we spent the evening watching a movie and getting to know one another.

With the idea of avoiding romance still in my head, I said my goodnights and left for home pretty early but not before sharing a chaste, yet strangely intense kiss.

I was in a bit of a post-date daze on my way home but this sort of pessimistic pall fell over me. I started thinking the whole evening was a mistake. After last year, I really don’t need the added complications that dating would bring to my life.

I thought to myself, “This girl is sweet and all but there’s nothing there, bruce.”

I guess I should mention I’ve been spearheading a campaign to replace “dude” with “bruce” in everyday conversation and I even use it when talking to myself.

I started to feel a bit blue so I put on my headphones and maxed out the volume on one of the many Kevin Smith podcasts on my iPhone. That’s when I felt someone poke me in the ribs.

I was standing on a pretty crowded subway platform and my initial urge to pivot like a prizefighter and throw a jab to the nose, fizzled away when I turned to face her.

Her lips moved and she smiled but I had no idea what she said, the master of SMod was jabbering too loudly in my ears. I lowered the volume and gave her my most charming “huh?”

She told me she liked my bag.

I’ve never understood when people use the word “plain” as if it’s a bad thing. I have a very nondescript personal style. I never wear anything with a corporate logo on it and if I wanna buy a piece of licensed merchandise I’ll only do it if it doesn’t have the name of the IP on it. It’s the reason I didn’t buy this awesome limited edition House Martell T-Shirt I saw on the HBO store. I loved the sigil but hated that it said “Game of Thrones”. I feel like those who appreciate it would be the ones who don’t need to be told what it is.

This is why the bag in question is one of my favourite possessions.

It’s just a plain black messenger bag except that it has the N7 logo on it and, the Bioware online store assures me, it’s made of ballistic nylon.

I watch a lot of Mythbusters and I’ve chosen to believe that means it’s bulletproof.

When she told me she liked my bag what I heard was “I know what N7 means. I’m cool! Let’s be friends.”

The next 20 minutes were the most pleasant I’ve shared with a complete stranger.

Eventually she had to get off the train but not before turning to me on her way out and saying “It was nice meeting you… find me on Craigslist!”

And with that she was gone.

The second I got above ground I went online and posted a Missed Connection on Craigslist. It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like that.

I don’t know exactly what my intention was. More than anything I feel excited about the prospect of making a new friend. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also super cute!

She responded to my missed connection and it got me more excited than I’m comfortable admitting.

Hopefully she’ll continue responding.

Attempt the Weekly Challenge

The Daily Post at WordPress holds writing challenges every week and so I decided, after telling myself  “I should try that some day” to make today that day.

The deadline is like, right now but seeing as how I’ve been up all night and have crossed the border between late night and early morning and most people aren’t awake yet I think I still might slip in at that last second.

The challenge for the week of September 9th is: Be Kind. Don’t Rewind

We’re taught to think that a well-told story — fictional or not — starts with A, goes on to B, and ends with Z. We automatically follow the rule established by the King of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.

‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’

(Louis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

For this Writing Challenge, we’re asking you to disobey the King.

Sounds easy enough right?

Well here goes.

                                                                                                                                   

There’s really nothing in the world quite like the feeling of relief that one experiences when it’s all over.

We all need to eat but I’m confident in assuming that aroma, taste, and that gastronomical joy that accompanies some well prepared food all play a major role in making us want to as well.

Why else would the best tasting meals be the most unhealthy?

The rush of flavours. The surprise in feeling your mouth suddenly full of many strange and overwhelming combinations. You know that it’s not proper etiquette to sit at a dinner table with your cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk, but you can’t help it. Your face is stuffed and as ashamed as you’re supposed to feel you’re even more disgusted by how much you’re enjoying this.

It’s delicious.

A sweet start, salty notes throughout, a chewy finish and just the tiniest hint of acidity that you manage to choke back and hold on to as your vision blurs with unexpected tears.

The route from mouth to stomach is direct and even the most inept navigator would have no trouble, but tonight traffic is just zooming. It’s as if they’ve opened up extra lanes on the highway, and this sickeningly scrumptious bouillabaisse, the artisanal meal that your mouth has pulverized into gourmet mush, is literally spewing through your esophagus.

A gurgle.

A rumble.

You’ve always wanted to speak other languages but you’ve never had an ear for interpretation. It’s no surprise you don’t understand what messages your stomach’s sending, though the guests seated nearest have picked up the clues and have begun to inch away from you.

“Hear, Hear” the person to your right exclaims.

“My compliments to the chef!” you call out, “That was exquisite.”

Dinner is served.

Eating Spelled Backwards is Puke

By: J. Alex Alferez

Josh the Terrible Mixologist

I’m gonna stop it before it even starts. Josh is a verb, it means to engage in banter or to tease good naturedly. Maybe it doesn’t fit my regular scheme, at least not in this particular context, but I wanted to spend more time writing this entry than choosing the title so let’s just chalk this up to my ineptitude with double entendres and move on.

I find it has become more and more difficult to deny the claims of friends and family that I may be drinking too much.

My father has always had issues with alcohol and as a child I remember thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be like that when I grew up.

Somewhere along the way that ambition, like most for me, just fizzled out. I don’t even remember how or when but I became, I wouldn’t say a heavy drinker, but a drinker nonetheless.

Right now I’m drinking straight Jägermeister, and not out of a shot glass. I’ve got an 8 ounce High Ball of teeth staining, anise flavoured, godawfullness and I’m wincing as I pound it back. Earlier this afternoon I was mixing it with Pineapple juice, making “Chuck Yeagers” as they are called, but I found the 7-1 juice to alcohol ratio just wasn’t cutting it for me. At least not for what I had had in mind.

That’s when I realized just exactly what I had in mind.

I was intentionally trying to get drunk.

I never did any underage drinking. I didn’t have a drink until well after my 19th birthday. Prior to that I just had no interest in alcohol. Because it was never a “forbidden fruit” type situation I never overdid it, I never got blackout drunk. What I’m trying to say is that for me drinking was never the “thing to do” it was always just what I would do while I was doing whatever I was doing.

I would have a few beers while watching the hockey game, have wine with dinner. I never sat in a parking lot just getting wasted, and I never drank alone.

Over the last 4 or 5 years I’ve been doing a lot of recreational drinking. I was doing it for the same reason I do most things. I always get obsessed in the minutiae of whatever hobby I stumble upon and when it came to drinking I wanted to become an expert. I wanted to know everything about wine and spirits, I wanted to be able take a blindfolded taste from any random cup and tell you if it was a Cabernet or a Malbec and what country it came from. With a single sip I can, and will even if you repeatedly ask me not to, correctly tell the difference between Bourbon, Scotch, Whisky, Whiskey and Rye.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been interested in more than just connoisseurship. I’ve been trying to get drunk.

photo(18)

There are even more empties under my sink that wouldn’t fit on the stove. It’s like a liquor bottle grave yard and I killed each and every one of them!

It’s become evidently clear when I started creating my own terrible, terrible cocktails.

I’ve mixed iced tea with cinnamon flavoured vodka, I call it an IV Drip (IV for iced tea and vodka, and drip ’cause I’m trying to be clever) it was gross.

I mixed tequila and Strongbow. I called it a Juan-y Appleseed… it was gross.

I was gonna call Pineapple Juice and Jägermeister a Pacific Rim until I discovered some genius had already called it the Chuck Yeager. It was gross

I routinely mix vanilla vodka with orange crush. It tastes just like a creamscicle but I’ve been calling it Riot Punch because it gets me drunk as dicks and makes me want to run in the streets and take my clothes off while punchin’ stuff.  It tastes like a dream.

I took caramel sauce that is meant to be drizzled over sundaes, stirred it into a glass of milk and then poured in 3 fingers of Glenfiddich.

I called it Butter Scotch.

It was so, so fucking gross.

I don’t know what, if anything, I’m trying to say with this post.

I feel like I’m straddling the line of alcoholism. I’m not yet at the point where I feel like I’m in any danger. I do drink when I’m feeling sad but I don’t ever get strong cravings or feel desperate for a drink. I don’t blow all my money away on booze, I don’t ever drink to give myself more confidence or exhibit any of the other lame ass self diagnostic traits you’ll find on the dozens of online self assessments.

My biggest problem is, as with all things, moderation. I’ve said before that I’m a binary creature. I live in a world of mutually exclusive blacks and whites. So when it comes to alcohol I either have none or get completely wasted.

So I’ve decided that after I’ve finished this bottle I’m working on, I’m going to go through an extended period of abstinence. A month ought to do it. Maybe longer.

It won’t be hard. Like I said I don’t need to drink.

The only tragedy is I’ll have to deny the world of all of my amazing cocktails.

Make the Triumphant Return

He’s back ladies and gentleman. After almost 2 whole months of depressed, motivationless wallowing, the prodigal son has returned.

I feel I owe it to you all to preface this post by admitting that I’m drunk as dicks right now.

Try to picture that. A bunch of disembodied penises all crowding the bartender, getting all up in his grill shouting things like “I’ll tell YOU when I’ve had enough”.

That’s how I feel right this very now.

Maybe it’s the 375 ml of vodka flowing through my veins or the fact that a piece I wrote about online dating has just been published on the far more interesting Steph not Stephanie but whatever it is, I’m back.

Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.

I’m a self delusional sociopath.

I started this blog as a way to be honest with myself, just to organize my thoughts and get my jumbled up feelings out in the open. Then a couple dozen people started reading it, then over a hundred subscribed and then I sort of lost track of what I had originally intended.

As much as I want to be entertaining when I write, this blog is really, at it’s core, about an emotionally stunted, chronically immature man-child and his struggle with mental illness.

It should come as no surprise then, that the extended sabbatical I took from blogging was due to a relapse I had in my ongoing lightsaber battle with depression.

For almost a year I have been taking 2 different mood stabilizing medications to stop me from collapsing in the middle of the street in a fit of sobbing and to prevent me from driving my fist through the faces of the ever growing population of mouth breathers that surrounds me.

It was going well until about 10 weeks ago when I just stopped taking me meds.

It wasn’t a conscious decision, it was more like a growing apathy that started with me taking my doses much more sporadically and then eventually just reaching a point where I couldn’t be bothered to follow the routine that I had set.

The routine that was specifically set up to give my life structure and stop me from going crazy.

After 2 weeks off of my antidepressants and anti anxiety medication I started to feel sick. It was withdrawal but rather than talking to my doctor I just missed a couple of weeks of work, ignored all calls from my friends and family and started a series of 40 hour days.

The calendar meant nothing to me. I’d stay awake for 30 hours straight and then sleep for 10 only waking up to repeat the process.

It was during this time that I started having really bad nightmares.

They scared me so much that I went back to my doctor, stopped cancelling my psychotherapy appointments and started taking my meds again.

During this transitional period I suffered an extreme case of anhedonia.

Now for those of you who don’t know how to google definitions of words you don’t recognize, anhedonia is the inability to feel happiness or pleasure.

During this time I was watching all the TV and movies I wanted, playing TONS of video games, reading (and spending the majority of my disposable income on) comic books and having regular sex.

I mean regular as in “on a regular basis” not regular like “same ol’ same ol’ boring” sex.

I guess it would be more accurate to say, frequent sex.

I need another goddamn drink. It’s time to crack open the Ballantine’s, fuck this vodka! Everyone knows that clear alcohol is for rich ladies on diets.

But to get back on track, of all the “fun” activities I had engaged in, none of it made me feel anything.

All of it felt wholly unsatisfying and coming to terms with the idea that the word is giving me everything I could want and I was still unhappy, filled me with shame and made me hate myself.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I’d go to bed every night thinking that and I’d wake up in a cold sweat from a terrifying dream that I couldn’t even remember.

After a while it wasn’t dreams anymore. Just an overwhelming sensation of dread whenever I’d go to sleep. Even dozing off for a few seconds on the subway would end up with me waking up screaming.

As it stands I’m back at work, I’ve reestablished the lines of communication  with my social circle and I’ve been trying to regain some semblance of normalcy in the freakshow that my life has become.

The dreams haven’t stopped though.

Even though I’m back on my meds I still can’t get a decent night’s sleep without waking up covered in sweat and tears with my heart threatening to erupt from my chest.

It’s for all these reasons and more that I’ve been ignoring this blog. Maybe I’m flattering myself in thinking that people actually missed my regular posts, but the truth is the interest of readers hasn’t brought me back.

When I first started writing I found it to be a very therapeutic experience.

It made me feel less crazy.

It made me happy.

I’m trying to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. I’m hoping that by coming back here after so long an absence, I can recapture the peace of mind this blog had originally afforded me.

I promise my future posts will be less maudlin and self indulgent. I just needed to get this out of my head and onto the screen to stop me from going nuts.

The next post will be funny.

I promise

 

 

 

 

Disturb the Sleeping Giant

Thanks to an unfortunate, yet serendipitous, typo I’ve started using a new internet acronym that I’d like to share with you all.

WYF!

It stands for “What ye fucke!” the olde timey way of voicing one’s displeasure without spelling out full words and still retaining a bit of quaint ol’ fashioned charm.

Right now it’s the only invective that adequately expresses how I feel about the newest trailer for World War Z.

Brad Pitt...Go Fuck Yourself!

Brad Pitt…
Go Fuck Yourself!

What ye fucke, indeed?

In order to give everyone a bit of context, and I’m sure it will become clear in the coming paragraphs, I am obviously deeply disturbed when it comes to my love for this book. World War Z is my 100% absolute favourite book EVER!

This movie, on the other hand…

On the short list of things that I don’t joke about, one of the very few topics I consider out of bounds, or taboo is Cancer. My aunt died of brain cancer when I was a teenager. She was one of my favourite people in the world. Her passing is still among the worst days of my life. I don’t take it lightly.

That being said, this movie looks like the cinematic equivalent of infant bone cancer. They could’ve called it Osteosarcoma and it would have been a more appropriate title.

That’s how much I love this book and how bad this trailer made me feel.

Ridiculous hyperbole aside, people who are unfamiliar with the book often ask me “What’s it about?” and I have never been able to answer that question in less than 45 minutes. Lots of folks will try to deconstruct it and say dumb things like “It’s about zombies!” and to them I say, after a chastising (but affectionate) backhand to the face “That’s like saying The Bible is about a bunch of shepherds!”

Cmdr. Shepard Systems Alliance N7 Special ForcesFirst Human Spectre for the Citidel Council, Messiah

Cmdr. Shepard, Systems Alliance Space Navy: N7 Special Forces,
Citadel Council’s First Human Spectre,
Carpenter and Messiah.

I went on a crazy rant about it on this week’s Long Distance Bromance so I’ll try to reign in the ire on this blog. The less I talk about it the better, because so far it’s just been a source of grief and it get’s me irrationally angry the more I think about it. Over the past few months I’ve been making a concentrated effort to feel better about myself and life in general so I won’t say any more on this sore subject. You’ve got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,

So instead of the anti-Brad Pitt tirade that will make me seem even crazier, I want to take some time to write about something positive.

I went on a date Thursday. It was the second time I went out with this girl. She’s super cute and super cool and I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see her again. In addition to being very pretty she’s a great conversationalist and funny too. The plan was to meet for a quick bite to eat, she was taking me to sample some of Kensington Market’s finest vegan desserts. We ended up staying for hours just talking and laughing until the guy behind the counter’s dirty looks forced us to stop loitering long after we had finished.

Not wanting the fun to end we wound up wandering around aimlessly taking in the mild weather and sporadic sunshine just enjoying one another’s company. At one point during our walk we found a pair of discarded books just laid out on the ground. We each took one, sort of as a souvenir.

photo(8)

“I’ve often felt like a discarded book… waiting for someone to take the time to stop and pick me up off the floor.”
-Unknown Hipster Poet

We wrapped up the evening back at my apartment where we got a little snuggly on my couch and tried to outmatch each other while watching Jeopardy!

Sounds like a dream girl, amiright?

Most people will probably take for granted the normalcy of this kind of interaction and are probably asking themselves, “So what? Big Deal!”

The big deal is that I’m notoriously misanthropic. I don’t get along with very many people and the times when I actually DO find people I like, they, for whatever reason, don’t seem to like me. To find someone who piques my interest AND who can tolerate me is amazing.

Again, I feel like I’m flogging a dead horse with all the podcast plugs but I tell some crazy online dating horror stories on the newest LDB. I wasn’t having the best luck and was feeling discouraged but one of my favorite bloggers has been a source of inspiration with her recent positive experiences in the world of internet dating. Read her blog, she’s insightful and snarky!

At this point I’m not expecting too much. I’m happy just getting to know this girl and am looking forward to spending more time together. Where it goes nobody knows, but what I do know is that I’ve been on 2 dates with this girl and I’ve enjoyed every second. We’ll all just have to stay tuned to see what happens next.

Receive the Unexpected Honour

NOM NOM NOM!!!

My German's a little rusty but I'm pretty sure "liebster" means Sex Cowboy

My German’s a little rusty but I’m pretty sure “liebster” means Sex Cowboy

That’s usually the sound you hear when I get my hands on a plate of PC Veggie Chicken Fingers and plum sauce.

Today it’s short for NOMINATION!

J. Alex Alferez, and his brain-baby Verb the Adjective Noun, have been nominated for an award for blogging. I didn’t even know there was such a thing so imagine my surprise.

The only thing I’ve ever won before was a lip synching contest when I was 5. I performed Brian Adams’ Everything I Do (I Do It For You) from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack. I was promised a $20 cash prize.

I never got it.

I cried…

After a scathing indictment of the meaninglessness of awards on my most recent podcast, you’d expect me to be ambivalent about being nominated for an award myself.

WRONG!!!

I am both honoured and humbled to know that at least one person thinks that my little corner of the world wide web deserves recognition. Honoured because it’s always nice when somebody throws you an “attaboy” and humbled because it was literally one person who determined I was worth mentioning. No write in campaign, no droves of adoring fans waving “Affleck was robbed” signs. Just a single reader who thought: This guy is pretty cool. Let’s give him a prize!

Not that I don’t appreciate it, but is it REALLY too much to ask that EVERYBODY love me?

If Morgan Freeman played Dumbledore, dressed as Yoda for Halloween the world would implode from a wisdom overload.

If Morgan Freeman played Dumbledore, dressed as Yoda for Halloween the world would implode from a wisdom overload.

I got word a few days ago that VTAN had been nominated for a Liebster Award. I was sent a message by my good friend Amy who nominated my blog.

One of the most interesting and not coincidentally one of my favourite people in the world, Amy is a red headed, bespectacled, vegan lesbian blogger/slam poet/mischief maker. She is the henchman without whom my plans for world domination would never come to fruition. She’s also one of two people who constantly kept pestering me to start a blog.

Well, I hope you’re happy Amy! You’ve created a monster.

Along with the message there was a list of instructions for what I needed to do to accept the nomination and submit myself for consideration.

I gotta tell ya, I don’t think I can summon the effort necessary to follow through. It’s not that I’m not appreciative, I just really don’t do this for any sort of reward or recognition. I don’t pimp my blog out or actively seek to expand my readership. Often times I hope nobody reads what I’m writing so that they don’t suddenly realize how crazy and despicable a person I really am.

The one really cool part about the nomination was that I was asked to list 11 interesting facts about myself and to answer 11 preselected questions. That part seems like a lot of fun, so I’ll fill those in here. Other than that I don’t think I’ll be throwing my hat into this particular ring.

spideygwen

Wealth and fame he’s ignored
“Action” is his reward!

11 Interesting Facts

1) In 2006 I auditioned for Canadian Idol. I made it to the second round.

2) I’ve been an atheist for as long as I can remember. At a barbeque one summer I had a 2 hour conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness. It began with him telling me about the merits of the church. It ended with him questioning his belief in God. I was like Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones.

You want to go home and rethink your life.

You want to go home and rethink your life.

3) I have peed in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas.

4) I invented the word “fauxhawk” and I will fight anyone who argues.

5) I am very susceptible to the power of suggestion. Advertising works on me and I will always say yes when a store clerk tries to upsell.

6) Even though I had never seen Star Wars until 1997, when they were re-released for the 20th anniversary, I distinctly remember that my mother would sing Frère Jacques to me when I was in kindergarten (circa 1990) and she had modified the lyrics. The version she sang to me went like this:

R2-D2, R2-D2, C-3PO, C-3PO,
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Han Solo

7) In 2002 when Josh Hartnett’s 40 Days and 40 Nights came out I was inspired to complete the same challenge as the film’s hero. I was in 11th grade and when the girls in school found out about it they conspired to sabotage me. For a month and a half I had the hottest girls all wearing super revealing clothes and throwing themselves all over me, getting very handsy and trying to get me to crack. I lasted 38 days and was eventually disqualified due to nocturnal emission. In retrospect I should’ve just given in and let one of them blow me, I mean YOLO, right?

8) I became a Vegetarian out of spite. When I was 16 I saw David Suzuki speak about environmentalism and factory farming. He challenged everyone in the audience to go one month without eating meat. After his lecture we had a chance to wait in line for autographs and handshakes and when it was my turn I said “Mr. Suzuki I think I’ll take you up on your 30 day challenge.” He shook my hand and said in a slightly condescending tone “I don’t know. It’s harder than it seems, do you really think you’re up for it?” I’m sure he meant it as goodnatured ribbing but in my head all I could think was: WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?!?!?! YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!! I’LL SHOW YOU, YA SMUG BASTARD!

I didn’t eat meat again until I was 25. Now I’ll eat pretty much anything. I prefer not to eat meat and I don’t ever keep any in the house but I don’t treat it like an allergy. When I’m at people’s houses and the hosts ask “Oh Josh, can you eat…” I always say I can eat ANYTHING, I don’t turn food away just because the cook doesn’t share my preferences.

9) The first time I really listened to a Beatles song was in 1998 and it wasn’t even sung by The Beatles. I watched the movie Pleasantville with Toby Maguire and Reese Witherspoon. During the end credits they play Fiona Apple’s version of Across the Universe. I was 12 years old and I remember being moved to tears. I asked a clerk at Music World and he told me it was a cover of a Beatles song. When I got my hands on a copy of the original I remember playing it again and again and again. I can’t verbalize the emotional impact this song had on me. I remember, irrationally, thinking that this song could not have possibly been written by human men. It was transcendental. Very few pieces of music have ever made me feel the same.

It’s the reason why I don’t understand the question “Beatles or Stones?” It doesn’t make a lick of sense to compare the two. It’s like asking if I’d rather breath oxygen or argon.

10) My family comes from Latin America. I’m the third of 4 kids but I was the first to be born in Canada. The thought that from now on every member of my family, that all future generations will be Canadian has caused severe cultural disconnect for me. I don’t identify at all with Latin culture. My culture has always been Pop. My father thinks it’s a travesty that I’ve “turned my back on my heritage” and it’s one of the many reasons he and I don’t get along.

11) Batman. That’s it… just Batman.

You can see that I play fast and loose with the definition of the word “interesting”. Now that I’ve listed the facts it’s time to answer the questions Amy sent me.

11 New Questions For You

1) What website do you subconsciously always type first in your internet browser even though you mean to go to a completely different website?

Cracked.com

 
2) What are you MOST looking forward to in spring? (Patios? Birds? Women wearing less clothing? (that’s obviously mine))

Wearing shorts. I think I’ve got some pretty sexy legs. My calves look like my knee swallowed a grapefruit.

3) What’s one of the weirdest gifts your parents have given you since you became an “adult”?

Thankfully I don’t have an answer for this. I refuse to accept gifts. I actively request not to have any birthday gifts as it’s usually the worst day of the year for me. I hate it so much and so I try to draw as little attention to it as possible. The only person who still gets me anything is my well meaning older sister, but none of her gifts are weird. Usually books or movies that I want or clothes because I’m really not responsible enough to dress myself.

 
4) Did you ever read a book all the way through even though you knew you weren’t enjoying it/going to enjoy it? School books don’t count.

This question could have pretty much been phrased as “Have you ever been on a plane?” I read the first Twilight book on a plane ride. I hated myself halfway through but I sure as hell wasn’t going to let that book “beat me”!

5)Ditto the above for movies (though replace “read” with “watch”/”pay for”)

My cousin Brad is really more like an older brother to me. He’s the guy who first showed me Star Wars, and Raiders, Princess Bride and Mad Max. As part of my cinematic education he’s shown me tons of other gems, but for every Motorama, Fandango or Streets of Fire there’ve easily been a dozen duds I’d care not to mention. I’ve sat through a ton of movies just waiting out the clock but it’s a small price to pay for all the great stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

6) If you had to write a haiku (and you do have to) about your favourite Superhero, how would it go?

Oddly enough in my previous entry I wrote a haiku about myself. I don’t want to use the same one, even though I AM a hero of some renown, so here it comes

Hidden in shadows
the world’s greatest detective
watches over us.

7) What is your least favourite board game and why?

Pop-a-matic Trouble… she knows why!

 
8) You’re trapped on an island. You can only bring with you one celebrity of your choice. Who do you choose? (For sexy times? For eating? Who would be the best at figuring out an escape plan?)

Emma Stone won’t answer any of my letters, EVEN when I send her expensive flower arrangements so she’s out! I think I’d choose Louis C.K. I feel like he would be entertaining and there would be no problem with hierarchy because he’d be intimidated by me physically. I’d basically use the whole experience as a workshop to perfect my own stand up comedy routine

9) What is your go-to easiest meal to make yourself?

The very best thing I can make is Vegan Shepherd’s Pie. I got the recipe from a comic book so you KNOW it’s good. On a regular basis when I’m cooking for myself I usually make this or these. I have both recipes memorized but I still open up the bookmarks every time I make them.

10) Sprite or crab juice?

I’m glad you got the quote wrong. It’s supposed to be Mountain Dew or Crab Juice. I HATE Mountain Dew so much that you really would’ve had me stuck between a rock and a hard place. In this case I’ll gladly choose Sprite. Ya gotta “Obey your thirst” amiright? (see above: Fact #5)

11) How obvious was it that I ran out of juice on that last question? GET IT BECAUSE I SAID JUICE! Hahahah. How funny am I? (Don’t answer that)

I won’t… oops!

Well that was fun.I hope it took you 1/10th of the time to read it as I took me to write it and if you enjoyed it even only half as much as I did I’d count myself lucky.

Explore the New Artform

In 1939 Ernest Wright wrote a novel called Gadsby. Not to be confused with The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (from whom I drew inspiration for the way I stylize my own name), Wright’s book was more of an experiment than anything else. He set out to write an entire 50,000 word novel without using the letter E.

I am a good work... guy

I am a good work… guy

I vividly remember stumbling across this book in the 9th grade and enthusiastically showing it to my English teacher. His reaction was the complete opposite from what I expected. Instead of “Wow, that’s interesting” he just rolled his eyes and scoffed in a cynically derisive way and said “No real writer would ever subject himself to self censorship. There’s no way to express yourself within any strict confines, you have to break rules to create true art. Now everybody take out your notebooks, today we’ll be learning how to write a haiku!”

In retrospect this guy probably had half a dozen unfinished manuscripts in his desk and hated the fact that he needed to waste his days babysitting a bunch of teenagers. I just found it so ironic that before any of us were allowed to read our haiku in front of the class, he forced us to listen to about a dozen of his own. And he really seemed to dig his own work. He really thought he was saving the world one haiku at a time and he projected his smug satisfaction in the most despicable way. He had this look on his face like a dog finally getting to pee after an 8 hour road trip, or a sleazy dude discovering that his sleepover buddy forgot her underpants on her pre-dawn walk of shame.

017

My words burn with passion for I have the soul of a poet!

For anyone not following my meandering train of thought, a haiku is a type of Japanese poem with very strict rules. It’s composed of 17 syllables arranged in 3 lines. 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the third. Here’s an example:

Josh is very cool
He’s the coolest guy around
Disagree? You die!

A haiku is an example of writing within the confines of self imposed restrictions. You can choose to break the pattern if you want, but then what you’re writing is no longer considered a haiku.

Now, Josh, what’s your point? What was it that you were trying to say this whole time but just couldn’t, before making us sit through 400 words of build up?

Well aside from the fact that my teacher was a dick, my point is this.

I think tweets are the newest form of poetry.

Much in the same way that your haiku must fit into a very strict syllabic format, tweets are restricted to a maximum of 140 characters.

Most people may not even notice or care since the majority of tweets don’t even come close to using up all 140 characters. The shocking statistics show that 90% of twitter users have fewer than 100 followers, twitter has devolved into a celebrity promtion service. When we non-famous, or normies as they call us, tweet most of what we get is stuff like:

tweet

Few people are actually conversing, sharing thoughts or ideas.

It’s no secret I have a problem being concise. For me it’s almost impossible to say what I want to say in 140 characters or less. Almost all of my tweets come in right at 140 character mark, and that’s after 2 or 3 edits to trim the fat or substitute some words with shorter synonyms. I realised, with a bit of that same smug pride my 9th grade teacher had,  that it’s quite an accomplishment. I make funny, thought provoking observations and for the most part I do it in EXACTLY 140 characters.

It’s like a 21st century haiku!

Here are some examples of tweets of mine that are exactly 140 characters on the nose:

I literally JUST found out that the MS in MS Paint stands for Microsoft. I thought it was just the “pink bow wearing” sequel like MS. PACMAN

Americans spend 2BILLION more on potato chips than the government does on researching alternative energy sources You really CANT eat just 1

It’s like I’m a living Oscar Wilde play: I’m on 2 meds, one perks up my energy but kills my libido. The other knocks me out but turns me on

Google you are freaking me the fuck out!! Why does every male celebrity name auto-complete with “net worth” and every female’s with “feet”?

Life tip number 37: When suffering from dry elbows so severe you’d do ANYTHING for relief dont resort to using Chapstick. Splurge on lotion

I have embarrassing drool stains on my couch they look all jizzy and won’t come out. It’s ironic ’cause the jizz stains DO come out easily!

                                                                                                                                                

Well if that ain’t poetry, then I don’t know what is…

It’s actually entirely possible that I don’t but I’ll stick with my original assessment.

People should have more to say. Twitter is the new venue for experimental writing and we should all take advantage of this everyday opportunity to make some poetry.

…until I get bored and move on to the next thing

Long Distance Bromance

True Bromance

True Bromance

The moment you’ve all been waiting for! Episode 2 of the popular and highly acclaimed podcast.

Long Distance Bromance Episode 2

Jaron Francis and Josh Alferez bring you a unique perspective on the world of geek news.

On this episode we discuss the sweet nostalgia of Dawson’s Creek, my debilitating Skyrim addiction, the upcoming Star Trek and Star Wars movies, the Justice League, the Oscars and MAGICIANS.

I know the ones of people out there are just burning with questions so send your queries, comments and hateful death threats to longdistancebro@gmail.com

Defend the Opposing View

I’ve taken a lot of heat from readers because of my rant against Jim from The Office a few posts ago. They say that I’m crazy for saying that a guy shouldn’t approach a woman in a friendly manner and then attempt the transition to a romantic relationship.

To all these people I say “WRITE IT IN THE DAMN COMMENTS”

I’ll defend my position here but I’m done with acknowledging feedback for this blog that comes in the form of text messages, phone calls and face to face conversation.

If you want to tell me I’m wrong or call me crazy do it in a way where everyone else can chime in too.

So, why do I consider Jim a spineless jerk?

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Look at that mug and you’ll have your answer!

I’ve mentioned in previous entries how I usually have to end up apologizing for myself because I muck up many social interactions. Sometimes I’ll say things that I don’t think would be taken offensively, but end up hurting people’s feelings or leaving them scratching their heads asking themselves “What’s wrong with this asshole?”

Other times I’m openly hostile to people when meeting them for the first time.

Usually it’s in forced social situations.

Parties or gatherings where I don’t know most of attendees are the worst. I decide pretty quickly if I don’t like you and it takes very little to get on my bad side.

I’m like that dog who needs to be locked in the bathroom whenever the owners have guests over because he always bites strangers.

It happens because, in life when I don’t like someone or something I just avoid it completely. If I’m stuck at a party and there’s someone I don’t like or a stranger I feel is being particularly “douchey” my first instinct is to leave but if I have to stay out of obligation I don’t have it in me to keep a civil tongue.

This is why I’m not well liked by many people and why when asked, I usually say that I’m not a nice person.

On the reverse side if I do like you then I will go out of my way to make it known. Most of my good friends will, if they have a good enough memory, remember a time very early on in our relationship where I’ve flat out said “We should be friends!”

When it comes to dating I’ve explicitly said at one point or another, to every girl I was interested in, “I don’t want to be your friend” and, as you’d probably expect by now, I’ve had to apologize for saying it.

I’m my head it’s one of the finest compliments. It means that I’m attracted to you and that even now my intention stretches beyond just friendship.

I live in an uncompromising world of blacks and whites and, this may further demonstrate just how crazy I am, I’ve always seen that as a good thing.

Everyone gets hung up on the “he refuses to be accommodating” part and they forget that uncompromising literally means that my values CAN NOT BE COMPROMISED!

I’m like a goddamned superhero!

He seems like a well adjusted fellow, right?

He seems like a well adjusted fellow, right?

In a world of mutual exclusivity I’d rather not be your friend and keep you as a romantic possibility.

This has led to a few instances where I end up not interacting with a woman I like and they end up thinking I’m ignoring them. The truth is that if I’m not yet ready to “make a play” I don’t want to start her down the path of platonicity because I’d never entertain the idea of romantically pursuing a friend.

So in short what I’m saying is that I believe that a man who builds a friendly relationship with a woman he’s interested in is completely disingenuous and whatever romantic relationship ensues is built on a foundation of lies.

So to all the “Jim Halperts” of the world who disagree, I don’t care what you believe, this is just how I feel on the matter so go suck a lemon!

Nurture the Latent Skill

It’s almost 2:30 am.

At 8:55 I picked up my guitar that was gathering dust in the corner nearest to my bathroom and decided that I would fiddle around with it to keep my hands busy while watching the newest episode of The Walking Dead.

I’ve always been pretty musically inclined. When I was 14 I took a year of piano lessons and then used that knowledge to teach myself to play the accordion and harmonica.

I mess around pretty regularly. I know 10 different chords and can play 3 or 4 full songs. I don’t own an amp but one of my guitar cables has a USB adapter that I use to make loud noises, that could technically be called music, come out of my computer speakers. It never occurred to me until about 5 hours ago that I could use that cable to record on to my laptop.

On guitar I’d describe my level of skill somewhere between Beginner and Novice but when it comes to recording and editing audio my skill level is non-existent.

So after 5 frustrating hours of trying to teach myself to use Audacity, I present my first ever original composition. You can hear a few obvious edits but I couldn’t figure out how to smooth them out and it’s too far past my bedtime to keep trying.

It has no title but if I were going to call it anything it would be My Fingers Hurt

Enjoy

Cast the First Pod

Today we make history. I recently had the distinct honour of being invited to co-host a new podcast. Here’s the inaugural episode.

Long Distance Bromance Episode I

We haven’t yet figured out a permanent solution for getting our words into your ears so for now I’ll apologize if you find that the audio quality isn’t perfect. We recorded separately while talking on the phone and overlaid both audio tracks. My mic was on my desk next to my computer but getting a phone call from Jaron gets me excited like a 13 year old Bieber fan and I spent the entire time nervously pacing around my whole apartment. When I’m actually sitting at my desk you can hear me fine.

Also we’ll find a better way to host it in the days to come but I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer and just threw it up online as quick and easy as I could.

(Edit* The podcast is now being hosted directly off of VTAN and as more episodes come out we’ll see about throwin’ her on iTunes.)

Listen if you dare but before you do, allow me in my tediously roundabout way, to give you some background information.

This podcast was created by Jaron Francis and me. I know that’s bad grammar but I can’t put my name before his.

I talk a lot about both my love of Batman and my tendency to take command of any situation making myself the focus of everyone’s attention. All that posturing dissolves immediately when I’m in the presence of Jaron Francis. One of my favorite people in the world, Jaron is pretty much the only person I’d gladly play Robin to. I follow his lead, defer to his wisdom and when he’s not looking I dress up in his clothes and pretend to be him  he suggested that we start a podcast together I jumped way the hell on board.

Jaron Francis is an actor, playwright, film maker, a dreamer and a chaser. He’s a lover and a fighter, a lapsed Norwegian, a man afraid to dance and, I can only speculate, a generous lover. He’s a stoic agnostic, he’s Kirk in spirit but Spock in actuality and more than anything Jaron is a man happy to be merely content.

True Bromance

True Bromance

In Ancient Greece, Plato posited the idea of the ideal forms. He said that for every imperfect circle in the world, there must exist, on some ethereal plane, a perfect circle from which every other circle in existence derives. The same is true for every physical being or object. Trees, rocks, lions and spiders are all unique in their physical makeup but all of them follow the intrinsic “blue print” of their respective ideal forms.

When it comes to man, Jaron Francis is Plato’s ideal form.

He is the perfect man and we should all aspire to be like him.

It's a matter of public record that I get sexually aroused by breakfast foods.

It’s a matter of public record that I get sexually aroused by breakfast foods.

So when he asked me to partner up with him on this project I immediately relegated myself to sidekick.

However, together, we recorded the first of what we hope to be many episodes.

It’s a show about 2 friends separated by nearly 3000 kilometers who just like to hang out and talk about movies and stuff but can’t because of the distance. So we record our long distance phone calls and you all get to have the pleasure of listening.

Enjoy!

Look the Other Way

Lately I’ve been using myself as a test subject in a little social experiment. I’ve been consuming as much pop culture media as I can while trying to experience it from a different context than the creators had originally intended. The idea came from an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney says he watches The Karate Kid and roots for “Sweep-the-Leg” Johnny.

I should just do EVERYTHING this guy says, right?

I should just do EVERYTHING this guy says, right?

I watched Empire Strikes Back through the context that at some point between Episodes IV and V Han and Leia had a crazy drunken one night stand and he brushed her off the next morning when she tried to get him to talk about “what this all means”. There’s also a totally underrated Woody Allen movie I love called Anything Else. I like to watch it and pretend that Woody Allen’s character is Jason Biggs from the future and he’s traveled back in time to give his younger self some life advice.

Try it yourself IT CHANGES THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE.

Right now I’m watching The Office again from start to finish. Like many normal people you probably see this show as a typical workplace comedy with elements of romance thrown in.

I’ve been watching it with Dwight, Roy and Toby as the heroes and it turns out that Jim and Pam are just terrible people!

Pam has never once been satisfied with what she has. She sits around unhappy with her position in life and yet fails to acknowledge her responsibility in getting to that point. And then when she does have an ambition she revels in the fleeting glow that comes with achieving her goal until it wears off and she reverts to her natural state of dissatisfaction.

Just look at her emotional variance before and after she:

  • breaks off her engagement to Roy,
  • starts dating Jim,
  • decides that she needs to go to art school,
  • quits art school,
  • gets married
  • and finally when she has children.

She hates her life so damn much that she seeks radical change but the cycle just repeats. And yet we’re meant to root for her!

I can’t do it!

And don’t let me get started on Jim. He’s a real piece of work this guy. He’s one of these situationally confident jerks, my least favourite type of person. The kind who, when surrounded by people he considers mentally or physically inferior, struts around like cock of the walk. But the second there’s anyone who will actually stand up to him he rolls belly up like a subservient dog.

He’s got no backbone. I hate these types of guys. The ones too scared to tell women they’re interested in, how they feel. I have no respect for these guys who try to sneak in by being “the best friend”. I feel like shaking these guys by the shoulders shouting “This isn’t 7th grade!”

Every girl I have ever dated I’ve got to know through a romantic relationship. I’ve never looked at existing friends of mine and decided, “Hmmm… Which of my buddies do I wanna bang?”

But Jim!?!?!? Not only does he ingratiate his way into this girl’s life he does it in the guise of a “nice guy who just wants to be friends”

WITH A GIRL WHO IS ALREADY ENGAGED!!!

What a scumbag!

I thought that if I could train my brain to see a new perspective then I could get better at relating to people in real life. By seeing their point of view for a change maybe I could become less judgmental and give people more of a chance before immediately deciding that I don’t like you.

I watched The Office from Dwight’s side, and Roy’s, and all the people who have suffered because of Jim and Pam and all it did was make me hate two characters I used to like.

Dance the Whole Night

Ordinarily I’m not the type of person for whom “club” is a verb. In my vocabulary a club is either a tool for murdering those oh so cute baby seals or that group of asthmatic milquetoasts I used to play chess with in highschool. A club is never the place I think of when planning where I want to go to have a good time.

There’s an old maxim usually attributed to Albert Einstein that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I’ve alluded to it in all of my previous posts, but I’ve never explicitly come out and said that my ultimate goal with VTAN is to become less insane. To that end I’ve found myself doing different things more and more often in the hopes that I’ll have better results.

So it was with more than a little reluctance that after many months of coaxing I broke out the dancing shoes and hit the downtown club scene.

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I had started the morning with a literal “wake up call” that led to a conversation that pretty much ruined my day. Later that afternoon I got an email from one of my favorite people in the world and the excitement that came from opening it was immediately wiped away when I read that his girlfriend had just broken up with him. It bothered me so much to hear about all the bullshit he has to deal with now because this is the type of guy who truly deserves to be happy. He’s so infectiously charming that the whole world is better off when he’s got a smile on his face and so to see him in bad spirits really brings me down.

By the time I left work I was in a pretty shitty mood and was considering just staying home, putting on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy Extended Edition Bluray and just spending the whole weekend fastidiously cataloging all the reasons why the people who say LotR is a better trilogy than Star Wars are goddamned lunatics.

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My greater than symbol is made of straws.  Just like MacGuyver used to make.

Instead I  managed to muster up the enthusiasm to follow through with the night’s plan.

I’m not going to give the Howard Cosell blow-by-blow of the night partially because, “who the hell cares?” and partially because I don’t remember it all. What makes the night worth writing about is how it didn’t at all feel outside of the zone of comfort.

I had alternate plans I could have fallen back on that night. My friend invited me to see his brother’s funk band playing at El Mocambo. This would have been more my type of scene. A live band instead of a DJ,drinks at bar rather than on a dance floor,  and if you ask me, sweet funky bass grooves win over dance beats any day of the week. I would’ve ended up going but I had made a conscious decision to act against my natural impulses.

It’s like that episode of Seinfeld where George realizes all his failures in life can be fixed by simply acting in the exact opposite way than he normally would. I took a different track and I gotta say I’m pleased with the results.

Lots of dancing:

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And drinking:

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And just a really fun way to end the night considering my day started off so shitty.

I have to admit though, some patterns are harder to break. Even though it was a night of doing things out of the ordinary there’s only so far you can go in one night.

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We still ended up at Fran’s for more drinks and All Day Breakfast!

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Explain the Crazy Obsession

People think it’s an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It’s never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I’m doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn’t that day. And tomorrow won’t be either.

Batman, Brad Metzler “Identity Crisis”

I didn’t want to do this. At least not this soon. I started this whole thing because I never talk about myself. Most people know me as a goofy, fun loving joker and very few get to see the gears working behind the scenes in this crazy messed up head of mine.

I never talk to anyone about how I’m feeling. Even with my closest friends I only ever have hollow conversations about pop culture, so books and movies rather than thoughts and emotions are standard topics of discussion. But since today marks the release of the latest in the series of DC Animated Universe films, and since I’m running out of ways to distract myself from having to deal with my whole “dad situation”, I want to take a little time to talk about Batman.

Today I went out and bought a copy of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 2 on BluRay.

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I imagine it would’ve had to have been an amusing sight, watching me watch this movie. Every now and then I’d catch myself involuntarily whispering, “Damn, I fuckin’ love Batman!”

I thought about maybe writing a review but instead I decided to be a little more self reflective and try to put into words why Batman matters to me so much.

So? Why am I obsessed with Batman?

Because I feel more emotionally connected to him than to most real people in my life.

It takes a person of a special disposition to consider a fictional character, originally created for ten cent pulp rags, as an emotional touchstone. I am aware that most people will say I’m crazy when, in a world full of poverty and violence and real suffering, I say that Batman is important, but he is to me. The effect that this character has had in shaping me into who I am today is so significant I’d go as far as saying that it makes me understand religious fundamentalism in a frightening way.

I’m not saying I agree with the fundees AT ALL, I’m just saying that I understand how these crazy nutjobs can get so incensed over their most strongly held beliefs. If I can almost come to blows with a stranger at the comic shop over something as trivial as a freaking superhero book, then it makes a weird sort of sense that people would go to war over religion.

And that’s really what I’m trying to say. Since 1992 Batman has been my religion.

June 19th 1992.

I remember the exact date because it was my older brother’s 12th birthday as well as the original theatrical release date of Batman Returns.

I’ve been obsessed ever since.

At first it was about the adventure of it all. I was only six years old at the time. Little kids are impressed by the car and the gadgets and the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. As I grew older and read the works of Grant Morrison, Jeph Loeb, Paul Dini and especially Frank Miller, I started to see the true complexity that makes him so interesting.

Batman is as crazy as I am.

I am crazy.

I say it so often and so candidly that people sort of just shrug it off without really letting it sink in, but the truth is that there’s so much wrong with me that just the thought of trying to list it all is exhausting. I’m psychologically damaged in a way that I fear may never be fully repaired and while I’m certainly not dangerous I’m self aware enough to know how unpleasant it can be having me around. This means I either spend a lot of time alone or having to apologize for myself.

If you read Batman through a certain lens, it becomes very clear, very quickly, that he’s not at all a hero in the traditional sense. He’s more insane than the weirdos he’s always locking up.

He’s a an obsessive compulsive, paranoid sociopath with dissociative personality disorder and an infallibility complex. He went through emotional suffering at a young age and has never been able to get over it and, more to the point, it appears he’s not even trying since he’s intentionally putting himself into situations that will make it worse.

I feel like I’m talking about myself when I write that.

One day I’m going to write about the experiences both past and very recent that have contributed to my overall mental instability. For now I’ll just say that I recently sat down and had a real conversation with someone recovering from a substance abuse problem. Although it was a brief talk, and I’ve never dealt with this kind of problem myself, I was amazed at how connected I felt to this person. Being able to talk about feelings with someone who could draw upon their own personal experiences to really understand the type of pain I had been feeling was so different. Even now I’m still trying to work out how I felt about it.

What I’m hamhandedly trying to say is that never before did I have anyone who I felt I could relate to emotionally and so I used Batman as a surrogate.

I would read about this poor little boy so full of anger who grows up to be a man with no hope for a happy future and while it didn’t necessarily give me hope for the future it did give me that feeling of “at least I’m not alone.”

I started this entry with a quote that gives us a glimpse at the denial that Batman lives with everyday. He’ll never admit to himself just how crazy his actions are and how little control he has over his obsessions.

That’s at least one thing I’ve got going for me. I’m happy that I’m able to recognize that I’m all messed up in the head.

It makes me feel like maybe one day I won’t be.

Read the Damn Blog

I can’t have a conversation with anyone without obsessively wondering what they may be thinking. Growing up as a kid who read too much sort of spoiled me and has made regular human interaction almost impossible. Both first person and omniscient narratives give you tremendous insight into a character’s thoughts and emotions and so it’s no surprise that I feel more connected to most fictional characters than I do to any real person. With regular conversation I can’t be inside a person’s head and since most people prefer to talk to me about things rather than talking about themselves all of my relationships end up being very superficial.

I don’t want to keep living this way but, like the proverbial old dog, I’m done learning. I figure the next best thing is to give the rest of the world a better understanding of what’s going on in my head. So that’s gonna be my goal.

Verb the Adjective Noun will be the pipeline from my brain to yours. Maybe this way more people will see how the machine works. They’ll see the entire Rube Goldberg-ian thought process that ends with me saying or doing something unintentionally hurtful or insensitive. Maybe this way people will see why my jokes are funny without me having to explain them. Maybe this way people will see the world through “Josh Goggles” and they’ll see that I’m not so bad. You may even find that you like me more than you thought you did.

This is the start, we’ll see how everything turns out