Saturday, December 22, 2007

My First Review!

Good evening friends. Welcome to the first of what will probably be many reviews on this site. You see, like most people with websites or blogs, I like to critique things. I love that feeling you get when you turn someone on to something really cool that they've never known before. There's a bit of pride that comes with being able to end an argument with "Yeah, well you never would have tried wildberry pop tarts if it wasn't for me, and now you can't even wash the crumbs out of your pubic hair!" It's kind of disturbing how often that statement plays a role in my daily life.

I thought long and hard about what the subject of my first review should be. There's some cool new sodas out that are dying to be photographed, quaffed and preserved for all time. And then there's the burgerthon I've always wanted to try (although I'm not quite ready to die of a heart attack, so maybe not). No, for my first review, I needed something far more ambitious. You can find a few thousand blogs that review everyday things like food, movies and music. How many blogs can you find that review an entire fucking state? At least one now. That's right. I'm reviewing Minnesota.

* Disclaimer: The author has seen very little of Minnesota and is basing this entire review and all of his opinions on only a small portion of the state. Don't like it? Tough shit.

My lawyer told me to include that last part, but I wouldn't listen to it if I were you. He does live in a dumpster outside my building after all. And he's really more of a homeless guy that screams at me every day than an actual lawyer.


I'm going to break this review down into different sections, ending each section with a rating. Then at the end of the review, I will give Minnesota an overall score. Oh and I apologize in advance if you are from Minnesota. Here we go....

Section 1: First Impressions
I was a little scared of some of the people we might encounter on our trip. I mean, these are the people that voted a former pro wrestler into office. Everyone was surprisingly polite though.
One of the first things I noticed in Minnesota was the licence plate on the car in front of me as I drove over the state line. When I said first impressions, I meant FIRST impressions. You know what it says on Minnesota licence plates? Explore Minnesota. 10,000 lakes. Now I by no means seen all that Minnesota has to offer in my short time there, but I can tell you that I seen nary a lake. Not even one. I would like to know how official this "Land of 10,000 Lakes" title is. Did someone count? That seems like a lot of lakes for such a small area. I began to become suspicious of this foreign land and their claims of so many lakes. Because if they were going to lie about that, there's no telling what else they might lie about. Why not just stamp "Birthplace of Superman" on their licence plates? I'm not saying they would, I'm just saying who's going to stop them? Ponder that for a minute. I was dangerously close to proclaiming shenanigans on Minnesota but then, I seen something so beautiful, so magical, that it made me completely reverse my initial mistrustful view of good ol' MN. This was a sight so wondrous, I had to forcefully grab the steering wheel from my companion and veer us onto the side of the interstate. Something like this only comes along once in a lifetime, I thought, and it is my duty, nay my honor, to get a picture of this. Future generations must behold the majesty of this sight.
We Go All Out!
Fuck yes. You've seen it. You can't unsee it. Spectacular. It would have been better if Kum was spelled Cum, but you can't always get what you want.

RATING: 5 out of 5 missing lakes

Section 2: Spiritualism

There is one big "to do" on any list that you absolutely need to take care of while in Minnesota. There was bound to be some debauchery on this trip, so why not balance that with a trip to the largest church in the state. Because if I have a flaw, its that I'm just too damn spiritual. Luckily Minnesota's largest church was just off the interstate, so we didn't even need to get lost. And here it is....
Church is open 24 hours a day in the USA
One of the things I love best about going to the States (besides the cheap cigarettes. $3 fucking dollars a pack!!!!) is seeing all of the cool stuff that you just can't get in Canada. Like this:

Elvis Reese's!!!!! Thankfully no bacon creme in there.

For that special someone who has everything

Do you like your fruit genetically modified and huge? Here, have some grapes.

Crunch berries. Handed down by god himself for us to enjoy. Nature's perfect food. Why the fuck can't you get these in Canada?!!?!?!?

And then I found something so amazing, so full of awesome that I believe I had a geekgasm. This is a Target exclusive (thereby making it non-existent in the Great White North) and single handily made the entire trip worthwhile. Those that know me best know that I have a not so healthy DVD obsession. I mean if I have to make a decision between eating today or completing my Friday the 13th collection, I'm going to be pretty fucking hungry by the time tomorrow rolls around. Delving even further into the addiction is fancy packaging. If a DVD comes in a cool boxset or collectors package, I must have it. I could give a shit what the movie is sometimes, and I've come to own some films that are really not very good, but damn is the package nice. Until now, my pride and joy was the collectors edition of Evil Dead 2. The case is shaped like the Book of the Dead, complete with drawings inside. The coolest part is that the case is made out of a rubbery material so it even feels like human skin. And when you press the eyeball, the motherfucker actually screams. So cool. But now I have a new pride and joy, and its name is Transformers. Available only at Target. The DVD case is itself a Transformer!!!! I shit you now. Check this out....

I didn't drive 7 hours just to buy this, but I would have.

If church was this fun in Canada, I'm sure more people would go.

RATING: 4 out of 5 thirty year old virgins

Section 3: Arts and Entertainment

Do you know who hails from Minnesota? Prince! Mr. Purple Rain. Now I'm well aware that Prince has experienced all different levels of suck for about the last 15 years or so, but back in the mid 80s, Prince was god. Now he's just a Jehovah's Witness (TRUE!). Well there is a club in Minneapolis by the name of First Avenue.

This is the actual club that the Purple Rain movie was filmed in. And I had tickets to see Against Me there! It was just an incredible show, but I won't get into that too much. Let me just say this: Go see Foo Fighters on tour this spring. Against Me is the opening act, and you really need to see them live. If you have never heard of them, you should really pick up an album or two. Or listen to Power 97 which is playing their newest single quite often.

One of the coolest things about the club is the exterior. Hundreds of amazing bands have played this little venue over the years, and the entire outside of the club is covered in silver stars showing which bands have visited. Below is a small sampling.

Now that CBGBs in New York is closed, I would say this is the premier historic rock club in North America. Definitely worth the trip. That about covers the Entertainment portion, but what about the Arts? Well this place looks like a museum or gallery of some sort, although I never did find out which. But it's pretty, no? P..r..e..t..t..y C..o..l..o..r..s

RATING: 10 out of 5 multiple orgasms

Section 4: Local Cuisine

Since I was in Minnesota for almost 3 days, There are lots of places I ate at that I could use to factor into this score. We could go over every item, from gas station sandwiches to fancy hotel room service, but I would rather base my score on the meal I ate at one of Minnesota's most famous eateries. I had been led to believe that this was fine dining at its best. Maybe I shouldn't make my feasting decisions based on stoner comedies anymore. I'm sorry Harold and Kumar, but your burgers are fucking gross.

While I don't dispute the coolness of being able to order a CASE of burgers for under 15 bucks, they really need to work on the quality. The burgers literally felt and tasted like they had been dipped in the toilet just prior to being served, for that little extra je ne sais quoi. Maybe I just needed to be really stoned to appreciate the subtle flavors at work in each cute little piece of nasty. Did you know that white castle connoisseurs refer to the burgers as "slyders" as in "they slide right though you"?. Doesn't that nickname conjure the most hellish image in your head? And that's from the people that LIKE the burgers!

You had a hot streak going there Minnesota, but ya fucked it up.

RATING: 0 out of 5 ratburgers

Section 5: The Interstate / Driving in Minneapolis

There's no doubt that there are some beautiful sights to see while driving through Minnesota. And even better, the speed limit is 120 kph!!! Very cool. Another neat little feature was that there were tons of rest stops all along the interstate, with really nice tourist centres, playgrounds and photo opportunities. You really can't drive more than 10 miles without encountering a rest stop. These came in very handy indeed, as I wasn't allowed to smoke in the car. Frequent stops were a must, to the constant irritation of my companion. And while the geography in ND is very much like MB (flat and boring), as soon as we entered Minneapolis, there were twists and turns and hills and trees everywhere. Really really nice. So I know this section of the review is reading like a blow job, but just wait. Soon we entered THE city. Minneapolis. The Minnesota interstate is very much like a drunk, bipolar midget with superiority issues. As soon as we entered the suburbs around Minneapolis, the beautiful sights and peacefulness of the interstate quickly fled, and the horrible bitch goddess interstate reared its ugly head. Imagine this:

You're driving 120 kph, on a 6 lane highway. There are cars all around you, all driving very fast. You look at your nicely printed MapQuest directions, which advise you to take the I-35NW turnoff. You look up and quickly scan the upcoming exits. You see I-35, I-35N and I-35S. Where the hell is the I-35NW? What the fuck? Oh I'm sorry, I'm supposed to assume that we need to take the I-35N which will lead us to the I-35NW. Maybe my beef is with MapQuest, but it wouldn't that bad if you could just turn around after missing an exit. Well forget it. If you miss an exit, a loud booming voice will part the heavens and mock you mercilessly while forcing you to drive 50,000 miles to the next exit. I estimate that in three days, we got lost 236 times, all on the interstate. If the interstate had a face, I would punch it.

RATING: 2 out of 5 road rage candidates


So it was certainly an interesting trip. I got to see a bit of rock and roll history. I seen an amazing concert. I had the pleasure of eating the grossest burgers in the history of the universe and I got accosted by an aquarium mascot (don't ask). Would I go back?

FINAL SCORE: 21 out of 25 Jesse Venturas

Oh hell yes, Minnesota. You had me at "3 dollar cigarettes".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Greatest Commercial EVER!!!!

Watch this commercial and I'm sure you'll agree.

If I had an ape like that, I would be unstoppable. Now what this commercial has to do with Cadbury or chocolate of any kind is up for debate. Well I wouldn't really say its up for debate. It's more like "What the fuck is that I just watched?". Either the marketing gurus over at Cadbury are incredibly brilliant or they're all on drugs. Who else but a stoner could come up with that ad idea? "Hey dude, you know what would be sweet? If I had a gorilla that could play drums to Phil Collins". Indeed.

I'll tell you one thing though....from now on, whenever I see a gorilla, I'm going to get an urge for chocolate. Mission accomplished Cadbury, you diabolical chocolatiers.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Want to Throw Away 3 Bucks? Follow Me...

December is upon us at last! I can finally start to feel Christmasy (screw you spell checker. It's a word if I say it is. I'm the boss, not you.) Do you notice how the holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier every year? I swear to god when I went to Walmart the day after Halloween, they were putting Christmas stuff up already. Before you know it, they're going to be having post Arbour Day Christmas Sales. Only 240 more shopping days until Christmas! Well fuck that I say! In my opinion December 1st is the day I start to feel the spirit of the season. I even refuse to put my tree up until then. I'm not one to bitch and moan about the commercialization of Christmas (I am a material little bitch, and I like shiny things) but come on!

Anyway, back on point. It's December, and I gots me a holiday itch to scratch. Since there is no holiday themed Slurpee to partake of in my neck of the woods, I've got to settle for the next best thing. Christmas themed gambling!

Beautiful, ain't it? All unscratched and full of promise. O Christmas Tree indeed. I'm not by any means a compulsive or experienced gambler, but it was 3 bucks. Why not? And in the off chance I did win $50,000, I could spend it on presents, thereby driving the economy forward, and in an offhand way, save Christmas. That's right. I'm selfless like that. Now there are two types of scratch and win players. The kind that just scratch every scratchable area on the card and are done in under a minute, and the kind that likes to cherish the moment a bit. I fall into the latter category. I like to read all of the instructions, and only scratch off a little bit at a time. I've got some Mennonite blood coursing through my veins, so I need to get the most for my three dollar investment.

There's only one thing you can use to scratch a Christmas scratch n' win. A Canadian quarter. It has a caribou on it, and that's pretty damn close to a reindeer if you ask me. I don't know what's on the American coins besides Presidents, but I doubt it's as appropriate as this. Let's get started. We've got three play areas to tackle. The large, Christmas tree shape play area is filled with numbers. I get 14 numbers to play with, and if I scratch off all of the numbers in a line, I win the amount in that line.

Here's the card halfway through scratching. As you can see, I'm not doing so well. I am one number away from winning 5 bucks, but since I only have 7 numbers left to scratch, and 8 numbers remaining in the $50,000 line, that ship has sailed. Let's see how the second half goes.

Oooo...look at that. One number away from 20 bucks. I would call that a solid return on my investment.

No fucking dice. But there is still hope. I still have two play areas left. The second play area shows a nice fireplace motif complete with stockings hung (by the chimney with care no less). Simply get three of the same prize amount, and it is mine. All mine. Bwah ha ha.

Dammit. Just dammit. Look how they tease me with two $5 amounts. That's an amount that is actually feasible to win on one of these things. The scratch card gods are laughing at me. They love to make you think you have a chance of winning, only to snatch it away at the last moment. Oh irony, you are a cruel bitch goddess. I'm not sure how that is ironic, but I like the flow of that last sentence. One last play area to go. This is a bonus gift, all wrapped up with a pretty bow. Simply scratch off the area, and if there is any prize amount listed, you win! Just that easy folks. Well take a look at this shit...

Happy Holidays indeed. It might as well say fuck you. Really sort of amounts to the same thing in this situation. I guess I won't be saving Christmas this year after all. Thanks for nothing Manitoba Lotteries. Thanks for nothing.

I guess I can't complain too much though. It cost me 3 bucks, and I got about an hour worth of enjoyment out of it. And hopefully you got a couple minutes out of it too.