Jun 22, 2020

The L in BLM

Marvia Gray, 68 yrs old, and son Derek. 
I just read a story
about a black man who bought a 65” TV at Sam’s Club, that didn’t fit in his car so they agreed to hold it there so he could come back with a bigger car to get it later.  I’ve worked at a hardware store for years and I know this happens ALL THE TIME with large items.   It’s not uncommon to put things aside for someone to come back later.    When he came back and an employee who wasn’t privy to the situation saw him in the parking lot with the TV and for some reason reported it and a cop who must have just been there already.  The cop followed him to the car and accused him as well despite being told that he had bought it.  The man went home with the TV but he and his mother felt like they should just return it and get their money back to avoid any more harassment.   When they came back to the store, despite other employees recognizing him, and telling the officer, and the other employee that he in fact did purchase it, the cop still persisted and called for back up.   As one would, the man got offended and argued his case.  Things get out of hand and became physical.  The man’s mother even tried to plead his case for him but was also physically assaulted by the now 3 other cops that showed up. Both sustained injuries and humiliation in front of a busy store full of people.  All for a guy who was trying to load a TV he had purchased.  No matter how well-off and law abiding and upstanding citizenly you are, if you're black, there's always that chance some asshole will think you're doing something illegal and a cop ready to back them up.  This shit doesn't happen to well-off law abiding white people.

In a cellphone video you can hear a bystander say something like  “just stay down, do what they say” 

This is always a reaction to cases like this.  People will chime in with stuff like  "just do what the cops say and you wont be hurt (or shot, or killed)" . The problem with that is most of the time when your skin isn't white; while no matter how completely innocent you are or how easily proven or obvious your innocence is doing what they say can have a less than desirable outcome.  You're doing the right thing and DON'T give into your natural urges to resist someone accusing you and trying to restrain you physically for something you didn't do, you'll get arrested anyway.  But you're thinking maybe it's just some handcuffs and humiliation, maybe a trip to the station where they ask you your side of the story and they apologize and let you go.  But that's not what happens.  Despite the cops knowing they're  wrong, they'll tell you just do what they say and everything will be fine.  So you do.  And a drive to the station turns into a night in jail.  You done everything right, you're innocent and you know they know it, but you can't afford bail and end up waiting days, weeks, months, possibly years for your case to be heard in court.  All while the DA, judge sometimes even your own lawyer tries to convince you to just take a plea deal saying you did it so you can reduce your sentence. You persist and finally 5 years later after being an exemplary inmate staying out of trouble while living with actual convicted criminals the Judge sees your file and says "yea, they have no case, you're free to go" Oh and by the way that cop that falsely accused  you and beat you up has been promoted twice and despite being wrong and fucking your life over, get ZERO discipline for it.   But, you're free to go.  Try not to commit suicide like many do after shit like this happens to them.  This shit happens.  It's real.  It's documented.  It happens a lot actually. 

I'm not saying black people should resist arrest, but I understand why someone who knows the cards are stacked against them would.  It's not handcuffs they're resisting, it's a system of unjust racist policy that's sewn into the fabric of this dumb-ass country. The game is rigged. That's what Black Lives Matter means.  Black lives matter doesn't just mean "cops stop shooting black people"  It means stop looking twice when a black person walks in a room. It means don't call the cops because black people are having a bbq.  It means not passing over a resume because someone's name 'sounds black'.    It's every black person's whole  life, from birth, being tagged as less-than by a society that for the most part doesn't even know they benefit from generations of this kind of discrimination. There's no way as a white guy who's done nothing to earn it, but has benefited from it that I'll actually ever know how it feels to be black. That's why we all need to acknowledge that this discrimination exists even if you don't see it. Even if you're not racist, and your town's not racist, and you do work in your community to help people of color, you've got to understand why the L in BLM is more that just a person's name on a protest sign. When you finally get it, then you can make other’s understand and so on, and so on.   When we all do, one day in the future all lives can actually matter equally. 

Sorry, shit got all serious.  Serious times call for serious Noggins.

Jun 12, 2020

History Repeating (Mrs. America review)

Meg had the news on last night and Trump was bumming me out. As he usually does.  They said that Trump gassing innocent peaceful protesters so he could do a photo op at a church was "last week" ….  last week?  Jesus so much shit has been happening on a daily basis I feel like that was a month ago. 

So we put on Hulu.. We finished the last few episodes of the show Mrs. America and now I feel exactly the same way again. Just with disco playing in the background. Holy shit it's all right there man.  In the wake of Nixon getting very publicly busted and despite a huge swath of morons still supporting him there was an impressive progressive movement in the 70's, Carter put solar panels on the White House, then it was completely crushed by a bitter and frightened conservative party that used the fringe religious right to get more support and let it backfire into the Reagan shit show of the 80's.  Just like now none of those fucks care about values or religion.  The almighty dollar is their god. Then we had brief reprieve in the "gay 90's" then literally all the same white men from the Reagan years prop up another puppet conservative to push their agenda.   A little break with Obama. Which REALLY pissed off the racists ... cue "hey racists, you really have no reason to support me, and I'm such a narcissist that being racist would require me to think about someone other than myself, but hey what if I said something like "mexicans are rapists" on TV sound good? Oh hey also religious conservatives, I’m a lying adulterer rapist living a life of sin forever but hey what if I said “I will overturn Roe v Wade” into  microphone?  Oh hey old school fiscal conservatives, I’ve never run a successful business but I am friends with all the rich people who you wish you could be… so??   Yea? cool make me president?   That’s all it takes for a bunch of shallow assholes to vote for someone so completely opposite of their beliefs  and wrong for the country. 

This is a big part of how we got where we are now. Fuck, watch that show. I was too young to know what was going on, and since it was wasn’t taught in my history class... hell it was barely even history at that point... I really didn’t know how similar it was and frankly surprised that more grown people who were around then (Ok Boomer) don't see history repeating and aren’t screaming about it.  For some reason in my ignorance of history I thought this show was going to be about a conservative woman fighting against women’s rights finally see’s why the women’s lib movement was important because she’s constantly getting fucked over by the men around her and the very politicians she’s propping up… but no, this cunt Schlafly despite actually getting fucked over by her male counterparts in politics  because of her vagina remained a die-hard shithead literally until she died in 2016. Her last book that came out the day after she died was “The Conservative Case For Trump”  way to go you piece of shit… At least your dead. 



May 28, 2020

New Monopoly

Monopoly was originally called The Landlord’s Game and was  “invented in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie as a way to demonstrate the system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.  She based the game on the economic principles of Georgism, a system proposed by Henry George, with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants.” -Wikipedia   It was then stolen by a game maker who fucked Magie over and turned it into the stupid kid’s game we all know now and has lost it's original message.

I have never liked this game and learning it’s roots just solidified my hatred.   Actually a lot of people hate it and get mad when they play it but that's how it was supposed to be.  You were supposed to get mad at a system designed to fuck over normal people. The more I live as an adult and learn about how the injustices and corruption and greed has skewed things for most Americans I thought the game Monopoly could use an update to rekindle that original message Elizabeth Magie  was trying to convey.

Just loosely spit-balling, my rough idea goes something like this.  

The game set up is the same at first but before the cash is distributed, each player rolls a set of dice and whoever gets the highest number is now the beneficiary of being "Born into Wealth" and gets 3 times the amount everyone else gets and a full color set of properties to begin the game with.  Which color property is determined by dice rolls.  Each time this player passes go they collect not $200 but a $1,000 allowance from the family estate. Each dice roll counts an extra 3 spaces but if the space they land on passes a desirable available property they can simply pay $500 to move their game token up to 3 spaces forward or backward to help them end up on the space they wanted. This player is also automatically exempt from paying any taxes in the game.

The Luxury Tax space does not exist in this version of the game.  This space will be replaced with "Recession".  Player with the most money in their bank will get a "bailout" and collects $500.  All other players collect no money next time they pass GO.  Because the economy isn't doing well.  

If a player owns all Railroads they can increase the rent on those spaces up to double the normal rent. Additionally, if they own the Railroads they can expand the railroad onto up to 3 adjacent spaces for a percentage of the purchase cost of those properties (owned or not) Owner of the property can still collect their normal rent from other players but will also  have to pay an environmental impact fee to the banker for having a railroad operating on their property. Fee is a percentage of rent and to be paid every time a player lands on that property.

A new card is added to the Chance deck “Pay off a Senator” if you get this card and have $20,000 in your bank you can use it to pay off a Senator and get a law passed that clears you of any crimes and allows you a permanent Get Out Of Jail Free card. If you do not have $20,000 in your bank, you can offer to sell this card for $1000 to someone who does. In addition there will be new Chance and Community Chest cards as well as updates to existing cards that benefit the wealthy and punish the poor.

There is a new twist on Hotels.  Once a player has added a Hotel to each of the properties in a color set. For an additional fee they can then expand the hotel chain onto adjacent properties throughout the entire board (owned by them or not) Hotel cost increases the farther away the hotel is from the original property. The player must land on the original property owned by that player to expand the hotel chain. Owners of the properties with hotels not owned by them will get a small percentage of the Hotel fee  in addition to the rent fee they are owed when another player lands there.  Hotel owner keeps the remainder of the hotel fee.  The hotel tokens will come in different colors. One for each player to keep track of the hotel chains.

I forgot to mention, also at the beginning of the game the player with the lowest amount on the die gets half of the normal amount of money for being "Born Poor" . Passing GO gets you only $100 salary and taxes are increased by 1/2.  You are exempt from the Get out of Jail Free card.  If you land on the Free Parking space and have less than half of the original player amount it is deemed suspicious and you are sent to jail.   If you end up in Jail you’re there for the rest of the game unless you own all colors of a property.  You can mortgage these properties and get our of jail.  If there are Houses or Hotels (owned by you) on those properties you can offer to sell them to another player for 1/2 of the rent amount of that property.  Hotels owned by another player remain as assets of the hotel owner.  If no one owns the property the smaller percentage of the hotel fee goes to the banker while the hotel owner keeps the remainder. 

If at the beginning of the game you roll an even number, highest roll or lowest roll you are now considered a female for the game.  Female players whom have not benefited from being "Born Into Wealth? or been "Born Poor" will only collect $175 salary when passing GO.  To buy property she must wait an additional turn, stay on that space and not roll dice.  If another player lands on the property they intend to buy while waiting her additional turn can buy the property... but, if the player is male he can buy it at the listed price.  If the player is female she must roll dice with the female player waiting her extra turn.  Highest roll wins and can buy the property.  If the player who rolls the highest dice at the beginning of the game is female, benefits are reduced by 10%.  If the lowest die roller is female, she will only collect $75 salary for passing GO.  She can roll the dice upon passing GO.  If she rolls doubles she "has a baby" and can now collect $175 for passing GO for the rest of the game. If she does not roll doubles she collects nothing on that turn for passing GO.  All other female rules apply.  If you pull the "Pay off a Senator" card and don't have $20,000 you "Get Sexually Assaulted" and roll a die to determine the number of times you can get out of jail free.  

If you rolled an even number and do not want to be female, you can keep your original rank and roll again but if you roll even a second time you must play as Female.  If you roll doubles  this time you identify as LGBTQ and cannot play, as this game fears what it does not understand. 

Normal rules apply for remaining players.  Taking into account the new rules for Railroads, Hotels,  income inequality and gender.

Sound unfair? Welcome to real American life.

Disclaimer: I wanted to include race and immigrant status into this but I was getting pretty complicated already.  I also wanted to do more with the utilities but I think you get it and understand the point being made.  I'm not actually making a game.

Apr 21, 2020

The Greatest Breakfast Cereal I Couldnt Remember The Name Of

When I was a kid there was a breakfast cereal that I have fond memories of.   I have been seeking this particular brand of cereal out most of my adult life.  It would have been in the early to mid 80's and when I was a kid and it was a rare  occasion that my little brother and I got to have sugary breakfast cereals so I remember the few times we actually somehow convinced our mom to buyit.  I remember vividly one time begging for Cookie Crisp, finally getting it and being horribly disappointed with it. Chocolate Chip cookies in milk it definitely was not.  I don't know what I was expecting tho, like, a box full of actual bite size cookies disguised as fortified breakfast cereal?  Maybe that was the whole point of the marketing but how that lying piece of shit cereal is still around and this one I cant remember isn't,  is a crime.  This particular cereal I must not have been excited to get which is probably why I don't remember the name but I still reminisce about that flavor and how delicious it was.

I found a page on reddit called "Help Me Find" and gave them the best description I could for my long lost cereal. 

I mentioned that it was from the early 80's and that the flavor was similar to Cap'n Crunch but it definitely wasn't.  Just about every time I get Cap'n Crunch I think about this cereal and try to remember what it was.

The flavor was more like a pancake with syrup and butter on it than the sugary sweet corn flavor of the Cap'n.  It definitely didn't destroy your mouth either.  I remember the shape was square with round corners and concave on both sides. Kind of like the Halls cough drop shape but smaller. The cereal pieces were yellowish-brown. The box was also yellow and had a character like a cowboy or something on it.  Maybe an old West desert theme. It could have been a generic or store brand. It also could have been associated with a cartoon that no longer exists.Not sure if they were doing generic or cartoon tie-in's back then but its very likely this cereal no longer exists. I would just like to know what it was and see a photo of the box once. It was so good I still remember loving that flavor profile... I just can't remember ever even knowing the name of the cereal.

 Well just a few hours later after one obligatory "Sugar Smacks?" response I got my answer!  Despite Sugar Smacks being puffed rice, any time I mention this mystery cereal someone will suggest it.  So, it's not Smacks.  The answer I had been searching for (not really that hard) over 30 years was none other than Waffleos!   The person who figured it out even provided a link to a page with all kinds of info about it.  Oh man, instantly I was taken back to my childhood kitchen table.

 Here's a screenshot of some of the details.  Waffelo Bill!  haha.

Dang it came out in 1979?  I was like two years old. There's no way I could remember something like that at that age.  I know for sure I was in the house I lived in from two years old until I moved out in the 90's.  My brother was born in 79 and I do remember them bringing him home from the hospital.  Shit how cognizant are you at two?  So like 1980 or so?

It had an obscure cereal name that really hasn't stood the test of time.  That and me being a fucking toddler, no wonder I couldn't remember the name of it.  Although I will say, a waffle cereal is right in my wheelhouse as most of you know how much I love waffles.   Must have started at a very early age.

I feel like there has been  more recent variations of different cereals that tried to do some kind of maple or pancake theme but nothing like this.   I'm happy to have finally solved this mystery but also sad that I'll never be able to eat it again.   Now I also regret ever sending away for that belt buckle.

Now why don't you take a trip down this rabbit hole...

Apr 18, 2020

Very Unofficial Scattergories Expansion Pack

Who's played Scattergories 1000 times and wishes there were more cards? 
Say no more! Introducing Kirk's Stupid Scattergories VERY UNOFFICIAL expansion pack. I've been adding list items to these randomly for the last year or so. I finally completed List 8 so I figured I was finished. 

Print, cut, enjoy.  

Probably not family safe.

I am aware that I do not have permission to use the Scattergories name or logo.  Lists are NOT associated with Scattergories or Scrabble Inc.  

More Inspired Inspiration

Inspiration comes from everywhere they say.  A while back  I stumbled upon a website that's basically a collection of letters, notes and photos that people find in the trash or on the ground and send in.  A few of the letters caught my attention and I turned them into lyrics.  I hope they turn into songs at one point.  I'm really enjoying this new creative outlet.  And remember these are written for a punk band so it's not going to be and long epic sagas.  Here's the ones I did before. Inspired Inspiration Original Post

I just found some inspiration again on a letter that caught my eye. 

New Mother's Day

It's New Mother's DayCelebrated now on
October 15, 1998

The day I found out about all your lies
That you were working with the enemy
And how you're wanted by the FBI

I wrote you a letter.
Happy New Mother's Day
Dear Mom, I hate you!
Now If you would just go away!

I was eating English Muffins
When I learned the truth
That you were working with the Russians

I wrote you a letter.
Happy New Mother's Day
I'm 8 years old and I hate you!
Now if you would just go away!

It's October 15 2008
I miss you mom
I can't believe they took you away.
I'll remember you every Mother's Day.

Apr 15, 2020

Top 20 Influential Albums. Yes, 20.

I keep getting nominated to post 5, 10, 20 influential album covers on Facebook.  I've done this at least twice already and at least once without being nominated.  So I decided to consolidate and put it all here for you if you're interested in this type of thing.  It's The Quarantimes so you know you have time to read it.

Huey Lewis & The News: Sports
The first album I can remember listening to over and over. It was my dad's but it never left my stupid little portable tape player.
 It was also the first time I was really cognizant of what an actual rock & roll band was.  The idea that different dudes played  different instruments playing together and writing songs.  My dad recorded some live concert off HBO onto a VHS tape that we watched over and over.  I remember the kick ass horn section they had and it made me  want to play the saxophone after watching it.   I don't want to play saxophone anymore but  I guess you could say that the heart of rock & roll is still beating inside of me.  I ended up becoming a drummer. 

Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo
What other suburban white kid wasn’t smitten by break dancing in 1984?  C’mon man. I had pants with too many pockets and everything! What a complete nerd I was.  Anyway, I convinced my parents to buy me this record.  I’m not 100% sure it was actually this record but it was similar with I’m sure many of the same songs.  I remember playing it on the turntable of my parents gigantic Hi-Fi system in the living room with speakers that were as big as a mini-fridge trying to awkwardly emulate the dance moves from the movie.  I sucked but there was something I really liked about the rawness and not-give-a-fuckedness of it all.  I guess I knew there was something special about it but I just didn’t understand it.

Weird Al: Dare To Be Stupid 
Around the same time I was getting over my Break Dance phase, Eat It was tearing up the charts.  Weird Al was a new sensation and little kid me couldn’t get enough.  My friend had In-3D which featured Eat It but when I finally got around to having my own copy,  it was Dare To Be Stupid I chose.  The follow up to In-3D,  this one featured the hit Madonna spoof Like a Surgeon and the classic Yoda but I always liked the title track which was a DEVO style parody.    It also had a Huey Lewis parody!   I knew that album back and forth.  I think this also helped unlock my sense of humor like nothing before.  Like Spaceballs that came out around then and I also liked, It was mature but in a way a kid could enjoy. 

RUN DMC: Raising Hell
This album was probably the first album that I sought out on my own and listened to non stop.  I traded my mini Casio keyboard for it to a friend in like 4th grade.  I learned every word even if I really didnt understand it fully.  Imagine a chubby little white kid with a fake Walkman  rambling off words to "Proud To Be Black" in the back of his parents van on family trips. That was me.  Something about the raw style and bold uniqueness to the music drew me in.  A theme in my tastes that would continue as I got older and still today. RUN DMC and those early rappers were pioneers and there's always a place for pioneers in my collection. This album represents all the rap I was into that Raising Hell opened me up to. All the summer afternoons watching YoMTV Raps. Listening to The Beastie Boys, NWA, De La Soul, Too Short etc.

 Beastie Boys: Licensed To Ill
While I was listening to RUN DMC everyone else was getting hyped on Beastie Boys and I would scoff,  "that's not REAL rap"  ...even as a dumb 5th grader I had standards.  I eventually caved.  At this time skateboarding and all the wild untamed world that came with it had entered my life.  Even tho I didn’t fully understand it, I knew I liked it.  I saw a skateboard in a  Beastie Boys video and the heavy guitar vibe mixed with the very NY hip hop aesthetic I liked in RUN DMC pulled a slightly more mature me in.  I remember my friend found a “new” Beastie Boys album at the flea market and we were very disappointed and figured it must be fake because it was from the flea market.  Turns out it was Paul’s Boutique.  Obviously we and the world were just not ready for it yet.   License To Ill still has a place in my collection.

Quiet Riot: Metal Health
Around the time I was discovering the skateboard culture I was hanging out with these kids down the street.  Two brothers who also skateboarded.  Often I would stay late at their house listening to records on their record player.  Bob Seger, KISS and this one.  Something about the production values and the catchiness of the songs on this album drew me in.  They had this dumb plastic toy guitar with no strings we would use to lip-synch and do air guitar on.  It was totally stupid but we were kids.   It’s cheesy as fuck but quintessential 80’s pop-metal that wasn’t  totally pretentious yet. Anyway this album really resonated with me and maybe even moved me closer to being a metal head.

Metallica: ...And Justice For All 
Skipping ahead a few years skateboarding was less important and this mega beast found it’s way into my psyche. I’m not sure exactly how but by 7th grade I was wearing Metallica and Anthrax t-shirts to school.  I don’t know what bands I’d first heard but this one stands out as a milestone for me.  Even back then tho my tastes were eclectic.  The first music I ever purchased with my own money was the cassette single for One and the single for De La Soul’s Me Myself and I.   This was also  around the same time some friends of mine all got guitars.  I had drum sticks that a babysitter’s boyfriend gave me and I’d bang on a bucket to jam with them.   I remember sitting in front of a mirror while the One video was playing trying to emulate what Lars was doing.    The first time I actually played a real drum set like a year later people we’re surprised I knew what I was doing.  The rest, as they say is history.

Anthrax: State Of Euphoria
Obviously I’ve already mentioned Metallica.  Eventually I became a little thrash kid listening to bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Testament. But this album along with their 'I Am The Man' EP really showed me that a heavy band with serious music could have a lighter side that didn't take everything so seriously all the time.  I Am The Man was actually a Metal/Rap song, which was sort of unheard of for the time.   It showed that you could have a sense of humor in heavy music. And I the video for Antisocial they just look like they’re having a good time.  Despite the playfulness, these guys, like other thrash bands of the time had some very poiniant lyrics about heavy subjects.   I think I learned a lot more about the world from these bands than I did in school.   Anyway Anthrax will always be one of my favorite bands.

Faith No More: The Real Thing 
This one came out of nowhere for me. Just some normal summer afternoon watching MTV and this video comes on... It wasn't quite heavy metal but it was. It wasn't rap, but sort of. It was kind of funky like Red Hot Chilly Peppers but it was different. It was Epic. I was just 100% hooked. I went out and got the album right away and the tape didn’t leave my stereo for months.  Sitting in my room studying every lyric. It was just so cool. The real thing.   All the while sort of keeping it a secret from my metal head friends.   It subconsciously prepared me for a lot of music I would listen to and play later on. Huge inspiration for me.  I initially didn’t like their follow up Angel Dust because I thought it was too mainstream. It took a few years for it to grow on me and it’s actually my favorite album by them now.  The Real Thing really had an effect on me even tho I don’t like it as much now.

Primus: Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
This is a fun one. When I was face deep in being a metal head I would see Primus' Frizzle Fry album displayed predominately at my local East Bay record store and when I would ask my metal head friends if they’d  heard this band they all would scoff and dismiss it. After all, it wasn't blaring thrash metal. So I never listened to it. Then down the road I end up seeing the Jerry Was a Race Car Driver video played during Headbangers Ball on MTV and was amazed. Immediately I went and got Sailing The Seas of Cheese and never let those boneheads tell me what to like again. This album had the humor and lightheartedness I liked in Anthrax but also had elements I liked from Faith No More.   This time the push to more diverse music was a very conscious one.   It moved me to listen to all kinds of other music.  Jazz, Funk, bands like King Crimson and more soul music from the 70s. It really pulled my heavy metal head out of the sand and opened my eyes as a music lover and a drummer. Tim Alexander's drumming became the cornerstone of my drumming style at the time.

Rage Against The Machine
One summer day in the early 90s our local rock radio station KVHS was having a live broadcast at The Warehouse Record Store. They were giving away stickers and cassette singles and stuff. I got two really big tapes that day. Quicksand album Slip and Rage Against the Machine single for Bullet in the Head.  This album came along at a perfect time for me and once again, like others from this list, it changed how I listened to music and how I played it.   Side note, don’t think I tossed that Quicksand tape out…  I loved it, and it gave me a unique feeling I’d never had listening to music before.  I was 15 and wasn’t really ready for it. None my friends understood why I liked it.  Not until 10 years later did I even hear of anyone else knowing who that band was and discovering they had a whole, much deserved following.  It's still a regular in my music rotation and it never gets old.  It just wasnt as impactful musically for me as the others on this list.  I should probably mention here that you will not see any grunge bands on this list.  Despite me trying to be more diverse and have a more open mind musically I still refused to give any of the emerging grunge and alternative bands a chance.  They were basically what was popular and what all the normals were listening to.  A decision I would later regret as I discovered many of these bands later on were actually pretty good. 

Cannibal Corpse: Butchered At Birth 
While I was getting more adventurous with my musical tastes around this time, branching out into jazz, funk and new wave fusion,  I was also getting more diverse within the genre of heavy metal.  My heavy music tastes expanded from just thrash metal to straight up death metal.  Some of Slayer’s stuff was pretty dark, and by now I’d gotten into Sepultura and some other, faster and darker bands on the fringes of what could be considered Thrash but when I heard this album it changed my whole perspective of how truly brutal heavy music could be. From here I discovered a whole universe of bands like Death, Obituary, Brutal Truth, Morbid Angel, Suffocation and so on. Even to this day a big part of my musical tastes is aggressive, fast, confusing music with blast beats and guttural vocals.  I really wanted to put Death's Human album here because it really stuck with me more but I feel like I wouldn't have ever known about it if not for hearing Butchered At Birth first.

Dead Kennedys: Plastic Surgery Disaster
I knew about punk music and had heard it indirectly through skateboarding culture but never really got into it. Other than DRI I never payed much attention to punk rock.  This tape ended up in my possession somehow in the early 90s, I think it belonged to either Jeff or some random older punk dude that we hung out with one time. I knew the logo of this band from ads in the back of Thrasher magazine and from the Slayer guitarists guitar but never really listened to them. I gave it a few listens to appease the person who gave it to me but I just didn’t care at the time.  A few years later further into my experimental phase I found it again and gave it another go.  Now with more mature ears and mind, something just resonated with me. The energy, combined with Jello’s lyrics pulled me in.  It was like the old thrash songs about politics and social issues but more in your face.  I kept thinking to myself 'THIS came out in fucking 1982?'  It was in 1994 and still is now relevant as ever.   For some reason other DK albums just never connected like this one.  Around this time I played with my punk band UMF in high school I was introduced to a lot of stuff.  Minor Threat in particular which could have easily been on this list.   Now I'm in a punk band and have listened to a ton of stuff but I keep coming back to Plastic Surgery Disaster and Minor Threat as my go-to punk music.

Deftones: Adrenaline
This band was off my radar for way too long. I had heard the name mentioned around but thought it was “The Def Tones” and that they were a Ska band. I had just grown out of my Ska phase so I never payed attention. I had heard of Korn but they weren't really on my radar yet either. Then one day a friend of a friend was showing off his new car stereo and was blasting this album.  It was so heavy… And chaotic, yet masterfully crafted, groovy and melodic. Slight hip hop tinge but not in the way Faith No More or Rage was. I knew instantly that this was something special and new. I asked what band it was and to my surprise he said Deftones.  I had been so foolish!   From that moment on Deftones would be one of my favorite all time bands. The more I got into it I started to take apart the drumming.  It ended up being the biggest influence on my playing from that point on. Around this time my band Fingertight was being formed and those guys got me into bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit that were also big influences in that band. Our first songs sounded like heavy Primus mixed with Korn and Deftones.  Then an album that would change everything for my band came out.  More about that next.  

Incubus: S.C.I.E.N.C.E. 
When I say I like this band people are surprised because they aren't familiar with this record. Everyone is familiar with the melodic pop-rock drivel they’ve put out since, but this album was so unique and fresh. It had a funky upbeat style but a gritty edge and a DJ, that for the first time in a rock band was more than just sound effects. It was a legitimate instrument in the bands overall sound. This album was prog-rock, rap rock, funk and nu-metal all blended together in a really interesting way.  It really changed the direction of how my band at the time would approach music. It inspired more melodic writing rather than the rhythm driven percussive style we started out doing. I really wanted to continue loving this band but like I said before they went stupid and mainstream with ballad hit after hit into a void of hollow dumb music that I hate.

Aphex Twin: Come To Daddy
OK so, I’m not nor ever have been a really big fan of electronic music.  And I don't even know if this was an actual album but somehow, somewhere  I heard this track. Probably the video came on some obscure MTV show late at night.  I don’t know but it got me interested in the style of Drum & Bass or Jungle music.  I don’t know shit about it other than I dig the heavy beats contrasting more droned out melodies underneath it.  It’s a really cool idea to me musically and immediately introduced it into songwriting for Fingertight around that time.  I still appreciate  the idea of this music but really can’t just sit and listen to it nor could I name off artists who create it.  I will tho say it is definitely an influence to my drumming and song creation and I’m pretty sure this song started it all.

System Of A Down 
So many bands came out around this time that were trying to copy the sound of the pioneers of Rap-Rock and Nu-Metal it just got sad and basically the whole genre became a parody of itself.   When this album came out it really surprised me.  It had all the things, groove, heavy guitars, aggressive lyrics but it had this wildness to it.   Serg’s vocal style was like nothing I’d heard before. Closest comparison was Jello Biafra from Dead Kennedy’s but this was a whole different thing.  The music was so spastic and unique.  Yet again giving my band another influence to pull from as we evolved with the music of the day.  Slipknot came out shortly after this and kind of blew me away as it was like nothing before but didn’t really influence me like System Of A Down did.  Slipknot was a breath of fresh air for metal but ended up kind of starting a whole new sub-genre of cheesy Mall-Metal that I never really got into.  Nothing like System Of A Down has really come along which solidifies this album as one of my top 20 influential albums.

Glassjaw: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence /
At The Drive In: Relationship Of Command

Two bands hit the scene around the same time shortly after this that upped the fucking ante big time.  Glassjaw’s Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence and At The Drive In’s Relationship of Command.   The pure aggression and crazy vocal delivery from Glassjaw shook my core.  It had elements of some East Coast hardcore bands I’d heard but it was so out of control.  I immediately brought played it for my band mates.  We didn’t know what was happening but we loved it.  At the same time At The Drive In shows up and it’s got a more controlled, off time kind of feel.  But with crazy vocal delivery with lyrics that seemed either random or too intelligent for anyone to understand.  Both bands had that groove to it that hearkened all the way back to bands I’ve listed like Faith No More and Deftones but did something completely new and unique with it.  I’m not even sure which band should get this spot so I’m going to have them share it.  Even tho they are really different bands they represent the same innovation and  musical reboot  for me at the time. 

Queens Of The Stone Age:  Songs For The Deaf
An engineer who was working on my band’s album in 2002 or so wouldn't shut up about this band.  I think he was from the same area as them and gave us some CD’s to listen to.  A couple older Queens Of The Stone Age albums and some Kyuss.  I was like OK, yea, its’ kinda like stoney Soundgarden.  It’s not bad, I can see why he liked it but it’s not really hitting for me.  Then right around that same time this album came out and MTV was playing the video for No One Knows or whatever the first single was.  I instantly liked it and was surprised to see it was that boring stoner band that Miles made me listen to.  I immediately went and got the record and was blown away.  The drumming was incredible and found out shortly after that it was non other than Dave Grohl who I hadn’t heard of from anything but Foo Fighters back on drums.  Despite not really liking the Foo, this album started my ongoing love affair for Grohl, the rock n roll advocate and drummer… Not the Foo Fighters front man.   Anyway a few years later I’m in a new band that’s a little bit more rock & roll than my other bands were, I found myself ripping off Dave’s drum style from this album left and right.  Huge, inspiration for me still.  And this album still shreds.  Other Queens’ albums after this not so much. 

Mastodon: Leviathan
I was cruising the Tower Records by my office on my lunch break thumbing through CD’s and stopped on this album.  I’d never heard of the band and knew nothing about them but the name “Mastodon”  and the album art just kind of made me decide that I needed to buy it.  I took it back to work and put it in my computer and was more than pleasantly surprised.  It was heavy, it was slightly proggy but it had a laid back vibe that felt new to me.  It was in the same vein as Queens but totally not.  It kind of reminded me of some of the thrash from the late 80’s but chilled out.  The drums were really up front in the song writing too which  I always appreciate.  There wasn’t much else like it at the time that I was aware of other than The Bronx which I found from an out of left field  recommendation from the morning radio DJ I listened to.   A couple years later I plugged Mastodon into Pandora and it spit out Red Fang and High On Fire which I love now.  Those bands turned me onto Doomriders, Young Widows and Whores and a ton of what I guess you would call Stoner Metal.  I love all that shit now.  And don’t tell my current punk band but I’m slowing introducing elements of in our newer songs. 

 All of these may not be my favorite album by said artist, some are but they hit me in the feels at the right time in my life and put me on a new path in one way or another. I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me. If you have never heard of any of these I encourage you to look them up in you streaming app of choice and check em out.  They changed my life. 

Apr 8, 2020

In-N-Out Fantasy Menu PYMHM

Since my secluded little city, Eureka California is about to have it's very own In N Out Burger and because of this current health pandemic we're in,  it's going to open without the full fanfare it deserves.  In honor of this event, I thought I'd bring back this classic  Post You Might Have Missed.   ??

TFW a customer orders off the secret menu.
A while back I ran into an old friend who happened to be a manager at an In N Out.  The subject of the secret menu came up and he confirmed everything I could find and more.  He pretty much shot down more obscure items I'd seen on the internet like The Monkey Style and the Inside Out but what was the most intriguing for me was the stuff the employees make for themselves that aren't on the regular menu or the secret menu. So that got me thinking of other shit you could make, not necessarily order, with the limited ingredients available?to you in a standard In N Out kitchen.   Ground beef, potato, lettuce, onion, tomato, In N Out Spread, condiments, pickles, cheese, buns French Fries etc. They also have hot peppers by request. Don't forget the milkshakes!

 ??So without further ado, I give you the In and Out Fantasy Menu. Things you technically can make but can't and probably should never order.

??"Monkey Style" 
Any burger with fries in it.?I know this was on there before but since its been denied, we'll put it in here.  I had heard this was actually on the Secret Menu but it has been confirmed to not be.

??"Inside Out" 
This is any burger with the bun flipped around and grilled. to look and feel like sourdough. I'd heard this being able to order too. Sometimes called the "Grilled Sourdough" but it's not real. ??And now for the items my friend Jimbo and I came up with along with giving clever names to the stuff my friend from In N Out told me about.
(some of this might be NSFW)   ??

"Dirty Sanchez" K
?2  x 4 with peppers and extra grilled onions on a burger with no lettuce.

??"Hash Browns" K?
Fries smashed on the grill and then fried in the fryer.

"Brunch” K
Add Hash Browns to any burger. Add extra cheese. ??

"Onion Rings" K?
Deep fried onions instead of grilled??

"Rodeo Style" K?
Add Onion Rings to any burger??

"Mustard Style" K
Mustard cooked burger with extra pickles and mustard and extra lettuce.??

“Hot Carl" K?
Mustard Style with peppers. No lettuce.??

“Grandma's Meatloaf" K?
Ketchup soaked cooked patty with ketchup and grilled onions"?

"Road Kill"  K and In N Out guy.
 ?Animal Fries, with chopped patty, covered in ketchup.

??"Leather Style" J?
Well done burger (possibly even burnt) and extra toasted bun. Dry, no condiments or toppings.

??"Leatherface”  J, K
Leather Style with extra ketchup and cheese. (served with a knife)??

"Spuds Mackenzie" K?
Grilled Cheese with Fries cooked in.??

"Sloppy Joe" K, In N Out Guy
?Chopped up meat, grilled onions and In N Out Spread.

??"DIY style” J
?Everything on the side. Can be ordered with any burger

??"The Twins" J
?A Double Double Split open and open faced.  One patty and cheese on each half of the bun??.

“Big Fish Eats Little Fish” J?
Double Double with a regular cheese burger in between the Meat of the double double??

“The Tim Taylor" K?
4 open packets of artificial sweetener served with a plastic knife and a straw.??

??“Heart Attack Special" K
?5 x 10, or 5 patties 10 cheese, 2 for each patty. Raw onions. Substitute mayo.??

“Guerra Del  Corazón Especial” K?
Heart Attack Special with hot peppers and grilled onions. ??

A ?4 x 4 Animal Style with peppers, fries and no lettuce.??“Cheese Volcano Burger" J?A Double Double with 3 cheese slices melted on the top of the bun.??"The Present” J?Well Done Fries wrapped in a lettuce leaf with a tomato on top.

?“Sticks in The Mud"  J
?Fries with Chocolate shake on top (Dine-In Only)??“Atkins Sucks! Style" J?2 sets of (4) buns on any burger.??

"The Poop Fry" In N Out Guy?
Chopped up patty, chopped tomatoes,  cheese, peppers and grilled onion on fries.  (He said they actually make this for themselves)??

"Sourdough Bacon Swiss"  K?
Inside Out toasted buns with one mustard soaked patty cooked extra well done, second patty med well. with mayonnaise, tomato and grilled onions.??

"Hemorrhoids" K
?Deep fried burger chunks with ketchup.

??"Lincoln Logs"  J?
4 x 4 with fries between each layer

"Log Cabin”  K?
A small structure of carefully stacked alternating Fries with a single burger cut into 4 pieces inside.

??“Zombie Fingers" K
?French fries dipped in ketchup then deep fried.

??“Twigs & Berries" K?
Burnt patty chopped up with fries and grilled onions??"Swamp Style" J?2- Cheese Burgers stuffed into a medium drink cup filled with Coca-Cola.??

"Monte Cristo" K?
A Double Double with grilled onions. The whole thing gets deep fried and sprinkled with a sugar packet and drizzled with strawberry shake mix. ??

“Beef and Chips” J?
Hamburger patty cut in to strips served over Well Done Fries.??

"fish n chips” J,K
?Beef and Chips, mayo mixed with chopped up pickles on the beef and extra salt on the fries.??

“Turds" K?
Strips of med well patty deep fried and served with a selection of condiments on the side for dipping.??

“Golden Nuggets" K?
A variation of Turds. Strips of burger coated heavily with mustard and deep fried. Served with mustard.??

“Dead Man's Bed" J?
10 x10 (10 patties, 10 cheese)  served on a bed of Animal Style Fries.

??“Ronald Style" K?
One patty, med. Cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickle and chopped raw onion.?Smashed flat after its made. ??

“The Big Mick" K?
3 buns (one in the middle) 2 patties, 2 cheese with In N Out Spread and mayo, chopped onions, pickles and chopped lettuce. Served inside two French Fry boats. ??

"Fried Ice Cream" K?
Scoop of Vanilla Milk Shake poured into a bed of toasted bun crumbs, rolled and flash deep fried. Served in a Small Drink Cup. topped with chocolate milk shake flavoring.
“Chocolate Cow-Tail" In N Out Guy?
Chocolate Shake and Coke (He’s tried is and says its pretty good)??

“Wendy’s Pigtails” K
?Any shake with french fries in it.??

"Pina Colada" K?
Root Beer, Dr. Pepper, and Orange soda with Vanilla Shake and 10 sweet & low packets.

This is where the original list ended but with the help of fellow bloggers and friends we came up with a ridiculous amount of stupid menu items.  It got so crazy I created a separate blog for all of our ideas and related articles we would come across.  This blog has been dormant for almost a decade so it might be a little rough around the edges but if you want to dive deeper into this ludicrous above-ground swimming pool that is this topic, click the link to check out The In-N-Out Fantasy Menu Blog.  Shortly after I published this MAXIM Magazine did a piece on the Secret Menu and mistakenly suggested a few of the fake Fantasy Menu items from my list.  The comments section on the online post was hilarious.  There were quite a few comments that went something like "I tried to order (insert stupidly fake name) and they said I couldnt order it, what the hell Maxim!?"  I had a considerable surge in traffic that week on a blog that was created mainly just for me and a few funny people who were bored.

Thanks for reading, and don't try to order these.  I hope this pandemic dies down so we can all properly enjoy our new In N Out when it eventually opens.

Stay safe, stay home, wash your hands.  We can get through this if we just stop being stupid and selfish.  Thank you too all the essential workers out there keeping things running while everyone stays home and complains about spending time with their kids.


Mar 26, 2020

Normal Food Kirk Wont Eat Part 1. Coronavirus Edition

I hope you’re reading this at home, in bed.  Sheltering in place a safe social distance from other warm blooded humans as possible.  I’m taking this break from regularly scheduled normal life to tell you about a particular aspect of myself that people slowly learn about me as they get to interact with me.   Since we’re not eating at restaurants any more it might be hard for new friends to experience.  So here we go. It’s a long one.

   As some of you already know there’s a pretty strict list of things I wont eat.  Most of which are not for medical reasons…or any practical reason for the most part.  There’s a few things I chalk up to genetics but much of it is just because I think it looks gross. There’s a lot of things my dad didn’t like or eat so we never really had it in the house growing up.  He’s always said that he’s a “super taster” which is why he wont eat a lot of things.  He describes it as having a more developed sense of taste which allows him to experience flavors differently.  Things many enjoy he finds off-putting…which I totally get because I experience this too with certain things which is why I feel like I may have inherited some of that super taster DNA. My mom on the other hand eats all kinds of weird shit.  She grew up as a kid in Panama.  And then brought to the United States raised by her overbearing Okie father who ate a bunch of weird southern shit.  Pig’s feet, Okra, all kinds of different seafood, canned anchovies,  like pickled eggs and shit.  This stuff existed in our house but it was so freaky that we all just stayed away.  Mom knew we would never touch any of it either so it never made it into the family menu.   My dad has gotten more adventurous with his culinary choices in his old age but I think that’s just because he’s slowly lost some of his sense of taste and smell from a lifetime of smoking cigarettes like a locomotive going uphill.   The second hand smoke while I grew up may have tamed my tastebuds from the level he had as a kid but I still am averse to many foods. It’s funny, now he gets mad that I wont even try the things he raised me to dislike that his super-power has started to fade.  Whether its nature or nurture, I am an enigma when it comes to food I wont eat. 

Here I will compile as comprehensive list as I can come up with from memory.  I will try to separate them into categories which might make this harder or easier.  We’ll see.  If at any time you need to get up to sanitize or wash your hands, I’ll wait for you to come back. 

Food Allergies:  I thought for a minute that I was allergic to ginseng. Remember ginseng from the 90’s?   Touted to make you think better, they started putting it in products like tea and other soft drinks.  There was a brand of canned iced tea that I liked and they came out with a ginseng version of it that made my tongue feel numb.  I stopped drinking it and started thinking I might be allergic to ginseng.  The fad ended and I really don’t worry much about ginseng anymore.

Another thing that’s gotten popular is gluten allergies.  I don’t think I’m officially allergic but there’s some good science that says the way we farm wheat now is just bad for us in general.  I sometimes feel like I could be sensitive to it so I try to not eat a lot of bread.  That’s to say that bread is definitely NOT on my list of things I wont eat. 
As with the others mentioned above, I have never been officially diagnosed but I’m pretty sure I have some level of intolerance for lactose.  I discovered this while out on tour with my rock band when I was in my early 20’s.  One cheap and easy food we all kind of lived off of was breakfast cereal.  I would have a bowl or two a day, with real full-lactose milk.  Also around this time I was afflicted with bad farts.  All the time, almost on cue, horrible foul smelling farts.  It was funny at first but then it got to be concerning.  We were playing a show and had some pizzas back stage, a fan turned down our offer for pizza citing something I’d never heard of before. he was lactose intolerant or as he put it allergic to dairy.  He described his symptoms and thought that maybe that was why I was farting so much.  I cut milk out of my diet and the farting situation improved.  From that moment on I’ve pretty much only use nut based or lactose free milk if I eat cereal.  And before you ask, no I don’t  “just drink” milk.  That’s fucking disgusting.  Not even when I was oblivious to my fart problems did I ever just straight up drink a glass of milk.  That’s not part of my intolerance, or from my dad because he still will just chug a glass of milk.  I think it might be associated with my next category: Dairy foods. 

Dairy Foods:  I love most, what I call normal cheeses. You know the ones you can get on a sandwich at a deli.   Cheddar, Jack, American, provolone, mozzarella. Even gouda, especially smoked gouda, Muenster and the occasional Havarti.  Never Swiss tho.  Fuck that shit.  Here’s where my DNA kicks in.  I think whatever flavor is in swiss and cheeses like feta, chèvre and other pungent cheese like that is amplified in my mouth and to me much of it tastes like vomit.  Literal stomach acid bile flavor.   There are a ton of other cheeses like Brie and Bleu Cheese type cheese that I either know or think tastes like cheese I already don’t like or it just looks weird and I’ve made an irrational decision to stay away.  Cream cheese for sure is a nope. Including anything made with it, including Cheese Cake.  Sorry, yea.  Part instinct, part being raised by a super taster.    So if it stinks or smells sour I’m out.  I’ll tolerate some cheeses that are in the Swiss cheese spectrum but I still can taste the barf a little bit. 
People really seem to love some of this shit so it sucks too feel like I’m missing out on a good time.  It just tastes like puke to me. 

Another realm of dairy that I’ve completely  cut from my life are things like Sour Cream and salad dressings that are basically sour cream with flavoring in them.  Ranch?  Nice try,  that’s sour cream.  If it’s creamy, white and dairy but not whipped cream or a desserts I most likely will not eat it.  Part of  is knowing it’s gonna taste like shit, or fear that it could.   Yogurt is a weird one.  Most of the time I’m ok with pre-packaged fruit flavored yogurt but plain is gross.  I used to eat cottage cheese as a kid a lot but I really don’t like it anymore.

I mentioned earlier I don’t like Cheesecake. I also said desserts were ok. Ice cream, milk shakes, etc obviously is totally good but I don’t really like cheesecake and I’ve never had a Canoli but I’ll probably never try one because of the cheese factor. Any other weird cheese shit in a dessert or other balsamic ice cream topping bullshit I’ll never eat either. 
Short story about cheesecake tho.  A few years ago I had to get a tooth pulled and an implant put in.  Part of that process is having cadaver bone grafted into the socket so they have something to mount the implant too.  Yes, dead person bone.  While I was healing I could only eat soft food.  I showed up late to a party and the only food that was left was cheesecake.  I helped myself with the intention of only slurping up the whipped cream topping. But I was hungry and slowly started trying the cheese parts.  I was surprised that it didn’t taste horrible and ended up finishing off 2 slices (not the crust tho because of the surgery).  It was probably because this particular cheesecake was homemade by one of the best bakers in the county.  My girlfriend likes to joke that it was the cadaver bone.  Whoever’s bone I had in me was a fan of cheesecake and their soul was somehow now merged with mine.  I’m not as afraid of cheesecake as I was but still cautious. 

You’re probably wondering about my lactose allergy and all this cheese I like.  Well, some dairy food does not really affect me as much as a bowl of milk does.  After a hard pizza binge I could end up on the toilet for the rest of the night but it’s pizza.  Pizza, ice cream, deli sandwich, totally worth it.  Yogurt and cottage cheese, not so much.  I gotta pick my battles.  Before, I mentioned Ranch dressing, which brings me to my next category. 

  Dressings & Condiments:   Ranch got really popular in the 90’s and people started putting it on, and dipping just about everything into it.  I didn’t know exactly what Ranch was but I knew it smelled funny and was most likely made out of Sour Cream or Mayonnaise.  So no Ranch.   No dressings at all for that matter.   Spoiler, I hate pretty much everything made with vinegar too.   But since I mentioned Mayo, lets talk a little about condiments.  I love mustard but I hate vinegar so how is this possible?  Something about the balance of spices and artificial flavors that evens it out for me.  Same with Dill Pickles.  I love the things but put a sweet pickle, relish or any other pickled thing that they add sugar too in front of me and I’ll stab a motherfucker.   But back to condiments,  I’ve hated mayo my whole entire life but I can’t say for sure I’ve ever actually eaten it on purpose.  It’s just another one of those things I was raised to not like.  My dad hated it so in turn, fuck Mayo forever.   When I have eaten it on something by accident I honestly don’t feel like it had any distinct flavor at all.  Just pointless, greasy, white goop subconsciously fucking with me.  Don’t try to fool me by calling it Aioli.  That’s just flavored Mayo. Along with many other dips and dressings and toppings that are just Mayo with flavorings in it.  This brings me back to salad dressing for a minute.  I don’t put any salad dressing on my salad.  People lose their shit when I say this and ask "WeLL wHuuT dO YoU PuT oN YeR SaLaD?!?!"  I put, shredded cheddar, bacon bits, croutons, olives, onions.  I like the taste of iceberg lettuce and my salads are fucking delicious. No one ever has all that stuff so I never order a salad with my meal unless there's a salad bar.   I am convinced that people don't actually  like salad.  They hate lettuce and vegetables so they drench it in gross fattening sauces.  I wont eat any of the dressings not French, not Russian, not Vinaigrette, not Ranch of course, not even Honey Mustard.  People assume that because I like mustard that I like Honey Mustard. I don't know what that shit is but it aint mustard.   Thousand Island is another salad dressing I wont put on my salad but it was introduced to me as a kid as “Secret Sauce” on hamburgers and I really enjoyed it.  Then as I got older people told me it was actually Thousand Island dressing and that it was essentially Ketchup and Mayo mixed together.  That physically repulses me to think about but for some reason my taste buds are ok with it as long as it’s a secret and on a burger. You can  call it “spread” like they do at In N Out too and that's fine.  

Also, Animal Style Fries!

On the topic of salads and mayonnaise I won't go near macaroni or potato salad.  It's just cold dinner leftovers mixed with mayo.  It's not salad.  Throw it in the garbage. 

Ok, back to vinegar for a second.  Oh hell lets make it a category.

Who ruined the Olive Oil?
Vinegar: It’s in a lot of foods that people really like.  But I can smell or taste it a mile away.  And Balsamic Vinegar can fuck off too.  “Oohh its just like Chocolate put it on ice cream”  die you psychopath.  Are you not smelling that?  or hey just drink Apple Cider Vinegar to make you feel better.. NO!  Some people even use it to clean their coffee maker.... WHAT?   It smells like the feet of someone with a glandular disorder.  No!  So pretty much most pickled things, dressings and a lot of sauces are off the table for me.   My dad may play a part in this he says food with an overbearing vinegar flavor has a “wang to it”  that sour tinge in the side of your neck when you taste it.  Maybe it’s the DNA talking again but I know what he’s saying.  But I like dill pickles and olives so I dunno.  Again maybe it's the balance of flavors? Part of this could stem from some dumb kid science experiments I did in the alley behind our garage.  Me and my friend learned about the baking soda and vinegar volcano and made a huge mess.  I swear it smelled like vinegar back there for like 20 years.  

Some have said that it’s the vinegar in my next category that makes me not like it but it’s way, way deeper than that. 
Ketchup:  If you’ve known me for more than a minute you’ve probably been waiting for this part of my list. It’s technically a subcategory of condiments but it deserves it’s own category and you’ll see why in a second…and just to be clear, I’ve never associated Ketchup with vinegar so don’t think that has anything to do with it.   Now, this is not just a casual  dislike of a common condiment or even hatred at this point.   I have what has developed into what I think is a full-blown phobia.  The smell, the texture, the reddish translucence,  even the shape of the classic Heinz bottle makes me nervous and uncomfortable.  My whole family ate and enjoyed this stuff growing up so there’s no genetic or family influences going on here. I think it’s more psychological trauma from an event in my childhood that is the base of my aversion to America’s favorite condiment.  Just like most kids I happily dipped my French fries in the stuff until something happened.   It was a hot summer day in the mid 1980’s.   My family and I wen’t to see the San Francisco Giants play at Candlestick Park.  It was kind of a big deal for me.  I’d only been to one other game that I can remember before that and it was a night game.  A day game on a sunny San Francisco day was a whole different experience.  The grass smelled different.  Everything was brighter, people were out of their seats enjoying the stadium.   We decided at one point to get hot dogs.  The perfect meal for a baseball game.  My parents wanted beers of course so I went with my dad to the concession stand.  I was in awe, taking in all the sights and smells.  A professional baseball stadium has a very distinct aroma that conjures up all kinds of great memories for me now as an adult.   But one specific odor has haunted me my whole life.   On our way back to our seats, both hands full with a hotdog for me and one for my brother I was just a dumb kid awestruck by my surroundings, I stepped
on a full, hot ketchup packet that some asshole threw on the ground.   It popped open and squirted all over my shoes and my pants.  I didn’t even notice until we got back to our seats and it had time to cook in the direct summer sun.  I kept smelling it like maybe I had it spilled some on my hand or my shirt from my own hotdog.  At one point I went with my dad to the bathroom and made sure to try to wash my hands to get it off but for the next few hours I kept smelling it.  Finally I realized it was coming from my feet and lower legs and after sitting there with it all that time I had spread it all over the ground under me and the seat in front of me and smeared all over my pants and shoes.  The smell, hot and baked into the fabric was one of the worst things ever.  I was so upset and it was all I could think about and I don’t even remember the rest of the game or the day.  Ketchup took that whole wonderful experience from me.  Ever since then I just really have not liked Ketchup.  The older I got the more it became a thing.  Ketchup bottles on every restaurant table, every fast food order they give you PACKETS of ketchup without even asking you.  Every time I order a hamburger, I always make sure to say “no ketchup” then they still ask if I want some for my fries…  really?  Just about every person around me putting it on fries and burgers and hotdogs.  Always being offered ketchup.   All I know is that Ketchup really fucks with me emotionally now.  I play it off like I just don’t  like the flavor but its way deeper than that.     

Anything that’s mildly close to Ketchup is also off the table.  Sweet & Sour Sauce is a no-no.  Most hot sauces are just spicy ketchup to me.  Some Barbecue sauces lean ketchup too.  Basically anything red with a vinegar/sweet flavor is out of the question.   One time I was at a diner back home having breakfast and asked if they had salsa to put on my hash browns.  Nine out of ten times they pick up the bottle of Tabasco on the table and give it to me.  I decline, and ask for salsa, not hot sauce. Tabasco, as with most hot sauce is just vinegar with chili powder in it. Fucking nightmare in a bottle.    Most of the time they bring me a little cup of Pace Picante or similar off the shelf stuff.  Which is not as good as home-made but acceptable.  The waitress said they had Tabasco, as I expected and when I asked again for salsa she paused and said “be right back” .   She comes back with a cup with something red in it.  Whenever I get salsa, or sauces I give a quick smell test.  Usually testing for vinegar or ketchup essence.  This time I got a hard ketchup vibe and then did a visual inspection.   Instead of salsa this piece of shit gave me a cup of ketchup with black pepper and chopped up onions in it.   I almost barfed all over the table.  It’s things like this that push me farther into my psychosis. 

Seafood:  Another thing that I get from my dad ether directly or indirectly is my dislike for seafood.  We never really had fish or seafood around other than fish sticks or fried prawns with Chinese food.  Fried prawns are essentially fish sticks anyway.  So I’ve never eaten crab,  lobster, oysters, most fish.  I’ve eaten shrimp in several different forms.  Depends on how it’s cooked.  I mean if you drench dog shit in garlic, butter and bacon it’s gonna be tolerable right?  I think a lot of this stuff actually does taste like shit which is why it’s cooked
in crazy spices or garlic butter all the time.  I also have a theory that much of this stuff, like oysters was at one time the only source of food but since it was considered food for people over time it became a part of our cuisine even tho it tastes like shit and probably should not even be eaten because we have better easier food available.  It’s just how my dumb brain works.  I’ve tried some fish and calamari and it just has this distinct seafood flavor to me that I don’t like. It tastes like it smells to me. Like rotting fish guts mixed with stagnant creek water.  This is definitely part of my super taster genes.  I can pinpoint that flavor in a lot of foods and a lot of people really like it but to me, it’s off-putting.  Sauces and even those seaweed sushi wraps throw me off.   Some people hate cilantro,  I love it.  But that is genetic.  They taste it a certain way and say it tastes like soap.  Sucks for them because they’ll never like cilantro.  It’s coded into them just like vomit cheese and pond water seafood flavor to me.  So because of this I just tend to stay away from seafood.  Plus it’s just gross looking.  Seafood is one of the only foods that look like the animal still when they serve it to you.   Also some places the shit’s still alive.  What the fuck is that about?  

Mushrooms:  I’ll keep this one short.  Two anecdotes that I think are apt here.  A friend recalled a conversation they had with someone when I mentioned I didn’t like mushrooms.  They said that they didn’t like mushrooms and didn’t like what they were about.  She asked what were they about,  they answered “they’re fuckin’ fungus man”   Agree with that statement.  Fungus should not be eaten. They sell products at the pharmacy to kill fungus.  My dog agrees.  My dog will eat anything I drop on the floor, except for mushrooms.  He’ll pick it up and then spit it right out.  It’s because he knows by some natural connection to the earth that animals have. He knows that fungus is not food.  Fungus is somewhere between plant and human being.  There’s an intelligence at work there which is another reason not to fuck with it. 

These are the main ones I can think of at the moment.  To be continued…. wash your hands, go to bed. 

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