The Great Cereal Bar Experiment

Hi there friends, internet friends, acquaintances, distinguished enemies, and merpeople that have acquired access to the internet, and welcome to the most life-changing blog post you’ll ever read.

See, it dawned on me several years ago, while perusing the cereal section of my local grocery store, just how many different varieties of cereal there are these days. There has to be at least 300 varieties of Cheerios alone. And as I walked past the Rice Krispie treats, it dawned on me: Why aren’t all cereals made into Rice Krispie treat- like bars? Why did we as a society decide to limit ourselves to one to two kinds of cereal bars? Was there a cereal that would be better than Rice Krispies? I decided that there had to be a better cereal bar out there, and so I decided to do an experiment to find it. The following is the experiment in its entirety, done in the proper scientific method. So put on your ceremonial Science robes, send a final prayer to the god you’re about to abandon and get ready for Science!

Posed Question– Based on several different characteristics, what cereal makes for the best marshmallow/ cereal bar?

Background Research– As I expected, Cereal-other-than-Rice-Crispies-treats are a thing that exist. A Facebook friend once shared a picture of Fruity Pebble treats she made once, so I figured that other varieties had been made. Here’s a recipe for Froot Loop bars, and here’s a Buzzfeed listicle for a bunch of different ones. However, the point of this experiment was not to find out whether or not other cereal bars were possible, but to find which cereal makes the best cereal bar, which none of these food blogs answer. So leave it to me to find the answer to a question these cowardly food bloggers won’t ask.

Ramblings of a Madman

Ramblings Of A Madman: making enemies of other people’s dumb ass blogs since 2009.

Now, this article from Huffington Post has a list of “treats that go beyond Rice Krispies,” but again, it doesn’t say which one comes out on top, and the only reasons these bars go “beyond rice Krispies” is because the cereals are not Rice Krispies or they maybe add other ingredients ( side note: I could only see the article on my phone’s browser)So, way to mislead your readers, again, HuffPo. However, after a little bit of digging, I did find this blog from 2008 that tested 6 different kinds of cereal. They used a New Year’s Eve party and had the attendees be their Guinea pigs, which was smart, because what group of people are more open to being experimented on than drunk people? Unfortunately, this blogger did not come up with any solid conclusion other than “Rice Krispie Treats are a formula that ‘works’” and that the shredded wheat doesn’t absorb the marshmallow very well. Without a definitive answer from the most thorough experiment I could find, I knew in what ways to conduct my experiment.

Hypothesis– based on all the factors below, I believe that the Golden Crisp will make the best cereal bar because of their relatively small size, soft texture, and sweet, but not too sweet, taste.

Despite this, Honey Bunches of Oats will have the most interesting texture because it has both flakes and clusters.

Overall, I think the cereals with smaller pieces will make the bars easier to mix and eat, but that will not ensure that cereal to be a winner.

Setting up the Experiment

To carry out this experiment effectively and objectively, I have created a point system to score the cereals.  I have listed several points of judgment below.  Each cereal will be given a score of 1 to 10 for each point of judgment, and at the end, their total will be scored. Please note that some of the points have a minus in front. Those points’ scores will be subtracted from the score.

Points of judgment:

Size of cereal pieces (Not factored into total score, just used for classification)

Ease of mixing ingredients (EOM)

Appearance

-Toughness

Taste

-Mouth cutting index (MCI)

Practical edibility

Total

Along with these points, there will be the following points: “Improvements??” and “Notes.” “Improvements??” is, obviously, ways I could potentially improve upon the recipe of that particular cereal bar, and “Notes” is reserved for any thoughts I had as I was making/ taste testing said cereal bar.

Now, on to the cereals. For this experiment, I chose 25 different kinds of cereal,  2 of which (Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies) I used as my control groups. I have organized the cereals into groups based on shape:

-Rice

Rice Crispies

Cocoa Crispies

Fruity Pebbles

-Pellets

Golden Crisp

Pops

Reese’s Puffs

Cookies and Cream Cereal

Cocoa Puffs

Trix

Crunch Berries

-Flakes and Squares

Honey Bunches of oats

Golden Grahams

Frosted flakes

Cinnamon Life

Cinnamon Toast crunch

Raisin Bran

-Rings

Honey Nut Cheerios

Apple Jacks

Froot loops

-Bricks

Frosted mini wheats

Chocolate Krave

-Miscellaneous Shapes

Honeycomb

Cookie Crisp

Count Chocula

Lucky Charms

Out of all the popular cereals out there, you might have noticed one particular variety was missing: Chex. This was intentional. I decided beforehand that Chex cereal has enough snacks made from it and that it really didn’t need another one added to the list. Stop being greedy, Chex Cereal, Let some other type of cereal have its day in the spotlight.

Conducting the Experiment

I separated the cereals into three groups of six and one group of seven. These cereals were grouped at random with the exceptions of the control cereals. I did those last because 1. I did not want their scores to affect the other scores, and 2. Because I used a premade Coco Krispie bar rather than make one. I did this because it was easier that way, because the regular Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies should have the same scores for everything but taste, and because I would have had to buy an extra bag of marshmallows to do that one. If you want to not accept Cocoa Krispies as a part of the experiment, for this reason, I understand, but I also think you should know that I don’t give a shit about what you think.

I conducted the experiment over the course of 7 months. I made a cup’s worth of 6 kinds of cereal according to the directions on the marshmallow bag. For those unfamiliar with making Rice Krispie Treats, the recipe is as follows: 1 bag of Marshmallows, 6 cups Rice Krispies, 3 Tbsp of butter.  Directions: Pour cereal into nonstick glass container. Melt butter and marshmallows in saucepan until smooth. Pour over cereal and mix until well combined. Flatten with spatula or back of a spoon. Let cool.

Data

Frosted Flakes

Size- 3

EOM-2
Appearance-4
-Toughness-1
Taste-7
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Maybe use regular corn flakes instead

Notes- Very sweet, runs the risk of going soggy

Cocoa Puffs

Size-3

EOM- 5
Appearance- 4
-Toughness- 4
Taste-9
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows maybe

Notes- Tastes much better than anticipated

Froot Loops

Size- 4

EOM- 6
Appearance- 8
-Toughness- 4
Taste- 6
-MCI- 2
Practical Edibility- 7
Total Score- 21

Improvements?- Dried fruit? These are pretty good on their own and don’t need much improvement at all, honestly.

Notes-none

Cookie Crisp

Size- 5

EOM- 5
Appearance-3
-Toughness- 5
Taste-4
-MCI-3
Practical Edibility-3
Total Score-7

Improvements?- Chocolate chips

Notes- The Vanilla flavor really comes out with the marshmallow

Pops

Size-5

EOM-8
Appearance-3
-Toughness-3
Taste-6
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-4
Total Score-17

Improvements?- none

Notes- the more you eat, the worse it tastes

Apple Jacks

Size-4

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-4
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-15

Improvements?- Sprinkled cinnamon into the marshmallow mixture

Notes- very sweet, marshmallow overpowers the cereal

Fruity Pebbles

Size-1

EOM-10
Appearance-10
-Toughness-1
Taste-10
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-10
Total Score-38

Improvements?- none

Notes-surprisingly good for a cereal I’ve never enjoyed

Count Chocula

Size-6

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-8
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-11

Improvements?- use marshmallow fluff instead

Notes- marshmallows in cereal melt when you add warm marshmallow mixture

Cookies & Cream Cereal

Size-4

EOM-6
Appearance-3
-Toughness-2
Taste-2
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-14

Improvements?- a better tasting cereal

Notes-cereal was stale (my fault and not factored into the cereal’s score) but it was better after letting the marshmallow soak into them

Cinnamon Life

Size-6

EOM-4
Appearance-5
-Toughness-8
Taste-8
-MCI-7
Practical Edibility-4
Total Score-6

Improvements?- none that I can think  of

Notes- crumbles apart easily

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Size-5

EOM-6
Appearance-6
-Toughness-2
Taste-10
-MCI-7
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score- 19

Improvements?- nothing

Notes- the best tasting so far, the cinnamon sugar mixed well w/ marshmallow

Honey Bunches of Oats

Size-3

EOM-8
Appearance-7
-Toughness-2
Taste-6
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-21

Improvements?- none

Notes-none

Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries

Size-4

EOM-6
Appearance-10
-Toughness-6
Taste-8
-MCI-8
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score-16

Improvements?- all Crunch Berries? All regular?

Notes-very attractive looking cereal bar

Krave

Size-7

EOM-3
Appearance-2
-Toughness-2
Taste-2
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-6

Improvements?- chocolate chips

Notes-cereal and chocolate didn’t go well together with marshmallow

Honey Nut Cheerios

Size-3

EOM-6
Appearance-5
-Toughness-2
Taste-8
-MCI-3
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Any Variety of Cheerios you like. Cheerios are like the Body Snatchers of the cereal world: if there is a type of cereal that exists, Cheerios has tried to mimic it.

Notes-sweet at first, but you still get the honey, nut, and oat flavors

Trix

Size-3

EOM-6
Appearance-7
-Toughness-7
Taste-8
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score-14

Improvements?-?

Notes-I bought my package of Trix before they switched back to using artificial colors. If I had bought it later, it would probably have a higher appearance score.

  • Also, it sticks to your teeth a little

Reese’s Puffs

Size-3

EOM-3
Appearance-7
-Toughness-2
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-18

Improvements?-more marshmallow mixture

Notes-marshmallow crumbled off of cereal when cooled- combination of subpar mixing and waxy coating on cereal

Golden Crisp

Size-2

EOM-7
Appearance-4
-Toughness-2
Taste-8
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-24

Improvements?-go with unsweetened puffed rice cereal instead

Notes- a little too on the sweet side, but otherwise delicious

Golden Grahams

Size-5

EOM-7
Appearance-7
-Toughness-4
Taste-9
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-26

Improvements?-chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows

Notes-none

Lucky Charms

Size-3

EOM-7
Appearance-7
-Toughness-4
Taste-8
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-24

Improvements?-my dick. Just kidding! I wanted to see if you were actually reading this. Good job! But for real, maybe use premade marshmallow fluff instead next time.

Notes-lost an appearance point due to crumbling marshmallows

Honey Comb

Size-7

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-6
Taste-6
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-2
Total Score-7

Improvements?- break apart the pieces before hand

Notes-pieces too big to make it practical to eat

Frosted Mini Wheats

Size-9

EOM-Started as a 10, ended as a 2…. So 6 I guess?
Appearance-5
-Toughness-6
Taste-4
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-2
Total Score-6

Improvements?-smaller pieces or the flavored varieties

Notes-I chose standard Mini Wheats over the Litte Bites because I thought it would be funnier. Which, judging by the pictures I took while trying to eat this monstrosity, I was correct. Other than that, it started off sweet but went bland very quickly. It was also very dry, as the shredded wheat  bricks didn’t properly absorb the marshmallow fluff.

Raisin Bran

Size-3

EOM-2
Appearance-5
-Toughness-1
Taste-6
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-14

Improvements?-more marshmallow

Notes-I didn’t mix it properly. So it falls apart a little. The brittleness of the flakes made it more difficult to mix

Rice Krispies

Size-1

EOM-10
Appearance-5
-Toughness-1
Taste-7
-MCI-0
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-30

Improvements?-chocolate chips? Cinnamon? Really these are a good tabula rasa for you to get creative with

Notes- these are standard, I don’t have any notes that you don’t already know

Cocoa Krispies

Size-1

EOM-10 (assumed)
Appearance-6 (this is not considering its cut shape; I just prefer chocolate)
-Toughness-3
Taste-7
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-28

Improvements?-Add dark chocolate chunks or dip it in melted chocolate

Notes-I bought a premade bar for this one because I ran out of the other ingredients for another batch of cereal bars. You can either accept these results or discount them. I dgaf.

Interpreting the Data

According to my calculations, the cereal with the highest score was Fruity Pebbles. This was a surprise for me since I have never liked any kind of Pebbles cereal before. It’s possible that since I was so surprised at how good the Fruity Pebbles turned out, that my scores for it were higher than they should be. And the fact that Fruity Pebbles was my only outlier in this study with 8 points separating it and the runner-up backs up this theory. In rebuttal to this, here are the totals for the cereal bars I didn’t like: Cookies & Cream- 14, Krave- 6, Reese’s Puffs- 18. While Krave was one of the three to have the lowest score, Cookies and Cream did moderately well and Reese’s Puffs came out about average. On top of that, some of my favorite cereals bars didn’t fare as well as I would have guessed. For Instance, Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs got a score of 16 and 19- two less and one more than Reese’s Puffs. And while they were two of my personal favorites, Reese’s Puffs was one of my least favorite cereal bars. Cinnamon Life, which is one of my favorite cereals, got a score of 6, tying it with Krave.

My expected winner, Golden Crisp tied for 5th place with Lucky Charms. And while I was right about the overall size of the pieces affecting their score, I originally thought that it wouldn’t necessarily give smaller cereals any sort of real advantage. The second half of that sentence turned out to be incorrect. The small pieces did turn out to have the highest scores and the largest pieces were among the lowest scoring cereals. That’s why Honeycomb scored so low in Practical Edibility- the pieces were simply too big to be practical. Plus, the smaller the cereal (with the exception being the flake cereals), the easier it was to mix in the marshmallow and have it mixed evenly.

The Average score came out to be 17.56, with Pops and Reese’s Puffs landing in the average range of 17-18. All this data analysis can be interpreted in 2 ways: Either my scoring system needed more work, or I successfully prevented my personal preferences from interfering with my results.  I like to believe it’s the latter.

Errors I Might Have Made/ How to Improve This Experiment

I think the biggest error made in this experiment would be the lack of test subjects. If I had more test subjects, it might have ended with more consistent totals. After all, the one website I found while researching had test subjects, and the rest of their “experiment” was amateurish at best.

In my defense, I was trying to have as few variables as possible, and stupid people’s wrong opinions are definitely a variable. Also, I guess I just wanted to experiment on myself like the great renegade scientists like Jonas Salk, Paul Stapp, and that guy that cracked the knuckles in only one of his hands for, like, 50 years to see if cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

I was going to make a joke about self-experimentation in this caption, but I just noticed that this little motherfucker just got jizzed on by a glass dick.

It is also possible that my findings are inaccurate due to my point system that could be incomplete. I think I covered all the necessary bases, but I also admit I could have missed something or even broke down each point more. Granted, how do you break down what cereal bars look like more than just appearance? The most visually interesting ones are the ones with a lot of colors, and the rest sort of look boring when you really think about it. And all of them kind of look like they’re slathered up with a thick layer of cum.

And if you look at the process I made the cereal bars, an issue I had not prepared for was mixing in the marshmallow into six different bowls at once. Since I was the only person working on this, I had to pour the melted marshmallow into the six different bowls and then stir them individually. And anyone who has made Rice Krispie Treats before knows how quickly that mixture turns into glue when it cools. Simply put: my process of mixing one bowl at a time possibly contributed to the lowering of the Ease of Mixing score of each subsequent cereal. I tried to adjust for that, but you cannot do that accurately if you’ve never made cereal bars out of that type of cereal before.

There was also a large variety of cereals I did not test. But Holy shit. I tested 25 and you’re still not satisfied?! What the hell do you people want from me?

Conclusion

While 75% of my hypothesis lies bleeding in the dust, it is safe to say that, based on the factors I’ve outlined, Fruity Pebbles is the clear winner and best choice to make into cereal bars. However, I feel that it is important to note that one’s personal cereal preferences should be taken into account when deciding what cereal bars to make. And besides a few cereals that do not work as cereal bars, most cereals make descent cereal treats.

So what did you think about the results? Do you agree? Do you think I’m amazing? Are you going to start worshipping me as your new god? Do you think there was a flaw in my experiment/ scoring system? Well, fuck you Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. You know what, since you think you’re soooooo great, how about you try recreating this experiment?

Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Scientists usually repeat their experiment over and over again to ensure accurate findings. That is the only way to make sure that the outcome is correct, after all. So you all can do this experiment yourself and tag me in the results so I can take a big steamy dump all over your hard work, you ungrateful dicks.

Until then, I guess I’ll just be the world’s foremost leading expert on cereal treat bars.

Peace

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The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe- Scotland

Overview

Scotland has a long history of fighting with people.  They fought the Romans (Hence the construction of Hadrian’s wall by the Romans), the Vikings, The British, and of course each other. The Highland clans were like the street gangs of their time, and the Clan Campbell and the Clan MacDonald were the Crips and Bloods.

In 1703, Scotland was officially taken over by England, and was incorporated into the U.K., which it remains to this day since their damn referendum to secede fell through.

A fun side fact: The flag that everyone thinks of as the British Flag, the Union Jack:

Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom

Isn’t actually the Flag of Engand. This is:

england_flag_pic

If that doesn’t make sense to you, look at the name of the first flag. It’s called UNION Jack. It’s named that for a reason. That reason is if you take the British flag and combine it with the flag of Scotland:

Flag of Scotland

And the flag of Northern Ireland:

Flag_of_Northern_Ireland

You get the Union Jack.

And if you are wondering why the Welsh flag isn’t also a part of this, it’s because Wales was only a principality when the U.K. was formed. They never added an element of the Welsh Flag when it was declared a country because to Hell with Wales.

Although that dragon would be pretty bitchin’ on the Union Jack.

Although that dragon would be pretty bitchin’ on the Union Jack.

Initial Thoughts

“You know, I always expected Scotland to have a lot more kilt and bagpipe shops than there is in reality. It’s pretty disappointing, actually- Oh wait, there’s one. Never mind. And wow, we only left the airport 5 minutes ago.”

Let it be known that Scotland would look exactly like England if it wasn’t for all the Kilt and wool shops and their flag flying everywhere like the ghost of William Wallace. Which, by the way, if you do ever go to Scotland and you decide to stay out after 2:00 AM, you will see Wallace’s ghost. Be warned.

Accommodations

We, by which I mean my boyfriend Dave and I, stayed at the Motel 1 on the hilariously named Cockburn street. I assume Motel 1 was named that ironically, since not only is it not the only motel in Edinburgh, but it isn’t even the only Motel 1 in Edinburgh. The other Motel one was less than a mile away from the one we stayed. You could see it from the main entrance to ours.  Way to try to monopolize Motel 1 corp.

I'm glad we didn't stay here.

At least we didn’t stay here. This place sounds painful.

This motel was styled in a very modern, yet also somewhat rustic fashion. The lobby and dining areas had tables made from repurposed whisky casks, and the bench seating along the windows had blue plaid cushions and sheep skin blankets.  Yet, everything had clean lines and stainless steel accents. The room was no different. Have a look:

DSC00539

You cannot tell from the picture, but the design that is on the brown pillows is also on the carpet and the drapes, which could lead into a multitude of pube jokes that I’m just going to pass on for now. Instead, here’s the bathroom:

DSC00540

Infinite selfies!

Infinite selfies!

I will, however, say this about the bathroom: It was too small to be equipped with such a shitty fan. The bathroom would turn into a steam room within 5 minutes of me getting into the shower. I learned to leave the bathroom door and the window to outside open for ventilation, but ugh, that’s a pain in the ass when I could just do nothing instead. Thanks for nothing, Motel 1.

Sites

In Edinburgh, The majority of the more famous sites can be found on or near the Royal mile. The Royal mile is a road that goes up the hill from Hollyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle. The castle is the older of the two structures and is situated on the highest point in Edinburgh. Hollyrood is the more modern palace (The Current Queen stays there in the summer), but it is also where Mary Queen of Scots lived until the murder of her first son. After that she moved up to the Castle to protect herself and her unborn child. While Holyrood palace still maintains the elegance of being a working palace, the castle has gone full tourism mode.  Most of the buildings are used as museums or displays of what life (palace life, the dungeons) was like back in the day. The castle has around 5 separate gift shops inside it, which makes me think that they ran out of ideas of what to do with all the extra space.

DSC00586

Along the Royal mile itself  are a series of shops and restaurants. Most of the shops pretty much all sell what you would expect from Scotland: Kilts, miniature bagpipes, canned haggis, anything with a clan name printed on it, and vaguely Celtic items. The more touristy place sold shot glasses and other forgettable souvenirs. However, there were still quite a few shops along the Royal mile that are unique and contain items that I didn’t see anywhere else. Old Town Context is one such store. Old Town Context is actually part of a small chain of stores in Scotland that sell old fashioned curiosities. Miniature stair cases, hot air balloon mobiles, and old tin signs are just some of the many interesting things you can find in this store of curiosities. Here’s their website if you want to see what it’s like. Other than Old town Context, there was a shop the sold various Celtic items, such as Celtic knot window hangs, and miniature recreations of Pictish runes. Then there are whisky shops, and shops that sold wool, and two different Christmas shops. The Royal Mile, has a shit load of stores, is basically what I’m trying to get at.

The Royal Mile, right before the zombies attacked.

The Royal Mile, right before the zombies attacked.

Other sites to see in Old Town Edinburgh are The People’s museum on the Royal Mile, The Scottish Parliament Building, the Scotch Whiskey Experience, and Edinburgh’s hiking spots: The Salsbury Crag and Arthur’s Seat. If you want to witness the best views of Edinburgh, The top of Arthur’s seat is your destination. However, if you’re the typical fat American, be warned that it’s a long hike and there isn’t a single escalator to the top. Get on that, Edinburgh.

DSC00489

The Queen's gallery, Arthur's Seat,the Scottish Parliament building, and Scotland's famous vanishing cars.

The Queen’s gallery, Arthur’s Seat,the Scottish Parliament building, and Scotland’s famous vanishing cars. And on the far right, you can see the edge of existence.

In New Town, there is the Walter Scott Monument, The Edinburgh Monument, The National Gallery, The Modern Art Gallery,  and the tourist center. And all of it is within walking distance,  which is good unless you’re really against walking. And in that case, why did you decide to go to Europe in the first place, hypothetical lazy traveler? All of Europe is the walking capital of the world.

The Walter Scott Monument

The Walter Scott Monument

Outside of Edinburgh,  I also got to see Loch Ness, The highlands, and The Borders. Although, The Highlands of Scotland are less of a “tourist site” as it is “A natural geological formation that covers the majority of the country.” Loch Ness, despite it’s fame, Isn’t all that fascinating. It’s just a lake. Even the Loch Ness monster isn’t that mysterious. Here’s a picture of me about to punch it in it’s easy to find face. Way to suck at hunting things, Scotland.

I won the fight against Nessie, but only because I was wearing my Cracked.com shirt when I fought her.

I won the fight against Nessie, but only because I was wearing my Cracked.com shirt when I fought her.

She turned out to be super chill. We're friends now. I also credit this to my t-shirt.

She turned out to be super chill. We’re friends now. I also credit this to my t-shirt.

The Higlands, on the other hand, contain some of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen, and I’ve  rock climbed up the Rockies, hiked up the Alps, and copped your mom’s titties.

Here's some aloe vera for that nasty burn.

Here’s some aloe vera for that nasty burn.

The Mountains in the highlands are so sudden, and I think that’s part of what makes them beautiful. There are no foothills to these mountains, unlike the Appalachian or Rocky foothills, Only steady, rolling plains and then mountains. But once you get to the first ones, Then you’ll be traveling between valleys for the rest of the trip. It is amazing.

DSC00707

DSC00699

Pictured: Not Loch Ness

DSC00725

This is Loch Ness- just a normal, everyday, poorly spelled lake.

Food

There really is only one meal that is regularly associated with Scotland, and that food is Haggis.  Haggis is so infamous, that one of the most common questions I was asked once I got back was “Did you try the haggis?” (The second most common one is “Did you buy a kilt?” because everyone thinks I would look hot in a skirt.) And the Scottish really do eat it, once in the morning with their traditional Scottish breakfast (2 sausages, 2 pieces of english bacon, grilled tomato, grilled mushrooms, baked beans, haggis, a fried egg, either hashbrowns or potato scone, and 2 pieces of toast) and for dinner in the form of haggis, neeps, and tatties.  Before I go into the “neeps and tatties,” portion, I need to explain what haggis is. Haggis is, and how do I put this for your delicate sensibilities, a boatload of organs meat. More specifically, it is sheep lungs, liver, and kidneys, chopped up and boiled with  beef fat for six hours. Spices and oats are then added to it, the mixture is stuffed into a sheep’s stomach, and then it is boiled some more. It looks exactly as appealing as it sounds:

Haggis is the greyish sludge at the top of the plate.

Haggis is the greyish sludge at the top of the plate.

For dinner, haggis is served with neeps and tatties, or mashed turnips and potatoes. Despite everything haggis has going against it, it’s actually pretty good. It’s flavorful and hearty, and while its savoriness might become overwhelming after a while, the neeps and tatties do an excellent job at balancing out the flavor with sweet and starchy. Really, the main hurdle to get past with haggis is the fact that it looks like what you’d expect it to look like when it comes back out of you. Try not to think about that when you eat it because it will ruin the whole experience for you.  Also, if you want to eat haggis and not be grossed out, then do not read about how it’s made… I probably should have mentioned that earlier. That one’s on me. Sorry.

Haggis 2

Despite what I said about how good haggis is, Bangers and Mash had to be my favorite meal in Scotland, and not just because it sounds like a buddy cop show on the USA network. Bangers and Mash is sausage, mashed potatoes, and gravy. That’s it. It’s so simple, but delicious, and I’m a little mad I never thought of trying that before. Although, I don’t know why they need two different words for mashed potatoes. It’s like mashed potatoes are to them what snow is to the eskimos.

Alcohol

Just as you don’t go to Japan and not try the wine made with fermented baby mice, you don’t visit Scotland and not drink their scotch whisky.  Scotch whiskey is whiskey made with single malt grain, usually barley, which is then cooked over an open fire of peatmoss, which gives the whiskey its unique flavor.

Dave and I tried 6 different Scotches during a scotch tasting event I participated in (The event was that the bar was open and serving drinks).

The first whiskey we tried was from the Highlands:

Whiskey 1

We thought this one was sweet and mild. A nice starter whiskey- whiskey training wheels if you will.

The second one was from Speyside:

Whiskey 2

This one was much stronger and had a much smokier and peatier taste to it. This one needed more water than the rest to make it drinkable.

The third was from the island of Islay:

Whiskey 3

This one had a little bit more of a smokey taste to it, as well as more peat.

The fourth was another Highland scotch:

Whiskey 4

This whiskey had less smoke than the previous one, but was still detectable. It was also smoother than the previous one. This was our favorite.

#5 was another whiskey from Speyside

Whiskey 5

It was sweet, and had a very light smoke flavor to it

And finally #6

Whiskey 6

Apparently, this one was crafted in the boiling waters of hell and heated with the burning corpses of murderers. My trip-mate would describe the taste as sweet and syrupy, but I totally disagree and think that it tasted more like a million people screaming in my head. I only managed to take one sip of this one. And since my gag reflex desperately fought with me on that one sip, I didn’t try it again. But on the bright side, I didn’t throw it back up in the middle of the crowded bar. I’m calling that a win.

People

The Scottish people are actually some of the friendliest I’ve met in my travels. But that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is how passionate they are about political issues. As luck or the fates or whatever would have it, Dave and I  just so happened to be in Scotland the day they voted on a referendum on whether or not they would secede from the UK. This would have been incredibly historical, since they have not been an independent nation since 1707. So if they would have voted to secede, we would have been there on their first independence day in over 300 years. Guess which side we were rooting for.

Unfortunately for us (and probably Scotland too or whatever) 55% of the people voted against seceding, so instead of partying out of my mind with them, they went on with their normal lives. How boring.

But the people there, at least the ones we talked to were passionate. Everyone we had talked to absolutely wanted independence, and they were quite willing to explain why to us. And if anything immediately humanizes a person from a foreign country, it’s listening to them talk about their government. Because many of their arguments are the same that we here in America: Politicians suck, the government is fucking us over, taxes are too high… It’s actually a little reassuring to hear that we aren’t the only ones going through this bullshit.

Oh, but my favorite thing about the Scottish people is the frequency they use the word “Cheers.” They use it all the time. All. The. Time. When they serve you a drink: Cheers. When they server you your food: Cheers. When a conversation comes to an end: Cheers.  When you buy something at their store: Cheers. I have no clue what the rules are for using that word, but they say it more often than a fraternity uses the word “bro.”

I also met this dog. It was the highlight of my trip.

I also met this dog. It was the highlight of my trip.

Overall atmosphere

The atmosphere of Scotland pretty laid back. Everyone is friendly, everything is easy to find and get to, and with a native population that is outnumbered by sheep, you’ll never find a section of Edinburgh that is overcrowded and loud. And the city (like any city in Great Britian where Tourism is big business) is kept very clean.  But while Edingurgh has the cleanliness of London, it is more condensed, making all the sites easier to get to, as well as a distinct historical district. Simply put, Scotland was amazing.

Ok. Here’s more pics:

Scotland has these. What a great country.

Scotland has these. What a great country.

A random courtyard that I took a picture of because it looked European. Please note that people live in those houses, so me taking a picture of them is a little creepy.

A random courtyard that I took a picture of because it looked European. Please note that people live in those houses, so me taking a picture of them is a little creepy.

DSC00493

DSC00497

A foggy night in Edinburgh. Also. that sign fucked up my picture.

Hollyrood Palace

Hollyrood Palace

The ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The gardens looking towards the ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The gardens looking towards the ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The Edinburgh Castle lit up fabulously

The Edinburgh Castle lit up fabulously

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People celebrating Scotland’s attempted (and eventually failed) succession with candles

DSC00563

The weapons in Edinburgh Castle’s great hall

Hero dog cemetery

Hero dog cemetery

DSC00601

The (incomplete) Edinburgh Monument

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A beautiful day on Cockburn Street (I can't stop saying that name)

A beautiful day on Cockburn Street (I can’t stop saying that name)

The Salsbury Crag

The Salsbury Crag

The view from atop Arthur's Seat

The view from atop Arthur’s Seat

The valley (or Glen since this is Scotland) between Arthur's Seat and the Salsbury Crag

The valley (or Glen since this is Scotland) between Arthur’s Seat and the Salsbury Crag

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England is much less welcoming.

England is much less welcoming.

WHERE HARRY POTTER HAD HIS FIRST FLYING LESSON!!!!!!!!

WHERE HARRY POTTER HAD HIS FIRST FLYING LESSON!!!!!!!!

Just an average Scottish person.

Just an average Scottish person.

Peace, you bastards.

The Tale of the Unwanted Box of Gushers

 

After work Tuesday morning, I bought a box of gushers. When I opened the box to devour the little gem shaped goo sacks, I found bizarre scrawlings written all over the inside. As it turns out, they were journal entries, and I thought I would share them with you. Enjoy:

 

Day  1:

Dear Journal,

Hello! I am a box of Gushers fruit snacks, expiration date 11 Jun 2014, and today is the day that I finally moved up to the front of the line on the shelf. I’m really excited. After all, I have been waiting for this moment ever since I’ve had my insides stuffed inside me and my ends sealed with hot glue. That sounds painful but it’s actually quite nice- you feel whole afterwards. Anyway, I just know that any minute now a person (or possibly a younger person with the case of the “munchies” as I’ve heard it) will take me off the shelf, and carry me off to their homes where…

Actually, I don’t know what happens then. No one does. There are stories of course- some say that we spend the time before we expire relaxing with other items, doing whatever we want- standing there, lying down, falling over, you name it. Then, of course, there are the boxes of gushers that believe that we’re going to be tortured and possibly eaten by these giant people. These boxes hang out in the back of the shelf, sometimes behind other products like Fruit Roll Ups until a worker person finds them. Personally, I like to believe that I will spend my remaining time playing with the miniature people (children, as they’re called), seeing as though they are the ones who usually ask for us by name.

But whatever happens, I will find out soon! I’m at the front! I can see the floor for the first time since the brief glimpse I stole as I was being put on the shelf. That feels like such a long time ago now. But it doesn’t matter, I was made for whatever happens to me next! Oh, and look! A person is coming! I think this one is called a “man.” He has short hair, is larger than the “womans” I’ve seen, and is wearing nice looking clothes. I especially like the shiny black things on his feet and the piece of dark blue cloth that starts at his throat and hangs down in front of his chest. It looks fancy. I wonder if he’ll let me wear it.

He’s getting closer now. He’s pushing one of those carts, and it has quite a good amount of stuff in it already, but I see room for me! I’m standing up straight, making sure not to wobble, and my logo is clearly visible. There is no way he is going to miss me. He’s still walking towards me! Getting closer! Getting closer! He’s right in front of me!

He passed me up. He didn’t even notice that I was there. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe my colors weren’t bright enough to get his attention. There is a tiny bit of space between me and the edge of the shelf; maybe I should’ve been forward a little more. I wish I knew what I did wrong. No. It’s OK. That was the first time a person walked by while I was in front. I cannot start beating myself up just because that man didn’t want me. Someone will, and pretty soon I will be taken home by that person, I can feel it in my pouches.

Gushers, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Dear Journal,

I’ve been taken off the shelf! A very nice sounding woman snatched me up and tossed me lovingly into her cart. I like her- I think we’ll make a great pair. She’s older, has a fun round shape to her, and leans onto the cart as she walks, like she’s trying to get closer to us!

By “us” I mean the other products and myself. I guess you could call them my new friends. Or well most of them. At first, I tried hanging out with a bunch of colorful things in bags. They called themselves fruits, and since fruit is part of my name, I figured I belonged with them. I was wrong. They called me a lot of hurtful names like “fake” and “candy” and “nonperishable.”

“Why don’t you hang out with the other junk food,” the apples said in unison.

I was hurt, but obliged them, and I decided to talk to the other boxed items like me. There was tall box called Saltines, and a box that was closer to my shape named Hamburger Helper. They were much nicer to me. As was the blue plastic package called Oreo, who was put in the cart after me. I liked my new friends. We all shared storied about our time in the factory and on the shelf, as well as our theories on what happened to us next. Apparently, no one knows for sure, but every rumor I heard from the other Gushers were also told to them, so I wasn’t much help in solving that mystery.

After a while of our person wandering through the store, she grabbed a big white thing and set it down between me and Hamburger Helper. This new guy, who’s label said “Homogenized Milk” was the weirdest thing in the cart. He was easily the biggest thing in there, but he was also kind of squishy.

“I’m filled with liquid,” he explained.

“But then why are you so cold?” Hamburger Helper asked.

That was a good question. He was very cold, and after not too long he began to sweat.

“Why are you so moist?” I asked after I accidentally touched him. The water was quickly absorbed into my cardboard and the area started to swell. I fell away from him to prevent it from happening again.

“Well, shit,” he replied, “That’s just my condensation. It happens to all us cold stuff. Don’t worry though; it’s not dangerous and will evaporate again soon.

“Why are you even talking to those Nonperishables, Homogenized Milk?” the cucumber at the other end of the cart asked, “Their expiration dates aren’t this month. They’re not even next month. How can you trust something that lasts longer than two months?”

“Hey Cucumber,” Homogenized milk retorted, “You’re just a jar of vinegar away from being nonperishable yourself, so how about you fuck off.”

The cucumber didn’t say anything back, but instead started a heated conversation with a bunch of bananas.

“Don’t worry about those guys,” Homogenized reassured us, “They’re produce, and produce goes rotten real damn quick. You just have to ignore those fuckers.”

We all laughed with Homogenized milk, and pretty soon he had given us all nick names. I was “Gush”- which I liked- it sounded cool, Hamburger Helper was “HH,” Saltines didn’t seemed too pleased with “Cracker,” but he didn’t complain, and Oreo was given the nick name “Big O.”

Big O then said to Homogenized, “We should call you Homo!”

He liked the name and adopted it as his own, and finally our little group was complete. Well, that is until our person stopped the cart. I looked up at her. She was looking from a slip of paper to us and frowning. Then, without a single word, she picked me up and pulled me out of the cart. With a look of both disappointment and annoyance, she set me down on a nearby shelf and then returned to the cart and walked away.

“Homo! HH! Big O! Cracker! Help!” I cried, “She’s leaving me, she’s leaving me!”

“Gush!” they cried back. But it was no use. She turned the corner and they were gone, and I knew I was never going to see them again. I wanted to cry. I really did. How could my person do this to me? I wasn’t even on the right shelf. I was far, far away from where I was supposed to be. How was I supposed to get back? Why would she abandon me here of all places- behind a bunch of little boxes of Lotrimin Ultra, and under hanging Dr. Scholl’s inserts? Why did she even bother to get my hopes up if all she was going to do was to leave me somewhere else? Are people really this cruel? Will anyone pick me up if I’m here? I took a deep breath after asking myself that last question and said to myself, “hopefully they will, and hopefully it will be soon.”

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

"You think this is funny, don't you? WHY IS THIS A GAME TO YOU?!?!"

“Woe is my existance.”

Day 2

Dear Journal,

No one picked me up today. Most people barely noticed I was there. I don’t like it here. It’s cold. See, on the other side of the aisle there are shelves sitting in a cooler, and they are filled with bottles of different colored liquid. I’ve overheard them call themselves “Juices.” I wondered if they’re similar to Homo, and was thinking about asking them, but the memory of Homo and the others made me too depressed to speak.

Throughout the rest of the day, I took in my surroundings. I was on a very small shelf- much smaller than the one with all the other Gushers. Despite the fact that I was towards the back of the shelf, I could still see the floor over the packages of Lotrimin Ultra. Speaking of the Lotrimin Ultra, if you ever get a chance to talk to them, Journal, Don’t. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not mean like the produce, but they’re just really, really weird. Anytime a person passes, they feel compelled to talk about the person’s feet. They discuss which person’s feet would have the worst fungus, or which ones had unhealthy looking toenails. I seriously think they get off on it. When one of them finally said something to me, all it asked was, “Do you like feet?”

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly, “I’ve never seen them outside of those things they wear over top of them.”

Several Lotrimins moaned with pleasure, and I made a note to never mention naked feet ever again.

Somehow, the Dr. Scholl’s inserts above me were even worse, all they talk about is how much they want to be stepped on by particular customers. They call some customers “Flatfoot” which sounds like equal parts an insult and a sexy nickname when they say it, and whenever they do, I realize just how out of place I am on this shelf. I really don’t like it here, but I’m hoping that a worker person will pick me up soon and take me back to the self with all the other Gushers.

Honestly, I’m not huge on the idea; I’ve seen boxes come back before, and it’s always embarrassing, but the feeling of embarrassment cannot possibly compare to the feeling of loneliness and rejection from being stuck in a place you don’t belong. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back over there. I guess we’ll see.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 7

Dear Journal,

Sorry I haven’t written over the past couple of days, but I was busy trying to figure out how to count the days. I had to guess with Day 2. Luckily for me (I guess) one of the Lotrimins told me that whenever the lights in the juice case come on, it’s the start of a new day. Once I was told that, I had to count backwards in order to figure out how many days it had been, and then find a way to record them. I decided to mark the day with a little line on the inside of my box. I have marked six since I’ve been here, so that means it’s day 7.

Crud, I’ve been here seven days and not a single worker person has bothered to pick me up. I know they see me; I’ve seen them look directly at me. But no, all they do is look at me and keep walking.  I always see the same few too. First there are two women. One is shorter and has red curly hair, and the other is a bit taller with much shorter hair that is always sticking up. They are the ones that usually add more Lotrimin and Dr. Scholl’s to the shelf, so I don’t understand why they haven’t taken me back yet. Then there are a series of people whom I mostly see the backs of, as they deal with the juice. I doubt any of them have even noticed me, despite the fact that I’m at least five inches taller than the backs of the Lotrimin boxes.

Then there is another person that only comes in around the time the Juice cooler lights go off and leaves around the time the lights come back on. This person has long hair, so originally, I was inclined to believe it was a woman. But judging by its voice and how its shaped more like a man, I’ve convinced myself that it is one. It (or, I guess “he”) is usually the one to put the juice on the shelf. He brings the cases out on a large, flat, wooded thing and usually sets it down right in front of me. Because of this, he seems to be the only one to really notice me. Granted, he only glanced at me the first few days, but with each new day, he notices me more and more. I was hoping that he would be the one to take me back, that is, until I heard him mutter, “not my damn problem” after looking at me yesterday. I had never heard those words before, but there was such a cold dismissal behind them that I couldn’t help but feel insulted. When I could, I caught a glimpse of his name tag. “Minigan” it read. Well, you’re a jerk, Minigan. I’m pretty sure that I am your problem, since you work here after all. It’s not like I’m demanding that you take me home with you, just back to the shelf. And that shouldn’t be too far for you because you have legs. Are you really that lazy?

I’m sorry Journal, I got carried away. I think it’s time I end it for the night. The lights in the cooler just went off, so Minigan should be here any time now.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 11

Dear Journal,

I’m still here, on the tiny shelf behind the Lotrimin Ultra. No one has bothered to pick me up yet. I’m beginning to think that most of the worker people are just trying to avoid me. They must think I have a disease or something. All they ever do is look at me and keep walking. At least that Minigan person has had the decency to give me a reason why he isn’t bothering to take me back to my rightful place. A couple of nights ago (apparently the time that the lights in the cooler are off are called “nights”), he once again saw me on the shelf, standing in roughly the same spot that I had been for the past 10. He chuckled to himself and said to me, “Someone still hasn’t taken you back to eight?!”

I couldn’t answer because I have no lips.

“Well,” he continued without me, “I would, but you’re in Aych Bee See’s department, so they should be the ones who fucking take you back. Plus, I’ve got a lot of damn juice to work.”

I wanted to be angry at him for leaving me there again, but that was the most honest a person has ever been to me. Plus, his use of the words “fuck” and “damn” reminded me of Homo, whom I missed dearly. I hope he was happy at his new home with Big O, Cracker, and HH. It was in that longing that I decided to give this Minigan person the nickname “Homo 2.”

Although they shared some of the same vocabulary, Homo and Homo 2 are widely different. Homo 2 has a tendency to talk to himself, and if he had black things in his ears, sing to himself. One night he spent at least a half an hour singing about a party in the Yu Essay. I don’t know what a Yu Essay is, but he must like partying in it a lot. Also, other than his snappy remarks at the produce, Homo seemed to be pretty peaceful. Not Homo 2. He throws cases of juice across the floor just so that he doesn’t have to carry them, and I’ve watched in horror as he tosses the single bottles up into the air and catch them before placing them on the shelf. It makes me glad that he wasn’t the one to put me on my old shelf. But even still, at least he noticed me, and seeing him come around means that I don’t feel so lonely.

Until tomorrow, maybe,

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 16

Dear Journal,

I hate these worker people! All of them! Every. Last. One! Today, while I was sitting in the same stupid place I had been sitting since I was unceremoniously dropped off by that awful woman, one of those Aych Bee See workers that Homo 2 mentioned came by to restock the shelves, and do you know what she did? She pushed me out of her way! She just knocked me on my side and continued to work, as if I had no feelings at all! And then, when she was finally done, she left me laying here on my side! I can’t even see past the backs of the Lotrimin boxes now. That was all I had; the ability to see what was going on in the world beyond this tiny shelf, and now even that’s been taken from me. How do these awful think so positively of themselves.

And do you know what makes it even worse? Whenever that jerk Minigan (he lost the privilege to be called Homo) came in a little bit ago, he saw me laying on my side, laughed, and then took a picture with his phone. He’s getting some kind of demented amusement from seeing me here day after day. And know that it’s obvious that I’ve been moved, he’s getting an even bigger kick out of it. I swear I would give anything to be taken away from this shelf and never see that long haired “man” again.

An angry Gushers, Expiration date 11 June 2014, tolerance expiration date: Now

gushers 1

“Don’t just stand there grinning and taking pictures, set me back up Minigan!”

Day 17

Dear Journal,

I decided to focus my energy on socializing with the Lotrimins that I was lying behind today. I didn’t learn much, but I did learn that they absolutely hate a group of products called Tinactin. At first I didn’t know what Tinactin was, but then a customer walked by and a chorus of “Booms” came from somewhere along the shelf. One of the Lotrimins groaned and informed me that anytime I hear a “boom” it’s coming from a Tinactin product. Apparently they have a stupid spokesperson. At least that’s what Lotrimin, Expiration date May 21 2015, said.

Later in the day, Minigan showed up for work, pulling his “pallet” of juice behind him. When he saw me, he chuckled, said “still here” mostly to himself, and then stood me back up. That would have redeemed him if it wasn’t for him deciding to take another picture of me. He revels in my humiliation. After all, we’re all just objects to him. We have no feelings, no emotions, no hopes. We’re just things that he tosses around to amuse himself while he’s working. What a sociopath.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 18

Dear Journal,

I take back every negative thing I said about Minigan. He just picked me up and put me in his cart. He said that the only way I’ll move anywhere is if he goes ahead and buys me, so that’s what he’s gonna do! I’ll have a home today! He’s even picked up friends for me! They’re both bottles of oddly colored juice. One is black and calls itself Dr. Pepper, and the other is green and goes by the name Mtn Dew. It tells me that it’s pronounced “Mountain” not “Mit-in” like I was saying. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be happy with Minigan-

Wait… Oh, God. Minigan just said that it’s been a long time since he’s eaten Gushers. Eaten??? Those paranoid boxes of Gushers that hid behind the Fruit Roll Ups were right this whole time?! We are just food to these people!? This cannot be happening! Please let him change his mind, please! Someone needs to rescue me; he’s theorizing how long it take him to eat all of my six pouches.

Someone please help me!

Someone please help me!

“Not my pouches!” I tried saying to him, “Anything but my pouches! Please Minigan, please don’t eat me!”

But he didn’t hear me because I have no lips. As he marched me down an aisle, I called to the products on the shelves, “Help me!” but none of them reacted to my pleas.

“We’re food!” I shrieked, just trying to get their attention, “All we are is food to people!”

But not a single one of them responded, and my fate is sealed as Minigan wheels his cart into the lane of an open register.

Final entry of Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014, but it’s likely I’ll never reach that date.

 

Well, shit. That was kind of grim, wasn’t it? Sorry everybody.

Actually, knowing that Gushers are sentient beings and have human emotions makes them taste even better!

Actually, knowing that Gushers are sentient beings and have human emotions makes them taste even better!

The First Ever Bearly Legal Sketch!

If you were expecting another Awesomesquad! Assemble post from me today, then 1- you’re going to be dissappointed. Sorry. And 2- You clearly didn’t read the title of this blog post. That one’s on you.

But instead of us arguing of who’s fault it is that you clearly should’ve read the title before starting to read the blog, let’s just get into the blog itself.

So, other than Awesomesquad!, one of my many creative projects has been trying to form a comedy skit group with my friend Jeremiah Campana. You may remember him from this video:

Anyway, that was from back in March, when we still hadn’t bothered to come up with a name for our skit group yet. Well, now we have it. And if you’ve read the title of this blog post by know (which you totally should have- seriously, what’s wrong with you if you haven’t?) then you know that our sketch group name is officially Bearly Legal. Yes, we already have some awesome sketch ideas in the works, and we hope to bring them to you very soon.

Until then, enjoy our first offical sketch. It’s only 6 seconds long, so feel free to watch it a dozen or so times.

Also, prepare you assholes for another awesome Awesomesquad! Assembe! post. It should be up by Wednesday at the latest. (Please don’t hold me to that. We all know how this works- I make the promises and totally underestimate my inability to shut the hell up, writing-wise.)

Tee a coup (Peace Out)

The Great Naked in a Cornfield Caper

Inner Voice-What time is it?

Early morning, probably.

Inner Voice- The Weather?

Clear, cool.

Inner Voice- What are you doing?

Waking from a stupor, naked other than shoes on my feet, a pile of plant debris conveniently placed over my genitals.

Inner Voice-Where are you?

… I don’t even fucking know. [lifts head looks over naked body and mound of dead leaves covering package to the surrounding area] OK. I’m definitely in a field somewhere. [sits up, examines one of the plant fragments making up the makeshift vegetative loincloth. This is a corn stalk. I’m in a corn field. I’ve gotten drunkenly lost in cornfields way too many times to not know what a corn stalk looks like.

Inner Voice- Good. Now the important question is-

Who the fuck are you?

Inner Voice- I’m your inner voice. I’m here to help you figure out what happened to lead you here.

I think we both know what lead me to where I am now.

Inner Voice- Well, yes, but I meant what were the exact events that lead to you passing out naked in a cornfield, not how your regular poor choices and poisonous personality has lead you to be the kind of person who would pass out naked in a cornfield.

Oh. So you’re my inner voice?

Inner Voice- Yes.

So where were you the last, say, five times, I could’ve used your help?

Inner Voice- You wouldn’t have listened to me then.

Yeah, but you could’ve at least given it a shot, dick.

Inner Voice- Right. Well, you do want my help or not.

I’m not sure. I’ve gotten myself out of worse situations in the past without your help.

Inner Voice- Yes, but with me you’ll have twice the brain power to help you solve this mystery.

But you’re in my head, how will I have twice the brain power? Wait, are you saying that I have superpowers?!?! Oh man, I cannot wait to rub my god-like abilities in Zac Efron’s smug, unshaven face!

Inner Voice- You don’t have super powers.

But you just said-

Inner Voice- I was referring to the fact that you only use half of your brain normally, dipshit.

I can already tell that I’m not going to like you.

Inner Voice- I’m sure that when I care about what you think, that will hurt my feelings, but right now we need to ask ourselves one very important question- Why-

Why does my mouth taste like Cool Ranch Doritos and garbage?

Inner Voice- That wasn’t the question I was thinking of, but OK, let’s focus on that instead of where you are, what you remember last, or what happened to your clothes.

Great. I’m glad you’re on my side for once. Now [licks lips] I can taste the distinct flavor of Cool Ranch Doritos along with some putrid trash overtones, so I’m thinking I got black out drunk, ate at Arby’s and then tried to wash out that Arby’s food flavor with a bag of Doritos. How does that sound to you?

Inner Voice- That makes a whole lot of sense, actually.

Boom! We’re so fucking on top of this right now! We could just hump this mystery into submission if we wanted to!

Inner Voice- Yeah, but you’re still standing in the middle of a random cornfield completely nude and without the slightest clue as to where you are.

I’m in a cornfield.

Inner Voice- Yes, but that doesn’t help us much.

It tells us that we’re in a rural area, and that we may still be in Ohio. That’s a start.

Inner Voice- I guess that’s true. And look at the edge of the trees! [points to a light blue piece of cloth waving from a tree branch at the edge of the woods] that could be your shirt! You know, your superman shirt that you like to wear while you take douchebaggy pictures of yourself!

Superman is much more of a preppy asshole than what I would have guessed.

Superman is much more of a preppy asshole than what I would have guessed.

I know which one you meant, asshole, and I do not take douchebaggy pictures of myself. That was probably you. And how did you move my hand anyway? You’re just supposed to be my inner voice.

Inner Voice- I thought so too, but it looks like I can control this arm [waves left arm around frantically]

OK Enough! Let’s go get my shirt. [walks to the edge of the cornfield, climbs tree and frees shirt from the branch. Jumps down.] Alright! We have my shirt! Now what?

Inner Voice- Well, you desperately need some pants.

Good thinking, inner voice, if my cellphone is still with it, then we can use it to find out where we are and how to get home!

Inner Voice- See? We make a good pair after all! [after a brief pause] are you going to put your shirt on?

And be a man wearing a shirt but no pants? Rob Delaney’s right: that is the worst thing in the world. Plus, I don’t want anyone to think that there is something wrong with me when they see me.

Inner Voice- Well, you’re naked, so they’ll probably think that anyway. Plus, who’s going to see you out here anyway?

I dunno. Cool kids who came out here to smoke and drink and have sex with each other.

Inner Voice- [sighs] Just look for a place where you would’ve hidden your pants.

[looks around and spots a hollowed out tree trunk there is a piece of paper nailed above the hole that reads: Nothing interesting in here. Please keep away.]

That’s where I would’ve hidden my pants. [rushes over to the trunk, is about to reach inside when his inner voice stops him]

Inner Voice- Wait a minute! Think about this. We’re talking about you here.  If you were hiding something and didn’t want it to be found, would you advertise its location like this?

No. I would put it in a place that is in plain sight but innocuous enough to go unnoticed and then set a red herring that is ultimately a trap. Holy shit. That’s what I did here. [picks up a stick and sticks it into the hole of the tree trunk. Almost instantly, two jaws with sharp metal teeth clamp shut and sever the stick.]

Holy hell, drunk me sure is ingenuitive.

Inner Voice- Is that a bear trap? Where did you even get one of those?

Is that really important right now?

Inner voice- No. but it is a little unnerving that you had one of those ready to set up a trap for someone trying to find your pants.

Still unimportant, though. Now, help me find a low key place I would have hidden my pants.

Inner Voice- Well, you said that it would be in plain sight, and people rarely look above their heads when searching for something.

So in the trees? A little uncreative on my part after the bear trap and all.

Inner Voice- Don’t be so sure. Look up. I think you nailed your pants to that tree.

[looks up and sees his jeans nailed tightly around the trunk of the tree.] OK, first of all, How did you see that before me, and secondly, where did I get all these nails?

Inner Voice- I’m not sure, but I think I see a hammer up there. Climb up there and get your pants.

Oh sure, make me do everything. [climbs up the tree, retrieves the hammer and frees the jeans. Comes back down and puts them on.] OK, now what?

Inner Voice- Check your phone to see where you are, dumbass.

There is no need for name calling, dick cheese. [pulls out phone and checks the map] I am in Utica for some reason.

Inner Voice- Man, you must’ve gone to a dark place last night if you ended up in Utica. What else?

Well, I have no new text message notifications, that’s probably a good thing. Let’s just see if I tweeted anything stupid- Oh God…

Inner voice- What did you do?

I didn’t tweet anything, but #UticaOhio and #ColumbusZooMissingElephant are both trending worldwide on Twitter.

Inner Voice- I think it’s safe to say that you had a hand in that.

Yep. So what should I do now?

Inner Voice- Is there anything else on your phone that could help?

Not really. Just a few pictures of me riding the elephant and me stealing the elephant.

Inner Voice- OK. Delete those off of your phone.

But I have proof that I rode an elephant!

Inner Voice- But it’s also incriminating evidence. Delete them.

You’re no fun. [deletes the pictures and stomps off]

Inner Voice- I don’t know where you’re going, but if you’re trying to get away from me, it’s not going to work. I’m in your head, remember.

Damn you.

Inner Voice- Look, I’m trying to help you. If you don’t want my help, I’ll leave and then you can figure this out all on your own. Do you want that?

Kind of.

Inner Voice- Well, unfortunately for both of us that isn’t an option. Now, what do you remember before you blacked out last night.

I remember being excited about something. It was something that I knew was going to be epic. I assume that’s the elephant larceny part, but I also remember being very hungry. I think I had been fasting for days to lead up to what I was about to do. I was driving somewhere, not in the direction of the zoo though, and I remember saying to myself, “my nipples are hard just thinking about what is going to happen tonight!” I don’t remember what I was referring to. [gasps] you don’t think I was going to fuck the elephant, do you?

Inner Voice- Well, I didn’t but now I do. C’mon, there must have been something you missed. Did you check all your pockets?

No, but I never put anything in this back one [feels inside left back pocket, pulls out a balled up piece of paper.]

Inner Voice- What is that?

Well, I’ve only had two seconds to look at it, but I think it’s safe to say that this is a treasure map.

Inner Voice- It doesn’t look like a treasure map to me…

I was being sarcastic, you asshole! [grumbles as he flattens out the square piece of paper and all across it are strange markings written at 45 degree angles.] I think I know that this is! This is a code! You have to fold the paper the right way to figure out the message!

Paper Code 1

Inner voice- That’s pretty clever, actually.

Yeah, and I only did it with the half of my brain that isn’t a total dick all the time! [begins folding the paper.]

Brings the four corners together and the message reads:

“Minigan, if you are reading this, you’re in deep shit./ you stole an elephant and rode it to Utica.”

Paper code 2

Folding the new corners to the center on the other side created the sentences:

“You assaulted a police officer with a nail gun./ Your face was hidden by a Taco Bell Bag.’

Paper Code 3

Folding in the corners one more time revealed the words: “Find Della. She’ll Help.”

Paper Code 4

Then, reversing the folds showed: “God Speed”

Paper Code 5

Della! Of Course! She lives in Utica! [pulls out phone and goes to text Della]

Oh crap.

Inner Voice- What now?

Apparently Della and I had a texting conversation last night. She’s a little pissed at me.

Della and I have a great relationship.

Della and I have a great relationship.

Inner Voice- This is good!

How is this good?

Inner Voice- Well, she’ll have to know what all happened last night, and she’s probably so mad at you that she won’t even be able to come up with a lie!

You’re right! But I’m sure she’s getting a good laugh about all of this now anyway. [calls up Della. When she answers, he says in the “I know you’re mad at me tone”] Hi.

Della- You’re a sociopathic bastard, Minigan, you know that?

Kind of. But what exactly did I do this time?

Della- Really? Really?! You broke into our house last night with a bag full of Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell, and made us watch as you ate all ten of them. You then started spazzing out and fell to the floor. You crawled to the garbage can and began to shovel whatever was in there into your mouth while muttering what sounded like incantations to summon the Dark One. Matt and I tried to pull you away, but you were too strong. But after about a minute you finished eating, jumped up and sprinted out the door while screaming that you were king of the Wellypants, which now I have figured you meant “elephants” since you went straight from my house to the Columbus Zoo so that you could release a female African elephant and ride her down the highway. Matt wanted to stop you, but I convinced him that you weren’t worth it. We decided to go to bed, and just as I’m about to fall asleep, we get a call that you had stolen the elephant and had attacked a police officer with a nail gun. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?

So you’re saying that I actually ate garbage?

Della- I cannot believe that is the only thing that you got from that story.

[Ignoring Della] You hear that Inner voice? I didn’t eat Arby’s after all!

Inner Voice- Thank God.

Della- Who are you talking to?

Just my inner voice

Della- You really have lost your mind, haven’t you?

Probably. So… Do you think you could come and pick me up?

Websites Past Me Never Would Have Thought He Would Frequent

For those of you who’ve read my very first post to this blog (and who hasn’t read that gem?), you may remember it being about how I dislike blogs. But everyone should notice that 102 blog posts after that first one, I still have no intention of ending this blog, nor do I hate still blogging. It’s one of those whole “People change” kind of deals. Well, since I was thinking about how my views on blogs had changed over the past three years, I’d figured that I should also look at what websites I frequent now and compare them to how I felt about them back when I started this blog. This should be a journey for all of us.

Twitter

Twitter logo 2012

Website Description

-For those of you who don’t know what Twitter is, I’m assuming this is your first time on the Internet. If that’s the case, then welcome and thank you for choosing my blog to be the first site you go to. I have all the information you’ll ever need. Also, just wait until you find the porn here. The floors of the Internet are practically caked with it.

I don't think that's porn...

I don’t think that’s porn…

Anyway, the best way to describe Twitter objectively is like this:

Imagine you’re in a giant room that is filled with millions of people. Now, imagine that these millions of people are shouting things at no one in particular. Yes, every once and a while you’ll see someone turn their head and shout something at someone, or maybe they’ll shout a response to someone else’s shout, but for te most part, they are just standing there looking over everyone’s heads and shouting things. Maybe they’re shouting a joke. Maybe they’re shouting about what their doing/ watching/ listening to. Maybe they’re shouting an inspirational cliché that they had heard once but weren’t clever enough to come up with on their own. And maybe they’re shouting about what they’re eating while waving around a filtered image of the food. This is what everyone in this room does. Every hour of every day.

And there are celebrities in this room, and these celebrities are also shouting things or shouting responses to other celebrities shouts or even shouting things that help promote important dates for them. And the rest of the people in this room will listen to those shouts and will shout back compliments or insults, depending on whether they like the celebrity or not.

And finally, up on one of the walls of this vast room of shouting people is a board. On this board is a list of things that people are shouting about the most at that particular time. This encourages more people to shout about it too. And every person is shouting with the millions of other people that are shouting, In the hopes that for once their mindless shouts are heard.

That is Twitter.

How me from 2009 feels about it

-Quite honestly, Twitter was the stupidest idea on the planet. Why would anyone want to waste their time on a website where all you can do us regularly post status updates. That is pretty much the most annoying part of Facebook. Like I want to see nothing but passive aggressive ventings about exes or updates where people fish for sympathy. It would drive me crazy and I would probably want to punch the people I follow so hard in the face that my hand would get stuck in the hole I’d create in their self-obsessed faces. There is no way in Hell I would ever get a goddamn Twitter.

How I feel about it now

-Oh my God do I love that site! OK, well that’s a little hyperbolic, but I do enjoy the site greatly, and that is largely due to the people that I follow. I’ll admit, when I first got on Twitter, I had a cruddy phone that wouldn’t let me get on the site whenever I was away from my computer. Unfortunately, the whole point of Twitter is being able to get on wherever you are. So, once I got my iPhone, I downloaded the app and started getting on the site more often. I eventually followed all the Cracked.com columnists, even the ones I didn’t have a man crush on, and then quickly moved on to random stand-up comedians, other internet comedy writers, and twitter comedians, all of whom fill up my Twitter feed with awesome jokes 24 hours a day. And as of writing this, two of the hilarious twitter comedians, Ephing Adoraballs and Kay Marvin are now following me, which makes me feel like I have been made a junior member of the Twitter Comedian group. Now if I could only get Soren Bowie, and Easy_Tiger_ to follow me, maybe I could be considered a part of the handsome ones. This is my dream. Don’t judge me.

Etsy/ Fab

etsy-logo

Website Description

-Etsy and Fab are websites dedicated to selling quirky-not necessarily nerdy- things. sure you can buy beard knit beanies, but you can also buy anything from colorful antique knick knacks to hand made light fixtures to T-shirts or other forms of clothing for the hipster in you.

How me from 2009 feels about it

-Well, I don’t think Etsy or Fab existed in 2009, but I don’t mean those websites in particular, but just what kind of website they are, which is a website where you can buy quirky housewares. There is no reason why I should want to go on there. I don’t live on my own, in an apartment, a house, or a trailer in the woods; I live with my mom, so why would I even consider buying myself a bookshelf shaped like the Bat Symbol, no matter how badass it is?

which if you were wondering, is incredibly badass.

which if you were wondering, is incredibly badass.

And then, there is the fact that I probably know nothing about how to decorate a home. I get that certain colors go together and that all the wood in a room should be the same shade of brown, but who am I, [looks up HGTV hosts] Mike Holmes? My house will probably be so stylistically confused, it would probably look like the house equivalent of a masculine straight man trying on his first dress.

How I feel about it now

-I am thankful that I don’t have more money to spend, otherwise I’d go broke on Etsy. I discovered the website officially through Dude I Want That when I saw this picture:

This will class up every bathroom everywhere.

This will class up every bathroom everywhere.

I just knew that I had to get this picture for my uncle for Christmas. And being the determined little asshole that I am, I immediately signed up to Etsy and bought the picture. And then I started browsing the site. Holy Hell. It’s like all weird things that I could ever want for a house were put on this one website for me to buy. I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve spent looking through the categories on either of these sites, but let’s just say that they really help me procrastinate writing for this blog, and even this blog post. And on a related note, I am totally going to buy that picture of Sasquatch for my bathroom.

The Onion

Onion- Logo

How me from 2009 feels about it

-Now, let me clarify, It’s not that I don’t like The Onion, or that I have any kind of reason to not read it, it’s just that Cracked.com takes up so much of my free reading time that I pretty much forget that The Onion even exists unless someone posts a link to facebook. And even then I might not even read it, because hey, Cracked posted three new articles, a new video, AND a new Photoshop contest today, and I am still in college so I still have homework and two jobs to do. Who the hell am I, Jesus? Sorry Onion, but you were going to have to wait.

How I feel about it now

-I love that website, and I’m there all the time, but I’m still smart about it. I only read the articles that sound most interesting to me. Usually when I do this, I find myself hoping that the article I chose is an actual article and not just a picture or one of their local news pieces. I have, however, gotten so good at knowing which is which just by judging by the title, but every once in a while they trick me. But that’s OK, because their actual articles and videos are usually hilarious and I kind of hate myself for not reading more of their articles over the past three years.

Threadless

Threadless_logo

Website Description

-For those of you who never read a banner on a non-porn website, Threadless is a T-shirt selling website that is largely powered by its fans. Fans submit their shirt designs, fans vote on the designs, and fans probably whip the child slaves who print the shirts. You know, circle of life.

How me from 2009 feels about it

Threadless? What the Hell is Threadless? A t-shirt site? I refuse to go there. T-Shirt Hell has my complete and unwavering loyalty. Why in God’s salty name would I buy from or even browse another t-shirt site? It would be like I was cheating on T-Shirt Hell, and T-Shirt Hell would know. They have ways of knowing these things.

How I feel about it now

-It took some time for Threadless to win me over, what with me being so stubborn about T-shirt Hell, but eventually some of the really cool- not funny designs got a hold of me, and I started shopping there. Now, I have around eight shirts from that site, including this one, which is a funny shirt. So clearly, I’ve completely given up on my college days morals of corporate loyalty. Sorry T-shirt Hell. I still love you fuckers, but Threadless has this shirt of a screaming Native American Chief, and it is one of the coolest shirts I own. So you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that you aren’t my soul site for awesome clothes anymore.

All Recipies

All-Recipies-logo

Website Description

-Allrecipes.com is a website with recipes on it. Like Threadless, most of the recipes on All Recipes was submitted by a user. That is pretty much how the entire internet works now, so that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. I’m beginning to think that these descriptions are a little condescending to you guys, and if that’s true, I’m sorry.

How me from 2009 feels about it

-I’ll admit, I’ve been to this website. Once. And that was for my super-awesome-totally-sexy-guacamole recipe. I only went there for that recipe, and only until I had the recipe memorized. Granted, I do cook for myself a lot because I’m living at home and I am this weird kind of lazy where I’d rather make food than go out and get food made for me, but I never needed a recipe website. I know what I’m going to cook for dinner, and damnit, I’m going to cook the shit out of it. I am the fucking master of chicken stir fry and the grill!

How I feel about it now

-Now, I want to make weird things. Like soup. Homemade soup! And schnitzel! And homemade macaroni and cheese! I don’t how to make any of these fucking things! Where the hell is the real adult that lives here! I NEED HER TO COOK FOR ME! I NEED FOOOOOOOOOOD

What is that, stomach? Eat the cat? I don't think I should... Well, if you insist...

What is that, stomach? Eat the cat? I don’t think I should… Well, if you insist…

Ok, I’ll admit, I do not use their exact website, but I do have their app on my phone, so I think it still counts. Now, whenever I feel like making something random, like jerk chicken, I have a recipe on hand. (I’ve never actually made jerk chicken. That was just an example. You get the idea. Stop being dicks about this.) Plus, I can access the app when I’m at the store so that I know what ingredients I need for the jerk chicken. (Seriously, shut up.) And then the instructions help me to jerk that chicken real good. (OK, now you’re just thinking up masturbation jokes… That one might be on me. My bad.)

Alright folks. That’s it for this week. And next week I’m probably not going to post anything, since I want to write another Awesomesquad! Assemble! post next. Just as a teaser, I’m going the flashback route again (kind of) and we’re going fight a certain fame monster. That should’ve just given it away. So until then, go follow me and those people I linked on Twitter. Do it!

Peace

The American Douchebag’s Guide to America: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh n’at

Overview

Pittsburgh was settled in a valley where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio. This area was originally settled by groups of Hopewell and Adena Indians, along with many others who didn’t steal their names from buildings on OSU-Newark’s campus including Iroquis and Shawnee. During the 1750s, The French forced the British out of the fort they built there, and built Fort Duquesne. However, the French eventually did what the French do best, and  let the British force them out and built Fort Pitt in Duquesne’s place.

Over the next century, Pittsburgh became a large steel producing town. This became important during the Civil War because of the production of weapons. By 1911 Pittsburgh was producing up to half of the nation’s steel. However, over the years the steel mills closed, leaving Pittsburgh a polluted shell of its formal self.

Now a days, However, Pittsburgh has been making a small comeback. During the late 2000s recession, Pittsburgh was adding jobs and their property value was rising. Way to make the rest of the country look bad, Pittsburgh.

Initial Thoughts

For the initial thoughts, you really need to know what it’s like to drive into Pittsburgh, particularly through the Fort Pitt tunnels. You enter the tunnels from one side of a mountain, nothing but concrete, other cars and your fear of cramped spaces around you. And the more you reach the other side, the easier it is for you to breathe. And when you finally come out the other side, this is what you see:

http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/09189/982415-294.stm?FORM=ZZNR2

So, seeing as though that was the image I saw when I entered Pittsburgh, these were my initial thoughts:

“Wow! I’m back! And look at that view! There’s The Point, and over there is The US Steel building. Oh, and that stadium across the river is the one Bane blew up in The Dark Knight Rises. This place has mad History all over it. You better be ready for me, Pittsburgh, cause I’m coming for you harder than if I could ejaculate cinderblocks.”

Accommodations

Usually when I’m in Pittsburgh, I stay in the house I grew up in, but I once stayed in a hotel, so I’ll talk about both.

My old house is incredibly exclusive. You either have to be related to the current residents or at least close friends to them. Unfortunately, this exclusivity does not translate into high class. It was cramped. I slept on a futon. Most of the outlets were outdated and didn’t have the third hole. But on the bright side, the meals were free and they had free wifi. I wish that could make me forget about the insults thrown at me by the staff there, but it cannot. My blog does entertain people, dad. You wouldn’t know because you don’t read it. I AM DOING THINGS WITH MY LIFE! REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS THAT WILL MAKE ME A RESPECTABLE AUTHOR! GET OFF MY BACK!!!

The hotel I stayed in back in 2009 was much schmaltzier than my old house. Here’s a pic that will give you a good idea of how awesome it was.

Get out of the way, Aaron!

If you look at the lower left corner, you’ll notice the armrest of our couch. Then if you look to the right of Aaron, who is the guy clearly ruining this picture, you’ll see the TV. If you look further in the background, you’ll notice that past the barrier are out beds. Yes. Our TV could swivel so that you could either sit on the couch OR lay on the bed and watch it. There is a god, and he wants us to be happy.

Sites

Other than the aforementioned stadium that Bane destroyed, Pittsburgh has a lot of attractions for different members of the family. Kennywood is Pittsburgh’s amusement park and has some of the most historic and exciting rides in the country. Sandcastle is their waterpark, which is pretty run of the mill. You know, water slides and stuff. Pittsburgh is also home to the national aviary, which is essentially one of the more boring parts of normal zoos, just in its own location. If you like heights, go up the famous Pittsburgh Incline and look out at Pittsburgh from the best view in the city. If you’re into Hogwartsian style buildings, go to the Cathedral of learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Only a couple of blocks away is Pittsburgh’s museum of modern art. And last but not least, for you alcoholics, you will want to head over to Station Square and the Southside, where you will find some booze.

Looking down the Pittsburgh Incline

Pittsburgh Skyline from the Incline

University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning

Well, that’s kind of fucked up, University of Pittsburgh.

Hogwarts?

Food

There is a few foods that are Pittsburgh specific: gravy on French fries, city chicken (which isn’t actually chicken because Pittsburgers are weird), but the quintessential Pittsburgh food is, without a doubt, a Primanti Brother’s sandwich.

For those of you who don’t know, a Primanti Brother’s sandwich is what happens when the cook loses his shit and starts throwing all the food onto a plate with his hands. A normal Primanti’s sandwich starts off normally with some meat and some cheese, maybe even a couple slices of tomato. But then the meal makes a sharp left and starts driving erratically down crazy street. The sandwich also has French fries and coleslaw piled on, and the cook only cuts one slice of bread in half.  I didn’t take a picture of my sandwich because I am not an annoying girl on your Facebook homepage, but here is an image from Primanti’s website:

http://primantibros.com/02menu.html

My sandwich was a turkey and cheese, minus the tomato. After I did my best to tear through the meat, fries, and full slice of bread, I finally got to take a bite. It was amazing. The coleslaw was sweet, yet tangy. The turkey and cheese was savory and warm enough to be comforting on a cold day. The fries in all their starchy goodness acted as a balance between the coleslaw and the turkey. Normally, the coleslaw would over power the turkey, but the fries muted the coleslaw’s flavor and helped bring out the turkey and cheese favors. By the end, I wasn’t eating a sandwich so much as a ball of delicious, greasy goodness. Why Primanti’s has not expanded to other parts of the country is a mystery to me.

Alcohol

Yeungling. If you’re in Pittsburgh and you like beer, that is what you have to drink. I mean, sure, Pittsburgh has other beers: Rolling Rock, Iron City Beer, probably others.  Yeungling, however,  is the best. However, If you want to go against my always right opinions, then go ahead and drink an Iron City (Rolling Rock is now a national brand, so it doesn’t count). If you do choose Iron City, then you need to either drink it in their iron bottle or in a regular can. The iron can changes the flavor of the beer, but I cannot remember which one tastes better. But it’s not like it matters anyway; you aren’t even considering drinking Yeungling like I suggested, so why would you take my Iron City beverage container advice. Seriously, the whole point of a travel blog is to listen to my experiences and heed my advice. But whatever. Don’t listen to me, but don’t come crying to me when you realize that Iron City or Rolling Rock isn’t the greatest beer ever, you ungrateful bastards.

People

The first thing you need to understand about Pittsburgers is that they have their own accent. Well, actually, it’s not so much an accent as it is a dialect. If I were to describe it, I’d say that it’s somewhere between Midwesterner and Appalachian Hills people. Watch the first few minutes of this video to get an idea of what Pittsburghese sounds like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kOnYpxfZDs

Having introduced Yinz to how people talk in an around dahntahn Pittsburgh, let’s talk about the locals n’at.

The people there, are awesome. Granted, I know people there, and I got to hang out with them, but still, they’re amazing. For instance, here are my friends Julian and Danielle enjoying a nice dinner with me in Forest Hills:

They were pretty excited to see me.

Then here’s Dan Miller at the Primanti’s after we got done watching The Dark Knight Rises. He was pretty excited to see me:

“MINIGAN GODDAMN BLACKWOOD!!!!! I MISSED YOU!!!”
-totally what Dan said

Then of course I got to hang out with the Newlyweds Julie and Mark Lechliter and their gang of crazy friends. I’ll give you a hint of how this played out.

Minigan- Julie!!!!

Yay!

Julie- Oh Jesus…

Minigan-Ha ha! No, it’s Minigan!  I know, I know, my hair has gotten long, and I do look miraculous, but it’s just me. Plain old Minigan Blackwood: Doctor of Awesome.

Julie- No, Minigan, I know who you are. I’m just surprised to see you back here after they told you not to come back after that last time.

Minigan- Laws don’t apply to me, baby. You should know that. And besides, I left the Slappin’ Dick Machine with my friend Della, so it’s totally cool that I’m here to celebrate your Birthday!

Julie- Well, as long as you’ve found someone that’s willing to keep after it and you didn’t bring it back here…

Minigan- Oh yeah, Della totally has it under control. We’re mentally linked, so it will probably listen to her.

Probably…

Mark- [rushes up to Julie, not noticing Minigan] Julie, we need to get out of here, now. Apparently Minigan found out that we’re going to be here tonight and [now noticing Minigan] Holy Shit! Minigan! How did they let you back in PA?!

Minigan- “Let” isn’t the right word. It was more like I “forced” my way back into Pennsylvania.

Julie- We aren’t going to be arrested by talking to you right now, are we?

Minigan- Not unless you call the cops.

Mark- And if we do call the cops?

Minigan- if you do call the cops, I’ll just show them the proof that you smuggled me into PA.

Mark- What proof do you have?!

Minigan- When have I ever let that stop me before? [throws his hands up defensively] But look, I’m not here to send anyone to prison this time. All I want to do is Party with you guys for Julie’s birthday. Now, let’s do some shots. [runs off to find a bartender]

Julie-[calling after Minigan] Wait, Minigan! I can’t drink; I’m pregnant!

[Minigan came back with a tray of shots, the waitress he took the shots from silently weeping into her hands.]

Minigan- I got us the drinks! Julie, the orange juice is for you because you’re on your period or whatever you said.

Julie- Thanks, I guess…

Minigan- To Julie for her birthday, and for both of you wonderful bastards for getting married![they each do a shot. Minigan does two.]

Mark- [once his face returned to normal after the shot] so how did you get kicked out of PA, Minigan?

Minigan- Well, I created a machine that had a spinning wheel of dildos that  started trying to kill people. You know, it was a whole thing. I’ve put that behind me. Like a month behind me.

Slappin’ Dick- Machine- [comes in looking like a Wall-E with a hat of dildos, waving its newly attached robotic arms frantically and hitting people as it passed. It’s voice came from a Speak and Say attached to its backside. It yells] Minigan! Della is the worst human ever. All she does is insult everyone and throw things at me. It’s horrible.

Minigan- Yeah, she’s an awful, awful person.

Mark and Julie- [simultaneously] What’s wrong with people in Ohio?

Minigan- It’s really just Della. She is just a terrible person. [Mark and Julie say nothing, just look at each other. Minigan turns to the Slappin’ Dick-Machine and says] OK, SDM, which is what I’m going to call you for now on. I’ll let you stay with me and not with Della on two conditions: You cannot try to kill all humans and you must do everything I say. Do you understand?

SDM- I understand. What do you need, master?

Minigan- First, I like the whole “master” thing. Keep up with that. Secondly, go get me a drink.

SDM- Yes, Master. [SDM rolls off, attacks a waitress holding a beer and grabs it before she drops it, and rushes back to me] Here you are, Master.

Minigan-[takes the drink turns to Julie and Mark and says] And that’s how you train your murderbot.

And then we all partied and had a great time.

Overall Atmosphere

Now, I may be biased since I grew up in that city, but the atmosphere of the ‘Burgh is definitely welcoming, and friendly. Even though all of the people I talked to were people that I have known most of my life, the people there act like they’ve always known you. It is, simply put, an amazing  city.

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