Why I Would Be The Greatest President Of All Time

This election really got me fired up.

We waste so much time and money on political campaigns which focus on mud-slinging and smack-talking, rather than focussing on the real problems and issues facing America today. And no, I’m not talking about gay rights, or women’s rights, or legalizing weed, or reforming health care. The answer to those problems are simple. I’m talking about the actual problems that everyone seems to be ignoring, and pretending don’t exist. Problems that effect all of us. Not just liberals, not just republicans, not just moderates… all of us.

Well this had me thinking. I have so many solutions to fix this country, I should just run for president.

So madame chairwoman, delegates, and the twelve people who read my blog, I accept your nomination for 2016 President of the United States. I am not afraid to confront the real problems, but instead will bring them to the fore front. Not only will I confront these unspoken real world issues, but I will also provide meticulous, fool-proof plans to solve every single one.

MY FIVE-POINT PLAN

1. Take Care of the Hipster Problem. 

Yes, we all have all seen the warning signs: Winter hats in July, ironic T-Shirts with Nietzsche quotes, colored skinny jean capri pants, eye glasses without prescription lenses, sexually-ambiguous androgynous haircuts. I checked the dictionary, and there’s no existing actual definition for ‘hipster,’ probably because definitions are simply too mainstream. These useless, sardonic, socially out-of-tune, wanna-be-hippies are rapidly increasing in number everyday. “Oh, you got turned down from another job? No, I’m sure it had nothing to do with your unkempt ponytail, your sleeve tattoo, your lack of ambition, or the fact that you went to your job interview dressed in a short sleeve button up flannel shirt and flip flops. You wanna know what it probably is? It’s the rest of the world that’s fucked up! You’re not the problem. They’re the problem. You should let everyone know, starting with the next person you see.” Hipsters know more about music than you, more about clothing than you, more about economics than you, and more about philosophy than you. They are a greasy skidmark in society’s whitey tighties, and need to go before their anti-mainstream ideologies go mainstream and it becomes too late.

My solution: Ship them all to China. Tell them all that they’ve won free tickets to see Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros perform in Hangzhou. Because the only things certain in life are death, taxes, and the hipster inability to turn down free crappy indie-folk concert tickets. Once they get to China, we simply leave them there. Good luck with your liberal arts degree! Go tell those Chinese why they “shouldn’t think too much, and to slow down because there’s more to life than working hard.” Have fun with that… see what happens.

2. Take Care of the Vegan/Vegetarian problem.

For whatever reason, many members of the public have apparently been brainwashed into believing that not eating meat is a good decision. Well you know what’s an even better decision? Eating meat. If we were meant to be at the bottom of the food chain, well then we would eat plants and nuts and berries. But we’re not at the bottom of the food chain. We’re at the top. We’re the ones that are supposed to eat the animals that eat the nuts and berries and plants. Didn’t you ever see The Lion King? You must’ve slept through the circle of life part, huh? And vegans… you’re the strangest of the lot. No meat or dairy? Did you get hit on the head? Normally, I would say let these crazies eat spinach and dirt to their hearts content, but the moment that their wacky diet effects the sane population is where we start having issues. Everywhere you look there are vegetarian options and vegan alternatives. It started out as a small alternative to appease the small quantity of plant lovers, but it is growing. At U of Rochester, half of the food choices offered in the cafeteria are vegan or vegetarian. Only in America would it make sense to curry favor with a severe minority. Vegans, have you never tasted steak before? Bacon!? That’s gotta be it, right? It’s the only reasonable explanation. You’ve never tasted the greatness of the other side. You have to be tired of molding tofu into random shape and pretending that it’s food you wish you were actually eating. I’m not one to exaggerate, but a diet without meat is exactly what I’d imagine a dance party is like without music.

My solution: Force every vegetarian/vegan to eat bacon at breakfast, chicken at lunch, and steak at dinner for one week. Zero chance they’ll ever go back to eating alfalfa sprouts in ginger soy broth again.

3. Take care of the stupid people problem.

People are getting dumber and dumber. We’re living in a world dominated by screens which have diminished our desire to read actual books lacking wizards or vampires. Thnx 2 IM n texting no1 nose how 2 spell oar how 2 right WoRtH a DaM lolz. All of our knowledge and information comes directly from Google or Wikipedia, so cognitive memory is at an all time low. Attention spans are shot. People can name the inventor of Facebook, but can’t name who invented pasteurization. The number of people out there who can’t answer basic questions like how many pints are in a quart without the help of an iPhone is laughable.

My Plan: Dump Adderall into the water supply. College student’s figured out the magical powers of adderall years ago. It’s time to share the secret with the world. Side effects of this magic pill include: Making learning fun, a brain that may or may not fire on all cylinders, an unprecedented heightening of attention, energy and awareness, and an immediate increase in IQ by at least 200%. Did you not see the movie Limitless? Adderall made Bradley Cooper into a super human. Well imagine 300 million Bradley Coopers walking around. Not only would Adderall solve the stupid people problem, but it would take care of every other socioeconomic problem as well. Within 2 weeks time everyone would be riding on hover boards, and hanging out with the robot butlers that they built themselves.

4. Take care of the sensitivity problem.

Political correctness is spinning out of control. A MAJOR problem in this country. Classic books get banned from schools. New words are added to the “not allowed to say” list everyday. Teacher’s can’t reprimand their students. Parent’s can’t spank their kids. Schools are forced to change or remove indian-related mascots.  Businesses can’t say Merry Christmas. School’s can’t pledge an allegiance “under God.” People can sue McDonald’s for burning themselves with hot coffee that didn’t advertise the dangers of hot coffee. Writers are punished for using gender-insensitive words – some schools are even being forced to drop the term ‘freshman!’ People are too concerned and obsessed with what others are saying and how they say it. They have become overly afraid of offending absolutely everyone to a fault. Nobody says what they think anymore, but instead say what they think others want to hear, or what they think they’re supposed to say. Speaking your mind has become taboo and a thing of the past in our country and frankly it’s frightening. Obviously dystopian stories like 1984, The Giver, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451 are all hyperbolic examples, but is it really that difficult to imagine that these are the directions we might be headed? After all, isn’t freedom of speech and freedom of expression what being American is all about? Obviously every person should have the right to gender, racial, and social equality, but why do we feel we must sacrifice so much freedom of communication in order to get there? Maybe it’s time we stopped placating absolutely everyone, and stop blowing rainbows up all of our collective asses. We are now so used to change happening every time we complain about our problems – whether it be to the government, on social media, or wherever –  that we forget how to stand up for ourselves without any outside assistance. Thick skin is ancient history. No other country in the world is as sensitive as we are. None. Well, maybe France.

My Solution: I’ve got nothing. We pretty much fucked ourselves here.

4. Enact a law which places a weight limit on who can purchase yoga pants/skinny jeans/tight fitting/revealing clothes.

Know your role. Know your rolls. Dress accordingly. Because nobody wants to see this:

My Solution: Mandatory scales in the floor at the checkout counters of all clothing stores. I’m sure this will upset some people. This only proves the point about the sensitivity problem. You can’t call anyone fat anymore. You might hurt their feelings. It’s mean. It’s rude. This is exactly why we are the fattest country in the world.

I look forward to representing you all. The choice is obvious. Vote Bro in 2016.

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The Top 10 Underrated or Forgotten Movies Of Our Childhood

So last night, after a few drinks, my flatmates and I had a long, drunken, nostalgic conversation about the movies we watched growing up, and how kids today have no idea what they missed out on in terms of quality films. Kids today just totally live an existence where a good family movie like Finding Nemo comes about a few times a decade. Instead they have no choice but to turn to Nickelodeon/Cartoon Network/Disney Chanel for their entertainment, or what settles for entertainment today, but that’s another story. The fact of the matter is that they simply do not pump out good movie after good movie like they used to in the 80’s and 90’s. Children’s movies completely and totally lack that X factor and those intangibles that were abundant in movies like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Mighty Ducks. The worst part is if you show kids today movies from this golden area they don’t even like them. Their standards are too high. Here is a prime example. A couple summer’s ago, I lived with a host family in Kansas who had two young girls, 6 and 9 years old. Literally the cutest girls you ever saw, and they were both very girly – all into dolls, ballet and the like. Well my host mom sent me on an errand one day to go to Blockbuster and rent some kids movies for the girls, and gave me a list of movies the girls would like. I can’t remember exactly but it was something like Barbie goes to France or Yu-Gi-Yo in Space or something absolutely terrible. So instead of wasting the $2 on renting garbage, I bring home a guaranteed children’s classic: Homeward Bound. I’m about to flip these girl’s worlds’ upside down, and after it’s over, they are going to beg me to keep bringing back classic 90’s movies. It was a sure fire win-win in my head, since I’d get to satisfy a nostalgia craving, and there was absolutely no way these kids wouldn’t love Shadow, Chance and Sassy… right? Welp, not exactly. The girls were bored stupid, didn’t pay attention, didn’t even finish watching the movie. They were actually upset with me for not getting the Barbie movie instead, that they’d rather watch a digitally animated doll brush her hair for 2 hours. Because of the increase in high definition, 3D and digital animation, and the decrease in attention spans, kids today actually believe that old movies equal bad movie. A true shame.

There’s a few intentions behind this post. To remind generation Y of our roots. To maybe inspire a throwback movie marathon in the upcoming future. To give me something fun to do while at work for the next 30 minutes. But most importantly the purpose is to answer a heated drunken debate had last night between me and five other 20 something’s:

What are the 10 best underrated movies of our generation, the ones that we’ve forgotten about? What are the hidden gems, the sleeper pics? The one’s that make you go “Oh yea! That one!”

But first, some ground rules because there are honestly too many choices.

Rule 1) It must be a KIDS movie. Remember that kid who just looooved to remind you how strict your parents were when it came to what movies they’d let you watch? There was always at least one kid who would pride him/herself on how much more mature they were than you because their parents would let them watch Titanic or Jurassic Park, or some other PG-13 or R Rated movie. Yea… all those movies don’t count on this list. Because not all of us were so lucky at 7 years old to have such enlightened parents who would let them watch movies with titty shots or movies with people getting graphically murdered. That kid can go kick rocks by the way – big fucking jagged sharp rocks. Okay cool, keep telling me how much I’m missing out because my dad won’t let me watch RoboCop. I’ll be over here sucking on my Eco-Cooler Hi-C planning on how hard I’m going to cheap-shot and cherry bomb your ass in four-square later. So for the sake of argument, let’s set a capped movie rating of PG. That pretty much eliminates all Jim Carey, Chris Farley, Eddie Murphy, and Adam Sandler movies. The point is to remember movies marketed towards children, not teenagers.

Rule 2) No obvious choices. The purpose is to name the best underrated/forgotten gems. So definitely no Disney Animated Classics (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story, etc.). The point of this is to remember a movie you haven’t seen in forever, or maybe have never seen at all. If ABC family shows it 50 times a year it probably shouldn’t count. Because if this was about just naming the top 10, it would simply be this list:

But it’s not, so we’ll ignore these.

Rule 3) The movie must be released between 1980 and 2000. Technically, at least according to Wikipedia, that’s our Generation – ‘Generation Y’. My focus is going to be primarily between 1990 and 1995 though, but thats just my bias.

Anyways…

THE TOP TEN UNDERRATED/FORGOTTEN MOVIES FROM 1980-2000

10.) HOMEWARD BOUND (1993)

Free Willy came out in 1993 too apparently, but without a doubt Homeward Bound is simply the best animal related kids movie of all time. Michael J Fox in his prime playing the voice of Chance. Sassy made you love and hate cats at the same time. No need for crazy special effects, just great animal actors. I think this guy puts it best:

9.) HEAVYWEIGHTS (1995)

“Lunch has been cancelled today… due to lack of hustle.” One of Ben Stiller’s earliest films, and I’m still surprised when I meet a 90’s kid who has never seen this movie. Fat people are funny. It’s just a fact.

8.)FERN GULLY (1992)

A lot of people forgot about, or had never heard of Fern Gully… until Avatar hit theaters. Avatar is essentially a 3D Fern Gully with more special effects. It’s laughable how similar the two plots are. Robin Williams kills it as the bat, too.

7.) HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS (1989)

What ever happened to Rick Moranis? Dude was all over the place, in all kinds of good movies, then up and vanished like a fart in the wind. Shame… Honey I Shrunk The Kids is a classic, and was one of my all time favorites growing up. It has been far too long since the last time I’ve seen it. The sequels to it were good too, but the original was definitely the best. Plus damn, Amy was so hot.

6.) THE WITCHES (1990)

This movie scared the shit out of me as a kid. To this day I can remember having nightmares about meeting creepy old women turning me into a mouse.

5.) UNCLE BUCK (1989)

Before he was Kevin McCalister in Home Alone and before he was Richie Rich, and before he was a drugged out has-been loser in real life, Macaulay Culkin was Miles, the smart ass little kid in Uncle Buck. I think it might have even been his first full length feature movie.

4.) FIEVEL GOEST WEST (1991)

I burnt a hole in this VHS as a kid. A sequel that was better than the original. And with names like Jimmy Stewart, Dom DeLuise, John Cleese, and Jon Lovitz involved what’s there not to love?

3.) THE SECRET OF NIMH (1982)

The best Don Bluth movie out there. Period. A reminder of how dark some children’s movies used to be. They just don’t make em like this anymore, unfortunately.

2.) BLANK CHECK (1994)

Oh man was I jealous of Preston in Blank Check. At a time when I had to beg my mom to buy me Skittles, this little bastard became a millionaire, bailed on his parents, bought a mansion, bought every cool toy you could ever think of, built a water slide from the roof to his in-ground pool, and got to set up booby traps on bad guys Home Alone style. This movie literally had it all.

1.) THE LAND BEFORE TIME (1988)

No description necessary.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Air Bud (1997) 

The movie that started a new genre of kids movies where animals played sports. To this day I’m positive every golden retriever is capable of shooting the 3 like Buddy. There have literally been over 10 Air Bud sequels though, which makes it kind of hard to call it “underrated” or “forgotten.” But come on – When was the last time you saw this movie? 1997?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

A classic. The bro-est of all heroes. I defy you to go to a halloween party anywhere without a group dressed like the Turtles. I didn’t see the new remake that came out a couple years ago, but it has to suck in comparison. Cowabunga!

The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)

One of my favorite books as a kid, and the movie was too, but it was too old to make the list.

Mary Kate and Ashley Movies (1992-2000) 

Bitches loved Mary Kate and Ashley.

Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

If you didn’t play Power Rangers growing up, then chances are you didn’t have any friends. Every guy wanted to be the Green Ranger, and every girl Pink. The TV show was the real inspiration, but in the end the movie sucked something awful.

Other mentions brought up in discussion included: The Pokemon movie, The Brave Little Toaster, Beetlejuice, 3 Ninjas, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Harriet the Spy, Beethoven, The Borrowers, Milo and Otis, The Pebble and The Penguin, Runaway Ralph, Rock-a-Doodle, My Neighbor Tortoro, Earnest Goes to Wherever, Small Soldiers, Good Burger, and The Page Master.

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Day 46-50: Taking Over Europe: Italy

So this week is our week off from school here in the UK. Apparently every 5 or 6 weeks they just decide to take a whole week off. Whatever the reasoning may be, I’m not complaining. To take advantage of the extra time off I went for an extended trip – and by extended I mean 4 and a half days instead of the usual 3. The plan was to spend a day and a half in Rome. a day and a half in Florence, and a full day in Tuscany (Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa). These are some quick notes…

  • Thin, boring and overhyped… No I’m not talking about Ashton Kutcher joining Two and a Half Men. I’m talking about the pizza in Italy, which is definitely nothing to write home about. When it comes down to it, they just don’t utilize enough cheese on their pizza. Which is sad because the fresh cheese in Italy is so delicious. Someone tried to argue with me that I don’t like the pizza because I’m American, and that American’s are fat and overdo it with cheese, blah, blah, blah. Go take a lap bro. Because.. well yea I’m American. Yea I like cheese, it makes for better taste. If I wanted a healthier/tasteless pizza I’ll order gluten free. This is a shame really, since pizza is one of the first things you think of when it comes to Italian cuisine. I was really looking forward to it. It was good sure, but all pizza should be good. In the end, the best pizza in the world is in NYC or Chicago, depending on where your loyalties lie and how you feel about tomatoes.
  • The ice cream – or gelato, if you’re into the whole brevity thing – DOES however live up to expectations. I can’t describe it, so I won’t try. Bottom line is each spoonful is better than the last, and when your cup is empty, your only thought is “Where the fuck can I buy more of this? I need more now!” And if you’re ever in the market for the winner of the Ice Cream World Championships, check out this little hole-in-the-wall gelateria in San Gimignano. It’ll blow your mind.

  • When it comes down to it Rome is just packed with lots of old buildings. The Colosseum, Parthenon, St Peters Basilica, The Vatican, Trevi Fountain, etc. Old buildings, and creepy street merchants trying to sell you useless shit is just what Rome does, and nobody does it better. If you like history, and I mean old history, you’ll love Rome. All I wanted to do the whole time I was in Rome was to throw random objects at people a la Maximus, then look at them dead in the eye and scream: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” …Damn right you’re entertained.
  • The day we spent in Florence was on pace to be a really crappy time. It rained start to finish, and was pretty cold. But as the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, search for the nearest Segway rental. We found this little shop that normally does hour long tours of Florence, but because it was raining, and our tour guide was totally uninterested in getting wet, he agreed to let us take the Segway’s out on our own without his supervision, permitting we returned them on time and in one piece. Oh you beautiful, foolish, foolish old man. Do you really think I’m going to drive these responsibly? For sure not. Heads up people walking around Florence, this just became my world, and you’re in the way of my Segway. “Would you be okay with taking the Segway’s on your own, without me?” Clown question bro. “Would you like a helmet?” I don’t know, do I look 13 to you? “Did you want to-” Sorry I can’t hear you vrooooom. I was always one of those people who made fun of people on Segway’s. I just pictured a bunch of Paul Blart’s, and assumed they were all goons riding around. Well I take it all back – every word, every thought. I was young, ignorant, and jealous. I apologize. I am now a believer. I don’t even really remember what happened after we left the Segway shop. I think I might have blacked out from too much fun. Far gone are the days where walking was a viable option. Segway is the newest prefered method of travel…. PS those things can FLY. Maybe 15mph (which doesn’t sound fast but trust me you’ll start getting nervous over 10). I didn’t try to completely max out it’s speed because it was wet, and I would have probably lost my balance and ended up like this clown at the 0:20 mark: 
  • Tuscany is with zero doubt the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I would recomend everyone see it, and see it in the summer/fall. It was sunny, warm and overall just perfect weather. We went to a local beef farm and winery, and had a four course meal made of all local (from their farm) organic ingredients paired with 4 different local wines. The food plus the booze plus the scenery in the background made it honestly felt like you were living in a painting. Most beautiful place in the world.

  • In my intro post I promised a cliche pic leaning on the Tower of Pisa. Well you know what, I thought about it and I feel bad for the tower. All people do is pretend to lean against it, but nobody really cares about it. Almost like their just making fun of its’ deformities, its’ differences – and you know what? That’s pretty messed up. So shame on all of you, I’m giving this guy a nice big hug…. PS next to the actual picture is my submission to the Study Abroad Photo Contest. Winner gets a bunch of gift certificates or something. For the submission, I painted on a right arm to my body to make it look more like I’m actually hugging the tower (left = original, right = altered, obviously). Well just give me the certificates now. This picture is also proof that the sun does in fact shine out of my ass, so you can stop saying it so sarcastically, mom.

Lastly and most importantly, as you can see from the pictures above, I bought what I’ve been calling an ‘Italy hat’. Everybody in Italy probably had no idea I was a tourist. Hell I could’ve been a long lost cousin. I’ve been catching some heat from friends who’ve been making fun of the hat, but bottom line if you don’t think that hat is the best 8 euros ever spent, then you’re outside of your mind. Even my grandpa would think that hat is the cat’s pajamas.

Still having a blast. The adventure rolls into Prague, Czech Republic in 2 weeks.

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Day 37-40: Taking Over Europe: Barcelona

VIVA LA FIESTA!! VIVA LA NOCHE!! VIVA LOS DJS!!

BARCELONA!!

CUE THE MUSIC!!

La gente esta muy loca indeed!

Well….. I chose the wrong country to study abroad in. Zero doubt in my mind. Seriously, just watch that video.

Let’s take a look at all the reasons that make Barcelona a power city.

Delicious Food. The food in Barcelona is ridiculous, especially compared to food in London. London food isn’t in the same league with Barcelona; hell, it isn’t even playing the same game. If I had to give a fair, unbiased, visual comparison of the two, it would be something like this:

British cuisine isn’t worthy of being fed to the dogs of Barcelona. Fresh tapas. Heaping plates of paella with delicious seafood. All for CHEAP. Finally buying food is affordable again. You can eat like a king for so little – simply incredible.

Beautiful Beaches. Granted it is late October, and by the time we had gotten there it was starting to get dark – so people weren’t exactly laying out in the sun, or going for a dip, but if you google pictures, you will se that the beaches look incredible in the daylight. Plus these beaches are nude-accessible, so you might get a glimpse of some beauties like this if you’re lucky:

THE DRINKS – I forgot what good wine tastes like. Every alcohol in London is overly priced through the roof. The only affordable drink in London is wine, and the cheap stuff is beyond repulsive. That being said, I could live off of fresh spanish-made sangria for the rest of my life. Delicious isn’t even a fair description. Especially when it comes in 5 Litres tubs. This sangria pre-game made for one very fun, crazy, and interesting night… I think:

The Nightlife. Refer to the video above.

Beautiful Women. The women are gorgeous. Noticeably. Everywhere you go. Plus I can’t tell you how many times I would see a stone cold 10 with a dumpy, average-looking guy. So many times. It gives hope to us all. There’s a reason Askmen.com rated Barcelona the second best city in the world to live for men, and I’ll give you a hint; it’s not because of all the cool buildings. But, speaking of which…

The only real issue was the language barrier. I have a couple years of high school and college spanish under my belt so I was pretty confident entering the country. What I didn’t realize is that everything was in catalan, which isn’t spanish at all. It’s like a french/spanish/portuguese hybrid or something. Everything is written in it, and for me, it might as well have been in Chinese. Luckily, most everyone can speak either spanish or english, so I was able to communicate with nearly everyone I met. That’s the other thing – everyone was so nice. From cab drivers, to shop owners, to strangers on the street. Nobody ever acted like an asshole when you’d ask for directions or help, or when they realized your spanish wasn’t perfectly fluent. Just a really awesome city.

Barcelona we will meet again, that is a promise.

PS: Went to the Picasso museum. Him being famous is the biggest scam of all time. The walls in that museum look like my family refrigerator circa 1996. Bush league bro, put some effort into it.

Next week is Rome, Florence, and Tuscany. So Italy – let’s see what you got. The bar has just been raised.

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Day 30-33: Taking Over Europe: Amsterdam

Despite any pre-conceived notion of what you may or may not think Amsterdam is like, in actuality the city is very calm, relaxing, and beautiful – with over 600 years of rich history, inspiring architecture, and peacefully meandering canals. The trip was a very tranquil experience for all of us.

Psyche. Amsterdam is fucking crazy.

That’s all I got. I spent a good five minutes trying to think of a better, more eloquent way to describe the past three days but I keep coming back to the same thought: Amsterdam is just absolutely fucking out of it’s mind.

First of all, here’s a video I took. This is what welcomes your arrival to the city… these dudes sitting outside of the Amsterdam Central rail station:

This song would have been the perfect soundtrack to our whole trip, playing on repeat, if only that extended clarinet/accordion intro were to, after the build,  get viciously dropped straight on its head for some skrillex-style crunchy dubstep remixing.

Listen, there is no question that Amsterdam is beautiful, because it is. A lot of the buildings were built during the Renaissance, and there are awesome looking canals that make up almost 25% of the entire city. The streets are clean, there are some really amazing museums (The Van Gogh museum being the one I wanted to see most, but it was closed) and the Heineken Brewery experience is a great time. But let’s be real. Nobody goes to Amsterdam just to see Starry Night and drink home-made Heinies and Amstel. It’s all about checking out the Dutch sex, drug, and rock & roll shock-culture that is so overly hyped.

Brother, seeing is believing.

Here are a few fun facts about Amsterdam:

1) Weed. Everywhere. The whole city from McDonald’s to the “Coffee Shops” smells to some degree like Michael Phelp’s basement. People from 16 to 75 walk around, casually smoking joints in crowded public areas with absolutely no second thoughts. Blowing the smoke in police officers faces and laughing at their inability to do anything about it. Living in Amsterdam is essentially like living in a Snoop Dogg music video, except with much more middle-aged male Asian tourists.

2)Sex. And no, not I’m not talking about prostitutes, though I’ll touch on them later (does he mean literally? I dunno keep reading.). I’m talking about the selling of sex things. There are so many different sex shops, it literally makes no sense. Toys, books, movies, music, everything. Like there is no way, economically, that so many shops selling similar products located so close to each other can stay in business. To illustrate, I typed “Sex Shops in Amsterdam” into Google Maps, and got 1,034 different search results. Whatever your turn-ons, vices, fantasies, or deep dark inner secrets may be, it can be bought here…

Oh man I hate when advertisements interrupt the story just when it’s getting good. Hold on a second…

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[We appreciate your patience, now back to the blog!]

3.) I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but a guy staying at our Hostel told me that The Red Light District makes Las Vegas look like St. Paul, Minnesota… and I like that description, so that’s what I’m going with. We were told to go see the RLD at night for the full tourist effect, so that is exactly what we did. Black and Red. All you see in the Red Light District at night is black and red; darkness highlighted by TONS of bright neon red. It is about 5 square blocks, and it is packed with tourists strolling up and down the streets, observing the scenery like one would observe exhibits at a museum – except instead of paintings, dinosaur bones and mummies it’s half naked hookers, theaters where you can see live sex shows, and restaurants whose menus posted outside their doors consist of appetizers named Big Daddy Kush, AK-47, Northern Lights, and OG Purp.

4.) The hookers are not what you’d expect. Amsterdam Whores (the preferred, and politically correct nomenclature) are not your overweight, disgusting looking, meth-head prostitues that you’re used to in the states. No, these soulless ladies of the night are young, very attractive, and 95% have had breast implants or other cosmetic surgery. They all pretty much just stand behind their respective glass doors, waiting for someone to walk up to them and nail them for 50 euros. It’s honestly felt similar to a trip to the zoo, if the zoo had hot eastern european women who gave up on their dignity. They all have the same empty glaze behind their eyes; the kind that couldn’t be hidden by any wink or smile thrown at me. (Side note: I caught myself one time smiling and winking back at one of them as we walked past. Um what? Seriously? Winking at a prostitute? Stay hot bro!… Even I had to shake my head at myself. Truly an all time low.) Supposedly the industry is highly regulated and “safe,” the prostitues always use condoms, and are required to take mandatory STD tests every two weeks. EVERY TWO WEEKS. The pretty ones probably have sex with 30 different people every day. Multiply that by 14 and that’s exactly how many reasons I needed to say “No thanks gorgeous, but I’m all set.”

5.) The prostitutes behind the closed windows DO NOT like to have their pictures taken. There is a real strict “No Cameras” policy with signs posted everywhere. I even asked one hooker if she would take a picture with me if I paid her… you know, for Facebook. No dice. This chick honestly had a sign in her room that said “SEX, LESBY SHOW, S&M” but had to draw the line at a clothed photograph with yours truly. Talk about a real shot to the self confidence. So screw her, I took a pic anyway. iPhones don’t count as cameras.

So recap, Amsterdam is fucking crazy. I missed out on Mel Weekend back home, was pretty bummed about that, but this was the perfect solution to make me forget about how much I miss all the great, crazy people I left back home. It was an amazing time, and 3 days was the perfect amount to spend there. Any more would have probably been debauchery overload, and any less would not have been enough to see everything. This Thursday the party will continue rolling, as it heads to the sunny shores of Barcelona, Spain for the weekend. Can’t wait. I’m touching up on my spanish. Las señoras tristes. ¿Me puede dar instrucciones al gimnasio más cercano? Soy un jugador de fútbol profesional, y tengo que estar saludable.

Here are some more Amsterdam pics from the trip:

I wasn’t kidding when I said the buildings were awesome…

…or the canals.

My roommate poses like he’s a male model. With me behind the camera he might have a shot.

Weed lollypops for sale at the farmers market.

Red Light District pictures.

Translation: “I came all the way to Amsterdam, and all I got was this dorky hat.”

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Day 21: British TV Just Gets It, USA Take Notes

Here in London, our TV gets probably 30 channels. And on these 30 channels they pretty much only show15 different TV shows in total. These shows can be broken down into two distinctive categories:

Newer Shows: Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, X Factor, Top Gear, South Park, and probably 3-4 British soap opera-y shows comparable to the stuff girls watch on late night ABC family.

Older Shows: Boy Meets World, The Simpsons, Murder She Wrote (surprisingly entertaining), Friends, and Man vs. Food re-runs.

If not a TV show, they are constantly airing 1990’s movies. She’s All That, Goodfellas, 10 Things I Hate About You, Breakfast Club, American Pie, Clueless, and Varsity Blues are just a few that I’ve noticed so far.

I’m not even kidding when I say you can find one of those shows or movies on TV at any given time with about 75% certainty.

Ummm, British entertainment God, can you hear me? If you’re up there I just wanted to say NICE FUCKING WORK BUDDY! Keep your head up, stay golden, and keep doin’ you bro! This is literally the perfect way to do TV. Pick a couple proven good shows, sprinkle in some power 90’s teen flicks, put the mixture on shuffle, and just let the chips fall where they may.

I’ve gotten so used to American programing, and having 8,000 mediocre choices that try to call themselves television. Every time I flip through, I end up panicking, and make a last-second decision. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Sportcenter, Law and Order or Pawn Stars because I couldn’t find one other decent thing to watch. But here, this is awesome. At any time, I can count on something watchable being on TV. It’s like British TV called me and was like “Hey bud, is it cool if we just toss on awesome nostalgic hot-fire 90’s flicks, and provenly good great TV?” Uhh, someone has been reading my diary…

So the point of this I guess is USA TV, take notes! No more pointless reality shows, stupid game shows, talk shows with non-celebrities, or documentaries about has-been/never were losers. Just leave the entertainment to Mr. Feeny, Eric Cartman, Barney Stinson, Sheldon Cooper, Homer Simpson, Jeremy Clarkson, and movies that defined the greatest decade/generation of all time.

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Day 14: The Most Frightening Realization Ever

It’s only two weeks in, and I’m starting to notice something scary.

But first, some brief personal history:

I was born and raised in Upstate, New York. Twice I have lived in other states for extended periods of time (Rhode Island for 9 months in 2008-2009, and Kansas for 3 months in the summer of 2009). In both instances I eventually developed a strange hybrid accent from being around the locals for an extended period of time. Sure having the southern-twangy-midwestern accent of Kansas was pretty awesome y’all, but the New England/Rhode Island/Boston hybrid accent? Not so much. Not so much at all. The worst part was that it was completely unintentional. I would just catch myself saying random things with an accent. Just a slow and steady progression, to the point where I started talking like a local. Luckily though whenever I returned home this disappeared.

Well, the same things that happened then I can see happening now, mate.

And it always starts, and advances the same way. I have a habit of doing impressions, and truthfully would consider myself pretty good. Well, being surrounded by a million people who speak in a funny accent is pretty much a recipe for disaster…

…A 7-step recipe for disaster:

Step 1) Hear lots of people around you talk with strange accents. If you can do a good impression, move on to step 2. If you’re not weird, and don’t do impressions, disregard the following steps, and continue living your normal, awesome life.

Step 2) To be funny, show off your new found talent when in the presence of American friends. If said friends find it stupid and not funny, abort instructions immediately. If they find it hilarious, proceed to step 3.

Step 3) While drinking alcohol, you and your friends frequently pepper your newly acquired accent into conversation amongst each other as a laugh. It is hysterical, and everyone has a good time doing it. If your friends cannot or will not do the accent, discontinue. Otherwise, continue to step 4.

Step 4) When sober now, you and your friends start saying cliché phrases in aforementioned accent regularly (“Cheers mate,” “Ello love,” “Chip chip cheerio!”). For the love of god if you catch yourself doing these things, stop. However if you don’t, move on to step 5.

Step 5) You now unintentionally say select common words and phrases in-accent to locals who natively speak with that accent. It could be things as simple as “I’m sorry,” or “Excuse me,” or “What places do you prefer to shop for food that you would not only consider of good quality, but also of reasonable price?” If the locals notice, get offended, and call you out – take the hint. If not, you’re unfortunately getting quite good. Proceed to step 6.

Step 6) You have begun to develop a strange hybrid accent. It’s a combination of your natural articulations and your newly perfected accent. It’s no longer a joke, and it is no longer being done for humorous reasons of any kind. It has become a malicious disease, one that you cannot fight. It’s becoming the way you speak, and it’s too late to turn back now. The only way to lose the accent is to return home. If you don’t return home in time, proceed to Step 7.

Step 7) Well congratulations. You’re converted, and you’ve reached the final step. You now speak with an accent. Whatever you do, do not go home to your friends and family. You will look ridiculous, and you can bet your life they will make fun of you. I hope you enjoy it, because if you don’t… well you’re fucked anyways you clown.

Right now I’m right around the beginnings of step 5. And it’s only two weeks in. But luckily I’ve caught myself early. I swear if I develop a British accent it will be the douchiest thing I’ve ever done. I just can’t let it happen. I won’t let it happen.

But I’m soooo good at it though….

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