Monday, May 13, 2013

The Dissection of the Psyche via the Chipotle Burrito

Freud and his Chipotle
Growing up in Colorado, home of the Chipotle Burrito, I started my love affair at a young age. Throughout the years I'm shamed to admit I've cheated on Chipotle more than a few times with cheap, easy imitations. But every time I get wise and return, Chipotle welcomes me with that warm feeling of home (it could just be those steamed tortillas). When one loves something for so long, that love becomes part of you. In other words, the burrito is a window to my soul.
The process of identifying one's Chipotle burrito is really the process of identifying one's self. For instance, you can tell a lot by a man/woman's choice in rice. Now there are three "scientific" ways to really get to know a person: Talk to them (What is this the 20th Century?), Walk a mile in their shoes (Keep in mind they may have athletes foot or tiny feet! and what kind of mile is this? like straight uphill? or does it provide a little relief?) or eat their Burrito (Winner Winner... chicken burrito dinner).
I've asked my friends, and a few responded, what their burrito of choice is. I then went about trying each burrito twice to get an accurate feel for the kind of person who orders this burrito. Finally, I psychologically probed and sliced up these individuals, inspecting their inner most secrets with every bite. I've also included my burrito of choice to allow the same psychological dissection from my peers.
(Note: all burritos were ordered with an Arnold Palmer (AP) unless otherwise stated, and all prices are Oregon "no sales tax" prices.)

"The Mongo" or "El Mongo"
A burrito with white rice, black beans, barbecoa, corn, sour cream, cheese, and Chipotle Tabasco sauce. $6.70, $8.30 w/ AP.
"The Mongo" is audaciously unique. Aside from the cilantro you might be surprised it's a Mexican style burrito. "The Mongo" derives its name from Mongo of "Blazing Saddles". Mongo is an incredibly strong, dim-witted henchman/cowboy. "The Mongo" makes you feel like a cowboy herding cattle across the Texas state line into Oklahoma. It's like sitting by a camp fire, chewing on some tabacky worrying about them coyotes (pronounced Ky-oats). The Chipotle Tabasco even gives this burrito a smoky almost campfire-y taste. It's Wild and Rugged and sometimes temperamental and never to be confused with a Caballero (Mexican gent), but it will stick by you when the going gets tough. This is a MAN's burrito, but like Mongo it's got a little sweet (provided by the corn) and sensitive side.
2.2 Soggy Bottom Boys on a scale of 5. (0 represents no napkin necessary, 2 represents napkins needed, 5 represents fork and towel.)

"The Poor Man's Andrew Garfield"
A burrito with white rice, black beans, chicken, corn, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and a specified cup of water instead of the AP. $6.25.
"The Poor Man's Andrew Garfield" is simple yet classy. There's nothing particularly over or underwhelming about it, it's just whelming (this happens sometimes in Europe). "The Poor Man's Andrew Garfield" is more sweet than spicy and goes down easy. It's fresh and not overly filling, although eating three in one sitting still seems like Everest. It's smooooth, very smooth, very classy. However, near the end  "The Andrew Garfield" is actually kind of a mess. It's a sneaky mess and you don't really notice it until you're three-quarters of the way done and your hands start dripping with its juices. Mr. Smooth and Classy has a touch of slime, and let's not forget he's cheap. But these traits are easily overlooked by the quality ingredients, although a little more spice wouldn't hurt any.
This baby's a little sticky (but not quite Spiderman sticky) 3.8 Soggy Bottom Boys.

"The Nick Cage"
A burrito bowl with the tortilla on the side, white rice, fajitas, chicken, pico de gallo, corn, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and Green Tabasco. "Like.... 10 mini tacos!" $6.25, $7.85 w/ AP though I feel like this particular diner would prefer a coke.
"The Nick Cage" is having some serious identity crisis issues similar to everyone's favorite actor (Good Cage vs. Bad Cage vs. Good Cage vs. Bad Cage).  It doesn't know whether it wants to be a burrito bowl, a burrito, or mini tacos. Regardless of what this "burrito" really is, it's always satisfying. Plus, you don't have to worry about an uneven burrito (pockets of only rice and what not). Although entertaining, "The Nick Cage" arguably tries too hard- it's twice the work, takes twice the amount of time to eat, and has the same amount of calories as the burrito form. And I think I'm actually okay with this because it means that you're not denying yourself the sight of the steam pluming over the soft features of "tortilla girl's" face... I mean if you're into that shit and stuff.
Although this is kind of a bowl, it's still a mess so I'm gonna give it "2 soggy bottom boys".

"The Adam Banks AKA The Cake Eater"
A burrito with white rice, black beans, chicken, pico de gallo, corn, salsa verde, guacamole, light sour cream and cheese. $8.15, $9.75 w/ AP. (Known to drink an AP before he starts his meal)
"The Cake Eater" is a privileged burrito, but don't be fooled, it won't cut any corners. It was born on third base, but it doesn't pretend like it hit a triple and works hard to score the run. It may be worth more than the other burritos, but it's willing to hang with anyone it deems worthy.  How does one become worthy? They devote themselves to the Chipotle cause (becoming a Farm Team Member has it's perks... free burritos and stuff!). Be warned though, "The Cake Eater" ain't a piece of cake, this is a big boy burrito. Big, with some serious talent. Plus, stating "guacamole extra is fine" and meaning it make's you feel like somebody, like you aren't just another dangled ankle bender off the bench... you feel more like this guy.
Grab extra napkins and a fork. A burrito this big ain't easy to wrap. And make no mistake the Guac and sour cream will sleep walk their way out of that sleeping bag tortilla. 4.6 Soggy Bottom Boys

"The Morrissey"
A burrito with brown rice, black beans, fajitas, pice de gallo, corn, guacamole, and lettuce. $6.25, $7.85 with AP.
"The Morrissey" named after Steve Morrissey of "The Smiths" is vegetarian! No animals were harmed while making this burrito. One might equate vegetarians with being weak, and for the most part they're probably right. But the real Morrissey and "The Morrissey" both have a quiet, unexpected power to them. While eating "The Morrissey" I couldn't help but notice all the textures jumbling in my mouth (the slightly under cooked texture of the brown rice, the mushy guac, the crisp fajitas) and thinking to myself  'I wish there was meat in here to balance out the chaos'. But after I finished, I couldn't stop thinking about it. "The Morrissey" snuck into my subconscious and tried to shut down all my predatorial instincts. I found myself wanting to saunter through a field and chew on some grass. "The Morrissey" is surprisingly tasty but its ulterior motives worry me.
It's mushy therefore its messy 2.8 Soggy Bottom Boys.

"The Pool Boy"
A burrito with white rice, black beans, carnitas, salsa verde, pico de gallo, corn, cheese, sour cream, and Green Tabasco sauce. $6.70, $8.30 w/ AP
"The Pool Boy" sounds sexy, and when you order it you feel sexy. Imagine Antonio Banderas ordering "Carnitas", "Salsa Verde", and "Pico de Gallo". "Un poquito crema y queso por favor." Carnitas Burrito has a muy guapo(?) sound to it. One rarely sounds sexy ordering a "Chicken Burrito" or a "Steak Burrito", and someone ordering a "Pollo" or a "Carne Asada Burrito" sounds sad and desperate- like they're trying to impress the native Spanish speakers in the room. They probably recently returned from a week long vacation at a very protected "Mexican" resort run by Europeans on the Yucatan. But the "Carnitas Burrito" is on the menu so no translation necessary. "The Pool Boy" is a solid burrito but uncharacteristic to its name, it's dry even with the sour cream and pico. The Arnold Palmer and the Green Tabasco are crucial.
Like most pool boys, "The Pool Boy" has a sexy title but underneath that aluminum cocoon it's just like everyone else. And like all Chipotle Burritos, it satisfies.
0.67 on the Soggy Bottom Boy scale... might dash a bit of Tabasco on your hand instead of in the burrito.

"The Kevin McCallister"
A burrito with white rice, chicken, hot salsa, cheese, and lettuce. (Sometimes with Twice of Everything) $6.25, $7.85 w/ AP extra ice.
"The Kevin McCallister" is Home Alone. It's just a little guy in a big house. Despite its small stature, this burrito claims to never be smaller than "The Cake Eater"... I have trouble believing it. However, like the "real" Kevin McCallister, this little burrito packs a big punch. The Hot salsa holds true to its name, and there's not a lot of other ingredients to balance out that spice. But Chipotle isn't Chipotle because they provide lack luster ingredients, "The Kevin McCallister" is what the french call Les Incompetents Les Delicieux. This burrito doesn't need heavy artillery (like beans, guacamole, or sour cream) to prevail, it does fine with what it's got. But it will always be smaller than "The Cake Eater"!
Other Great Small Things: Daniel Radcliffe, Barry Sanders, Stuart Little, Kid President.
Don't worry about napkins, 0.40 on the Soggy Bottom Scale.

"The Oliver Twist"
A burrito bowl with brown rice, chicken, guacamole, hot salsa, cheese, and lettuce. $8.15, $9.75 w/AP (but typically gets a water)
"The Oliver Twist" is the product of the battle between mind and body. In the war of "The Oliver Twist", calories were shed (and so was the tortilla) with a victory awarded to the mind, but the taste buds won the battle of the guacamole. "The Oliver Twist" gets its name from its consistency. It's a glorified slop bowl like the gruel served to poor Ollie in the orphanage. Of course this is a delicious slop bowl (probably more delicious than the gruel although only Oliver and the other orphans would be able to attest), but a slop bowl nonetheless. However, whatever you do, Do Not Ask For More! Because (God forbid) the taste buds win, and like gluttonous Oliver you're forced to live on the streets. The mind is unmerciful in its' punishment.
0 Soggy Bottom Boys since it's a bowl, but grab a spoon!

"The Martin Q. Blank", "The Point Blank", or "The Blank"
A burrito with white rice, black beans, steak, corn, cheese, Green Tabasco and "No Fucking Mess!" $6.70, $8.30 w/ AP.
"The Blank" is a burrito that's not messing around. "The Blank" a seemingly structured burrito, get's its' name from everyone's favorite professional hitman comedy movie "Grosse Point Blank". It provides most of the major menu items (beans, rice, meat, salsa, dairy) and just about nothing more. This almost basic burrito represents a man of few words with a cheek full of sunflower seeds (plain). He knows what he wants and doesn't want it fancied up - "The Blank" represents the want for simplicity. But this burrito isn't quite simple. The Green Tabasco wild card suggests that this burrito's not completely structured. "The Blank" subconsciously wants a little spice, a little abnormality to the routine. This hitman might be going rogue... and in the safe world of Chipotle Burritos, that's a good thing.
0.25 Soggy Bottom Boys... won't need a napkin.

"The Richard Alpert"
A burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, chicken, pico de gallo, salsa verde, corn, and cheese *currently. $6.25, $7.85 w/AP.
"The Richard Alpert" has admittedly adapted throughout the years (transitioning from burrito to a burrito bowl, and switching from white to brown rice) in pursuit of one thing, never aging. Richard Alpert, the character, also went through a series of adaptations (transitioning from a married man named Ricardo to a convicted murderer/slave to a ship wrecked survivor named Richard, and switching from working for the Man In Black to working for Jacob AKA The Man In White) all resulting in never aging eternal life. "The Richard Alpert" is going to keep it fresh (quite natural for Chipotle), young, and relevant. But whatever you do, do not confuse "The Richard Alpert" with Peter Pan. Richard Alpert's pursuit of never aging is fueled by knowledge and power, Peter Pan's pursuit of never aging is fueled by the crippling fear of growing old.
0 on the Soggy Bottom Scale because it's a bowl, but this can still be a tricky meal to eat. The brown rice isn't very sticky and there is no sour cream or guacamole to hold things together, it's like a dance.

"The Mr. Incredible"
A burrito with white rice, black beans, steak, pico de gallo, salsa verde, a little hot, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and Green Tabasco. $6.70, $8.30 w/AP
"The Mr. Incredible" is my burrito, and if I were to psychoanalyze myself it would look something like this:
Equal parts J.K. Rowling, Shel Silverstein, Steven Spielberg, and Douglas Adams.
A Dash of Bruce Lee.
A Drizzling of Steve Martin.
A Dollop of Jay-Z.
Allowed to simmer in a Martin Short broth.
With a Sprinkling of Taylor Swift.
A beautiful soul, a brilliant mind, and stunningly modest.
4.77 Soggy Bottom Boys, I hope you have a bib.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

11 Arguments In Favor of Isolation and Loneliness

Recently, I had the unique privilege of living out in the wilderness - alone - in a little tent - for five weeks. Here I recount my tremendously favorable experience with isolation and loneliness and whether or not I survived. Much of this post was written (originally in blood) from the notes I took out in the bush. If I seem a little eccentric at times, I assure you I am not... The wealthy are eccentric, whereas the poor are crazy.

11. Begin to Notice the Little Things
"Tourist Attractions, Always the First To Go"
2012 Colored Pencil on Graph Paper
As I sit alone in my tent contemplating the meaning of life, I begin to notice things I'd never have noticed before. I begin to notice the little things: 'if I solely breathe through my nose I only have to open my mouth to eat, and if I puréed all my meals there'd be no reason for such a big hole in the middle of my face.' Even smaller observations begin to form like: 'why do my fingernails grow so quickly? I estimate they grow three, maybe four, times faster than my toenails. Is that typical of the fingernail?' Lastly, the minuscule can't even escape my observation. 'These tiny insects in my tent seem to be growing at an alarming rate. The little guys appear to be doubling in size daily. I swear they were a measly 1 millimeter a day ago, a minute 2 mm now, and tomorrow an undeniably miniature 4 mm. However at this current rate, after a week they'll be the sizable size of 6.5 centimeters and in two weeks a hefty 8.2 meters (roughly the size of a killer whale).' So here I am, sleeping beside Earth's next Armageddon, and I highly doubt they were planning on delivering the eviction notice from my own tent anytime soon! I now know it is my obligation privilege to kill "Gnatasaurus" "The Un-Gnatural" "Gnatstrosis"  "G-UNAT" while I still maintain the upper hand. Squish... Nobel Peace Prize.

10. Enjoy the Peace and Tranquility of the Night
There is no light pollution or the sound of TV and outside traffic. The night is quiet and pure. The stars are twinkling, there's a cool breeze blowing, and the angelic song of crickets are chirping off in the distance "Crick-Crick". The Moon is slowly setting illuminating the western horizon "Crick-Crick". The soft hooting of a barn owl satiated from her dusky hunt "Crick-Crick"...hmmm (silent pause) nothing to worry about. The last bits of a crackling fire slowly waning "Crick-Crick" whoa what the... alright Sam calm down 'breathe through your nose, wiggle your toes' (pause pause pause). A faint mist creeps methodically over the lake in the mid sum"Crick-Crick" What the Efff! Is this mother fucking cricket hunting me? Where is it? My tent, did I zip it up all the way?! Oh shit, maybe it's hopped into my sleeping bag!! Ehhhhhh, Show Yourself Demon Cricket!!!
P.S. You think Crickets get their name from the sound they make?

9. Let Nature In
I never would have believed it could happen to me, but I allowed nature to take me into its loving, fungal and nasty arms. It all started fairly quickly, only a week into my experience and I made my first huge step towards natural... I took out my Bluetooth. After that things progressed at an exponential rate, by day 10 I'd removed most major pieces of jewelry - my watches (plural), anklets and bracelets, and even some of my less gaudy and valuable chains. And as the two week mark approached, I began to wane off the cocoa butter. (I've been applying cocoa butter to my belly and torso to minimize stretch marks in early preparation for Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays.) By the end of my stint out in the wild, I was a naked man wearing nothing but boxer briefs, slacks, a white beater, an undershirt, a collared shirt, my argyle sweater vest, wool socks, suede shoes, and my fedora. Nature-1 Sam-0!

Muscle tone and blurred out region may
be exaggerated.
8. Evolve
The Southwest coast of Oregon is surprisingly chilly in July and August. The summer heat has to battle fog, cold breezes, and rain; and heat is the perpetual loser. Because of this climate and living outdoors, my body evolved to the conditions. Some people reading that last sentences might want to correct me and say that my body adapted to the conditions, but they would be wrong. I'm quite sure there has been a change in my DNA structure that will be passed down to all of my offspring as a result of my isolation in the wilderness. This evolutionary change is hair...everywhere. And unfortunately unlike the Dashboard Confessional song, this hair is not screaming infidelities but rather screaming vagrancies. I've always had a thick head of hair and a fairly furry chest, but now all my bare parts have become more like bear parts. The hair starts at the uni-brow, continues down below the nose and chin, here it gets especially thick in the neck to chest region, it branches out to cover "all" limbs, and doesn't stop til the toenails. Watch out ladies there's a new man in town, and he's not afraid to wear long sleeves and turtlenecks in the summer time!

7. Time to Create and Let the Imagination Juices Flow
Isolation provides abundant amount of time to think. I utilized this time to create the next great screenplay, and without further ado... "Love for Real" - There is an English man, a writer, who recently finds his wife cheating on him with his brother. To cope with this betrayal and shock he buries himself in his work and begins to write his next novel. He moves out to a lake house in rural Spain a lake house in rural Portugal to free himself from distractions and love. Alas, there is an attractive Portuguese woman (she won't speak a lick of English) taking care of the lake house and the man as he focuses on work. At first, the man does not particularly notice this woman or have that "electric" interest in her, but with time and a few quirky mishaps (say... some of his work blows into the lake and she dives in to retrieve it) he starts falling in love with her. Eventually the man's work is done, and he must move back to London, but all he can think about is this mysterious Portuguese woman. He know's this is his "soul mate" and proceeds to learn Portuguese, find this woman, and propose to her in her tongue. His proposal, in broken Portuguese in a crowded restaurant, is genuine and heartfelt; her response, in broken English, is the same and an unhesitating yes. This is a love story that can stand on its own and not be muddled by various other subplots. So there you have it, when isolation provides the time, anyone can create an absolutely unique tale. I also came up with an idea about aliens and cowboys fighting each other, but it never really pieced harmoniously together.

6. An Escape from Pop Culture and Social Media
When roughing it out in the wilderness without a TV, one has little choice but to withdraw from the pop culture world... and withdrawals can be a good thing. It was especially pleasant to take a break from social networking and media. Of course occasionally I used the 4G on my smartphone to access Facebook and Twitter, but that's a far cry from having my laptop and internet at the ready. But aside from the occasional Facebook status updates and Twitter observations, I really had the opportunity to free myself from the mindless media. Except when I was eating breakfast... lunch or dinner. Is it even possible to eat without reading a little Sports Illustrated or Entertainment Weekly? And you can't expect me to do my "business" without working on a Peoples crossword! But it was really nice to escape from that mindless gossip and trivial banter for a little while.

5. Senses Enhanced
The foliage is filled with vibrant greens previously only seen in Pushing Daisies episodes.  The early morning fog is layered in gray (maybe 50 different shades), sea foam green, violet, and blue. The setting sun sends sheets of pink and orange streaking through the sky like Seekers on Nimbus 2000's. I can hear the fluttering of a butterfly and the belch of a bullfrog miles away. I can feel a storm brewing before the visible signs in the clouds. I can smell a... well I guess I would say it's a mixture of grapefruit and corn tortillas. Wait! Grapefruit and corn tortilla? Certainly this is not a natural or choice combination. And quite potent. It seems to be everywhere like it's following me. Oh boy, it may actually be... me. The colors now seem to be fading. I'm becoming deaf to all sounds. I'm numb. All that I'm aware of is Grapefruit and Corn Tortilla! Grapefruit and Corn Tortilla! Grapefruit and Corn Tortilla! Grapefruit and Corn Tortilla!!!

4. Become a Skinny Wiener
Tony Perkis: [over the loudspeakers] Time to wake up, campers! Today is evaluation day. The key word here is 'value.' Do you have any? Not yet! But before summer's over, this camp's gonna be filled with skinny winners! 
Roy: "Skinny wieners?" You hear that, guys? 
There are so many benefits of being overweight (at least 11), but losing the weight can also occasionally be beneficial. Living in the wilderness and fighting the elements, I (despite my best efforts) lost some weight and discovered some of the skinny benefits. Although my buoyancy diminished, I discovered the ability to move my arms and legs in a rhythmic motion through water. This motion allowed me to stay afloat and transport myself without a current, which is particularly useful on a current-less lake. Normally these movements would have drained my reserves (reserved for eating) but I found I had much more in reserve than before. Getting skinny also made me a less desirable target for carnivores. I can now swim or run away from danger (and we all know a predator is not looking for an annoying chase) and because there's less of me I'm less appetizing. That's what we call in the business a double whammy. Don't ask me what business!

3. Get to Know Yourself
Being out alone, isolated from humanity you don't get a lot of company. So you make friends with Yourself or "Yosef" as he likes to be called. He's really a great companion. He understands your jokes, he laughs to make you feel better when your down, he's even hungry when you're hungry. Yosef is always there for you... I mean literally always. I'll be trying to get some sleep and right next to me there'sYosef, pretending like he's also trying to go to sleep... as if I can't tell that he's not actually tired. And why is he in my tent? I mean common man give me just a little space. The other day I even caught him creeping into the bathroom with me. The guy's beginning to come off a little bit creepy- he was talking to himself about how he wouldn't need such a big mouth if he solely breathed through his nose and pureed all his food. Yikes! Conclusion, Yosef seems genuine  at first, but he doesn't understand or respect boundaries. Andddd he's always waking up in the middle of the night covered in sweat and screaming. He's really starting to scare me.

2. Bronze
Because of all the fog and cloud cover, Southwest Oregon doesn't see copious amounts of sunlight. It typically reaches it's high of 65 around 3:00 pm during the couple hours gap between the dissipating morning fog and the slow approaching evening fog. Yet, despite the lack of direct sunlight, Papa (that's me) got bronze. Not like a white girl who was asked to prom way too late to properly prepare and quickly jumped into a tanning bed for 15 minutes bronze, but like Freida Pinto on a tropical island, caramel mocha bronze. Now what you need to know is that out in the wilderness there is no dress code but there are practical guidelines, like closed toe shoes and socks and in general durable apparel. And when one follows those guidelines while also unknowingly tanning, a very peculiar thing happens.
"Tan line: noun: the division between skin that has darkened or tanned from exposure to sun and skin that has not been exposed to sun."
Soooo, in exposed areas I looked like an Indian God (not the blue and four armed kind, but like the 'I have a choreographed dance and never quite kiss the girl at the end of the Bollywood movie' kind). In the unexposed areas - a Troglolad (patent pending).
Troglolad: noun: a male Homo sapien who resides the majority of his life in caves or similar dark places. Troglolads contain very little to no skin pigment and can often times be blind or even lacking of eyes at all.

1. Independent of money
Wise man once said: "You're either rich or you're poor." This may be true, but the wilderness doesn't consider monetary wealth in it's definitions of rich and poor. There's not much use of a "Jackson" or "Benjamin" when you're bartering with the squirrels. And it's pointless making it rain when the only strippers are a herd of elk stripping the bark off a birch. In the wilderness I became a wealthy man with the use of my fully functional brain and peanut butter. Everybody likes peanut butter, but none more so than squirrels. However, the squirrel is also a very cunning businessman or woman or I guess businesssquirrel. In order to get on their good side I had to "butter" them up. Once I had them as a trusting partner, the squirrels provided me with all sorts of goods: dry wood for fires, safe routes to fresh water, densely foliated areas for an afternoon siesta, and most importantly meat... juicy, sweet, fatty, peanut butter fed meat!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Superhero Athletes #4

Platypunk (Villain/Superhero)

9 to 5 Name & Occupation: Tim Cahill, Attacking Midfielder, Everton/Australian National Team

Citizenship: Australia, Samoa, UK, Ireland

Powers: Platypunk is exceptionally quick and stealthy. He is very rarely seen when committing his crimes. He developed a device similar to the platypus’ "electrolocation", that allows him to see in complete darkness. Also, similar to a male platypus’ poisoned ankle spur, Platypunk throws poisonous spurs at his pursuers (or sometimes those he just doesn’t particularly care for…for instance, someone who doesn’t say ‘thank you’ when he holds the door open for them) causing temporary paralysis.  He will on occasion join up with heroes on a special mission, if the price is right.

Weaknesses: Platypunk is small and not particularly strong. In the rare occasions he is captured, he doesn't have many "close proximity" defenses. The day time or well lit rooms – Platypunk relies on his stealthiness and this trait greatly diminishes in visible light.

History: Tim Cahill grew up struggling with his identity. He was born in Australia to a Samoan mother and an English father of Irish descent. As a very talented soccer player, he represented Samoa in U17 international play. Because he represented Samoa as a youth, FIFA restricted Tim from representing Australia and then also the Republic of Ireland for the 2002 World Cup. These decisions put Cahill in a very dark place, and he retreated to a secluded cabin in Tasmania, Australia. Here, he recognized that a local creature the platypus, a semi-aquatic monotreme mammal, also appeared to have some identity issues (beaver-like, duck-like, and reptile-like). However, the platypus appeared to be a very successful predator without any noticeable competition. Tim mimicked these successful traits and began his metamorphosis into the vigilante Platypunk. Shortly after his transformation, FIFA (not so surprisingly) changed its eligibility rules allowing players to switch international allegiance. 

Targets: All Major International Corporations (including FIFA, Interpol, and major banks)- Platypunk isn't your typical "evil" villain, his heart is often in the right place he just takes an overly dramatic approach to what he calls "justice".

Rare footage of Platypunk fleeing the scene of
a crime.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Superhero Athletes #3

Three Sheets (Superhero)

9 to 5 Name & Occupation: Alicia Sacramone, Gymnast, Team USA

Citizenship: USA

Powers: Three Sheets acquires her powers through alcohol consumption. When intoxicated, Three Sheets' strength, balance, and agility is enhanced to levels 11X greater than the most powerful and agile athletes. She often appears to have the ability of flight, but in actuality they are tremendous bounds. Moreover, her sensitivity to pain greatly diminishes when in the Three Sheets’ state. Three Sheets also has the ability to knock out or disorient her assailants by burping in their face. When near fire, she becomes a human flame thrower, breathing out a combustive jet stream.  

Weaknesses: Sobriety! When sober, Alicia Sacramone is still exceptionally athletic but nowhere near as powerful as when she's intoxicated. However, her greatest weakness is the lack of support from the community. Although Three Sheets provides the most valuable amenity (safety), she lacks the community's moral support. She is often criticized for her seemingly haphazard approach of defense and her expletive filled logorrhea. She often "blacks out" when in the "Three Sheets state" and can't remember the events that occurred or the techniques she used. After coming down from a Three Sheets episode, she experiences intense headaches, dry mouth, and a sensitivity to light. 

History: Alicia Sacramone didn't realize her alter ego "Three Sheets" until a visit to Toronto a few months after her 18th birthday. She was in Toronto for a gymnastics competition, in which she won, and because the legal drinking age in Canada is 18 she celebrated her victory with some friends. After a raucous night of drinking, Alicia and friends began to walk back to their hotel. On their trek back, a group of hoodlums slipped out of a dark alleyway and attacked the group. Alicia's friends ran off in all directions seeking escape or help. Alicia on the other hand stayed put; she was surprisingly not frightened by her attackers and knew someone needed to deliver some justice. When the first police officers arrived at the scene, there was no trace of Alicia; all that remained was a pile of hoodlums stuffed not-so-orderly into a dumpster.  

Goals: Ending gang violence, reducing the drinking age to 18 in the United States. (Much of her early work took place in countries where the drinking age is under 21.) 

Video footage of Three Sheets taking care of some business at a particularly
precarious bar. Sent in by S. Cimino. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Superhero Athletes #2

Human Hurricane (Hero)

9 to 5 Name & Occupation: Tim Duncan, Power Forward/Center, San Antonio Spurs

Citizenship: USA, Virgin Islands

Powers: Human Hurricane can be very powerful and is extremely intelligent. He can manipulate water creating rapids, whirlpools, or tsunamis; and because of this power he can also breathe underwater. Along with being able to manipulate bodies of water, Human Hurricane can create gale to hurricane force winds by manipulating the air. Due to the abundance of air and water on Earth, Human Hurricane has a vast catalog of combinations and uses of his power.

Weaknesses: In order to manipulate and control the most extreme aspects of his power (hurricane force winds and tsunamis), Human Hurricane needs the time to be able to safely conjure the power and sustainably control its use. He becomes very vulnerable when attempting to harness and build his energy. If he tries to create hurricane force winds or tsunami sized waves too quickly, it would likely drain him of all energy and he wouldn't be able to control the finished product. He needs to prepare himself mentally as well as physically before any significant battle. 

History: When Tim was a child growing up on the island of Saint Croix in the Virgin Islands, he was a very talented swimmer. When a hurricane came along and destroyed the only Olympic size swimming pool on the island, Tim was forced to train in the ocean. This Hurricane however also destroyed a secret naval facility just off shore. While Tim was training tirelessly in the ocean, he unknowingly ingested some of the highly volatile chemical compounds released from this secret naval facility during the disaster. At first, he noticed less extraordinary symptoms like: getting taller and stronger. Later though, he began to realize he didn't need to come up for breaths on his short and then long distance swims. Eventually he discovered his power to manipulate water and air as well. On his first attempts to probe and stretch his powers he had devastating consequences, including a tsunami that almost destroyed his town. He vowed to never use his powers again, and switched his focus from swimming to basketball. He had a very impressive collegiate basketball and academic career, and in the first round of the NBA draft he was selected first by the San Antonio Spurs. Here, David "The Admiral" Robinson took Tim under his wing in order to develop his game... and to help Tim control his superhuman powers. You see, David Robinson went to the US Naval Academy and upon completion was obligated to two years of active duty with the Navy. He was stationed in a secret naval base off the coast of St. Croix. 

Goals: Pursue safer swimming waters and promote all around World Peace.
Human Hurricane relaxing by the pool.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Superhero Athletes #1

Silverback (Villain)
9 to 5 Name & Occupation: Kevin Youkilis, 1st/3rd Base, Boston Red Sox

Citizenship: USA

Powers: Silverback has superhuman strength and extreme agility for his size. He can withstand great amounts of pain due to tough skin while his suit also provides a protective coat that deflects most sharp objects and bullets from a distance. Most of his power is distributed through his abnormally long arms and huge hands. He is also very intelligent, which allows him to create complex scenarios in which to entrap his counterparts.

Weaknesses: Silverback can be extremely aggressive and territorial. Silverback's aggression often becomes his downfall especially when battling equally or more intelligent heroes. His aggression muddles his thought process making him more vulnerable to falling into traps and being defeated. He cannot go without food for long periods of time, and therefore often brings some snacks along when doing his evil deeds. Tofu-he can't stomach that shit.

History: As a young child and into his teenage years, Kevin was often tormented about his weight by other kids, teammates, and even coaches. He never acted out and wasn't considered a bully, however, these comments continuously built-up inside of him and began to break down his emotional stability. As he exited his adolescence and came into adulthood, he tried numerous diets but nothing seemed to work. Then on an apparently insignificant day, Youkilis walked by a Curves weight loss facility and snapped, believing the sign on the door was mocking his rotund physique. All the repressed memories and comments violently burst out of him, and Silverback was born. He proceeded to destroy the store... and then the surrounding block.

Targets: Weight-loss facilities, Marathoners and Triathletes, Health Food Stores - He's been known to force his victims to eat until their bellies burst.

This photo of Silverback was found in a ransacked Curves
and passed along from a S.H.I.E.L.D informant to a DJ
An amateur representation of Silverback as visioned
by a Mr. S. Cimino

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Top 11 Albums & Things and Such of 2011

Maybe I should change to a top 12 now that 2011 is over.

Top 11 Albums of 2011

I almost didn't put this album on the list, not because it's not good enough, but because it's such a personal album. It feels odd to share such personal songs with other people, but obviously this album has been shared more than just about any other this year. 21 is one of the most popular and best selling albums of the year, but I am going to pretend like it's my own and listen to it alone.
Best Track: Someone Like You Ubber Personal

10. Paul Simon
So Beautiful or So What
At 70, Paul Simon is still making some seriously solid shit (probably from years of bran cereal). It might even be his best work since Graceland. He's one of the best singer/songwriters of all time, and he reminds us why with this album. Like usual, he combines meaningful lyrics with attractive music. It's funky and groovy, it's fun, it'll make you think, it's classic Paul Simon.
Best Track: The Afterlife Ponytail Guy=Way Cool

9. Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tedeschi Trucks Band can best be described as "Dad" rock, and consequently my Dad loves them. TTB is an eleven piece band with the married couple Susan Tedeschi (singer/guitarist) and Derek Trucks (guitarist) in the forefront. Derek Trucks may be better known as the co-lead guitarist for the (new) Allman Brothers (And ummmm he's like totally awesome) while Tedeschi is more famous for her solo projects. However, together they put together a rockin', bluesy debut album.
Best Track: Midnight in Harlem (wait for the guitar solo!)

8. Real Estate
Leaves, weather, beer, turning, swings, people doing things...This album reminds me of autumn. Not so much the beginning of football season, but more of the sitting in a hammock on a sunny, clear day with a cool breeze. That's kind of what Real Estate is, a breezy indie rock group that's still warm and relaxing. The album sounds effortless and each song fits and transitions perfectly well together.
Best Track: It's Real Bonus. They're Dog Lovers.

7. Cults
It's a short album, but it's a dandy. Cults made a name for themselves with their breakout single "Go Outside", which also appears on this debut album; and it certainly doesn't hurt that they have relatives of celebrities as a fan base: Dave Franco and Emma Roberts (she's kind of a celebrity herself). At times it seems like this album is a little too cutesy, but through and through its well put together, fun, and we realize the cutesyness is actually charm.
Best Track: You Know What I Mean Zbylski Doing Things!

6. We Were Promised Jetpacks
In the Pit of the Stomach
If this was a list of best band names/album covers, they would win hands down. Ultimately this is not that list, however, this is still a great album. A solid follow up to WWPJ debut album These Four Walls that came out in 2009. In the Pit of the Stomach, doesn't have the breakout singles like "Quiet Little Voices" and " It's Thunder And It's Lightning"; but overall it's probably a stronger album. They're sound is kind of like Explosions in the Sky but with lyrics and a singer... so they're better. A good example can be heard in "Sore Thumb" and "Boy in the Backseat".
Best Track: Medicine Maybe not the best track but the best video.

5. The Antlers
Burst Apart
As far as I can tell they don't do music videos, which I respect... I think. Burst Apart, is a hauntingly beautiful album. Peter Silberman (singer, songwriter, guitarist, band creator) has one of those unforgettable "stick with you all week" kind of voices, and each song is unique and well thought out. However above all, the lyrics (although often times simple) make this album memorable and special.
Best Track: Putting the Dog to Sleep Live together Die alone.

4. Yuck
Yuck rhymes with suck, which this album does not. (It also rhymes with duck and ducks fly together). This band kind of sounds and looks like they're in the wrong decade, but man they're cool. Their median age is a youthful 21, yet their debut self titled album is quite diverse and sophisticated. Each song is hook after hook, and Yuck is composed of talented musicians, not a bad combo. Really they're a pretty mature band. I'd bet my first child (if it's a ginger) that Yuck is going to be around for a long while.
Best Track: Get Away Where did they come from and how did they meet, best looking band of the year.

3. Bon Iver
Bon Iver
Bon Iver's done it again. After the success of For Emma Forever Ago, they've gained a unique quiet confidence. It's not in your face but you feel it's presence. Justin Vernon has that beautifully comforting falsetto to combine with gorgeous and heart felt lyrics. Every song puts the listener in a different state or brings up a special memory. It's impossible not to get lost in this album: Lost in thought, lost in remembrance, lost in wonder, lost in space?. Bon Iver is another one of those albums that's so popular yet hard to share because it stimulates or stirs a different memory for each individual.
Best Track: Holocene close second Towers The whole album is great picking two was tough.

2. Fleet Foxes
Helplessness Blues
The harmonies and the wholesomeness of their sound remind me of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young... definitely not a bad thing. They are completely accessible and relatable. They write about common situations and stories most have experienced in a similar fashion, but they add a certain kind of passion behind their lyrics that suggest the stories mean something more. As many know the fox is one of the most successful predators, it quickly adapts to an environment while also influencing that environment to benefit its own needs. Similarly, Fleet Foxes are invading, influencing, and changing the construction of popular music.
Best Track: Tie Helplessness Blues and Montezuma Oh Man Oh My Oh Me.

1. The Decemberists
The King is Dead
Colin Meloy and gang are some of the best story tellers out there, and they continue this prowess with The King is Dead. It's a rockin' album with a little bluegrass and folk influence, and of course, like most great rock albums, a little politically motivated. They have very catchy beats and one can get distracted by them, but it is so important to listen to the lyrics. For instance, "Calamity Song" has a very upbeat happy tone, but if the title doesn't give it away the song is actually about the end of the world. It's really quite delightful and unique. The least anyone can say about the Decemberists is that they're different and interesting, and that's volumes more than anyone can say about most bands.
Best track: June Hymn It doesn't make sense that a band called The Decemberists could make such a great song about June... unless they were from the Southern Hemisphere where December's really June. Kind of.

Top 11 Things and Such of 2011

11. A team that isn't loaded with superstars wins the NBA Finals. Well done Mavericks.

10. A legitimate competitor to dethrone the Snuggie from its dominance over other blanket-like apparel, Forever Lazy, becomes available. It's got a poop chute!!!

9. The End of the World didn't come...again. Harold Camping, a Christian Radio broadcaster, predicted the end of the world would happen on May 21, 2011. Guess what it didn't. He had previously predicted Judgement Day to be May 21, 1988 and September 6, 1994. Poor poor Harold, he lives another day in disgrace.

8. Game of Thrones HBO Television Series. The fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin was destined to be turned into an HBO series with all the sex, violence, and dire wolves.

7. The Rearrangement of College Football. All the teams that switched conferences didn't do particularly well (except Boise State), but a little change is nice... even if you moved away from Texas, Nebraska*, and Oklahoma to play Oregon, USC, and Stanford.
*Maybe they were trying to move away from Colorado. Maybe?

6. Earth #2 aka Kepler-22b. Scientists discover a planet only 600 light years away that might have a climate suitable for life (carbon based life at least). But can we give it a different name like Jabroni (Jah-Bro-Knee) or Farfromearth (Far-From-Earth) or something.

5. Fall/Winter Family Films that didn't totally blow. In fact, they were really very good. Hugo (the best), The Adventures of Tintin, and of course The Muppets! A new Muppet movie released to theaters, and its great. who woulda thunk? Man or Muppet so so good.

4. I'm a little mad at Chipotle right now for taking away the student drink, but this commercial is terrific. Coldplay's "The Scientist"+Willie Nelson+Chipotle+Sustainable land use & Environmental awareness=Something really special.

3. A solid year for the summer blockbuster starting off with Bridesmaids and ending with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was a hot summer and what better way to cool off then to go to the theaters and catch X Men: First Class, or Super 8, or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

2. New Girl on Fox. A great new TV series about Zooey Deschanel being super adorable and living with three righteous (especially Schmidt) dudes.

1. Tebowing! Tebow is awesome, but Tebowing is awesomer! Plus, just about anyone can do it... as long as they aren't hugely overweight, have knee problems, or bedridden (for the bedridden I suggest planking).

Honorable Mention for both lists:

Various Artists
The Green Album
Written by Muppets performed by humans. A great album with a couple of exceptions. Check it...Green Album My Morning Jacket Our World.

Childish Gambino
I like Donald Glover's singles better than this album. Check out Freaks and Geeks...Minority report

Mylo Xyloto
It's not the Coldplay I love, but it's certainly not bad. Cool video.

Spotify. It's great, I'm just not all that keen on paying for things, and therefore I will never get the full Spotify experience.

The cast for the upcoming movie Hunger Games. It's a great book, and so obviously I was worried they'd ruin it with a bad movie. But I'm optimistic with this solid cast.