Thursday, June 4, 2015

the front porch review

You've been begging for it.

Y'all been asking for it.

So I'ma provide dat.

Once upon a time there was a Brazilian-style steakhouse here in Eau Claire. This magical place was called Picanha, and it won an award in 2014 - the best restaurant in the Chippewa Valley. As with anytime the unsophisticated masses vote, as they did here, the wrong party wins. I don't have any #science to prove it, but I'm guessing the only reason Picanha won an award is because its unlimited meat barrage was seen as s a truly novel concept in the area. When in reality, the food's ceiling was right around "good".

I've been to various restaurants of this style, and this was the Azul Tequila of Brazilian steakhouses. Anyway, churched up and expensive all-you-can-eat? Right up the Chippewa Valley's alley. I loved it.

Meanwhile, as the owner was coasting the crest of mediocrity, he must have had an idea brewing, when all of a sudden he did an about face: he closed that shit down and opened up a comfort food joint, The Front Porch. A couple of my friends sampled it, with mixed results. In fact, one of my pals crapped all over the place. On facebook. What do the uncultured rubes on Yelp have to say? Unflattering things.

So obviously we had to eat there.

We got there about 6:15 (PM) on a Wednesday night, lol. Place was beat, just a couple tables of morbidly obese face-stuffers, awesome. I'm talking like riverboat-casino-in-Biloxi, Mississippi kind of awesome, so actually totally depressing. Note that the entry door did not get fixed in the restaurant name change shuffle; it still opens weird, and slams shut.

Once we got sat, we waited about ten minutes to place our drink order. But the waitress kindly walked by about ten times, acknowledging us once, so that was much appreciated. The tap beer list was uninspiring, with nothing you can't find at the Kwik Trip. But the beers did come pretty quick once ordered - both times. Yeah, two beers apiece on a Wednesday night, living the dream.

The food on the menu looked pretty good, but because it was one-sided, laminated, and black, all the greasy-handed animals they serve left their gross, very visible fingerprints all over it. Yuck. Anyway, we started with the fried pickles. Heckyeahwoman went with the chicken fried chicken, and I had to have the chicken and waffles.

Fried pickles: they were spears. Goddamnit, I prefer chips. Good though. The batter was light enough and tasty.  It was kinda lol though, the spears were served in a fancy-ish conical shaped thingamajigger, looked nice. And the side of ranch was served in a paper ramekin. Can't know hot without cold I guess.

Chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes, and green beans. HYW didn't love it as it was a bit too mushy (it was). The breading had a nice flavor to it though, and their creamy gravy was really good. I didn't try the potatoes, but they looked really good and buttery...and fake. The green beans didn't taste canned, and were pretty greasy, which I loved.

Pan fried chicken and waffles: Really good. The breading was crispy and had a great flavor, a bit of spice to it. The waffles were supposed to be Belgian. I don't know what that means, but you could have given me Eggos and I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. But they came with two (2) syrups - a really good maple, and a really good spicy syrup, with the latter tasting almost kinda Sriracha-esque.

Funny note: when the General Manager came over to ask how things were, you could see the relief in her face when we both initially smiled and told her it was really good. I think she was almost mortified to even ask lol.

One major gripe though. Because you care so much, I tried to check us in on facebook, but it was nowhere to be found. So instead I think I just sent out a bunch of Snaps to my friends - of me playing with this stupid dog toy we just purchased. Heckyeahwoman was trying to drive.

Bottom line, would we go back? Heck yeah, man - they had meatloaf on the menu, and it was a sin for me to not order that!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

tom brady

Unless you live under a rock, you have likely heard of #Deflategate. If you indeed do, and you haven't, below is an unbiased, quick primer.

The Super Bowl Champion Patriots have been accused of using under-inflated footballs, specifically in the AFC Championship game. We won't get into the deets of football PSI or any of that stuff, because it doesn't really matter. All that matters is that after months of investigation, Tom Brady got suspended four (4) games for his role, the Pats got fined a million bucks, and docked a couple draft picks.

Whether Brady did it or not, we'll likely never know, as the results from the investigation were pretty underwhelming, culminating in a ruling of "more probable than not" that the Patriots, Tom Brady specifically, ordered the under inflation of footballs. For real, no smoking gun, just hearsay and circumstantial evidence.

There were many discrepancies and errors in the collection of "evidence" and information, in addition to the possibility of a future Hall of Fame quarterback slightly cheating. But I get it, rules is rules. Also, I should note here that I am not a Pats fanboy, in fact, I find Boston sports fans to be just a shade beneath Steelers football fans as the worst fans on the planet.

Anyway, if I were Tom Brady, this would be my official statement:

First, I'd like to address the fans - without you, I wouldn't be here. Thank you for your unwavering support. I truly believe that we have the best fans in the world (Editor's note: the fans are scum, as noted above, and Brady likely knows that and is paying lip service). Thank you.

To the Pats organization, thank you for your unwavering support as well. We are a team, we've won Super Bowls, we've had many highlights, and I look forward to many more.

To the NFL, specifically Roger Goodell and Ted Wells: simply, fuck you.

I don't know why this sting was set up, what you are looking to prove or accomplish here. And it doesn't really matter that much. Let me tell you why.

I have more money than I will ever know what to do with. I could retire tomorrow and be set for generations, while enjoying my hall of fame induction in five years. My wife is a supermodel. Not just supermodel hot, but an actual goddamn supermodel. My kids are going to be so fucking good looking that if I have a daughter, I'd actually think for a split second about tapping that.

You ever been to my house? Haha, trick question, I meant "houses", plural you slimy bastards.

But what I find truly disgusting, is your veiled "fuck you" to both NFL and Pats fans. The grudges that you are holding for whatever reason are causing an inferior product to take the football field. Nothing against my backup QB for four games here, as I have full confidence he will take the field as prepared as possible, and I fully expect to come back to a 4-0 team as we take on the Colts.

Lol @ the hammer Ima put down on Andrew Suck & company.

Speaking of the Colts, Ryan Grigson, a few words of wisdom from my man, Curtis Jackson, whom you know as 50 Cent: "You shouldn't throw stones if you live in a glass house, and if you got a glass jaw, you should watch yo mouf, I will break yo face."

Anyway, Goodell, if you have some underlying fear or hatred of me, the Pats organization, our coach, or Robert Kraft, take it out on us personally, where it hurts - our pocketbook. Don't mess with the integrity of the game here, don't dick around with our fans - your customers. 

And maybe more importantly, do you have any idea the pickle you're going to put some fantasy footballers in? I'll be missing the first five games of the season, due to suspension and the bye week. In an already tight QB market, that's just another wrinkle to deal with when trying to draft a QB. Def a bitch move, son.

To both low-level towel boy fuckheads - are you fucking stupid? Texting about this shit, for real? You wanna know why you're 45 years old, still renting, have obese girlfriends that probably shop at The Buckle, and your cars have rust spots? You have any idea? Because you're fucking stupid. You're obviously fired, so maybe Goodell is looking for a couple fluffers. Something tells me you'd unintentionally find a way to get fired from that gig too.

Last thing, for those curious as to why I didn't "cooperate" and turn over my cell phone, are you kidding? Goodell's fetish with bungling punishments and the subsequent mess of a sting operation I think are reason enough to be involved as little as possible. I'll take my lumps before giving in to that toupee-topped cumchump. If Kraft wants the cell phone, I'd hand it over. But when a hacky, incompetent, Adam Silver-esque goon starts demanding shit, yeah, no.

I'm not Tom Brady, so just imagine me saying this to you, in a very angry and accusatory tone, however completely out of context it would be. Mom, if you're reading this, sorry for Tom Brady cursing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

burrachos review

Have you ever been to Chipotle before? If so, have you ever wondered what Chipotle would taste like if they stopped seasoning and flavoring their food? Keep in mind, Chipotle is to an actual good meal, as Burrachos is to Chipotle: a step or two down.

Also keep in mind that I love Mexican food, and anything imitating, approaching, comparable to, or slightly resembling even a completely unfaithful rendition of it. That said, I am an asshole, and consider anything remotely close to the previously mentioned iterations a personal affront, while still somehow enjoying it.

Well anyway, if the answer to the above burning question is a mumbled, "I guess", then read on, friends.

About a year and a half ago, I had a hankering for a burrito. So I rode down to the Burrachos on Water St. to grab one. Burrachos is a WI-based company that appears to be a Chipotle knock-off, should be relatively awesome, right? Not necessarily. Upon returning home to feed, I found it to be perfectly bland, and a little small. A Chipotle burrito/bowl, will usually feed me for two meals. So I crossed it off the list for future feedings.

Fast forward to present day, and the beautiful Heckyeahwoman and I found ourselves at Burrachos again. It was pretty sweet being seen in public with her. The evening started off normal, with us ordering food at the counter, but it soon got weird when they were "building" her burrito. Dude heated up her tortilla, and began sheepishly spooning burrito fixings into it, and when it was time to fold that fucker up, it tore. The tortilla apparently got torn. Not the end of the world, right? I've seen it happen, and usually they just throw another tortilla around it for bonus double tortilla protection.

What did this dude do?

And this is HYW's recounting of the sitch, so it's mostly hearsay, but the first thing the dude did was get really pissed (lol). Then he took the torn tortilla, and dumped the contents into a new (untorn) one. Thing is, a shitload of the contents were still stuck to the old one. And then he threw it away. What a waste of food!

To top it off, her burrito was supposed to have tortilla chip strips in it; it didn't. That's why she ordered that burrito! That's why I was mere seconds of ordering the same thing, but switched at the last minute! I didn't try it, so the only indication of the taste is her mentioning that it didn't taste like anything.

I ordered a burrito bowl with double meat. I got a plate of burrito with some meat. No shit, the burrito BOWL comes on a plate. A flat plate. An uneven flat plate that spins and moves as one tries to poke at the pile of food with a fork. The meat was flavorless, though the veggies and other stuff tasted fresh enough. Props for tasty chips and guacamole though.

A burrito joint on Water St. (where all the college bars are, right by campus and the student ghetto, for you out-of-towners), employing college students, serving cheap burritos, I get it: it's probably not going to be awesome. But I don't think any of the three employees smiled once. I would be interested in trying the Burrachos over by the mall, see if that lack of student ghetto might church the experience up a bit.

Anyway, the verdict?

Heckyeahwoman summed it up perfectly as we were leaving: "Oh god, don't tweet about this, I don't want them to give us a complimentary gift card to try it again or anything!"

My final two cents: Mexican food, no matter how bland, approximated, or Americanized, and absent finding a hair or dead bug within, is generally beyond reproach, at least in my book. While theirs generally leans towards the hyper-bland, it's still preferable to something like most fast food, outside of Culver's.

Also, spellchecker is trying to replace "Chipotle" with "Chortle", ha.

Coming up soon: I recount a recent experience reading a book. And then I might comment on our city, Eau Claire, approving a tubing-only lane along the Chippewa River, and whether or not that is lol.

Monday, March 30, 2015

my thoughts on the new strung out album

It has been around six (6) years since the last Strung Out album. That's too long. 2009 brought Agents of the Underground, and I don't remember if I reviewed it or not, and I'm too lazy to check. Very probable that it was on my best of list that year. In those six years though, we've seen a greatest hits compilation with a couple new tracks and the hits remastered, as well as a box set of their remastered albums. And I should note that the remasters do sound phenomenal.

Strung Out is probably one of my favorite bands, if not my favorite. One thing: I really hate the idea of having a favorite anything really, but I think I've listened to Strung Out the most over the last 18 years or so. All of their albums have their own unique sounds, but the general idea is fast, very proficient, metal-influenced, poppy, melodic punk rock. The dudes can play their instruments, likely better than your favorite shitty nu-metal band.

What does it sound like? For some reason the initial vibe I got made me think it belongs on whatever your local modern "hard rock" radio station is. Chill out cuz, I'm not saying this is like Volbeat or Distubed level nu-metal garbage; Strung Out can out-play and out-write those hacks any day.

Worry not though, repeated listens brought the goods, and each spin brought more personality out of each song. What I initially heard as over-polished, maybe kinda slow, modern punk rock, morphed into shredding, awesome punk rock - exactly what you'd expect out of the band in 2015. Nowheresville is vintage Strung Out, and rips, but you don't need a track by track breakdown; each song slays.

Known for book-ending their albums with opening burners and epic closers, we are not disappointed here, though they will likely never top the opener-closer combo of Twisted by Design. Shout-out to Heckyeahwoman for letting me walk down the aisle to Too Close to See. Shout-out to Heckyeahwoman's mom for looking around all aghast as the ridiculous opening riff cranks up.

Vocalist Jason Cruz, probably one of the best punk vocalists out there, does his part exceedingly well. If you're familiar with their previous output, you know what to expect here, melodic punk singing, with a little bit of yelling. Cruz's distinct voice fits the music perfectly. His lyrics are again kind of vague, and generally seem to revolve around the idea of "we are something"/"we are united", against some sort of big brother governmental entity. Keep it posi, brah.

As mentioned earlier, repeated listens to this album only beget more listening. This album smokes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

i kind of remember when i became an atheist

I was a kid and I hated church. We would go to church on many Sundays, and then have religion class on Monday nights. Yeah, during Monday Night Football. WHAT THE FUCK. At least Sunday church was done by noon.

My mom still tells the story of how one Sunday my brother and I were being taken to church, and we got there, parked, and as we walked across the street, then into the church, we both limped - in a very exaggerated fashion - the entire way. We told my mom that the bottoms of our feet hurt. And as we limped, I guess another lady looked at my mom like, "why would you bring these horribly injured kids out to church, let them stay at home and heal!"

Obviously, my mom knew we were faking it. But we tried to get out of going every time: crying, hiding, making injuries up, fighting, probably everything.

As a kid, I was mad at God for church being a thing, so he was my enemy. The whole production was kind of weird to me, the Pastor's robe, the idea of communion, the lifeless off-key mumbling/singing of hymns, all kinda strange. The kneeling in the pews was so annoying. It was boring. There are a million reasons for kids to hate going to church.

I remember watching the Dragnet movie as a child. That was back in the late 80s when we were big Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters!) and Tom Hanks (almost every movie around that time period) fans. Anyway, the bad guys in the movie were pagans, and not knowing what that meant, I asked my parents, and they said something like, "people against Christians". That stuck with me, and the next Sunday, not wanting to go to church, I secretly became a pagan.

A couple years later, still hating church, one day it occurred to me that the best way to piss God off was to not even acknowledge his or her existence. Childish? Yeah probably, but I was a child then. Since maybe fifth or sixth grade, it just stuck with me: there is no God. I should note that I'm no longer at war with having to go to church, or trying to piss of an imaginary being; I just think the likelihood of there being a God is approaching zero.

Mind you, this was before I knew what atheism was, or how annoying many actual atheists were. This was before I realized many atheists were all, "OMG if it says "Democrat" or "science" on it, I'll suck it". Had I known that as an eight year old, I mighta never converted, ha.

Funny little side note here. I went to Catholic school from first to third grade, and my final year there, I participated in the Christmas play. You'll never guess my role. Shout out to my dad for making me a huge, bad ass cardboard staff.

So what's the upshot here? I was an atheist before you, and more importantly, before it was cool.

I was also punk before you, but that's a different story for a different time.

Friday, February 20, 2015

an agenda

Abstract: Through the lens of both climate change believers and climate change deniers, we will examine how personal political beliefs are formed, by relating the general agendas of both sides to science, and reality. Spoiler alert: look at the person next to you, there's a chance he or she believes some crazy shit.

In chatting with Heckyeahwoman the other night, she mentioned one of her upcoming talks, referencing the Doomsday Clock, and how it recently got bumped up a couple minutes. The two main reasons mentioned for the uppage bumpage were climate change and global nuclear armament. Warning: we're not really going to argue one way or another for either.

Not sure if you noticed, but I just mentioned climate change, queue the freakouts. My stock answer about the subject generally revolves somewhere around, "I don't know - I'm not a climate scientist". Notably it is without an exclamation point - to signal apathy, and the qualifier on the end hopefully lets you know that I likely don't value your opinion. Though if I am engaged in a sick convo with somebody having extreme views towards either side, yo, I'ma be the dickhead contrarian.

I get why a liberal might think I'm wrong on the issue(even something as benign as admitting to not knowing lol): I'm not religious about it and I don't subscribe to their OMG-blame-white-people cult. That's fine. Obviously to your average leftist or rightist there isn't a whole lot of room for humility...or empathy, reason, logic, science, anything really that fair people might revere.

You know, that weird stuff that super dogmatic people usually eschew, or bastardize.

Same thing with your typical right winger, and their catch-all disdaining of all who are poor, or maybe more accurately, not rich. Believe me, when the time comes to seriously monetize climate change activism, you can be sure there will be a sea change in the views on the subject.

We're not here to bash liberals and leftists, or Republicans, but we still will, so I apologize for that well written and thoughtful tangent.

But how can I have an opinion, as apathetic as it may be, on something I (admittedly) don't know a whole lot about?  I could pull climate change reports and read them furiously, but that sounds like reading. I could blow through abstracts and try to glean knowledge hopefully helping in the formation of something resembling an opinion. But how do I know what is good science? Or like most people, I could turn to some form of media (presumably with an axe to grind), read, form an opinion, think I know everything, and write a blog about it.

OR, I could do the latter, look at the source, consider past behavior, and then generalize a prediction for future behavior, in terms of writing about controversial issues. That's scientific right? Crude, but let's go ahead and break 'er down:


The source: what can generally be described as liberals, scientists, and liberal scientists.

Past behavior: making stuff up, making policy based on made up stuff (sound like Republicans at all?!), basing education and further science on made up stuff, doing horrible shit (look at some of those last names OMG!), making up more stuff, still making stuff up, fingering her own sister, and acting all smarmy and better than you.

Prediction: I don't have graphs and stuff, but I think a thorough, yet rough and cherry picked track record of bad stuff might lead to future actions of bad stuff. That said, my prediction is: agenda-focused scientific findings!

I'm not saying they're wrong, but can you at least understand my skepticism?

But what about climate change deniers!? Those crazy fucks aren't off the hook!

Check this out: they and their views have been pretty well covered in the media, and some views common to that group might include: the world is 6,000 years old, being gay can be "cured" with electroshock therapy, evolution is not for real, war is good but abortion is bad, NASCAR is cool, wolves are bad and should be shot, I could go on.

Bottom line: Sorry dawgs, but you ain't my dawgs either.

Misanthropy leads me to believe that humanity wants to, or would, however directly or indirectly, destroy the world (and each other) for temporary gain, it also leads me to wonder exactly how successful we are at it. Either way, the older I get, the more disgusted I am by the horrible things we do to the environment.

Also lightly discussed that night was nuclear armament, and I promise this will tie in somehow with something, somewhere. Regarding nukes and war, I tend to source my news and info from places that push a certain agenda, generally: "war is bad, quit fucking with people so they leave us alone." I think that translates quite nicely into real life too. Anyway, the general consensus among these crazy radical peace-loving folks is that all those boogeymen (sorry, boogeypeople) that the media reports want to kill you, either 1) actually don't want to kill you; 2) don't have or won't have nukes, and probably can't kill you; or 3) both 1 and 2.

In summary, there are a couple principles that guide my reading of news, politics, and science. Maybe they're unreasonable, maybe not.

1. If you stop being a dick all the time, I bet your life will get a little better.
2. Open minded science, then policy.
3. Feelings are going to get hurt, people are shitheads, life is hard.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

insult to injury

The Packers lost the NFC Championship game in horrifying fashion: a total meltdown. It's been talked about on sports outlets, been picked apart, dissected, good, great, done. But what has been neglected is the complete and utter stupidity that followed.

See, the minute the clocked ticked down to zero, and the Seahawks were official NFC champions, something very strange happened. Russell Wilson had a meltdown of his own, thanking God for the victory. Happens all the time, athletes thanking god, an absurd notion to be sure. But to clarify, Mr. Wilson might actually believes that God is actually one entity, and not a collective misnomer for a bunch of schmucks dressed in green and gold over on the other sideline.

No shit though, Mr. Wilson thinks his four interceptions were God's doing. He thinks the victory, and all events that lead up to it are up to God.

And this:

Look at that fucked up looking cryface.

It gets worse. After Mr. Wilson's inexplicable tangent about God and sports, the camera cut to a bunch of other Seahawks celebrating in a tear-fueled, prayer-circle jerk. These assholes actually think that a dude up in the sky gives a shit about the outcome of a football game. Worse, they truly believe that this nonentity, even if real, would be anything but a Packers fan.

Green Bay Packers, you made some bonehead calls, some bonehead plays, and squandered a double digit lead to a(n) historically all time great defense. But very little trumps losing to a bunch of Bible-thumping fucktard thug shitheads. Seriously, they are the poster-boys for religious cop outs. Acting like an asshole 99% of the time, and then at the end of the day, professing your faith, should not a pious man make. At the very least, take a page out of the Mormon playbook (c wut I did there?), and earn that salvation, son.

I am looking forward to Tom Brady blowing his devil-load all over their faces, and then going home, win or lose, to his supermodel wife.

More Super Bowl-related stuff to look forward to: Julian Edelman fist-fighting somebody he's related to, Rob Gronkowski accidentally using up the worlds Rohypnol supply on himself, and Darrell Revis scowling so hard he adds another wrinkle to his forehead.