Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Best Face Experiment!

[I'm trying out a new, simpler, less-gaudy layout - what do you think? Also, don't forget to let me know if you want to sign up for Thrift Store Pen Pals! I pick a new Pen Pal tomorrow!]

Online dating is getting a lot more popular these days. OkCupid is often ranked among the top free dating sites out there, and I can see why! This post isn't about online dating, but about a feature OkCupid offers, My Best Face. I promised that I'd post some of my Halloween costumes, so I decided to go a step further with My Best Face and have random people rank them. More on that later...

Whether or not you feel like doing any online dating, you can use the awesome My Best Face feature (although you do have to create an account). Basically, you submit a few pictures, the website puts your picture beside another person's picture, and random people around the world pick whether they'd rather date you or the other person. You have to be pretty confident to do this though, because if you are ugly you could be in for some harsh reality. 

Before you can receive your results you have to judge several pictures yourself. It is set up like this:

The title says "Your challenge: choose one for a date" and you get to choose one or the other. It's pretty simple. Not all the comparisons are of attractive people though; in fact, most of them are quite average, which makes perfect sense, statistically speaking. Anyway, I scoured through about 700 comparisons to could find some good ones to blog about, so here are a few examples (this is probably going to be really mean, by the way). 

A lot of these really ARE  a "challenge." I'm going to pretend that I HAVE to choose one and I will HAVE to date her in some life-or-death situation. 

Okay, I have to choose one for a date... life has presented me with only two possible options. I have to choose only one, and I better hope it's the right one. So let's see here. They're both total babes, so looks aren't a deciding factor. The one on the left looks like she's SUPER good at baking cookies, so that's a plus. The one on the right, however, clearly has a job, so she could just buy cookies. That lime green affair is not doing it for me though. I choose option 1. 

On the left we have what I can only assume is a picture taken from the back of a milk carton. Or maybe it's a mugshot from the paper, so that could mean she's fun and exciting. Either way, it's a weird picture of a picture. She's also like 70. The one on the right, although significantly younger, looks confused and senile. She has a sewing machine in the background, which means she could fix holes in my clothes. I think I'll choose option 1 for the excitement-factor. Plus I've never been with a woman with dentures.

On the left is what appears to be a goth girl. We could have seances together and play with a Ouija board at the graveyard or something, so that could be fun. The one on the right, however, appears to be the last remaining ancient Egyptian, judging by her age. I could learn a lot about history, so that's always fun. I'll choose option 2, the Sphinx.

Wow. This one is an epic challenge. So this is what life has thrown at me, and I must choose one for a date. You know what they say about life handing you lemons, and it looks like I just got two. Looks like both of these women will murder me, but the one on the left looks like she'll knit me up in a yarn-cocoon and have her cats lay eggs inside of me so their cat-larvae can feast upon me. The one on the right will just take me on a drug deal and, when she shows up without the goods, will use me as a human shield during the resulting shoot-out. I kind of like cats, so I'll choose option 1.

That was fun. My apologies to anyone who finds their picture on here - I'm sure you're a very nice person. 

Anyway, I put up a bunch of my Halloween pictures to be rated to see which one was the best. I also included a picture of me looking normal as the experiment control. When you get your report in a few days, it breaks down how everyone rated you, their age range, and their personalities, like this:

That's probably really hard to read, but if you click on the picture you can see how each type/age of person rated you. Since my normal picture got an 82, let's see how my Halloween costumes compare.

My hobo costume was rated the highest at a 66! I guess girls really go for the green beard and flannel look. This is also probably my most normal looking costume, so I'm sure that was a contributing factor in its popularity. Nerds and overachievers seemed to like the hobo the best. I guess opposites do attract.

Gold Man was a fairly close second, although as you can see from the graph, it wasn't very popular, overall. The upward facing bars are votes "for" and the downward facing bars are "against." Geeks, nerds, and stoners hate Gold Man, whereas introverts seem to like him. That makes sense, considering an introvert would like to be completely covered up. Although this suit leaves little to the imagination.

Hmm. Everyone seems to hate my girl costume, chief among them being divas and free spirits. Women over the age of 31 are also pretty dissuaded. It actually gives you a breakdown of everyone who's voted on which picture though, and predictably most of the girls who voted "for" this picture were bisexual. No surprises there.

I kind of expected Quail-Man to get more love, but he seems to be thoroughly disliked. He has one shining hope though: dorks. Some of his biggest haters are nerds and conservatives, and women over 31.

Last, and certainly least, is Dog Man with Shark Nose. This costume actually came to me in a dream and I made it a reality. I actually made it myself, as is painfully obvious. Dog Man is primarily hated by liberals, vegetarians, and girls aged 18-22. And everyone else.

These reports give me a good idea as to what costume I need to wear when I go out. As the numbers show, I should probably just stop showering, buy all my clothes from a dumpster, and grow a moldy beard. Or I could just be normal... But where's the fun in that?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My First Ever Thrift Store Pen Pal!

I put the names of everyone who signed up to be my Thrift Store Pen Pal for this week into Excel, applied a fancy schmancy randomness formula, and came up with this week's Pen Pal!

Congrats Shane Pilgrim! You are the most random person, and in honor of such a title, I will now send you stuff to look at and review!

Once you receive your mystery item, just let me know and I will link over to your post :)

Everyone less fortunate than Mr. Pilgrim, keep signing up. I will choose another Pen Pal next week. The question is, should I make everyone sign up again for next week or just let the same old list keep growing? Hmm...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Asian Market Food - Grasshoppers, Turnips, and Nazi Noodles!

First off, don't forget to sign up for Thrift Store Pen Pals by Thursday night! :)

The other day I visited Kansas to see some friends and thought I would look around for some blog material. I decided to visit the international market, 888 Market, and I was not disappointed. There was virtually infinite things to look and laugh at! This place is awesome.

I got way more than I bargained for; I expected to maybe find a few odd foods and review them here, but what I got... was a bit shocking, even for me. I got a lot of stuff, so I'm splitting this one into two posts - today I will review the land lubbers (plants and animals found on land) and next will be the seafarers.

First up is some Nazi Ramen Noodles!

I can't read much on this package, but the Nazi symbol on the left intrigued me. This one is "vegetarian" flavor, so considering this is coming from the Nazis, I'm pretty sure I'm about to eat a vegetarian. A human vegetarian. So I'm going to assume that all that fancy writing says "Soylent Ramen."

When I was making it, it came with a sauce pouch that I had to mix in with the noodles. The sauce looked like mud or grime you'd find in a storm water drain in Tokyo, but I braved it and mixed it into the noodles. This is what it ended up looking like:

No surprises there. Let's see how they score on a scale of 1 to 10.

Smell: Kind of like stale noodles, or in other words, like Ramen noodles.
Texture: Noodly.
Taste: Something is a little off about this... I can't quite put my finger on it. Probably the grime sauce. It tastes a bit fishy, so maybe the vegetarian broke his diet and ate fish before he was harvested. Sort of tastes the way a lake smells. I ate the whole thing though.

Final Score: 7/10 

Next we have some turnip stuff: 

I'm not really sure what this stuff is because I can't read those symbols, but the description on the back of the package is what sold me:

Electing the grass pocket radish of high mountain, blown by the wind of the farmhouse eaves, and put into a tile jar to ferment, it has strong delicious taste, and is very refreshing and crisp.
I've never wanted to eat turnips more in my life! They also included an "eating method" which is simply "Just eat it after opening the bag." So the packaging is cool looking, the description is epic, let's see its true colors.

Hmm... it looks like a human liver. Well, let's get right into the review.

Smell: Pretty overwhelming. Slightly sweet, kind of like Chinese food, but very strong. Not super pleasant. And after I threw it away it stunk up my kitchen :(
Texture: Strangely crunchy and tough.
Taste: Pretty spicy and VERY salty. It kind of attacks your taste buds. I can't really detect the wind of the farmhouse eaves, but on the front of the package it states that it has a long aftertaste - that much is certainly true. I didn't finish this stuff, but I didn't ENTIRELY hate it.

Final Score: 4.5/10 

Next up is some quail eggs! 

These guys were cute and small and I just couldn't resist. Apparently, in some countries quail eggs are considered a delicacy. I decided to unceremoniously fry and scramble them.

Actually, my sister did the frying. I did the scrambling.

That's an entire set of 10 eggs! Look how cute! How could you not love them? How did they fare in the review? Let's find out.

Smell: A lot like chicken eggs.
Texture: Pretty crunchy, but that's only because the quail egg shells are really brittle so there were a bunch of shell bits in there.
Taste: A little more "fatty" tasting than chicken eggs. Maybe more yolky. I don't really know how to describe it, but if no one told me it was quail eggs instead of chicken, I doubt I'd notice a difference.

Final Score: 8/10 

Finally, we have the grossest item of the night, Fried Grasshoppers with Salt:

For things you find in your yard and in plagues, these were pretty expensive at about $6. However, I could not pass up a chance like this, so I ate some grasshoppers - for you, Dear Reader. Actually, I talked a surprising number of my friends into trying them with me. 

Would you eat one?

These guys are pretty enormous. I actually tried these twice, with two different sets of friends. I got some videos, too, but none of them are very blog-worthy. However, I will show some highlights after the review!

Smell: If you've ever owned lizards or anything that eat crickets... that's kind of what these smelled like. If you want to recreate the smell, lift up a rock outside and smell underneath it.
Texture: extremely crunchy on the outside, gooey in the middle. Kind of hard to chew them up sufficiently before swallowing.
Taste: A lot like dirt and earth. It was like eating twigs from the yard. The worst part of them was the idea that you were eating a grasshopper.

Final Score: 2/10

It got such a high score because the crunchiness at the beginning was kind of good.

I'm not posting the videos, but here are some snapshots. The videos basically consist of a big *crunch* followed by disgusted faces. 

This is immediately after putting them in our mouths. Right here you can hear my friend say, "Arggughg uggrrrg, huh uh." And then proceeded to do this: 

He threw up :(

I managed to keep them down, though :)

Our second panel of taste-testers.

The results were pretty similar. But this time no one threw up! Good times. You should all try eating grasshoppers and let me know how it is! Next time I have jellyfish and canned squid... So stay tuned!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thrift Store Pen Pals - Sign Up!

Remember when you were a kid and you would save up box tops, send them in, and then get a crappy toy in the mail a few weeks later? I’m hoping to recreate that experience, but with more of a white-elephant-gift-exchange vibe. I asked what you guys thought about the idea and everyone seemed to be on board, so let's see what happens!

Basically, I will send you a random item (I'll pay shipping and all that) and you will then review it. We will then link to each other's blogs and we will all have some laughs and live happily ever after. I will choose a new Thrift Store Pen Pal every week assuming I remain motivated and can afford shipping. So read the information page below and sign up!

Thrift Store Pen Pals Info/Sign Up Sheet

Be sure to sign up by Thursday evening!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Idea - Thrift Store Pen Pals!?

So I have an idea, but I wanted to run it by you guys first to gauge interest/make sure I'm not retarded.

Basically, I'd like to send some bloggers a random item from the thrift store (picked out by me!) and have the blogger (possibly you!) talk about it or review it on his/her own site. We'd then link to each other's sites, hopefully giving each of us some fresh readers, making this project mutually beneficial. I'm thinking of calling it Thrift Store Pen Pals, or some other such thing.

The item would probably be like something you'd find on this site, so maybe a book, a piece of clothing, a weird toy, or something of the sort. Basically whatever I deem weird enough to send to a random person. I'd pay for shipping and item cost because I'm awesome like that. You'd just have to wait for it to get to your house, open it, laugh, and review/write something about it on your blog.

I would do this every week or couple weeks. The blogger would be chosen at random. Maybe with a contest of some sort, or just a random person who "likes" the Facebook page? I don't know, I'll figure out the mechanics later, but it sounds fun to me. What do you think? Would anyone be interested in such shenanigans?

If this idea sucks, just let me know. I just had the idea and I thought it sounded fun :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Book Edition Vol. 4!

I love books and I love weird stuff. Sometimes I get both in one, and this is what happens. Yay!

[EDIT: I've had a couple people tell me of this amazing piece of awesomeness, so I highly recommend you check it out. It's a great kid's book called Go the F**k to Sleep. I've actually had the pleasure of reading this book, and it IS all it's cracked up to be. I'm not a parent, but it seems pretty accurate. Here is a sample passage from this amazingness:

All the kids from daycare are in dreamland.
The froggie has made his last leap.
Hell no, you can't go to the bathroom.
You know where you can go? The fuck to sleep.

I hope to one day be as great as that author. Anyway, onto the post...]

First up, we have New Toes for Tia by Larry Dinkins. This book is particularly peculiar as the cover shows a little girl standing in a campfire. I've had a similar experience, but I was heavily intoxicated.

I was debating whether or not to save this book for a Judging Books by Their Covers entry, but I'm putting it here instead. Just because. Anyway, As you can surmise, Tia is in need of some new toes because her asshole village-mates tossed her in a fire. I can only assume they did this for sport, much like cock fighting, as there is not much to do in their village. You can see her handler getting pissed that she can't take the heat. You can also see the gamblers circled around her, making bets and cheering her on.

Okay, so I didn't read the book, but that's at least what it LOOKS like is happening. A few pages in, however, you get to see the real reason she's in a fire:

She's a hobbit. Villagers HATE hobbits. 

This next book is the epitome of badassery:

It's simply called "Science" and it has a picture of a sweet-looking robot holding a magnifying glass. So simple, so awesome, so stylish. I love it.

Not so sure about this one though: 

This cover made me laugh. It was especially funny seeing it mixed in with all the religious stuff and cookbooks at the thrift store. I looked it up though, and it actually seems pretty interesting; it is apparently a really offensive-to-all-races satire, so I may have to go back and check it out... Seeing that shadow behind you would scare the crap out of anyone though.

This next one is a self-help book: 

This one isn't particularly extraordinary on its own, but I have plans for this guy. I will wait outside the book store (thrift store) and wait until a beautiful woman buys it. I'll already know she won't say no, so I will offer myself to her (before she reads the book, of course) and we'll do it guilty-style. I'm going to ask her to do the weird stuff, too. It's a perfect plan. Except for the fact that this book is in a thrift store and it will probably definitely be an old lady who buys it. But hey, beggars can't be choosers. 

Lastly, we have the Shrek book:

This was in the book section and you can clearly see that it says "BOOKS" on the price tag in the corner. However, it is an old AOL trial internet case with some notebook paper taped to the front labeled "SHREK." This book apparently has no author. Or cover. Or book.

"Well it's probably the movie. Someone just lost the case and put the DVD in an AOL case. And... mislabeled it as a book..." Quick thinking, imaginary skeptic, I thought that too, but I opened it up and saw this:

It's a video game! This thing is having all sorts of identity crises. 

Fun fact: AOL 6.0, Shrek the movie, and Shrek Game Land Activity Center all came out in 2001. So the good thing about this schizophrenic artifact is that it is sort of like a time capsule. A stupid one.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vienna Sausage Madness and Vampire Bat Faces!

Given the popularity of my last Vienna sausage post, I decided to delve a little further into sausage-dom. Despite the fact that a fellow blog-friend, Nhya, thinks that I hate Vienna sausages, I actually almost enjoy them. So tonight I have decided to buy every different kind of Vienna sausage I could find and review them all. After visiting two different stores, here is my stash:

Be jealous

I will be using original flavor Vienna sausages as my baseline specimen and comparing all other sausages to that. So here is the lineup.

You can almost see the nerves on them as they prepare to be critically judged, but just look at their determination.

As I tried each sausage, I wrote down my thoughts on a notepad. I will transcribe my notes below. Who will stand up to the test? Who will prevail? Who will fail miserably? Let's find out.

Libby's Original Vienna Sausage:
Notes: Soft, mushy, slightly salty. Quite tasty.
Grade: 5 (this is the control sausage, so it will be right in the middle at a a score of 5 out of 10)

Libby's Zesty BBQ Vienna Sausage:
Notes: Not zesty. Tougher texture. Tastes like old SpaghettiOs. Barely any BBQ taste. Cats might like it?
Grade: 3.5

Prairie Belt Smoked Sausage:
Notes: Same texture as BBQ. Tastes like lumber - Prairie Belt actually tastes like the little house on the prairie. I could only ever eat one.
Grade: 2.5

Armour Chicken Vienna Sausage:
Notes: Tastes a lot like Libby's Original! Firm texture. A bit saltier... too salty. Tastes like hot dog concentrate.
Grade: 4

Armour Jalapeno Vienna Sausage:
Notes: Surprisingly spicy. A cat wouldn't even eat this. Tastes like fennel seeds.
Grade: 2

Armour Smoked Vienna Sausage:
Notes: Tastes like a grilled hot dog. A bit much though. Tastes like straight Liquid Smoke.
Grade: 3

As you can see, the original Vienna sausages win! I was a little surprised by this outcome. I was almost sure the smoked Armour sausages would win, hands down. This is like playing Mario Kart and winning the game with Mario. I guess this goes to show how a little heart and determination can bring out the best in everyone. It's a classic tale brought to life with these little sausages.

I was going to curve the scores to even things out, but on second thought... 5/10 seems about right as far as ideal Vienna sausage taste goes. After eating six little sausages my belly doesn't want any more. But only for you, Dear Reader, I will go against my body's will and make some food out of all these opened cans of sausages I have lying around now.

I looked up some Vienna sausage recipes because I didn't want to just throw away six barely-eaten cans of perfectly good cat food Vienna sausages, and I found one that looked interesting, vampire bat faces. The recipe has no pictures and is pretty confusing. Google provided no pictures either, so I was left to interpret the recipe on my own, so this is kind of an adventure. They are supposed to look like the faces of vampire bats, so I went in expecting this. Let's see how I do. Here are the ingredients:

Vienna sausages with ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, mustard, and cheese. On crescent rolls. With that delicious mix of ingredients how could the vampire bat faces be anything but delectable? /sarcasm. I decided to put one of every flavor of sausage in my mix. I mashed up all the ingredients and spooned the mixture onto the crescent rolls.

I then folded them in half, sealed them up, and placed sausage eyes on each bat.

I then cooked them for a while. When they were done I put on the finishing touches, which was the nose and mouth.

It's pretty tough to be very accurate with ketchup paint on a crescent roll canvas, but I made due. Again, the recipe was very vague about how to make these, and there were no pictures, but this is what I came up with. I kind of like these guys. But as I have learned from various cow-farm movies, I shouldn't name these guys and make them pets if I plan on eating them with a healthy conscience. 

So I ate the nameless creatures. I certainly wasn't expecting much considering what they're made of. I have to say though, these bat faces are actually pretty tasty! If you even somewhat like Vienna sausages, or if you hate your family, I'd recommend these little guys. They are a pretty decent snack, I'd say.

Final Taste Grade: 8.5/10

Final Looking-Like-a-Bat Grade: 1/10

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Home Decor!

I have an admittedly weird style as far as home decor goes; it's like I'm a grandma trapped inside a 25 year old man's body. This time I'm going to show a few things from the thrift store that I actually liked enough to buy and not make fun of!

This pillow is a miracle:

It encompasses everything I love about stuff: 

  • it is a very simplistic design, which is kinda what I'm into.
  • it's a pillow, so it's comfy.
  • it is clearly hand-stitched, making it super awesome because someone took the time to make it.
  • it involves mushrooms and butterflies, and everyone knows fungi are amazing and butterflies are... insects. And they eat dog poop sometimes.

This pillow matches all my other grandmotherly-like pictures of mushrooms in my house. It also seems to go well with all my Craigslist furniture. It does not, however, mesh that well with my red XBox and 55 inch flatscreen. But we learn to live in harmony, somehow.

I also found this painting:

This painting isn't so much "old lady" as it is "pre-teen girl," but I like it. Again, it exemplifies simplicity. It looks like something you'd find in an '80s art gallery. Plus, you can't argue with those colors. If I painted it I probably would have used some manlier colors, but after thinking about it for a minute I can't really define "manly colors." So this painting works just fine :) 

As soon as I saw this one I grabbed it and never let go: 

This is the best art ever. It is a mountain scene with a red cabin set near a lake in a forest. BUT IT'S STITCHED! There's even a reflection of the trees in the water! I paid $2 for this but I would have gladly paid double that. I don't know the real term for this art, and am too lazy to look it up since it's Friday night, but I love it. If anyone knows what this is called... you should say so in the comments. 

It kind of looks like it's from and old school video game. I like to imagine I live there in the cabin with my dog and have to fight off 8-bit forest monsters. I'm a level 14 warrior. 

Anyway, short post today because I want to go do stuff. I feel a little exposed now that you know my dark old-lady-ish secret. But I'm a proud 25 year old male grandmother. And looking back through, that middle painting does not fit the theme of this post... I still love it though!