5.30.2011

The Skip-Raid interviews Jason Kieffer

Hey everyone, Happy Monday! I'm so excited to come to you with a very long-overdue interview (it's actually been over a year since I did an interview with anyone. This may seem normal, but when you consider that I don't actually interview people in person - that all I do is email them - this is proof positive that I may be one of the laziest people you've never met). Anyways, I have wanted to interview this person for a very very long time; he's one of my favourite Toronto comic creators, and once I found out what he's currently working on, he may be my favourite (but we're not really allowed to talk about it till 2012. I hope he releases it before the Raputure!) Here we go!


Full name: Jason Kieffer

Occupation:
Graphic Designer

Where you live:
Cabbagetown, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Explain to those readers who might not know who you are why you are famous:

I draw comics, most of which are autobiographical or come from an autobiographical place or whatever. Though I'm the main character in a lot of my comics, I feel like my focus is the city streets and the oddballs that inhabit them.

The first two issues of my comic series Kieffer were nominated for Doug Wright Awards in 2008 and 2009. The last book I published, The Rabble of Downtown Toronto, collects 40 profiles of street people in a mock-guidebook format. It caused a bit of a stir.

Your work sort of has an early Joe Matt quality to it, but without relying too heavily on "when in doubt, throw in a sad panel about 'bating". Do you think you'll ever hit the wall where you just start drawing really bummer comics?
I love Joe Matt's work! I don't think he overdoes the masturbation thing or anything. I want to see more masturbation content from that guy! As far as I'm concerned, he's just scratched the surface. I wish I could write and draw comics that were an eighth as good as Joe Matt's! He is truly a Master Cartoonist.

But anyway -- no, I can't see myself hitting a wall or anything... I really don't feel like I'm going to run out of ideas anytime soon. I've got way too many comics I want to draw and not enough time to make them all happen.

There were a lot of haters in regards to your last book, The Rabble of Downtown Toronto (from now on I'll be referring to it as TRODT). Did you ever just want to tell people to fuck off?
Well, it was frustrating dealing with angry people because I found that most of them didn't want to listen what I had to say -- but I didn't want to walk away from those situations. I wanted to get a dialogue going with people and in general, but that never really happened. There was a lot of yelling, lecturing, whining and stuff like that, but very little intelligent discussion. Those conversations, both in person and in the media, centred around whether or not it was right for me to do the book, instead of the many other issues raised by the book. So, yeah... whatever...

My favourite comments about TRODT were the ones where it was like "He's profiteering off of homeless/mentally ill people!" But it's like - really - how much money did you actually make off TRODT? I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I doubt you were swimming in a pool of money like Scrooge McDuck every night laughing at what all that 'Crazy Money' bought you.
Yeah... I lost money publishing The Rabble. But that aside, some are opposed to the idea of an individual making a dime if it's related to someone else's suffering in any way. But I don't have a problem with it -- making money is great. Think of all the people who really cash in on the pain of others -- social workers, psychiatrists, drug companies, columnists who "tackle the issues" -- they all build well-paid life-long careers on the backs of people in less fortunate situations than themselves. But I guess they're helping, right?...

You were one of The Torontoists Villains of 2010. I was asked to stop writing for The Torontoist back in 2007 because my stuff was 'too creative'. Can I get a high five? Seriously though, why do you think you made the list? Does someone have a grudge against you?
Yeah -- I don't really know what's going on there... I'm not really sure why The Torontoist keeps mentioning my name... It's an unhealthy obsession, if you ask me...

Who are your favourite comic artists?
Some of the living cartoonists that I like are Daniel Clowes, Robert Crumb, Rick Altergott, Jim Woodring, Chris Ware, Joe Matt, Seth, Chester Brown, Dave Lapp, Johnny Ryan, Peter Bagge, David Collier, Ivan Brunetti, Joe Ollmann, Adrian Tomine, Gilbert Shelton, Mark Beyer, Tony Millionaire -- y'know, a lot of the usual suspects... Some of the dead cartoonists I like are Charles Schulz, Chester Gould, Fletcher Hanks, Harold Gray, E.C. Segar...I'm also a fan of comics by the eunuchs know as Nick Maandag and Ethan Rilly -- they're my buddies!

Who is your favourite Toronto person (I wanted to use the word "crazy", but it didn't feel right. Also, it doesn't have to be just crazies):
Well, Zanta is one of my top picks when it comes to street people. I love how his antics fucked up all the squares. And I admire him for pushing the city to its limits and revealing what the power structure permits/does not permit. It's really horrible that Zanta was banned from the downtown core and that he was prevented, by force, to move about freely and express himself.

It's a shame that the "activists" that attacked me for The Rabble didn't step in and help Zanta when he needed it. Zanta's experience of being marginalized and displaced was, in my eyes, similar to and representative of the everyday experience of many street people. The difference with Zanta was that his story was regularly being covered in the media. It was a great opportunity for activists to step up and protect Zanta's rights -- thereby protecting the rights of all street people. It could have been a big move in the right direction.

Editor's Note: for all American/non-Toronto readers who have no idea who Zanta is, Zanta is a Toronto "character" (aka Crazy Dude) who wears shorts (sometimes like these, but usually cut-off jeans) and a Santa hat every day of the year, even in the winter time. Zanta does push-ups on the sidewalk and flexes his muscles to all who will watch. His catchphrase is "Yes yes yes!" and he's be banned from a lot of public events; lots of people consider him a public nuisance, but I consider him to be totally awesome (even though one time Zanta made a lewd gesture to me while I was stopped at a stop light in a cab. Oh Zanta, you mischeivous scamp).


What are your favourite pens to use?
I love old fashioned dip pens. I use Speedball nibs and my favourite size right now is B5&1/2.

Your next book is going to be amazing. I know you don't want to talk about it too much, but there is a little teaser on your website. We know it's about Zanta. Can I tell you how excited I am that you're doing a thing about Zanta? How much can you tell me about it.
Well, there's not much to tell -- the whole deal's in that strip you mentioned. I interviewed Zanta back in 2006 and I'm using that interview as the foundation to tell Zanta's story in this book. Unlike The Rabble, I'll be using a more traditional comic book narrative format. The book will be divided into a few different sections and should end up being 100 pages or so in length.

If there was any justice in the world, you'd be able to make a living from drawing, but that's not always the case with creative people. What's your day job like?
My job's great. I do layout right now and it's a lot of fun. I love arranging images and text on a page! That's where you want to be! I kind of wish it was the 80's though... That way, it'd all be cut and paste and hands on and everything -- y'know what I mean?

My favourite newspaper comic is, without irony or shame, is The Family Circus. What's your favourite embarrassing panel-comic?
I was going to say Far Side... but I actually think it's good... Maybe Bizarro... I dunno... Family Circus is pretty fucked...

What are your favourite cities in Canada, the US?
I haven't done much travelling, so I can't really say. I went to St. John, NB recently and I loved it! I visited New York City not long ago -- and I loved it too! But I'm kind of turned off going to the states right now... visiting an unfolding police state isn't my idea of fun...

Did you go to art school?
No -- I went to university. I took a few art classes there and I learned a bit from them, though not much in the way of technical skills. The focus there was more on the conceptual side. So, I consider myself to be self taught. I've learned a lot just doing life drawing and from copying panels that I like in my sketchbook.

Have you ever been mistaken for someone more famous that yourself?

I don't think I've ever been mistaken for a famous person. Bums regularly shout "Hey, carrot top!" at me. But I don't think they're making a reference to the world-famous entertainer know as Carrot Top. Once a drunk guy said "Hey, it's Robert Plant!" as I walked by him, but he was mocking me...

What do you feel about people who like to declare "I don't own a TV"?
Well, I don't own a TV. But I'm not the kind of guy who advertises the fact. Now, having said that, I will say, "I don't own a TV!" if someone starts a conversation about TV with me at a party or something. I guess I just want to let them know that I won't be able to hook into the conversation or future conversations about TV. Also, it's kind of boring talking about movies, shows and commercials and stuff. I'd rather talk about the fact that 9/11 is an inside job or UFOs or something instead...

Tell me a story about the last time you cried:
Uh... that's not gonna happen...

Are you really excited about summertime?
Yes and no. Yes because I like the sun and flowers and and all that. No because I burn easily in the sun. And I spend a lot of my time trying to find shade. Also -- the heat makes drawing uncomfortable and more difficult in many different ways -- sticky paper, blotting ink, sweating body... But I love the summer! And I love the sun!

When can I come back and ask you more about Zanta?
You can ask me more about Zanta when the book comes out. Hopefully that'll happen sometime in early 2012. But who knows, right?...

Your ideal sandwich:

Mennonite ham, old cheddar, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, mustard with pepper on my Dad's bread.

5.25.2011

The last Peeps post till Easter 2012 (that sounds menacing)

Okay, so I have been sitting on this post for a long-ass time and I have finally decided to post it. It's not that it's not good, it's just that I have been waiting for the right time. The right time is apparently following a "Where are they now" post about Boy Meets World. Nannyways, one of my favourite, favourite readers is named Erin and she's from Alexandria, Virginia. Before Easter, Erin drove from Virginia to Washington DC to visit the only stand-alone Peeps store in the world. Note: I just Google mapped the trip, and it's apparently only 20 minutes. I keep forgetting that in the US you can hop from State to State in a matter of hours, whereas in Canada, in order to get from one Province to another you need to literally pack a lunch or board a plane. Case in point: I have been to 2 of Canada's provinces (one of which is the one I live in). However, I have been to about 1/3 of the American States (but let's face it; that's mostly because States have sawmill gravy and Provinces have...giant nickles? Balls of twine?)

So Erin took a shitload of pictures and sent them to me, and I then thought "why the hell doesn't she write about it?!? She actually got to go, so she's basically an expert. Give her a Doctorate degree! Let her teach a class at Harvard on American Confections and the Cultural Impact of. Give her the key to the city! MAKE HER A GOD AMONG MEN!" So here is what Erin wrote about the Peep store in Washington. Take it away, lady!

Here are the facts: the Peeps & Company store is located in the National Harbor, right outside of D.C., on the Potomac River. It’s the first store of its kind, and it also features Hot Tamales and Mike & Ikes (and apparently Peanut Chews, but I didn’t even see those), but no one who visits the store really gives a shit about those candies. It’s all about the Peeps! Just for reference, the D.C. National Harbor is a new, somewhat swanky area of shops/restaurants on the Potomac river, and is apparently owned by Disney (you can tell too). It's the only store of its kind in the U.S., and I'm assuming the world. I went on a crappy Saturday morning, which ended up being the perfect time because it wasn’t crowded. The store seems to thrive on absurdity, which is evident when you walk up and see the yellow VW bug with a gigantic Peep on the top. Even the door handles to get in the store are peep-shaped.






The store itself isn’t that large, but they really know how to cram as much ridiculous merchandise in it as possible. 80% of the floor space is dedicated to Peep paraphernalia and the hot tamales/Mike & Ikes jurisdictions are shamelessly shoved against the walls. The employees were mostly youngish people who had the familiar kill-me-now look but had to be friendly anyway. They handed out free samples of Peepsters (milk or dark chocolate candies filled with marshmallow cream – delish!) when we walked in.







As you can see in the pictures, the variety of merchandise included, and was not limited to: onesies, boxers, t-shirts with all sorts of dumb slogans (chillin’ with my peeps, inside we’re all the same, etc.), peep-scented candles, various peep-themed books, a peep coloring kit (I got excited because I thought it was to color actual peeps, but it’s actually just a coloring kit with peeps on the box/crayons), golf-club heads, fine china, all sorts of office supplies, lunch bags, coolers, stuffed animal peeps of all sizes, etc. My favorite merchandise incorporated the D.C. location – some boxes of peeps randomly had the American flag on them with “D.C.” stamped on the side. Nice touch, Peeps & Company.



Some of the merchandise was situated on these displays, and depending on what candy it was associated with it, there was a giant plastic version of that candy at the top. So most of them had plastic peeps, but then you got to the poor Mike & Ikes. They had a giant Mike & Ike, but really it just looked like a suppository. I felt kind of bad for them, and you could tell the employees did too because one of them was trying to get my friend and I to appreciate the “awesome floor” that was in front of the Hot Tamales section (it had gel underneath the tiles that moved when you stepped on it, and I have no idea what the hell that has to do with Hot Tamales).



The best part, though, was the music. They actually played songs having to do with the candies. The peeps song was obviously the one they spent the most time on, and it didn’t disappoint. Some lady was singing “PEEPS! PEEPS!” and she also spelled it out, just for reference, I guess.

Overall, I had a great time, and I can’t wait to go back for every holiday to stock up on more peeps. Also, apparently there’s a person who walks around in a giant peep costume on certain days, so I obviously want to witness that.

5.17.2011

What ever happened to?...Boy Meets World edition!

I think I speak for every girl out there who is hovering around 30 when I pose this question: "Where were you on Friday nights in the mid-to-late 90s (and don't lie to me and say you weren't at home watching Boy Meets World)? Because let's face it: if there was anything more strictly regimented in my young adult life than my BMW viewing, it was school and sleeping. This statement, in itself, is a bit of a contradiction though, because even as a kid I would watch it and think to myself "Holy shit, this show is a turd". I mean, it had everything: a teacher who follows them from elementary school to high school to FUCKING COLLEGE and also lives next door, a sister who disappears mid-season without an explanation, tons of pre-famous guest stars, lots of A Very Special Episode-episodes (Drugs! Alcoholic Dads! Sex!). Plus, tons of continuity errors, terrible dialogue, cheesy story lines, a set that looks like it was built for $400. But the real reason we watched was for one reason and one reason only: THE VOICE OF KITT FROM NIGHTRIDER! Let's take a look and see where the cast of BMW is now, shall we?

Cory Matthews (Ben Savage)
Oh, Cory Matthews. Ben played Cory Matthews on BMW from 1993 to 2000. That's weird, right? Doesn't that seem like a mistake? 7 years? That's as many episodes as Curb Your Enthusiasm (and not nearly as many Emmys). Obviously Ben Savage ruled in the 90s - his brother is The Wonder Years's Fred Savage, he was a "hottie", he had one of the most successful TGIF tv shows, he was funny and talented (despite being on a show that was pretty bland and poorly-written). So you'd think his star would rise and he would be ultimately more successful after the show was canceled, right?

WRONG! After growing out of his 'Adorably Cute but Sort-of Hot' phase and hightailing it to his 'Kind of Creepy in a I-shouldn't-agree-to-a-date-with-this-guy-I-met-online' phase, Ben Savage had trouble finding work as an actor. His last film credit on his imdb is the shameful Welcome to Mooseport; his last tv credit is a show called Generation Rex (which I'll just go ahead and assume is some kind of Disney channel show about dinosaurs that are also pop stars). Then I got down to his Director credits and was like "Wow! This guy has directed episodes of Modern Family, It's Always Sunny, and Greek. That's pretty good!" but then I looked at how many episodes he's directed, and it's 1 of each television series. Which means - drumroll please - he didn't do a good enough job to be asked back for a second episode :( Oh dear, the sads.
UPDATE!!!! It turns out I was reading Fred Savage's imdb! When I finally woke my ass up and started typing properly, I found out that Ben Savage's imdb is much MUCH more bleak. He's literally had a handful of bit-parts in shows like Without a Trace and Chuck. Oh, and he has a Twitter and it's just the saddest thing - it looks like he's using it to pick up girls. MY FACE IS IN SUCH A FROWN RIGHT NOW.
Fun Fact! Savage interned for Republican Senator Arlen Specter while at Stanford University, and was also a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. DOUCHE!

Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong)
Ooooh, Shawn was such a troubled bad boy; he could also wear the hell out of a plaid flannel shirt, right ladies? Shawn was the n'ere-do-well bff of Cory who's dad was an alcoholic and his mom was a deadbeat and they lived in a trailer (REMEMBER HOW HE LIVED IN A TRAILER?!?!!?) So what's he doing now? With a name like 'Rider Strong', I'm going to assume either porn, gay porn, or gay internet porn.

He's actually pretty boring now. He always reminded me of River Phoenix, so I just naturally assumed he would go on to overdose at the Viper Room on Halloween, but that never happened. Instead, Rider went to college, got his Masters in Fine Art, and makes small shorts and independent films.
Fun Fact! He was in Cabin Fever and Cabin Fever 2. LOVE HIM!

Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel)
I have such a love-hate relationship with Topanga. Here is why:
- Loved her style: I always wanted to dress like her and have a wig made of her amazing crimped hair
- Hated her name (but I think we all did). Remember how she was supposed to be the child of hippies? Seriously, hippies wouldn't have picked a name like Topanga; they would have named her Inner Lyte or Lovewayve or something. Topanga sounds too white trash to have come from hippies.
- Loved how down to earth she was
- Hated how she would never break up with Cory (HE'S HOLDING YOU BACK, GIRL!!!! GO TO THE SMALL LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE YOU WANT TO GO TO AND GET YOUR DEGREE IN ASTROLOGY LIKE YOU WANT TO!!!)
- Loved how she had a realistic body; I felt like I knew a million Topangas
- Hated how she would pronounce 'Cory' with such a harsh K-sound
I know I'm picking apart a character, but whatever - give me my moment. Let's see what Danielle Fishel is doing now, k?

How do I use the term 'lukewarm career growth' in a way that doesn't make me sound like a bitch? Yeah, I can't. Fishel went on to act in National Lampoon's Dorm Daze and Dorm Daze 2 which makes me wanna bust out a "Danielle - you career in danger, girl". So, that's unforch, and besides that, she doesn't have too many other acting credits to her name. However (and hear me out on this next one) she was the host of an StyleNetwork show called The Dish that was kind of like if a girl hosted E! Network's The Soup and it...wasn't...terrible. I watched it a couple of times and Fishel had really good comedic timing. She hit jokes in the right way and was a total joy to watch. It was on for 3 years till in was canceled a month ago, and I sincerely hope she gets another opportunity like The Dish, because she was great. Not Joel McHale great, but great in her own way.
Fun Fact! Danielle Fishel went to the prom with N-Sync's Lance Bass. BEARD-DORABLE!

Eric Matthews (Will Friedle)
Cory's other brother was the best combination of hot, stupid, dumb, and hot. He was also funny, but mostly hot. I used to want him to be my boyfriend. I wonder what he looks like now? Would I still want to date him?

SANTO DIOS! Who slapped all the hot out of Will Friedle?!?!? He looks like the singer of a Christian rock band who gets busted for exposing himself to a minor. Shit, I hope this guy's career isn't as crappy as his pervert-goatee.
Aaaaaannnnd...it's not great. No longer as visually inoffensive as his BMW days, Will now does a lot of voice work behind the camera. As long as there are new episodes of Kim Possible and Kingdom Hearts video games, Friedle will always have money coming in.
Fun Fact! Will Friedle used to date Jennifer Love Hewitt back in the day, thus making them the piss-poor-acting-skills Brangelina of the 90s.

George Hamilton Feeny (William Daniels)
Oh, Mr. Feeny. A character straight out of an episode of Law & Order: SVU. Think about it - a single, unmarried old man (who's wife is dead, but really - how do we know he even had a wife? Exactly) who follows Cory from elementary school to High School to College, lives in a house beside the Matthew's family for years, offers Cory advice on everything from girls to school to saying no to drugs. I'm going to go out on a limb here: Mr. Feeny has an unhealthy obsession with Cory Matthews. Like, to the point that Mr. and Mrs. Matthews should have taken Cory to a therapist who would ask him to "point on the doll where he touched you" because - let's be honest - if you had a next-door-neighbor who kept switching schools in order to follow your son's every move for years, would you not be a tiny bit concerned? Like, how the hell did this conversation not happen?
Cory's Parents: "Oh hey, George! I see you got a 'For Sale' sign on the front yard. You moving?"
Feeny: "Why yes, I am! I've decided to leave my job as the Principal of the High School to become a professor at Cory's shitty state college."
Cory's Parents: "Oh...wow. So...I'm sorry? You're following our son to college?"
Feeny: "Yes! I've also applied to be the RA on his residence floor and the manager of his after-school job at the campus Coffee House. Furthermore, I'm going to still refer to him as 'Mr. Matthews' even though he's an adult now and I should be using his first name."
Cory's Parents: "Cool! Have fun! Keep him out of trouble!"
But we know that William Daniels isn't Mr. Feeny (he's always going to be the living, breathing voice of KITT to me), so let's see what he's been up to.

Look, the man doesn't have to work; he's a television legend. He has an Emmy, he was on St. Elsewhere and Night Rider, he's been on The Simpsons twice. But he still does voice work and looks like a super nice guy.
Fun Fact! He and his wife made Emmy history when they became only the second real-life couple to win best actor/best actress awards on the same night. Also the roles they won for? Fictional husband and wife on St. Elsewhere. META! Oh, and they've been married for 50 years. TILL DEATH DO US PART!

Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris)
EW, REMEMBER MINKUS!?! I hated that kid so much. I know that he was just a character, but I couldn't get past the idea that a kid was THAT good at acting, and therefore was just as snotty and fucking annoying in real life. What's he doing now?

...apparently he's been in every episode of the never-ending-series that is One Tree Hill. He plays a character called Marvin 'Mouth' McFadden (yeah, I got nothing). But the guy gets a steady paycheck, so he's automatically doing much better than Ben Savage. He still looks very weird though; he never really grew into his obscenely upsetting looks. He should start a group for actors with weird-ass faces with DJ Qualls and Chris Owen (it would be like the Freemasons for character actors).
Fun Fact! Lee Norris is friends with Lauren Conrad from The Hills. That's...cute? Yeah, I'll say cute. CUTE!

So what about the rest of the cast? Like Cory and Eric's seldom seen sister Morgan or brother Joshua? The girl who Eric and Shawn's brother (played by Matthew "Not Joey" Lawrence) lived with in that New York Loft? Who cares! They've done nothing! So let's look instead at some Fun Facts about Boy Meets World!
- Adam Scott from Party Down and Parks and Recreation was a recurring character, Griffin "Griff" Hawkins, who was Cory's bully in High School. I know, right? ADAM SCOTT AS SOMEONE'S BULLY?!?!
- Topanga had 5 different actor's portraying her parents. They were: Peter Tork (The Monkees!), Michael McKean (Spinal Tap what?!?!?), Mark Harelik (who?), Annette O'Toole (again, who?) and Marcia Cross (CASTING MISTAKE?!?)
- Cory and Eric's dad was played by William Russ, who has so many acting credits to his name, I had a hard time picking out the best of the best. But with roles in The Mentalist, JAG, The West Wing and TWO CSI's, he may just be your Grandparent's favourite actor.
- Guess who voices Slinky Dog in the Toy Story movies now that Jim Varney is dead? Shawn's crazy Dad! Aka Blake Clark, who is in fucking EVERYTHING.
- Cory had a bunch of bullies at school, and we've covered Adam Scott. But guess who else almost Facebooked him to death (you know, if Boy Meets World was set in 2011)? Ethan Suplee (My Name is Earl) and - drumroll please - the guitarist from Rilo Kiley, Blake Sennett. Which leads me to this: How much of a fucking pussy was Cory that his bullies were an indie rock darling and the scrawny guy from Party Down. Jesus, throw in Martin Starr and Cory was basically bullied by the geeks from Freaks and Geeks.

5.06.2011

Easter's over, but the Peeps keep coming

Well, my Peep grab has finally come to a close. Easter has come and gone, and with it goes the promise of marshmallow Peeps. Just like the Cadbury Creme Egg before it, they have disappeared back into obscurity until Easter 2012. But not at my house! My apartment is still flooded with Peep merchandise, Peep wrappers and boxes, and kind notes that say "Here's your candy, you fat ass." No one wrote that to me, but imagine? I'm sure that's what the Postman thought when he kept delivering boxes that had the word CANDY written in the customs form. Anyways, let's get to talking about Peep presents, shall we?

Erin from Virginia sent me a great box of Peep snacks, including these chocolate-covered marshmallow chicks. And can I just say? These were HANDS DOWN my favourite Peep confection. I ate one every morning at breakfast (someone call my Doctor and tell her that she's just been put on my speed dial).

I regret not taking a picture of the inside, but the marshmallow was bright yellow. I love that the good people at Peeps don't leave any stone unturned - everything needs to be out of control bright. Regardless of colour, they tasted amazing. The chocolate was super-thick and the marshmallow was really creamy and tasted like real home-made marshmallows (not easy when you're making them in a massive factory with, what I'm assuming, enslaved non-English-speaking orange dwarfs). I also received this wonderful monstrosity on a stick:

At first I was like "That's cute. Rainbow Pop...it's a Peep-kebab. What won't they put on sticks in 'Merica?" but then I unwrapped it and my face was like O_o

IT'S HUMAN CENTIPEEP!!!! 4 Peeps sewn mouth-to-ass in an disgusting, horrific science experiment gone wrong! I will never, ever eat this. It's going to be sprayed with sealing varnish and put on my shelf. Did I just make myself the Rob Zombie of Candy? What does that even mean? I need a nap.

Another box came from the wonderful Rose from Hawaii. Rose emailed me saying:
If you'd like a peep anecdote, I will always and forever refer to a mint flavored peep as my marriages "alamo." I'll NEVER forget what my husband did (its actually really dumb).
Adorable! Everyone loves domestic disputes regarding marshmallows. But Rose told me she didn't want to send me too many Peep things, because she knew I'd be getting a lot, so she sent me a couple of chocolate-covered marshmallow Peeps, some Swedish Fish (that came with little candy balls called Candiar...get it? Caviar? Candiar?) and this soda from the good old U-S-of-A, Sun Drop:


This was a big deal for me because she sent not one, but 3 cans of Sun Drop. And let me take a minute to talk about Sun Drop. I described it to a friend as "Satans Piss, or a white-trashier Mountain Dew". I seriously love it so much. It's so goddamnned sweet. Here's something about Canada: our beer is much much stronger than yours, but our soda is weaker. For instance - people in Canada LOVE Canada Dry gingerale...and not as a mixer. We like how un-soda it is. Both Mountain Dew and Mello Yello failed to sell in Canada. I can only imagine that Sun Drop would suffer the same fate; Canadians would be like "whaaaaaaat isthis? Can I please have a chaser of water?" Anyways, when on Wikipedia, I found out this little fact about Sun Drop:

Sun Drop is sometimes used as a mixer for drinks with hard liquor.

Um, yes please. Will do. I love gin, so I'll be making a drink I like to call Grandma Ginny Sundrop. I can only imagine it will get me super drunk and barfy (so...party in a can, then?)

But the nail in the Peep coffin was the SECOND Peep package from Erin in Virgina. I almost died when I opened this. Actually, I did die, came back to life, resurrected on the third day and ascended to the Heavens. Now I sit at the right hand of Peep and watch the good people on earth devour marshmallow and chocolate.

Oh, hello, are you a package from the Peep Store in 'Merica?!?!
*Note: I will be doping a separate post on the Peep Store, because Erin sent me a buttload of pictures and all of them are fucking amazing. It blew my mind.
So yeah - I opened this and was like "A grown-ass woman should NOT be as excited for this, but I am so deal with it".

This was the cutest thing I have ever seen. It's a Peep bunny poking through a hole in the White House Lawn. Are you hearing me?!?! Did I stutter?!?!? It's a bunny...living under the White House...with his friends. Fuck. America, you rule.

The bunny is filled like a beanbag and he's sitting on my headboard beside a ceramic bust of the Virgin Mary. I might need to find another home for him.

She also bought me a Peeps cookbook. I know, right?!?! I'm seriously over my head here. Before I opened it I was like "OMG I bet they have the laziest recipes. This is going to be great" and then I was pleasantly surprised at how cute and charming the whole thing was. I mean, S'mores with Peeps? That's really cute. And look at this picture in the "Decorating with Peeps" section:

That's not awful, amirite? It's actually really cute. Oh, Peep Cookbook, I unfairly judged you. And in case you were wondering, that pastel-coloured bag in the box contained Peepsters - the chocolates with marshmallow creme inside. I took a few photographs of them, but my nails were so dirty and yellow from polish staining, and dry and cracked, and had primer splattered all over them, my friend told me that people would be too grossed out to ever come back if they saw them, so I decided not to post. But, if you wanna see a picture of a gross-ass hand holding a half-eaten Peepster, email me and I'll send you the jpg. It's good if you accidentally swallowed some poison and need to barf it up.

All in all, this Peep-speriment (or, you know...experiment) was so amazing. I loved getting these great packages from all across Canada's pants, America. I know I joke about America being this vast wasteland of fat asses and pregnant teens, but it really truly holds a place in my heart. I love you guys. Thank you so so much for the amazing American presents. To the 5 people who sent me Peep packages - I am putting together a Canadian box for each of you. It's so good, you might want to go to the bathroom before you collect your mail, because you are going to shit a brick. Wow, that was tasteless at best - I'm sorry.

5.02.2011

Yeah, well...Canada has big news too, you guys...

So this week has been kind of a big deal in the world of news (or n00z, as its known in my house). In England, two adorable rich people got married in a very fancy Fairy Tale way. In 'Merica, they caught the Arabic Carmen Sandiago and everyone blew out their voice boxes from screaming USA! USA! And in Canada, we have...an election today. Which is weird, because I feel like we have an election every two damn years, amirite? Did I just not go and vote for something? Oh yeah, city election :(

Anyways, Canadian elections aren't as exciting as American elections. In America, you have two people and it's like "Do you like guns and beers and trucks and the Founding Fathers? Vote for this guy. Do you like fancy coffees and reading glasses and iPods and the Founding Fathers? Vote for this guy" and whoever gets the most votes becomes the President of the World. In Canada, it's a little different. You get 5 choices of people to vote for and they're all different. Here is the breakdown of who might be Canada's President come tomorrow:

Stephen Harper
This is Canada's President. He has been the Prime Minister for a couple of years now, and he's...I dunno. He's got a pretty bad case of pedo-eyes. Lots of people don't like him, but it's not cause he's a jackass like George Bush Jr. was. He's just...creepy. There's something deeply unsettling about him. I would not be surprised to find out that he's a replicant and runs on batteries. He does, however, like cats; but I suspect that's just a result of programming. He's a member of the Conservative Party, which is kind of like Canada's Republicans, except that our Republicans don't demand to see proof that the President was born in America.
Who will vote for this guy? Two words: OLD PEOPLE. Oh, and rich people...and hardcore Christians. But mostly old people.
Prime Minister or Take a Lap: Much to everyone's chagrin, he's probably still going to be the Prime Minister tomorrow because seniors vote in record numbers (thanks, The Simpsons!)

Michael Ignatieff
This guy is a dick. He's leading the second most popular party in Canada (Liberals, which is like Canada's Democrats), and no one wants to vote for him (which means that a new Sheriff of Second Place has come to town, but more on that later). Regardless, he's super smug and totally seems like the kind of guy who would send back food at a restaurant over and over again until he throws up his hands and, with his eyes closed, goes "You know what? Just...bring the bill." Dickmove!
Who will vote for this guy? New Canadians and people who can't speak English very well. Why? All the TV commercials are like "Stephen Harper doesn't like Immigrants. Stephen Harper wants to enlist your kids in the Military. Vote for us, or SHITS GONNA GET REAL". Also, broke people will vote for him because the only TV channel that comes in super-clear when you don't have cable (CBC) is super biased for this guy and they never report anything negative about him. So, if you're dirt poor and can't afford $40 a month for cable (aka Me) then TV is like The Ignatieff Smile Time Variety Hour.
Prime Minister or Take a Lap: Put down the Gatorade buddy - take a lap.

Jack Layton
Grandpa Jack! Everyone's favourite old man who beat cancer and is fluent in Chinese. Jack Layton represents the NDP which is short-hand for the New Democratic Party aka Socialism Sort-of. It sounds very Lenin/Must.Crush.Capitalism, but it's not. Also, Jack Layton is like the nicest guy. If Michael Ignatieff is the uncle who gives you encyclopedias for your birthday, Jack Layton is the uncle who gives you a fuckload of Legos.
Who will vote for this guy? Doye, me. And pretty much everyone else under 30.
Prime Minister or Take a Lap: There are too many Dads who won't vote NDP (mine included) and sadly, the people who will vote for him (people my age) will either be too stoned or too napping to forget to vote today, so...Grampy better hop on his Jazzy and take a lap.

Gilles Duceppe
Here's what you need to know: French French French French French.
Who will vote for this guy? See above.
Prime Minister or Take a Lap: I think this guy gets about as many votes as the Marijuana Party (which...exists. Headdesk) but they invite him to the debates and stuff because...I guess...he brings poutine? Excuses Gilles, prenez un recouvrement.

Elizabeth May
Elizabeth May is a really nice lady who runs the Green Party. I know, some of you snickered just now. But to Americans, here's something crazy: when the Green Party first started, oh, 10-15 years ago? People thought it was the crackpot homeless dude on the subway. But now it's an actual party with tons of candidates and commands about 10% of the votes. Crazy, right? This was all before 'green' was a good thing (remember when it just shorthand for I Use Toms of Maine Deodorant and I Smell Like a Hamster Cage?). But here's a fun thought: Elizabeth May wasn't allowed to participate in the TV debates because her Party is too small, and yet the French guy was (even though he doesn't get votes anywhere but Quebec). Um, total dickmove?
Who will vote for this guy/gal? Old hippies, people who actually care about emissions/oil spills/carbon footprints, people wanting to throw their vote, young people.
Prime Minister or Take a Lap: Oh dear. Sadly, Elizabeth May has a snowball's chance in Hell. Which is too bad, because she's not a crackpot and actually really well-spoken. So, hop on your bike and ride a lap.

There are also a bunch of Maxist-Leninist candidates, Marijuana Party candidates, and Christian Fundamentalist candidates, but no one really votes for them, so the election never gets crazy-exciting. The most that will happen is Harper will get re-elected, people will be bummed out, Jack Layton will become the official opposition, Gilles Duceppe will say some stuff in French, Michael Ignatieff will pull some Alpha Beta House bullshit, and everyone will just sort of sigh and go "Oh well, see you all in 2 years".

But I think the best thing about Canadian Elections is explained in the video below. In my friend's neighborhood, someone made this art installation about voting. It's like a perpetual motion machine made to represent wastes of time/money/energy/etc. Like, the guy who made it is probably sitting in his house with a shit-eating grin on his face like "Yeah, Steve, you are so fucking clever. Dude, you totally just stuck it to the man. I mean, it's like, why vote?!? Nobody speaks for the average man! This is art with a message, guys! I'd like to see the look on Harper's face if he saw this, man." I'd like to see someone remove Elliot's head in the middle of the night and replace it with a basketball, personally, but then I'd also need to coordinate a time to watch the guy come out of his house and lose his shit, and I am far too busy this week.

...but seriously, someone actually made this. Bummer :(