pennywise

I had the clown nightmare again. This time I was marching towards a shinny carousel surrounded by darkness. Some unknown magnetic force was pulling me towards the musical octagon, so I couldn’t get away, my feet were locked, moving forward.

I stepped up the carousel step, a very large awkward step, and sat down in the cold seat of a chariot. Then suddenly, for no reason, the carousel sped up. I tried holding on to the pole in front of me but my hand kept slipping off the side.

Then a clown with a red curly fro and a polka dot white baggy suit jumped out of one of the empty chariots in front me. I recognized the clown from another dream, but I couldn’t remember what dream. He moved towards me with ease even though I was having increasing difficulty standing. He gave me a big smile and that was when I noticed that he looked a lot like John Wayne Gacy as played by Brian Dennehy but with a twisted Pennywise smile.

gacy

Suddenly I had to make a choice: either fall into the pit of darkness or fight this clown who was now taking swipes at me with his shiny knife…That’s when I woke up, covered in the cold sweat of terror.

Since childhood, I have harboured a deep rooted fear of clowns, so I had trouble falling back asleep. I got up, drank an entire carton of milk, then ate a pickle. Afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking about the dream so I Googled“Clown Nightmare”and here were my results:

Coulrophobia- Wikipedia

The prefix “coulro-” may be a neologism derived from the Ancient Greek word κωλοβαθριστής meaning “stilt-walker.”[nb 1] Although the concept of a clown as a figure of fun was unknown in classical Greek culture,[4] stiltwalking was practiced. Honestly. Never trust a man on stilts. If he can’t look you in the eye then he’s got to have something to hide.

It’s true that Wikipedia was kind of a cop out, though it has taught me so much about random crap at two in the morning (where else can you learn about the bombing of Dresden while snacking on potato chips?). It even taught me this really cool new psychological nomenclature: “Coulrophobia.”

Neat, huh? And who knows how long humans dreamed about evil clowns; perhaps medieval children’s nightmares were full of evil killer jesters. Maybe even earlier. The ancient Babylonians had diabolic trickster demon-gods that resembled clowns…think about it.

clown workshop

Clown Blog|jondavison.blogspot.ca

Going to the circus as a child may cause latent detrimental effects in adults: some people now walk the earth dreadfully afraid of clowns. But before we give into our fears, we ought to ask ourselves: What is it like to fill a clown’s shoes?

I think Jon Davison’s site Clown Blog helped me understand the motivations and reasons behind the attraction to this profession. There must have been a few good motivations. After all, only a small percentage of  clowns and mimes are really evil.

Analyzing your dreams or nightmares|Dream Bible

No longer convinced that all clowns are out to get me, I started peering at the next site dedicated to the psychology behind clown dreams. The Dream Bible seems to focus on an interpretation of personal embarrassment. Since embarrassment is something we choose to hide it oftentimes come through in our dream state, in the form of clowns.

For instance, did you know that clown sexually assaulting you means that you fear the lack of control you have when embarrassed? The more you know!

clown4

Murderous Clown Nightmare That Feels Sooo Real | Clowns Dream Interpretations|Experience Project

Just like my own sharing of  a clown nightmare earlier, there are many sites dedicated to the sharing of personal experiences. It’s often nice to reach out to people and find someone who shares you fear, or your nightmare; whether it be fear of alien abduction, herpes-type rash or a shared fear of mimes and carnival acts.

People need to know they are not alone. The Experience Project is a pretty good social network for dream analysis.

evilronald

Killer Clown|Tumblr/The 9 Most Frightening Clowns On Film

You know what’s a really bad idea? Looking up all these ridiculously scary clown gifs an hour after a clown nightmare.

With my plans to got bed over I decided that the best way to get over my fears was to watch a movie about them. So after reading  the  9 most frightening clowns in movies  I tried watching Carnieville, which turned out to be a very good idea.

Turns out I  have no problem falling asleep while killer clown movies play in the background . In fact I was knocked out cold…

zombies

Lately they’re everywhere! From the moans coming off the T.V. show playing in your living room to flash mobs of the undead crawling down the streets of your city to the insatiable hordes tearing each other to pieces outside the plate glass windows of Walmart on Black Friday, Zombies are definitely invading.

Just a few months ago the Canadian parliament discussed the possibility of an imminent zombie epidemic. Pat Martin of the NDP stood on the floor of the house of commons and asked why emergency groups in Quebec were staging exercises. “I would like to salute today the CDC and the government of Quebec and the Center for Disease control [for] putting in place  measures to deal with the possibility of an invasion of zombies. I don’t need to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that a zombie invasion could easily turn into a  a continent wide pandemic,” he said. To which the foreign affairs minister replied “Canada will never become a safe have for zombies ever!”

I mean c’mon, zombies aren’t real…Right? Okay, so they found a fungus out there that is known to take over and eventually kill ants by sending spikes through their bodies. But that doesn’t mean anything. Right?

zombie_fungus

Nonetheless, I figure if I want to learn how to protect myself against Zombies in an apocalyptic situation then knowing how to escape a horde invading my apartment is really pertinent information. I’ll just type “zombie” here in the Google search bar and see what I come up with:

The Zed Word Blog

Not my personal favorite Zombie blog but for some reason it comes up on the first page for any walking dead search…so in terms of having excellent search engine optimization, they’ve obviously got it going on. They put a humorous twist on a terrifying subject and exploit the paranoia of living in constant fear of an impeding Zombie apocalypse.

The national geographic/ Zombie Fungus

Disaster or Blackout Emergency SuppliesRemember those ants I told you about about earlier? Well, here is a fascinating post from National Geographic that will turn your opinion of mother nature from nurturer to some kind of sick mad scientist.

Center for Disease Control/Zombie Outbreak

How do you get people’s attention about a topic they don’t really care about? You tell them to imagine they’re trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. The Center for Disease Control did just that. It turns out that preparing for a zombie apocalypse is similar to protecting yourself in an state of emergency.

Have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp.

Cracked/6 Sensible Things you Should Never Do in a Zombie Outbreak

Cracked shows that being sensible and logical might not be the correct thing to do during a zombie apocalypse. Sometimes being too nice might mean your downfall. the coming apocalypse, after all, is where the mad men reign.

Blog of the Dead

Prepared to be tested on your zombie knowledge. Blog of the dead is a fascinating little site that will train your mind to mentally prepare for the day of the returning dead.

What sets blog of the dead apart from other blog sites is the necessities poll; it’s really interesting reading what other people think is the most necessary thing for survival.

This blog also delves into the philosophical issues that zombie culture has in society. I also found this funny dinosaur comic that explains it all:

dino

 

Zombie Research Society

Sometimes, you have really important issues on your mind. Like whether a hatchet is better than a blow torch when having to confront zombies on a daily basis. Knowing how to use weaponry might be the difference of you having steak or becoming a steak.

The Zombie research society confronts the important post-apocalyptic issues that you will have to face, without the insidious optimistic  illusions about your hope for survival. The bleak pessimism of this site is refreshing.

 

catputer

aaronswartzWhile considering this week’s keyword search for Blog on Blog, I got thinking about the untimely death of Aaron Swartz and his method of protest, hacktivism.

While many may not agree with Swartz’s reasoning for releasing thousands of academic journals from JSTOR,  the co-founder of Reddit’s suicide was undoubtedly a terrible tragedy.

I’m not going to get into whether or not online activists should be tracked and persecuted to the full extent of the law or whether or not hacktivism should be a legal form of protest; that’s for you to decide.

However, I think readers should keep in mind the government’s roll in his death. Conspiracy theories aside, Aaron Swartz faced numerous legal threats and multiple years in prison for his hacktivism while not a single banker received jail time for the financial crash of 2008.

Currently the government of Canada does not consider hacktivism to be a legal form or protest. Hacktivists are viewed as a threat to businesses and national security. For instance, when Visa’s system was shut down on December 8th, 2010, by the hacktivist group Anonymous, they lost over a hundred and fifty million dollars. That’s one costly hack!

Whatever your opinion of them, hacktivists have undeniably become major players in the world of politics.

So here it is, my top 5 blogs from this week’s keyword search:

Wall Street Protest5. New York Times: What is Hacktivism?

Okay New York Times, once again you have taught me so much. Even though Noam Chomsky tells me not to trust you, I just can’t help myself. So, hacktivism is made up of two words: hacking + activism. But is there more to this word? According to this post, there’s an undercurrent lexical war between parties that want to blemish the neologism for political purposes, and those that want acceptance between online activism and the broader outdoor form of protest. So this is about recognition. Intriguing…

 

bankers

 

4. Village Voice: Where’s the justice?

Once again the Village Voice has hit the nail on the head with underlying issues of judicial imbalance between the federal government’s pursuit of hacktivism and their slap on the wrist approach with big banks. This post will make you very, very angry.

3. Radware: Mitigating attacks in 2013

On the other side of the coin are the businesses trying to protect their back-ends from cyber attacks. There are many, many sites dedicated to protecting businesses’ cyber integrity from “cyber criminals, terrorists.”

catputer According to Radware, these cyber terrorist must be stopped by all means and knowing how to protect yourself can save you from financial ruin.

Well, one man’s hacktivist is another man’s cyber-terrorist.

2. The 9 Ways Hacktivist Shocked the world in 2012

From hackers turning informants to federal agents having their phone conferences tapped, 2012 was a very busy year in the news for hacktivists. This is a must-read list of the audacity of hacktivists and how they have joined different political forces and now must be recognized as either friend or foe.

1. Anon News
anonymousAnon news is the main news and discussion group site of Anonymous, the biggest, most ominously anonymous group on the internet. What makes Anonymous so effective is it’s lack of leadership. It is non-centralized and delivers messages through hacking. Recently this message addressed to President Obama was posted on the site regarding his State of the Union address, which was to be directed at cyber security and security in general. The message told Obama to refrain from trying to regulate the internet…or else!

Anonymous’ focus is to keep a free and open internet. Aaron Swartz would be proud!

 

solarflare

Blog on Blog is regular feature here on Forget The Box where we look at the best in blogs.

Last year the world was suppose to end. Whether by hellfire, rogue planet (nibiru), asteroid or by a solar flare the earth was suppose to be destroyed, but, unfortunately to the dismay of every weirdo on the internet it never happened.

One of the reason why this never happened is because the Mayans never really predicted the end of the world, after all our calendar starts over after December 31st, why shouldn’t the Mayan calendar just start over?

Since the beginnings of professional prophets, people have been predicting the end of the world but so far to a highly inaccurate degree.

We should just face the facts: The Mayans just happened to perceive time in longer fragments but that didn’t stop most websites from seeing opportunity.

Leading up to the Mayan countdown we saw an increase on the internet of blogs relating to the subject. It seemed every site was in on the “world is nigh” action. Here are some of the best blogs about the end of the world.

NASA

Even scienctists got into the debate as to why the world wasn’t going to end. NASA got so many emails directed at wanting information about December 21st, that NASA finally broke down and made this video for all the “crazies” explaining why the world won’t end.

Best Bunker Blog

Maybe I’m old fashion but there is nothing like a good bunker to get my blood rushing. What design will withstand the awesome carnage outside? Well this blog uncovers the best construction for survival. There’s even a few lavish condo bunkers where you can reside the rest of your life in comfort and ease away from all the flesh eating hordes and temples of destruction. Some are even built around entire underground communities. (Instructables: How to build a bunker)

Car and Driver: 10 Vehicles for the Apocalypse

If the end times are coming, you’re going to need the right vehicle to get around, right? What kind of vehicle would best aid your survival during the final trial and tribulation? Well, according to Car and Driver, larger cars like SUVs or big tank-like vehicles like the Daimler Ferret are the best for survival. A vehicle that says “don’t tread on me… I got an extra tire.” And you though SUVs were bad, well wait till that zombie apocalypse happens, it turn out the most durable cars are the most douchiest.

And how else do you plan to crush a zombie horde without a giant douche-mobile like a Hummer? (Car and Driver: 10 Vehicles for the Apocalypse)

The Best and Worst Dogs for a Zombie Apocalypse

One of my favorite post-apocalyptic movies is A Boy and His Dog about a Mutt that has the ability to communicate telepathically with his owner. The dog was not only the smarter of the two, he also came in handy when trying to avoid radioactive monsters with his handy ability to detect them by scent.

It turns out that the Welsh Corgi is one of the best dogs to help you survive, based “On the strength of it’s size, herding instinct and it’s ability to appear less intelligent due to its cuteness.” The worse dog you can own: a poodle. (401ak47.com)

Best Country for the Apocalypse

The best country to survive the apocalypse? Canada is looking pretty good. According to travel site Runawayguide.com Canadian zombies would probably be the nicest… just saying. And all our open terrain and hunting rifles would probably come in useful. Overall they suggest Norway as the best country to survive an apocalypse. Why? “It is isolated, it has an abundance of fish and deep cold water crabs and it’s population is low.” I also hear it’s nice this time of year. (Best Country to Survive the Apocalypse)

Best Visions of Post Apocalyptic Future

The Creators project has some awesome visions of what the future might look like once it has all ended. They’ve put together some amazing images and short films of what the future may or may not look like including overgrown cities, robot overlords and some awesome cyber punk. Check out this short film: True Skin.

If you’ve got any favorite apocalypse blogs let us know in the comments!

alf

Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s just the thought of Alf’s face that makes me light up with glee. But when I look up eighties pop culture on the internet I can’t help but feel like I belong, and it’s not just because it reminds me of my early childhood.

The eighties had a special je ne sais quoi, a hodge-podge of style and culture that resulted in not caring if that rat tail went with those neon sunglasses. All that I know is: It was “cool” when I was five.

Recently a friend of mine brought over a hard drive full of shows from the 80s and I decided for some ungodly reason to watch Three’s a Crowd a spinoff of Three’s Company. After this experience I felt compelled to write this week’s Blog on Blog on the ninteen eighties.

I was very young around the eighties. What I remember about them is there was an ET, there were Perfect Strangers and a wrestler who wore an elastic band on his face and  partied with Cyndi Lauper. There were LCD games and Goonies and elaborate hairstyles, meshed up together in my memory.

Let’s face it, for us who were really young living through the nineteen eighties our memory is a little blurry. This is why we have the internet: our link to the past.

The Music

Pop Eighties
Where else should we begin but with music. The music of the eighties was pretty unique in its style and Popeighties is the site that will take you down musical memory lane.

Lost in the 80s
Then there is the music that I never really got. I mean there was cassette after cassette produced of this junk. Thousands of cassettes must be somewhere now piled together on the floor of an abandoned BMG warehouse. This blog is that warehouse of music.

The Great 80s Blog
If you’re into Pac-man and Rubik’s cubes this is the site for you. But this site is also dedicated to the fashion, style, television, music and general culture of decadent eighties. Check out the great 80s blog and jog your memory on music you may have forgotten,

The Unofficial Weird Al Yankovic blog. What would this decade be without the musical re-inventions of Weird Al? Yes. This is a parody of a parody site. These people even pray to Al. This type of devotion to Al, also known as “His Lordship,” can only be found on his unofficial Fan Club.

Ten Crazy 80s Haircuts in Music
This really could have fit in either the music or hair category. Trailblazing hair in the eighties caught on from the popular styles of music. There was so much weird hair that went along with music , Suzie and the Banshees, the cure , etc.

The Hair
Yes it’s true, Flock of Segulls had some of the weirdest hair in the 80s, but that isn’t a crime is it? These people were the “hipsters” of their time, victims of a world submerged in new found wealth and decadence. A world where Versace suits were worn to business luncheons and cocaine breakfasts were common – fashionable hair was the only escape from this type of meager existence.

Like Totally Eighties Mullets
Business in the front party in the back, the two styles collided in the 80s and made for one of the most fundamentally frightening looks of all time. I am of course speaking of the mullet. Now these weren’t no creeper mullets that just snuck up on you. These mullets went full force.

The Shows

The Great 80s Television

The eighties had some classic tv shows that have managed to withstand the test of time. It will be remembered for it’s great dective shows like Magnum P.I. and Simon and Simon, but also Dukes of hazard, as well as The Cosby show, Perfect Strangers and so much more. This blog thoroughly goes over every detail of popular TV shows of the time. The sitcom ruled this decade and made way for trailblazing shows like Seinfeld and Twin Peaks.

The Alf Blog
The Alf blog deserve recognition because the person that runs it seems to hyperventilate every time there is discussion of Alf making his way back to television. A few years ago there was a rumor that Alf was going to have his own talk show, but that never seemed to pan out.

80s Wresting
The eighties were good to wresting. It’s where I got my first taste of the World Wresting Federation). There was Bam Bam Bigelow, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ravishing Rick Rude Mean Gene and so many more that made wresting great. For me the story lines never really improved past the “I’m coming after you” story arcs of the 80s. Check out these classic wrestlers from the eighties.

Dead Wrestlers
Thanks to steroids and drug use wrestlers are the fastest dying population in America today. Unfortunately for many of these greats they had a limited time in the ring and are now wrestling angels for wings up in heaven.

And just to throw in a little of the wrestling morbidity, here’s a site I find really fascinating since it dealt it the many, many wrestlers I have forgotten about that came from what I would call wrestling renaissance, the nineteen eighties.

Wicked Mustache

Now that Movember is coming to an end, it’s time to recap all the really interesting and off beat blogs about what happens when men attempt to grow out their facial hair.

Today’s Blog on Blog is here to cut through the many sites dedicated to those who know what to do, those that don’t, and those who make growing a mustache a very strange experience.

Some, after raising money for charity organization that focus on men’s diseases, like prostate cancer and mental health, will go back to shaving above the lip, while others might keep their ‘staches to shield their mouth from the cold months ahead.

Although this prospect might seem appealing, it can only be beneficial if you really know what your are doing. For the many men who don’t know what to do with their facial hair there are plenty of sites dedicated to future mustachios who just wanna learn how to groom or find out what will best suit them.

What can you say about a manly mustache, except it makes you feel like an elite private-eye on a undercover op. Well, maybe not everyone, but that depends if you can grow a “Tom Selleck” or not.  If I’ve learnt anything from movies it is if you want to impress and keep those ladies and have riches beyond belief, then you will need at least a pencil mustache.

Okay, well here is your complete guide to Movember blogs:

Stachist
This site is a daily diary from various people on the subject of their facial hair – why not? Men, women, this site chronicles mustache growth without discriminating.

Art of Manliness/ 35 best Mustaches of all time

This is the list of the top 35 best mustaches of all time: they range from Tom Selleck’s famous “Magnus” to Frederick Nitzsche’s intense “Shanuzer.”

 

The Handlebarclub

Anyone can join the club…except apparently women, children and Justin Beiber. Why would you want to be a member of a club that would have you as a member? Well, because you have a wicked mustache, that’s why! The F.A.Q. is peppered with great question about the process of growing a proper handle bar mustache. And the group photos are hilarious to top it off.

Instructables/How to grow and maintain a manly mustache
Here’s a step by step guide on how to grow and keep your mustache looking sane and stylish. This blog is one of the best guides for novice mustache growers.

Parks and Recreation/ Ron’s Mustache

When you think of manly there is only one man who really stands out on television these days and that’s the charcter Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). Let him guide you through your movemeber, because the man knows how to grow one!

Fuck Yeah Mustaches/ Tumblr

Come one, come all! Watch the feats of strengh mustache competition. A collection of anomalous facial hair.

The Mustache Blog

Keep updated on the state of people’s facial hair and how far they’ve grown so far this season. It is Movember so there are more members then ever before.

 

 

The Score/Hockey’s Greatest Mustaches
There are some wicked staches out there in the hockey world. And although some of these players might not have been the best players to play the game, many wore the best hockey staches of all time.

Michael Dukakis

It’s Election time, and if you’re like me you’ve probably been scouring the internet for information and polls on the current US Presidential election. And while you probably don’t need any comic relief during this very strange campaign season, there are plenty of funny blogs dedicated to this election.

Half the time it’s hard to believe what some politicians spew out: this is especially the case when speaking about guns, the female reproductive system, aborted fetuses, double-downing, lowering taxes and saving the middle class. What middle class?

Republicans, seriously, don’t worry. Democrats will find a way to lose this election. Although you’d be doing better in the polls if Democrats didn’t get upstaged all the time by the clownish Tea Party senate candidates.

Usually the democrats are so good at it…ahem..think Michael Dukakis in a tank…I just can’t figure out how they plan on wining this election?

Even God’s trying to help them.

I mean seriously, the “storm of the century” is hitting all the places Obama needs to win.

Now politicos of every spectrum are saying the campaign has reached it’s lowest common denominator to secure votes: politicians must pretend, that deep down inside they relate and care about the well-being of others. This means having to watch Romney try to care about the 47% that want to borrow his money!

Welcome to 2012 Presidential Campaign: Where anything can happen. Act of God, why not!

Conjuring storms, God seems to have “overcast” his ballot..and I don’t think he likes Blue State liberals so much.

But don’t panic! Some of those blogs I mentioned can help you get through this time of terrifying indecision. If you can’t laugh at the current political venomous atmosphere what can you laugh at?

Maybe these pages will even help you make up your choice.

Here are the best satirical blogs about the 2012 Presidential Campaign:

Witstream

This is not really a blog, but rather an aggregator site that captures what’s trending and attaches the wittiest, snarkiest comments and the funniest tweets you’ve ever read. Say what you will about Twitter, but through this site it speaks wonders about what people are thinking about Mitt Romney.

The Onion

Why bother mentioning the Onion, they’re already big, with a massive following. Well, because they’re still one of the top sites for fake news and they still got it baby!

The Onion has been taking fake comedy news to a whole new level since beginning as a weekly printed publication in New York. While being big, they still retain their cred by being masters of funny headlines, especially for the American Presidential campaign. Where else would you see headlines like: Romney Foreign Policy Debate Prep In Crisis Mode After Discovering Existence Of Country Called ‘Womania’. Or: Obama Takes Out Romney With Mid-Debate Drone Attack

Indecision Forever

And how can I not include Comedy Central’s site Indecision Forever. We all know that The Daily Show does a great job mocking “serious” news and commentary shows, focusing on the tricks of the trade that these shows employ. It was a refreshing change, especially after the reelection of George W, when this site carried the people through with indecision.

jest/Politics

Jest just has great articles and funny memes and yes I mean plenty of Romney face swaps.

Mock The Vote
Get your tshits! T-shirts here!
Do you need an ironic campaign tshirt? Then this is the site to check out!
10 cents of every purchase goes to feed a starving politician after his campaign bid fails!

ZDnet Best Campaign Memes and Satire

This collection of memes is pretty awesome.

Best Campaign Slogans Ever

This buzzfeed list is kind of old timey, I mean a lot of these slogans are out of date, but it still have a lot of relevance. How could you not vote for Ross Perot with a campaign slogan like: “Ross is Boss” or Herbert Hoover’s famous: “A Chicken In Every Pot And A Car In Every Garage.”

spiderman

With the Comicon caravan passing through Montreal last weekend, I started thinking about the best comic book blogs around. If these are an introduction into the comic book world, then prepare to have your mind blown with high amounts of gamma radiation.

These blogs mostly engage readers with some form of fanatical nerdy views and criticism from your average collector. Even though many of years ago this may have seemed obnoxious, today this type of critique is becoming more and more popular for the average internet browser; there’ s a reason why the San Diego Comic-con is one of the most influential events for film, music and Hollywood, because comic culture is mainstream pop culture!

Here are a few blogs that really do an outstanding job of making comic book collecting understandable:

Comics in crisis
Is this the end of the age of comics? Comics in Crisis works well because of its bitterness towards modern day comics. This is where you’ll find adult thought on comic books, and some of it isn’t very pretty.

Is Superman’s death a reflection of Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement: “God is dead!”?This is where you’ll see this kind of pop culture meets scholastic research. Some of the material is grossly entertaining.
Is not just your ordinary blog about comic books. This blog is pure comic book deconstruction with comical integrity.

A Comicbook blog

I think what makes this site particularly great is the super hero battle royal. Who would win in hand to hand combat? The green lantern vs. Superman?

Dc Woman Kicking Ass

This site gives new meaning to the feminist effect on comics, more specifically D.C. Comics.

The great thing about heroines is they can kick ass while looking great. If you want to keep updated on what is transpiring in the DC world as it pertains to women, then this is the right place to look. This tumblr is pretty awesome. It even keeps you updated on novelizations, graphic novels and animation.

Woman with super powers fighting the evil in the world fulfill many fantasies of many men. And while I know that I will never be held in the arms of Supergirl as she rescues me from a burning Metropolis, this Tumbr is the next best thing.

Golden Age Comics

Do you like old-timey comic books from the golden age. Alas, t’was an age of comic book innocence and bliss, it was also short lived.

Do you want to see old comics? I mean really, really old comics?
I don’t think you understand I mean really old like 1800s early 20th century comic books. If you do, then look no further Golden Age Comics is the blog for you!

The Weekly Crisis

Ever fell the need to read something that totally rips comic books to shreds? Well, now you can with The Weekly Crisis.
Tearing apart the newest release of comics and in depth analysis of the latest comic book releases gives this site the cutting edge.

rec_r1_53907v1ec

If I’m going to talk about the food scene in this city and the blogs that surround it, I gotta be straight up with you guys. I’m totally unaware of the food scene in this city. Case in point – I woke up with an unrelenting burrito craving this morning. No big deal, I wake up most mornings jonesing for specific dishes, and I’ve got a pretty solid list of go-to places to accommodate my greasy lustful food desires (poutine, dim sum, Portuguese chicken, pizza, etc.). But burritos are another thing. There are way too many shitty burrito places out there, and they open and close shop before any health inspector even gets the notice. Plus, most of the good ones seem to be mom-and-pop restos near Jean-Talon or Iberville.

Now, if I were home in Toronto, I would have hauled my pyjama-covered ass over to the deservedly-hyped Burro Burrito. I would have been groggily sinking my teeth into soft tortilla and chicken tinga before the first jolts of a morning java. Instead, my morning was spent crowdsourcing info on burrito joints on Facebook and aimlessly googling “Montreal Burritos”, receiving hits for Burritoville (Vegeterian? Fuck. No.) and The Burrito Project (nice effort, guys, but not exactly attentive to my needs here). By the time I got the bright idea to just look up any number of this city’s local food blogs, my appetite was already reluctantly settled – dry toast and an egg, whatever. My point is, don’t let this happen to you. It’s a hard road, full of missed opportunities and cholesterol-raising payback. Instead, read this, and your hungover taste cravings will be satisfied.

WILL TRAVEL FOR FOOD

Lebanon-born Montrealer Mayssam Samaha crosses continents armed with a fork, a knife and an insatiable appetite. We’re just happy she spends most of her time in la belle ville (not talking about Paris here, folks). She hits higher end restaurants and food events in the city, delivering tantalizing photos of dishes most people couldn’t regularly afford. Food porn aside, she also does cookbook reviews, themed lists of dining suggestions with a handy-dandy Google maps embedded on the page. Ever wanted to know where to find the best coffee in any neighbourhood? She’s got you sorted. Need a restaurant open Sunday and Monday nights? Just click the links. If she posts a list of the city’s best burrito places, I’ll be her biggest fan.

MR. LEW’S GREAT BURGER SEARCH

Ever looked into a burger joint and questioned its quality? Mr. Lew’s eaten there. Maybe on multiple occasions. To date, he’s eaten 158 burgers in his search for the perfect burger in Montreal. I don’t really want to count the number of cows that have entered through his digestive system, but I’m glad there’s a guy wandering the casse croutes, risking heart disease so you don’t have to waste time on a shitty burger. He’s got a system – one burger a week, 50 burgers a year. And he doesn’t just stick to burgers – his “Annex” page features non-burger reviews. Whether it’s bacon froyo, dim sum fish cakes, mashed potato and red wine poutine, or the famed McRib sandwich… he’s made it clear there’s pretty much nothing he won’t try.

MONTREAL BREAKFAST REVIEW

It’s as if a great, booming voice rang up from the heavens, its deep tones resonating through the clouds, shaking the earth bidding us to go forth and drink the nectar of the gods. There is no excess, and though the headache may come, know that one shall never have to worry about where to get their morning bacon fix. At least, that’s what I equate this blog to. The Montreal Breakfast Review organizes their side bar to fit your needs. Categories outline ratings, price points, neighbourhoods, whether or not it has a terrace, vegan options, 24 hours, chain restaurants, and many of the pages are available in both languages.

THE POUTINE PUNDIT

We all know how this goes. It’s a weeknight, and you’ve spent the evening in a library or a long lecture, and your gang of Archie characters have one thing on their mind: poutine (or, technically, the three ingredients it consists of). The suggestions of La Banquise and Patati Patata surface, but then again those places are so far and get so busy and all you want to do is eat and fuck off anyway. Then maybe a timid voices will pipe up unconvincingly, “Umm, Moe’s has poutine, right”? Now you’re into dodgy shredded mozza territory. The snide Drummondville-born pur laine might deem this a futile search, noting that you’ll never find the ole’ fries, cheese and gravy gambit that matches some hole in the wall back home (he is the first to trot off alone to the nearest dollar pizza place). It’s getting tense, your stomaches are rumbling and oh my GOD, GUYS. THE POUTINE PUNDIT REVIEWS POUTINES AND RANKS THEM FROM BEST TO WORST. USE YOUR BRAIN (you know, your smartphone).

Moral of the story: Fuck that dude from Drummondville.

naked man looks for love

Dating sucks, like, 87% of the time for most people. You could be a blindingly attractive, tremendously intelligent, endlessly witty charmer with a let’s-save-Lassie heart and moves like Don Draper, but if the latest “catch” you reeled in off PlentyOfFish.com is flossing their teeth at the table in front of you or drenching your meticulously coiffed ‘do with torrential spittle as they wax on prosaically about “films” you’ve never heard of… sorry, still sucks.

Or, worse, if five perfect weeks down the line, your would-be lover decides to dump you after a break-through group therapy sesh. Yeah, that sucks way more. Unfortunately, these scenarios happen to everyone (except for high school sweethearts, but that comes with its own set of problems). The best thing you can do is sit back with some buddies, open up a few bottles of booze, and champion the art of turning painful moments into hilarious anecdotes. It’s what our generation is best at. Just look online.

People love exposing themselves on the Internet: enviable Instagrams of bacon-y grilled cheese sandwiches, tweets lambasting the latest political scandal (wait, some rich white Republican in Missouri said something predictably anatomically incorrect about how vaginas work and you disagree with him and also the state of American democracy? Damn that 140 character limit! People need to know!), Facebook Mommy status updates about toddlers starting soccer, blogs and blogs on blogs….. I could go on.

However, when you combine the sheer entertainment value of that really good dating story and our collective inclination to over-share, magic happens. Or maybe just the feeling of relief that the person you’re reading about isn’t you.

This week is all about dating blogs. As technology progresses, so do the preconceived notions and definitions accompanying sex and relationships. Dating blogs don’t just mimic a gaggle of girls around a wine-stained table bitching about men anymore (but that’s fun, too). They can offer insightful perspectives on polyamory, single-parent dating, long-distance relationships, and, y’know, simply confused strangers just trying to make something happen – or at least, get laid. Which in itself is kind of nice.

SEXY TYPEWRITER

Sofi Papamarkos (National Post freelancer and all-around sexy typewriter) really covers all the single-girl bases, from horrible (and hilarious/insane/cringe-inspiring) dating profile photos to pics or not “leagues” exist (answer: not really), sliding into how women resent all of their past and future girlfriends (just try to argue this one). She’s the brassy dame you want to take out for margaritas and babble over your love life with, only to be told “Girl, have some goddamned self-respect and dump that loser”. And, girl, you will.

TOBEASLUT.COM

Speaking of redefining social constructs, women who enjoy sex? We’re just people now. Not promiscuous she-devils, not funbags of STIs or messed up nymphos, and certainly not sluts, because, hello, everybody enjoys sex. And sex is one of very many topics that is still taboo for most people, especially women, to write about.

This woman, Caitlin K. Roberts, uses her blog and Toronto sex-centric events like Crush Night and Body Pride, drawing in hundreds to rethink relationships and sexuality. Roberts doesn’t write about painful first dates (she’s engaged to be married), she instead shares intelligent thoughts about marriage, what it means to really pleasure oneself, and conscious sexual acceptance.

 

AND THAT’S WHY YOU’RE SINGLE

Because let’s face it – most of us are lost in that department. That’s why dating sites and dating blogs and “Dear Annie” exist. This blog answers any and all questions about dating with none of the tip-toeing politeness (aka bullshit) that accompanies discussions about feelings. People submit long-winded questions about new beaus or dating problems and Moxie, a 40-something public speaker offers her outside perspective, which is usually pretty spot-on, if not a touch bitter. But I guess that’s what happens when your biological clock has hit its alarm clock years ago and your career revolves around listening to peoples’ relationship problems.

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*This transcript has been edited for length. 

Megan: Hello everyone, I am Megan Dougherty from Forgetthebox.net and today I have with me Sheena Swirlz, a lover of art, activism, and doing it yourself and much more. She runs a blog dedicated to rejecting capitalism, connecting communities and activism, radical events, and challenging preconceptions in Montreal. Sheena, thank you so much to taking the time to talk with us today.

Sheena: Yes, Hi! It’s great to be able to have an opportunity to share information about the blog and some of the organizations that I like to highlight as part of it.

Megan: Well, definitely. Do you want to start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and about Radical Montreal?

Sheena: Well sure, my name is, as you said it, Sheena. I’m from Niagara originally but I’ve been living in Montreal for a few years and I am an artist, I’m a nerd and farmer, activist and I really have a passion for networking information especially I crave information for events and organizations. As for the blog I do, Radical Montreal blog, it offers community events listing and I also spot organizations, annual events, local sustainable living, resources, and also DIY projects for the garden or bike craft decor and different things like that.

Megan: That’s absolutely fantastic. What kind of brought you into this world? Is this kind of the radical living stuff that you have always been interested in?

Sheena: Yes. I’ve been doing a lot of these things back in Niagara, where I’m from, but here in Montreal the community is so big and there are so many different events going on so I feel really impassioned to both research what’s going on and also share the events. I stated this blog two and a half years ago, shortly after I moved to Montreal and because I have a passion about this sort of thing, I wanted to make a list for myself of the things to do in the city and I though why not share this information for people because I didn’t find a source in one place where you could find all sorts of different events of different natures and I just thought, “oh! This is a great kind of opportunity to be able to offer that.” You know?

Megan: Definitely, I want to talk about the name of the blog a little bit, Radical Montreal. In your opinion, what makes something radical? Is it on a person by person basis or is it a mindset, places. Can you just maybe talk about the concept a little bit?

Radical MontrealSheena: Well, for me the word radical can encompass anything outside of the mainstream view so its cultural, alternative lifestyle, progressive events and I tend to more towards anti-oppression, sustainable places and activities which would be considered perhaps more radical than others. These events and opinions come from my perspective of what’s alternative so it’s very subjective. I like to think of these events as being things you don’t necessarily hear all the time because they have smaller marketing budget but they have incredible relevancy in the community.

Megan: Since you’ve come to Montreal, what are some of the things about the city that you found are a benefit or a challenge or are there any things that you noticed in that light?

Sheena: I moved to this city now as an Anglophone so I have always found that English, French divide, can be a little tricky before you can speak French. I have been taking a course here that the government offers and I find it a really fantastic resource to be in a class with other non-French speakers in kind of a full time situation and then once you get there you feel so empowered to do it. Not too many other people also know about that so I want them to know how it is to be and Anglophone in Montreal and all the challenges and solutions to be able to do better. But of course, there is so many options to be living cheaply but also having a rich life and that is what I find to be the greatest parts of living in a city because there’s so many collective organizations that you can connect to.

Megan: Definitely. Would you like to tell us about a couple of those organizations that you like and are connected with?

Sheena: My favorite bike shop is The Flat at McGill University. They have a really great series of workshops, just kind of like bare bone, they do like how to build a bike workshops. They have done winter biking, doing end of city touring and it is really fantastic. I find their events are really inviting which is really accessible. One of my favorite restaurants is the Green Panther which is a great vegan restaurant it is pretty affordable and it’s just delicious. It’s always a great opportunity to have vegan restaurant here in Montreal. It is really a pleasure after not having a vegetarian restaurant back in Niagara, where I’m from.

Megan: I can imagine, I actually ate at Green Panther last week. I loved it.

Sheena: Yes, It’s fantastic. There are just so many great restaurants here like Aux Vivres was another one. Completely vegan options and really healthy, Crudessence as well, completely raw. This city is really great for food eating out and also being able to buy great local food at the markets and eat seasonably more than in some other places where they don’t really have a vibrant community market.

Megan: Montreal is really a city that is focused a lot around food I’ve noticed. There are so many communities that develop around the food.

Sheena: Oh yes, It’s very true. There’s a lot of urban gardening projects that are happening which could provide different community gardens in different sectors and then there’s different organizations which offer additional gardens for that. In addition, nearly each university has a community garden. It’s just fantastic both to be growing food, finding it in the markets, eating it out or going to potlucks which exist from everything from chicken potlucks to raw food potlucks on a monthly basis

Radical montreal zineMegan: I was going to ask, what are some of the events that you have been to that you consider particularly excellent or particularly representative of the radical lifestyle in Montreal.

Sheena: Well, Expozine is really fantastic. There you can find over 200 independent writers and artists that are vending their independently published little books. So that’s a really fantastic event that happens at the end of November each year. I vend my art zines and other things I create at that event because it’s just really accessible to table there, and you are exposed to so many artists both that are from Montreal and also from other parts of Canada that are drawn to Montreal and come that event each year. Other than that I really love Tam Tams on Mont Royal. I find it a great place to go, and spend the day for free. Everybody is really friendly there. There’s a local market where only locals can sell their wares for free. They give local artists a real opportunity to have a great stay for there’s a lot of tourist to try and make some money. There is a lot of different cultures in Montreal  that happen there, you’ve got the LARPer’s doing their big battles, you’ve got the circus performance setup, acoustic drums and electronic stages setup, and people of all types sprawled there over the mountain for a temporary stress relief.

Megan: If people want more information about you or about radical events and organizations in Montreal, how can people get in touch with you and follow what you are up to?

Sheena: I offer two blogs weekly. One is an events listing on Monday and then the other one’s on Fridays which is a spotlight on eventual projects. You can follow the blog to see those. There is also a Facebook page where I will post not only blogs but also events that I come across that are happening throughout the week. So then there’s also the Radical Montreal Zine. I go to different zine expositions throughout the year and sell my independent wares, my zines and give people information about projects and activities that are coming. You can always visit me there.

deadmalls

Across North America a new trend is delving into the massive failure of capitalistic projects in the age of austerity and may in fact represent, to a larger extent, the downfall of the American Empire… I am of course speaking about the ubiquity of vacant malls and the many blogs dedicated to them.

In deserted, abandoned, “one horse” cities, they are a sad reminder of the once great state of the capitalist bulk and decadence left behind in the structurally sound, but culturally inept, enclosed shopping mall.

These malls are littered with vacant lots of shops long gone bankrupt, where the only thing left behind is the grey wall-to-wall carpeting still imprinted with soles of customers that haunt the place of a once great shopping experience.

The Internet is full of sites dedicated to their unique box architecture and their subculture – shopping fiends in search of the best buy.

Let’s look at a few outstanding blogs dedicated to these Goliath structures of mass retail that turned into sore reminders in the form of Ozymandias type monuments:

Mooklife/Ghost Mall
It’s best to start locally, I always say. Montreal, has one the most legendary vacant malls in the world – I am of course talking about the Decarie square. Since it’s inception there were high hopes for the mall, built right off the Decarie auto-route, it was a feature of the new enclosed mall shopping experience that was pushed at the late seventies early eighties. Unfortunately for the mall it has changed hands, ownership wise, and it`s been the kid in a custody battle between the city of Montreal and Cote-Ste-Luc..well at least there’s a dollar cinema!

They come for the sales but, most of the time, they ended up getting more then they bargained for, including serious bacterial infections, depending on which under maintained bathroom used.
Many malls, especially ones that were based on the Costco/Walmart model destroyed the local store, but now, these malls are fighting for survival, trying to drum up business and stave off inevitable death. A lot of these malls have turned into bargain basements with little or no maintenance, basically just concrete decrepitude and dereliction. None more so then the Decarie square:

Mooklife, a blog located in Montreal, really has the sense of humor to delve into this disaster by the auto-route. The pictures are funny, the captions are pretty hilarious too. At times I felt like I was reading Vice magazine. He got to the point of what plagues the Decarie square, and dissects it with the wit of a sharp scalpel.

Reason/Malls of a certain age

A few years ago Reason published an amazing article on the state of malls, specifically enclosed malls in the United States and how they were dying because of bad foresight on the economy and changes in shopping patterns.
I learned so much from this post, for instance, I did not know the startling figures of desolate malls compared to their more successful counterparts. And did you know malls are cannibals? – sucking out the life force of other malls by moving within close proximity? It`s all true. Check it out!

Deadmalls
Deadmalls.com is the ultimate site dedicated to stories about failed malls. Or just personal experiences walking through dead malls. My personal; favorite is about a mall in Toledo where half was hacked away, leaving only half a mall after a development group ran out of cash. These are of course hard times, so site keeps getting bigger and bigger. It has a great index where you can look up any state.

Also check out these videos about the landscape around abandon malls:

Greg Shall is a photographer from Minnesota who dictates his time taking photos of dead or dying malls.
http://youtu.be/kVyIVNXjS4A

Many sites on the internet are dedicated to abandon mall exploration. Malls can be great urban hubs of exploration, especially those badly maintained and for the most part forgotten. Check out this video of an exploration through a former mall in Toledo:

http://youtu.be/ZAo2ue6s5Bc

Photo courtesy of deadmalls.com, mooklife.com and reason.com

3556541709_7a23f2d7ff

Titles titles titles… I like the title, “Blogs on Beards: Wave That Freak Flag On Your Face”? “Blogs For The Beard-Obsessed”? “Rock Out With Your… Beard Out”? “Ode To The Cheek-Chewbaccas”? “Blogs on Beards: Shavers Need Not Apply”? “You Know Who Didn’t Shave? Jesus.” So hard to decide.

I’ve got beard-envy. Not a fan of Freud, but I’d gladly take his facial hair. Do past lives exist? If so, I’d like to think I was a troubled 19th century Eastern European curmudgeon with a Briar pipe and a bushy ginger face-cape to combat the winters of my discontent.

It’s tragic that I have never been able to grow a successful beard. Ever. Certain genetic predispositions, like being a woman, have consistently prevented me from getting together with friends to attend a Halloween party dressed as a group of Russian composers (Please, fairy godmother, can’t I be Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for just one night?). I can’t wander around St-Henri without feeling a tinge of envy with every passing beardo on a bicycle. There’s just something about the way a beard complements a pensive gaze, or how you know exactly who a person is by well-maintained facial hair. Like Jesus, or Ghandi. Lincoln, or Castro.

I’m not a hairy woman, either, which dashes all my Bearded Lady circus fantasies. And having thoroughly re-assessed the cost/benefit ratio of sexy face-fro vs. decidedly unsexy face-rash, I think I’d rather own a beard than date one. I might eventually turn into an old whiskered lady, but for now I’m relegated to living vicariously through the facial foliage of those lucky to grow them, clicking and sighing every time I come across a really, really good beard appreciation blog.

knit beardHold the phone.

Beard appreciation blog?

What, did you think I was the only one who lusts after what she cannot have? Or that our current generation of cheek-Chewbaccas wouldn’t be inclined to Instagram their own progress? There’s a market for facial hair fanatics, and I’m not just talking about hanging out at antique stores and used bookshops (I mean, I just really like gramophones and cheap books). Hundreds of beard blogs out there, and all it takes is a Google. So, I implore you, allow me to be your beard navigator, through the dark and mysterious path of online mouth-muffs (ew). It just might get a little hairy. (Bah-dum-pshhh).

FUCK YEAH BEARDS
For the straight-up, no bullshit, don’t-waste-my-precious-gaze-on-text admirer. Fans send in every-day photos of themselves or people they know sporting scruff, and it gets posted on the site next to minimal captions. This blog has everything: chin close-ups, ginger whiskers and plaid shirts, beards in hats, beards holding babies, shirtless Captain Crunch in a shapka wielding a hatchet… Fuck yeah, beards.

PUT YOUR BEARD IN MY MOUTH
Did you know that glittery pop-music performer Ke$ha has a tumblr devoted to beards? I don’t really “get” Ke$ha’s music (I’ve never, not once, woken up feeling like P. Diddy), but homegirl takes the time from what must be an exhausting life of next-level partying and releasing vaguely feminist rap-rock singles to stick dudes’ facial hair in her mouth and post beard-gnawing pics on her Tumblr. Respect.

I Made You A Beard
What do you get when you cross a beard-envyin’ chica with arts and crafts? Yarn beards aplenty! On Erin Dollar’s blog, you’ll find fun pics of her many-coloured fake facemops, illustrations of beards drawn by her and her friends, and links to other beard-centric web pages. Her posts are now fairly sporadic, as she has since expanded her creative outlet outside the realm of beards, but femmy Blackbeard fetishists can still order a custom-made beard of yarrrn! (You can have that line, it’s yours, don’t worry about it.)

the beardedTHE BEARDED
Sexy, well-dressed, long-whiskered men, gleaned from the far reaches of the Internet and compiled on The Bearded. It’s like The Sartorialist, but less bougie and more bad-ass. Ladies, time to go fantasy boyfriend-shopping – just don’t forget to moisturize after fake-making out with all the hairy eye-candy.

THE BEARDLY
The BeardlyCaptions aren’t just for cat photos and shitty inspirational posters anymore. The Beardly describes itself as “observations about beards and the men who tend to them”, but what it really means is “slogans for the beard that needs constant validation for his manliness”. They might not have office jobs, but they know that “SOME MEN BUILD A LEGACY. REAL MEN GROW ONE.”

BeardLife.Net
General interest Beard Blog. They have top 10 lists for Best Beards, videos of sexy cars and the beards who drive them, infographics about how facial hair is perceived in society, tips on grooming, profiles on men with ass-kicking chin-plumes, and way more. It’s a Beard Life.