Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mike Mix 2013

Well, it's a few weeks late, but Mike Mix 2013 is finally compiled.  I usually link to videos of each song, but I'm feeling fancy today, and I'll actually embed them in the article.

1. "Don't Count on the Wicked" by Billy Talent



Billy Talent are no strangers to Mike Mixes.  (That isn't a subject/verb grammatical mistake; Billy Talent is the name of the band, not a single person.)  In fact, 2013 marks the ten-year anniversary of Billy Talent's debut album and subsequent debut in Mike Mix 2003.  I still like their first album the best.  Dead Silence is their fourth album (and first with an actual title, breaking tradition of Billy Talent, Billy Talent II, and Billy Talent III), and I think it's their strongest since that first album.  It scratches my itch for heavy alternative music that doesn't manifest itself as often as it did in my teens and twenties.

2. "Crystallize" by Lindsey Stirling



This is technically breaking the MiKenzie Inc. rules for Mike Mix compilations, as Mike Mix 2012 included "Transcendence", which is from the same album as "Crystallize."  Here's the thing, though.  Last year, I just bought "Transcendence" on its own.  Later, in 2013, Avril bought a bunch of other Lindsey Stirling songs, so I count them separately.  Lindsey has had a pretty big year, too, so kudos to her.  Yay for Mormons!  (She's not the only one to make it this year.)

3. "How" by The Neighbourhood



Here's a first.  The Neighbourhood is in the R&B category of iTunes.  I didn't know that when I bought this album.  I'm not known for my fondness of R&B.  This isn't typical R&B, though.  This is one of the rare physical albums that I bought on CD in 2013.  I don't like it as much as I did that day I listened to it in HMV, but it's still pretty good, especially when I'm craving something different than my usual fare of alternative rock and mellow adult alternative.

4. "Holes" by Passenger



This is the single version of the song.  The album version, which is what made it to Mike Mix, is a little different.  This video sensors out the "motherf-__er," though, so you're welcome, I guess.  I bought this album at the same time that I bought The Neighbourhood, and it's much more in line with my usual taste in music.  As you can tell from his voice, I'm sure, he's not from North America.  He's British.

5. "Coffee Girl" by The Tragically Hip



The Tragically Hip used to be one of my favourite bands, especially in the early '00s.  I stopped following them as time went on.  This song is actually from 2009, but I never bought the album it comes from.  I heard it on the radio a few months ago and decided to buy it off of iTunes.  And now here it is on a Mike Mix.  It's been almost a decade since the Hip made an appearance on one of these things.

6. "Reflecktor" by Arcade Fire



Another Canadian band.  Arcade Fire came out with a new album in 2013, and I bought the physical (double) CD.  This is the best song off of the album, and probably the most commercially accessible one.  For reasons I won't go into detail over, this album will always remind me of hemorrhoids.

7. "Guns of Carolina" by Matthew Good



Despite being my favourite solo musician, Matt Good always seems to surprise me with his new albums.  As in, one day, I'll just stumble across his new album after it has already come out.  This is the fourth of the four physical CDs I bought this year.  I'm a huge Matt Good fan.  Weezer, my long-time favourite band,  exemplifies the music of my youth.  Matt Good exemplifies the music of my adulthood.  (This Mike Mix is nicely heavy on the Canadian content, I'm just noticing.)

8. "Ways To Go" by Grouplove



If you only watch one of the videos I'm posting here, watch this one.  It's a nice homage to Kim Jong-Un.  This song was introduced to me by Noah, who was a big influence on Mike Mixes when I was a single adult.  It's a good, catchy, alternative song with a bit of electronica in it for good measure.

9. "Wild Country" by Wake Owl



This is the mellowest song on this year's mix.  I don't know much about Wake Owl.  I discovered them listening to the indie station on Grooveshark.  It's a very pretty song.  Hauntingly beautiful, even.

10. "Wake Me Up" by Avicii



I just noticed that I have three songs in a row that start with W.  This song is quite different than what I usually listen to.  The story of how I found out about it is kind of funny in a "Mike's a nerd" sort of way.  This year, Avril and I started playing a D&D-esque tabletop RPG called Pathfinder with our friends, Jared and Susan Aldridge.  One of the other players (Susan's brother) used a character that he named Avicii, and he explained to me that it's the name of a DJ that he likes.  So I looked him up, and decided that this is a cool song.

11. "Sail" by AWOLNATION



I forget where I first heard this song.  I'm pretty sure it was in a YouTube video, but I forget which one.  Oh well.  I was reminded of it today when I was looking at iTune's top ten most popular alternative songs, so I bought it.  True story, I swear.

12. "Pompeii" by Bastille



I had no idea who Bastille was before an hour ago, but now I want their entire album.  Another discovery from iTune's top ten alternative songs.  I sampled the whole album, and it was all good, but I chose this one because it was the first one I heard.

13. "Only the Young" by Brandon Flowers



More Mormon music.  You may recognize Brandon Flowers as the lead singer of The Killers.  This is from his 2010 solo album, Flamingo.  Noah pointed this song out to me, so that's two for this mix.  Well, actually, he pointed it out to Jake, but I overheard it on Facebook.

14. "Recover" by CHVRCHES



This is another band I hadn't heard of before today.  I needed some more music, so I googled "best indie music 2013" and this was one of the results.  CHVRCHES kind of reminds me of Purity Ring, who appeared on either Mike Mix 2011 or 2012.  I can't be bothered to go back and check.  This one is a little more upbeat and catchy than Fineshrine.

15. "I've Got Your Fire" by Jenn Grant



For a while there I was driving my in-law's '98 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which didn't have a CD player or functional tape deck, so I could only listen to the radio.  Lethbridge radio sucks, so I only ever listened to CBC radio.  That's where I heard this song.  It's not the greatest song, but I like singing along to the "Oooo-oo-oooo"s.

16. "Say Something" by A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera



What?!?!  Christina Aguilera on a Mike Mix?!  What is this?!  What's happening?!  I know, I know.  I never thought it would happen, yet here we are.  To be fair to myself and my musical sensibilities, this isn't a Christina Aguilera song.  It's a Great Big World song, featuring Christina Aguilera.  I came close to buying the version of the song without Christina, but that harmony is just too pretty to pass up.  I'm a sucker for male/female harmony.  I know this is a popular song--it was number one on iTune's regular page, not the alternative page--but I had never heard of this song before today.

17. "Here With Me" by The Killers



Mormon song #3.  Haven't had enough Brandon Flowers yet?  Have a song by The Killers!  The Killers are no strangers to Mike Mix Productions, but it has been a while.  And that's all I have to say about that, I guess.  Next!

18. "Paris" by Magic Man



This is another song I found from my google search of 2013 indie music.  I don't really have all that much to say about it, because I know next to nothing about Magic Man.  Very catchy, upbeat song.

19. "Dubstep Solves Everything 3" by Jack Douglass



You should watch this video, too.  I've been a fan of Jack Douglass for a while, mostly because of his Your Grammar Sucks videos, but the first video I ever saw of his was the original Dubstep Solves Everything, which is hilarious.  Dubstep Solves Everything 2 was disappointing, but he hit it out of the park with Dubstep Solves Everything 3, thanks to a little help from Autotune Jesus.

So there you have it.  Mike Mix 2013.  19 tracks this year, so consider yourselves lucky.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Spoiler-tastic Man of Steel Review

Henry Cavill as Superman
A little background info on myself, just so you know where I'm coming from with this article.  I'm a life-long Superman fan.  I was born in the spring of 1978, and Superman: The Movie was released in the winter of the same year.  My introduction to the character of Superman was Christopher Reeve's portrayal, which is the same for most people of my generation.  I have idolized Superman for as long as I can remember.  In 1986, my grandmother bought me a comic book.  It was Man of Steel #1 by John Byrne, the first issue in a miniseries that relaunched the Superman mythos in the comic books after DC Comics' Crisis on Infinite Earths event, which was made to streamline the decades of convoluted storylines.  It was this version of Superman, created by Byrne and later led by Dan Jurgens, to which I became a loyal fan.  I love most incarnations of Superman, but the Byrne/Jurgens era is the one I followed the most closely throughout my teens and early 20s.

Why do I feel the need to fill in that background?  Man of Steel has been getting mixed reviews.  People either love it or hate it.  There aren't a lot of people with mediocre opinions on the film.  I'm in the camp of people who love it, and one of the reasons I love it is because of my background as a Superman fan.  As much as I loved the Donner Superman movies, I have never considered them canon.  I'm a lot more open to other interpretations of Superman.  People going into this movie expecting something like the Donner films or like the golden and silver age comic book Superman are going to be disappointed.  This is Zac Snyder's Superman, with some influence from producer Christopher Nolan of the Dark Knight fame.

Now, on with the review.  It's more of my thoughts on the film than a technical review.  I already said that I love the film.  On Facebook, right after watching it I said that it's the Superman movie I've been waiting for since I was a teenager.  To elaborate on that, I've wanted a Superman movie with a lot of action.  Like Death of Superman levels of action.  The special effects in the late '70s and early '80s weren't at a level that could handle an action-packed Superman.  Watching the action in Man of Steel was like seeing scenes I wrote in my Stormy Logan stories acted out the way I saw them in my head, and it was a very exhilarating moment for me.  Even the scene of Superman learning to fly for the first time reminded me of a Stormy Logan moment.

MAJOR SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON.  YOU ARE WARNED.

Some of my thoughts

1. Superman killed Zod.  Most of the major superheroes have a strict no-killing policy.  Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the like.  And yet here is Superman snapping General Zods neck at the climax of Man of Steel.  What is this, a Wolverine movie?  Well, I have some news for you:
Superman #22 (October 1988)
That's Superman killing General Zod, Quex-Ul, and Zaora.  The three of of them had devasted the Earth of an alternate universe (which is why the kryptonite isn't affecting Superman), and Superman determined that the only way to stop them was to kill them.  The act almost broke him mentally and emotionally, and it haunted him for years.  I found it to be one of the more interesting aspects of Superman's character.  So when Superman snapped Zod's neck in this new movie, I was fine with it.  This was the Superman I was familiar with, and I hope the subsequent movies deal with the emotional pain of having taken a life.

2. Too much action.  Yeah, I didn't have a problem with this like some other people do.  Like I said, it's what I've been wanting for decades.

3. Flashbacks.  I've heard some people complain about young Clark's life in Smallville being shown in flashbacks.  Personally, I found it to be a very effective story-telling technique.  With the first Superman movie back in '78, Richard Donner masterfully told the origin story in chronological order, and it worked great for that film.  But Superman: The Movie wasn't an action film.  To have that much of a slow pace for so long at the beginning of Man of Steel, modern film audiences would have grown bored.  People weren't complaining when Christopher Nolan did this with Batman Begins, so I don't know why they're complaining about it with Man of Steel.  We didn't need a long drawn-out portion of the movie dedicated to Clark's childhood and adolescence.  We had ten seasons of Smallville on TV.

4. Act I on Krypton.  The opening segment of the movie taking place on Krpyton was awesome.  I could have watched an entire movie about that.  (There's actually a novel by Kevin J. Anderson called The Last Days of Krypton that I recommend to any hardcore Superman fans.)  Russell Crowe did a great job as Jor-El, and it was a refreshingly different take on the look of Krypton.  I appreciated the fact that Kryptonians didn't naturally give birth to their children.  This was a nice nod to John Byrne's version of Krypton.

5. Johnathon Kent.  I've heard some people mention how wooden Kevin Costner was as Clark's adopted father, but I'm pretty sure he did that on purpose.  He perfectly nailed the conservative, old-fashioned, quiet farmer.  I wasn't crazy about how he died, though.

6. Lois knows Superman is Clark from the beginning.  I like that Lois finds out who Superman is before Superman even goes public.  For one thing, she's a smart investigative reporter.  The fact that she took so long to figure out who he is in other incarnations isn't believable.  The playfulness of Clark's double life in relation to Lois has also been done to death.  We don't need to see more of it.  My Superman has been married to Lois since the '90s, so let's just go ahead and move that relationship along.  I just wish she didn't run around calling Superman "Clark" in front of the Smallville police.

And that's how I felt about Man of Steel.  Is it a Superman movie for everyone?  No.  Is it a Superman movie for me?  Yes.  I can't wait for a sequel.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Small-Town Drivers

I've been saying for years that the city of Lethbridge has some of the worst drivers in North America.  People who don't have significant hours of driving in Lethbridge under their belts don't believe me.  They see its relative small size for a city (89,000 people) and figure that larger cities have it far worse.  Larger cities have huge volumes of traffic that cause a lot of problems by sheer virtue of numbers, but I'm convinced that, per capita, Lethbridge has far more stupid drivers than larger Albertan cities like Edmonton and Calgary.  The reason for this is threefold:

1)  As a retirement town, Lethbridge has a large number of seniors.  It's the higher end of these seniors -- 75 + -- that are the problem.  I'm sorry, I love seniors (outside of work), but as people get older, their vision, hearing, and reflexes deteriorate to the point that it's scary to be on the road with them.

2)  Lethbridge has a university and a college, so for two thirds of the year, young reckless college-aged kids are rocketing around the roads, weaving in-and-out of traffic.  I admit, I used to be one of them.

3)  There are a lot of farms and small towns in the Lethbridge area, and people from these more rural areas come to Lethbridge in droves every day for shopping or other reasons.  A lot of people who have spent the bulk of their lives in small towns and on farms are terrible drivers.

This article is going to focus on small-town drivers.  For the past four years, I have lived in the town of Picture Butte (1700 people).  It's right in the middle of Alberta's cattle country, and we're surrounded by a lot of large ranches and wheat farms.  I could go on at length listing all of my personal experiences with awful Picture Buttian (Buttite?  Butte-head?) drivers, not to mention the legless old man who thinks his electric wheel chair is a car, but I'm going to talk about one instance, which happened this afternoon.

Nobody from Picture Butte knows how a four-way stop works.  (I'm not from Picture Butte; I just live there.)  This intersection in particular is the bane of my existence:
7th Street (north-south) and Crescent Avenue (southwest-northeast)
Just looking at that makes me want to start a rant about how the town should have set itself up as a nice, neat grid instead of haphazardly throwing roads together at weird angles, but I'll control myself.  This intersection is controlled by a four-way stop.  It's busy by Picture Butte standards, especially when school starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon, since there are two elementary schools nearby -- one Catholic and one public.  Nine times out of ten, I'm angry at someone when I get there.  Nobody seems to understand that the first car to stop is the first car to go, regardless of the direction it's going.  Here's the set-up for situation this afternoon:
Zoom in for a better look.  I'm the Mazda 5 (labelled 2).  The other two are represented by Ford F150s, because this is Alberta.
The numbers represent the order that each of us arrived at the intersection.  #1, directly opposite me, arrived first and signaled to turn left (north) onto 7th Street.  Then I arrived and signaled to turn right (also north) onto 7th Street.  Lastly, #3 arrived, and she was going straight (north again) up 7th.  What should have happened was this: #1 turns left, followed be me turning right, and then #3 following me.  Instead, we sat there staring at each other for a moment.  Then #1 waved me to turn.  This happens a lot at this intersection. The person turning left has the right-of-way, but since they see that I'm signaling to turn right, they think I have the right-of-way, and they wave me through the intersection.  I hate that.  I'm always sure that a cop will see and give me a ticket.  So this afternoon, I shook my head and waved driver #1 through the intersection.  She made her left turn, and then I started to make my right turn.  I had to slam on the brakes partway through, though, because driver #3 came straight through the intersection even though she was clearly the last one to get there.

Anyway.  The main reason for this entry is because I wanted to play around with the Paint.net photo editing software.  Photoshop is so much better.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Stand-up Comedians That Don't Suck

As a general rule, I hate stand-up comedians.  They're terrible people complaining about their terrible relationships and making observations that only serve to display their own stupidity.  The relationship stand-up comedian is by far the worst, both men and women.  They complain about the annoying things their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife do, but the only thing I hear is, "I'm a terrible person, and I'm blaming it on someone else."  There are also comedians who have a character that they put on display, and the character itself is meant to be as funny as any of the jokes.  Sometimes the character is nothing more than a funny voice that the comic uses.  Bobcat Goldtwait and Mitch Hedberg are two that come to mind.  Mitch Hedberg I find especially annoying because the Internet as a whole worships him as a god.  I suppose that should be expected, since he's basically Philosoraptor with an annoying voice.


Also, Mitch Hedberg is dead.  Has been since 2005.  I just learned that now as I researched him for this blog entry.  I guess that's why it's been a while since I saw him on Just For Laughs.

Despite everything I just said, there are a handful of comedians that I find hilarious.  Here they are:

Louis CK

I just finished telling you about how I hate comedians who complain about relationships.  Louis CK is an exception for three reasons.  First of all, he doesn't just talk about relationships.  He also makes commentary on modern society that's pretty damn funny.  Second of all, he fully accepts that his bad relationships are at least partially his fault.  And third, after he and his wife divorced, he stopped talking about how horrible his marriage was as often.  But even when he was talking about how awful marriage and home life was, I still found it funny, even though I couldn't personally relate.  I think it's because I sometimes see the man I easily could have been.

Louie's social commentary is his strength, in my opinion.  Let me see if I can find some good clips.






I picked a video with Russian (?) subtitles because I know a large percentage of my followers are former KGB officials who fled Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr is an Irish-born British comedian who I just recently gained an appreciation for, and is actually the inspiration for this post.  I've known about him for a while, but I never paid a lot of attention until YouTube kept recommending that I watch some of his videos.  In the past, I've always brushed him off as very dry and stuck-up, but as I watched his videos in the last few days, I've come to realize that, while he often uses snottiness as a comedic device, he isn't dry at all.  Oh, he can use a deadpan delivery with the best of them, but I wouldn't call him dry, and he isn't always deadpan.  In fact, a lot of his jokes are very irreverent.  I would say that his specialty is the surprise punchline.  He'll be setting up a joke, and it'll end either sooner than you were expecting, or in a place that you weren't expecting.  He also has some of the best audience interactions I've seen from a stand-up.

(This is titled "The Nasty Show" for a reason.  It's all of his dirtiest jokes.)



In this clip, he actually invites questions from the audience.  In effect, he's inviting hecklers:




Patton Oswalt

The first I ever heard of Patton Oswalt was actually in the Pixar movie Ratatouille.  He did the voice of the main character, Remy the rat.  His stand-up is absolutely nothing like his performance in Rataouille.  His target audience is not at all the same as Disney's.

Patton is basically the king of the nerds.  He's a Generation X'er who loves Star Wars and comic books.  He talks a lot about pop culture, which I enjoy.  He's also clinically depressed and an atheist, which feature prominently in his stand-up.  The thing I love about his act is that he has such a passion and energy for his material, and his view points on them are very unique.



John Mulaney

John Mulaney is a young, small, harmless looking man who can tell an anecdote like nobody else can.  He's a writer for Satuday Night Live, and his stand-up routine is hilarious.  It's mostly just him telling stories about his own life, and he always cracks me up.  Sometimes he'll tell a joke, and then later in his act tell another joke that only makes sense if you remember the first joke.  For example, he equated his parents hiring a 13-year-old to babysit him when he was 10 to hiring a horse to look after your dog.  Much later in his hour-long act, he was telling another story about a party that got out of hand in high school.  He said that the kids at the party were "like a bunch of dogs without any horses."  It's like he's rewarding people for paying close attention.

My favourite story by far his story about going to the doctor for a Xanax prescription.  I apologize for the quality of this video, but it's the best I could find on YouTube:


This one has better video quality, but the audio isn't synced properly.  I'm such a failure.






Sunday, February 10, 2013

Michael MacKenzies

My name is quite common.  No, not hyperferrianism.  That's a word that I made up.  I'm talking about my actual name, Michael MacKenzie.  My oldest sister Jennifer once said that my parents chose the names of their children by walking around the hospital asking the other parents what they were naming their kids, and then chose the most common answer.  Despite how common it is, I love my name.

I think pretty much everyone has googled their own name at least once since the advent of the Internet.  Googling my name yields many various results.  I even have some Mike MacKenzie websites.  Observe:

mikemackenzie.ca
It's like looking in the mirror
This Mike MacKenzie is a Canadian musician based out of Calgary.  Click here to hear some of his music.  His musical influences are a who's who of classic rock bands that I hate.


Enigmatic.


This is the website for attorney G. Michael MacKenzie.  Yes, Michael is this guy's middle name, but it's the name he goes by.  He does real estate law and estate planning in Dunedin, Florida.  Exciting!  I like this blurb from his homepage: "Attorney G. Michael Mackenzie, (frequently referred to as Mike Mackenzie or Michael Mackenzie) has been the victim of identity theft. If you have been contacted on an unsolicited basis by someone claiming to be attorney Mike Mackenzie or Michael Mackenzie, particularly if it involves the sale or purchase of a time-share, and have any reason to doubt such person's identity, please contact Michael Mackenzie directly"

There's a mikemackenzie.com, too, but it asks for a password in order to access it.  I'm dying to know what it is.

The world of Mike MacKenzies extends beyond URLs.  Doing a search for "Michael MacKenzie" on Wikipedia brings up this results page.  There are eight Mikes.  Here's the run-down:

Michael Valentine MacKenzie, former member of the Namibian national rugby team.

Michael MacKenzie, Canadian theatre director, film director, and screenwriter.  The two films he directed are called The Baroness and the Pig and Adam's Wall.

Mike MacKenzie, Scottish politician for the Scottish National Party.  Has a son named Michael MacKenzie Jr.


Michael McKenzie, Australian long distance freestyle swimmer.

Mike "Gunface" McKenzie, member of the American deathgrind band The Red Chord.  By far the best nickname of the bunch.

Mike McKenzie, cornerback in the NFL.  
It's like looking in the mirror.
Mike McKenzie, retired American Hockey League player and son of TSN analyst Bob McKenzie.

Michael "Macca" MacKenzie, fictional character on the Australian soap opera Home and Away.  Played by actor Trent Baines.  Beats his girlfriend.
Trent Baines as Macca MacKenzie
And now for random pictures from a Google image search for Mike MacKenzie:
@mmackenz on Twitter
Some douche on myspace
@MikeMackenzie on Twitter






Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Early Work

I was rummaging through some old keepsakes today, and I stumbled across some books I had made in the third grade.  I'd like to share two of them with you now, because they're so awesome.  They're illustrated, which is the best part, so I scanned them for your pleasure.

The Prince Who Saved The Princess
Nothing to see here.  Carry on.
"Once upon a time there was a princess who lived with the king and queen.  One day a prince was riding by the castle and saw the princess.  He fell in love with her right away.  He went over to the princess and said, 'I love you.'  'I love you too,' said the princess.  After they fell in love they got married.

"A witch was watching this.  She was mad because she wanted to marry the prince.  So she sent her dragon to kill the princess.

"When the dragon got there he tried to kill the princess but the prince killed him.  After the prince killed him he went and killed the witch."
Notice that the prince is a good two feet taller on the back than he is on the front.  I especially like how blood is dripping off of "The" but not "end"
A very simple story.  It's kind of unrealistic how quickly the prince and princess fell in love, but that's basically how it happens in Disney cartoons, so I give 8 or 9 year old me a pass in that regard.  The real gem to this book is the cover art.  So much blood.  I literal lake of it.  If you look closely, you'll notice that fire is still spouting out of the neck stumps from the dragon's severed heads.  Nice touch, if you ask me.  Oh, and the one head growing out of the dragon's tail on the front cover?  Pure genius.  Too bad I forgot to carry that detail over to the back cover.

I can't help wondering what my teacher thought when he saw this book.  He never said anything.  I'm also curious how modern teachers would react to something like this.  I probably would've been sent to counselling.

Enemy Mind (I wrote this one shortly after seeing the movie Enemy Mine)
I was really into space in grade three.  There's a lot going on here, but I think my favourite detail is the laser shooting out of the side of the missile.
This story is quite a bit longer than TPWSTP, and there's art throughout, so I scanned the whole thing, and you can read it in the following photos.  Click on them for larger views.  Note: this is an early precursor to Admiral Mike.





 This one is actually pretty good, considering my age.  And the artwork is about on par with what I can do today.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Disagreeing With My Peers

I'm somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to classifying my demographic.  I'm kind of in between Generation X and Generation Y.  I'm too young for most of what X-ers were in to, so I identify more with Y-ers, especially since I hung out with people who were younger than me when I was a single adult.  Demographics are defined by more than which generation you were born in.  For example, I'm straight, I'm married, I'm a male younger than 40, I'm a father, I live in western Canada, I'm a gamer, and I'm a hardcore hockey fan.  The point of this article is that I belong to all of these demographics, these peer groups, but there are certain things that a certain group will universally like, but that I reject.

Demographic 1: Male between age 25 and 40

1. Booze

Western society seems to worship alcohol, and it seems more obvious among men.  I was raised a Mormon, so I didn't start drinking when most of my peers started (about 14 years old, if their adolescent boasts are to be believed), and I'm still a Mormon, so I still don't drink.  Every event I go to, there's booze flowing.  Hockey game?  Beer.  Rock concert?  Beer.  Office Christmas party?  Liquor.  Non-Mormon wedding?  Yikes!  When I watch TV, especially when I watch hockey, I'm just hit in the face over and over again by online poker ads.  But when there aren't online poker ads, there are beer commercials almost as often.  These beer commercials portray beer as the only thing that adult male friends can bond over.  In the world of beer commercials, guys can't be friends unless they're drinking beer.  Even when I go to one of my favourite websites, The Chive, I get booze thrown in my face.  For those who don't know, The Chive is a site that collects funny, interesting, and cool photos.  Sometimes, the photos are just pictures of beer.  Just beer.  Booze culture has gotten to the point that people like to just look at pictures of booze.

Now, I'm not looking down on drinkers, judging them from a religious point of view.  I'm looking down at drinkers as an outsider who thinks you all look retarded, compulsive, loud, and stinky.  Yes, that's right, I said you look stinky.  Oh, god, the smell!  I work in an industry that forces me to deal with drunks, and the smell when they walk through the door makes me want to puke.  And you're all so obnoxious when you're drunk.  I'm sure you drunks enjoy the company of other drunks, but sober people want you to shut the hell up and leave us alone.

2. NFL and fantasy football

Are you ready for some footbaaaaaall?!  No, Hank Williams Jr., I am not.  I've never been a big American football fan.  Really, hockey is the only sport that gets me excited.  I liked baseball in the '90s, but I never got into football, especially the NFL.  For one thing, all of the teams are based in cities that I don't give a rat's ass about.  The way I look at it, me caring about the NFL would be like an American caring about the CFL.  What do guys in Texas care about the Edmonton Eskimos?  What do I care about the Dallas Cowboys?  For another thing, I find football players the most obnoxious athletes in the world.  Not just professional football players, either.  I went to high school before nerds took over the world.  There are a few exceptions; I have some good friends who played high school football.  Overall, though, I found most football players to be a lot like the jocks portrayed in '80s teen comedies.

I just find fantasy football silly.  It's jocks trying to play role-playing games without the nerd stigma.  Also, it seems to be everywhere now.  I can't even go to friggin' Cracked without seeing videos about fantasy football.

3. Classic Rock

I hate classic rock.  I absolutely hate it.  (Note: The Beatles don't count as classic rock.  Classic rock is typically from the '70s and '80s.  Think of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Van Halen.  Crap like that.)  I just hate it.  And that's rare for a man my age.

Demographic 2: Gamer

1. Pokemon

This one is pretty much a direct result of me being one of the oldest members of Generation Y.  Most of my gamer peers look at Pokemon with nostalgia.  It was a big part of their childhood, and one of the first video game series that they fell in love with.  It came out in 1996.  Do you know how old I was in 1996?  I was 18.  Pokemon was nowhere on my radar.  My earliest memory of Pokemon was when Nintendo released a special Pikachu console with a microphone attached to it, and the only game you played was just Pikachu on the screen, and he did what you told him to do using the microphone.  I instantly hated Pokemon, and I've never stopped.

2. Nintendo 64 in general, and Zelda: Ocarina of Time specifically

Whenever you see Gen Y-ers waxing sentimental about their childhoods, they'll often bring up fond memories the Nintendo 64.  I have nothing against looking back fondly of the console of your childhood.  I, myself, have fond memories of my Sega Master System (the precursor to the Sega Genesis), even though it was an objectively terrible console.  But notice what I did there: I admitted that the console of my childhood sucked.  Gamers who grew up with the Nintendo 64 hold it up even today and call it the greatest console ever, which is just ridiculous.  Have you seen what games looked like on a N64?  They're butt-ugly.  The 16-bit consoles had beautiful 2D graphics.  The first generation of 3D consoles (N64, Playstation, Sega Saturn), while a necessary step in the evolution of video game consoles, was a generation that I skipped entirely.  I saw the commercials for their games, and I tried playing my friend's N64, but then I decided, "Nope.  I'll sit this one out, guys."  And I didn't touch a console again until I got my PS2 in 2000.  I have one title to say to people who claim the superiority of the N64: Superman 64.  I rest my case.

The most successful title on the N64 was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  Most lists of the best video games of all time written today place Ocarina in the number 1 position.  I own Ocarina of Time.  I bought it as an adult after playing Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii.  You know what I have to say about Ocarina of Time?  It's unplayable.  I played it for about an hour and never touched it again.  It's such an ugly game.  Sure, it's about as good as the N64 was capable of, but there's a reason why I hate N64.  My wife was more diligent playing than I was, but she didn't finish it, either.  It was the Water Temple that did her in.

One more thing about the N64, and then I'm done.  What were they thinking when they designed this:

I was gonna rip on coffee, but I didn't have much interesting to say about it without just rehashing some of the booze arguments.

Hyper Shoe

Hyper Shoe
A red high-heel shoe has always been hyperferrianism's avatar