Mix it Up: Condiment Blending

cuke-n-eggs
So much about this ad-hoc desk snack with a basic hot sauce blend is so right!

Postmodernism is woven deep throughout the trendster ethos, and this certainly holds true for squeezable food adornments! The hawtness of this up-and-comer is currently exemplified by a seismically ironic and disquieting resonance in countless social media posts (mostly the result of insidious paid social amplification) about the dawning of the age of Mayochup. Yes, not satisfied to have separate containers for both their creamy egg white-based spread and the venerable tomato-based staple; American consumers are excited to have them unified in a single dispensing apparatus!

Is this further evidence of the epidemic laziness and sloth of our culture? We say NAY! This is may very well be the height of squeezable science. Falling eerily in line with the Gilderman Hypothesis, anything having to do with condiments themselves is undeniably and exceedingly trend worthy. Short of re-creating the tasty Roman condiment made of smashed up fish guts and salt called Garum, blending whatever is at hand is a quick and satisfyingly colorful way of becoming a hyper-trendy foodinista.

There is so much about this to relish. Not only is Mayochup an exciting new branded product for trendsters to trumpet to each other, it also makes the huge problem of “condi-crowding” a thing of the past. As table sizes diminish and the plethora of crowd-funded artisan sauces, spreads, and chutneys become a dizzying blur of potentially sticky situations, the available space at the dining surface becomes premium.

goober
PB & J – The only REAL way!

No discussion of blended condiments is worth its pink Himalayan salt (pre-mixed with course ground white pepper of course) without recognizing the unquestioned leader in the mixed-spread space, J.W. Smucker’s Goober! The wise food sages behind this not only realized that kids are the ultimate exploitable consumers and that breakfast-making parents are attracted to anything which can save any speck of valuable prep-time. They also realized that at the heart of many profit driving trends (and also at the heart of Zen Buddhist philosophy), is anything inherently based on engaging with the dichotomy of opposites, such as selling peanut butter and jelly in the same jar.  Yin-yang YUM!

HOW2HAWT:

Step one is to completely erase the word mayonnaise or mayo from your vocabulary. Simple, single purpose, spreads are now dead to you. So do a mental “find and replace” and paste in “aioli sauce” in any instances of the word “mayonnaise.”  Most of your hipster friends will already be well aware of what aioli sauce is (basically mayonnaise with a splash or two of something else), but chances are nobody at work will, the bunch of losers.

Another basic … never reach for “Frenches” mustard again.  You want giant, loud and proud mustard seeds suspended throughout a brownish-hued viscous reclaimed canning jar (never use a plastic squeeze bottle, you monster).  Hopefully, you still have a horseradish root in the back of your freezer from last year’s organic edible landscape.  Grind some of that into the jar and make sure everyone sees you as your eyes begin swelling shut from the fumes.  Now THAT’s mustard!  Badass.

Hot sauces.  We could probably write an entire treatise on the subject and likely eventually will so stay tuned.  For today, some foundational heuristics … Mitch in the mailroom likes to brag about how he can down an entire 8 oz bottle of 9-million Scoville unit extract sauce along with his Taco Bell Gordita.  Mitch in the mailroom is an asshole.  Get hot sauces that are “hot” but actually have good flavor.  Here’s a good example.  If you think you’re going to impress Thora the quirky and loveable barista by gnawing on a Carolina Reaper while waiting for your pistachio-rose latte you are dead wrong, like your taste buds.

Enough with the basics. Now, it is the time once again to channel your inner Bob Ross. Remember back when the local plein air painter needed to make some cash, and you immediately signed up for his “Paint like Bob Ross” classes. You’re about to put your skills to good, and tasty, results.

Grab your (as of yet unused) Bob Ross brand palette.  Replace the dabs of phthalo blue or burnt umber with any of the plethora of hot sauces, pickled relishes and verdant salsas which dominate the fridge you share with your flatmates. Be liberal with your choices, too many blobs of condiments here is not enough! Now, with a fist full utensils and the same plein air easel that you used to paint miniature canvases at the ice caves, stride into the food co-op during the free-range paleo-vegan chili cook-off benefit that you lost last year. They’ll remember you from the frozen chili you made because you proudly called it “chilly.”

As you set up the easel begin with the Ross quotes.  Claim “talent is a pursued interest” while laying down a brisk whisking of scotch bonnet marmalade as a base. As those around get splattered with specks of burning flavor, continue with “there’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend!” If you paid attention while at the painting class, you’ll soon have a vague and impressionist seascape built out of yummy sauces. Make sure to paint some happy little ducks using actual duck sauce and blend out the school of pollock, swimming underwater, with fish-n-chips vinegar. The ironic poignancy of these details will not be lost on the security guards when they attempt to shut you down. As you are being dragged off the premises, gleefully licking your canvas, stare at the chili team from the local food shelf and assert, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Stepping Up: Far Parking

far-parking
The view from a prime far-parked vehicle, now get sauntering!

For your whole life, you have been programmed to “find a good parking spot.”  There’s one right there!  That guy is leaving!  You can fit in there! Counterfeit a handicap plate! You spend extra time (and gas) trolling through endless “open spot deserts” slowly crawling behind other shoppers, following them creepily in the hopes of their departure. You attempt to balance the contradictory feelings of the guilt of not exercising and the determination that you deserve to be at the front of the line. Well don’t fret, you can have it all!  Strap on your exercise tracker and get ready for the brave new world of FAR-PARKING! Imagine the peeling clamor of joy that will erupt from your passengers the next time you effortlessly glide past perfectly good “rock star” spots right in front of the door to the mega mart du jour and claim the perfect spot, as far away in the parking lot as possible. There is sooo much meta-irony here that you are probably going to explode in a hipster conflagration. Relish in the knowledge that you are, in one simple act, skewering both the petrochemical industrial complex AND the health-ista anti-carbonists. This is gold.

HOW2HAWT:
Allow me to paint a little picture of this hawt gem of an idea … Theo, Matilda, and Miles are all loaded up in your green Subaru wagon.  You are jamming to Theo’s Spotify channel (mostly death country, with the occasional Alanis tune just to be ironic), and you are on your way to the LARP/ pinball arcade in Matilda’s friend Archie’s basement.  When a grinding and sullen low key death country ballad by Goth Brooks comes on it will be the perfect time to wax about the dire obesity epidemic in America.  After munching on some freshly sprouted chickpeas from your dashboard chia (another article, another time), you proclaim “I just think that we need to help ourselves more by walking more.” They’ll attempt to point out the fact that you own a car. Just turn and glare at them, they deserve it. They asked YOU to drive THEM … 5 blocks. Their guilt and self-doubt is now complete and they are at your far-parking mercy. This is the perfect time to #trendblend this with another trend we advocate, “only-lefting.” Remember you aren’t trying to make a right by only turning left, you are trying to park as far away from your destination as possible, so add a block with each left turn.  Maintain their stunned silence and complicity by going into a diatribe about the Fibonacci sequence. You may even pique their interest in math enough to get them chanting “1 , 1 , 2 , 3 , 5 , 8 , 13 , 21 , 34 , 55 , 89 , 144 , …” along with you before they realize you have taken them in a graceful and ever-increasing spiral of distance away from where they actually want to be. Now it’s time to walk. Ideally, you’ve actually parked FURTHER away from your destination than you originally started. If they complain, glare at them and reference Thoreau’s thoughts on hiking versus “sauntering.” No self-respecting hipster can question ANY REFERENCE TO THOREAU!  But, to show your benevolence, you can always SUPERHAWT this by grabbing a bus or some ride-away-free-bikes to get to your friend’s house knowing full well that you’ve far-parked this one real good, and that’s HAWT.

The Low Hanging Fruits: Hyper Local Eating

tomatoes
Are you ready to join the “farm to mouth” movement? These tomatoes are.

With Spring here and Summer coming on, we’ll all soon be swimming in fresh produce. For quite a while now, sourcing your food from as close to home has been HAWT! Farm to table restaurants and CSAs are all the rage. But with the scarcity of immigrant labor to pick the rows and rows of fabulous greens and the rest of the US too busy blogging and harvesting insights from social media analytics to do any farming of consequence, how are we going to be able to eat all those verdant vegetables? Not to worry! We have your back … while you’re on your back. The answer is to eat food as it drops off the plant, #HyperLocal!

We know that you, like us, are crippled by soul rending guilt everytime you un-pod some heritage kale imagining the deadly flashes of steel as it was culled before its time. Act now and you can put an end to the horrendous vegi-torture and chlorophyll curdling leaf screaming as a squash is separated from its stalk against its will. No more exerting your mammalian privilege as you force a strawberry from it’s vine, you are one with the plant, your are eating Hyper Local.

How2Hawt: Unless you have zen priest level patience (which is sizzling HAWT btw) you’ll need uber awareness of ripping times.  Go to the nearest farmer’s market and begin to gather intel. Disguise yourself and an itinerant banjo player named “Wandering Johnny.”  Start with conversations about bees and move to when your target vegetable will be at peak ripeness. The goal here is to be as close to the source of your food as possible when it’s ready to be eaten.  Once you know that something is going to be harvested the next day, wait for closing time at the market and follow a farmer home at a discreet distance.  As darkness falls, you can spring into action. Slowly creep into the field and, laying below your selected tomato plant, lay there mouth open in rapt anticipation for the fruit to fall. Now, this is where your commitment to #hyperlocal eating has to drive your persistence. Remember, how extreme your commitment, the more bragging rights you have.

Think back to when Theo showed up at the Juicery, brushing fresh loam from his peg leg jeans, with a mouth full of acorns? He seemed sooo cool, so engaged, so full of squirrel like radiant oneness. So, no stem shaking, don’t even blow on the tomato as you await that glorious moment when it determines the time is right to fall into your open maw of it’s own free will.  Imagine the expressions of awe and reverence you’ll get when you, pushing the beaded curtain aside, enter the Juicery with a coconut tightly gripped between your bloodied lips. They know what you went through to catch that thing as it plummeted 30 feet onto your patient, waiting face.  This is purely a vegan quest so hand pick out any bugs that enter your mouth before you accidentally consume them. Root crops can present an existential issue as you can only truly eat them when they pop themselves up out of the ground. Most carrots and potatoes tenaciously cling to life like an octogenarian fighter pilot. Honor their process by sticking to above ground fruits. An aquatic variant is to free dive in a kelp patch smiling like the Cheshire cat, allowing random bits of seaweed to layer themselves across your teeth. Above all, you are caring for your food, eating it on its terms and that’s HAWT!

 

OVER: Turning Everything into a “Journey”

fitnessjourney
Don’t take the kid along, she’s on her own journey, to fill her diaper.

In the face of an overwhelming dystopia of normality, soul crushing conformity, and bleak banal sameness, we all fear becoming lost in the grand narrative of history. One way to battle, however fultiley, against this eventuality is to try and frame every little daily effort or tiny life challenge as some form of epic journey. The “journey” analogy has been with human-kind for generations, so it has some merit. After Lao Tzu wrote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” in The Tao Te Ching, it should have stopped right there! Such an awesome truth, so deep and meaningful, that even a gazillion meme gifs showing a mountain in the distance with the quote overlaid in fuzzy papyrus font can’t kill it.

Life tends to be an accumulation of a lot of mundane decisions, which often gets ignored.
-David Byrne

So no, Terri from HR, your latest quilting efforts aren’t a “Textile Journey.”  Hauling silk and peppercorns overland from Beijing to Belgrade by dromedary in the middle-ages was an F’ing “textile journey!” No, no, no! This self-aggrandisement and wonton importance seeking has to stop. We’re going to puke the next time someone talks about learning to make decorated cupcakes as their “Baking Journey.” Our lives are not supposed to be some Jason-and-the-Argonauts level sojourn to be dramatically re-told in an amphitheater, our daily existence is JUST THAT, existing … every day!

HOWTOHAWT: You’re going to have to #TROPEBUST this hard! Everyone and their uncle are on some form of feckless “journey.” So we suggest that you go deep into the heart of darkness, community education classes.

If you aren’t already, get qualified to teach community education classes. Once you’ve done that, create a class called “Life Journeys: Getting from there to here.” You’ll get two lonely old guys, a wiccan coffee roaster and several retired librarians. Perfect, these are the “life journey” thought leaders. Remember, cut the head off and the body will die. Start with journaling, another trend that’s better left to the dust heap of hipsterism as well. A “Journey Journal” is just stupid enough to work as a focus for their questions. Do about 4 sessions where you do a lot of sharing, interpretive dance, and rock stacking. Pepper a bunch of lyrics from the band Journey in the lectures, ending each night with “…don’t stop believing.” Then it’s time for the “capstone,” an unannounced and grueling 25 “klick” hike through the swamp outside town. Ideally, the weather is super inclement and they’re not dressed for a hike. Have the IT Guy from your work, the one who wears a kilt, set up at “klick” 22 on a hillock in the middle of the dankest part of the bog.  He should be shirtless and painted blue with his hair all sticking on end with lye. He’s going to be super thankful you invited him here to do this btw, so he’ll owe you. As you all trudge up, the wiccan coffee roaster probably carrying one of the old guys, he begins to sing the song “Where My Heart Will Take Me” (originally performed by Russell Watson).

It’s been a long road

Gettin’ from there to here
It’s been a long time
But my time is finally here

And I will see my dreams come alive at night
I will touch the sky
And they’re not gonna hold me down no more
No they’re not gonna change my mind

(Chorus — MAKE THEM SING THE CHORUS OR THEY’LL FAIL THE COURSE!)
‘Cause I’ve got faith of the heart
I’m going where my heart will take me
I’ve got faith to believe
I can do anything
I’ve got strength of the soul
No one’s going to bend nor break me
I can reach any star
I’ve got faith
I’ve got faith
Faith of the heart

Soon, leeches, dehydration, hypothermia and insipid pop music lyrics will cure them of needing to take any more asinine “journeys.” You can be assured that the ripple effects of your work will be felt for many grateful generations, and that’s HAWT!

Next Level HAWT: Making your own EVERYTHING

paper jacket
Hone your origami skills and you to can make your own sharp suit from paper you’ve made yourself.

It’s not hard to pinpoint the allure of making your own stuff.  You feel a sense of accomplishment and pride as you admire/eat/drink/wear/ride/use whatever it is you just made.  But far more importantly, literally the most important thing in the world, is other people knowing that you made something.  Social media has made this possible in spades and every mid-tier hipster has made something to show off on facebook, instagram, reddit, etc…  Hell, even Kevin down at the artisan tea shop made that crummy messenger bag from re-purposed retro flour bags.  And Andy in accounting makes a kickass IPA, even though I would never tell him that to his face.  Andy, in accounting.  Ugh. Anyway, the point is that even normals are getting in on our turf so we need to do something huge to set ourselves a cut above.  Make your own EVERYTHING.

“The aim to make everything” has, of course, gotten digital and academic with the MIT “FABLAB” specification. A network of distributed micro-manufacturing centers propped out with a dizzying array of extruders, embroiders and plasma torches mostly located at Makerspaces will allow anyone to fabricate anything on-demand. Need some new hangers? Open up your handy 3D CAD application and copy, paste, click … no more wrinkled tweed blazers for you!

Don’t run off just yet, I know this sounds daunting and perhaps even a bit completely absurd, but when you really think about it, that’s what being an elite hipster is all about.  It’s that “notice-me” flair that landed you your present gig running a Neapolitan-kimchi keto pizza truck.  You’re going to need to commit to this hard, like you’ve done everything else to position yourself as hipster royalty in the region.

HOWTOHAWT: When you commence making, I’d advise that you start with the big three: food, water, and shelter.  Those three alone should keep you pretty busy for the first couple of months considering it’s winter and you will likely die once you move out of your studio apartment.  (Side note, don’t forget to “pack it in, pack it out” by building your own coffin.) Next, smugly declare to your roommate Theo: “another set of hands built these walls, my hands will build my own.”  After you have clothed yourself with crude garments that you fashioned from the “borrowed” hair of the neighbor’s Afghan hound, hit the trail!  The first night will likely be rough, so get an early start. I suggest finding a build site near a fresh water source that is somewhat secluded as you will need to poach a considerable amount of wild game to feed yourself until spring when your first foragable leeks emerge from the frosty sod.  For a temporary shelter, construct a quinzhee hut, and begin felling spruce trees.  This will prove difficult without a cutting implement, so first you will need to forge an axe blade.  Before you do that you will need a forge, etc.  If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, GOOD! Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Just ask the DIY deity in the video below, Richard Proenneke, who would rightfully ashamed of you for your shamefully weak “browsing the internet” and fully reading this stupid article to its end. Go whittle a cabin, looser! Then, maybe, you’ll be HAWT.

P.S. To save time, here’s an article I wrote back in 1970 on the subject.

Downward Goat: Co-dePETdency

downward goat
I mean just look at that goat! Your emotional dependence has turned him into a depressed backpotato. He’s dying inside.

Well, it’s finally happened. We’ve created such a homo-sapien centric stress-ball of a world that we are forced to rely on our domesticated animals for comfort, relaxation, and emotional support. You can’t walk through an airport without seeing a long line of fragile needy humans lined up for some petting time with therapy dogs. It’s the ultimate in psychic subjugation and cross-species emotional slavery. If you can’t handle the twisted mess that is your life, DON’T FOIST IT ON YOUR DOG, and definitely DON’T DO YOGA WITH YOUR GOAT! Thankfully, there are some sane actors in the midst of this madness. A major airline drew the line on some hipster performance artist’s comfort peacock. Unfortunately, the bizarre cruelty had already emotionally scared the beautiful bird because the crybaby milk-toast human had named him “Dexter.” We’ve even anthropomorphized actual llamas to the extend that they have developed “berserk llama syndrome.”  We can’t make this stuff up, folks.  Look, just because your goldfish “Francis” doesn’t literally commit seppuku every time you come home from work sobbing over a mediocre performance review, it doesn’t mean she isn’t crying. Remember, you’ve entrapped her in a watery prison as your unpaid therapy-fish, and you can’t see her tears.

The 2018 Grammy for Best Picture is literally about a loner human falling in love with a fish person.

HOWTOHAWT:  So, the next time your flatmate, Selene, flops down on the couch mournfully sobbing and begins to unload on “Fonzie” the house Chi-Poo about her traumatic shift at the Juicery, you must act quickly. Go get Theo’s tweed blazer (the one with elbow patches) and field notes. Purposely stride into the living room, grab the moist-eyed pup and sit him firmly on the ottoman. Sit in the armchair, and, opening the notepad, posit “soooo, Herr Fonzie,  let’s begin with some word association.”

You’ve already trained him in advance to bark annoyingly with vegan dog treats when he hears the words “mother” and “pain.” You’ve also trained him to whimper when you dip your fountain pen in some ink, and to lay down and cover his head with his totally cute paws when you pull off your tiny circle specs while stroking your goatee and saying “I see.” Selene will be so stunned and humiliated that she’ll flee to her room and curl up in her hammock in embarrassed silence where she belongs. You can confidently know that you’ve saved the dog, this time.

Sigmund Freud was onto something when he said “time spent with cats is never wasted.” Not because it’s good for the wimpy humans, he was looking out for the cats! Cats are clearly immune to human attempts to use them as an emo-soak. They just don’t care. Cats have been ignoring our problems and still getting fed since the pharaohs. So human-up and either get a grip, or get a cat.

 

Boxing Up: Delivered Kits

It’s couch time, you’re latest shipment from cuddlebuddies.com has arrived. If you’re keeping Leo for more than 24 hours don’t forget to petfoodfeed.com him.

Finally the ultimate hipster / hawtster activity symbolizing engaged detachment has arrived, boxed kit deliveries. No more muss, no more fuss, no more annoying shopping and the tedious lists that are never ever completely emptied. You’ve already let hunting (unless it’s online for birthday party themes) fall into the dim mists of the past, now it’s time to sever the stone chains of gathering go too! Not limited to meal-kits, the pre-packaged and drone-delivered revolution now extends to full spectrum living. From birth to death, the pesky need to go to a store is a thing of the past.

HOWTOHAWT: The eternal “what next” problem still remains, after you’ve sufficiently impressed the neo-brutalists in your Thursday architecture discussion group with your awesome package opening and burner turning-on skills, there’s still that icky issue of what to to with the grimy and germ infested flat, sharp and pointy things you used to do the chef-ing. Out of elbow grease? Don’t have a sink? No Problem! If you haven’t already crushed or repurposed the box, you’re golden. Just toss that dirty dinner detritus in there, print a shipping label (use the printer at work because you don’t have one) and return it to the mysterious oblivion from whence it came. “But wait!” You assert, “what am I to do these uneaten vinegar roasted broccoli florets and artisanal baguette crusts?” Not to worry (btw – your flatmate, Theo, is really concerned about all your worrying)! With one click, shipscraps.com, sends your unused food to a thin and hungered person of your choosing. That’s right, you even get a poor person profile and starvation dashboard so you can see the real impact your left-overs making in the world. How about that, just by not giving into the capitalist “market” economy and having everything shipped, pre-prepared, in boxes to your front door.  Now, #THATSHAWT!

Rising HAWT: Trump, The Real Steampunk

Trump aint cosplaying around!

With his triumphant rejection of a unified global response to climate change (#fakescience) and his affirmation of the need for a return to coal, President Donald J. Trump outs himself as the REAL steampunk. From Babbage’s brass gear computing to coal fired forestry robots the days of steampunk as a mere hobby for overpaid millennial IT workers are OVER,  the coal fires are here, they’re HAWT and they’re MAINSTEAM.

HOW2HAWT:

Alright, we aren’t suggesting that you begin construction on a gigantic steam-powered tarantula ala the seminal steampunk opus “Wild, Wild, West.”  What we are suggesting is that you demonstrate acceptance and tolerance for the ways of our new leader in quizzingly and impressional ways.  Rig a tiny furnace to your desk fan and lazily toss a lump of the classic combustible strata in.  Stoke the fire with a miniature bellows while looking over your shoulder at the morning meeting with the Bob’s. When the office Greenparty Action lunch clutch starts up, stand all “il duche” over them and sharpen a few #2’s with your steam powered pencil sharpener. A subtle cough to simultaneously simulate black lung AND communicate your disapproval of the Paris accord will add the proper emphasis.  If you really want to wow them (you do), tote around a dead canary in a cage (#deadcanary).  That will make them think.

Winding Down: Fidget Spinners

Your fingers have been appropriated, and so has your brain!

The next time Theo plops down at the marketing meeting, shifting around annoyingly in his swedish productivity stool, and whips out some odd piece of plastic to idly flip around in his hand, you have our full permission to reach across and pebble grab that thing. The fidget spinner is HAWTNOT!  Hell, even Gloria the apple lady at the farmers market has one. Okay, okay … we all know that some people have difficulty keeping focused and that there are clinical diagnoses which define the issue but that’s no right to infect the rest of the office with your distraction devices.

HOW2NOTHAWT: If reaching across a table and grabbing your co-worker’s self-prescribed ADHD accommodation is too much personal space invading for you, here’s the perfect next level response. Butterfly Knives!

Becoming a butterfly knife master is Napoleon Dynamite level hawt and a most envied skill for every Hawtster. Oh, there will be cuts during your training and there will be blood. But … there will be ultimate satisfaction when you whip out your dragon/monarch engraved Philippine razor sharp blades and, in a blurred flurry of steel and panache, turn the social media analytics report printouts into a cloud of confetti (they were trending down anyway). “Sorry, I was losing focus,” you can coolly claim as you glare at Theo and his asinine brightly colored toy.  The video below should get you started, you’ll need to bring your own soundtrack to the meeting.

Only Lefting: Put your Prius where your Politics are!

Send a message, never turn right!

Hey SJW, your mouse is bloodied from fighting the good fight replying ad nauseam to your paleolibertarian friend’s posts on the facebooks, Your solar powered fridge is full of nongmo kale pudding and microbio happy eggs and you’ve tried to give Ann Coulter a hug … but you still want more! You want to push the boundaries of your #resist -ance beyond the breaking point! We’re here to help! After reading about the fasco-corporatists of UPS only turning right, it’s has become obvious that the #HWTNXT protest move is to ONLY TURN LEFT! 

HOW2HAWT: Yes, that’s right, Only make left turns at every intersection. After extensive actual experience, the #HWTNXT science team has determined that 3 left turns will achieve the same result as 1 right turn, well worth the extra gas and lopsided wear on your econo-car’s suspension and tires. Imagine the message this will send to the authoritarian police state (traffic department) when hordes of tiny fuel efficient cars, bikes and yes even pedestrians hold fast and only make left turns. Fight the power and fill their CCTV’s with an extend blur of lefties turning left!

Think about it this way, two wrongs DON’T make a right, but 3 lefts do!