Charty McChartface. Get ready, there’s a lot.

September 18th, 2022

Useless Farm.

August 13th, 2022

There’s a farm in Canada that takes in animals and they live out the rest of their lives doing nothing for humans, just being the best type of animal they are. Nothing unique about that. The difference at Useless Farm, however, is the social media is run by one of the owners, Amanda, and she might be the greatest at social media ever. First of all, she looks like she would never sully her hands working at a farm. She has salon nails and eyelash inserts and I think Botox in her forehead. She clearly takes care of her hair. But Amanda gets right in there and shovels sh*t with the rest of them. Second, she has a phenomenal sense of humor. And finally, Amanda won the lottery by adopting a very ornery emu named Karen. Karen haaaaaaates Amanda and tries to kill her all day every day. It’s gold.

Useless Farm is all videos but I can explain to you who the main characters are.

1. Amanda. She and her husband and her two kids own the farm. She is the only person you see.

2. The three alpacas: Keith, Craig and Michael. Craig is Michael’s father. Keith has anxiety. Michael is really really stupid.

3. Brad. He’s a silky chicken. He screams and attacks everyone. No one likes him. It’s on their website.

4. The PEN 15 club. I think those are the geese. It includes Gary Gusey. Get it? Like Gary Busey, but goose.

5. The HR Department. I think those are the ducks. This group contains Pencil, the cutest duck, and Paul, a baby duckie (<3). They chirp and make plap-plap-plap noises with their feet when they walk, they might be my favorites.

6. Stanley the emu. He is a treasure, a sweet and kind boy. He likes to dance and is not averse to wearing festive hats and wigs.

7. And then there’s Karen. She wakes up every day and chooses violence.

If you want to watch all their videos you can go to TikTok or YouTube.

https://www.tiktok.com/@useless_farm?lang=en

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa8kXMDswCOEELpd1NYS4Mg

But I made a curated selection of videos that I think really capture the oeuvre of the farm. I chose them from both the YouTube page and the TikTok page because I’m fond of old school but not close-minded to new technology.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/a7qDVzxK4dQ

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/Flnug7gy3hg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnDnnFvSTjw

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/P1fM1eS3tYw

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/VzGadaKOVc8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmbDSOrxNHg

https://www.tiktok.com/@useless_farm/video/7108416894431956230?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en

https://www.tiktok.com/@useless_farm/video/7101756183001828613?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en

Enjoy.

 

Addendum: You might want to subscribe to their YouTube page because then you get suggestions like this:

The Tale of Sharon and The Pie of Thanksgiving.

August 3rd, 2022

This is a year old already which in Internet Years is four billion but it’s still worth sharing. Here’s the deal: This was the image that got all the attention.

The Internet went ape.

Then Phyllis showed up.

And The Internet (which I have made a large globular sentient being and that’s fine) was like “The Green Bean Incident??? Tell us everything!!”

The whole thing is magnificent and the only people I feel sorry for are the people also named Sharon Weiss who woke up one morning with a ton of unwarranted comments. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Oceanic library stickers. I made ’em.

July 24th, 2022

The most hectic time for librarians is during summer reading because every child in the nation has to read a variety of books they don’t want to (whattup, A Tale of Two Cities). Snorth, who is a children’s librarian and is therefore caught in the hurricane, wanted stickers to give to the kids to encourage them. The theme all over the country is “Ocean of Possibilities.”

I saw that and was like “Aawww yisss, Imma design sea stuff” and indeed I did. I did eight designs based on ocean creatures. I tried to cover all the bases – I had typical fish and a crustacean and a mammal and a coral, etc. I thought it would be cool to make it all geometric using a small amount of polygons.

Each one got its own palette of three colors. I then I put them on a spotty swirly background that mimics the ocean, added Snorth’s library logo and boom! Bespoke stickers.

If I was a kid I would lose my mind with these. Hell, I might print a whole batch for myself and slap them all over. There is no reason I can’t. I shall.

 

Some artists I am feelin’ right now.

June 27th, 2022

Warning: Strong language in some images. If your work is cool with that, go ahead. If not, don’t.

Alchememeist.

This person makes art that looks like it’s from a video game or D&D and then puts statements of importance, often of a political bent and often in the style of Lisa Frank. I find this artist delightful. The first one I saw was this one:

As a rock, stone, mineral and fossil collector, I adored it. The second one I saw:

As someone who does not bring their cups to the kitchen in a timely manner, this was also a big hit for me. Then the third one:

That’s it. I was on board with the Alchememeist hard. I joined the Facebook group and I was awash in the riches of the designs. Please, enjoy. And make sure the read the small text on the images. They are totally worth it.

Sometimes there is a category called “Gender of The Week” and I really get a kick out of the choices of items.

Because I like to support artists, I bought this shirt and wore it to the Mermaid Parade where it totally fit in.

 

 

Jeremy Fish. Yes, yes, I’ve talked about him before. Several times. But Jeremy Fish keeps making art so I have to keep posting. This is his latest series with the original sketches which is unusual, he doesn’t normally share those.

 

 

And finally, drag queens. I don’t like game shows so I don’t watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I watch everything around it and in that way I get to see the makeup and outfits these people come up with. Often, it is stellar. Check it out.

Come and get y’alls charts!

June 23rd, 2022

This isn’t really a chart but it’s very informative nonetheless.

And this isn’t funny but it’s important.

The cornucopia of internet has been bountiful this year.

June 7th, 2022

1. Lies! I have been fed lies! I was today years old when I realized quite how jacked up our world maps are. Seriously. You ain’t ready.

You know how Asia is a billion times bigger than the U.S.? It’s not. Canada’s not that much bigger either. And Antarctica is wee compared to the mammoth island we assumed it was.

 

2.  It was also extremely recently when I learned this about eel teeth.

I was still recovering from the Alien jaws-within-jaws thing some eels are bringing to the horrifying table and then see-through toofers had to show up. It’s too much, eels. Take it down a notch.

 

3. Today is all about education. This is what that container of ice cream is called. Not that I ever thought about it but now I know so that’s cool. I can store that in my mind with “plastic ends of shoelaces are called aglets.”

 

4. One final nugget of knowledge: If I ever go back to Japan, I’m visiting this island.

Poison gas AND potential snorkeling? I’m 100% on board.

 

East Africa, Part 21: Zanzibar.

May 28th, 2022

Stone Town! But first, let’s look a fezzes. Fezzezzes. Many hates of the fez style. Zanzabar is Muslim so the men wear what is the appropriate headdress in this case.

You’ll also notice many of the women and girls wearing head coverings.

Here are two excellent examples of women wearing ankara material which I spoke about earlier.

On the road to Stone Town: Would you like some soccer balls? Men’s belts? The scalps of sea maidens guaranteed to bring curses into your home?

We drove through the area of Bububu. The name is thought to have come from the trains going by on the tracks but no one knows for sure.

Okay, Stone Town. Zanzibar’s capital city. Stone Town is knows for its large carved wooden doors. We did a walking tour to see as many doors as we could.

The first thing I noticed was how many buildings were falling down. The second thing I noticed was how many men were just… hanging out. Loitering. It may only be a woman thing, but men existing without clear purpose scares all of us. So I picked up on it quickly.

Here are some explanations of door designs: https://stickymangorice.com/2016/12/04/doors-of-zanzibar/

Electricity is reeeaaaaal concerning. I don’t know if the people there know how electricity works but I do, a little, and this cannot end well.

A tree I liked.

There’s no nice way to explain this next bit. Zanzibar was famous for trading three things: Spices, gemstones, and slaves. I thought the slave trade was solely through the left side of the continent to America but unbeknownst to me there was slave trade on the right side to India and Asia. I blame the U.S. educational system for my ignorance. In the center of Stone Town there was an enormous tree where the slaves were lashed and sold. When slavery was abolished an Anglican priest came and built a church where the tree was.

That’s where the tree was.

Apparently the columns were installed upside down. I can’t tell but I imagine some architects are ripping their hair out saying “How can you not see???”

I went deeper into the history of slavery on the island and it is horrendous. Like concentration-camp-level atrocious. There is a sculpture next to the church commemorating the slave trade. There’s also a museum worth visiting that was eye-opening. I recommend it.

I liked the way the Christianity and Islam live harmoniously together.

The locks and chains were to keep women in the house. Because, as you well know, if you let’em out, chaos.

All kinds of people came to Zanzibar to trade in gems, spices and slaves. You can see influences of all different cultures, mainly Arab and Indian. There’s a graveyard for the Sultan of Oman and his sons from the late 1800s.

And the remains of a fort.

Seriously, is everyone okay with the electricity system? No one is concerned?

The best takeaway image from the island was this impromptu picture. Men, sitting outside a store that sells tanzanites (a rare gem only found in Tanzania) eating fresh-caught and cooked prawns off a tray.

Thus endeth my trip to Africa. It had many awesome aspects, specifically the animal reserves. If you ever get a chance to go to Kenya and/or Tanzania and experience that, do it without delay. We will now return to our regularly schedule of random whatnot and charts. Thank you for your patience.

East Africa, Part 20: Zanzibar.

May 3rd, 2022

Spices! Zanzibar is known as the Spice Island, specifically for cloves but the climate is perfect and since Zanzibar was a hub for travelers from all over the globe, other types of spices were brought there and now there’s a ton. I took notes but it’s been a hot minute since I went to the spice farm in August so my information might be not quite accurate. I hold the right to be incorrect. Please research on your own time.

But first, please look at this attempt to hide some pipes in my hotel room.

Just leave the exposed pipe and box and paint it white! What is this giant wooden atrocity? I would have probably never noticed the pipe but I sure as hell noticed whatever this is.

The tiniest of friends in my room:

Look at this bird that was outside my room. He was fancy and multicolored.

And the weaverbirds that were guarding their weaver-nests. The red eyes made them look crazy.

Okay, onto spices and fruits grown in Zanzibar based on my notes and photos.

Jackfruit

– The largest tree-growing fruit. I think watermelon is the biggest fruit all around.

– Originally from India.

– It has kind of a decaying onion smell on the outside.

– The fruit grows wherever on the tree – branches, trunk, etc. 

A picture I found online of the all-over-growing.

– The wood is resistant to termites and fungus and the charcoal keeps insects away.

– The fruit secretes a sticky glue similar to latex when cut into so the natives rub coconut oil on their hands before they eat it.

Durian

– Looks like it would be in the same fruit group as jackfruit but isn’t.

– Delicious custard-like fruit but it is forbidden in trains, flights, hotels because the smell is ROUGH. The general consensus is that it smells like sweaty socks and rotting vegetation. Most people can separate the taste experience (very good) from the smell experience (extremely bad). I found this quote on the Mashed.com and felt the need to share:

“Some think that durian also tastes terrible, comparing it to ‘the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction,’ but the majority of others are actually quite taken by its unique flavor, calling it ‘indescribable’ and likening it to ‘sweet almondine onion-sherry chocolate mousse with hints of garlic and farts.’”

Turmeric

– It’s a rhizome. Very orange. 

– If you cut your finger with a knife, you put the turmeric powder in the wound and it (supposedly) helps with the skin healing.

Cardamom

– From India and Indonesia.

– Grows on what vaguely resembles bamboo. The seeds lay on the ground.

– Part of the ginger family.

– You eat the seeds but you can use the pods to make infusions or put them in a pouch in your closet.

Nutmeg

– This was a shocker. It grows in what looks like a quince / pear. The nutmeg looks fine but it’s surrounded by a hot pink plastic string thing and that’s mace. If you showed it to me without me seeing them pull it off a branch I would have called you a liar and a fraud because that does not look real.

– Originally from Indonesia.

– If you eat too much nutmeg you get high and sometimes you can hallucinate.

– As long as you don’t grind it, the nutmeg can keep its flavor for years in a tight container.

Mace

“Lacey membrane” is how it’s often referred to.

– Used for stomach and intestinal woes.

– Tastes like nutmeg but stronger.

– Mace spray is not related to the spice mace, but to the weapon mace. That’s unusual because pepper spray is based on the fruit pepper. I assumed it was the same, as I imagine most others would. We would all be wrong.

Lemongrass

– Interestingly, actually a grass because often the names and the named have nothing to do with each other, so that’s a pleasant surprise.

– Often called citronella grass and the locals rub the oil on their skin to keep away bugs.

– Supposed to bring down fever.

– Related to ginger and in no way related to any citrus. Ginger uses the roots and if you look at lemongrass’ root you’ll see it’s similar.

– Two main kinds – one for eating and one for making perfumes.

Bay leaves

– Can suck it. I hate finding it in my food. Stupid piece of cardboard foliage in my stew. 

Cinnamon

– Originally from Sri Lanka.

– Not sweet itself but enhances the taste of sweet.

– The whole tree is useful. We’re all familiar with the bark but I learned that the root smells exactly like eucalyptus and since there’s no eucalyptus on the island and Vicks Vaporub is expensive the locals cut some of the root off, put it in a bowl of hot water and then lean over it and breath it in. It helps with head colds and the like. That was the second most surprising thing I learned after the nutmeg-mace.

-Cinnamon tree berries can be used the same way as cloves, studded into oranges or hams or brewed in tea.

– Cinnamon leaves can be used to flavor curries and jerk marinades.

– Cinnamon oil will destroy mosquito larvae and is sometimes used as an antiseptic.

– Buuuut it may also destroy you because it has a chemical in it that might poison and kill you and is not recommended for pregnant women.

– The antiseptic and anti-mosquito quality of the oil is why it’s often found on ancient mummies.

Pepper

– White peppercorns are the young seed and black peppercorns are the mature seed. They’re the same plant, just picked at a different point in the life cycle. Green peppercorns are in there somewhere too.

– The locals use a tea from pepper leaves to help with the bleeding after a woman gives birth. It helps slow it down and eventually make it stop.

Lipstick plant

– From Central America.

– Looks like a flattened rambutan. Look up rambutans if you don’t know what I’m talking about. A very otherworldly-looking fruit.

– It’s opaque as opposed to turmeric or most other substances so the locals put patterns on their hands and faces and it shows up (because they’re dark and dyes wouldn’t be visible).

– It’s where we get the color annatto which we use to color food. It’s what makes cheddar cheese orange, because it’s actually white.

Cloves

– From Indonesia.

– It’s the dried unopened flower of a type of myrtle tree.

– It’s the only spice controlled by the government. The Zanzibarians are allowed to sell all the other spices themselves. The rest, the government buys it off of them. If they sell it themselves, they can get fifteen years in prison.

– Clove oil is a numbing agent. It’s used for tooth pain. I tried it, it feels like an extremely strong mint. The Moomins used it as a child and the second she smelled it she said “Dentist!” and you could see the PTSD from her childhood dentistry in the Congo.

– In order to stop diarrhea the locals chew the leaves and it stops the runs in a few minutes.

Iodine tree

– You make a slice in the branch and the healing liquid seeps out. It’s not dark yellow yet. You rub it on your wound vigorously and it makes a whitish foam (kinda feels like latex) and, as we know, helps prevent infection.

– Also has really pretty leaves.

Additional photos from the tour:

Banana plant. You can see how the flowers turn into the fruit.

A strangler fig in full effect.

This fruit tasted like lime but, like the jackfruit, it also grows wherever it wants on the tree.

Look how beautiful these flowers are.

In the background there you will notice a fruit. It’s called a bongo or a tree orange. It is not an orange. It is a rind filled with fruit and snot.

It was super-sour and the slimy texture took a minute to get used to but it was quite tasty.

As we went on the tour everything the guide showed us went into a banana leaf cup. I called it the Cup o’ Smells because it was all the fragrances. Like, all of them, ever.

Here is a more thorough description of the spice farm experience.

http://www.smallthingsinbignumbers.com/blog/the-spices-of-zanzibar

The next entry: Stone Town, a UNESCO site.

East Africa, Part 19: Zanzibar.

April 30th, 2022

The day I went from the mainland of Africa to the island of Zanzibar is going to be brisk. You’ll see why. While heading off to the airport I saw a village. I liked the sky. I liked the village. I took a pic.

And then everything went all to hell, emotionally, for me. We got to the airport, no biggie. The flight is only an hour so I expected a small plane. What I got was a van with wings. The Moomins asked for a seat near the front and was told there were no seat numbers. There reason the flight was seat-number-free is because it was, like, three rows of seats, maybe 12 seats. It was at this moment I took a substantial amount of drugs.

Yep. When the pilot told about our flight, they just turned around and told us. And their windshield was tiny. All of this did not set me at ease. The sky was beautiful. Before I passed out from the aforementioned drugs I appreciated the clouds.

We got to the hotel where I fell asleep and did not rise until the next morning. End of Zanzibar day 1.

I woke up refreshed the next morning and was greeted by a friend! Look at friend!

The first thing we had to do was get our Covid tests so we could fly out a few days later. Get ready to experience the Zanzibar healthcare system.

First, we had to exchange money because the Covid testing place didn’t take money. What you did was go to the bank, pay the correct amount and the bank gave you a slip that said “I have paid the right amount.” You brought that slip to the Covid testing place. In the bank there was pictures of their main politicians. I like that their president is a woman. Slight aside: Zanzibar had a ton of Muslims relocate there because of the slave trade so the primary religion is Islam. Hence the president wearing a headscarf.

You can see little girls all over wearing large white headcoverings everywhere you went.

This is one of Zanzibar’s government agency buildings.

And here’s the island’s health department sign.

The waiting room was outside. I actually think that’s a better idea than putting everyone in a waiting room.

The Moomins, who grew up in The Belgian Congo, asked me to take a picture in front of the hospital. “It looks like the hospital from my town!” she said.

 

After we gave the grumpy lady sitting at the table you see above our “we paid” slip of paper we sat on our plastic chairs and waited our turn. I liked having two companions while I was waiting: A chicken and a very small lizard on a tree.

We filled out paperwork, we handed our paperwork through the window, and eventually we went to a room where we were tested using the exact same protocol that they use in the states. So anyone who’s like “blah blah backwards unsafe blah blah!!”, it was the same. Same PPE, same way-too-long swab, same snappy-offy container for said swab, etc. The only difference is the companion chicken and lizard which I personally think is a step-up from the clinic I have on the corner of my street. There are no free-range sauntering beasts there.

I loved this sign on the side of the building.

Gecko on one of the hospital buildings.

After this exciting activity we returned to our beachside resort. The plants around our room where *chef’s kiss.* It was so gorgeous, like a feast for the eyes.

We shall finish this day with a picture of the women carrying baskets on their heads from hotel room to hotel room. I’ve seen it so many times and it’s always really cool.

Next entry: Spices. A lotta spices.