Sunday, January 10, 2016

Blam This Piece of Crap Day

We're still a few weeks out, but this sort of thing takes time, so: in the spirit of Talk Like a Pirate Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, No Pants Day, Star Wars Day and a slew of other homegrown holidays, I'd like to nominate February 3 as a new holiday, to be known hereafter as Blam This Piece of Crap Day.

OK, for those of you now saying "EXPLAIN TO ME!", let me back up a bit.

Back in 2009, a bunch of goofballs over at Newgrounds created a Flash game called Super Press Space to Win Action RPG, a parody of some Flash games that lean a leeetle too heavily on the use of the spacebar to move the action along. Most of the people who played it got the joke. A few were left befuddled. And one particular reviewer, a kid with the handle of Axman13, just didn't grok it one little bit -- not the game itself, not the constant use of the spacebar, not why so many people had given the game such high ratings and awarded prizes to its creators. On February 3, 2010, he posted a combative, furious, wonderfully incoherent game review (since removed from the site) that was one of the most glorious examples of incandescent nerd-rage known to man.

Now, it would be very easy for the original creators to start a flame war over this florid reaction to their little game. But that's not what they did. Instead, Deven Mack, one of the game's voice actors, found Axman13's review so amusing that he gave it a proper reading in his best stentorian style, with all the original misspellings intact. And lo, the audio recording of this reading was so manifestly epic that Flash animator Ricepirate chose to give it the full-on animation treatment (complete with obligatory "O Fortuna" BGM).

Here's the result.

"Blam this piece of crap" is, obviously, a phrase that occurs near the end of the review, but it also neatly describes what the original game creators did: they took a piece of crap review and BLAMmed it, upcycling a potentially bad experience into something hilariously worthwhile. It's like taking life's lemons and making lemonade, lemon bars, lemon curd, limoncello truffles, and triple-decker lemon-drizzled lemon zest cake.

"Dot Dot Dot" is hardly the only example of blamming a piece of crap. The next time you're in the grocery store idly wondering why a rotisserie chicken from the deli is often cheaper than a raw one in the butcher block, consider this: all the raw chickens that are close to reaching their expiration date, the ones the store would otherwise have to throw away, end up as rotisserie chickens (or as chicken salad, or as chicken pot pie, or as chicken stir-fry) in the in-store deli. That way, instead of having to take a loss on a chicken that went bad, the store gets another chance to make a profit and you get an instant meal. Not bad.

Various thrift-store crafts, including the recent trend of adding monsters to kitschy thrift-store landscape paintings, are another example of crap-blamming. You might say, "Add a monster to a landscape and it's still a piece of crap!" Yes, but now it's a FUNNY piece of crap.

I know my family in Hawaii will vehemently disagree, but in my opinion Spam musubi counts as blamming a piece of crap. Rice is neutral, seaweed is meh, and Spam is the source of many culinary nightmares from my childhood -- and yet when they're all assembled into musubi, the whole becomes infinitely greater than the sum of its parts.

Brown & Haley (a Tacoma-based candy company responsible for bringing the world such confectionary delights as Almond Roca and Mountain Bars) used to sell big containers of unwrapped Almond Roca "seconds" in local discount stores. There was nothing wrong with the candy itself; it was just the wrong size to be wrapped in gold foil, so instead of tossing it out, they sold it dirt cheap. But a few years ago, I noticed these "seconds" containers had mysteriously disappeared from store shelves. Then, a few days ago, I had a good look at this:

Image courtesy Brown & Haley
Roca Thins (which are really, really tasty... and, alas, probably really, really bad for diabetics) are big slabs of creamy chocolate with little crunchy bits of Almond Roca stirred in. Hmm. I have a pretty good idea where all those little crunchy bits came from, don't you? And these Roca Thins were actually selling at a higher price per ounce than original Almond Roca, at least over at Bartell Drugs. Congrats to Brown & Haley for a superlative blamming job.

So that's how I think February 3 -- or Blam This Piece of Crap Day -- should be celebrated: by finding the mediocre-to-bad things in life and blowing them up into something fantastic. (Oh, and also by eating way too many Roca Thins. Those things are The Nom.)

Do you have in mind any pieces of crap you'd love to BLAM!? In what ways would you take the ridiculous things in your life and make them sublime?

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