Meet the Two Geniuses Who Lived on Cheese Puffs and Licorize for a Week
I first met Rajiv a few years ago when I interviewed him about his band, Oh No Forest Fires (RIP). Besides having a beard that would make lesser men envious, he was also born and raised in Newfoundland, which means he’s capable of drinking most other human beings under the table. Since I’m also from the East Coast and we share several mutual friends, we got along pretty well and stayed in touch after he moved to St. John’s to study medicine. Recently, I was perusing the ol’ Facebook and saw that he was engaged in an “experiment” where he could only eat Hawkins Cheezies (the Canadian equivalent to Cheetos) for 127 hours straight (or one business week), with just water and one vitamin pill per day to keep from dying. To make this challenge even more interesting, his friend Ian also participated, eating only Hershey’s Nibs. This all sounded incredibly stupid to me so I checked in with them a few days after they finished to make sure they were still alive, and find out why exactly they put themselves through such an ordeal.
VICE: Are you an idiot?
Ian: No, we were just at a party and Rajiv was eating some Cheezies and said, matter-of-factly, “You know, I could probably eat only Hawkins Cheezies for the rest of my life.” I instantly said, “Really? How long do you think you could actually live on only Cheezies?” On some level I might have just grown tired of hyperbolic statements that are thrown around so casually, but that’s probably not what actually went through my head. We went back and forth deciding how long he could realistically go and came up with 127 hours, with the justification that if a guy could live trapped under a rock for that long, it should be easy enough to just eat a delicious snack for the same amount of time. And, I think to really push him to find out, I said I’d eat something else exclusively for the same amount of time. He came up with Nibs, a candy that isn’t really one of my favorites but one that I do like, and for some reason, I agreed.
Rajiv: I think the more important values—if we can call them that—at play here were things like raw stubbornness, curiosity, and a sense of one-upmanship. In a lot of ways, it’s the same reason I drank a pint of my best friend’s urine or ate a raw hot dog out of a puddle on George Street.
You didn’t just eat them as is. What are some of the methods you used to prepare your food? I saw the Vine of the Cheezies smoothie…
Rajiv: Yeah. I mean, let’s face it, they taste best raw, room temp. We tried boiling them, straining it, and eating a pasta-esque dish. It ended up just being like warm, mushy, processed cheesy corn meal… and to be honest, it wasn’t all that bad. The Cheezie smoothie was much worse. I tried to get it down quickly, gagged, and brought the whole thing back up.
Ian: I tried a few different techniques to keep my meals interesting, but neither of them made my food taste any less like Nibs. 1) Frozen: just made them really hard and cold. 2) Fried: tasted a bit worse than regular Nibs—almost like burnt hair, maybe—but at least it was a slightly different taste. 3) Boiled: they just melted and became slimy and hard to eat. 4) Smoothied: flavored water, nothing special.
The Photography of Carl Heindl
Carl Heindl has always been one of our favorite Canuck photographers—and not just because his sister got bookz. Carl has the unique ability to strain the best parts of life through his camera and pull out dark and gritty images that make everything seem much more interesting than it actually is. He also manages to be very lucky when it comes to being at the right place at the right time, and we’re starting to wonder if he goes around setting cars on fire himself and staging supposedly “impulsive” drunken trampoline parties underneath large chandeliers. Either way, we love his work and you probably do too. Click around to find out.
What Does Canada’s Blocked Terrorist Attack Mean for the Country?
Just as the Boston terrorist saga was coming to an end, a new Canadian terrorist plot was thwarted. Yesterday the The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) revealed in a news conference they arrested two foreign citizens named Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser from the Montreal and Toronto areas respectively. It’s a good piece of press for the Mounties, who’ve had a banner couple of months with a damning missing women’s report and the Canadian-born terrorists who wound up participating in the Al-Qaeda attack on a gas plant in Algeria. Not to mention, the news comes exactly a week when their American counterparts, the FBI, failed to thwart their own home-grown terror attack in Boston.
According to the RCMP, Esseghaier and Jaser planned on derailing a passenger train and killing innocent civilians. Reuters was reporting they specifically targeted the VIA rail route linking Toronto and New York City (something bound to upset Mr. Obama). Apparently there wasn’t an imminent public threat, but the authorities monitoring them (since August 2012) might’ve been spooked in light of the Boston bombings. It’s also worth mentioning the operation to arrest these suspected-terrorists (literally called “Operation Smooth”), was done with the support of the FBI and Homeland Security.
It’s especially unsettling information for most security watchers who’ve been waxing poetic on the danger ofterrorists-in-our-midst for the better part of a decade following 9/11. Yet for even the casual observer, this Canadian flavored terrorist-takedown is not something that should be easily ignored. There are definite signs of concerns coming out of these arrests.
For one, this is the first instance of Al-Qaeda following through with supporting an actual planned attack on Canadian soil. While Bin Laden apparently named Canada as a target in papers recovered from his assassination, we’ve never been considered a prime objective for Islamic terrorists. The reason being—as some intelligence experts have told me in the past—terrorists have historically seen Canada as a home-base, a place to lay low or carry out covert funding efforts for global attacks.
BC Bud, Part 1
With a reported value of over six billion dollars, it’s no secret that marijuana in British Columbia is big business. However, due to the recent legalization of weed in Washington and Colorado, the draconian crime laws pushed forward by the Canadian Conservative government’s omnibus crime bill, and recent changes to medical marijuana regulations, the entire industry is suddenly facing an identity crisis. VICE Canada decided to head out west to talk to the people directly affected by these recent events: from the legalization activists and the large and small scale growers, to the illegal traffickers and law enforcement, we talked to the people on the front lines of the battle for control over one of Canada’s most undervalued resource.
Watch the video
Inside Anonymous’ Operation to Out Rehtaeh Parsons’ Alleged Rapists
The late Rehtaeh Parsons. via Facebook.
In the days following the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons—the teenage girl from Halifax who committed suicide after being gang raped, photographed, and harassed—the hacktivist group Anonymous is playing a game of chicken with the authorities in Nova Scotia. Anonymous says they have the names of four suspects, and are threatening to release that information if justice is not delivered. Those names have in fact been circulating in small online circles, but the information has been withheld from publication on Anonymous’s largest social media channels. All of this has caused a storm of negative feedback from those who view Anonymous’s actions as destructive “vigilantism” while Anonymous maintains they are only involved because “several crimes have been committed in Nova Scotia. A 17-year-old girl killed herself because the police failed to do their jobs.”
I spoke with a member of Anonymous who is directly involved with the operation to bring Rehtaeh’s rapists to justice, in order to get a better handle on their motivations.
VICE: How do you go about sourcing the information that has led to naming the four suspects?
Anonymous: The information we have gathered comes from a combination of internet research and informants. It’s a lot more like being a journalist than it is being a detective. We use advanced search techniques to comb the internet for statements, photos, videos, whatever we need. We can locate statements by suspects made years ago on accounts they may not even know still exist. We’ve also developed a level of trust with our online community and they feel comfortable speaking with us because they know we’ll protect their identities. We validate their information in the same way the police might, by cross referencing stories and doing background checks on the individuals who are providing the information. There’s also a psychological factor. It’s important to recognize the motives behind the person who is providing you the information. Some people just want to be involved so they’ll embellish their accounts or perhaps they want revenge. You can’t always count on a person’s memory either so it’s important to test them to discover if the story they are telling you has been compromised by time or their emotional state.
In this case, did your sources approach you?
Most of the sources approached us, but we tracked down quite a few of them by examining the online interactions of the victim and the suspects.
What have you learned about this case so far that you want people to know?
Only half of this case is about those four teenage boys and the alleged rape. The real guilty parties here are the adults that violated Rehtaeh. I would like to see those boys punished for what they did because I think it sets a terrible example for the other young men in Nova Scotia, but almost even more I would like to see the police and the school system pay for what they did to that girl. They had a responsibility to be there for her, to protect her, and to relieve her torment. They failed at every turn to help her. Now they’re all too busy blaming one another. The school claims they didn’t know. The police say they couldn’t find any evidence. They’re both guilty of incompetence.
Three Teen Girls in Ottawa Have Pleaded Not Guilty to Pimping
According to a very detailed report by the Ottawa Citizen, and a thoroughly researched feature for Ottawa Magazine, three teen girls in Ottawa have been accused with running a prostitution ring where they allegedly blackmailed other young girls and forced them into prostitution. The motive behind all of this is unclear. The Ottawa Magazine piece cites a pimping expert who says the girls were possibly “influenced by a variety of mass media sources” like rap, and a particularly prostitution-filled episode of 90210. That seems bizarre in and of itself, but it’s a somewhat understandable hypothesis. The basic mechanics of pimping culture are easy to learn about.
The common perception is that pimping has always been relegated to a certain sliver of society. At least, that’s how I’ve understood it—because that’s the image we’re used to. So it is, of course, wildly shocking to hear about teen girls pimping out other teen girls; especially in Ottawa. But according to the United Nations, female pimps are the majority in certain countries, and prostitutes often speak of being courted by teen girls at a young age to enter the sex trade.
It also appears, from tweets gathered by the Ottawa Citizen, that these girls were unabashedly styled by gangsta pimping culture. Tweets like: “Ain’t no problem like a hoe problem” speak to the chilling level of distance the accused put up against their victims who they were absolutely terrible towards.
A City Doesn’t Suck Just Because You’re Stupid
Hey everyone, there’s a new controversial blog post to get mad about! This particular rage-freakout-du-jour is wildly misogynistic and narrow-minded, and it makes a poor attempt to drag down all of the women in Toronto with comments like the “women are obese” and there are “too many Asian and Indian girls.” The latter sounds like a bonus to me! But yikes, where to begin?
The article in question, titled “15 Reasons Why Toronto Is the Worst City in North America for Men,” was posted yesterday on a wildly inconsequential website called RooshV. It appears to be a follow-up to an article written by the same author entitled “15 Reasons Why Washington DC Sucks for Guys.” Interesting. Is it these cities that are “sucking,” or is it you, brah?
Of course, it’s always just better to let articles like this fester in the sadness of their own morally bankrupt, lukewarm bath water—without giving them any extra attention—but the reality of viral “hits” and social media news feeds is that crappy articles like this will always surface in front of peoples’ eyeballs and then everyone will have to get mad about them. So let’s get this out of our systems now by taking a look at a couple of the more boldly offensive claims that this article makes. I won’t go through everything, because then I’d be here all day.
“If you make just one mistake with a Toronto girl, you will be rejected”
Firstly, this whole branding of a “Toronto girl” is a bit problematic, don’t you think? What can really be the common denominator among an incredibly beautiful diaspora of females that Toronto—and many other “multicultural” cities boasts proudly—besides a common set of area codes and a mutual understanding of where the CN Tower is located? So this phrase is totally dumb already, but beyond that designation, the whole idea that women in Toronto have particularly low patience does not make sense.
Living in a border city means that you may have to occasionally smuggle some drugs between countries. Don’t worry! We’ve got some tips.
Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Has a Terrible Photographer
Rob Ford is a sentient chunk of Spam and the current mayor of Toronto. He also happens to be VICE Canada’s favorite politician, for many reasons. Unfortunately, Rob has been doing a mediocre job at engaging with the kids on social media, and we think we know why: his photographer is awful. While it would behoove the visually clueless political aide Rob has documenting him to read a damn book about the rule of thirds and proper focus, the damage has already been done. Above, you can see one of this photographer’s greater triumphs: Robbie sitting in a flashy McLaren whip, telling his haters that they can’t tell him nothin’. Unfortunately, save for this glorious photo that he has made his Facebook cover image, Rob’s Facebook page is riddled with unflattering portraits.
What the hell is this framing all about? Why are we looking at half of Rob’s rosy face and three-quarters of that seafoam-green vintage Caddy? Is Rob even interested in the Caddy? We could see Rob cruising around the city in this classy vehicle, blaring “Money Ain’t a Thang” and waving at all his gorgeous lady constituents, but please, ask the man to pose for a photo with the car. And what is Rob looking at, anyway? There’s probably something way cooler on the horizon that only Rob can see. Trust this man’s vision.
No! Come on! He doesn’t even have his eyes open and his skin looks like it’s made of bubble gum and ham. Look at the contrast between the shadow on his forehead and the harsh light striking his cheek. His hand looks like it was just stung by an entire wasps’ nest. Plus, he’s in front of some boring ancient vehicle that no one has ever wanted to take a photo beside. Why was this uploaded?
Marineland Is a Hellhole Filled with Animal Abuse and Mass Graves
Marineland, Niagara Falls’ premier tourist destination, was opened in 1961 by John Holer. At the time, John was a portly Slovenian immigrant who couldn’t find work when he arrived to Canada. With what little money he had, and what little English he could speak, Holer built two water tanks and acquired three sea lions. When he opened Marineland’s doors, admission was 25 cents per person. In the 52 years since then, Marineland has expanded to include a large collection of animals, animal shows, and a theme park with over a dozen rides. His is the kind of story that gives one hope, and makes one look nostalgically to the past when things were simpler, right? No. According to an exposé headed by Toronto Star reporter Linda Diebel, Marineland is rife with animal neglect and poor facility conditions that have led to an ever-evolving series of depressing stories, distressing events, and grim accounts from Marineland employees. Not to mention the protests, lawsuits, and public overload of bleeding hearts.
In the original Star report, a group of former Marineland employees came forward with allegations that the park suffered from poor water quality. They also noted that the park was understaffed and mentioned several cases of animal neglect. Doesn’t sound so hellish at first, right? Well, the water in some of the facilities was turning green and causing seals to lose their vision, and one of them even had an eye pop out of its socket when it barked because the water eroded its eye lens away. Several dolphins were losing their skin, which was coming off in chunks in the pools. A baby beluga named Skoot contracted bacterial meningitis, and was then attacked by other whales that threw her into a stone wall and killed her. After that, she was pulled from the pool by two trainers and “convulsed and died in their arms.” There is even a logbook from a former Marineland supervisor, who wrote that water was coming up from a sewer near Friendship Cove that was so corrosive itate the tires off a pickup truck.
But Marineland doesn’t limit their severe conditions to aquatic animals. There are also land animals that get to feel the pain, and their problems are even more grim. According to this article, Marineland has a cramped collection of 15 bears. They share four dens and are underfed. They have to fight for corn pops, which people throw at them, and occasionally eat their own young. There was an incident where one bear was killed by four other bears as a crowd observed.