Motherboard’s Brian Merchant spent a month living on nothing but Soylent, the futuristic meal-replacement drink. Watch the documentary
The Act of Puking
Like many people over a certain age, vomiting no longer disgusts me. I’m not proud to admit it, but on occasion, I throw up after poisoning my body with too much alcohol. As a result, I’ve developed a handful of techniques that take me from retching to flushing without too much discomfort. Sometimes, when the first pangs of rusty saliva leak down my throat, I like to pretend that I’m an angry dragon, hurriedly flapping my wings to spray an unsuspecting porcelain city with waves of bilious puke-fire. It’s pretty awesome.
“Nausea and vomiting can be at the end of a whole buildup of things,” said Charles Horn, a neuroscientist who specializes in emesis, the clinical term for blowing chunks. “But the truth is, when you vomit, you feel better, almost every time.”
In fact, vomiting makes some people feel so good that they’ve devoted their lives to studying it. This year, along with another neuroscientist named Bill Yates, Charles co-hosted a two-day, single-track academic conference at the University of Pittsburgh, officially known as Biology and Control of Nausea and Vomiting 2013—the International Vomiting Conference for short. In attendance were 62 prominent doctors who share the goal of advancing research on the biological mechanisms that cause nausea and vomiting. Their ultimate goal is to answer the questions: Why do people blow their grits, and what are we to do about it? The answers are more complicated than one might think.
Living on an all-soylent diet—for a month.
Tinder and Grindr Users See Some Crazy Shit
Too Good to Be True
It was November of last year, so it was at the very beginning of my Tinder experience, and I had found a guy who seemed incredible. Perhaps too good to be true. He was a pro golfer, born and raised in Switzerland, he came over to Canada and went to school on a full scholarship, and was just killing it running his own business. He was incredibly ambitious and really good-looking, and we hit it off right away.
We ended up meeting up on a Thursday night for some drinks and dinner. That Wednesday I had actually gotten into a pretty serious car accident. I’m fine but the car was totaled. I was really shook up that day but thought maybe the date would cheer me up.
While we were on our way to the restaurant I started explaining to him that I had been in a car accident, so he starts trying to relate to me with his car issues. He tells me he’s had 19 speeding tickets, he’s been arrested twice, and he pays over $900 a month in insurance. I knew right off the bat this was a red flag.
While we were out at a sushi restaurant he just suddenly looked up from his food and said, “You’re so pretty, you’re probably the prettiest Filipino I’ve ever met.” I actually spit out my drink, because I am the farthest thing from Filipino. I’m very white, and probably look more Italian or Jewish, but certainly not Filipino. I actually had to Google “Filipino” on my phone and show it to him so he could understand how wrong he was.
At this point I was just enjoying the entertainment value of the date, so I agreed to a drink after dinner, and we headed over to an Irish Pub downtown. While we were having a drink he started talking about religion, which is a subject I try to avoid on first dates whenever possible, but he brought it up, so I told him I was pretty much an atheist and don’t really practice anything. He said, “That’s interesting, I’m part of the Illuminati.” He goes on to tell me about how his grandfather has all the secrets of the world and all these conspiracy theories that he’s aware of.
It became pretty obvious at this point that this guy was a pathological liar and that most of his profile was made up. I doubt he’s a pro golfer or a small business owner or that he’s ever lived in Switzerland.
So I told him I was really tired and needed to go home, and he dropped me off back at my place. At the end of the date he went in for the kiss, and I went for a hug. I’ve never heard from him since.
Buttwater Is a Legendary Party Trick
For the past few weeks, I’ve been touring around doing standup comedy, opening for a band called KEN Mode, and we recently found ourselves in Boston with nothing to do. It was a Monday, and some guy invited us to his barbecue kegger. We arrived, I quickly got wasted, and halfway into my second ball of bacon wrapped chicken, a man named Dan—who’s been traveling with a band called Flying Snakes—approached me. In a southern drawl, he asked: “Hey, y’all wanna see a video ‘bout buttwater?” I obviously said yes and when I saw it I almost dick watered my own pants from laughing so hard. Buttwater is a legendary party trick—with an anal waterfall punchline—and it was born in Orlando, Florida.
While this footage was unfortunately shot on an ancient cell phone, the beauty of buttwater is that it doesn’t require glorious 1080p video to get the message across. Water coming out of a butt is funny at even the lowest resolution. But this blurry video of a grown man expelling water from his poop chute did not completely satisfy my curiosity. Who is this guy? Where did buttwater originate? What’s up with the mask? In order to learn more, I asked Dan to get me in touch with the buttwaterer himself—a man called Vulture. Here’s how my conversation went.
VICE: How did you get the nickname Vulture?
Vulture: When I was about 16 years old, after punk shows we would go out to a diner or something like that and I wouldn’t order food because I knew there would be leftovers. I’d pick at everyone else’s food or pick food off of another table. My philosophy was: I had money, I had a job, but the less money I spent on food, I could buy more punk-rock shirts and see more punk-rock shows. Then one night my friend’s girlfriend was like, “This guy is like a fucking vulture. He’s eating off every table in here.”
So do you have a lot of sweet punk T-shirts now?
Yeah, well, I don’t fit into them anymore. I got a little bit fat as I got older, so I decided to sell most of them.
Oh well, life goes on. So, when did you figure out you have a gift for shooting water out of your butt?
I remember hanging out at someone’s house late one night. We were swimming and our friend, who was a couple years older, was talking about this technique (that would later become buttwater) and saying how it was possible. I thought it was bullshit. I just didn’t believe it. So he told me how to do it. We were probably drinking, so I gave it a whirl. You just have to have the “I don’t care, I’m not embarrassed, whatever” attitude. So I went ahead and did it. Everybody cracked up. I get the same reaction every time.
Are You “Quirky” and “Interesting”? This Bullshit Dating Website Could Be for You!
Last week I was forwarded a press release for a new dating website called LoveFlutter.com. Interestingly, it promises to screen out people who are “boring”:
“To coincide with our launch we’ve worked with Dr. Simon Moore of the British Psychological Society to create a 60-second test that scores how interesting a person is, out of 100. It’s called The Quirky-Interesting Test and we’re harnessing it to exclude any ‘unexciting’ types at sign-up. Potential members must pass the test in order to join LoveFlutter.”
Wow. An innovative new test backed by a real-life scientist who deems himself an authority on what is “quirky” and “interesting”? This sounded like exactly the kind of tonic my love life has long been in dire need of. Could science tell me whether I was interesting enough to be allowed to have sex with people?
Korean Poo Wine
"Ttongsul" is a Korean rice wine mixed with the fermented turd of a human child. It has an alcoholic content of around 9 percent. Little is known about the origins of what is surely one of the world’s most bizarre and gag-inducing medicines. A quick "Ttongsul" Google search will provide you with little more than internet-land hearsay and a flimsy Wikipedia page.
Intrigued, we set out to discover if the rumors were true and to our astonishment found a traditional Korean medicine doctor who claims to be one of the last people who knows how to make “feces wine.” Dr. Lee Chang Soo’s face was tinged with sadness when he told us of his regret that feces is no longer widely utilized in Eastern medicine. The use of human and animal feces for medicinal purposes can be traced back centuries in Korea. Ancient Korean medicine books claim that it heals bad bruising, cuts, broken bones, and is even an effective remedy for epilepsy.
It’s worth pointing out that the average person in modern-day South Korea would have have no clue what Ttongsul is. The drink is believed to have pretty much disappeared by the 1960s as South Korea began its long journey towards First World modernity and Western medicines became more popular.
Even so, old habits die hard and it’s rumored that a small number of Koreans still swear by the pungent booze. VICE Japan correspondent Yuka Uchida travelled from Tokyo to Seoul in order to sample some vintage feces wine for herself. As far as we know, this is the first time that the making of Ttongsul has ever been documented on film.
Man Have Sex with Girl in Cave: Dissecting ‘Gigolos’
It is conceivable that, one day, I will meet someone who has walked on another planet. The person will describe for me the cosmic insignificance of our individual lives and how simultaneously splendid and bleak the universe is. I will make a face and wait for the person to finish, and then I will say “Yes, but have you seen the fifth episode in the fourth season of Gigolos?”
Gigolos (Showtime) concludes its fourth season this evening at 11 PM. It is sort of an Entourage: People Maybe Addicted to Amphetamines Edition, hitting all the familiar notes of day-drinking and homophobia and doing whatever it takes to make it. The show focuses on five Las Vegas members of Cowboys 4 Angels, a straight male escort agency. The escorts are all meticulously waxed and ostentatiously accessorized, their muscles pumped up like inflatable mattresses. Their lives are measured in deadlift reps and UV rays and financing rates on silver Range Rovers. Their whole existence is tribal tattoos, “breaking a sweat six days a week,” pensive stares, loving life, having mottos, jiu-jitsu, getting “totally transformed,” limousines and bottle service, implausible dick bulges, bootcut jeans.
One member, Bradley Lord, says in a voiceover, as footage plays of him spanking a black woman during a web cam show, “I enjoy life. I even have tattoos on me that say that. You know, live every day, live to the fullest, be true to yourself.” They inhabit a world in which the grandest, most emphatic gesture you can make is to write meaningless bromides onto your body.
Asia, 25, Toronto - Marc Jacobs sweater, vintage shirt.
What do you do for a living?
I’m an artist.
How long has your bedroom been this messy?
The mess has a tendency to ebb and flow, depending on my mood. This is actually pretty tidy. I’m having a good week so far.
How far in advance do you plan to clean?
Sometimes when I come home drunk I clean, but by the time I wake up, it’s a mess again. I’m not sure how it happens. I don’t plan to live in a clean place until I can afford a French maid, so no, I don’t procrastinate.
Do you bring lovers into your place, and what do they think of the mess?
I bring boys home sometimes. If they complain I punish them.
Do you collect anything?
Yes. Rare and precious jewels. I accept donations.
Were you messy as a kid?
I’ve always been messy. My mom never cared, but it grossed my brother out because he’s a Virgo. My mom still doesn’t care that I live this way. My brother never comes over. I don’t mind though because he’s got cable at his place and pretty much always has food.
What would your parents say about your apartment now?
I make sure to look clean and pretty when I leave the house and I’m usually tidy when I make art.
What is your favorite item that you own, and are you worried about losing it in the mess?
My favorite item is a secret. I don’t want to say whether it’s hidden or not because I don’t want people snooping around when they come over.