Mexico is Fatter Than us?

Growing up I was always told that while us Americans think we’re the best at everything, we’re actually far behind other countries in many aspects. 13th in education, 33rd in life expectancy. As I got older, I learned the only things I could ever rely on America being number 1 at were CEO pay, imprisonment rate and obesity.

Turns out even that absolute is being turned on it’s head because Mexico has passed us as the fattest country in the world.

But… that’s our thing. We’re America.

The McGuire twins.  Joint secretaries of state from 1971-1978

The McGuire twins. Joint secretaries of state from 1971-1978

There’s just no way Mexico can be fatter than us. Cheap Mexican labor is one of the things that helped us become the fattest and laziest country on earth. Mexican immigrants sweat and toil in the kitchens of our all-you-can-eat-buffets so we can shove greasy fat into our gullets as fast as possible! How did they surpass us?

I have a couple of theories.

1: The Doritos Locos Taco.

Personally I'm a softshell only guy.  Make that a double decker and we'll talk.

Personally I’m a softshell only guy. Make that a double decker and we’ll talk.

Over 500 million Doritos Locos tacos have been sold since their inception. While some of those sales can be attributed to Americans we can all agree that most of those were probably bought by Mexicans since Taco Bell is Mexican cuisine.

2: Republican conspiracy.

Conservatives would love nothing more than Mexicans to stop crossing the border illegally into the United States. Rather than trying to help improve the conditions of their home country or making the legal path to citizenship more attractive and illegal occupation less attractive, they claim the only way to stem the tide is by building a wall or something.

You know what’s easier than building a wall and more profitable? Selling Mexicans so much junk food in Mexico that they get way too fat to hop a fence or swim the Rio Grande on their own.

Smuggling via transport would be harder as well since fewer people would fit in a truck and when the border guard stopped them all the panting and wheezing would tip them off.

The only flaw in this nefatious (that was originally a typo but I left it because it totally fit) scheme is that once the heart attack rates in Mexico skyrocket, they’re going to try to find a way to trim down and what better way to drop some pounds and make some money than to do some landscaping work in the Estados Unidos? The immigration problem will take on a whole new chubby, sweaty face as illegal day labor will be the biggest Mexican workout craze of the decade. If you thought Walmart parking lots had a lot of fat people before…

Well, at least we still have the most people in jail. Nobody’ll ever take that from us. USA! USA!

The Best and Worst of the Akumal Comedy Festival.

Best: Sol Beer.


I had never seen Sol beer before going to Mexico. I don’t know if it’s not available in the US or you just can’t find it in the midwest but I soon got to know Sol beer very intimately. I didn’t drink much beer the first few days as beer gives me troubled trousers these days so I mainly stuck to a drink I invented called “Pool Rum”. Here’s how you make a Pool Rum.

1. Grab a bottle of rum.
2. Drink it in a pool.

As the week went on I got a little more courageous with the beer and by the end of the week I was pounding Sol pretty hard with no gut troubles. I’m no scientist but I think that this means that Sol is a tasty magic Mexican beer and they don’t carry it around here because the government is afraid people will learn of it’s healing properties.

Worst: FUD Hot Dogs


On the third night I picked up some brats, hot dogs and buns for some late night drinkey snacks. We ended up moving to a different rental house the next day and while I remembered to bring the hod dogs and brats, I forgot the buns. That night we were getting into the Sol and pool rum and wanted something to eat but the only food was the brats and dogs. The brats were Johnsonville, a brand that’s everywhere in the states so we knew what we were getting. The dogs were FUD brand.

According to Wikipedia, FUD (pronounced “food”) is an acronym for the Spanish words Fino, Unico y Delicioso (Refined, Unique & Delicious). Looking at it through american eyes you just end up saying “Food” and really over pronouncing the “u” like it’s something you’d find at Ikea. Whatever. It’s pretty hard to fuck up a hot dog, right? We put them in a pan and threw water in to simmer. Festival Comedian and friend Nate Abshire manned the pan while the rest of us got back to drinking.

After a few minutes I looked over to the pan and the hot dogs had swelled to literally three times their size. Their smooth texture had been replaced by a wrinkly one. I asked Nate to describe what it looked like this morning on facebook chat and here’s what he gave me.

“They looked like an uncircumcised penis, riddled with leprosy, slowly becoming engorged with malignant desire.” He’s not wrong.

When they were taken out of the water and off the heat they shrank back down to roughly their original size but the wrinkles and cuts from their hulk out remained. Now they were just withered little things that we had no choice but to eat because we had the drunken munchies and you don’t want to waste food (there’s starving Children in America). They tasted like wet pencil erasers. No amount of hot sauce made them palatable.

The wikipedia article for FUD states that they just struck a deal with a US company to license and distribute the wrinkledick dogs up here. Consider yourself warned.

Magical Mexican Voyage: Day 6.

Chatting with Jena earlier today I told her I didn’t know what to blog about. She told me I should talk about what I’m doing in Mexico besides pooping. Honestly I haven’t gone out too much. There have been some parties, one of which had a surprise Mayan dance routine bust out right in the middle of everything –

Sure I was a little disappointed when I found out they weren't strippers but it was a cool show anyway.

But for the most part I’ve been writing and drinking. Not most people’s ideal for a tropical vacation but I could think of worse ways to pass the time.

It hasn’t all just been hunching over a laptop and emptying bottles of rum like some modern day fart joke Bukowski, the organizers for the Akumal Comedy Festival lined up plenty of activities for the comics and with shooting sketches on location there’s been plenty to explore. Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to –

Remember this guy?

I can eat it!

Trees like that are all over the place down here and I wasn’t sure if they were coconuts because the only coconuts I’ve ever seen were the fuzzy brown bowling balls hanging off the lone tree on the tiny island in comic strips. Turns out in real life they got a big ol’ husk surrounding the bowling ball. I saw some in the back yard of the villa where the organizers and crew are staying and asked my friend and festival organizer Gus Lynch if I could have one. He gave me the go ahead and I set about on my task. Opening a coconut.

I figured Tom Hanks did it in like three days on Castaway so if I beat that time I’m good. I spiked it against the cement patio and while it didn’t bust open, the husk was softer where it hit. I peeled a little back but it was slow going. I was going to need tools. I went to the kitchen and got a paring knife. I was worried I might cut myself hacking away at it so I got the smallest blade possible. When I went back out to stab away and enjoy the sweet coconut the cinematographer for the shoots looked at me holding a knife and coconut and said “careful. I’ve seen four people cut themselves trying to open coconuts before”. I was starting to think it just might be better to go and grab a Mounds bar but I’ve mad my decision. I’m cracking this fucker open and eating it. After ten minutes of hacking away I finally saw the bowling ball. I threw it against the ground and it split open, spraying coconut water everywhere. I don’t know if it was all the effort put in but that coconut was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever eaten. I enjoyed my reward and felt assured that if I get lost in the jungle I can survive indefinitely with nothing but a paring knife.


I’m bald. When you’re bald you know how important it is to keep your head from burning. A sunburned bald head peels and it looks like you have the worst case of dandruff ever. It’s gross. I’ve taken care to not burn my head this trip but there’s something I forgot. I have skin on the rest of my body, too.

I’m also fat. As a fat guy I usually don’t make it a point to go to the beach or a pool party and when I do I swim with my shirt on. Here in Akumal, though, there are plenty of guys just as fat if not fatter than me running around. I’m not looking to get laid down here so fuck it, time to deal with my man boob embarrassment and just walk around with my shirt off.

Big mistake. My torso hasn’t been exposed to direct sunlight since I was ten years old. After two hours of shooting a sketch on a beach I was glowing red. An hour after that I was dizzy and cold. The pain hasn’t set in yet but I’m just waiting for one of these jackasses I’m staying with to slap me on the back so they can watch me have a seizure. Damn you, Irish ancestors!

Stay tuned this weekend. I’ll be posting bonus blogs full of interviews and pictures!

No pics of my sunburn, though. God already punished me for showing my bitch tits to the world. I’d hate to think what he’d do if I exposed them again.

Reverse Montezuma’s Revenge

I’ve been trying to make sure that I do everything right while here in Mexico. I haven’t introduced any invasive species to the environment, I bought a hat to protect my sensitive Minnesotan from the unforgiving Mexican sun,

I don't care what everybody who has seen me in this hat says. This hat is badass. I love this hat.

and most importantly, I haven’t had any tap water.

Everybody knows about the Montezuma’s Revenge. You drink the water and you poop for a week straight. wikipedia even talks about it so you know it’s real (but he was defeated by the Spanish. Shouldn’t this only affect Spanish people?). There’s plenty of bottled water here and our villas have those big water coolers but I’ve just been playing it safe and only drinking booze. I’m just trying to live healthy down here.

"If my empire shall lay in ruins so shall your boxer shorts!"

There’s just one problem. Not only have I so far successfully avoided the revenge of Montezuma, I haven’t pooped once since I arrived on Sunday evening. That’s two and a half days. It doesn’t add up. I’ve been doing nothing but eating fajitas and Pringles (Pringles are huge down here for some reason. They’re everywhere) and drinking rum and tequila. I even had a few beers (which I’m totally not supposed to do). I’ve considered having a glass of tap water just to get things going.

I think I know what the problem is. When I was a kid my family would go camping one or two weekends in the summer every year. It was a lot of fun but I hated the idea of pooping in an outhouse or the woods so I just wouldn’t. From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon I just made the decision to not poop. After doing this a dozen times it got easier and easier until I didn’t even feel the need to when camping. Like a Pavlovian response. Now that I’m in Mexico I think my guts have gone back into camping mode lockdown.

Granted, there are toilets here. I have a bathroom all to myself in the villa. This shouldn’t be a problem but when I first went to the bathroom this sign was on the wall next to the toilet.

Wait... What?

Wait… after I’m done wiping, I’m supposed to take the toilet paper and…

Oh no. No, no no no.

Oh God no. I know I’m in a different culture but seriously? I can’t just throw poopy paper in a waste basket. I pretty much have three options right now.

1. Just not poop until I’m back in the land of the septic tanks that can handle a little Charmin. Hopefully I won’t explode like the fat guy in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.
2. Find a toilet somewhere around here that can handle toilet paper. There has to be one, right? This can’t just be something that everybody does down here.
3. Man up and work past my weird poop fear (not gonna happen).

I knew I was going to get homesick down here but I didn’t realize I’d miss my bathroom so much.

Just pooped. It was alright.

While the Cat’s Away…

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, I took the week off of work to play home-maker and facilitate my child’s education while my husband drinks coronas and tequila with a bunch of 12 year olds posing as comedians in a heated pool on the rooftop of their Mexican villa, all under the guise of doing a “comedy festival.”





Jealous? Why would I be jealous? It’s not like I spend the rest of my time working my ass off to support my family so that Bill can go chasing his dream job of stand-up comedian while staying home with my son so he can do online schooling, thus fulfilling *his* dream of spending as many hours on a computer as humanly possible.

Oh wait. It is exactly like that.

But I get to spend more time with my son, who is my world. I mean, unfortunately, he has state testing and school keeping him busy most of the week. And he’s just shy of 12, so every time I go to hug him, he backs away with a horrified look on his face, and I run after him with my arms out-stretched, shouting “don’t look at me like I’m frickin frankenstien. Give your mother a hug!”





Well, at least Bill promised to bring me back something. It’ll probably be something kitschy, like a bobble-headed donkey, or an anatomically correct grass doll, or maybe something made out of coconut.

I’m allergic to coconut. Sigh.



Whatever. I’ve decided to make the most of my time off. My plans for this afternoon include cleaning out and re-arranging the bedroom, going through old papers in the desk, and organizing the bathroom closet.

… the sad part is, I’m kinda looking forward to it.

Trip Planning.

Many of you regular reader know that I’ll be heading out to Mexico on Sunday for the Akumal Comedy Festival because I refuse to shut up about it and it’s true! I’m going to Mexico on Sunday!

I have to do a lot of preparation for this trip. As a part time road comic, I’m pretty used to throwing some underwear and a toothbrush (the only two things I ever bring when I travel) into a duffel bag and heading out to some small midwestern town for 1 to 4 nights but this trip is different. I’ll be gone for 8 days. This will be the longest I’ve ever been apart from Jena since we first started dating. This will also be my first time in a foreign country (except Canada but I really don’t think that counts. As a Minnesotan I’m pretty much Canadian anyway) and the furthest I’ve ever traveled. Here’s just a few of the steps I’ve taken to prepare for my journey.

* Watch ¡Three Amigos! for fashion tips.

I'm sure you can find that outfit at Target.

* Google a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to mexico so I know what to tell the doctor I have when I get back. I’m pretty sure I’m up to date on most of those. I think. Oh well, Typhoid’s probably not nearly as bad as it sounds.

* Check the weather.

Oh, that's nice.

*Feel guilty that Jena’s not coming along. Make a mental note to take pictures of myself with a sad face exploring Mayan ruins, sad face sitting in the infinity pool, sad face drinking on the beach etc.

* Remember that airplanes have that stupid liquid rule. Does that mean I can’t bring my deodorant? It’s the gel kind. Does that count as liquid? I don’t want to have to buy a whole new bottle while I’m down there so I’ll just put on 8 days worth of deodorant right before I leave. I should be fine.

Pretty sure that about covers it. I’m told there’s free wireless there so I’ll should be able to put up a couple of blogs next week and still harass my facebook friends into coming to my comedy shows (New hope Cinema Grill April 27th and 28th!) if I can figure out how to use Mexican internet without getting “Montezuma’s Revenge”. The majority of the blogs next week will be done by Jena, who has the week off from work and gets to experience my life as a homemaker/bullshit comedy writer. Hopefully after walking a mile in my robe and slippers she’ll gain some perspective and realize the plight of the stay at home mom (it’s so easy).

Akumal Comedy Festival Interview: Portrait of An Artist: The People of The Akumal Comedy Festival: Profile Interview: Director Matt Olson

As some of you may know I’ll be in Akumal, Mexico all next week for the First Annual Akumal Comedy Festival and will be the official blog of the festival because nobody else has staked that claim yet! Do you need approval of the festival to be the official blog? Whatever.

As the so far undisputed official blog of the Akumal Comedy Festival, we’ll be interviewing some of the performers and producers that are making this happen and are responding to my emails asking for the interview. I’m excited that our first artist interview will be with director Matt Olson!

Director Matt Olson near a camera either about to direct something or just finished directing something.

Matt Olson cut his teeth in the Minneapolis comedy scene directing for sketch comedy groups The Label and The Other Side Project. After winning the 2008 and 2009 Minneapolis 48 Hour Film Festivals with his shorts “Birthmarked For Death” and “The Grave Review”, Matt moved to Los Angeles. Since then, he’s written and directed an Emmy and Telly award winnning PSA, written a half hour comedy show for FX and is currently developing a web series for MTV. With the experience of directing over 100 live multimedia shows over the years, Matt is coming down to Akumal to not only film the festival but direct several original comedy sketches. The sketches, written and performed by the comedians of the festival, will all be shot in the the few days leading up to the fest. sits down with Matt to discuss the unique challenge of producing comedy under tight deadlines.

Bill: Given your experience with the 48 Hour Film Challenge, you’re no stranger to filming sketch comedy under tight time restrictions. For the Akumal Fest you’re going to shoot and edit several short sketches in the matter of a few days. How would you say working under such pressure changes the process? Does it help?

Matt: I think that working under tight time constraints can yield really good stuff. It pushes you to work at the top of your abilities and makes it nearly impossible to second guess your ideas. This helps make the work more honest and instinctual. Of course the good ideas couldn’t come to life or be done justice without a really solid crew. We had around 25 folks working on our first 48 hour and over 40 on the Grave Review. We have a great bunch working the Akumal shoot. Really an accomplished set of filmmakers. One of the added challenges is that there’s only four of us, so pushing that boulder’s going to take a lot effort.

Bill: You’ve only got a few people working with you on the production end this time around while you have over a dozen comedians writing for you. It’s almost a reverse of your 48 experiences with just a few writers and a large production crew. Is that going to change your process much?

Matt: Yes, I think the large amount of talent ensures I’ll be working even harder on the writing/directing side of things.
We want to include everyone who’s into this but because of our limitations it’s going to be hard to feature everyone equally.
We also don’t want to do something that’s just an extended role call. No final episode of Seinfeld for me please.
We’re still going to be pushing to make work that at actually features some character development and has a cinematic look and feel to it.
I think the key to this lies in finding thematic, comedic and ironic connections between a bunch of diverse folks playing heightened versions of themselves.

Ok maybe diverse isn’t the right word. They’re mostly a bunch of white male comedians. With this crew I guess you could find diversity in “beard/no beard” or wimpy and skinny vs. fat hairy.

Bill:Hey, way off topic but do you remember the time we were at the Nomad with Denson and you totally nerded out on that hot waitress?

Matt: Remind me.

Bill: Okay. We were all on the patio and ordered from this waitress. She came back with our drinks really fast, like a minute later. I said “Wow, that was super fast” and she said “I know, I’m just like Flash Gordon!”

Matt: Doesn’t ring a bell.

Bill: So she says “Just like Flash Gordon” and then you respond by saying “Uhhh, I think you mean ‘The Flash’”. You might have said “Uhh, I think you mean DC Comics’ ‘The Flash’” but I can’t remember.

Either way, the waitress scrunched up her face and said something to the effect of “Whatever” and left. Did you get her number after that? I can’t remember. She really seemed into being corrected on comic book trivia. Girls like that stuff.

Matt: She was obviously not my type.

Bill: Maybe you just weren’t specific enough. She probably would’ve hopped on your jock right then and there if you were just more pedantic about it. Follow it up with something like “And even then there aren’t any female Flashes so call yourself ‘Jessie Quick’ next time”.

Matt:Go fuck yourself, Bill.

Bill: Good interview.

If you’d like to see more of Matt Olson, you can find him at a comic book shop on Wednesday (that’s when the new releases come out).

Another Conversation With Jena: The Curse of the Feathered Serpent.

Here’s part of a conversation Jena and I had on the phone yesterday as I was driving home from Illinois.

ME: Don’t forget Jared has spring break next week.

JENA: I wish I had spring break.

ME: Well hey, you have a whole week off of work this month. That’s just like spring break.

JENA: Yeah, but I’ll have to do all the homemaker stuff. It’s not like I’m going to be in Mexico all week (note: she didn’t provide a hyperlink in our phone conversation. I’m doing this for you, the reader, to add some context. You’re welcome).

ME: Hey! That’s going to be hard work for me.

JENA: You’re doing what, three shows? You get to go scuba diving!

ME: Exactly! While underwater I’m basically acting as an ambassador to the surface world. Our diplomatic relationship with Poseidon’s kingdom is tense as it is. What if I fart down there? First the oil spill and now this? Aquaman will not be happy. There’s also going to be a lot of drinking on a beach, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

JENA: Uh huh.

ME: I’m probably going to explore a bunch of Mayan Ruins, too. What if I end up knocking over an artifact and invoke the rage of Quetzalcoatl? Now I’ve got the Curse of the Feathered Serpent to deal with. This isn’t going to be easy.

JENA: You know you could use this conversation in the blog, right?

ME: Eh, only if I can’t think of anything funny tomorrow.