Coleman Goes To FitExpo 2018

by Coleman Patrick Ranahan

(Apologies for the semi-blurry phone pics – I didn’t even realize I was going to write about this until half-way through the Expo).

It took nearly three years, but 2018 finally seemed to be the year my schedule wasn’t jam packed or something obscene didn’t interfere, but I finally did it. I went to my first ever… *checks notes…* FitExpo?  Wait, you’re telling me out of the years I’ve tried to go to Comic-Con, failed to go to Comic-Con one year for free (there’s a story), I… went to FitExpo? *Looks around the room… UHHH OK.

I’ve always generally hung outside of cons, never to go in. Not really sure why this is a thing for me, but it is. Comic-Con parties? Sure. Comic-Con dinners? Yeah I’ve been to those. Actual cons? Pffft.

*Halts for a second. I’m gonna explain that Comic-Con story real quick. When I first moved to Los Angeles my employer was paying for the entire company to go to Comic-Con, I got confused by the email that was sent out, and thought I was going to have to pay for my own badge like a dope, and decided that a freshly moved face to Los Angeles couldn’t afford that, so I stayed behind as one of five people still working in the office. *Whispers: We had free badges, I just didn’t realize that, and thus the crowned idiot of 2013 was ME. IT WAS ME.

Anyway, a friend and co-worker had been asking me to go with the last two years and it just never worked out for a variety of reasons but my schedule cleared so I bought a ticket. I had no idea what to expect, other than people showing up and shoveling enough free swag down my pie-hole than one of those Vegas strip assholes constantly slapping their hand, trying to convince me to patronize their asshole establishment like giant assholes.

As a person now carless (old car – bad car), I expected to take the bus over, but fuck a bus at 8:30 in the A.M. (mere laziness rather than walk a mile to the bus stop), I was taking a ride-share. So I called a ride-share over, and right away I knew I was in for a thing when the driver was listening to a hunting podcast. Nothing starts a great car-ride by listening to someone talk about the amount of hunters viciously killed by animals and then also killing said animals at eight in the god damn morning. I did the smart thing and opted for some Alex Lahey in my ears.

I was told to arrive early as possible. As for someone who works nights and rarely goes to sleep by 4 A.M., that seemed daunting, but I somehow managed to do it.  But upon my arrival at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the driver, just had to, and emphasis on a fervent, GOD MADE ME DO IT, HAD TO, comment about the women who were walking around in work-out attire (he got a down-rating he deserved). So… great start to the morning. Thanks Duck Dynasty.

I got my wrist-band and found my way outside to presumably where the line was. There only seemed like a few people, so I thought I had arrived fairly enough. Turns out, that was just the first, not even tenth of the line, and as I rounded the corner towards the South Hall entrance an endless sea of people suddenly appeared in S-curves everywhere. I knew FitExpo had its fair share of attendees, but mother of god and all that is holy proteins, there was a lot of people, and I was EARLY.

Anyway, after finding my friend in the endless sea of groggy and flexing people and waiting for nearly an hour, we were let in, and our first mission was to hit the two biggest booths possible for the free swag. The first one, Optimum Nutrition *Homer Simpson Voice: Op-ti-mum* was easy. We were in and out. The second, for, was a nightmare.

It was like we had made some bodybuilding god angry and it was only fitting that we stood in line for what felt like an eternity. But the best part, and boy do I use this acrimoniously, was when we neared the start of the free swag line, and two colossal tools, two pompous jackasses who thought they were so clever, looked around – side to side, and motioned that they were going to cut through so they could walk on down the floor, and instead planted themselves in front of us. These shitheads just cut us in line after we waited and waited. Without hestitation, my friend looked at me and said, “Well, I take back my douchebag comment” knowing full well these guys would hear us.

They did, and they turned around. “Sorry bro, we owe you a protein shake,” said one of them. Now first off, fuck you. Secondly, fuck you again. What does that even mean, “we owe you a protein shake”? *Makes jerk-off motion. What, are we going to exchange information and you’ll come find us later, pouring protein shakes into bottles like martinis?

If you wanted to solidify yourself as a Grade-A dumbfuck, you stamped it on your foreheads with a machine press that just about cracked your skulls in half. I very much wanted to force them from the line, but seeing as it was my first Expo, and seeing as how I didn’t want to be the one angry guy who started a fight at a convention of people a hundred times more ripped than I (a human marshmallow beaten with fifteen hammers) in a line for free shit, I let it go.

After we escaped the line with our haul, I came to really learn just how many nutrition companies in existence there were. And Jesus H Amino Acids Christ, to say there are a shit-load is an understatement. I genuinely had no idea. Row after row produced new names and brands I could have sworn emerged from the 2018 primordial ooze like strange fish with legs. Some of them seemed fairly genuine, some Mom & Pop types, some big corporations. Some of them seemed to be for the greater good, and some seemed to have an air of SPRING BREAK BITCHES (Spring-Breaaaaaaak) with techno music and people getting up on stage and doing feats of strength like it was Festivus. Form fitting clothes with designs on them to make it look like the women reps for whatever company were spray-painted on was a strange vibe to me honestly in the era of 2018 but there it was.

My friend rattled off name after name as we walked by or talked to a different Mr. Olympia or workout contest winner like they were NFL wide-receivers, I truly felt out of my depth as a sentient jar of mayonnaise for the first time ever but I went with it.

I tasted enough pre-workout samples to constitute a cocaine over-dose, but at least I didn’t have to buy coffee for a majority of the day. Did you know that you can buy egg-whites that taste like fucking Fruity-Pebbles? Cause I sure as shit didn’t. And they were pouring it out like liquor at your favorite dive bar.

Protein was packed into every single thing you could possibly think of. Bundt cakes (yes, bundt cakes), cookies, bars, and my ears. You could have packed protein into an iron brick and I imagine someone would have probably been munching on it up and down the Expo floor, while muttering about their calves or something. I was amazed. I had truly had my eyes opened for the first time.

When we had finally exhausted ourselves, we venture into a smaller room that seemed to be off the beaten path. There were seminars and demonstrations that noticeably were getting the shaft. I wish I could have given them the time of day but my achy-breaky feet wanted to curl up on the floor like a good book and some whiskey.

When we gathered our wits, we found the food trucks outside the convention hall, and boy were we in for something. 

A funk band donning the purest of 70’s disco was on display for us, and while we patiently waited for our pork melt sandwiches (and my friend took off his vest to see if his shoulder muscles were still there), treated us to renditions of the finest 70’s funk you can imagine. Within eyeline, mere yards away as you walked back into the convention center, was a slackline competition bouncing around to the funky beat while a guy on top of a post narrated their every movement. Perfect lunch entertainment.

I mean, not to beat the New Year’s Resolutions thing to death, but if you wanted some motivation going into the New Year to get into shape, visiting the FitExpo will give that to you in spades. I didn’t expect the crowd size to be so large, nor did I expect to find out a new wealth of nutrition companies, but I managed to find that maybe I should pay a little more attention to these kinds of things. I’ll never be some Olympiad, not with my seemingly shadowy carpel-tunnel or creeping non-diagnosed arthritis plaguing me as of late, but if I can keep an eye on the science of all these things, maybe I can better myself in just some slightly interesting ways. Or I could forget it all tomorrow and run head first into a tree, who the fuck knows.


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Top 5 Albums Of The Year

By Coleman Patrick Ranahan

Oh god, oh no. It’s that time of year again. EGADs. Run for the hills. Batten down the hatches. Throw steak knives at your loved ones (don’t do that). I don’t really write about music a whole hell of a lot because, let’s face it, I’m an idiot when it comes to the true depths of modern music.

I once asked if someone knew about a popular band (at the time – and no, I’m not telling you jerks what it is) in middle school, like it was sliced bread and the stupefied response like I was just emerging like Rip Van Winkle from a twenty-year bender. But this year I just felt like writing about my top five albums of the year, namely because a few of them aren’t probably going to be in people’s purview, and namely I’m just fascinated by the list.

My taste in music seems to be ever evolving, what I once listened to five years ago is not even close to what I listen to now. And good, I don’t want to get boring (despite being a boring person). I like throwing in something new. So maybe you’ll give one of these a listen, if you’ve never listened to the more obscure artists, maybe you will after. Here ya go, ya bastards.

5. Kendrick Lamar – Damn

Yeah, you’d be kind of an idiot to not include one of the best rap albums of the last few years. I mean, Damn, Damn, Daaaaaamn. (Sorry, the ghost of Gene Shalit is haunting me right now).  But yeah, you know it’s good.

4. ZZ Ward – The Storm

I discovered ZZ Ward just earlier this year while working and became immediately entranced by her combo of blues, rock, and R & B. The album has plenty of fantastic singles and shifts gears when it needs to. It’s a really stellar album that I’m glad came out of left field.

3. Lorde – Melodrama

Lorde has fantastically avoided the sophomore slump with something so eloquent and graceful. Lorde is evolving as an artist and so far it only seems the like the trajectory is up. Green Light, though fantastic, seems a little bit like an oddball on the album, but it still works. It still all gels together. Lorde is my jam. And I’ll listen to whatever the hell she wants to do next.

2. Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother

Honestly, I was an inch away from putting this as my favorite album of the year. The up and comer from Australia has infused Aimee Mann style lyrics to such a fun and thumpin’ tune I was a fan from the first listen. It’s hard to name a single favorite on this, as I pretty much enjoy them all, but some of the lyrics to things like ‘Backpack’ and ‘Awkward Exchange’ and ‘Perth Traumatic Stress Disoder’ tell me we’re in for some great albums from Lahey ahead and I hope she develops a great following. Loved, loved, loved this album.

1. Kesha – Rainbow

Kesha has taken the chains holding her back and shattered them into a thousand pieces. If you wanted an artist to completely break free from her past archetypes while also embracing the pop soul she started out with, it’s all here in ‘Rainbow’. Kesha moves from genre to genre, pop, pop-rock, country, ballads, anything and everything you can think of is there. And she can do it all. There’s absolutely no reason to doubt the talent that Kesha truly has, and having seen her in concert in November, I can tell you, she’s a certified rock-star. The best album of the year is Kesha’s ‘Rainbow’.

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Move Over Baby Driver, The Great Heist of 2017 Is Here

By Coleman Patrick Ranahan

Sorry folks, it isn’t done with boppin’ tunes and an attractive lead, but with tomfoolery and a bunch of idiots. The great bank heist of 2017 wasn’t done with speeding cars and a bunch of pscyho’s in my back seat, it was half-assed with two blubbering fools with a futuristic laser rifle. It didn’t happen in the streets of Georgia or the real, gritty streets of Los Angeles in the dead of night, it happened of course, in my head.

But let’s hold up for just a second. What could have possibly have lead to such a dream? And how did it go so wrong? Meet me, a college-grad with a job as a YouTube Channel Manager in beautiful Los Angeles, California. I may not have a roving herd of PR flacks, agents, and a posse of idiots running around, but I got a good thing going. How did I develop such a psychosis to lead to a bumbling bank heist?

What my dream didn’t tell me were the spaces in between, the finer details. How did I just happen to come across a futuristic laser rifle that would allow me to break into bank ATM’s in the first place? Why was my one particular friend my partner in crime? Did I have a meet up akin to ‘The Wire’? I’d love to imagine being on the docks of Los Angeles, shrouded in a dark coat, waiting for my mysterious laser rifle to arrive, only to likely trip on a small rock and eat a puddle of rainwater (in this version of LA we get rain all the time). How did I develop these contacts? Was I on the *finger quotes* “Dark Web”?

But let’s fast forward to our finest hour, as my partner (a real life friend for some reason) and I decide to try it out for the first time and actually break into a local ATM. None of us know what we’re doing (naturally – and of course – as always). We try everything we can to figure out how to cut open the front of an ATM machine, but at this point, we’re just painting with a broad brush and making the ATM look like a burned Picasso. We get seriously frustrated and shoot the ATM’s camera right in its little damned, arrogant (?) eye, and we thankfully leave. (Sorry about the mess, Chase).

It didn’t work out the first time, we were complete fools. We couldn’t have possibly dropped the ball more than that, but did that deter us? Did we pack it in and decide, “to hell with it”? NO, OF COURSE NOT. For we are the great ATM Bandits of 2017, we have a god damn’d laser rifle, and we need to close out the year in style because ‘Fuck You’ Donald Trump (I’m not sure what he has to do with this but I had to sneak one in there).

Our second attempt at thievery was upon us. So back in we go, except this time, we use our bank ATM card to get into the building as one does when the building is closed. Hmm, seems like a terrible way to get caught, no? (The chorus shouts back: YES!). How did a chorus get in here? Now who is the one sneaking around??

As we were surely attempting a sound #2 (hold your jokes please) heist, a group of out of town tourists came flocking in, desperate for cash. My crime partner and I froze, as if we were just having some troubles, none the wiser. Everyone, in their Hawaiian shirts and touristy hats (so many hats) fought over who got to use the ATM first, and we decided to just sit there and sweat. We did afterall, have a futuristic laser rifle, capable of cutting into ATM’s, but we were gentlemen, and decided not to cause a scene while Bob and Margaret were retrieving their twenty-dollar bills. As the tourists left, my crime partner and I looked at each other, the dream ended, and I woke up laughing. I’ll never know if we got to pull off the greatest bank heist in recorded history, but it sure was dumb as hell trying to figure it out.

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What To Do When Your President Is A Nazi/White Supremacist Sympathizer?

by Coleman Patrick Ranahan

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla – Getty)

Ok, so your President was just revealed as a Nazi sympathizer. A wide range of emotions are going to come out. Mostly rage I imagine, but there may even be some tears and bargaining.

But the question now becomes – What do you do?

I’ve come up with a handy dandy list.

  1. Scream.
  2. Scream louder.
  3. Scream at a small bush.
  4. Apologize to the small bush.
  5. Watch Schindler’s List.
  6. Apologize to Schindler’s List, profusely… like to the whole blu-ray case.
  7. Call your Congressman/Congresswoman (don’t forget the part about the President being a Nazi sympathizer, don’t just chat about pie or something, though pie is delicious).
  8. Rage, rage some more.
  9. Figure out that you should probably censure the President.
  10. Censure the President (then have pie).

Think you’re done? Nah. You’ve still got some work to do. BECAUSE THE GOD DAMN PRESIDENT THINKS THERE ARE VERY NICE PEOPLE IN THE WHITE SUPRE— Sorry I think I just had a small stroke.

One thing you can do to ensure this happens again in the future is to tell future progeny and small yelling machines (I think those are called children) that Nazis and White Supremacists are evil and generally just bad people. Educate them. If you think they’re old enough, show them the horrors of World War II. Don’t hold back images of what happened. They deserve to know. They deserve to not be dragged into the rise of something like that ever again. They deserve to be small yelling machines and not have to worry about whether or not Jeff next door lit a torch, parted his hair like a douchebag (spoiler alert – total douchebag) and went out marching cause he think his shit haircut makes him a better man. Jeff is not a better man. Jeff is an asshole. Fuck you, Jeff.

Few Presidents in the history of the United States have actually faced censure. Congress has tried before, Bill Clinton came close (phrasing). Abraham Lincoln (the party our current President claims to hold) almost ran afoul of it. One notable President to actually be censured? Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson was also a documented dickhole.

There are few and far things in between to send a strong message to the President of the United States about. I generally tend to think condemnations are a waste of time and money unless you get someone to resign from office, but since the President of the United States seems so hellbent on getting something through Congress why not sign (or sigh), seal, and deliver the biggest ‘fuck you’ in American politics besides asking him to resign? You may not agree with everything, but there is one notable exception, Nazis and White Supremacists. No matter how far you turn, no matter how much you look away, they’re lurking in the shadows like evil cartoon characters, sharpening their knives and waiting for the day someone is elevated that will let them run amuck. This is that time.

It only takes about five minutes of watching a National Geographic Special or a History Channel hour (back when they did history, I have no idea what they do now – Auction off cats?) to know that Nazis and White Supremacists are bad. Ed Norton made a movie about being a Nazi turned not Nazi.

Don’t be bad. Don’t be a Nazi. Don’t sympathize with Nazis and go, “Well Jeff seems alright.” Jeff is not alright. Jeff is a deranged lunatic who will come to your house with a dusty tiki torch that he stole from your stepdad’s basement that he claims to have fueled with “liberal tears” and scream until he’s red in the face because he think’s he is genetically superior. Jeff can crawl back to his hole from whence he came, remove that awful white polo, take a hint from history and make the world a better place. Fuck Nazis, send the President a neat little letter with the word “censure” on it, and have some pie.

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