Detailing the joys of ... monkey chow

Canadian blogger keeps video diary of his unusual weeklong diet

July 13, 2006|By JESSICA BERTHOLD | JESSICA BERTHOLD,THE MORNING CALL

How do you get famous, lose weight and have women e-mail you nude photos in one fell swoop?

Eat only monkey pellets for a solid week.

It worked for Canadian Adam Scott, 30, who created a video diary of his experiment and posted it on his regular blog "The Last Angry Young Man" (angryman.ca/blog/angryblog.html). Once popular sites YouTube and Boing Boing got wind of Scott's exploits, word spread like lice on a primate's back. The pellet pounder became the latest "Star Wars Kid" for a time, with office workers across the world crowding around computer screens to watch him scarf down the foul-tasting kibble in new and inventive ways.

Though the experiment ended recently and site traffic is declining, there seems to be a little life in the gimmick yet - the leftover monkey chow has attracted bids of more than $100 on eBay.

Scott, aka "Angryman," is mild-mannered and works in an office that sometimes requires a tie.

For now, he'll return to his usual blog agenda, ranting about things that make him mad - a pretty good site even without the simian high jinks. Though he doesn't rule out a follow-up to his dietary adventure, it will probably have nothing to do with monkeys.

The first post-diet food you ate was sausages and beer. Why?

Of all things, my buddy had a coupon.

How'd that first bite taste?

Well, I actually had a handful of caramel popcorn first, because the sausages took a while to cook. It tasted incredibly flavorful and felt so soft compared to the little chows.

Any physical side effects?

No. People said my stomach couldn't handle people food right away, but I ate 2 1/2 pounds of sausage that night, no problem.

Which food did you crave during the diet?

In the first few days, it was really savory stuff like melted cheese, like a cheeseburger or cheesy garlic bread. It was always hot food. But the cravings kind of trickled off at the end, and the thought of eating anything churned my stomach.

Did the taste of the pellets change over time?

I started off eating it dry, which is difficult to eat because it's so hard. Then I switched to soaking it in water, which is easier to swallow but disgusting. It's got the texture of soggy bread. When I switched back to dry I was like, "Man, that's not bad. ... "

Any qualms about the ingredients?

It was mostly corn, soybean, wheat, stuff like that. The only thing I didn't know about was the source of the animal fat. But animal fat never comes from a pleasant place. ... That lard in your pie is no prettier than the lard in monkey food. I just tried not to think about it.

How did you get this idea?

I'd been intrigued with the idea of "people chow" for quite a while, like one nutritionally complete substance you could eat all the time. I looked for it on the Internet and didn't find anything, but I found all these other types of chow - for goats, monkeys, even giraffes. The description for monkey chow said it was suitable for all primates, so I thought, "Well, that doesn't exclude me."

What'd your mom think of this?

She loved it.

How many "motivational" e-mails did you get?

There were a total of five who sent pictures of themselves in various degrees of suggestiveness, then a bunch where people said they thought I was cute, etc.

Any love connections start up?

I wrote back to a couple people, but I am not going to use monkey chow as a dating tool.

At one point you said you understand more about the relationship between food and emotion now. Can you elaborate?

I was actually getting really sad. Heading in I was convinced that, although I'd miss out on the pleasure element of food, I could handle it for a week. But it hit me harder than I thought. You know, before when people would say "chocolate makes me happy," I laughed at it as trivial and simplistic, but now I understand it better. It's not just something fat people say to justify eating.

Do you have any more tricks like this up your sleeve?

Nothing close to implementation, but I really like the idea that you can do something different and people will buy into it. It's almost like performance art. One of the perks of this is that people told me they are donating to hunger charities now, so maybe I'll try to design a project that's more useful but still keeps the goofy weirdo aspect.

Jessica Berthold writes for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.

THE DETAILS

URL:

angryman.ca/blog/angryblog.html

In a Word:

Brave or stupid. You decide.

E-candy for:

Zoologists, zookeepers and people who enjoy the antics of Steve-O of Jackass fame.

In sum:

A man eats only monkey food pellets for a week and keeps a video diary about it.

This blog as a person:

Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me and 30 Days) without a point.

Sample topics:

Footage of the first bite, and a description of the taste as "combining Shredded Wheat with dog food." Soaking the pellet in water to make it easier to eat. Soaking the pellet in vodka to make it easier to eat. Deciding to make a donation to a food-based charity on day six.

Classic line:

After downing a shot of vodka with a kibble floating in it: "That's about the dumbest way to eat monkey food you could find. And it's a lot of vodka for breakfast." (June 8)

Making it happen:

Adam Scott, 30, of Ottawa, Canada.

Created:

"The Monkey Chow Diaries" segment started May 31, but host blog "The Last Angry Young Man" has been around since August.

Updates:

Daily during the monkey experiment; once or twice a week for the usual "Angry" blog.

Writing/on-camera style:

Dryly humorous.

Design:

Standard Blogger format.

Comments allowed?

Yes

Popularity:

250,000 video downloads of the monkey stuff. Pre-monkey unique site visitors: 100-200/day. Post-monkey visitors: 60,000/day at peak.

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