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Goodbye To Criss Angel, And Alanis

Prominent Criss Angel fan Alanis King has worked at this operation since it was low-key run out of a variety of shell companies based in Hungary and the Cayman Islands. Alanis didn’t know that when she signed on, but every new day, a little bit of that veil was lifted. And now, today, she departs. It is our duty to roast her, as we have done since those olden times. Luckily for us, we all love Alanis and her life is not dissimilar to a Blue’s Clues side character, so this should be easy.

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Mike Ballaban, Interim Editor-In-Chief, Jalopnik

When we first hired Alanis she was full of fire and gumption, extremely sure of herself, and virtually impossible to edit. People like that usually turn out one of two ways. They either go out with a bang, furiously hitting “publish” on a wildly wrong take when an editor’s back is turned, or they end up becoming editors themselves.

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Alanis is still full of fire and gumption, she’s still extremely sure of herself, and she’s still extremely impossible to edit. Somehow she’s managed to publish things wildly wrong, things this vaunted website will never, not in a million years, be able to atone for. But somehow she’s lasted until today.

She lasted on the back of incredible stories like My Mom Knew What She Had, I Went To China To Race A New Car. Then Things Got Weird, Progress Isn’t The Goal, What You Find When You Look Into Rich Energy, and How An Underfunded ‘Zombie Dodge’ NASCAR Team Struggles Just To Make It To The Track, all while enduring horrible abuse from the most slack-jawed cretins the world has to offer.

Alanis is a real one, and while her absolutely atrocious blogs now belong to someone else, we will deeply miss her truly great journalism.

I don’t know what’s up with the cats though. Hopefully someone at the new gig says something to her about it.

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Kristen Lee, Staff Writer, Jalopnik

Glossing over the pizza take, the weird Criss Angel fetish and the Yu-Gi-Oh obsession, because that’s just low-hanging fruit, there are a few other things about Alanis I’d like to share with you all because I’d consider it an injustice if people didn’t know about them.

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  • Alanis’s favorite restaurant in the whole world is IHOP. Even when it gave her explosive food poisoning for our track day last summer, she still swears by it. A second-place favorite is Chili’s. What the fuck.
  • She pronounces her name AL-ANNE-US, not AL-AAAH-NUS and it’s super weird she thinks she can tell me how to pronounce it, too??
  • Alanis lives in an empty house. There are no coffee tables, rugs, pictures/paintings on the walls or anything else that might signify actual, living inhabitants. I don’t understand it. Her voice echoes a lot when she’s on conference calls with us.
  • Alanis talks very slowly and I, a person who talks at normal speeds, must always remember to wait for her.
  • Alanis has sat for hours at a time, for days on end, on the cold and hard floor of her garage in order to “socialize” a “feral cat.” Was there ever a cat there at all, Alanis, or were you the feral one all along?
  • Alanis will walk great, inhuman distances in order to avoid taking public transportation. The only logical response to this is to put her up in Staten Island the next time she visits.
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I would wish Alanis the best of luck in her future endeavors, but I know she doesn’t need it because she is far too capable.

Jason Torchinsky, Senior Editor, Jalopnik

I can say, without hesitation, reservation, or even the weird, raspy laugh I do when I’m lying, that Alanis is a person who never failed to astound me. Not because of her obvious skills as a writer or her deep knowledge of motorsports or her disturbing and unwavering hostility to the % symbol, but because I’m not certain I’ve ever met anyone with so many shockingly terrible opinions.

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The sheer variety and depth of these terrible opinions is breathtaking. Of course, there’s the pizza thing: somehow, this is a human being who lives on planet earth and is capable of metabolizing food into energy, and they don’t “understand” pizza? How is this possible?

This is a person who willingly typed the words “The only pizza I will eat is Chef Boyardee pizza, because it is objectively the best pizza there is.” What the fuck? How is this possible?

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Alanis also adores Criss Angel. The “mindfreak” magician guy who looks like someone’s pushing-50 New Jersey dad took a barbell to the cranium and woke up with two unshakable beliefs: that they are actually 21 and that they must attempt to wear everything in a 2002 Hot Topic all at once.

There’s the love of Godsmack and the Yu-Gi-Oh stuff and the fact that no matter where she goes in the world she’ll seek out only iHops to eat in and dear God who is this person?

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Alanis is a mystery. A smart and funny person who’s a great writer and yet, somehow, is filled with these objectively miserable ideas. Was she some government experiment? A secret, rogue cyborg?

Who knows. It’s BI’s problem to figure out now.

David Tracy, Senior Technical Editor, Jalopnik

Here’s what I’ll miss about Alanis:

1. Anytime I had a question about grammar, I’d go to her, and she knew the answer 100 percent of the time.

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2. Anytime I had a question about racing, I’d go to her, and she knew the answer 100 percent of the time.

3. Anytime I had a question about pizza, the New York City subway, or the best place to get pancakes or breadsticks in The Big Apple, I would not ask her, because she’d be wrong 100 percent of the time. Like really, really wrong. Bafflingly wrong.

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Seriously, iHOP in New York City? Olive Garden in a place filled with incredible Italian food? And the belief that Chef Boyardee makes the best pizza—I just can’t. There’s so much more I could mention, but I can’t get myself to physically type the words.

You’ve got some weird takes, AK, but we’ll miss you nonetheless.

Erica Lourd, Video Producer, Jalopnik

My most fond memory of Alanis (though let’s be real, they’re all lovely) was a completely unplanned run-in on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. She was in town for ... some work thing which I cannot remember at this moment... and I was walking home from grocery shopping. As any New Yorker does, I was walking quickly without making eye contact with anyone, just focusing on getting where I was going. Suddenly I heard, “Erica?!” and I look up and there she is. She started laughing when she realized it was indeed me, adding that she knew it had to be me because of my (muscular, sexy, amazing, I rock climb) arms. I’m glad that that is my new identifier.

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Anyway, I asked her what she was doing over here, even though I already knew the answer, as Atlantic Terminal is home to a few different chain restaurants. She told me she was getting something to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. Although I knew it was pointless, I tried to point out to her that she is in New York City, where she can get real food, and to please eat somewhere that isn’t in Texas. She thought that was hilarious. I mean, who would suggest something so outrageous! NOT EATING AT A NATIONAL CHAIN WITH HUNDREDS OF LOCATIONS?! ERICA, DON’T BE SILLY!

So yeah, I got nowhere with my pep talk, and we carried on walking in opposite directions. I have never met someone so dedicated to eating at chain restaurants before, but I have also never met someone as unique and funny as Alanis. Thanks for that memory, as well as the workout class you held during the Lemanstravaganza where you screamed loud enough at everyone that all of Red Hook heard you. Also, eat shit. (Thats the thing here, right?)

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Justin Westbrook, Staff Writer, Jalopnik

Alanis King, a woman proudly subservient to a black housecat with a Facebook page devoted to selling artwork of said housecat, who refused to mix together the meat sauce with the macaroni and cheese in her Macaroni And Cheese With Meat Sauce dish she ordered at the Times Square Olive Garden because she “doesn’t mix food,” performed Metro Station’s ‘Shake It’ with me on an open mic karaoke stage and therefore I have no bad things to say about her. Besides, of course, Eat Shit.

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Patrick George, Retired Weekend Blogger, Jalopnik

I’ve been waiting a long time to roast Alanis, simply because there’s a lot to work with. There’s the obvious, low-hanging stuff like the infamous pizza take, but Alanis’ utterly baffling quirks run so much deeper than that. The only restaurant she frequents is IHOP, even when it results in food poisoning, which it often does. The only TV programs I’ve known her to watch, besides NASCAR and football, are Supernatural and Yu-Gi-Oh. Someone named Criss Angel (INVESTIGATE LATER) comes up often in conversation despite no one else knowing who that is. And I long suspected the cat was the real brains of the operation.

But any grizzled newsroom veteran will tell you the very best journalists are the perplexing ones. That is absolutely true with Alanis. She started at Jalopnik covering racing on weekends and grew into one of our fiercest, most thorough reporters, gladly taking on shady energy drink companies, misogynistic would be sports-blog empires, confounding Chinese PR operations and much more. She’s as tough and as smart as you get in this business, equal parts enthusiast and reporter, and someone who demands excellence of herself and everyone around her. I could trust her with nearly any assignment and I knew she’d deliver. And in Alanis’ quest to make car culture less of a (mostly white) boys’ club, she personally endured more truly awful shit than just about anyone who does this job. She faced it all with a level of integrity and strength her faceless detractors could never hope to have. Alanis made Jalopnik a better place with everything she did.

If I was ever tough on her, it was because I always thought she’d make a great Jalopnik EIC someday. I do know Business Insider is pretty damn lucky to have her aboard. I look forward to begging her for a job someday—or more likely coming to her ruthless enforcer Portia to get permission first.

I suspect that in five years we will all either be working for Alanis, or dead by her hand.

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Andrew Collins, Reviews Editor, Jalopnik
Alanis, stop worrying about “grammer” and shit. It’s a blog, not a doctoral thesis for godsakes. Oh, shit, can somebody show me how to change my comment to anonymous?

Erin Marquis, Managing Editor, Jalopnik

I first met Alanis when I spotted a young woman checking into a New York hotel in head-to-toe athletic gear. Knowing we were staying at the same hotel and that Alanis was a die-hard exercise fiend, I cautiously asked “Alanis?” and wouldn’t you know it, the spandex’d heart of Jalopnik was indeed before me.

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That was quite the trip to the Jalopnik HQ. I had just started, and it was her first time in New York. I got to experience a few of her firsts. Her first time eating feta cheese. Her first crowded subway ride, where her legitimate terror at being crammed into a speeding, jerking tube full of strangers brought her to tears and her fellow mass transit riders to stare in disbelief. She later showed off her excellent cardiovascular health when she walked halfway across Manhattan rather than tackle the subway again. I knew then that no matter what, Alanis would go her own way.

I’m happy to report, after seeing her two weeks ago, that she can handle the subway, and the city, like a pro now. She’s done a lot of growing while at Jalopnik and it has been fascinating to watch. You don’t meet many racing fanatics with huge crushes on Criss Angel, who read in the bathroom while their husbands shower to save on electricity costs and will fight to the death to argue pizza isn’t a food. You don’t meet many people who still in the year of our lord 2020 profess to loving Godsmack, either. She’s the most genuine person I’ve ever met and owns her weirdness and idiosyncrasies with a fierce, honest passion. I’m not saying all of this because she could totally beat me up (though she totally could) but because I won’t have the pleasure of telling her come Monday morning.

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Alanis you’re fantastic and lovely and odd, and we won’t see the like of you on this site again.

Raphael Orlove, Features Editor, Jalopnik

I look forward to seeing Alanis in the next season of Netflix’s Cheer.

Tom McParland, Contributing Writer, Car Buying, Jalopnik

I’m one of the “older” writers here at Jalopnik, and I am constantly impressed by the younger people who had way more hustle and smarts then I did when I just came out of college. You probably already know that Alanis is a ridiculously hard worker, loves cats, racing, and has a mom with some very good car opinions. But you may not know that Alanis can bargain... and bargain for anything.

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She has told me stories about how she wore down the real estate agent to get her new home for the price she wanted and not a penny more, and while that type of haggling is to be expected on a house or a car, Alanis doesn’t stop there. I believe there was another story where she drove a hard bargain at Target to get some sheets for some insane discount because the packaging was already open.

As someone that is paid to negotiate deals every day, I don’t even have the energy to haggle at Target, but if you plan on selling Alanis anything, you better be ready for battle.

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Erik Shilling, News Editor, Jalopnik

A funny thing about working with Alanis is that she doesn’t care about proper grammar.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

stefschrader
Stef Schrader

Alanis saved my life more than anyone will ever know, providing much needed backup for Jalopnik’s racing coverage when I really, really needed it. Trying to keep an eye on all the racing series all the time was exhausting as the only person here who was paying close attention to it, and being able to trade off weekend watching was a complete lifesaver.

I always knew I could confide in her with my biggest gripes about working here, and goodness knows, there were enough of those to drive me off before I found anywhere else to go. (At least I avoided the herbs, I guess.)

When I took a step back from full-time racing coverage for personal reasons (read: a desperate need to see actual humans in real life who are usually busy during the week...and also to hoon my turdcars more as that is my only reason for living), she kept Jalopnik’s racing coverage afloat with good takes and a vigor unmatched by many of the full-time motorsport sites. Racing coverage tends to be dry as hell, and I’m glad that Alanis and Elizabeth have been able to keep asking the tough questions that no one else has the balls to ask out of cowardly concerns about losing their access to major teams and series. Bless you both.

Yet I will never, ever understand Alanis’ food takes. I’ve always had a natural curiosity about other places’ food, and seek out wherever the locals eat accordingly. I can eat at any chain in the world at home, sort of, but I might have to go to Round Rock to do it. I can’t believe she went to the University of Texas here in Austin—a city known for having fewer chains than other places due to its “Keep Austin Weird”-driven allegiance to supporting local businesses. How did she ever survive that? We’ve got that one Chili’s on 45th and Lamar, but I’m at a loss for wherever the IHOP is. DO we have an IHOP here or did she drive all the way to College Station for that?!

(Alanis has the distinction of being the only good person from the greater Bryan-College Station area in human history. Any reason to ever visit that soul-sucking hole on the map was obliterated with Texas World Speedway.)

Sometimes I even have a morbid curiosity about far-flung places’ homegrown takes on foods that I’m familiar with. Germany’s Mexican food would only be spicy to your mother. Don’t @ me, but I enjoy NYC’s foldable thin crusts more than pizza in Italy. (Both of those make wonderfully efficient meals, by the way. You can have all the food groups in one dish!) But can you believe those Italian weirdos eat it with a knife and fork? It’s just wrong. Weirder yet, Texas has had better Rocky Mountain oysters than anywhere I’ve tried in the actual Rockies. What the hell?

This is all to say that we should celebrate Alanis’ new job with a fantastic feast. Not of pizza, because I get it—she believes it’s an incomplete meal, and there’s also no way in hell I’m eating a weird Chef Boyardee kit.

Rather, all of us who had the common sense to Get/Out will kidnap her and present her with a magical smorgasbord featuring the kind of non-chain delicacies that would make Andrew Zimmern question his life choices. Bon appetit!