Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another One About Death, Done With Class.

For some reason or another I end up writing about my father's death a lot, I'm not really sure why, I honestly don't think about it that much. Today though, I was doing something that I would normally never do; listening to Mark McGrath on the radio...but only because he was being interviewed by Howard Stern. He talked briefly about his father's recent passing and about his divorced parent's relationship and I guess that's why I thought of this.

As would seem typical of 1980's divorced fathers, my father seemed to be late or absent altogether when it came to child support. I was too young to know why and I'm now too old to care why, it just was what it was. They never really spoke after their divorce. We weren't the family who got the divorced members in the same room for birthdays, holidays, or anything other than the few moments they saw one another when passing us back and forth on Thursdays and a few weekends a year.

Later, my father moved out of state and their contact became even less, as we saw him less. Eventually we got our driver's licenses and the contact dropped out altogether; save a rare moment. I'd say, in the last 10 years of his life my father and mother were in the same place at the same time for a total of about 3 minutes.

When it became evident that my father was about to die my mother was calling me all the time to check in on her youngest son, as I'm sure she was with my brother as well. She was helpful. She is always helpful in times like that.

After he passed away I flew home for his funeral. Not really knowing what my father would've wanted my brother and I excused ourselves from the planning and it was evident by the total lack of class the event showed. I remember a "Top Ten" list that included 100% too many beer and "tit" jokes; let me also note that if you're going to be classless you should make damn sure you're going to be funny...it was a failure on all levels.

On the other hand there was a corner of the room that was 100% classy, it was where my mother and step father sat. Not only did they out-dress everyone other than my father's children and siblings but the fact that they were there at all, just sharing their sympathy was a life lesson that I will not soon forget. I can't even begin to say how impressed and proud I am that they were the ones who raised me.

Often you'll hear people say that men marry woman who remind them of their mother, normally the links between Georgia and my mother aren't easy to come by but this example really shows the most important thing; they have integrity and empathy. Tonight Georgia and I signed up to donate blood again and also, while I was home putting the finishing touches on an extremely long and arduous work day the love of my life was serving chicken to the homeless.

(Note: I've got it fucking good.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture, 101

I really don't update this a lot, mostly because the thought of writing something can often be daunting but more likely than that is the idea that things are going really well in my life right now and who the hell wants to read me bragging about how great I've got it? Even I have a hard time sitting through that one. Speaking of great, Georgia, my beautiful fiancee has a new video up today and every Monday to follow (for 10 more weeks at least) on food2.com/drinks The videos are hilarious, informative, and, for my money, they start the sexiest little lady in the world. So, go and check those out right away! Believe me, this blog isn't going anywhere...or it's going nowhere to put it more bluntly.

With little to say or talk about I'll dive into the past for something....thinking....thinking...thinking...

My Aunt told me she recently checked out my blog for the first time, which is cool. She's from my father's side of the family, which, being the product of divorced parents actually means something.

Growing up in a small town that was stuck in the 1740's divorce was still somewhat novel an idea. Most of my best friends' parents were still together and the few who found themselves in the same situation as me all had it the same; we lived with our mothers, we saw our fathers very infrequently, and rarely did we ever see his side of the family. I've come to realize that not only is that a reality of divorce it's also a trait in my family; assume all is well and don't bother to ask.

It's neither good nor bad. It just is what it is. I remember fondly the times I did spend with my father's side of the family and it's not hard to remember them because they were rare the memories tend to stick out. When my father died the communication picked up some. For a few months I would speak to my Aunt and each Uncle on an almost monthly basis, usually a 2-3 minute conversation. When it came to my uncles, more of a 2-3 minute pissing match of "who can be funnier," I'd let them win because I'm that kind of guy.

As the years since my father's death have passed the communication has settled into what I imagine will be it's final pattern. Every couple of months I hear from one of them, there are a few emails tossed about, and all is well. It's well more than there was before but I would certainly welcome face-to-face meetings. Of course, we're dealing with 3 time zones and the unfortunate truth that old habits die hard.

I suppose, in some way, knowing that my Aunt will read my blog every now and again makes me feel good. It's nice to know that she has an idea what's going on in my life even if I haven't a clue what's going on in hers. My wedding will probably be the next time we're all in the same place at the same time and it only adds to my overwhelming excitement.

Possibly the most interesting thing is the study between nature and nurture that exists between Jared and I with our Aunt and Uncles. There can be no claim made that the Hughes side of our bloodline should influence us at all, in terms of straight "nurture" but get everyone in the same spot and there is no doubt that we are family. In terms of our senses of humor, our interests, and even our posture, we're family...and where is it written that family needs to be all up in your business?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That Little Moment

There is a brief instance just before you fall asleep where the truth hides. It's that strange moment where, if you get stuck in it for enough time, you believe you are dying. It's a hazy, drifty mess, that feels like 1-part hypnotism, 1-part dream, and 1-part super-reality.

If there is a scientific name for this flash I am unaware of what it's called but I've been sick since Sunday so I've either been asleep or complaining. I've had more of these flashes in the past 4 days than I had in the month previous...yes, I've been sleeping that much! A small part of me believes that I'm either the last case of swine-flu or the first case of butterfly-flu, the next deadly uprising! By M. Night Shalmalamadingdong.

Anyway, for years I was convinced that the flash is exactly how it feels to die, which would be fine because our bodies would be telling our minds that we are just falling asleep, so that's comforting but now I think perhaps it's just a limbo between the conscience and the sub-conscience. And today, after work, I did what I've been doing, I fell asleep. I brought my fiancee into the bedroom under the guise of needing a nap partner when in reality being sick just sucks and I want her around me all the time (yes, men are pussies when they're sick, it's true.)

As I was drifting and wavering between sleep and awake I had my little flash. It was one that makes me think that there may be some sort of truth hidden inside of these moments. I didn't see myself back in time or anything like that I just knew, 100% that the feeling I was feeling was that of Christmas when I was a child. I felt taken care of, I felt safe, I felt cozy, and I felt loved beyond love.

This despite the mess that is going on around me outside of our little house where I'm giving myself to a job who no longer wants me, I'm going in sick despite everyone thinking I don't work even when I'm healthy. I'm frustrated by the fact that I've given so much and yet it's all for naught now because I've started to have a personal life and I feel punished for it. Probably, some of this is my own mind just digging holes for myself but it feels pretty truthful these days.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Heuristics

I live in California where the state's motto is Eureka, as in "we've found gold!!!" It narrowly edged out the second place motto of "shit, we're out of gold, let's do cocaine." Eureka comes to us from Archimedes, the mathematician/philosopher dude who died of death some 10+ years ago. The point is that eureka was originally "heureka" and that is where we now get the word Heuristic from.

A few days ago my Psychology Today arrived in the mail and there is a little snippet that I read last night about Heuristics and it piqued my interest to turn to wikipedia. If I were going to dive into any sort of higher learning tonight this would be the field I would select. It's basically the grooves we created in our brain to deal with situations that often occur, of course it's not really that at all though...it's sort of common sense.

We wake up, we get ready, we go to work. That's the routine we are in. We start to feel comfortable in that, so we groove that shit into our soft and supple brains. After a while that groove becomes so deep and cavernous and us so deep within it that looking up we fail to see the sky, the path to the top of the walls, a clear way out. Looking up and seeing walls bending in over your head makes you dizzy, if you don't believe me go to NYC and find a really tight old avenue with tall buildings and look up, yes you can see the sky but still it fucks with your head enough to make you feel a little dizzy. Of course, that could just be me, I tend to stare up for a few solid hours and really trash my equilibrium.

Anyway. I'm off subject now, which happens every few moments.

I'd like to buy and read the book "On Second Thought" subtitled (let's ban subtitles shall we) 'Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits" by Wray Herbert which deals with the subject at hand. Herbert says (via a snippet) that it's not always a good thing to listen to what your instincts tell you, even when you are being told to just stay safe.

It's making me wonder what I do everyday that forces me to walk past the path to the top. Am I trapped by routine in my daily work? Am I being held back by my own fears? Am I overcoming any of this stuff? It's all very interesting and I'm sort of trapped in these ideas tonight. Yes, they make for a boring blog post but imagine the possibilities in my mind right now!!!

Fuck it, I'm going to go eat ice cream.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The State That You Are Coming From

Right, so I went private for a few days but I got a surprising amount of emails asking why I did that so I'm just going to go public, despite the agita it will undoubtedly cause. Instead of going through and battling every comment that I get, every negative blasting about how I'm an asshole, arrogant, or worse yet dealing with the emails that Georgia gets from her readers saying those same things let me just address your concerns here.

There are 3 types of people reading this, at least in my mind.
  1. PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME. These people understand that I'm highly sarcastic and that everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt. They will not write to me and tell me that my opinions are stupid because they know me IRL and despite having heard; "it's hard to tell when you're joking and when you're serious," about a zillion times in my life I continue to joke the very same way and let the pieces fall where they may. It's led to my having to apologize several times but it is who I am so what can you do?
  2. RANDOMLY STUMBLED INS. I'm going to assume that there aren't many people who just happen to find my blog. The internet is a pretty vast horizon and to just accidentally find this would be strange.
  3. GEORGIA'S READERS. I won't lump all of you together but this is the group that scares me, honestly. Some have come over and they know her, know her humor, maybe you know me, regardless, you get the joke...when it's a joke - or at least they must assume I'm just kidding around. Then there are the comments I get that basically tell me they are taking my jokes seriously or perhaps you're double sarcastic-ing a sarcastic-izer....in which case, WELL DONE!!! You totally fucking got me!!!
I understand that this isn't a very concise "response" to the messages I get from some of you but I don't really know how to say what I'm trying to get out. I guess the best way to say it is honestly and maybe harshly; you don't really know the real me and I don't intend on giving you the real me on this blog. If you are hoping for a blog like Georgia's I'm sure there are more out there. I'm actually a very private person, I'm shy, I take things personally, and thus I would never really open myself up the way some bloggers do.

If you've been reading her blog for a long time then you know how intelligent and wonderful she is, those facts can't be missed, so trust her judgement!! I'm not really an asshole, I open her car door, I clean cat poop, I planned our proposal for nearly 3 months, I cook for her, I massage her, I listen, I empathize, and every bit of love I give, I get back. But I'm not going to be writing about these things very often.

This is not to say there won't be pieces that talk about who I really am, it's not to say that everything is a joke, it's just to say that if you're going to send me messages of hate I'm not going to give you the pleasure of responding and inciting some eWar, it's silly. I'll just chalk it up to you not really knowing me...because you don't...and I'm sorry but I like it that way.

That said, if you have honest questions for me, this post is your chance. I'll answer them...but just this once.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Shouldn't Have!!!

Yesterday I was chatting with a good friend, Dave, and he said something that really stuck with me; "this is the last time I give unsolicited life advice," which wasn't entirely true because I had actually asked him for advice on something. However, I greatly appreciated the sentiment and continue to think that should be on the tip of everyone's mind.

Nobody Wants Your Advice
There is one time when this statement may not be true, which is when you are asked for advice. Even then, many still don't want your advice as much as they want a voice of consent; offer them this and you'll be appreciate, offer them a differing message and you'll be quietly dismissed. A perfect example of the person who asks for but doesn't want advice is person x who has just begun dating person y. X says they wonder what it means when Y tells them to stop calling; "it probably means they don't like you," is the obvious answer. Yet it will fall on deaf ears.

Strangers giving you advice can go any number of ways. You may read this blog for advice but let me assure you any time I've written about how you should act, I've been fucking around. I don't believe it, but if you want to, I really don't care. Anyway. I've received a lot of advice from strangers since I am amongst them all day for work. I've always worked for strangers, now as a salesman and before in the restaurant industry, every now and again the sun does shine on the dog's asshole and someone drops a gem on you:

"Always set a goal for failure," a blues musician told me at My Linh, "if you succeed it's a nice, and welcome surprise, but when you fail at least you succeeded in hitting your goal."

Obviously he was joking but not 100%. I find in situations when something seems impossible it's best to believe I'll succeed, I plan to succeed, but if I fail I remember this guy and think about the fact that, on some level, I knew the impossibility of the situation.

More often though, the advice you receive from strangers come from people who haven't the slightest idea of how you live your life, how you interact with your friends, and what kind of person you are. Often people will think they are wise because of age - which, in my opinion is a farce. People are wise. Age is experience, not wisdom. Yes, maybe they have been through a similar situation to the one you are going through but problems are like snowflakes.

TONY ROBBINS IS AN ASSHOLE because there are no 1SizeFitsAll solutions to shit, there just isn't.

I'm not telling you to stop giving advice, go forth and try your best, I really don't give a shit. I'm just saying that nobody is listening so do yourself a favor and get a cat or a dog. Or two cats and a dog...that's my audience and still, I get the feeling nobody is listening.


***Dave, I did want your advice and thanks again for it!***



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Air Conditioner

Los Angeles suffered through a mini heat wave a few weeks ago. On average the temperatures reached highs of really fucking hot and lows of still really fucking hot. So, I snapped into action and began sweating like a fat Greek* guy breathing. After about a day of that I decided to internet myself some air conditioners, four seconds into my online journey I opted for a DIY project in lieu of buying one (okay, we also bought one but I still did all this shit.)

*I have no real inclination to believe that the Greeks sweat more than Englishmen, Frenchmen, or any other ___men, save for a friend growing up named John who later became addicted to heroin. He sweat a lot and told me that it was a Greek thing. I didn't believe him but still, it's easy to site.

My habit is to look up plans, pull out the Ikea directions, or stare at a picture and then just make it up as I go, with a loose idea of what I'm doing. Sort of like the first time one has sex. You sort of know what your doing except, unlike the instructional videos you stole from your parents, you don't have a mustache.

So this is what I did....

Unrolled copper tubing around a fan. And as you can see I had help. They were like my very own Al Borland and Pamela Anderson.



Then I attached them with zip-ties. When I was a child zip-ties were the reason we let grandpa come to Christmas, as he was the only one who carried a knife and could cut them off. He also brought alcohol.


Cut plastic tubing, the same size as the copper you bought, into 2 pieces about 6 feet in length. Note: you can literally cut them to any length you want I just said 6 so it sounded more official. Then connect a plastic piece to each end of the copper jobber.

picture missing
because honestly...you
need a fucking picture
for this?

You hook up this little jobber which you buy from a really sketchy aquarium shop in LA. You'll know you're at the right shop because they have puppies in the window, most of them invisible to shoppers - hidden away except for their barks. When you walk in the clerks will be a brother and a sister, the later being the older responsible one of...let's say 12. Anyway, you'll trust these people with your life because you'll later drop this (very much plugged in item) into a tank of water and hope for the best. Oh yeah, by hooking it up, you put one of the plastic ends into the outward pump-a-ma-job.


Drag this contraption where you want it and pull a cooler in next to it. Basically what you do know is drop the pump into the cooler of water and run the other plastic tube into the same cooler. The water will run through the coils, copper stays cool - as does water, and the fan will blow on those coils and cool the room down by like 10 degrees. You can put ice into the cooler (with water of course) and it works even better!!

It's pretty awesome!!! Or it would be if I had done it right. I mean, I did it right except it leaked where the plastic hit the copper. To fix this I used used a couple zip ties coiled down tightly at the joints but not before Mona gave me the look of disapproval.





"My Daddy is an idiot. He can't do anything right!!!"

Mona was embarrassed, I was sweating and Georgia hit me...I totally deserved it though, it was only done to teach me so I totally appreciated it then, and still do.

Anyway, after blowing out the water I hacked it with the zip-ties and plugged everything in for one more go-round.

Anxiously, Mona watched on...wanting badly to give her approval.


He's the smartest! Man! Ever!



And then my beautiful fiancee hit me again!


**Georgia never hit me (well..."never" is a funny word isn't it?)

Monday, July 26, 2010

News From The Field

I'll be the first to admit that I'm an expert in literally nothing, to the point where, if you quizzed me about my own stupid life I'd get most things wrong. However, I will not let that stop me from criticizing, chastising, and commenting on other people, be they nameless marketers, hookers, or professional football players.

These are notes from the field...


How hooker-ish do you have to be to justify going back and renaming things you've done in the past? For example, this album would be much more "real" if it were called "When I Was White," "Before I Turned Whore," or "Used To Be Less Scary (but you still knew I was a bitch.)" Maybe you have a better re-album idea.

Have you ever been Thousand Oaks, CA or Westlake Village, CA? These cities are about 12 minutes old and the only "ethnics" you see are rentals (bridge and tunnel if that sounds like a dickish statement.) I'm not saying these cities lack for culture, diversity, or anything interesting...I'm just saying, this is a reggae band. And where do they play? Why in an independent restaurant that models itself after TGIFridays, Applebees, or other tasteless houses of vomit.

Small picture, I know. This is up on a billboard on La Cienega and Santa Monica in West Hollywood, logic would tell me that this ad runs about 100k a minute and this company (I didn't place the tree there to block their name, I just didn't feel like walking for another angle) decides to use this ad. You can't really tell from this picture but it looks like a couple of corpses, on spit rods with cherries in their mouth. They look beyond dead. For the record, ladies, those big fake lips that a lot of (super fucking creepy) ladies (in Beverly Hills) get, are not attractive. In fact, when given the choice, I'd much rather eat all of my remaining meals at an Applebee's.
I didn't get around to opening this card because it looks stupid but I'm pretty sure the inside says something like:

"Ben Roethlisberger wishes you a Rapey Birthday!" Which, I find offensive...but as you can tell I'm very sensitive.

SPECIAL, NOTES FROM THE HOME:


I have recently become the (new) father of two lovely kitties. I've found myself actually telling people "I love cats," with the ease that may leave them believing that this was always the case, it wasn't, but it's very true now. I love the smell of cats, I love messing with them, and I love the feeling of them purring on your chest...I think it's called 'purring.'

Anyway, as a new cat father I don't know all the ins and outs just yet. Do I feed them or do I just hope there are mice in the house? Should I put water out or is the ramp I built going to the toilet ample? Where the fuck is Paddy's Pub so I can buy me some of them Kitten Mittens?? And are they really OneSizeFitsAll??

This here is Elvis. I was teaching him to fetch the football and he was relaxing afterwards. I went into the living room and drank a few (12) beers. What happened next was an absolute tragedy, luckily it sobered me up and I saved the day.


You may think that only dolphins are stupid enough to get caught in those plastic six-pack holders because the picture below is real fucking life people....this shit really happened! Look at how tangled up he got himself.


You can see the fear in his eyes and the fear in my hand (could be a cat treat, remember...12 fucking beers!) But luckily I was able to free him.

I'm learning a lot about cats and teaching a lot of other people about life as I go. How are you contributing to society, life, your neighborhood, your local recycling plant, or you friend's health??

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Acceptable Pets

I found a book on leaving the state of bachelorhood buried underneath my toilet a few years back. Here is a sample of the poetic and wonderful words of wisdom that it held. Right, I know it sounds as if I have written this myself but trust me, I didn't...although I had a very nice buzz on last night and there is no way of telling what I did or didn't do.


How many times must I tell everyone that I'm engaged...for the first time ever. Which means I'm better than anyone whose every been divorced, broken an engagement, or anyone who is in a "long term relationship." Basically I'm fucking winning at life, the aforementioned are...well surviving at best. I have a huge heart though! Literally. Doctors are fearful. So I'm here to help in my continuing series on Bachelordome: A Made Up Word But Real Words Of Wisdom (a working title.)

Today's installment: Pets.

The kind of animal you choose, as a single man, says a lot about you. Do not think for a minute that it is a decision that should be based on your own inward desires. So far your desires have left you single, lonely, nearly broke, and slightly rounded at every possible edge and corner of your body...basically, your desires, wants, and opinions of yourself are broken. You might think snakes are cool, read on to hear why your wrong...about almost everything.

Firstly, there are 3 acceptable pets; dogs, cats and fish. Out of those three you can refer to only two of them as pets - dogs and cats. On the other hand fish are simply decorations that cost consistent money to keep alive. Any other sort of animal is unacceptable and often overtly pathetic.

Ferrets, chinchillas, mice, hamsters and other furry animals are ways to tell the world that you are desperate to be considered creative or wacky or out-of-the-norm but really all they say is "I'm a guy who both tries to hard and doesn't try at all." Do you have a crazy single Aunt who you thought was cool until you turned 14, only to realize that a fridge with only mustard and A1 sauce isn't "cool" but lonely and sad? If you don't have this Aunt do you know a spinster like this? Good! She is exactly who you are attracting.

If a woman comes over and says "oh my god, you have xyz as a pet! How adorable are you?!?" She's honestly asking that question, it is not rhetorical. She is wondering aloud if you're cute or a boring loser who only wears the same khakis to work and to the bar only switching form shoes to sandals.

Note: we'll get to guys wearing sandals at a later date, just know this know...don't fucking do it.

Snakes, lizards, reptiles, any fucking animal that requires a heating lamp to keep alive: all of these "animals" are worse ideas than sleeping in line for Twilight because these animals are a dead give away that you either did sleep in line for Twilight or (perhaps worse) for the Metallica movie that came out...whenever that movie came out.

Living in LA I see dudes with pony tails walking down Hollywood Blvd. with snakes and I think; "wow, there goes a guy who screams 'fuck yeah Mama' during sex and then cries immediately after shooting his abnormally small load onto the third fat roll of his, still sweaty from her leather pants, partner. You think my assessment is bleak? Ask a girl who is above a 4 what she thinks of dudes with this "animals," you'll soon see how kind I'm being.

Fish. Fine, but don't be all weird about it and name them. If you own fish it should be for the challenge that is keeping them alive. It's the science, not the 'companionship' which doesn't exist. Unless you have a goldfish, then you best be a complete pot head seeking the same.

Dear Craigslist: Complete pot-head seeks same. Enjoys smoking weed looking at fish while listing to Phish. Makes a great grilled cheese and would love to make grilled cheese. Also loves Phish.

Cat's are a bit trickier than dogs for a single guy. For reasons that I don't care to go into right now (read: I'm drunk) I cannot go further into this, but there will be an entire page devoted to proper bachelor ownership of a cat, at a later date. Here are a few things to remember when owning a cat, sans significant woman in your life.
  1. Pick a funny name. Something creative would help or something about the way they look. ie: Love-Box 9,000. Mister Cheesington. (note: switching the sex for the name makes it creative, Mister Cheesington should be a female.)
  2. If you're not creative, funny, or interesting at all pick a name with a story. ie: I named her Lola after the Kinks song, which was the first song I heard after I learned my father was being returned to the US after spending 12 years as a POW.
  3. Have a girl cat. I'm not sure why, it just helps if your a dude. It's way less creepy when you call her "sweety," or "poo-poo," or "peanut-butter-champion."
  4. Love animals but recognize that a dog requires too much time.
Dogs. Oh fuck, again, this could go on forever. Let me break it down real quick for you, by category.
  1. Little dogs. Don't do it!!! There are a few exceptions; it's your 2nd dog, it was willed to you, or it's a working dog. By no means should you have a toy breed and be single at the same time...unless you're a pussy and you want everyone to know that right up front.
  2. Mutts. Yes! Yes! Yes! Women love nothing more than a slightly scraggled dog with a jagged tooth that you rescued from the pound when (s)he was 5 because it had been there for 2 years already and nobody was going to take it home. Honestly, this will also be the best dog you'll ever own. It'll love and appreciate you in ways that will make your mother realize what a failure she is as a parent.
  3. "Mean Breeds." Personally, I think it's all about how you raise a dog but nothing says "I'm really insecure and I used to get beat up a lot," like having a big mean dog. If you own one of these just resign yourself to being single until the dog has gone the way of the...of, let's see...I guess, gone the way of a dead fucking dog.

Whatever you decide remember to spend good time naming your new pet, or at least coming up with a fun and creative back-story that will tickle the girl (or woman for you lucky few out there who feel you're up to that challenge) you will one day try win over.

I wish you, as always, luck...we all know you need it.

Improvements For The World

Here are some slight tweaks, inventions, or innovations that would really advance mankind...probably womankind too.

  1. COUNTING CASH REGISTERS. Everybody has gotten into the express lane at the grocery store, thinking to themselves that it'll be just a few minutes in line and then back home to drink their beers and eat their pretzels buuuuuttt nooooooooo...some asshole has decided to use the 15 items or less line as their own whipping post. There there are, two carts ahead, with 37 items. These people should be shot but this may be illegal so instead I propose cash registers that will not scan after a certain amount of items. For example, at item 15 it literally stops scanning. The moron can continue but they must start at the back of the line with whatever items they have.
  2. FITTED SHEET BOXES. Show me one fucking person who knows how to fold these things without eventually just rolling it up and shoving them into the corner of some drawer. FUCKING SHOW ME A PERSON!?!?! You can't! Martha Stewart literally dribbles little spots of urine at the site of these sheets. All we need is a decorative box that fits them perfectly. That way I can still stack them in a drawer, only without the Catholic guilt (note: I'm an atheist but the guilt lives strongly on.)
  3. ADJUSTED PARKING TICKETS. Having recently received a ticket of my own I'm quick to point out the flaw here. I literally could have left my car in it's spot for another hour and my ticket would have been the same. Doesn't it make sense to pay per minute you are past due? Two additional notes, if you're a "shopping street" and the meters max out at an hour you're losing money, you should complain. Secondly, is; "it's already started, I can't stop it now," the only thing they teach you at Meter Bitch School?
  4. PICTURE PLACEMENT ON BLOGSPOT. You either know what I'm talking about or you don't, thus this will end number four.
  5. USA JOBS. I don't want more jobs added, like most people, in fact I care very little about this, I feel like if you're unemployed and looking it'll eventually turn out in your favor. Good luck, I certainly hope the best for you but that isn't what I'm talking about right now. I've gone 3 years without a raise or added vacation time yet I'm asked to work harder with more responsibility. I am not alone in this, I know many people who have very similar stories. I ran into someone today who works in the same industry and he has double the vacation time that I get, despite his title being several steps below mine. My responsibilities are triple his yet his pay is just behind mine. It made me really sad to think of the fucking untold hours I've put my personal life on hold for my company only to be told that my personal stock is not going up. Maybe this is a personal battle but I do feel the US is expected to work hard and the only pay of is more hard work. No furthered mental stimulation, no benefit increase, pay increases perhaps but they will be small, and certainly no increased vacation because we want everyone to know that work comes first, life comes when you retire...you know, just before you die.
Those are just a few little ideas I have, do you have any that I overlooked? I'm interested to hear them!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Some Idea

When I was about 10 or so years old I started my first company with my best friend Emily Sniezyk (pronounced Snee-zack for those following along at home.) We called it CHES for our initials and we did yard work. We raked my grandmother's lawn for about 3 hours and our business sort of dissolved. But not for lack of trying, at least for 10 year olds.

We put up signs around town - which meant the corner store, being that the only store in town. And we told our mother's to tell people - which is the best small town billboard money can buy. Still, the phone wasn't exactly ringing off the hook.

Several years later my friend Brett and I, after becoming obsessed with the show Cheers decided to start our own bar. Being that we were in 7th grade we found the procurement of alcohol to be a difficult if not impossible task. We were young and didn't yet own that mental filter that causes people to readily give up, thus the lack of alcohol didn't stop us. We rode our bikes to the candy store and loaded the fuck up.

A week or so later and our locker based candy business was flourishing. We were charging double or triple what we paid and since we were the only source of jawbreakers, warheads, and the like, we were constantly busy. So busy that the principal soon found out and shut us down. Looking back now I'm disappointed that he never once told us that we were innovative, forward thinking, or anything like that, he basically just called us turds and gave us detention.

While the ideas kept popping; board games, t-shirt company, black top resealing, etc. the likeliness of my keeping on top of the idea faded with each failed launch. Until finally, it seems, I choose safety first.

I'd like to blame my principal but I really can't. Fuck, I'd like to blame anyone other than myself but the truth is, I need to stop listening to the failures of yesterday and look forward to the many failures yet to come because in the long run I look back on all of these memories as happy ones, despite my eventual shortcomings.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Dark Year - Part 2

With basically no money I had no option but to live without cable, it was the first time in my life that I had done so and while I’ve since come to love the lacking, at the time it only served to further my depression. Not knowing what to do with my over abundance of free time I eventually bought an antenna (Hulu and the like did not yet exist…remember 2003 kids?)

Telling people that I lived without television was a source of pride for me at that time. It made me feel cultured in ways that I never had before. I told people that I read a lot – it never felt like a lie because I did read a lot of bullshit on the internet. When Justin came over once he did note how few books I owned, with no library card to diffuse his argument I probably just said something along the lines of; “weird huh?” Meanwhile I was thinking, “you know internet books right? They look a lot like naked people playing WWE wrestling in 30 second clips,” 30 seconds porn clips were like full movies at that point in my life.

This was the first time in my life where I felt a clean break from the past, becoming ‘cultured’ was important to me in some way. Every fiber of my being wanted to change and escape aspects of my life before that year. My musical preferences had recently changed and I wanted to reflect that in action, style, sophistication, and everything else in my life. The music didn’t really matter much, it seemed important at the time, looking back though it was little more than a catalyst.

What I really wanted was Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Yes, there were things worth running from but Conan was a constant I hoped to keep. I had been sneaking his shows since I was about 15 years old (1995,) I watched it through college when nobody was around to advice (read: force) me to sleep, and I wanted to keep on watching. My work schedule was 4pm-9pm on the weekdays and 4pm-10pm on weekends, at the time it felt too long, I only wanted to return to my silent and depressing home. A splash of Midnight Red would, I felt, have helped.

My schedule otherwise was sort of crazy, wake up at about 3pm and go to sleep at about 6am. Sadly though, I kept this schedule without Conan, as NBC wouldn’t come in on my TV. Fox was really the only channel I got, so it was late night syndication for me – this is why I know every episode of “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Just Shoot Me,” and the Michael J. Fox episodes of “Spin City.”

Fox did 103 episodes of “Spin City” before Parkinson’s forced him to leave the show, Charlie Sheen amazingly lasted 45 in his stead. I’m not a television buff but I can think of no other show where the main character was replaced and the show continued to be a success, even if only a minor success. While you could argue this with Cheers, Diane was a highly important character but not the focus. Sheen has had some moderately good movies (and yes, some great as well but those movies were great in spite of him and in no part great because of him) but he is a well known asshole, who has done just about everything wrong and yet he remains on the number 1 show on television. Regardless of whom you were to put in the Sheen role on “Three and a Half Men” the show would remain offensively bad and just offensive to entertainment as a whole – yet America fucking loves this guy. It blows my mind. I guess there are just a lot more people out there who appreciate a good wife-beating than I know about. Needless to say, I only watched the M.J. Fox episodes.

I wrote down a line, from “3rd Rock” that I will never forget, it’s the exact kind of misdirection humor which I so appreciate (see my affinity for Allen Woody,) I don’t remember the characters but it went like this:

- Character 1: “somebody wants you in the other room.”

- Character 2: “oh? Who?”

- Character 1: “everybody in this room.”

So that is how I spent part of my nights; watching 3 TV shows while my days were spent telling people that I didn’t have a TV. Again, I somehow never really felt like any of it was a lie. I didn’t watch a lot of TV, by most standards, an hour and a half was basically like no TV at all, except it isn’t no TV, it’s an hour an a half of TV. Part of me believed that the more I told people I didn’t have a set the more likely I would be to actually stop watching those shows. In a way though, my “programs,” were the one time in my apartment when I felt just slightly less than suicidal and lonely.

Of course there was also (teaser) MySpace, Ash In Concrete, LiveJournal/MySpace Blog, the 2004 elections, and god knows what else…but those come later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Swear-A-Thon 1987

On the first day of second grade, 1987, I extended my hand out from my side, slightly restricted from the suspenders I had selected as proper 'dress to impress' attire; "Hello, I'm Colin."

"Hi I'm Rodney."

"Ronnie," I obliviously asked.

"No, Rodney," he responded as though he had heard this just over a million times.

"Ronnie?" apparently I never heard Rodney Dangerfield before but I had heard Ronnie the Limo Driver...or something.

"Rod, like a fishing pole and knee," pointing.

"Oh Rod-Knee, I get it." The name remained more two thoughts than two syllables for a long time - much more quickly he became the coolest mother fucker I'd ever met.

He was from Denver, or Colorado, he was willing to fight for no apparent reason and he knew all of these wonderful words that I had never before heard but wanted so badly to know, understand and hopefully use properly at some point. Bitch was for women, bastard for men. Who knew?!

Kids were joining into the act, suddenly Jarrod brought a boom box to school, we listened to The Fat Boys rap about their respective pussy's getting fatter. By that point (about a month into school) I had learned the word cunt even though I thought it was a contraction - the one time I wrote it out, I spelled it "cun't." I wasn't sure what that word meant, it seemed to mean weakling or wimp, it seemed interchangeable with 'pussy.' It was all too much for me, but I was so loving it.

Every other word became a cuss, the entire class would openly, and jokingly, call each other dicks, pricks, assholes, and worse. I even got into a fight for calling a kid 'leatherneck' which in retrospect doesn't seem all that bad. He was the class bully, until I punched him in the nose and basically laid him out, after that he was knocked down a peg. I mean shit, the kid with suspenders just knocked you out.

I wasn't allowed to wear jeans, shorts, or shirts without collars because my mother found all three to be a sign of disrespect, yet, when she wasn't around I would regularly say things like; "did you see In Living Color last night? Fucking funny as shit wasn't it?"

Rodney was funny, charismatic, and handsome...all through school. He was always a decent friend, we peaked in 2nd grade but we remained buddies throughout school. He's now a NYC police officer now, married to his high school sweetheart, a very pretty girl who was also a friend of mine. I think she's a buyer for some large department store, or something like that.

What's really important is that I can now use almost any swear word in context but I'm a little sad that I never got the chance to thank him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Radio Days

My job can be pretty fun at times. I'm in sales so the highs and the lows are not, in any way, stable, they're all over the map. The driving required is never ending, although it is comprised of 10 minute jaunts from one location to another. Either way my radio time is fierce. My love for the talk radio format knows no ends.

Television is fine, sports can be interesting, movies I can usually do without, but fucking talk radio is perfect, when done right of course. Very few do it right and even those who even tire me out after 4 years of listening to them. So now I play several different Sirius games.

Recently I've started at Hit's 1 and run through the dial through 90's on 9. The channels, best I can tell, go like this.
  1. Today's awful hits.
  2. Basically the songs you hear while grocery shopping, mostly the ones you don't recognize.
  3. Love. Think classic love songs here, more dentist waiting room variety than Bright Eyes.
  4. 40's on 4. Amazing jazz from the swinging 40's, great stuff. Duke Ellington was on today.
  5. 50's on 5. The pop music that eventually turned into Chuck Berry and the Beatles.
  6. 60's on 6. The same as 50's only 10 years older. Add to the mix some Woodstock bands.
  7. 70's on 7. Mix of tight leather pants rock and Disco, either way nearly un-listenable.
  8. 80's on 8. Pretty good, a lot of soundtrack bull shit that makes it harder to love.
  9. 90's on 9. This is like riding the bus in middle/high school. It makes me sick but I know all the fucking words.
I start on 1 and only change the station when I come across a song whose lyrics are completely unfamiliar to me. This game goes rather quickly.
  1. I don't last a song. Fuck, I don't last a chorus and I'm better for it.
  2. Last week I knew a song.
  3. I could snag up here for about 1-4 songs. Today I had 3 in a row (Endless Love was in there somewhere.)
  4. Wish I knew these lyrics, this is (other than Howard 100) my favorite channel on Sirius.
  5. I could spend a really long time here, but usually there is one thrown in that is new to me. I'd say about 10 songs is my record.
  6. This station could keep me all day if I'm not lucky. A lot of the songs are annoying but I know them regardless.
  7. Please let it be disco!!! If it is, I won't know it and off I go. It's wonderful. If it's rock I'm stuck for a while thanks to a job I had painting houses with a bunch of old school rocker-types.
  8. Surprisingly difficult. This station can throw real curve balls at you via pop music that sucks as much now as it did then.
  9. The bane of my life. I can never get away from this station. I know every fucking song from Creed to Snoop Dee-oh-double-gee.
Why is 90's music so fucking awful? Why didn't radio stations play the Pixies, Pavement, and other relevant bands who survived the test of time? Literally nobody who really blew up in the 90's is still alive today save for Pearl Jam and Phish. Do you know what else those bands have in common??? If you said "They're unbelievably boring," congratulations!!! You're not an idiot! (sorry Jay.)

If you could go back in time and tell your 12 year old self to listen to any band who would it be?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Everything Is Wonderful, Let's Go To Therapy!!!

I repeat very few things in life, there was 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade, and 12th grade, but other than that I try to repeat very little, at least on this blog, regardless I know that I've said these two things many times; (a) I have the best fucking girl ever invented as my fiancé and (b) I subscribe to Psychology Today. This magazine is, in fact, the resource that led me to my therapist. Now, it's led us both there.

If you've not been following along to my blog or you don't follow my wonderful twitter than perhaps you don't know that I'm fucking way engaged right now!!! (She makes sense of it all in ways that I cannot, so read this.) This relationship, we together as a couple, I mean...shit, we'd make you puke. Honestly, we are stupidly perfect for each other, we make each other laugh like tomorrow is nothing more than a welcome surprise. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that we are a million times happier than you are...so we decided to go to couple's therapy.

In the latest Psychology Today there is an article (written by some girl from Santa Monica who you hate because she writes like she's super fucking annoying) about a couple who went to therapy waaaay early on. Maybe this spurred the idea to go discuss a few things or maybe we just thought it would be fun, either way that's where we were yesterday.

Running down the street, laughing and joking (read: walking slowly while I made stupid jokes and she humored me) we made it a few minutes late to my normal therapist. We spent the next 50 minutes talking about little thing. Our entire reasoning was this relationship is it. It's fucking it!!! There is no other relationship, so let's get the oil changed rather than letting the engine blow up and having to later replace it (which is my small-town way of saying let's keep everything wonderful and gay! (gay is my non-small-town way of saying happy.))

I'm not going to go into the things we talked about because it's both personal and small I'm just so excited that my life has turned into this wonderful little story. I feel like Duke Ellington is playing as I'm walking around Echo Park Lake in some Woody Allen (dark match) comedy about how relationships can actually work out. So, go get help while things are good! I think it'll keep them that way.

We walked into therapy smiling, laughing, and reassuring one another, we walked out, bought cupcakes and laughed about how small things can become serious when you're paying $100 an hour. In the end though, it seems right...at least Woody would be proud...we hope.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

You and Me Now Buddy

A few minutes ago I was matching socks in the office, it seemed an important step even if I had no idea where I was going to put them, once the job was complete. Things are still a bit hectic in our new home, each cupboard as mysterious as the buildings in a Sarah McLachlan song. Different boxes await Georgia and my approval, each item - it's new home.

Elvis and Mama (cats) have learned to sleep on the same bed as Mona (dog.) My family loves to nap, it will eventually be the bind that brings all the animals together, I think.

Elvis is her Siamese, he's much more hesitant towards anyone who isn't Georgia. It's as if he found her and said to himself; "how could I ask for anything more?" I know the feeling. He was weary of me at the start and now he's a bit afraid of Mona.

Oh right. Socks. Well, Elvis came in to see what the deal was while Georgia and Mona napped in the bed. Mama was on the couch, where she's set up base camp since about Tuesday. Yes, all of these names make this seem a bit more like Dickens than blogspot but I figure you're best just to get used to the names, they are my family after all.

I matched and set up a shirt, that is between my closet and Goodwill, for Elvis. He chilled and watched what I was doing (I think...he's very cross-eyed and it's impossible to tell where he's looking. Between socks I was scratching him, we chatted, I did most of the talking. He was purring.

"It's just you and me now buddy," I said, eluding to the fact that everyone else was sleeping but it struck me how many times those words fell from my lips to Mona's ears and I'm sure how many times Elvis has heard those words from Georgia. And while the two will remain with us, hopefully for many many years to come, it's not just them anymore.

I wish I could tell you all how amazing Georgia is, how much I love her, how much better my life has become since I met her, but I simply could never find the words. We met at the perfect time, it has been the perfect storm.

Tomorrow will be a week, I woke up more nervous than ever before in my life. I went through the day as normally as possible. We went on a wonderful date. Later that night I asked her to marry me, she said yes and suddenly I know why people say "I feel like the luckiest man in the world." Because I do. I am.

Since I started typing this out she has come out and sat at the table with me and right now she has no idea I'm looking over at her, thinking about the amazing luck that I have had...look at her...she's perfect for me in every way.

Oh right, you can't see her, sorry. I'm going to go enjoy the view.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick Update

I'm moving, no internet for a few more days, it's a real pain in the ass but I really don't notice because, I proposed to the most wonderful person I've ever met!

She's amazing, brilliant, beautiful, funny, and she never stops making me smile!!! So...I proposed, she said yes!

Much more, sooner than later.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Newspapers, One Idiot's Take

I've never pretended to be a genius*, in fact I once tried out a genius costume for Halloween and I couldn't even pull that off but you'd have to be near death to understand why newspapers are failing, why they aren't able to save themselves, and how their demise will be horrific for our society.

*Disregard those times I was drunk and I told you; "I'm the smartest person you'll ever meet."

For the past 2 years I have subscribed to the LA Times. I live in Los Angeles and I want to support the news medium that I believe to be most important. About five minutes ago I wrote to cancel my subscription. The past 4 months have gone by without me even unrolling the paper, save for when I was packing my dishes a few nights ago.

It's not that the LA Times is poorly written or that it doesn't have good articles, in fact it's nothing like that, I truly believe it's one of the finest papers I've had the pleasure to read. The paper has not always enjoyed the best reputation but I believe it's making a comeback, in terms of article quality...at the same time, they've lost me.

I want the news that affects me and only me, it's that simple. Right now there is a helicopter flying overhead in Echo Park, Los Angeles and the LA Times' website has no mention of this on the front page. The Eastsider LA and Echo Park Now are both tweeting and posting blogs about the ongoing situation. Between these blog and some others, I no longer need an entire paper, especially the entertainment, sports, and classifieds (goodbye Calendar and Food. Miss you.)

Los Angeles is a big city and the paper covers a lot of ground. 2 people being shot outside (perhaps inside?) of a marijuana clinic may not be huge news in a city of this magnitude, with this murder rate, etc. But this is Echo Park, a neighborhood enjoying a resurgence of reputation over the past several years. It's not a murder in Beverly Hills, which would garner a lot of attention, but on the same note it's not high-res photos of the Lakers either, which IS getting attention on the @LATimes twitter feed. It's all at once mind boggling and upsetting.

Upsetting because we count on print media. Without it the 24 hour news channels would have nothing to talk about, do you think they actually go hit the streets? But these days our reporting is done very locally and by people with the same vested interests as you. I don't believe for a moment that the girls over at Echo Park Now are going to score an interview with Pelosi anytime soon, like the LA Times might, so it's this larger broad news that will eventually fall apart. We'll miss that! I think we all know that our politicians deserve several watchful eyes on them at all times.

It seems that as we get more global as a society we are perhaps become more local with our news. Somewhere, the two sides must meet. I'm not sure where that will but I hope the "when" is soon.

I went to school for Music Industry (yeah, that is a major) during the rise and fall of Napster. Our teachers were talking about the great, record breaking sales of albums and then the lawsuits started and my professors predicted that record company's were going to ruin their own industry by taking apart the website. These were smart people, by no means were my professors genius level, but they were, for the most part, somewhat intelligent and that's all it took to see the forest through the trees.

Technology is hear to stay, the Unabomber be damned. So newspapers can either "Music Industry" themselves or embrace localization...then hopefully the food industry will do the same.

**tl:dr - blogs good, newspapers bad...both are needed. And I went to school.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Truth Be Told

Even if it's false, wrong, non-factual, or outright stupid I'm interested, mostly, in the truth. Over the years I've given great thought to what is the binding tie between the music that I like; why do I love The Avett Brothers and at the same time really love 1940's big band? Where does Motown fit in here? Why do I really only like New Orleans jazz and no other type of jazz? Is there a single tie in there that, if I spent the time, I could figure out.

More importantly, what does that first sentence have to do with the rest of the paragraph? I'm not sure, but it really seems to me like there is a 1:1 relationship. Here is the path I took to get there, maybe that will help:

I LIKE THIS BOOK - IT'S NON-FICTION - BUT IT'S OPINION REALLY SO IT'S SOMEWHAT FICTIONAL IN THAT THE TRUTH MAY NOT BE CORRECT - I HATE FICTION BOOKS - DO I HATE FICTION MOVIES? - NO - BUT THE TIME INVESTED IS MUCH LESS WITH A MOVIE - I DO LIKE MOVIES THAT SEEM TO BE TRUTHFUL TO MY LIFE - IS THAT THE CASE WITH MUSIC AS WELL?

Now here I am...wondering, silently aloud on a keyboard. Why do we select the styles and arts we select? Why does my girlfriend love vintage? Why did Jay follow Phish? Why did anyone in the world like Phish? Why do hippies love sandals? Why do people who used to love Death Cab now pretend they never did?

We seem to move in packs from one style to another, based on what we identify with. This is all a larger topic for people much smarter than myself but when it comes to me personally I wonder if there is one tie to all of it, I'm thinking it may be 'truth,' in some form.

Truth: noun. [as I need it] anything said by anyone when that person believes the statement to be factual.

I sort of think the reason I never got into rap is that it wasn't a truth that I could relate to, I never had bitches. Then again I love opinion based books where the author believes they're telling the truth. Perhaps truth isn't the answer but it's a theory, not even really a theory if this were a scientific experiment I'd say it's a hypothesis at best.

Do you think that everyone who likes Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream also likes early Elvis Costello better than later EC, is excited about the new Devo album, has at least 1 piece of Ikea furniture, and doesn't have the money in the bank they thought they would have by this point in their life???

I like raspberry swirl ice cream.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dearest Reader, I'm Sorry.

Just a note.

My posts are long. I get that. If I saw so many fucking words I would think to myself "..." well I probably wouldn't even get to the thinking to myself phase, I'd probably just click off and go look at dogs who sound like they're talking or old women fight on YouTube.

What I hope you all realize is that I appreciate you. I'd buy you a cake or something fancy if I could find you. Also, truth be told, I suck at telling stories face to face as well.

They never go A-B-C-D. Instead they go A-B-oh you should probably have a little background information on this minor character in part B-B.2 in which I explain why B isn't really all that important to the narrative but important in a general thematic way as it relates to my life as a whole-C-back to A for a small call back, you'll forget by this ponint and I'll wonder why you aren't laughing-C/B, also known as "where the fuck were we...oh right"-duh-duh, where was I going with this..oh right to-D.

If my parents beat the fuck out of me when I was a kid I would be better off and so would you. But on the other hand, those of you reading, you make me feel like a natural woman.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Dark Year - Part 1

September, 2003.

I remember arriving just after Jay was cleared of cancer, he was the only one who helped me move in and he also had just cost me $50 off my security deposit from my Saratoga Springs apartment. His little joke was to open a condom and throw it at me, it was night, we never picked it up thus the landlords dinged my roommate and me for $100. Despite being emaciated from just having cancer he sort of owed me the move in and he delivered. Then he left and I was alone. Real alone.

It’s a strange feeling to be so alone and yet so close to home. The laundry drive was 45-50 minutes yet I was in a city where I knew absolutely nobody. I had no job nor did I have a prospective job, no interviews, nothing, just the money in my pocket, which was less than $50. I promptly bought about $50 worth of cigarettes and went out hunting for a job.

When you just spent your last money on smokes you really need to get a job before you waste any of your gas, so I walked. Luckily there was a Vietnamese restaurant just down the street, they hired me to wait tables and I was off and running.

Weirdest application for a restaurant ever! I rarely brought home more than $75 on a given night yet the interview was over an hour and featured questions like 'what's more important the ends or the means.' While I don't remember my answer I do recall thinking 'this is fucking stupid.'

My friends quickly became the people I worked with. Susan (whose mother and sister owned the restaurant) and her boyfriend, Justin, also waited tables. He was in school to become a massage therapist at the time and she was just trying to figure shit out, she and I were both 23, he was about 27.

Then there was Courtney, she was in law school and she was the only republican of the group, which stands to reason as she was in law school and the rest of us were pot heads. She definitely had a crush on me (at times) but she wasn’t my type (in fact she was a republican…remember) so I walked a fine line with her – always trying to remain buddies.

Lastly there was BK, she was in her late 30’s and a real estate agent by day, and a waitress by night, mostly because she didn’t seem to be succeeding during normal business hours, but she was fucking rad as shit. There were others who worked there but these four were the ones I liked. So they were quickly adopted as my only friends in town.

The next best way to make friends was the bar. So I would go and sit at this bar called Suzy’s, a sleepy little dive that rested between the only two trendy bars in town. Albany has a downtown area with “clubs” and an uptown area where the University of Albany kids drink. Then there are the bars in between, one street, probably 5-8 bars, 2 of which were considered “cool” and I went to the sleepiest bar, with older (considerably dirtier) cliental. Not dirty because they were hipsters but dirty because they were “salt of the earth” types of people who claim Springstein songs are about their lives. The bartender/owner/namesake would play cards with me and open a Miller High Life for me as soon as I walked in, which I would drink, regardless of what I wanted.

The last yelp review was so long ago at Suzie's...I sure hope all is well, she was a sweet woman. If Albany had cooler people, I think they'd hang out here.

All told though, I don’t remember my first year of living in Albany for the things that happened to me outside of my apartment. Those times were fillers. I was alone as fuck and I lived that way. I was sad, horribly sad…and not just some of the time. Maybe I wasn’t really ready to be alone but I learned more that year than any year prior. It was the start of a transition that has brought me to the point where I am today and it was an extremely formative time.

Eventually I would start dating a girl, right about the end of my first year, and that would take me off course, but when that relationship ended I would soon after find myself in Los Angeles right back onto the slow track that has brought me to this point in my life. I have several different journals that spell out this first year, several albums that bring back the emotions of that year, but all I really need to do is stop and think about it for a minute and it all comes back to me.

It was sort of the year I became an adult, even though I’m pretty sure I wasn't doing it right.

Friday, June 18, 2010

5 Days! ! ! ! !

In college I would always plan to cram for an exam, telling people, "I'm better off just going nuts the night before." Honestly though it was my way of not studying and then, when it came time to cram I would probably read over the material for a few minutes and decide that I wasn't really interested in it.

I did fine on tests, despite my lack of preparation. However, I did horrible in school because I didn't go to class, didn't turn in work, and didn't care. The tests though...I did alright on those, usually a B or better. Throughout that whole time I remember thinking how I was just dumb.

Recently on the phone with my brother he said that he always thought, "[he was] functionally retarded until [he was] about 25 years old and [he] realized [he] was actually intelligent." He said that and I felt the same way, although I never really took the time to put it into derogatory and funny words.

These days I'm less interested in putting things off for the last moment and even less interested in not finishing things altogether. This is why, 2 weeks away from actually moving, I started packing, painting, and generally getting ready. Until this afternoon my apartment was a fucking wreck and it drove me up the wall every time I walked through the door. Now, after a solid 6+ hours of work today there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

5 days!

This week is finally here! I've been looking forward to it for so many reasons I cannot begin to explain them all here. In due time I suppose I'll explore them all but for now I'm really only going to say that I'm blown away with excitement. There have been weeks where my alarm goes off after a solid 2 hours of just laying in bed, awake, thinking about the new apartment and all that means. It's a really great feeling and I'm so excited that the time has finally (almost) come.

What are you excited about right now?

What's your favorite/least favorite part about moving?

I love unpacking and organizing the new apartment. The carrying of boxes, the sweating, the heat, I love all of that too. Painting and fixing up my previous abode is actually a lot of fun too. The one thing that I hate is burdening a friend to help. Usually, Nate would help out but he's gone this weekend so I've had to ask someone whom I've not seen in a long time. I feel bad about it, even though he seems very happy to help.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Reason I Hate You

Screams are going off all around me, some fireworks, generally douchebaggary will be in abundance tonight in Los Angeles because a bunch of fat assholes who couldn't dribble a basketball if you gave them a month to practice are celebrating their hard fought victory. Nothing makes me hate sports like the fans, it's no different than religion in that respect.

Coming to LA I have no favorite basketball, hockey, or baseball team and while I'd love to adopt one from my new hometown I cannot endorse any of them because when they win our city turns into a fucking disgrace, the same way that Florida is always a scar on our country. Except winning a championship means our broke city will pay millions of dollars for a parade where people will loot, stab each other, and probably also find women being slapped about by men.

I'm not saying all sports fans are moron jocks I'm just saying the ones who go to the parades and feel some sort of "pride" when their team wins seriously need to fucking get a life.

So far I've had to deal with nothing other than a few screams but I'm already sick of it.

"LAAAAKKKERSSSSS!!!" Why? What the fuck do you get from this? Oh, right, one less fireman.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dudley Benjamin Franklin Hughes

When something goes wrong, I'll bring it up...even if it was my fault. Actually, I pride myself in my ability to admit when I'm wrong and also to do the hard thing first (or at least quickly.) I'm not saying this makes me a good person or a bad person. I'm not saying it makes me anything other than a little proud at times. It certainly can get me into trouble and often times it leaves me feeling less than great.

I moved to LA almost 5 years ago and I acquired a dog shortly thereafter (not Mona - who rode shotgun from NY.) His name was Dudley, which not only fit him well but also sounded pretty awesome, so I expanded on it, but kept it. Dudley Benjamin Franklin Hughes.

This post could be sentimental as all fuck. Dripping with emotion. Etc. But, I think it's all too soon still honestly.

Mona is a high strung and active dog, as Corgis tend to be, so I wanted the yin to her yang and found Dudley at an adoption event. It was at a small dog ranch's booth where ~20 dogs were behind a wire fence; yipping, yapping, and jumping at every person who walked by. Then in the back, there sat one dog, who stole people's seats when they got up and happily jumped down when the person returned. All he wanted, it seemed, was a comfortable seat. 5 days later I brought him home.

He is a fantastic dog, I truly love him. Now, with a heavy heart I must find him a new home as our journey together must sadly end. He is the most loving dog you could ever meet. He wants to cuddle, he wants a scratching, he wants some love, he wants to nap, and he wants someone to love...that's about all. As far as what he doesn't want it's really just one thing; cat friends. He has no interest in cats, in fact I'm pretty sure he hates them.

Next Saturday will be an amazing day for many reason. I'm starting my new life with the girl I plan to marry and with any luck (and yes, I will need luck) Dudley will also be starting a wonderful new chapter in his little doggie life too. While I love Dudley so very much I have no doubt that I'm making the right decision. When trying to introduce him to my girlfriend's cats he got so stressed that by the time we left the house his hair was literally coming out in clumps...there is no way to make him happy with cats around.

I feel horrible. So if you're going to comment about what an asshole I am, go right ahead, pile it on.

Many of my friends have watched him over the years and never has there been a problem. He loves everyone and is as happy with them as he is with me. I've never been jealous of his ability to spread his love around, I've always just been glad that he is so welcoming of all people. He's truly a great dog.

He is a goofy boy with a tongue that doesn't always stay in his mouth while sleeping.


He's a hell of a science-fiction novelist.


And honestly, if you have 2 legs, he has nothing but love in his heart for you.



Dudley, I know you can't read (and if you could you'd probably not waste your time on my blog) but I hope you know how much happiness you've brought me over the past four years. I'm so sorry to see you go ole chap but I promise that you'll be going somewhere where love is pouring out the doorway to greet you...I don't really know where that will be just yet but I'm sure to figure it out before too long. I promise, however, that we will go to all lengths to make sure it's the best fit for you.

Remember me fondly but bring your love to another lonely soul, after all, that's how you found me and you're leaving me in a much better place. Perhaps it's your job, you're a loneliness-hacking-dog.

I miss your stupid face already.

(Editors Note: I think it's awful when people 'abandon' their pets. Honestly I'm up against a wall here. He would never be happy in a house with cats and I want for him to be loved, be a part of a family and not be sequestered off in some room by himself. Believe me, I feel awful about this...I can't see the computer screen right now because my glasses are going through the car-wash, or something. If you are reading this and you have any suggestions they are very welcome at this point. I'm so overwhelmed with happiness in all other aspects of my life, if you can help me give that same feeling to Dudley, I'll forever be indebted. Cheers.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Real World: Yoga City

If you are reading this and you grew up in the Northeast than you know exactly what a crisp autumn afternoon feels like. It's nearly indescribable by most people and 100% by me, try as I may no words I've ever strung side by side have come close to the feeling of a fall day.

There is something magical about the way clothing grows a thick fuzz and the leaves turn towards the ground and stare at the impending fate. The air is as rich with fresh tides as the trees are as ripe with decay. Summer's heat gives way enough for the snap to return to the parade of people enjoying their last moments of outside solace before the winter takes them back into the covers that thinly protect the bone chilled air creeping through old construction. Autumn is magic and everyone who has spent time where I grew up knows this simple fact.

To me, the snap of the season is a feeling of childhood and a feeling of being home again. While this is simple because it is where I spent 1/4 of my first 18 years (not to mention probably the most memorable parts due to it also being back to school time) but I believe there is a romance that would be noticed by most anyone. Perhaps it's generational but somehow walking into my first ever Yoga class today I was struck with the feeling that I was walking into early 90's New York or San Francisco.

Somehow the glamor of going to yoga seemed so grown up, sophisticated, and big city...mostly though, it seemed very Real World - circa when it was important (read: first few seasons.) There are few things that really make me feel like I'm one of those people and somehow being at yoga gave me the sense that even I, if it had timed out properly, could have been a great character on The Real World.

Do you remember when reality shows seemed real? When they weren't a giant money making formula created to sell soap? Do you remember when they taught us (Small Town USA) to love people who were a different color? Do you remember when you first realized you liked gay people (thanks Norman!)? Life was so much more simple when you could watch The Real World and figure out what to wear and who to emulate; when owning the soundtrack to 'Singles' meant you had an older sibling who was pretty mainstream; and when flannel meant you were in touch with your emotions on some level.

I pretty much hate the 90's. I don't miss them at all. I'm just glad that it only took me to 2010 and the age of 30 to realize my 1992 (12 year old) dream of being sophisticated.

Oh right, I should mention that I waited until after class to fart, I feel like (while hilarious it may have been) it may have ruined the sophistication level that I was hoping to feel. Also, I was always really scared to go to yoga because I have no clue what I'm doing, if you feel the same way, you really shouldn't, it's easy - just go with an awesome friend and co-conspirator, that makes it easy and wonderful.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dog Training

People will often tell you that older couples begin to look like one another after a certain point in their time together. Perhaps this is a truth for some couples but I often fail to recognize the ways in which the man and woman actually resemble one another. If you really take the time to break it all down, all old people have certain core similarities; they smell like mothballs, I seem to be the only one willing to honk my horn and flip them off, they love polyester, gravity is winning, and their ears are way too big for their faces -- other than that they look like two different people.

When you listen to a few nearby peeps chatting over coffee at the local coffee shop they are often talking about themselves, I know that (most of the time) I'm doing that, but if they aren't they are probably talking about another person, rarely do they talk about dogs. That's why you hear about old couples looking alike but rarely do you hear about how fucking unbelievably inline a dog's personalities are in relation to their owners.



I started this little one at obedience school two weeks ago and I was quickly overwhelmed by the owner/pet similarities and later even more overwhelmed with the idea that my poor dog was stuck with my personality. There are only 4 other dogs in the class, I don't remember their names (which makes me almost feel bad because they all remember my Mona.)

There is the goofy, tallest dog. He's eager to please and as middle of the road as his owners. They seem really great and if I were going to be friends with anyone in class it would be them. If there were a man beating up a woman in the middle of the park the male owner would tell the female that they shouldn't get involved, she'd agree, but later she'd be indignant about it.

There is the painfully shy couple with the dog that hides behind them all class long. They are the type of people who you hope are going to break out of their shells at some point but you really doubt it, instead they'll probably just shoot up a mall in St. Louis (not telling which one though...good luck! The winner of this contest gets DEAD!! Yay!!) (I mean 'yay' for us, not for you.)

Finally there is a girl who you can tell is pretty fond of the way she looks. She seems nice and all but she's sadly mistaken about her level of attractiveness. Not that she is horrible to look at but she's also not at all exciting to look at. She seems sort of distant and ambivalent, he dog has trouble paying attention. This dog is actually way cuter than the owner but their inability to see beyond themselves makes them both less attractive.

This past week was the first week for a new dog/owner. She (owner) was pretty outgoing, kind, and wearing leopard print shoes. I am in no danger of becoming a fashion blogger but leopard was annoying in 2001, fodder for stupid sorority girls to feel "fancy," it's the single easiest red flag to see in any girl (the easiest on guys: sandals - but believe me when I tell you there will be more on this later, likely an entire post that will last far too long.)

Anyway...the new dog/owner. She was nice to me right away so I'm stuck - I act in a kindly way back to her but I'm uncomfortable by the simple notion that her shoes keep me from wanting to actually talk to her, it tells me more about her than I care to know and her dog is equally uninteresting, yet kindly nonetheless. And then Mona bites the dog's face (no blood, not hard.)

Fuck.

Now, I'm the asshole with the dog who bites other dog's faces. We are removed from playtime which gives me time to think about the similarities between all the dogs and their owners and it really gives me a fucking complex. I've always felt people didn't like me from the start but maybe that's because I'll only give them a little whiff of my anus before I start to show my teeth. I've worked hard at being nicer to people but somehow, now, I'm thinking that it's all been for naught.

Am I the person who bites your face for looking at me too long? I know I'm the person who judges you on footwear*.

*I really only judge men on if they are wearing sandals and they are not on the beach. Other than that there are few missteps you can make. I guess any sort of animal print anything is always a horrific idea but that's not about the shoes, it's about the late 90's aesthetics.