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:


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.)


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.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Women Getting Ready

My girlfriend said she was interested to hear what guys think about when a girl is getting ready. Unfortunately she doesn't have internet, television, or an EZ Bake Oven so thinking is all I'm really left with. I suppose I could read but then I'd be reading, sounds awful right?

So yes, I am writing this so that my girlfriend will continue to eat cheescake from the platter at 11:30pm with me but also as a lesson to every single person in the world. If you're a woman, listen up, this is what you're missing. If you're a man, keep reading because you're probably doing it wrong.

First a little code-breaking:
  1. "Okay sweetie, I'll be ready in ___ minutes." This is an example of woman-math. I'm not saying that women can't do math, in fact I think they're the smarter sex, that is to say they're mead intelligence is greater than that of the male population, all I'm really saying is there is math, then there is getting ready, girl-math. The equation is fairly easy, you take what ever number of minutes they said, double it and then add a fuck turd more time onto the end of it. 15 minutes = at least 39-47 minutes. This is the exact amount of time you have to accomplish anything you need to accomplish, so long as it doesn't involve you going into the bathroom...just don't go in the fucking bathroom.
  2. "Does this look alright," actually means "this is only the first outfit, there will be more...many more, sight tight and put down that beer I don't want my mother/friends to think you're an alcoholic." Be honest with your answer here, if she does't look great tell her it's not your favorite outfit. You're fucked anyway, you might as well go down with dignity (note: if you're interested there is a great movie called "Going Down on Dignity.")
  3. "...but I'm not going to wash my hair." This is a time saving gambit many girls employ, the thought is that the time it would take to wash, dry, and style their hair would take too long and she would rather ask, with trepidation throughout the night, "are you sure my hair doesn't look greasy." And this is an unfair question because you wash your own hair twice a week (read: month) and you don't really care, by this point your pillow case has a higher fat content than bacon.
I'm sure there are some more codes that I'm leaving out, I apologize but in due time. If you have any questions about this section I can try my best to help you out, just leave them in the comment, email me directly, or just pray them to me.

Onward!!! What do we think about/what should we think about when getting ready?
  1. When she says that she's going to get ready the first thing we think is, "let me quickly finish this beer so that I can open another one before the 'why are you opening that now, I'm almost ready' time. Done! Do it! If this means you're doubled up for a few minutes just hid it and do your best to keep both chilled.
  2. The shower is over and now she's in the bathroom. You say, "Can you leave the door open so we can talk?" If you're like me you love your girlfriend, you love listening to what she has to say, you love seeing her naked, and she makes you laugh so much that it's literally stupid to think you wouldn't want to chat while she puts on make-up.
  3. Why do girls wear make-up often comes to mind. A woman is most beautiful right in the morning, their faces shine with the possibilities of hitting the snooze, the make-up is all removed, they look natural, they look beautiful and their breath smells like a fresh, crisp, Spring's compost pile. Listen women, you're better looking than us, it's that simple, you don't really need make-up every time.
  4. When the make-up is done, Man realizes the reason make-up can be great. Yes, everything in #3 is true but still make-up has it's place (at this point I'm wondering if all women are getting annoyed by the way I type make-up because I don't really know/care if that's the proper way.) Clitoris envy is starting to set in.
Quick note on clitoris envy.
I've heard the term "penis envy" before but I've never been sitting around watching the sports television with the guys, screaming "Go team of men" at the television and called out for more chips only to brush fingers with a friend and think, "fuck, I wish I had Derrick's penis." But when I think about being in a warm/dark/romantic place all day long...the only time I come out of my little cave is when it's time to orgasm...suffice it to say, I believe in one, and only one, form or 'dirty part envy.'
  1. (back to 1 because I don't know how to fix that...anyway.) Women, make-up, hair, it's unfair really. Not only are they the more attractive sex but they can also change their appearance in ways that men cannot. It's amazing that they were built be amazing beautiful creatures and we were built to be annoying, hairy, odor inventing, assholes, with awkward bodies. I think about this for a while, maybe it's the reason I needed the second beer in the first place.
  2. The only part about a woman's ready-getting that makes no sense to me is the amount of worry it causes them. While I fully understand the need to get everything just right, to feel like a million dollars, or like the most beautiful version of themselves, or like they hold the key to forever curing athlete's foot as they walk out the door but what drives me a bit insane is that they (and now I'm speaking of my girlfriend who is better than your girlfriend) already look like that, without effort.
  3. You've sat and waited, being jealous, patient, and slightly buzzed, but not comes the critical walk out the door moment. This is important because you best not have 1 more thing to do. She's ready dammit...you had all that time, granted she was in the bathroom so you couldn't really use it but there is certainly a bush within walking distance, or a Bush, which would not only work but make you cooler in my mind. So be fucking ready when she is or face the not so pretty consequences.
Guys: be thankful you don't have to go through what girls go through. If you're fly is zipped and you don't have an obvious boner showing, you're pretty much ready to roll. It's not so easy for them. Think about it this way, before you shower in a group setting at the gym, country club, prison, or family reunion you always go pee first, where you fluff it, just a little. Well, girls have to fluff themselves every time you leave the house and don't be jealous they aren't fluffing themselves so that other dudes will want to fluff them, they're doing it so other girls will think "I wish I could fluff like that."

Girls: yes, it took you a little longer to get ready than you thought, but not longer than we thought, so be happy when you're done. If it helps take a picture of yourself before you get in the shower and look at it once you've completed, sit back and realize what you've done. The man in your life doesn't really care how long it took, just go out wherever he is, ask him if he's ready and walk out the door with him and all the swagger you need, because you deserve that at least. I mean you deserve more but unfortunately all we have to offer is idle chit-chat about 1980's video games and "shit we hate" currently. *It's as if you're doing charity work just dating us.

*Not me. I'm awesome.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Airing dirty laundry

Matt is from Texas, he's a great guy. We have worked together for the past 3-4 years and he's grown so much over that time. He's always been a health and fitness type of guy but now he's more aerobic than weight lifting. Recently Matt married his girlfriend and he's actually lost about 40lbs (note: he was never fat but now he's skinny and in shape.) I used to pick up produce once a week from a co-op, he still does that and is looking into buying sides of grass-fed beef from a local farmer. Before, years ago, he used to make some inappropriate jokes about things...those days are over, he seems to have traded them for a sweeter, softer side.

As it is with all people though, some things just never change. Today at a meeting I told Matt that I was moving, actually he overheard me asking for use of a company van.

"Y'all," Texas remember, "move more than any group of people I've ever met."

"I'm moving in with my girlfriend at the end of the month," he smiled when I told him, he was formulating something to say.

And low, his response was the best I've heard yet; "do you like her or you just want to save money?"

It's the locker room version of him, slowly dying, he asked how long before I get a ring and all of those questions as well. Only with an air of sincerity that has grown in the past years, also the reason people love him and the reason he's become a fantastic sales rep.

Of course I'm not moving in with Georgia to save money, I'm very much in love with her and I hope that I get the rest of my stupid life with her. Whenever I start plucking down words into this blog I have to force myself not to dedicate each post to her, it's a lot more difficult a task than you may imagine. There will be posts about moving sooner or later, this is just one story of something I'm not sad to never do again....laundry...by hand.

Because I hate the laundromat as much as I hate parties where I don't know a single person I did my best to avoid them these past 14 months. After leaving an apartment with a washer and dryer the idea of sitting in an odd place pumping money into a machine was horrible, I mean, I hate Vegas and those machines might make you rich (note: they won't) but these machines might just lose your socks, thats about the most exciting thing.

So I, pretty literally, took matters into my own hands. And let me finally come clean here today and say that I in no way, shape or form did I buy this machine to go "green," despite what you may have heard. Believe me, when looking down two gun barrels one that reads "Good Guy" and the other reads "Scared of People" I'll opt for the alliteration every time. So I bought a hand crank washing machine and this is how it works.

You fill this guy up with dirty clothes, water, and soap.

Then you just screw the top on, grab that handle thing and start turning. It's air tight (obviously or else it'd be a mess) and it's pressurized so as you turn the soap is constantly pulling through the material...that's what the directions say at least and I've yet been called stinky.

You can see the blue bucket in the sink, that is filling with cold water, which, according to my 3 days on the job as a large appliance salesman, rinses water much more efficiently than does hot water. The next step is to let the water drain out of the tub and then fill it up with the cold water for a quick rinse.

From here I'll just pull all the clothes out and give them one more quick rinse in the sink.

(I took a picture of this...it looks like a sink full of socks, I would honestly post it here but I think you can guess what a sink full of socks looks like and you can allow me a few minutes back of my time. Of course typing all of this out actually took about the same amount of time, now more due to this tag on but as you can see by my laundry methods, "saving time," isn't always my first interest.)

Then put the clothes in the dryer.

In about 4/1's the time (yes, I reversed that fraction of purpose) you've done about 1/4's the amount of laundry you could do by simply driving 4 blocks to the laundromat! Life is really beautiful isn't it!?

Now listen, I realize this doesn't seem very green but I don't really care, that angle sort of worked, for the most part. All that really matters is I'm gladly leaving this form of laundry right where it belongs, in the "lonely bachelor" days of my 29's. Onward to washing machines, cats and dog playing together, porch swings, sailboats, and most her.

Somewhere along the lines someone handed me a scratcher for life, I'm finally scratching off the last little bit of that weird silver shit to reveal the life that I actually get. Who knew it'd be pretty awesome? I've always been lucky with scratchers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coffee and Pie

Pigeons love each other for ever and ever, totally monogamous. I should mention that I say this with as much certainty as I lack in credibility. This is a self-theory that I've not bothered to research. Yes, I'm on my computer at this moment and it would take two words typed into my searcher space but I'm happy to believe my little dream.

For the past year there have been pigeons that live above my back *patio and we've grown together over that time. The won't eat out of my hand yet and while I've not tried it with actual food, just paper drawings of pizza slices, I'm leaving in less than a month and I can't stomach the idea of leaving birds who eat from my hand, so that part of my experimenting will have to stop. They really do seem to love one another though and I've enjoyed watching them groom each other and just chill out, watching people...people being people.

They did lose a loved one earlier this year, I put bread out for them, as you do when a loved one dies. (Note: If you are making food for a person, who has recently lost a loved-one, don't just put a steak on top of a fence, it ruins most of the effect.) Somewhere I have a picture of the egg laying on the ground, cracked, but I will not post it, as I want to protect their privacy.

My eyes happened up today as they were grooming and I got lost in the moment for a few seconds too long. When I looked down again Georgia's birthday cheesecake was filled up to the very top of the spring form pan. I had no idea what to do, looking back I could have scooped it out but sometimes I just don't think, I go full steam ahead like the moron that I am. The fucking cake looks like a pile of cheese-puke now, there is no upper stiffened, slightly browned crust. Instead it looks like someone cut the top off a cheesecake and put that part into their fat face.

I will salvage this mess the only way I know how = A HEART MADE OF RASPBERRIES!!!

This is an example of me trying something and being unhappy with the results. Not unlike my cowboy coffee this weekend. Ever try this? Apparently you can....

boil coffee and water in a pot.

Throw an egg in there, as it cooks the grounds get caught up in there...yes, crack it first.

The cooked egg looks like fucking hell.

But in the end the coffee wasn't all that bad and the egg caught a lot of the coffee (not pictured is when I poured the coffee through a paper towel.)

In all honesty I didn't really want coffee anyway, Georgia did and I made this for her, she thought it was fine but I still ended up buying an iced coffee for her as I always feel the need to "make up" for sloppy work. She now has her coffee maker back from her friend (I think) and I'm still not in the mood for coffee...I'm going to have to eat more cheesecake tonight though, which I'll manage...I'm sure.

PS. I've found a new Weapon of Mass Distraction in the raspberry heart:

*Patio - in this case, simply means a 4x10 foot slab of cement behind my apartment that smells of dead fish.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Modern Manhood: The Most Important Meal of the Date.

In the dark year* I started many projects, some of which will never be realized, many of which I have completely forgotten about but will occasionally stumble across in an old notebook or on a scrap of paper taped to the bottom of an elephant while on safari in Whittier.

Of all the things I started, or thought of starting, only two have really stuck around and have been occasionally worked on in some way/shape/form. The first of those is my "album" which is a loose term for a bunch of incongruent songs that are recorded at different levels over the span of 10 (probably more like 40) years. A few weeks ago I did a solid amount of work on these songs, someday, when they are more finished, I will post them here, there, or somewhere.

The second project is about to restart...in some form.

Modern Manhood
By: C. Hughes
Volume 1
The Most Important Meal of the Date

You've done it! You've brought a girl back to your house, where you will sleep beside her for the evening. Step 1: don't have sex. You don't need to have sex on the first sleep over night, not if you're looking for a real relationship. Rather than submerging your penis you should build trust, the best way to do so - show that you can sleep next to her without constantly rubbing your boner on her back, legs, stomach, etc. A dry humping is fine, but when you begin to chaff (and possibly bleed) excuse yourself from the situation. Slip away into sleep.

The morning has come! She is still there! It's as if you're doing something right, for the first time in your life, congratulations are almost in order but there are still many opportunities to fuck this up before the afternoon ever even has a chance to begin. So you must continue to make her comfortable. Lie there, talk. Pee, brush your teeth, go back and talk some more. Avoid farting, it's still too early in your relationship.

While you are laying there with her tell her how much you'd love to make a simple breakfast while she's getting ready. You must talk her into this because it is the most important meal of your relationship; the tone-setting-breakfast. "I'll just put something together really quick," don't lie and say you love cooking if you don't, don't lie and say you're good at it if you aren't, there is only one lie and that is the lie that you are just 'throwing something together.' No, my friends, you will not simply throw some eggs into a pan, that is not how we win. You are going to crush this breakfast the same way you are crushing the spirits of her other suitors.

It's important to have a few 'go-to' meals for breakfast and dinner. These meals are the ones you can cook a million times and never screw them up. Look around at the menu of your favorite restaurants, pick a few fancy sounding meals, go home and look them up on the internet. Learn them inside and out. These dishes will come in handy a million times over, so long as you perfect them. Just by practicing these few (say 3 breakfast, 5 dinner) dishes over and over you will also learn the basics of cooking...you know, if you're a rube.

She's getting ready and you're in the kitchen, your moment is now! You are about to debut a 'go-to' dish for the lady of your dreams, don't fuck up - this is why you've practiced this dish a million times. And in a few minutes when she walks out of the bathroom and you aren't done, just tell her to hang out for a minute, watch television, read a magazine (if you have Maxim in your apartment just forget this girl and admit to yourself your life has been a waste and will continue to be the same,) or, best idea of all, she can join you in the kitchen. Don't let her help though, (a) you want her to see that you can do this on your own and (b) you want to treat her to a nice breakfast.

I don't give a shit what you made; eggs Benedict, crepes, chocolate-coconut pancakes, it really doesn't matter. What matters is 3 things: this is not a breakfast that one just 'whips' up - it's thoughtful, the breakfast tastes good, and (perhaps most importantly) the presentation is nice. A simple way to jazz up any presentation is to cut up some fresh fruit and put it on the plate; banana, apple, pear, strawberry, etc. I give examples because some asshole would probably slice blueberries in half and put them on the plate. Any berry will work, just don't be a fucknut and cut them.

Good luck with your first breakfast. The next time you'll tell her to wait in bed and you feed her another one of your 'go-to' dishes. And if you've successfully pulled off this breakfast (and you aren't a sloppy bag of oatmeal looking sloth) I promise there will be a next time. Listen, anyone can be a dick, only 84.2% of men can be nice with a little effort.

(note: no statistics have been researched.)

*my first year in Albany was horrific...much much more on this someday soon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How I Quit Smoking

Probably 6'6" I would guess. That is how tall my new landlord is, which is 3" taller than me, never rented from someone taller than me before. We just got of the phone, he is pulling down the "For Rent" signs as I type these words. (I cannot confirm this timing is true but I assume poetic license applies to blogging.) The new apartment is officially ours and I couldn't be more excited about it.

After work I dropped off three things to the new landlord's wife (not taller than me, still tall though):
  1. Georgia's lease, signed, initialed, and so on.
  2. A little one-sheet of information, also Georgia's. (I had already handed in these 2 earlier in the week.)
  3. The third was a book, it's for the shorter of my two landlords, it looks like this:

Never in the 10 years when I was smoking did I every really consider myself a smoker...it was funny, I smoked more than anyone I knew but somehow in my mind it was all temporary. Let's assume it was an even 10 years to the day, that means it was 120 months - I probably smoked for 80 of them, or about 65% of the time. At first I would quit for like 6/12 months, or 7, or 4, who the fuck really knows...I sure don't. Towards the end it was more permanent.

Before moving to LA I had quit for several months, somewhere about 4 minutes into my drive across country I started back up again....it stuck for a while, not even a year. Then I got my sales job, sitting in my car for 40-70 hours a week...cigarettes quickly followed. There was a 4-6 month break, another 3 month break, and about 2 more months...each time more miserable than the last.

I would go on the patch most of the time but I've been hypnotized, cold turkey, etc. All of them eventually failed. This book, however, has left me with zero desire to smoke.

Here is a play by play of how I remember quitting, all the way back 2 months ago:
  • Quit for a week. Some small amount of stress popped up, I flew off the handle, started smoking again.
  • I heard about the book a few times in the same week. I wasn't asking about it, or about quitting. I didn't care. Georgia is cool and didn't really care all that much if I was smoking or if I wasn't.
  • Bought the book in Glendale.
  • Had zero desire to quit, but I started reading it. Followed it to the T (tea? tee?)
  • Smoked. Read. Smoked. Read.
  • Got to the last page with a cigarette behind my ear, the last of the pack. Camel Turkish Silver, just hanging out, in the on-deck circle.
  • Finished the last words, walked outside feeling no different at all.
  • Smoked the cigarette to the bitter/harsh end.
  • Did a little; "I'm never going to smoke again," dance.
  • Went inside, washed up, went to bed.
Since that day I have not smoked a single drag. I have wanted one a few different times, but never enough to even consider giving in and actually smoking one. The urge comes and goes quicker than I could have ever imagined.

The thing is, it was easy. Throughout the book, Carr tells you, it's going to be easy, you aren't going to gain weight, etc. I had a hard time believing him; not anymore.

I can say, with the utmost confidence that I will never smoke another cigarette again for the rest of my life. You should say the same. If you only smoke a few when you drink, you're a smoker - wise up. If you smoke a pack a day, you're a smoker - buy the book.

This blog will rarely be used as a blatant ad but this book honestly changed my life and I felt a swarm of pride passing it off to Landlord-Short today, so I wanted to have that flash again with this post.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Painting Your Stupid Apartment.

There has been too much "I'll tell you about that later" going on within this blog lately but I'm about to say it again because I signed a new lease today, with my girlfriend and this is the first time in my life when I'm moving in with a GF and her alone. I'm not as nervous as I should be but....wait for it...more on that later. Now I'm going to relive my current place a little.

This apartment is not unlike Jewel's hands; it's small, I know...but it is my own. It's served me very well, despite this having been one of the shittiest years of my life. The leg cancer thing really dampened the mood of the overall year honestly, so despite the grand and wonderful things that happened to me the overall tone is sour...or lumpy.

But I do not blame my apartment for this! (please read that last sentence a few times, aloud, and really play it up as a politician would. Keep trying until you get it just so, we'll all compare at a later date.)

In lieu of decorating I often opt to paint. This is mostly because I really don't know what kind of style I wanted to go for, I suppose mostly an organized clutter but my brain organizes clutter so that it's no longer clutter and the process of building up to the amount of pieces I would need is maddening to me. It's like growing a beard, the first few weeks are awkward but then you end up looking like a really sexy...well, you end up looking like a dude with a beard.
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As evidenced here, I can wait the beard time but the collecting time never really happened.

Just before my leg thing I painted. I fucking painted hard core too. Here is how you do it.

Pick a wall, take some shit off.

Tape some more shit off.

Realize you've already fucked up, take off some tape and paint an obnoxious color as your base.

Try to be random with your color selections, this "random act" took me a few hours of drawing on a piece of paper, flipping several coins and finally just crying over paint swatches.

Tape more boxes...also, forget to take a picture of this step; if only to remind the world that you aren't without your own flaws.

This one you can't be random with, you need to really plan the colors so that you don't overlap the same ones. That's the type of shit that will get you uninvited to next years Christmas party.

Wait a bunch of beers (5-15) and then peel the tape off the wall.

Move in closer and take another picture.

Paint fumes are not as good for you as scientists and doctors used to think (side note: did you know doctors no longer think Camel cigarettes are good for you?!?). So to minimize the fumes there are 5 steps to take, these really work:

  1. Open all your windows. If you didn't already know this "hint" please also note that you should not drink the paint.
  2. Fans, put them around your place. Again, if you've read this far and you don't know this you're obviously just looking for more pictures of me with a beard.
  3. Vanilla. Yes, the shit you add to pancakes sometimes, just to make yourself feel fancy. You can add this to paint. While it doesn't actually do anything about the fumes it does help with the smell, which means you can inhale the fumes without even knowing. Yay! You can add a few drops or (I've heard) up to a small bottle. Just mix up the paint again afterwards and you're good to go. Plus your roommate (read: spouse) will think you're cooking something yummy and when they realize you aren't they be so set on eating something sweet that they may go get you a Twix ice cream bar.
  4. Onions. Chop a few large onions up and put them on plates, spread them around the room. Put about 2 bowls out as well, with enough water to just cause some floating action. This will actually work on 3 levels; 1. it actually absorbs fumes, 2. the smell overpowers most anything, 3. the smell overpowers most anything - saves shower water, saves the earth, makes you seem really green and shit.
  5. Vinegar. Seriously what the fuck can't you do with vinegar? This absorbs the fumes and also stanks the joint out a bit. The smell of vinegar actually isn't nearly as potent as the rest of these so don't worry too much about it.

And that's it kids! Now you can spend an entire weekend painting your wall, only to hate the yellow you used as a base and paint over it some, 18 days later.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Panic Button Takes Several Months to Activate

I'm planning and working on a series of posts about the most depressing year of my fucking life. It's taking some time to write but, unlike every other post I've put out there, I'm at least thinking about it ahead of time. There is a problem I have when it comes to thinking, I either over think the fuck out of it or I don't think at all.

There was a knock on my door. I froze. Mona started to bark but I turned her volume to a rumble. A girls voice said my name as I laid flat, still, and stiff on my bed. My heart raced. Mona grumbled. Butterflies filled my stomach. My name, "Colin," rang out one final time. The high heels trailed off and the moment was over, only it lasted and kept elevating in my mind. The panic increased.

I stood up, out of bed and threw shoes on, I needed to leave. I had no idea where but it felt like I had taken about 150 milligrams of Adderall (normal dose: 5-20mgs.) my body wasn't attached to my head, neither attached to reality. So I did the only thing you can do in those situations. I went to Glendale and bought new work shoes.

"I need your address and phone number," said the old lady at the counter who had facial fuzz longer than Zooey Deschenal's, whose is longer than my arm hair. I had spent the 20 minute ride to the shoe store convincing myself that I needed to move because too many people knew where I lived and this woman told me to proclaim it to the store, all in the name of a shitty pair of shoes I've worn 3 times - and only because I don't like wasting money.

"Why do you need my address, I'm buying shoes. You need it." She explained that it was for coupons or something I had no interest in but I was not grounded in reality at the moment so I sort of lost my shit. "How can you tell me you need my address??? You want it, and that's a totally different thing." I proceeded to pay in cash, which I never do, simply because handing over my credit card was handing over too much information.

When I got back home I spent the next 2 hours looking up and emailing therapists.

Now, to complete what I started that day in January I'm moving. I'll give more details and pictures when the location is finalized but my girlfriend and I just looked at a place in...gulp...Silver Lake (I love you Echo Park) and it was fucking perfect. The front room is open and airy, seems bright and fits as a perfect entry into the house. There is a small office/work-out room just off of that, which will serve as music studio/sweat lodge. The bedroom is cute and just right. Amazingly I would describe the kitchen as large which is unheard of in a city. There is a little patio in the front and an cave in the back.

Let's just assume that I'll link you to my girlfriend's blog when it comes time to describe the house and you can come here for details on the cave.

I'm not sure who knocked on my door that day, it's safe to say that without her I would still be putting off going to a therapist so I'm actually thankful that she did send me into a state of frenzied panic. What I never expected my therapist to tell me, but he did so on day 1, was that he sees me as a bit of a perfectionist. He says that I over-think things so badly that I end up taking no action at all. My blog is my no thought, unfiltered (uninteresting?) link to my creative side. Now that I'm planning one out we'll have to see what happens.

There is a tie to these stories, somewhere. I'm just not sure I know where it is and I don't feel like taking the time to look for it. If I reread the post I'm likely to not click the "PUBLISH POST" key, which looks less like a panic button every time I click it.

Aaaaannnnd click.