Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Man Called Emily

There are approximately 58,000 homeless people in Los Angeles.  That’s unbelievable, but it’s true.  It’s pretty normal to drive down the street and see various tents set up on sidewalks or to see more than one person at any given on/off ramp to the highway jiggling a cup or holding a handmade sign.  After being exposed to it for so long, you unknowingly start to glaze past the problem as you go about your day.  It’s an unfortunate reality of living in a big city, but that’s how it is.  We learn to ignore the various trash that litters the curbs of just about every street and we also learn to look past the heartbreaking reality of homelessness as it stares us directly in the face.  That is, of course, until a homeless person knocks on your window at a red light or, as happened at work this weekend, screams profanities directly into your face.

As I worked in Atlanta, I grew a couple personal relationships with homeless people.  There was Hawk, who washed my car (sometimes three times a week), and a man that calls himself “Shocker 5,000” whom I shared a few drinks with as he called his brother from my phone and vowed to watch over my car as it sat in the parking lot.  There were many others whom I knew on a less intense level, like a man called “Pussyeater” that has an abnormally long tongue and a tattoo on his arm of the Rolling Stones logo.  There was also the guy from Chicago that thought my name was John and once sold me some weed even though I never asked for it and didn’t agree to buy it (“Here, just take it take it take it,” he said as he reached through my window and dropped it into my lap). 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Six Insults From the Early 90s That Deserve a Comeback

Every generation complains about the next.  Our parents complained about us, and we complain about the kids our friends are having (because let’s face it, we’re not mature enough to ignore a child for the next 18 years).  That being said, kids these days are a bunch of no-good hooligans.  It’s a short step from causing a kid to look up from their smart phone to being told, “Shut up you goddamn piece of fucking shit cocksucker.”  No tact, that’s probably the part that stings the most.  But as us “Millennials” (which is not nearly as badass as “Generation X” but at least not as much of an afterthought as “Generation Y”) know, shit was way cooler in the early nineties.  Nowadays, you have kids bullying each other into suicide after raining insults on them via chat rooms or Skype or bullhorns or whatever.  But back when having access to cable was hella cool, insults were something you could toss at somebody and they would either return the attitude, shrug it off, or let it fester in their gut until it would manifest itself later in life as some unhealthy habit (which might explain my college roommate chasing shots with pickle juice).  Anybody can convey their dislike with vulgarity, but it takes a true connoisseur to do it with class.

It’s about time for the new generation (Do they have a name?  Generation Z?) to start recycling some of our phrases much like they recycle our clothes from thrift stores or our episodes of Fresh Prince.  Let’s face it, these terms and phrases are like fine wine; they are complex and only get better with age.  So, to help the little tykes out, here is a list of six insults that deserve a comeback.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Health Care Isn't Evil

Earlier this year, I went to the hospital and wracked up a quick $19,000 in bills.  In three days.  Okay, fine.  Now, to someone without health insurance, that can be a little frightening.  I was able to get out without paying the whole bill because I went to a terrible hospital that caters to people without insurance and illegal immigrants.  You get out alive and you aren’t crippled with debt.  It’s a trade off for sharing the hospital room with a group of people shitting the bed, sucking gunk out of neck holes, and an abundance of visiting children (possibly the worst of the three).

Obviously, that sucked.  But going to a hospital that wasn’t able to help out financially would have basically ruined my life with debt.  I make enough money to get by, but there’s not a ton left over to shell out a quick $19,000 (or more) whenever my organs decide to turn against me.  This is why having health insurance would be nice.  As previously stated, I’m not rolling in money so my options for receiving health insurance are pretty scarce.  This is why I am looking forward to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Just in case somebody slams me while I’m on my bike or I have another vital organ turn against me, I won’t be completely fucked when it comes to getting help.  This isn’t too much to ask, right?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Everybody Doesn't Love Your Dog

So, I own a dog.  She’s pretty cool and I do my best to make sure she’s comfortable and not pissing anybody else off.  This includes trying to keep her from howling like a goddamn maniac whenever I leave the house, not letting her run up to strangers without their permission (not that she really does this anyways), picking up after her (not meaning the plates and cups she leaves around on the coffee table after making herself breakfast but more along the lines of turds), and not taking her where she doesn’t belong.

In a perfect world, people would have the same amount of respect for the other people in their community, but that’s obviously never going to happen because a lot of people simply suck.  So here’s a couple of things people with dogs need to figure the fuck out.  As a dog owner, I feel perfectly comfortable listing these things off.  It’s kinda like how black people get to use that one word.  You probably know which one I mean.  If not, just watch some Chris Rock standup and pay attention to the one he says the most.  That one.  The one which can not be named (by me, at least).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What If George Zimmerman Is Sadder Than All the Dead Christmas Trees Of The World?

George Zimmerman is the most evil man in the whole world.  Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but this man has caused controversy to the point of riots on opposite sides of the country.  That’s a lot of influence.  And it’s almost universally understood that he’s to be seen as an asshole that got away with something. 

This may be true.  Judging by the evidence we’ve seen, it is most likely true.  But at the same time, no one really knows what happened that night and there is always a chance (no matter how slight) that he wasn’t at fault when Trayvon Martin was killed.  Because of this sliver of doubt, he was found not guilty.  Sucks, but that’s how it works.

Flash forward to now, and Zimmerman’s life is in shambles.  His wife is filing for divorce.  A large, vocal section of the country is calling him a murderer and a racist.  He is shunned and looked down upon by people he’s never met every where he goes.  His name is going to be associated with this act of violence until the day he dies.  Beyond all of that, he also has to deal with the psychic trauma of having murdered another human being.  Some may say, “Good.  He deserves it.  He should rot in jail.”

 Plus, he got fat. 

But, there’s always a sliver of a chance that he didn’t do anything wrong and has had his life completely ruined.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Lunatic

There’s a lot of really weird people in my neighborhood.  Every time I go outside I have to be ready to deal with some strange shit like when I found my neighbor throwing dog shit into my apartment complex.  Most days pass without incident, but there’s always a chance that somebody is going to toss a ton of crazy at me.  It could either be a person that is strung out (like the guy that shattered a glass bottle on the ground, blamed it on the man that had just passed him, and then screamed ‘Fuck you up!’ in my face as I passed him), a little distraught (like the woman that once followed us while muttering about how being outside is terrifying, confided in us that she was raped, and then yelled ‘Thanks for letting me vent!” as we crossed the street), or simply out of their mind.

Last week, I think I met a woman that is simply out of her mind.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Trannyshack is Where It's At

The problem with getting off of work at three o’clock on a Friday with the weekend off is that there’s no reason not to crack a beer immediately upon returning home.  So, that’s what happens damn near every week.  I’ve never seen the point in waiting until nine or ten at night to start having fun.  People put that shit off for way too long and it’s dumb.  Why not get right into it?  That way, you get it all out of your system and can pass out fairly early, leaving you with a good night of sleep to wake up and start drinking that last, warm, half-collapsed can of beer that ended up on your nightstand as soon as you open your eyes.  America-type shit.

So, last week, this is what I did.  Got home from work, was all excited, and started hammering booze while shadows were still pretty short.  Nothing new there.  However, there was a proposed idea of going to a tranny show down the street from my place which I planned on avoiding due to restricted funds.  But, after a few hours of playing cards and growing fitfully inebriated, I was open to suggestions.

So I ended up at the tranny show.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fuck the Meat Industry

In my first year of college, my English class required me to write a persuasive essay.  Although being an avid fan of cheeseburgers, hot wings, and chicken alfredo, I decided to write it about vegetarianism.  I knew there was a wealth of information on the subject and it would be really easy to take the side of the vegetarian, explaining why it’s immoral to eat meat.  The horrible treatment of the animals shown in PETA videos basically got me the A.  Of course it’s awful that chickens get their beaks blowtorched off so they don’t peck other chickens because their cages are painfully small and will kill for another inch of room.  Of course that sucks.  You’re right.  Here’s your A.

After completing all the research, I damn near talked myself into becoming a vegetarian.  The stuff I found online was truly horrific and since animals are generally kick ass (except for my neighbor’s dog) I began questioning if I should continue eating meat.  But, I was eighteen years old and didn’t really give a shit about too much so I was back at Culver’s getting a double cheeseburger by the end of the week.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Riding a Bike = Deathwish

A couple years ago, I was speaking with a bartender and he told me a story of how he saw a cyclist run into the side of a car that had abruptly turned in front of him.  The guy was vaulted off of his bike and hit his head on the pavement on the other side of the car.  His momentum caused him to slide a little after impact and he basically rubbed his ear off on the street.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet.  This was a major contributor to my decision to start wearing a helmet while biking.

 $340 - slightly used

Helmets are a necessity not because of the possibility of hitting a pothole and falling off of your bike or clipping a curb with your tire and tipping over.  Helmets are a necessity because a portion of the car-driving public has little to no regard for the average cyclist.  This causes drivers to not afford a person on a bike the respect and safety they deserve and sometimes causes people to act in a way that is dangerous and downright malicious.  I have had many drivers cut unnecessarily close to me as they pass, revving the engine and sometimes even screaming at me.  One guy pulled in front of me and frantically waved his arms in the direction of the sidewalk.  I pulled up next to him at the next streetlight.

“What’s your problem?” I asked.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hooters: The Breastaurant of Shame

The Hooters business model basically goes something like this:  “Show them some boobs, toss some wings their way, and fill them with beer.  They’ll never want to leave.”  And sure, it’s an effective marketing ploy.  What do dudes like?  Chicken wings, beer, and boobs.  Toss some sports on the TV and you’re in dude-heaven.  There’s only one problem with this:  Eating chicken wings in public is a degrading, disgusting way to spend your time.

The Hooters employees are trained to convince even the sloppiest, fattest, sweatiest, shittiest dudes that they have a chance of banging one of the waitresses.  They always smile at you when you come in, they converse with you in an overly friendly manner, and they sit down at your table to take your order (because, y’know, you guys are friends).  The guy then nervously recites his order while trying not to stare directly into her cleavage.  She walks away and the dudes talk about her boobs.  Standard shit.

Girl bout to dunk her hair in the ranch.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

No Name #1: Elliott Smith Tribute at the Largo – Los Angeles – 8/6/2013

About 8 years ago, I was introduced to Elliott Smith and soon after became a big fan.  Listen to two seconds of any song I’ve made since and the influence is easily apparent.  I still listen to his music frequently (almost on a daily basis), have two of his records hanging on my wall, and have a dog named after one of his songs.  Basically, I am somewhat of a fan.  The problem with being an Elliott Smith fan is that, well, he’s dead.  This means I’ll never get to see him play live.  This also means that there’s a finite amount of youtube videos and recordings that can be found.  And since I worked a really boring job with internet access while in college, I’ve seen every single clip of him playing live that is currently on the internet (I’m not kidding).

Imagine my excitement when I heard that a group of Elliott’s friends were putting on a tribute concert to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death.  I immediately bought tickets and counted down the days to the concert.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Glassjaw - The Echoplex 7/25/2013

Glassjaw is like an aloof cat.  They only come around whenever they feel like it and there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll only make you bleed and then disappear.  I have seen them four times now, and they’re batting a solid .500 with two kick ass shows and two not so kick ass shows.  The first not so kick ass show was in 2003 and can be chalked up to bad timing and general unfortunate circumstances because lead singer Daryl Palumbo was sick and unable to give his full potential.  He suffers from Crohn’s Disease which has caused the band to cancel shows and tours throughout the years and most likely contributed to this show not being amazing.  Plus, I got diarrhea halfway through.  Fucking double cheeseburger. 

The first kick ass show was in 2007 (I think?) when they first got back together.  They lost their minds and everybody fucking loved it.  Five years later, Glassjaw makes another return with new songs.  And they only played new songs.  I was pissed.  Not so kick ass show number two.

And this brings us to last night at the Echoplex in Los Angeles where my girlfriend and I sweated through over an hour of Glassjaw performing kick ass show number two and leveling out their percentages.

My phone takes really shitty pictures, but that’s Daryl probably doing something weird.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Is fiction absurd?

I have fallen into the opinion that everything is absurd when you are able to be honest with yourself.  This first infected my viewpoint on music and I have been fighting it for years.  Singing a song?  That’s ridiculous.  You really think you’re conveying some deep meaning?  You’re just speaking in an extremely silly way and playing with a toy.  I fight with this viewpoint frequently.  I don’t fully believe it, but that might just be me not being honest with myself.

This viewpoint can extend to everything; Working, friendships, religion, or anything else that you hold dear.  The philosophical usage of the word absurdity might not be the same idea, but it’s at least the way I interpret it.  I might be more along the lines of nihilism, but I’m not going to take the time to figure that out to see if I’m right.  As it is, I’m simply stuck with this nagging voice in the back of my head that occasionally pops up and says, “Why are you doing this?  Do you realize how silly it is?”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bjork - Hollywood Bowl 6/11/2013

“I think I’m over music.”

I said this to my girlfriend last week.  And while being said somewhat in jest, there is a tint of truth to it.  To a certain degree, I’m sick of all of my favorite bands and I haven’t found anything new that interests me.  Looking through my iPod is an exercise in settling for something that seems like it’ll bore me the least.  I haven’t frequented a local show in years and even the bigger bands haven’t been able to attract my attention.  There are, of course, exceptions to this that will drag me from my cave of solitude in order to attend a concert, even if I need to go alone.  Such was the case last night when I saw Bjork at the Hollywood Bowl.

Yup, that's how she dressed for the encore.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Desert is Hot and Endless

Las Vegas is a place where adults want to act like children while maintaining their right to participate in very adult activities.  It’s basically an arcade that serves booze and continually offers the services of prostitutes.  Except in this arcade, you can lose your next five mortgage payments by the time it takes to get that elusive free drink from the cocktail waitress.  And that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?  Just dancing along the railing without a safety net while everyone cheers you on.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Hospital

I have been holding onto that adolescent notion of invincibility for as long as I can.  Sure, I can have candy for dinner.  That won’t hurt me.  Yes I will have a cigarette, thank you.  I won’t get cancer.  And so on.  28 isn’t old, despite the sprouting gray hairs in my beard and increasing intensity of my hangovers from increasingly small amounts of alcohol.

Just this week, I have taken another step towards the goal of realizing how life works.  This came in the form of demolishing my Invincibility Complex.  All it took was a surprise three-day stay at a hospital.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Garth Brooks is Hard as Fuck

It may surprise some people to know I’m a fan of Garth Brooks.  Not that I’ve ever hid the fact, it’s just that my intense disdain for almost all of this shit people call “Country Music” may dissuade some from thinking so.  But, in fact, I do like some country music.  Basically nothing past 1995 or so, though.  Everything you kids are listening to right now sucks.  With a capital sucks.  It’s all dumbed-down manufactured crap that is written to appeal to the lowest common denominator so it doesn’t alienate anyone.  The line between pop and country has basically been demolished (thanks a lot, Shania) and now all you have to do is pop on a big hat, add a little southern twang and boom, possible pop star becomes a country star.

Now, I’m not going to go back and defend all of the older stuff I enjoy, I’m going to stick with Garth Brooks because that’s what I listened to growing up and when I recently went back and listened to it again, I realize how bad-fucking-ass he is.  The thing I’ve come to appreciate is the way he would often simply tell a story throughout a song, complete with characters, plot arc, progression, and sometimes a twist ending.  People might lump him in with the rest of the moist-eyed, my-lady-done-left-me-and-my-dog-died country artists, but that’s bullshit because his songs had some dark shit going on.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Live Tape(worm)-ing

Every once in a while I’m reminded that I’m surrounded by studios when an entire street is lined with trucks because of some sort of a shoot.  I like to think that it’s Terminator 8 or a new episode of Arrested Development, but it’s most likely a Pert Plus commercial or something equally uninteresting.  Be that as it may, this does afford me a few opportunities such as seeing a horse wandering around a parking lot at two in the afternoon (as happened last week) or the possibility of getting free tickets to see a show.  I frequently see people lined up along the sidewalk at the CBS lot on Beverly, or groups standing outside Jimmy Kimmel’s studio on Hollywood, but I’ve never taken the time to join in.  I plan on going to The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune before I move out of this city, but I’ve simply been wrapped in my own laziness so far.

Despite my intense loathing of leaving my apartment, I went ahead and snagged two free tickets to watch a taping of an episode of The Jeselnik Offensive.  I’ve been a fan of his stand-up for a couple years and I’ve seen clips of the show on the internet (although never a full episode).  Could be funny.  Might as well go.

And so we did.  Now having that experience logged away in my personal-internal files, I figure I’d go ahead and clue the rest of you in on what it’s like to watch a taping of a television show that isn’t broadcast live.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hollywood - The Poop Debacle

I’ve always thought of Hollywood as being incredibly glamorous, full of famous people, rich, and lush.  I mean, America’s Funniest Videos had Hollywood on their post address, so it’s gotta be classy, right?

Well, I’m glad to say that I’ve finally made it.  I hit the Big Time.  I now live in Hollywood.  The bigass Hollywood sign can be seen from the street corner, search lights can be seen at night from the corner of Hollywood and Vine as well as various movie theaters, the Goodyear blimp circles above whenever an awards show is going down a couple miles from my house, and I stand on stars from the Walk of Fame while I wait for the bus every morning.  How glamorous of a neighborhood!  Right?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Advice for College Freshmen

While in Atlanta, I had a couple friends that taught middle school.  From the very beginning, I would ask them “When are you going to let me come into your classes and tell these fucking kids about life?”  I wasn’t kidding.  I could help these kids out with a few choice words (or maybe a physical example of what not to do; a kind of Scared Straight scenario).  But they had enough good sense to never allow me near their children.  I think those kids missed out, but it’s all conjecture at this point.

Just the other day, I was speaking with a customer at work.  He told me that he was going to a thing at a local college and would be giving advice to students.  So, he asked me what I would say in such a situation.  It got me to thinking about it, and since no one has the great sense to actually give me the opportunity to actually speak personally to malleable, young minds, I figured I could toss my thoughts into the useless black hole called “Internet.”  So here you go, youngsters.  Listen up.  These are the things that I wish someone had told me when I first entered college.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Published Fiction Now Available

I made a decision last year to focus on short stories.  Ideally, I’d like to write books but it takes a long time to write one and it’s damn near impossible to convince someone that it’s good enough to publish.  I’ve written two so far and have been sending out queries which have lead to receiving a steady stream of rejection letters from literary agents and small presses.  This, however, is no big deal.  That’s just how it goes.  There’s no need to complain because that would be like going swimming and then saying, “God damnit, now I’m all wet!”  It just comes with the territory.

I told myself that I would put off working on another book until I got at least one short story published in a magazine.  A print magazine.  With pages.  And a cover.  I wanted to prove to myself that sometimes queries are answered with something other than a form letter of rejection.  And what do you know, I went ahead and fucking did it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Second Amendment is First Loser

Gun violence has become the center of discussion since we had about 2,000 or so mass shootings over the past year.  Each of which has created a celebrity of the shooter and has outraged liberals who call for stricter gun laws and regulations.  This is inevitably met with the pro-gun crowd who are quick to tell you to go fuck yourself, that it’s their right to have a gun, and it’s downright American to possess a firearm.  However, those people are fucking stupid.

Guns were written into the constitution a long fucking time ago.  Back then, Americans were still worried that they would wake up to find a British soldier skull-stomping their children, so guns were, if not a necessity, at least easily justified.  Also, their guns were basically kick ass slingshots.  You could shoot at someone, as long as they were within about fifty or so yards, and then pull out your gunpowder and that rod thingy and spend the next 15 seconds (if you were a Musket Master) reloading your boomstick.  This is a pretty stark contrast to the insane hand cannons that people carry around today.  And that shit is straight up horrifying.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hug da Police

People love talking shit on cops.  Every teenager walking down the street with a mouthful of Big League Chew is sure to mutter, “Pig,” as a cop car drives past.  Either that or the old school favorite, “Fuck the police.”  We can blame NWA, general teenage angst, and misplaced frustration (don’t worry kids, your parents aren’t actually out to ruin your lives) for all of this.  But after you grow up, this hatred of law enforcement should dissolve, right?

Wrong.  Many people that pay electricity bills still gripe about the cops.  “Fuckin’ pigs shut the party down!”  Well, maybe you shouldn’t be screaming in a residential zone at three in the morning.  I’ve also heard people say that cops are simply people with massive egos that get off on telling other people what to do.  Of course this can be true of some cops but that’s just because we’re people.  There will always be a percentage of people that suck to varying degrees and for various reasons.  You can also say that a manager at Taco Bell gets off on telling people what to do.  Sure, they don’t have a gun and taser, but they have access to the tortillas.  And those are as good as gold in my neighborhood.

I bring up these obvious and unoriginal observations because I fully realized the other day why cops are kick ass, why we need them, and why they are allowed to tell me what I can and can’t do.  I now have unassailable proof that on the grand scheme of things, a cop is a better person that I on almost all attribute scales.