Monday, July 9, 2018

Oh, the Places You'll Go


The car in front of me comes to a halt as I look at a the sun mercifully setting on the horizon. It is hot,  in fact I'm not sure if the asphalt is quite literally melting or I'm just seeing a hazy mirage as I make my way toward the Mexican border.

My car thermometer reads 115 degrees, that's probably inflated but needless to say I feel much more like I am pulling onto the dust of the playa than a coastal weekend getaway.

Twenty five people, two houses, one peninsula in Baja California, in the resort town of Ensenada. This was how we chose to spend the hottest weekend of the past ten years. Of course there was a 30th birthday and well and you don't exactly need to twist my arm to get me to do something cool.

In fact, I've spent most of my life counting down to something. Counting down the days until college, until the next formal, spring break, karaoke night...more recently the next vacation, wedding, the next 'bloggable moment.' It's not that I don't enjoy my every day life. I enjoy recording my podcast every week and walking the streets of Venice. Heck, I even enjoy my job. It's just that I am a very excitable person and I've always looked forward to the unexpected. Alas a trip with two dozen friends 200 miles south of LA was sure to be one of the highlights of summer.

***

We arrived in the small town of La Bufadora around 9 o clock, Friday night, eight hours after departing LA. The property is beautifully situated on a cliff that rises about 200 feet above the rocky beach below. With no guard rails or any sort of protective measures it's shocking that this place is allowed to exist, especially with the frequency in which it plays host to extreme debauchery.



Within minutes of arriving the host is sure to tell me that he can get me 'whatever I want.' I press him for clarification and he says 'Well, I had midget lucha libre wrestlers delivered last weekend for an Australian bachelor party.' Despite my well known affinity for WWE, I thank him for the offer and respectfully decline. I have a healthy amount of Fireball and Tecate Light as well an iPhone with the last four Bieber albums downloaded and ready to go.

A private chef came over to cook us a late dinner on Friday. This quickly escalated into a Disney Power Hour which has become my favorite trend of 2018. 

After eating about three pounds of beef tongue I sauntered off to bed with my bunk mate Michael Griffin and passed out to the soothing ambiance of his inebriated snoring. Day 1 in Mexico, in the books.



I wake up in sweat around 8am drenched in sweat and I am once again reminded of that brutal feeling of wanting to sleep more but being unable to due to heat. So I went through my typical burning man routine of briefly cursing the sun and then wandering somewhere to find a beer. 

Upon cracking the first Modelo of the day, I realize that some adventurous folk have already made their way down the treacherous cliffside "path" down to the rocky tide pools below. So with an inflatable Peacock named Peter, I scrambled down the mountainside to take a bath in some rejuvenating 69 degree water. Several of my party were stung by sea urchins and one may have been pinched by a crab but fortunately, Peter and I made it through the morning unscathed.



At 10am it was time to load up two vans with to go to the beach for some morning horseback riding. 

I have never ridden a horse, but I have seen plenty of Westerns. People in movies ride horses all the time. Men, women and children, they all ride. They ride fast. But then again people have also died riding horses. Superman was paralyzed. Scarlett O'Hara lost her father AND her daughter to horse related injuries. It probably wasn't my best idea to hop on a steed after an AM 6-pack, but alas I did...dressed all in black, it's not hard to ascertain who I would chose to portray in Westworld.



Baja California is a fascinating place, it has some of the most breathtaking natural beauty in the world, but it is also surrounded in abject poverty. There are hand made shanty towns as far as the eye can see. The majestic beach at the La Jolla beach camp doubles as a trailer park, where I imagine someone could have great success disappearing forever. The people have nothing and rely on a couple dollars from Americans on holiday to feed their children.

We ate a quick lunch in aforementioned trailer park at a quesadilla stand before making our way to the Guadalupe wine country where we took very stereotypical American photos and ran up a bill that included 37 bottles of wine and 10 plates of charcuterie. Our bill? Twenty dollars a person. Beat that Malibu Wines.



After sitting in the hundred degree sun all day, the executive decision was make to 86 an excessive night of table lording and bottles at Papas and Beer in favor of just hanging out with each other at the house, a decision that five years ago would have made me sick, I now appreciated more than anything in the world. 

If I learned anything this trip it's that life is usually about the small moments that happen when you really aren't paying attention. It's about lighting a sparkler on the driveway or taking the time to look at the stars. It's about the late night bonfires when no one wants to call it a night because in the morning it will be over.

But it isn't over.

Because of course the people that make life worth living are the ones you choose to celebrate it with. I may be back in the states, my Mexican vacation may technically be over, but the people in it are still here. Add that to the fact that technically the memories will live on forever, so by that logic the trip really never ends, a part of us will always be sitting outside telling old stories and hoping to spot a shooting star.

And those are the things I will never forget, being knighted by the Alexia, Queen of Baja, Monica setting the house on fire with an ill fated sky lantern, Andrea and Kelsey attempting to buy a puppy at the border.



It's time to stop living life one event at a time, because doing the whole philosophy of "If I can just make it to _____" posits that the majority of your life you are just waiting for something to happen. What a waste. Take pleasure in the small moments, a brief conversation with a loved one after work, watching a movie with your roommates, surviving a yoga class with a friend. Sure it's ok to look forward to the weekends but it's also great to not wake up with existential dread on a Tuesday just because there are four more days until you can sleep in.



Perhaps that is wishful thinking and my endorphin count is slightly higher today than a normal Monday because my mood is inflated from an incredible weekend with a rockstar crew. But I am reminded of something from high school that I thought was complete bullshit at the time but now I finally understand.

I went to a catholic school and we did a thing called 'Senior Retreat' I think it was about finding God and you told a random group of your classmates all your deepest darkest secrets. It was super therapeutic and the idea was that everyone would be friends afterward. The whole thing was three days long and you were told to "Live the Fourth," the meaning being make the rest of your life the fourth day of retreat. Well to scale down all the religious elements one could apply that theory to a vacation or really the last time you were truly happy. Never mentally leave there, tell those people how much you appreciate them at every opportunity. Cherish the fact that these people are in your lives and will undoubtedly rub off on you to a certain extent.



Of course you can rip it too. I mean the eight hour drive home yesterday was by no means great and I was so dehydrated this morning that my urine looked like used motor oil. But I dunno, I just felt a little different today. Maybe it was the calming effect of the Pacific Ocean, maybe I had a quasi-psychological breakthrough, but I just feel better now. Everything is going to be ok because the people I surround myself kick ass. And what else do you really need? Sure, life would be incrementally better with 10 million dollars in my bank account and a clean bill of health, but I don't think I would trade my situation for the world.

I think tonight I'll do my an dual re-read of Oh, the Places You'll Go...a book you undoubtedly received at your high school graduation party. Well ole' Doctor Seuss gave me a 98 and three quarters percent chance guarantee that everything would turn out ok...and boy was he right.

Oh...and Happy bday lex! Love ya forever :) Thanks for the trip of a lifetime. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Monica and Me


It seems that often the only times we truly share our feelings about someone is when it's too late. Be it an unexpected passing or a cataclysmic fight that one can't come back from, we never get a chance to say those last few words we wanted to. In keeping with the theme of 'friendship funeral' month then I'll do one last hyper dramatic faux eulogy of my friend Monica Morell as she passes from her life in Los Angeles to New York City. I realize this is wildly over the top, but trust me, she would want it this way.

***

"Tell them I'm an actress if anyone asks."

They won't, I assure her. But I agree to go along with her charade.

"Isn't this how people get discovered?"

Sure Monica. Something like that.

We're in an Uber to a swank wrap party for the Mindy Project, probably two bottles of wine deep already. I'm wearing a purple button down shirt and my date is looking downright intimidating in a red dress that would make every one of my female coworkers blush.

Her name is Monica Morell, recently 30 and living halfway in between reality and a dream. Everything that comes out of her mouth is equal parts absurd and charming making her the ideal person to bring to a swanky party. She oozes some sense of class, though it's unclear if she was brought up that way or if she just watched enough Audrey Hepburn movies to fake it. She is completely 100% an original, there will never be another like her.

I met Monica the day I moved to Venice, over six years ago. I was desperate to find an apartment as I was currently living in my car and my roommates Jack and Nick had been evicted from their Hollywood apartment a week before. The week prior we had signed a lease for an apartment on Pacific but a shiesty landlord had torn up our agreement when someone offered to pay more.

"Couldn't we sue you?" I asked in an email.

"I'm guessing you can't afford a lawyer." Was his response, well played sir.

As I wondered up to 627 Westminster to meet my future landlord, a spunky ball of energy comes tearing through.

"Is this an open house, mind if I join darling?"

She seemed like a character, like she was putting on some sort of act. She removed her oversized sunglasses to reveal a beaming smile. Despite the fact that it was 80 degrees, she was wearing a scarf and some sort of messenger hat to go along with striped leggings and a Parisian blouse.

Without waiting for an answer, she barged on in and joined the tour. After taking a cursory view of the place she exclaimed 'I'll take it!"

This caught both me and landlord off guard.

"Well, uh...this was actually Dave's appointment..."

"Here's a $2000 deposit."

She handed him a stack of hundreds like it was nothing. Who IS this girl I thought.

Before I had time to protest the landlord looked over to me. "Unit 2 is available too, and think about it, she probably has cute friends."

So goes the tale of how I became neighbors with Monica. The cute friends actually ended up being two fairly nice guys, but no one lasted more than a year with Monica. She cycled through roommates like she cycled through men, once she found someone to be uninteresting they were gone.

As we grew closer, the mystique around Monica grew even deeper. She was not the east coast socialite that she pretended to be, but just a middle class kid from Ohio, a sorority girl that bartended at Ohio State.

We would fight often but never longer than a few days. She would admonish me for refusing to grow up, while I would tear into her about her blatant social climbing. Monica of course wanted to be a star, and why wouldn't she? With a personality as strong as hers she was certainly capable of becoming famous which frustrated her even more as she wilted away as an executive assistant at Red Bull.

I think the majority of the tension between Monica and I ended up coming from the fact that we were so similar. We were both running from a mediocre existence in flyover country. By 30 I always assumed I would be writing for a hit tv show and I'm sure Monica assumed she would be hosting something on E.

And so when both of our careers kind of stalled it was often Monica who I could turn to for a shoulder to cry on. We would have dinners that would quickly turn into four bottles of red wine and us passed out on my couch. If I had a bad break up she would suggest we stay up all night and then go for a 6am swim in the ocean. She was kind of like the sister that I never had in a way, whereas no matter how frustrated we might make each other, she would always be there for me.

Over the years we would creatively collaborate a few times, eventually drunkenly writing a pilot on napkins at a bar in Newport Beach on Thanksgiving Day. We even came up with genius plan to exploit her Puerto Rican heritage to become diversity staff writers on a TV show.

We went on trips, attempted to sneak into concerts and more than a few times would come out of black outs in the Hollywood Hills with limited recollection of how or why we got there.

The complexity of 627 Westminster would always change but Monica was the constant.

She had always talked about New York, a veiled threat that she may not always be there for me, but I knew that she couldn't actually leave. In Venice, Monica was the star of her own show, in New York she would be just the next dough eyed victim to be chewed up and spit out before she knew what hit her. So when Monica started dating a guy in New York I thought very little of it.

I never thought much of her boyfriends because, well, I never thought any of them were good enough for her. To be fair, most of them didn't think much of me, especially when we were doing clavicle shots right in front of them. I guess they just didn't understand what we were. They, like her fake dietary restrictions, may be a flavor of the month but Monica was my ride or die, a free spirit that couldn't be contained.

When I finally got the email that Monica was leaving, my world slowed down for a minute. She couldn't actually leave, I hadn't known a life is Los Angeles without her.

I convinced myself that it was another threat, a cry for attention. But the closer the deadline came, the more I thought that it might be true. I started coming home and there were just things outside my door, a long board, a few cases of Red Bull, a sweater. You're taught from a young age that when someone starts giving away all their possessions it's a bad sign. Shit this might really happen.

Of course her exit wasn't without flair as Ms. Morell refuses to go quietly. There has been an event every night for the past two weeks with expected attendance. This will culminate with a going away party tomorrow, and then I'm sure 5 more next week and then we all go to Mexico where I fully expect her to hijack Alexia's 30th birthday party, but that's ok because that's the Monica we all know and love.

With less than 10 days before she's gone forever, I've taken some time to reflect on our time together and my oh my, what a run we had. I'll never forget the Polaroids, the hand written letters, the times she kept us out of jail. What a gem you are Mon, there will truly never again be someone like you.

So as she prepares to move her life 3000 miles away and start a new beginning with Jake (a good dude!) here are some things that I want to get off my chest before it's too late.

You will kill it in New York. You found your place in the sun out here and we'll keep it warm in case you ever want to come back. Your east coast adventure begins in a week and it's just a new exciting chapter in the novel that is your life. I understand I've been known to cut you down and make you feel small but that was always just a projection of my insecurities onto you. You are smart, creative and some day you will be a star. I know we're likely to get into at least one more quarrel before you go, but I hoped I could leave you a couple words of inspiration before that happens.

You can achieve anything you want and some day all your dreams will come true.

So everyone please raise a glass to Miss Monica Morell, the most interesting person in the world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Man of the Woods


I like to hike.

Well that's not quite true. Hiking is something I do so I can have a hobby to discuss with rational adults at the office.

While in reality the majority of my weekends are spent listening to early oughts EDM and cracking beers before noon, it's important to occasionally have a tale of high adventure that is appropriate in a family setting. Alas, I set my sights for Mount San Antonio on Saturday morning thinking that if I could leave Los Angeles for even a day, I could at least avoid some of my vices.

The day couldn't have gotten off to a better start, we found the last camp site at Manker Flats campground and had a relatively quick three hour summit to the top of Mt. Baldy.

But that wouldn't be a story now would it...

DISCLAIMER: The following contains passages of heavy drug abuse, drinking, violence, poor decision making and a couple broken laws. 

I've never been one to plan in advance. I just kind of make up my mind and go. It's been a downfall of mine in many personal and professional endeavors. One or two strategic changes in my entertainment career and I would probably still be in a writer's room but alas I suppose my impulsiveness is part of my charm.

On Friday night instead of packing for a long and arduous journey I went to see a girl, then came home and proceeded to crush beers with my roommates until 3 in the morning. On four hours sleep I made the trek to Mt. Baldy with nothing but the clothes on my back and approximately 4 liters of water, water that I nearly finished on the way up the mountain, because theoretically walking down would be easier.

We were about three miles in when I realized none of the surrounding area looked familiar. I had done the Baldy loop a year prior but that day I had been more diligent, carrying a map, looking for landmarks. This day I was just trying to race to the bottom to get a beer. In the three miles of descent we had gone from an elevation of 10,000 feet to about 7,000. A little over half of a mile in elevation. I knew that there was no way I could make it back up.

Without a map or reliable cell service I started to understandably panic. I assumed that this unknown trail would eventually spit me out by some sort of road...but when? In a mile? In 5 miles? In 20? Mt. Baldy sits above the eastern LA County city of Claremont known for its five colleges, that produce half of the population of Echo Park and Burning Man. With the amount of food and water at my disposal I figured I was safe for another 5 miles max, but after that I was going to be royally fucked.

On the trail, my hiking partner Andrew tried to calm me down. As I started hyperventilating cursing the lack of signs, audibly pontificating about my impending death, he kept quietly walking ahead.
You never think you are going to die by getting lost in the woods. What a loser you would have to be, right? Two more miles down the path, I slipped into a thorn bush ripping open my hands and arms. I could see signs of civilization, a mile below me, possibly the most helpless feeling in the world. Another two miles down the road, I received a single bar of service.

With 4% battery life I called my mom and begged her to find the name of the trail I was on and if it was going to spit me out or I was going to die. The house's internet was down and my phone died. I started privately writing my obituary. "Here lies David Moeller, a guy who never quite figured it out."

Another mile down the path and on the edge of collapse we ran into a stream. Fresh water that could keep us alive for a couple more days perhaps. Still there was no trail exit in sight.

Finally, 2.5 hours and five miles after discovering we were lost, Andrew and I exited on a small neighborhood trail that led us to a small village.

We had survived, BUT...

Notice how the red and green pin are not close to one another.



Oh so that's what we were supposed to do.

Anyway...
We get into town and I head to a bar to inquire about a ride back to the campground which is 6 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation away. 

We're told that Uber and Taxis do not service the area so we will have to hitchhike. 

I have never done so before, but it's actually easier than it looks. (When you don't look homeless I guess) Some guy named Shane picked us up and told us about the towns most famous resident, Eddie Van Halen and some of the parties he threw in the 80's.

When he dropped us at the campground, I figured the excitement of the day was over. After being lost, pondering my death and committing a minor misdemeanor by hitchhiking, all I wanted was a cold Magic Hat #8, BUT NO...because waiting for me at my campsite WAS THIS FUCKING GUY.


Yes, that is a god damn bear at the Manker Flats campground. And let me tell you what, that bear sucks.

We were able to briefly chase him away and make dinner, it would not be the last we saw of him.

Our neighbors at the campground appeared to be celebrating a birthday and they seemed friendly enough. We wandered over and enjoyed a few beers with them. Turns out they were a large group of Burners so we had something in common.

We lost track of time and soon enough it was approaching 10 o clock and the woman sitting next to me (who was wearing a Stormtrooper outfit) said "Did I take too much acid or is that a bear?"

I turned around and the bear was now not 8 feet from me. In between Coors Lights and the pumping Deep House, we hadn't noticed that he snuck into the party. I immediately charge at him trying to scare him away, but only succeeded in chasing him up a tree where he would stare at me for the next three hours.

It's hard to relax when you are at a party but you know there is a creature stalking you from above, trying to make you you the next drop bear victim.

Eventually I decided that I couldn't wait the bear out all night and retired to the campsite hoping he would lose interest in me. Anyway the Burning Man kids were going to stay up all night smoking DMT so I assumed if the bear made a move for me they would chase him off with their acoustic guitars and hula hoops.

I don't often have nightmares but it was probably around 3 o clock in the morning that I woke up screaming, believing the bear to be in the tent. I kicked my tent mate in the face and started thrashing around like a psychopath. Now I know what night terrors are!

But it wasn't quite a false alarm because upon awaking I heard the burners whispering, "He's going for Drew and Dave's tent." I heard some pots and pans clanking and then someone set off a car alarm.

I heard his snort, probably mere inches from my face. Only a thin layer of nylon separated me from the powerful jaws of a California Black Bear. I don't know if I was more nervous of his teeth or his claws, but I knew he wasn't happy. I waited for the inevitable, but he seemed to have felt something else to chew on. It sounded like plastic bottles? I sat paralyzed in fear for what seemed like hours until he was gone.

I awoke at 8am, the Burning Man party still going strong. They offered me a beer and told me 'they stayed up all night to make sure the bear didn't get me.' Certainly they were a friendly bunch, but what was most alarming were the tattered remains of my backpack a mere two feet from where my head had been laying. I had forgotten a banana inside my pack and the bear had eaten essentially the whole bag looking for it.

My body sore, my gout acting up, I wanted nothing more than to get back to Los Angeles and take a two hour shower. Maybe I'm not the outdoorsy type. Maybe it is safer for me to just live like a rock star than pretend to be Indiana Jones. I've never been attacked by a bear while day drinking. I've never gotten lost on my way home from an after party! And while I do feel less than 100% most Sundays, a Gatorade usually fixes that...I don't know who the hell is going to extract all these thorns that are still embedded in my hands.

Check out the pod in the upper right corner for more details of my incredible survival story I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the Lifetime Movie Network reaches out to dramatize this tale of bravery.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Big Chill


We begin this tale in medias res...

"Ya, I friend zoned him for YEARS. But he was so persistent and now we're dating."

"Every Incel's dream," I quip.

The 21 year old intern flashes me a smile. She can't believe I know the term "incel" internet slang for 'Involuntarily celibate.'

It's a Tuesday night and I'm standing in line at the Wurstkuche on Lincoln. I'm at a going away party, my second this week. I'm speaking to someone 10 years younger than me as I attempt to gain valuable insights from the Generation Z demographic.

I wrote about these 'friendship funerals' in my last post. They're an interesting snapshot from your past, because like an actual funeral, people that you haven't seen in years show up to send this person into their next life.

Among the crowd there is likely a person or two you dated, someone you wanted to, a person you had a falling out with and maybe someone who you can't quite remember if you kissed at that party that one time. Of course some of your current friends are there too, but it's much more interesting to check in on those who have faded from your life.

The scene is full of Hollywood stock characters: the one that is still partying too much, the serial dater, the hot mess, the one who can't quite figure things out. And of course the same conversations always come about. How's work? (Spoiler: No one cares) Still living in the same place? (Spoiler: No one cares) and eventually it always comes down to dating...

Are you seeing someone? Is it serious? What is his worst quality?

The dating question is probably the most interesting because it gives you a window into someone's relative happiness. There is something about a person talking about their partner that they just can't quite fake. One can be on top of the world professionally, living in a swank bungalow in Hermosa Beach but if they're not quite sure about the guy/girl they're dating, you can tell almost immediately.

And so when the 21 year old intern told me that she was now dating this drummer that she follows on tour and she was really happy I absolutely believed her. Though she was adamant that she was not a groupie. I told her that Penny Lane also didn't believe herself to be a groupie and she completely missed the reference because she was born in 1997. (But she's totally a groupie, she's driving with him to Las Vegas tomorrow to photograph his show...for free)

Other times when you're talking to someone you can tell that when they talk about a person they're dating they aren't just trying to sell you on him or her, they are also still trying to sell themselves.

So why is dating so hard especially at this age? Is it LA? Is it like this everywhere?

Actually I think it probably comes down to stakes.

When you're young dating is fun. You get to get dressed up and go to dinner together, attend fun parties, spend entire days in bed, hook up in public. It's almost like you're role playing the life of an adult. But then the minute things become a little stale you can pull the rip cord and there are absolutely no consequences. No wallowing in misery bedridden for weeks eating nothing but ice cream and watching nothing but mid-90's romcoms.

Conversely, at 30 shit gets real. Every time one of your friends brings out a date, this could be it. This person could be coming on your ski trips the rest of your life. This person could pull a Pete Davidson and propose after three weeks. SOUND THE ALARM! I've often said, that you don't marry your soul mate, you marry the person you were dating when you were ready to get married. And maybe this is a doomsday philosophy, but it's one that is hard to argue with when the divorce rate hovers around 50%.

Dating doesn't get harder when you're older because there are fewer fish in the see, it gets harder because there is more on the line. This is ironic of course because it seems that people are more willing to look past flaws when they are older, even though they are flaws you may have to live with the rest of your life. I had break ups for the most benign reasons in the past; Didn't like their laugh, hated that they snored, couldn't believe they would yell at me for starting to drink at 9am on a Saturday (ok that last one may be legit) but I would look past all that and more now.

I'm sure there is some formula we could invent to predict when someone is ready to take that dive and get engaged.

In fact let's try it...It's probably something like...

I + F = D + P

I = Independence. How much do you value doing your own thing? Sleeping until noon, eating whatever you want, ripping it with the boys, pursuing women at thirst trap bars, traveling by yourself?

F = Fear. How worried are you that you are going to make a mistake in picking a partner? Are you going to marry Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction? Is your partner's little brother going to come to you for money the rest of your lives? Is her mom already dropping hints that she may want to move in? Will your partner cheat on you and eventually give you herpes?

These are the NOT ready factors. Assign these a normalized value of 1-10. You are never going to have 0 need to be independent nor will you ever have an absolute lack of fear.

On the other side we have...

D= Desire How much do you enjoy your partner and want to be married to them? How much do you want to be married in general and start floating the idea of an honest to goodness family with kids, a dog and a house?

P= Pressure How much pressure is there on you both externally and internally to make this happen? Is your partner pushing it? Do your parents want grandkids? Is there some sort of biological clock at play? Or maybe all of your friends got married so there is nothing better to do. These are all pressures that influence your decision.

So at the end of the day you will have four numbers added together to create a tipping point...

Right now I'm probably about...

9 + 8 = 2 + 3

18 > 5

As you can see I'm still a far way off. I value my independence and even if I didn't I'm fairly sure I would fuck up any serious kind of relationship.

However many people could be more of a

4 + 3 = 8 + 7

7 < 15

This paints the picture of someone who is ready to take the plunge and probably abandon the life of staying in hostels and chasing foreign tail. Not for me but I respect it.

And of course there are the people who are probably like...

6 + 4 = 6 + 4

10 = 10

This is the crowd that is truly wavering, losing sleep at night because they aren't quite sure what to do.

But I think it's important to remember that in the grand scheme of things no one really knows what they are doing. You could date a thousand people, read books, talk to your parents, but life is all one long improvisation.

Hell my parents probably had no idea what they were doing when they raised me, but I turned out (somewhat) ok. And that's what we need to remember when we navigate modern romance. Everyone is just flying by the seat of their pants, and that is what can make it feel so hard.

***

As the intern was walking out, I attempted to give her some truly abhorrent advice for her Senior year at Ole Miss. Go out every night, get arrested, make terrible decisions, don't worry about your school work, date ten guys at the same time, try to get it out of your system.

"Wow, it sounds like you didn't...I kind of wish I didn't have to go back. I think I'm ready to just be out here now."

A single tear came to my eye.

You won't always feel that way.

"Ok I'll try to have fun."

You better.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Leaving Los Angeles


No, I'm not leaving.

But it seems like everyone else in my life is.

My neighbor who I've been best frenemies with since March 1, 2012. A ride or die who I've traveled around the world with. People are leaving for NY, SF, Connecticut, Boston. People have already gone back to Indy, Florida, DC, Texas and Chicago. I have attended more going away parties in the last five years than weddings. It's weird, it's sad. it's confusing.

Often times a going away party can feel like a funeral for your friendship. Sure social media makes it easier to keep in touch, but moving forward your relationship will change. Your friend is now the visitor, all the time is spent catching up. No more random pop ins on a Tuesday evening to complain about a bad date and just crush two bottles of wine. No more late nights on the patio talking about the future. Because the future is now.

I've spent a lot of time wondering how LA fails people. What exactly were people expecting from this place? To get rich and famous, party with Kendall Jenner at a Lisa Vanderpump owned restaurant in Beverly Hills? (Lol JK only a tacky tourist would be caught at SUR) Or maybe LA was always a short term rental. A bad boy that you could leave when you were ready to get serious about life. One can find stability here, but it's much easier in the land of strip malls and reasonably priced real estate.

Others may feel the need for a jolt in the arm, a hard reset. Five years ago I would have called this a quarter life crisis, but at the age of 31, do I really think I'm going to make it to 120? It's shocking how quarter life can turn into midlife in the blink of an eye. If you feel like you're just treading water here, maybe the only prudent thing to do is rip off the band-aid and get a fresh start.

To be honest, I've fantasized about it, running far away to where no one knows my name. I could reinvent myself and be David, the soft spoken gardener in Tucson. I could date a nice woman that I met at the library. Maybe we would get married and have kids that would grow up to play golf at Arizona State.

Because in LA I'll always be the homie you know. I've tried to change before, but I always slide back into my old habits. It's really freeing thinking about a fresh start. I'd like to see those Santa Monica parking tickets follow me to Vancouver, where I could get a job at a cycling shop and maybe stop drinking so much. I could drop a beard and go vegan, get into CrossFit. No one there would know that for 10 years I didn't make my bed, ate Taco Bell seven times a week and pissed away all of my romantic opportunities because I was too much of a coward to say how I feel.

But then I see the sunset and I realize that this is where I belong. It doesn't matter if I never make it as a writer, it doesn't matter if I live in a three bedroom apartment the rest of my life. I had a dream, and that dream was to escape the land of Outback Steakhouses and Applebees (no offense to either obviously) and plant a flag in the sand.

And that's what helped me realize why others are leaving. Maybe living by the beach just wasn't enough for them, maybe they had other goals and leaving was the best way for them to attain those. As the star in my own (sometimes pathetic) story I need to take a step back once in a while and realize that just because I feel a certain way doesn't make it the truth.

Often times I think Los Angeles is objectively the greatest place in the world. But to be honest, it probably isn't. There are pros and cons to every city. Accumulating wealth and starting families are likely important to a lot of my peers. Perhaps pursuing a love interest, or maybe just shaking shit up for a change. And while moving is never permanent, I need to learn how to let people go and stop taking it as a personal failure by me that I couldn't make them happy enough to stay.

So with that I say, all my friends that have left, are leaving or will some day, I wish you the absolute best. I hope you make it back west of Lincoln some day, but if you don't that's ok too. You have your own journey and I hope it brings you happiness. I'll be keeping an eye on you from afar, and if you ever need anything, feel free to let me know.

In the mean time, there are some people that I have been actively recruiting to (attempt to) fill your spots, and the push is about to intensify.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why All Your Relationships Fail



I can now predict if your relationship will fail.

After doing countless hours of research, I have realized that most people have essentially three basic character motivations. 

1. They want something that will make them happy.

2. They want to be with someone that will make them happy.

3. They want to be somewhere that will make them happy.

It's that easy, your life is essentially boiled down to a person, a place or a thing.

Let's start with category one. Something to make you happy.

This is usually going to be a job or some form of asset. Maybe you really want to be a writer, maybe you really want to be rich. Maybe you want to be a writer that sells a ton of shows to get rich, or maybe you will blog for $5 an article out of a love of the game. It doesn't really matter. If  the most important thing in the world to you is an item or real or abstract (glory? respect?) this is where you will find yourself. A slave to your passions or the pursuit of that cheddar. A person in this camp will likely always do anything to get themselves ahead professionally, they will move across the country, work absurd hours, sacrifice relationships to get ahead. This person may end up alone, and honestly they might not care.

On to category two, these are the people that want to be around a person or persons that make them happy.

These people could be family members, friends, a significant other or a future child. Nothing matters more than these pursuits. Many of my friends that have left LA have done so to get closer to family or moved to amore sensible place to find a partner and start their own family. A person in this camp might be over the hustle and bustle of a city, they're all set on that hectic lifestyle. Achieving professional success might be important to them, but certainly not the MOST important. Family first!

And category three, the people that want to be somewhere that makes them happy.

These people aren't necessarily concerned about what they're doing or who they're doing it with, but WHERE they are doing it. Hell I can write anywhere, and I like my friends, but if they all left I would stay right where I am. Some people feel this way about their hometowns, some people feel it about New York (gross) and others spent there life fantasizing about some place exotic.

I am squarely in category three. At the moment, the most important thing in the world for me is to stay right in LA. I don't necessarily have a phenomenal career trajectory but LA has a beach and I like it. I also enjoy that I can be single without anyone raising eyebrows, people visit me and there is always something exciting going on.

And what that means, is it's never going to work out for me with anyone from category one or category two...UNLESS the things that they actively seek happen to be part of Los Angeles. But if I met a 26 year old girl who figures she'll have some fun and eventually move back to Texas to be with her nieces and nephews, that's a non-starter. If I were to meet an up and coming television anchor who might get transferred to Raleigh, I'm not getting on that plane.

Furthermore if I meet someone from my own category but they want to be somewhere else? It also isn't happening.

So this is how you know if your relationship will inevitably succeed or fail. Actually it's not a proven metric for success. Two people that valued living in Venice Beach above all else could certainly find something else to fight about, but if the two of you truly don't have the same goal you will never get there.

And of course if you think 'well that's why couples compromise.' If you were willing to compromise you were never a true category one or a category three. You chose your partner, and that's great. But I think everyone could save themselves quite a bit of time when they asked in the early stages of a relationship. What's your end game?

You could certainly save quite a bit of time that way. So there you go, I hope I haven't ruined your day. Maybe I'm just a cynic and when I meet my dream girl I'll decide to throw everything away from her. But until then it's much more likely I'll eventually just throw in the towel and marry one of my friends at say 36, provided we are both committed to staying west of Lincoln for the rest of our lives.

Cheer yourself up by listening to my podcast. This week we talked about Renaissance Faires, Tiger Woods and our favorite horse occupations.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What is your walk up song in life?


This year for the first time, the PGA Tour, the thing your Republican uncle follows religiously, is introducing walk up music to one of its events. The results were…interesting to say the least.

It’s shocking how much your opinion of a player can change by what type of music they like. For example, I kind of though Justin Thomas, last year’s PGA champion, was a twatbucket 48 hours ago. This guy kicks fans out of events, posts pictures of his blacked out friends (see above) and has a general air of snobbery around him.

But then I saw his choice of walk up song. The Circle of Life from the Lion King, a certified banger. Now I can view all of his life choices in a different light.

He posts pictures of his friends blacked out because it’s hilarious. He rocks enormous Polo horses because he’s rich and fuck you. Guy is essentially a certified frat legend. Hell, he probably only has fans kicked out of events because he’s irritated that the PGA Tour won’t let him drink on the course.

Similarly, unknown golfers have become instant legends because of their choice of track.

 

This is Byeong-Hun An. Look at that fucking guy. This dude is 26, is South Korean and his walk-up song is MASTER P MAKE EM SAY UGHHHHHHHHHHH.

 What. A. Legend.

Let’s get another photo of Byeong.

 

OH MY GOD.

Do you think he prefers the angry Silkk the Shocker verse or is he more of a Mystikal guy. Perhaps he will use the winnings from his first PGA Tour win to buy the tank that P drove in the video. This dude is my new favorite golfer.

The entire list is right here. There are some old school bangers and a bunch of vanilla dorks that just picked Drake, but this begs the question right now: What would your walk up song be? Do you go current or classic? Are you serious or is this a bit of a joke.

I’m on record as having my walk up song be “Baby” by Justin Bieber, a timeless choice, but I have recently switched to “Just Can’t Wait to be King” because Disney releases nothing but bangers.

That said, I have recently put together a guide for selecting the perfect walk-up song. As always, you are welcome in advance.

Step 1: Pick a song that is at least five years old.

This ensures that you don’t get caught chasing trends and your choice doesn’t age poorly. All the jamokes that picked a Drake song this week are going to feel really dumb when everyone wakes up in 2023 and realizes that Drake’s entire discography was a prolonged wet fart.

Step 2: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

There is no doubt that ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica is a bitchin’ song, and it does make me kinda want to run through a wall, but as a walk up song? You’re trying too hard man. The same hard rock edge can be attained with a more self-aware choice like ‘Sister Christian’ by Night Ranger. It fucks, but it was also in Rock of Ages and seems like a song your dad would put on after one too many 7 and 7s.

Step 3: But also make sure it actually pumps you up

This was the problem I ran into with Baby. It made me laugh at home plate, not make me want to mash a dinger to Culver City. Your walk up music should elevate your heart rate comparably to a baby bump of cocaine. This is why when baseball players walk up to N Sync it’s hilarious but rarely effective.

Step 4: Always consider cross branding opportunities.

Do you like rap? Pick a guy who is alive, because guess what? Tupac can’t rap you a live entrance should things come to that! Conversely, a guy named Shaggy would be more than happy to perform ‘It Wasn’t Me’ mostly because he needs the money.

Step 5: Be somewhat original.

On one hand, you want a song that everyone knows. You will not be awarded bonus points for cranking out some B side of an unreleased Diplomats mix-tape. However, as we learned in the movie Bring It On, no one likes a repeat performance. Pick something that everyone in the crowd will know that absolutely no one else would pick.

Let’s run my choice through the list.

“Just Can’t Wait to be King” – Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

1.       Over five years old? Yes. Lion King came out in 1994.

2.       Don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes. It’s a fucking Disney movie.

3.       Pumps you up? Yes. The song absolutely bangs.

4.       Cross branding? Yes. I could get the whole Broadway cast out there with me or in an ABC promotion, Donald Glover star of the 2019 reboot performs the whole song as Childish Gambino.

5.       Somewhat original? Yes. Justin Thomas went Circle of Life, but different songs from the same artist (soundtrack?) are acceptable. Congrats to me for picking an acceptable walk up song. Let me know what your walk up song is if you want and make sure to check out my podcast Beer a Hole where we spend an hour talking about this bullshit.
LISTEN NOW!