Thursday, January 11, 2018

What is the Best Drinking Music?


This may sound a little quaint, but every Saturday when I wake up it's just a matter of time before I start drinking.

It's not always right away. I have hobbies such as hiking or taking a long bike ride down to the south bay. But let's be real, these are just appetizers for the main course, activities that delay the inevitable. I mean when you live in a rented apartment, have no girlfriend or kids, there is a real hole in your Saturday after that one hour of exercise. To be honest, I don't know what normal people in my position do on Saturdays. I've heard of these things called Farmer's Markets, but in my experience McDonald's buys their own lettuce and tomatoes so I'm all set on that front.

Naw daddy, I drink.

I used to rationalize it a bit. I would throw on a 9am BYU vs Colorado State game. Pretend to get really into it. GO RAMS! Nothing wrong with having a beer or six while watching some hoops! If we were in some sports doldrums and there was nothing on TV I would heat up an old slice of Domino's pizza, pair it with mimosas and tell myself that I had cooked brunch. It's completely reasonable to have some champagne with your breakfast on the weekend. It goes to my European sensibilities!

But after a girl has broken up with you due to your all around savagery, you start to just lean into it. I don't really give a shit anymore. I'll find an old lukewarm beer that I didn't finish the night before and rewatch Monday Night Raw at 8 in the morning in my boxers. These are the joys of being an adult...

OR...

I'll throw on some music very loud and start partying by myself.

Now that was an overlong introduction that only tangentially touches on the topic at hand today, but I've been wondering a lot lately which genre of music is the best to drink to. I'm going to set up some parameters and then argue with myself. It's going to be great, you'll love it. Hopefully by the end of this article, you will have a good idea of what song to toss on when you crack that first beer; one true party genre to rule them all.

Some rules...

1. Obviously different moods/activities may vary the results but this is for ALL PURPOSE DRINKING, the cross trainer shoes of imbibing.

2. Some music doesn't fit into any one specific genre or it fits into multiple genres, I will be taking liberties with this as I see fit.

3. Do not confuse 'dancing' with drinking. Dancing is a subset of drinking/partying. Sitting around a campfire screaming out Tom Petty songs can be just as fun as cutting a rug in a dark club.

 The criteria

Genres will be scored 1-10 on the following categories.

Event: How much would this music enhance your tailgate/festival/concert/etc.

Home: How much would this music enhance your drinking experience at home, whether it be just you or a group of friends?

Bar: How would this music affect the energy of the bar/club?

The rules and criteria are generally bullshit and this is mostly just a forum for me to rant about music. Got it? Good.

Genre #1 Pop Music
One of the toughest moments of 2017 for me came when I was on a party bus en route to Glendale with a bus full of people that ranged in age from about 27-37. Everyone had been drinking for several hours and I just KNEW I had the perfect song to play. I grabbed the iPod, cued up my man JB and just waited for everyone to go nuts.

It never happened. In fact someone asked me to change the song. Part of my soul died on the Rasta Bus that day, but I learned a very important lesson: not everyone is a former frat guy with a semi-ironic love of reviled pop artists.

Look, recent Bieber bangs. So does early Britney, mid-period Taylor and every song on The Fame Monster. But there are actual people out there that detest this kind of music. I don't know how, maybe 2009 was a dark period for this person. Maybe they are genuinely upset that Justin egged his neighbor's house. Whatever the case, while I contend pop music is PHENOMENAL drinking music. It should be stated that it is a risky proposal. 'Tearing up My Heart' reminds me of ripping off my shirt on the frat's dance floor and making out with the Alpha Phi social chair, but it may remind someone else of sitting at home and waiting for the phone to ring in high school.

Ideal setting: House party with close friends. If you put on 'Lucky' at 1 in the morning and not everyone sings along, you probably need new friends.

Event: 6
Home: 9
Bar: 7
Total: 22

Genre #2 Hard Rock
A timeless classic, Hard Rock will always dominate the event space. When you are at a college football tailgate and you hear Thunderstruck, the immediate inclination is to find 8 other degenerates to play that horrible chugging game with. But most importantly as an event will likely have people of all ages, hard rock is a genre of music that youngs and olds a like have a strong appreciation of. If I tried to get my dad to belt out the words to Celine Dion he might send me in for conversion therapy, but Sister Christian? He is ALL THE WAY IN.

Conversely, hard rock fails in the bar scene. Cover bands excluded, you go to a bar to dance or talk to people and Axl Rose screaming 'Welcome to the Jungle' is not really conducive to either of these activities. As much as I would like to Slow Grind to a power ballad like 'Every Rose has its Thorn' something about hard rock just needs to be an outdoor activity.

In the home setting it can really go either way. Are you getting fired up for a major afternoon of day drinking? Cranking some Aeriosmith and ripping shots of Jim Beam is a good way to start your day (or end it!) but if you have some people coming over to hang out, hard rock doesn't possess the proper vibe.

Ideal setting: At a Buffalo Bills Tailgate Scorpions' 'Rock you like a Hurricane' comes on right as you are suplexing your best friend through a folding table.

Event: 10
Home: 6
Bar: 4
Total: 20

Genre #3 80s Music
Technically most 80's music could be categorized as pop or hard rock, but that would be a disservice to a truly delightful branch of party music. You know what I'm talking about: Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Bowie, Toto, Whitney Houston basically the San Junipero soundtrack OH GOD PUT IT IN AN IV AND SHOVE THAT SHIT INTO MY JUGULAR.

80s music is an interesting hybrid because you can lure the rock and roll fans in with some Duran Duran and then smash them over the head with some Belinda Carlisle before they even knew what hit them. You can almost smell the cocaine in every synth note, taste the vodka in every bad hairstyle and create a sense of nostalgia for a decade that probably wasn't that great?

All college kids grew up with a healthy dose of Journey and Eddie Money at their local Greek bar, which led to lots of fist pumping and hoarse voices. But the thing about 80's music is it is extremely adaptable. Madonna's Like a Virgin will kill in almost any setting. Crowded bar? Sure, it's got a little disco beat to it. Big game? Believe it or not your parents were young in the 80's and it reminds them of a time before they had to put up with your dumb ass.

If 80s has any weak spot it might be if you are having a house party and someone didn't grow up with an affinity for REO Speedwagon and Styx. But honestly, if you just throw on the Rock of Ages soundtrack, more often than not people will have a good time.

Ideal setting: Homecoming while drinking a concoction that is roughly 6 shots of rum, food coloring and sugar.

Event: 8
Home: 7
Bar: 9
Total: 24

Genre #4 Country Music
Now for the purpose of this exercise and to build a more convincing argument; country music will be expanded to include rockabilly, folk, and most acoustic driven rock. That is to say that bands like The Eagles, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash are included in this category. Now on first glance you may not think that country music is a good time...but let me paint a picture for you...

You just walked into a Country Western bar in Chicago, Illinois. Every girl is blonde and attractive. People are wearing cowboy hats. 32 ounce beers are 2 dollars and the Zack Brown Band song Country Fried is playing at 30 decibels while people dance on tables...No?

Ok, let's try again. You walk into a Vanderbilt bar in Nashville, Tennessee. Every girl is blonde and attractive. People are wearing cowboy hats. 32 ounce beers are 1 dollar, there is a 5 piece cover band playing Zack Brown Band's Country Fried at 40 decibels and people are dancing ON the bar...still no?

Last try...You're in Indio at Stagecoach. Every girl is blonde and attractive. Also they are wearing crop tops with jean skirts and cowboy boots. Unlimited beer is free at your campsite. Zack Brown Band is on the main stage playing their hit song Country Fried at 100 decibels and you are making out with a girl from Marietta, Georgia named Scarlett. This has to sound like a fun time, no?

Ideal Setting: Probably making out with Scarlett and then going back to her camp which is just an air mattress on the back of her brother's truck.

Event: 8
Home: 4
Bar: 7
Total: 19

Genre #5 Rap Music
Rap is a bit of an enigma and will likely be the most polarizing entry. I'll also give you a hot take, a lot of rap is SHIT to dance to. Take for example the recent phenomenon of Cardi B. Every single one of her beats sounds like it is designed for people who are simultaneously robo tripping while aspiring to go into a K Hole. Seriously Bodack Yellow bumps at like 14 BPM. I like to sweat on the dance floor, not fall asleep. But conversely, if we're including family friendly funk like Bruno Mars? I mean Uptown Funk might be the best dance song of all time.

Again I'm conflicted, because I can't think of a time I wouldn't like to hear a Kendrick song or a throwback like Izzo, but I'm all set on pretty much anything that comes from a dude named 'Lil' or who was that fucking Panda guy? Really hip hop? That's your best foot forward? Also if we're counting Dominicans as white or at least white adjacent, the current top 10 rap songs in America are 90% white people. How's that for some cultural appropriation. Man, do I just hate rap music? Who would have thought that the rapper Aryan from Cathedral High School, who won the talent show with a Kanye West song, who had a mixtape called 'Bounce if you Ball Boy' (which was a reference to the fact that I was an actual ballboy for the Pacers) would grow up to hate rap. Also if you need to know anything about Indiana, no one told a 16 year old kid that going by the rap name 'Aryan' even if was just a physical description of my body MIGHT BE OFFENSIVE. They literally covered me in the school newspaper. 2005 y'all.

PUKE.

But ya, rap is ok to drink to sometimes.

Ideal Setting: I imagine I could get very drunk at a Chance the Rapper concert and have a good time.

Event: 7
Home: 6
Bar: 7
Total: 20

Genre #6 Generic white people music
Ok I'm going to be alone on this island but I fucking dare you to go see a jam band in concert and not have the time of your life. Dave Matthews, Phish and OAR rule in a non ironic way. Whatever, just be glad I didn't put show tunes on here because I came V close.

Ideal setting: Lawn, Deer Creek, DMB night 2, 2004.

Event: 10
Home: 6
Bar: 2
Total: 18

Genre #7 EDM
Remember dance music? Holy shit, it's almost like 2012 never happened. Now Calvin Harris and Zedd just produce beats for former Disney Channel stars and we call it pop music. (Seriously, currently in the top 10 are Selena Gomez, Alessia Cara, Hailee Steinfeld, Selena again and Demi Lovato. Not to mention Coldplay) They still bang but gone are the days of Skrillex, Knife Party and Dead Mau5 assaulting your ears into between ecstasy hits. I wonder what kids are going to think in 40 years when they hear the song 'Internet Friends.' It will probably be the same look of confusion I have when I hear the song with Frank Zappa's daughter 'Valley Girl.' People will likely just shrug their shoulders and say 'drugs.'

But does dance music hold up? The purpose of this exercise was to find the best DRINKING music and while a bunch of people at Burning Man would argue that Deep House is till very relevant, most of them aren't choosing alcohol as their number one poison. In fact in 2018, I think you could make the argument that pop music and EDM are virtually indistinguishable. But music is generally fucked in 2018, they play 'Closer' on JACK FM and my mom, a 62 year old white retiree, currently claims The Chainsmokers as her favorite band. Some would argue that it makes them lame, I think it just proves that they are evil geniuses who have hacked our brains to hit a very specific group of pleasure centers. People say EDM is dead, but I'm not ruling out a comeback.

Ideal setting: That moment at a wedding when they put on 'Where Are U now' and you lock eyes with the girl you were dating in 2015 and know that it's on.

Event: 8
Home: 7
Bar: 8
Total: 23

The Results

1. 80's
2. Dance
3. Pop

It makes sense as 80s music probably has a higher floor than general dance music or pop, but I would argue that all three are probably pretty safe all purpose drinking music. 80's also cheats as you can use any genre within the decade allowing you to fine tune the playlist for exactly what you're doing. Are you in a school bus on your way to a college reunion bar crawl? Boom! Bon Jovi. Is it 4 o clock in the morning and you're on your way to the after after party but the Uber driver is being cool and letting you drink Zimas in the back of a Minivan speeding through Boyle Heights? TAKE ON ME!

It was a well fought battle, but 80's music is the best drinking music.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A History of Dating in the Digital Age


Yesterday I was digging deep in my inbox for some old photos and I came across an old Gchat conversation with an ex-girlfriend. I was unaware that Gmail archived these conversations and I hadn't thought about this girl in a year or so, so I gave it a click.

OH MY GOD!

I had forgotten what a terrible employee/person I was in Chicago. I guess when I wasn't blogging on company time. I was actively trying to get my gf to cyber chat with me while I was surrounded by middle aged men on the 4th floor of a generic office building in Lake Forest, Illinois. I then searched out my old Chicago roommates, and guess what? My Gchats with them were cataloged too. They essentially read like Evan Spiegel's old frat emails, but worse. This taught me two things:

1. Moving forward, it's probably best to use some discretion on Gchat, especially from a work computer.

2. My ousting from CDW may have been the most justifiable firing of all time. Honestly, not even Hue Jackson is worse at his job.

However, this got me thinking about the way people essentially used to (and still do!) text their way to love. We as a generation have tried to make life as impersonal as possible. Everything is ordered online, we stick our noses in our phones even when with a group, people now make jokes about how much they like to be alone and avoid people. This is very different than the extroverted 90's where everyone wanted to be Tucker Max and smash strangers they met at singles bars.

No.

We prefer to digitally chat with people far away from a safe place. Maybe the technology is harming us as a society, maybe we're already in a Black Mirror episode, but for this exercise I am going to attempt to chronicle the evolution of this phenomenon with a loose timeline I will establish based on eras. Got it? Me neither, but I'm hopped up on Adderall and I'm ready to go. Let's get it.

We'll start with the year 2000 because that's the first time I kissed a girl. (In a hotel on a class trip in Washington DC, NO BIG DEAL!)

2000-2005: The Angsty Away Message Era
The year is 2001, AOL Instant Messenger is king. Every upper middle class kid in America has an embarrassing screen name. A young Hoosier named David Moeller is known on the internet as AFstud39, which of course stands for the poser prep brand Abercrombie and Fitch, after the fall of Abercrombie, David tells people it stands for Air Force. No one Believes him.

Do you remember the adrenaline rush any time you would hear the door open sound? Was it the cute girl I have a crush on? I can't wait to hit her with the most boring conversation ever that would last for 2 minutes max.

But I couldn't get enough of it. I had atrocious grades in high school largely because I would not to by homework. I needed to get onto the internet and TALK TO GIRLS. At some point, it got so bad that my parents took the keyboard away, but JOKES ON YOU MOM. I would meticulously find letters in word documents and copy and paste individual characters so I could talk to people. It took longer than setting the copy for an 1800s printing press but god dammit it was worth it.

And the away messages...
You have not lived until you wrote a three paragraph away message that was directed at a single person. AIM away messages were the OG sub tweets. I wrote poetry, I wrote about my feelings, shit I would leave O.A.R. and Dave Matthews lyrics for people...and any time my mom tried to pick up the phone and kick me offline, I raised hell. In 2001 we finally got a cable modem and I didn't leave the computer room for the next four years, too busy in chat rooms dropping those sweet sweet ASLs.

Effectiveness: Low
Total hook ups: >5
Analysis: While the AAME was a golden age for internet communication, my sheer age was a major inhibiting factor to success. If a girl in westfield would say 'Hey my mom's not here, come over.' Well my parents weren't about to let me leave the house on a Tuesday night at 9pm to drive an hour away. It's a shame really, if I could go back and collect every away message I ever wrote, I would have enough dirt to start a mildly successful meme account.

2005-2007: The Unlimited Text Era
The year is 2005, most major American cell phone plans now include unlimited text messaging. I can T9 a girl 'Come over' faster than I can breathe. AIM is dead, MySpace is dying, a new challenger emerges from the West entitled The Facebook. People aren't quite sure what it is yet, but have realized that lots of :) and lolz via text lead to some quality flirting during class.

I never got a RAZR, which is bullshit. If I had a RAZR in the fall of 2005 I probably would have gotten into ATO, Roo ra rega!

But for Christmas in 2005 I got something even better: An LG Chocolate. Oh God the sexy way that thing would slide up and down. Paired with a North Face fleece and some True Religion jeans, nothing screamed MY HOUSE IS WORTH OVER $300,000 IN INDIANA like a cool cell phone.

The Unlimited Text Era (or the UTE) really changed the game because you could put up millions of shots constantly, wherever you were.

Laying in bed? Text.
In class? Text.
Taking a shit? DEFINITELY TEXT.

I must have shot out hundreds of thousands of texts my Freshman year at Indiana and also everyone was discovering binge drinking for the first time so all behavior was completely excused.

"Did you text me that you wanted to pee on me last night?"
Oh, haha, sorry. First experience with tequila.

That text today would end friendships. At 18 while living in a dorm you might get a response like "OMG I TOOOOOOTALLY get it!!!"

This is also very early era: You up?

If someone was online late in high school obviously they were up. At 3am in college it was a genuine question, and for the first time if they responded 'ya, come over' you didn't have to ask mom and dad's permission.

Effectiveness: Mixed
Total hook ups: 4.3X10^8
Analysis: While the UTE had a relatively low conversion rate, the new technology allowed you to cast a wider net than ever before. Life is a numbers game after all and if you texted 100 people then, well one of them would be up for an adventure. But maybe that's less 'texting your way to love' and moreso just college.

2007-2009: The Rise of Blackberry
The year is 2008. Flip phones and sliders are now considered hot garbage for drug dealers. Everyone that isn't a poor has a Blackberry and a fascinating technology called Blackberry Messenger colloquially known as BBM has taken the country by storm. BBM operates almost exactly like text messaging but carries an air of elitism. It also has a fascinating feature called PING that will makes someones phone vibrate. Drunk frat guys will try to use this feature with limited success to wake up sleeping sorority girls.

Well unsurprisingly I got drunk during Little 5 in 2007 and dropped my Chocolate to the bottom of Lake Monroe. When my parents didn't hear from me for 4 days they drove down to Bloomington to see if I was alive. When they found me fine, they were so relieved that they didn't mind driving me to Verizon to get me the latest and greatest. (This is a sound strategy.)

The game switched in 2007 to a more efficient style of play. No longer were you just throwing a ton of shit at the wall and seeing what stuck, the BBM list was more curated. Getting someone's PIN was a much bigger deal than getting someone's number. A group member got your phone number a chick that you wanted to take to the Valentine's semi-formal got #mypin. It was an open invitation to flirt. A new BBM was worlds more interesting than a new email or a pesky text message. The heart would start to race though if multiple girls were sending you BBMs after 12 o clock. It was almost as exciting as beating the last level on Brick Breaker.

Effectiveness: High
Total hook ups: Enough
Analysis: Though I would like to give BBM a lot of credit for my romantic success in college, I think it's also more indicative of the relative maturity of college upperclassmen. As a Freshman hook up culture is somewhat new and exciting. By the time Senior year rolls around, it's old hat. You know everyone in your circle, everyone without a partner is fair game and hook ups are almost business like. You're cool, I'm cool. We're both fairly attractive, let's do this. It will be fun!

2009-2012: Gchatting Your Way to Love
The year is 2010. Millenials have joined the work force and are not happy about it. Others have gone to grad school to push off the inevitable. Comedy accounts have popped up on the newish social media platform Twitter to document the struggle of trying to "adult." Some are struggling with the fact that their parents have shut off the family 'emergency AMEX' which had for years been treated as a line of credit at their favorite bar. But fortunately, an old stand by is there for them on those cold days in Chicago at the job they hate; their old friend Google.

I was sad after college. Like really sad. I went from being a medium sized fish in a tiny pond to a piece of plankton in the Pacific Ocean. I hated my job, I hated responsibility and the only thing that got me through it was blogging and G chatting chicks all day (and loads of alcohol...shouts to booze for getting me through a tough time! We out here!)

Similar to the now quaint AIM, the rush of joy I would get when that green dot popped on would lift my spirits. And the best part? By Gchatting and keeping the box small in the lower right corner, to the lay person it would look like you were ACTUALLY DOING WORK. Between that and my blog, I must have looked like the hardest working person in the company. That must be how I managed to stay there for two years despite only eclipsing 10 outgoing calls once. (And that was probably me calling other people in the building to arrange lunch plans.)

Honestly, I probably Gchatted my way to two serious relationships just through bonding over how bored we were at work and how much we would rather be doing other things. Turns out a mutual disgust for the mundane can really drive people together! Who knew?

Effectiveness: Extremely high
Total hook ups: Several serious
Analysis: A lot of people in their 20s are a bit down on the world and they're grasping at straws. Their job isn't what they thought it would be yet they can pull some medium comfort by talking to someone online and fantasizing about what they could do together as soon as they left the hellish prison of their 9-5.

2012-2016: Tinder and Other Drugs
The year is 2013 and the millenials have rebelled. Instead of growing up, they have flat out refused and leaned into their debauchery. Eric Prydz is headlining Coachella. Cocaine and MDMA are no longer closed door drugs and their is an app called Tinder that matches people together who are down to fuck. What a time to be alive.

It's amazing that it took this long honestly. It was a concept as old as time. Hot or not, Facebook, a whole host of other online dating ventures: Here is a picture of a person, do you want to have sex with them? Yes or no. This was the fundamental question at stake in Tinder and all of its clones. They made J Swipe which was Tinder for Jews! They made Grindr which was Tinder for gays! They even made shit like The League which was Tinder for people who thought they were classy. None of them were more genius than Bumble though. Tinder for cucks who are afraid to initiate a conversation with a woman!

There was always one of course. One girl in every group that met their serious boyfriend or even fiance on Tinder. That gave the whole crew hope, but sub-consciously they knew what they were doing. They were on a hook up app. Not too dissimilar from the brilliant Black Mirror episode 'Hang the DJ,' they knew they were just sleeping around, buying time, until hopefully, desperately, someone swept them off their feet.

I don't have a lot of personal anecdotes on dating apps because I am staunchly against them, not because I don't like the idea of dating apps, I really don't like the idea of going on dates. Personally I would rather spend $100 on going to see Justin Bieber in concert than going out to dinner and MAYBE sleeping with someone that I'm not that into. Or maybe it's because I had a bad experience getting punked by someone stealing my phone, switching my Tinder to gay mode and swiping right 1000 times.

I was offered back alley blowjobs from strangers for weeks.

Effectiveness: High
Total Hook ups: 0
Analysis: If you've got money to burn and don't mind going out every night, it's probably a lot of fun. Translation: If I was a girl, I would be ALL about this shit.

2016-Present: The DMs Strike Back
The year is 2018, young people no longer communicate through language. They speak to each other strictly in memes, emojis and gifs. No one texts anymore, not even on iMessage. One can gauge how much a person likes them only through content interaction: story views, post likes and of course, the direct message. But again, 99% of these messages are either wink face, kissy emoji or heart eyes. This is not a drill.

I really thought Snap Chat was going to be big. When drugs and nudes were hot, so were they. But like ESPN didn't see the cord cutter revolution brewing, Snap Chat somehow didn't see the death of EDM as a paramount obstacle to their success. The Fappening and other such security breaches scared everyone out of potential future app nudity and now we find ourselves here, on the Instagram story page. No one posts photos anymore mind you. That's for the olds, and to be honest, don't put pictures on your story either. I want professionally edited video content. (Note: This is the only area where the 'pivot to video' was a success)

Teenagers now get famous recording themselves playing video games and doing covers of pop songs on Youtube channels. Some people are swearing off sex for months or even years at a time just because...I don't know, it's a thing? The most famous person in America is a former gang banger/stripper. The President is a former actor from the classic film Home Alone 2 and there are now 712 gender identities.

I personally identify as someone who is confused as fuck.

But...has that much changed?

We're all just trying to figure it out. Dating is weird and we're all low key nervous that we're going to end up alone surrounded by several ornery cats hissing at each other. While circumstances will rotate, I feel dating is cyclical. The apps will die down at some point and singles bars will become a thing again. A new elite technology product will eventually be released and people will use it exclusively for flirting and then the whole cycle will repeat itself until eventually we'll be in a virtual reality room speed dating...just like they did in the 1960's. Dating in the digital age is strange but at the end of the day, it's always just a couple crazy kids hoping to make it work.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Am I old? An investigation

Introduction: I never really grew up.

This isn't news to most of my readers as the content on this blog is largely that of someone who is 30 going on 22. I still have two roommates, we share a bathroom and for the last 10 days there have been three people staying on our couch. These are not the actions of an adult, these are moves of someone who is desperately pushing away adulthood as long as they can possibly muster it.

My hair is long, like really long. I'm routinely told that I look about seven years younger than I am. This is not a mistake. See, if people perceive me to be younger, then it subconsciously excuses a majority of my actions.

I haven't made my bed in three weeks, I do laundry quarterly, I slept until 2pm until New Year's Day. I went to Burning Man last year, I smuggled a bottle of wine into a movie last week. I am relevant. At least I thought I was until yesterday.

Like many of you, I was just trying to survive my hangover yesterday when a welcome distraction arrived: The Coachella 2018 line-up dropped! I have never been a big music guy, but I enjoyed getting very drunk and rummaging around a field with LA's elite. I had gone every year 2012-2016 before taking a year off because I got some devastating personal news the Thursday before weekend 2 2017. But I planned to go back at some point, why not? It's fun to do the camping thing, teach your neighbors regional drinking games, play dodgeball, make out with strangers at the silent disco. I mean, shit I used to be the king of the music festival. I've been to 5 Lollas, 5 Chellas, 4 HARDs, a couple CRSSD, North Coasts and Snow Globes. If there was a field with white people taking drugs in it, I was there.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw this...


On first glance, it looked like a standard if not a little boring festival. People seem to like The Weeknd, especially since he cut off that horrendous bird nest off his head. Somehow he managed to date Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez in the past year (though Selena wised up and returned to the Biebs, bless up)

Next we have BeyoncĂ©, who despite not having a hit song since 2013 people still worship as if she is a literal goddess. But hey, I liked Halo and Irreplaceable (2005-2010 was peak BeyoncĂ©) and I know people were bummed that she had to bail due to a pregnancy last year so I'm on board with this.

Then Sunday we get Eminem, a 45 year old rapper that built a career making fun of gay people who has had a resurgence in part by making fun of Trump. Curious. But hey, Eminem Show was a banger and I liked the SNL performance so I can confidently say that these are three headliners that I have heard of, and even enjoy to a certain extent.

But then...then we fall off a cliff. In fact I had to double check to make sure what I was looking at was indeed authentic. It was when I made it to line two that I had the sinking sensation that I just wasn't cool anymore.

Friday: A novelty video and a random Marley

I remember the music video for 'Virtual Insanity' it featured a short guy in a funny hat jumping around a room with a bunch of treadmills on the floor. It was basically OK Go before OK Go was a thing. I remember trying to dance like him by jumping off of things and reversing directions and falling down a lot.

I was 9.

Now apparently 20 years later, the funny guy in the hat is still alive and subheadlining one of the biggest festivals in the world. What a time to be alive.

Also closing the night Friday likely at the Outdoor stage is someone called SZA. I'm familiar with the GZA and the RZA, unfortunately it appears they are unrelated. Kygo is going to try to stretch out trop-house's 15 minutes of fame for one more year, Vince Staples is going to replay is 2016 set and apparently St. Vincent has decided to take some time away from directing horror movies to grace us with her presence. How thoughtful.

Deeper down the card I don't recognize a single name. There is a random Marley, who after deep internet research (a google) I can confirm that he is a grandson of Bob. Honestly there are so many goddam Marleys that if I was a black dude with long hair I would just call myself Dave Marley and I'm sure people would just assume I was legit.

Bands that I have never heard of that I might investigate based on name alone: The Regrettes who I imagine are a three piece all female punk band who look like Haim if Haim did more crystal meth.

Saturday: An old man and this fucking guy
Excuse me, enhance!


Wut?

I'm not going to stand on my soap box and scream that pop stars need to be conventionally attractive, but my God. This dude would make a Vice employee blush.

Let's see who else is on Saturday. Haim? I used to like them, but then one of my former colleagues informed me that the song 'The Wire' was written about him and I feel bad listening to it now. I'm here for you DH.

Anyone else? I see a couple indie bands that were big in Brooklyn 8 years ago, a couple dudes who were more famous when they were in a band, a chick famous for guesting on a Major Lazer song and Chromeo.

Fun fact: Every Jewish girl has at one time or another fantasized that Chromeo (a nice Jewish boy) would sweep her off her feet and finally get her mother to stop nagging at Thanksgiving.

As is theme, the rest of the line up is made of people I haven't heard of. I see AC Slater listed but I largely doubt it's Mario Lopez reciting his radio commercials about eating placenta or whatever kind of weird shit he's in to, though I imagine it would be an improvement.

Bands that I have never heard of that I might investigate based on name alone: KITTENS or Bane's World, both I imagine to be death metal bands that actively advocate for the torture of animals during their sets. Maybe Sunday will improve.

Sunday: Odesza doesn't believe in supply and demand

If you haven't seen Odesza live I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's your fault. This must be the thirstiest band alive because on top of playing about 20 shows in southern California the past three years, this will be their third Coachella since 2014 in addition to playing almost every festival imaginable since 2015. Hell they played SEVEN shows in a row at SXSW last year. It's not that Odesza is bad, it's moreso like the fact that I'm sick of Elf by December 25th, too much of a good thing.

Elsewhere on Sunday we have the Bad and Boujee guys, fucking Cardi B and one of Khloe Kardashian's ex boyfriends! Hard pass! Remember when bands like RHCP and Arcade Fire would have epic closing sets at Coachella? Remember Calvin Harris during the height of dance music, hologram Tupac and Kendrick Lamar? I mean even Drake was OK.

Well now you get Bodack Yellow. Enjoy!

Bands that I have never heard of that I might investigate based on name alone: Motor City Drum Ensemble who I have to believe are the little kids that bang on paint buckets at the halftime ceremonies of NBA games sometimes. I know Detroit is struggling so I'm glad someone is giving these kids a chance. I wonder what surprise guest they'll bring out!

Conclusion: I am old and out of touch

I don't know how it happened, but like Robin Williams in Hook, I got old without knowing it. The music scene completely passed me by. Current trends passed me by, I don't even know how to properly send an Instagram story. Seriously, how do you make a word stick to a picture and track with it? That's so cool! I still use Facebook, I hate social media influencers, I don't understand memes.

It's all downhill from here. Honestly I expect to get even grouchier, start complaining about people with tattoos, maybe even start reading the newspaper. I'm a lost cause. My hangovers last for days now, I'm gaining weight, my skin has gone to shit. Honestly someone should just take me out back and put a bullet in me. Pray for me as I fade into irrelevance.

Or this Coachealla line up just really blows, I dunno.

Friday, December 29, 2017

What are the worst personal brands of 2017?


With 2017 rapidly coming to a close you are bound to see a bunch of bullshit on the web that essentially boils down to “new year new me” memes. Some people will talk about their goals, what they accomplished and where they came up short. Some people will gloat about personal achievements like getting married and having a kid, while others will wallow in their misery about their failures such as getting divorced or losing a job.

This got me thinking a lot about personal brands specifically one’s online brand, because you know who exactly to expect this type of shit from, the guy that truly has it all won’t force it down your throat all over social media. The woman who is crushing it professionally will typically be humble about her success…all of this then begs the question, which brand is the worst?

Some disclaimers: None of you should feel targeted by this list, and to prove it I will be including my own personal brand on this list which I’m sure you won’t find hard to figure out. 

Personally, I had a year of ups and downs, wins and near misses. I almost got a show on the air but simultaneously may have sabotaged my writing career. I had some life changing experiences but at the same time fucked up some relationships with people I care about but you live you learn, right? Who gives a shit about me, let’s attack some anonymous straw men!

The Fake Jet Setter
Look, unless you are my dad, everyone loves to travel. Traveling = vacation and vacation = drinking before noon. But also seeing new shit is cool! Experiencing new cultures is fun! But there is nothing worse than the person that goes to Europe once and suddenly achieves human enlightenment. You know exactly who this person is because they posted exactly 417 photos from their three day trip to Iceland, then four days after they got back they dropped 127 more under the caption “Missing Iceland.” Of course a barrage of TBTs and FBFs followed. WE FUCKING GET IT. 

What makes matters worse though is that this person will now say things like “Well in Europe…” or post things on Facebook like “A question for my fellow travelers: where should I go explore next?” (As if staying in a one star motel in Reykjavik makes you Jacques Cousteau)

Notable offenders: Anyone that has ever used the phrase All who wander are not lost, anyone that read the book Eat Pray Love, sometimes my mom.

The Debbie Downer
It has been said that misery loves company. What this paragraph presupposes is, maybe it doesn’t? Sure sometimes I am relieved when I realize that other people have problems too but I don’t want to fucking hear about it. My God sometimes I’ll scan social media and I’ll see something like “today was a bad day.” What kind of emo non-committal shit is that? At least if you’re going to whine, give me the deets. Did someone die? Did your SO cheat on you? Was it meat loaf day at the work cafeteria? When I’m sad I drink a bottle of whiskey and listen to a My Chemical Romance album. Guess what, I wake up with a headache so bad, I forget to be sad…my life now has purpose. Get a coffee and a breakfast burrito. 

Furthermore, the Debbie Downer loves to point out their lack of social life and at times might even take pride in their lameness. “How was your weekend Debbie?  “Oh you know me! Fell asleep watching Netflix at 830, it was PRETTTTTY crazy.” That’s not funny, it’s just depressing.

Notable offenders: People in their 20s going through a break up, me in 2015, lots of athletes when they’re playing poorly.

The Big Deal
The Big Deal has 4,000 instagram followers and got invited to go to a small indie movie premiere once. Now they feel like they are an ‘influencer.’ This person will go to any event that has one of those photo walls up and tag everything with shit like #redcarpet and #BTS. Big Deal also acted in a student film and even though they were only compensated with a Subway sandwich they sometimes introduce themselves as a thespian. 

They name drop constantly, have a bunch of friends that work at Buzzfeed and probably gave the shitty Hemsworth brother a handjob once. TBD totally knew Kevin Spacey was gay already and has heard a LOT of rumors about who is going to go down next. Did they mention they were backstage at a Haim show last night? LOLZ #backstage #music

Notable offenders: All the idiots that bought tickets to Fyre Fest, anyone that still lives in Hollywood and thinks it’s cool, Monica Morell

The Degenerate
Degenerate is just here to party man and you’re lucky to witness it. Stay tuned to that Instastory and you might just see a bag of blow pop up. EDGY. Degenerate doesn’t give a shit because he probably doesn’t have a job. Politics? HA! Both sides are wrong, let anarchy reign!
And do you know why degenerates don’t care about the future? Because they likely don’t have one. 

You would be shocked at how the idea of nuclear war becomes a bit more appealing when your friends are all crushing it at Fortune 500 companies and your most recent grocery store purchase was two bottles of Boone’s Farm and a box of Mac n Cheese! I mean to be fair, the degenerate has been training all of his life for a post apocalyptic America…sleeping in bushes, building up resistance to harmful substances. Hell one time he survived an entire week on potato chips and Four Loko

Notable offenders: Me, my roommates, most people between the ages of 16-23

Before we get to the worst online brand of 2017, some honorable mentions:
Oversharers, race baiters, people that post old memes and say ‘so true!’, The Star Wars is problematic crowd, MRAs, overt self promoters, people seeking validation and anyone that writes too much in a short form medium (if you regularly use all 280 characters I hate you)

And a few brands I really enjoyed in 2017: Cutting sarcasm, shameless nostalgia, hipster nerd, people that are earnest about being basic, Black Twitter,
And now the worst brand of 2017…

The Political Guru
Whether it’s a redneck MAGA pede or a smug member of ‘the resistance’ there is nothing more nausea inducing than someone dumping volumes of their political beliefs online as if they are going to change your mind with a clever #fakenews post. Browse this person’s timeline and it will be either full of snarky Trump Tweets with the facepalm emoji or a bunch of Breitbart articles talking about how great the economy is. 

What neither side seems to grasp is that I am purely on social media to see if my ex girlfriends are still hot, so I implore you to take your thoughts on Trump, Global Warming, basically any issue that causes people to argue and save those for when you’re drunk and with your family. I know you listened to Pod Save America once and now feel super enlightened, but honestly, I would rather look at pictures of your stupid kids than see one more post about healthcare or tax cuts.
“But it’s your privilege not to care about pol-“ One more fucking word and I will name you in my suicide note.


Notable offenders: Every millenial, R/The_Donald, your senile uncle Dale, The President

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

"Do you want to have sex with us?"

This was the question posed from the back of the Uber as we drove up the PCH on a sunny Saturday in November. What had previously been an idyllic moment in Malibu, my head slightly tilted out the window, blond locks fluttering in the breeze, was now shattered. As I stuttered out a deflection of an answer, I looked in the rear view mirror to see a shit eating grin creep across my neighbor Monica's face.

This was not an offer of course, though had a trip to Malibu wines turned into a daytime foursome this would likely be a much more entertaining blog.

No, it was a philosophical question. Do you perceive your opposite sex friends in THAT way? And although this is one of the most tired romantic comedy tropes, let's get into it...do you low key want to fuck your platonic best friends?

It sets up an existential crisis. Even though it's a trope in 70% of romantic comedies, and even though I've done it dozens of times, it is NOT POLITE CONVERSATION TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS YOU WANT TO BED THEM.

Malcolm Gladwell states in his book Blink that we make thousands of assumptions in the first few seconds we meet a new person. I think it's safe to say that one of the assumptions I make is 'do I find this person physically attractive' and by proxy 'would I be interested in taking this person home?'

Of course there are a million other factors: kindness, humor, intelligence, creativity. But during those first few seconds I'm making a decision purely on the physical product, similar to album art work or a Jackson Pollack painting.

What I'm trying to say in so many words is yes, I've THOUGHT about hooking up with every single one of my female friends even if only for a split second.

While it is natural to have these thoughts; human intellect is what separates me from say an actual lion or Harvey Weinstein. It is also in my nature to show restraint and consider other factors like respect, responsibility and commitment. And though some of that restraint is lowered after I've spent 12 hours drinking, I'm reminded by something my drug education teacher told me in high school. "When you're fucked up you don't do things you would NEVER do, you do things you wouldn't normally do." This is why when drunk I won't start physical fights but I might say something mean or try to make out with you. Being mean and leading with the tongue is just a part of my personality I suppose.

It's easy to make sense of it in my opinion. I generally surround myself with attractive people because I think I'm naturally drawn to them. I have a decent looking crew of both men and women. It's not like I did it intentionally, it just kind of shook out that way. So in a perfect world all things equal I suppose if I find all of my friends attractive, one could assume I want to have sex with all of my friends, yes?

No!

Because all things are not equal and sex makes everything complicated.

The original question was do you WANT to have sex with us, and to answer that we have to get into the messy stuff...the potential fall out.

Let's look at an outcome tree on what can happen if you become romantically involved with one of your friends.

The good:
You realize that you've been in love all along, become a couple, everyone is happy for you and the wedding is off the chain. (The rom-com ending)

The meh:
You guys hook up for a while and mutually decide that it would be best to going back to just friends. (The somewhat unrealistic outcome that everyone thinks will be super attainable)

The bad:
Things go south, it's weird, someone was more into it than the other, jealousy emerges, friend groups fracture, unfriending on Facebook, awkward encounters at parties, rumors spread, total chaos. (The most likely ending)

Anyone with half a brain can see that the risk is very high in attempting this friend to lover conversion. And that doesn't even take into consider other external forces. What if someone else in the group is in love with her, what if someone else in the group is in love with you? It turns into a soap opera much quicker than you would imagine.

But while the risk is astronomical, so too is the reward. It is so difficult to find a partner in this world, there is an app for everything, but dating is hard, people don't say what they mean, wouldn't it be a thousand times easier to take a person you've already spent years vetting, some person whose quirks you are one hundred percent in tune with and just...flip a switch?

I believe it was the great Michael Bolton who said 'How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?' I think a far more poignant question to ask would have been 'How can we be lovers if we CAN be friends?' A break-up with a lover is relatively easy, a break up with a friend is not.

I'm certainly not the first to opine about how men and women relate to one another and I'm sure I'm not alone in that I play with fire far often than I should in playing in the gray area between lover and friend. I'm sure I've shared a dance floor make out with at least 10% of the people reading this as we speak, I just wish it was easier to distinguish between a non-committal make out (NCMO) and real suppressed feelings.

Maybe the answer is to put yourself out there, maybe it's best to take the Royal Tenenbaums approach and just be secretly in love with each other for the rest of your lives. But perhaps just because it's Christmas (and at Christmas you tell the truth) maybe it's time to just go for it and deal with the fall out later.




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Best Movies of 2017


Hi there, I have something to get off my chest. My 2016 movie list was trash, like legitimate garbage. Ok maybe it wasn't THAT bad, but seriously, fucking Fences? That movie blows. I mean it's not bad, bad but if I ever had to sit through it again I would probably carve out my eyes with a kitchen knife.(That's a reference to another 2016 movie that didn't make the list.)

I also overrated the 174 hour OJ doc so please move that down to number 8, remove Fences and the new number 2 for 2016 is Everybody Wants Some!! a fun flick that paired with number one on this year's list has inspired a new feature that I'm writing. A great movie doesn't necessarily need conflict, it can be a breezy stroll through a fun time period with likable characters, at least that's what I'm banking on. So everyone look forward to my next script that is essentially Before Sunset on the last day of college in Bloomington, Indiana in 2009.

Before I get to my top 10, I want to mention that I didn't LOVE a lot of movies in 2017, there were a lot in the good to decent range including these honorable mentions that I would all give a 7/10: Bladerunner 2049, Star Wars, Ragnarok, Spider-Man, Wind River, Lego Batman, Baby Driver, Logan and Wonder Woman. Ok off to the list.

10. American Made
Drugs might not be cool, but movies about drugs are fucking awesome. Well at least the first two hours are awesome. Goodfellas, Scarface, The Wolf of Wall Street, all movies with phenomenal first and second acts, but then they have to teach me some sort of moral lesson and show the main character's downfall. I am not here for that. I am here for Leo drunk crashing his helicopter into his backyard with absolutely no consequences at all.

GOOD NEWS! American Made is just the first two hours of a drug movie. It's awesome, it features cocky Tom Cruise just kinda hand waving the whole Iran-Contra scandal while he runs cocaine for Pablo Escobar. He evades about 12 government agencies while getting rich as shit and operating an airport out of his backyard. How cool is that? The character's entire comeuppance lasts 5 whole seconds and takes place off screen! A fan edit of all drug movies that ended at minute 120 would greatly improve an entire genre of film.

9. The Florida Project
If you read my best tv of 2017 column last week, I clearly stated that I like shows about rich people doing rich people things, but I also have a soft spot for movies about precocious poor kids growing up in the south. The Florida Project is kind of like Beasts of the Southern Wild except instead of Louisiana swamps it takes place in a shitty motel outside of Disney World.

I can't really relate because I always stayed at dope hotels in Disney World and I will now power rank them for you.
1. Grand Floridian
2. Contemporary
3. Polynesian
4. Swan and Dolphin
5. Beach Club
6 (tie) Wilderness Lodge
6 (tie) Animal Kingdom Lodge
8. Yacht Club
9. Boardwalk Inn
10. Coronado Springs
11. Caribbean Beach
12. Port Orleans
13. All Star Movies
14. All Star Music
15. All Star Sports

That's not really a review for the movie, I just wanted to remind everyone that I love Disney World.

8. The Trip to Spain
Here is a movie you definitely have never heard of...and good news, it's available on Netflix! The Trip to Spain is the third in a series of road trip movies featuring Steve Coogan (Hamlet 2) and Rob Brydon as they travel around Europe getting drunk on wine and doing Michael Caine impressions. If that doesn't do it for you, I don't think I can help you. I'm sorry I found that more interesting that a movie about a stressed out seamstress.

7. The Lost City of Z
Charlie Hunnam is the largest enigma of an actor working today. He is so laughably bad in movies like Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak but they he is shockingly competent in films like Green Street Hooligans and The Lost City of Z.

The film is a sweeping epic adventure film that follows the true life of British explorer Percy Fawcett who was sent by the British Government to find an ancient lost city of gold in the Amazon. Hilarity ensues...I'm just kidding he gets attacked by Indians and shit and it's super dope. Robert Pattinson also kicks ass as his assistant. It's currently available to stream on Amazon.

6. Dunkirk
There isn't much left to say about Dunkirk at this point. It's a breathlessly stressful 100 minute look at the realities of war. Wear a Fitbit during this one because my heart was exploding out of my chest. Sure, Christopher Nolan movies may lack heart and even interesting character development, this flick barely has any dialogue BUT it does have Tom Hardy as a fighter pilot and I could watch that for the rest of my life.

Also: Harry Styles, not a terrible actor!

5. Three Billboard Outside Ebbing Misourri
Let me give you the set-up of this movie. It's about the mother of a girl who was raped and murdered seeking justice for her daughter. Also it's a comedy. Let that sink in a little bit.

I mean maybe it's not fair to call the movie a straight up laugh fest, if you're familiar with any of McDonagh's previous work you'll understand. The performances in this film are among the best of the year: McDormand, Harrelson and especially Sam Rockwell absolutely knock it out of the park. The movie is shockingly violent, surprisingly hilarious and somehow after all that...heartwarming? I'll let you make up your own mind about it, it's not a traditional murder mystery but a character study of a small town and how it deals with tragedy.

4. The Big Sick
I am of the opinion that Kumail Nanjiana is a painfully unfunny comedian so I was prepared to hate this movie. But it turns out he's a pretty good writer and actor! Another "comedy" that isn't what it seems (what's more hilarious than falling into a coma?) this is really a movie about relationships between families and how they interact. Kumail's traditional parents are the fucking worst, Ray Romano's character is deeply flawed and Holly Hunter's character is holding on to anger from the past. It's fascinating to watch all of this go down during a medical emergency.

Hunter and Romano deliver Oscar worthy performances but my favorite relationship in the film is that between Kumail and the parents of his ex-girlfriend (specifically Romano) it's a true testament to how extraordinary life events can drive people together. Basically what I'm trying to say is if the last girl I had sex with slipped into a coma, I don't think I would handle it this well.

3. IT
I haven't had more fun at a movie all year than I did at IT, which is basically just an R rated Goonies with a bunch of 12 year old kids making dick jokes. I think I was primed to love this movie because I read the book (which is approximately 600000 pages) and went to the haunted house in Hollywood the week before it comes out, but I think the mix of nostalgia, violence and Finn Wolfhard using the phrase "Go blow your dad you mullet wearing asshole" really pushed it over the top for me.
Despite losing True Detective season one helmer, Cary Fukunaga, early in production, IT managed to be the rare mid budget studio horror film that works (and reignited everyone's absolute fear of clowns)

The cast is wonderful, the film manages to be truly terrifying yet funny at the same time and has be super excited for what Argentinian director Andy Muschietti has next. Check out his last film, Mama, which was scary as shit. Also check out this ridiculous Wikipedia article about the clown sighting scare of 2016. People are weird.

2. Get Out
GET OUT IS A PROPAGANDA FILM ARGUING FOR THE GENOCIDE OF WHITE MEN. Lol jk, I was just doing my best r/the_donald alt-right impersonation. Get Out is dope on its face just as a movie, also I appreciate that it has something to say about society. That said I'm not going to get into its message because I'm not a 'woke' film critic for The Atlantic. Nay, I would like to praise the performances: Alison Williams proves she can do more than just get her ass eaten, Daniel Kaluuya breaks through to American audiences and oh my god does Lil Rel Howery become a star.

There's been a lot of controversy as to why the Golden Globes chose to classify this film as a 'comedy' and I will now teach you about the politics of awards. Studios choose what to submit their film for. The good folks at Blumhouse likely thought they had a better chance of winning best picture - comedy at the Globes therefore raising awareness for their film ergo more people will see it...or perhaps they were all just drunk from making 250 million on a 4.5 million dollar budget. That's a classic 5000% return on investment, holy shit!

1. Lady Bird
Lady Bird is about an awkward girl trying to be popular at her high school in a shitty city in the year 2002, BOY DO I KNOW ABOUT THAT. The film nails teen angst on such a visceral level that it made me uncomfortable a few times, but it's perfect. Go see it, trust me. I'm going to take the rest of this review to talk about something very important to me: A defense of Dave Matthews.

Yes, much of the discourse around Lady Bird has been about it's quirky and 'uncool' soundtrack that prominently features the Dave Matthews Band, specifically the song 'Crash into me.' Now while I will agree that 'Crash' is one of Dave's weaker songs, if you do not like DMB writ large, you can go straight to hell. Central Park is a perfect album, I have made out with at least 17 different girls while the song '#41' played at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. Dave is an integral part of my childhood.

I mean just look at this night two set list from 2004, it's unfuckingreal! I remember night one I got so drunk that I didn't make it off the party bus, but night two? Night two was magical! We all got to spend the night in Paige Goodwin's basement which was a big deal because we were 17 having a co-ed sleepover. Did you ever have co-ed sleepovers in high school? They were the shit. People would go into closets and make out. People would drink really terrible booze like Parrot Bay and Malibu and get absolutely thrashed but then the parents would still order us pizza because we were suburban kids in Carmel, Indiana and that's what parents did.

Upon further examination, maybe Indiana wasn't that bad.

Hope y'all enjoyed my list. Tell me how much of an idiot I was on Facebook and we can spend the next two days arguing.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Best TV of 2017


2017 was a phenomenal year for television from sweeping epics like the most recent season of Game of Thrones to the equally captivating unaired pilot for The Radio Disney Mash-Up on Disney Channel (LOLZ)

Actually, while I was making this list I realized I didn't love a lot of TV this year, but I did watch a ton of it and since I'm stuck in an office building on Wilshire until 5 o clock today, fuck it I'm making a list. Go ahead and argue with me in the Facebook comments and call me an idiot for not liking The Leftovers.

10. GLOW
I watched the entire season of Glow after being at a warehouse party until 5 o clock in the morning the night before. During that five hours I ordered pizza from Domino's two separate times, ate an entire party size bag of Kettle brand Jalapeno chips and threw up once. It was a great day. When the season was over I watched all of Wrestlemania 17 on the WWE network, honestly I'm shocked this didn't make it higher on the list.

Anyway, Alison Brie is probably my favorite working actress in 2017 and I have a soft spot for any period piece that has at least a tertiary connection to cocaine. Marc Maron was phenomenal, Chris Lowell's Bash was shockingly accurate to every trust fund burn out I know, and I'm a sucker for any show set in LA because it's the best city in the world.

9. Riverdale
In 2004, I bought the OC season one DVDs on a Black Friday special. I started watching the following Sunday, skipped school Monday and Tuesday and finished the 27 hour season early Wednesday morning. Since then I have watched the first season probably 10 times all the way through, tried multiple times to start an OC podcast and once hit the earthquake button in an elevator at Manhattan Beach studios to trap an OC producer in there and forced him to tell me stories from the set.

I'm not as much into Riverdale but Camila Mendes is a bigger star than Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson combined. She plays Veronica Lodge, one of the main love interests of the show's protagonists Archie Andrews and she steals every scene she is in even if she isn't central to the plot at that moment. If you gave up on the CW when you turned 18 (or 30) give it another shot. The show is sexy, fun, and often times silly. They took an old comic and turned it into the next great teen soap, in fact the biggest shocker of the series is that it isn't written by Josh Schwartz.

8. 13 Reasons Why
Look guys, spoiler alert. This list isn't going to include Handmaids Tale. Sex slavery is just something that goes a little too far for me, but teenage suicide? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP. Honestly, it's shocking that anyone was able to get this show made, but I think it had a lot to say about bullying and the angst of being a teenager. I think we look back on that time in our lives with rose colored glasses and think how great it was, but guess what? IT WASN'T. 

Barstool ran this poll yesterday: Would you rather live life 8-18 again or 18-28? The answer is 18-28 easily because during that period of time you get lots of one night stands, lots of Taco Bell without getting fat and you discover alcohol and MDMA. I would rather die than live 13-15 again, just a bunch of me sitting by the phone hoping someone would invite me to do something. That's what makes 13 Reasons why so tragic; Hannah was so close to living 18-28.

7. Ozark
Fun fact! My extended family owned a condo in the Ozarks for 15 years when I was growing up and I loved going there. It is so delightfully tacky, it's the Branson of large lake communities. There are probably 45 mini golf courses (the cool ones, with ramps and gimmicks and shit) 18 Go kart tracks and 17 floating restaurants that you boat up to and then leave completely fucking trashed because BUIs aren't a real thing.

You can imagine my horror then when I realized the show doesn't shoot on the actual Ozarks. Whatever, it's a decent enough Breaking Bad rip off. While watching the pilot I realized how much I love a show when someone gets thrown off a building as an extreme act of brutal violence, it's so metal. Think Martin Sheen's death in The Departed, The Comedian in Watchmen or DB Woodside in Romeo Must Die. Anyway, fun show! That Jason Bateman can sure direct.

6. Love
Welcome to Dave's Hollywood corner, I will now tell you a story about Love that you can use at abrs to impress your friends. Love was co-written by real life married couple Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin. They conceived of the show as a starring vehicle for themselves. Finally Judd Apatow got his hands on it and told them that he could get it made at Netflix, the only caveat was that Lesley had to be re-cast, this made her irate but she went along with it because creating a TV show is hard. Anyway, she was such a jerk to Gillian Jacobs on set that Netflix BANISHED HER from set season 2. Also Lesley might be a racist so maybe creating a show isn't all it's cracked up to be.

ANYWAY, the show is so easy to write that I decided to make it my spec for when I applied to all the minority fellowships this spring. (Yes I know I'm a white guy that just got back from Aspen but I thought maybe they would forget to check) My spec was about the four main characters going on an impromptu trip to Coachella and crashing an influencer event at the General Mills party. It was awesome! Except for the plot twist when I found out Love wasn't on the acceptable spec list 24 hours before the submission deadline.

5. Game of Thrones
All the best of lists I'm reading this year are leaving off the recent season of Game of Thrones because it was a down year. Instead critics are opting for wacky newcomers like Marvelous Miss Maisel. Really guy? You think some woman in a fun outfit trying to do stand up is better than fucking dragons roasting alive a guy named Dickon? They're wrong. Game of Thrones is the only appointment television in the country, the only show you must watch every Sunday at 9pm to stay culturally relevant.

Also Jon Snow and Dany fucked. That was cool.

4. American Vandal
If I would have spent a tenth of the time in college being creative that I spent trying to score invites to every top tier sorority dance I probably could have been Jimmy Tatro. But that's fine, now he has a hit tv show and I have a Zeta barn dance 2008 shirt. They're just as cool if you ask me. TV shows are finite, college popularity is forever.

The show, which is a mockumentary style prolonged dick joke over 10 episodes was probably the most surprising show of 2017 and as someone that listened through Serial twice I'm probably the target audience for a show making fun of bros, Oceanside and true crime. Give it a shot if you're looking for something different to check out this holiday season.

3. Big Little Lies
I'm just going to get this out of the way. I like rich people. I like doing rich things. I plan on marrying up. I posted seven times from Aspen because I wanted you motherfuckers to know that I ski and have a certain degree of family wealth. (Or at least a time share with enough points to get an off peak weak at the Hyatt Vacation Club!) I detest phrases like woke and privilege so if you give me a show about a bunch of rich white women sipping expensive wine in Monterrey I am ALL the way in.

The show which takes its story from an Australian novel (which I read because I'm interesting) is a snap shot of #firstworldproblems over seven extravagant hours of sunsets, 12 million dollar mansions and fake niceness. Reese Witherspoon is a completely believable bat shit crazy mom struggling to maintain her grip on reality, but the performance you stay for is Nicole Kidman. I was never a huge fan until this show, she is electric on screen playing a battered woman and I could now spend the rest of my life watching her awkward award ceremony cutaways where she nervously kisses Keith Urban.

2. Bojack Horseman
It was a weird year for Hollywood. Basically all of our fears were confirmed and everyone is a monster. And while comedies about people behaving badly are starting to run thin on their shtick (Always Sunny, You're the Worst, Curb) leave it to a talking horse to absolutely skewer an entire industry with the most biting satire of the past 20 years.

Raphael Bob Waksberg is one of the sharpest writers in Hollywood and in four years some may think that he is starting to lose a little speed on his fastball but Bojack continues to have one of the most interesting perspectives making it not only one of the best animated shows on the air but one of the best shows period.

Honorable Mentions: Mind Hunter, Red Oaks, Narcos, The Keepers

And apologies to the shows that I haven't watched yet...Black Mirror (Dec 29) (almost put it number 2 on trailer alone) Peaky Blinders (Dec 22)  and Dark (Dec 15)

1. Master of None
Ok so after I found out Love wasn't an acceptable spec I had 24 hours to write one on the approved list, I chose Master of None. In my spec Dev and Arnold travel to Italy in a Planes, Trains and Automobiles influenced romp in order to stop Francesca's wedding to Pino. (Road trip movies are the best) I took 40 mg of Adderall and finished the final page 19 minutes before the application was due.

Master of None is the show that Girls wanted to be, it perfectly expresses everything it means to be a Millenial without all of the holier than though pretentiousness that made me want to throw myself off a bridge every time Lena Dunham opened her mouth. There is a scene in episode five of Master of None season 2 where there is a static shot of Dev in the back of a cab for five minutes bemoaning the fact that he didn't have the courage to tell a girl that he was in love with how he felt. It is a perfect scene, I've been in that exact moment for about the past two years. It's brutal. There are some rumors swirling that Aziz maybe isn't the greatest person IRL but this show is perfect and if it turns out he's a huge creep I'm burning down Los Angeles and moving to Aspen to spend the rest of my life as a ski lift operator.

Thanks for checking out my list guys, feel free to share your thoughts or make recommendations!