Saturday, December 27, 2014

...twas the night before christmas

I grew up going to church most Sundays and then always doing Youth Group that night. Youth group was basically a thing for teens on Sunday nights where you would eat dinner and then just kinda hang out. Good wholesome fun. Sometimes we would do a canned food drive, others we would just go play mini-golf. Youth Group was the shit because it was one last thing on the weekend agenda before you had to return to school the next day. There were two major events every year...the youth takeover was a service the kids would put on when the minister was out of town, and we also had a winter lock-in.

In 6th grade I was far from the social elite at Belzer Middle School, but I was certainly starting five at the Geist Christian Church youth group. I had written and directed a series of skits for the youth takeover the previous summer drawing metaphors to faith. I even orchestrated a wrap party for the youth group afterward. We had unlimited pizza SO many 2 liters of Coke and someone even brought a Nintendo 64 and Mario Kart. To this day it's probably the best wrap party I've ever been to. In fact I'll take a moment now to dispel some rumors.

The Hollywood wrap party is a myth. It was the thing I was most excited about when I moved to LA, but it's typically just an open bar with a bunch of old people and their wives/husbands/domestic partners/kids and you have to pretend to that you're thrilled to see everyone. Even the elusive Saturday Night Live after parties are pretty watered down. I had a friend go a few weeks ago, and from what I can recall, it was just at a fucking restaurant. Each cast member had a table with unlimited food and drink...but that was it. I had visions of a 100,000 square foot post-modern condo in Manhattan with several dozen pounds of cocaine. Everyone taking body shots off of hookers and ice luges with liquid heroin. If that's not the wrap party awaiting me, I'm not even sure I want to be famous anymore...but I digress.

So the lock-in. There was this youth group chick that was getting a reputation for making out with a lot of dudes. I was 13. I had not kissed a girl yet. Someone told me that this girl "thought I was hot" so I decided I would go for it the night of the youth group lock-in. Sometime after the Secret Santa gift exchange I was going to ask this girl to "take a walk" and then I would have dropped some slick line and we would have found an abandoned closet and I totes would have gotten to second base. But for whatever reason, my secret santa gift that night was a giant bag of candy. I ate the whole thing, got violently ill, threw up everywhere and had to go home. A couple weeks later that girl moved away and I never kissed her or touched her boobs. Of course this behavior would have been SO scandalous. We were good churchgoing kids. NO SINNING!

But a funny thing happened, as I got older I stopped going to youth group. I was too cool. But I would see some of the kids out. They would be drinking, smoking, maybe using drugs. There were a handful having premarital sex, hell, I bet there was even an abortion in there. They were just normal kids, living their lives. Looking back on it, a few of those chicks turned out to be smoking hot. I blew it. Never should have quit youth group. Should have done plays in high school.

Fast forward to now, I'm sitting in church on Christmas Eve. I'm looking to see if any chicks are here, you know the youth group girls that turned out hot. Slim pickings. My brother is singing the hymns in the style of Bob Dylan. "Ohhhh Silent Night. Yaaaaa Holy Niiiiiight" He also uses his program to make random lists, tonight he is seeing how many Mortal Kombat characters he can name. I just choked on the grape juice and he whispered in my ear. "Choking on the blood of Christ??? You heathon!" And maybe I am because right before coming here I was sitting on the couch watching SNL,  trying to decide which member of 1D would be the best lay. The blonde one is probably the most attractive but I also kinda like the tatted up dude that looks like Adnan from Serial. Then again, Harry Styles would make me eskimo bros with Taylor Swift. Remember that old adage that every time you have unprotected sex with someone you have sex with ALL of their old partners? I think it was supposed to mean figuratively, in regards to STDs and what not...I imagine Harry has been around. Would you have sex with Harry Styles once if your reward was to then get to have sex with every chick he had ever banged? I bet he's even fucked some awesome dudes. British people just don't care.

It's no secret I've been bored this week in Indy. It's cold, I've been sleeping until noon and then coming downstairs to watch movies all day while I dress my cats in Christmas outfits (spoiler alert...they hate it) I even went out one night thinking 'hey, I'll go get hammered with some buddies and maybe bang an ex-girlfriend' but it's difficult to even do that anymore. Everyone is married and it rains a lot. So for the most part, I've been laying on a couch dreaming of 12 dollar kale salads and a juice bar. My mom's car is in the shop and my dad works, so I have been riding an old bike to Walgreens to get bourbon to make it through the Holidays. I've been sneaking it as not to raise concern from my parents. I've been cooking, I read two books, I haven't put on pants in 2 days and I have to be honest...

I fucking love it. There is a fundamental greatness to doing nothing. This whole week, no FOMO, no guilt. I wake up it's sleeting out and there is no car. Do you know how fantastic it is to say NOPE and go back to bed? No pressure to get out and go for a run? Au contraire, I can watch 8 hours of kung fu movies (Ip Man, The Raid 2, The Man of Tai Chi) and demand that my mom bring home Velveeta and Rotel so I can make queso dip. It's like magic. Dad, let's go to the IU game. Mom, dinner at Bakersfield on Mass Ave. Kevin, go get the cats Santa outfits. People are so eager to please a visiting family member. I looked on at everyone's Instagram and felt sorry for them. Oh man, you're in Aruba? That must be rough. If you sleep past 7am you'll feel like you are wasting your trip, and I bet you don't have a parent to go Grocery shopping for you while you lay in bed watching Love, Actually for the 781st time.

I don't think I've ever had a more relaxing week in my life. Christmas came and went, I got all the stuff I asked for (lift tickets and lots of fun socks) and now I'm back in LA and in 12 hours I'm going to Tahoe to rage my face off for 5 days. It was the week of nothing I needed, the week off I deserved. There is the rom com version of going home, where I would have reconnected with an old classmate and we would have gone ice skating and lived happily ever after...and there is the real world trip home, where I outlined this blog post on a note card during Christmas Eve service.

I've been critical of Indy and the midwest in general over the years, but I think I get it now. It's nice to slow things down. I bet those minor league hockey games kick ass, and it probably doesn't cost $200 to go. The hottest bar/restaurant in the city has 2 dollar PBRs or Dogfish 90 if you're feeling adventurous. People smile in the midwest. They decorate their homes for the holidays. They meet your eye and wish you a Happy Holiday and actually mean it. For the people that decided to couple off and hibernate during winters and take fun couply trips...I salute you. I chose a different path. In fact, it is conceivable that had I stayed in Youth Group all those years ago, maybe I would have found a nice wholesome girl to settle down with. Maybe we would be thinking about kids or a mortgage. But I went a different way. This is an exciting life. It's hot here. Always. And sunny. And you can go see a Haim concert on a Tuesday. For free if you know the right person. I went to the beach today, had I still been in Indy I probably would have watched Elf twice.

Both are fantastic ways to spend a Saturday. And that's how I know Indy will always have a place in my heart. Plus, my sweater game used to be ON POINT. I severely miss winter wardrobe. But I'm here to stay LA. A week in the midwest brings me back to Earth once in a while, evens me out. It's important to go to Nick's and get a 5 pound French Dip and 4000 calories of french fries to remember where you come from.

Now as I look to Tahoe and pray for snow, it's time to embrace that other half of me. I'm coming for ya Skrilly, don't disappoint.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex: The leak no one is talking about

I'm in Chicago right now. In fact I'm laying on a pull out bed under a ten pound duvet in the middle of Old Town. If ever given the opportunity to stay with girls, my God, stay with girls. I feel like a Prince in the middle of the most luxurious slumber party ever. Anyway, last night I was having a few pints at Corcoran's on Wells and I came to a horrifying realization...more on that soon.

In high school, all guys talked about was hooking up with chicks, except 90% of it was bullshit. Unless you had a friend that had been dating someone for 6 months + there was no chance he was getting laid. But everyone lied about it. Everyone had a mystery girl on Spring Break that "domed them up in the hot tub" or something to that effect. In all actuality, whenever I went on Spring Break with my family in high school I would sit alone in the hot tub on the off chance a mystery girl would show up and be like "Hey, I'm here to dome you up...and I also brought Fireball. I know it's 2003 but this is a fantasy!"

Nevertheless I always left the hot tub with pruney skin and broken dreams. This is what I imagine the standard high school experience is...but then again I went to a Catholic school where it was rumored that girls would strictly have anal sex to stay virgins in the eyes of the church, so what do I know...

Once college came around, there were more frank discussions about sex and women in the frat house. This probably peaked Freshman year, because for the first time, a lot of people are having fairly regular sleepovers with multiple partners. I remember I would come back to my floor on a Sunday and get the standard vile questions... "You hit the railyard?"(Did you have sex) "Were you drunk?" "Did you make it a sober ten" (Did you last ten minutes?) Did you strap up? (Was there a condom involved?) Etc.

Of course these events were largely exaggerated. A 5 minute missionary performance would turn into an epic fuckathon in the Co-Ed showers, with explicit play by play. "Like so there is no ledge so you literally have to pick her up or bend her all the way over..." It's disgusting to think about sharing these details now, but I suppose since it was SO over the top, it's a little funny.

Later on in college there might be questions did you hook up with so and so? This was followed by a yes or no answer. Unless it was particularly scandalous (girl has a boyfriend in another frat...this is your 4th girl in the same pledge class) it was over. There was a nod of approval and then a new conversation. At this point the feat was less about the physical nature of said sexual encounter, but about the status. Oh you hooked up with a Pi Phi? Nice. Typically these were held in the lunch room at the house, amidst retellings of who was the most drunk the night prior.

Fast forward to now...obviously in your mid to late 20's there are much fewer one night stands. A lot of my friends are in long term relationships. I would never in a million years ask someone in a long term relationship about their sex life. I don't even think I would bat an eye if a strange girl left my single roommate's room in the morning. There just comes a point where that shit is private...


This week there was a highly publicized hacking on Sony Pictures Entertainment. The new James Bond script leaked, a bunch of personal information of employees was compromised and most notably The Interview, the movie where James Franco and Seth Rogen assassinate Kim Jong Un, has been pulled. Yes Sony has cancelled the release of a movie they spent 50 million dollars to make and probably another 50 million dollars to market...because they are afraid of a bunch of short Asians with no sense of humor.

(Say what you will about the responsibility of Sony to either protect potential movie goers and/or the responsibility to stand up to a bully. I think there was probably a very remote chance that a theatre would have been attacked and that would have likely launched us into World War 3. So maybe this is a good thing, but I know that once I get my hands on a screener for The Interview, I am going to show it at my house and brag about it on social media, because North Koreans probably aren't in the top 10 of foreign races that scare me.)

But long before the Sony hack, there was a far more personal leak. A corruption of information that all of the men in the world hold dear. Yes boys, I'm afraid it's true. Women are gossiping about your sex life.

It's a fact. If you have ever had sex with a female, her entire social circle knows the length and curvature of your penis, exactly how long it takes you to become aroused and the mean length of time it takes you to orgasm.

...and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Do you play "mood music?" Which song? Do you start off with a sensual massage? As it turns out, I don't know anything about your routine. But you know who does? Every hetero female and their gay best friends. In fact, if you have performed, said routine with multiple women in the same social circle, they know about that to...because they have corroborated tales and had many a laugh at your expense.

Now tell me which is a more severe invasion of privacy...finding out that Seth Rogen makes 1 million dollars a week doing rewrites or that he can only become aroused by watching anime porn and having a single digit tease his anus. Far be it for that to be true, but if ANY of you has a strange little fetish like that? They know. They all know. Have you ever been hooking up with a girl and she started laughing uncontrollably for no apparent reason? It's probably because she saw that cunnilingus joke coming a mile away. You used it on her friend three years ago, they've been mocking you for three years...and this chick just experienced it first hand.

Your favorite position, the dirty shit you say in bed...NONE of this stays behind closed doors. Please North Korea, take my social security number, but DO NOT tell anyone that I require a back scratch and a bed time story post coitus.

Apparently it all boils down to a deep physical/emotional/sexual connection for women. While to the average male it may be viewed as a few dozen pumps and release, it is much more profound, intimate topic for women. Last night at dinner the topic came up. Stories about friends in unhealthy relationships, visits to sex counselors and lots and lots of amateur therapy.

On one hand, I get it. When a woman considers the long term ramifications of a relationship, several factors are involved. Can my family love this man, can he be a good father, can he provide for our family, will he keep me sexually satisfied are very important questions that need to be pondered when planning a future.

I just don't know how I feel about the unintentional consequences of that shared information. It's funny as you grow older how the conversation flips. Sure we are all adults, it's just sex, we should be mature and talk about it...but somehow I now have the icky feeling of a prude girl thinking about the concept of a blowjob. EW, GROSS, STOP...just put in Frozen or something.

I think about my best friends and what we talk about. I mostly get excited about planning fun trips, dinners, activities...but I suppose when you get down to the meat and bones, I'm not sharing my feelings, hopes or dreams (outside one day when I'm rich) and perhaps that's how I am programmed specifically. BUT, I know for sure, that I'm not calling friends and saying things like "I'm concerned about the sexual health of my current relationship. She just kind of like lays there and you know she like is morally opposed to doggy style these days, and we just haven't had a great rhythm as of late." I guess I just imagined that it kinda is what it is, you just found the best possible package of life partner and if she lacked in that department, you dealt with it.

Meanwhile, there are swirling emails leaked by the North Korean hackers ripping apart studio execs, actors, writers, Aaron Sorkin may or may not be broke and sleeping with an intern, the third act of SPECTRE sucks...but in the grand scheme of things, is it that big of a deal? So some junior exec sent a snarky email about a producer's fat wife. Is that as damaging as Lana Del Rey telling all of her besties that James Franco cries after sex...every time.

I suppose it comes down to threshold of personal shame. The Sony hack has set a lot of people back professionally at least for the time being. But man...if word gets out that you cry after sex...all the time. What if your dream girl catches word of this and she never goes on that first date with you because, SHE CAN'T EVEN. HE CRIES IN BED. And I don't think it is all mean spirited, I think it actually comes from a good place. If you are trying to improve your relationship by leaning on good friends, that's a mature decision. But you know that after a few glasses of red wine, you'll be more inclined to blurt out JOHN LIKES TO GET SPANKED!

Let's get one last thing straight. Men are pigs. We deserve this. We had it coming for the deplorable behavior of high school, college and early 20's. The pursuit of chivalry is like a 50 year battle after the age of 25 to make reparations for the way females are treated in that 7 year run 18-25. I am not condemning these behaviors, just moreso pointing them out...and if we're going to freak out about a major studio being infiltrated by a nefarious outsider, shouldn't we also bring attention to the war at home.

Because honestly if you try some weird ass shit in bed with your girlfriend tonight? Her roommate will know by noon tomorrow...and if two years from now you're dating a girl that lives down the street from your ex and you ask for a footjob...she totally saw it coming.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Is the Christmas Movie Dead?

SNL Black Annie > Annie Remake
A couple weeks ago I was at a club and had the following internal monologue:

Why did I agree to come here? Who is this fucking guy that bought the table? Oh him...I don't think he really likes me. He views me as a threat. God dammit...I'm totally fringe guy at this table. I'm orbiting it, like a fucking moon. No one is happy I'm here. I am merely tolerated. This blows. I suppose I could pour myself a drink from the bottle. But people will roll their eyes, it's for the chicks man. Ya dude...I fucking get it. Oh Christ, now I'm doing that thing where I nod my head in the general area as a girl like I'm thinking about maybe dancing with her...but I won't make a move because I'm a pussy. Oh, what do I care, she's a fucking bottle rat. Then again, she looks like she's been here before. She has identified me as fringe guy on this bottle. Dancing with me WILL NOT lead to copious drinks for her and her friends. She's probably 22 and thinks I'm old and a loser. I bet she has no idea how fucking cool I was when I was 22. I had a massive day party and I had sex during it...during fucking parents weekend. Parents came to my party and saw me having sex upstairs through a window because I didn't draw the shades because I gave zero fucks. I got multiple high fives at the bar that night. Stop. I'm doing that glory days bullshit now. Ok maybe I'll just put this PBR headband on and I'll look younger. It's harder to tell with guys. And maybe if I pull out my iPhone 6 she will assume I have money and talk to me...make sure she can tell it's an iPhone 6, I wonder if this bar has Apple Pay, that shit will blow her mind. I should have stayed in and watched Netflix, I bet they have some good Christmas movies.
Since that night I have had plenty of time to lay on the couch and watch Netflix. Unfortunately my internal monologues have been a bit less interesting.
I'll be Home for Christmas starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Yes, please! Holy shit he was short. Did they just make a beeper joke? My God, Jessica Biel has looked 24 and perfect for the past 20 years. How old was she in this...16? Jesus. Does it make me weird that I prefer her at 16? I think I should get a waiver, because when she was 16, I was 11. Executive order. NOT WEIRD. There is a nostalgia factor. The same goes for early Britney Spears videos. I wonder what happens to the 16 year old dudes that get naked snaps of a chick that is also 16. If he still has them on his iCloud or something in 3 years is he a sexual predator? Imagine being the guy that takes a piss during a tailgate and gets hit with public indecency charge. That's way worse than a DUI. Why isn't Home Alone 2 on Netflix? I think it's better than the first, I think if I said this out loud all my Winnetka friends would have a stroke.

Alas, I suppose I have some pretty fucked up thoughts, but that last question stayed on my mind for a while. Why isn't Home Alone 2 on Netflix...or any Home Alone for that matter. I would settle for 3, 4 or even 5! Why yes, there was a Home Alone 4 and 5. They were TV movies that aired on ABC Family.

But there is also no Christmas Vacation. No Elf. No The Santa Clause.

What about the classics? The Grinch (not the Jim Carrey) Rudolph and his adventures with the gay elf dentist. Or the one with the fire meiser and the ice meiser. (tots underrated btw)
This is unacceptable. I was on the cusp of calling Netflix customer service when I found Love Actually, this granted them a temporary stay of execution.

Grantland did a piece about how the PG movie is dead. I'm inclined to agree.
Just look at the movies being released on Christmas the past couple of years. Last year's Wolf of Wall Street, a movie about how awesome cocaine is...and this year's The Interview, a movie in which James Franco and Seth Rogen blow off Him Jung Un's head with a rocket launcher. (I intentionally fucked up the name, not trying to get hacked yo)

Another potential theory is that the internet generation has ruined everything.

I don't know if I buy this argument, but in the early 90's there was no internet for the most part. If
Home Alone came out today there would be a thousand different think pieces written about it. Why doesn't Home Alone pass the Bechdel test? (Because it's about a 7 year old kid protecting his house from two bad guys) Why aren't there any minorities represented? (Because there is nothing but rich white people living in Kenilworth, IL) Can we set the movie in a mixed neighborhood like Culver City, CA? (No, poor neighborhoods have less Christmas magic than rich ones) Why isn't the idea of a romantic relationship between Harry and Marv explored? (Because it's about a 7 year old kid protecting his house from two bad guys...but they do go to prison at the end, so maybe there is butt sex!) Will Buzz's girlfriend grow up to have body image issues? (It was actually the set designer's son in a wig...don't worry) Is the violent booby trap sub plot an allegory for the Stand Your Ground Law? (Oh, go fuck yourself)

So maybe if there are no NEW Christmas movies being made, we can assume that all of the classics have already signed exclusive contracts with other broadcast partners. (Elf and A Christmas Story are pretty solid staples on TBS...It's a Wonderful Life typically airs on Christmas Eve. AMC has the Home Alones) or maybe Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a dickhead atheist or only got coal for Christmas. He's from Boston, that seems like a place where a dad would spend his Christmas bonus on booze instead of gifts for his children. Or maybe Netflix just doesn't give a shit about Christmas movies, because my faux outrage about their selection probably won't get me to cancel my membership. Or maybe they blew all of their Christmas money on their dog shit Game of Thrones clone.

Whatever the case, I'm thankful that the 90's did exist and gave us some Christmas Classics that do exist. And if I just have to watch Love Actually on repeat until December 25th...well there would be worse punishments.

In closing a quick story and a couple fun links.
The summer after I graduated I spent half of the summer in Los Angeles and a few weeks in New York. While I was in LA, I was white collar homeless the whole time. White collar homeless is basically crashing on a series of couches, fraternity floors and hostels while you use all of your money for drugs and alcohol...actually real homeless people do that second part too, we're not that different! I slept in a couple cars and even on the beach one night. After LA when I got to New York, I lived on a mattress in a frat live out at Hofstra with a drug dealer that owned multiple guns.

None of this bothered me.

However, on my last night in NYC, minutes after being stopped by the NYPD and told to finish our brown bagged Four Lokos quickly and go home (legit they stopped us and didn't even make us pour them out...quick someone tell the protesters) my buddy suggested we go find some benches in Central Park and pass out. It was the only time I said 'no' that entire summer. And it was because of this scene that still scares the shit out of me...

a little set up...Kevin has just been harassed by a crackhead, jeered at by two 50+ year old hookers cracked out on meth so he seeks solace in a cab adjacent to Central park.

GAHHHH!!! He has one fucking eye! How can you drive with one fucking eye, a CAB no less? Don't they need like a special license? To make matters worse, then Kevin fleas into the park and finds scary bird lady, who turns out to be cool, but we don't know this at the time.

Conclusion? Fuck Central Park.

For more fun articles on Christmas movies, here is a list of the traps from Home Alone 2 and the medical damage they would have caused, and here is a conspiracy theory that Kevin grew up to be Jigsaw. It is compelling.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Fifthmas

Christmas in Venice, 2013
I'm working on a Curb spec with a friend right now. One of the scenes takes place with Larry David going to Cafe Gratitude in Venice to meet his new Bohemian girlfriend for lunch.
If you are unfamiliar, Cafe Gratitude is full of a bunch of new age hippies and the menu reflects this. Instead of ordering a breakfast burrito you would say something like "I feel empowered." It's weird. It feels like a cult, kind of like the cult that Andrew Keegan started a couple blocks down that very street.

Anyway, I had never actually been, but today I stopped in for a know for research.

"I'll have a coffee black to-go please."


"Um thanks."

"Can I get your name please?"


"Dave you are courageous!"

"Uh ok."

I wait a couple minutes and some guy comes out and says "Dave?"

"Yes, that's me."

"You are courageous, have a magical day!"

Ok, that's not made up. And the guy that brought me my coffee seemed not to buy into it wholly, more like he had a script he needed to read in order to keep his job. The person that took my order? Well I think a gay black man that wears glitter on his face found his calling as a Cafe Gratitude barista.

I suppose the gimmick is to make you feel good about yourself? I mean the coffee cup literally said on it hundreds of times "You are courageous!" It literally made me feel like I had saved an entire military convoy and rescued kittens from a burning building. I'm a motherfucking hero because I ordered coffee. Or perhaps this is just more of the participatory culture we have created. You get a trophy just for showing up. I mean if I am courageous just for ordering a coffee, what do I get if I order a red-eye. You know a black coffee with an espresso shot? Do they say "Dave, you are a GOD DAMN MIRACLE WORKER." They set the bar pretty low.

But it got me thinking, what if the place was re-named Cafe FRATitude and they ever so slightly tweaked the the positive empowerment message...

"Hey man, I'll have a coffee black to-go please."

"You're fucking money baby."

"Ha thanks."

"Can I get your name bro?"


"Dave, you're so fucking money and you don't even know it."


"Yo Dave is so fucking money, he is going to get laid tonight and make her cum...TWICE."

"Appreciate it dude."

"Oh and I threw a shot of whiskey in there for you boss...thank me later."

I'm not sure if this entire restaurant gimmick is sustainable, but it would at least make for a humorous short. I'll be staffing a writer's room shortly, so start coming up with your best bro empowerment menu items.

Speaking of frat stuff. Tonight is my favorite day of the year; The Phi Psi secret Santa Fifth Exchange. Well it's not really a Phi Psi thing anymore, it just started that way. At this point (at least with the LA edition, word is these are still active in many cities across the country) it's more of an IU reunion of sorts. We're all busy and have shit going on in our lives, but it's the one night a year we drop everything and make it a point to be together...and get absolutely wrecked.

The first fifth exchange I participated in was in 2006. I know because my gift was Gold Strike (knock off Goldschlager) The original rule was that no one was allowed to leave the frat house until all the bottles were finished. At that point, we drove around pledges drove us from sorority to sorority where we would sing Christmas Carols (or the Dreidel song to AEPhi...which was hilarious) until someone vomited and we were asked to leave or the girls brought us more booze.

My senior year, it just so happened that two of my good pals received 2 of the 3 ingredients for the legendary see ya shot. Wouldnt you know it? I had the third. I also had a 5am flight to Chicago for an interview the next morning. Fortunately when I got pulled over outside IND at 3:45, I told the officer about my interview and he wished me luck. (I had slept from 12-3...I'm sure I was fine)

After graduation, it was important to me to keep the tradition going. From 2009-2011 we kept the tradition going in Chicago, adding a roasting element to the mix. A lot of people were given Mt. Gay Rum that year, because what is more funny than calling one of your best buds gay?

Then I moved to LA and the current iteration was started. Our first year we had 8 guys in a condo in Marina Del Rey. I finished my Jack Honey and passed out while the rest of my friends got trapped in an elevator for 3 hours and were rescued by the jaws of life...passing out early sometimes has its perks.

So again the time of year is upon us. We will all dress up in our wittiest Christmas sweaters (over under on reindeer sex is at 10) and wait upstairs for the signal. Once Santa arrives we will all sprint downstairs and wait for Vender the Jewish Christmas elf to hand out our presents one by one. Mind you girls will not be allowed at this point. Just 30 dudes and some buffalo dip. (You're all welcome)

Once we have all opened our gifts, guessed our secret Santa and taken a celebratory photo for history's sake, the madness will begin.

We'll all start drinking our bottles of booze straight and with ice because obviously no one thought to get mixers or maybe a few beers. We'll talk about how this is awesome and we should all hang out more and we'll promise to do so, but we won't because it gets harder as you grow older.

Friends, girls, girlfriends, side pieces, wives will begin to show up and one of them will have had the wherewithal to bring a case of Red Bull and we will set in for a night of aggressive debauchery. Maybe we'll storm to Townhouse? Maybe we'll sit on the roof and smoke cigarettes, I suppose it doesn't matter. Classic Christmas carols will fade into Mariah Carey which will inevitably fade into there an EDM Christmas album yet? I would totally buy it. Some will call it as early as 12, some will watch the sun rise and tomorrow somewhere on San Miguel there will be about 30 half empty bottles of booze and a lingering smell of...well something.

Some will wake up and do the Santa Monica Christmas 10k, some will immediately resume drinking and head to Santa Crawl on Main Street and we will all pick up the pieces Sunday and start to pack for our trips home.

I love Christmas, I love the lights, the sweaters, the festivities, the food, the gifts but most importantly the time with friends and family. I live far away from my actual family, so in a way my friends have become that for me, and of course I get to spend time with my parents and brother next week which will be fantastic. But what I'm most thankful for as the Holidays rapidly approach, is a month in which I get to celebrate life and the people I chose to spend mine with.

Happy Holidays everyone, I hope you enjoy these next few weeks as much as me and I hope Santa brings you everything you wanted this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ranking the Whole Foods dining options

While Vice is telling you to grow up* and Gawker asks if old Benedict is getting ass fucked hard enough in his new Oscar contender, I am still here for you.

Yes while others will deride my beautiful Starbucks lover** for being Racist and some will demand you experience Frozen through a queer lens;*** I am here to promote the classic post-frat perspective that you have come to love (or hate) and as I imagine my readers don't give a fuck about the feminist perspective on Gone Girl or the ethics of Serial,**** I decided to pick something my largely white country club, upper middle class (raised) city dwelling followers DO have a passion for...the meal ready food options at Whole Foods!

* But big ups to that guy for introducing me to the phrase "quartering grams" which I'm pretty sure is what I spent 2009-2011 doing

** I know those aren't the right fucking words but it makes me laugh thinking of someone writing a "Taylor Swift is racist because she only dates the traditional Starbucks customer" column. Seriously we're that close to someone calling Taylor a racist simply because she doesn't publicly fuck rappers like she was a Kardashian.

*** One of their arguments is "Elsa's dress doesn't become fabulous until she sings 'Let it Go.' Seriously.

**** Jay's last name is Wilds and I don't give a fuck if you find his Facebook and spam him, because he's a bitch and a liar and I know that piece of shit did it.

Ok, if you aren't squirming too much at my politically incorrect sentiment read on...wait let me get it all out of my system.

I drank red wine and ate popcorn while watching the Ferguson riots on my 12 foot TV.

Ok now we can continue.

WHOLE FOODS. It's the best right? I mean given my income or lack thereof I should probably be shopping at Smart and Final or Ralph's at best. But going to Whole Foods makes me feel good about myself. It's cool, it's fun. It's a fucking scene. I might see a girl I banged once and she'll think, "You know what, maybe I don't regret it THAT much. I mean this guy shops at Whole Foods, he clearly has his shit together. Maybe I'll fuck him again."

That of course is a lie. I do not have my shit together. I go to Whole Foods to grab dinner and bottles of wine that cost $3.50. But no one knows that. Maybe I go there and pick out organic ingredients for a meal I read about on Pinterest. You don't know that I'm there for the dollar tacos on Tuesday only. Sometimes I roll to WF after shamefully picking up some paper towels or batteries at the dollar store. God I hope I never see any past lovers in the 99 cent store, that would be about as bad as running into one at the free HIV test clinics.

But I digress, the point is, there are lots of meal options when you go to Whole Foods, it's almost like a college food court but significantly nicer and nothing is free. That said, I have sampled all of the food options at the #SWPL mecca and today I shall rank them for you. I know, doing God's work here, thank me later.

9. Vegan Grill

8. Sushi bar
I briefly dated a chick that was all about Whole Foods sushi, but the reality is, it just isn't any good. I like the idea of Whole Foods having excellent sushi. It's a great meal option when you want something a little light, or need an excuse to gorge on Pinot Grigio...but WF sushi is a watered down substitute for the far superior Sugarfish. I typically only get this when I am going to the pier concerts and I want to impress a bunch of chicks. "OHHHH YOU PACKED WHOLE FOODS SUSHI AS A SNACK? YOU'RE SO FANCY." Then later at Big Dean's when I ask her if we can go bang it out in one of their port-o-potties I lose all sushi credibility. But ya, pass on the sushi bar.

7. The Sandwich Shop
I don't know man, I just don't get it. If I want a hot sandwich it's 5 dollar foot long all day. If I want a cold sandwich, I dunno, I go to a sandwich place? I never crave cold cuts, I think they're stupid. When I wanted a snack when I was a kid, I didn't make my self a roast beef sandwich. If all we had was cold roast beef, I would just eat a handful of it because I'm gross. I am not the target market for a 12 dollar "artisan" sandwich. Probably because I don't really do toppings. Maybe the arugula is dope at Whole Foods and that's what people are all about. I really only pay 12 dollars for a picnic style sandwich if I'm at the Malibu Country Mart on my way to Malibu Wines and want to impress a chick. "OHHHH YOU TOOK ME TO AN OLD SCHOOL COUNTRY MART TO GET A SANDWICH? YOU'RE SO FANCY." Then later after bottle 3 at MW when I ask her if she wants to go bang it out in a port-o-potty I lose all sandwich credibility. I'm noticing a pattern.

6. Stir Fry Bar
The first time I got a Teriyaki Bowl at Whole Foods I accidentally dumped an entire bottle of garlic salt in the bowl. I still ate it, but you know, it was pretty shitty. I ordered another one tonight and I think the bowl with a half pound of garlic salt was significantly better. I went dark meat tonight though, I didn't want to shell out the extra 30 cents for all white. Maybe that's on me. The truth is, I don't eat a massive variety of food, so if I have already had a burger, some pizza and some tacos (and choked down a heavily dressed salad) in a 48 hours, there isn't much left in my repertoire so I default to something meh like a Teriyaki bowl. Flame Broiler has a much better Teriyaki Bowl than Whole Foods. So does that one place in Westwood, and if you truck all the way out there you get to reward yourself with some Diddy Riese (ice cream sandwiches) Fun fact, my first year in LA I mobbed around frat parties at UCLA with my buddy's little brother claiming to be a fifth year transfer student because I literally have no shame. I may or may not have shacked at the Kappa house on Hilgard at the age of 25.

5. Pizza Bar
The pizza at Whole Foods is fine. There is much better pizza, much closer to me, but if you really want to be a fat ass the full pizza for 10 bucks deal is pretty solid. I mean not as solid as having Domino's bring you 2 mediums and chicken kickers for 15 bucks, but whatever. What I quickly want to do is use this space though to take one position (on of very few) that I feel passionately about. There is a time and a place for NY pizza, I will concede that, but if you unilaterally hate Chicago deep dish, FUCK YOU WITH A FUCKING SCALDING PIKE. Literally, there was a scene in the first season of The Tudors where they tortured a heretic with a burning spike. They jammed it up some chick's ass. Ok that's too much. I wish you no ill will. Maybe just give it another shot? It's really good. Ugh, now I'm going to have that visual haunt my dreams tonight. But if you need pizza in LA go with Abbots.

4. The Grill
I like the idea of The Grill more than I like it in practice. Basically the grill is like any meat department at any grocery store, but the butcher will then actually cook up your meat for you, throw in a side of fries and send you on your way. The problem is that there is like one fucking dude both taking meat orders and then doing the physical grilling. It takes about 15 minutes too long and then I start to think, maybe I should just grab some of that shitty sushi. It doesn't help that I am just staring at the beer and wine section the whole time this is happening, thinking that had I settled for a Teriyaki bowl I would be on beer number 3. There is funny enough a bar in this section. I aspire to some day plan in advance a trip to Whole Foods. I will attend a beer tasting, I will sample some cheese, I will relax while the grillmaster slow cooks a slab of ribs for me. I've always wanted to sit at the bar at Whole Foods, but for some reason, I've never had the courage There's always like some distinguished looking gentlemen sitting there and I don't want to impose. Some day. That's when I'll know I have my shit together.

3. Hot Bar/Cold Bar
Can't beat an original right? The Hot Bar/Cold Bar is fucking money. Want some Kale? WHICH OF THE FIVE KINDS? Feeling like some chicken curry, some mashed potatoes and some baby greens? Fuck it, you are your own boss. Mix and match homey and only 7 bucks a pound on Wednesdays. I always find myself asking what is the best value when you are paying by the pound. I feel like your traditional side items are the "bad value" items. Mashed potatoes and pasta salad are delicious, but heavy. Whereas do you know how much spinach you can jam in that box and stay under 10 bucks? Hint: It's a fuck ton. Thus I would imagine some sort of salad with a meat is your best bet. One time I was loading up on mac and cheese (bad value item) and the power went out. And you know what happened? Nothing. The power stayed out for 10 minutes, people waited for it to come back on, paid for their groceries and went about their day. That's when I knew the gentrification of Venice was complete.

2. Smoothie Bar
The smoothie bar at Whole Foods is dope. I rarely go, because by the time I get to Whole Foods I have typically already eclipsed by 10 dollar daily budget of Starbucks/Smoothies. But on the rare occasion I haven't, their variation of the strawberry/banana/apple smoothie always brings a shit eating grin to my face. Nothing to see here everyone, just a WASPY guy doing WASPY things.

1. Taco Bar
Oh god, I love it so much. Did you know that some people don't like cilantro? But it's not their fault, they are genetically engineered to think it tastes like ass. I pity those people. I imagine natural selection will kill them off eventually, but it's sad that they will never know the joy of pounding 6 street tacos with chicken tinga, cilantro, onion and XXX salsa. But even if you aren't there on Taco Tuesday...the Boardwalk and Westsider are hearty options any day of the week and they borrow names from the local culture (AWOL bitch!) and take a bit of the pretentious sting away from visiting a premium grocer. I love everything about the place down to the tacomasters, like most of them call me "homey" and comment on my beer selection. The slightly overweight but face so pretty I can get past it chick always smiles at me like I'm her favorite customer. Seriously they should have a tip jar, I would be offering gratuity like I was spending my parents' money and wanted the Kilroy's bartenders to like me.

And there you have it...8ish dining options from Whole Foods Market. They even take Apple Pay now so you can use your iPhone 6 and be a total douche. (Extra douche points if the person behind you is using EBT/food stamps or you ask your cashier what their tattoos mean) Grab a Kombucha on your way out and listen to some NPR on the way home. It's ok to enjoy the "basic" things in life.