Friday, May 19, 2017
Since the beginning of time, there have been assholes.
That is why boat shoes exist, that is why male 5 inch inseam shorts exist, it is why certain shades of the color pink exist, and of course it is why Fiji exists.
Every person that ever joined a fraternity or threw on a pair of jean shorts ironically did it for one reason: to be an asshole.
Sure there are other reasons to do these things, they're fun, they're silly, but the root of it is "I want to look like a rich dick that doesn't have a care in the world."
I know this because I am an asshole. My 'on this day' in Facebook reminds me of this every day. Let's look at today May 19th.
First picture: Me shotgunning a beer with three hot chicks! I'm wearing a Michigan MBA shirt even though I didn't go to Michigan. Also, this is an overhead shot, that means I made someone climb a flight of stairs and choreograph this photo shoot. What a dick!
The next photo is of me wearing a pink polo shirt and a white backwards Lacoste hat. Classic frat look! But you know what? I'm going to tell you a little secret about my obsession with the color pink. I don't really love it that much, I just love what it says about me. "YES I CAN PULL OFF PINK ALSO I'M GRADUATING COLLEGE WITHOUT DEBT, SUCK IT!"
So all this said; I get it.
I understand why male rompers are a thing.
It's because there are a lot of kids on the east coast, the Midwest and at USC that have trust funds overflowing with more cash than they know what to do with. Dressing like an idiot has always been fun, that's why costume parties exist, but only a true asshole can throw several hundred dollars at something he will likely only wear once and then shove it in the back of his closet with his Kappa Kapture and Tri Delt Arrest shirts.
Every year there is a onesie bar crawl in Hermosa and while most people buy a 15 dollar piece of shit from Target there is a small subset of people that will drive to Beverly Hills and get a $400 onesie from 'The Onesie Store.' This is the world we live in and it's why LaVar Ball's stupid shoes were a hit and it's why these guys already bought millions of dollars of free press and why these BROmpers will be backordered until Homecoming.
If we are willing to accept that Romphim's will become a thing, the next logical leap is to try to define when it might be socially acceptable to wear one. Fortunately, I've had a lot of time to think about this, and I believe I've figured it out.
A Random Friday Night
So let's say there is like a poorly planned Bachelor party and you have 10 homies in LA, but like the groom's half step brother did a terrible job and didn't get you guys a reservation for dinner, didn't call ahead to get a table at a bar and didn't even organize a pregame. (Go ahead and let your brother be your best man if you must, but let your best friend plan the bachelor party)
So now you're at an apartment calling Chin Chin on Sunset seeing how quickly they can seat a group of 10 and you're thinking to yourself, Jesus this is the worst Bachelor party ever...until that is, you remember that you have TEN MALE ROMPERS. You issue one to each of your friends, even though they protest. You look like absolute buffoons, but you demand that everyone wear one anyway. You get to Chin Chin and the host is so confused that he seats you right away. To dress so hip and gender fluid there must be a celebrity among you. The chef comps two bottles of Sake and you guys are well on your way to getting shitfaced. After dinner you head down the street and are able to talk your way into Soho House. Your night ends when a female in a romper asks you if you want to go back to her place and talk about how practical rompers are as clothing.
A Random Saturday
So let's say it's the day after the poorly planned Bachelor party. You wake up in bed at girl romper's house and struggle to figure out a way to pee in the morning because you are still wearing your male romper. You get a phone call from a friend who is at a pool party at The Standard Hotel in downtown LA. He just ordered a bottle and he needs you to help him come drink it.
"I'll be there in a couple hours, I need to head home and change out of this male romper," you say.
"No way man, you need to be here in 20 minutes or I'm calling someone else."
So anyway, you decide you don't want to miss out and order an Uber to the Standard. On the way your Pakistani driver tries to figure out if you are trans or not. He keeps saying 'no I mean it's cool that you like to dress like a girl, you just don't seem like the type.' You aren't sure if that is offensive or not so you bite your lip and finally arrive at the hotel. There is a massive line to get to the pool party but you sheepishly walk up to the doorman and say, 'hey my friend has a table...' This never works, but when he sees your attire he assumes you are not one to be trifled with and sends you right up. Your buddy and the girls can't believe that you arrived unshowered and in a male romper, but one of them is so impressed with your confidence that she decides that it's fate and that the four of you must get a room for the night and party at the hotel all day. Fun ensues.
A Random Sunday
So let's say you were to wake up in The Standard Hotel in LA and realized that you were laying in a queen sized bed with your buddy and 2 chicks even though there was a second Queen sized bed in the room when an alarm on your phone goes off.
"WEDDING TODAY AT NOON"
Fuck! You forgot that you had a wedding today in Silverlake! Who gets married on a Sunday? The girl must have poor parents. You glance at your watch and realize it's 11:30 and Silverlake is about a 15 minute uber away, you'll never make it.
But...it is the East Side. And girls wear dresses to weddings. And rompers are kinda like dresses. And the wedding is in a park with a recovering heroin addict who was certified online officiating. FUCK IT WEAR THE ROMPER.
So you get to the wedding and there are of course a few chuckles but then the groom's mother compliments you on how fashion forward you are. she tells you about how it was always her dream to go to FIDM but then she got knocked up after a crazy party in the hills and decided to marry the guy because he was a wealthy producer. This makes you feel weird because this is your buddy's mom, but then she introduces you to her niece 'an artist.
The niece is extremely unimpressed with you at first because she knows 'guys like you.' But when you begin to tell her the story and how it is all a strange coincidence that this went down and if YOU would have been in charge of planning the original bachelor party none of this would have happened blah blah blah...she starts saying things like it was written in the stars, she accuses you of being a Leo and even though you are an Aquarius you just go with it. You start making out at the reception at Los Globos and guess what, you aren't going to make it home tonight either.
A Random Monday
So let's say you woke up in an Echo Park studio on a pullout couch with your buddy's cousin and you realize you don't have time to shower or change before work. You've been wearing this romper for four fucking days now, but I guess it's worked out so far.
You get to work and your social justice warrior boss incorrectly thinks that you are wearing this new look to speak out against injustice on those who are marginalized. You just go ahead and roll with it. Ya, and also because I like the pockets, you think to yourself.
All your coworkers sneer at you because they can tell from your smell that you are actually wearing this because you got drunk in it yesterday and never made it home, alas your boss invites you to a film premiere with her that night. Your boss is kinda hot but she's 40, divorced and has a child. After the premiere you go back to her place in the hills and hook. It's super weird, but she tells you before bed that she is leaving town in the morning and that you don't have to go into the office the rest of the week.
A Random Tuesday
So let's say you woke up in a Hollywood Hills castle after having sex with your boss and didn't have to work the rest of the week. You ubered back to Venice where you would finally get to take off this God Forsaken romper but you get a call from your buddy that works at Google and he tells you he rented a boat and it's leaving the Marina in 20 minutes. With no time to change you divert your driver to dock 52 in Marina Del Rey and proceed to party on a boat all day.
No one on the boat looks at you funny because they are all totally rich dicks that probably own multiple male rompers as well. You have a good time, but the renter of the boat drunkenly demands the captain take you to Catalina. When you come out of your blackout, there is a group of 12 of you checking into a hotel on Catalina Island. You are never going to home.
A Random Wednesday
So let's say you woke up on Catalina Island in a hotel and there was a note from your buddy on the bedside table. "Sorry had to get back for work, here's a hundred bucks to get home."
You walk into Avalon admiring the sights and eventually find a ferry going to Newport. You figure you can call an uber or rent a car when you get there.
Upon arriving in Newport you are spotted by a bunch of bros on vacation. And guess what! They are all wearing male rompers too. They insist you join them on a bar crawl up Balboa Island. You don't really have anything better to do or have a ride back to LA, so you say fuck it.
You have 17 margaritas at Baja Sharkeez and at least 7 servings of chips and salsa. You end up at a karaoke bar with your new friends and your last memory is singing 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' on a stage with 8 grown men...all wearing rompers.
A Random Thursday
So let's say you woke up on a couch in Culver City. Wait what? How did we get to Culver City?
"I drove. Oops!" It's one of the guys from the bar crawl in Newport. You scold him for driving drunk, he apologizes, says he was feeling overly confident because of the romper. You understand.
You are finally able to get an Uber back to Venice. You walk in your apartment and your roommates are shocked to see you alive, they haven't heard from you since the botched Bachelor party on night one.
"Where the fuck have you been?" One asks.
Um, I suppose I had a bit of an adventure...
He doesn't get it because he's a GDI from Tennessee.
"Uh, I'm gonna go to bed..."
"Nonsense, it's the first pier concert tonight in Santa Monica, we're starting the pregame now. Also we're all dressing like idiots tonight."
Thursday, May 18, 2017
I'm not sure why people deliver bad news on a Friday...
There is the joke in Office Space that firing people on a Friday makes it less likely that an 'incident' will occur. But I disagree. Because by firing someone on a Friday you not only take away their job, you commit the treacherous act of ruining their weekend.
Honestly, if I'm dreading an email or a voicemail that I receive on a Friday, I just won't look at it until Monday thus creating a Schrodinger's cat situation. My life is simultaneously fine and in shambles, allowing me to get drunk with my friends without the chance of remembering some terrible news and becoming sad.
Almost all corporations dump bad news on Friday.
The TV show that I was supposed to write on got scrapped on a Friday and then this past Friday I got some more upsetting news, mere hours before I was scheduled to leave for Vegas. For the love of God, will you people let me live? Monday is going to be shit regardless, at least afford me a few hours of bliss before wrecking this illusion of happiness I have built.
Alas, on Monday I refused to get out of bed. Tuesday I crawled to the couch and watched some Netflix. But on Wednesday I woke up, took a shower and decided that I was going to climb a fucking mountain.
This is that story.
I have always been very impulsive. I used to make my mom drive me two towns over at 9pm because I decided I MUST have a haircut before school the following day and there was a barbershop in Fishers open until 10. I often get in my car and start driving without a destination in mind. It's an exciting characteristic to have, but also somewhat dangerous.
When I woke up on Wednesday and decided that I was going to climb Mt. Baldy, it was likely a foolhardy one. Two professional climbers died there just last week and I was going to jump in my car with no map, no plan, no gear and like 20 bucks.
The amount of research I had done was negligible. All I saw was "12 miles" and "extremely strenuous" and I decided I could probably do it. I base all of my 'could I do this' on the fact that I was an extremely good athlete when I was 12. I was on the best basketball, soccer and baseball teams in the city. Now despite that this was nearly two decades ago I do things like wake up and think 'maybe I'll try to run a marathon today.'
I arrived at the Manker Flats campground around noon. I had some ill fitting hiking boots, four smart waters, a turkey sandwich and some sun tan lotion. As ready as I was every going to be I set off for the San Antonio Falls trailhead.
|There were supposed to be maps in that box. There were not.|
The first two miles up the Baldy Bowl are steep but consistent. The trail wraps through Angeles National Forest. The path is mostly dirt with some rocks and it is quite narrow. I imagine someone with a heights affliction would not enjoy it much. Due to the waterfall below, lots of condensation rises to meet the path, the first mile of the hike is legit through a cloud.
|San Antonio Falls|
At about the two hour mark I arrived at the ski hut, a shelter built by back country mountaineers in the 1930's. There are picnic tables to enjoy a lunch, a hut with cots to take a rest, natural spring water and a very convenient outhouse...all at 8'300 feet. I decided to have my pitiful lunch and prepare for the final 2000' climb.
The next portion of the trail progresses over some very rocky terrain as you make your way toward a ridge that will lead you to the summit. By now I was realizing that I had probably bit off a bit more than I could chew, but I was inspired by retirees that I saw on the path. I stopped and chatted with a few of them. Many were concerned about my lack of trekking sticks or a coat, or a map, or a GPS. Several insinuated it might be best if I turned around but as I shared the purpose of my mission they cheered me on.
When bad things happen in life, it's easy to get sad...to wallow in misery and contemplate if the world is conspiring against you. I cannot control certain external forces in my life, how someone feels about me, how I am perceived, but I can control my body. At this juncture in my life it is one of the few things that I have absolute dominion over, so despite the pain I may feel, every step I take is a small victory in my mind.
Once across the ridge there is a deep forest section in which one would expect lots of switchbacks but this is not the case. Instead a brutal 40 degree incline awaits. I took many breaks, sometimes to admire the scenery, sometimes to make sure my heart was not on the verge of exploding.
Fortunately, this is the part of the hike that it begins to warm up a bit as I finally peaked through the clouds.
That was short lived though as once you reach the treeline there is once last mile up a rocky ridge, I've never moved slower in my life.
|View before the final climb|
I had planned to take the Devil's backbone trail down the mountain after my summit, but I met some locals on my last jaunt to the top and they strongly advised against it due to high winds and my lack of gear. Devil's backbone is an exposed ridge only about 4 feet wide with perilous drops on either side, this is where most people that hike baldy meet their demise. I was happy to take the strangers' advice.
Around 3:30 I reached the summit of Mt. San Antonio. Exhausted I collapsed onto a little rock hut and took a well deserved nap.
At 10,000 feet it was quite cold and windy, but I did have time to snap a few photos.
I promise on this next one the blue steel was quite unintentional.
Shout out to this homie for keeping me company during my nap in my rock fort.
His name was Chip and we kicked it for a solid 20 minutes before I headed down.
I saw a few people heading down when I was on the way up and they warned me that going down might be tougher than ascending.
I figured this might be due to fatigue or the physical muscles in our legs used for descending are rarely used and thus much weaker, but what I found to be the most difficult part of the climb down was keeping the trail. I became lost many times and if it weren't for some hero with a spray paint can I would surely be stuck on Baldy Ridge at this moment.
I made it back to base camp around 5:30 and though I had planned to camp and spend the night I realized that I had enough energy to drive home and after a 10 mile hike I might be best off spending the night in a bed.
One last stop on the way out of town though, the Mt. Baldy lodge. I cannot recommend this place enough, great atmosphere, delicious IPAs and a small town vibe. Mt Baldy as a village is actually very much like a tiny Big Bear. There are beautiful log cabin mansions and a fun local isolated mountain feel. I can't wait to go back on a summer weekend.
As a final note, I would urge those who are going through a tough time to focus on the positive. We're young and capable and there is a large world out there. Physical achievements will always make you feel better about yourself and in the grand scheme of things, I'm probably not going to remember years from now the time something shitty happened at work, but I will never forget this Baldy panoramic. Cheers and thanks for reading!
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
I've never viewed a scene in television or film that hit me like the last five minutes of Master of None's 'The Dinner Party."
Viewing in my bed, I touched the screen of my iPad assuming the credits were about to roll, but I was wrong. There were five full minutes left.
I didn't understand, the episode had reached its logical conclusion. The taxi door closed, the girl was gone. Sure the character of Dev was already replaying in his head everything that happened that night, different choices he could have made that could have led to different outcomes; but the cab was moving, the night was over. It wasn't until about 30 seconds in that I realized, 'my God, they are going to show us his entire cab ride home as he sits in contemplative silence, with a ping of regret washing over him.'
This is why Master of None is the best show currently on television. It has finally figured out a way to portray our generation's experience without being insufferable.
Full disclosure, I expected to hate Master of None. I was never a huge fan of Human Giant and I found Aziz's most famous character of Tom Haverford on Parks and Rec to be a little too 'extra' (that's what the kids say now, right?) Add that to the fact that Master of None is another show that glamorizes New York in an unrealistic way and I fully expected this to be another Girls rip-off with a slightly more likable and diverse cast.
I've never been more thrilled to be wrong.
The first season of Master of None (Co-created by Ansari and Alan Yang) focused on the lives of a diverse group of moderately successful thirtysomethings in New York City, an exhaustingly familiar premise. But while the show did focus on the pangs of getting older and navigating relationships, it was often at its best when it did something completely different, famously displayed in the episode 'parents' in which Dev and a fellow first generation American have their lives juxtaposed against their immigrant parents. It is fantastic.
The second season (so far, I'm only through episode six) has focused more on the uncertainty of growing up, but while a similar set show like the dearly departed Girls might seem whiny, Master of None does a wonderful job at conveying these same emotions in the moments of silence.
It is hard to discuss feelings. Dating is awkward. It is difficult to reconcile career ambitions with creative fulfillment.
Season 2 opens in a gorgeously shot episode in Italy, displayed in black and white entitled "The Thief" an obvious homage to Vittorio De Sica's classic 'Bicycle Thieves.' That's just not something a season 2 show could traditionally do until the advent of streaming services. Sure Sunny has experimented with some weirdness lately, gimmicky episodes were no stranger to the family sitcoms of the 90's, but the idea of the 11th episode of a series deciding to say 'FUCK IT' and go shoot two episodes in a small Italian village show the the risks that the show is willing to take.
The show still has flaws. Everyone magically has enough money to live in a roomy loft in Manhattan, people seem to go out on four hour, three location dates every night. That's not my New York experience. I am accustomed to sleeping on an air mattress in the laundry room and drinking 40's out of brown bags in Union Square.
But the show is grounded. Instead of something like Broad City that is screaming at you GIRLS ARE JUST AS GROSS AS GUYS this show will put forth a similar message with enhanced subtlety: the Tindering at dinner, the jar of condoms on the bedside table, the Indian girl that wanted to talk about Summer Slam and Mortal Kombat Annihlation all night!! These are characters sure, but I know them in my real life.
There is a jarring scene early in the second season's run that features a quote from Sylvia Plath in which she discusses a fig tree as a metaphor for life's decisions. I'll paraphrase but every branch of the tree was a different life she could have lived, and while she wanted them all simultaneously, certain paths or branches died off.
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked..."We can't have every possible future that could have awaited us, but that will never stop us from wondering what could have been?
The existential crisis plaguing Dev at the season's halfway point is one I am all too familiar with. He's developed feelings for someone that maybe he shouldn't, so what does he do? Does he complain about it to his diverse collection of friends? Or does he tell her the truth?
I dunno man, I guess this is growing up.
Friday, May 12, 2017
"I know I should be thinking about Mum all the time, and I am. But the truth is, I'm in love..."
These are the words of tiny Jojen Reed in the movie 'Love Actually' discussing that despite the fact that his mom just died, all he can think about is hooking up with the cute ethnically ambiguous girl in class.
This is kind of how I feel about the state of the country right now. I care. I really do. I care about health care and Russia and all that shit, but the truth is I just care about something else MORE than the state of our country...
The Friday night slot of Lollapalooza.
Yes, the biggest decision facing Millenials this year is not job related, it has nothing to do with wedding venue, it is completely apolitical. The largest choice awaiting you my friends is which end of Grant Park to stand on at 8 o clock on August 4th.
Hi, I'm Dave and I'm a huge fan of Blink 182.
I'm also Dave, and I ride for The Killers.
In the next couple thousand words or so we'll break down the pros and cons of each band and hopefully help you make a decision on which group to check out at Lolla...
...but honestly you'll probably be so gonged out of your mind by 8pm that you'll just want to go to the Perry's tent and look at a bunch of strobelights.
Ok let's start with the tale of the tape.
Origin: Poway, CA 1992
Genre: Pop Punk
Studio Albums: 7; 2 number ones
Top 10 Singles: 1 (US Alt: 14)
Fun Fact: I once went streaking at a Blink 182 show
Origin: Las Vegas, NV 2001
Genre: Alternative Rock
Studio Albums: 4
Top 10 Singles: 1 (US Alt: 8)
Fun Fact: I beat When You Were Young on expert in Guitar Hero 2 at 100%
Ok, I'm going to start things off here by asking why exactly we are comparing these bands? Sure there is some overlap as they both play in the alternative space, but one of these is a 90's California punk band, while the other is more of a new wave act out of Vegas in the aughts.
Have you ever seen a white girl belt out the words to Mr. Brightside at a dive bar? Have you seen a 32 year old man scream 'WELL I GUESS THIS IS GROWING UP!" even though his parents had three children by the time they were his age?
Ok so what you're saying is we compare these bands because they both made music that was deeply important to upper middle class kids that were born in the 80's?
Ok, I suppose that's fair. Go ahead and make your opening argument.
Thank you. I would like to open by saying that this is an absolutely indefensible failing by the Lollapalooza planning committee. How the fuck can you pit the two best rock bands of the past 20 years against each other. It's almost like the event planners wanted to upset the people that were in fraternities 10 years ago. Who gives a fuck about Arcade Fire? What is a Rae Sremmund. Are they the idiots that gave us those insufferable mannequin challenge videos?
First of all, calling Blink 182 and The Killers the two best rock bands of the last 20 years is...bold. Second, as much as it pains me to tell you this, Goldenvoice (or whoever promotes Lolla now) probably isn't concerned with the musical tastes of a 30something. In fact neither group has had a hit in 10 years, they're lucky to be getting headlining spots. Also: scheduling. Blink and The Killers didn't cancel their entire tours because some kid from California was visiting Chicago for the weekend.
How dare you disparage Blink and The Killers by insinuating they are washed up.
I didn't say...just make your case.
Fine. Hot Fuss is a perfect album and Blink 182 is only 2/3 of a band now that Tom left. 100% of The Killers is better than 66.6% of Blink 182. The current incarnation of Blink 182 is basically a Blink 182 cover band.
That's ridiculous. Tom was a cancer and ruined half of the prime of a great American band by being a diva.
Without Tom we never get Angels and Airwaves and Box Car Racer.
Oh whatever, +44 was better than both of those bands and Blink has ALWAYS been Mark's band. Your campaign built on tearing me down is going to fail just like Hilary's did. You have to make the case FOR your group not against mine. As such, this is why one should go see Blink 182 on Friday instead of the killers. Blink 182 has 7 albums and 24 singles as well as over 25 years of material. They have gone platinum 10 times. Along with Green Day, they were the sound of an entire generation. Songs like 'Dammit' came to be the anthems of adolescents. The Killers had a couple fun albums.
Oh ya? How many times did Blink 182 play on the OC?
Oh whatever, they played season 2. I forget is that when Marissa was going through her lesbian phase or when she shot Ryan's brother?
I think both of those happened season 2...
See you don't even remember. OC performance invalid.
Fine. While I will concede that Blink 182 has a longer history than The Killers, I would argue that The Killers are more prolific churning out 30 singles in just 4 albums and 16 years. That means they have a higher batting average than your beloved California punks, and I would reiterate that on all 30 of those singles you will hear THE ORIGINAL VOCALIST. Mark was just one of the two lead singers of Blink 182. Seeing Blink now would be like going to an Eagles show after the death of Gelnn Frey.
Whoa too soon man. And enough of this original lead singer garbage. Have you seen Journey lately? That little Filipino kid is arguably better than Steve Perry. Furthermore, what is your obsession with singles? Don't you appreciate a good deep cut? You know what song wasn't ever a single? RECKLESS ABANDON. That song fucks. Even your beloved Killers had Jenny was a Friend of Mine. Also not a single.
That is fair criticism. So let's throw out singles. I'm assuming that means we can throw out chart performance too?
Oh I see you want to conveniently slide past the fact that Blink has two number one albums and The Killers have precisely zero.
Hey you can't have it both ways. Singles are an exercise in mainstream popularity, one could argue commercial performance is as well.
Fine. We'll throw out sales, charts and awards.
Oh? You want to set aside The Killers' SEVEN Grammy nominations vs Blink 182's ONE?
They both have zero wins. Also awards are bought and paid for by labels, awards aren't very punk.
Well if we can't argue about sales, chart performance or awards...what is left?
Make your best 12 song set list...10 and a 2 song encore, that's probably about the length of a Lolla spot, right?
Easy. Hot Fuss...all 11 songs of it. And then When You Were Young.
That's bullshit. You can't use a gimmick. 'Killers play Hot Fuss' will grab headlines.
You're just jealous because Brandon Flowers is the most captivating front man in music and Mark is just an old man now.
Brandon Flowers is a Mormon and therefore not a rock star. I like my lead singers to drink alcohol and have premarital sex.
That's a low blow. But fine, if I can't just play Hot Fuss I'll do something like this...
1. Jenny was a Friend of Mine
2. Somebody Told Me
3. Read My Mind
4. Smile Like You Mean It
5. Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll
8. On Top
10. Mr. Brightside
11. When You Were Young
12. All These Things That I Have Done
Wow, I did get a little hard for those last 3. You started and ended very strong, but I think you were trying too hard in the middle. Lots of Day and Age. A non-single from Hot Fuss. You're all over the place.
You think you can do better?
What's My Age Again, Dick Lips, Untitled, Voyeur, Pathetic, Adam's Song, Peggy Sue, Wendy Clear, Carousel, All The Small Things, Mutt, Dammit, Man Overboard.
That is literally just the last 12 songs of their live album The Enema Strikes Back.
Nice, I was just testing you. Here we go.
2. The Rock Show
3. What's My Age Again
4. Adam's Song
5. Stay Together for the Kids
6. All the Small Things
7. Man Overboard
8. First Date
9. I Miss You
11. Feelin This
12. Reckless Abandon
That is strong. I mean nothing from the last two albums but strong.
Bask in it.
That was not an admission of failure, I just said that was a concert I would see.
So how are we going to determine a winner?
Well the hotter chicks will be at The Killers. We can agree on that right? The last time Blink had a real hit was 2004.
I concede that there will probably be hotter chicks at The Killers.
OK so that's a win for me, right?
Wait a second.
So DJ Snake ALSO plays at 8:30 on Friday night. Right?
And Bieber begins his worldwide tour August 5th in Los Angeles. Right?
So you are suggesting that we go to the DJ Snake set on the off chance that Bieber comes out and does a couple songs IN CHICAGO on the eve of his world tour?
Fuck ya, I'm in.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Nine years ago it was a Sunday afternoon in Florence, Italy and I walked to my school so I could write this. It is a short and somewhat amusing tale of my last trip during study abroad. A trip in which I defied my parents and flew to Dublin on the last weekend of my trip even though my college fund was gone.
(LPT: If your grandparents leave you a sizable 'college fund' stay in state, study abroad and your college fund becomes a trust fund)
The story talks about how my friends and I talked our way into a few bars, struck out with an Irish Bachelorette party and all had to leave the bar at one point or another to vomit. Also, I manage to do it in a couple hundred words, not these 20 minute diatribes I go on now.
If you go a few days further in my old blog, you will find a post called the 25th Hour in which I struggled to reconcile my feelings about coming home. The writing is pretty pitiful (lots of talk about buying bottles and lording at bars) but was an interesting snap shot of what I prioritized at the time.
I was excited to come home and see some friends. Pumped to grab a beer in Broad Ripple (gross) and go to the Indy 500. I was full of hope because of a summer in Lincoln Park and a Senior Year that I expected to be phenomenal (it was!) But also there were the doubts that I feel to this day. Is this it? I leave this adventure, graduate college and begin the rest of my life. Is that it? Sure there is always a nagging sense of melancholy, especially after 6 months halfway across the world, on a hedonistic voyage of debauchery with 9 of your best friends.
I realize now, nearly a decade later that what meant the most to me then, still matters the most to me now; shared experiences with people I care about. So why then am I happiest when traveling, even if it's alone? Why do I feverishly check Scott's Cheap Flights before I get out of bed even though there are exciting events waiting for me here in the present in Los Angeles?
What am I looking for on a trip...
Is it stories? Do I want to have a fleeting 2 night stand with a woman who doesn't speak English on the whim that we will fall madly in love, have international children and live out our days in Portugal or something? Do I really want a Richard Linklater film for a life?
Or do I want the bender with a bunch of Aussies that I met in a hostel? Friendships so brief, yet impactful that they burn a presence into my soul for eternity.
Maybe it's the freedom of escape. Hopping on a bird and flying to another world 12 hours away reminds us that no matter how daunting the present reality seems, we are only ever two clicks away from destroying our current circumstances in favor of a new experience. Sure it may drain the bank account and compound the problems upon return, but for a brief moment we can be happy and forget about everything that's wrong.
But mainly, I think the burning desire deep within me that fuels this curiosity is the same thing that has pushed explorers since the beginning of time: knowledge. What's it like out there? I can see a post card, listen to your story, watch a film, but until I'm there in the thick of it, it might as well be a fiction.
I look back at my the wishful desires of a 21 year old kid with his whole life ahead of him...
On the dawn on my exodus back to the States, I find an unsettling disturbance in the things to come. What do I have to look forward to but work and paying for gas? Then again there is the Indy 500, Cathedral people, Chicago, Chipotle, my family, Boo Boo, Kilroys, Ripple, Lincoln Park...ok I guess I'm ready. But what about Central Park, Maracana, elementary level classes, 30 minute walks, The Oil Shoppe, Twice, my fat bachelor pad, daily doses of gorgeous east coast girls...ok well, lets just say a favorable ratio. I'm going to miss it all. Buying bottles like I had money and drinking 6 nights a week will be hard to give up...but it's almost over.These were the words of an insufferable douche. Basically what I missed from America was Kilroy's and my cat; I was sad that I was leaving a Florentine nightclub that routinely booked D list hip hop acts on Wednesdays.
This however...this still rings true.
But it doesn't have to be...
I could get a job promoting clubs for the Americans studying here this summer. I could live in a Hostel and learn Italian during the day. I could just not get on my flight and stay here. I'll come back some day, well maybe. Maybe not. I stayed in North America for 21 years, I don't see why I can't rip another continent an equal amount of times. On the weekends I can RyanAir anywhere in Europe. I could completely see the world. I could probably take enough online classes to get some sort of degree from Indiana...I could meet an Italian woman and fall in love. We would get married and have lots of kids and raise them bilingually. We could live with her parents until we had enough money to get our own villa in Tuscany. It would be perfect.
It would be perfect.
I'm glad I came back, experienced Senior year, moved to Chicago, moved to LA, lived an interesting life but lately it does seem like a lot of my life has been 'work and paying for gas.' (And I don't even work the whole year) I met fantastic people that I shared a life with. But I must admit, I am starting to get itchy and the time may come that I have to run away again.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Look around your timeline and what do you see?
Oh there's Meredith taking some some time out of her daily shaming of racist Bumble bros to reenact the Sound of Music in Austria.
Kyle is posing with an especially phallic elephant trunk in Thailand and posting a trillion pictures so you will realize how skinny he has gotten.
Michelle is...well I don't know where she is, she's been traveling the world for the past 2 months. She's probably at a bar right now getting very drunk mourning the death of Rosewood.
It must be May.
Yes, one of the time honored traditions for television assistants is the international May excursion. Pilots are done, pickups are looming and production won't start for at least a few weeks. What better time to get blasted on the top bunk of an Icelandic hostel by some bro you met on your WOW air flight?
Last year I participated by going to Scandinavia, it was lit. This year I had looked at both Iceland and Colombia but then I had to push my plans because last week was supposed to be my first week as a staff writer!!!
Alas, it was not meant to be.
Anytime something shitty happens to me, I allow myself a week to be sad and then I put together the pieces and head back to the drawing board.
I kicked off my week of sadness strongly by burning down Venice on Cinco De Mayo and going on a truly impressive 12 hour bender on Saturday.
Now as I sit here watching the ominous weather, waiting to hear if my car will ever be fixed, furiously refreshing Deadline; I am at the part where I slowly begin to process my emotions. A shitty thing happened. I will survive. Maybe I'll watch some Handmaiden's Tale to remind myself things aren't THAT bad.
There is one more loose end to tie off before I get back into responsibility mode. One thing I forgot that I had agreed to before I had my week from hell.
We have to deal with that little Vegas trip I had planned.
I'm just going to throw this out there...Vegas is not a place one should go when the future is uncertain. Going to Colombia is more responsible than going to Vegas because you can always stay in a 5 dollar a night hostel and drink cheap booze in your room. I was in Denmark last year for 8 days and I spent $500. I once spent that in Vegas in an hour.
That said, the things that tend to make Vegas expensive are somewhat avoidable. I went there with my dad in December and we didn't spend shit, because we were making cheap bets in the sports book all day. I went back in January and spent very little because Jack is well connected. When Vegas goes south is when you try to act like somebody you're not. When you try to go Full Persian and get the table on the dance floor during Chainsmokers...
One should never go Full Persian.
Aside from the nightclub experience, the pool party during the day can get pricey, flights, hotel...
But what if you could eliminate all of that?
I mean Vegas is a place where you can openly drink on the street, right? The CVS next to Planet Hollywood has 2 dollar 40's. Hell you get free beer at TODs in Aria if you can finish them in 7 seconds. If my fraternity training gave me anything, it's the ability to quickly consume alcohol.
As the trip approached and I began to dread telling my friends I was out (I hate people that bail, I try never to do it) I had an alternate idea. What if I could do the trip for the same cost as (or less than) a normal Saturday in LA?
STEP ONE: The Uber...
You may not know this but Spirit Airlines has a 6am flight to Vegas from LAX every Saturday. No one is ever on it because who wants to fly to Vegas at 6 o clock in the morning?
It is $40.
They also have a flight that leaves Vegas for LAX every Saturday at 830pm. No one is ever on it because who wants to leave Vegas at 830pm?
It is $40.
Spirit also charges $20 each way for you to book online. It's called the passenger usage fee. No one knows this or ever takes advantage of it because...who wants to go to the airport to buy a ticket?
But what I am telling you, is it possible to get a roundtrip flight from LAX to LAS for $40 or roughly the cost of an Uber from Venice to Hollywood.
Ok but what about the other costs associated with getting to the airport? Uber? Parking?
Oh please homie...you don't know about parking on the street on Kittyhawk and walking to parking lot C?
STEP TWO: The creative pregame
A query: Could one arrive in Vegas with $100 in cash and survive the day?
Ok so let's say you could get to Vegas and back for $40. Everything is expensive AF there right? I mean what, you get to Vegas at 7:30 am, to the strip by 8? Now what?
The obvious answer is the walking pregame. The strip is cool! It's big! AND THERE IS NO OPEN CONTAINER LAW!
Get fucked up on the cheap by wandering around taking stupid pictures! Carry around a 12 pack and shotgun beers in front of local landmarks. Turn it into a game. Turn it into a Snap story.
STEP THREE: The hook up
All right full disclosure, this one takes a bit of luck. Maybe, just maybe you have a few friends staying in Vegas that weekend. After your sensational shotgun strip pregame, you wake up the boys with a bottle of vodka and in exchange they let you change into a swimsuit and leave your shit in there for the day. That's what friends are for!
But also because you know a DJ, you have a dope pool party for the squad to go to gratis.
Ya that's right. I'm talking about the hook up. It pays to be connected folks. Pregame in the hotel room, until noon...and I mean like pregame like you have never pregamed before in your life. Then you hit the pool at noon. And you just sit in that pool for the next 6 hours partying your dick off.
You have people throw you beers that you catch while jumping into the pool like you are a cast member of wild and crazy kids. You have chicken fights with women that do not speak English. Maybe you took something in the hotel room that makes you want water more than beer. I DON'T KNOW. I'm just spit balling here.
Maybe you talk to a bride to be. Maybe you kiss her. THE PHOTOS ARE INSANE.
And then at 6 o clock when the party is over? When the 100 degree sun is starting to lower in the sky?
Well, a couple choices. You can go back to that bachelorette party's room. You can go sober up in a hot tub. Maybe you get a #2 at McDonald's. Probably not enough cash at this point for In n Out, but we need to eat something. We're not trying to Beta Test that theory that drunk people aren't allowed on planes.
And then maybe you hop in an uber to the airport (uber isn't real money, we all know that) go through security and take a very miserable flight back to LA...
Or maybe you decide the 100 hundred dollar challenge is stupid and you'll worry about your problems on Sunday and you go find a five hour energy and one of those absurdly tall fruity drinks to get you ready for the night.
I don't know how this weekend plays out. But come Sunday I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and start making moves.
Eh...Monday. Monday I'll start making moves.
Monday, May 1, 2017
I've certainly said it probably a half dozen times. I said it after getting dumped by a girl, on a day with a particularly bad hangover and probably at some point during the Colts 4th quarter meltdown in Super Bowl 44. But the truth is none of those days were that bad. It's far more likely that the worst day of my life is yet to come. I haven't had to deal with the death of a parent, a sick child or even a divorce.
What follows is not a story about the worst day of my life, but something fairly shitty nonetheless.
It all started back in November, I was wrapping up season 5 on The Mindy Project and I got a call from an old friend who had been my first boss ever in Los Angeles. He was working on a pitch and just wanted to know if I could help him with some research.
Of course, I'm always happy to help.
However, what started as some research quickly turned into me and my boss writing an entire pilot in two weeks, selling it and filming a week later.
For those in the know, that schedule is preposterous. People will spend months maybe years writing a pilot and even once it is sold there is an exhaustive pre-production process before any cameras start rolling. The fact that we turned in a draft on a Friday and filmed on a Monday is simply unheard of, but as this was considered a non-union 'alternative programming' show, the rules were slightly different. The entire experience was a hurricane that I have trouble even remembering.
When it was over, my boss looked at me and said 'how about that, you got your first writing credit?'
Huh? How about that. I was finally making some sort of progress in my writing career. This entire LA experiment wasn't quite the fool's errand I had long thought it was.
"They're never going to pick it up, but hey, if they do, you've got a job."
I spent the next couple months looking for work, eating ramen noodles and watching my bank account dwindle. I had earned a pretty penny for writing the pilot, but money has a funny way of evaporating in Los Angeles.
In that time I interviewed for five jobs, going 0 for 5. I started to wonder if I would ever work again. Could I go back to The Mindy Project? Maybe, but that probably wouldn't return until July. Could I really sit on my ass for 6 months? Would I really be fulfilled just writing and going to the gym every day?
I was pulled out of my existential funk by a phone call one day bearing great news.
"They're gonna pick it up."
'What? No way!'
"Ya man, the network president loves it. Some things need to be ironed out but we're looking good."
I didn't think much of it because things have a way of going wrong for me. The other shoe always drops eventually. In the mean time I was able to jump onto a pilot working in post to at least grab a few paychecks. My dire circumstances were starting to turn around, and then one day while at my desk at Universal I got a short email.
May 1st, 1500 a week. You in?
Holy shit. It was like a real written offer...and $1500 a week? While fairly modest for a 30 year old was going to be almost double what I had ever made. I started thinking about all the ways in which my life was about to change. I was going to be a professional writer. Everything I did along the way, every mistake I made, every mistake I didn't make, well it had apparently worked out.
I started thinking about the phone call to my parents as I held back tears of joy. How to tell my dad that maybe I could pay my own cell phone bill now, how I could take him to dinner some time. I planned trips, Vegas for a birthday, Burning Man for a week. I was going to go to Spain with my mom at the end of the summer. My luck had changed and in an industry where everyone has always played a game that I refuse to play; my underlying theory of 'be a cool guy and things will work out' had proven true.
While some people may think it's incredibly hard to be a writer, I would argue it is incredibly hard to get a job as a writer. The skillset of a low level writer is negligible. Many TV staff writers don't even write, they get paid to sit around and educate the adults in the room about some Millenial slang. But I was going to be like the number 2 guy writing a weekly show on a major American network.
And it was a kids show! After years of writing this blog about hard living and poor decision making, I was going to be writing a show aimed largely at the 8-14 demo. This irony was not lost on me.
Today is May 1st. It was supposed to be the first day of my new writing career. I was going to write a really earnest Facebook status thanking everyone that helped me get here. There would have been comments from my writer friends saying things like 'I knew you would make it." "You deserve this." and maybe some jokes about how they will be working for me some day.
Alas that was not to be.
Last Friday, 10 days before my start date the other shoe dropped.
I got a call at 5 o clock telling me the show was 'delayed indefinitely.'
I didn't understand how I could be on emails from the studio asking me if I wanted them to bank some content at the ACM Awards and then have the show essentially pre-cancelled less than a month later. I heard the pain in my boss's voice from the other end of the phone. Not only had something that he had worked on every day for the last 6 months been taken away from him, I couldn't help but get the feeling that he thought he had let me down.
The day was a disaster. I ended up drinking every thing I could get my hands on and returning to my house some time around 8am on Saturday morning and then staying in bed for two days. It was like that montage in (500) Days of Summer, I refused to confront reality.
All the people I had told about my exciting new opportunity I would have to now share my pitiful tragedy with. There was denial. hey maybe it's just going to be a few weeks. There was anger man fuck these guys for waiting until a week before my start date to pull the rug out from under me and then there was acceptance. I'm not a TV writer, I'm still a shithead that gets people lunch.
I've had ups and downs before certainly, but never had I gotten this close. To compound matters, someone that I love was in the hospital with Meningitis at the time and I didn't think things could get much worse. I spent a week in my room bingeing 13 Reasons Why trying to convince myself that things weren't that bad. I mean I didn't get raped in a hot tub! But then I thought, you know, maybe I would take a hot tub raping if it would get my show on the air.
I thought about what I would do next. I considered quitting the film industry and joining the Army. I considered asking my Australian cousins if I could live with them for a year and pick berries for a year. I even thought about going back to Indiana, swallowing my pride and asking my dad to train me in the family business.
But in the end I decided to just press on.
Shitty things happen to people all the time and having my non union basic cable show taken away from me is far from the worse thing that will happen in the world today. It's annoying, I would prefer it not to have happened but it did and that's the reality that I live in. I'll work another week or so on this pilot and then I'll attempt to figure everything out, I usually do. I've always told myself that success in LA is a war of attrition, you just have to ride it out until you're the only one left standing. And in a long game like that you have to expect to take some L's along the way. And as soul crushing as this has been, I will use it to learn and hopefully grow as a person.
Yesterday was my brother's birthday and we went to the Clipper game. He's had a tough year and it was important for him to get to spend some time with his brother, even if the Clippers did completely shit the bed.
(Side note: Gordon Hayward used to be my brother's tennis doubles partner and my brother told him 'You're an idiot if you play basketball instead of tennis in college. It's not like you will ever make the NBA.' LOLLLLLLLLL)
But riding the train home with my brother after the game yesterday I realized THAT is what's important in life. Like obviously I want to make a ton of money, I want to tell people I meet at parties what cool show I'm writing on. I want to have my own apartment and drive a car that works (my axle snapped on the way to work this morning...it was just icing on the cake) but none of that matters if I don't have a great support system of friends and family with whom to share my success.
I haven't been the best person this year. I've viewed some people close to me as burdens, I've only thought about myself, I've been a pretty bad son, brother and friend. And while there isn't a whole lot I can do about my professional career at the moment, I can focus on just being a better dude. And hopefully, everything else will fall into place.
As usual my future is uncertain. Hell, there might be a writer's strike tomorrow and if that happens I may have to start selling body parts to survive. But in spite of all of this and perhaps to a fault, I remain optimistic that the future is bright. My car will get fixed, I'll probably get another job some day and my friends and family will likely still love me and that's all that really matters at the end of the day.
And you know what? Maybe I'll get into one of the writer's workshops next month and this will be the best thing that ever happened to me. But if not? Fuck it, if I'm going to struggle well into my 30s, at least I'm doing it at the beach.