panic attacks

Cascadiavania: Tsunami of the Tsorrowful

The New Yorker published an article about the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami that’s going to destroy most of the Pacific Northwest sometime in the near future. Quoting from the article, “FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million.” The tsunami’s height “will vary from twenty feet to more than a hundred feet. It will look like the whole ocean, elevated, overtaking the land. Once it reaches the shore it will be a five-story deluge of pickup trucks and doorframes and cinder blocks and fishing boats and utility poles and everything else that once constituted the coastal towns of the Pacific Northwest.”

Those were just a few excerpts that my wife read to me as I was quietly drifting to sleep the other night. “You have to read this article, but for now, let me select a few of the most horrifying scenarios and get those firmly planted in your brain. Sweet dreams, love you!” It’s all terrifying stuff. The main takeaway is that once you know the thing’s about to hit it’s already too late. Their advice was basically just run. Run where? I don’t know, somewhere that’s not the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it’s all a cunning plan to sell more Fit Bits and Couch to 5K apps… in fact, yes, let’s assume this is all a cunning plan to sell more Fit Bits and Couch to 5K apps and go over some survival techniques that FEMA doesn’t want you to know about.

It is fine. Everything is fine.

It is fine. Everything is fine.

#1 OK But Seriously, You Should Actually Just Run. And I’m not talking, oh shit McDonald’s is about to stop serving breakfast, let me trot to the front of the line and prepare to do battle with a pimply-faced clock-watching teenager. No, you need to RUN, like a Kenyan Sonic the Hedgehog being chased by a 100 foot water wall of death. FEMA advises against grabbing anything important from your house before you start your run, including photo albums, pets, that mug you really like, children, Wrestlemania tapes, spouses, old issues of Nintendo Power… NONE OF IT. Leave it all behind, but…

#2 If You Happen to Have a Gun, Now Would Be a Good Time to Maybe Grab it Just in Case.  I’m not saying the economy in the post apocalyptic Pacific Northwest is going to be bullet-based for a few years, but I’m also absolutely saying that. Also, do you know what happens when you unload a few rounds into a tsunami? Don’t say you do, because you’ve never done it. Maybe you stand on top of a mountain, slam the bullet thing into the bottom of the gun and then pull the thing on top back and line up the shot and BLAMMO. You instagib the goddamn tsunami and save the day. Or, y’know, you rob some bandits at gunpoint for a can of beans. Both equally heroic and necessary. And finally…

#3 There is No Shame in Drowning in Your Own Home, Surrounded By Your Stuff.  Hey, you had a good run. Maybe this tragedy will kickstart some new evolutionary traits. Maybe we’ll finally evolve into screaming half man / half fish bio freaks. We just don’t know. We don’t have the data. But there is plenty of data that shows mother nature is done with us, and she’s going to be crashing on your floor for a while. And in the rest of your house, too. Also inside your car and your favorite strip mall (the one with two Chipotle’s) and pretty much every place you’ve ever been. Sweet dreams, love you!

Caution this coffee is incredibly thought provoking

It only took a week, and Starbucks is already done with their Race Together campaign, where baristas were encouraged to start a conversation about race with their customers. By writing the phrase “Race Together” on your cup o’ joe, they would jumpstart a not at all awkward or complicated dialogue at 8 in the morning over the loud whirring of frothing milk. I guess they were hoping it would lead to more interaction between humans of different color. Imagine the thrill of this experience: “Honey, I talked to a black person today, and you wouldn’t believe what I learned. Have you heard of slavery? Pardon my French but it was Effed. Up.”

Public reaction to the campaign was mixed. From “why are you doing this” to “no, please don’t do this.”  And while Starbucks claims “no seriously, this was supposed to last a week, we totally planned on giving up on this idea very, very quickly,” I remain skeptical. You can’t talk about race issues in America with an overworked and underpaid person, presumably of a different race, as they wait on your impatient, white, fancy-drink craving ass. Unless of course the conversation is limited to, “Hey is it hard to be black in America?” And they reply “Yes,” and hand you your coffee.

I've got a tall flat white and questions about race for Jhlom? Is Jhlom here?

I’ve got a tall flat white and questions about race for Jhlom? Is Jhlom here?

But hey, you gave it your best shot Starbucks. This is a conversation that we all need to have, just in a less cutesy, “isn’t this fun, instead of writing your name wrong on your cup let’s have a rap session about apartheid” kind of way. But this wasn’t the worst campaign. Here are some other Starbucks conversation starters that the public wasn’t ready for:

Campaign #1 – Holocaust: Fact or Fiction? – Whoa whoa whoa hey man we’re Starbucks, we’re just asking questions here. We want our employees and customers to express themselves. What, you think anti-semites don’t treat themselves to Caramel Flan Frappuccino Blended drinks when they aren’t spreading hate propaganda? Now who’s the bigot? OK, you’re right, it’s still the anti-semites. We’re very sorry for this campaign, we don’t know what we were thinking. Please have a free pastry on us.

Campaign #2 – This is a two part question: a) Do you think if you kill someone in heaven that you’re automatically sent to hell and b) what if the person that you killed was actually an undercover minion of Satan? Admittedly it’s hard to fit all of that on a cup, so it was shortened to SECRET MINION? underlined twice. This raises many theological and moral questions. If pushed to the limit, would you kill someone in cold blood in heaven? And that’s without even getting into the logistics of how you would pull it off. But if I had to guess – razor blade angel wings.

See? These terrible and completely real examples prove that you should never ask customers anything in the morning before they’ve had their coffee. In the best case scenario they’ll throw their drink in your face, worse case they may actually answer you.

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.

A Man on Fire, Pringles, and Liquor: My First Memory

According to a poll conducted by Scientific American, 25% of people recall a troubling event as their first memory, just barely beating out “childhood antics” and “war.” And just as an aside, clearly the Scientific American poll-takers are sadistic fuckers, as they don’t find war to be a “troubling event.” Like, oh your first memory was your brother coming home from Iraq with his legs torn to shreds by a roadside bomb? That’s hilarious, let’s mark that under “light-hearted family capers.”

Nevertheless, I am part of the 25% of troubling first memory havers. When I was around 3 years old, the gas station two doors down from my house exploded. I guess that happens sometimes? So we all run outside to watch the carnage unfold, and everyone on the block is just standing around, like, yup. That bad boy’s on fire all right, flames are gettin’ real hot. But it was probably the sight of the gas station owner on fire, rolling around on the ground, screaming, attempting to pull his melting flesh back onto himself like some kind of skin cardigan that made me think, hmm here’s an image I’m wildly unprepared for. Oh, it’s just the nice gas station man pleading OH GOD HELP ME as the flames spread to his giant flammable beard, his face seconds away from pooling into a chunky puddle in front of some barely concerned neighborhood onlookers. The fire department showed up, and there was nothing on TV, so we all watched them put him out instead. I shook uncontrollably as the grand marshal of the block party from hell was extinguished.

To this day, certain experiences trigger my first memory. Getting gas – there’s the man on fire checking my tire pressure. Going to Burning Man – there’s the man on fire, wearing steampunk goggles and tripping his fiery balls off. Netflix recommends that I watch Backdraft, Heat, and Man on Fire – there’s the man on fire, who somehow guessed my Netflix password and is filling my queue with the hottest films cinema has to offer.

That night, after all the fire trucks and ambulances left, we went over to our neighbor’s house. The adults were all trading stories; undoubtedly my father was calling everyone and everything involved in the evening’s events an asshole – the guy on fire, the firefighters that put him out, the cop that asked everyone to take a step back, the gas station, fire itself. All of them ASSHOLES. I sat quietly on the sofa, staring at nothing, my very small brain processing how to categorize this first memory for a Scientific American poll-taker in the future.

But what’s the old saying? Every story about a man nearly burning to death has a silver lining? At some point my kindly old neighbor Mr. Girardi sat down next to me and handed me two things:  a shot of booze and a can of Pringles. “Here, drink this, it will calm you down. Here, eat these, they come in a weird can.” Because this was the roaring 80’s, when an adult could offer a 3-year-old a stiff drink and some chips and it was fine as long as their parents were present. Back when things made goddamn sense. So, thank you Mr. Girardi for teaching me that when it comes to processing a troubling event, alcohol is top notch. It’s second only to burying the event deep down inside and screaming yourself to sleep every night.

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.

What Are You Supposed To Be? A Topical Halloween Costume Guide

You look around the room, frozen with fear. Fear of inadequacy. Fear of being upstaged. You take a swig of your beer, choke it down, and retreat into the bathroom. You stare at yourself in the mirror, take a deep breath, and ask, “Is my Halloween costume topical enough?” You are dressed as a bent iPhone 6. Some drunken party goer foolishly thought you were a calculator. Really Susan? A calculator? What’s topical about that? I’m the thing that was in the news a few weeks ago, you know, that thing that was trending? I don’t think your costume is trending Susan. Nobody gives a shit about lady pirates anymore Susan. Nobody. Susan.

It's 2009 I'ma let you finish but Octopus Mother is going hashtag viral

It’s 2009 and I’ma let you finish but Octopus Mother is going hashtag viral

As an adult, it’s important to outfit yourself with the most topical Halloween costume possible. Look, any idiot can dress up as a ghoul, or a goblin, or as a member of the bands Ghoul or Goblin, but you want a costume that says, “Hey remember that thing that just happened? Maybe this hastily put together collection of trash stapled to my body will refresh your memory.” Something that will be relevant for the duration of the party and will slowly become less and less clever as the night goes on until you’re driving home, wondering if maybe your costume which consisted of a white t-shirt with the word EBOLA written in a drippy blood red font was not only in poor taste, but also completely stupid. You will peak around 9:30, when a guy dressed as the dad from 7th Heaven will corner you and say “Ohhhhh shit bro this guy is crazy! Look everyone it’s Ebola! Hahahaha oh shit this guy is Ebola! Oh wow. So dark. So relevant.” The life of the topical Halloween costume wearer is filled with exhilarating highs and devastating lows.

So, obviously you’re looking for a way to ensure your costume is as topical as humanly possible. All you have to do is fire up your favorite news source on the morning of the party and rip your costume straight from the headlines. Feel superior over your friends and coworkers, whose costume ideas are stale, entry level, try-hardy bullshit.

Like, oh cool, you’re a dude in cardboard gladiator armor screaming about Sparta? Well I’m Buzzfeed’s “21 Incredibly Easy Salsa Recipes You Need To Try.” That story was posted right before I got here and I’m going to bob the shit out of some apples, amigo. Or, hey, a Guy Fawkes mask. You must be V for Very Bad at Topical Costumes. I don’t know if you noticed but I’m dressed as Joko Widodo, the new president of Indonesia. HE WAS SWORN IN 8 HOURS AGO. If this costume was any more topical you’d be rubbing it on your genital warts.

Are you a gal looking to spice up your topical costume? Give the boys in accounting at the Halloween happy hour something to talk about? You’re in luck. Sexy modifiers can be added to ANY topical Halloween costume to increase arousal points. For example, you could go as sexy Donald Sterling. You could wear a tube top with the word EBOLA written in a drippy blood red font. That’s relevant AND sexy because Ebola is killing people and you have boobs.

So this Halloween, follow these tips, stay safe and stay topical. As for me? I’m getting into the future-sexy-topical game. I’ll be the guy dressed as Oscar Pistorius being released from prison in 2019, and I’ll have the sexiest leg blades you’ve ever seen.

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.’s Better Than’s First Date Tips

eHarmony has a list of ten tips for initiating, planning, and surviving a first date. It’s a bad list, full of “no doi” pointers. “Be confident.” “Dress to impress.” “Breathe occasionally.” “Apply pressure to fresh wounds.” I’ve been on a few first dates, and I’ve compiled the following list of better than eHarmony tips. In fact, that’s what it’s called:’s Better Than’s First Date Tips.

The water conundrum. Pop quiz hotshot – the waiter asked if you want bottled or tap water. If you spring for the bottled water, it shows that money is no object on this, your enchanted first date. If you go with tap water it shows that you’re an eco-conscious everyman with a sense of adventure. Here’s an advanced technique: stare the waiter dead in the eyes and say, “Half tap. Half bottled.” The music stops, silverware crashes, old Victorian-era women are fanning themselves and gasping and passing out all around you. This date is off to a great start, and by the way, you look lovely this evening.

"... look, I'm sorry if you were offended when I said your Etsy store sounds like a bunch of pandering horseshit."

“… look, I’m sorry if you were offended when I said your Etsy store sounds like a bunch of pandering horseshit.”

Ordering for your date. Ordering for your date is an antiquated practice, so you should avoid doing it. It gives the impression that she is maybe too stupid to read, or understand how side dishes work. The only time it’s customary to order for your date is if you’re at a drive up window. “Yes, I’ll have a number 3, and the little lady will have something of equal or lesser value because it’s Tuesday before 6 pm and I have a coupon. Also hurry the fuck up, it’s our first date over here.” She’ll be impressed because you’re a man that can handle finances, and your collection of ketchup packets and ants in the glove compartment really speaks for itself.

Phrases to Avoid. Words are hard sometimes. Review the following list of phrases to avoid.

  • Your job sounds boring as shit, I bet I could do it like a million times better though.

  • What’s your favorite Aryan subreddit?

  • Would it be ok if I got a booster seat for my taxidermied owl?

  • I keep my pistol in a hollowed out bible, and my bullets in the hollowed out skulls of my online haters.

The Leftovers. Avoid asking to take your date’s leftovers home with you. Muttering, “because I fucking paid for this bullshit” under your breath is not going to help your case. However, if you insist on taking the leftovers home, ask your waiter to box it up for you, avoid pulling a ziplock bag out of your pants pocket. God forbid you accidentally pull out your baggie full of toenail clippings. This should really have its own section, but if you do accidentally pull out your baggie full of toenail clippings, just say you’re holding it for a friend.

Ending on a high note. Congratulations, the date is now over. Much like the survivors of a horrible plane crash, it is customary to hug your date once complete. Really get in there, see what you’re working with. Three gentle kisses on the forehead followed by a handwritten letter thanking her for her time, and you’re now free to go home to your darkened hovel and text her every couple of minutes to make sure she’s ok. If you followed all of my advice, you’re probably well on your way to marriage. Please do not invite me, my dress shoes are very tight and make it difficult for me to dance. Thank you.

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.