An open letter to the pre-teen who rolled his eyes at me while waiting in line at Starbucks 7 months ago.

Dear Jackson,

For the purposes of this open letter I’m going to assume your name is Jackson. What the hell was that about, Jackson? It was a Sunday morning in the type of town that has two farmers markets. There’s the good one where it’s implied that you’ll bring your own eco friendly tote, and the crap one where they just throw your shit produce in a white plastic bag emblazoned with the words THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU in bold red lettering. Equidistant between the two is a Starbucks, and that morning it was packed. The line was long, and I moved up a bit so that you and your mom could get out of the heat and inside the crisp yet also stale Starbucks-smelling Starbucks. That’s when we first met, Jackson. You looked me up and down, rolled your eyes, then took your place in line behind me.

It wasn’t the type of eye roll that you save for a long line, like an airport security checkpoint or bumper-to-bumper traffic. You’re 10 years old, advanced concepts like airport security and traffic mean nothing to you. No, you weren’t rolling your eyes at the line, you were rolling them at me and I’m trying to figure out what I did to deserve it.

Did you think I was clinging to my youth too much by wearing a fun, retro Star Wars t-shirt? It’s not a new Star Wars t-shirt, Jackson. I didn’t find it in a pile of pop culture crap at Target. It’s not covered in laser beams or exploding ships or aliens holding space rifles. It’s just a plain gray t-shirt with the words “STAR WARS” written in that classic yellow font that we all know and love. People my age see it and their eyes light up with recognition. They do not roll.

The line trudged onward. Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” was playing over the speakers. Admittedly a heavy choice for a Sunday morning coffee run, but maybe it spoke to you. Was I the something in your way? Do you even know what that song’s about? It’s about doing drugs under a bridge, Jackson. It’s from a time when the notion of doing drugs under a bridge was so romanticized that there was not one but TWO very popular songs about the subject. Oh how we all wanted to laze around with poor posture under those bridges, eating fish with Kurt Cobain and eating whatever Anthony Kiedis was cooking up. Probably maize. But not you Jackson. If you were there your eyes would be rolling so hard that you’d get vertigo and nearly stumble into a trash fire.



Was my lingering duck scent off-putting? I spilled a large amount of wet cat food all over myself a few hours before our encounter. Is it because my face isn’t symmetrical? Is it because I’ve convinced myself that the rest of my body also isn’t symmetrical so I overcompensate by putting more weight on my left foot to balance everything out? There are two large moles on my head that were once covered by my hairline, but as it recedes they’re becoming more and more pronounced. Sometimes I think people stare at them because they’re almost too symmetrical. Like two perfect stars forming the constellation “Orion’s 5 Inch Ruler.” That’s probably what it was. My symmetrical constellation moles offended you. I’m not going to lie, I’ve thought about getting them removed, but that’s not something a dermatologist can do, right? That’s like plastic surgery territory. And am I ready to become the type of person that gets elective plastic surgery? Would you roll your eyes at my scar tissue, Jackson? Or the flesh from my back that was harvested and injected into my mole holes? I think you would. I think I would too.



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!

What do you want to be when you grow up? The answer may surprise you.

When you’re a kid and adults ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?” your answer is limited by the jobs you’re familiar with because you’re young and you’re very stupid. A police officer came to the house yesterday, I want to be a police officer! Big Bird teaches me how to count, I want to be a 7 foot tall bird monster! Dad locks himself in the basement for a few hours every night, I want to be a locksmith! By the time you’re done answering, the adults have already forgotten the question, as they’re in the middle of their third panic attack of the day induced by their own job.

As a child, my first love was baseball, so that was what I wanted to be when I grew up – a professional baseball man. To be honest, I really just loved baseball cards and was so-so on the whole going outside and playing baseball thing. But still I went to the stupid practices and played in the stupid games. My ego was dealt a devastating blow when I was 8 and a ball rocketed into my finger, shattering the bone in my very delicate pinkie. With tears in my eyes I ran to my father in the stands and screamed, “I don’t wanna play baseball anymore,” holding my jacked up hand in front of me like it was on fire. He knelt down, patted me on the head and said, “Well then why don’t you become a fucking ballerina, instead?” Now if this was a really good story I’d rip off my tearaway pants, reveal a pair of leggings and pirouette across your mind’s eye, middle fingers saluting the heavens. Like, “I did it Dad. I did it because of you.” But no. 8 year old me thanked god that neither of my thumbs were broken and continued playing Mario 3.

I want to be a royalty-free stock image when I grow up.

I want to be a royalty-free stock image when I grow up.

Thankfully, we live in a world where you can take a quiz online and figure out what you want to be when you grow up, even if you’re already grown up. No more daydreaming on the side of a hill, looking up at the clouds, pondering your existence. Just answer some questions like “What is your favorite color” and “In a group of six friends, which are you most likely to be.” I answered “white” for both. With a resounding 84%, the internet said that I should become a “criminal.” I’m not sure what the percentage represents, and while I agree with the assessment that I “enjoy the rush of getting down and dirty,” I need a bit more stability and less gunplay in my life. Number two with a bullet was Dare Devil, but I’m not sure if that meant I should become a blind, crime fighting lawyer or some off-brand Evel Knievel, dead and penniless at the bottom of a gorge. I didn’t read the rest of the results because I was distracted by another quiz titled “How Tennessee are y’all,” which, if you’re wondering, I am 34% Tennessee.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what you want to “be” when you grow up, because a job is just a job if you’re lucky enough to have one, but it’s not who you “are.” I mean sure, we all wanted to be Robocop when we grew up, but Robocop was a good man… or at least a good pile of flesh. And all that pile of flesh wanted to do was see his family again and shoot rapists in the dick (nsfw) with a gun that popped out his leg. The point is, I need a way to go back in time and warn my 8 year old self that your job is going to be soul sucking and boring for the rest of your life, and none of your dreams will come true. Get really good at online gambling, maybe invent something like a 3 cent mini nickel or a rake that’s actually two rakes. And when someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, just say “a good person” or “a fucking ballerina.”

From the makers of the black death it’s MURDERBOX!

Welcome to game night! Oh, I’m just so glad that all of my neighbors are here, we really should have done this sooner. So, what does everyone want to play? Apples to Apples? Cards Against Humanity if anyone’s feeling randy? Jenga? Or, I have a new game that I think everyone’s going to love, especially you Jim, you ol’ so and so. It’s called Murderbox. Oh you guys haven’t heard of it? It was so strange, I was strolling through the woods, and there, in a burned out clearing with strange ancient patterns etched into the ground, I found Murderbox stuck in the middle of a smoking, gnarled tree. It was almost as if it was calling to me. Like maybe, nothing in my life made sense before finding Murderbox. Maybe… I’m the Murderbox. Or something haha, can I get anyone else some more wine? How about you, Linda? I noticed a lot of empty bottles in your recycling, you’re basically an alcoholic, right?

So you guys, Murderbox is a lot like Candyland with a few subtle differences. The game board itself forgoes colorful gumdrop mountains and is instead some kind of hastily stitched leather. Take a look at that Bill, feels kinda like… I mean let’s just say it, it feels like human skin, doesn’t it? Kind of like your gray, nearly transparent old man flesh. There’s a Pop-o-Matic bubble in the middle of the board, it’s useless; most of the time it’s just filled with screaming insects. The goal is to move your team’s crystal pyramid pieces around the board and reach the goal without opening the Murderbox and unleashing its terrible secrets. I should mention that there have been some, how can I say this… “disappearances” that may have been associated with the game. But we should be fine, just don’t make direct eye contact or say anything disparaging about the Murderbox. And look, right there on the box it says fun for ages 1 -100, that’s a hoot.


So let’s get started! Carol and Don, you two go first because you have the most offspring. Loud, screaming offspring. Oh look, you rolled a… some kind of pentagram… thing. Nice! Let’s consult the instructions that are inked in human blood and see what that means. OK so apparently you summoned a Lovecraftian Thousand Headed Old God, which is good Carol and Don because it means you can move three spaces, but also bad Carol and Don because it just tore the fucking moon in half. Tides are going to be pretty weird tonight, that’s for sure! How are we doing on crackers, should I get some more from the kitchen?

OK, your turn Jim and Diane. Jim, why don’t you take off your shirt and don the Shroud of Second Turns, kind of like how you mow the lawn shirtless at 6 in the morning with a t-shirt covering your very large and bald head. Very good. Now Diane, very carefully blow on the incredibly hot dice and roll a winner! Ooh very nice, you rolled a 3 of Skulls which means you get to draw a card. Let’s see… oh. Oh my. It’s the Death card. I’m afraid that means I have to open the Murderbox. Let me just check the instructions… it says, “If the Death card is drawn, the Murderbox must be opened. All players besides the host (that’s me) will be sacrificed. However, there is another way. By keeping a distance of 1,000 feet between yourself and the host (that’s me), and never guilting the host into hosting another game night, Murderbox’s blood thirst will be quenched.” So what do you think guys, should I just open the bo- or, oh ok time to go? Well thanks for coming by it was great seeing you all bye bye bye get out get OUT GET OUT.

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.

$tayin’ Cool and Havin’ Fun at the Beach for Le$$

The Summer Solstice is nigh, and when things get hot, there’s nothing better than stayin’ cool at the world famous Jersey Shore. The funnel cakes! The fistfights! Kicking over some nerd’s sandcastle and stealing his main squeeze! Horses diving off the Steel Pier in the early 1900’s, before it was illegal to charge 3 cents to watch a horse die! Yes, the Jersey Shore is all of these things. But don’t let the stereotypes dissuade you. You don’t need to be a bikini babe or a muscle freak to enjoy the beach. You can be a regular ass, run-of-the-mill piece of human garbage that nobody cares about and still have the time of your life. Here’s the problem though – beaches cost money. And let’s assume that all of your cash is tied up in something you’d rather not talk about, and leaving a paper trail is out of the question. Here are some tips for $tayin’ Cool and Havin’ Fun at the Beach for Le$$.

First thing’s first, you need a beach pass. These are advanced pieces of paper that unlock the beach. Now the average working stiff walks up to the hunk manning the border patrol on the boardwalk, pays his six bucks, then plunks his ass on the beach for the rest of the day like a rube. You’re probably saying to yourself, there has to be a better way. A way in which I don’t have to pay anything, because all I have in my wallet is a cool flat rock I found once and a Kohl’s gift card with an indeterminate amount of Kohl’s bucks left on it. Luckily for you, there is a better way. First, create a diversion by starting a small, controlled trash fire on the boardwalk in front of the beach entrance. Now here’s where it gets interesting: throw yourself into the fire, just enough to set your clothes and hair and skin ablaze, and then run straight for the ocean. Who’s going to stop you? John Q. Nobody, that’s who. Then kick back, relax, and soothe your burns in the bathlike waters of the Atlantic. But keep an eye on that trash fire, you’re going to need it later.


It’s time to eat! The Jersey Shore is full of exotic local cuisine, from ferocious sea creatures to ferocious fried delights, heavily dusted in powdered sugar and served in a paper bag turned transparent by grease. Here’s the kicker though, they charge money for food at the beach. The nightmarish, crushing fists of capitalism will bludgeon each and every one of us. Since we’re trying to spend as little money as possible on this trip because maybe we lost everything through a series of poor, wildly illegal investments, it’s time to save a few greenbacks. Look no further than the stately seagull. Study its habits. When an errant french fry falls to the ground, gull swoops down, he eats for free. That’s your chance to snatch up the gull, give it a firm thrashing and then cook it over your trash fire from before. Now YOU’RE sort of eating french fries like a regular boardwalk dandy.

Frank Sinatra probably once said, “Summertime baby, ooh what a thrill. Down at the boardwalk I got my kicks, with some cuckoo broad named Jill.” You’ve made a lot of friends at the Jersey Shore today. Hunks, bikini babes, gull. But it’s time to leave, because if you’re anything like me, the sand is too hot on your delicate skin, and chances are the dragnet is closing in on you. Wave goodbye to the beach, but wave hello to the money you didn’t spend, even though you don’t have any for reasons that you can’t get into right now.

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.