Wave Pools: An Essay.

Random memory.

My mom took my sister and me to Edmonton, AB to visit the huge-ass Mall and indoor water park when we were kids. I couldn't have been older than 11/12 (sister 15/16), and my dad had to stay behind due to his job cancelling his vacation time two days before we were scheduled to drive our Mercury Villager out of town. My mom was furious at his supervisor (this wasn't the first time he'd had to miss a family event due to their ineptitude), but she strongly/stubbornly decided that we would still make the trip, just the three of us. My dad was not pleased, but he knew an argument would only solidify her decision even more. The drive was beautiful, but we all missed dad. It really sucked knowing he was stuck back at home going through the motions - working a job he hated and surely feeling quite resentful towards his bosses with every passing hour as he wondered where we might be and that he was missing it, but what was he going to do? He had no choice. He was the breadwinner (literally, he works for a bakery), and mom was a stay-at-home mother who had been looking forward to getting out of town for awhile with us. I realized years later that her soul and mine are very similar when it comes to longing for and adventure and having conversations with people from other places that we'll never see or hear from again, and when your heart is set on that - it's going.

For the most part the weekend was great. The wave pool in the mall was huge, water slides even more grand, and they had indoor bungee jumping! Oh, and lots of cute girls. Sadly, I was too short to participate in the bungee leap and most of the roller coasters, but I still loved every second. There was even a pirate ship in the mall! And a friggin submarine tour. Disneyland was cool, but this was better IMO. Then, as the day at the pool was ending and my eyes burned from chlorine water, my sister and I discovered one of my moms greatest fear: a dead car. We were stranded.

As much as she wanted to stay cool we both knew my mom was devastated inside. Against my dads wishes (for this very reason), she packed up the mini-van and drove us hundreds of miles away determined to take a vacation at all costs. She consciously drove us away from his mechanical know-how, safety, and problem solving skills. We were stranded in a mall parking lot with no help, nobody to call, and I know my mom was becoming more terrified as she imagined my dad at home who was praying this very thing wouldn't happen. She didn't have much money and I remember sitting in my seat (the middle bench) while the sun baked through the windows and dried my swimming trunks. Mom was outside pacing. Crying, but trying to hide it from us.

Just then a stranger walked over. A big dude who noticed the visibly-shaken woman with two kids who were sitting in the parking lot and knew something was wrong. He offered to take a look at the problem and help however he could. It didn't take him long to realize it was just a dead battery, and he offered to go pick one up and install it for my mom. I know she was both embarrassed and relieved to learn it was something simple and relatively-inexpensive, but I also know she felt the presence of my dads voice who warned her something like this could happen. I think the stranger even paid for the battery, but that could just be my brain inflating how big of a savior this stranger was for us. I don't remember much else about the guy but I remember thinking that he and my dad would probably be friends if they ever had the chance to meet, but they wouldn't, ever, and my mom knew that she would have a difficult time explaining this to my dad without crying again. My dad has helped dozens of people with broken down cars, many of them being women with children who were scared, broken down on the sides of loud freeways, so this was some kind of karmic justice; the universe repaying him for being a helpful guy and always the first to volunteer to fix things.

We made it home safely and I told my dad all about the cool shit I had seen and done, but I could tell he was bummed. Defeated, he played along and humored me while listening to how tall the water slides were and how they had huge slices of pizza and I made a friend in the pool, but he was tired and had to be back up st 3am to go to work again tomorrow because his only days off were Sunday's and Wednesday's.

My dad is the best. He didn't complain, he didn't yell, he just did what he had to do because that's what being a man was to him, and to his dad, and his dad's dad. You worked and made the best of it.

In the end everything was fine. I learned a lesson, got to swim in awesome pools, my mom got her adventure, and a total stranger stepped up and helped us. I'd like to think everybody would be this nice but then I see crazy shit on tv everyday that makes me think otherwise.

Be good to people. Work hard. Go on vacation.

Post #27: Watch Over Yourself.

Exactly seven years ago TODAY was my first solo day on the radio with my own show. Prior to that afternoon my only experience was being a punching bag on a morning show where I was really only required/asked to drop a funny line once or twice per show to feel like my day was a successful one. "I'm so ready for my own show," I'd tell my friends. I can totally do this. 

Then, thanks to Shellie Hart, it happened. 

Read More

Post #25: Scrutiny pt. 1

Observational comedy is funny. It always has been, always will be, and I will never stop laughing at the same joke told with a couple hundred different delivery methods.

Cheap laughs are still laughs. Low hanging fruit is still fruit. 

Unfortunately for me, I'm usually incapable of constructing witty words into clever enough combinations that are met with that feeling where you're pretty sure a little pee just leaked out, but that somehow only makes whatever the person said even funnier.  The greats can do this [seemingly] without any effort at all, like they're bowling with bumpers and a strike is imminent. It's not fair and I hate it. 

The best observational humorists of the world are just regular dudes & gals like you and me, but they are able to describe their day by way of an imagination that acts as the foundation for wit & judgement which if cultivated early enough - seems effortless to you or me. The "ordinary man put into extraordinary scenarios" model isn't usually how they come up with their comedy, it just feels that way because their lives sound funnier than ours, so funnier things must happen to them more often, right? I don't deny that might be true for some, but probably not. I argue that their default-mode is programmed to receive their daily interactions differently, or through a filter that some of us just don't have. For simplicity's sake (and because I clearly don't have one so I'm not qualified to say), let's call it The Funny Filter. 

Let me explain this in sports terms because that's basically all I understand. I (and maybe you are, too) am like the rookie wide receiver tasked with running routes for a Hall of Fame quarterback, but my football spidey-senses are underdeveloped and no matter how hard I try - or guess - I just can't translate the non-verbal consultation that happens in the microseconds between a snap and the whistle. Because of this I'll never cross-up a cornerback, dazzle a coach, nor will I catch 40 TD's in a year. I'll be considered an average player for my entire career, and that's finally ok with me. I've felt the opposite way for most of my life, like I should be disappointed in myself that I didn't turn into a deep threat like I thought I had the potential to be. I never developed into that player who demanded double coverage or extra time in a film room for my opponent because I just wasn't meant to be that player. It was never my true role. Add this analogy on top of the fact that I've never enjoyed actually playing football and you'll start to understand what I'm trying to say; I don't have The Funny Filter, I'm not a pro, and I could never quite accept it until now. 

I have something different, and it's something I'm proud of: the ability to make people around me just a little bit better at whatever it is they or we are doing. Not because I'm better at it than they are (although some might say I act that way at times, but I assure you it's usually the opposite), but because I know that if I'm able to help them with something - in turn I will perform my task better than before because I learned something. Together this process continues until we've toppled as many positive dominos that we could and the problem is either solved or totally f***** worse than it was before. Either way, we can have a beer and move on because fixing everything isn't the point.

I'm not Will Ferrell, not Louis CK, and I'm not Tucker Max. Sometimes my delivery is akin to Michael Cera crossing an icy street on crutches. A drunk Michael Cera. And it's raining. It's the arena-league of observational comedy and I'm riding the bench. But I'll tell you one thing:

I'll do my best to make sure that the rest of the players on the bench remember it being a fun time.

With that out of the way, here's a few observations that someone WITH The Funny Filter is free to steal for material.

1.) Baby on Board. I know that I've beaten this topic to death, but I'm 100% convinced that there's never been a licensed driver who suddenly changed their driving habits because of your placard, nor has there been a single crash averted from one. I'm more likely to roll my windows down to next to the Baby on Boarders just to sing along with violent rap music next to give you something to complain about on your mommy blog.

2.) Mommy Blogs. Quit patting yourself on the back and just focus on being a parent like the generation before us & the hundreds before them. I'm not an anthropologist, but I watch a lot of documentaries and I've yet to see one about ancient cave paintings depicting mothers passing on helpful tips on how to get your baby to fall asleep faster so you can watch The Bachelor in total silence while you drink three glasses of wine & feel sad that your baby-daddy doesn't look like he did when you married him. Which brings me to my next point... 

3.) Why is it funny for guys to rag on marriage so much? I get it - you don't want to grow up & add 7 extra pillows to your bed (none of us do last time I checked), but we should really start keeping that s*** to ourselves from now on. I'm tired of hearing about how you waved goodbye to the fun in your life & watched longingly as it drove away from your house, taking with it your beer signs & jean shorts (don't ever get rid of your jean shorts, btw). If you somehow turned into a miserable bastard after getting married, that says more about you than it does the person you married.  You know who you are. 

4.) Do we still need the Voicemail lady to explain how to leave a message? Do those monotone instructions help anybody?

5.) I had a lot more of these saved on my iPhone somewhere but now I can't find them. Awesome.

Here's to hoping that I'll transform into a deep ball threat someday, but until then I'll just have another Americano and keep beating my dead horse while making fun of girls who smoke cigarettes. See you on the bench.


Post #24: Fly Like the Wind, Bullseye!

2014 is half-over and I can unequivocally say that I don't think it can be topped. Between still reeling from finally experiencing a Super Bowl win, having the Mariners still in the playoff conversation in August and getting to ride in a Patriots jet... I'm waiting to wake up in a cold sweat or find out that it's all fake and I'm being laughed at on The Truman Show.

Is Seattle even real right now? Is this what it felt like in 1995?

Spencer Ware's Super Bowl Ring

It didn't take long after Robinson Cano signed his deal with the M's before people started comparing him to the greatest Mariner (and player) of all time. The man who saved baseball in Seattle. The man who Kid Sensation wrote a song about, the man Nintendo made a video game for, and the only MLB player to appear on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Seattle's Lord & Savior; Ken Griffey, JR. He was the sole reason my family would load up the Mercury Villager & drive 450 miles to Seattle to spend a few hours in The Kingdome and the man responsible for making every 90's kid wear their hat backwards. Dan Wilson may be my favorite Mariner of all time, but JR made baseball romantic

My sister had Griffey's "Moonshot" poster on the back of her bedroom door (I was so jealous that I took it when she moved away to college) and that word feels appropriate to illustrate my experience with The Patriots Jet Team last week. These types of once-in-a-lifetime experiences are usually reserved for the bigger names in radio (ie morning show folks), but thanks to a lucky lottery drawing at Hubbard Radio -- I found myself strapping into a flight suit and trying not to burst into tears with excitement. 2014 just got awesomer.

Pilot: Troy "Curley" Myers, Crew Cheif: Scott "Kobro" Ehlert.

We were briefed by "Smurf" who taught us what to do in case we were forced to perform a super scary mid-flight ejection (unstrap yourself from the seat, lean forward, open the canopy, and let the pilot turn the airplane upside down to literally drop you out), then what to do if/when you start blacking out from excess g-forces (clench your thighs/abs while grunting the word "HOOK" to force the blood back into your head). He also gave me a "Sic Sac" just in case the coffee and donuts I ate earlier decided they wanted to play, too. 

L to R: Jimmy Shane (Oh Boy! Oberto H1 Hydroplane driver), Smurf, me.

Then he said something I'll never forget: "not many people get the chance to do this, so go have the time of your life."


24 will always belong to Ken Griffey, JR and Marshawn Lynch, but it only seems fitting that this particular Blahg experience shares the number with both of them. If it weren't for Griffey, I might not have fallen in love with baseball, which would mean no baseball scholarship and certainly no Seattle. And if it weren't for Beastmode, I'd still be Championship-less in Seattle.

Here's 95 cheers toward 2014.


Post #23: Archival Arch-rival.

I tell the story of my trip to Tahoe often, but as each year passes the exact memories fade bit by bit, and it takes me longer to retrieve all of those glorious days when explaining (and probably exaggerating) them to new & old friends. 

Fortunately, I found an old, partially written account of this trip on a backup hard-drive, and I'm posting it below simply because I don't remember writing it at all and I felt nostalgic. Also, here's photo-proof of me shooting Patron with Craig Robinson via a shot-ski. I'm on the far left, but it's real!

Shot-Ski with Craig Robinson. 

Shot-Ski with Craig Robinson. 

It's Friday, March 12, 2010.

I’ve never quite understood what it is about Fridays or airplanes that have always made me so excited. Weekends are usually their own form of work for me, even back when I was younger. Weekends meant no school, and if I had no school - I had to work. I enjoyed it a lot for the most part, and it was the only way I could support my 9 mpg gas-habit on my unnecessarily large truck. I worked at a grocery store bagging groceries, stocking shelves with cake mixes, macaroni, mayo, and Flavorite peanut butter. I mowed lawns and shoveled side-walks in the winter. I still cannot believe to this day that I can remember where every single food item is/was in that store, but I can’t remember a password (that I created) to anything.

So much has changed since the days when I knew everything, though. I’ll never forget how fun those days were. I learned to love the taste of crappy beer.

Now I’m sitting in an airplane seat flying in to scenic Lake Tahoe, Nevada. At least that’s what I’m told. I’ve never been here before, but it’s still a free trip to a state that I haven’t spent much time in. Airplanes still blow my mind ever since my first flight at 16 years old. I never thought I’d be on airplanes this much in my life!

In a couple hours, I'll take a shuttle to the hotel for check-in & then driven to a private showing of “Hot Tub Time Machine.”

More later. 

I obviously never picked up where I left off with this writing, but that's probably for the best. The trip was a whirlwind, complete with a blizzard, nervous interviews with the cast, & an insane 80's party where Craig Robinson sang "Jesse's Girl" with a live band. 

I'm happy that I forgot to write about any of that experience in length & let it only live on in a broken memory bank.

Happy Tuesday, friends.



Post #22: Flowers in May

We called it "pitching," which I of course assumed I would be good at only because it was a baseball metaphor and I halfway understood what that meant. Plus, I was playing community college baseball at the time so I was basically already a professional 'pitcher,' right? 

Jeeeezuzz was I ever wrong. 

Pitching was the word we used to describe someone 'throws' the story to you, which you're supposed to then 'catch' and continue with magician-like precision & slight-of-hand -- only instead with words in place of cards, coins, or foam balls. Think of it like this: a band will sometimes have two singers who often share vocal duties in any given song. Lead singer #1 doesn't need to notify singer #2 when it's his or her turn to sing; they just know because they've done it hundreds of times (or maybe it was explained to them at some point, which would have been nice). Or when a news anchor tosses to a weatherman, he doesn't need to say: "Hey Brian Monahan, tell the people about tomorrow's weather now!" Brian just knows because he's a professional with a degree from Penn State to prove it. Brian was like the professionals that I was working with at the time, except I was the polar opposite of a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. I was essentially just an intern who still thought the world was flat. 

"20 inch blaaades on the Impala."  Razor Scooters preempted the Soldiers of Destiny SC.

"20 inch blaaades on the Impala." Razor Scooters preempted the Soldiers of Destiny SC.

In this case, the professionals were: Nina (shout-out grrrrl), Marcus D ("Marsha D," my pd/boss), and Bender (literally the guy who gave me my start in radio). They were the 'starting pitchers'/news anchors back in the KISSfm studios and they were throwing to me and Jacob (lovingly referred to as "Gaycob," which is another story for another day) for the turn to talk on the radio and explain to listeners the why/what/where's of what we were doing on top of a Mayflower Truck and how they could help us get out of the cold & go home to our families. What the professionals didn't know was that I've never successfully caught anything in my entire life, and I certainly wasn't prepared to start now. Especially not when I couldn't even SEE my pitcher's wind-up.

This was the defining moment when I learned how to be good at Faking It Till You Make It. 

"I have some kind of idea of what I'm doing." -- me, 2007.

"I have some kind of idea of what I'm doing." -- me, 2007.

I should clarify that it absolutely was not their fault for throwing to me. They didn't know I had no idea what was coming, but they probably assumed that I would have a garden-variety idea of what to do with the pitch. After all; this was major-market radio. This was MORNINGS we're talking about here, and forgive me Justin Smoak; if you can't hit a curve ball in the big leagues you probably shouldn't be there. Didn't anyone brief this kid before giving him a key-card and a live microphone?? This wasn't some experiment or a 'learn-as-you-go' project - they actually trusted me to open my arms and at LEAST let it hit me in the chest (not unlike my job as a 3rd basemen). If I failed; fine. At least I didn't jump out of the way, right?

But I bailed.

Like a suicide jumper who decided at the last second that he had something to live for - I slithered backwards and tried to disappear forever without anyone knowing that I had even thought I knew what I was about to do, much less attempting to do. What I then allowed to happen is what every radio DJ fears: dead-air.

Fortunately, EHPIKH recovered & went on to sell-out the Tacoma Dome (the Jonas Brothers opened) for JBB 2007.

Fortunately, EHPIKH recovered & went on to sell-out the Tacoma Dome (the Jonas Brothers opened) for JBB 2007.

I totally locked up. I was freezing cold but somehow managed to start sweating in my rain gear. I slurred, choked, and I couldn't stop swallowing at all the wrong moments. It was just plain awful. I had publicly drowned myself on live radio and I was 100% sure that I would get a text message from Bender or Marcus D within seconds letting me know that I should turn over my microphone, headphones, and key-card to the nearest engineer and go back to my crappy apartment. My face was red, my mouth was sweating, and I couldn't force a positive thought into my soon-to-be-condemned brain. 

But Jacob saved me. 

"Immortal Thursday: The Gay Wonder Twins go Ice-Blocking at Gasworks Park." -- YouTube

"Immortal Thursday: The Gay Wonder Twins go Ice-Blocking at Gasworks Park." -- YouTube

He watched as I closed my eyes before I tried to speak and he had observed how I immediately forgot what it meant to 'swing.' It was like I just tossed him a lukewarm hot potato that I had mistaken for being molten lava and he caught it with his eyes closed (if this were a romance novel, which it almost ishe would have been wearing silver armor & riding a majestic white horse). He absorbed my mess & continued the story, seamlessly, like a magician. He was a pro. And nobody besides him, me, and Nina (and potentially thousands of people in their cars) knew what had happened. But I was convinced that for me, it was the end of my radio career. One & done.

This entire story that you just read took place over the course of a :45 second period during the 2007 edition of "Thanksgiving on the Mayflower," a yearly event/tradition for 'Jackie & Bender. Mornings.' This was the year when The Gay Wonder Twins (Gaycob & JustIn-To-Guys) were made to live on the top of a Mayflower moving truck on Aurora Ave N until it was completely full of non-perishable food items to provide Northwest Harvest with full shelves for the Holiday season. Four days and very frigid nights in a tent, 10 gallons of coffee & a ton of baby wipes later: we succeeded. Mother nature pissed a lot of rain on us and the wind blew it sideways - but the truck was full, people helped other people, and I learned more in those four days than I had ever learned from spending months in a producer's studio. 

I loved it. 

I convinced someone else to hire me.

I convinced someone else to hire me.

From that day on I just started faking it and hoping people knew what I was doing. So far, it's worked! And I'll never be able to properly thank YOU (yep, you) enough for believing in me. Especially those of you didn't, or thought I was dumb for even trying to 'make it' in a dying industry -- because you'll never know what it feels like to successfully 'catch' anything. Ever. 

So if you can, go help Bender NOW (Albertsons in Mountlake Terrace, WA) fill the truck for this year's Thanksgiving on the Mayflower. It's not easy and I don't envy him for living on that truck; but goddamnit do I respect it. 


Post #21: This. Is. Sempiternal.

It's sort of like a really gentle, sleepy puppy who's finally feeling comfortable enough to cuddle. It's slow, though, like they used to call me when I played football. And baseball. And in school. But mostly - it's not for everyone.

Living on a houseboat (not a floating home like Tom Hanks did, there's a difference) is strange. If I've learned anything since moving on to Seattle's water-bed; it's that you landies have it easy (I've been picking up the boating lingo, prepare yourselves). So, since all I've been hearing lately is "OMG DO YOU LOVE IT, WHAT'S IT LIKE?!" I figured that I would answer most of the questions I've been asked in the last couple weeks.

Q: "Justin, what should be my new favorite song?" 

--- A: I'm glad you asked! Probably his one is. You're welcome. 

Q: "So is it like a BOAT, boat?"

--- A: Yes, it's most certainly a boat, but not the kind boat that you got towed behind on your K-Mart inner-tube as a kid (it has a water-slide off the back, by the way).

Q: "WHAT?! Can I come use your water-slide? "

--- A: Sure. I accept several forms of payment: Maker's Mark, Rainier, and Costco-sized bags of Sunflower Seeds (or Ranch Corn Nuts). I'm obviously not responsible if you hurt yourself.

Q: "Do you get seasick?" 

--- A: Some people surely do, and I was worried that I would be one of them since I did as a kid. Fortunately, you get used to the movement pretty quickly after moving in. Every move you make causes results in the boat shifting a bit, but I've found the trick is to look outside at something that ISN'T moving to help get your mental balance back to even if you get queasy. 

Q:  "Can you drive it? And can we take it out on the lake this summer??"

--- A: No, and you're not invited over if that's the first question you ask me. I won't be your "friend who has a boat." Go meet a guy in Bellevue if that's what you want. 

Q: "How big is it, and is it expensive??"

--- A: About the same size of my last studio apartment, ~450/470 sq. feet (I'm guessing). But having a full, wide-open rooftop basically doubles the available space so you don't ever need to feel cramped.  It's about the same price as my last apartment, too (look up a studio apartment on South Lake Union for an idea on price). 

"SHITTER WAS FULL." -- Cousin Eddie.

"SHITTER WAS FULL." -- Cousin Eddie.

Q: "How does your toilet work?" 

--- A: Just like a camper or RV. There aren't permanent sewage hookups on houseboats (another difference from Tom Hanks' pad) , but there is a tank where waste-water goes. That tank gets pumped by a boat that comes by on a scheduled basis. You know when you've been pumped, because you get one of these tossed on deck.

Q:  "Do you have have heat, TV, and internet?"

--- A: Yes, no, and not yet. As you might have guessed, most boats aren't built "cable-ready." I use electric heaters, but I also have a propane fireplace if I'm feeling romantic. Propane is also used for my hot water and stove. I'm still not sure what to do about internet since I'm not sure if the phone-jack is active (or even can be) for CenturyLink. I certainly don't want to sign another contract for mobile broadband, but I might have to. The amount of money I've spent at coffee shops just to use their internet is silly. 

Q: "Isn't it really cold? What about storms?" 

--- A: Not cold yet, but ask me again in January. As for storms, being on a boat is surprisingly safe. I'm tied very securely to the dock and I don't have to worry about any trees falling on me, and the resulting waves are fun, actually.  

Q: "Do you have neighbors?" 

--- A: Yes, and they're awesome. Second only to being able to swim/paddleboard whenever I want, this is my favorite part about living here. Everyone is wildly friendly, talkative, and inviting. I've already met more people here than two years in my previous building where my neighbors acted like zombies in a hotel. 

Q: "How did you find a boat? Who did you talk to and where did you look?" 

 --- A: Several places, including Craigslist, but don't expect to see a lot of them available for rent. There are a few things you should do/learn before deciding to move on to a boat, but it doesn't take long if you're serious about it. I knew eight years ago when I moved to Seattle that this was something I had to do, so I've been slowly & quietly researching it for quite awhile. I also strongly recommend chatting with Linda & Kevin Bagley, owners of Special Agents Realty. They are great ambassadors for the houseboat community and answered every question I had. 



That's about it, I think. If I didn't answer something you were wondering about, feel free leave a comment with the question below. Otherwise, I'm sorry if I annoy you with constant fb/twitter/instagram posts about this.

I'm just really excited that I finally did it.  





Post #20: Janelle Monae -- "The Electric Lady."

Sometime in the early/mid-summer of 2009, a music-friend sent me a text message telling me to check out a new artist named Janelle Monae. The message said that she had just teamed up with Big Boi (Outkast), released a new video, and that I would love her sound. He followed that up with another text saying: "be on the watch for her blowing up very soon." 

The first thing I remember watching of hers was the video for "Cold War," where around the 1:30 mark she starts to cry while singing the lyric "I was made to believe there's something wrong with me." I've been dying to know the backstory ever since that day, and she kindly answered the question when I asked her about it (off-mic, sorry) this afternoon. From that day, I became a Janelle Monae fan-boy.


Her new album, "The Electric Lady" (released on September 10th), features cameos from Miguel, Erykah Badu, Solange Knowles, and PRINCE. It's safe to say that my friend was right; Janelle Monae is blowing up. She's been nominated for six Grammy's, is a spokesperson for CoverGirl, and has been leaving a trail of sold-out shows in her wake. After dozens of magazine covers, tons of Late Night performances, and fresh-off performing "Dance Apocalyptic" on SNLI was thrilled just to meet her, and to say I was excited to interview her would be an understatement (you can clearly hear how nervous I am the whole time.)  

We chatted about the new album, where she got her start (Church, Big Boi, P. Diddy), and finished it off with a Lightning Round of questions. Watch her latest video for the song "Prime Time" featuring Miguel, and then listen to the full interview below. 




Post #19: Cranberry Juice.

Yes, I know; I "cram too many words into every sentence" (sorry, Ms. Goyen) and sometimes reach for others that could make someone believe that I've read more books than I actually have. I don't clean my apartment as much as I wish I did and I can't cook hardly anything that doesn't have "add water" in the instructions. I don't share as much of myself as I should, either. There are more things that I'm not good at than I'm good at, and I've accepted long ago that I won't stumble upon a way to become a gazillionaire like Forrest Gump did (no thanks to you, Amazon Prime). 

But I have me. And that's ok, I guess. 

instagram: onairjustin

instagram: onairjustin

A friend reached out to me recently to ask for advice on walking away from a long-term relationship which had it's flame extinguished by Father Time & young-adult frustrations/selfishness. I told this person about something I had read a long time ago when I was in a similar situation about "Going To Bed Happy." The author suggested the best thing to do before bed is to write down one positive thing that you heard, learned, read, or saw that day just before falling asleep. Since normally this is the time spend re-living conversations (but imagining scenarios where you say bold & different things at high volumes that we all know we're not brave enough to actually say) & reminiscing about things you shouldn't. The theory is when you have a bad day or start thinking about what you could have done (or said) differently in the past, you can instead scroll back through the notebook and see how fortunate you've been to have pages of positive things happening around you all the time. On top of that, it encourages you to be on watch for positive things to write down that night, therefore you're always looking for the good in any situation. But I've also read (or pretended to read, see above) some Chuck Palahniuk books, too, and although his matter-of-factly delivery is perfectly insightful and I could probably learn a lot, I haven't retained any of it. Except this one quote:

"Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt."

It felt sticky when I read it the first time, but as experts say: 'sticky things stick to sticky things,' (no expert says this, I know) and since 1987 my brain has been a proverbial flytrap for meaningless odds & ends like that. When the day comes that we're able to dissect the information stored in our heads, mine will look like a hoarder found a garage full of thesauruses and abandoned all hope of ever leaving. And empty pickle jars. Lots of empty pickle jars.

I wanted to share that quote with the aforementioned friend, but didn't. Sure, I'm empathetic to this person's situation, but it's also very different and it's not right of me to assume that my way of doing things is also best for them. I'm happy to give advice, but take it at your own risk. Instead, I chose to share another quote that sums up the ideology and mantra behind 'moving on' and accepting the cards you were dealt:  

"You can't control the wind, but you can choose where you set your sails." 

Here's to hoping you'll be out of rough seas soon, my friend, and I know your boat will stay afloat; rocking comfortably & onward; right out of your fireman's net. 

Beers soon.  


Post #18: The Authenticity of a Moustache.

Moustaches are so goddamn authentic.

-Rollie Fingers
 -Hulk Hogan
 -Tom Selleck
 -Pancho Villa

Wearing a miniature push-broom on the brim of your upper-lip screams to the world, "Hey world! Look at me, I'm a man, and I'm not afraid to do my own taxes!" and other super-manly stuff like that which I know very little about.

Apart from high-school class photos, I've never seen my dad without a moustache. I'm 26 years old, and I'm almost certain he's been proudly rocking a 'stache since at least 1980, years before the invention of the interwebz, reddit, and Movember to celebrate/circle-jerk the art of the majestic upper-lip caterpillars. In my mind, someone in a dark smoking jacket visits you in the night, and whispers something to the effect of: "You've been chosen, sir. Welcome to the big leagues," and slowly slaps a 3-inch stripe of hair just below your nose (or if you're REALLY lucky: this). It's a right of passage, a cosmopolitan symbol that you're more than capable of roofing a house during a thunderstorm, fathering 10 children, or changing a car tire with nothing more than a toothbrush, canola oil, and skeleton key as your tools. 

The authenticity of a moustache permeates much deeper than just a few subcutaneous layers of tissue. A moustache follicle resonates far & wide, low & deep, and demands that even those on the highest mountain peaks respect it's presence in every place it roams. Or in my case; none of that at all.  

I can't grow facial hair for the life of me. Either I haven't achieved or unlocked enough levels of manhood, or I'm just genetically inferior to the Yosemite Sam's of the world to be gifted with a respectable patch of face-power. Maybe the moustache Gods know that I'm just not ready for the level of responsibility that accompanies a 'stache, or they don't believe I'm ready to handle the pressures associated with being a real man. You might think that I'm joking, but I've legitimately lost sleep by over-analyzing this concept. That, and basically over-analyzing everything ever. 

A serious question: how many people do you know with a moustache who you dislike? I'll bet you can count them on one hand. If that hand fills up, cut off your hand with the other one because you obviously have shitty friends. 

And join me in a moustache-prayer that begins with: "Dear Burt Reynolds," and ends with "How do I look more like you?"