Is it love or is it Thailand: The third and final chapter

October 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

So with much procrastination and a lot of “man, do I really want to say this?” I have finally finished telling my story of my trip to Thailand. It’s certainly personal and frankly, I don’t know if it paints me in a good light, but at least it’s over and I can move on to the next thing. I don’t know what that will be. I received my yearly notice that my rights to this domain are going to expire and I’m not sure what to do with this blog anymore.

I guess we will just have to wait and find out.

To download and/or listen to part III, just follow this link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fieldgulls/2013/10/04/kenneths-thailand-adventure-part-iii

Thanks for listening! I’m sure that wasn’t easy.

Dexter’s final victim: Viewers like you!

September 25, 2013 § 2 Comments

If y’all are trying to avoid Dexter spoilers, why would you possibly read further?

I have been a fan of horror and the macabre for as long as I can remember. It probably started somewhere along the road of coming across some horror film on HBO when I was far too young, or possibly finding out that there were Scary Stories that you could tell in the dark, but that was “my thing.” (That and food, I guess.) But I’ve always had a healthy obsession with death, serial killers, and movies about death and serial killers.

What do you MEAN that’s not “healthy”?!?

So when Dexter came along in 2006, I was hooked. Finally a television show that would focus on the killer as the hero. Dexter was a show (or book, depending on if you read or not) that actually found a way to take someone like Ted Bundy and have millions of people sympathize with him! (Or maybe millions of people were already sympathizing with Ted Bundy but Dexter took away the guilt?!) No, I think it was just a matter of people having a fascination with what made a serial killer “tick” and Dexter was a likable character that also happened to have a need to kill people and that need was harnessed in the best way possible — killing people like him. Somehow I found Michael C. Hall much more relatable and likable as a killer as I found him in Six Feet Under.

(Please note: This article is not a “confession” of any sort. To being a closet serial killer.)

On October 1, 2006, the pilot episode ‘Dexter’ told the story of a Miami blood splatter analyst that was adopted as a young child and taught by his police officer father how to properly kill and get away with it because his dad knew that it was the only way to protect his son. He would help develop the perfect machine for getting people like Dexter off of the street, people that killed innocents because it was something innate. Something they couldn’t help. I suppose that Harry Morgan watched Halloween a bunch and figured that even if he sent Dexter to a mental institute, he would eventually escape when he was 18 with super-human strength and kill a bunch of babysitters.

Instead, he’ll kill the babysitter killers. Of which, in the universe of Dexter, there must be millions. According to the Dexter wiki site, he may have killed at least 134 people. And that’s pretty much only in the Miami metro area. Just imagine how many serial killers that would make in the continental United States alone! But aside from the obvious insanity of some of what went on in Dexter, the first season could be considered something special, something different than other shows, perhaps one of the best debut seasons in television history.

Dexter was dead inside, but he had a fake girlfriend Rita. A tortured soul, a battered single mother that would accept Dexter into her life because he was gentle and didn’t want to have sex with people, something that terrified both of them. Dexter needed Rita because it made him look normal, all part of Harry’s Code. In the weirdest way, they were a perfect couple.

His sister Debra was also on the force, working her way up from vice to eventually make detective. All of which gave Dexter special access to the Miami Metro records and information, beyond his own scope and reach as a blood splatter analyst. Deb kept – fucksuckity bitchasscockalekee turnip tits – Dexter grounded. She was as close as he could ever get to loving someone and caring about whether they lived or died. Even if she was an annoying as hell character and the worst cop to ever be on TV and Ice-T is a cop on TV.

His father Harry died long before the pilot episode yet made an appearance for the whole series, playing the part of Dexter’s conscience and a reminder of right-and-wrong as he went about fighting every natural urge he had in order to follow the Code. Or maybe Harry really was a ghost, there’s no way to tell, really. This is the show Dexter after all. Wonderfully charming in it’s originality as well as it’s penchant for going completely off of the rails. Not that the show ever went “Urkel now has a teleportation device” off-the-rails, but it would get rather ridiculous at times.

“How will Dexter get out of this jam!? Find out next week!”

“Oh, he had the key. Okay, cool.”

And then there was probably the most underrated character of the entire series: Sergeant fucking Doakes. The show would eventually try to replace Doakes with Quinn as “the suspicious cop that’s on to Dexter” but when we found out that Quinn was the most one-dimensional character in the history of anything that’s had characters, he moved on as soon as “Deb brought me coffee? What does that mean? Hey, is this shirt too big?”

Yes. Yes, it is far too big.

But the first season was excellent. The Ice Truck Killer provided the first season arc, the backstory of having a brother and what happened to his mother and finding out that he wasn’t the only person that was born this way, since his brother was the Ice Truck Killer all provided for excellent twists and turns as you really worried about the survival of all the characters. And while I would have been upset at the time, you could have ended the show right there and had nothing short of a 12-episode work of art. Put it on the BBC, and nobody’s complaining then!

Instead, we got a lot more. Way too much more.

The second season was okay. It brought Dexter’s work to light as ‘The Bay Harbor Butcher,’ bringing suspense to every episode was you genuinely worried if Doakes was going to catch him. Up until the moment where he actually did! You had more tension between Rita and Dexter as she suspected he was up to something, and nervous that Rita would have her heart broken again. But then you had Agent Lundy and cucumber sandwiches, a gross relationship between him and Deb (not the age difference, but every relationship that Deb ever got into was gross) and you had Lila, the one girl in Dexter’s life throughout the series that I wanted to die immediately. The only thing that really made the second season memorable was the death of Doakes, and really that could have been the death of the show.

Luckily, the third season was pretty fucking good.

Many will point to the Trinity killer and the work of John Lithgow as the pinnacle of the series, but I much preferred the relationship that Dexter had with Miguel and the belief that maybe Dexter could have a best friend that knew everything about him. As viewers we all knew what Dexter was, but nobody else on the entire show was aware except for Dexter and Harry, and that motherfucker ain’t even alive! Finally we could have someone like Miguel to share this with and he was like the coolest guy ever! When he turned out not to be that cool after all, I was more twisted up inside than when we found out who the Ice Trucker Killer was. The show was on top of the world when Dexter and Miguel turned from friends to mortal enemies, and at this point it seemed it could do no wrong.

Season four ended with the death of Rita, as finally Dexter Morgan had to face the fact that he loved people and that his actions as a serial killer had consequences that could eventually come back to bite the people he loved. He always figured that if somebody was going to go down for what he was doing, whether it be by prison or death, it would be him, but now he knew for sure that the people around him were in danger too. Now he had to make a decision as to how to best protect his son Harrison from also succumbing to the consequences of his actions.

Which also happens to be THE EXACT SAME FUCKING CONCLUSION THAT DEXTER WOULD COME TO FOUR POINTLESS SEASONS LATER.

Each of the first four seasons has some sort of personality, with 1, 3, and 4 really sticking out as three of the best story arcs in cable television history. Here’s how I remember seasons 5, 6, 7, and 8:

Season 5 – Mrs. Ten Things I Hate About You comes to town and kicks it with Dexter for awhile and then they kill the guy from Hackers because he’s like Tony Robbins or something but is really a sexual deviant and then she just leaves at the end of the season and is never heard from again.

Season 6 – What’s Colin Hanks so mad about?

Season 7 – Deb knows! And she can’t tell anyone because she went all “Game of Thrones” and fell in love with her brother :( so the consequences of “What would happen if Deb finds out?” turn out to be: Nothing! Nothing will happen. She’ll be okay with the 100+ victim serial killer. She’s like, lieutenant now, by the way. Biggest surprise of the series: Quinn likes strippers. Dexter gets a new girlfriend and breaks the code by not killer her. Deb is hella jealous.

deb

Season 8 – Fuck. You don’t even wanna know. From Vogel to Elway to the Marshall to Zach to Saxon, it was like a who’s-who list of “who the fuck am I supposed to give a shit about, again?”

Remember when the show introduced “the new Doakes” and then killed him right away? What was his purpose?

Remember when the show brought in “the female Doakes” to compete with Quinn to get a promotion and then got the job… and then completely disappeared?

Why the fuck did Masuka get a daughter? She was going to have some scam or something and then, just sort of, was there. Was that just an excuse to get a new regular that eventually went topless?

The final season of Dexter was obviously the worst, but really this is a show that went downhill steeply after Rita’s death. The first four seasons were still full of terrible detective work, unbelievable scenarios, a myriad of serial killers that have never and will never exist, especially not the extent of having more on every block in America than 7-11′s, but it was held up by interesting characters and suspenseful situations that made you fall in love with Dexter but also the people around him. Eventually the people around him became stupid and shitty and annoying and you just wanted to be the one that wound up on Dexter’s table strapped by plastic wrap.

Finally the writers and producers gave you what you wanted, death, it was just a slow and painful one that last four years too long.

 

 

 

Man who walk through turnstyle backwards, may end up in weird Thailand sex city: Part II of the podcast

September 23, 2013 § 2 Comments

And during your patient wait since part I, of which I’m sure there were any number of you waiting for the exciting continuation of my podcast detailing my trip to Thailand (any number between one and two), I have finally put part II down on audio record.

Let’s just say that Thailand has a… reputation, and Khaosan Road in Bangkok hardly does that reputation justice. While there are definitely ladies (and boys) of the night strolling Khaosan Road at night looking for business, as well as your Tuk Tuk (taxi) drivers that are saying “ping pong show?” under their breath (prostitution and the sex trade is not technically on the up-and-up, but prosecuting that activity in Thailand would be like outlawing gambling in Nevada), the truth is that we were pretty far from the red light district.

In this issue of the podcast, I talk about how Marcus and I tour the most sacred temple in Bangkok with two German girls — in which both Marcus and one of the girls end up desecrating the holiness and cleanliness of the Buddhist sanctuary. (Not in that way… you’ll just have to listen to find out.) And then on Day 3, Marcus and I travel to a place called Pattaya, where we thought that “it’s a great place to party!” meant something entirely different than what it turned out to be.

What it turned out to be was that “Thailand reputation” times 100, unlike anything I have ever seen or expected from the “sex trade reputation” that Thailand has, including a trip down the most surreal road I’ve ever been down.

Sidenote: I know realize that the reason I can’t add an MP3 for download is that wordpress wants more money to do something like that. Why embedding the player won’t work, I don’t know. To listen to the podcast or download it, just go here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fieldgulls/2013/09/22/nsfw–thailand-travel-tips-and-adventures-part-ii

Bada bing, bada boom, just one extra click! Thanks!

Bangkok Taxi Dangerous: Thailand travel tips and experiences podcast, part I

September 12, 2013 § 1 Comment

I returned from Thailand on Monday and it was one of the most surreal and amazing experiences of my lifetime. I met new and interesting people, saw some beautiful temples, ate some amazing food for so cheap that it should be illegal, fell in love for 24 hours, walked down the most ridiculous alley I’ve ever been to, probably interacted with some very shady characters, got bitten so badly by mosquitos that my foot swoll up to twice it’s normal size, and got asked if I wanted to be “f’d in the a”!

I talk all about it in what could be a 2 (or 3) part podcast. I think that it would have been very helpful to have something like this to really prepare me for what was to come, however then again it was part of the experience to NOT know what was coming.

I tried to embed the player and add a download link but apparently WordPress sucks. God damn it, WordPress! You can go to this link though and listen to it from BlogTalkRadio or download it from the same page. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fieldgulls/2013/09/12/nsfw–thailand-travel-tips-and-adventures-part-i

The audio sounds shoddy to begin with but that’s because I was trying to add a rain sound effect! This is something new I’m trying, thanks for putting up with me.

Kob kun kob!

25 steps to becoming a grown-ass man: See the damn world!

August 27, 2013 § 5 Comments

In an effort to see what it is like to spend some time as an adult after 30 years as a minor, I’m taking steps in my life to see if they improve the quality or bore the shit out of me. This is not a step that has any chance of boring me, but it is an important one.

I come from a family of “travelers.”

Misfits? Check.

Miscreants? Check.

Traveler? Checks!

My father was never around when I was growing up. (You take a moment to say “That explains a lot.”)  He worked for a company that builds major structures around the world and after my parents divorced in 1985/86, took permanent residence in Brisbane, Australia. At one point I asked him how many countries he had been to and the number was well over a hundred, though my terrible 12-year-old memory always wanted me to believe he had counted over 250, even though current estimates would say there are only 196 countries in the world.

He would spend a couple months in China, a couple months in England, or anywhere else that they asked him to go. I have a picture of myself as a baby, before my parents divorced, giving bunny ears to some Buddha statue (or Buddha like)  that I think was taken in Papua, New Guinea. He would usually be anywhere in the world at any given time, but rarely in Washington where i live.

I’ll give you a moment to bawl your eyes out over this heartbreaking tale of woe that is only shared by at least half of Americans.

But that always wanted me to also have a job that took me all over the world. I wouldn’t care what it paid, just as long as i could see everything that Earth had to offer. My dad’s job actually paid pretty well in addition to getting free travel. As a kid I would incorrectly tell my friends that he was a “contractor” as if he was overseeing the build sites and wearing a hardhat, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I learned he was a “contracts manager,” meaning that he oversaw the actual paper contracts between his company and the customer.

I was only off by about six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Despite how little I saw (or have seen to this day) my dad, that doesn’t make a son want to emulate him any less. If anything, it’s the fathers that are in your face 24/7 that drive kids away from wanting to be like them. All I know is that I wanted to be in Australia, or Austria, or Aus..tin, Texas? Just see the world.

I’m about 247 countries short.

I went to see my dad in New Zealand when I was very young. I would say I was probably 6 or 7.  The only memory I really have was that it was Christmas time and i got a Batman toy car as a present.  I went to Australia when I was around 11 or 12 with my sister to see him again, but he had actually contracted malaria just before and after much complaining from my sister about rather being back in America where her friends were, the month-long trip was reduced to two weeks.

My third trip came when I was 20, when I was between community college and transferring to Washington State. I spent most of the time there alone, but really enjoyed getting to travel around Brisbane and Sydney and to just be my own person in another country. I met some great and interesting characters and really experienced the differences in culture, legalities, personalities, and climates. I loved it and have raved about how wonderful Australia is ever since.

I want to feel the same way about other countries. I want to know how people really live elsewhere in the world. You can’t possibly ever get the perspective from television, whether its a National Geographic Channel special in Brazil or Fast Five when Vin Diesel screams out “This is BRAZIL!”

Media only fucks up reality.

But my father isn’t the only traveler in my family. I mean, that would have been false advertising if I had said “I come from a family of travelers” and then only mention my father, the one guy I’ve seen the least in the last 30 years, and if there’s one thing you can trust about me, it’s that I DON’T FALSE ADVERTISE!

(By the way, you can catch me and my band The Rolling Stones at Wimbledon next month and then I’ll be on the cover of PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive issue fairly soon after.)

My half-sister Vikki is also someone i have not seen much of in my life, someone else that has spent more of her time out of the country in the last 30 years than inside of it. Since graduating from the University of Washington roughly 20 years ago, Vikki has spent the majority of that time in third world countries as a member (and now active manager) in the Peace Corps. She spent a lot of time in South America and then moved over to places like Egypt (and was there during the 2011 riots) and is currently in the Sudan.

As she told me: “I sure know how to pick ‘em!”

Vikki speaks at least five languages, last I asked her. Doesn’t that seem like such a more fulfilling life than wasting away in an office cubicle eating Del Taco? Which is totally not I’m doing right now as I right this at 2:06 on a Tuesday.

My full sister hasn’t quite seen as much as my father and half-sister, but did make it a point to see all 50 states before she turned 30, even North Dakota. She also had a “destination wedding” in St. Lucia, Caribbean, which happens to also be one of the few times I’ve traveled overseas.

The other would be Canada, just as long as you call the border at Bellingham, Washington a “sea” as I surely do.

I need to go. I need to see. I need to experience. I need perspective. Nobody in this world can fully start to realize what it is, this world we live in, if you’ve only seen one side of it. Could you possibly know what it is to be “a Picasso” if you had only seen one of his paintings? Especially if that painting had come before his Cubism period? How could you know what “love” is if you stopped seeking it after your first puppy love broke your heart? Could you ever understand what it was to be a “Pauly Shore movie” if you had only seen Bio-dome?

Of course not. That’s not enough perspective. There’s no depth perception on Earth if you’re looking at it with one eye. And with so many sides, with so many people, with so many cities, and countries, and climates, and landscapes, and beers, and women (or men), and music, and foods, and shows, and customs, and styles, and political parties, and systems of government, and did I say beer, you would need 1,000 sets of eyes from 1,000 spiders to even being to get a fraction of what it is to be a human on Earth.

You’ll never get there, you’ll never see it all, but the journey itself is the destination.

That’s why one week from today I will be on a plane. That plane will take off from Los Angeles, California and it will land in Taipei, where I will only be for 45 minutes until I take another plane that will take me to Bangkok, Thailand. After long being my most desired travel destination on the planet, I will finally be in Southeast Asia and i will finally be in Thailand. What was the point of waiting any longer? I am so sick and tired of waiting for the moments that make life worth living, sometimes you have to make them happen on your own.

I will be there for only a week and I wish I could stay longer. I wish i never had to commit to coming back at all, but unfortunately I will need a job for at least a little while longer. My friend that I am traveling with does not/does have that luxury. We had spoken at length about a worldwide trip but while he eventually was laid off from his job, I kept mine. He will be in Thailand for a month and then Europe for a month. I will have to come back and go to work.

On the downside, it’s only one shot of travel whereas I would much rather get drunk on seeing the world.

On the upside, my friend has already turned down a job and recently had his unemployment stopped, and will have to immediately find work in a bad economy when he returns.

But honestly, risk doesn’t worry me. You have to take risks and they often pay off so much better than playing it safe. It’s just that for me I’m not quite in that position yet, I will put it off for moment, up until I simply can’t wait any longer. That day could come sooner than I could possibly imagine.

It has to.

Things I learned in podcasts this week: Space Law, How “Mark” met Tommy Wiseau, and why women are “hysterical”

August 7, 2013 § 3 Comments

A couple of weeks ago I decided to start a podcast. In addition to the 20 or so articles I write per week, and the video or two I do a week, I figured I might as well get in the podcast game too.

In preparation, I decided to listen to a couple of podcasts on my own.  I really only had been listening to two podcasts up to that point (Stuff You Should Know, WTF with Marc Maron) but what could two more hurt?

Two weeks later, I currently subscribe to about 20 podcasts and I’m listening for 4-6 hours per day.  There’s a lot of information out there and at the moment I’m a junky.  /pulls out headphone jack from being injected directly into my vein.

I figured what’s that information worth though if I keep it to myself?  Besides all of the power I’ll have over you of course.  But also what is it good for if I don’t brag about all the shit I learned, even if a lot of it won’t even win me a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Well, it might win me one game of Trivial Pursuit one day, and then it’ll be worth the thousands of hours of listening.  Here are just a few things I learned in the last week.

There is something called “Space Law”The Joe Rogan Experience with guest Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Joe Rogan’s podcast is three hours long.  I think you would have to have some unhealthy obsession with Rogan in order to listen to that every time, but then again how long is the Howard Stern Show?  I remember spending 6 am – 10 am listening to a local DJ in Seattle called “The T-Man” so with commercial breaks it’s not that different.

Still, I can only really listen to Rogan if I think the guest is interesting.  In that case, sometimes three hours isn’t enough.  Tyson is worthy of at least that much time.

An uber-space nerd that can actually hold a conversation, (no offense, I love space and nerds but it’s difficult to find genius that doesn’t go to the beat of it’s own drum) Tyson (who is hosting the reboot of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage) talks with Rogan for three hours about space and the Universe going over conspiracy theories and little known facts.  Such as the fact that just because nobody can hear you scream in space, it doesn’t mean that you can go around killing people.

Space Law, which became a concept in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1, governs that once you get about 60 miles above sea level, you abide by a new set of rules.

Rule 1: You don’t talk about space club.

What Tyson talks about specifically is that you can’t own property in space.  USA can go to Mars and plant a flag and build something, but nobody owns space and shit in space.  That’s like… God’s space, man.

Check out the Wiki article for more on Space Law and definitely give the podcast a listen too.

Grimace from McDonalds is a milkshakeEdumacation with Kevin Smith and Andy McElfresh

My favorite podcast at the moment is Edumacation.  Not only do I just find Kevin Smith to be a delight (he laughs a lot and laughing is infectious) but I’ve been introduced to a new fellow that has my heart aflutter: Andy McElfresh.

A writer for Jay Leno, McElfresh is basically a smart dude that knows a lot and teaches Smith (a self-proclaimed dumb dude) about science and things.  It’s about 90 minutes long and has only just come out within the last month or so, meaning it’s super easy to catch up on.

Every episode they have four segments: The Sci, The Fi, The Why, and The Bye.  The way they breakdown the show is whatever but it’s an awesome way to LEARN! (Learning is definitely one of the ways to become a grown-ass man.)  Of course, not all knowledge is useful.  But it certainly can be fun.

McElfresh was actually a writer on the very first McDonald’s home video and if you’re like me, you remember getting home videos from McDonald’s back in the 90s.  If you’re not like me and you didn’t get those videos, you are quite literally a better person.  I don’t think it had ever occurred to me to ponder “what is Grimmace?”; the purple blob that hangs out with Ronald, Hamburgler, and Mayor McCheese.

"hey kids! i hope you're not squeamish -- you're drinking grimmace!"

“hey kids! i hope you’re not squeamish — you’re drinking grimmace!”

A dinosaur?  A… I mean, who knows?  I have no idea, he’s a purple blob.  Why ask questions, just stuff those fries in my mouth faster and harder.

So again, before he was a writer for Leno (I am not a “Leno guy” but I think it’s fair to see there are many good comedy writers out there working for shows I don’t prefer), McElfresh wrote for McDonalds.  He passed along this tidbit of info:

Grimace is supposed to be a thick milkshake that has been turned upside down and taken out of the cup.  He gets his name because brain freeze makes you “grimace.”

Allllrighty then, Mickey D’s!! If you say so.

That’s a small bit of info for fun, but Edumacation is chock full of great shit.

You could not fight for the Roman Republic unless you were a landownerDan Carlin’s Hardcore History, The Death Throes of the Republic

There is almost no humor in Dan Carlin’s work, but you will learn a shitload about history.  I’m currently trying to learn about the Roman Republic, which apparently is kind of different than simply “Roman Empire” or “Ancient Rome.”

I mean, damn, I’m 3 hours in and he hasn’t even said “Caesar” yet!!

I could literally list about anything I’ve heard so far in the 5-part series of the Roman Republic called “Death Throes of the Republic” and it would be something that I did not know before.  Did you know that “Rome” is in “Italy”?  I mean, who makes this shit up!

Seriously folks, there’s a lot you can learn about humanity today by looking of humanity of yestercentury.  I’m definitely noticing some correlation between Rome and a “Too big to fail” mentality.

There were about 400,000 homes foreclosed on in 2000, and about 3.9 million foreclosed on in 2011Stuff You Should Know, Who owns an abandoned home?

Speaking of which…

Stuff You Should Know was my FIRST podcast.  There are hundreds of episodes (probably?) and you should be able to grab some interesting info out of each and every one of them.  I’ve listened to probably a half-dozen episodes in the last week, but perhaps the most interesting bit of info that I grabbed (or remembered off the top of my head) was that the housing bubble burst was even more dramatic than I could have ever guessed.

No matter how many times I have heard someone try to explain the housing crisis, I never quite get it.  But Stuff You Should Know is a great example of “Explain it to me like a 6-year-old” and that is a perfect example of my mentality.

I’m not super smart.  I need you to help me along.  That’s what Stuff You Should Know is great about.  Good news: In 2012, the foreclosures were down to 2.4 million!  Woo!  Those are about 2007 levels.

To learn more about what happens to an abandoned home and why nobody, including the banks, want to claim them, check out the ‘cast.

Part of the reason that the U.S. isn’t on the metric system? We weren’t invited!Stuff You Should Know, Why isn’t the U.S. on the metric system?

This is a great one too.  So is “What would happen if the Earth stopped spinning?”

Spoiler alert: Bad shit!

There is a guy on YouTube that sounds exactly like Tony SopranoOpie and Anthony, Tony Soprano, ep. 7

His name is Max Koch and it is really creepy. Especially on this episode of Opie and Anthony, when he calls in just after Gandolfini’s death.

“Mark” from The Room was the one to approach Tommy Wiseau in an acting class to find out who this guy was - How Did This Get Made?, The Room: Directors Edition

If you know anything about me, you know that The Room is one of my favorite movies of all-time. In fact, I think it’s the most thought-provoking film of our generation.  Most people will just call it “the worst movie ever made” but it transcends all of that and then some.

"oh hai, blog!"

“oh hai, blog!”

That’s why it was great to get to hear directly from one of the stars of The Room, Greg Sestero, who plays Mark.  Besides his sex life going well, Greg also talks about how he was in the same acting class as Wiseau and saw him do an extremely weird reading of Shakespeare.  While the rest of the class shook their heads in disbelief, Greg approached Wiseau and asked him to be his acting partner.

Classic Mark.

29 Harper High (Chicago) students were shot in the last year - This American Life, Harper High parts 1 and 2

This American Life is like the number one radio/podcast show that women say they listen to on OkCupid… so of course that means I have to listen to it now.

What I won’t do is go “back to school” like Rodney Dangerfield, especially not in the Chicago High Schools where you don’t even get a choice of whether or not you are joining a gang.  If you live in the neighborhood, you’re in.

At least let me choose my team colors!

Hysteria literally relates to the female parts of a woman, and was a really sexist way of doctors telling a women they was “just bein’ crazy, yo” - Sawbones, Hysteria

Sawbones is another new podcast that I’ve been listening to. It’s like Stuff You Should Know except that instead of two buddies, it’s a husband-wife team and believe it or not (prepare yourself for the same shock that you had when you were watching the episode of The Cosby Show when they were doing riddles) the wife is the one that’s a doctor!

duh duh duhhhhhhh!

The couple talk about some of the strange ways that we have treated medical conditions in the past, and it is not pretty.  So not pretty that a 1920s doctor might treat it like shit.

“Hysteria” was literally what doctors would diagnose women with for “Actin’ crazy” because… their uterus was bouncing back and forth inside of them.  For serious.

And the way to treat a women with hysteria?  Doctors would manually use their hands to rub their…. well, you’ll just have to listen.

That’s it for this week in what I learned in podcasts! If you’ve got any suggestions for shit I should check out, throw me a comment.  I’ll try to listen to it, as long as it doesn’t suck.  Well, I’ll still probably listen to it and tell people how much it sucks.

25 steps to becoming a grown-ass man: Get your own damn place

August 6, 2013 § 5 Comments

The first time I moved out of my home, I was 20.  I wasn’t fearful at all, I was excited to “live by my own rules” and “eat as much ice cream as I want!” as I embarked from Bellevue, Washington to Pullman, Washington, where I would be transferring to Washington State University.  (Fun fact*: The state doesn’t get it’s name from the first president of the United States, but from the heavy rains. Locals would peer upon the wet grass and mud and say, “Damn look at that. The rain sure is washing ton’s of cows away into the ocean!” is what they’d say, mmhmm they would.)

I spent the next three years in Pullman, living with roommates — a different person each year — before moving back home after graduating in 2006.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Nice, you graduated in three years!” but please remember that I transferred from a two-year school.  So I’m about as smart or as ambitious as that.

*not really a fact

As ambitious as a boy that moved back in with his mother following graduation, because for some reason I did not receive a bundle of cash after I had finished my schooling.  Nobody came up to me on graduation day and said “Hey Kenny, here’s your $100,000 and a job. Good work on finishing school!”  Rather, for whatever reason, they handed me a diploma that said “Good luck, lol” and a bill.  I had to find comfortable lodging as I searched for a job, and I guess living with mom is about as comfortable as it gets.

After two years of doing that, I had finally decided that I was safe enough to move out, be an adult, and traverse the obstacles of adulthood as a man.  A man!!!

Now I’m 30 and I’m still not sure that I’m even close to being a man, let alone an adult, but I’m working on it.  One of the major pieces of that is becoming I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that means?  It means having my own job, my own car, and yes, a studio apartment down by the beach.

That first time that I had moved out after graduation, I made my first real cardinal mistake of being an adult and living somewhere: Picking a good roommate.  The criteria for which I was accepting of a roommate at the time were as follows:

- “Oh, you’re looking for a roommate? Me too.”

And that’s it.

I moved into a two-bedroom apartment with someone I had been acquainted with in college, we’ll call him “John” (because that’s his name), and I really didn’t think it could be all that bad?  What was the worst case scenario, really?  How bad would it be?  Well, since I’m here writing this and not a murdered pile of fleshy Kenny, I would say that the worst case scenario did not come true.

But it was pretty close.

Whereas I had mostly mentally graduated from college (or at least came to the realization that Pullman was a town of literally about 80% students and not a Seattle suburb) John didn’t understand that.  Immediately it became obvious that music would be played loud throughout the night, drinking (and smoking) buddies would be staying around for as long as they wanted, and parties would be thrown during any day of the week.

Did I strongly emphasize enough the fact that we were living in a quiet suburb apartment complex next to little old ladies and 30-somethings with kids?  Or that I had a girlfriend at the time and all we liked to do was watch movies and enjoy quiet nights indoors, with little interest in the activities that John and his friends were interested in?  But more than anything, I didn’t want to get evicted, so I just needed to find a way out.

Less than two months after we moved in, I was in Vegas with my girlfriend when I got a voice mail from John.

“Yo.  We’ve been evicted.”  What a perfect phone call to get when you’re on vacation in Vegas.  All of a sudden I was a Loser, Loser, Chicken Bruiser.

___

I’ve spent the last four and a half years living with my best friend here in Los Angeles and I think that the length of time says enough about the best roommate situation I’ve ever had.  Moving in with someone you’re not that familiar with or not that comfortable with has turned out to be an 0-for-4 situation for me.  Oh, I’ve seen situations like this work out before for other people, friends of mine that have made lifelong friends with people that they’ve moved in with blindly, but I’m not one of those people.

I realize that living with me is something that many people cannot do, and I realize that for me, I can’t just live with anybody.  It also helps knowing that your roommate is not a complete douchehole.

I’d say that’s a proper way to describe my first roommate in Pullman.  Literally knowing nobody there, I moved in with a friend of a friend.  He seemed like a nice guy, but I actually knew on our very first day of living together that this was not going to work out.  We didn’t spend any time together for that year, and that turned into a blessing in disguise.

By being forced to venture out to find new friends, I would eventually meet the same dude that was my roommate for the last four and a half years.

My second year in school I moved in with a friend from those venturing out days.  We are still friends today (though not close friends) but the truth is that he just took massive dumps and clogged the toilet every day.

Seriously.

My third roommate was a friend from high school, and again still a friend today, but I made the mistake of agreeing to a deal where his friend would sleep in the living room.  It was college and you save money however you can, but I would describe this friend (we’ll call him “Chris” because that’s his name) as one of the worst people I’ve ever met.  An evil person.  The devil.

So the only successful roommate situations I have ever found are the ones where you know this person as well as you know anyone, but also you must understand that at times our friendship has been tested.  Most people shouldn’t spend that much time with anyone that they’re not fucking, and that’s just a scientific fact.

And so it becomes that in two weeks I will be getting my own studio apartment down by the beach.  Now at age 30, I knew that I have gone past the point of being young enough or broke enough to still have a roommate.  If you want to be a grown-ass man, you have to get your own damn place.

A place where you can bring home a girl (as if that happens all the time now) and not have to run clearance before hand.

A place where I can walk around naked (seeing me naked has now overtaken “snakebites” as most common ways people die each year) without fear of persecution.

A place where I can go home and do whatever I want without feeling an obligation to ask someone else, “So…. what do you want to do?”

There is nothing “adult” about having a roommate.  You have to be completely independent.

And that’s what this series is about: Growing up.

I don’t know what it has been like for previous generations of men, but I can tell you that it’s becoming blatantly obvious for my generation that we’re pushing the idea of men acting like kids well into their late-30s and early 40s at a significantly high rate.  If you watch Judd Apatow movies, you’ve got something like “This Is 40″ (Which previously would have been called “This Is 30″ in the 60s) but many more examples in that group of comedians where dudes can’t even hold themselves together long enough to talk to a girl, let alone have a wife and kids:

Knocked Up

40-year-old Virgin

This is the End

Pineapple Express

Funny People

Step Brothers

Grown Ups

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Wedding Crashers

Old School

TV shows like:

Seinfeld

The League

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Workaholics

Wilfred

Arrested Development

Community

And it’s not just guys…

What about the show Girls?  Mid-20s females that can’t maintain healthy, long-term relationships.  Or even the movie Bridesmaids, that featured a lot of women where one was getting married, one couldn’t get her life together, one was picking up air marshals…

And Kirsten Wiig as a woman who couldn’t get her shit together… she wasn’t 22-years-old.  She was in her 30s.  That’s not something I remember seeing much of in media when I was a kid.

When I think back to guy comedies in the 80s, for some reason I keep thinking about Stripes with Bill Murray and Harold Ramis.  Here’s a movie about two immature guys that join the Army because they don’t like their jobs.  I kept thinking that Murray and Ramis must’ve been in their mid-twenties, but maybe that’s because it came out before I was born.  (Movie: 1981, Me: 1982.)

But Murray was about 30 and Ramis was actually about 36.

Still, people are “maturing” or maybe it’s more accurate to say “doing adult things” at later and later ages.  American women are getting married on average, at age 27.  My grandmother got married when she was 16.  Women in the UK are marrying after 30.  And only about a quarter of black women in the US are married.   A quarter.

I don’t think that I have any need to get married, but there’s certainly some steps I can take to “grow up” a little bit.  Are there 25 of them?  We will find out.

I take the first step in a couple weeks when I move into my new place.  It’s actually not my first studio apartment.  After John got us evicted I was scrambling to find a new place to live, while also trying to convince renters that I was not the reason I had been kicked out of the apartment.  I would get John to tell them, do whatever it took, but getting evicted from an apartment is one of the worst things that can happen to you.  Finally a place had accepted my application and taken my deposit, but then they called a few days later to say that now they had found out I was evicted from my last place and they wouldn’t be taking me on.

I pleaded with them to reconsider, that they had already taken my money, but they still refused.  Since I was at work and couldn’t go pick up the money I had given them, I had asked my girlfriend at the time if she could do it for me since she worked right by the place.  It turned out that when she went in there she broke down crying in front of them, telling the story of the roommate from hell, and finally they relented.

I guess having a significant other does pay off sometimes.

I really enjoyed that place to myself, the place that I finally left a year later to move to Los Angeles.  I think I’ll enjoy this one even more.

Next time on “25 steps to becoming a grown-ass man”: Go see the damn world!

 

 

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