Friday, March 23, 2012

Hairs On My Chiny Chin Chin.

As most people know, I haven't had a clean shaven face for a long time. I always went around with some sort of facial hair, whether it be a mustache or a beard. But, that all changed one Sunday when I decided to chop off the lip curtains and chin drapes. Needless to say, I didn't feel like myself. Who knew that facial hair could make someone feel 'whole'.

My constant dance with facial hair started a few years back. Before seeing some friends perform, I decided I'd shave and look nice and clean. A great time was had and there were plenty of pictures taken that night. A few days later, I log into Facebook to see that I've been tagged in some new photos. Immediately, I thought these must be the pictures of that awesome night and I can't wait to relive it while flipping through them. Holy crap. Who is that weird looking dude with the tiniest mouth on this planet? Oh that's me? Well, I'm going to throw up now and never shave again. I kid you not, those were my exact thoughts when I saw what I looked like with a terrible haircut and sans facial hair. From that moment on, I vowed to never go bare-faced.

So, why did I go back on my word? Well, the simple answer is that I completely forgot that I look horrible without facial hair. Some may argue that I have no excuse to forget because I'm clean shaven in the family portrait hanging in my house. They'd be totally right, but how many times have you walked past something in your house and have forgotten it existed? If I'm honest, it would only be noticed if someone took the picture down. And that's almost exactly what happened when I finally shaved. Without my masculine mane, I realized I had made a huge mistake.

But did I? After a couple of days, I noticed that the ladies at my job had been paying me more compliments than I ever got with any facial hair. I can't remember a single instance when a girl has told me they liked my beard. The same goes for my mustache. Actually, I think girls have kept from talking to me while I had one. There were plenty of 'dig your stache, bro' from guys, but not a single girl said they liked my mustache. And that's a bit heart breaking because I seriously think I can pull one off. But the proof is in the pudding, I guess.

Now, where does this leave me? Do I keep going clean shaven and accept the attention of the ladies? Or should I let my chin hairs grow to their roots' content? Either way, my facial hair takes forever to grow in. It's been almost three weeks since I've shaved and the amount of stubble I've got going on is equivalent to that of an Italian man's after only an hour of shaving. So, I've got plenty of time to make my decision.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Extra! Extra! Read All About It.

I feel comfortable saying that most of us have fallen victim to social websites spilling the beans on something. It could have been the winner of a game you recorded, the ending to a movie you wanted to see, or the plot twist in one of your favorite shows. The last one is what recently happened to me. Sadly, it happened to some other friends as well.

While hanging out with a friend, they got up to use the bathroom, and I decided to check my Instagram feed. There it was, smacked right in the middle; a character from one of my current favorite shows had bit the dust and I wasn't around to see it. A little picture with some lettering on it let me know what I had been waiting all week to find out. Needless to say, I got pissed and it wasn't just me. After checking facebook, it seems that the out of bag cat shat all over everyone's newsfeed.

Reading through everyone's comments and status updates, even taking a step back and analyzing my own reaction, I got the sick feeling that maybe we were caring too much. Our friends had instantly become hated and I even called someone a 'dipshit'. Really? I reverted to using a term I hadn't heard, let alone spoken, in years? It's only a TV show.

Don't worry. This isn't where I'm going to preach and tell everyone that there are bigger concerns in the world and that we're fortunate to have so much. No. I'm going to tell people, 'stop being an idiot!' There is no longer any glory in being the first to tweet or update about something that happened. You're being annoying and unless you've just had a child, there's really nothing you can post first that won't seem that way. This is especially true when entertainment and media are involved. Way to go. The only exception I'll make is for the announcement that Whitney has been canceled. Even then, I won't really care.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I've Got My Eye On You.

Sometimes I like pretending that I'm doing this blog thing as a full time job. I sit at a coffee shop and type away on my macbook, looking at all the mothers having their lunch dates with other moms. Usually, I'm one of a small group of guys sitting there in the middle of the day. I like to think that people see me typing away and assume I'm working on something. Most of the time, they're right, but there is the occasional instant message that I'm responding to or a message board post I'm leaving. They won't even know the difference. To them, I'm working on the next great American novel, but really I'm just responding to a friend's "sup?" OK, maybe they're not thinking that, but that's how I choose to believe it.

People watching has always been one of my favorite 'past times'. I don't really consider it that since I don't go out of my way to actually watch people. It's something that we seem to do when there is nothing left to do while we're in public. You can usually see men partaking in this 'activity' while sitting outside of a store, waiting for their other half to come out after spending more than the guys wish they had. I have to admit, the mall is quite possibly the best spot to people watch.

I can remember going to the mall as a teenager and spending most of my time just watching people go about their shopping. When you're a teen, there's not much money in your pocket, so you walk the mall without ever buying anything. My friends and I would perch ourselves on a bench or table and just comment on people who walked by. Being teens, sometimes the nicest things don't pop out of your head. But I was never that kid. I let my friends poke fun while I watched people, wondering what their lives were like.

That's usually when I start wondering if my life is real. I don't mean in the existential sense, I'm talking about The Truman Show kind of 'real'. I'd watch these strangers and wonder if they're just actors in a show based on my life. Even typing this, I wonder if there are cameras focused on me. You're probably thinking that I'm some sort of egomaniac, but I dare you tell me you've never had the same thought. It's a completely farfetched idea, but I'm guilty of wishing it were true sometimes. Luckily, it's not.

So, I smile at strangers. I don't know what's going on in their lives and who knows where they're headed to, or where they're coming from. I'm not filled with those answers, but I know this world could use a lot more kindness, even if it's a split moment we share together while sitting in a coffee shop.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Damn You, Bourdain!

Let me talk about how much I hate the food selection around me. As a young kid, you don't really take into account that all the major chain restaurants are boring as hell after a while. They all serve the same food and I'm almost certain that most of what's being served is just microwaved. Sure, it's probably a few steps above fast food, but I don't think it's that much higher up. This is all coming from someone who has spent less than 5 hours in the restaurant industry. For all I know, I'm completely wrong and someone reading this is a line cook at one of these lovely establishments. One thing that's for sure is that if I ever really voiced any of these concerns in person, I'd probably get spit on my food. It's probably on there anyway.

Watching Anthony Bourdain's adventures on the Travel Channel doesn't make me feel any better. I look at the amazing places he visits around the world and only dream that I could eat there. Everything looks incredible and I'm filled with rage. I look at my refrigerator and am completely disgusted with it. Where's the suckling pig? Does it hold any science crafted foods that are taking the culinary world by storm? Hell, can it produce for me the tastiest burger I've bitten into in years? The answer is always no. I know I'm being too harsh on my fridge and this speaks more about my skill as a cook than it does about the contents of my fridge. I'm sorry fridge; you're awesome. You keep my food nice and cool and my cold drinks at the perfect temperature. I'm the lazy guy who doesn't take time to prepare his dinners. It's also the reason why I know most of the chain restaurants suck.

But, every once in a while, there are those local places that pop out and have you keep coming back. Places that you think are a secret to everyone else. You're even afraid to say its name out loud because that would garner enough attention from your friends, and they'll tell their friends, and so on until you have to call three weeks in advance for a reservation at the place you hung out at before it was cool. It's honestly the same way I feel about music. Does that make me a restaurant hipster snob? Probably.

One of my new favorite places is Barrique in Babylon. Even writing about it here is going against my whisper rule. As a Long Islander, it's tough to find a good restaurant. If you live here, you know it's overrun with all those chains and Italian restaurants. This place was a breath of fresh air. Completely rustic looking, it feels out of place on this island. The side entrance and the alley it hides in makes me feel like I'm not here anymore; like I've been transported to France for the night. There's also the amazing wine selection and the great ways the staff figures out which one would suit you best. Let's not forget their cheese selection. Holy crap, I never thought I could love cheese, ever, but that aged gouda got me hooked and nothing else will do.

That's enough about my new favorite restaurant. I won't tell you about the other's that I love. The wait at Barrique is already long enough. Good thing I know the bartender. Go out and find a new place to eat.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dig Dug Toot.

Picking your nose; scratching the inside of your ear; digging for something stuck in your teeth; letting one rip; belching out a loud one. We're all guilty of doing it. Sometimes, we're completely unaware that we're doing it. You're just going about your day when you let out a little toot and level the crowd of people walking behind you.

For a long time, I was a fan of picking my nose while I drove my car. This was especially true when I would drive home from work late at night. The next time you're out and about at night, take a second to look at the cars coming your way. Can't see the driver because the headlights are blinding you? Well, that's the perfect situation to pick one out that's been bugging you. But like I said at the beginning of this paragraph, I was a fan. This all ended the night I was driving home and "dug" a little too deep. 

Before I knew it, my finger was covered in blood. It's a pretty big shock when you're doing 45mph down the side streets of your town. I couldn't believe this was happening as I reached into my glove box and searched for napkins to stop the flood of crimson coming out of my nose. Thankfully, I made it home without a drop on my clothes nor the seats of my car. As I'm staring into my reflection, with toilet paper plugging my nose, I vowed to stop doing it. I also promised myself to make an effort to become aware of the things I was doing.

See, up until the nosebleed happened, I wasn't really aware that I was picking my nose. It had become so habitual, that I didn't think twice about it. Then I had a conversation with a friend who claimed to do the same thing. We had just started doing things without realizing that maybe we should keep it to ourselves. He came clean that his big thing was farting in the bar. Who could blame him, though? You drink enough beer and you're bound to let out some gas. For me, it's burping while I'm there. A few times, I had belched out some loud ones and when I realized I was doing it, I would ask people if they heard it and I apologized. Another friend had become so used to my burping that he could pick out when it was me just by the smell. Gross, I know.

But, nothing beats going to the local bar on Thanksgiving night. I heard my bartender friend tell me it was the worst smelling night of the year. Not remembering what he said, I walked into the bar two Thanksgivings ago; he was totally right. It was absolutely rank in that place. It seems that everyone was letting out a fart here and there and thought no one would notice. That might be true when you're there on a normal night, but not when everyone you're surrounded by is doing the same exact thing. Had there been flowers in the place, you'd probably see them cry.

So, what keeps us doing this? Most of us were brought up better than that. I know my mom would hit me if she saw me burping in public. I don't even want to think of what she would do if she ever knew I picked my nose in front of others. But I guess that's what you deal with when you have a son. Are girls a different story? Everyone knows they're the "gentler gender" and they half expect guys to be gross. But do they burp in the middle of a crowd? Are they tearing it up with their farts and blaming guys? I certainly hope not and if you're a girl reading this, please don't shatter that thought for me. We all know girls are crazy, but if you add any of the bad habits discussed in this post, I might never take a girlfriend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

You're Gonna Be A Star, Kid.

So, the main reason I started this blog was to get the creative juices flowing to write what I really enjoy; Comedy. Ever since I can remember, I've always enjoyed making people laugh. My sister was my first audience member, but she didn't really have a choice. I had the bad habit of being the older brother who would get his sister upset. The waterworks would start and I would immediately feel guilty for what I'd done, never really thinking about what I might be doing to hurt her feelings. As soon as I would feel that way, I went out of my way to make her feel better by trying to bring a smile to her face. Sometimes it involved saying funny lines from movies (usually Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) or whatever slapstick a little kid's mind could come up with. 

Sure, there were also tons of influences around me. There were movies, TV shows, and Mad Magazine. My dad worked the graveyard shift at a 7-11 for a brief moment in time and he would bring me the old issues of Mad that would find their way to the garbage. The movie spoofs were my absolute favorite. I loved seeing popular things made fun of. Then it hit me; I wanted to be in comedy. Too bad it took me this long to listen to my "inner child" and act on it.

The earliest movie that made me really want to make other's laugh was Dumb & Dumber. Seeing that movie in the theater changed my life forever. Sure, I might not have gotten all the jokes when I first saw it, but I knew the theater was laughing and I wanted that kind of attention for myself. Yes, it's a very selfish act, but who doesn't love the limelight? From that moment on, I made it a point to make everyone around me an audience and I wanted to make them smile.

A good friend of mine recently let me read some scripts that he had written. I was jealous to say the least. This guy has talent. How he doesn't have a job writing movies or a sitcom is beyond me. Even hanging out with him makes me feel like we've got a shot at making it in comedy. It also makes me feel like I'm not that funny (there I go beating myself up again). After asking him how he became good at writing scripts, he told me that he just absorbed as much as he possibly could. I took that advice and ran. It wasn't just because he told me to, but because that was the one piece of advice I kept hearing over and over again.

From that moment on, I read, watched, and listened to as much comedy as I possibly could. I bought books on script writing, listened to podcasts, watched all kinds of stand-up, and paid especially close attention to sitcoms. Every thing flowed into each other. What I read in the books was happening in the movies and sitcoms. What I heard in the podcasts were proven methods and great advice for what I saw in stand-up. But with all that information, there was one bit of advice I wasn't following; just go out there and do it.

That's how this blog was started. It's how two great friends and I started writing skits for a troupe we called Mod Follies. It's also responsible for my one successful night at doing stand-up. I still tell people that I do stand-up because I like the attention it gets. If you're reading this and I've told you this before, I'm sorry. I'm a fraud and have done stand-up only once. Don't be so quick to write me off yet, though. I've got pages of bits that are just waiting to see the light of day/a stage.

So, that's where I'm at. I type away on a MacBook and hope that one day it'll lead to something else. I'm out there. I'm doing it. I've just got to keep up to date with this blog. The next time you see me and you've noticed that I haven't posted anything new the previous Tuesday or Friday, I give you full permission to punish me by getting me a beer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cock Pit Rock Out

Have you ever just rocked out in your car? I mean full on, radio blasting, singing at the top of your lungs, raising your fist to the imaginary crowd that makes up the speedometer, kind of rocking out? Now, have you ever been caught doing it?

Unless you absolutely hate your life, I can safely assume that we've all done this. Maybe you're not a driver, but you've rocked out in public with your ear buds in. I can say that I've worn and have seen them on the city bus. And after catching someone watching us as we 'literally' melt off some faces, blood rushes to our cheeks, our eyes widen, and our mouths shut at a staggeringly slow pace. We turn away from the stranger's gaze and beat ourselves up in our internal monologue. 

Tonight, I vowed to never do that again. I was driving down the road and had been stopped at a red light for about a minute. Foster the People were on and the volume was louder than normal because I was just doing 50mph right before coming to this stop. That's when I started bobbing my head to the beat, then came the singing along. Before I knew it, I was full out singing the words and beating my fist into the passenger seat to the kick drum.

As my 'rock out' is in full swing, I turn my head to the right to see a guy watching my performance from two lanes away. Instantly the thoughts of "you're an idiot" and "I can't believe that dude saw me" came rushing to my brain. That's when I shut off my brain, slapped on a huge grin, and waived to the mustached onlooker. He wrinkled his eyebrows and held up an unconvincing wave. At that moment, I didn't care what this guy thought of me. Hell, I will most likely NEVER see this man ever again and even if I do, I know for sure I won't recognize him. Let him be completely jealous of my good time and bow before the awesome that is my rock out.