Archive | July, 2012

Camping Etiquette

26 Jul

5 Songs Buddy!

Rogue John Mayers– There is a 5-song max!!! Normally someone will pick up the guitar and timidly pluck at the strings and say something like, “Oh I haven’t played in forever,” or “I only know a couple songs.” This is what you want to hear because these people will play their “House of the Rising Sun,” “Ring of Fire” and “Wish you Were Here” and be done with it. Everyone sings along and laughs and times are good. If someone starts tuning the guitar by ear or drops that they are in a band, run for the fucking hills. You are about to sit through a brutal session, which usually entails long periods of required silence and obligatory compliments such as, “wow that was really powerful.” I don’t care how many chords you know or how sultry your voice may be, I didn’t ask for a private concert so please play your 5 songs and shut that shit.

Side note: Beware of those who bring hand drums. While a skilled percussionist can add depth to a jam session, a drunk or “in the zone” hand slapper can quickly become a nuisance.

No respect.

Reckless Roasters- We’re all adults now, which means find your stick, widdle what you will, apply the mallow and exercise a bit of patience. I’ll have none of this juvenile putting the entire mallow in the hot, hot flame and burning the crap out of it. Everyone knows you are not enjoying your burnt ass smore. Get your grown smore on.

Let me in guys.

Tentative Tent Sharers– I recently went camping with some friends. Before we left I asked if any of them had a tent I could share. Apparently this is the most inappropriate question to ask before a camping trip. “Umm that’s weird. Why don’t you have a tent?” Oh is that weird? Sorry, but in the midst of trying to get a fulfilling job, find love, make friends, travel, build my skill set, and rage, buying a fucking tent slipped my mind! My apologies!

Side note: Stop bringing all of your bedding from home and putting into your tent like its your bed away from bed. Everyone knows sleeping in a tent is uncomfortable no matter how many amenities one brings. They are smelly, hot sickly chambers usually on uneven ground. Your duvet won’t help matters.

The ravine is just down the way.

The Snorelax- (I think I’m actually included in this group) Kindly roll yourself off a ravine.

Stay in your site old people.

Neighborly Neds- Stay the eff in your own campsite. This ain’t the club. I don’t care if you need firewood, firs aid or just a friend. I’m here with my friends trying to create my own memories. I don’t need you coming over in your Tour De France outfit telling me about how long it takes to bike down the California coast. You’re smelly and making people uncomfortable.

Side note: If you are an attractive group of female campers you may approach. BUT WITH CAUTION.

Double Side note: This never happens.

Did you study at Le Cordon Bleu?

Julia Childs Style– Oh! Didn’t know we invited Julia and Julia, Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck on this trip. If you are going to spend half your rent check on organic foods for one weekend then so be it, but don’t have the audacity to critique my bud lights, block of cheese and ballpark franks. You can eat your quinoa and leek beet salad sandwich, but do so sans smirk and in silence.

That’ll do just fine.

Fire Fuhrer– Nobody cares that you took a wilderness survival-training course or went backpacking for a week in Yosemite. Everyone has a Bic and can find some paper and kindling. “Hmm I noticed you didn’t create a teepee structure, which is really the most efficient…” Shut that shit. I have a lighter. We’ll all be just fine.


5 Unconventional Hollers at Bars

18 Jul

Sometimes you walk into a bar and feel like Bradley Pitt. I assume he would do well at a bar. Other nights you just don’t have your mojo. You feel paralyzed by exhaustion, fear, poor wardrobe choices, sobriety and ESPN highlights. The mere thought of striking up a conversation with a female makes you want to go home and re-watch season 1 of Game of Thrones. (Let’s be honest, Season 2 was a little brutes until the last three episodes) Wahh! I don’t have a clever opener. Wahh! I’m ugly and overweight. Wahh! I’m a baby, who let me into this bar? No more excuses boys. Here are 5 unique ways to holler at girls that set you apart from the pack.

This person wins.

1. Challenge Her to a Drawing Contest– Most women like art; consider themselves artistic or think they know what art is. This approach shows confidence and a competitive nature. It’s an added bonus if you can actually draw, but if you are like me and got a C- in Visual Arts in High School, then simply use your time together drawing as an excuse to display other appealing traits if you have them.

Potential Flaws: If you are not a good artist AND don’t have any redeeming character traits please don’t use this approach as you will likely come off as creepy. Nobody wants to silently draw a unicorn in a packed bar and be passively critiqued by a weirdo.

The girl is stoops.

She is an awesome artist and judges your silly shitscribblings and decides she doesn’t find you attractive.

She’s such an awful artist that you think for a minute she in incapable of producing anything beautiful and you flash-forward to what your kids might look like and excuse yourself to the bathroom to yak.

Look how happy she is.

2. Send Her Something Other than a Drink– Oh, you sent her over a vodka martini with extra olives, what a cool guy you are. That shows no creativity or effort. You didn’t make the drink; you just watched too many Bond movies and have access to legal tender. All that shows is you have money. (As I get older I realize how important this is to girls….BUT that’s beside the point for now) I suggest sending over a mini-cupcake, or a full sized one depending on the largess of the lady. Other items that work include a Hershey’s kiss, mix tape, left over pad thai…OK you get it though.

Potential flaws: If the girl is insecure about her weight and thinks you are trying to make a statement by sending her a mini-cupcake. She hates getting gifts ever since her father left the family and ran off with the house cleaner Guadalupe on Christmas morning. I think the odds are in your favor for this one.

So preeeettty.

3. Glow sticks– Props to my roommate for exploiting this gem. You don’t have to be a raver to enjoy bright chemicals in plastic casing. Head down to the nearest 99-cent store and buy a handful. Humans are naturally attracted to light and everyone loves colors unless you’re a racist. It only makes sense that the harbinger of colorful lights would become an attractive and sought after figure. Approach the drunkest looking gaggle of geese and wait for them to ask why you brought glow sticks. “Cause I came to fucking rage!!!!” Then you throw glow sticks everywhere. Bawwwsssss.

Potential Flaws: Girl overdosed at a Deadmau5 show. She is a racist environmental prude and doesn’t like plastic or colors.

This is pushing the mental patient line.

4. Get a Weird Haircut and Pretend You’re Australian- Yes, this is super specific, but it works. It is important that you are either from Australia, Wales or New Zealand. There are too many examples of British accents so it’s harder to fake a good one. Irish and Scottish are too hard and ridiculous sounding to pull off. Take a few YouTube accent lessons, head down to Supercuts and get wacky. Rattails, scoops, faux hawk, low hawk, no hawk, initials in the side of your head are all acceptable choices. Girls want fantasy and fairy tale. There is nothing better than happening upon a strange “foreigner” in a dimly lit pub. Keep your talking to a minimum and you’ll also get good listener points.

Potential Flaws: If your accent breaks too much. If the girl is from that country. If your haircut is too weird and makes you look like a mental patient.

I love you babe!

5. Drink a Bunch– Yup, as we get older it becomes more socially uncouth to get rip roaring at a bar and make a fool of yourself. Don’t be scared to take it back to Freshmen Year you from time to time. Chances are someone will be on your level. She may not be “the one” but she is certainly someone. You may not even know or remember what you are saying, but trust me, you will be hollering at anything that will listen. Fats, taco truck ladies, bums, signposts, and pretty much whatever is in your path. You will be like a horny and loud tornado.

Potential Flaws: A lot of shit.

Bay vs. LA

3 Jul

A good friend recently called me and asked if I wanted to attend a local trivia night in the Bay Area. While flattered by the gesture, I informed the friend that I live in L.A. and unless he wanted to fly me up for the night like some high-end trivia escort, I would have to decline the invite.

“Really? How long have you been down there?”
“Over two years now. You should probably know this information about me”
“Shit man. What are you still doing down there? That place sucks.”

Most Northern Californians would agree with my friend, and most Southern Californians would be oblivious to the fact that their neighbors despise them so much, but at the same time carry an air of superiority that hints that they care more than they let on.

My friend was bummed that he wouldn’t have enough for a six-man team (and someone to crush current events) and then asked me, “So what’s better? The Bay or LA?” As always these debates are a matter of personal preference and clearly the fact I was born and raised in the Bay Area may cause some bias, but I do love L.A. I really do. I also wrote for my school newspaper for a few months so this will be a totally and completely objective look at both regions in hopes of settling the great yell-off.

Weather: LA

LA– Some say LA is devoid of weather. Those people are idiots or ungrateful and sentimental Easterners who miss the “change of the seasons.” Big ‘effin deal. The leaves change color for a couple days, snow is fun and nostalgic for maybe a day if you don’t have to work or be somewhere and rain puts you in a reflective mood until you want to kill yourself. Guess what everyone says after a week of freezing cold, wet and uncomfortable conditions? “I want sun!” LA has 9,000 days of sun a year. I describe it like being in a well-maintained lizard terrarium where everyone moves slow and licks the glass. (Not the best analogy but that’s how I’ve described it to like 5 people) You don’t have to wear a jacket at night and oh boy those Santa Ana winds…don’t quite know what they are, but people talk about them like lost lovers.

Bay– The Bay’s air is crisper and the light less intense. There are so many microclimates that it is hard to make an accurate comparison, but foggy summers in SF seem to be a downer for most who live there. We are all familiar with Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Fuck this fog, I’m kicking it in the East Bay today.”

Nature/Outdoors: Bay

LA– Los Angeles loses this one, but not by much. Everyone thinks LA is some sprawling shithole, isolated from anything beautiful. While there is a serious lack of green within the city, LA is super close to wonderful hiking in Malibu and San Bernardino, cliff jumping in Azusa, skiing in Big Bear and of course water sports all along its inviting beaches. Hey! There are beaches in the Bay too! Yea and they suck. Ocean Beach is freezing, Stinson is only good in summer and far away, and Robert Crown Memorial is just…well…heroine needly.

Bay– Pretty tough to beat the Bay in terms of natural beauty. First of all there is a big and beautiful bay that wraps around the major cities. There is a huge forest of redwoods where John Muir used to go and do things and a park the size of the city itself plopped in the middle with buffalo roaming around. When I was considering moving to LA, I visited my aunt and she was adamant about showing me the Silverlake reservoir and described it as “beautiful.” To be clear, reservoir is not an acronym for something awesome, it’s literally a water containment facility with a barbed wire fence around it next to a patch of grass, but people had come to cherish this small bit of green and blue within the city. Not a good sign.

Traffic/Public Transportation: Bay

LA– No secret here. All you have to do is watch this video to understand how LA traffic drives people insane. I’ve tried herbal teas, reggae mixes and deep breathing techniques. Nothing works. The metro isn’t bad, but it doesn’t service enough areas and if you polled Angelinos, I’m sure most wouldn’t even know LA has a subway system.

Bay– Yes, traffic here can suck too, but I’ve never had to put on Bob Marley to physically stop myself from murdering someone. Muni and Bart are gross, but fairly accessible and if you haven’t pissed in a Gatorade bottle on your way back from New Years, you’re not living.

People/Sense of Community: Bay

LA– This one was hard to call and I’ll explain why. LA has a terrible reputation for being full of pretentious, fake and fame hungry airheads. These people do exist, but they are not the majority and you don’t have to interact with them if you don’t want to. You’re a big boy now. LA is huge! There are so many unique neighborhoods that give you a different flavor of LA life. It’s a melting pot of transients, natives, immigrants, celebrities, and those trying to become celebrities. Here is the double-edged sword. LA is an entertainment hub and industry. People move here from all over the world to make a career out of their artistic passion and craft. I’ve never been surrounded by this many talented and driven people in my life, and that is a credit to the magnetism of LA. This also means everyone moves here for a purpose, not merely for a change of scenery. Careers come first, which means relationships and friends come second. I’ve never been exposed to so much fakery and flakery in my life. Distance between neighborhoods, traffic, auditions, gigs, shoots, shows, headshots and diets are all reasons given for not hanging out, and that’s bullshit. Some call it independence; I’d call it loneliness.

Bay- I think the Bay wins this because of what the area does to people. LA has made me slightly impatient and mistrusting of people’s intentions. The bay tends to attract and nurture a sense of tolerance and curiosity. People are encouraged to be themselves and that creates a very unique region full of interesting and mostly intelligent people. I’m not saying people in LA are stupid, but the general discourse revolves around entertainment, which is to be expected, but exhausting nonetheless. Something brought to my attention, however, is the fierce regionalism that exists within the Bay. There is a certain aura of self-righteousness that exudes from bay folks, which can be perceived by outsiders as pretentious or just downright ridiculous. We’re still pretty sweet though. (Most biased section. I swear)

Food: This decision was excruciating, but I think LA takes it. I’m not a foodie so I don’t know where to get bomb Azerbaijani food, but I can speak on the main cuisines. Affordability and food trucks tip the scales.

Burritos: Bay
Mexican/Latin: LA
Burgers: LA
Pizza: Bay
Korean/Japanese: LA
Chinese: Bay
Indian: I don’t know, it all runs thru me.
Thai: LA
Food Trucks: LA

Oh, but what about Alice Waters and the California Cuisine/Organic farms/Gourmet Ghetto revolution in the Bay? It’s all great, but like I said before I don’t have the duckets to go to Chez Panisse or some Michelin 4 star joint and eat dungeoness crab with gold on top.

So if you are counting at home I guess the Bay takes it, but there is a reason I haven’t moved back yet. LA is a really cool place with a lot to offer and I wish people gave it more of a chance. Why here’s an idea! Now that my friends know that I’ve been living in LA for the last two years, they can come visit and see for themselves how sweet it is, and then talk shit about it when they get back to the Bay.