Tag Archives: advice

Rivets and Reservations

28 Oct

magic castle

Magic is meant to inspire awe. It should suspend your disbelief and make you question all that is true in the world. At the Magic Castle in Hollywood they achieve these results in stupefying fashion. I’m rendered speechless not by any sleight of hand, but rather a wardrobe slight from one of the most inept managers upholding the silliest dress code ever created.

One must be invited by a member of the castle to enjoy the entertainment. This part of the journey is almost charming if you consider e-mailing random magicians and pretending to have seen their act in order to get an invite a good use of your time. I finally secure an invite through a friend of a friend and set up the date.

magicianThe evening is a surprise for my lady who mentioned in passing months earlier she wanted to go really badly. (Shout out to myself for remembering that) We arrive early at the valet. I take one step out of the car and the valet asks if I have read the dress code. I am confused because I’m dressed like a motherfucking GQ model, I reply yes; in fact I read it twice. He cringes and says I cannot come in dressed like that. Dressed like what? The poster boy for welldressedman.com? No, he informs me they will not be able to accept my pants. I am unaware my pants sent in an application, but just to clarify why will my pants not be accepted here? Here is a brief excerpt of how the next 5 minutes went.

On the left.

On the left.

“Well sir, they are denim-like.”

“What? But they aren’t denim.”

“Yes, but they are denim-like. They have rivets”

“What did you just say to me?”

He gets the manager who comes out and also informs me my pants will not be accepted.

“I am sorry to inform you we cannot accept your pants. They are denim-like.”

“But they aren’t denim! They are cotton twill. It’s a completely different weave! I don’t understand what the problem is?”

“Well they have rivets.”

“If one more person says fucking rivets…”

I look over at my date, she can see things are getting out of hand, and to be honest if she was not with me I would have told the guy to fuck off and left. There is nowhere in the dress code that states pants can’t have rivets. Have a look for yourself. There is, however, a few things that they do accept that I think will give you a good idea of what kind of institution this place is.



  • Think business attire.
  • Men must be in coat and tie (standard or bow tie)
  • Exceptions to the “tie rule” are: turtlenecks (that can be folded over), bolo ties, ascots, jeweled collars, ruffled collars and banded collars.
  • Military Dress (no fatigues), ethnic and/or religious attire will also be allowed.
  • No zippered jackets, outdoor jackets, polo shirts, t-shirts, denim (or colored denim), shorts, sandals, flip flops, sneakers or sneaker-like shoes are allowed.
  • Leather jackets (with buttons) and leather pants are allowed.
  • No casual attire will be allowed.

turtleneckTwo very important things to note on this list: Turtlenecks (that can be folded over) and leather jackets (with buttons) and leather pants ARE allowed, but god forbid your H&M twill pants have a couple rivets on them so help you Jesus and the divine power! I repeat. TURTLENECKS….THEN IN PARENTHESIS (THAT CAN BE FOLDED OVER!) End of discussion.

After calming down a tad, I ask what the solution is. He first displays a bit of competence and says he will go check if there are some pants I can borrow. Fine. This kind gesture is quickly destroyed when he comes back out and tells me in a sarcastic tone that they need to be taken to the cleaners because, “You don’t even want to know what happened to them.” Did someone shit in them? It’s shit isn’t it? No? Can I put them on past my knees? Then let me in to this goddamn castle!

soiled pantsHis second managerial gem is to suggest I go back home and change pants. It’s 6 pm in LA on a weekday. Kindly go fuck yourself. The final solution is to go to H&M down the road and buy new pants. I swallowed my pride like a porn star and set off to buy a new pair, while my date waits inside.

I lumber down the hill in my suit, neck sweat on full blast when I get a call from my girl. They don’t have my reservation for dinner. After some guidance on my part and some master sleuthing on his behalf, he determines the reservation is under my name. Yes, of course it is….I don’t even know what to say to that. That’s not the first name you check? I ask if I may return to my quest to buy new pants. He assures me we are on for the 8 PM dinner and show. Wonderful.

fatpantsI will give everybody one guess what happens when I get to the H&M. They only have denim pants in the entire store, riveted up the wazoo. I almost collapse in frustration, but keep it together long enough to ask the salesmen if I can buy his slacks. He contemplates calling the police, but ultimately mentions that they may have one pair by the mannequin. I slowly walk over to the pale hipster and find a pair of black dress pants discarded by the window. I pray to Hedi Slimane I can at least pull them up around my formidable thighs. 34/32’s. They won’t zip up, but they will do just fine for a night of magic.

I return to the Magic Castle with my mismatched dress slacks, a sweaty mess with my evil no good cotton twill denim-like riveted pants in hand. I lock them in my car and finally enter the hallowed mansion. After one beer my anger subsides and I enjoy the night of talented magicians. Despite the hoop jumping, I will be back, and when I do I will be in a bedazzled tuxedo with rivets, and a turtleneck that doesn’t fold over.

Classes I Should Have Taken

4 Mar

college jeapordyRecently I watched a college edition of Jeopardy. Everyone knows College Jeopardy is for pussies, but we all need victories no matter how petty, so I made sure the idiot from Dartmouth heard my condescending screams thru the TV. I performed admirably, but as the three awkward students shook Trebek’s hand at the end of the game I was left to wonder; how smart am I? It’s a hard thing to measure in your adult life. I’m not in class anymore, there are no scantrons or blue books to test what knowledge I do have, and to be honest some days I wonder if the information I learn is really all that important.

am i smart?If I wanted to impress you I would sit you down and tell you all about the spread of Islam, specifically how it related to Spain’s early history and how there was a beautiful yet controversial period called the convivencia in which Jews, Muslims and Christians all lived together in relative harmony until the crusades, church and the reconquista squashed it all. I could confidently mumble my way through the definition of what a quasar is, and might even be able to tell you what Boo Radley really represents in To Kill a Mockingbird. These are facts and theories that are not my own that I can spit out at a moments notice. When repeated properly to a willing audience, they provide a thin veneer of what many of us consider to be education and intelligence. I, however, am not so sure of this.

college andyI graduated from a 4-year institution with modest accolades. I never pushed myself too hard, nor did I allow myself to fall behind. Let me be clear before I continue that I would not trade those 4 years for anything (maybe a jetpack with unlimited fuel) because I met the most amazing people and had unforgettable experiences. Some would argue that socialization, learning how to behave in a pack, and thus becoming a quality citizen is the true objective of College, and if that is the case then College was a great success for me. I am more concerned with the education we receive from 4-year institutions in the U.S. and specifically the classes we are offered.

My sophomore year I chose to take a class called Earth Science and the Cinema. Yes, you read that correctly. We would watch clips of popular disaster movies like Twister, Armageddon and Deep Impact and then do simple math problems to prove why these disasters as portrayed in the movies would never happen that way. It satisfied my quantitative requirement as well as my penchant for shitty disaster movies. It was all very funny back then, and in many ways still is, but it’s also very sad. It’s sad students had the option to waste 6 weeks like this, it’s sad the university wasn’t more creative or progressive in their offerings, and in times of intellectual doubt, and we all have those times, I can’t help but think back to Earth Science and the Cinema and wonder what the hell I was doing.

college burYou can point to many reasons why these problems exist. Institutional bureaucracy is hard to deal with. Things don’t change with the snap of a finger. For me, College came too early. I wasn’t ready to be smart and seek out my own education. Maybe I would have been better served taking time off and traveling or working, or completing my general education requirements at a community college for a fraction of the cost. I chose to major in history early on because it was the class I didn’t fall asleep in during high school. Many other students pick their classes based on their friends, sleep and or drinking schedules. These choices don’t matter a whole lot when you exist within the colligate bubble, but what problems do they potentially create once you graduate? I may not want to trade those 4 years I spent for anything, but if I were creating classes to best aid students in “the real world,” I would do things a little different. The following is a mock syllabus of a course I’d like to call #Realworldshit (You know, to appeal to the youth or whatever).

Week 1 – Graphic Design

• A skill that allows you to call yourself an artist while getting paid? Awesome. Sometimes the freelance life can be stressful, but as long as there are movies, concerts, companies, ads etc… Graphic designers will be in demand. Go torrent Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and lets get started.

Week 2- Web Design

• Similar to week 1, but this week will focus on HTML, basic coding and maybe some looks into Ruby design and app development. Kids are on their phone and apps all the time; let’s make their appsurd ideas a reality.

Week 3 – Tax Returns and The IRS

• These guys aren’t just bad guys and assholes in movies? What!? Yup, they exist and want your W-2’s, A-1’s, and G-6’s. I made up the last two, but maybe you don’t know that I did. Some basic financial knowledge goes a long way.

Week 4 – Car Maintenance

• You don’t need to be a grease monkey, but checking your own oil, jumping your car and changing a tire are all things you should have in your carsenal (sorry). Plus girls get super wet when you can do car things.

Week 5 – Actually Learn A Language

• Juan and Pablo sit at a café: Juan: Hola Pablo, como estas?—Eff this shit. You will never learn anything this way. I think studying abroad should be mandatory. It’s the best way to learn a language, learn about yourself and meet hot foreign people in the process.

Week 6 – Ping Pong

• It’s just a great game.

grad with debtMaybe one week for each of these is too short, maybe they deserve their own semesters, or even majors, but I can guarantee the world at large does not care how many times you can use the word ‘hegemony’ in a sentence. There is no premium placed on the general knowledge of anything, in fact, life can be quite specific and often rewards those who seek out its niches. We need to take responsibility for our education. I still don’t know whether I am smart, but I know damn well I don’t crush at Jeopardy because I took Earth Science and the Cinema.

Early Bird Gets the Sex

5 Feb

early birdIt’s 2:15 AM. You double click your keys to unlock your modest midsize sedan. You try to focus your vision thru the slightly fogged windshield. Your last call whiskey soda put you .05 over the legal limit. A date, lover, girlfriend, hussy plops into the passenger seat and tells you to turn on the heat. You are holding in farts.

You arrive at her two-bedroom apartment. You wonder if her roommate is finer than her. It’s quarter to 3 because parking is terrible. Her living area smells of pomelo and citrus, but don’t second-guess why you know this. Her room is surprisingly messy. Everything you thought about girls being cleaner than guys is an illusion now. You kiss her. You have to poop.

In her most seductive voice, she asks you to fuck her. You hold in a burp as the night’s dinner is still clashing with the Jameson and IPA. You silently oblige, and unhook your belt, while you take one last look over at the nightstand. 3:30 AM. You tell your insides to shut the hell up and cooperate. You imagine your dick as Thor, conqueror of women and worlds, able to shoot lightning from its tip and render mortals and gossips speechless. Your abs hurt from clenching.

hot duvetShe falls asleep because it is her bed and she is in familiar territory. You are overheating because she has a duvet cover and too many pillows. You try to stick one leg out in an attempt to counter balance the temperature, but alas the covers are too well insulated. You drift in and out of consciousness, stomach still unsettled, your arm trapped under her dead weight. Big spoon problems.

At first light, you sneak out to the adjacent bathroom. You hope for a fan, if there is no fan or it’s not loud enough, you put on Two Chainz Pandora radio at mid to high volume to mask the trombonery. You aim for speed, but without the velocity to stain porcelain. It is uncomfortable and the reading material is sub-par. You wonder why you held it for so long. As you put back on your clothes and tell her goodbye, you start to question many things.

On the car ride home you think how much easier it would have been to just take a crap at her apartment and then resumed activity. You wonder why it’s so taboo to poo. You also consider not staying out until closing time, which not only cuts down on drink costs, but also maximizes energy and agility. You wonder if you are getting lame or smart. You decide it’s a combination of the two and happily accept your fate.

Sorry, I’m Bad With Names

8 Jan

bad with namesThere is no sweeter sound in language than the sound of our own name. We are pack animals, we crave community and inclusion, and so it baffles me why we choose to deny each other of this satisfaction.

This may come across as petty or megalomaniacal, but forgetting someone’s name and then telling that person the reason you forgot their name is because you are “bad” with names is a kin to a middle finger to the face, a punch to the gut, and a sign that meaningful human interaction will only continue to get more difficult as excuses like this are so readily accepted. Some may suffer an even more unforgivable fate when not only is their name forgotten, but also the entire prior meeting is brought into question.

Now clearly there are some grey areas to my Mr. Manners manifesto. Sometimes when you are introduced to a large group of people all at once it can be overwhelming, and unless you have a mnemonic device prepared, chances are you will forget a few names here and there. My qualms with the accused are aimed at those whom I have met on multiple occasions, and appear to have been stricken with amnesia since the last time we spoke. Yes, sometimes names veer from the norm and can be difficult to pin down, such is the case with foreigners and those returning from spiritual quests who wish to now be known as Nalgene, but weirdos are people too.

This is not freshmen orientation on the quad. You are not a world-class entertainer who gets whisked from one social event to the next meeting hundreds of people every day. You presumably have a fully functioning brain with the capacity to remember things like I do, so what is it? You don’t like me? Have I not made a lasting impression on you? No, that can’t be, I’m fucking fantastic and you know it. Smack the gloss from your weary eyes, and put down Tinder long enough to make a connection with me.

This is an important and coveted life skill. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and remember someone for once, I dare you. Greet them with their name confidently and watch the expression on their unsuspecting face. They will light up and be so damn impressed. That’s how rare it is these days. I often hear objections in the media, and amongst my friends that things like Facebook and smart phones are not bringing us closer together, but are in fact tearing us apart. There is no doubt in my mind that this is true, but the real concern is if anyone really cares. Remembering a name will not bring back landlines or crash faceboook’s servers, but it goes a long way in creating an inclusive community we all crave. So next time someone tells you, “Sorry, I’m bad with names,” let them know they should be, because it’s a real shame.

EDM Festival Tips From an Adult Who Shouldn’t Be There

5 Nov

edm showHide Your Crippling Self Awareness– You remember that dude at the party when you were growing up who you would periodically look at out of the corner of your eye and think, “What the hell is this guy doing here? He’s like, 40. Go home old man!” The average age for these things is I think 12 years old, so just know you are teetering on that brink. Don’t be afraid to embrace your age, and enjoy things the way you would, which means…

Don’t Wax your Chest– These festivals are populated by little ripped raver boys who apparently have a lifetime gym membership and supply of nair. Go ahead and take your shirt off, but you better be confident in those love handles and beer guts cause everyone else is on the Deadmau5 diet.

Don’t Wear a Costume– You’re already in one once you enter thru the gates. You’re an adult. By default you are one of the weirdest looking people there. No fuzzy boots, body paint, animal hat or pacifier can make your existence more enticing. Be comfortable in your Levis and hoody and marvel at the small Asian girls in booty shorts.

Don’t Dance Like Them– Goose stepping, jimmy hopping, bean bopping, ground stomping. I have no idea what the dance is called, but everyone knows what I’m talking about. Whatever it is, it’s for the kids. There is nothing less appealing than a grown man gasping for breath as he tries to herk and jerk his creaky frame to heavy bass. A two-step and some shooter Mcgavins will do just fine.

asian edmDo Hydrate and Stretch– Don’t let the youth dissuade you from being limber. They know nothing of failing arch support, slightly torn menisci and lower Lombard issues. Sip that water and stretch it out.

Do Smile and Be Happy– Whether you’ve popped the molly and sweated or not, there is generally a happy vibe and good community at these events. Be open and take the time to talk to a few people. They might give you a funny story; a high five, hug, massage or crazy ass kaleidoscope glasses that almost made me shit my pants. That scare was worth the ticket price alone.