The only resolution worth making

Happy New Year’s everyone, I have a feeling most of our nights turned out the same.

c1d2wv3xuaaykt8

Fans of this site *camera cuts to a solitary hobo jerking it in the back of a Carl’s Jr* will remember that three years ago I wrote a post about New Year’s resolutions.

It was ok.

But it’s 2017, Trump’s gonna be President, and I’ve learned a lot over the past three years.

he’s just so damn lovable

Upon reflection, I’ve noticed that I don’t remember much of the past year.

January 2016 seems simultaneously like it was yesterday and 30 years ago.

I know every day of the past year was obsessively documented, as those of you who follow me on Snapchat *camera cuts to the hobo again* know.

and with ridiculousness like this, why wouldn’t you? (@wyatt_tt)

But what was memorable? What actually counted?

Oh sure, there were the days when I did cool stuff like hike Runyon (ok, well, walk Runyon, the people who hike Runyon don’t take pictures) but the vast majority of days were disturbingly mundane, like rushing to Trader Joe’s at 9:48PM before closing to buy some bread so I didn’t die.

53835-organic-baguette

#sext

There were other days that just felt off, that always were justified later in the form of an excuse.

“I was in a weird mood all day” = “sorry for yelling at you and saying the woman who birthed you is literally Hitler”

“I didn’t sleep well last night, I was tired today” = “I stayed up until 3AM watching 90-Day Fiancee clips on YouTube autoplay”

“That [insert thing here] threw me off this morning” = “an expected and rather obvious outcome of something not done correctly yesterday caused someone else to point it out first thing this morning”

this is my new favorite show for so many reasons

There were 365 days last year and I’m pretty sure about 10% of them could be considered “good” days, 10% of them could be considered “bad” days, and the rest were just filler.

That’s a terrible record, and it’s so easy to see how it can happen.

First of all, the excuses to end all excuses: work.

Like a looming blimp ready to Hindenburg above you at any moment, it’s so easy to use work as an excuse.

Missed your goldfish’s Viking funeral? Work.

Don’t want to go out tonight? Sorry, got tons of work to do.

Picked up dinner at Carl’s Jr? Got back late from work, too tired to cook.

this is not sponsored content, but what’s wrong with the bottom bun here tho

That brings me to the second excuse: being tired.

Of those 80% of days of last year that were the equivalent of unflavored gelatin, I’m almost positive I was “tired” every one of them.

Partially because they have full episode recaps of 90 Day Fiancee on YouTube now.

Partially because the amount of coffee I consumed over the course of the day singlehandedly financed a Colombian drug war.

Partially because I allocated far too much effort to something that didn’t matter (getting to Trader Joe’s before 9:59) and not to things that actually did matter (lol work tho).

And then when it came time to do actual cool stuff (interact with other humans) I’m passing out on your couch and drooling on your crocheted pillows.

What do people who have actual problems do?

For example: someone who’s missing a leg. Do they make the same excuses I, myself, with two (gorgeous) legs would?

I’d guess probably not. I’ve never met an uncheerful amputee. I know I’d be an absolute monster, waving my fake leg at people and using it as a beer stein.

ICONIC

I guess people missing limbs are just happy to be alive, and that makes them more positive people.

I know that 10% of the days last year I was happy to be alive, 10% of the days I probably wished I was dead, and 80% of the days I don’t really remember how I felt but it was probably a progression of tired, irritable, on the upswing, anxious, on the downswing, tired, anxious, tired, sleep, with work sprinkled somewhere in there.

It’s such an easy rhythm to get into, and that’s the problem. The excuses of work and being tired are easy. Letting a whole week pass without anything memorable is easy.

The original sentiment of the above post was simple: why wait for a holiday to change your life?

I want to make every day count. Whether it’s doing something enjoyable, or memorable, or even something that’s a huge pain in the balls but is for positive benefit – there’s no reason to drift aimlessly from week to month to year.

I’ve got two (I can’t really overestimate how stunning they are) legs and dammit, I’m gonna hike Runyon.

Tomorrow, maybe.

or at least make it look like I did

Netflix secretly sucks and you know it

It’s the year 2016, and we’ve all given our souls over to the all-encompassing media deity (mediety) ((Madeaty, starring Tyler Perry, coming to a theatre near you this Easter)) known as Netflix.

no one asked for this

Who knew that the hokey mail-order DVD company would take over our lives in such a powerful way? It would be like Waffle House becoming the next Starbucks.

almond milk? almonds aint got no titties b*tch

We don’t watch network TV anymore, we watch Netflix Originals.

We don’t go to movie theaters anymore, we see what’s on Netflix.

We don’t go on dates anymore, we invite over people we meet on apps to watch Netflix and, if we’re lucky, touch genitals.

it sounds so uncomfortable when you say it like that

Which is why it’s baffling we’ve settled for a product as crappy as Netflix.

Before you all call me a hypocrite (and you should, I advocate responsible driving and use the carpool lane with a passenger seat blowup doll more often than I should) I do watch Netflix Originals, I do opt to see movies on Netflix instead of TV, and I do invite potential paramours over for Netflix’n’Chloroform.

this Huxtable Vineyards Pinot is superbkdhwfaehfkfhjd

Do I have a Netflix account? Of course not. Like most of you, I use a roommate’s sister’s ex’s plumber’s login (and brace for the inevitable crushing disappointment when they find out that, no, they didn’t watch 6 hours of Toddlers ’n’ Tiaras and change the password).

Most of you have implicitly reached an important conclusion – that Netflix simply isn’t a worthy enough expense on its own.

And you’re right. Because for every House of Cards (Season 1) there’s House of Cards (Season 3). Netflix Originals is the best attempt at a nonnetwork online streaming platform, but it’s far from perfect. Lady Dynamite is superb, Grace and Frankie is charmingly good, but there are multiple series where it seems like they…cut corners. Perhaps the budget was a little thin, perhaps the writing wasn’t as crisp, but it’s noticeable, and lacking the familiar finished assembly of network TV.

That’s the complimentary part of Netflix, by the way.

Most of you probably aren’t aware of the fact that Netflix has an ever-changing rotation of content they offer. So that movie you’re looking to watch at 10PM on a Friday night cuddled up with your foaming-at-the-mouth date? Oh, sorry, Netflix took it out of rotation last month, it’s no longer available. It’s like a library where a couple shelves go missing 12 times a year.

BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND

Then, there are the connection issues. Netflix makes up, by estimates, up to 36% of all Internet traffic during certain hours of the day – which means it lags more than the Instagram-fit, IRL-lazy friend you take on a hike.

A friend (it’s true, I have them! *tumbleweeds pass*) mentioned today that it’s remarkable that Netflix is still beating Hulu – after all, Hulu was first for streaming content and had all the major networks lined up. Therein lies the problem, of course. Hulu is actually owned 30% by Comcast (NBC), 30% by 21st Century Fox (FOX), 30% by Disney (ABC), and 10% by Time Warner (CNN/TBS). Every decision they make has to be agreed upon by the majority of these parties. It’s like the UN Security Council of streaming services: rarely do all parties agree, at least one is actively instigating another, and the entire body becomes a joke because of its composition.

In this vacuum lies Netflix, like a purring cat in the afternoon sun – cute and lovable, but lazy as all hell.

I can’t wait for The Grand Tour to come to Amazon Video.

UPDATE:

Not that I’m a prophet, trendsetter, or man who has come from the future to save humankind or anything, but hours after this was published, a Streaming Observer study was released showing that Netflix’s library is indeed shrinking:

More than 50 percent of the shows and movies once online have been removed from the US streaming platform, leaving just 31 of the 250 top-rated titles on IMDB.

It’s almost like Netflix has become as poorly-stocked as the video stores it displaced.

Worse yet, NO GIANT CANDY.

How people telling me to kill myself got me banned from Facebook

If you haven’t read my hit post titled: Charity, Brought to you by Facebook! from yesterday then here’s your chance.

Ok, all caught up?  Good.

A few breezy, late-breaking developments:

1) I was banned from Facebook (for a full 24 hours!) for calling someone a “bully”.

Before I even wrote my post above, I explained how real bullies brag about their humble, HUMBLE charity donations to make you feel crappy about yourself (text below).

Apparently Facebook finds that offensive and has put me in a grown-up time-out, because that’s the world we live in now.

Of course it’s self-reported. Facebook doesn’t monitor profiles for buzzwords or unusual activity then shut people down.

Hell, if they did, the 14 people killed by terrorists in San Bernardino might be alive today.

tfw you accidentally take a picture with the front facing camera

You have to *report* something to Facebook as offensive, then I guess some tribunal body reviews it, then you get put in time out from being able to post.

Mind you, you’re still able to access everything, but heaven forbid you post something for 24 hours.

Needless to say, I think we all know who “reported” me calling someone a bully as “offensive”, which is a sentence I never thought I’d have to say, it sounds super doubleplusungood.

2) More of Dana Amireh’s (Gretchen Wieners’s) friends have responded — and boy, do they have some doozies! (pardon the asterisks, even pottymouths like me have to abide by language restrictions sometimes)

warning: long-azz image ahead, skip past then you can go back to read

Seung-Hui Cho over here wants to shave off my eyebrows to protect an attractive girl he wants to impress.

MTE4MDAzNDEwMzI0OTE1NzI2

well hell, it’s cheaper than threading

Ollie Amireh, who is prob related to her (I know “Amireh” is common like “Smith”, but stick with me here) posted an exquisite response calling me “sick” and “twisted”, telling me I’m “disrespectful” and “hideous” (but not in reference to appearance, thank God, I couldn’t live with myself otherwise), with “cold, dead, black insides”, a “negative pr*ck”, all of which culminates in telling me to “remove myself from this world completely”.

thanks for the love, Ollie!

Funny how people with such a hard-on for charity are the first ones to basically tell someone to off themselves!

Sarah Amireh gets in on the action too, calling me “the absolute worst people” because of my name(?), a “sad lil gingerbread man” (the absolute worst Christmas carol), and “that douche canoe from Twitter” (god, I hope when I run away to the circus I’m introduced as such).

If you want to note some gender differences (and who doesn’t?) note the typical male response is coarse/fightin’ words, while the typical female response is a hack attempt at psychology coated in fake pity like a doodie-flavored cake pop.

Apparently people are still trying to dig up that whole attention-whorey meme after the Paris terrorist attacks that basically said “stop paying attention to this tragedy, bad things happen other places too!” because there’s no better way to memorialize those who laid dead on the floor of the Bataclan as “welp, sh*t happens”.

But back to gender differences.  There’s the other kind of male response that isn’t alpha, it’s beta in the most depressing way: desperate white-knighting.

Dalton Runberg (I think this might be a tie-in with the Trumbo movie) calls me a “piece of garbage human being”, “f*cking petty”, a “piece of sh*t” “d*ckbag”.

he sounds like a treat!

But the kicker is when web expert Dalton calls out my “stupid blog”, saying I have “no right to call anyone out for not being “humble” when [Wyatt] has an opinion blog with a URL that is literally just his name.”

oh sh*t, he caught me!  ABORT MISSION 

Apparently Dalton Runberg (former editor-in-chief of The Daily Collegian at Fresno State, now “web guy” with iHeartMedia) is so humble that he doesn’t have an opinion blog, just a site where he literally promotes himself: http://DaltonRunberg.com

You can’t blame a man for self-promotion or trying to get some, but when I want to please myself and feel I’m gonna get lucky I usually do it behind closed doors with Cetaphil and a box of Kleenex.

when you all excited but bae says “i can’t come over right now”

And speaking of masturbation, that’s what this all comes back to.

Publicly bragging about your charitable exploits to make others feel bad is a really disturbing form of masturbation.

That’s the opposite of what charity is supposed to be.

Charity is giving to give, not to get.

If you don’t get enough enjoyment from the act of giving, then do everyone a favor: don’t give.

Can we get this election over with?

I’m already bored with the 2016 election and it’s not even 2016 yet.

The only thing making it semiexciting is Trump. At least he has a sense of humor unlike the rest of these buffoons.

i will never not love this

How do we keep putting these smarmy, harping scolds up there?

Rand Paul consistently looks seconds away from shi**ing his pants.

after the campaign, he can do infomercials.  “this toilet paper is the GOLD standard”

Carly Fiorina is, without a doubt, the “can I speak to the manager?” lady.

“what do you mean the chowder in bread bowl isn’t gluten free?!”

Also, Jeb Bush is there.

“can i go home yet?”

Instead of wishing we could remove Rubio’s pitifully small brain and replace it with Cruz’s, let’s focus on a more realistic candidate:

Me.

Screenshot 2015-11-10 21.49.30

That’s right, folks.

Instead of bothering with how many ways Hillary can and will screw this up for herself, let’s focus on the future — 2028, to be exact, when thanks to being just a couple months from being eligible to run in 2024 (thanks, MOM) I’d be able to continue the inexorably slow and painful path of driving this country into the ground the RIGHT way.

if any of you love me you’ll get me this hat for christmas…i’m sorry, for “Starbucks(TM) red cup day”

Why double, then triple the national debt and feel like you have nothing to show for it? Is your life any better now that we’re more in debt to the Chinese than a drunk British gambler at a Macau casino?

Of course it’s not. Your life sucks. You spend half your time scrolling through other people’s Instagram feeds and the other half working at a sh*t job…that is, if you even have one.

i just reposted a tweet without attribution, am i the fat jew yet

If we’re going to have a debt equivalent to the age of consent in most states (way to go Mississippi) times a trillion, shouldn’t we all have hoverboards or something?

the next person who calls this a “hoverboard” deserves to be stabbed by ben carson

My campaign promise is to only increase the debt if I can buy really cool stuff. Like a space-age capital city in the middle of the country so it’s easier to get to (I’m looking at you, Lebanon Kansas) or a fleet of supersonic jets to get you from LA to NY in less time than one episode of Grey’s Anatomy and the subsequent crying spell.

Otherwise what’s the damn point? Underfunded entitlements? Wars with countries that don’t rhyme with “Trance”? You can’t join the mile-high club and land before climax with any of those!

“can you stop using my armrest before i punch you in the testes?”

While we’re on the topic of sex — I can promise there will be no sex scandals under my administration unless America can be proud of who I’m shtupping in the Oval Office. Clinton only lied because…well, have you seen Monica? There was another rumor that he and Barbra Streisand did it in the Lincoln Bedroom on Election Night 92, which goes to show he should’ve been impeached on taste alone. You’ll only see me in supermodels in my administration, but tbh running the country leaves little time for anything except a quick jerk between meetings.

When it comes to women’s issues, I agree — they have them. Protip: if a woman says “I’m fine”, run for the hills! *ducks stiletto flung at the stage*

“this is a chart of the number of times you’ve used your period as an excuse.  if you were telling the truth, you must be 164 years old” *ducks second stiletto*

I don’t think illegal immigration will be an issue by 2028 because the country will either become a client state of Mexico or there won’t even be jobs for illegals anymore. I’m not in favor of amnesty, but for sending us 20 million people can we at least have Baja California? We’d add like 7 beach cities *and* solve the expensive housing problem in SoCal.

I have a very proactive foreign policy. You remember that scene in V for Vendetta where they talked about wars in “Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria before and after, Sudan”? That was weak compared to what I have in mind. Any country without a Starbucks is on my sh*tlist. My apologies in advance to Italy, but how else am I supposed to truly feel basic when I go to Rome and re-enact the Lizzie McGuire Movie scene by scene?

someday i’d like to serenade myself *outside* of my bathroom

I’m also for decreasing the size of government. In my administration, I will specifically fire one useless individual: the press secretary. Why let some schmuck go out there to answer questions from the press? I can do that myself just fine. And why does the press get to ask questions? Why not just make it a random panel of 10 random Americans who can ask whatever they want once a week? If you can’t face a tough question about what kind of underwear you wear (none) how can you face Putin (the only current world leader who will still be in power by 2028)?

when he say “netflix and chill” but you know he ain’t got a netflix account

See folks? This whole presidenting thing (it’s a verb, I said it’s a verb, I’ll issue an executive order to make it a verb, which is 221 less executive orders than Obama’s issued) isn’t that hard. Our country (“Estados Unidos”, because apparently every candidate has to dribble out a few lines in Spanish to satisfy loud interest groups that don’t actually care about Mexican people) deserves a leader that believes in small government (but increases the size of it), a strong national defense (then wastes it), and is pro-life (but doesn’t do crap about abortion, which is somehow still a political issue).

If you’re all going to elect someone who promises the moon and can’t even get us there again, why not make it me?

IMG_9852

the candidate you want to have too many glasses of wine with!

In the future, we can download emotions

It’s hard for me to speak the truth sometimes to people I love. In a way, it’s easier to tell it to complete strangers. For some reason they just seem more forgiving – they don’t know the experiences you’ve been through (which usually would engender some sort of sympathy I guess?) but when you get rejected by complete strangers the rejection is, at the surface, less painful. It’s harder to get rejected by someone close to you.

It’s harder still when you know you gave them every reason to reject you.

We should commission stories from people who live through suicide attempts just to see the last emotion they feel before they pull the trigger. Is it euphoric? Is it numb? Maybe if we understood that better, we could help more people who get to that point. Maybe we can simulate that feeling right before and give it to them in a healthy way. Maybe in the future we can just download emotions from a cloud-based network, 3D printing them in flesh with neural tissue and synthesizing the chemical reactions behind them.

I always knew right before I was going to barf because I’d get a weirdly salty taste in my mouth. It was never enough for me to be able to warn people around me. I barfed in the back of my parent’s car on a trip to LA to see the Hercules premiere as a kid. I barfed on my teacher, Ms. Matson’s, shoes in 2nd grade. I barfed when I got food poisoning from Giulia’s, an Italian restaurant in West Fresno. I think I probably barf more now than when I was a kid, probably at a rate of about once per year. At 3 meals a day which I definitely don’t eat, that means that 1 out of 1095 meals hits the porcelain before its time. That’s a pretty good rate I guess. I’d feel really bad if I bought an expensive meal and then threw it up.

Sometimes we don’t realize the kind of underlying situations that create how we feel. That’s why we feel hopeless or depressed or euphoric. I don’t want to understand why I’m euphoric, I just want to feel it. If I rechecked why, I’ll probably find a reason I shouldn’t be and then stop feeling euphoric.

I wonder how that guy who drove through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market felt. I wonder if he was rejected by his friends and family. I wonder how he felt, knowing that strangers knew the truth about what happened sooner than the ones he loved. I wonder if he felt suicidal. I wonder if he knew what a cloud-based network or 3D printing was. I wonder if he threw up. I wonder how he felt having a meal again with produce from a farmer’s market.

I wonder if he ever felt happy again.

image2112572x

In the future, we can download emotions and all of these concerns will seem as trivial to us as remembering the crank the engine on the Mercer before we drive to the market is today.

The only thing we have to worry about is getting there in one piece.

Analysis paralysis is gonna put me on dialysis

People think analysis paralysis is the inability to make a decision. Too many options in front of you and you freeze up like a girl on a date when she hears your job title is “disruptor”.

But that’s not how your brain works. Your brain is constantly making decisions, mostly without you knowing. Millions of tiny decisions every second — where to look, the frequency of your breathing, where to put your hand (not on my leg, your brain just screwed up big time).

Actually, the problem is your brain is making too many decisions at once. Analysis paralysis is the equivalent of when your run out of RAM and you just want to google something quickly and Chrome is not being helpful rn and keeps giving you the rainbow wheel and you wish Apple and Google could just get the fug along as you feel like the child of these two divorced parents of tech.

So when a friend of mine told me analysis paralysis was ruining my life, I started thinking about exactly how much time and how much RAM I spend shuttling between decisions.

Let’s say I have 4GB of RAM like my increasingly-frustrating MacBook Air.

In the same way that my Air uses at least 1GB of RAM just with idle processes, my brain is using that with idle processes: breathing, blinking, you know…*not dying*.

Now say I’m just waking up in the morning.

I normally don’t bolt awake, it’s more of a gradual process for me that usually ends with falling back asleep multiple times.

But before my eyes open, my mind is building thought processes. What do I have to do today? How am I gonna get that done?

That takes up another, let’s say, 1GB of RAM.

I’m half outta RAM and I haven’t even moved.

Then let’s layer in some anxiety. The more I think about what has to get done, the more anxiety builds. I have to have an uncomfortable conversation with this person. That person is waiting to hear back from me. I can’t possibly get this done on time!

3GB.

And now I roll unhappily out of bed, trudge towards the shower, and begin my day.

That’s another half GB. 3.5 GB and I’m just in the shower. I’m not communicating with anyone, I’m scanning through emails on my phone as I towel off and plan out what I need to get done.

And since I’m running near capacity, I usually look at “what I need to get done” through the lens “of what do I feel like doing?”

I get set up with work and immediately have to close out of all the documents and programs on my computer. And as I start working, I’m fielding messages and calls, making notes on other things that need to get done, writing, planning, researching, doing, coordinating.

All of this and I’m not even having a face-to-face interaction with another human yet.

People have often thought IQ is RAM, but it’s more likely a combo between processing speed and overall memory. RAM is much more raw, base, and biological. Not getting enough sleep, being stressed or anxious, can all affect RAM.

And this is where analysis paralysis comes in.

When too much of your RAM is being consumed by too many decisions and trying to anticipate what’s next, you’re unable to process, or fully digest, the magnitude or results of the next decision you’re making.

You can’t think up that title for that article because your RAM is being burdened by everything else. It’s not that you just have this wealth of options to choose from and you can’t decide on one. It’s that you’re not fully grasping the consequences of this choice and you want to, but you’re low on RAM and until that clears up you’re unable to make a decision.

This is why decisions are easier to make in low stress situations. It’s why going home and “sleeping on it” is best. The more you try to think, overthink, and force-process something in the moment, the more everything else is grinding to a halt and your brain’s spinning that evil little rainbow wheel of death. When you’re hung up on one thing, you get hung up on EVERYthing. Similarly, the wheel doesn’t let you use Chrome PERIOD, even if just one window or tab is acting up.

So how do you solve this? And none of those eat better, sleep more, do meditation crap solutions. We know that. That’s like telling someone they should shower or drink water. Useless.

1) An important question to ask yourself before making a decision is: “how am I going to think about this choice in 5 years?” While you’re twiddling your thumbs over menu options, you’re probably not going to remember whether you had chicken or fish unless you’re on a certain Airplane. It helps to put things into perspective, and cuts out the ridiculous everyday decisions that stress the hell out of us for no good reason.

2) Make a choice based not on who you are right now, but who you want to be. Right now you’re a work in progress. Right now you might want to have an extra piece of cake. But you want to be someone who isn’t swayed so easily by delicious desserts. Turn down that cake and become that person.

3) Don’t choose the people-pleasing option. If you’re like me and this is your default, this will be the hardest to change. But it’s also eating up more memory than anything else.

DON’T…try to force the decision. This never works. There are indeed times in life where the buzzer rings and you need to have an answer, but chances are that this isn’t one of them. If you’re taking the time to think through it and that time is available, it’s likely not one of those decisions.

Anyway I’m stressed af/rn and have so much work to get done and it’s 3:30AM and…

…and I’m going to stay up until it gets done at a moderate pace because 1) I’m not going to remember being groggy in the AM in 5 years 2) I want to be a more productive person 3) I don’t want to go to bed now and have to wake up super early to make people happy.

Ahhh. Crisis averted.

Is there anything more embarrassing than being lonely?

You sit there and swipe on your phone when you’re waiting for someone.

It’s a public place. You don’t want to look like someone just standing there. You look like a predator for chrissakes, just standing there, leering at fellow human beings.

This is why I’m never early anywhere. There’s nothing worse than watching the minutes pass while the person you’re waiting for isn’t there. What if they don’t show? Oh god, what if they don’t show and someone’s watching and you’re just standing there by yourself and you’re pacing by yourself, you’re waaaaaaiting on them, think of all the things you could be doing instead, you could’ve eaten something before you left the house, you could’ve checked to make sure the oven was off after you fried those mediocre eggs for breakfast, you could’ve taken a shower instead of spraying on some deodorant and hoping to god nobody notices you smell like garlic and desperation, you could be responding to the messages of all the people you’re ignoring, but no, you’re sitting here like some kind of schmuck waiting for the other person to show oh there they are only one minute late the bastards *HI HOW ARE YOU, HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN FOREVER!*

Nah, I’d rather be late and build up a completely different kind of anxiety and sweat because I mis-timed how long it took to take a shower and make that quick bite to eat and actively avoid messages.

Cellphones that you can use as visible identifiers of being occupied with something are a pretty recent invention, however.

What did people do before that (i.e., Big Bang — 2009 AD)? Stare at their pocket watches? Read a newspaper standing up? Count goat droppings?

I’m convinced this is why mobile phones were invented — they give us SOMEthing to do when we’re out in public.

We don’t *really* need to reach people as quickly as buzzing their watch.

We don’t *actually* need to confirm something 7 times over.

And we don’t *quite* need to play Candy Crush in line at the bank.

We need something to fiddle with so we don’t look out of place and appear out of sorts and, most importantly of all, feel like a total loser for standing there without company.

There’s a certain pain in loneliness because it triggers a deep survival mechanism of “I’m alone, I am without my fellow species mates to defend me, I am vulnerable to attack”. Perhaps that’s why it triggers such pain, that pain is designed to be a catalyst to action. Which means you would usually respond to loneliness in one of three ways: fight it (immediately immerse yourself in people), fly from it (find a way to distract yourself from the crippling loneliness), or freeze (enter a depressed-like phase just feeling the loneliness and being unable to do anything really).

My reaction is usually the flight/freeze. I’ve occasionally fought it, but even that’s just a temporary solution to a deeper problem. Feeling people around you is not the solution and is, in this instance, simply an extension of the flight reaction.

The real solution is to find out why you’re lonely, and what you can do to fix this. Pro-tip: the easiest way to do this is to feel lonely at the time, and then the hard part comes in of having to overcome the fight/flight/freeze reactions.

Maybe it’s your fault.

Maybe you’ve been making life hard on other people around you.

Maybe you’ve made other people lonely.

Maybe you prefer being lonely more than you’d like to admit.

Maybe all those are wrong and you’re surrounded by not the best people.

Or maybe it’s a mix of a few of those.

Finding out why, and then executing a plan to fix it based on all the above (example: being more outgoing, making amends with the people you’ve made lonely, and surrounding yourself with better people who won’t make you lonely) is just going to bring an end to the loneliness that much quicker.

It’s not going to be easy and it will probably hurt. But you’re tough enough to handle it.

Just like you’re tough enough to stand in public, waiting for someone, without pulling your phone out of your pocket.

After all, people have been doing that for thousands of years. And the cumulative success of their survival is you.

And a bunch of other lonely people who feel exactly the same.

I watched a man get shot by police and die

It’s one of those things you don’t really think will ever happen. You don’t expect to see a crazy person with a gun. You hear about it on the news or read about it on Buzzfeed (“12 Ways Your Monday Could Be Worse!”) but it’s never one of those things you think “oh, ya, today’s the day when something weird that I never forget is gonna go down”.

Today was one of those days.

It’s a Friday, and I was proud of myself for being relatively productive, or at least getting up early enough to get enough done (which doesn’t equal productivity, but it *feels* productive, dangit).

I was still behind on work and trying to catch up, so I slipped into one of my favorite Starbucks, the one in Studio City. It’s the same one where I saw Jane Lynch walk in, use the bathroom, and smile at me as she walked out. That was a neat moment.

Also it’s convenient, quiet, relatively clean, and all the baristas are nice.

I was talking to a cute Armenian-Persian girl next to me. I was still upset I wasn’t being more productive, but what the heck, I thought, I’m gonna get up and pee and come back and try to refocus on work to meet a deadline.

Within the approximately 1 minute 30 seconds I was in the restroom (it would’ve been less but I dribbled a little on my shorts and I was desperately trying to dry it up) a crazy homeless-looking guy started firing bullets in the air across the street. I didn’t hear them or see them. I walked out of the bathroom and saw everyone standing and congregating near the windows.

It was a spectacle all right. Four LAPD cars trained towards the Union Bank building and approximately seven officers with their guns drawn and pointing. I asked a few questions of the people next to me, and noticed that people started ducking near the condiment bar and behind the pastry display case.

We’re all across the street and directly behind large police vehicles with armed cops. We’re not really in any danger. Even if the gunman shot directly at us, he’d probably hit the top of the glass. I mapped out the trajectory in my head and it didn’t seem plausible. But of course, guns, so everyone was freaking out.

I walked closer to the window and asked a guy at the window to point out the shooter. I heard commotion and orders from the outside, perhaps it was the cops yelling at the guy to drop the gun.

And I saw the gunman. Overweight, probably mid-50s, homeless and disheveled looking dude sitting there holding what looked like the shape of a gun under a piece of paper, pointed back towards the street.

As I peered at him, I heard two shots…BLAM! BLAM!

The gunman immediately fell back.

He was hit.

He was dead.

I’ve never seen someone get killed before, or even get shot. It was surreal, but it was as one would expect. The closest thing I could liken it to is a video I saw awhile back of a man in India who stood atop a train and touched a live electrical wire, and was killed instantly. The loud “POP” sounds and him falling back, lifeless, were exactly what I experienced today.

I felt an immediate sense of relief, even as the officers still drew their guns at the man. The cops did the right thing. This guy had a gun that he was waving around and shooting. He could’ve hit one of my friends walking to Starbucks in the neighborhood. He could’ve hit me, who was weighing walking across to Chipotle minutes earlier.

I don’t know what came over me, but at that moment I was Zen with everything going on. Logic, fear – everything fell into its appropriate slot. I knew a bullet probably wouldn’t cross the street diagonally, go through the glass, and hit us. Or even if it did, maybe it would hit me in the arm or the leg or something. It’s hard to describe, but I just…didn’t care. I knew I wasn’t going to die.

People started screaming, and ducked. Someone yelled to run away from the glass. I went back to my seat and started trying to focus on work again, while making sure the girls sitting around me were ok. There was no threat afterwards, the guy was dead and that was that.

Going to a gun range and learning how guns work while learning to hunt really helped me through this situation. The sound of gunfire isn’t unfamiliar to me, so I didn’t panic. I was equipped to understand the likelihood of getting shot having learned about angles and trajectories.

The barista, whose name I can’t recall but I’ll have to get at some point to include in here, went above and beyond in every sense of the word. She made sure the door was locked, kept people away from the glass, and comforted customers by offering to get them a drink. She also advised people to go when it was safe. Similarly, the cops who responded to the situation today acted appropriately. They made sure everyone was locked inside and safe in an intersection typically filled with pedestrians, families, and lots of traffic.

My number one regret is that I didn’t record the actual shooting. Of course, I didn’t know it was going to happen so it makes sense. I posted them on Twitter immediately, and I was inundated with requests from local stations like NBC and ABC to comment as a witness. I left the scene and spoke to NBC over the phone, then at NBC’s request, followed their news van to the far corner of Ventura because they wanted live reaction.

the thirst was, indeed, real

Then local radio. Then ABC, and CBS, and Reuters, and some NPR or something, and even Russia Today.

help me

Here’s the LA Times article featuring yours truly and a man who appears to be Wilford Brimley and, from reports, ushered people indoors at Chipotle (who knew Liberty Medical could make you a superhero?)

The media questioning was more surreal than the shooting itself. There was one point where I had multiple microphones shoved in my face and giving multiple interviews at once.

It made me immediately appreciate the job celebrity and political handlers do at press conferences. Thankfully, the reporters were polite and accommodating, and I got the chance to chat with them and the crew in-between live breaks. Reporters seem to form a kind of brotherhood, joking around with each other about which station is going to buy dinner because they have more funding. Imagine the opposite of the Anchorman fight scene. I also do not envy reporters or camera crew. They have to perform in dark and heavy clothing in the 90 degree afternoon sun.

I crossed the street to give my info to the police, and spoke with some of the other witnesses. A couple of guys younger than me were in Chipotle right next to the scene when it all went down. The officers offered to purchase Chipotle for them since they didn’t even get their food when everything went down. I spoke to a couple more reporters, fielded some responses on Twitter and Snapchat, responded to some texts from friends, and then spoke to the police detective on my way out who thanked me for cooperating.

The scene was still unbelievable.  6PM on a Friday evening on Laurel Canyon, and the street is completely blocked off.  An enormous thoroughfare that would usually be clogged with traffic was quiet and empty, a parking lot of police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and news vans.

All in all, everyone perfectly performed their jobs. There aren’t many situations these days where I can say that. The cops responded quickly and neutralized the suspect. The baristas protected the customers and made sure they were taken care of. The reporters were courteous and did their best to get the story on the ground. And the detectives were professional and polite.

In retrospect, it seems like I was watching a movie the entire time. I was expecting some horrible dysfunction to happen at some point, because real life is fraught with horrible dysfunction. I remember it like a 3rd grader who remembers their weekend to share with the class – with great, specific, but completely rote detail.

 

About Bobby Kristina

As I sit here watching the reports of Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston’s daughter, being taken into the hospital after being found unconscious in the bathtub, I can’t help but well up with tears.

It’s a sadness that’s unexplainable.

At once, I remember how I received the news about her mother being found the same way at the Beverly Hilton almost three years ago today.

I had the same reaction. I wanted to know more. I scoured every site for details, refreshed Twitter obsessively.

At that point, my mind flashed back to pressing the “replay” button on my mom’s car stereo every time “I Will Always Love You” came on.

How she hit those notes.

My God, how she hit those notes.

My mind would fast forward to the days after my mom slipped into a coma after her stroke. I would listen to that song and I wouldn’t make it to the end without crying. I still can’t.

The bond between a mother and child is one that can never be replicated or fully described. You come from this person. This person is everything to you — your protector, your incubator, your nutrient source, your entertainment, your world.

To have that person taken from you when you still have so much more to learn from them is devastating. It’s not so much wanting them to be there for the events in your life. It’s thinking about the laughs you miss, the shared moments that won’t happen, the times when life will throw you curveballs that you won’t be able to catch and you just want to run, you want to run away from everything and to that one person who you know will have a kind word, a warm hug, and will provide the reality-steeped perspective you need to weather the storm.

I remember later that day when we lost Whitney when Bobbi was taken in because she was suicidal.

I don’t fault her. Shock makes that happen to people.

For all intensive purposes, Bobbi appeared to be Whitney’s best friend. She was the only one who wasn’t in it for the money, or the namedropping, or to be the hanger-on.

She was the only one Whitney called ‘daughter’ and the only daughter who called Whitney ‘mom’.

When I heard the news this morning, my mind flashed through all the rumors I’ve heard and read the past few years about Bobbi’s out-of-control drug use. How she is spiraling down the same path her mom did. How she

February 11, 2012, the day we lost Whitney, also became the day that we were tasked with one thing: take care of Bobbi. Don’t let her story end the same way her mom’s did. Her dad has his problems. Her grandma is trying her best. But for God’s sake, don’t let her end up the same as her mom.

We’ve failed.

Of course she’s an adult. Of course she’s capable of making her own decisions. Of course we have to take care of our own and not worry about others.

But she’s one of our own. Her mother’s voice made so many important moments of our lives memorable: weddings, funerals, love, heartbreak.

We owe it to her mother’s memory to take care of the daughter she left us with, the daughter she loved so much.

What is our relationship with celebrity, anyway?

We treat them like zoo animals. We watch them incessantly, gawk at them, follow them, treat their every creation like a parent placing their child’s artwork on their fridge. We pay them, we get to know everything about them, we speculate on them, we send them letters and well-wishes, they become a part of a strange, disconnected extended family. We identify them, when we meet them we tell them how much what they do affects us.

We do everything but take care of them, and even that’s not true. We give them money. We pay the bills, keep the lights on, keep their kids in school.

So why don’t we try to help them?

These are people. They’re people just like us. They have their faults, and their faults get pasted on billboards while ours at most leak out over a beer.

If we can crowdfund to support a celebrity’s movie project, why can’t we crowdfund to help a celebrity keep doing what they do? Why can’t we crowdfund their bills? Their expenses? Their therapy? Their sobriety?

Unions don’t take care of celebrities outside of giving them expensive health insurance plans. Studios and record companies don’t care, they’re replaceable. Managers and publicists don’t care, they get 10% regardless of outcome.

Why don’t we care?

We’re the end user. We get a product. We get the fruit of their gift.

We invite them into our homes at our choosing. There’s a reason the industry is called “entertainment”.

It will be a milestone when the first celebrity uses a crowdfunding platform or similar to fund their medical expenses, their rehab, or their therapy. When that happens, we’ll have broken down one of the last barriers that exists between celebrity and reality.

We may not like the results.  We may realize these people are people just like us and abandon them.

Or we may gain a special appreciation that they’re people just like us AND they have incredible talent.

Reports currently show that Bobbi Kristina is stable. Someone was watching over her.

Now it’s our turn.

I can’t stop biting my nails :(

There’s a Latin symbol of a snake eating its own tail called the ouroboros, pronounced similarly to a drunk Brit trying to say “outer boroughs”.

It’s supposed to represent how everything is cyclical, infinity, light/dark, feedback loops, and other things that a bunch of people who had nothing better to do than carve marble in the nude and get drunk on ill-prepared wine would come up with.

bro…bro…be cool

As a side note — can we stop acting like the Greeks and Romans were all that?

It’s been 2000 years.  Out of everything they ever created, you’ve got some crumbling columns and a few scraps of philosophical ideas.

If you had no Internet, no TV, mild to warm temperatures, and lived in an advanced city with a few decades to spare I’m sure that you could easily come up with a few of those concepts a week, let alone in an entire lifetime.

This was the best we could do?

Do we look back at hunter-gatherers in awe?

Or do we fetishistically pay homage to the Goths or the Vandals, outside of using both those terms in wildly different contexts completely removed from their original description?

*travels in time machine back to the 500’s*

IN THE FUTURE PEOPLE NAMED AFTER YOU WILL WEAR DARK MAKEUP AND LISTEN TO CRAP MUSIC WHILE MOANING ABOUT HOW AWFUL THEIR LIVES ARE

Of course not.

So Greeks and Romans should not be any different.  There’s nothing special about a bunch of lazy sunbaked alcoholics who decided to lick a few reeds together and scribble down some ideas.

In LA, we call that “Sunday brunch”.

By the way, if modern-day Greeks and Italians are any indication of what the ancients are like, I am not impressed.

Has there been any further or more disappointing fall between an ancient and modern culture than the Greeks?  They went from being the most advanced civilization in the world, the “birthplace of civilization”, to being unable to balance a checkbook.

I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FREE CRAP!

It’s like the stereotypical football star uncle who shows up to Christmas hoping he can ask for another loan every year because he’s got a “million dollar idea” and just “needs a few bucks to get it off the ground” and we can “go into business together” and “be partners” and “you wanna be rich, don’t ya?” and you smile and nod like you would talking to any other crazy person and stuff another roll in your face so you don’t have to respond how you want to respond and you’re hoping with the few remaining brain cells he has to rub together he doesn’t notice that you claimed to be gluten free recently.

And as he backs out of the driveway in his “bitchin” Fiero, you wonder — where did it all go wrong?

i don’t know uncle rico, how much of my money do you wanna bet you’re not going to pay back the loan I gave you last Christmas

An indicator of success for a civilization is initial hardship which also translates to individuals.

The Romans came from the Etruscans, an early and advanced civilization, the same way the Greeks developed from the Minoans and Mycenaeans, early and advanced civilizations.

There’s such a thing in life as “peaking” — getting too big, too quickly, and then having nowhere to go but down.

It’s why if family fortunes don’t get blown by the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren will most likely find a way to burn through all that Schlitz money realdamnfast.

This is why the British civilization became one of the most successful in history and to a degree, still is–they started off as a bunch of Roundheads and Viking nomads and just slowly, steadily built upwards from there until they basically created the modern civilized world.

Same with America.  The early settlers didn’t even know if corn was for eating, smoking, or hilarious warfare.  But gradually, we grew into the giant we are today.

in my search for this i found a dating site called “Native American Passions”, if any of you are interested

There’s also a shadow of success to live in if one becomes too successful, too quickly.

Look at the Egyptians.

The best thing to come out of there is over 5000 years old.

You know something’s old when Jesus is the halfway point.

In over 5000, five-thousand, cinco-thousando years, the best, BEST they have to show for themselves is a life-sized LEGO sculpture.

Even with their primitive tools, it took just 44 years to complete, or about the time we’ll finally get the stretch of bullet train between Delano and Bakersfield built.

it doesnt count as private development if you need a federal loan, xpress west

Even if they learned nothing, even if they used the same exact methods to the present day, they should have about 113 pyramids by now.

If it weren’t for them bringing people by their place to see a few artifacts like an aunt who harps on her ORIGINAL Thomas Kinkade painting (see?  he signed it.  SIGNED IT.  1 of 400) the country would collapse more than it already has.  More than 1 in 10 dollars is spent by a tourist, and more than 1 in 10 Egyptians is employed because of tourism.  They’re not Dubai saying “come and see our incredibly advanced cities of glittering skyscrapers and hotels shaped like boat sails”, they’re showing you the fruitcake from Christmas 1962 that they keep in the closet and trot out every year.

fresh as the century it was baked in

It’s effectively a society that’s cashing in its royalty checks from millennia before.  There’s no incentive to grow, advance, move forward, prosper, write a sequel (Giza 2: Electric Boogaloo!) or anything.

And speaking of no incentive, I need one to stop biting my nails.

My poor exasperated mother once offered me $100 to stop as a kid, which was like, 100 Hot Wheels.

I stopped for a few days.  I collected the $100.  I started again one day, completely unconsciously.

I’ve stopped for a week or two at a time but got the habit of just nibbling around the corners, or just testing the thickness of each nail with my teeth like a chef making sure the pasta is al dente.

When I’m anxious or hungry, it starts again, and happens so unconsciously that I usually am not aware of what I’m doing unless 1) someone points it out 2) I start bleeding.

I’ve tried manicures, I’ve tried polish, I’ve tried more addictive habits to replace it, and nothing works long-term.

see how cool smoking is kids

So please–if you see me, tell me to stop.

And if you have any ideas to stop, let me know.

Because I’m consuming my own tail here and instead of representing the cyclical nature of life I’m representing every failed civilization — literally consuming myself.

Photo on 11-11-14 at 11.43 PM