Posted on September 30, 2016
As of two weeks ago, I’ve embarked on a journey to cover the 2016 presidential election with my friend and photographer, Brett.
We have already traveled 3,000 miles and spent time in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.
Next up is Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Then we’ll reasses and determine where we’ll be for the last few weeks running up to election day.
We’re checking out events, rallys, and while we’re driving the 1991 Fleetwood Jamboree RV we’re stopping off in small towns, back alleys, and big cities and talking to to regular people for our voter profile series.
We’re calling it The Fringe 2016, because we want to stay on the edges of the circus and talk to those that are outside of the mainstream.
Subscribe, follow, email, whatever. You know the drill.
Posted on February 4, 2016
There was a moment today, when my mother sent me this photo, of my book on the shelf of Book People in Austin, Texas, where I felt proud. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a car, I don’t have a mortgage, I don’t have dental insurance (or maybe I do, and it’s included in my ACA insurance, but even if I do, I don’t know about it). I don’t have a 401k, I don’t have a motorcycle, I don’t have more than one nice suit, and that one suit doesn’t even live in the same state as me (and even that suit doesn’t live in the same state as itself anymore considering that the jacket is in Seattle at my buddy’s house and the pants are in Michigan).
I don’t have clothes on hangars, I don’t have a nice watch, I don’t have an extra pair of running shoes, I don’t have impeccable style, I don’t have a flush bank account, I don’t have a boat, I don’t have golf clubs, I don’t have a comfortable bed, I don’t have nice sheets with a high thread count, I dont have much food in my fridge, and what food I do have in the fridge are leftovers from the kitchen I work in.
I don’t have sinking amounts of debt, I don’t have a mountainous pile of regrets, I don’t have fear for the unknown, I don’t have fear of rejection, and I don’t have jealousy or contempt for people who have done it before or done it better.
I don’t have a lot of things.
But what I do have, I have in spades.
I have love, I have work ethic, I have creativity, I have integrity, I have friends who impress me every day with their kindness and generosity, I have family who go above and beyond for me, who encourage, who guide, who advise, I have people who inspire, I have people to laugh with, to talk with, I have mentors and teachers and even when they’re chefs and managers and musicians they’re still mentors and teachers.
I have appreciation, I have gratefulness, and I have thanks. I have an apartment in a city that is way to fucking expensive for my bank account, I have a coffee shop down the street where people still talk to each other like back in the day and there is hardly a computer in sight. I have a park down the street, and beyond the bridge I have an endless stream of bikerides and maze of hikes. I have travelled. I have slept on floors. I have eaten Clif Bars and Ramen noodles for lunch and dinner for weeks straight just to make ends meet. I have spent the last thirty dollars in my bank account on a case of beer to share with a friend because if it’s all going to come crashing down then I might as well have a buzz going.
I have seen the sunrise over the Indian Ocean on the Coast of Tanzania. I have hiked to an ancient village in the jungles of Colombia. I have raised glasses filled with wine over dinner tables in Paris. I have shot high-powered rifles on Namibian farms. I have run from encroaching tidal waters on California’s Lost Coast stoned out of my mind with my best friends in the world. I have cooked a perfect steak. I have spent nights next to gorgeous women. I have written.
I have a book. I have a book on shelf in Texas, between Chuck Palahniuk and B.J. Novak. I have no idea what happens next. I have no idea where this goes. But I can tell you this: I have been waiting for this moment.
Posted on January 15, 2016
I was obsessed with The Phantom as a kid. If you’re not familiar with The Phantom, he’s the superhero who wears a purple spandex suit from head-to-toe, rides a white horse, and was played by Billy Zane in the mid-nineties film adaptation. And, go figure, I was the only kid in the neighborhood obsessed with The Phantom.
I can actually remember the moment I became obsessed with, “The ghost who walks.” I was at a comic book store, and I saw him, hiding behind a couple misplaced issues of Spiderman. I remember thinking, “Man, this guy looks so cool in purple.” He was on a pirate ship, he was fighting natives in the jungle, and he was handling business in a three-piece suit at night. I was in love.
Just to get it out of the way, yes, this obsession had an affect on my reputation in the neighborhood. I began stealing my mother’s pantyhose and 80’s workout gear. If it wasn’t purple, then I colored it with a magic marker. If it was too loose, then I didn’t wear it. I would go to school dressed in my normal clothes, but underneath lay a suit of purple.
As soon as school let out I would race home, strip down to my spandex, grab a broom – that would act as my faithful steed – and hit the neighborhood.
I spent the majority of afternoons running around yelling, “Com’on Hero, let us fight these rapscallions!” Hero was the name of The Phantom’s horse.
Sometimes I would go door to door and ask my neighbors, “Is it true that you wish to steal the Crystaline Diamond? If you do, I warn you, I shall stop you.” My neighbor, Mr. Jefferson, usually just stared at me and said, “Listen you fuckin’ retard, go back home before I beat the shit out of you like your daddy ought to.”
I made my mother swear that she wouldn’t tell my father, and for two months my secret was safe.
As Halloween approached, I told myself that I would come out, to my father; I’d let him know who I truly was, The Phantom. I imagined the conversation going something like this:
“Father,” I’d say, “I want to let you know that I have been, and plan to continue fighting crime.” “Great,” He’d say, and that would be the end of it.
That is not how the conversation went.
On Halloween, I decided to wear my suit all day long. I went to school in the suit, I walked home in the suit, and at 5:30pm, when dad got home, I stood on the front porch in my suit.
He stopped dead in his tracks. “You look like a giant purple penis,” he said.
“Father, I’m fighting to keep this city safe. I’ve made my decision and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Listen Nancy, you keep wearing that thing and sooner or later the only thing that you’ll be fighting is the urge to get a sex-change.”
“But, I… I fight crime,” I said.
“Okay, have it your way Susan,” He said. Then he went inside the house.
I stood on the porch for a few minutes. “I’ve made the right decision,” I said to myself.
Posted on January 14, 2016
Last night, after getting out of work at 4:00am, I went to brush my teeth. I exited my bedroom, walked down the hall, and entered the bathroom. It’s a small half-bath – the kind where all the fixtures are small – small toilet, sink about waist high, tiny mirror.
As I put toothpaste on my toothbrush, I realized I had to take a piss. So the toothbrush went into my mouth, and I took one step to the toilet. Biting down on my toothbrush enabled me to use both hands to pull my penis out and begin the urination process – as any man knows, this is always step one. Upon commencement of said stream, I redirected my right hand to the brushing process.
Brush, brush, brush.
Brush, brush, brush.
I was tired and half asleep, and I didn’t notice the longer-than-normal stream. Due to this extended time lapse, the froth in my mouth had risen to “need-to-spit” proportions. I figured that I could contain the large amount of paste in my mouth. It will only be a few more seconds, I thought. So, I continued to brush and piss simultaneously.
Normally I would have just spit the excess paste-foam into the toilet, but I knew that if I did this, I wouldn’t be able to continue brushing – once back at the sink – with a depleted reservoir of foam. Like I said, I thought my mouth could contain the paste levels for a few more seconds.
I looked down at the toilet, and as I did a large stream of toothpaste exited my mouth and landed directly on the shaft of my penis.
Well, that’s a first, I thought. Looking down at, what could only be described as, my now plaque-free penis, I decided that my next move would be to rinse it off in the sink.
Wiping it down may leave residue, I said to myself. Plus, can’t toothpaste kill you if ingested? Certainly, it can’t be very good for such a sensitive organ.
So, finally done pissing, with shorts around my ankles and toothbrush in my mouth, I stepped back to the sink.
I stared at the sink for a couple of seconds. Figuring out the logistics of how this operation was going to unfold.
I settled on: Flop in, rinse off, dry.
It was important, in my mind, that I handle this penis situation before finishing to brush my teeth. Prioritize, I said thought.
So, I flopped in.
The cool, somewhat mildew-y porcelain was an interesting sensation on the ventral side of my penis. As I reached my cupped hand towards the water, biting down on my toothbrush, I heard a noise.
A very distinct noise.
One that only happens when entering in and out of rooms, rooms with doors, doors with knobs, knobs that turn.
My roommate opened the door.
There I stood, hand reaching towards water, toothbrush in mouth, and my cock in the sink.
I just stared at her, and, bless her little heart, she just stared right back.
She walked back to her bedroom, I guess, forgetting that she needed to use the bathroom in the first place.
This morning was strange. She asked me how long I had been cock-sinking
I told her that there was an explanation.
Shaking her head she said, “No, there is no explanation.”
Posted on January 14, 2016
Trail mix is the unsung hero of snack food. It should rank higher in the world of delectable delights, but often it doesn’t. You may pass it in the convenience store, or at the grocery store, and say to yourself, “That looks good,” but then realize one of the ingredients is dried apricot, which you hate. Shitty ingredients seem to be what’s holding Trail Mix down – keeping its potential untapped, at bay.
Everybody has thought about it at least once, “I wish this mix had something…” or, “I wish this mix didn’t have…” To understand the complexities of putting together the ultimate Trail Mix, one must view Trail Mix from a different vantage point. Because in the end, Trail Mix is like a movie, and this movie needs great casting, because any weak supporting-role can tank the entire experience.
The lead actors in my Trail Mix movie are, without a doubt the Cashew, Raisin, and Milk-Chocolate Chip.
The Cashew is an easy choice. It’s bold, full of flavor, doesn’t dry the mouth out, and it mixes well with the other players. The Cashew is the Bruce Willis of nuts, badass, a little over the top, but a good place to start.
Raisin provides a nice contrast to the crunch of the Cashew, as it is chewy, slightly sweet, and complimentary in flavor. Although not the headliner in my movie, the raisin can, and does, headline many other Trail Mixes. In this way, the Raisin is kind of like John Travolta. You aren’t sure if you like Travolta when he’s by himself, but if he’s got a good supporting cast, he’s pretty easy to enjoy.
Milk-Chocolate Chip is as important a lead as Cashew and Raisin are. M-C Chip is really what makes it possible to enjoy Cashew and Raisin together. Without M-C Chip, you feel like you’re waiting for something to happen. M-C Chip satiates your sweet tooth. M-C Chip lets you know that, no matter what, when he’s in a scene it’s going to be good. M-C Chip is the Samuel L. Jackson of my Trail Mix movie.
Behind the leads in my Trail Mix are the supporting cast of the Dried Pineapple, Pretzel, and Peanut.
Dried Pineapple is the king of all dried fruit; this is not up for debate. It provides chewy, sweet, and tasty in a way the Raisin cannot, but you cannot have Dried Pineapple in a lead role, because it would overpower the other actors with its sheer awesomeness. Harvey Keitel is the Pineapple of the dried fruit world; good as a leading man, better in the supporting role.
The Pretzel is required to even out the salty vs. sweet debate in my Trail Mix. The Pretzel has a different type of crunch and saltiness from the Cashew, but is too dry to be in the lead. The Pretzel has range, but is one dimensional when asked to lead. It does one thing, and it does it well. Ving Rhames plays the Pretzel here and works great with the Cashew, Raisin, and M-C Chip.
The Peanut is the Uma Thurman of the Trail Mix movie I’m putting together. When too numerous, the Peanut is a black hole of flavor. You want to see it in small doses. The Peanut complements the Raisin rather well, and good Raisin-pairing is important in any Trail Mix movie.
I only want a brief appearance by a couple of actors in my Trail Mix, and they are the Peanut Butter Chip and the Dried Cranberry.
Peanut Butter Chip is the single most incredible addition to any Trail Mix. However, PB Chip must be regulated to a brief appearance. PB Chip is best when you are left craving for more. PB Chip isn’t meant to fly solo, but if you choose to have him that way, he’ll blow your mind. Christopher Walken is my PB Chip.
Last but not least, Dried Cranberry. Dried Cranberry is a tough call for me, but I decided to include it. A little tart and strange, but in the end Dried Cranberry provides a good compliment to salty and sweet. Played by Quentin Tarantino, Dried Cranberry is relegated to a very limited role. Much like Quentin, if you see too much Dried Cranberry in your Trail Mix you may feel the urge to punch yourself in the face.
I think with this Trail Mix mixture is perfect. Don’t even think about trying to beat it, it’s impossible. There’s no way that you can do better, no way. It’s got everything, action, dialogue, humor, Peanut Butter Chips! What does yours have? Walnuts, Almonds, Dried Banana? You’ve got to be kidding me. My Trail Mix is like the Pulp Fic…