I just moved to a new apartment, which reminds me very much of my first apartment in Elk Grove, CA. The main difference is that this apartment doesn’t have a roommate.

I was thinking about that old place recently, and reflected fondly on a memory that is sure to not translate well to written word. You see, much like my current place, that apartment in Elk Grove had a community pool that my roommate (Dane) and I frequented in the summer.

Another frequenter of the pool was a father and son duo. I never got the dad’s name, but the son’s name was Brandon. Ask me how I know that.

WELL, what typically happened was this: Dane and/or I would be reading by the pool. Brandon (who we think had some social issues) would play in the pool while his dad watched. As he played, he would say to himself (in a slightly Kermit-esque voice), “Oh yeah, you’re right Brandon,” while he splashed around. The thing was, he would steadily make his way to our side of the pool, all the while gradually getting louder, “OH yeeeaaaah! You’re RIIIIIIGHT, Brandon!”

Eventually, he would peak when he was right near us, still in the pool, exclaiming, “OH YEEEAAAH YOU’RE RIIIIIIGHT, BRANDON!” It was at this point that his dad would say, “Hey Brandon, why don’t you settle down and come back to this side of the pool,” and Brandon would float on back while muttering under his breath, “You’re in timeout, Brandon.”

I will admit, though we knew it was terrible to laugh, Dane and I had a hell of a time keeping our composure throughout this routine. In an effort to ‘be cool’ we would block our faces with our books and suppress the pending outburst. However, we did turn it into a fun game for after-pool-hours.

You see, the phrase, “Oh yeah, you’re right!” is very common. So when someone says that, I like to add a ‘Brandon!’ onto the end of it. For example, your friend is looking for a parking spot and you are the passenger:

You: I think that’s a spot.

Friend: Really, where?

You: Right behind the big SUV.

Friend: Oh yeah, you’re right!


Friend: Um, what? That’s not my name.

Side note: this works best for non-Brandon-named friends.

Another scene that works well for this phrase is if you are arguing about a googleable factoid and your opponent is correct. Once you find the answer, a very loud, “OH YEAH YOU’RE RIGHT BRANDON!” will most certainly confuse. And really, that’s what it’s all about – embarrassment and confusion.

So wherever you are, Brandon, this post is in your honor. Thanks for always being right and thanks for giving me the opportunity to spread your awkwardness.



time’s person of the year short list.

This morning, Today shared Time Magazine’s list of nominees for Person of the Year. Here is that list taken directly from today.com:

  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the United States declared was behind a chemical attack on Syrian residents;
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and member of the Tea Party movement;
  • Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran who recently agreed to an interim deal that would curb his nation’s nuclear program;
  • Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who fled to Russia after leaking top-secret U.S. documents that revealed widespread government surveillance programs;
  • Pope Francis, who became pontiff after Pope Benedict abdicated in March;
  • Edie Windsor, the marriage equality advocate whose Supreme Court victory struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act;
  • Miley Cyrus, whose twerk-filled performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards set off a chain of memorable entertainment moments;
  • Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, who this year bought The Washington Post and recently announced that Amazon was exploring drone delivery;
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the individual tasked with overseeing the launch of the Affordable Care Act and under fire for its botched rollout.

To read the full article, click HERE.

I’m just going to put this out there so you don’t waste any breath on the subject: Miley is not an actual consideration. She was added to this list so people would pay attention to it. Normally, no one cares or pays attention because it’s all boring activists or public servants who make the short list. But now people can say, “Oh my gawd, Miley Cyrus might be Time’s Person of the Year. That would be totes cray cray.” Don’t worry though. I’m confident that one of the boring people will win.

If I’m wrong though, and after this year of actual newsworthy events Miley Cyrus wins for humping Robin Thicke’s leg, I think we can officially give up on mainstream media.

I’ll be over here rooting for Pope Francis.


pre-thanksgiving thanksgiving.

My friend Mark started this tradition five years ago. You might know it as, ‘Friendsgiving,’ but we call it PTT. It is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so it’s just a little more official as a holiday – no last minute planning here. There are evites, RSVPs and Google Docs; thus making it the least mongrely of the mongrel gatherings.

This was my 4th Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving and boy let me tell ya, it was a good’un. There were less people this year (about 20 guests total) and dishes ranged from Wheatie’s famous corn casserole to an authentic eggplant parmigiana (Mark’s buddy’s wife is from Italy).

A few of us joked about how this party/gathering makes us feel so adult. There’s a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres; we all sit down at one table and pass food family style. There’s a toast and after dinner entertainment (it may or may not have been a set of Mark and the Mongrels’ greatest hits). All-in-all, at any given point in the night you look around and realize, “Man, this feels strangely responsible and tame.”

The one element that does make it an authentic mongrel gathering is that no pictures were taken. I kind of appreciate that though. Sometimes at things like this it just turns into a constant photo shoot, which kind of eats into the actual memory making. Of course, the counterpoint is that pictures are helpful because booze is involved and memories may not be as solid without photographic evidence.

Either way, photos or none, this event reminds me how lucky a fella I am to have such kind, intelligent and hilarious friends.



’tis the season to be offended.

I think the world accepts that it’s officially ‘the holiday season’ when Starbucks brings out the red cups. Well as it turns out, those cups dropped last week. This of course means that 2 of 12 months (approximately 1/6 of our lives) is dedicated to Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/whatever other holidays fall in this time frame.

The commercialism of Christmas is not what I want to talk about today though. Today, I’d like to address a trend: people seem to be way more offended by the holidays these days.

Below is a list of holidays and the reason why we can’t openly celebrate or even mention them due to fear of being called closed-minded and/or discriminatory and/or insensitive to others’ beliefs:

  1. Christmas – Insensitive because it celebrates the birth of Christ and not everyone believes in Jesus.
  2. Easter –  See above but replace ‘birth’ with ‘resurrection.’
  3. Independence Day – Insensitive to the hundreds of other cultures within our national landscape.
  4. Halloween – pagan through and through.
  5. Thanksgiving – a holiday built around the genocide of Native Americans.

How do I know that people are offended? Are all my friends and loved ones shouting from the rooftops that we’re living in an unequal world? Definitely not.

But every holiday season, news outlets talk about how “such-and-such school bans Christmas trees,” or “X workplace is having ‘picnic and fireworks day’ this 4th of July, as to not offend those cultures that may not celebrate our nation’s independence.”

To these stories, I have one reaction: Can’t we all just grow up?

To the allegedly offended people: if you think saying, “Merry Christmas” or “Trick or Treat,” is out of line, I submit that you are bored and leading a lonely life. Instead of spending energy on hating, I suggest opening up an e-harmony profile or picking up a more productive hobby than complaining about everything.

I also have a theory that these people don’t even truly exist. If I asked 100 people on the street if they are offended by any of the above holidays for any of the above reasons or more, my guess is 100/100 would say, “No. Anyone who is offended is dumb.” At least that’s my hope.

So hey, for 2014 (Christmas gets a pass this year) let’s all just agree to wish happiness upon everyone at every holiday and to say it in whatever way means the most to the person spreading the cheer. As recipients, even if we disagree or don’t celebrate that particular holiday, let’s all just say, “Thank you. You too.”

Cool? Cool. See ya out there.


10 ways to get people to share your content.

More and more these days, my Facebook newsfeed is populated by stories like these:


I don’t know what is up with this trend of ‘top 10-100ish’ lists, but in the interest of jumping on board the bandwagon, here is my take on how to get your online content shared by the masses:

10. Pick an arbitrary, but unintimidating number.

9. Pick the feeling you want to portray (i.e. romance, humor, sadness, pride, etc.)

8. Pick a ‘hot’ topic (i.e. romance = wedding proposals; humor = things ridiculous TV sitcoms characters have said; sadness = soldiers being reunited with family; pride = small town sports heroes, etc.)

7. Find a subject (often human or animal) and gather images that will communicate the proper feeling.

6. For each image, write a cute and/or clever caption that is less than 140 characters. (Twitter has shortened our attention span, so just stick to the length of a Tweet.)

5. Pick your target audience’s age. (This should range between 18 and 25. Using the term ‘millennials’ is a great catch all.)

4. Incorporate a left-to-right scrolling thingamajig like this (note the features circled in red):


*original image borrowed from The Onion article (above)

3. Determine if it’s a countdown or a countup. No matter what, make the best image the landing page.

2. Create the title by combining steps 10 through 5. (i.e. ’15 Hilarious Pictures of Cats that all Millennials Must See!’)

1. Share on social media with very vague commentary. (i.e. “This had me rolling.” or “Unbelievable.”)

And there you have it. The recipe to bring virality to otherwise mediocre content. Now get out there and build your lists!

Doing whatever it takes to stay relevant,


lessons from gta.

Many people blame violent video games for violent crimes. Some argue that there is no correlation. I’m pretty unbiased when it comes to this subject, plus I’m not that big of a gamer. However, I have played some GTA5 lately, and here are some lessons I’ve taken from immersing myself in the city of Los Santos:

  • Do not fear death. You’ll just wake up in front of a hospital tomorrow.
  • Shoot first and later. Don’t worry about asking questions at any time.
  • Cops are stupid and you can easily lose them if the situation requires it.
  • You own everything. Just take whatever you can lay your hands on.
  • Hesitate not to beat mercilessly anyone who annoys you.
  • Drive recklessly, but end by parking in your garage. Your ride will be fine tomorrow.

The good news is that I can fight the urge to carry out these lifestyle choices in the real world.

But what about that awkward adolescent who has a developing brain and a less-than-active social or home life? When he gets home from school and hangs out with his Los Santos friends all night, with no reality checks and balances – is he at risk of bringing this fictional world to life?

I don’t see how that could even be a remote possibility.

Now, if you’ll excuse me; I have a heist to prepare for.


halloween, obesity and fargo, north dakota.

Apparently some woman named Cheryl took it upon herself to be the ‘fat kid vigilante’ in Fargo, North Dakota last week. Instead of handing out candy to children she considered obese, she handed out this letter:

fat letter

Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?

Many journalists are asking questions like:

  • Is it right for this woman to set rules for who gets candy and who doesn’t?
  • What does this say about the state of our children’s health?
  • What does this say about parenting and responsibility to our nation’s children?

If you’re like me, questions like those are not even close to what I’d be asking. The questions I want to know the answers to are:

  • When Fargo kids knock on the door and have layers upon layers of winter clothing on over or under their costumes, how can Cheryl tell which kids are fat and which kids are just bundled up?
  • Did she set out a bathroom scale and adjust the calibration by 10-15 pounds to accommodate for the extra clothing and pounds of candy the kids are already carrying?
  • Does everyone in her community hate her?
  • Is she a lonely cat woman?

Why focus on big philosophical questions when we don’t even know how credible this woman is or her methods are? Cheryl, maybe your head is in the right place, but I need to know what methods are driving your madness.

I just hope Michelle Obama asks the right questions before she teams up with ol’ Cheryl.

Steadfastly reporting on the hardest-hitting topics,