Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Gnarly Day: Part One

So as the title implies, this is gonna be a two-parter, the second part will be posted on Friday.

 It's hard to talk about this day, because it was one of the single weirdest days of my life. But I'm going to do it because some day one of these things may happen to one of you, and in that event, I want you to be prepared. Enjoy!


Alright, where to begin... I guess we should start at the beginning, in the morning, when I walk out of my apartment and retrieve the mail. Usually I never get anything except bills and junk mail, but on this particular day I find a big envelope addressed to me. The heading on the envelope tells me that it's from the law offices of someone and someone else.

Now, if a normal person were to receive such a letter, I imagine they would respond with apprehension. But not me. I respond with great excitement, because my brain is wired in such a way that every time I get a call from an unknown number, or an email from an unknown sender, or a package from an unknown lawyer, I honestly believe that this is the thing that is going to change my life for the better. Not once in my twenty seven years has this ever happened. But that has not stopped me from believing that it will happen the next time.

So I tear open this package with bated breath, thinking to myself that this must be either a large sum of inheritance from a great uncle or aunt (despite the fact that, as far as I know, I haven't had either in awhile), or maybe something even better, something that mysterious lawyers give to well-deserving people.

My hand plunges down into the envelope and I pull out the stapled sheets of paper and eagerly start to read.

As I read, my eagerness turns into confusion, and then my confusion turns into fear, and then my fear turns into terror, and that's when I decide to hightail it back to my apartment and find my roommate Cormac, so he can help make sense of this thing in my hand. He's a smart guy, I say to myself, he'll know about these kinds of things.

Seconds later, I'm a little out of breath and knocking on his door. I can hear him mutter to himself as he stumbles towards his door. As soon as the door opens I hand him the letter and ask him to read it.  He gives me a grumpy look as if to say that he's in no mood deal with this nonsense. But he takes the letter anyways and begins to read.

I watch his face drop as he reads the letter.

 "This can't be real." He says, more to himself than to me, as he sits down at his bed and grabs his laptop.

"I know right?! There's no way this is real."

I guess I won't keep you in suspense any longer. This is the basic gist of the letter that was freaking us both out (minus all the legal jargon, of course):

   { Dear Mr. Walker,
 several weeks ago we subpoenaed your internet provider and obtained proof that you illegally downloaded the video "A Night in Paris" starring Paris Hilton. The company we represent owns this video; therefore, we are going to sue you. If you try to fight us in court, you could pay up to 150,000 dollars. However, if you settle now for the sum of 1500 dollars, we will consider the matter closed. We suggest you find legal representation as soon as possible. We cannot represent you.}

For those who don' t know, 'A Night in Paris' is the rather witty title of the Paris Hilton sex tape.  Suffice to say, this was easily the most bizarre letter I have ever received in my life.

And I know what you're thinking, you're thinking that clearly this is some kind of scam. But let me point out two things. One, not that I'm an expert at this kind of thing, but the document looked legit, it had a bunch of back pages filled with lawyer mumbo jumbo; and two, a couple of weeks prior to this I had received a letter from my internet provider informing me that they were being subpoenaed and that I had to respond to their letter if I didn't want to be included. At the time I didn't really know what the hell they were talking about and I was far too lazy to go through the anguish of mailing a letter, so I went to my standard go-to plan for these kinds of things, and ignored it. 

But apparently, my go-to plan wasn't good enough to keep trouble away, because now people were asking me for 1500 hundred dollars for my supposed night in Paris. 

"Did you download the Paris Hilton's porno?" Cormac asks.

"Hell no!" I say, which is the truth. Why the hell would anyone download porn in this day and age? I mean don't get me wrong, I'm no saint, but there are a lot better options now than downloading some filth into your computer that is probably riddled with nasty viruses. Further more, of all the smut out there,  I can't think of one that is less appealing than the one starring scrawny, unattractive Paris Hilton. OK, I actually can think of a lot of smut that is less appealing, but that's neither here nor there. The point is that I have never watched or downloaded this trash and I wasn't about to pay the 1500 dollars that I didn't have.

"Well," Cormac says carefully. "It says that the video was downloaded from your wireless account, so that means anyone who has access to your internet could have done this."

"But that's only you and Alex [the other roommate]."

"No, it's only me and Logan [a former roommate], look at the date of the infraction. That was back when Logan was living here."

I check out the date on the paper, Cormac is right.

"Did you download the video?" I ask him.

"No." Is all he says. I study his face as he says it, trying to judge if this is the kind of face that would want to see Paris Hilton naked. I decide that it's not.

"Well, I guess I'll call Logan and see if he downloaded it." I say, even though I know the chances of him saying "Why of course I downloaded the video, Randy. Let me just write you a check for 1500 dollars!" were slim to none.  But I don't really know what else to do at the moment. As I start to call Logan,  Cormac tells me he's going to check online to find out any information that he can. I pray he finds out that this is an obvious hoax that is no cause for alarm.

 "Hey Randy, what's up?" I hear the distinct voice that belongs to my former roommate Logan and I switch into interrogator mode:

"Logan, how are you doing today?...Good. I am calling because I was just wondering, for no reason at all, if you may have downloaded that Paris Hilton sex tape while you were living with us."

"Paris Hilton sex tape?" He says after some pause. "No, I definitely did not download that."

"Are you sure?" I ask gently. "maybe you did and you forgot."

"No Randy, I would not have forgotten such a thing. I assure you, I definitely did not download that video. Why do you ask?"

"Oh, no reason. Hope all is well with you, I gotta go." I hang up on Logan before he has a chance to say goodbye. A bit rude on my part, but I'm a man who needs answers, dammit, and clearly he has none to give me.

"Logan says he didn't download the video." I tell Cormac.

"Yeah, well, he probably would have said that either way." He answers without looking up from his computer.

"Yeah..." I respond dejectedly.

"OK, so I have some news." Cormac says as continues to stares at his screen. "I googled the lawyer's name that was on the letter and it looks like he is a legit lawyer."

"Great." I remark miserably.

"Not only that, but it looks like he has a twitter account. And guess what his twitter handle is?"

"What?" I ask, even though at this time I could not care less. 

"Porn Law." Cormac answers with smirk on his face.

"You're kidding me." I respond in disbelief as I rush over to his computer.

But he's not kidding. Apparently the lawyer who's suing me works exclusively for porno companies and he is so proud of this fact that he goes by the name Porn Law on Twitter. Cormac and I spend the next ten minutes reading the thoughts and feelings of Mr. Porn Law. Apparently, most of his thoughts and feelings are about how awesome it is to work with porn stars all day, how awesome it is to date porn stars, and how awesome it is to drive a really nice car.

"This smug sonnovabitch." I say after tearing myself away from the leech's twitter feed. "He has pornstar girlfriends, a nice car, and he still wants my 1500 dollars?!" Cormac can tell I'm getting really heated so he tries to calm down.

"Look man, this probably isn't a big deal. We don't know anything about the law, I'm sure this is some kind of scam. We just need to get in touch with a lawyer and get some consultation."

An hour later, we find a lawyer who is willing to give us free consultation. We fax him over the documents and wait to here back from him.  As we wait, Cormac and I try to discuss our plans for scripts and comedy sketches, but it's clear that all either of us can think of is the thought of me being taken to court and being forced to pay 150,000 dollars. Suddenly an image pops into my mind, an image of me in court putting a 150,000 one dollar bills into Paris Hilton's thong as she dances and laughs in my face. I feel myself start to seethe as I picture this image.

Is she behind this, I wonder? Is Paris Hilton the one who is making this happen? I always thought she was a terrible person and a horrible influence on young girls, and I told this to numerous people. Had it gotten back to her? Was this her way of exacting revenge, by taking what little money I had? Did I stand a chance against the combined forces of the Hilton Empire and Mr. Porn Law?

 I don't have any answers to these questions, but there's a rage inside me that was growing by the minute.

Then the lawyer calls. He tells me that after going over the legal document, it appears that Mr. Porn Law actually has a case, and that we should begin taking the next appropriate steps as soon as possible. This, of course, means I have to hire him; which I'm not at all excited about doing. I try to think of exactly how much I have in my bank account, but I'm not sure. Maybe I just don't want to remember. I

I tell the lawyer I need to think about it and that I'll call him back later in the day.

I tell Cormac what the lawyer said, and he doesn't respond for awhile.

"This sucks." He finally mutters. I grunt in agreement, and then we sit in silence.

"What do we do now?" I finally say.

"I don't know man, you wanna go to the park?"

"The park?"

"Yeah, man. It's a beautiful day out, let's forget our troubles and just enjoy the sun and the grass."

I can't help but laugh at this, as it seems that after all the shit we have just been through, we are have come back to my original go-to plan that got me in trouble in the first place. But I have to admit, ignoring this sounds like the way to go right now.  

"Yeah man, fuck it, let's go to the park."


And that's where we stop today. But don't worry, there is still a lot more to happen on this day, and the best part has yet to come. I hope you enjoyed part one of A Gnarly Day, and I hope to see you back here on Friday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Geez, Aziz

Alright, so here is the post that I was going to do last week before those Peyton Manning rumors started swirling, quickly turning my world upside down. (Sadly, as I'm sure you all know, he will not be playing for the niners next season, which is too bad. Oh well, at least we got Alex Smith back!)
But onto more pressing matters, let's talk about a certain comedian named Aziz Anzari. Funny guy, nice guy, or so it would seem... but let me tell you a little story about our friend Aziz that will shock and appall you. A story so dark and twisted, it's guaranteed to make you rethink everything you knew about this bright rising star of comedy.

The story starts on a casual weekday night in the city of Los Angeles. At the time, I was currently enrolled in sketch comedy classes at UCB (Upright Citizen's Brigade), which meant I had free passes to most of the UCB shows. Which is why on that particular night, I was standing in line outside of the UCB theater on Franklin Ave waiting to get into the next show. I had been standing in line for a good couple of hours because UCB is a pretty small theater that is always packed to the gills and I wanted to make sure I got a good seat.

Well, around 11:30 they finally let us in. Despite my effort, the best seat I could get was right in the front row. This is always a risky move when you are attending a comedy show because you run the risk of setting yourself up for getting mocked by the comedians. But I had no other choice, so I took my front row seat and just hoped for the best.

So for the first hour of the show I see about 3 different comedians do their thing (usually UCB has improv or sketch shows, but on that night it was more of just straight stand-up comedy), and it's funny and I'm laughing and everything is going fine. But after that first hour, I start to get really tired. I had been standing in line for a good long time, and it was now past midnight, so you can't blame me too much for this.

Anyways, it was at this point that my brain started telling me that it would be a great idea to close my eyes. I told my brain no, that would be a very bad idea, given my current situation.

But you know how brains can be. So sure enough, as the fourth comedian is being introduced by the host, I realized my eyelids were falling further and further down, covering my eyeballs.

I shook myself awake, fighting my brain's urge to sleep with all the energy I could muster. I focused on this new comedian on stage. It was Aziz. I didn't know who he was at the time because he hadn't become big yet.

But I quickly realized that he was a funny man. And his humor actually helped me fight my sleepiness. At least at first. But it wasn't long before my brain repeated its request for sleep. I fought it as best as I could, but I could feel my eyelids getting heavy again.

Somehow, I managed to stop my eyes from completely closing. Through sheer will power alone, I was able to keep them open about a half an inch, just enough to see and enjoy the show in front of me.

I was pretty proud of myself for being able to do this, but that was before things went horribly wrong.

I remember Aziz was in the middle of slaying the crowd with this story about how he tried to kiss this girl who shunned his advances like he was a leper. It was a hilarious story and I was enjoying it greatly, despite my current condition. Anyways, I'll never forget the moment when, in the middle of telling this story, he turned to my section of the audience and his eyes dropped to mine and he stopped his story, mid-sentence, and started to smirk.

At first, I thought I might have been dreaming. You know like when you're at the movie theater and you dose off for a second and you have a quick flash of a dream where you are part of the movie? That's how I felt right then, like I had taken a snooze and now I was dreaming that I was a part of the action.

Anyways, as I was figuring out whether I was dreaming or not, Aziz opened his mouth and said the following to the crowd:   

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to stop the show. But I have to say one thing real quick. That man right there (points right at me), that man, I believe, is the most stoned man I have ever seen in my life! I mean, I've seen a lot of high people at my show before, but I have never seen someone that high in my entire life!"

At this point I was positive I was not dreaming because I could feel the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up and a surge of adreline rush through my body. As this happened, the entire crowd of people turned to me and started laughing. I mean everyone is just hooting and hollering at the "stoned" man in front of them. While this was happening, I stared straight ahead, trying to act like I'm not even noticing what is taking place. And then my eyes catch Aziz's for the second time, and he gives me a look that I will never forgot. Now, it may have been because my brain was exhausted, combined with the shock of being mocked by a hundred people, but I swear on everything holy, that look that he gave me was a look that said: I will do everything in my power to destroy you, you scumbag.

 The next day I tried to put things into perspective. Surely this comedian didn't want to destroy me, he was just having a little fun at my expense. Nothing wrong with that.

So I let it go and laugh off the whole incident. I even tell my friends about it and how funny it was. It becomes a story we all enjoy retelling from time to time.

 And then, about a year later, a certain movie called Funny People came out, along with this little gem. As a result, to this day, when I go out to parties or social events and introduce myself to people, there is a decent chance that I will hear these words said in a high obnoxious voice: "Hey look everyone, it's Raaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnndy!"

And every time this happens, I think back to that night at UCB, when Aziz looked me in the eyes and let me know he was gunning for me.

Since the release of Funny People, Aziz has been quiet in the "destroy Randy" game. But I know he's plotting something. He's definitely plotting something...but whatever it is, I'll be ready. And by ready I mean I'll be powerless to do anything and probably a little sleepy, because I'm always sleepy. The end.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An Intern and his Porn

 Writing last Friday's post made me remember this little golden nugget of a story that happened on the very first day of my internship in NYC. I felt compelled to share with you all:

Like I said, it was my first day on the job at Stuff Magazine, and I honestly don't think I had ever been as excited as I was at that moment in my life. I was ready to do anything to prove that they had made the right choice for an intern, especially if that anything required a huge dose of unnecessary eagerness and hyperactivity.  

Sadly, it did not include any of these things. Mostly my first day included opening mail and then throwing said mail into the trash. For some reason, magazines get mail from a lot of odd people. Like prisoners, for example. I must have opened twenty piece of mail on my first day alone that were from prison inmates who either wanted us to hook them up with a 'hottie' from the magazine, or wanted us to know that they had a girl, and sometimes a sister or a cousin, on the outside that really wanted to pose for the magazine (you should have seen the pictures that came with the letters). Shockingly, the editors of the magazine wanted nothing to do with these people and instructed me to throw away their letters.

Then there were the people who would send in entire unpublished manuscripts, despite the fact that, as far as I know, Stuff magazine has never published an entire 200 page manuscript in any of their 120 page issues. The first one I received that day was all about a man rambling to himself while sitting on his couch and staring at a picture of his ex-wife. (After just writing that description, I kinda think that could be turned into a decent story, but I assure you the story I read was incoherent slop. And no I didn't read the whole thing).

Finally, there were the packages that contained good ol' wholesome porn. I remember the first time I ripped one of these packages opened and a DVD fell on my lap, on the cover was a naked green woman with styrofoam antennas sticking out of her head.  The title was Alien Seduction IV: Orgies in Space

"Yeah, we get those all time," One of the editors told me. "I don't know why, we're not allowed to even mention porn because of our advertisers. But the companies send us new stuff all the time..."

I offered to throw it away along with the piles of other mail I had tossed, but he told me to just leave it at my workspace for the time being. He then instructed me to do the same if I happen to come across any more mail porn that day.

So by the end of the day, I had 5 pornographic DVDs stacked on top of each other on my desk, with the green alien woman on top. I could feel her stare as I tried to work, trying to seduce me with her alien charm.

Eventually, my editor grabbed his coat off his chair and proceeded to get ready to leave.

"Alright, good first day, intern Randy. I'll see you tomorrow..." I could see his gaze switch from me to the stack of the porn on my desk. "Oh, I almost forgot," I watched him as he picked up the stack of porn. "These are for you." He said as he thrusted the numerous boobies and butts into my face.

 I'll be totally honest with you, I wasn't sure how to proceed at that moment. I mean, you don't just say no to a stack of free porn, especially when it's a gift from your editor on your first day of work, but... what if this was some kind of test. What if he wanted to see how would I react in this situation. Maybe my decision would affect the outcome of the rest of my internship.

"Um, thanks!" I said, taking hold of the stack of smut in my arms. I wasn't sure if I had made the right call, but now that I had made it, I sure wasn't gonna stick around. I told everyone I would see them tomorrow and headed out the building and towards the nearest subway station.

It wasn't until I was actually on a train that I realized that I was just holding a stack of porn in broad daylight for everyone to see. I kicked myself for not thinking to grab a bag from the office to cover my little gift. I looked around nervously, to see if anyone had noticed the awkward pervert on the train, but it seemed like no one had. The only thing I could do was tuck my 'gifts' under my arm and act natural while I waited for my stop to come.

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Until finally, I realized that I had missed my stop. I wasn't sure how long ago either (keep in mind this was only my second time ever using the NYC subways). So now I was stuck on this subway train with a stack of porn under my arm and I had no idea what to do. Obviously, I couldn't just stay put and move further and further away from my destination. But on the other hand, getting off the train would require going past a lot of people, and I wouldn't be able to conceal it from everyone. I briefly entertained the idea of just leaving the porn there on the train, while I made a graceful exist. I'll be paying it forward, I tried to convince myself, to some lucky guy who might be a little lonely.

 But what if someone sees you leave it behind, I thought, and they shout at you 'Hey you forgot something!' and then everyone will turn and see the pile of filth that belongs to me. And then I'll be known as The Porn Guy and no one will want anything to do with me.

No, I couldn't have that happen. Not on my first day in the Big Apple. No, there was only one answer that remained. I had to leave the train with the smut in hand and go find the right one that will take me back to my apartment.

So at the next stop, I vacated the train as quickly as I could without looking suspicious. I breathed a sigh of relief once I had two feet on the Subway platform. But that relief did not last long when I realized that there were twice as many people on the platform than there were in the train.

These people started pushing past me to get into the train. And as they did this I could feel their eyes on me, judging me. I looked down to avoid their stare, but then I was greeted again with the stare of the Alien woman who was still trying to seduce me. I have to get out of here, I thought frantically, I have to get to higher ground. And so I ran for the nearest stairway that would take me to the surface and away from this filthy underground smut convention that I had unintentionally created.

So now I'm walking down the streets of Manhattan, not really sure where I am, while still holding the questionable material. I gather the nerve to ask someone which way 60th St. was, and they point in a direction without saying a word. They didn't even look at me. That's interesting, I thought.

After walking about 5 blocks and crossing paths with countless people, I come to a definitive conclusion: people in New York do not give a shit if you walk around with porn. Even if it's weird alien porn, it doesn't faze them a bit. This realization started to make me feel embolden, like I was breaking new ground as a person.

I felt so embolden in fact, that when I saw a cop up in front of me, I decided to ask him for directions, because I was beginning to think that I had been given wrong directions. He won't care about what I'm holding, he's a New York City cop, he's seen it all. 

And so, I approached the police man and asked him if I was going the right way to get to 60th St. He didn't answer right away. Instead he looked at me, and then looked down at what I was holding. I looked down too. We could both see the green alien giving us a 'come hither' look. If only I could, I thought, but instead I'm probably going to jail because I'm a complete idiot.

The cop looked back up at me. A smile spread across his face.

"60th St is the other way." He said kindly.

I thanked him profusely and got the hell out of there.

Anyways, to make a long story short, I found out about ten blocks later that that cop had purposely given me the wrong directions because NYC cops are dicks. But they don't care if you walk around with porn. In fact, no one in New York City cares, I know because by the time I had finally reached my apartment I had crossed paths with just about all of them.

And that was my first day as an intern in New York City.

The End

Friday, March 16, 2012

Meeting Peyton Manning

OK, so I was planning on writing about the time that Aziz Ansari publicly mocked me in front of a large crowd of people while he was doing stand up, but that story is just gonna have to wait. Because while I was in the middle of writing about that experience, my roommate burst through the door (OK, he gently knocked and then came in, but that doesn't sound as dramatic) and informed me that the football God himself, Peyton Manning, recently worked out and practice with the Forty Fucking Niners!!!! My immediate reaction was this:
oh my god! oh my god! oh my god! They're going after him! They said they weren't, but they are! Harbaugh you brilliant fucking madman!!!!! Oh my god, oh my god...

Then I calmed down and realized that there was still a long way to go before this actually meant something. But then, in my excitement, I couldn't help but think back to one of the most cherished memories, possibly the most cherished memory, in my life. And that was the time I got to meet a Mr. Peyton Manning. And that is the story I will share with you now.

OK, so this story needs a little back story. As some of you know, most of my extended family (Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, etc...) hail from the hilarious town of New Orleans. And as some of you also know, the Manning family also hail from the same town.

But what only a few of you know is that my cousin and Peyton went to the same school together and actually became good friends. Better still, my cousin was a wide receiver for the school's team which meant he was catching TD passes from none other than Peyton. Did your cousin catch TD passes from Peyton Manning? I don't think so. Clearly my cousin is better than your cousin.

Meanwhile, I am just a very little kid at this point and a die hard 9ers fan. From Montana to Young to Garcia (I don't care what anyone says, I always liked Garcia. Guy was a scrapper), I don't think anyone can argue that I had it good as football fan during my childhood years. Glorious times indeed.

OK so numerous years later, Peyton becomes the number one pick in the NFL and goes to the Indianapolis Colts. During that summer when I visited my family in New Orleans, I only heard about how I should watch out for Peyton and how much potential he had to be a superstar in the NFL.

So me, and my little brother, start watching his games with casual interest during his first season. And then with a little more interest during his second season. And by the third season we realized he was one of the best quarterbacks we had ever seen and he was only going to get better with time.

So I couldn't help myself, I became a huge Peyton Manning fan.

And let me tell you, this has been a huge bone of contention with a lot of my friends.
 How dare you say Peyton is your favorite player! You are a 49ers fan! You're a disgrace! Go watch the Colts, you traitor! 

This has been going on for the past 14 years now. And I'm not gonna lie, it still hurts. I can't say I didn't bring it on myself, as I did start to care more about watching Peyton play than the Niners play. I mean the Niners were awful for ten freakin' years, and in that time Peyton and the Colts created a dynasty that won more games in one decade than any other franchise in NFL history. Peyton broke records left and right, while the Niners gave us seven seasons of Alex Smith (I know, I know, he improved tremendously last year, but you can't say those first six years weren't hard to watch).

So yeah, I got a lot of shit for loving Peyton Manning when I was 'supposedly' a Niners fan. The term bandwagon fan as been thrown in my face more times than I care to remember. But you know what? It was worth it, because he was amazing to watch.

Now, fast forward to the summer of 2006, or the golden summer as I like to call it, because that was the summer I worked as an intern for Stuff Magazine in New York City. That was the summer where a lot of life goals were scratched off the list. Including meeting the great Peyton.

How did this come to be? Well, my cousin (yes the same one who caught TD passes from him) called me up one day and informed me that he was going to be attending a wedding in NYC, and that Peyton Manning would be there as well. Even better, he told me that the two of them would be at a post-wedding celebration in a Manhattan bar afterwards, and that if I wanted to I could drop by and meet him.

Obviously, this is something I very much wanted to do.

So on the night of the wedding I dressed in the nicest clothes I had (which was a clean t-shirt and khakis, I was an intern after all) and took the train to Midtown Manhattan.

I arrived at the bar and looked for the man who had become my football idol. After a little searching, I found him. He was standing by my cousin, drinking a beer and talking, like he was just some normal guy without a laser rocket arm. This threw me off, because I kind of thought he would be like ten feet tall and glowing, like some sort of huge illuminated football trophy of himself. But no, there he was, just this totally ordinary guy.

At this point, I start feeling cowardly, like I should walk out now before I embarrass myself. But I knew if I did that I would regret it for the rest of my life.

So I walked up to my cousin, and tapped him on the shoulder. Both him and Peyton looked over at me, and for a second I thought Peyton was going to suddenly bark: Hey, you can't just go around tapping people on the shoulder when I'm talking to them! I'm Peyton Manning goddamn it!

But that didn't happen. Instead, my cousin introduced me to number 18 and we shook hands.

"How do you like working for Stuff?" He asked. Holy God, my cousin and him were talking about me earlier.  Suddenly this seemed very significant at the time. And perhaps that would explain my odd rambling response that came flying out of my mouth.


Now this wasn't totally untrue. There was an article being planned for the Halloween issue about celebrities' favorite movies, but I was in no way working on it, nor was it my job in any way to go about asking celebrities what their favorite horror movie was. But I had just done that did. To Peyton Manning. And I asked it in a very fast and nervous manner, and I wasn't entirely sure if Peyton had comprehended what I had said.

 The next few seconds felt like years. I looked over to my cousin to see if he had understood me, but he was just looking down at the beer in his hand. I took this as a bad sign.

And then Peyton spoke:

"You know what movie always scared the hell out of me, Shaving Ryan's Privates. Don't watch that one alone."

Mother of God, I thought, did Peyton Manning just make a porn joke. This is indeed the best day of my life.

My response to this was less than epic. I chuckled nervously and then suddenly excused myself so I could get a drink at the bar.

I remember standing at the bar, wondering why I had just ran away from Peyton and his porno jokes. I'm such a failure, I thought. And then, as I paid for my $12 beer (this was Manhattan after all) I  suddenly realized what I needed to do.

I headed back to my cousin and Peyton and held my beer up in front of him.  

"Peyton," I said, making sure I spoke each word clearly and slowly. "I've been watching you for many years, and you're my favorite player. I would just like to take this time to cheers you, in hopes that next season you win the Superbowl."

Peyton made a face at this, not quite the Manning face, but definitely in that same vicinity, that seemed to suggest that he had heard this many many times. But in any case, he lifted his beer towards mine and we cheersed (sp?) for him to win the next Superbowl.

Now I have no doubt that many people have told Peyton Manning that they hope he wins a superbowl, but, how many of those people did it in the off-season before he won his first Superbowl. Probably none.

Except for me.

Now, I'm not saying I had anything to do with the Colts winning the Superbowl that next season, but I kinda do think that I had something to do with it. And honestly, I think deep down, Peyton feels the same. Clearly we are connected in some crazy way. We can't explain it, it's just the way it is. And that's why, even though it's a long shot that he'll be a 49er, if he does end up playing for the red and gold I will only have one thing to say to all the 49er fans out there:

You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Ultimate Mystery

Back on the day that I turned 24, several years ago, I knew a thing or two about the world. I knew, for example, that taking 24 shots in one night would kill a man, even if that man was turning 24 that night.

But did that make me run and hide under my bed, instead of celebrating properly with my friends? Hell no. Instead, I used the power of my 24-year-old brain to figure out that 2+4=6. With that knowledge in hand, I went with my friends to the local bar, The Good Luck Bar,  and took 6 shots in a row.

After that, I used my 24-year-old brain to figure out that 2+4 also equals 6 beers. So I proceeded to drink 6 beers.

After that, my 24-year-old brain became kind of fuzzy and dazed, as far as I can remember. I do recall though, that at a certain point, I decided to leave the physical bar I had been leaning over while intoxicating myself, and check out what the rest of the place had to offer.

I remember that it wasn't long into my search that I found a group of people talking amongst themselves, like a real bunch of assholes.

So I decided it was in everyone's best interest if I suddenly became hilarious and make these people crack up with the humor that would come from my 24-year-old brain.

My plan was going splendidly, until my dear friend David Benassi came up to me and put his arm around my shoulder. Clearly he was trying to feed off the amazing laughs that I was gettng from these strangers.

This is fine, I thought to myself, as long as he doesn't interrupt the process that is necessary to be hilarious.

But of course, that's exactly what he did. For no fucking reason at all, he went ahead and looked down at the ground. I noticed that he did this for a rather long time. And then I saw those big, black bushy eyebrows of his rise up on his forehead. He then looked at me, opened his mouth and said:

"Randy, you're not wearing any shoes."

At first I thought he was just being the worst person I had ever known and wished he would disappear for the rest of my life. But then I looked down, and saw the whites of my socks looking back up at me.

Suddenly, nothing made sense anymore. Shoes don't just disappear for no reason, as far as I knew.

I knew there was only one course of action I could take. I had to find my shoes. So with my body hunched over, I began to search every inch of the floor for them, while loudly asking out loud if anyone had seen them.

Occasionally, some joker or jerk-off ( sometimes both) would bump into me or brush against me while I was carefully studying the floor below me.

"Watch out!" I would cry, "I'm trying to find my shoes here."

A couple of times I found shoes that I was pretty sure belonged to me, but there were always feet inside those shoes.

In those cases, I would try to engage with the person in hopes of procuring the knowledge of how they came to be in those shoes. But whenever I tried this, you would have thought I had asked if they were anti-semitic or hated ice cream, based on their reaction.

I didn't care of course, all I cared about was finding my shoes so I could go back to continuing to enjoy my special day while also continuing to be absolutely hilarious.

At a certain point, I heard another person crying out the same thing I was. "Where are my shoes? Where are my shoes?" But his voice was very odd, it was as if he suffered a mental handicap or something.

When I looked up, I realized everyone was pointing and laughing at me. That's when I figured out that since I had first discovered that I had misplaced my shoes, everyone in here had become an asshole. This was disconcerting. But far less disconcerting than the fact that I still wasn't wearing any shoes.

At some point, I think when I was near the bathroom area, I felt a big hand grasp the top of my shoulder. I turned around and found a big man with a sour look on his face.

"You have to leave." He said.

"But... it's my birthday, and I don't have my shoes."

This response did not affect him in any way. And I could hear the rest of the bar-goers laughing and mocking me.

"I can't go until I find my shoes." I told him.

"You have to leave now." He firmly repeated himself.

I was prepared to argue my case further, but that big stupid meaty hand of his grasped my shoulder again, this time twisting itself in the cloth of my shirt, and then I felt the sensation of being pulled away.

I did not like this. I did not like this one bit. I told him so repeatedly but he did not seem to care.

For a moment, I was resigned to my fate. I had lost my shoes, and I would never get them back.

But then, like some sweet gift from the glorious gods, I noticed something blue and white in the corner of my eye.

My shoes! I realized in delight. There they were, right by the bar where I was taking all those shots and drinks. I suddenly realized what had happened. Someone, probably Benassi, or the dick bouncer with the meaty hands, or that guy who pretended he had also lost his shoes but really was just mocking me, or maybe those group of assholes who were talking to themselves before I gave them my hilariousness, or maybe one of the other bar-goers who joined in on the laughter towards the poor man who only wanted his shoes back, had taken my shoes off me while I was drinking.

I jerked away from the big man, I could feel his grip on my innocent shirt slip away, and I knew I only had a few seconds to make everything right again.

I darted towards my shoes. I prepared myself for the feeling of fat piggish fingers curl around my shoulder again, but it never happened. I reached my shoes and cradled in my arms. 

Now I am safe, I thought. I have shoes, I am whole again. I'm no different than anyone else here, except perhaps for the fact that I'm not a complete dick.

"You have to go!" The big man said for the third time.

"But...but I have my shoes now, I don't want any trouble."

"It doesn't matter, you have to go." He said matter-of-factly.

I turned away from him, looking for any support from other bar-goers who may have been watching all of this and knew that something unjust was currently unfolding.

But all I saw were laughing faces and pointing fingers, and they were all laughing and pointing at me. And I suddenly realized that I didn't care to stay at this particular establishment any longer.

So I walked towards the exit with my head held high. And as the bouncer followed me out, I remember turning to him, with my shoes nestled under my bosom, and saying, matter-of-factly:

"You'll never be as smart as me."

I don't know what made my 24-year-old brain think that that was okay to say. If I could do it again, I would have said something else. I would have said:

"Fine, throw me out, but just know this. You'll never have shoes as sweet as mine."

Because those shoes were pretty sweet.

The end

Friday, March 9, 2012

Aw To Hell With It

So last night I was working tirelessly on the latest story for the blog, which was due today. After several hours of writing, I decided to step away from the computer and come back to it fresh. So I grabbed a beer with some friends, listened to some jokes, made a few more, and then returned to my room to read what I had written. When I was finished, I said this to myself:

"This is the stupidest story that has ever been written and I can't imagine anyone other than a big stupid idiot writing this. If anyone else were to read it, it would probably cause them to get tumors in their eyes. Big fat tumors that have their own circulatory system and maybe even a tooth or two. As a result, ten to twenty people would sue you and claim that your unforgivably horrible story ruined their eyesight and their love life. Because no one wants to date someone who has giant tumors for eyes. It would be far too awkward when they brought them to family dinners and had to introduce their dates to their loved ones. 'Oh this is Darrel, he's a sweet guy but he read a story on the internet that was written by a big stupid idiot who was so stupid he thought he could write, and because of that decision, Darrel now has tumors for eyes.' And the relatives would laugh like it was no big deal, but by the end of the night they would all quietly agree that they didn't much care for Darrel, and a lot of that had to do with his tumor eyes. Which would be your fault. Is that something you could live with?"

So I walked away from my computer feeling dejected. 

But then after I had calmed down and put some food inside me, I decided that maybe the story wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be. Maybe I was just being too hard on myself. So I went back to my computer and reread the story. Afterwards, I said this to myself:

"Remember that story you saw on the news the other day, about that guy who had a Komodo Dragon as a pet, even though everyone told him that was a bad idea because Komodo Dragons are wild and dangerous and shouldn't be kept as pets, but he was all like 'naw bro, don't worry about it. This will be great!' and then one day the Komodo Dragon bit him on the hand, and he thought it wasn't a big deal because it was only a small bite on the hand. But what he didn't know was that the saliva of the Komodo Dragon is poisionous. It doesn't kill you, it just makes you pass out after about a day or so. So this guy passes out at his place after about a day or so of getting bit and no one knows this has happened except the Komodo Dragon. And so the Komodo Dragon is like "Don't worry bro, I'll totally call the hospital for you.' But instead of doing that, the Komodo Dragon eats the guy's fucking face. And when the guy wakes up he's all like "Oh bro, what happened?" And the Komodo Dragon is like "Oh, I'm totally sorry about that, I meant to call the hospital but instead I ate your entire fucking face because I am a motherfucking Komodo Dragon and we eat faces, bitch!' And then the guy was all sad because he doesn't have a face? Well, that's how I feel after reading this story, only I feel like my face has been eaten twice now because I had to read this story twice."

So I walked away from my computer again, and this time I decided to get some sleep because it was pretty late and I was tired.

So I woke up the next morning and realized that I didn't have anything prepared for my blog, so I should probably try to just work on the story I had already written and see if I couldn't salvage it.

So I went to my computer and reread it for the third time. Afterwards, I said to myself:

"Oh, this story's not that bad. But it does need a lot of work before it's fit for other human eyes. you don't have the time to do that right now, why don't you just provide links to the work you got published on another website?"

And so that's what I decided to do. Sorry if you've already read these!

Children's Books That Should Be Action Movies

11 Reasons Why Hunger Games Is Not Too Girly

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Overflow

I'll never forget the day that I realized that my toilet was out to get me. It was several years ago, only a couple of days after my big move to LA.

I remember during those days I was doing a lot of thinking. Mostly about my latest life choices. Had I really just moved to Hollywood to pursue the impossible dream? Did I really move into an apartment with two people I had never met before and sign a year lease with them? (The answer to both of those questions was yes, the latter one turning out to be a huge mistake. But that's a story for a different day).

 I was thinking about these very things that fateful morning, when I rose from bed and walked down my small hallway towards the kitchen. I remember that at some point during this grand journey I made a startling discovery.

I had wet-sock. 

Wet-sock, of course, is when your socks become wet. And as you all know, there is no greater discomfort or misery than having wet-sock.

Anyways, for the first time since I had moved down to LA I had new thoughts to think about. One, why was I wearing socks and no shoes? I couldn't remember putting any socks on when I got out of bed, and yet there they were, on my feet, and wet as a dog.

That last part in itself was a mystery as well. How did they suddenly become wet?

I looked down behind me to the carpeted floor of the hallway. Wouldn't you know it, there was a big giant wet spot right there on the floor.

 How is this possible? I thought. Carpets don't just ooze liquid, if they did the national reports of wet-sock would be far far higher, and the world would be a much worse place to live in.

Then I discovered, as I moved in closer, that the water was not coming from out of the carpet but from underneath the bathroom door. I could see a light coming from the door as well. Clearly someone was in there, and for some reason, they were currently sending water from the bathroom out into the hallway.

What kind of people am I living with, I wondered.

In my anger, I pounded on the door.

 No one answered.

 I knocked again, this time shouting "Hello?! Anyone in there?! Why are you doing this?!"

 Again, no answer.

 I took a deep breath, grabbed and turned the doorknob, and pushed.

What I saw was rather frightening.

There was no one in the bathroom; not a soul. There was, however, a slow, steady and endless flow of water that was falling out of the toilet bowl and landing on the tile bathroom floor, and then rushing towards me and the carpet.

I realized then that my socks weren't just wet-socked, they were toilet-wet-socked. Which is literally the worst thing that could ever happen to someone.  

 The only thing that comforted me was that the water pouring out of the toilet bowl looked pretty clear and clean. I mean, I wouldn't want to drink it, or get it on my socks, but it wasn't urine or fecal-infested as far as I could tell.

I spotted a space on the tile floor over on the far corner of the bathroom that wasn't submerged in a pool of liquid, and moved over to it to get a better look in the toilet.

But as I peered in, I was again shocked to find... nothing. There wasn't a single thing inside the bowl except for water. How is that possible?  I wondered, as I grabbed the plunger. I pushed the head of the plunger into the bottom mouth of the bowl and tried to unclog something that I knew wasn't there. Unsurprisingly, that didn't do anything except cause the water to overflow faster.

I pulled the plunger out of the bowl and searched it, hoping to find written instructions on how to use it on nothing. There were no such instructions. 

I heard a door open from the hallway, followed by the sound of footsteps on non-wet carpet.

"Watch out! The carpet's wet!"

"Randy? What happened?" It was a female voice, which meant it was Kasey, the sole female of the apartment. 

"I don't know, I just found the toilet overflowing. How do I stop it!?"

"Use the plunger!"

"I tried, but there's nothing clogging the toilet! There's nothing in there at all, nothing I tell you!"

"OK, well then just shut off the toilet!"

I didn't have a response for this. Shut off the toilet? What does that mean? Does she think a toilet is something you could just unplug? I started to think about a toilet you could just plug in and then unplug, and then I pondered what advantages such a toilet might have, until Kasey's shrill voice snapped me back to reality.

"Did you shut it off?!"

"What do you mean, shut it off? Do  you mean, flushing it? I don' t think flushing it will help."

"No! Don't flush it! Turn it off! There is a valve on the back of the toilet, you need to turn it to stop the water from coming in!"

A valve? That can't be right, I thought. Surely if there was a valve on the back of every toilet I would have known about it by now. But I checked anyways, because I was desperate for solutions.

Sure enough, I found the valve. I turn it as hard as I can. 

"It worked!"  I cheered.

"Duh." Was all Kasey said in response. But that was enough to make me hate her.

The next twenty minutes we knelt down next to each other and used paper towels to soak up all the water from the carpet.

"I think I might actually have an old towel in the trunk of my car." I said. "I'll go check."

And so I headed out of the apartment and down our one flight of stairs that lead to our small garage. As I did this, I did a lot of thinking. Mostly about toilets.  How did I not know about that valve? How many more toilet secrets were there, and who stood to gain from withholding this information from me?

I was thinking about all of this until I came to my car, and then I saw something that made me, for the second time that day, shove all my thoughts away and focus on what was happening right before my eyes.

Some kind of liquid was dripping down from the ceiling of the garage.

It was a slow, steady endless drip.

And the drips themselves were murky brown and smelled fiercely foul.  

And these murky brown, foul smelling drips were landing right on my car. 

 The very car that was parked underneath the general vicinity of our apartment bathroom.

As I watched my car getting doused in this chunky brown, foul-smelling liquid splatter, something clicked inside my head and I suddenly saw the truth:

 -The toilet overflowing for no reason

-getting wet-socked (despite the fact that I don't think I ever put on socks)

- Kasey to scoffing at me for my lack of plumber knowledge

-and now, the disgusting drips of sewage water on my car.

It was all so obvious.

My toilet was a real son of a bitch. And it wanted me dead; or at the very least, it wanted me to be a really disgusting person.

And that is why I no longer use toilets.  True story (except for the thing about not using toilets. I do, but the trust is gone. The trust is gone.)

The End.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Maxim Article!

  So after many days of incompetence, I can finally share my Maxim article with all of you (Behold the Glory!). All thanks go to my dear friend Brian Hickey for taking the time to get my article scanned in HD. Now that's friendship! I also have to give another big shout out to the illustrator of the piece, a Mr. Am I Collective. I've never actually met the man before, but I have no doubt that his hilarious and awesome drawing brought much more attention to the article than if it had just been my boring text.

 In sadder news, I am afraid I have failed already in my objective to bring the goods on Fridays. The story I am working on is just not where I want it to be so I've decided to push it back to next Friday. BUT, all is not lost, because I do have another story to share with you today. Well, it's not so much a story as an embarrassing admission (shocking, I know), one that I promised myself I would keep to myself until the day I died. But considering I have failed you, and considering that the story is pretty topical, I suppose I will just have to be the bigger man here and tell you.

   So remember that Maxim article I wrote? Well, let me quickly give you the series of events that lead up to that moment. It all started four years ago when I lucked into getting an internship at Stuff Magazine (that in itself was an incredible experience filled with great stories that will be showing up in this blog soon enough, have no doubt) and ended up befriending several hilarious people that worked for the magazine. One of these people ended up going to Maxim.

At some point he came across my blog and liked what he saw. So he suggested I pitch him some ideas for the magazine. (And my friends said nothing would come from writing a blog. Fools!) Anyways, I pitched him five ideas a few days later. Heard nothing back. So I pitched another five ideas a couple weeks after that. Still nothing. So now I'm working on my third batch of ideas when I get a call from my mom. We chat a little and I tell her I'm trying to think of some good pitches for Maxim. She says she'll try to think of something good and get back to me. I say OK, thinking my mom has really lost it if she thinks she can suddenly help me with my writing career.

Then my mom calls back a couple hours later and tells me she has a great idea for a pitch. "What about," she says in her total mom voice, "an article about living back at home with your parents?"

I consider this for awhile. It's not bad, I think to myself, but I can't use a pitch I got from my mother, surely I can think of a better one myself. 

And wouldn't you know it, I did! I came up with this totally awesome idea for an article about living at home with your parents. And, as you know, that was the pitch that Maxim chose. So it just goes to show, you don't need your mom to help you get published in a magazine. You don't need her help at all.

In all seriousness, I can't deny how hilarious it is that the biggest achievement, by a large margin, in my writing career happened because of my dear sweet mother and her not-too-bad ideas. Love you, Mom.

As for the rest of you, feel free not to tell anyone about this, and I'll see you on Tuesday, enjoy the weekend!