The Copper/Wool Anniversary

If you’re reading this, then you know what time it is. Welcome to Season 7 of Charlie Has a Blog (which I think is an actual show on the Disney channel, someone check me on that!). It’s been a fun 7 years so far. This past year showed signs of slowing down, with posts becoming more sporadic, about once a month or once every two weeks. That’s on me, my lifestyle, and my laziness. We all get lazy. We are naturally lazy, all be it idea-filled, lazy flesh bags just waiting to be told to go to sleep or take a break. Except for Lin Manuel Miranda. His work ethic is a mystery to us all.

As you may or may not know, Google says that the 7 year anniversary is the Copper/Wool Anniversary. That’s awesome, I think. Bring me all of the copper that you have lying around, so that I can sell it for money, essentially faking you out and pulling the wool over your eyes with my intentions. That just feels right to me, no? I think that’s what they mean. That’s why most marriages last 7 years and then peter out. Houses get stripped, and one of the members runs off with the loot. Look it up. It’s a fact. 

This all comes at a kind of serendipitous time,  as currently I’ve been trying to knit a sweater out of copper. It’s that seven year itch, because this copper sweater is like a Simpsons episode: a little itchy and scratchy. My blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this blog... and recently this sweater. It’s the 7th inning stretch, but without the stretching cause this copper material is unforgiving. Ductile my ass!! Also, the game is not ending at inning nine. This is the playoffs baby! Extra innings forever!

On a serious and exciting note, I’d like to announce that I am shifting the release date for new posts to Wednesdays. I did a soft rollout of it, and I think it’ll work. So that’s what’s happening. That’s the short and long of it. Watch me, for another year, as I unravel like the copper wool sweater I am in this world today. Now, very carefully, please pull this thread. 

 

Hallojeans: a short story

When I finally came to, the beating had stopped, but I could sense that the torturing had yet to begin. "Where are we?" I asked. "Shut up," said my girlfriend, smacking me across the mouth. I spit up some blood, shocked that I still had any left inside me. "We're here." I looked up, read the sign, and mouthed the words silently: Thrift Shop. I knew I was in trouble. We entered the store, me, scared and confused, and her, grinning like a school child, but one that tortured animals in the backyard to pass the time.

"You can't bring that in here," a guard proclaimed, pointing at my backpack. "But, this all of my things," I cried. "Give it to the man," she said, waiting for me to do it before she did it for me. "Help me," I mouthed at guard. His million mile stare cut my soul in half as he turned and placed by bag on the floor. "I know why we're here," I said, turning back to her, trying to muster as much calm as I could manage. "I figured you needed a little persuading," she chimed. "And if I run right now?" I asked. "I'd catch you, cut your legs off, and do this the easy way." Right then, I knew the only way out was through.

I walked Death's Row of old clothes, contemplating my options. "I don't wear jeans," I pleaded, thinking maybe this was all a big misunderstanding. "You will," she told me. The coldness with which she operated was that of an ice sculptor, skilled in manipulation and coldness. "This will be good for you," she comforted. It was about as comforting as a used tissue. See, I don't wear jeans, especially ones that other people have worn. Jeans are like the Yoko Ono of clothes; they break up any good ensemble, and they're terrible at singing.

We arrived at our destination quickly, swiftly, like she'd been here before, dumping the bodies of all the men she's forced to wear jeans. Peering through the clothes rack, I swear I saw two dead eyes looking back at me. I was racked with fear. I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Ahh!!” I screamed. “Don’t wuss out on me now, try these on. They’re acid washed,” she said, shoving jeans into my face. “Please don’t wash me with acid. That never ends well in the movies,” I begged. “Not you, the jeans, it’s a style.” “There’s nothing stylish about jeans, you monster. It’s like the fabric died and is constantly experiencing rigor mortis.” Slap. This one hit me hard across the right temple. I backed up, tripped, and landed in the changing room. She quickly blocked the door and barked “Change!”

Trapped inside, I felt around for a light but didn’t see one. Why is there no light in here? I thought. I slowly undressed, and as I sat down, I could feel the cold, haunted bench raise each hair on my body one by one. The jeans slid on a little to easily, like deviled eggs into the mouth of someone who enjoys eating deviled eggs. A rush of air blew by me, and I swear I heard it say “You’ll die in these jeans, hahaha...” “What’d you say?” I asked loudly. “Nothing, idiot, just finish up. There’s a line,” she said with no emotion. I knocked, the unspoken cue for someone to do something on the other side of a wall. I walked out, wiping blood from head and standing there for her to ogle. “They fit,” she remarked. “I know,” I said. “We’ll take them.” I felt light headed, not knowing whether it was due to the loss of blood or the fact that I was forcibly being made to buy jeans. “Change back and let’s go.”

She escorted me to the front of the shop, pressing what I suspected was the gun she’d flashed me at breakfast into my side. “Act natural, dummy.” I stopped wobbling back and forth and walked straight, knowing my fate had been sealed the moment I asked “Whats that gun for?” at breakfast. “I bought it at a gas station. I asked for 12 gallons of unleaded and 12 gallons of lead,” she said as she slammed it onto the back of my hand. That’s the last I remember until 15 minutes ago. She drugged my orange juice.

At the counter, I made the purchase, under duress and cringing the entire time. I felt the gun dig in even further as the card was swiped. I said “Thanks, can I have bag back now?” Out of nowhere, the security guard from before appeared, handed me my bag, and stood there again, staring daggers through my palpitating heart. “Help me,” I mouthed again, but before he could answer, his brains hit the cashier as the loudest noise I’ve ever heard deafened me. He slinked to the ground and started pooling blood at my feet. “You didn’t see that,” she said. I nodded along with the cashier, you was already taking the next customer. Retail, am I right?

We walked outside. The bright sunlight hit me square in the face, and I tripped over my own two feet, spilling $9.00 acid washed jeans on the side walk. While on the ground, I got the idea that saved my life. Quickly, and without hesitation, I grabbed the jeans and whipped them up and into her face. They wrapped around her head, both legs going in different directions. Using all the energy I had left, I ran. I felt a few bullets whizz by me, but luckily I turned a corner and out sight. I kept running, getting lost in an out of crowds. But I didn’t stop. I kept running. And running. And running.

Happy Halloween!

Come Fly with Me

I did some flying last week. I kind of felt like a flight attendant, because I only went to where I was going for a day to make a couple hundred dollars. Going, I flew Delta Airlines, which had its share of delays, but who emailed me on Saturday night to apologize. Coming back, I flew Frontier Airlines, which is like Spirit Airlines if they ever decided to get their shit together, and it was still problematic. It's one of these pay for your flight, pay for your seat, pay for your carry-on type airlines, which is essentially "mile high" way robbery.

Was it nonstop to New York? Sure: each flight was nonstop from the departure to the layover to New York. I don't mind layovers; they're a good excuse to eat dinner, no matter what time of day it is. Have dinner anyway! But in this case, it was actually dinner time (complete coincidence), so I sat down sight unseen for a meal, which is to say that the server never saw me seated at the restaurant because they were so busy. I moved inside, off of the moving walkway, and got a seat. Better? Not really. But I at least I ate dinner, the correct layover meal, and boarded the second flight.

I've never been on a plane close to a person who's gotten sick before, but two rows up and across the aisle, a woman ralphed so hard that I named her the Karate Kid. This caused the row she was in, and the row behind her, to disperse, like cockroaches in the daytime, or snakes on plane, like in the movie Pulp Fiction. That row behind her moved behind me, taking up residency and kicking my seat until I finally had enough and got up, grabbed my things, and left the plane cause we arrived at the gate. The flight attendants were preoccupied with the innards of Ralph mucho, so my free water was nowhere in sight.

What're you gonna do, amiright? Nothing. Face the bumpy, rocky, final Frontier flight on a late Friday night into New York City. Was it worth it? Yeah, I had fun. Not on the flights, but I had fun. That ground stuff was cool. The air stuff not so much. Fly 'til you puke, that's my motto.

All's Faire in Love and 2018

As I rode back from my fourth day at a Renaissance Faire this year, I took great comfort in knowing what it feels like to be a nerd in high school. I never, in million years, intended to go to a Renaissance Faire even once this year, because except for the food, knick-knacks, games, comedy, dressing in costume, beer, and crazy old accents, it's really not for me. But, when the significant other that you love says that they are acting in one for two months over the summer, you say "How long?!?" and "Wait, I have to do this too?" Why?"

I've been to one before, but that was years ago on like a school trip. So excuse me if my memories from high school are a little fuzzy... what... am I on trial here? I remember it being fun and didn't I buy a top that you spin using rope? Or the mini chalkboard? One of those, definitely. Anyway, having been now, where I do remember it, it was even better. It really is a magical place.

Speaking of which, this leads me into my next point, segueing nicely from what was just said, I would like to do magic at a Faire. Hit me up for those medieval card tricks and cups and balls. I gotchu! I can make anything disappear, even an audience! (Oh brother, get this guy off stage...) I'm serious, though. You may ask how I would get out of my full time job and go do this? But just think about it? If I could get out of a full time job for 2 months, that would be the greatest escape act ever!!!

Here's what I'm trying to say: I appreciate Renaissance Faires a lot more now than I did when I was younger, which maybe is called growing up, but also is called my love of having fun. Cause that's what you do there. The turkey and beer makes a really good treat and the lovely performances and people dressed up make it fun. It's like Comic Con, but old timey British. Brit Con. Don't get that confused with Bit Coin, although both are full of stock characters (does that joke land??) Well, nothing left to say except "God Save the Queen!"

Philly's Special Friend

On Monday, my hometown of Philadelphia unveiled a new Flyers mascot that is so Gritty, they literally named it that. Looking like the love child of the muppet Animal and a South Street dumpster fire, Gritty has all the nuance of the Heat Miser's dead wife. Imagine if the Philly Phanatic starred in Little Nicky with Adam Sandler. Steve Buscemi looks more appealing than this thing.

When I think of the Flyers, I think of their original mascot; a hockey puck. Wasn't that the old mascot? Or like a drunk guy eating horse poop? One of those is right. You know what I don't think of? An even raunchier version of an Avenue Q character, where they like do meth instead of just fuck other puppets. Seems to me that Philadelphia fans have a lot to digest here, especially since the new Flyers mascot looks like someone ate and threw up a pizza on quilt your grandmom made you.

The name Gritty doesn't tell me enough. Everyone in Philadelphia is gritty. The whole goddamn city is gritty. But that's not something to name a mascot after. Cleveland's Indian mascot is called Slider. You don't see them naming it after their city, by which I mean naming it Mistake. Although most will tell you that naming the team the Indians was a mistake. I just don't know how to feel about the mascot from the name. I definitely feel dirty talking about it, but that could also be from talking about Philly.

Well, as I've made clear, the Flyers' mascot looks like if the Tasmanian Devil was really a devil, and drank all the beer at your cousin's sweet 16. That's just uncle Greg being Greg. Anyway, I can't wait to see what team's mascot they unveil next. I'm betting it'll be the Philly Union's Onion, cause we don't have a circular mascot yet and that has some layers to it, unlike Gritty, which looks like if Elmo grew up, let himself go, and now manages a glory hole near the stadiums.

Dilly! Dilly! Philly Special!

Vacation Charlie

Long time fans of the late Chris Gethard Show will tell you that Chris had a feud with Vacation Jason. I argue that there's a worse man to feud with. He's hell bent on fighting me to the death, but I won't give in. I won't let him get that satisfaction. Of course, I'm referring to an incredible foe named Vacation Charlie. Everyone hates Vacation Charlie.

Financial institutions love Vacation Charlie. He's got tons of credit cards in different area codes and that's good for the banks. Keep 'em guessing as to which fills up first. Like that carnival game where you shoot water and make the horses move forward. Cause this guy has no limit when he's on vacation. The limit used to be the sky, but now he's invested in SpaceX, so it's not. No cost is too costly, no card too full. Skydiving for $1000? Seems fun. Every excursion possible on a cruise? Take pictures. Food that costs more than your rent? Leave no leftovers. This guy's on vacation.

When Vacation Charlie gets back from vacation, and becomes regular Charlie again, that's the point when it's all fun and games until someone loses a buck. Oh the bills! For some reason, Vacation Charlie is just a different animal. He has no regard for tomorrow. I've tried to reason with him, but geez, I can't really find him. We are the same person and can only occupy our body one at a time. By the time I wake up from vacation, it's too late. He's gone, only leaving a pile of sand and receipts behind him.

I guess I'll say it. He's my alter ego. The Jekyll to my Hyde. The Thelma to my Louise. The Scooby Doo to my Shaggy. I'd like to throw him down a flight of stairs, but I'm afraid he'd say we can afford the medical bills. He's lying! Don't listen to him. Take away his cards. Just send him on vacation with like $50 and a couple books. He'll be fine.

Shhh! Shhh! I set up a trap and I'm trying to get him to fall for it. It's a box balanced on a stick with a Delta Airlines gift card underneath. I'm gonna pull the string and see if we can get him. He's right underneath it. Thwack! Got him! *lifts box*

What? He's gone. And so is the gift card! In it's place is a receipt for two mohitos and a hotel room. Godammit! Back to the old drawing board. I'll get you one day, Vacation Charlie. One day....

The World Without an "S"

One thing that continually bothers me to this day, something that, for me, feels like nails on a chalkboard, is the ability for some people to pluralize Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Nobles, they'll say. Incorrect, folk. It's actually just Barnes and Noble, no "s." This is due to the fact that it's a man's name. Barnes has an "s" on it, but his name is first. If it was called Noble and Barnes, then they'd be a law firm and arguably have more books.

I get it. Borders had an "s" on it and we live in a reboot culture or a culture of reboots, plural. So if you want to add that "s" somewhere, put it on your Borders tribute store, Edges. I'm waiting for the documentary, Borders 2: Edgier. Then we can finally figure out what happened there. I mean, you would think a book store would be good at managing the books. It makes sense, but alas, I digress.

If you are talking about multiple Barnes and Noble stores, then please carry on as is. I'm fine with that. As in "They were out of the Hunger Games at Barnes and Nobles all over this city." Fine. But, all I ask, is that you keep it singular when referring to only one. That's how the good lord intended it to be. Don't forget, He/She/They wrote the first book, the good book, the Bible. It's not called the The Bibles (well, maybe because of all of the different versions, it is, but you get my point). And if you can't follow this stuff, I will send you a strongly written letter, urging you try, and only threatening legal action from Noble and Barnes when/where necessary. We still cool?

Condumbrella

Here's a bit that I've tried on stage at open mics. I'll write it out, then I'll give you my thoughts and get personal, making it better, mayhaps:

"I always carry a condom in my wallet, because it's that kind of thing about how if you have your umbrella, it's not gonna rain, but if you don't have your umbrella, someone's gonna get wet."

See? It doesn't quite work. What might work better is if I say:

"I always carry a condom in my wallet, because it's that kind of thing about how, if you have your umbrella, it's not gonna rain. You're so prepared, that it doesn't happen. That means, I've successfully avoided sex for a long time. I could change that, but it's so difficult to remember to remove the condom from my wallet. Plus, if I do take it out and use it, we all know it's just gonna end up inside out and mangled in a New York City trashcan."

Marginally better, I think. Makes a joke somewhere at the end.

Speaking of segues, condoms still fascinate me. I say 'still,' but I'm technically very new to the process of using them... and I've been fucking since high school (*high five*)! But, in all seriousness, I am new at this. And the assumption that I keep working on is that all condoms are the same size (incorrect, I know). Like a one size fits all weenie beanie. I learned that they aren't (for lack of a better phrase) the hard way." (Ba dum tiss!!)

Now, as I've discussed with you before, I tend to be most comfortable wearing loose, baggy clothing. The same shouldn't seem to apply here. Condoms are better than clothes, in the sense that you are literally supposed to grow into them, but with this, it's different. Size doesn't matter (incorrect, I know), but a tighter fit is better. Too tight is the counterpoint and equally bad, especially since "doing it" on a counter in destructive. There's no way you clear the appliances and decorative flower bowls in an orderly manner. I just have never seen that happen.

I need to get it through my brain that there are little size markers (actual size markers?) somewhere on the erotic packaging of condoms. There have to be. Next time I'm in the vicinity of one, I'll look... wait?! There's one in my wallet!

*opens wallet*

What?!? It's not in there. It's gone. Shit! Well, someone's gonna get pregnant tonight. My bad!

P.S. Don't even get me started on the different outside designs and whatchamacallits. Ribbed, lubed, contemplating grad school. They've done everything to these little tugger huggers. It's overwhelming and literally all encompassing. Who needs 'em, am I right honey? *slap* Ouch!! Fine, we'll use them. I was kidding. Geez. More to cum in a few weeks 😉!

Don't Spill the Beans

I'm your typical New Yorker; poor and looking to cook at home. I would have my personal chef do it, but I don't have one. Anyway, I do have a Farmshare that I signed up for that delivers straight to my dead end job. So, I end up with really weird ingredients every Thursday and no clue what to do with them. That's kind of how I ended up with a brown paper bag full of black beans.

"It'll be easy," they said. "Just soak them in water overnight and then cook them," they said. Well, I did that, and let me tell you, these beans were like an old curmudgeoned man: they never softened. I tried everything, but no amount of dog videos or babies laughing seem to soften these beans. Let me explain the recipe. Maybe you can tell me what I did wrong, besides think that I could ever cook with black beans in the first place.

First, I chopped some chicken off of some drumsticks and wings that I had defrosted. That meat was on there tighter than super glue, so I ended up with very uneven pieces of chicken, but chicken nonetheless. Next, I cooked the chicken in a large pot, with garlic and olive oil and onions. It's called sautéing, with a little symbol over the 'e', because it's French, and the French are hella fancy and good at cooking.

Next, I threw in some chicken stock, some apple cider vinegar (which came highly recommended by the Farmshare folks), and those sweet, sweet beans I was talking about earlier. And BAM! (Emerill Lagassi was there too!) There it is! Now, I brought that puppy to a boil (not a real puppy), then a low simmer and sat back and let the hot water work its magic. Cooking is easy!

For a compliment to the beans, I said "You look nice!" and I also made rice in a rice cooker. A rice cooker is like a stove pot except it says Black and Decker on it. From there, I kept checking my simmering black beans, knowing the whole time that this was working. It actually worked!!

It didn't work. The black beans came out a little softer than they went in, which is weird, cause I soaked them overnight in a bowl of water. They were wet, no question. What they weren't were soft and flavorful. They felt and tasted like trying to chew through tiny, black potatoes. Mix that with the rice and the other veggies and the chicken simmering, and that's a heavy meal. It was so heavy, Michael J. Fox would look at it and say it was "too heavy stuff, doc!"

The meal tasted fine, mind you, it's just that the beans were underdone and underwhelming. I'd been pumping them up in my head so much so that they were already soft when I imagined them. But in reality, no, they were like a bad Viagra experience; still hard after all this time. I was a combination of mortified and hungry. I served my girlfriend the dinner (and I use this word loosely), she took a few bites, and asked "What else are we having?" My life was ruined. And all because I blew it on some beans that I had gotten, beans that I had no business cooking. When you have no business cooking something, that's called pulling a Guy Fieri. The worst part is that I made enough for about ten servings, so I've BEAN eating this all week.

I feel like I let most chefs down. So if you're reading this, and you're a chef, please take pity on me. Praise me for my courage; don't braise me because it increases flavor. Remember me how I was before, determined and hopeful, ready to take on whatever life threw at me. It just so happens that life threw beans at me, and I failed. It's no secret that I need a few more lessons in cooking. One day, I'll make black beans so well that even Chipotle will be like "How'd he do that?" That's the dream; to be better than Chipotle.

Dizzy Dizzy

 "Kids, have I ever told you about the time that I was dizzy for a week and a half? No? Good. I thought I may have, we've been sitting here for like 11 years or something, I think. I... What?... No, who gives a shit where your mother was. This is a better story. Anyway, I went to bed gently toking on some old, old Mary Jane that actually still worked, surprisingly, but not as well. Side note, you're much to young to mess with that stuff. Stay in school. When I awoke, I was dizzy. The walls were doing that inception thing where they fold in on themselves. It was the morning, and I didn't think that I was still lightly high from the night before. I did get really excited, briefly, because kids, I thought I was goddamn Leo DiCaprio. When I looked in the mirrors, I realized I wasn't and got scared because we only had one mirror. So why we're there 4 of me? Hold on, here's a commercial."

"Barney, Robin, Lily, and uncle whats-his-face were all at work, doing whatever it is they do, we never found out. Anyway, this dragged on for a day and I got worried because it was worse the next day, almost like I dropped a level in Inception canon. What I decided was that I needed to see a doctor, so I went to my PCP. She tested me neurologically, which meant we played patty cake for a couple of minutes, from which she reasoned that I was fine. How she got all of that from my hands touching hers is beyond me. Then, she looked me in my two eyes and I looked her in all 8 of hers and she said 'Haaavvveee... you had vertigo before?' I said 'No' and she said 'You probably have that. Let's get you sea sickness pills and an MRI.' Another commercial break, kids. It pays for that couch you're on."

"Where was I? These stories tend to drag on with no real point. Oh yeah, the MRI went fine. I'm ok and my brain is unremarkable, which I tried to argue wasn't true, but the doctors shut me down. It's funny, I got the MRI way after I stopped being dizzy. The dizziness lasted for a week and a half and then disappeared. That was a week and a half of feeling buzzed, which I'll tell you about when you're older. As quickly as it came, it went, like Barney and one of his nightly guests. No explanation given. It put the 'go' in Vertigo... Ok, sorry, I'll get on with it. We never actually found out what made me dizzy. Let's call it stress. Kind of like the stress you feel while you wait for me to tell you how I met, well, my wife. She was my wife before she was your mother. Did you know that, kids?"

Roll credits.