Musical Masks

Musical Masks

As we continue to navigate through the current state of things, I have noticed that a number of people in our world community are having trouble following simple instructions.

Don’t worry I’m here to help.

Everyone loves The Beatles, so I decided to rewrite the lyrics from the chart topping hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to aid us during this difficult time.

Can I, tell you something
You don’t seem to understand
When you’re out in public
Put on your fucking mask

Put on your fucking mask
Put on your fucking mask

So please, MAGA fucktard
Go wash your fucking hands
Oh please, it’s not that hard
Put on your fucking mask

Put on your fucking mask
Put on your fucking mask

And when you touch your face, I cringe inside
I can’t help feeling like we’re all
Gonna die
Gonna die
Gonna die

Yeah you, science denier
COVID is not a fad
Yeah you, flat-earther
Put on your fucking mask

Put on your fucking mask
Put on your fucking mask

And when you breathe germs from your insides
I can’t help feeling like we’re all
Gonna die
Gonna die
Gonna die

Now you caught that something
And coughed it in your hands
And you’re full of toxins
You should have worn your mask

Put on your fucking mask
Put on your fucking mask

Phrases on a Chalkboard

condescending phrases

This is a PSA: A sanctimonious demeanor does not make you superior, it makes you obnoxious. If this statement makes you uncomfortable, you are part of the problem.

We’ve all heard them, phrases that make our skin crawl. That make us cringe so hard we nearly give ourselves a stroke. That fill our minds with murderous thoughts. These phrases are utterly obnoxious, passive aggressive and as classless as the people that spew them.

These phrases are meant to distance the offender from the hateful nastiness they are directing at you.

They are cowardly acts of aggression.

More than the words themselves, they are about the tone and demeanor of the person vomiting them into our personal space. They are so intrusive I can  hear them being said as I type them. I can visualize the chief offenders of each phrase that I’ve personally met as I expand upon them.

Anyone that disagrees with the fact that words have power can eat shit.

I actually crowd sourced ideas for what should go on this list and I learned that I’m not alone in my cringing.

Just sayin’: This phrase is the worst of the bunch. It’s meant to distance the offender from the vile, repugnant venom they just spewed in your face. There shouldn’t be a three strike rule on this. After your first offense, you have your tongue cut out.

I was gonna say: The offender who utters this nonsense has a condescending comment or criticism all queued up, and is not gonna let something so trivial as the fact that it’s irrelevant and unwarranted cause it to go to waste.

I don’t mean to (judge, start a fight, offend, be nosy, be rude): Let’s be clear, you absolutely do mean to do those things. You just don’t want to own your shit. You want to own someone else’s shit. If you’re gonna be judgmental or offensive, own it like an adult. Otherwise, Fuck You. Also heard as: Not to be….but.

This is none of my business, but: If you know it’s none of your business, why are you saying anything in the first place? How about you answer that one first, and then we can get on with whatever self-important bullshit you want to say?

Just joking: You want the (false) sense of power that goes comes with insulting someone and laughing in their face, but you’re too much of a fucking pussy to own it. Probably because you couldn’t handle taking any in return. Also heard as: Only teasing.

To be honest: This one runs counter to its true meaning. The Shakespearean phrase “Doth protest too much” comes to mind anytime I hear this one. I assume your lying when you say this. I also assume you don’t care about the truth, just your truth. Also heard as: I’m not gonna lie.

But the Bible says: I loathe organized religion. Unless we’re having a theological discussion, the bible doesn’t belong anywhere near any conversation you and I are having. And if you bring a bible to a gun fight, you’re bringing the ensuing bloodshed on yourself.

Fair enough: In the interest of full disclosure I am guilty as sin of this one. I don’t think my intent is nasty, it’s been more like a tick, or a way to acknowledge a point. However, now that it has been pointed out I can see how it would be taken as something different. It’s always nice when my own snarky writing project can help me better myself.

You do realize: This is code for fuck you, I’m smarter than you, and I’m going to try to make you feel stupid and inferior right now. More often than not the person saying this either stated the obvious or missed the broader point. Also heard as: Actually…

Bless your heart: The quintessential southern phrase for “you’re a fucking moron.” Admittedly, most of the time I hear this one, it’s kinda deserved.

I’m not racist or anything, but: You are absolutely a fucking racist, and you want me to be in on your vile nastiness. To be complicit in your (white) inside joke. Fuck you. Own your bigotry and hate. Fuck, even the MAGA fucktards own their shit. Keep it  the fuck away from me.

I’m entitled to my opinion: Something tells me your overblown since of entitlement doesn’t end there. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. If you have to state you are allowed your opinion, what you really mean is that you are entitled to either your uneducated or hateful opinion.

Fine or whatever: This is the most passive aggressive dismissive fuck you of a phrase ever written. These people aren’t willing to show you the same level of basic courtesy that they show their own mirror. Often coupled with I’m entitled to my opinion.

I could have told you that: You’re powers of hindsight are duly noted. The fact you think this is a superpower would be comical if it wasn’t so obnoxious.

Just so you know: I am going to speak to you in the most condescending way with a false air of superiority. Without substance and while stating the obvious.

You’d know if i was pissed: Okay, take your shot or don’t you piece of shit. But don’t cry foul when I punch you just because you mistook this for a slap fight. Chest-thumping like this is nauseating on all levels.

Don’t take this the wrong way: So, align my view with yours, or I’m wrong. Fuck you, you self-centered piece of shit.

We’ll agree to disagree: My point is as dead as fried chicken but I don’t want to admit that.

Fight Club Call-In Code

The rules of Fight Club are so iconic that most of us can recite them more than 20 years after we first heard Tyler Durden’s famous speech. In this time of social distancing I wonder how these rules would be conveyed if they were done via Zoom.

INT. PAPER STREET HOUSE – NIGHT

Tyler sits at his dirty Apple IIe. Because it’s Tyler, of course we ask the audience to look past the fact it shouldn’t have internet, be Zoom compatible, and should only have access to Oregon Trail. The tiles of call participants saturate the screen. It looks like a testosterone fueled Brady Bunch intro where the tiles fucked like rabbits and forgot to use birth control.

They all stare in chatty anticipation, eyes looking anywhere except directly into the camera. Everyone brims with eagerness, waiting for their leader to start the meeting.

Jack (V.O.)

Every week , Tyler gave the rules that he and I decided

Tyler starts to speak, but although words are coming out, no sound is heard. He is oblivious to the fact his voice is not carrying through the internet to his followers.

Jack (V.O.)

And every week he forgets to take himself off mute first

The chatter from the other participants continues to rise until Tyler realizes his mistake, hits the button and clears his throat.

Tyler

Judging by the number of people with the code to this meeting, a lot of you have been ignoring the first two rules of Fight Club.

The first rule of Fight Club is: you don’t give out the meeting code to Fight Club. Seriously, this is a free account, don’t fuck this up.

The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT give out the meeting code to Fight Club. Jesus, how many of you fuckers are there? My scroll button is getting ridden harder than Marla.

The third rule: if someone freezes, hits mute, logs off, the fight is over. No one is waiting for someone to get past their own technical issues.

The fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Any more than that and it will break my speakers.

The fifth rule: no shoes, no pants. In fact, none of you should have put on pants for the past month.

The sixth rule: fights will go on for as long as the free zoom account allows. This isn’t a premium account maggots. You are not special. You are not a unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

The seventh rule is: rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, paper beats rock. There is no place for that Big Bang Theory bullshit in Fight Club.

The eighth rule is: if this is your first night at fight club, you have to fight

Food Blog Bloat

Quran-Cooking

At the start of the year I decided to make 2020 the year of exploration. I was moved by my friend Craig, who called 2019 his “year of the yes” and came out of it with a lot of wonderful experiences and stories. I wanted to make this a year of trying new things. Part of it was about exploring my city: locally owned restaurants I’ve never tried, museums and venues I hadn’t experienced in decades because they are “always there.”

You better fucking believe I won’t be taking those opportunities for granted once Mother Nature says we aren’t grounded anymore.

But exploration is about more than the external.

I love to cook, but it had turned into nearly all meal prepping. I got into a rhythm of cooking the same few things over and over again in big batches and eating off them all week. I decided to make it a focus to expand my horizons by trying two new recipes each week (one of them meatless) moving forward.

When COVID hit, I leaned even further into that mindset as I was quickly reminded that cooking was also a great way to help bolster creativity, pour my energy into something productive, all while combating the stir crazy. And it has been a wonderful, and fattening, experience.

I’ve learned that it’s easier than I thought to cook for myself multiple times a week without creating a fuckton of leftovers. I’ve learned how to maximize perishables and make sure nothing goes to waste when I try new things.

And I have learned to absolutely worship my dishwasher.

This all also means that I’ve spent more times on food blogs than I’m comfortable with. I mean seriously, what the actual fuck is wrong with these people, and why in the fuck do they think I care so much about their personal lives?

First, your websites all have so many goddamn widgets, links, buy my shit and donate buttons that it takes half a fucking century to load. By the time it’s done I’ve said fuck it, gone to Taco Bell and shame eaten my way through a 12 pack of tacos.

Second, I don’t need 87 pictures of the food taken from different angles to make sure you got it’s good side. You know how to plate your shit, I get it. Anything more than one photo of your food is a gratuitous cry for attention (says the guy who writes shit like this and pesters all of his friends to read it, sorry not sorry guys).

Third, I don’t give a shit about you or your family. I really don’t. I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t give a shit about how much your kids love it. Kids would love torn up pieces of cardboard drizzled with ketchup if Baby Yoda called them Chicky Nuggies. Your repugnant rugrats are not a selling point. I found you because I was looking for a mashed potato recipe that wouldn’t give me carpal tunnel, don’t read anything more into it.

Speaking of the recipe, I don’t need the story about how it was created.

“So my husband John and I were on vacation in St. Barts, splitting a bottle of Pinot Grigio on our balcony overlooking the ocean. We picked St. Barts because that’s where we had our honeymoon, 20 years ago. Can you believe it! Between the wine and view the mood was right and we were both feeling kind of randy. As he was squirming on top of me and my fingers were digging into his doughy flesh my mind wandered to how much I loved mashed potatoes, but hated the work, and that’s when I came up with this recipe.”

I came to find a recipe, not read an autobiography. I don’t need to hear about how feeling your husband’s flabby body on top of you while he was struggling to finish, and you had given up all hope, inspired you to create this dish.

Fourth, after navigating all of this, you still make the recipe impossible to find and follow. Even if I do magically find the ingredients list, there is a barrier of three more paragraphs of your dear diary bullshit and more pictures of food, which by the way are way too big for your page, before I can even get within striking distance of the instructions.

Speaking of the instructions, the purpose of them is to instruct the reader on how to prepare the dish in the most direct way possible. This is not the time to prove how smart you are, or how many big words you know. I don’t need to know why I need to pre-heat the oven to 350, or about the new oven model that you got from Sears at a good price (click here to purchase!),  I just need to know that’s the temp to set mine to. Instructions are about vital information, nothing more, nothing less.

Finally, reviews (which were all written by your friends) belong in the comments section of your blog, not in the body of your four part feature on the perfect mashed potato. Suzy with a Z raving about your dish isn’t going to sway me in the slightest. If I am on your site, it is because I am looking for a specific recipe that I want to try, and chances are I am going to modify it to suit my preferences (none of you use enough garlic).

In short, if you want someone coming back for your recipes just to see what you are up to, make the food the story, not your life.

God Damn It, now I really am craving mashed potatoes.

Spring Cleaning Boner

Spring Cleaning

Unless you are totally immune to the feeling of four walls stalking you with their invisible wall eyes (or maybe you’re into that sort of thing, I don’t judge), you’re like the rest of us and are battling degrees of stir craziness that are so ADD they change by the hour. You’re also trying to find things to do with your time and energy as we all fuck-off-at-home. Some of you may have even staggered your way into spring cleaning.

I love spring cleaning. I do it once a year regardless of whether or not Mother Nature has grounded me to my room for fucking up her planet. There’s something cathartic about purging things that you don’t use, getting reorganized, and that feeling of total cleanliness that goes along with it. It’s almost enough to make a tainted soul feel pure. I do the apartment, my physical files, my calendar, my laptop, all if it over the course of a few days. It really is a project I both lose and find myself in at least once a year.

It is also a fucking gigantic pain in the ass. In fact, it has its own stages of grief.

Stage One: Arousal. Yippee-Ki-Yay Motherfucker! This is gonna be so cathartic that I’m gonna have a soul cleansing, spiritual orgasm. Holy shit! I have a spring cleaning boner! Rage on! I’m gonna clean everything right in its sweet spot.

Stage Two: Uncertainty. Um, so this is taking a little longer than I thought. The sweet spot has become elusive. I’m an awkward teenager all over again. Why did I decide on this over sleep and snacks? Can I just throw everything back on the shelves and curl up with the remote? No one will ever know, so they can’t judge. Which pile is the remote buried under? I’m just running a disk defrag on the computer, why does it sound like it’s dying?

Stage Three: Confusion. Jesus Fucking Christ, when did I get all this shit? Did I buy all this shit? Was I drunk? Is that a fucking shake weight? How long has this been in the fridge? Since before I moved in? When in my wildest dreams did I think I was going to use that, eat that, finish that? Where in the fuck did these files come from? Are these viruses from porn? Should I be worried?

Stage Four: Conflict. I should donate or throw this shit out, I’m never going to use it. Well, wait. I might. I mean I bought it for a reason, right? The virus scan came back mostly negative, so I need those files for something, I’m sure. No, I want to de-clutter, I need to get rid of it. Burn it all and play the fiddle like Nero! Oh fuck, why did I get rid of that? I want it back!

Stage Five: Disgust. Where in the fuck did all this dust come from? Has it been lurking here the whole time? Do the dust bunnies fuck like rabbits and hide in shame? Did the shower grout whore itself out on Tinder and catch mildew? Have I been bathing in this? Oh fuck, turns out those files are viruses. I feel so unclean.

Stage Six: Despair. I have lost all track of time and space. What day is it? Are we still under quarantine? Do my friends miss me? Do my friends judge me? I am Jack’s never ending shame.

Stage Seven: Domination. It’s done! I finished! I came 😉, I saw, I fucking conquered! I’m so fucking clean I make Danny Tanner look like fucking Pig-Pen. I will never, ever let this happen again.

Lies. All  fucking lies. I found the remote. I’m gonna go eat snacks in bed.

Laundry Room Retaliation

Laundry Room

With all of us being under a “shelter-at-home” order of some type at the moment, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about an important issue: laundry room etiquette. After all, clean clothes and linens are a core component of good hygiene, which is of the utmost importance right now. Those of you who own your home or rent an apartment with an in-unit setup, you don’t know how real the struggle can get. For those of you who have to use a laundry mat, your struggles are different and I feel you. I’ve been there.

For the rest of us: What the fuck is wrong with some people? I mean fucking seriously. Adults that expect other people to pick up their dirty duds need to move back into their parent’s basement and stay away from civilized society.

Let’s begin with the function of a washing machine. A washing machine is designed to, wait for it, wash your nasty ass clothes. You put in the detergent and softener, select your cycle, and it cleans your shit (in the case of skid marks this is literal). It’s magical like a fucking unicorn. Do you know what the function of a washing machine is not? It is not a storage unit for your damp, musty clothes. You see that display on top of the washer that has numbers that count down? That is called a timer. The function, as the name implies, is to tell you when your clothes will be done with phase one of doing laundry and are ready for phase two, which we will get to momentarily.

The timer is here to help you. The timer is your friend. Set the alarm on your phone, or look at a fucking clock so that you know when to go back downstairs and move your shit. This is not hard, and if you don’t know how to read a timer or a clock, you have no business adulting on any level. And the fun privileges of being adult (booze, sex, not living with your parents) are hereby revoked.

Moving forward, my action plan is gonna be to piss all over your clothes if you leave them in the washer. Since they are damp you won’t know. And to be clear I eat a lot of asparagus and broccoli. And I use a fuck ton of garlic in my cooking.

And I’m gonna chug an extra hoppy IPA just to get the flow going.

This also means that when you do magically find the dryer, you’ll just be baking that shit into your clothes and sheets. In some cultures this makes me your Alpha.

While we are on the subject of the washer, what the fuck is it with y’all and over stuffing it? Do you really think this is saving you money? If so, you are a fucking moron. Almost as bad as the people who can’t tell time. One of two things will happen, neither of them good for you. The spin cycle (the thing that makes your clothes less wet before they go into the dryer) will be stagnant and ineffective. This will make your clothes wet instead of damp which means they will take more time (ergo money) to dry. This is the better of the two scenarios.

The second possibility is that you break the fucking washer, meaning not only did your clothes not get clean, but you ruined it for the rest of us. And trust me, if you break a washer in a multi-unit complex we will find you and deal with you accordingly. And seriously, you would rather deal with a few angry residents than the maintenance man if he finds out you broke his shit with your stupidity.

Now that fear, intimidation and shaming have taught you how to use a washer, let’s move on to part two of the tutorial.

As with the washer, let us start with the function of a dryer. The function of the dryer is to dry your damp (not wet unless you overstuffed the fucking washer) clothes. As with the washer, it is not a storage unit for your now urine tainted (you’re welcome) clothes. The goal here is to transport the clothes from the washer to the dryer in a timely fashion, toss in some dryer sheets unless you’re a heathen, select your cycle and push start.

The dryer is also equipped with a timer, which will once again tell you when your shit will be done. If by now you don’t know how the timer works, you need whatever the hooked on phonics equivalent of reading and understanding numbers is. And for the love of god don’t procreate.

If you leave your clothes in the dryer after they are done, I am not moving them for you. That would be rude. What I am gonna do is dutch oven the fuck out of them. Remember when I said I ate a lot of asparagus and broccoli? I forgot to mention Brussels sprouts. Can’t get enough of ’em. Oh and they are in the cabbage family in case you didn’t know.

In case you think I won’t do it, I should tell you that both I and others say that I am a man-child and have a Peter Pan Complex (that means that at times I can be puerile, that means childlike). I have no fucking problem farting on your clothes. I will, however, be Febrezing the fuck out of the dryer before I use it. Because I am an adult, and I practice good hygiene habits.

Now that your clothes have, for all intents and purposes, been turned into a used diaper, I will sit in the laundry room and wait patiently while reading my kindle. Don’t worry, I won’t stare shame you when you finally come get your shit. I will casually watch with curiosity to see if you notice that anything is off. Your response doesn’t matter, either one will please me. More than anything I will be curious to see if you recognize me as Alpha.

But you better believe I’m gonna snap if you don’t clear the lint trap.

Fuck Buck

Fuck Buck

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or really don’t give any level of fuck about sportsball, you are aware that the Kansas City Chiefs are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday. This is our first Super Bowl appearance in fifty years.  As a proud and life-long Kansas Citian I could not be more excited. And at the age of forty, I have been waiting for this game since ten years before I was born.

There is only one thing that has the potential to negatively impact this important moment for my team and my city. That thing is Buck-Toothed Joe Buck and his merry band of fucktard idiots. Anytime I hear them commentate, I roll my eyes. Buck proved his unapologetic bias against Kansas City in 2014 and in 2015 when the Kansas City Royals made the World Series in back to back years. And the rest of his broadcast team is equally bias and inept.

Seriously, he couldn’t have swung on the nuts of the opposing teams any harder if he was Tarzan.

As such, with the authority I am giving myself, I am issuing a proclamation that Buck & Co be replaced as Super Bowl commentators, and that a team with more integrity and cognitive ability be put in place.

WHEREAS, it has been fifty actual years since the Kansas City Chiefs have made the Super Bowl and as long-suffering fans, we really fucking deserve this, and

WHEREAS, the only thing that Chiefs fans have suffered longer than a Super Bowl drought is repugnant coastal bias, and

WHEREAS, St. Louis idiots mistake the Mississippi River for the Atlantic Ocean and as such ignorantly believe themselves to be an east coast city and present with all the misguided, pretentious elitism that goes along with it, and

WHEREAS, St. Louis, was of course, where people abandoned hope and died of dysentery trying to make it to Kansas City which deepens their resentment, and

WHEREAS, Joe Buck is a St. Louis bred fucktard who swings back and forth between the nuts of Cardinal nation and Madison Bumgarner and anyone he feels can beat Kansas City, in anything, and

WHEREAS, Troy Aikman’s concussion addled brain has left him unable to speak in complete sentences and his abilities are further diminished by his jealousy of our vastly superior quarterback and captain Patrick Mahomes, and

WHEREAS, it is a bullshit myth that the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team, but Kansas City is in fact the Heart of America, and

WHEREAS, a certain not-aging-that-great-blonde on their broadcast team cannot accurately find Kansas City on a fucking map, and

WHEREAS, the fans of the Kansas City Chiefs deserve fair, unbiased and meaningful commentary of our first Super Bowl appearance in fifty years, and

WHEREAS, Buck, Aikman and Co lack the collective cognitive ability to tie their shoes, let alone commentate the most important game of the year,

THEREFORE, be it resolved that I, Brendan Rhyne, life-long Kansas Citian, hereby proclaim that Buck & Co are not allowed to announce or commentate at Super Bowl LIV, and furthermore are  to be replaced with a dream team of Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Jim Nance and Kevin Nolan.

The Insomniac’s Guide to the Galaxy

Insomnia Fight Club

To know me is to know that I’m an insomniac. I don’t want to hear from the sleep preachers. I’m not interested in learning more about the benefits of valerian root or whatever new age shit everyone else has tried. Some of us just don’t sleep well consistently. I’m here to share my experience and how I’ve learned to not let that stop me from getting a good night’s rest if I can’t get a good night’s sleep.

Follow me, I’ll show you the way.

First, let me make something clear. I’m not a scientist or a researcher. I’m a writer and this article is based on my own experience. If you’re looking for something more clinical or data driven, you have strayed way off the reservation. But you should stick around anyway.

Let’s start with the shit you should be doing before bed. This isn’t about telling you to tinkle and brush your teeth. I’m not your mother.

Do not try to force yourself to go to bed at the same time every night. One, life won’t let you. Two, if you go to bed when you aren’t tired, you’ll spend time “trying” to fall asleep. That shit never works. More often than not, it will lead to a restless night and you’ll be worse off for it.

This doesn’t mean your range should be all over the place. For example, I’m normally in sleep or rest mode somewhere between 9:30 – 11 PM. The TV’s off, I’m done reading and laying my head down for a long winter’s nap. But I never try to force it.

If you don’t have blackout curtains, get them. They’re not expensive and totally worth it. These things were serious game changers for me. My windows face east, over my building’s parking lot, and with another streetlight making its presence known. I didn’t realize how much ambient light was sneaking through my blinds until I blocked it out. A huge thanks to my good friend Bryce for the suggestion. I only regret waiting so long.

After you install them, if you rise naturally at the same time each morning, do yourself a favor and make sure you have your alarm set for the next week or so to help wake you up. I had been naturally waking up between 5:45 – 6 AM for a pretty decent interval and the installation of those curtains scrambled that. A couple weeks with the alarm will help your system reset.

Next, make sure you set the temperature where you would sleep best. A lot of people I know keep the thermostat set at the same temp, day and night, day in, day out. Fuck that. My thermostat gets a fucking workout. Whether I’m writing on the couch, cooking and cleaning, or trying to sleep, each of these requires a different temperature.

I prefer it cold, like ice cold. Like running the A/C at night in the winter because I sleep at 58 degrees cold. Mr. Wizard says that’s good. Then again, a friend of mine keeps his at 80 at and sleeps like a baby. So, you do you. Just don’t think that what works during the day automatically works at night.

Also, make sure you have a bottle of water and either a Bluetooth speaker or headphones with you when you go to bed.

Congratulations, the first stage of your prep work is complete. Now it’s time to head to the bedroom and queue the Barry White while we have a conversation about sleepwear.

If you haven’t already, figure out what you sleep most comfortable in. Do you like the freedom of sleeping naked? Great. Want an old timey matching pajama top and bottom? Rock that 60s sitcom shit. Personally, I sleep in just a pair of pajama bottoms. I have no idea why.  Maybe being bare chested makes me feel manly. Maybe the hair on my chest serves as my t-shirt.

Next stop, sexy time. That’s right guys, gals and non-binary pals, your next task is to rub one out. I’m not fucking around. Fire up some Pornhub, relive an intimate dalliance that rocked your world or fantasize about Jennifer Connelly in Career Opportunities (or any movie really). But it’s time for you to truly do you. And the health benefits for both men and women when it comes to the manual override (yes that’s a euphemism I just looked up, thanks internet) are well documented so you’ll be ending the day on a healthy note.

While I have you in your happy place, have you every thought about your favorite position?  If you haven’t, do that. I may not be the best sleeper, but I don’t toss and turn at night. Thrashing takes energy, increases blood flow and creates a lot of frustration. All these run counter to both resting and sleeping. The position itself doesn’t matter, as long as you’re comfortable. Plus, by not thrashing around, when I do sleep, I sleep hard. I sleep deep. I milk that REM for all it’s worth.

Personally, I sleep on my back. Yes, it leads to snoring, a subject of much tension between me and the lady loves I’ve had in my life. I keep two pillows under my head and another under each arm. Yes, I turn myself into a fucking pillow fort. I am a man-child. I am not ashamed. Also a sore subject between me and the aforementioned lady loves.

Okay, now that we’re situated and sexually satiated it’s time for the last task before sleepy time. It’s time to bring in the noise. I don’t understand people that can sleep in silence. In fact, those people creep me the fuck out. The stagnation of dead air gives my demons way too much breathing room. I need noise. For some people nature sounds or new age music fills that void. Shit like that just makes me fidgety. Nope, as a man-child I want someone to read me a god damn story.

I prefer biographies, books or podcasts about historical events, true crime or mythology. What I’m looking for is something interesting enough to engage my brain, but not so interesting it distracts me from Mistress Sleep should she bless me with her presence. Once you find a few and know what you’re looking for, free apps like Overdrive and Stitcher provide endless possibilities.

I steer clear of fiction. I’ll force myself to stay awake if I get too engaged in character and story. I run into the same problem with TV or a book if I’m not careful. I’ll “just one more chapter or episode” my way into consuming until dawn if I get too immersed.

Non-fiction also has the benefit of providing steady, even toned narration. You don’t want a lot of violent and energetic highs and lows. You want just a few ticks above monotone. You want a Ben Stein with an actual pulse reading you a story. Because you’ll find a sweet spot on volume where you don’t have to strain to hear it but is soft enough to let you doze off should the spirit move you. Again, easy to find, and you only have to find it once.

All that’s left to do is set the sleep timer and a digital bookmark. Most people set theirs for an hour. I do 90 minutes.

Time for phones down and eyes closed.  Even if sleep doesn’t come, you have all tools in place to lie tranquilly in the dark, which will give you more rest than lying awake. Don’t even fucking think about touching that phone. Seriously, playing mindless games and scrolling through an endless newsfeed of cat memes, false game advertisements and political clickbait isn’t doing you any favors. I should know, I keep breaking my own rule.

There are only two cases where you should be picking up that phone all. One is if you’re still awake when your sleep timer goes off and you need to restart what you were listening to. The other is on nights when Mistress Sleep is too busy in the service of others to bless you with her presence, you should fill that void by rubbing another one out. In which case, Pornhub is your friend. Find one of your favorite clips (don’t lie, you have them) and take yourself back to bang town. Make it a sprint not a marathon. You’re trying to sleep, not prove your stamina to Sasha Grey.

Now turn your book back on and find yourself some sweet dreams.

Brendan Against Humanity

Brendan Against Humanity

About a year ago, the creators of the iconic game Cards Against Humanity put out a national call for writers to submit an application and work with them on further developing the cards for the game. The response was massive, and after a year of no response (they said in an auto-reply to the submission, “don’t call us, we’ll call you), I am fairly certain I was not selected. However I haven’t had so much fun “applying” for something in all of my 40 years on this earth. The application consisted of writing five original black cards and ten original white cards. Below is a basic rundown of the rules of the game for those not familiar (copied and pasted from WikiHow), followed by my submission. Hope the more deviant of you enjoy it.

“A famous party icebreaker, Cards Against Humanity is an adults-only game for players mature enough to handle the intentionally provocative (but often hilarious) topics and answers. The goal is to pair the answer and question cards in the funniest, most provocative, or cleverest way you can.

Draw ten white cards each. You can only look at your own hand of cards. Play the first black card. Have each other player choose a white answer card. Shuffle and read aloud the answer cards. Choose the best answer. Start the next round. Play until you’re sick of it.”

Black Cards

I believe there are ___________ among us, sent down to teach us ___________.

The next teenage dare fad will be _______________.

The best Saturday morning cartoons always contained ______________.

Hollywood’s next rival needs ____________.

Trump and Ivanka’s secret incest baby is named after  ___________.

White Cards

That moment you fart and are thankful it’s contained under the blanket because you know it’s ripe as fuck.

Doing anal in someone’s safe space.

Chanting in Latin during your morning poop to summon a toilet demon.

Taylor Swift getting rawdogged by Satan’s vibrator.

Avoiding oops babies by getting head from a zombie.

The creepy dude at the bar that nobody recognizes.

Grammar Nazis gone wild.

Professional athletes getting wailed on at the Special Olympics.

Anonymously sending 100 pizzas to fat camp.

Setting up a Bloody Mary bar at a church service and calling it the Blood of Christ.

Miley Cyrus going to bang town on a watermelon.

The warm wet feeling of being in a portable shitter as it tips over.

Leaving a Muppet themed porno on at daycare.

Michael Bay getting arrested for arson. Finally.

Joel Olsteen giving a sermon while using a Shake Weight.

Gobbles of Gratitude

Gratitude List

Gratitude is such an important part of a fulfilling life. I decided to do a “Gratitude Challenge” over on Facebook where I posted one thing per day that I was grateful for. The list includes things that are seemingly trivial and also broad sweeping. The entire list is below. I hope you all enjoy.

Gratitude Day One: My Apartment. I moved in about a year ago and love the way the space came together. It’s in my favorite neighborhood (Hyde Park) and for the most part I won the neighbor lottery.

Gratitude Day Two: My Neighborhood. I’ve been a Hyde Parker for six years and I’m in love this neighborhood. Centrally located with a rich sense of history and community, it’s eclectic and alive in all the right ways.

Gratitude Day Three: The KC Performing Arts Scene. Between the Rep, Unicorn, Lyric, Arts Asylum and countless other community theaters too numerous to name, I feel truly fortunate to be able to take in so many wonderful live performances on a regular basis. And on this one in particular, a huge shout out to my dear friend Greg Morey for being my guide through all of it.

Gratitude Day Four: My Neti Pot. I’m not kidding, especially since I’ve been battling a small head cold this weekend. The device truly is magical when it comes to clearing the sinuses. And it only feels a little like drowning.

Gratitude Day Five: My Streaming Services. Anyone that knows me knows I love television, perhaps to the point of obsession. We are living in the platinum age of television. And with so many streaming options there is no danger of ever running out of content. Truly a good first world problem to have.

Gratitude Day Six: Gorgeous Fall Days. I know some of the weather changes have been *ahem* violent, but we really have had some great 50-60 degree days where it’s perfect to spend time outside and take in the crisp air and gorgeous colors.

Gratitude Day Seven: My Cell Phone. Don’t judge. I’m just saying what we are all thinking. My phone was stolen recently, but fortunately I had insurance, and was only without for a day or two. It’s scary how much we rely on these things. I don’t deny that as a society we spend way too much time on them, but they are vital in the current climate and I love the connectivity and convenience they offer.

Gratitude Day Eight: Face Time with Friends. As great as parts of the digital age are, nothing replaces time spent with friends in person. It doesn’t matter if it’s watching a game, taking in a show, or just grabbing a drink and catching up. It almost always ends up being cathartic.

Gratitude Day Nine: My Laptop. This device is my gateway to writing, editing, posting, recording and staying organized. Although I could live without it (in theory), I couldn’t pursue my dreams without it.

Gratitude Day Ten: Our Library System. I read and listen to a lot of books, which would be impossible if had to pay for them all. The library system, and its digital app Overdrive, give me an opportunity to borrow books for free to fuel this hobby. Our library systems are a tremendous community resource that we should all be utilizing.

Gratitude Day Eleven: My Kindle. I will always love actual books, but my kindle can deliver me any book I want at any time, and I am not the world’s most patient man. It is a wonderful device for consuming books, comics and saved articles.

Gratitude Day Twelve: Chore and Errand Days. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but hear me out. There is something rewarding about knocking all the adulting shit off a to-do list in a day. It also gives me a chance to be productive AND jam out to a book, podcast or TV. And I honestly don’t mind cooking and laundry (I’m a domesticated man ladies).

Gratitude Day Thirteen: The Podcasting Community. As a sometimes writer/producer (I promise I am getting back to it) and a carnivorous consumer, this is an endless medium that can do storytelling (fiction, non-fiction and everything in-between) like no other medium.

Gratitude Day Fourteen: My City. I love being a Kansas City Native. I love our rich history, our beauty and all the kind and engaging attitudes that us Midwesterners tend to possess. The city is so eclectic and energized that there are always new and wonderful things to experience.

Gratitude Day Fifteen: Sunday Morning Coffee. Sundays are MY day. I rarely, if ever, go into them with any plans. I get everything I need done (mostly) during the rest of the week, making Sunday Mornings, with no to-dos or social obligations, one of my most tranquil weekly rituals.

Gratitude Day Sixteen: Pajamas. Laugh all you want. Pajamas were sent here by the Gods of Comfort. I almost always change into them immediately when I get home. That being said, don’t ever wear them out in public. That shit is just creepy.

Gratitude Day Seventeen: Blackout Curtains. I have east facing windows that overlook my building’s parking lot (and the security lights that go with it). These curtains are a godsend both on mornings I don’t wake up with the sun and nights when it blocks out the parking lot lights. I only regret waiting so long to get them.

Gratitude Day Eighteen: Good Food. Either when I cook it (I love to cook, I’m decent), friends cook it (a lot of my friends have serious culinary skills), or at one of the many great restaurants Kansas City has to offer. Life is meant to be experienced vibrantly and with all five senses. And taste is one of those.

Gratitude Day Nineteen: The Trail Running Community. Kansas City has some wonderful trails and a fantastic trail running community to go with it. The camaraderie in the community is always encouraging and is responsible for several great friendships I have forged over the years. And there is still nothing like a trail race day atmosphere.

Gratitude Day Twenty: Social Media. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of trolls and nastiness to go around. But that is why the gods of the internet created the scroll button. Just like any tool, when social media is used right it can be a great way to stay connected with people you don’t talk to frequently and connect with people that share your passions and interests.

Gratitude Day Twenty-One: Rekindled and New Friendships. I’m fortunate in friends always, and I’ll be getting to that, but I have also been fortunate to be able to rekindle old friendships and forge new ones in recent years. My inner circle is tight, my friend circle is bountiful, and there is always room for more.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Two: My Car. Kansas City covers a lot of ground. And although our mass transit system has come a long way, it is far from perfect. Oh yeah, and I do some driving for Uber. I’d be lost without my personal little engine that could.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Three: My Five Senses. Life is meant to be engaged by all five senses. From the smell of someone grilling in the neighborhood, to the sound of a beautiful piece of music, to the taste of a medium rare steak, to the sight of poetry in motion, to the soft touch of…oh Jesus get your mind out of the gutter. Life is meant to be experienced on all levels. My senses allow me to do that.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Four: Being a part of the Royals/Chiefs/Mizzou Kingdoms. And I am saying this at a time when my teams are all struggling. There is a camaraderie that comes with fandom that comes from pride in your team, even if it only manifests as loyalty during the down times.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Five: Words. Yep, simply words. I love the written and spoken word. I love writing words. I love reading or hearing a good phrase. I love it all. Dear God, I sound like an English Major…Oh wait.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Six: Once in a Lifetime Experiences. The examples that come immediately to mind are being at the stadium for Saberhagen’s no-hitter in 1991, the Royals Wild Card Game in 2014, being at the AFC Championship Game in 1993 and being on stage with Chuck Palahniuk (my favorite author) in 2015.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Seven: The Rich and Complex History and Present of Our Nation. I’ll be the first to admit that our current state could be described in some ways as a shitshow. However, we are a nation that stole democracy from a hierarchy, had a heavy hand in saving the world from fascism in WWII and put a man on the moon. Despite our struggles, every day I find reasons to believe there is still greatness within us.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Eight: My Friends. I saved this for Thanksgiving because it’s the one that matters most. My friends mean everything to me, which is why they are represented so often on this gratitude list. I am truly fortunate to have so many great people, from all walks of life, as part of my tribe. I am a better man for knowing each of you. Here is to you all. Gobble Gobble MFers.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Nine: My best friend Katie Beisner. It’s also her birthday today, so you should give some props if you want. This woman has been my ride or die for seventeen years. I love my inner circle, and all my friends. But Katie and I have fought wars together, and I can’t imagine navigating this thing called life without her in my corner. Happy Birthday bestie!

Gratitude Day Thirty: What’s Next. There is so much more we don’t know about our lives as they continuously unfold. And I look forward to the next steps of the journey.