mixtapes

Why you should have your heart broken into a million little pieces.

You will meet a girl named Simone when you are on a family vacation at the age of 11. She will have blonde hair, she will be from LA and she’ll tell you that she stars in Teddy Graham commercials back home. This will sound amazing, because you love Teddy Graham’s, and for the first time ever you’ll be convinced that you can fall in love just like the people in the movies. You will wonder if she thinks about you the same way you think about her, and this will make you wonder why you’re thinking that at all. You’ll know, though, that this is love and that you are feeling something no one in the history of time has ever felt. That these feelings are entirely unique to you and only you. She will always smell like shampoo and in your mind you’ll probably move to LA when the week is over. You will go home after the vacation and write her letters from time to time that she will not return, and you will cry because Simone and her delicious snack food commercials will never be a part of your life again, and love is hard. You will never speak to Simone again, which will hurt for an unreasonable amount of time. You will meet Chelsea in middle school. Her last name will be exotic and you will steal her from a guy who will become a best friend that you will have for the rest of your life. You will date for around a year and talk a total of five to six times, maybe. She will be your first kiss, and you will never know if you ever actually kissed or if you just flailed into each other and ended on a polite headbutt. You will pace your room wondering what you’ll say to her when she picks up when you call, the nerves leading you to hang up over six times before asking something mundane about her favorite band. You will write her a longwinded letter about your love for her, complete with doodles. She will take said letter from you, say thank you, and promptly dump you. You will wonder if there is a God and will curse women with hispanic last names for years for no apparent reason.

You will meet Mandy a year later. She will be your first french kiss. It will happen on rollerblades, rollerblades that you will race home on as though you were the triumphant misunderstood kid who beat the odds in a John Hughes film. You will wonder if it affected her the way it did you, if she was calling her friends and telling them that she had discovered magic in a curly haired young man. She will tell everyone that you kiss like a goat, and you will question what a goat even kisses like or how she knew. No matter, it will crush you and your teenage tongue. She will dump you and date the guy you stole Chelsea from. The two of you will laugh about this for years to come, the most important times being when you live together and when you then stand next to him as he gets married to the love of his life.

You will meet Sarah in high school. Her friends won’t really like you, your friends won’t really like her, and everything will feel impossibly hard even though you know that the two of you are meant to be. You are not meant to be, even in the slightest. You will break up and get back together at least 17 times until the day that your 4'11"Jewish grandmother will yell at her from the stairwell wearing a nightgown at 3 pm inexplicably, telling her to leave the goddamn house. It will be a lovely moment you and your grandmother share, if only because you realize that people will stand up for you in the most trivial of moments. You hate losing Sarah because everything is terrible and no one could possibly understand what it feels like to love and lose someone in high school but you love what you found in the process.

You will meet your college sweetheart during the first week you’ve ever lived away from your home. She will smile, dance, and hold your hand differently than the others before her because you are 18 now and you are a man and you know what love is (or at least what you want it to be). You’ll ask for her number the day after you meet and she won’t remember who you were, which you will think is the perfect story to tell people when you’re old and married. You will create endless amounts of inside jokes that no one will get at parties when you purposely recreate them in front of others. The world before her will feel indistinguishable, juvenile and unimportant. As time goes on, you will begin to feel like she is an ice cube that has been melting in your hand for five years straight, and for the first time you will understand that love is horrifically fragile and something that you can lose, like your keys, which will terrify you. She will break up with you twice due to your lack of ambition in life and you will cry until she takes you back. In a panic, you will go to live with your brother and cousin in a Nevada desert to find yourself and she will call you to tell you that she’s met a male model and never wants to hear from you again. You will cry harder than you’ve ever cried and feel a hopelessness you didn’t know existed and wonder why he couldn’t just be in sales or something. This will alter everything that happens to you ever again.

You will move to San Francisco and move in with four strangers in an attempt to pretend you are okay and open to frightening amounts of change. You will drink too much every night in a room you’ve locked yourself away in because you don’t recognize yourself or who you’re becoming, and you will sleep with people whose names you don’t remember because it’s all a blur and no one feels worthy of inside jokes anymore. You will aimlessly wander San Francisco and feel like a shell of anything you were because the girls who dance with you now remember you the next day and that’s not how it’s supposed to go.

You will cry at a wedding because Heather doesn’t like you anymore and you will feel horrified that you are a shit show that isn’t just on display, rather one that is playing at the movies fourteen times a day. After the tears dry up you will drink so much that you will fall asleep on a street corner that night in the town you grew up in and a taxi cab driver will call the police and tell them that you are dead. You will then politely ask the police for a ride home at the age of 26 and tell your mother that you’re doing perfectly fine. You are not doing perfectly fine.

You will be so embarrassed that you will write about it without leaving out a single detail, because humor is what you’ve got left and humility seems like the only way out of this mess. People will read it. An alarming amount of people will read it, and the heartbreak will begin to feel like hope. The disaster will begin to feel like the middle of the movie. You’ll begin to feel like maybe, just maybe, the girl who began to date the male model because you had no ambition was right: maybe you should be a bit more ambitious. Maybe you should write like she said you ought to.

For years, you will meet countless girls and make countless mistakes.You won’t necessarily write about them, but you’ll begin to write about you, and they might almost seem like the gasoline that reminds you that you should be a fire, even if it’s in a dumpster from time to time. You will hurt them, they will hurt you, but more importantly, you’ll both probably find ways to wake the other up. They will all be good people, you will regret so much of how it all went down, but you’ll be thankful that at least one of them caused you to put a wet towel on a duraflame log that caused a building fire that you wrote about. Because you wrote. And they had a baby with a guy who presumably made countless mistakes with someone else. And you’ll realize more and more that that’s how it works, just like everyone’s mother said: You get hurt. You hurt people. You put wet towels on Duraflames and eventually you get back up and just open the flue next time.

Then, you will meet her.

She will have a look in her eye like she’s put some towels on some Duraflames before. Like she has fallen in love in ways that you can’t understand and that if you’re willing to listen, she’ll never discuss them with you. You will sit down and have a beer that will turn into five, and you’ll go home that night and think out loud that maybe, just maybe, every last piece of heartbreak was worth it.

Years later you will ask her to marry you and cry before she does, which for the first time won’t be the embarrassing kind. She’ll say yes.

And everything, all of a sudden, will feel like it was very much worth it.

--

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 72: Songs to have your heart broken into a million little pieces to.

rocket shoes mixtape

STREAM IT at the links below:

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE MP3′s at the links below:

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

 

Why you should write.

When I was a kid, my grandfather (a charming old Jew of a man) would give handwritten notes to just about everyone he came in contact with. This isn’t hyperbole: we’d go to hotels and the man would write notes in calligraphy for the people at the front desk just to make them smile. He’d leave longwinded notes for the waitress he’d met less than an hour ago. People would always come up to me and tell me how lucky I was to be Bob Sackman’s grandson, like they were a long lost aunt or uncle that I’d never met. The older I get, the more incredible and endearing that seems. My grandfather spent his whole life writing things down to make people feel good.

I think about that often. He passed away, but people everywhere around the globe still have his handwriting on paper, a tiny little piece of him that was meant just for them. The effect he had on them was always monumental. Hell, the effect he had on me was always monumental.

He made me want to write. And he taught me the only reason I needed to write was because, “because.”

Then, one day, I began to write for a living and experienced a conflicting moment when I had trouble finding my “because”.

It’s always so petty, that moment.

“I don’t have any good ideas.”

“I don’t have anything interesting to say.”

“I will misspell a word and people will judge me for not being the best at never making a mistake in my writing, all of the time, always.”

“I will incorrectly use effect/affect as I may have done above. Shit, did I incorrectly use effect/affect?”

“People will just rip whatever I say apart and hurt my feelings.”

These are all terrible, horrible, no good, very bad reasons.

Look, writing is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be “because.” It’s important not to lose track of how much great shit happens when you hit keys or write words on paper that are out-of-control feelings you’re dying to share with someone.

There’s some huge misconception about writing—that the people who call themselves writers have any idea what they’re doing. Like everyone thinks they’re Bukowski or Sedaris or Eggers or whoever your “whoever” is.

I didn’t start writing because I had a novel to publish or even an idea of what the hell that would look like. I didn’t start writing because I had some master plan about where this was all going. I started writing because when I was a kid, I saw an old man make people happy by grabbing a pen and not overthinking the words he put to paper.

And I get bummed when I forget that.

When I was a kid, thanks to Bob, I wrote the shit outta everything.

I wrote long-winded love letters to girls. I stretched the birthday card note to the point of “turn over to backside for more” every single time. Christ, I made up books to write book reports about because I could write more about something that I had creative license over.

And I think it’s how people should always write.

It’s easy to overthink it. To think that any piece of writing that you do has to have a point, some giant bigger meaning.

But it should be enough to know that when you write something, anything, it’s like a lottery ticket. Someone could read it and could laugh uncontrollably for the best of reasons. Someone could read it and become violently angry at your view on something (or your “non-view” for that matter). Someone could read it and feel absolutely nothing.

And any one of those things is spectacular.

Because, that’s the “because.” Write just to write. It’s healthy and there is always an amazing off chance that it affects someone more than you had any idea it ever could.

So people might hate what you say. They might really love it. They might feel nothing. Any one of those things is oddly terrifying.

But they will read it.

There’s always the off chance of that, and that’s the whole reason you wrote in the first place.

To make some tiny little piece of you available to anyone who may want it.

It may not be a handwritten calligraphy note, but it’s enough.

It’s more than enough.

--

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 70: Songs you should listen to while you should write. 

mp_photo3_lg

STREAM IT at the links below:

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE MP3′s at the links below:

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

 

Let's All Just Calm The Insta-F*ck Down

I am not a photographer. Let me just start with that. But, as we all know over the past several years, Instagram has made me think I'm one. I'd imagine anyone reading this is guilty of that same sentiment.

That's because Instagram is really, really good at two things:

1) It makes me look way better at taking pictures than I am.

2) It makes me feel special and validated when people tell me they like said pictures.

I'll admit it, when I heard the news that Instagram was going to change it's terms and conditions yesterday, I got sorta Debbie Downer inside.

"WHAT? DON'T TOUCH MY INSTAGRAM! DON'T YOU TOUCH MY FUCKING SOCIAL VALIDATION WOOBIE."

Then I realized that we're all a bunch of entitled assholes who need to just calm down every now and again. And here's my reasoning.

Let me start by saying this: Instagram went about what they did entirely the wrong way. I get that, as a business, you eventually have to, you know, make money, but there was a better way to do it than telling us they were going to aggressively STEAL ALL OF OUR THINGS AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, MWAHAHA! Sure, they just released a "whoops, sorry" memo that makes it pretty clear they know this, but at the end of the day that's what's coming guys, because that's what happened over on their father's website, aka Facebook.

They are a business, and to be fair, they've been letting you use their business for infinity free up until now. Do you go to work for free so that other people can use whatever it is that you work on? Probably not, and if you do, you're a horrible negotiator and need to work on that.

The people who made Instagram were a bunch of good people who made something that changed the fucking world. Millions of us started communicating through pictures, and to be fair? We did it in a beautiful, really kind way (that's right, I'm getting all hippie-dippie on you).  We wanted to show each other what our lives were like, and for the most part we enjoyed "liking" other people's lives and telling them that, yeah, it looks like they're having a nice day and that makes us heart emoticon the shit out of them.

And, when the people at Instagram realized the behemoth that they had on their hands, they did what any of us would do, ever.

They made money off of it.

I wish they had done it not in the "Facebook evil empire" way that they did, but they did.

They could have had a model that offered us rights to our pictures in exchange for the use of their service if we paid them money (Flickr's model, for what it's worth) and we probably would have bitched and moaned about that as well, though. You know why?

Because at the end of the day, we're all just pissed that in some way or another, something costs money now, even if that money is just us. Maybe it's your pictures, or your info, who knows what the currency is or has to be.

But, guys, it sort of had to cost something someday. When someone comes to pick up the trash at your house? You have to pay the "pick up the trash" man and company for it. The same goes for the "unlimited access to cloud data storage" company.

I hate to be captain positivity here, but, let's try to look at this another way.

I was not a photographer, and a bunch of kids made a start-up that made me believe I was. Then, other people who use their service told me they agreed with me, and that made me feel pretty nice inside. And you know what's even funnier? It made me want to look at and like THEIR pictures and ultimately be their friend, which is the entire point of a social fucking network. Don't look now, but we're doing it right.

Instagram and its team screwed up not because they wanted to make money, but because they decided to make it like a bunch of assholes. But, if in the process of that whole thing I found out that I really like taking pictures, and I really like it when you do too? That's sort of cool, and that sort of makes them pretty good people after all.

Maybe I'll go and take pictures now and post them elsewhere. Hell, maybe i'll stick around Instagramland because, if you think I'm pretty, Instagram (twirls his hair)? You go use me in an advertisement, sugar. 

It's okay to be upset about what's happening to Instagram. It really is, and you have a valid point. But let's just be honest and say what this is really about: it's not that they want you to be an advertisement, it's that you're upset that unlimited free everything is over and more importantly, you aren't gonna get that little gorgeous heart next to your picture.

You know why I'm saying that?

Because I'm probably guiltier of that sentiment than any of you.

Keep taking pictures, friends. It's not the goddamn end of the world.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 65: Let's All Just Calm The Insta-F*ck Down

8037565226_83fa4885fb_o

It's been a long time since I've posted, so this mix is a 3-parter. Enjoy, internet.

STREAM at the links below:

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3

DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE MP3's at the links below:

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3

 

The Bachelorette, Reviewed by a Guy. Sorta. (Episode 7)

Episode 7: Let's take it slow and just love each other as puppets first.

Where We Left Off

We're down to 6 dude-bros. The gentlemen who lost Cotillion last week were:

Ryan, the guy who probably beats women.

and Travis, because he brought an ostrich egg on a national television show to symbolize love.

Emily and the guys travelled to Croatia where they stood on rocks and rode donkeys in Scottish kilts because they were not in Scotland. Main takeaways from the episode were:

- Doug, the guy who I presumed was using his child as bait to get laid before I realized he's probably gay, is probably gay.

- Ryan, the guy who probably beats women with Chris Brown in his free time, was eliminated by Emily because she just couldn't tell if he's a good guy or not because he did everything short of actually hitting her.

- Chris, the guy who looks like Gerard Butler, is not Gerard Butler because he's bad at everything that requires "man".

This week we're off to Prague, the place producers of the show have heralded as one of the most romantic cities in the world because that's in no way an aggressive overstatement about the Czech Republic. Previews dictate that Arie the wet blanket has a huge secret about previously dating a producer of the show (the secret is that he previously dated a producer of the show), someone is gonna make out on a floor and that there aren't any cats here. One-on-one's this week are with Jef with one F, the guy who just gave someone in africa a bottle of water because he's better than you, Wolf, the guy whose aggressive nickname still hasn't been explained to us for some reason, and Arie, the guy who is a wet blanket who used to be doing Emily's friend who is also a producer of the show (and not the Indian woman she hangs out with from time to time in North Carolina, and by time to time I mean "when it's for the tv").

General Recap

The episode opened with a shot of emily carrying her own luggage around the streets of Prague, because it's absolutely believable that this is her only bag and that she is carrying it herself.

Once she gets settled, she walks around and stares off into the distance in about 13 locations because her life is hard.

The dude-bro's meet up with the host and he asks them if they are ready for this. I'm sort of bummed that one dude doesn't just randomly yell, "NO," throw his hands in the air, wave them back and forth and run away. Alas, they are, in fact, ready for this.

The guys are staying at a hotel named The Aria, which is funny because it's like the feminine version of Arie the wet blanket's name and I'm sure no one said that to him.

Arie sticks his head out of the hotel window and yells, "HELLO PRAGUE!" and I imagine Sean (the guy who is probably going to win) is probably so pissed that he didn't get to yell "PRAGUEEE!!!" out the window like he does at least once upon arriving in every city to let people know that he does, in fact, know the city and/or country that he is in.

Arie learns that he will have the first one-on-one with Emily, and Gerard Butler begins his episode-long nervous breakdown because he wanted the date and it's not fair. Nnnno. NnnnnnnO.

Doug gives Emily a really uncomfortable hug to let us know that he's not gay, or maybe just himself.

--

Look at this clock. Many people have looked at this clock. I made up that thought all by myself with no help.

Arie's date card says that he and Emily are going to "czech" out Prague together, which is a play on words because they are in the Czech Republic.

Emily stares at a clock and tells Arie that it's cool to stare at that clock where they are standing and staring at that clock because other people have stood there and stared at that clock before.

If they showed a picture book to Emily with a circle and a square and told her to point at the square and then she pointed at the square and she was rewarded with a treat at this exact moment, I wouldn't even blink.

They walk by old buildings and Arie tells Emily that it would be incredible if they got married at one of these giant cathedrals, because that's a totally rational thing to say to someone on your second date while she's also dating five other dudes that are your roommates.

At this point, the episode takes 4,208 hours to explain to us in some weird Public Service Announcement format that the rumors you've read in US Weekly are true and that Arie did, in fact, date a producer from the show years ago. We then go back to the actual show and witness Emily go into full crazy-bitch mode, as she passive aggressively baits Arie over and over trying to get him to admit to this, yet won't just ask him. So, basically, how it works in real life.

We are then notified that Arie, the producer and Emily had a secret meeting to talk about it and it's all water under the bridge. Nobody cares, and I'm angry that no one is saying anything I can make fun of, because if not then what is the point of all this.

Arie and Emily make up from their television relationship fight on a boat and Arie pulls the wettest of the wet blanket moves and tells Emily that he loves her. To be clear: a guy just said on national television that he is in love with a woman who he has been on two dates with, one in which he spent half of the time defending the fact that he used to do her friend.

Arie does the once-an-episode creepy hand thing.

They make out a little bit more after she doesn't say I love you back, and the guy whose only job is to make sure the lighting is good is presumably fired.

Emily says that she doesn't feel like Arie is the kind of guy who just throws the word love around, which is weird because he's a wet blanket who probably tells a checkout clerk that he loves her after he enters his Safeway club card number and gets discounts.

Back at the hotel, Doug goes out on a limb and says that if he had to take a guess, he's almost for sure that they're having dinner somewhere, and Gerard Butler says that he's bummed but not showing it by pouting, and then pouts.

--

This lock not closing is a sign that we are not in love, as opposed to the fact that we do not love each other in any way, shape or form.

On Wolf and Emily's one-on-one date, they go to the John Lennon Wall where people draw pictures of things that mean something to them. They decide to draw a boat, because Wolf likes boats and they've been on a boat. So, you know, obvious go-to. The boat they paint could have been drawn better by her six year old daughter.

Because Emily loves symbolism (even if she might not know how to spell that word), they go to some fence where you write your name on a lock and put it on the fence. Wolf has a hard time closing the lock.

It's this that tells Emily that they might not be meant for each other, not the fact that they are two people who have chosen to find the person they will marry on a national round robin television tournament.

Back at the hotel, Gerard Butler continues his nervous breakdown and says he's on edge because everyone gets to go on the dates but him and it's not fair. Then he sits on the edge of a window sill and stares off into the distance, thinking about the next Gerard Butler film he'll star in.

Wolf and Emily have dinner in some creepy dungeon that looks like a room from the film Kiss the Girls.

Back at home, Sean finds out that he is stuck with a group date as opposed to a one-on-one and decides to go out into the streets of Prague to find Emily. To do so, he yells, "EMILY!" over and over (much like he does the names of countries/cities he arrives in) because that's how you find people in metropolitan cities.

He finds her just walking around a dark alley at night, which seems pretty safe, and then pulls an Arie and eats her face.

--

Let's take a horse ride to a castle because I'm the prettiest princess of them all.

For the group date, Sean, Gerard Butler and Doug go on a horse-drawn carriage ride to a castle with Emily, because she is a pretty pretty princess.

It's raining and Doug asks her if she's getting wet. I laugh, because that's funny.

At the castle, Doug sits far away from Emily and crosses his arms. I think to myself that anyone who's ever read US Weekly's body language expert section would know that this is the worst thing you can do, as it shows you are closed off and may have a fear of intimacy.

Emily then makes this exact comment about his body language, and I wonder to myself if it's not Doug that's gay, but in fact me.

Doug then kisses Emily as she is telling him he will be leaving the show because she's just not that into him, and Doug gets sad and says that he thinks his girl radar is totally broken.

Yes, Doug. It is broken. Because you are most likely a homosexual.

He then cries again and makes the boo-boo face as he's driven away.

Now that the date is down to just two dude-bro's, Sean and Gerard Butler each get to spend one-on-one time with Emily. To find out who will first, she arbitrarily hands out a giant key to each of them, only one of which will open the door to the room she'll hang out in first.

Sean's key opens the door. He lets us know that his key is a big key. That, "this is a man's key," with a, "hey ladies, I think you know what I'm talking about" look.

When Gerard Butler finally gets to sit down with Emily, he continues his meltdown and says that he went a little crazy yesterday because he didn't get a one-on-one date and sort of gets angry at her, which is a surefire way to convince a woman that you're someone they should sleep with. They go back outside and Emily gives a rose to Sean and not Gerard Butler, and then kisses him while Gerard Butler has to watch, which is really good for his mental breakdown.

Gerard Butler says that if he doesn't get a rose this week, he'd be scared for anyone around him, and I'm starting to wonder if Sleeping With The Enemy is coaching him through a tiny earpiece.

--

Tell a doll version of me that you love it to signify that you love me too, because we're grown-ups.

For their one-on-one date, Jef with one F and Emily go to a marionette shop and buy dolls that symbolize them and Ricki. Nothing weird about that.

One of the dolls they play with is Michael Jackson, which is an awfully strange coincidence.

Jef with one F is remarkably good with the marionette dolls. Like, almost too good. Maybe he puts on shows in Africa at well opening parties. Who knows.

They go to some huge library and put on a puppet show for each other in which they re-enact every interaction they've ever had so far as puppets of themselves, because this is how adults tell each other what they are feeling for each other.

Puppet Jef with one F says I love you for the first time to Puppet Emily and then Real Jef with one F tells Real Emily that he really likes her, because only Puppet Jef with one F loves her.

They lay on a floor, and Emily says, "there aren't many people I can lay on the floor with and still be really happy." No one has any idea what this means.

Jef with one F continues his dazzling performance and basically solidifies his place as the next Bachelor when he inevitably loses to Sean by saying, "I wanna date you so hard and marry the fuck out of you." I call my girlfriend, horrified that she's at a bar with Jef with one F somewhere.

At this exact moment, I'm mortified to learn that I'm actually pro Jef with one F.

--

It's a wet blanket contest, and Gerard Butler is winning.

Back at the rose ceremony, they play sad violin music, because Prague is where the sad violin music is played.

Emily casually looks at pictures of all the guys next to candlelight like it's a funeral, because if you were trying to choose between two people to date in real life, you'd probably just grab their high school portraits, frame them and look at them over soft, depressing lighting.

Gerard Butler cries because it's not fair that they don't get to talk to Emily this week, and he presumes he's going to be eliminated.

Before she gives out the last rose to either Gerard Butler or Wolf, Gerard Butler interrupts her and asks to speak with her. Total bro-foul. However, this clearly sways Emily to pick him and not Wolf, and i'm pretty sure we've got ourselves a new villain.

Here's hoping I'm right about Sleeping with the Enemy calling the shots from home.

ELIMINATED:

Doug, the guy who was probably gay.

and Wolf, because Gerard Butler totally bro-fouled him, and now we'll never know why he's nicknamed "Wolf" so I hope you're happy Gerard Butler.

SURPRISINGLY NOT ELIMINATED:

Gerard Butler, because he is not emotionally stable, and that's saying a lot on a show called The Bachelorette.

FRONTRUNNERS:

Arie, because he still does the thing that her dead husband did for a living.

Jef with one F, because GOD dammit I'm starting to like this guy.

and Sean, because he's got a man's key.

See you next week, everyone.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 62: Songs That Puppet Me and Puppet You Would Get Along To

Stream the whole thing at the link above.

Or.

Download the entire thing in adorable little MP3′s right here.

There's Always SkyMall

A couple of weeks ago, I quit my job to go out into the world of freelance writing. Which basically means I stopped receiving money on purpose.

Which basically seems like a questionable life choice.

But frankly, when you do this, there are a few things that can happen: people will think you are funny and/or talented and hire you to write words again or you will die in an unemployed fire (or just be unemployed, develop an extreme drinking problem which will, in turn, cause you to be a fantastic writer again. I know, right? I love this job)…

Or you will realize that everything has words attached to it. Everything. And someone...SOMEONE is going to have to employ you. Hear me out.

Have you ever looked at crap and wondered:

A) WHY is this a thing? (Prime examples: an electronic tie rack, capri pants a.k.a.the pant that can't decide what it wants to be, 1,308 varieties of dish soap named after mountain peaks that do not exist that you have not gone to because they do not exist, etc)

B) WHO the F*CK wrote the words explaining that thing?

You probably don't experience "B" a lot unless you are a writer or a stoner (or both, which is usually the case, let's put our fingers on our noses and point at ourselves).

I think about "A" and "B" a lot. And I think about "B" so much so that I thought a full-time job wasn't required. You know why?

Because it leads me to believe that there are a lot of things that need words out there. A lot of useless, unbelievably strange things that can't even be explained by the people who make and sell them (!!).

I know this because every time I'm on an airplane, I read SkyMall.

SkyMall is perplexing because it's like 4,897 of those kiosks in the middle of a mall that oh my God WHO is going to that thing to buy a cell phone cover?

That's SkyMall: the mini-mall of mini-malls.

It's even more perplexing because someone IS going to that thing. They are buying things from SkyMall. They are buying things that are inexplicable, unnecessary…and amazing. And those things have descriptions.

Here are a few of my favorites. Remember: THEY ARE SELLING THESE THINGS ON AN AIRPLANE, AND PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY BUYING THEM, SO MUCH SO THAT THE MAGAZINE HAS BEEN IN PRINT FOR UPWARDS OF FOUR DECADES.

And, yeah: These are real things that I may just write for someday.

---

Product: Protein Ketchup

Tagline: "Finally, a ketchup that's good for you!"

Analysis: Was this a 'thing'? Were people really avoiding ketchup because they couldn't load up on it before a workout? Was that the #1 problem with ketchup? Did they hire anyone to research this, or just get drunk one night and write this and send it in before thinking? I hope their next product is "Water: It won't drunk dial you."

---

Product: Military Binoculars

Tagline: "See the color of an eagle's eye…FROM A MILE AWAY!"

Analysis: I want to buy a pair so that this conversation can go down at my apartment someday:

Friend: "Wow. Drew. These binoculars are AWFULLY big. What are they for?"

Me: "Seeing the color of an eagle's eye."

Friend: "Why would I ever need to do tha-"

Me: "Brown. Slight green tint. It's hungry, and it's girlfriend's name is Sandra. It's lonely, but it knows it will see better days once the winter passes."

Friend: "Nevermind. I get it. I. Get. It."

---

Product: Gravity Defyer Trampoline Shoe (GDefy for short, obvi)

Tagline: "Now you can escape the power of gravity."

Analysis: I mean, that's just an extremely aggressive statement. Just extremely, extremely aggressive.

---

Product: Sound-Activated Video Camera Pen

Tagline: "Perfect for collecting solid evidence that requires discretion."

Analysis: Is James Bond flying coach? Are people getting so sketchy that they'd buy a $179 pen to see if their significant other is cheating? Here's an easier way: ask them if they are cheating. Maybe don't buy the $200 decoder ring pen.

---

Product: Litter Kwitter Cat Toilet Training System

Tagline: "Potty train your cat faster than most people can potty train their kids."

Analysis: What I really enjoyed about this one (beyond the cat pissing-pissing-in-a-toilet visual and the fact that only "most" of America could potty train their kids faster than a cat, not "all") was the use of "kw" instead of "qu". It wasn't like being interested in this product was enough to secure that you'd die alone…the fact that you'd buy a product that spelled the word quitter with a "kw" really puts it over the top. Like, just buy 42 cats and lock the door to your apartment and become the next episode of CSI. You're already there, you don't even need the product.

---

Product: The Password Vault (A small LCD electronic device that stores all of your passwords that…requires a password)

Tagli…no, you know what? No. I'm not even bothering. Let me say that again: it's a device that stores your passwords in a small, easily losable device that requires a password. NO. NNNNO. 

---

Product: Bigfoot, the Bashful Yeti Tree Sculpture

Tagline: "If you've never spotted Bigfoot, perhaps it's just because he's been hiding behind the nearest tree!"

Analysis: I mean. I'd make fun. But let's be real…I came real close to buying this, but I do not have "a tree", let alone many that would require the phrase "nearest". There was also a Texas Armadillo Beverage holder that I thought was ridiculous. I love that I drew the line there.

---

Product: Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti Statue. (Different company makes this one.) (!!)

Tagline: "…guests will be doing a double-take as they admire your creative home or garden style!"

Analysis: Who cares about the writing: I'm just mind blown that two different companies are competitively marketing bigfoot statues against each other in the same magazine/at all. Can you imagine if the neighbors got the statue after you had already bought the tree sculpture?

Husband: "Did you hear? Don across the street brought the Garden Yeti Statue."

Wife: "Seriously?"

Husband: "Seriously."

(long, long pause)

Wife: "Unbelievable. Un-F*%KING BELIEVABLE."

---

Product: The Big Pitcher (it's a big water pitcher)

Tagline: "Water is life! Drink healthy with The Big Pitcher!"

Analysis: (golf claps) Oh I see what you did there. 

---

Product: No! No! Skin

Tagline: "No pimples in no time."

Analysis: I get it. You wanted to say the word "no" twice to reiterate that not only would you have no pimples, you'd not have them in no time. Here's the problem: your product is a laser that I point at my face. A robot that shoots a laser at my face. So saying "NO NO SKIN" makes me feel like I will have no..no skin. And that sorta bums me out. Maybe have a look at the ad before you just give SkyMall the green light next time. People might be reading this wrong. (No! No! Hair was available too. But I already have! have! that).

---

Product: SkyRest Travel Pillow 

Tagline: "This person is able to sleep comfortably in any seat. Can you say the same?"

Analysis: I mean, no. You know what? Wanted to argue this one, because I'm not sure who has the balls to bring this (and use it) on a plane. But you're right, SkyRest. Your threatening tone is right: I can't say the same. +1 for terror pillow marketing.

--

It's a competitive job market out there for writers. I imagine there will be plenty of times I live in fear in between jobs, no doubt.

But hey, let's face it...

I can probably always write for SkyMall.

Probably always.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 57: Songs That You Can Enjoy With Any Backyard Bigfoot Statue

Stream the whole thing at the link above (or by clicking on the picture with the SkyMall magazine in it that you would probably be reading if you were on an airplane).

Or.

Download the entire thing in adorable little MP3′s right here.

I Have a Pedialyte Drinking Problem, Toothpaste Scares Me, and So Forth.

If I were a cop, I'd just park across the street from a KFC/Taco Bell every night. I mean, it's gotta be a 100% arrest rate when people drive out of the drive-thru, right? Anyone buying an actual bucket of chicken or a sandwich with two pieces of fried chicken used as the bread are on drugs 1,976% of the time. If you are a policeman and you are reading this, congratulations. I just got you promoted to a job where you don't have to sit outside of a KFC/Taco Bell arresting people. I am confused by people who sign up to be urologists for a living. Look. I'm just sayin'. I don't know how much the money differential is, but I'm guessing it's a lot or most of these guys are closeted, because I have one and even I would argue that I don't really want to look at penises for a living. Like, you had a choice. Of ANY body part, and you said, "Penises. I choose to look at Penises for a living." Really? Were the check boxes like this?

YOUR CHOICES:

Face Doctor - 200k w/ benefits.

Foot Doctor - 300k w/ benefits, because feet are weird.

Penis Doctor - 1 BILLION DOLLARS. ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU WANT. SERIOUSLY. YOU'RE GOING TO LOOK AT PENISES ALL DAY.

*My favorite part about writing this…when I did about two months ago…was finding out approximately one week later that my cousin Laura is a urologist. I'm sorry Laura. I'm a dick. HEY-O!

I have a pediatric electrolyte supplement drinking problem. You should read that back, but out loud this time. It turns out it's a killer way to cure a hangover. The only catch is that you're drinking something that a baby drinks when it has diarrhea. So, you can imagine how that conversation is when you ask a Walgreen's employee where the baby formula aisle is with no baby in sight. Or what it looks like when you are feverishly pounding a bottle of grape on your way to work and people in other cars are looking at you. Ready for this? I now even eat the FREEZER POPS that they sell, because that's not weird. But hey, guess what: I'm hydrated, motherf*cker. What are you?

I don't understand how people design traffic light systems. It just seems like it would be really complicated. I know, because in Sim City I was terrible at it and it had to be the most stressful thing in the world when my not real people were getting in not real traffic jams that were making them late for their not real home lives, which presumably caused them to get not real divorced and THAT'S ON ME AND I LIVE WITH IT EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Oh, Republicans. You guys had it so easy in the coming election year. I say that because America is generally batshit crazy and I just figured that they wouldn't be cool with having a black guy as our president for more than four years before they had a "THE CIVIL WAR ISN'T OVER" panic attack. To be fair, it sort of still sounds like that's happening. And in that instance, it seems like to win the hearts of your batshit crazy cohorts, all you had to do was nominate two "not black guys" and…no, you know what? You honestly had to just nominate anyone who didn't sound like they had been drinking all morning before they started filming things and you probably would have had the next President elect. But you sure found a way to…not do that. Your current nominee options are Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. So basically:

1) The only guy in Texas who manages to make George Bush look like a Rhodes Scholar.

2) A crazy Mormon who believes in magical underpants. (!!)

and

3) ….Newt Gingrich. Who I'm pretty sure has been running for president since 1848. (Probably not gonna happen, big guy. Maybe sit this one out.)

What's even more amazing is that you ruled out one other guy because he was quoting Pokemon in his speeches. (!!!)

So, in advance, may I say thank you from every Democrat. We're running against the equivalent of mouth breathers in sweatpants with weird mustard stains in the corner of their lips. Things are looking up.

There are too many toothpaste options these days, and my neurotic brain can't handle it. 

Toothpaste Brand: "Do you want whitening?"

Drew: "Sure."

Toothpaste Brand: "Do you want tartar control?"

Drew: "I mean, I'd assume so, sure…you guys are the experts."

Toothpaste Brand: "Do you want extra whitening?"

Drew: "…well, sure. Why didn't you just put the 'extra' in the last batch.."

Toothpaste Brand: "3-D whitening?"

Drew: "Wait, what?"

Toothpaste Brand: "How about cavity protection."

Drew: "Dude, what the f*ck. Why wasn't I getting that before?"

Toothpaste Brand: "How about an extreme clean?"

Drew: "…"

Then again, I guess I've never been able to make up my mind about this. Ever.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 56: A Mix For Cops To Listen To Outside of a KFC/Taco Bell

Stream the whole thing at the link above (or by clicking on the picture with too much toothpaste in it).

Or.

Download the entire thing in adorable little MP3′s right here.

 

Things that are difficult to do without a girlfriend.

Play Jenga. It's really anticlimactic when you play yourself. Go to a farmer's market on a Sunday. Seriously, go without a cute girl. "Yeah, just pickin' up my organic blueberries. You, uh…you come to this...stand…often?" It's like a really, really refined creepy.

Pronounce words like acai, or have any idea what that is. For some reason, girls just know these things. Like they grew up, got a "smell amazing" kit and learned how to pronounce fruits with strange accent marks in their spelling.

Figure out if it's "it's" or "its" in that one sentence you just wrote. Because everyone has their grammatical achilles heel. And couches don't know the difference when you ask. Also, see what I did there? I hope so.

Watch Sex and the City. Yeah. I think it's a good show. And when you own these DVD's and you're a male living alone, a lot of questions start coming into play. A lot. And I dare you to watch it on Netflix. Oh, I dare you. Just pray that it doesn't make suggestions for you after that. "That's so weird that Netflix recommends other shows about women that only women would watch, I usually only watch action films where things explode and people die. Strange." (FUCK YOU, JUDGMENTAL GUY. DID YOU KNOW THAT ROGER STERLING FROM MAD MEN WAS ON IT? YEAH. HE WAS. AND HE WAS GREAT.) (OH, AND I REALLY LIKE THE CHARACTER STEVE. HE IS A NICE PERSON.)

Fart on accident. Because your television doesn't care when you do. And that first time that you do around someone you're dating is always sorta funny: turns out both of you have a butt.

Rationalize going to Bed Bath and Beyond on a sunday to buy throw pillows. To be fair…they really brought the apartment together. 

See if your bald spot is growing. For some reason, taking a picture of the top of your head is wildly depressing. Especially when you forget to delete it and then someone looks through your phone and finds pictures of the top of your head…that you took. That's worse than like, midget porn.

Stay in. For some reason, the only rational reasons for staying in on a Friday or Saturday night are: you're dying, you're working, you're working while dying, or you're in a relationship.

Argue with a girlfriend. Which, face it…though sort of miserable sometimes, there's always the fun part where you pretend nothing was ever wrong and then you think she smells of cinnamon again and you want to buy a dog named Bob with her, because wouldn't it be funny if you got a dog and gave it a human name? "You hungry, Bob?" Just sorta sounds like some dude who lives at your house.

Wear a scarf. Because if you wear a scarf and no one likes it, I just assume you can say that "fill in the blank name of my future girlfriend" liked it, so I wore it for her. And then casually take it off when no one is really looking.

Wear hilarious two person costumes on halloween that require a male and a female. Can you do this with a friend? Sure. But…look. I was Cookie and Gerry Fleck with a girl one year. And let's just say the "in character" shots and prep of it were enough to wife someone up. Because someone who's willing to publicly embarrass themselves for you and be completely and totally blind to the fact that it's happening in the process? That's love.

Watch Disney movies that you know the lyrics to…and sing them. You know what? No. Forget that. If you can't accept that I like the song Under the Sea, you're a bad person and I will treat you like a pedophile: please stay at least 1,000 feet away from me.

Tie a tie. Because I still don't know how to do that. And I will look forward to the day that I can go to big boy events because my girlfriend teaches me how to do this in the mirror. So that I can not comprehend it. But at least it'll be endearing.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 52: It's Okay For Guys To Watch Sex and the City Because The Word "Sex" Is In The Title.

Stream the whole thing at the link above.

Or.

Download the entire thing in adorable little MP3′s right here.