Top Four Things That Piss Me Off Today

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1) Today

–Fuck today. Today is stupid. Today can’t turn into tomorrow fast enough. Fuck today.

 

2) Tomorrow

–Fuck tomorrow. Tomorrow is also stupid. Tomorrow is going to be like today, but more of today, which is pretty much like taking today and doubling it up. Fuck tomorrow.

 

3) Every Other Single Fucking Day

–It’s mind-blowing how the time just seems to pass, isn’t it? And so much of it is like today, tomorrow, and holy shit, I somehow forgot to mention yesterday. It’s all the same. Fucking terrible.

 

4) Yesterday

–See above.

 

Disclaimer: Fuck it.

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Let’s Just Try To Wrap Our Heads Around This One

Good fucking luck.

It’s impossible. As per usual, I struggle with summing up context, mostly because everything feels so important that it inevitably turns into irrelevancy. Now that’s what I call context! But wait, no, this is serious, no jokes for a minute.

I am completely and utterly out of control and I know it, which you think would mean I wasn’t, cause like, duh, logical conclusions say you’d have to be sane to know you’re insane, fucking catch 22 all over again. It’s true though. Something’s clicked recently and I’ve jumped into a mindset of desperate panic that’s affecting every single interaction I have. People are worried and I’m not giving them reasons not to be. Sister. Friends. Guy at bodega. Girl. Everyone. They all know I’m fucking crazy. In fact, they’re fucking crazy aware of how crazy I am, and from the perspective of a social thermometer, that says something.

So okay, now we’ve established context. Here’s where it gets weird.

I head to New Orleans on Monday to hang out with dudes on horses, high school cheerleaders and most importantly, Akasha and Clark. I’m deadly serious about all of that statement somehow. What’s not cool about it is how intensely out of control I’m being, which we’ve established. Rich knows this but obviously doesn’t know what to do about it. So what does he decide to do?

Buy Jon Larsen a one way ticket to hang out with me.

Wait, what?

Jon has absolutely nothing right now and is losing his mind. I mean, I have more nothing and have lost my mind way harder, but Jon’s running the same race and is gaining on me. And Rich cares about him too. So I vaguely assume what Rich decided to do is put me and Jon together so we can fight the world as a team and force ourselves into staying alive, if only out of spite. Okay, great plan. Oh, did I mention Jon doesn’t want to go? Yeah, he’s afraid he’ll die there, doesn’t have any money at all and has no reason to live. Perfect. He obviously should be around me, the guy who’s only barely hanging on. Luckily I have $100,000+ dollars in medical debt and badass seizures I can use to support us. At least we have that. But seriously, Rich didn’t even ask Jon, just bought him a ticket and smiled. It’s not like Rich is going to New Orleans. He’s just sending Jon to save me or something, which abstractly is supposed to save Jon.

So here are the questions: Why? What are we going to do there? Where are we going to live? How are we going to survive? How the fuck are we going to survive?

Nice plan Rich.

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But that’s what’s happening and it’s scary and crazy and maybe even exciting. Will we survive? Good question.

I guess in sum, well, i mean, if any of this makes sense to you, I just like, don’t know…

Mike Abu’s Guide to Beer

Today I’m going to teach you how to successfully open and drink a beer. This is a necessary skill for drinking a beer at home or at work, especially if there isn’t anyone around who can open a beer for you. Below is everything you need to know about how to drink a beer. Cheers!

Step 1) Ascertain if there is any beer in the fridge

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As you can see, there are many things in the fridge, but beer is not one of them. This is a problem. Luckily, unlike most problems in life, there is also a solution.

Step 2) Find money

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Money is any object or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a particular country or socio-economic context. It can be exchanged for beer. Change is generally frowned upon for purchasing beer as it makes the cashier have to count for fucking ever, but sometimes all you have at your disposal is a jar of dimes and nickels. They are legal tender. Use them for beer.

Step 3) Take the elevator

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Elevators are useful for avoiding stairs.

Step 4) Walk to the bodega

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Proximity is key when it comes to bodegas, though sometimes the closest one doesn’t sell beer for no reason whatsoever. Know your bodega. It will come in handy for buying beer.

Step 5) Pick out beer

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You must choose, but choose wisely–your selection of beer says a lot about you. Beer comes in many flavors and sizes, and it can sometimes be overwhelming for novices. The keys are knowing how much money you have and how you feel about quantity vs. quality. Remember, O’Doul’s cannot be considered a beer, even though it calls itself a non-alcoholic beer. Beer has to have alcohol in it, otherwise it’s just a terrible soft drink for terrible people. Don’t be a fool.

Step 6) Pay for beer

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You cannot purchase beer if you are under 21 in America. You can ask older people to purchase it for you if that’s a problem. I use my state issued ID to prove to the cashier that I am old enough to buy beer. After awhile, they stop asking you for it, because you buy beer from them a lot and now you’re age is a given. However, sometimes they ask you anyways. Instead of being annoyed, say something like, “Oh, I’m flattered,” which implies that you still look underage, even if you don’t.

Step 7) Take beer home

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You can drink beer pretty much anywhere but certain cities consider outdoor drinking to be a public nuisance. They therefore try to stop you from drinking beer by giving you a ticket and/or jail time. This is because cops suck. It’s safest to stay in alley ways or indoors. Home is the best if you want to avoid stumbling up the road after drinking beer.

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Obviously you’re going to drink beer now, but you’ll probably want to drink beer later too, and you’ll probably like beer more if it’s cold. Fridges are made for keeping beer cold. Use them.

Step 9) Open beer

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Now you have a beer in front of you that’s almost ready to drink. But wait, there’s a problem…

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Indeed, this beer is closed. You cannot drink a closed beer no matter how hard you try. If you open it by smashing it with a rock, beer will spill everywhere but down your throat, the latter of which being the place you want to put beer. A knife would work in a pinch but luckily enough the beer industry has recognized the need for beer to be easily opened. A handy tab provides access.

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Pull tab upwards as so and…

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Voila! The beer is open!

Step 10) Drink beer

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You have successfully opened the beer which is now ready to be consumed with gusto. Put it to your mouth and drink it, you deserve it. Open, drink, repeat–that’s the best thing to do with beer. Congratulations! You are on you way to becoming a true alcoholic!

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Still Alive

 

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Photos by James Nord

Trench coats courtesy of J. Lindeberg

Style by me

MIKE ABU’S GUIDE TO ZAQISTAN

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Zaqistan is located in the most hostile, unforgiving environment than anyone could have the misfortune to experience. It makes Skull Valley look like a water park. In essence, there is no reason to ever go there, yet somehow Zaqistan survives in the unrelenting heat of an alkaline desert, thriving in the absurdity of its existence.

If I was to offer one thing to say about Zaqistan to potential visitors, it would be this—don’t go. It’s a fucked up place. African Bushmen would describe Zaqistan as an impossible environment to scrape a meager existence from; ancient Greeks would have attributed the barren flats to a vengeful Hades. But if you are masochistic enough to visit this merciless land, you’ll definitely have an experience. 

As far as I know, the first step to visiting Zaqistan is letting two kids from New Orleans, one from Chicago and another from New York sleep on your floor in Salt Lake City. Then you watch one of them meticulously create a piñata costume as he tells you about his homeland.

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From what I’ve gathered, renowned global explorer Zaq Landsberg founded Zaqistan in 2006. He’d fallen into a little (not much) money and decided on a whim to purchase approximately two acres of the old Bonneville Sea bed on Ebay for $600 dollars. When prodded, Zaq gave his reasoning for the acquisition as, “Getting a little piece of the American West before it was gone.” Judging by Zaqistan’s incredibly remote location, that’s not going to be a problem anytime soon. Its original embassy was located in Argentina, but for a while it was located in an art gallery in Manhattan, a stone throw away from the United Nations building. Although there are a number of people who have dual citizenship with Zaqistan, for the vast majority of the time the official population is zero. Nobody lives there, and nobody blames them.

 Resting as the only independent nation within the contiguous United States (outside of Native Reservations), Zaqistan is ridiculous, just like this sentence. Although the land does appear to be unsustainable for any form of life, extremophiles like sagebrush and rattlesnakes live there in abundance out of sheer absurdity.

Cubans often use their Zaqistani passports to appear as tourists, as the passports look so legit and Zaqistan is so obscure that cops are dumb enough to believe them. My passport should be arriving in the mail any day now. I’m planning on using to pick up on easily confused girls.

 

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Like all proud nations, Zaqistan has a number of monuments that highlight its history and achievements. Most impressive of all is the Triumphant Arch, which stands out against the nothingness with a brilliance of sheer existence. The robots tend to be a popular tourist attraction for the younger generation, and the Zaqistani flag is a prominent fixture visible from every border. There’s also a lot of sagebrush.

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The Zaqistani national pastime includes shooting guns at bottles, drinking an irresponsible amount of alcohol, setting off fireworks and fashion photography. It’s a formidable place. Crime levels are low in Zaqistan based on liberal socialist laws and the utter lack of anyone. Health care is free if you bring a first aid kit.

If you’re trying to find Zaqistan in person, it’s suggested you know how to operate a compass, as the obscure directions you will receive by email include geographical coordinates that aren’t going to help. The compass is there to provide a fleeting feeling of hope. The dusty roads leading into the nation are convoluted and lacking signs, so it’s better to show up before dusk. 

Since phone service is does not exist in Zaqistan, contact with the outside world is scarce. If you end up getting a flat tire in the land and your spare also happens to be flat, you’re fucked without ingenuity. Zaqistan runs on ingenuity. It’s their main import and export. They import and export a lot of it.

The capitol Zaqopolis can be difficult to navigate for first timers, but once one learns to use The Zaqopolis as a central landmark it becomes almost impossible to get lost. What appears to be a monkey bar dome adorned with loose camouflaged netting and a number of female mannequin legs take on a special significance when you realize it marks the only shade for fifty miles. Indeed, it is the cultural hub of Zaqistan during the day, and the majority of political decisions take place under its cover. Cover is something highly valued in Zaqistan, as finding a shady spot of repose is the only way anyone can survive in its unceasing heat. Survival in Zaqistan is important. Surviving in Zaqistan is difficult.

 

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If you are capable of living long enough to see the sites, there are a number of breathtaking postcard-worthy landmarks to visit. The Guardians of Zaqistan stand vigilant over the land at times when it’s deserted, protecting the small nation from would-be intruders. Towering over the landscape is Mt. Insurmountable, the highest point in Zaqistan. Anyone daring enough to risk ascending the summit is guaranteed to be rewarded with unrivaled view of all of Zaqistan.

If you travel to Zaqistan with someone unfamiliar with the concept of “roughing it,” expect them to yell at you for hours at a time as you drink 40s of Mickeys and stumble around in the darkness. Don’t panic; it won’t help. Instead you should focus on finding the gold skulls of long deceased animals that mark the cryptic trail to Zaqistan, and if all else fails, try to hear the gunshots being fired into the night sky. You won’t hear them mostly because the deadening effect of the dried seabed eliminates all forms of echolocation, but it’s nice to have a false sense of hope. If your companion has given up his false sense of hope in exchange for a true sense of doom, explain that nothing has killed you yet, and at the very least death comes quickly in Zaqistan, which means you won’t suffer for long. If your companion explains that the duration of suffering is less important than the magnitude of suffering, continue drinking. More than anything, it’s important to maintain a loose form of consciousness at all times, as hyper-awareness is problematic in irrational scenarios. You probably already have your hands full; there’s no need to make things more complicated by recognizing how close you are to death. Denial is key to sensibility in Zaqistan.

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After your stay in Zaqistan, it is recommended you stop by the closest cowboy bar, a quaint little joint near a lone gas station in a town famous for refusing to die. Get a hamburger. Also get a shot and a beer. Congratulations! Somehow, against the odds, you survived to tell the tale, and now you can talk about something with bizarre authority, where every answer you offer can only be met with more questions. Zaqistan builds character, which you already must have had if you went there in the first place, and are now following in the footsteps of giants like Professor Wexler, world explorer.

 “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. I fucked up and chose the one to Zaqistan.”

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An Old Conversation with Jim

This is another flashback pulled directly out of the archives. I generally avoid looking at my old writing due to the desire to keep looking forward, but every now and again I’ll find myself peering into old files, somewhat bemused and otherwise terrified by past moments in my life. I think the biggest issue I actually have with them is the clearcut reality that I’ve only progressed so far. Such is life I guess.

This is about Jim, a mentor of mine who lives in a trailer park in Santa Barbara. We met years ago when I first moved down there, me struggling to finish my thesis paper and him somewhat delighted to have someone pose him questions. Every time I visit that terrible little beach town, I take the time to visit him in hope he’ll impart some form of wisdom on me. I really look up to him. He’s pretty much the smartest person I’ve ever met, and to have him consider me a friend is an honor. Anyway, I wrote this write before I went to Cuba, when I was befuddled as fuck, shattered from the binge writing I had to do at Coachella and randomly spending all my time sitting on a beach with a clipboard. [SPOILER ALERT: I don’t come across as very well emotionally adjusted.]

Beach Office circa 2012

Beach Office circa 2012

As I wrote by hand back in Santa Barbara, Jim says I seem lonely. He knows the look cause he’s been there before. He says it with conviction. I believe him. He looks lonely

Jim! A genuine gem of an individual if you can stand him, poet/philosopher/mathematician/intellectual that always seems to be struggling to make sense of everything. He has all the hallmarks of a madman. As we were discussing the process of tilling his rented garden bed years ago, remarking how fertile the climate appeared to be for artichokes, he broke down to me the mathematical problem that had been haunting him for years. A boat left one side of a river with a current and headed for the other side. Because of the current, the pilot constantly would have to correct his aim so that he would be not dragged too far askew, but as he adjusted, the current would counter his adjustment and force the pilot to adjust some more. According to physics, every boat would always end up parallel to the dock by the time they finished crossing. There are some problems with this, including the physics would have to hold up regardless of the speed of the current, which would mean the boat would end up parallel even if the river moved only an inch a millennia. In other words, the problems that existed with the physics were due to it’s being dead wrong in reality. Physics told Jim the boat would be parallel while It was in the same vein as Xeno, who had come up with any number (something like 7) solid mathematical conundrums, each one ridiculous when it came to anybody who had to worry about making rent, fucking, or developing one’s soul. It was like an early version of Lewis Caroll’s book on logic, where he broke down the concept of logic while simultaneously writing Alice in Wonderland.

The point was, Jim struck me as a sane man trying to make sense of an insane world, which as far as I can tell from the few post-Freudian psychoanalysis books I’ve read, is impossible. Good fucking luck Jim. Still, he seemed like he had a far better grip on the situation than I had, especially when I vaguely attempted to act like I had a grip at all. I envied him only so much.

From what I gathered based on his rather esoteric explanations, a man who had spent his life dealing with the same problems I was dealing with was concerning himself with something worthless, unless of course he budged a notion of understanding forward, even if by just a little bit. Was I capable of doing that? I felt the answer lied in the analogy of beating your head against a wall. If you’re not capable of stopping or breaking through, hopefully you’ll leave a mark saying you were there.

Years later, all I can confirm is a bruised forehead. 

Beard of Solitude | Sobriety’s No Friend to Me

Beard of Solitude | Sobriety’s No Friend to Me

This was seriously the only productive thing I did last summer

MIKE ABU vs. GOOGLE GLASS

Fashion week is pretty ridiculous for a myriad of reasons, but one thing  that’s easy to get a kick out of is what people wear to the events. Imagine: you’re going to an exclusive party for people who celebrate the art of appearance, and if you’re the type of person who cares about that kind of thing, your own appearance is pretty important. So when I see a guy confidently walking into a room while wearing something as absurd as Google Glass, I obviously have no other choice but to try to figure what the fuck the guy is thinking.

Mike Abu: Can I ask you a couple questions?

Google Glasses: Sure.

MA: How does it feel to be the only person wearing Google Glasses?

GG: Um, it’s kind of awkward. It’s interesting because people come up to me and ask me questions about it. It’s a good way to network.

MA: That’s why you’re wearing them?

GG: I can also take pictures whenever I feel like by winking.

MA: Have you ever thought about using a camera like a normal person?

GG: [pause] You hate Google Glass, don’t you?

MA: I’m just confused why anybody would want to wear them.

GG: It’s still a prototype. Obviously they’re still bulky and aren’t fashionable, but they’re coming out with a new model that looks more like glasses.

MA: Do you think Google took into consideration what the glasses looked like on a real human being when designing them?

GG: The things is, they’re working on the software development to make sure people can makes apps on them and that stuff, so once they’ve figured that out, they can focus more on the design.

MA: So do you think the glasses look like they do because Google is filled with nerds who don’t know any better?

GG: I don’t think that’s the case. It’s more about the technology that’s in it. You can only make a chip so small and put it all together, right? But they have this girl who’s into fashion, and she did the best she could to make them look as fashionable as possible.

MA: Wait, do you work for Google?

GG: No, I have a startup. I’m launching an app called Shoptsy next week where you can shop for products that you see on Instagram.

MA: Can you use it on Google Glass?

GG: [pause] Eventually.

MA: Can you give us a wink?

GG: Certainly.

GOOGLE GLASSES

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