Rambo | First Blood

Jon Larsen is talking too much, and no matter how many times he demands to solve the rubik cube, I find him to be the best person I know. But this isn’t about who I know. This is about Rambo.

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First Blood by David Morrell is a good book, a better movie, and the best closer if you’re looking for a one night stand. Only once have I had sex due to the book (homegirl asked what I was reading, I said Rambo, we had sex), but since then I’ve used Rambo to try to get laid a number of times.

In fact, as it were, it’s been my go to line.

“What are you doing?”

“Why, what are you doing?”

“I don’t know… do you want to go back to my place, watch Rambo?”

It never failed. But that’s not why I like Rambo. I like it because he hates cops, just like me.

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Democratic Debates | Round One

Wait, how do you do this?

Somewhere on here you should be able to take a screenshot, but how you do that is beyond me. Wait..

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I guess that’s how you get a screenshot. Good. Now.

Why does this exist? “Clinton Leans In.” What does that mean exactly? From what I can tell, her performance was “forceful,” and that she “crush(ed) it,” went after Bernie Sanders on guns, and like, totally ruled.

Huffington Post, you’ve done it again.

To be fair, I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s late, some girl who showed me the La Brea tar pits says she’s in love with me, I’m dealing with nonstop suicidal tendencies, these assholes play a very real part in what access I’ll have to healthcare and my bullshit student loans, and I barely have enough money to see a fucking doctor who tells me I’m not capable of even scrimmaging with my stupid hockey team. Those guys need me.

They’re the only ones who need me. Them and my family. And my friends.

This whole system thing that we’ve allowed to dictate our lives even though we all know is bullshit does not need me, nor my friends or family. Certainly not my hockey team.

It’s late. Some girl who showed me the La Brea tar pits is far away. Somewhere I hope there’s meaning in that. In this day and age, how the fuck should I know if there is meaning in anything?

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Donald Trump is a True American Genius

A guy I play hockey with on Sundays recently asked me what I thought about Trump. I said I was treating him as a form of social thermometer, where it gave us some insight into where our society was at. He said that he found him hilarious, an angle I completely understand. Here’s why:

482327612-republican-presidential-candidate-donald-trump-gives.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2Donald Trump is brilliant.

He knows how to get certain things done, and if you don’t believe him, watch one of his speeches—hell, watch a few clips. The man knows how to work an audience, even if he’s working them into a fervor of jingoistic, misogynistic, racist, bigoted whirlpool of America. The man is brilliant.

In pop culture, to be a celebrity is to be truly recognized as better than others. There’s money in it, fame, obviously recognition as being a superstar of the rich and famous. It’s a position of power, because what you do is automatically listened to by millions of people, whether they want to hear it or not. It’s like that easy target, Kim Kardashian. We all know who she is—unless you’re that far removed that we could consider you a statistical outlier—and we all know that we all know.

It’s not hard to pinpoint the reason for this. She’s constantly being thrown before us like she’s someone that matters, and she does, to those who buy into or make money off of her cult of personality. She is an uber-celebrity, married to a man of equal status, so there’s no surprise that she stands out from all the other fairly attractive, rich, vain springs of influence. If she says something, shit always goes viral, and that’s what Trump has managed to do.

It’s a matter of understanding and then playing the hustle. He realizes that the more outrageous the things he says, the more his clips and name will be repeated by the masses. Does anyone know who Carly Fiorina is or what she possibly stands for? Not really, and that’s because she doesn’t have near the celebrity status as Trump has. I’ve never heard of the Fiorina Towers, and I doubt you have either. Does the line, “You’re fired,” bring up images of whatever Carly Fiorina looks like? Not me, and I know I’m not alone in this position.

Trump is brilliant in the sense that he’s actively trying to buy the election through sheer influence, all stemming from his name recognition. The fact that he’s also able to turn on the angry conservative base in the process doesn’t hurt one bit, as it both plays to their patriotic fear that the socialists are winning as well infuriate the left, effectively ensuring both sides continue talking about him.

Of course, there is some danger in his game. Riling up the conservative fringe will have consequences, as now all of the republican candidates are forced to move further right, which could make the moderate crowd side slightly more to the left, as the right is fucking crazy. Supporting—hell, encouraging—inequalities of all kinds can only make our country more divided at this necessary time of change, and that’s not good for social progression. Trump is pushing America backwards at a pivotal time, but doesn’t matter to him as long as his celebrity status grows, which it will, because he’s brilliant. He’s brilliantly playing a hustle.

Too bad the target of the hustle is us…

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Habibi: I Got the Moves

Recently I had a chance to apologize to someone about always coming off as such an idiot, and for whatever reason this Habibi video was brought up in her response. I’m not sure of all the details of why I’m in it in the first place, though I do recall my friend asking if I would do it since I was such a “cool guy.” Unsurprisingly, my character was named “Cool Guy #3,” ( a role the director said I played quite naturally.) From what I remember, the video was filmed in some loft in Brooklyn near Baby’s All Right, where I would later loose my maroon hoodie at and stumble home from crying. Although this likely had more to do with the free vodka than anything necessarily inherent, I assume it was cause I’m a cool guy like that. The girl who mentioned the video lives in California and hates me, (a description that protects her anonymity thanks to the preponderance of girls who fall into that category.) As she related the story to me, her band really wanted to cover the song, but upon watching the video and seeing my face, she was so disgusted and filled with hatred and decided she could never, ever hear that song again. This is the influence cool guys can have on other people’s set lists.

Habibi is an all-girl Burger band based out of Brooklyn, and the video was directed by my friends Rachelyn Rez & Alice Barlow. Check it out, fuck yeah Cool Guy #3…

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My Future Suicide

I wrote this somewhere in a chapter of a book I’ve been working on. Nothing else in the chapter even remotely resembles this, as most of it is rather melancholy and reflective. Nonetheless, this went through my mind when a psychiatrist asked me if I had a plan on how I would commit suicide.

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SCENE: I rent out a motel room on skid row and go on a bender for a week (if there’s one thing that would make someone want to kill themselves, it’s a week-long bender.) Next, call Jon Larsen and tell him something is wrong and I need him to come down, now. That creates urgency and a feeling of foreboding. When he arrives, the door latch has been extended in order to keep the motel door slightly ajar, thereby providing Jon with access to the room. As he walks in, he tries to turn on the lights, but I have already smashed all the lightbulbs all over the ground so that every step he takes will be marked by the crunch of glass underfoot. A stereo will be playing distortion on an infinite loop. All the remnants of the bender will cover all flat services as if they were trophies. Across the room, the outline of a lit bathroom door will beckon him to walk towards it. As he moves across the distorted, glass covered room and gets closer to the bathroom, he’ll faintly be able to hear the subtle sound of music through the door. Finally he has arrived. He knocks, says, “Mike?” No answer. His frightened anticipation has reached its pinnacle. He opens the door and finds me naked and hanging as the song “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys plays on repeat. Jon is now horrified and calls 911 while crying, though perhaps he’ll first instagram my dead body. For the rest of his life, no matter where he is or what context it happens, every time he hears Richard Sterban sing in his iconic bass tone, “Oom pappa oom pappa oom pappa mow mow,” he’ll automatically burst into tears, tormented, incapable of forgetting that terrible night, when what was left of his tormented soul was shattered into infinite pieces, and Spencer Wholrab would be super jealous. Fuck them all, mission accomplished.

))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

The answer I gave the psychiatrist was, “Well, sort of.”

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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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