Tag Archives: mike abu

Getting Fired Again

Sat, Dec 29, 2015 at 4:11 PM

“Hi Mike, as of this moment, the Gallivan Center is terminating your employment for insubordination and trying to entice the breakdown of a great working ice rink team by undermining to the rink staff of Kurt Butkovich of who has been employed at the Gallivan Center for over 10 years and has done an outstanding job.  Numerous ice rink staff indicated that you were disruptive and negative toward not only Kurt , but the whole team unity that we have worked hard to obtain.

Please turn in your keys and uniform to security no later than 6:00 pm on 12/30/15.  Please contact security at 801-834-4890 upon your arrival.

Thank you for your cooperation.”

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It hasn’t been fully confirmed as of this moment (*update: yes it has), but I think I’m about to be fired from another job, this time for insubordination. I am only so surprised. I mean, I’d only worked a few weeks before being fired, so it came out of the blue. I also didn’t do anything insubordinate, meaning the news caught me further off guard. To be fair, insubordinate is not the worst description of me, and although it’s rather disconcerting to be fired, as it does cause a certain amount of reflection, I’d never want to be “subordinate” to anything.

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Insubordinate. What the fuck? You’d think enticing the breakdown of “a great working ice rink team” was cool. Apparently not.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been guilty of exhibiting careless, rebellious behavior at jobs. I was fired from my first job at IHC (gross misconduct), my bartending gig at the Ex-Wife’s Place (conspiracy), Twilite Lounge (failure to conspire), on the middle of a cruise ship by MILK (supposedly for being “the worst person ever”), a tutoring/mentoring job for some rich girl (a tweet), my job making gravestones at the Salt Lake Monument shop (fired for being a bad laborer by a guy who was a good laborer and had the hunchback to show for it), two relationships (emotional instability) and a hockey team (my hair I assume). And that’s just what I remember.10574532_1023785017635244_4655788656227732916_n

I’ve also had job offers retracted from me a few times, most noticeably at the Gallivan Ice Rink (bad fucking credit [before subordination]), from the Economist (thanks to my alleged Marxist leanings due to my degree being earned at the University of Utah), and, ironically enough, the University of Utah (an article I wrote about the NCAA being full of shit).

Fuck that noise.

Still, losing this job makes me pause and reflect. I guess if I look at it from a comprehensive perspective, my employment portfolio shows some definite trends. There’s probably a reason why no one asks me to be a reference. The weirdest part is that I’m actually a good worker. True, I’ve always said there’s nothing more depressing than hearing someone say they’re good at their job, but outside of that one-liner, I actually strive to do solid work when treated with respect. Seriously, I mean that. Too bad I rarely get those jobs.

Now, on one hand it is clear that I’m badass, and am simply reaping the rewards of said badassery. On the other hand, maybe I’m confusing badass with dumbass, which explains why I’m currently on the way to a sandwich shop to organize a couple shelves in exchange for a sandwich and $10 bucks.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

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At what point did I develop this personality trait? I do believe in that whole nature-and-nurture thing, where we’re influenced both by our genetics and environment, but at some point I also have to blame myself, whoever or whatever myself is. Is it right to say I have a rebellious “nature” or is it something contrived within me? I’m not sure.

I guess when it comes to working for people who don’t value me, I’ll defer to the wisdom of my grandma; “Fuck it.”

*Update: I just got a short-term job working as a fixer for a documentary series. Stay tuned to how I get fired from that one.

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Christmas Eve 2010 | Me and Mike Brown Discuss Girls

162958_1753572049270_6966341_nChristmas really sucks sometimes. Like, really sucks, and for a whole slew of reasons. Maybe you didn’t get whatever present you wanted or maybe you’re stuck dealing with some bitchy family members. Maybe you’re just alone and suicidal, again. The reasons are generally very personal, but there’s no denying the holiday can be tricky at times.

In 2010, Mike Brown and I were pissed off to all hell. Not only did we not have any clue what we were doing with our lives, but a friend of ours who had been hit by a car and was in lying in a coma in critical condition. The latter was the particular catalyst for setting us off on our path of destruction, and the former purely flamed the fire. But when it really comes down to it, the whole thing was about girls.

Earlier that summer, I’d driven across the country from New Orleans to Salt Lake City with the sole intention of laying it all out on a line for a girl, who promptly rejected me. I really should have taken that into consideration after the first time I’d done that, leaving San Francisco for the same girl with the same result. Clearly I’m either a slow learner or a glutton for punishment. I really liked that girl, and the whole thing was making me completely unhinged.

Mike Brown on the other hand, he was dealing with a complete lush who tended to be coked up out of her mind most of the time. She’d been calling and yelling at him all night, and Mike had had enough. We drank whiskey and discussed all these bullshit things that were making us angry and frustrated, and I vaguely remember asking Mike, “What the fuck are we supposed to do about any of it?”
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Mike said something and punched the fridge. I punched the fridge too, so Mike kicked it and dented in the door. This caused me to throw a plate on the ground. Mike thought that was a great idea and smashed a plate that we’d always hated. That’s when I pulled out the hammers. What followed was 45 plus minutes of me somehow filming us as we held a drunken conversation about women and life, shattering all of our dishes with hammers in the process.

If you watch all the videos, you get an idea for the level of communication that Mike and I have between each other. Sure, we might be hammering the handle off our frying pan, but we’re also talking honestly about how we feel. For instance, at one point I ask Mike what he’s looking for a girl, and he didn’t hesitate to say the truth. “Awesome boobs. Awesome boobs and that’s pretty much it. I’ve tried to look for everything else and I can’t find it,” he said. “So what else is there than awesome boobs?”

Later I filmed him getting dumped by the girl in question. Looking back, it’s pretty weird that I felt comfortable keeping the camera on him in awkward silence as some girl explains why they’re done over the phone. I’m glad I did it though, because the last line he says after she hangs up is priceless. We were completely out of control, and somehow acting reasonable because of it.

After about an hour of mayhem, our downstairs neighbor came up to check on us, worried that someone had broken into our place and was breaking our legs with baseball bats. We let him know that no, we were fine, and yes, we could see why the noise of us smashing everything with hammers could be disconcerting at 3:30 AM. Since we no longer could use our preferred instrument of destruction, we moved on to fireworks. Those worked pretty well for the moment, but once we were out, we were out, and by that I mean I have no idea what happened until I woke up the next morning.

Now, at that period in time, waking up with no memory of the night before was uncomfortably common enough to be kind of comfortable due to it’s constancy. I didn’t think anything of it, except that there did seem to be an unexpected amount of glass in bed with me. I looked up from where I was laying and stared into the kitchen.

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Ah…

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Yes…

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Fuck.

Fuck indeed. The floor was glittering with glass like the rejects from a tinsel factory. Thankfully I was still wearing my shoes, so gingerly I got up, stepped over my sweater that now had giant holes burned through it from an errant fireball, and took a look around the kitchen. The burn marks on the walls looked fairly manageable, and I figured, hey, fuck those dishes anyway, we can replace them. The fridge was pretty fucked up, but I mean, of course it was. Oh and hey, there’s still a little whiskey left! Better get to this before Mike gets up. Fuck it.

After I realized I’d videotaped the whole thing for god knows what reason, I cut up a few choice moments and threw them up on Youtube. All of our friends thought we did this shit all of the time, and really wanted to come by some night and help us smash all of our things. We thought about trying to charge people for the experience but decided that anyone who would actually be willing to pay wasn’t the type of person we wanted in our house. Instead we simply enjoyed not having to wash dishes. (This of course refers mostly to me; Mike Brown never washed dishes). Either way, Mike’s wounds healed and we didn’t get evicted out of our apartment, and Christmas otherwise passed without incident. Like Morrissey says, things could always be worse, right?

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Here’s the first video of Mike Brown and I having a surprisingly rational conversation as we smash everything in our kitchen to oblivion. Enjoy!

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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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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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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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