#44 – Vacation in Hawaii

I don’t vacation.

Since I started my career at 18 years old I have only been on one vacation, a cruise to Cabo San Lucas with my family when I was 21 years old and working at the Los Angeles Times.

Clearly "Elation" in the background depicts my mood from that cruise back in 2008. I had fun on that cruise, but in reality I didn't have many real life stresses at 22 years old, so a vacation this time around was much more needed.

Clearly “Elation” in the background depicts my mood from that cruise back in 2008. I had fun on that cruise, but in reality I didn’t have many real life stresses at 22 years old, so a vacation this time around was much more needed.

I didn’t think I would vacation ever again, until my girlfriend Zoe told me I had to go to Hawaii with her. I got back last week.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but there are a few reasons why I don’t vacation. The first being that from ages 18 to 25 I was fairly broke trying to establish my career. All the money I did make during that time typically was re-invested into my career. When I did have extra spending money during that time I typically went to Las Vegas or other party cities where relaxing really isn’t what you go for.

And from 26 to 30 years old I have worked non-stop on shows. During this time of my life I got plenty of invites to go on fun trips, but my work schedule never allowed it.

The other thing is that during this time I also got to visit some pretty cool places because the TV shows I worked on would pay for me to travel, and most of the time I got to go with friends since I typically work with people I hang out with.

Traveling for work has allowed me to see some pretty cool places like the French Quarter in New Orleans on Halloween in 2014.

Traveling for work has allowed me to see some pretty cool places like the French Quarter in New Orleans on Halloween in 2014.

Zoe was planning a trip to Hawaii around the week of March 12, because her best friend Susan was getting married and Zoe was named the Maid of Honor. She had known this date months in advance, but with my schedule I can never plan that far in advance, so I told her to plan on going without me. I know, I’m a really thoughtful boyfriend.

As the date got closer, I still told her I didn’t think I should go, because I was in the midst of looking for my next show, and I didn’t think I’d be able to enjoy a vacation without knowing if I had a gig locked in. Nor did I think it would be smart to spend money on a vacation when I don’t have a gig waiting for me upon my return.

I think she recognized that I would never allow myself to go, so she bought me a plane ticket and said I was going with her. I don’t always make the best choices, but I certainly did when I decided to start dating her.

She left two days before me so she could help put some finishing touches on the wedding plans. When I began to pack my suitcase I made the conscious decision not to bring my laptop. It was the first time I’ve ever left town without it. I would’ve left my phone too if it wasn’t for my need to depict how dope my life is perceived to be on Instagram.

As soon as she picked me up from the airport in Honolulu, I was glad she bought me a ticket. I have been stressed out, and when you’re in the midst of stress you don’t realize just how worn down you are until you power down. For me, that was on the six-hour flight from LAX to HA. I downloaded a bunch of podcasts from Marc Maron and Barry Katz, and the only thing I remember from their conversations was the first two minutes before I passed out each time I selected a new episode. Most people dislike the time spent on an airplane, but I enjoy it because it’s the one time no one in my life can bother me for something they need, especially when it’s on a flight with a company like Hawaiian Airlines, which doesn’t provide Internet access.

Susan and her husband Justin live in Hawaii already, so it was much easier for them to plan a Hawaii wedding. They decided to rent out this giant compound called Hale Koa Phineas Estates for the festivities. The compound has two giant houses on it with a basketball court, tennis court, pool, hot tub, and lots of beautiful landscape. It’s right on the beach in North Shore, and as we pulled into the estate I was even happier that Zoe made me go.

The compound sleeps over 40 people, that’s how many bedrooms and beds there are. The first night was a very big party until the wee hours in the morning. The following Friday morning Susan took a bunch of us on a hike up the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, which halfway up to the top leads to a hike down a different side of the mountain to the Makapu’u Tidepools.

This is nearly at the point where we started our hike down the side of the cliff.

This is nearly at the point where we started our hike down the side of the cliff. That paved road is where we hiked up from. The path down the side of the cliff is definitely not as smooth.

I consider myself to have great physical stamina considering how many years I’ve been a runner and how much I hike Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, but this hike down to the tidepools and back up afterward absolutely kicked my ass. I am writing this piece exactly one week after this hike, and I am still sore. Not even joking. This is 30.

The hike is literally straight down with loose dirt in some places and on the way back up you literally have to climb rocks. I am not afraid of heights, but it’s best not to look down at any point. I cut my hands a little bit going down the cliff, and once we got to the tidepools I jacked up my knees because I slipped several times on black slimy rocks while I was trying to take advantage of the photo opps for all the ladies. The hike back up made me question all my life choices. But the time spent in the surrounding water was an experience I will never forget.

No words can do this justice.

No words can do this justice.

The following Saturday was the actual wedding day, which meant I got to do whatever I wanted while Zoe and the bridesmaids got ready for showtime with Susan. What I chose to do was drink and watch TV after hitting the beach in the morning. I was too sore and had too many gashes in my feet for another adventure. I hung out with some of the other guys who weren’t in the wedding. We grabbed some seafood at a shrimp truck and went into town for some last minute clothes shopping for the wedding.

I could eat at shrimp shacks like this all day every day.

I could eat at shrimp shacks like this all day every day. This particular one has been featured on all those travel and food channel shows, so you know it was good.

The wedding was beautiful, and I was happy to be a guest of Susan and Justin. Even though I knew them for only a year I felt participatory in their experience since Zoe had me write their story of how they met for their wedding website, and I went along with Zoe to pick up Susan’s dress and also got into arguments with stores in the fashion district of Los Angeles who didn’t have the wedding reception napkins ready when they promised.

Here is the bride and groom.

Here is the bride and groom.

On Sunday morning Zoe and I woke up super early because we wanted to take advantage of our last day in Hawaii. We both didn’t know the next time we’d both have time for another vacation so we wanted to make the most of the final day. We left for Pearl Harbor at around 8am, because I like getting a little bit of historical perspective on places I visit.

Pearl Harbor offers three-hour tours, but if I learned anything from Gilligan's Island, it's best not to take a three hour tour.

Pearl Harbor offers three-hour tours, but if I learned anything from Gilligan’s Island, it’s best not to take a three hour tour.

From there we went to the beach on Waimanalo Bay, which is a pretty secluded beach.

I snapped some sexy shots of Zoe on this beach for her, but this one of her peeing in the ocean was for me...I don't know why she puts up with me.

I snapped some sexy shots of Zoe on this beach for her, but this one of her peeing in the ocean was for me…I don’t know why she puts up with me.

After a few hours there we went to Waikiki and then on to a location called China Walls to watch the sunset.

Hawaii provides its own filter.

Hawaii provides its own filter.

Spending so much time on the North Shore was certainly an experience. When you decide to stay in that area it’s a solid hour to get to anywhere that resembles civilization. I think I did a great job of disconnecting from social media and the rest of my life. Of course that didn’t go without a hitch though.

I am considering a career move to North Shore to become an Instagram Model.

I am considering a career move to North Shore to become an Instagram Model.

I had to take one business phone call on a job that I didn’t feel was a right fit for me, and I did submit my resume one time for a job that I really wanted, but other than those two occurrences I didn’t think once about my career or comedy. It felt great not to feel obligated to make an appearance somewhere for the good of my career. It felt good to take a breather. It felt good to not have any worries. I thought I would be very uncomfortable, because I don’t vacation and my mind runs on overdrive, but I had the time of my life.

The happiness in this picture sums up the whole trip.

The happiness in this picture sums up the whole trip.

This blog has really just been my 21st century version of showing you a slideshow of my Hawaiian vacation. Tune in nine years from now when I go on my next vacation.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#43 – 2015 Year in Review

I don’t really know how I feel about 2015. I experienced several big life events, both positive and negative, which only occur once in a lifetime that give me mixed feelings. It was definitely the most emotional year of my life, and the most balanced year. In previous posts I expressed that I wanted to find more of a personal and professional balance. I think I found it after a very taxing and rewarding year. Below is my annual list of “Stupid Shit I Did” and “Things I’m Proud Of” from the year past.

Stupid Shit I Did

  • Turned down an opportunity to work with Scooter Braun

For some reason I have had the opportunity to work with some notable people in the music industry. I never seeked the opportunities, but there is a crossover between music and television, so it makes sense. But this past April I was approached by Dick Clark Productions to work on a project with Scooter Braun and his artist Tori Kelly at the Billboard Music Awards. At the time, her singles were all over the radio. I turned down the gig for a few reasons. The money was crap and I wanted to get some of my own projects off the ground. I felt it was better if I didn’t go to Las Vegas for a couple weeks, because I had just spent a week out there working on a project with Floyd Mayweather. Looking back now, I probably should’ve just sucked it up, because it was only a four week gig and it’s not often you get to work with a guy who shapes musical trends like Scooter Braun. The fact that Tori Kelly was nominated for Best New Artist at the upcoming 2016 Grammy’s makes it sting a little bit more as well. Who knew I was dumber than Justin Bieber?

  • Spent a week in Las Vegas with the Mayweather family

This was actually one of the coolest things I did this year. Someone associated with the Mayweather family invited me to Las Vegas because they wanted to develop a TV show idea for them. Their invitation just so happened to coincide with the boxing match of the century, Mayweather versus Pacquiao. I spent the first week of training camp with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I was in his corner while he first got in the ring with sparring partners. I stood literally inches away with Sisqo and Richard Sherman as we watched Mayweather knock fools out and then do a jump rope floor routine to the songs of Neil Diamond. It was majical. It was like being behind the batting cage while Babe Ruth took batting practice before the World Series or being under the basket while Michael Jordan took part in a shoot-around before the NBA Finals. I was lucky to be granted access into the inner circle, but I did nothing with the opportunity. It wasn’t their fault and it wasn’t my fault why the show idea didn’t have any traction, but I am sure disappointed that nothing resulted from it other than just a fun week.

 

10385573_902132812850_3715139207664000391_n

Ring side in the Mayweather gym.

  • Didn’t travel more

I made seven trips to Las Vegas, one trip to San Luis Obispo, and numerous trips to San Diego, but other than that I was in Los Angeles the rest of the time. I felt like I lived in airports in 2014, so this was quite a different year. I had plans to go to Atlanta, New York and Hawaii, all of which fell through because of work priorities. And I turned down jobs that would’ve taken me to Miami and New Orleans for long periods of time, so it’s really my fault that I didn’t see more of the world. I am already attempting to remedy this by scheduling Hawaii in March 2016.

Things I’m Proud Of

  • Met my future wife

I never thought I would meet a woman who understands my peculiarities, makes me a better person, and shares similar interests to the point where she is also my best friend. We met on December 2, 2014 and it took us until January 6 to come to terms with the connection we both felt. Since then we have spent pretty much every day with each other. In March we decided to move in together and on May 9 that’s exactly what we did. Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is one of those things that you only experience once in life and I am beyond belief that it happened this year, and that I wasn’t afraid to pursue love.

Us in Vegas

My favorite picture of us.

  • Got a development deal for a TV show

I spent the good portion of 2014 creating and developing an idea with my comedian buddies Josh Nasar and Jamar Neighbors. We pitched a few production companies and networks and then I put the idea out of my mind to move on to creating more. One of the production companies came back to us and offered us a deal. I am thrilled to see what this deal will bring us, because this company is one that I never imagined would want to work with me on an original idea. I owe much of this success to Josh and Jamar because we all bring our own crazy that wouldn’t have led to success if one of us wasn’t a part of the process.

13709_10153177231008604_1931289756228822548_n

Josh, Joshua, Jamar, Jon, and Jake. We ran into Jon & Jake at Viacom when we were pitching MTV and they were pitching Comedy Central.

  • Helped my Mom mourn

My Mom lost her husband to cancer while she was also dealing with her own cancer diagnosis. She dealt with loss, sadness and so many other things. She dealt with it all like a champion while she tried to find some sort of peace. I was there for her when I could be and I don’t know anyone who deserves a more fruitful 2016 than what 2015 brought her.

 

Mom Zoe Me

There were many trips to SD this year to spend time with family.

  • Worked on 5 TV shows

I am simply amazed that I continue to work on multiple shows every year. I know I have talent, but it is truly difficult to have a sustainable career in television, because it’s such a fickle business. It’s extremely validating every time someone recognizes the belief I have in myself. Here are the five shows I worked on this year. All of which were either pilots or first year shows.

  1. I Can Do That (NBC)

I started this show at the end of 2014 and it led into 2015. The show premiered well and did wonders for comedian and friend Jeff Dye who you will be seeing again later on this year on another fun NBC show.

  1. Love At First Kiss (VH1)

This was a pilot for VH1. It was my second dating show after “Baggage on the Road” in 2014. Baggage was more of a game show and this had more emphasis on the relationship. I worked with the producers of “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” and got to experience how that monstrosity of a show operates. This experience most definitely expanded my knowledge base and I was happy to see that the show got picked up for series.

  1. Eat It To Beat It (CMT)

After a 2014-filled year of working on game shows, this was the only one I did in 2015. I got to experience what it’s like to work on a show from the ground up literally by creating the format, developing the challenges, working with the host, writing the script, and casting the contestants. It was a pilot, so who knows if it will get picked up? But I definitely learned some things by working with some people who have been in the business twice as long as me.

11010503_899444026200_5912609146914343211_n

Oh you know, just a typical day at work testing out challenges.

  1. The Commune (NBC)

I spent just a few weeks on this pilot that was contingent upon a cast. I think it’s supposed to shoot in early 2016, so I can’t wait to see if the vision came through.

  1. My Lottery Dream Home (HGTV)

In May this show came to me out of necessity. I turned down moving to Miami for three months to work on “Storage Wars Miami,” because my stepdad’s cancer came back and his prognosis was not good. I felt I needed to stay in Los Angeles, which is significantly closer than Miami to San Diego where my family is located. My stepdad died fourth of July weekend, one month into this job. I originally got this job because the Line Producer from “Storage Wars” recommended me to her friend on this show even though she had never worked with me. She felt bad when I explained to her why I couldn’t take her job offer. I couldn’t believe she was so nice to do that. This show ended up teaching me things I never imagined. It taught me that sometimes the simplest act can result in the biggest reward. This show allowed me to see how much patience I truly do have. And this show allowed me to revisit some of my journalistic research skills, because I was in search of some very sharp needles in the biggest haystack imaginable. I also got to work with some very smart people I had never worked with before and in turn give opportunity to some old friends I hadn’t worked with in a while. The show premieres January 1, 2016 on HGTV, and I will definitely be watching the results of my blood, sweat, and tears.

11750683_940964603630_8046678186838097001_n

Some of the team that made MLDH a success.

  • Building my brand

I bought a bunch of equipment to start a podcast in 2016. I am not a tech wizard when it comes to equipment. I’m a writer and producer and work with thoughts and vision. I know what I am good at. But I know that if I want to reach new levels I have to learn how to do stuff that makes me uncomfortable, so I researched podcast equipment, purchased the domain, and have been developing my format so that I can continue to showcase my passion in new and creative ways. I am proud of what I have done thus far, and in asking others for help, which I hate to do, I have learned that I have a large support system of people willing to help me out. I can’t wait to showcase this idea, the other things I’m proud of and even all the stupid shit I do in 2016.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#42 – Bury My Stepdad

I was watching Abby Lee Miller have a mental breakdown in the middle of the bank when my Mom text me.

“Baber passed away at 3:25pm…”

That’s how my Mom broke the news to me that my stepdad died.

I don't know how long ago this was, but I am sure it was early on in their relationship because my Mom hadn't made him grow a beard yet. Everyone agreed that the goatee looked a lot better on him than what he had in this picture.

I don’t know how long ago this was, but I am sure it was early on in their relationship because my Mom hadn’t made him grow a moustache yet. Everyone agreed that the goatee looked a lot better on him than what he had in this picture.

I wasn’t shocked. She and I knew it was coming. Just hours prior, arrangements were being made to put him on hospice, because the doctors couldn’t do anything else for him. My initial reaction was more of relief than anything else. It’s not easy watching a family member suffer. I don’t know how my Mom and sister did it for two years. I had already been in LA for six years by the time he got his diagnosis, so I only occasionally saw him at less than 50 percent of what he used to be.

It was Thursday July 2, 2015. On a normal Thursday I would’ve been at work in Culver City for another three to four hours, but because we had the Friday off before the fourth of July, my boss told everyone we could leave early. So I went to visit my girlfriend Zoe at work at her bank. Last fourth of July weekend I was in Las Vegas at Encore Beach Club watching Macklemore and Ne-Yo perform. Zoe was also in Vegas at Encore Beach Club. We weren’t together. We hadn’t met yet. This year our plan was to go to Marina Del Rey. Our friend Michael invited us on his boat to party down there.

I didn’t want to tell a lot of people. I told my oldest friend Matt because Matt pretty much grew up with me in our house. I told my oldest LA friend Chris, because he almost lost his Dad last Christmas. I told Michael because we were going to spend fourth of July with him and he’s a good friend and I didn’t just want to be a no-show. Beyond that, I didn’t speak to anyone, which is not easy for me. In the days coming, I had to tell more people, because I was M.I.A. and people were inviting me to do things, and I had to explain why I couldn’t.

I don’t know how I would have reacted if I was still at work. I probably would have walked outside until I gained my composure before asking to leave early. Instead, I was in a very public place watching a very public figure cause a very public scene. Who knows what the “Dance Moms” star was on but every other customer in the branch was trying to figure it out as she bellowed at the top of her lungs for employees to “do their job.”

I couldn’t ignore the irony of what the past 2 months had been like. Television is my life. I will do anything for it. You have to have that mentality if you work in it and want to be successful. I put a temporary hold on that mentality by turning down great jobs because of things in my personal life. My stepdad’s cancer came back vigorously in April. I got an offer from “Storage Wars: Miami” the day after that news broke. They wanted me to work in Miami for three months. I was also offered my first showrunner gig in New Orleans around the same time. They wanted me in New Orleans for way longer than three months.

I felt I couldn’t leave Los Angeles, not only because my stepdad and Mom are only an hour and a half drive away in San Diego, but because I also moved in to an awesome new place with my girlfriend and upon my return to LA didn’t want to see freshly painted pink walls and a new puppy. The pink walls and puppy aside, I knew he was on his way out, and I had to be there for my family.

We didn’t have a close relationship. That wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t hate him. He didn’t hate me. He was quiet, and I am loud and opinionated. He didn’t like being the center of attention, and I work in entertainment. We had a common love: my Mom, his wife. And we had respect for each other, but that was something that grew with time.

Here we are as a family at the Grand Canyon.

Here we are as a family at the Grand Canyon.

He came into my life when I was around ten. I still had memories of my real “Dad.” My little sister Jamaica didn’t. She took to Baber much quicker than I did. He had to deal with the horrible teen years of me leaving a room and saying, “Bye Mom, Bye Jamaica,” and then closing the door without saying bye to him. I’m sure he felt uncomfortable or pissed or some sort of disrespect when I did shit like that, but he never expressed it.

Here I am being an annoying teenager, making a face during one of our family trips.

Here I am being an annoying teenager, making a face during one of our family trips.

His ability to not bring down others is something I grew to admire, especially in his two-year battle with cancer. He never once complained, even after he had surgery, was confined to a hospital bed, lost his ability to walk without assistance, because the surgeons removed several inches of bone from his leg. And eventually when the cancer returned he still didn’t want to burden anyone with a peep of depression or anxiety. He never once took a painkiller. He never once complained that life was unfair. He never once asked, “why me?” Anyone would have understood if he did any of those things, especially because he pretty much went his whole life without illness. Even when my Mom bought him a bell to ring in case she wasn’t in his vicinity and he needed help with something, he only used it once. I’m sure my smart-ass would’ve rang it at least once as a joke, but he was much stronger than that.

As I mentioned, you couldn’t have met two people who were more complete opposites than us. The one thing we did have in common was sports. He worked for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for nearly four decades. Horseracing became a huge part of my life when he became a part of my life. He worked at the starting gate every summer during the Del Mar race meet. My Mom took us every Friday to the races. She would place $2 bets for my sister and me, and we would watch the races and she would watch Baber at the starting gate. We would all wave and he would sheepishly wave back. I’m sure his friends would tease him, because none of their families were there waving at them. I frequently talk about how I grew up in comedy clubs. The other place was at the racetrack.

Baber to the left standing where he used to stand for nearly four decades.

In retirement, Baber still made time to visit the racetrack. It was probably odd for him to be in the stands, so he always made his rounds to his old stomping grounds to visit his friends. In 2012, he took me down to the starting gate where he used to stand for nearly four decades. That’s his head to the left.

I didn’t realize it at the time, and I don’t even know if he realized it, but he had an impact in me becoming a writer. When I was 11 or 12 he signed me up for a subscription to Sports Illustrated. That’s where I discovered a writer named Rick Reilly who showed me that I could make a living writing about sports. Six years later, when I turned 18 I started making a living as a sportswriter. I still have the subscription to Sports Illustrated because he renewed it every single year without saying anything to me. I never understood why he initially bought me that as a Christmas gift, but I’m glad he did, because sports writing led to comedy and TV. I don’t know how else I would’ve discovered my passion and ability to write.

I always wondered how I would react when he passed away. I didn’t know if I would cry. I’m not a super emotional person. I didn’t know how involved I would be in the burial. After all he did have his own kids too. I didn’t know if my family would expect me to talk at his funeral, because after all, I am the one who is good with words. To me, many things were up in the air, especially since I had never gone through this before.

Zoe and I drove down to San Diego a couple hours after I got the news. We met my crying family on the balcony of my childhood home. That was only the third time I ever saw my Mom cry. The first time was when she told me she was divorcing my real “Dad.” That was on the balcony of the same house when I was six. The second time was when I was around 18 years old when she told me she had breast cancer. This third time was especially rough, because I knew she wasn’t just crying about him dying, but also because her breast cancer just came back about two weeks ago. It was the first time I saw her cry in front of a group of people. My Grandma, Grandpa, sister, and girlfriend were all there this time. The other times it was just she and I.

Any question I had about my involvement in his arrangements for the afterlife went out the door when I saw my Mom crying. It’s an unbearable feeling when you see a parent cry. They’re not the ones that do that. They’re the ones who comfort you when you’re crying. I told her I would go with her to anything she needed help with.

Because of the holiday, July 5 was the first day she would have to start getting things in order. I had been to Eternal Hills Mortuary in Oceanside numerous times. Baber’s parents are buried there. His brother is buried there. My Grandpa’s Mom is buried there. My cousins are buried there. Our families have a lot of real estate there. I had never been there for someone I really knew well though. Baber was the closest person in relation to me who has died. For God’s sake, I had only been to two funerals before. Once for my great Aunt Antonia when I was really young and another time for comedian Marilyn Martinez.

July 15 was the day of the burial. I was overwhelmed by how many people showed up to the cemetery. There were at least 200 people. There would have been more, but not all of his former co-workers could make it since the next day was opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack. My Mom totally understood since she remembers Baber’s schedule between mid-July to the beginning of September each year. I think it’s a pretty common thought to wonder how many people will be at your own funeral. I don’t know if he had those thoughts, but I’m sure he would’ve been embarrassed to know so many people showed up, because he never liked the spotlight. It really was a testament to how many people loved him when he was alive. The one thing I am sure he would’ve loved was the people wearing Chargers hats and jerseys. I feel like he was always wearing either a Chargers shirt or hat for most of his life.

Just like him, my Mom is also someone who doesn’t like the spotlight, so my sister and I made attempts to be with her while hundreds kept offering their condolences. We cried a lot. Most people were bawling during two parts in particular, when one of his oldest friends Al shared an anecdote of how Baber went to Hawaii with him to help him pursue his eventual wife. The other time people felt connected and a bit more comforting amidst tears was when his longtime friend Junior had his daughter Susan read a letter about Baber cruising in his GTO’s, tailgating at Chargers games, and hitting the Indian casinos every weekend.

I made this memorial card that we handed out at the funeral.

I made this memorial card that we handed out at the funeral.

I think I cried more, however, when we actually picked out the burial spot 10 days prior. That was more real to me than anything. That day was a bit more intimate and cryptic, because it was selecting where his final resting spot was going to be, and eventually my Mom’s final spot too. I never had to go through the burial process before, and it’s horrible for many reasons but none more so because it forces you to realize your own mortality.

Here's one of the pictures his daughter April made for the funeral. The lei was appropriate given his love for Hawaii.

Here’s one of the pictures his daughter April made for the funeral. The lei was appropriate given his love for Hawaii.

Over the past couple months it wasn’t all sadness though. Zoe got to meet him and understand my childhood and see the full family dynamic for a few months. I got to jokingly take Baber’s side a few more times when my Mom would complain that he could never give her a straight answer about what he wanted when she would present him options on anything. He was so agreeable and a go-with-the-flow person that he was always happy with whatever my Mom wanted, and that would get on her nerves sometimes, so I’d see that as an opportunity to make fun of her on his behalf. After I was done it would always leave the two of them laughing at each other.

This is the last picture we took with Baber. He got really sick after this. I don't even know if he knew that he was in the picture, because it was on Mother's Day. It's not the greatest picture of me, Zoe, and my Mom but we are glad we have it.

This is the last picture we took with Baber. He got really sick after this. I don’t even know if he knew that he was in the picture, because it was on Mother’s Day. It’s not the greatest picture of me, Zoe, and my Mom but we are glad we have it.

This picture is simply for my Mom and Zoe since we all look better in this one.

This picture is simply for my Mom and Zoe since we all look better in this one.

Over the final two months we also shared a lot of stories, laughed a lot about some of his tendencies, and reminisced about the time Baber did this…like how he couldn’t handle rides at amusement parks, but he would take Jamaica on them when she was little; how he would eat only half of pretty much any food, except beans which he hated; how he would take the coast for the view of the ocean instead of the freeway if both routes could take you somewhere; how he would take forever in the lone bathroom in the house to get ready in the morning while the rest of us would be pounding on the door for him to hurry up; and how for every Chargers home game he was first in line at the entrance to Qualcomm Stadium to get in to the parking lot.

This is one of my favorite pictures I have. It's from the starting gate. Baber took me down to the turf right before one of the races during the 2012 meet. For him it was nothing, because he spent nearly four decades in that spot, but for me it was a real treat to standing between those gates.

This is one of my favorite pictures I have. It’s from the starting gate. Baber took me down to the turf right before one of the races during the 2012 meet. For him it was nothing, because he spent nearly four decades in that spot, but for me it was a real treat to standing between those gates.

I remember life before Baber, life with him, and now life without him. Life before him was rough. I was young, but I remember how trying it was for my Mom. He made her a happier person, which trickled down to Jamaica and me. The last day I saw him was on Father’s Day and the last words I said to him were, “Happy Father’s Day.” He was in bed and hunched over to one side with not enough energy to lift himself up. He replied “Thank you,” and gave me a look that we both knew it was going to be the last time we spoke. We didn’t need to say more, because we both knew that was not going to be our lasting memory of each other. Life with him is what I will remember.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#41 – Move In with My Girlfriend…On Purpose

When I love something, I recognize it immediately, and I go all in.

That’s why I am capable of eating Chipotle seven days a week.

That’s why I used to go to Las Vegas every other week.

And that’s why after dating my girlfriend Zoe after just four months we decided to move in together.

No, I am not comparing my girlfriend to Chipotle and Vegas, but she loves both things too, so I am sure she wouldn’t mind if I did.

My favorite picture of us...of course it's in Vegas.

My favorite picture of us…of course it’s in Vegas.

And yes, it sounds crazy that I’d move in with a girl after just four months, especially when you consider I typically don’t show a girl where I live until after three months.

So, this is the first time I’ve lived with a girlfriend…on purpose. Other times, they kind of just moved in because of proximity to their work and I didn’t even realize it until they had my spare key and were no longer calling me to let them in the front door of my building.

Since the first of the year I basically stayed at Zoe’s place in Sherman Oaks every night. I hate the Valley. I lived there for six years and moved into Hollywood for the past two years so that I could be closer to the studios and comedy clubs. Zoe’s living situation with a roommate was becoming less than ideal for her, and I was getting tired of feeling like I no longer had a home since I would go days and often weeks without seeing my apartment. That’s fine when I was on the road a lot, but when I’m in Los Angeles I want to feel like I have a place.

So we came to the conclusion that we should find a new place together. Neither of us is conventional. We both do things to the beat of our own Pandora stations. And we both knew the other person was in the relationship till death do us part. So why go through the typical BS of societal dating standards? It doesn’t work out for most people who follow that route anyways.

Zoe puts up with this type of behavior, so what else can I ask for?

Zoe puts up with this type of behavior, so what else can I ask for?

We knew people would probably think we were crazy. But we were ready for that. When we began telling people, to our surprise, no one thought we should be looking for a place together in a mental institution. Everyone actually thought it was a good idea. I guess they probably saw that we do everything together anyways, so it made sense.

Although, she has been known to make faces behind my back as well.

Although, she has been known to make faces behind my back as well.

My family loves Zoe and her family loves me. Before her, I never introduced a girlfriend to my family, because whomever I was dating always gave me slight hesitancy in thinking that I was in a temporary relationship and I never wanted to introduce something temporary to something permanent like family. Zoe had introduced several boyfriends to her family, but according to her family I’m the first one they’ve actually liked. So with so much support we were further entrusted in thinking we made the right choice.

Zoe and me with my Mom on Mother's Day.

Zoe and me with my Mom on Mother’s Day.

We chose the first place we visited because we knew exactly where we wanted to live. I lived off Hollywood & Gower and from the day I moved in there was a new apartment complex being built just one block west called EastownLA. The day the complex started showing apartments to be leased, I attempted to take a tour. When they told me the price of the least expensive apartment, I turned around immediately. Zoe has a similar story of wanting to live in the complex that became OURS.

We both make good money. In fact, I don’t know how my poop and fart jokes compensate me so well. But we are both extreme individuals and have got used to paying rent on our own without the help of a significant other, so before we knew each other we both didn’t think it would be smart at that time to move in to a place with such a large financial ceiling.

Our leasing guy showed us several different style units around the complex. Our non-negotiables were a balcony and a lot of closet space. We were hoping for two parking spots and a washer/dryer in the unit as well. Realistically we were sold on the complex the moment we saw the gym and how it offered more equipment and features than 24 Hour Fitness. Then we saw the pool and Jacuzzi, which rivals the W Hotel and offers weekly pool parties with alcohol, food, and live DJ’s for the residents. The other amenities like fire pits and stainless steel barbecues sprinkled throughout the complex’s four buildings are just an added bonus.

The leasing guy showed us several units with different layouts that included our non-negotiables. With the complex only at 50 percent occupancy we had a lot of options to choose from. But for various reasons we didn’t like any of them. Then he showed us OUR apartment.

We aren't done decorating, but it's a nice start.

We aren’t done decorating, but it’s a nice start.

It’s perfect. It has a large balcony with one side that overlooks the pool while the other side overlooks Hollywood Boulevard. The light just pours in from floor to ceiling windows. There’s a walk-in closet, which to my surprise fit all of our stuff in since after all Zoe is a girl. The bathroom is huge. There’s a washer/dryer. All the appliances are brand new. No one has ever lived in the apartment before. And to top it off, the complex threw in free rent for a month.

The view from our balcony.

The view from our balcony.

Just to be sure, we looked at complex’s we figured would be comparable in the area like the Hollywood Tower and Sunset & Vine, but those places were just as expensive and didn’t have anywhere near the space that OUR place offers, plus those buildings are old and didn’t have the amenities either.

I kind of don’t believe I live where I live. After a few weeks now, it feels like a home now that we’ve framed our pictures, bought a couch and organized the furniture.

The one thing that doesn’t escape me is that there’s definitely a type of person who has the lifestyle that fits a building like OURS. There are probably a total of four units leased to families with kids. There’s also A LOT of white people. I’ve seen one black person, one Asian person, and for the first week I was afraid the cleaning staff was going to tell me to get back to doing the yard work.

This was only the third time I’ve moved in my life. Zoe has moved considerably more times than that. Nothing about the move has been discomforting. Four months seems really quick, but both of us could’ve made the move after the first weekend we met. It is easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, because I love Chipotle…err I mean Zoe:)

We took a "selfie" the first night we met each other.

We took a “selfie” the first night we met each other.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

#40 – Attend Comedy Festival

Perception is reality.

Despite growing up in comedy clubs, and all the work I do in comedy I had never been to a comedy festival. I’ve been invited to several of them, but I’m not a typical comedy producer. I completely disregard videos, I never tell comics I’m going to be in the audience, and I believe I can book any comic for some sort of project someday. With that said, I never took up an offer for a comedy festival, because I always believed it was relatively cliche for a comedy person to go to one, until my buddy Devin Roessler invited me to the San Luis Obispo Comedy Festival, which he helps operate.

Here's Devin and I at the festival making unintentional duck faces.

Here’s Devin and I at the festival making unintentional duck faces.

In years past I heard great things about the festival, mainly that it was a party-filled four-day weekend in a picturesque small town. The festival is only five years old but Devin would always talk about it with such passion that this year once February rolled around I told him I wanted to go. I think what appealed to me is that it wasn’t mainstream yet. Rarely do I enjoy mainstream things. He spoke to Eric Shantz, the comedian and founder of the festival, and they gave me a room and a festival pass.

I asked my girlfriend Zoe if she wanted to go. Our relationship is only a few months old so it was going to be our first trip somewhere together. Even though we spend literally every day together, it’s different when you’re on vacation.

Zoe and I sped up the 101 on Thursday night, missed the welcome party but got there just in time for the after-party. Miller Lite sponsored the festival, so a limitless supply of beer got me hammered that first night and each and every night thereafter. I don’t recall the sequential order in which things happened, because of all the alcohol, but here are some of the highlights.

That contraption is called a "Shotski" for obvious reasons.

That contraption is called a “Shotski” for obvious reasons.

Ended the four-day weekend even more in love with my girlfriend – In relationships past I tested the women I dated by seeing if they could hang with me at the Hollywood Improv. Since I met Zoe at the Improv, and she spends multiple nights a week there with me, this festival was a true test of how much comedy she could bare since we saw multiple shows a night and we were surrounded by 40 comedians staying in the same hotel as us. She’s also a great judge of character and we had a blast hanging with some of my favorite comedian friends that she also took a liking to like Flip Schultz, Allison Weber, Brett Riley, and Shawn Halpin. Comedians are not easy people to be around, but she probably fits in better than me.

Zoe is the real comedian

Zoe is the real comedian

Scouted some new talent – I am working on a pilot for CMT and an executive at the network asked me to recommend comedians that they might not know about which should be on their radar. I got to see Chris Cope and Mary Patterson Broome perform, both of whom I had never seen before, and promptly recommended them to the network for future consideration. Both seemed genuinely appreciative and it’s always cool to see that on the face of young comedians. Moments like that remind me of why I do what I do. Comedians often ask me why I don’t do stand-up, and I explain that they get a high off entertaining people where as I get a high off of putting them in a situation where they can get a high.

Spent time hanging with a peer – There’s not a lot of people who have a similar place in the comedy world as me. My buddy Michael is definitely one of those people. In fact, he has probably done more for comedians than I have. He’s a comedy festival veteran, has booked numerous shows including “Chelsea Lately” and “Funniest Fails,” and he’s one of the few people whose opinion on comedians I trust. It was fun hanging with him all weekend, because him being there meant comedians wouldn’t just be kissing my ass all weekend. But most of all it was good to sit through shows and get a perspective from someone who does similar work as me.

Michael and I had many debates that weekend including who's the best comedian of all time. I say Carrot Top. He says Gallagher.

Michael and I had many debates that weekend including who’s the best comedian of all time. I say Carrot Top. He says Gallagher.

Met Rawle D. Lewis – Many of you are probably like, “who?” He played Junior in “Cool Runnings.” At this point in my career, I don’t get star struck. That movie, however, had a huge impact on my childhood. If you don’t know, it’s the movie about the Jamaican bobsled team. John Candy was in it and he was a huge comedy influence on me. It was also probably the first sports movie I can remember watching over and over as a kid, which led to me becoming a sports writer. And finally, my sister’s name is Jamaica so my family has always had quite the obsession with things related to Jamaica. I was pretty drunk on the Friday of the festival and didn’t want to approach him that night. Zoe and Michael teased me about how I really wanted a picture with him. The following night I spent some time chatting with him. He told me about what it was like working with John Candy, and about how he initially started as a stand-up comedian back in Trinidad and Tobago before acting became the path that was chosen for him. Eight-year-old Josh was living a dream.

I get excited over meeting the most random people.

I get excited over meeting the most random people.

Escaped Los Angeles – I love LA, but also hate it when I don’t leave it at least once a month. The people of SLO are so much nicer, as is customary of small towns. For Gods sake, that town is so small they still have coin operated parking meters.

This post is relatively late, because of how busy I’ve been in the month after the festival, but I wanted to make sure people, and especially the comedy community, start to recognize how great of a festival it is. It was run amazingly well, every show was sold out, the caliber of comics were exceptional, and I left impressed and ready to go back next year.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

#39 – Use A Neti Pot

The fact that I started dating someone is only partially responsible for the dramatic change in subject matter from Having A One Night Stand to now writing about my first experience with a Neti Pot.

She is pretty damn great and certainly detouring me away from my debaucherous end to 2014 , but it mostly has to do with the fact that last week my nasal cavity was more congested than the 405 Freeway when I need to be somewhere.

My pain tolerance is very high, and I have a lot of pride. That’s a bad combination for someone who is sick. Two weeks ago I developed a sore throat, so by my nature, I ignored it. My nose started to run, so obviously I let it go. I convinced myself I wasn’t physically sick. I went out seven nights in a row and didn’t go to sleep before 4am on any night. Clearly I was mentally sick, in addition to physically sick.

The runny nose and sore throat turned into a cough with chest congestion, which led to hacking up Double Dare sized slime balls of mucus. I didn’t make time to go see a doctor, so I called my buddy Vinny and he diagnosed me with a sinus infection. It’s OK, Vinny’s Dad is a doctor.

Dr. Vinny said to take Mucinex, Claritin, drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, and to use a Neti Pot. I heard many things about the Neti Pot, but never used one because I have an irrational fear of putting medical devices in my eyes, nose, or butt. I was desperate though.

I had some questions for Dr. Vinny. Does it feel like you are drowning when you use the Neti? Do you use warm water? If I get an erection that lasts longer than four hours, should I see a real Doctor? Ok, maybe not the last one, but the first two were real questions.

Since Vinny isn’t a real Doctor, I thought it would be a good idea to do research on Neti Pot’s before I bought one. So before I visited Rite-Aid, I checked in for a second opinion with Google, which yielded a typical response when searching for a medical diagnosis and/or solutions on the Internet in that it nearly frightened the snot out of me. Type in “Neti” and before you type “Pot” the second suggestion comes up, “Neti Pot death.”

Makes me want to sing, "I'm a little tea pot short and stout..."

Makes me want to sing, “I’m a little tea pot short and stout…”

Needless to say, I skipped Google’s offerings and went ahead with the purchase, despite the more than likely Internet hoax of someone dying from a Neti Pot. I’m not one for reading instructions, because I have this thing called “common sense,” but when it comes to medical devices, I give the manual more than just a look-see or a once-over. It’s the former journalist in me who proof-read obituaries and doesn’t want his obituary to be mentioned in the Darwin Awards for not having read instructions on a Neti Pot.

The device is pretty self-explanatory. Fill with water. Add solution. Pull a Taylor Swift and Shake it (off). Put the spout up one nostril. Place your head over a sink. Tilt head. Breathe through mouth. Allow water to drain out the other nostril. Before switching nostrils, blow nose and realize how disgusting of a person you are if you are judged solely by what’s in your nasal cavity.

I feel like the most important thing in the instructions was to remember to breathe from the mouth. And for some reason I kept repeating in my head, “breathe from my mouth” like after nearly 29 years I was going to all of a sudden forget that I can breathe from my mouth when nostrils aren’t an option.

First I stuck the spout in my right nostril. The water started flowing from one nostril to the other as I tilted my head to the side.

“Don’t forget to breathe from your mouth, Josh.”

“Don’t forget to breathe from your mouth, Josh.”

“Don’t forget to breathe from your mouth, Josh.”

I kept repeating that mantra. You know how when you repeat something often enough you either get it drilled into your head so you don’t forget, or you get sick of hearing the same thing over and over and you simply tune out the message. Well, guess what happened. I stopped listening to the message. A few seconds passed and water was going into my mouth.

Water everywhere...

Water everywhere…

For a slight moment I thought, “I’m going to be the idiot that drowns from a Neti pot.” That may be a worse cause of death than auto-erotica asphyxiation. At least with auto-erotica asphyxiation there’s momentary pleasure before you go. Although, with how congested I was, if the Neti Pot relieved any of it before I drowned, it might be more pleasurable.

After a couple seconds I remembered how to breathe and emptied half the pot in one nostril and out the other. I blew my nose immediately after and became disgusted with myself, which was not the first time that day.

The other nostril was easier to handle since I was a pro after doing it once. That nostril revealed even more mucus after I blew it. The feeling of relief was immediate. There was no more pressure in my head. I felt like a brand new person. It was the first night I was able to sleep because I could actually breathe and my normal voice was returning.

The Neti Pot is a reusable device, so I’m sure I’ll be utilizing it even when I am not sick, because my sinuses and allergies are really sensitive. Plus, it’s just fun to say Neti.

I'm an idiot

I’m an idiot

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

#38 – 2014 Year In Review

I am not a perfect person, which is why I always start this annual entry with the stupid shit I did in the previous 364 days of the year.

 

Stupid Shit I did in 2014

  • Had a relationship end poorly

We weren’t right for each other, but we were good for each other’s progression in life. Despite my best efforts we couldn’t be civil in the immediate aftermath.

  • Had a one night stand with a woman who took my debit card

After my ex and I broke up, I went through a debauchery-filled period. Call it making up for lost time or whatever, but I “dated” a couple strippers, hooked up with randoms in bars, caught mono from one of them, and culminated with having sex with the stranger who had my debit card.

  • Missed family celebrations

I missed San Diego Padres opening day with my Grandpa for only the second time in my life. I missed his 85th birthday on Halloween. I missed my Grandma’s 81st birthday on November 1. There were other events too, I’m sure. I missed a lot because I worked a lot.

I did make it back home to San Diego to spend my birthday with the family.

I did make it back home to San Diego to spend my birthday with the family.

  • Drank way too much

I consider myself a social drinker. The problem is I go out every night. I started the new year off extremely hungover after partying until 5am on new years eve. Minus the month I took off drinking for “The Doctor’s Diet” to go on the show in January, everything I did seemed to include alcohol. Throughout it all, I only threw up once, and that was in Austin, TX. Tequila and my stomach don’t mix well is a lesson I’ve learned many times. This will probably be on my list of Stupid Shit in 2015 too.

Drinking with my sister on her birthday.

Drinking with my sister on her birthday.

  • Didn’t update my blog more

I’ve mentioned more than a few times how this blog resurrected my career back in 2012. It really fell off once I got busier with work in 2013, but in 2014 it nearly died. This is only my third entry in 2014 and I didn’t write my first entry until mid-October. My last two entries got a great response, I think because I was being extremely vulnerable, and wrote about things most people do but don’t talk about. I intend to do more of that in 2015, so this regret isn’t on my list of stupid shit next year.

 

Things I’m Proud I did in 2014

 

  • Worked on 6 different TV shows

Last year I worked on 5 shows and couldn’t believe how lucky I was. This year went way beyond my expectations. I steadily see the progress I am making in my career, and its thanks in part to my amazing peers and producers I have been allowed to observe and work with.

January-March

America’s Got Talent (NBC)

This show will always hold a special place in my heart, because of how it resurrected my career in 2012. Getting to work on it for a second season with more responsibility felt great. I couldn’t find a top-finisher like I did my first season on the show, but I had so much fun joking around each day with my co-workers as we dealt with daily Youtube fails.

Snapping selfies on set with Justin.

Snapping selfies on set with Justin.

March-June

The Chase (GSN)

I met friends for life on this show. It also started my year of work travel by going to New York and San Francisco. This show brought me back to working on a set after a six-month break from it. Brooke Burns and Mark Labbett are great on-air personalities that excel at what they do. This show also taught me a lot about the game show world and welcomed me to the GSN family.

Here I am playing game show host standing in for Brooke Burns on The Chase.

Here I am playing game show host standing in for Brooke Burns on The Chase.

June

Idiotest (GSN)

I didn’t work on this one long, but it was with people I love. It also became the second show I did for GSN this year. It was also great to see a show hosted by a comedian get a second season pickup.

June-August

Boom! (FOX)

This was the most trying show of the year. My level of frustration was pushed to levels way beyond I ever imagined. I had inner battles, outward arguments, and moments nearly on the verge of tears. I was placed in unfair situations, and at the time I didn’t know why I was put in those positions, but in the end I learned so much. I’m glad I went through everything I did because it made my skin a lot tougher, and I really got to see the inner workings of game show development.

Yup

Yup

September-November

Baggage on the Road (GSN)

Without putting down every other show I’ve worked on, I’ve never had a more rewarding experience than working on this show. I got to write a TV show. I got to travel. I got to work hand-in-hand with a living legend like Jerry Springer. He said jokes I wrote. I’ve worked with celebrities before, but he’s at a level of fame only a few people know. People chant his name everywhere he goes. And he couldn’t be nicer. And the people I worked with are basically like family to me now.

Probably my favorite picture from set.

Probably my favorite picture from set.

I Can Do That (NBC)

This was another show I worked on for only a short time. But it was a nice book end to my year, and again it was with people I love who are always there for me whenever I want to work and have fun while doing it.

  • Saw the country

Last year I put, “Didn’t travel more” under my “Stupid shit I did in 2013.” This year I made up for that by traveling to New York, San Francisco, Austin, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, St. Petersburg, Waterbury, Hartford, Las Vegas, and San Diego. Next year my goal is to not remember every city I visited.

New Orleans on Halloween with my coworkers was a blast.

New Orleans on Halloween with my coworkers was a blast.

  • Bought a brand new car

Not going to lie. I grew up spoiled. My Mom and Grandparents bought me my first car, a used 1995 Ford Escort when I was 16. Then my Grandparents bought me a brand new 2004 Nissan Xterra when I was 18. That car lasted nearly 200,000 miles until this year when I bought my brand new 2014 Scion tc. I feel like a grown up now.

Sad to see my old car go after so many great memories. But now I'm making even better ones with this new one.

Sad to see my old car go after so many great memories. But now I’m making even better ones with this new one.

  • Helped other people get jobs

Several people recommended me for jobs this year, for which I am eternally grateful. So, I tried to pay it forward, and each person I did it for, didn’t disappoint me. It’s amazing to finally feel like I have solid people in my peer group that I can rely on.

So glad I got to work with Tessa on a FUN show.

So glad I got to work with Tessa on a FUN show.

  • Remained involved with my alma mater

Cal State University, San Marcos is very important to me. It showed me I could write. I had no clue this was something I could do until I went to college. I have always tried to remain involved with the university in any way I can. One of my favorite former professors asks me every year to go back and be a guest speaker to her current students. I couldn’t do it in 2013, after I did it in 2012. This year I was able to make it back and it was a blast. In addition, the student affairs and alumni association contacted me and asked if they could interview me and write a story on me. It was filled with some of the nicest words anyone has ever said about me. They made me sound a lot cooler than I actually am.

Here’s the article CSUSM wrote on me.

What I love most about that article is that they spelled my last name incorrectly in the headline, but got it right everywhere else in the article. They said such amazing things, but know how to keep my head from getting too big, which is why I continue to love my alma mater.

Here’s to an even more fun-filled 2015. Happy New Year everyone.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#37 – Have A One Night Stand

I over-eat, over-drink, and over-analyze.

So why not over-share?

I had a one-night stand last month.

I didn’t realize it, but I never had one before. I generally always go back for seconds, hence the over-eating problem.

I did six TV shows this year. I love to work. It keeps me out of trouble. When I’m working it’s usually all consuming, so when I have a break I tend to make up for lost freedom.

I spent nearly all of November traveling the country. On my first night back in Los Angeles, a Tuesday, I went to the Hollywood Improv, my home away from home. Since I didn’t have to be anywhere early on Wednesday morning, I closed down the Improv bar talking to a woman. I probably could’ve taken her to my place, but I was trying not to go down my usual path of hiatus destruction, and was actually more interested in sleep after not having done it for a month on the road.

The next morning I went to the movies, and afterward I went to Subway for a salad. Yeah, I’m the weirdo who orders a salad at Subway. Probably because I don’t like the judgmental look from my sandwich artist when I order a sandwich and say, “no cheese.” Anyways, when the cashier handed me back my platinum blue Wells Fargo debit card, I noticed something was different about the card this time. “My name isn’t ‘Stacy.’”

I had someone else’s debit card. Why didn’t I notice this at the movie theater? Oh yeah, I was hung over. One of my two favorite bartenders at the Improv, Eddie, must’ve gave “Stacy” my debit card when she closed out her tab and he gave me hers at the end of the night since her card looks exactly like mine. Simple mistake. I wasn’t mad.

I had never lost a debit card before, so my natural instinct wasn’t to immediately call my bank and cancel the card. My mind operates in the world of social media so I opened Facebook, typed “Stacy’s” full name into the search box. Through some deductive reasoning I landed on who I thought might have my card, so I sent her a message with my phone number.

I love social media

I love social media

We talked on the phone, had a pleasant conversation, and realized we weren’t serial killers so she asked if we could meet to exchange cards. I cancelled mine already, but I suggested we meet at the Improv, since I was planning on going there again and she obviously knew where it was. She agreed to meet around midnight.

A couple hours passed and she sent me a text message saying she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the Improv at that time, but asked if I’d be willing to drop it off at her place on my way to the club. I said I’d be getting to the Improv at around 8pm, so I’d stop by her place at 7:45pm.

On Facebook I must look really trustworthy or really innocent, because I had her debit card and she gave me her address. All I needed next was her social security number.

Another hour or two passed and she sent me another text message.

It would be rude to say no, and my Mom always taught me to be polite.

It would be rude to say no, and my Mom always taught me to be polite.

I like free beer.

When I got to her apartment she invited me in and told me to grab a seat on her couch. She gave me a beer, and sat across from me on a chair. She was wearing a skirt and didn’t cross her legs. I thought that was weird, but then again, I’m a complete stranger and she invited me in to her place. We talked for a little bit before we moved to her courtyard, so she could smoke. She brought me another beer before I even finished the first one. Looking back now, I think she was trying to get me drunk. Before I realized, an hour passed and her attempt was successful. To that point, all I had to eat was that salad from Subway seven hours prior.

Now, this blog entry isn’t titled “#37 – Have Debit Card Stolen,” because otherwise the story would’ve ended at Subway.

We had sex.

It was pretty damn good. Unexpected sex is always good. I was drunk. She was drunk. She made the first move, because I’m dense and don’t know when a woman is interested in me. We watched “Hello Ladies” in between her orgasms, which is underrated. The TV show, not the orgasms. I got home at 6am Thursday morning, tried to sleep, and couldn’t.

I usually can’t sleep after sex, because I question, “why did I do that?” If you’ve never asked yourself that after sex, then you’re probably a well-adjusted person in a healthy relationship. So congrats to you.

But I’m the type of man who has sex with a stranger that has my credit card just an hour after meeting her, so you can imagine how many times in my life I’ve asked myself, “why did I do that?”

In fact, I am kind of asking myself that question about publishing this blog entry.

I mean, I know why I “did that.” No hassle vagina, and a great story. Plus, I’m attracted to women older than me and “Stacy” was seven years older than me. I’m also attracted to women younger than me since at 29 years old I am at that weird age where not too old and not too young women are interested, but that’s beside the point, because I didn’t even orgasm. So, really why did I do that?

Over the next week she hit me up multiple times for a return trip, but I was frightened by the degenerate slope I was slipping down just one week off from work, so I didn’t return phone calls, texts, or Facebook messages and decided I should go back to work. I got an offer to help out on a new show until the end of the year, so I took it.

I don’t need to spell it out, but there is so much that frightens me looking back. I mean it would be easy for me to say she was crazy for inviting a complete stranger into her place. But I was even crazier to accept the invitation

“Stacy” eventually revealed to me that she was in the middle of a 10-day bender and that she also had a boyfriend. Despite that, I still gave thought to her offers to hook up again, because after all, vagina. But I didn’t.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

#36 – Go on an Online Date

I don’t date.

I never really have. All of my past relationships were a result of the woman pursuing me. That’s not bragging. I’m just lazy. And I think I inherently know that romance leads to heartbreak, so I avoid it unless someone brings me into it.

More or less, I’ve spent the majority of my life having the no strings attached type of relationships, which consist mainly of banging and leaving, and that wasn’t just me doing the leaving. That is until my recent relationship of nearly a year and a half, which was a brand new record for me.

Prior to that relationship, I had “Go on an online date” on my list of Discomfort Blog ideas. I never did it, because I am not that good on paper. I’m more attractive once you get to know me.

In the duration of my past relationship, Tinder hit the world hard. I took enjoyment seeing friends swipe right during down times in their daily lives. I never thought I would create an account on there, because when you’re in a relationship you think it’s never going to end. Plus, I always thought it was kind of silly that people were so desperate to meet someone that they would force a meeting.

After my ex broke up with me I decided to revisit the idea of going on an online date, you know strictly to write about something, not because I’m a horny dude or anything. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal of online dating. If you fear rejection, it’s not face to face unless you want to meet up, and there’s even less risk with Tinder since you only talk to people who think you are attractive as well.

So, I scavenged through my Facebook for skinny pics and joined up a few weeks ago. I got quite a few matches rather quickly. More than I actually thought I would, which is a result of having a poor image in my head from being a former fatty. I did a whole bunch of messaging, but didn’t meet anyone in person. Frankly, I was too busy to meet anyone. I just started working on a new TV show, which ironically is the dating game show “Baggage on the Road” hosted by Jerry Springer. Only I would become recently single and start working on a dating show.

My Tinder profile pictures equipped with emojis and a cheesy line.

My Tinder profile picture equipped with emojis and a cheesy line.

The night before I left for Austin, Texas to start shooting the show I got a match from a woman who gave me her number within five messages. While out of town she text asking if I wanted to go to a concert at The Wiltern. I thought she was attractive and I appreciated the forwardness since like I mentioned previously, I’m lazy when it comes to this dating game. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at her forwardness since she is 37 years old, nine years my senior. Women that age tend to not waste as much time as younger women.

I didn’t flinch at the age gap, because I’m a bit of an old soul and I’ve been in relationships with larger age gaps. When I was 23 I dated a woman who was 35. Before you start thinking I have Mommy issues, my last girlfriend was six years younger than me.

I rescheduled with her for the Sunday after I returned from Austin. I had no idea what we would do, because our exchanges were very limited. She didn’t have a bio on her profile, and all I knew was that she liked yoga and posing with the man who we in Los Angeles call “Sunset Jesus” because he walks up and down Sunset Boulevard dressed as Jesus. I didn’t even know how to pronounce her name. It looked French, but she didn’t.

She suggested we go to a concert again. I told her I couldn’t because I agreed to be a guest on a podcast that night. Since it was Sunday, I asked if she liked football. She said “no.” I almost broke up with her right there even before we even went on a first date. She suggested a museum. In my head, I laughed because after all it was Sunday and football is my religion. Long story short, I suggested the Grammy Museum at LA Live, because if I’m going to have to go to a museum it can’t be a real museum.

I arrived to the museum first. It pains me even writing “museum.” I sat there semi-hoping she wouldn’t show up. I know I set the date, but I was already regretting it now that it was real. Plus, I could see the Chargers driving down the field on a TV in the distance.

She showed up and looked like a slight variation of the four pictures she had on her profile. I wasn’t disappointed. I mean you have to assume that online everyone puts their very best pictures up. She was exotic looking. From her pictures I had no idea if she was African American, Native American, Indian, or all of the above.

We went through the typical get to know you questions. I did my best to take interest in her likes, but I could tell we didn’t have a lot in common. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that awkward, mainly because I can converse with just about anyone thanks to years of being a journalist and working in casting. The only level of discomfort occurred when she asked, “So what do you do for a living?” I’m honest, so I told her, “I work in TV.”

I should have assumed her follow-up question would be, “What show?”

But I didn’t think anything of it when she asked, so I said, “I’m writing this dating game show called ‘Baggage.’”

“Wait, a dating show, I’m not on it right now am I?” she said without missing a beat. “That’s not what this is right now, is it? Is this one of those hidden camera shows? You’re not going to use anything from this date on your show, are you?”

Only in LA.

After I answered “no” four times, and got past that hurdle, we conversed some more. I wish that was the first time I’ve had to reassure a woman I wasn’t filming her.

She was nice, and the next day instead of telling me to take a hike she asked if I wanted to go for a hike at Griffith Park. So, I guess that means the date was a success. But I really had no interest, so I passed.

Overall, I really don’t think online dating is for me. I don’t like forcing a meeting. I prefer chance and circumstance. Tinder definitely serves as a great ego boost, but for me I don’t think it goes beyond that. Plus, my favorite thing has been stumbling upon women I know in real life and texting them screenshots of their profile.

Side note, I’ve got way more matches in cities outside of Los Angeles, like San Diego and Austin, which I think speaks to the superficiality of online dating in the plastic town of LA. As much trash as I’m talking about online dating right now, I just realized I’ll be in Baton Rouge, Tampa, Hartford, Las Vegas, and San Diego in the next seven weeks and the road is lonely. So what I’m really saying is that I’m full of shit and I love Tinder.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

35 – Write A Second End of Year Review

It’s time for my second annual list of Stupid Shit I Did & Things I’m Proud Of from the past year.

Stupid Shit I Did in 2013

I know I am getting older, because I look at the things I’ve written below and there’s no raw-dogging chicks or falling asleep with strippers in my lap. My regrets are also far less in numbers, and a bit more personal in spirit.

  • Quit a TV show: I have always been astutely aware that I am fortunate to work in television. The fact that people pay me for this shit is ridiculous. I never thought I would quit a TV show. But I did. Some days I regret it. Most days I don’t. I was good at the job. The people I worked with liked me. I was even friends with the host. I had job security. I left it all though. Maybe I gave up too early. It was a stupid move at the time, because I didn’t have something else lined up. The thing that bugs me most is that I gave up. And I’ve never given up on something before.
  • Gained 10 pounds: I put in a lot of work to get down to 150-160 pounds in 2012. And in 2013 I put in a lot of work in my career, which meant significantly less time working out. Add in the stress eating and drinking, I find myself at 170 pounds at the end of 2013. The fat boy inside my brain will always think I need to lose weight, and even though I know 170 is still skinny for my height, I still consider this to be something stupid I did in 2013.
  • Didn’t Travel More: Last year it seemed like I was in Las Vegas every other weekend. I’m ashamed to say that I only went three times this year. I did go to Chicago for the first time as well. And in traditional form I also went to San Diego a dozen times or so, however, work prevented me from cashing in on trips to New York and San Francisco. I should’ve taken the time to venture out of Los Angeles more often.

Things I’m Proud I Did in 2013

The one thing I learned from the list below is that I worked a lot. I think I need to find a balance between fun and work, because last year was my party year and this year was my work year. These accomplishments, however, are substantial, which is all that matters.

  • Work on Five Different TV Shows: This was the first year I worked on more than two shows. It’s the first time I’ve actually felt like I have a legitimate TV career.

January-February: “America’s Got Talent” on NBC

Career-wise, this show started off my hot year.

Career-wise, this show started off my hot year.

April-May: “The Test” by CBS

I found every opportunity to nap on The Test. 100 hour work weeks will do this to anyone.

I found every opportunity to nap on The Test. 100 hour work weeks will do this to anyone.

May-July: “Let’s Make A Deal” on CBS

Working on set of "Let's Make A Deal" was a blast. Felt food to see people excited to be on a show, after spending the prior month sleeping at my desk.

Working on set of “Let’s Make A Deal” was a blast. Felt food to see people excited to be on a show, after spending the prior month sleeping at my desk.

July-August: “Wall of Fame” coming to NBC

Just messing around with Jason. Means a lot working for someone who will look out for you. Had a blast in Chicago working on Wall of Fame with him. With LMAD and WOF I learned a lot about game shows in 2013, thanks to him.

Just messing around with Jason. Means a lot working for someone who will look out for you. Had a blast in Chicago working on Wall of Fame with him. With LMAD and WOF I learned a lot about game shows in 2013, thanks to him.

September-November: “Operation Repo” on TruTV

It felt great to get back into the field on "Operation Repo." Working as the AD on this show was my highest ranking credit I've ever had, and I think it's taking my career down a new path. We shot in cars, planes, and boats, and I had the time of my life in all three.

It felt great to get back into the field on “Operation Repo.” Working as the AD on this show was my highest ranking credit I’ve ever had, and I think it’s taking my career down a new path. We shot in cars, planes, and boats, and I had the time of my life in all three.

October-Present: “America’s Got Talent” on NBC

  • Start A Relationship: I’ve been serially single. I’ve always said I would remain that way until I found someone who was just as intelligent as me and worked in the same industry, because that’s the only type of person who wouldn’t give me crap about the amount of time I put into my career. I found her, and have been happy for eight months now. Probably not impressive to most of you, but definitely a new record for me.
It has been pure joy with this one. A lot of laughs, for sure.

It has been pure joy with this one. A lot of laughs, for sure.

  • Help Make Someone Else’s Dreams Come True: I spent the prior five years in Los Angeles working with people who I thought had my best intentions, but really were pieces of shit. In November of 2012 I told a comedian friend he should audition for the reality competition show I just started working on. He was hesitant and just like me, not in a great point in his life. 10 months later, Taylor Williamson finished in second place on “America’s Got Talent, is selling out comedy clubs, and is a household name. Talking out his strategy each week from the initial unaired audition to the season finale in Radio City Music Hall was an amazing experience. Unlike the assholes I associated with in prior years, he had my back, and ensured that the higher-ups on AGT knew what I did, thus securing my return to the show. We helped each other out, and he restored my faith that there are good people in show business. Below is my favorite performance that he did on AGT and the conversation that went into the development of it was one of my favorites from 2013.

  • Quit a TV Show: I quit “The Test” after five weeks because I was working over 100 hours per week. I was falling asleep on the way to work in the morning. If it was four years ago I probably would’ve put up with the abuse because back then I didn’t know when I was going to find another TV show to work on. I quit “The Test” with no promise of another show, but I ended up working on the three shows immediately after, so I pumped up my resume and got my life back.
  • Have Sex with a Friend and Not Have it be Weird: I dated this one girl in 2012 and even though we stopped dating, we remained friends. Before I got in a relationship, we even had sex in 2013 as friends. It wasn’t weird the next morning, I think because we actually have respect for one another. Who knew sex with a friend could be a thing?
  • Continue My Journalism Career: Journalism was my first love, and every year I try to revisit that passion. This year my buddy Jon Gold hooked me up with two gigs when I was in between TV shows. One was to cover an NHL game between the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks and the other was to cover an MLB game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. Journalism still provides an adrenaline rush that TV doesn’t give me, but I have way more fun in TV.
Getting paid to watch sports is almost as unbelievable as the fact that I get paid to make TV.

Getting paid to watch sports is almost as unbelievable as the fact that I get paid to make TV.

  • Move Into Hollywood: I lived in the Valley for six years. That’s six years of driving with a buzz. That’s six years of spending far too much money on gas. That’s six years of unbearably hot summers. That’s six years of…
  • Not Repeat Stupid Shit I Did In 2012: This definitely means I am growing up.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.