Thursday, November 21, 2013

Logic: Used To Hate It (Now You Love It)

Introducing Paper Clipper, our handy mascot/assistant.

I am a recreational drug user.  There, I said it, once and for all.

The U.S. government would define my activity as illegal.  I would define my activity as all-around life-bettering.


I am here today, and in the future, to propose an alternate view, free of the confines of someone looking over my shoulder.  Free because I do not have a real job, I do not have a boss, and I find myself wholly unaccountable to anyone else, and certainly not the U.S. government (what up Panama).

It is an easy argument to make that I am doing this, in no small part, for myself.  I want weed legalized in the U.S., that's a no-brainer.  I want to move to a town in Colorado somewhere between Denver and the west end of the Rocky Mountains, open up a coffee shop (the version you would find in Amsterdam), and live happily ever after.  I have had a name picked out for 3 years.  Sociabowl.  If you steal it I have proof RIGHT HERE.

It is not an easy argument to say that I am doing this for the benefit of the U.S. government.  The same guys who took my job away from me overnight on April 15, 2011 and temporarily froze 2/3 of my liquid assets for no real reason.  The same guys who treat NATIONAL FINANCIAL DEADLINES just like I did most papers junior year of college: "IT'S COOL, YOU DON'T NEED TO DO IT! YOU'RE IN DENIAL! AN 'F' REALLY ISN'T THAT BAD!"  That said, deep down I obviously do want my hometown government to succeed.  That I feel like drug legalization would help them is a nice side-effect, and at the very least a powerful argument I hope to land with others that don't want weed legalized for the same reasons I do.

But I choose to raise the banner on this side of the war right now just because simply, I think that it is right.  I think people should be allowed the choice to smoke marijuana, because who gives a fuck.  I hope to write a series of blogs that explore drug use from a variety of perspectives, that not only reflect my personal experiences and beliefs regarding drugs, but also an informed analytical perspective as well (I did squeeze out an Economics major after all).  We will consider this my basic hypothesis: "Weed should be nationally legalized and overall drug use has an irrationally bad reputation."  By taking what I currently have a lot of - personal experience, either in taking or being around - and combining that with some research, I hope to show what support for this hypothesis there really is.


My ideas on drugs differ greatly from the national government's stance on drugs, and that is in no small part due to the fact that my views aren't based on information from the 1930s.

Here is a good way to start.

Acid?  Not really at all what you thought it was
Ecstasy?  On the right stuff, you are 100x more coherent than when drunk
Weed?  Pretty much the best drug in the world
Mushrooms?  Actually the best drug in the world

I imagine a LOT of you reading this will have a similar, adverse reaction to hearing these drug names, but why IS that?  Is it really anything beyond social stigma in most cases?  How much have you even heard about these drugs since DARE scared the crap out of us (myself included) from the 1st-5th grades (ages 6-10 for you foreigners).  Who doesn't remember the slogan "DARE to keep kids off drugs?"  Were any of those times you've heard about it since then not been in the negative spotlight of media?

I didn't smoke weed until I was 21 years old.  Among stoner standards, I am one hell of a late bloomer.  Why did I wait so long?

Growing up in a family of two parents that didn't drink aside from my dad's once-annual-glass-of-merlot-on-a-family-trip, I had little to no exposure to the world of alcohol, the one, true gateway drug.  My dad ordered a gin and tonic once when I was 20 and I nearly shit myself.  Oblivious to the simplest of "vices," drugs were easily conceived to be a terrible, terrible thing in the mind of young, impressionable Brandon, an image reinforced and molded by a fairly rigorous DARE program in elementary school.  In middle school I was swearing my best friend to pacts that we would never drink (Sorry Graham, I may have broken that…).  Even in high school I looked at the groups that went out and drank with quiet disdain, although that was mostly because they were primarily popular douchebags.  Drug use?  That was on a whole different level.

But things started to change when I was finally exposed to a more open-minded and accepting view of drinking, aka college.  Admittedly many people at least dabble with drinking in high school, but outside of a couple of brief escapades with Sangria in Europe, I was an alcohol noob.

What I saw in college was something completely different.  People I RESPECTED were drinking, and having a good fucking time.  Not only that, nothing bad was happening.  I mean, people were puking, some were making out with people they wouldn't have been two hours ago, and I found a sport that I was truly fucking terrible at for a while (beer pong) but nothing TERRIBLE was happening.  I was bound to get better at beer pong eventually.

For the first time in my life I saw alcohol as something that could actually just be a good thing, and not the life-crushing monster I had somehow built it up to be.  For the first year of college I drank probably around 5 times (I did still go to William and Mary so it wasn't that hard to avoid) but this was a huge change from the previous 18 years of my life.  Once sophomore year started, it was all uphill from there.  Drinking became a very normal - and very awesome - part of my social life.

With this barrier knocked down, the logical one to follow was marijuana.


The summer after freshman year of college one of my best friends and I went golfing one afternoon.  In the car ride over he tentatively went about telling me that he had started smoking weed.

I just about slapped him in the face.

18 years old, and this was my honest reaction to a friend of mine telling me that he'd started - very, VERY recreationally* - smoking weed.  I was honestly fuming at him for the rest of the car ride but during golf we were able to have a semi-open discussion about it.  To say the least I hadn't exactly been converted.  But he was a friend and I wasn't quite a big enough pussy at the time to drop a friend because he liked weed, just really, really close (ask my friend Sam about when he started smoking cigarettes sometime).

The one thing this did accomplish, however, was that he was the first good friend of mine that I truly RESPECTED, that smoked weed.  At the very least, I had been willing to accept it, and when I listened to him talk I found myself armed with shockingly little logic to contend his arguments.  All of a sudden I felt like I was just spewing out the same shit I'd heard from 3rd grade and never once questioned whether or not it was true.  Drugs are bad, mmkay?

Obviously found South Park a little too late too...

A year later virtually all of my resistance to weed had been broken down.  Turned out, LOTS of people I respected smoked weed.  Who knew?  (Again, LOTS of people).  So when a conversation with my parents rolled around in which they tried to convince me to drink "responsibly" (they probably wouldn't have appreciated my DIS-interest** listed on Facebook: "drinking in moderation") I steered it in a different direction: "Why shouldn't I smoke weed?"

Momentarily ignoring my dad's request to have mom answer the question, I was laid out a number of reasons (read: theories, most notably "it could be laced with things") that I had essentially debunked over the last year at school while quietly observing.  My mom's final attempts to dissuade me from using weed had, ironically, convinced me that I was comfortable trying it, when the moment arose.

A few weeks later a conversation with my Dad led to the suggestion that I try it, to which I assured him, "don't worry, I will."


It took nearly a full year for me to "deem the time right," or rather, to attempt to take my aforementioned junior year academic self-destruction to the social realms.  "Fuck it, its been a weird night, let's just fucking get it over with and try it."  Ironically, I could now argue that the botched attempt at "self-destruction" that fateful 4/21 (yes, the day after) turned out to be the first major step in the right direction...

*For the purposes of this blog post, "recreationally" is a word.  For the purposes of the rest of my life, I will be an avid supporter of making it one.
**Dis-interests were a subset of Interests on Facebook, created by Evan Elsaesser*** and Jeff Clark****, but regrettably never officially sanctioned by Facebook.
***Dis-interested in Nick Cannon's Wildn' Out.
****Dis-interested in all drinks other than Mountain Dew

Other Infamous Disinterests
Tyra Banks' personality
Subway commercials
Small Car Fake-Me-Outs (an open parking space that turns out to be not so open at all...)
Spencer from The Hills

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rise and Fall: The Maxim Hot 100

While idly browsing (read: scanning 1 by 1, clicking through additional pictures) Maxim's recently released Hot 100 of 2013, I became unnerved by an apparent trend in Maxim's following: it is now principally comprised of 14-year old girls.

The evidence is condemning.  A top 100 list voted on "by the people" came to the conclusion that Miley Cyrus is the hottest woman in the world.  The girl that can't even decide what she looks like for more than 14 and a half minutes, perhaps stuck in the multi-personality universe of her former Disney character, Hannah Montana.

In response to being bestowed with this honor, Miley was quoted saying, "It feels amazing to be the No.1 especially because it was voted on by the fans. I have the best fans in the world!"  What are Miley Cyrus's fans doing voting in a Maxim poll?  They certainly shouldn't be Maxim readers.

Last I checked, Maxim readers were loosely defined as "men who want to have sex with women."  I have prepared a Venn Diagram for you.

As you can see, there is virtually no overlap between the fans of Miley Cyrus and those who want to bang her (i.e. read Maxim).

Now, there was a brief disruption in this relationship back in 2010/2011 with the release of "Party in the USA" that actually permitted me to use shading:

But without another insanely catchy song to continue this trend, we have quickly reverted to the original diagram.

Other Disney Stars in the top 10*:
2) Selena Gomez**
7) Ashley Tisdale
9) Vanessa Hudgens

Then Demi Lovato sneaks it in at #26, who I was sure until just now was only famous for her singing and had never gotten hot.  Turns out I might be a little wrong on this one but still.

You may argue, "But there aren't any other Disney stars in the top 100."  That's because their chaotic-pack-of-teenage-girls fanbase threw everything they had at all they got.  They sapped the Disney hotness pool dry.

This is like when MLB opened up All-Star voting internationally and all of a sudden Kosuke Fukudome was an All-Star.  He of the CAREER line of 42 HR and 192 RBI, a decent season for Miguel Cabrera if you ignore the inflated RBI numbers and .258 career batting average.  It is wrong, and should not be stood for.

*Full poll results actually showed Miley Cyrus got 2nd in the voting but Zach Efron was deemed ineligible after considerable deliberation (thus simultaneously bumping Justin Beiber from his spot at #3).

**Selena Gomez was the rightful #1 and we all know it.

The Hot 100 provided several other unusual results.  Some of them led me to believe they weren't really voted on at all.

The Democratic Plant.

#54: Kamala Harris.


"The current Attorney General of California."





Full Bio: "The current Attorney General of California cracks down on hate and financial crime like a bawss and created the Environmental Justice Unit in San Francisco. She makes following the law super sexy!"

And is popular enough to be FAN-voted into Maxim's Hot 100?  Are 14 year-old girls suddenly extremely politically savvy?  Did I just use 4 words in a row ending with a 'y'?  Are you allowed to make entire paragraphs of questions?

I think the Democrats bought her a spot.  Look for her on the 2016 ballots, you heard it hear first.

"Is it 1998?" 

- Ryan Martin

#23: Heather Graham
#10: Elisha Cuthbert
#6: Jennifer Love-Hewitt

Don't get me wrong, Heather Graham is still pretty hot, but its 2013.  Where is this coming from?  Is she playing a mom on a new Disney show?

I think this list is best paired with the movie in which each of their careers peaked.

#23: Heather Graham - Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
#10: Elisha Cuthbert - The Girl Next Door (2004)
#6: Jennifer Love-Hewitt - The Tuxedo (2002)

I have a really hard time saying anything bad about Jennifer Love-Hewitt, who recently stated the value of her boobs is greater than $5 million.  However, she has arguably never been in a good movie.  She is still absurdly hot though.

Then we have the ultimate blast from the 90's past, Danielle Fishel, #27, who you may better know as Topanga Lawrence from the long-retired "Boy Meets World."  Evidently she is re-launching her career in, wait for it, "Girl Meets World," the long-awaited spin-off.

Yes folks, they have managed to pull both Topanga and Ben Savage away from their booming post-BMW careers to star in the new show, which is expected to be picked up by, you guessed it, THE DISNEY CHANNEL.

Someone Is Trying To Get Free Double-Doubles For Life.

#93: Lynsi Torres.

I clicked on Lynsi Torres because it looked like her picture was of a staff at In-N-Out, and that intrigued me, because I love In-N-Out.  Double double animal style with fries and a strawberry milkshake.  All.  Day.  Long.

It turns out she is the youngest American female billionaire as the owner/heiress of the In-N-Out franchise, and not at all hot.

I don't blame whoever did this as his motivation clearly lies in the right place, but the fans surely couldn't have expected any sort of mass executive treatment for voting her in.

Fuck The Two Broke Girls.

#83: Kat Dennings.

No. No. No. No. Noooooooooo.  I fucking hate you and your goddamn face.  I even hate your enormous boobs.  You've brought disgrace to the acronym "DSL."

They haven't come up with a word yet that aptly describes my hatred for your horrendous atrocity of a TV show.  If you could turn "even worse than Two and a Half Men" into a word that would be how I would describe it.

The New Girl Is Old News?

#95: Zooey Deschanel

Last I checked, Zooey Deschanel was everyone's favorite weirdo to fiend for this side of Aubrey Plaza.*** I'm not one of those people that go apeshit for Zooey Deschanel, but I do recognize her mass popularity and the crazy number of people that would put her #1.  She's also a legitimately funny actress, which is more than I can say for most of the "comic" actresses on this list.  I'm looking at you Kat Dennings.  And my eyes are burning.

***The "this side of Aubrey Plaza" was only added after viewing these poll results and seeing Aubrey Plaza at #85, which I applaud.  She is very weird, and very weirdly attractive (although not more attractive than Zooey, although weirder).

I take issue with a couple other things on the list, but in the interest of broaching positivity, I will instead give my top 10 within the list, and my top 5 absentees.

10) Katharine McPhee (73)
9) Olivia Wilde (16)
8) Nina Dobrev (48)
7) Katrina Bowden (25)
6) Leighton Meester (36)
5) Jessica Alba (17)
4) Mila Kunis (4)
3) Nina Agdal (70)
2) Kate Upton (8)
1) Selena Gomez (2)

Honorable mentions go to Rachel Bilson (74), Eva Mendes (57), Blake Lively (24), Sara Underwood (71), and Sarah Hyland (44), who wasn't included because I felt skeezy enough with one 20-year-old on the list already.  The bottom two can really be replaced with any of these qutie as easily.  Also a lot of others.

Top 5 absentees off the top of my head:
5) Anna Kendrick (have to include my background girl)
4) Bar Rafaeli (for Ryan)
3) Kate Mara
2) Minka Kelly (how do you put her doppleganger at #36 and not include the original?)
1) Natalie Portman

In all fairness, I do have to tip my hat to Maxim's inclusion of Manti Te'o's girlfriend at the albeit-conspicuous ranking of #69.  Well played Maxim.  And while the combination of arbitrariness and Disney-influence leaves me wondering if the voting panel was about as real as Te'o's girlfriend, I always appreciate the entertainment value of a good top 100 list.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Life: The Words I Never Said

"You know what bring me happiness in life: appreciation." - Don


Over the last week and a half I have had what I would very much consider a life-changing experience.  For the first time in my adult life I acted in a play, an experience that opened me up to far more than just a creative side of me, but also to a different world within Boquete, Panama where I currently live.

At the same time as my play was taking place, our Panamanian maid, Fani, who we have come to view as much as a mother as our maid, was visiting the doctors concerned that some pain in her chest and arm may be related to some sort of cancerous growth.  While I spent Wednesday performing our first show, two of my housemates were driving her down to David to do whatever they could to help her expedite the process.  Fani is a single-mother of 3 children, one of which now lives in Panama City pursuing a career, the other two of which are 14 and 8, and very much in need of her financial and motherly support.  She is also 39 years old but looks like she has lived the life of any 3 of us in this house combined.

On Thursday I had a group of 15 friends of mine going to the play (a group which I was supposed to be a part of up until Sunday) and Fani requested a ticket.  In spite of the fact that she understood virtually no English at all she wanted to come and see me perform in my absurd Australian accent that I had been walking around the backyard for three days practicing.

After the play I got to do something I had been wanting to do for a long time but didn't know how to approach: give Fani a hug.  I thanked her for coming and gave her a hug that was equally disproportionate (the other way around) to what I actually meant by those words.  I wanted to tell her that I loved her.  I wanted to tell her that I hoped with all of my heart that she would come out of this okay.  I wanted to thank her for calling me "el nino" because I'm the youngest in our house, for always giggling and calling my Anna Kendrick background "tu inspiracion," for always having a smile on her face while she wandered around our house attending to our daily messes.  I wanted to thank her for becoming a part of our family while still being very much a doting employee.  I hoped that she understood in the big hug that I gave her that I wasn't just saying "gracias para venir."

On Monday, the day after I finished the five performances for our play, I was out with a few friends and received the news that tests had come back showing that whatever issues she was having weren't cancerous.  I smiled for at least 10 minutes straight.

After a week of having to worry that she might die and leave her kids behind for an uncertain future, a week plagued by sleeplessness to the extent that she asked a housemate if we had any sleeping pills that are completely foreign to her (yay for my ambien being useful), her heavy burdens had been laid to rest.  She had been given new life.

The day before I had been hanging out smoking a joint with a few cast mates and one of the older ones, a musician in his 60's, said to us something so simply profound that I immediately wrote it down, "You know what brings me happiness in life: appreciation."  The remark was partially inspired by how much he was enjoying the experience of acting for the first time in his life but far moreso how after several shows we went out as a cast to hang out, a cast ranging from age 18 to 65, with a wide variety of backgrounds (aside from that we were all American but one).

Life doesn't require a drastic experience like finding out you don't actually have cancer to stop and appreciate it but for so many it often does.  I have found new life out of horrible circumstances, most significantly when I emerged from my first ever bout with horrible depression about a year ago and realized life was something worth living.  But I have also found new life out of incredibly amazing experiences, like acting in a play, or going to Coachella and discovering my love for sharing music as a community.  It shouldn't have taken Fani potentially having cancer for me to stop to appreciate her role in my life, but to some extent it did.

I want to write about my incredible experience that I had last week in participating in my first ever play but I wanted to make sure this blog showed what I truly appreciate: the love I feel for my family and friends, the love I feel for Fani.  I am so thankful that you have found new life, and I am just as thankful that you will be able to continue to share it with us, your gringo family.

Much love.


This song just happened to be posted in our music group on Facebook on Sunday and seemed all too appropriate:

And a bonus track:

Sunday, January 6, 2013


This blog is rated S for un-Saintly material.  You can read it Grandma and Grandpa, but you (and I) might prefer you didn't.

This has to start with a guilty admission: I follow McKayla Maroney on Twitter.  Because I'm interested in gymnastics.  That apparently makes it better.

In browsing Twitter today I clicked on her profile and scrolled through to see what sort of pics, I mean nonsense, she had recently posted.  Included was a re-tweet of a top-25 list that pegged her as the 24th best actress of 2012.  I at first questioned the list before noting that Selena Gomez was rightly placed at #1, therefore giving credence to everything else the author had to say.  Plus, the site has 213,000 followers which means they flat out know their shit.  I began to wonder about the absence of other esteemed actresses such as Alex Morgan and Carly Rae Jepsen, but Jared knows best.

It seems as though "actress" is also being loosely defined these days by our world-ordained actor-definer,  While browsing the IMDB list of "IMDb: Hottest Pics of the actresses on IMDB" (I swear this was not a normal day for me, although not altogether atypical) I decided to actually click the actress profiles of all the girls I was looking at, spurned on by my lack of knowledge of virtually everyone on the list, and the desire to be the only male in the world to do so.  In doing so I stumbled across Jayden Cole, best known (according to IMDB) for her roles in the stellar films, "Bikini Frankenstein" (subtitled "She'll love you to pieces), "Life On Top" (surely no connotations), "Bikini Royale 2" (I was so worried they wouldn't make a second), and "Dark Secrets" (this ones just a blatant euphemism for the dark recesses).  This led me to seek further information on her heretofore stunning acting credentials.  Not only was she the star of these critically acclaimed films, she had also received an award nomination.  I clicked.  "Best All Girls Couples Sex Scene" for her unforgettable role in the gut-wrenching classic "Pin-Up Girls 5" which she of course shared with Victoria White.  I assume its one of the Oscars they just breeze through real quickly in the middle because no-one really cares about them.

Her profile on IMDB described her, in the very first sentence, as a "buxom and shapely redhead stunner" which I quickly understood as the best way of describing her acting.  I went on to learn that she had a background in horseback riding, in case I was looking to fill that niche role of the happily bouncing horseback rider.  Then came the boomshot..."Jayden not only began her career in the adult entertainment by appearing in the pictorial 'Girls of the OC' in the August, 2006 issue of 'Playboy,' but also was featured on such adult websites as Danni's Hard Drive, Wicked Pictures, and Digital Playground. Cole started performing in girl/girl hardcore films at age 23 in July 2009."


What the what?  Since when did online pornography qualify as IMDB material, or better yet, acting experience?  Next thing you know I'm going to see profiles of girls from Red Tube:

Name: Monica...something
Born: At least a year before McKayla Maroney
Height: 5' 7" (when standing)
Known for: "Threesome Sex with Horny Chick", "Teen Needs Sex Treatment", "Just Hit It"
Description: Blonde, fake-breasted, and down for just about anything, Monica hails from Eastern Europe...

Come on people.  We are defiling the sanctity that is the Internet Movie Database.  I get that it has "internet movie" in the title, but that was supposed to be because it is LOCATED on the internet, not because it incorporates any and all internet material.  If you're going to make a list of the hottest actresses on IMDB I think a prerequisite should be that they are actually goddamn actresses.  Being able to keep a straight face while he unveils his enormous thundercock doesn't count (ok they usually smile, which I guess is pretty good acting, because I'd be trembling in fear).  If I wanted the list of the hottest actresses on IMDB along with a bunch of slutty adult performers I would've clicked on that list instead, but I couldn't find it.  The idea of a hottest actress list is to engage the reader by giving them people they may have actually heard of and thus inspire interest.

But for those of you who are interested in reading through such a grossly smut-inspired list, here it is in all its glory...I'll be re-joining you tomorrow.  But be forewarned, the author's primary and pretty much only requirement seems to be incredibly large breasts.  For redheads, that seems to be his absolute only requirement.  Oh, and how in the world is that first chick the same Alexa Vega from Spy Kids?  How old am I?

Jailbait...Failbait.  A little Deadmau5 and Cypress Hill collaboration.