Month: February 2014

Women I Love

Linda Cardellini Linda C

After skipping a week of devoting an article to one of the many women I love, I’m bringing the heat with Ms.Cardellini. Now that Billy has given up writing to his one true love, it is essential I stay strong and continue to express my devotion. Cardellini is a first ballot hall of famer in my heart. She earned the status back in 1998 when she had a guest stint on Boy Meets World. As a 90s kid there was no better couple than Cory and Topanga. They were the people who introduced me to the idea of love. A symbol for hopeless romantics, anyone who came in the way of their love would be instantly despised and petitioned to be stoned to death. Or so I thought, until Cardellini’s Lauren turned my world upside down. She played a snow bunny who worked at the ski resort John Adams High was having their senior trip. Not sure how this trip ever got approved by Feeny. I’m terrible at skiing, but Lauren made me want to move to the mountains. Cory had a broken leg and could not go ski with his classmates, which left him alone with Lauren for most of the day. As they grew closer I wanted to scream at Cor, “Noooooooo!!!!! Don’t disrespect Topanga. Instead, I was mesmerized by Cardellini and found myself rooting for Cory to pick her. It was a confusing time.

Topanga Who?

Topanga Who?

index

After Boy Meets World and because of her successful guest stint, Cardellini was cast as the lead in the short-lived and much beloved Freaks and Geeks. The show is remembered for launching the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segal. As well as expanding the legendary standing of Judd Apatow in the patheons of Hollywood. But the heart of the show was Cardellini. The role of Lindsay weir allowed her to demonstrate her likability. Lindsay was a girl without a set clique. She never fit into a set category, she was too smart and driven to be one of the freaks, but too adventurous and rebellious to be a geek. Cardellini made us care deeply about the character as she navigated the dangerous waters of high school. Just look at how badass she is in the opening scene of the series.

While she mainly played the straight woman reacting to everything around her the show also did well to utilize her fantastic comedic sense as well.

After Freaks and Geeks Cardellini’s career stalled a bit when she chose to join the sinking ship that was ER. She got lost in the large ensemble and it did not highlight any of her strengths. However, the shittiness of ER did not detract from her hotness and awesomeness.

lc

Let’s skip passed the unfortunate fact that she played Velma on the live action Scooby-Doo and hit the next career highlight, Grandma’s Boy. She shocked me by being just as hot, if not hotter as a blonde. And in an underrated raunchy comedy, stole the show.

She went a little quiet after Grandma’s Boy, but has been back the last couple years with a sexy turn as Don Draper’s latest mistress and now as Jess’ sister on New Girl. If there is a God, then this recent hot streak will result in her getting the lead of her own series within the next year. Lord knows she deserves. I’m not completely sure why Judd Apatow has never used her in any of the films he’s produced over the last decade, but it would be great if he could redeem himself by producing a star vehicle for Cardellini. Make things right, Judd. I think you’ve cast your wife enough times to get you laid for the rest of your life.

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WYR Wednesday on A Friday

Class is back in session. This week’s lesson: Would you rather have to watch your parents have sex once or have them watch you have sex for a year?

This is not going to work in this situation.

This is not going to work in this situation.

The crux of this argument is which could you stomach more? The disgust of seeing how you were created, or the shame you will cause your parents with your performance?

Things to Consider: How long can your parents last? Will you be able to achieve an erection? Will one of your parents die of a heart attack watching you? Would your parents provide helpful advice? How kinky are your parents? Is your mom a screamer? Even worse, a squirter?  Are you in a relationship? Or will your parents be watching you fuck random one night stands when you’re sloppy drunk?

I'm not as strong as you, Sponge Bob.

I’m not as strong as you, Sponge Bob.

The thought of watching our parents have sex is a difficult one to comprehend without vomiting. On one hand, it is a good choice cause it is over after one time. However, the scars will last for the rest of your life. It is a wild card. There is no way of preparing for what you see. It is naive to think your parents only do basic missionary for a couple minutes while wearing shirts. Yes, it might be what is going to happen, but do you want to risk seeing your parents do some sick, sadistic shit that you’ve never even hear of, let alone done. It is a huge risk and one I’m not willing to take.

Good point, Baby, good point.

Good point, Baby, good point.

On the other hand, there is a lot of shame involved with your parents watching you have sex. Would a guy be able to achieve an erection with his mother in the room? If so, then what does that say about him? Our parents would never be able to look at us the same again. Our relationship would become distant and we’d never be able to talk to them intimately again. Plus this lasts for a year, so it is not something that would be one and done. It would also leave lasting scars, perhaps not as many as seeing our parents have sex, but still pretty nasty psychological and emotional scars.

It is a difficult decision to say the least, but in the end I’m going with the devil I know over the devil I don’t. I have no idea what happens in my parents bedroom and I would like to keep it that way. On the other hand, I know what happens in mine and how my parents would react. My mom would probably just faint, which would make things easier for me. My dad would first, make fun of me for my performance. “Boy, if only you brought that speed to the basketball court, could’ve got a scholarship and I could retire early.” And then provide some sage fatherly advice to help me improve. “You do a good job of focusing on foreplay, but you need to stretch things out.” It would help cut down on the shame and disgust making it much more bearable than the other way around.

This would you rather depends highly on subjective context. What are your parents like? Which one would be easier to handle with them? Just concentrate on the crux and decide which would be easier to stomach for the rest of your life.

5 Realities Better Than This One

eastyncazin@gmail.com | No dick pics.

Last night I had a really wonderful conversation about the concept of self identity and how others label you.

After some long consideration, and a brief break to stand outside and enjoy the rare California rain, I came to the conclusion that my perpetual sense of being out of place stems from a voracious reading habit. I was not meant to be of this reality. It has been clear for some time now. If a portal opened up into any of these worlds, and I had the option to walk through, and leave everything behind (well, I’d take my kittens OBVIOUSLY), I’d do it. No questions asked. Nothing against my friends, I just want to do magic, guys.

Here is a list of the worlds that I should have been born into:

1. Tamriel – Skyrim or Morrowind, I’ll take either.

I NEED to go to there.

I NEED to go to there.

Tamriel is the world in which the Elder Scrolls games take place. I’ve logged in obscene amounts of hours (well over 200) into Skyrim. What a life I could lead. A wood elf, Bosmer if ya nasty, assassin and thief just ruining the day of all the people. Calling my animal friends to me to fight off the guards. Buying a home just to store cheese wheels in there. It truly would be the life. I could do without the responsibility of slaying dragons though.

2. Tortall

Ah yes, the map of my home.

Ah yes, the map of my home.

This is a world from the wonderful mind of Tamora Pierce. Her and J.K. Rowling are wholly responsible for my childhood. Tortall is a land of lady knights, magic, dragons, basilisks and Thief Kings with hearts of gold. If you know any Thief Kings with hearts of gold, hook a girl up.

3. Chalion

Oh look, it's not just a weird shaped Europe.

Oh look, it’s not just a weird shaped Europe.

Lois McMaster Bujold is a goddamn genius. She paints a world of demons and magic so subtle and so lovely that as I read the Curse of the Chalion and then Paladin of Souls I wanted so badly to crawl through the pages and nestle myself into adventure. I want to speak to gods and lose my mind, but have unimaginable power too, you know?

4. Wherever Harvest Moon Happens

The game where doing chores is fun, and nobody cares if you're dating 5 girls at once.

The game where doing chores is fun, and nobody cares if you’re dating 5 girls at once.

If I could live in a world where I become a millionaire in a year just by running around my farm and having a 100% crop succession rate so long as I water them daily, sign me up. Harvest Moon has been a long standing obsession of mine. Why? It’s the most relaxing game ever invented, and so satisfying. You do your chores, you make so much money. You give a girl a flower a day? You’re married in three seasons. Maybe that’s where Billy is going wrong with Emma Watson?

5. The Four Corners of Civilization

Ah yes, weird shaped Europe.

Ah yes, weird shaped Europe.

If you have not yet picked up The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, please just go outside (I know it is tough) and make it happen. By any means possible. It is a world so rich with such a practical approach to how magic could happen, I found myself trying the techniques myself. You’d think at 24 I would stop getting disappointed that magic isn’t happening.

We can actually add this entire post to the list of why I am single as well. What world do you belong in? Tell me in the comments so I can judge your reading choices.

My Final Letter To Emma (Watson)

Dear Emma (Watson),

Love is a fickle thing, isn’t it?

Two weeks ago, I waited for you at the Washington Monument on Valentine’s Day for nearly 10 hours. You didn’t show up. I listened to a Spotify playlist I made for us on repeat. No, Adele’s “One And Only” never grows stale in case you were wondering.

Why wouldn’t I have left after an hour, you ask? I’m a hopeful person. At my core, I’m an incurable optimist. Or at least I used to be. Before I started writing letters to you.

This glass is empty.

This glass is empty.

Your silence on the matter is turning me into cynical, cold, regretful skeptic. I’m becoming one of those “Screw half-full, this glass doesn’t even have water in it,” kind of people. I’ll be that huge asshole who makes negative YouTube comments and hides behind his screen if I continue down this dark path.

What happened? My courtship of you started out as a fun, promising endeavor. Remember the first letter I wrote? These days, the underdog like me has a shot at actually reaching a star like you because of the advent of social media, a dynamic news cycle that needs stupid stories, and Internet trolling. But my quest to get one measly date has come up short, dry, and as empty as my Rav4’s gas tank at the end of workweek.

Tommy called me prudent and loyal once. That seems like decades ago. What do I have to show for my devotion, though? A broken heart, shattered dreams, and a new distrust of the universe.

Love used to be the only thing I believed in. Like Jay Gatsby, I believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. Perhaps it’s fitting that I get shot in the back for hoping the same way everyone’s favorite fictional 1920s millionaire did.

In The Great Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan hopes that her daughter will be a fool when she’s born, for a fool is “the best thing a girl can be in this world.” I always thought that was a really sad line, but I’m starting to realize how nice of a thought it is. Fools are better off; whimsical, carefree people who roll with the tide never have to experience the hurt that champions of love like I do. They don’t put their hearts on the line. They don’t experience the intense disappointment.

Make no mistake: there’s nothing romantic about heartbreak. Unrequited love sucks more than the Green Bay Packers (yeah, I said it). Booze, ice scream, meaningless sex, diets, psychiatrists, and long walks on the beach can’t cure the loss someone feels when the romantic idea of he and someone else he cares for deeply is flushed down the toilet.

I think the only thing that might help ease this pain a little is singing and dancing to Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down,” which chronicles the demise of a once encouraging relationship.

I thought you'd fall for a sexy smuggler.

I thought you’d fall for a sexy smuggler.

Perhaps in one sense, I am a fool. I’m a fool for thinking a new, awesome platform like The Millennial Man would aid me in my pursuit of winning your love – or at least getting your attention. Emma, I’m the fool for thinking that a princess like you and an outlaw smuggler with the heart of gold (Han Solo reference) like me ever had a shot. I just thought you were different than other celebrities who floated meaninglessly from one “relationship” with one fellow A-Lister to the next. I pegged you for a true love kind of girl.

Alas, maybe that was my biggest mistake: I projected my thoughts, wishes, and desires onto you. That’s not fair. You are who you are. And unfortunately, I won’t ever really get to know who that is. Instead, I must move on and do things like sign up for OkCupid and that Tinder thing everyone’s talking about. I can’t write online letters to you my whole life. What you and I had is over. The sad reality is that it never started.

I’ll stop sending you letters, Emma. You weren’t reading anyway. Have fun with fellow movie stars, famous politicians, unbelievably attractive athletes, astronauts, and whomever else you decide to date. I’ll plunge back into cold, heartless reality.

However, it’s hard for me to extinguish that flicker of hope that always burns inside me. Part of me will never accept that I don’t have a shot. What’s that thing Nick Caraway said at the end of Gatsby… “It eluded us then, but that’s no natter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning –”

One day I'll get that green light.

One day I’ll get that green light.

Until that fine morning, Emma. Adieu.

Love,

Billy K.

Mike and Ikes and Isolation

The other morning I was standing alone in the office kitchen, staring at a big jar of Mike and Ikes. I stood there for what seemed like an hour and this was my thought process.

Deliciousness defined.

Deliciousness defined.

Ooo, Mike and Ikes, I love those. What time is it? 8:45am. Ah, it is too early to have those. But maybe, if I just have a couple, it will be alright. I mean I have donuts in the morning, those are loaded with sugar. Whom am I kidding, I can’t just have a few of those, unless of course few is followed by bowls. Just walk away, Tommy. Remember, we’re trying to lose a little weight, eat healthier, stay strong. Damn it, it looks so delicious. I want. I must have. I should just take the whole jar and hide it in my desk that way I can have all the Mike and Ikes. And I wont share with anyone. Muhahaha.

Just as I was concocting my evil plan one of the executives walked by the kitchen and asked me what I was doing. Embarrassed, I had to admit I was contemplating eating Mike and Ikes. He responded, “at this hour?” It was all I needed to set me straight and inspire me to walk away. As I did, I realized the importance of having other people around. I have a theory that psychopaths are made in two ways. One, a traumatic childhood that imprints scars that the brain heals by becoming a sick, sadistic form, and two, a long stretch of isolation.

Try living in there by yourself.

Try living in there by yourself.

It is not a coincidence that the punishment for prisoners is solitary confinement. Have you ever spent 15 minutes alone? Let me clarify, have you ever sat for 15 minutes alone doing nothing? No TV, no computer, no video games, no books, etc. Just you and your thoughts. Seriously, try it some time. In fact, go home tonight and just sit on your bedroom floor and see how long you can last. I’ll bet it wouldn’t even be 15 minutes.

Humans are social creatures. We need to interact with other humans in order to remain sane. I appreciate alone time as much as anyone else, but it is usually to read a book or get some writing done. Okay, it is mostly to watch TV, you caught me. We can all fall down the rabbit hole that is our mind and without other people around to give us advice we’ll just free fall till we hit rock bottom.

There is nothing wrong with living by yourself, but just try to make sure to have people in your life that you can easily hang out with at a moment’s notice. We need to appreciate the impact we have on each others lives. A singular human is not capable of much, but human beings together are capable of anything.

Hearsay Hobbies: Ghostbusting

Yesterday, I wrote about Harold Ramis’s effect on how I think about comedy and storytelling in general. Today, I thought what better way to honor the late legend than by exploring a hobby that he was greatly interested in during his illustrious career?

Thus, this week’s hearsay hobby is ghostbusting.

ghostbustersheader

You ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts, huh? Well, you should be. They’re all around us. Why do you think horror film and TV shows are so popular, and there are multiple reality shows about ghost whisperers? It’s not because they’re running out of Kardashian episodes.

People are genuinely afraid and equally obsessed with dead spirits. I’m not talking about really old alcohol either, though that might make you see some weird visions, too. I’m talking about ghosts in the strictest, Wikipedia-est form:

“A soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions… Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.”

While I believe it’s incredibly important to remember loved ones who have perished, I also think it’s imperative to get rid of any lingering, haunting sprits caught between here and the afterlife. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Ramis taught me that.

That being said, ghostbusting is not only a hobby, it’s a human survival must. Please do not confuse ghostbusting I’m talking about with the Urban Dictionary definition:

“Ghostbusting is an act named by crack dealers, when crack heads continually look and pick up things on the side walk that they presume to be crack cocaine. When a crack head had his last hit he thinks he might find one more hit somewhere scattered on the ground.”

Yikes. I’d hate to see you take up that type ghostbusting.

The Ghostbusters made a fortune by terminating pesky spirits, and I think you can too. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ecto goggles
  • A slime scoop
  • Psycho kinetic energy meter
  • Belt gizmo (have no idea what this is, but it sounds sweet)
  • An old hearse (funeral car)
  • Ghost vacuum
  • Proton pack
  • Fireball whiskey

That’s just a shortlist to get you started. The Fireball is key in all of this because you’re going to see some serious shit, and the only thing that can make you feel better is an alcoholic drink that tastes like Big Red chewing gum.

Oh! I almost forgot one thing. You’ll need to watch this on repeat a couple times to get you pumped up before you go out and blast the dead back to where they belong.

Please note all the awesome cameos in this classic video. No decade did music videos better than the 80s.

RIP, Ramis. We’ll miss you.

Reasons I’m Single

I hate popular trends, but the recent internet trend or meme, still not totally sure what constitutes a meme, “Reasons Why I’m Single” caught my attention. It has been popping up on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and just about every other corner of the internet people go to complain about self indulgent problems. As a single man, single Millennial Man, it would be cathartic to produce my own list of reasons I’m single. And yes, it is also slightly about attracting more page views.

1. Internal Debate on the Merits – Gus and Marcus Antonio San Keota’s first debate topic was monogamy. Since these combatants do not actually exist, but are rather allegorical figments of my own internal debates. If I had to choose I’d side with MASK and monogamy, just as those who voted did. But the fact that I have doubts about monogamy makes it difficult to commit, pun intended. A relationship is not something to do half-ass and until I completely settle this debate I will not be bringing enough to any relationship.

I wish this was a dramatization of what my room looks like.

I wish this was a dramatization of what my room looks like.

2. Disorganized Mess –  As much as I try to improve and to be honest I could put in more effort, organization is still a weakness of mine. I’m lucky enough to have some well-organized friends in my life that serve as inspiration to improve that aspect in my life. But it takes some time to break a habit. An elementary school teacher I had told me it took 99 days, but I’m going to assume she actually meant weeks instead of days or maybe even months. Either way, she was totally off base. It is not necessary to be organized in order to be in a relationship, but it certainly requires more organization than I bring to the table. I’ve got certain, unique, ways of doing things that would drive most other people crazy. It is one thing for roommates or friends to put up with it, but a girlfriend would hold me to a higher standard that I’m not capable of reaching, at the moment.

3. Terrible Memory/Listener – These two need to go together because it is a direct proportional relationship between the two. I may not know much about women, but I do know that they do not like when you do not remember something they already told you, especially when it is important to them. And they really like when you listen to them, especially when it involves their feelings. I’ve got a terrible memory, things slip my mind all the time, which is why I try to write everything down. As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “The faintest ink is stronger the the most vivid memory.” However, it does not look good if I write everything a woman says to me like I’m a detective on Law and Order. It is an affront, like everything they are saying is not important enough for me to remember. Plus it just looks very strange and certainly does not promote an aura of sexiness.

This kid has a great strategy.

This kid has a great strategy.

As for listening to feelings and emotions, it is not really my bag. Want to talk Bears offseason plans? I’m all ears. Hypothetical situations or dilemmas, such as the Goat fucking one from a couple weeks ago, or where you’d first go if time travel was real? I’ll sit and listen to an entire disorientation on that shit. But start expressing deep, honest emotions? I start to get a little queasy.  It is nothing personal, I want to listen and I do care, but my guttural reaction is to start spacing out and just nodding a lot. I realize this is a huge problem and more than my organization I work to improve this trait, and I’m starting to get better. But I want to become great at it because I realize its importance to having a healthy relationship.

4. Stubborn – I don’t like compromise, which is a major tenant of a relationship. I’ve always believed that people should be free to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Not that I’m trying to compare a relationship to a tyrannical dictator, but being in one means everything has to be considered together, as a pair. Two people will have disagreements or want to do different things at the same time. My philosophy is that when these things happen, we should do them separately.

I want to go to the bar to watch the basketball game, you want to go to the movies together. Why don’t you go to the movies and I’ll go to the bar? It makes sense to me, but as it turns out that is actually a personal affront taken as not wanting to hang out with the person. It is not how I meant it. I just like to do what I want to do, when I want to do. It leads to a lot of last minute plans and involves a fly by the seat of your pants mentality that is not well suited for a relationship. Until I’m more willing to plan things, and be more compromising about plans it will be frustrating to be in a relationship with me. Unless of course I find someone with a similar attitude, but still she would have to put up with all my other issues.

Preach.

Preach.

5. Laziness – My natural state is sloth like, at best. If I could make money lying on a couch, then I would totally do it. It takes a lot of effort and focus to work hard at my job, write articles for this site, and work on scripts, short films, and stand up material. After focusing on all of this, never all in the same day, my body and soul is drained of effort. This is why a workout routine is hard for me to start and impossible for me to maintain. A relationship requires a lot of effort and hard work. An effort I am lacking as I’ve put all of it into other aspects of my life. I either need something to kick in that will break my need to lounge around doing nothing for a some amount of the day or need to stop caring about one of the aspects I do put effort into, so I can then focus it on a relationship. Since, I do not want the latter to happen, I’m waiting for a change of mentality to occur, so I can put the proper effort into maintaining a healthy relationship.

6. Unsentimental- Vampire Weekend is my favorite band of the last five years. One of its songs, “Taxi Cab,” captures my feelings on sentimentality better than I can. “Unsentimental, Driving around, Sure of myself, Sure of it now, You stand this close to me, Like the future was suppose to be, In the eyes of the Grocery, In the blocks uptown, I remember, Remember it well, But if I forgotten, Would you tell?”

7. Narcissist – All of these reasons can be put under the umbrella of me being too narcissistic to make a relationship work. It takes sacrifice and commitment to another person that I’m not capable of at the moment. Typically I hate these self indulgent internet memes, but this one turned out to be useful. It forces a person to become self-aware of their weaknesses. All of these reasons are things I need to improve about myself, but as long as I remain self aware I have the chance to improve them. As soon as I loose all self awareness, I lose hope in becoming a better person. Thank you “Reasons Why I’m Single” I’m glad I did not just make some sarcastic article that feeds my cynical views. Shit, I guess I have one more reason to add. 

Lessons Learned From My Dead Battery

tab_sigAlertI woke up this morning, after four snoozes, rolled out of bed and got ready for work. Then I slumped out of the house, in full zombie mode, stepped into my car, checked Sig Alert, a must for LA people, and planned my route to work. I was all set, 405 to the 101, quick exit at Van Nuys, then take Riverside down to Colfax and finally a left onto Venutra to ride all the way to work. Boom! Here we go, I just turn the key and, nothing. Huh, that’s strange, must be some morning dew.

Let’s try again, and here we, damn it. After a dozen or more attempts to start my car I finally had to accept something was wrong. The battery must be dead, so what next. Oh yeah, those jumper thingies. Those all come standard in cars, right? I’ll just go to the trunk, it is got to be by the spare tire. Let me see here, what the H? No jumper cables? What do I have to buy them or something? Where the hell can I get them now?

My roommates are gone cause they only snoozed twice. There’s a Mexican landscaper working on a yard. He’s a handy guy, must have a jumper cable. No? I’m starting to get desperate now, I guess I have no other choice, but to knock on one of my neighbors’, whom I never speak to, doors and see if they have one. First up, the old lady next door, actually I had no idea there was an old lady next door that is how little I interact with my neighbors. What are the odds she has a jumper cable? Yeah, about what you’d expect.

I'm going to have to remember this diagram.

I’m going to have to remember this diagram.

Alright, well I tried. Yes, I gave up on the idea of knocking on neighbors’ doors very quickly. It’s time to just sit in my car and hope some magic voodoo spell gets my car started. Wait, what is this? The old lady from next door is coming up to my car. She is offering to call AAA for me. Is this the sweetest woman in the world? I’m going to go ahead and say a full Daniel Bryan Yes! Yes! Yes! on this one.

Twenty minutes later a mechanic arrives and tests my battery. He lets me know, what should have been obvious since the battery has not been changed in five years, it is dead. This is where my complete lack of knowledge hits me like a ton of bricks. Confessional time, the battery had actually died on Sunday and I called Volvo roadside assistance, which I discovered I had forgotten to renew and it ran out last December. Since my renewal had yet to go through, I was hesitant to call them before my angel of a neighbor saved the day.  I was worried that a dead battery meant that I could not drive the car for a few days till it got a new one. The mechanic chuckled and said he would be right back.

He brought back a new battery and proceeded to change it in what seemed like 30 seconds. And I experience something taking 30 seconds a lot. Then he explained to me that it is important to wash my battery with water on hot days in order to avoid gunk building up. This was a shocking revelation, especially as he demonstrated it to me. I always assumed that pouring water into a car engine would result in much the same way as Rob Lowe taking a piss in Tommy Boy, extreme electrocution. 

My entire morning taught me how little I know about cars, but in a bigger sense how ill-equipped I am to handle any crises that arise in my life. I’m lacking in a lot of key survival skills, I have no idea how to make a fire that does not involve flipping a switch. I’ve never been hunting, hell I’ve never been camping outside of staying a nice warm cabin. Thank God I’ve never gotten a flat tire because it would end up exactly like this. I need to start learning these skills, not only for myself, but to be able to pass on to whatever fruit is produced by my loin. Pretty disgusting way to say children, I agree.

I want to learn how to rewire a light switch, hell I want to learn how to paint a room. It would be nice to be able to re-tile my own roof or fix my own garage door. And it’s not just about feeling like more of a man. These skills could all help me save money by being able to do it myself. What is that thing they say about teaching a man to fish? Ah. who knows I never much liked fishing, too boring. The money I save could be used to buy some nicer jewelry, help pay for a vacation, or in the future get nicer presents for the fruit of my loin.

This morning was an embarrassing situation for me, but instead of running from it, I’m going to learn from it and use it to inspire me to improve myself. We all do embarrassing things, but the only way to become an embarrassment is to never learn from them.

Harold Ramis Didn’t Have To Be The Loudest To Be The Funniest

Harold Ramis used to order food from my parents’ restaurant, Dima’s Mediterranean Grille, back in the day. The restaurant wasn’t too far from where he lived in Glencoe, Illinois. I wasn’t old enough back then to appreciate how cool it was that one of the forefathers of modern comedy routinely ordered some tasty chicken kabob from an eatery owned by my mom and dad.

Ramis made other geniuses around him better.

Ramis made other geniuses around him better.

Little did I know back then that Ramis would become one of the most influential factors on my creative development. Movies like Stripes, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Meatballs, and Animal House taught me what tickled my funny bone. It’s amazing that one person had his hand in concocting so many iconic cinematic recipes.

Ramis taught me a lot about comedy, but more importantly he taught me a lot about myself. Harold knew his strengths as a performer, collaborator, writer, and director. He came to prominence with a stable of other legendary performers: John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase to name a few. Instead of trying to be the loudest voice in the room, Ramis became a master at delivering clever one-liners, directing big personalities, and crafting hilarious situations to help his costars shine.

I’ve grown up with a lot of big personalities – many of whom I’ve been blessed to make movies with since I was in fourth grade. Watching films that Ramis directed, wrote, and starred in gave me confidence in my abilities as a storyteller and performer. I didn’t need the loudest voice to be heard. One-liners were cool. Helping other people shine was and will always be a special thing. The goal of comedy – and storytelling in general – is to milk the most out of each scene in every story. The best kind of art is unselfish. I think Ramis understood that early on.

Here’s one of my favorite Ramis one-liners. I love how he smiles. He knows how good the line is and doesn’t try to hide it.

“No we’re not homosexual, but we are willing to learn.” If that doesn’t make you laugh, I’m sorry.

I take pride in the fact that Ramis is from Chicago. In my extremely biased opinion, he found a way to weave Second City themes (those of the comedy club and Chicago) into all of his creative content. He rooted and wrote for the underdog. There’s no better example than his underdog obsession than Bill Murray’s monologue in Stripes.

“We’ve been kicking ass for 200 years! We’re 10 and 1!” Brilliant.

One of my favorite Ramis themes is discontent with and skepticism of authority. He managed to touch on serious issues with such a hilarious grace. He showed us that we should never trust powerful establishments just because they’ve been around for a while. At an early age, I began to harbor a dislike of country club-types, power-hungry bureaucrats, and scheming administrators because Ramis showed me how ridiculous they all were.

There is perhaps no better example of Ramis’ ability to lambast authority in sidesplitting fashion than this beautiful scene from Animal House.

“You can do what you want to us. But we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America!” Patriotism at its finest.

Long before the age of instant feedback in which Tweeters and Facebook users could provide their opinions on social issues and political leaders in real time, Ramis helped give a clever, witty voice to a class of people tired of taking shit from higher classes. Caddyshack is the ultimate snobs vs. slobs story, and there’s a reason millennials connect with it in the same way that their parents did. Sometimes pure, comedic anarchy is the only way to combat tyrannical oligarchy. I love when Judge Smails – the ultimate snob – slices a shot off the tee after Rodney Dangerfield bets him $100.

“I owe you nothing.” Such a snobby attitude.

In real life, a lot of assholes get away with things. Dickbags at work hand you assignments they should take care of themselves, snobs at school put you down, pricks with low self-esteem try to make you feel worse so they get a momentary reprieve from their self-loathing. Ramis was so wonderful at making sure that those kind of people got what they deserved in his films. Like the “dickless” city worker in Ghostbusters.

“Yes it’s true. This man has no dick.” Gets me every time.

I could spend all day talking (or writing) your ear off about how great Ramis’s work is and always will be. Hell, I haven’t even talked about his most heartfelt film, Groundhog Day. Instead, I urge you to go watch his movies for yourself, and to always comically question authority.

I wish I were old enough to have delivered you some chicken kabob myself back all those years ago, Harold. I could have said thanks for all you’ve done for me in person.