Monday, December 31, 2012

This Year and Next Year

Source

My life changed quite a bit in 2012.

I remember standing on the deck of my parents' beach house where I was living at the time, staring off into the distance.  The only thing I wanted was to get a better job.  One where I earned decent money.  One where I could move closer to home, closer to my nephew and niece who were still growing inside each of my sisters' bellies.  One where I could legitimately start my life as a working man, back on the grid.

I got everything I wished for.  And more.

A new nephew, a new niece, godfather to both.  A new job, a new location.  New furniture, some new friends.

A new dog.  The greatest fucking dog on the planet.

113 new blog posts, 200ish new followers.  Many new blogging friends.

Lots of other things too.

I can't help but feel that I didn't wish for these things to happen to me, but rather that I knew they were going to happen, and once I actively started knowing that they were going to happen, they started happening.

It sounds a lot like The Secret, I know.  I don't really believe that crap.

But maybe I do.

Another example can be seen in that post that I wrote about how I am getting fat.  Since I wrote that, I've already lost seven pounds in a month.  Just from putting it down on paper, or more usefully, putting it out into the universe.  By admitting it, not only to myself, but to the world (or at least a tiny percentage of the world that reads my blog) I made myself accountable.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Connection

Today's post is a piece of Flash Fiction that I wrote for the Dude Write December Flash Fiction Contest.

This month's prompt was to write a piece based off of this photo, taken by our judge, David Rashleigh:


I hope you enjoy it.  Weighing in at exactly 500 words, I present to you, "The Connection."

*   *   *

The train steamed to a halt twenty minutes ahead of schedule.  And it surprised Daniel.

Only five minutes before, he had looked at his watch and sighed, cursing his father for dropping him off ridiculously early once again.  As he put his headphones in his ears, he wished someone would have waited with him.

Another holiday, surrounded by family, yet alone as ever.  Picked up and dropped off at an empty station where trains seldom stopped. 

Every year, as he boarded and disembarked the train, he couldn't help but feel as if he was a nuisance -- the sole reason that the powerful, ever-moving locomotive had to put a pause in its journey across the country.  The feeling that he was an inconvenience was most powerful while he was at his parents' house.

He felt the train before he saw it.  His eyes were closed and his music was loud, but he felt its massive presence before him, as it jerked back and stabilized to a halt.

The initial surprise was innocent enough.  It was simply a train that, according to the schedule, wasn't supposed to be there.

But then a soldier stepped off the train, into the steam. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Kitchen Tables, Christmas Trees, & Ornaments

"Oh Christmas Tree, please let me be able to lick myself
once again."

When I moved into my new apartment, one of the harsh realities that I encountered was the fact that I needed furniture.  Like, a lot of it.

Every place that I had rented up until six months ago was furnished, so I never had a reason to buy things like a bed, couch, or bookshelf.  The only piece of furniture I owned was my big screen TV.  And I'm pretty sure that doesn't even count.

The biggest purchase I made -- the one that made me really stop and think -- was my kitchen table.

The moment that you purchase a kitchen table is the moment that you become an adult.  Or at least it was for me.  Sure, I hadn't lived at home for years.  I had fed myself, clothed myself, and provided other necessities for myself, like beer.

But now that I had a kitchen table, I couldn't help but envision a set of handcuffs that linked one of the legs of the table to my ankle.  I now owned all this stuff.  And this stuff tied me down, anchored me.

For better or worse.

A similar kitchen-table moment came the other day, when I purchased my very own Christmas tree.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dogs Are (A "Poem") + The Hero Who Saved Mine



Dogs are
Nature's most
Loyal companion.

Friends
Who'll never
Leave your side.

Unless
There's food
In the other room.

-Youngman Brown


I know I have been writing about my dog a lot lately, but she just got spayed yesterday, so my existence has been very dog-centric.

I've already written about how she came into my life, but head on over to Brandon's blog to read about how he found her in Vegas, saved her life, and found her a home.  

Sadie and I owe him a lot more than a link-share.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Slap



The Indie Chicks were kind enough to include one of my pieces in their Fiction section.

Head on over to read "The Slap" and stay over there to read some other really awesome stuff.

Even if you are a dude.

"The Slap" via The Indie Chicks

-Youngman Brown


Monday, December 17, 2012

Beeps on Break

Every two hours or so, I get a half-hour break at work.

Most of my coworkers go to one of the break rooms, where they get some food, watch TV, or do God-knows-what on their phones. 

For a few months, I did the same.  But after a while, I realized that I was wasting time.  Aside from getting food, my break-time was spent poorly, either watching a rerun of SportsCenter or reading Facebook status updates that don't really matter*.

*I post Facebook status updates that don't really matter all the time, so don't take it the wrong way if you happen to be someone who does this**.

**You are.

During a typical eight-hour shift, I am on break for a total of two hours, which is a lot of time to be wasting.

So I started bringing books to work.  I have a whole shelf of them at home, never read them, yet continue buying them.  Aside from power failures, I usually lack the motivation to read, as it is much more physically taxing than watching TV, what with the holding of the book and flipping of the pages.  Plus, using a bookmark to hold my spot is a much more laborious task than hitting a pause button.

It's good for me to actually have some time in my day where reading a book is literally the most productive thing that I can accomplish.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How I Saved Dopey the Dog

My dog, Sadie, has been barking recently.

It doesn't happen too often, but 99.9% of the time, it is directed at other dogs that she sees out the window or when we are on walks*.

*The other .1% of her barking is directed at the vacuum, but it makes an appearance so rarely that it is negligible.

When I first got her, she either ignored other dogs or she whimpered when she saw them.  After a few weeks, she began growling at certain ones.  And after a few months she began barking at those dogs and growling at the rest.

There are a few that she still completely ignores, but overall she really seems to hate when other dogs are around.

It truly is a delightful show.
I'm fairly certain that it all traces back to the fox hound chase during one particularly riveting episode of Downton Abbey.  To be fair to Sadie, though, Downton Abbey has a propensity to unleash all of our wild beasts.

But other people are telling me that she is growling and barking at other dogs because she is just trying to protect me. 

Me!  Can you believe that?  My little dog, in all of her thirteen-pound glory, wants to protect little ol' me!

It's a nice thought, but this new barking thing is still annoying.  And I look fondly back to the days when she would handle the situation by being a little wussy*.

*"Wussy" was my third choice in description of how she acted around other dogs, but my first two choices could be misconstrued as offensive to women.  And dogs.  And cats.

One day in particular comes to mind.

A few weeks after I got Sadie, I was taking her for a walk and I noticed another dog across the street.  He was a dopey little Bulldog and he was all by himself.  His leg was lifted as he was finishing the task of watering the bottom of an unfortunate picket fence.  When he was finished, he set his sights on my side of the street.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Condom Commercials & Kids

I saw Life of Pi in theaters the other day.

A few minutes before the previews started, this commercial came on:



"Mommy, what do Trojan Charged Orgasmic Pleasure Condoms do?"

I didn't hear any of the many children in the theater asking the question, but I am sure that the commercial must have piqued the interest of some inquisitive child somewhere.  Hell, even I was a bit curious as to exactly what goes into a condom to make a laboratory of hot girls look like they just had sex just by watching a man and woman go into a large bubble.

It wouldn't be so bad if they just used the words, "trojan," "charged," "pleasure," and even "condom."  But to throw in the word "orgasmic" puts parents dangerously close to having to have "The Talk."  And when an old German woman comes on screen and yells "ORGASMIC PLEASURE ACHIEVED," "The Talk" is pretty much inevitable.

Sexual intercourse isn't the only thing that has to be explained, unfortunately.  This commercial has also brought something to the surface that children should not have to face until a much later age: the fact that the word "orgasm" can be turned into an adjective, that it is completely accepted by society, and that it is even featured in the dictionary.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

YMB Recommends: Safety Not Guaranteed


My sister texted me to tell me that she watched the movie Safety Not Guaranteed, and that she thought I would like it.

Well, I loved it.

The movie follows three magazine employees who try to interview a man who placed an classified ad to find a companion for time travel.  It is funny.  It is clever.  And it is heartfelt.

It's a movie full of that guy.

It has that guy from The League.  And that guy from New Girl.  And that girl from Parks and Recreation.  Best of all, though, it has some other dorky Indian guy who you will be rooting for the entire time.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the movie itself, perhaps the coolest part about Safety Not Guaranteed is that the classified ad that is featured in the movie is real.  In fact, I actually included the image in a blog post four years ago:


The classified ad itself tells such an amazing story, and I remember laughing so hard that I cried when I saw it for the first time.  And while it may have been printed as a joke, I couldn't help but imagine the same type of character that Derek Connolly (the writer) brings into existence in the movie.

You all know me by now.  So you know that I like giving life to mundane, everyday events.  As such, I couldn't help but be joyously jealous of this movie.  How had I not thought to write a script based off of this epic classified ad?  I could have made a movie!

Although, I certainly couldn't have done it as well as they did.

-Youngman Brown



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Ripple Effect

I was brushing my teeth without my shirt on, when I noticed a scar-like line on my belly.

It was no more than half an inch, but it made my heart skip a beat, the way it does when I'm laying in bed and see someone standing in my dark bedroom, but then realize it is just a lamp shade.

What was this scar?  Had I cut myself somehow?  Had my dog somehow attacked me in my sleep?  Had I been abducted by aliens, who had done cruel experiments on me?  Had they cut me open?  Had they fondled me, then wiped my memory clean?

I reached down with my hand to inspect the scar, thinking that by running my finger over the peak of healed skin, it would awaken some suppressed, horrific memory that my subconscious had kept locked away to protect me.  

I readied my finger over the scar and prepared myself for a traumatic realization.  But as my finger brushed over the scar, it wiped away completely. 

It was just some toothpaste.

Though I was relieved for the fact that I didn't have a scar on my belly, a much more disturbing realization was brought to my attention.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ruining a Song Forever: A YouTube Adventure

I love many different kinds of music.  You name it and I will probably listen to it (with the exception of country and hardcore/screaming music).

But I don't really listen to the radio or Pandora.  Mostly due to the fear of that Gotye song coming on.  But also because I like to discover completely new music.

So I'll usually just go on YouTube adventures, wherein one new song leads me to another new song and so on and so forth.  In this manner, I could start listening to techno and end up listening to classical a few hours later.


Here's one of the songs that I recently stumbled upon:



It was a decent song, but nothing spectacular.

What got my attention, however, was the top-rated comment for the song, which I happened to read before moving on to the next video:


Apparently, this song was loved by enough people that it had the potential to be ruined forever if certain comments were read.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Dudes Cry



The fine ladies over at The Indie Chicks invited me to write a little somethin' for them, and that's what I did today. 

So head on over there to read my first piece as an honorary "Indie Dick:"

When Dudes Cry via The Indie Chicks


-Youngman Brown


Monday, November 26, 2012

Panophobia (A "Poem")


I'm so scared

Of what it would be like

If I didn't have

Panophobia



-Youngman Brown


"Panophobia?" you ask ... Let me Google that for you.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Earmuffs: A Poker Story

Via Jam Adams

I started playing poker again.

They cut my days down to three or four days a week at work, so I figured that playing once or twice a week would be a good way to make up for the lost days.

The first time I played, I made just over $500 in four hours.  Though it is a small sample size, it is a decent hourly.  But I was a bit upset with my performance, because I could have won more.  It has been 15 months since I quit playing professionally, and I have lost almost all of my killer instinct. 

Poker is, or should be, based on a very simple scenario: You Vs. Them.  When I played full-time, I was still extremely friendly at the tables, but I still took the people's money and very rarely let them "off the hook."  But during my first session, I lost out on a significant amount of money by not putting the killing punch on some of the guys with whom I was having conversations throughout the night.

So while I did happen to win $500, I was somewhat upset with myself for not taking full advantage or getting "max value" as they say. 

Some of this has to do with being out of the game for such a long period of time.  And some of it has to do with being in the customer-friendly mindset of a dealer*.

*This is another big problem that I noticed.  When I win a pot, I over-tip significantly, which also cuts into my profit.  But I'm a dealer now!  I can't help it!

Anyway, I vowed to change this the second time I played.

To do so, I adopted a new strategy of simply leaving my headphones in my ears at all times and not engaging anyone in conversation.  If I was simply there to make money, then there really wasn't a reason to talk to anyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Self-Deprecation (A "Poem")

Self-deprecation sounds
Too much like self-
defecation
And I hate myself for it.

-Youngman Brown

Thanks, dictionary.com!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Midnight Premiere

I went to the Cloud Atlas midnight premiere two weeks ago, and then immediately came home and blogged about the movie, like a true nerd.  Then I promised to tell you about the premiere itself, but forgot, like a true asshole.

Sorry about that.  I know you've been holding your breath.

This was the first midnight premiere that I have ever attended, which is a fact that actually surprised me.  I mean, I consider myself a movie buff, and I have been pumped for movies before.  But I usually just opted to see them sometime during opening weekend or even the following weekend.

And with Cloud Atlas, it wasn't like I was waiting for years for the movie to come out.  I had only heard of the movie three or four weeks before it came out.  After I saw the trailer, it just stuck in my head.  And then I watched it again and again, wondering how this movie would piece together into a cohesive whole.

So it wasn't a situation where I a superfan, willing to wait in line outside of the theater for a day or two.  I was simply a relatively interested movie-goer who happened to not be working that day.

Additionally, a midnight movie isn't really a big deal time-wise, even for a three-hour movie.  I work nights and usually wake up around 3PM after going to sleep around 7AM.  Comparatively, a 12AM movie is like a normal person going to a movie at 5PM. 

You normal people, with your crazy schedules.

The premiere wasn't too crowded.  Maybe 40-50 people in total.  I bought my ticket beforehand, imagining an over-crowded theater.  With that thought in mind, I also showed up 30 minutes early to secure a seat -- a seat I could have claimed had I shown up 10 minutes late.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Somethings and the Something Elses

Or: Writing Has Made Me Bad at Blogging

I hope that this image makes
sense in five years.
Tonight, I remembered that I had written a post about the Cloud Atlas premiere, but had forgotten to actually post it on the blog.

And I was all like, Great!  Now I have something to post tomorrow that is already written!

And I was happy.

But then I opened the post and realized that I needed to add just a tad bit more to the beginning in order to set the scene and needed to add just a wee bit more of a conclusion to make the post hold its own.

So I wrote. 

And I wrote some more.

And I wrote a wee bit more than that.

And suddenly the intro and conclusion that I wrote dwarfed the three paragraphs that I was going to use as a post.

And then, instead of a post, I had this whole big... thing.  This thing that was much more than an account of the people that I saw at the movie premiere.  It had taken on a much larger frame and become about something.  And the things that didn't have to do with that something?  I pulled them aside to be about something else. 

But whether it was the something, or the something else, I realized that I had much bigger fish to fry than just simply adding an intro and conclusion (wee and tad as they may be).

It is the little things.  The little things that you don't realize are actually inherently funny or jarringly telling until you consider them later.  Moments you were going to include as a brief aside suddenly become more than moments.  They become insights, explanations, lessons.

It is incredible how much happens in life.  Boring and mundane thoughts and actions are actually completely interesting, once given thought.  Since I started writing, I began to realize how much can be said about these forgettable moments, but it wasn't until tonight that I realized how much they are going to drive me insane.  Because once they are realized, they beg... no, demand... to be written and included.

They need to be written, right then and there.  To be put into existence, put on paper.  It doesn't matter what you planned on writing or finishing, the somethings and something elses are going to keep coming.  And if you want them to keep coming, they do so on their own terms.

And sometimes, they demand to become posts of their own.  As brief, seething, inconclusive, and abrupt as they might be.

-Youngman Brown

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Dark Halloween

There is a bag of Paydays in my food cabinet.

That's not a particularly compelling piece of information, but what might surprise you is that I bought that particular bag of Paydays a year ago for trick-or-treaters. 

Paydays also happen to be my favorite type of candy.

This should tell you that I don't have much of a sweet tooth.  While Paydays might be my favorite type of candy, I'm still pretty meh about sweets in general.

But more importantly, this should tell you that I didn't get many trick-or-treaters last year.  And by "not many," I mean zero.

It's incredibly sad, because ever since I stopped going trick-or-treating, I have greatly looked forward to giving out candy.  I guess I felt like it was my civic duty to give candy after taking so damn much when I was a kid (I used to have a sweet tooth, but I guess it rotted away).

But as much as I wanted to pay it forward, it just never seems to happen for me.

Here's my history with trick-or-treaters:

  • Halloween '04, '05, '06, and '07, in college, zero trick-or-treaters.
  • Halloween '08, back at my parents house, they handled the trick-or-treaters.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Powerless

If you're reading this, it means that my power went out.

Because of this huge bitch named Sandy:

If Hurricane Sandy wasn't there, and if you looked closely enough, you might
have been able to see me in Pennsylvania, waving up at the satellite.


I scheduled this post on Sunday night and was going to unschedule (de-schedule?) it if my power remained.  But alas, if you are reading this, my power went out or I died before I could stop the post from going up.

Hopefully the power won't be out for too long, but it could be a week or two.  Don't worry: I have some bread, peanut butter, candles, and books.  And Sadie has plenty of Purina and treats.

I had a Halloween post planned, so please do me a favor and maintain your Halloween excitement until I get back.

And if you're in Sandy's path, stay safe!

Love,
Youngman Brown


Sunday, October 28, 2012

8-4

Today's post is a piece of Flash Fiction that I wrote for the Dude Write October Flash Fiction Contest.

The starting line for this month's prompt was "When I saw it, I nearly cried."

I hope you enjoy it.  Weighing in at 487 words, I present to you, "8-4."


*   *   *

When I saw it, I nearly cried.

There it was.  The thing that I had been working towards for days on end.  The ultimate goal that I had been savoring all this time, for all my life, really:

The final screen of Super Mario Brothers.

When I saw it, I nearly cried.  They were not tears of joy for slaving over the game for days and days.  They were also not redemptive tears of satisfaction for the pain in my wrists and thumbs being worth it.  And they weren't tears that sprang forth upon seeing the beauty of a rewarding finale of a fantastic journey.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cloud Atlas

I don't really have much to say in this post.  All I basically do is reiterate stuff that was already said in this article:

http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/a-plea-from-a-schmoe-seeing-cloud-atlas-is-the-most-important-thing-you-can-do-for-the-future-of-cinema

So read that.  And if you feel so inclined, read on:




I just saw the midnight premiere of Cloud Atlas.  This fact should signify the level of excitement I had for this film, mostly due to the trailer, which I could not stop watching:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Girl of My Dreams, or, My Subconscious Hates Me

On Saturday night, I had a dream that I was at a wedding.  This isn't really shocking information, considering the amount of weddings I have attended or been a part of in the past few months.

What is somewhat surprising is the fact that I was in love at this wedding.

It was one of those dreams where you wake up and you're sad that it was just a dream.  Whatever connection your subconscious made between your brain and your heart for the few seconds that the dream lasted are enough to bum you out as you groggily start your day.  Instead of grabbing cereal out of the cabinet, perhaps you grab ice cream out of the freezer.

Yes, ladies.  It happens to dudes too.

Source
What was particularly peculiar about this dreamy love connection was the fact that I hadn't thought about this girl for years.  Furthermore, I never really thought about her when I knew her.  And further-even-more, I never really knew her.

She was just a girl from high school who was three years older than me, a senior when I was a freshman. 

And that was the only connection.

Not once did I pine over her, crush on her, or really even think about her other than noting her existence.  We were in the same school for one year and then she graduated and I can honestly say that I never thought about her again.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Confession; I Don't Understand Semicolons

Source

I don't really get semicolons.

I'm not sure if I simply happened to miss out on all of the lessons in school about the semicolon (much like my sister missed all of the lessons on how to spell the word "neck"), or if I'm just really, really dumb.  But either way, I simply don't feel comfortable enough with semicolons to actually use them.

As such, to find a semicolon in my writing is to find the needle in the haystack.  They simply don’t exist. 

When I rarely throw one in, it is done so with a grimace, as if to say “I don’t know about this…” like when you drive by a cop on the highway and you know that you are speeding.  It's just a question of how much you were disobeying the law in comparison to the other drivers around you. 

The word "semicolon" itself is an appropriate name, considering I only semi-know how to use it.  I know it has something to do with two sentences.  And connecting them and stuff.  But that's about it.

Semicolons are scary.

So scary, in fact, that I typically opt to use the double-hyphen.  Even though I don’t quite know how this one works either, I am much braver with it.  Additionally, the fact that it is two minus signs makes it a double negative, which is positive.

Or something.

My fear of the semicolon is not limited to writing.  Let's pretend, for example, that I am flirting with a female via text messaging.  I say something particularly playful.  Something like "ur so cute when u get angry."

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Blog's 1st Birthday (sort of)


Good Youngman Brown is actually more than four years old.  But I only made fifteen posts in the first three years and I was the only one who visited it, so I don't think that really counts.

Last year, I recommitted to the blog, promising myself to update on a much more consistent basis.

105 posts, 259 followers, 66,000 pageviews, and 3886 comments later, I believe that I have kept that promise.

For this year at least.

Today's post is just meant as a huge THANK YOU to all of you.  If you have read one of my posts or you have read them all, I am truly thankful for you spending some time on my blog.  To think that something I wrote convinced so many of you to write a comment, click "follow," or give me a shout-out on your own blogs or Twitter. is an honor, and really makes me feel good.  You're all my inspiration and motivation, and I love you.

Aside from the many posts I have planned for the next year, I actually have a few ideas for the blog -- things that I haven't really seen on any other blogs.

Thanks for sticking around with me, and thanks especially if you decide to stick around for a while.  I love having you.

-Youngman Brown


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Cutest Halloween Post You'll Ever See

You remember my niece, right?


Well, I'm quite fond of her.

You know what else I'm quite fond of?

Halloween!

Now, what do you say we combine the two things:



There she is, getting ready for her first Halloween on my sister's lawn.

Every year, my sister and brother-in-law go all out for Halloween, decorating their house and front lawn with the most beautiful display of the macabre.

While driving by their house, people stop to look.  It's that awesome.

So what do you say you help them out by voting for my niece in Spirit of Halloween's "Cutest Little Monster Photo Contest?"


The winner gets a $2500 gift card to Spirit Halloween, which would go towards more decorations, making their lawn even more amazing next year.

Click here to vote (you can do it once a day, if you feel committed to the cause)

Thanks for supporting my niece in her cuteness.  More importantly, thanks for helping to frighten the children in my sister's neighborhood.

-Youngman Brown


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Very Special Drop in the Bucket

First of all, I just want to say that this is not a political piece.  As you know, I barely pay attention to politics.  But I did happen to watch the debate last week, and I was fairly upset when Romney said that he was going to cut funding for PBS.

So in a form of protest, I wore my Sesame Street t-shirt today:

"T-Shirt Mike" at his finest.

This isn't the first time I have defended PBS shows.  I also stood up for Mr. Rogers, when everyone was saying that he was the reason that my generation thinks they deserve things without putting in the work.

I also wore my Mister Rogers shirt in protest then:

Yes, I wear these shirts in public.

I just don't understand why people go after these shows, which are probably the only pure things that exist in today's world.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Anything, Anywhere, Anytime

While I was driving last week, I saw an R+L Carriers truck.

Their motto made me angry. It boasted, "We Ship Anything, Anywhere, Anytime."




Seriously, R+L Carriers?  How could you advertise such an impossible promise?  Are you able to ship, say, eighty million bowling balls to the peak of Mt. Everest?  Or could you perhaps ship a single helium-filled balloon to the bottom of the ocean?

In an attempt to see if they really could deliver what they promise, I sent them an e-mail:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shot

Today's post is a piece of Flash Fiction that I wrote for the Dude Write September Flash Fiction Contest.

Of the three visual prompts this month, this is the one I decided to use:




I hope you enjoy it.  Weighing in at 356 words, I present to you, "Shot."

*   *   *

There he sat at his table in the pathetic apartment that had become his living quarters.  In front of him sat a shot glass, three-quarters full.

Nothing else.

A door opened and slammed shut, snapping him out of his daze.

He didn't turn to look.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Bit of Self-Promotion

Just wanted to let you guys know that while I might not have been updating the blog in the past few weeks, I have been busy with other stuff.

So don't take it personally.

Besides being busy with work and Sadie, I have been branching out a bit with my writing.  I started two screenplays for two very different could-be-films, and I am also attempting to clean out my Word folder and stock up on some blog posts so that I can be on more of a normal blogging schedule.

Something else I did, which is a bit of exciting news: I was included in "All Cracked Up," which is a collection of short stories from your favorite bloggers.


My story is called "Bars, Girls, and Wingmen" and it details some of the reasons why I loathe crowded bars and expensive drinks.

All Cracked Up can be bought here for $2.99.  At the very least, click on the link and check out the lineup of writers who are included.  Many of them are my favorites, and they all brought their top-notch work to this collection.

Also, if you haven't yet seen it, head on over to A Beer for the Shower, where the guys featured my likeness in one of their recent posts called "The Idiot's Guide to Poker."



Like all of their posts, it is hilarious.  But it is even sexier because I make a guest appearance.

If you haven't checked out their blog yet, I am jealous of you because you get to experience it for the first time.  Start with the links posted under "The Best of ABftS."

-Youngman Brown

Monday, September 24, 2012

LOL

When chatting, texting, e-mailing, I have noticed that I say "LOL" quite often.

Of course, I am not actually laughing out loud.  If I laughed out loud to my friend typing the words, “I burnt my meatloaf today,” you would think that there is something wrong with me.  That I have no life, perhaps.  And that simply thinking about my friend burning his dinner packs enough comedic punch for rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory and involuntary actions to escape my throat in laughter.

In reality, we have bastardized this acronym, using it as more of a conversation extender, a cheating response to something that was most likely not that funny.  Or possibly awkward. 

For example, let's pretend Mark just texted Tim, saying "i love rachel and everything, but if I ever cheated on her it would be with that new secretary.  damn shes hawt!"

In response, Tim says, "lol."

The "lol" is inserted as a placeholder before Tim can say "Did you see that pathetic Eagles game today?" 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My New Dog (Diapers and The Vet)

If you missed Part I, check it out here.

Day 2: Diapers

Brandon left in the afternoon.

He's not one for goodbyes, and mostly just said, "see you around" as he left, giving the dog a pat on the head.

But after he had walked out the door, she ran to the bottom of the steps, where she pawed at the door and cried for a solid ten minutes.

She's smart, and she knew that he wasn't just leaving for a little while.

While she was crying downstairs, I was crying upstairs as I took inventory of all of the tiny bloodstains that she made on my new carpet every time she sat down and used her bottom like a little rubber stamp.  This was a problem that needed to be solved sooner rather than later.

So I put her in the crate that we bought for her, and made the journey to Petco.

That is where I found Simple Solution Diapers.  They were doggie diapers for females in heat or for puppies with incontinence or excitable urination.  And they even boasted "tail-wagging comfort!

The instructions seemed simple:

Monday, September 10, 2012

My New Dog (Day 1)

You might remember that a few weeks ago, I bought a houseplant.

If you don't maybe this will remind you:


Well I am sorry to tell you that three days after I bought Watson, I returned him.

Now, Watson was a great plant.  And we had some really great times together during those three days.  He didn't do anything wrong. 

But he had to go.
You see, I did a little research and learned that Watson, a Dracaena, was actually toxic to dogs.

Why was this a big deal?

Oh.

Because I got a dog!

Isn't she the cutest?


I've had her for a month now.  I'm sure that I am going to write about her frequently in the future, but for now, here are a few things I wrote down in our first few days together.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Doppler Billboard

Ever seen those digital billboards?

You know, those billboards on the road that are not the painted signs, but instead an electronic display that toggles through three or four different ad campaigns?


These.
The fact that they exist implies that they are actually a viable money-maker, though I am not sure how.  Apparently the electric bill costs less than it would to actually hire people to paste billboards up there. 

But my God, those things are annoying.

Especially if you are driving at night, when it changes from a black screen to a bright, white glowing rectangle of luminosity.  That flash of change is a very disconcerting moment.  Certainly not appropriate or safe for driving.

That being said, those billboards do get my attention. 

What can I say?  I was raised by the television and video games, so bright lights immediately attract my attention.

And I suppose that is all the advertisers care about, regardless of how safe it is for motorists.

But yesterday I saw an advertisement on a digital billboard that really pissed me off.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Idea

Today's post is a piece of Flash Fiction that I wrote for the Dude Write August Flash Fiction Contest.

Our starting phrase this month was "Never one to turn down a dare..."

I hope you enjoy it.  Weighing in at 497 words (3 words to spare!), I present to you, "The Idea."

*   *   *

Via Shifting Pixel


Never one to turn down a dare, I clenched my eyes shut as I gripped the steering wheel.

Five seconds.  That's how long I had to keep them closed.

This sort of thing happens often.  Usually at night, when I am on a straight road or highway.  My mind will start thinking in this sort of way:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Word(s)

Sorry folks.

I haven't posted in a while. 

But life has been pretty busy recently, with work, weddings, friends visiting, and oh yeah...

I GOT A DOG!

I'll post more about my new little buddy another time, but I figured that this point after a two-week absence would be a perfect time to give you a glimpse into what it takes for me to create a post for this blog, as well as to illustrate just how lazy I really am.

Let me use this very post as a starting example.

I actually started writing this post three months ago, when one of my favorite bloggers, MOV, wrote about the journals she never uses.  Being a writer, everyone gives her journals as gifts.  She says, "Every day, I look at that journal and promise to write something profound in it.  Every day, I break my promise."

I can totally relate.

I have a Microsoft Word document titled “Ideas” in which I just write an idea down.  It could be a quote that someone says, an overall idea for a novel or a screenplay, or an idea for a blog post.

I have mentioned this Word document before, in that I would be super-embarrassed if I died and someone were to read it.  If someone were to read a quote out of context, they might think me as a wannabe serial killer.  For example “My lip quivered as I imagined her blood pouring from her throat to the ground.” 

Not exactly something I want people to think was an autobiographical thought.

Anyway, the damn thing is 35 pages long, with most of the pages being one little bullet point of random thought after another.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Crazy Krista and Svetlana


I occasionally go on YouTube binges.

Someone will send me the link to a song, funny clip, or inspirational video.  But after it is over, I can never bring myself to close the browser, because YouTube has offered me a suggestion of something else to watch.  And so on and so forth until it is three hours later and I am watching a documentary about tsunamis, when the first video I watched was a guy who gets excited about rainbows.


Such was the case the other day, when I was watching various music videos and I came across this song.  And I was immediately reminded of my ex-girlfriend, Crazy Krista.




Now, I don't know who this singer/rapper is, and I don't really feel like doing much research about her.  The title of the video is Бьянка - Без сомнения, meaning that her name is either Бьянка or Без сомнения, but for the sake of clarity, I shall henceforth call her Svetlana. 

While I might not know her name, what I do know is that she is kinda hot, albeit trashy.

My ex-girlfriend, Crazy Krista, was insanely hot as well.  Definitely hotter than this rapper.

Until we started dating, that is.  Once I really got to know her, her attractiveness went right out the window.

Let me explain what I mean by referring you back to Svetlana's music video with three key similarities to the craziest girlfriend I've ever had:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Magical Power of 3D Glasses

Two weeks ago, I went to the movies to see Ted.

It was a movie that I had been waiting for quite some time to see, as I consider Seth MacFarlane to be a genius, Mila Kunis is gorgeous, and I have a slight* man-crush on Mark Wahlberg.

*Huge.

But when I got to the theater, I was disappointed to see that MovieFone had crushed my soul.  The times that they had given me were all wrong, and the last showing of Ted had started thirty minutes before.

Already at the movie theater and armed with the concealed gummy worms that I bought at the local convenience store, I decided to see something else.

I really only had one choice, however, as it was after 11PM on a Sunday night, and everything else had begun.  I could see Savages, which I also wanted to see, but it had begun ten minutes before.

Magic Mike and The Amazing Spiderman were just beginning, and I could see them in their entirety.

I am sorry to disappoint you all, but if I picked Magic Mike out of those two movies, I don't feel like I would be writing about it.

So The Amazing Spiderman it was.

Back when I saw the first trailer for The Amazing Spiderman, I had decided that I would "wait for Netflix."  Overall, it felt like a purely money-making venture.  It was the same story, told a different way, and with CGI that hadn't really progressed much in ten years.

But whatever.  I was out of options.

"One for Spiderman," I told the attendant. 

"Fifteen dollars," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On Top of His Work

Today's post is a piece of Flash Fiction that I wrote in attempt to become a member of the Dude Write Flash Mob.

It's weird.  I made this card.  Now I have to earn it.

Our prompt for this month (given by the oh-so-manly Wily Guy) was: "If you'd told (me, him, her, them) two weeks ago that..."

So here you go.  Weighing in at 372 words, I present to you, "On Top of His Work."

*   *   *

If you'd told me two weeks ago that Jed's work ethic would lead to his death ... I totally would have believed you.

It's just the way that his work ethic led to his death that was surprising. 

I figured he would have had a heart attack from all of the stress from all of the projects that he took on.

See, Jed was always doing something.  You know, multitasking.

The guy was always in a rush and always had something in his hands. 

Today, for example, he's carrying tons of files, right?  He has all these stacks of papers in his hands, his laptop case over his shoulder, and a rolled up poster board in his armpit -- for a presentation or something.  And he's got his lunch on top of all these stacks of paper and a metal spoon in his mouth.

But what is most impressive about all of this is that he's on the phone at the same time.  And able to hold a conversation!  Even with the spoon in his mouth and him walking with his arms full at lightning speed, he still has the multitasking prowess to be able to hold an intelligent conversation.

Never a dull moment with Jed.

However, with all that crap in his hands and his immobile neck (because the phone is sandwiched between his cocked head and shoulder), he doesn't see the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet that is open, and he trips right over it.

His teeth clench down on the spoon and he falls face first into the floor.  The spoon lacerates his larynx and he gurgles for a while and dies in front of all of his coworkers.

It’s why your mom tells you to never run with scissors, I guess.  Though scissors would have been less painful than a dull spoon. 

The worst part is that his wife is on the phone and she hears the whole thing.  She just listens to him gurgling as he dies face-down on the floor, his legs still lying on top of the drawer of the filing cabinet. 

Which is kinda funny if you think about it, you know?  Even in death, he is still on top of his work.

-Youngman Brown


If you liked this, check out some of my other Flash Fiction.  


And if you want to read some other awesome Dude Write authors, or even enter this competition and become a part of our community, come on over and hang out.

Dude Write


Monday, July 16, 2012

My 20 Seconds of Insane Courage

Before we start, I'd like to say something that might surprise you. 

I know that I make fun of a lot of actors and actresses (especially Nicolas Cage and Katherine Heigl, who are both just awful awful awful actors).  And Matt Damon is a common target among movie critics, critics of actors, or just people-critics in general.  

But I actually like him as an actor. 


Shocking, I know.

I'd also like to take a moment to warn you about spoilers ahead.  But like most movies of its kind, if you saw the preview for We Bought a Zoo, you saw the whole damn movie.

And you know it. 

Go ahead.  I encourage you to watch the preview.  Even if you have seen it before, watch it again:





In just two minutes, you know the entire plot of the movie.  You know all of the characters and what they stand for.  You know that it is going to have a happy ending and that every single character will work out their problems by the end of the film.  Not only that, but you have also just heard all of the critical lines in the movie. 

It was all gift-wrapped for you in a two-minute trailer, which inexplicably seems to have been created so that you DON'T have to see the movie.

It amazes me that people spend their time and money to watch a movie that was so elegantly ruined by the trailer.

That being said...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Netflix: The Pulse-Checker

Source

It's funny.

Netflix was just like, "Are you still watching 'Louie'?"

And I was all like, "Of course I'm still watching 'Louie,' Netflix.  Why would you think otherwise?"

And then I realized that five hours ago, I had sat down on the couch and said "I guess I will watch an episode of 'Louie'" and then I just laid there. 

For five hours.

Because with the new Netflix streaming, you don't even have to click "watch next episode."

It just assumes that you want to.  And rightfully so.

It knows that you are too weak-willed to turn off your Playstation and call it quits for the night, so it just goes onto the next one, and you don't even have to click a button.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Best Friend, the Terrorist

Source

My buddy works for the government.  He recently transferred to a different location and needs to get top secret clearance so that he can work with classified information.  A while back, he asked if I would act as a reference for him, and of course I obliged.

So I was not surprised when an investigator called me, inquiring if he could meet me to discuss my relationship with my friend.  He told me that he was under a tight deadline, needed to meet the next day, and would travel wherever to make it easier on me.

"Wherever and whenever is easiest for you," he told me.

I was going to be traveling north the next morning for the wedding, and needed to make a stop in my parents' hometown to pick up my tuxedo.

He was stationed the next town over from my parents, so I suggested that we meet at the Starbucks next to the Men's Warehouse.

"Actually, it would be better if we could meet at your parents' house," he told me.  "That way, we don't have to stop talking if someone sits next to us if we are in a public place."

I wondered what he actually meant by "wherever and whenever is easiest for me," but I agreed and drove the extra ten minutes to my parents' house after picking up my tux.

Friday, July 6, 2012

¿Cómo se dice "ba-donka-donk"?

I work with a diverse group of people at my new job.  Which is a good thing.

But I have recently found myself in the break room with a group of people that I cannot understand.  Whether they speak Spanish, Chinese, or some Russian dialect, they always seem to congregate around me and speak with each other in their native tongue.


Now, maybe I am paranoid, but whenever I am just sitting there, innocently eating my sandwich, I can't help but think that they are talking about me.  Whether they are criticizing my personality, my looks, or the way I eat my sandwich, one thing is certain: they are speaking in another language, not because it is more comfortable for them, but so that they can encode their shit-talking from me.

Okay, so I'm bad at finding pictures.  Pretend that the girls in
the back are actually two bald-headed Russian guys who
aren't actually whispering.  The girl in the front is actually a
pretty good representation of me.  Minus the socks.  My
socks aren't as cool.  But I do hug my knees when I am sad.

One of the most interesting parts about being around these conversations is the English words that sometimes slip out.  I am not sure if the words are untranslatable or if the words come out accidentally, but the English words actually make me feel even more suspicious.  In my paranoia, I see it as a tactic used by my foreign-speaking friends, much like the government taking a black marker to confidential papers and only leaving a few innocuous words to leave the reader void of any actual information, and thus completely baffled.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My GPS Rant

I love technology.

If I hear a song on the radio or coming through the walls from my neighbor's house, all I have to do is hold my iPhone in the air for a while for a few seconds, and it will listen to the song and then tell me the title and artist of the song.


If I need a sports score, recipe, weather, or the home address and social security number of the cute waitress at my coffee joint, all it takes is a few clicks on the internet for the stalking to commence.

If I get lost on the road, I can simply pull out my iPhone or GPS and it will tell me where I am and tell me how to get where I want to go.

But wait a minute.

The last fact that I mentioned implies that my GPS knows all of the roads and can track me as I travel on those roads.  It knows how fast I am going on the road, and it knows the exact path that I am taking to get to my destination.  It developed my route for me, for God's sake, and if I mess up and make a wrong turn, it will find a new route for me in seconds.

So there is NO REASON, whatsoever, that my GPS should "lose signal" when I drive through a tunnel.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Best Man: Sitting Next to the Groom

Lost?  Go back to the beginning of this series, and it should make a little more sense.  But if you don't feel like doing that, all you need to know is that this is the fourth out of four responsibilities of a best man.


4) Sit next to the groom.

This one might also come as a surprise.  Aside from handing over the ring when you are told to do so, there isn't really much you have to do as the best man except stand up at the altar and look handsome.


But that wasn't really the case the last time I was a best man.

You see, Father Chip (the priest that celebrated the wedding) had known Brian for his entire life, and was close to Brian's family.  So he felt the need to add a personal touch.

During the homily, Father Chip directed his attention towards the bride and groom.  Yes, I realize that this seems standard.  But the bride, groom, maid of honor, and best man (me!) had four special seats during mass that were behind the altar. 

That meant that Father Chip's body stood at the podium, yet his head was turned and contorted in an almost unnatural way to face us.

And he stood that way for the entire homily.

And it was a very.  Long.  Homily.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Best Man: Holding the Ring

Missed the first two responsibilities of a best man?  Go back to yesterday's post to read about them.


3) Hold the ring.
I know.  You'd think this one would be the easiest.  Easier than making a speech, right?

Not for me.

As soon as I was handed the ring, I felt as if I was entrusted with the sole object that would save the world from the Armageddon.  I immediately tucked it away into the safe confines of my breast pocket.  But within seconds of putting it in my pocket, I began mentally evaluating the security of my pocket and the craftsmanship in which it was sewed.  Surely, if there was a faulty breast pocket out there in the world, it would be mine.  I could actually feel the stitching begin to come undone.  The pocket simply couldn't handle such a burden, weighed down not by the weight of the ring but by the consequences of what it would mean to lose it.


I imagined the priest saying, "The ring, please?" and then me grasping at every pocket with a panicked look on my face, and eventually running away, leaving nothing but a trail of tears in my wake.