Everything is wrong with me
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
diary of the world’s worst vacation, volume three: los angeles
I love Los Angeles. The first time I visited LA was in the summer of 2001, when I went to an ex’s sister’s wedding. I liked it well enough, but was only there a short time and had to do wedding-type stuff (though I managed to get in a few trips to the In-And-Out Burger).
The second time I visited I spent a week in Marina Del Ray with a friend who had recently moved out there and the city blew me away. The vibe, the people, the scene, the weather – I ate it up. That, and a lot of cocaine. But that was a long time ago. And I didn’t actually eat the cocaine, but you get it.
(I’m clean now, Mom and Dad. Swear.)
(And readers, say no to drugs. Seriously. We here at jasonmulgrew.com are anti-drugs. I’m just going to stop talking about this now because I’m pretty sure that at least one person I work with is reading, so enough.)
But recently, my relationship with LA has changed. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on the site or not, but I’m kinda famous. This past August I went out to LA to pitch my show (which, because of the confidential nature of the project, I can’t get into). And my view of Los Angeles changed dramatically.
The whole experience of pitching gave me a 24 hour, 7 day a week boner. I’m not typically a star struck person and don’t really care about the entertainment industry, but that was before I was in the entertainment industry. While out in LA for that week in August, I had something like 23 meetings in five days, meeting with people who were responsible for creating some of the best television shows ever. I spent the week driving around town with my buddy Joe in my rental car, talking on the phone to my agent having conversations like:
Agent: "So your next meeting is with [person] over in [location] at 1:30."
Me: "Ok, what can you tell me about this person?"
Agent: [trying to make me feel like a dick] "Oh, I don’t know...he only created [my favorite show of all time]."
Me: "Oh, um, yeah. I’ve heard of that. Thanks."
[hangs up cellphone, looks over at friend Joe driving car]
Me: "I think I just pooed in my pants a little bit."
Joe: "I thought something smelled like those nachos we ate last night."
I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to express how there was a major shift in my perception of LA. It wasn’t actually a shift per se, but an amplification. While I may have been infatuated with the city before, all this Hollywood-type shit made me fall head over heels in love with it. Not to get "Aw shucks!" on you, but there I was – a fat dude with a beard and a blog – having all these serious conversations with some serious (and awesome) people, and I was happy. Very, very happy.
And so with stars in my eyes I arrived in LA on the afternoon on Thursday, February 9. My plan was to fly back to NYC on Saturday, February 11, with just enough time to go out and get blasted once more before returning to work. All was right with the world. For the next two days at least.
I met up with my agent Joel and some friends for dinner and drinks on Thursday night. Since contacting me in December of 2004, Joel has become my boy. Not just because I would kill for him because he's presented me with many incredible opportunities, most of which may someday lead to a real-live actual threesome. And not because he buys me lots of drinks and spiced meats. But because we have the same sense of humor and genuinely love each other.
Joel and I met up with some friends, Laura and Johnny, and ate something called "Korean barbeque." I didn't know that Koreans barbeque, but apparently they do, and they do it very well. I enjoyed the meal, but it's definitely one of those things where you need to go with someone who knows what they're doing. While Joel was deftly ordering for the group, I was busy drinking something called Hite and sticking my hand on the open grill in the middle of the table while making jokes like, "You know, I hear the terrier is delicious here" and "Seriously, the lhasa apso is the juiciest I've ever had." I can’t wait to go back.
The shenanigans continued the next night when I met some of the assistants from the agency for drinks. I have to give it to them – the sons (and daughters) of bitches can drink, although some of them (Allan, I’m looking in your direction) are terrible at Beirut/beer pong. But I don’t want to air any dirty laundry here, especially when that dirty laundry involves people who have the power to hold up any payment to me. So let's just move on.
I was able to enjoy myself on Friday because I didn’t have to worry about flying. By that time, news of a major pending snowstorm in the Northeast was widespread. My flight was scheduled to leave LA at noon on Saturday, arriving in NYC at 8pm. But because this storm had some serious potential and was supposed to hit NYC at precisely the same time I was to land, my flight was preemptively canceled. So instead of spending all of Friday night worrying about flying through a blizzard, I was able to go out and order a drink and two shots as soon as I got to the bar. Wonderful.
Worrying about the blizzard was reserved for Saturday morning, afternoon, and night. I woke up with a terrible hangover and after having brunch spent all day in bed, worrying about the flight. I watched the news as the snow approached the Northeast and continually checked my flight status, hoping it would be canceled. No dice. It appeared that by hell or high water, blizzard or no blizzard, I was flying to NYC on Sunday. And it freaked me the fuck out.
I know that I'm going to die young. I'm not saying this for pity or to be weird or anything - I just know this. This thought has so pervaded my consciousness that I don't think about things in the future. For example, I don't think about getting married or having kids or buying a house or anything like that. This is not because I'm lazy (which I am) or because I live in the moment (which I do), but because I know that I'm not going to make it to these things.
But don't be sad - I'm ok with this. If anything, it's almost good. It allows me to live the life I do, which, as you know, is totally fucking awesome. My entire worldview is rooted in this awareness of my own mortality and so I follow a strict regiment of the "If you're going to regret something, regret it because you did it, not because you didn't do it" mentality. So far, so good.
But I didn't want to hear that on Saturday. I knew that this was it. I knew that I was going to fly in that blizzard and I was going to die. Over. Done. I even went so far as to rationalize it by saying to myself, "Well, the good news is that at my funeral, they'll say that I had a lot of potential. I have all this stuff going on, but none of it has actually happened yet. So it's better that I check out now, while in the process of trying my hand at fame or whatever, rather than in a year or so, after I've tried, failed, and am living in my dad's basement, making out with local 16 year olds. Yeah. That sounds good."
So I coped in the only way I knew how: abusing substances. I really don't like to talk about drug use too much (really?), but I can not express how wonderful the drug Xanax is. I actually don't even abuse it, since I don't take it recreationally (I can't drink on it - makes me sleepy) but only when I really need it (when feeling anxious). Saturday qualified as feeling anxious. I went to a nearby store, picked up some ice cream, took two of those magic little pills, and spent about ten hours in bed. The highlight was probably watched back-to-back episodes of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and being so moved that I wept. It just really helped me get through the night.
Sunday morning I woke up, checked out of the hotel, and headed to the airport as the snowstorm raged in the Northeast. I had popped another Xanax when I woke up - just to ease the tension - and was basically a zombie as I moved through security. It was when I got to my boarding gate that I got the announcement: Newark, JFK, and Laguardia airports were all closed. I wasn't going anywhere. Thank god.
I passed the next few days in a haze, riding a roller coaster of emotions. I waited in line for a few hours to figure out that on Monday, I'd be traveling from LA to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Philly, and then from Philly via Amtrak to NYC. Sweet. I checked into the airport Holiday Inn and holed myself up like a true degenerate. I went out and got a twelve-pack, bought the 24 hour porn pass on the hotel pay-per-view for $35, and ordered a chicken alfredo pizza (which was probably the best pizza I've ever had: chicken, alfredo sauce, ricotta cheese, a little onions, and a little garlic). The thing about the 24 hour porn pass was that it gave me a day's worth of access to all twelve pornographic features that the hotel was offering. And I have to say, some of that shit was nasty. There was the obligatory gay porn thrown in, which I thought was tasteful but a little too long, but there were also two types of bondage movies and one movie bordering on violence. As you can imagine, I was in heaven. That is, when I wasn't feeling terribly lonely and alienated.
The next day I flew just about everywhere. Again, many props to Xanax, since I was pretty much in a haze from the moment I woke up until I woke on Tuesday in Philly. I noticed that my tolerance for traveling had been built up by my west coast drive. I didn't bat an eyelash about the four hour flight from LA to Atlanta, and the two hour flight from Atlanta to Philly seemed like nothing more than a quick trip to the supermarket. So that was nice.
When I finally got back to NYC on Tuesday afternoon, I didn't have time to enjoy myself. Site Guy Brendan set about working on our little surprise (which should be up any day now) and on the following day, I returned to work. Which has been - how do you say? - entirely fucking horrible. Just horrible. But that is a topic for another day.
Tomorrow (hopefully and thank god), the conclusion: diary of the world's worst vacation, volume four: how fucking enterprise extorted me out of $1000 (and why it's a terrible idea to write a four-part series of anything).
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
diary of the world's worst vacation, volume one: seattle
A few weeks ago, I randomly decided to head to Seattle for the Super Bowl. Faced with the prospect of returning to work, I decided to do something fun and spontaneous (read: exorbitantly more expensive than I ever imagined and intensely laborious). I booked a flight and was planned on being in Seattle from Thursday February 2 until Tuesday February 7.
I have three main friends out in Seattle: my old roommate Ben, my buddy Griff, and my friend Annie.
Long-time readers know about Ben, as he was a featured player on this site from its inception until June of 2005 when he moved back to Seattle, his hometown. I miss him, because he can drink like few other people I have ever known. Also he's always happy, which is a nice contrast to my crippling bouts of depression.
Griff and I met freshman year of college at BC. When we first met, I told him I was on a baseball scholarship, a line he bought hook, line, and sinker. Since then we've been friends, mostly because he's one of the few people who can truly tolerate my egomania. And he is Greek and I like having Greek friends. Also he knows a lot about music, though he once famously claimed that Hanson would be the best band in the world in five years. I understood his logic (if they could write catchy songs as 14 year-olds, they'd get better with age), but I will never let him live this down because it is a most retarded thing to say.
Annie and I also met freshman year of college and she's been one of my best female friends since. And to answer your question, yes, we did make out, but it was out of pity. I went to BC with four friends from high school and she made out with three of them at various points of college (only making out - all PG stuff). I lorded this over her for about four years until one day a few years ago on my birthday when I was going on and on about "what's wrong with me?" and "why am I not good enough for you?" and "it's because I touched your roommate's boob when she was passed out in that guy's van, isn't it?", she suddenly kissed me. Then I shut up. I am a very simple man.
The point: I had some friends in Seattle I wanted to see and that made the trip worthwhile. Instead of going on and on about "We did this on Thursday..." and "Then on Friday we...", I'll just give the highlights.
I've never seen a city as naturally beautiful as Seattle. It's incredible. Keep in mind though that I am a city boy and my appreciation of natural beauty isn't very sophisticated: the first time I saw a horse I thought it was a really big dog, I'm extremely excited when I get in a cab and there's no feces and/or semen on the seat, and the closest I come to nature on a daily basis is the dying plant I have in my office (apparently plants need sunlight - who knew?). But Seattle has all sorts of water and mountains on either side and shit, it's really pretty.
Of course, the weather is terrible, but I got a little lucky. It rained for the first two days, but the last two were gorgeous. Besides, I like the rain. One of my favorite things to do is to wake up hungover, look at the cold rain, and lay around in bed, doubting some of the choices I've made in my life. And you can do that pretty much every day in Seattle.
One thing that I wasn't prepared for and was not sufficiently warned about was the presence of hills throughout the city. I stayed at Ben's place and he lives on top of a very steep hill. We're talking really steep here - the kind you have to stop halfway up because you're out of breath and feel dizzy. And while I realize I'm not exactly a physical specimen, who the fuck builds a city on a bunch of hills? I mean, really? That just doesn't seem like sound urban planning to me. And maybe I'm just bitter because while walking up the hill to Ben's apartment I fell and two high school kids walking behind me made no attempt to hide their laughter. Asshole kids. Stupid hills.
The women of Seattle are attractive. Some of them are almost unconscionably attractive. They have a certain quality to them that women in LA and New York don't have. They are genuine. They aren't affected actresses or hipsters or power-broker career types, they just come as they are (and sometimes not at all - thank you, thank you very much). And I find this genuineness at once completely endearing and utterly disarming.
Real women scare me. I don't know how to talk to them. Usually, when talking to women, I can work an angle based on what I perceive to be their pretension and I can manipulate this to my advantage (or, as Arrius would say, "hadvantage"). For example, I can talk to the actress/waitress types in LA because I can riff about my development deal with a major network. I can approach hipsters in NYC because I know a lot about bands that no one has ever heard of too. And I'm comfortable with the girls who work on Wall Street because, hey, I work three blocks away from Wall Street.
(Please note that I said I "can" talk to these girls. This does not mean I do talk to them. Usually I don't talk to women at bars because I have too many things going on. You know, like buying shots and going to the bathroom and staring off into space wishing I looked like Nick Lachey.)
(And if you got that "hadvantage" reference without googling it, we truly are soulmates.)
But it is their very genuineness that makes these Seattle women unapproachable. I mean, what the hell am I supposed to talk to them about, real stuff? Like what I like to do and what I want from life? Who the hell does that when they're trying to get laid? I'm not looking for a friend here - I'm looking for someone to wake up next to in the morning and to say to me, "I have never seen so much semen come from such small testes. When was the last time you were with a woman?" My approach, like many guys, is all about shock and awe: shock them with a couple of shots of Jager and awe them with your strength - whether it be the size of your biceps or how cool your band is or in my case how I have the colon of an eighty year-old man. Gotta play to your strengths in "da game." I could not do this in Seattle, because the women there wouldn't buy it. So instead I left it up to Ben.
Ben is one of my staunchest supporters when it comes to talking about my "fame" in front of new women. In NYC, he was constantly telling women about my blog, something that never failed to repel them. This particular weekend was no exception, as he told every girl within earshot, whether he knew her or not, that I was in People as one of the 50 hottest bachelors. I feel like I've beaten this over the head, but for one last time: I am not good-looking in real life. You might think I'm being coy or fishing for compliments, but I'm not. Seriously, if you want to meet up right now, let's do so. I don't care. I'm nuts.
Anyway, Ben's persistence on letting everyone know about the People thing led to this exchange with one girl (who neither he nor I knew):
Ben: "My buddy Jason was in People magazine this summer as one of the 50 hottest bachelors - he's kind of famous."
Girl: [to me] "Really?"
Me: [trying to be bashful but imaging what she'd look like in my attic, covered in hot sauce and wearing a toolbelt] "Yeah, it was this past summer."
Girl: [a beat] "Geez...what happened since then?"
Let's all say it together: "OH SNAP!" Surprisingly, I didn't go home with that girl. I think she was like gay or something anyway.
So though beautiful, I was intimidated by the women of Seattle. All I can say is: good for them. If I'm intimidated by you, that probably means that I'm not going to be able to harm you in any way. So congratulations - you figured me out.
I wrote about this before, but I never got an explanation: are the poor-looking people that fill the streets of Seattle homeless, meth (or other drug) addicts, or just hippies? Because I really couldn't tell if they were going to ask me for change or ask me to buy their new cd. Help me out here, people.
By now, the Super Bowl is old news, so I don't want to get too into it. It was a boring, poorly-played game. I still think Pittsburgh would have won, but they won in the worst way: horrible officiating and even worse clock management. Two things that should never interfere with professional football.
I was wrong about my prediction, but prior to the game, I did write:
...one of these quarterbacks is going to have a very bad day. We’re talking a Jim Kelly/John Elway vintage 80’s/early 90’s game: 13/28, 140 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT day.Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit as Exhibit A Ben Roethlisberger's stats for Super Bowl XL: 9/21, 123 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT (1 rushing TD). Sure, my football picks have been crap all year long, and both my fantasy football teams finished out of the playoffs for the first time ever, but I can take solace in at least predicting that one QB would have a bad day. Can you give me at least that comfort?
The Super Bowl party was an enjoyable experience. Ben has a sixteen-seat movie theater in his apartment building (I know - must be nice) and he had about two dozen friends over to watch the game, which was catered like no other Super Bowl party I've seen before: multiple kinds of dip, pulled pork sandwiches, and some delicious stuff that I can't even tell you what it's called because I've never seen it before.
Sadly, my enjoyment of the game was limited. I was so hungover from Saturday night that I watched the third quarter from Ben's apartment, away from the crowd. When I deemed myself fit to return, I ate, ate, and ate.
I obviously extended my championship jinx to Seattle and I apologize for this. The only thing that I can say is, well, get over it. Losing sucks. Welcome to the club.
Seattle has a museum called the Experience Music Project. It's basically a hideous building with all sorts of music crap in it, from memorabilia to historical exhibits to interactive booths with instruments where you can jam with other people.
Back in my day, I was a nasty guitar player. I've written before how I was in 1.5 bands in college and how it was a great time, in no small part because after one show I got a blowjob in the woods. Which was great. But I've given up guitar because I don't really have the time for it anymore, what with all the things I have going on. But I still love music, as you all know from my recommendations on here. So the EMP was a chance to reconnect with that part of myself, the same one that has died after years of neglect and sexual abuse.
This "reconnection" involved me playing guitar as loudly and as awesomely as I possibly could, especially when females entered my vicinity. I am ashamed of how blatant this was. For example, I'd be playing by myself, just jamming away, with a volume level of seven. When I saw that some girls would soon walk by, I'd push that volume up to eleven (this one went to eleven) and do my best Hendrix impression ("Villanova Junction" is my go-to song and has historically always gotten into the ladies' pants). You won't believe it, but this didn't work. No matter how loudly or awesomely I played, I was not fellated. Which was why, I think, I gave up playing guitar in the first place.
And after I felt terrible about the whole thing. Showboating and carrying on whilst playing guitar in order to attract women - is this what I have come to? I really have nothing left, or so little left, that I have to rely on some mediocre guitar playing to impress a gaggle of sixteen year-old girls on a class trip? Sadly, the answer is yes. A major fucking yes. And I am ashamed. Majorly fucking ashamed.
(But in my defense, they were pretty hot sixteen year-olds. They just didn't make them like that back in my day.)
Seattle was the best part of my trip. I enjoyed the city, I enjoyed the company, and I enjoyed looking at the women. I woke up at 7am on Tuesday morning for my 8am flight, hungover and exhausted, and I made an impetuous decision. And it was all downhill from there.
(Tomorrow, tune in for "diary of the world's worst vacation, volume two: seattle to la".)