Saturday, October 6, 2012

Caps (not) For Sale

Through what I can only imagine was a mistake in the paper-work of the cosmos, I recently convinced a reputable outlet of information to let me write for them. That's right: I'm a staff blogger for Inside New York. As far as it stacks up against other jobs I have had, I can't complain; the pay is ok (nothing), but the perks are high (invitations to events I would never be allowed in otherwise, like free concerts) and the office space is pretty good as well (I get to write from home). But really, it's a good step for me. Last week, they gave me my first assignment - I went downtown to check out an event called New Era Introducing. It turned out that the cosmos had caught up with me, and knew what I was up to. The subway car I took downtown was plastered with ads for the very same New Era hat company.
A hat for people who identify as under-performers with an identity crisis
I had a great time at the event, so thanks to everyone who helped set it up and run it. Here's the review (actual post here)!
New Era is all about self-expression,” Ben Ewy, the creative director of New Era explained to me.  If you want proof, head to 82 Mercer Street, where New Era is hosting New Era Introducing, showcasing the work of dozens of artists who used New Era’s 59Fifty cap as a canvass. When I arrived at 8:45 Friday night, the spacious venue was comfortably packed with a cool crowd checking out the craziest caps I have ever seen. There was a lively beat from the DJ, and people were wandering around the gallery, helping themselves to tasty hors d’oeuvres  and the open bar (watch out for the New York Mule, a dangerous cocktail that involves vodka, ginger beer and magic, as far as I could tell).
This is the second annual New Era Introducing contest. The artist of the winning cap is awarded $10,000. Marconi Calindas took the honors this year for his cap “A Little Too Late.” An identified LGBT artist from San Francisco, Calindas was inspired by the recent tragedy of Eric James Borges when he came up with the idea for the cap. Don’t let the bright colors fool you – the hat tells a tragic narrative of a victim of bullying driven to suicide. He will be using the prize money to publish a book on the same theme.
Marconi Calindas (left) and "A Little too Late" (right)
I got a chance to speak with Evan Jones, CMO of New Era about New Era Introducing. He loved the and wide range of ideas that had come in, and was obviously enjoying the great vibe at the event. Sporting a plain white New Era cap, he told me, “When you go out, the last thing you put on is your cap. That’s what New Era is all about – finding a way to express yourself, and that’s what these artists have done.”
It’s doubtful that any of these hats will ever get make it onto anyone’s head. I asked around a bunch, and while there were some obvious favorites, there were few people who would think of wearing the pieces of art. I asked fellow hat-appreciator Reggie (sporting an all-black New Era Yankees cap) if he would ever wear one, and he just said, “Nah, man, these hats aren’t for wearing. I’d keep them in my collection.”
 Here are a couple of favorites from the night.

This cap was caught off- I mean made in Bellingham, Washington

This will happen to your cap if you leave it out for too long.

If you travel 88mph while wearing this cap, you travel to a time when people only wore fedoras

This one fell off a pagan god's head

One of the more popular hats, and a favorite of the crowd
I'm pretty sure I saw this guy in an episode of Samurai Jack

Monday, August 6, 2012

Adventures in Dentistry

I had a relatively large adventure (by my standards) last weekend. It all started Sunday after breakfast. I was  generally expressing my satisfaction concerning the existence of bacon and running my tongue over the inside of my mouth, and then I stopped both activities. My tongue had found a large bump on the inside of my lower mouth underneath my teeth. It wasn't a bump I recognized, so I went to a mirror and examined it. My tongue had told the truth - there in my mouth was a large bump that I was previously unaware of.  I won't gross you out with the details (if I haven't already), but it looked unnatural and out of place.

I immediately took the best course of action. Namely, self diagnosing. Two things went through my head.

1) Oh my God, it's gum cancer. A large, painless lump. It has to be. I knew I shouldn't have smoked all* those cigars** during my lifetime! What if I lose all my teeth and have to eat applesauce for the rest of my life? How will I chew on ice cubes ever again?
*like, five.
**well, cigarillos, actually


2) It's an alien. Or a bug. Or an alien bug. Where could it have come from? It must've been all that swimming in lakes out west. It has a bony feel, just like how I always imagined the exoskeleton of an advanced, sentient, parasitic alien bug would feel. I wonder how long I have to think independent thoughts? What if it's already been controlling me this whole time?

So first thing Monday morning, I went to a Doctor to ask some questions. After looking into my mouth, he told me it everything looked fine, but that if I really wanted to get it checked out, I should go to a dentist. This didn't make me feel any more at ease. By this point, I had narrowed my two initial diagnoses down to just one. I eliminated gum cancer, because the Doctor would have recognized that. Also, the fact that everything looked fine seemed to be more evidence that it was an alien bug, because naturally it was in the invader's interest to keep me (the host) healthy as long as possible so it could do whatever it wanted with me.

Despite my reluctance*, I made an appointment with my dentist (whom I normally avoid despite his office's harassing phone calls asking me to confirm appointments I never made) for that morning, and went down to see him.
*which I attributed partially to the alien bug wanting me to avoid the dentist, and partially to my fear of being stabbed in the mouth repeatedly

Sitting nervously in the torture chair, I informed him that there was a terrifying bump (I wasn't calling it an alien bug yet - I wanted him to reach that conclusion for himself) in my mouth, so they took an x-ray. The dentist came back into the room and asked me where the bump was exactly. "This is it," I thought to myself, "he's going to tell me that its fibrous tentacles have worked their way up my jaw and are almost in my brain." I opened my mouth and pointed.

"That?" he asked? "That's normal bone growth, it happens in about 40% of people. You probably had that the last time you came in, it's nothing to worry about. But as long as you're here, why don't we give your teeth a cleaning." And so he sent in his apprentice torturer* who stabbed me in the mouth with sharp objects for the next half hour.
*I'm pretty sure this was her official title

All in all, I have to say, I didn't leave the dentist feeling much better, despite my squeaky clean teeth and the free toothbrush he gave me to make me feel better about having been stabbed in the mouth. I think the reason is I'm not sure I trust him. I still think it's an alien. And I think my dentist has one, too. If it's already taken over his mind, of course he would try to comfort me and tell me it's nothing...

So please, if anyone has had a similar experience and had the alien bug removed, or knows someone who has been completely taken over already, let me know. I want to know what to expect.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Wit of the Hunt

One of the differences I noticed between the West and New York is that in the west, people really like taking pictures of themselves with dead animals. In particular, with an animal that is dead because the person in the picture killed it. I saw a lot of those photographs in restaurants or rest stops (Restaurants in New York prefer to take pictures of their food, or perhaps of the owner with celebrities they are about to kill with their food, but rarely dead animals). Unless there's only one deer that has modular antlers that everyone passes around and makes slight modifications to for their trophy picture, there's a lot of hunting that goes on out west. I won't judge the hunting; I'm not for it, but I understand some people enjoy it, some people need to do it, and some people can turn live animals into jerky, which is a good thing for everybody but the animal. So, don't worry, people who take pictures of themselves with recently dead animals, I'm not judging you.

What does bother me is when people refer to hunting as matching wits with an animal. I'll judge those people. There's a lot that's wrong with saying that. To begin with, animals don't have a great sense of humor and won't appreciate witty jokes, but most people who attempt to match wits with animals are trying to accomplish their goal by shooting the animal, which no animal finds amusing regardless of whether or not it has a sense of humor.

More importantly, if you really want to match wits with an animal, you need to do something that gives the animal a level playing field. I could suggest a few games. For instance, you could stand by a river next to a bear and try swatting fish out of mid-air. Whoever gets more fish wins (I would also suggest losing, because bears are notorious sore losers). Alternatively, you could hang out with an elk until one of you gets eaten by a wolf (the winner being the one who does not get torn to pieces). Or, you could play Uno with a mountain lion. Whatever you want.

However, hiding behind camouflage structures and shooting at an animal from a half a mile away does not constitute a level playing field. If I hid behind a friend's furniture (being sure to stay downwind of the fan so as not to alert him of my presence by my scent) while he was out and then shot him as he walked into the room, I doubt he would refer to that as "matching wits" with him. "Haha! You jokester you, you out-witted me!" would probably be the last thing I would expect him to say.

So please, in the future, be honest with yourself. You're not matching wits with an animal just because you're hunting it. If you're looking for ways to describe your relationship with the animal, how about stalking? Sure. Spraying bullets at? Ok. Ambushing! All acceptable way to phrase your activity.

And whatever you do, don't get me started on people who feel the need to match wits with fish.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Conversations with the TSA

While my absence in the blogosphere has become a less than startling event, my most recent disappearance has to do with a trip I took for the past three weeks through the Northwest/west. Perhaps some details will follow, perhaps not. Still,  I would like to share the last conversation I had out west.

I ended up in a security line at the airport manned by an underemployed TSA agent with a mission to amuse himself. As every person in the line went up to him, he examined their name, and wondered out loud which of their names they went by. Some were fairly straightforwards, but I could see he was confused when he looked at the boarding pass of a man with three first names, and disappointed when one of the girls on line lacked a middle name (where's the mystery in that?)This whole time, I expected I would breeze through without question or conversation, but that was not the case.

He looked at my pass, and without skipping a beat, said, "Oh man, if I had your name, I would change that H to a C."

"Huh?" I asked, surprised that he had something to discuss about my name.

"Yeah, you could be Brendan Cannon."

Tempting. I thanked him for his input then walked on. I don't think I will change my own name, but upon further reflection, I realized that should I, by some slip up in the galactic paperwork, become a parent, I would like to name my child (regardless of gender) Cannon, so he or she could be "Cannon Hannon." Should I also have a spouse through a similar clerical error, I hope she approves.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Proper Wishing Protocol

A lot of people say that if they could have one wish from a genie, they'd wish for a bunch of money. That's stupid though. 

If I had one wish from a genie, I'd wish for a lot of money (maybe two million dollars) and an accompanying W-2, because what good is money if you're in prison for tax fraud? No one would believe that you got all that money from a genie! 

Nope, can't fool this guy...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dangerous Car Fresheners

This morning on a bus, I saw an car freshener in a scent I hadn't seen before. It was called "Black Ice," which seems like an odd name for something to keep dangling in a car.

Ah yes, "Black Ice," and the other scents in that line, "Spin Out," "Steel Railing," and "Smoldering Wreck."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Executive Summary: Fundraiser Contributions

As many of you were aware, my friend's band will be releasing an album soon, and I offered my help publicizing his fundraising project. I'm sure you're wondering how much my efforts contributed to helping them reach their goal, who won the prized collection of my finest, illustrated haikus, and who killed Mr. Body in the bedroom with the candlestick*.
*Ms. Scarlet, but that was only because of what Mr. Body tried to do to her with the candlestick. He had it coming.

Well, dear friend, hold your breath no longer. Thanks to an elaborate algorithm I have devised that divides the total amount donated under dirty names since I advertised this effort by a denominator composed of a complex function involving website hits, frequency of google searches for my blog, fake phone numbers given to me by pretty girls I attempted to convince to contribute to the campaign or go on dates with me, and the second derivative of how many cookies I eat at work as a function of my productivity, I have concluded that my efforts netted a total of $0.00 for A Thousand Year's At Sea's new album (to date).

This means that the donor with the most obscene name remains front-runner "Haywood Jablomi," who, it turns out, is none other than yours truly (I would have a photo of my stunt-double bowing here if I could find him. Someone please come drink with me while we rummage through my room, and if we find him, I will gladly add a photo later). To reward myself, I will start compiling my haikus in a booklet of post-its I will keep by my microscope, Jim (for now), my most recent inanimate friend.

Jim (for now) the Microscope
If you have a better name for Jim (for now) the Microscope, please feel free to suggest it and I will consider dedicating a haiku to you.

Lastly, while A Thousand Years at Sea has officially ended their fundraiser, they still welcome contributions to their beer-money fund, and would be happy to arrange a swap in which you would give them money and they will give your their music or gear. Feel free to bother Colin Cotter if this interests you.

And now, I would like to formally announce that Diary of a Brendan will return to its Not-for-Profit Origins. Check back for updates soon, and please leave comments if you have a suggestion for a new name for Jim (for now), the Microscope!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Little Help for my Friends #3

I'll keep this brief.

Support A Thousand Years at Sea's new album. When asked how you want your name to be seen by others, enter a dirty (and funny) name. The funniest dirty name gets a prize from me.

That prize is...

A hand-written collection of my finest haikus. Illustrated by yours truly.

Estimated value of this (as of yet unwritten) collection: priceless.

I meant to make this post longer, more detailed, and involve photographs of my stunt double. However, I had to deal with a personal injury (which is so funny that it will be detailed in a future post soon) this evening. Also, I am currently organizing a manhunt, because I can't find my stunt double and the regular cast. Let me know if you'd like to help find him (i.e. sit around my room and drink beer. Please, someone help me because it's depressing if I have to do this myself).


Reason #5 to donate to ATYAS: Make those haikus yours. To the victor go the spoils.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Next Police

There's probably too much time devoted on the internet to correcting grammar, but I think it's important that I join the fray now. I only do this because I think it's important. A man must know when to pick his battles (in bars, major world wars, or disputes over toilet seats) and when to pick his nose (stoplights), and this is a battle-picking time.

I take issue with how loosely the word "next" is thrown around. Sure, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is. I'm not against "next" in all circumstances. But all too often, it is confused with "this." That's perfectly fine in some circumstances. For example, if you approach me in a bar and say, "What are you getting for your next round? It's on me!," I promise I won't be offended. Partially because you are buying me a drink, but mainly because there's no risk of confusion. You're offering to buy me a drink in the near future. God bless you, and I will toast you for it.

The problem arises when "next" can be ambiguous. This comes up because I was driving and someone told me to "Take the next exit." I asked for clarification.

"When you say 'next exit,' do you mean 'this exit,' or do you mean 'next exit?' "

Look at that! Say that out loud, especially if you're in a public place. Doesn't that sound crazy*?That's an absurd thing to have to ask. I had to ask someone if he meant what he said, or if he meant what he did not say! And if he were to reply "no," could he possibly have meant "yes?" Obviously, this confusion needs to come to an end.
*It does even more so if you shout it by yourself

Please be precise. "This" refers to the immediate object in question (OIQ*); "next" refers to the object that follows the current OIQ.
*Say this out loud, too. It's fun.

See you next time!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Little Help for my Friends #2

So hey, have you checked out "A Thousand Years At Sea"' yet? Did you like them enough to support their new album?

If you haven't done either, I suggest that you start by listening to their music, and then deciding if you want to donate. Unless you have more money than you know what to do with, which brings me to...

Reason #3: Donate your extra income so that you don't need to decide what to do with your disposable money. Never face important financial decisions* again!
*like food vs. alcohol.

If that's not enough, then how about...

Reason #4: You can get a full (fantastic) album for as little as $5. That money goes straight to the band*, so you're bypassing the recording companies. You'll be sticking it to the man!
*which, in turn, might go straight to the local breweries.

Please remember that there is a contest to donate using the most obscenely funny name possible. The winner will receive something awesome (to be announced soon) from me.

Stay posted for more reasons!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Little Help for my Friends #1

When I first started this blog, I was under the impression that I would soon be making a fortune off of it in a matter of weeks. Little did I know I was actually right!*
*if you count broken dreams as a fortune

Actually, the blog hasn't made me any money (surprise!), mostly because I think only a sadistic person would give me money to write these posts.

I am about to suggest you reach for your wallet, however (in case you didn't already sense that coming). Not for me, however. My friends Colin and Neil (who also have friends) are in a band together, and they're pretty awesome. Don't take my word for it, though. You can listen to their music here.

They're putting together an album and need funding for it. If you like their music, you can donate and listen to more of it here (ithis is the important link to click on, folks).

Over the next couple of days, I will be posting a list of reasons to donate to their campaign. To kick it off...

Reason 1: They are fantastic musicians, and you will get to brag to friends, co-workers and strangers that you are a true patron of the arts.

Reason 2: I will be hosting my own competition. Whoever donates using the most obscenely funny name wins a prize of my own creation (sure to be good). At the moment, Haywood Jablomi is in the lead. I won't say who he is, but he's probably handsome, charming, and a devilishly good blogger. Full details of this contest, my stunt double, and more (perhaps more compelling) reasons to donate to follow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Handy Guide for Saying Things to Girls

Here's a quick venn diagram I've compiled from a lifetime of experience.

Note: Not to scale. Leftmost circle should be much larger, rightmost circle should  be tiny. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Definite (Confusion) Articles

The other week I was in the desert when I noticed once again how self-centered man as a general species is (or at least, English speaking man is). For a fleeting moment, I had cell phone service, and I received a message from a friend asking me if I wanted to grab a beer with him that night. "Can't, sorry" I replied, "I'm in the desert." 

Or tried to reply. I didn't have enough service to actually send a message. Even if I had, I realized how frustrating for my friend that would have been. Naturally, his next question would have been "Which desert?" Then I realized that English speakers have a serious problem when it comes to describing their location. It's always "the spot." 

"I'm in the desert."
"I'm at the beach."
"I'm in the mountains!"
"Can't talk now, I'm at the movies" (all of them!)

It's as if being someplace immediately transforms it into "the" place. Look back at the first sentence; I did it there!

Normally I'm a stickler for precision in speech, but I don't have a solution this time. Instead, I'd like to propose that every time you fill in this Mad Libs sentence - "I'm ______ (preposition) 'the' ________ (location)" - you take a moment to ponder how non-unique you are. Hopefully, it will make you a more thoughtful, compassionate person. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Cube Rat Speaks of Coffee

I've known coffee:
I've known coffee ancient as Monday's meeting and older
      than the barista's five o'clock shadow.

My bladder grows full from the coffee.

I bathed my donut in coffee when dawn was young.
I built a wall of cups on my desk that kept me from sleep.
I gazed upon Mr. Coffee and tore bags of powdery Splenda above it.
I heard the singing of the sea-green Mermaid at two o'clock,
      when my boss stepped out for ten minutes, and I've seen the clear water
      turn muddy brown in the filter paper.

I've known coffee:
Ancient, dusky, coffee.

My bladder grows full from the coffee.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Experience in the Job Hunt

As many of you probably know, I quit my former job for various reasons. I've been engaged in the job hunt, and I've noticed a few things. I've determined that the best way to present my findings is a venn diagram. I also love venn diagrams.

Guess who found his compass from 10th grade!*
*this cat right here

Interactive portion: See if you can figure out which occupation falls into which region!

1) Building model airplanes
2) Mud logging (it's a thing, look it up if you have to)
3) Male prostitution
4) Putting papers in file cabinets
5) Observing habits of insects in the wild
6) Driving a truck
7) Making "That's what she said jokes"

1) B
2) ACD
3) ACD
4) AC
5) A
6) AD
7) B

Also, feel free to suggest occupations and what circle you think they might fall into. I'd be particularly interested if you can come up with something that falls into the yet undiscovered BCD region.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Escaping Nightmares

My dream self seems to be coming up with more and more creative ways of getting out of nightmare situations. Last night, as I was about to drift over the edge of what appeared to be an impossibly high waterfall, I realized that I only had a few plywood boards to work with. I concluded that the best thing to do was to flap them hard enough to try and fly and guide myself to a safe landing. Anyone with any knowledge of aerodynamics could say this probably wouldn't work, especially considering that the pieces of wood I had were fairly clunky. Fortunately, this turned out to be unnecessary. After cresting the edge of the waterfall, I started dropping, only to find myself on a slightly inclined shelf in a huge supermarket. The waterfall turned out to be a huge display piece in a giant, Walmart-like store.

If only I had been this mentally nimble several weeks ago, when I dreamed that a friend of mine wanted me to go see a movie he had enjoyed. After he finally convinced me to go see the movie, six (6) people broke into the room we were in and commenced trying to kill me (guns, explosions, etc.). It turned out that the movie was some sort of create-your-own-adventure experience, in which as soon as you decided to see the movie, people started trying to kill you. I had to have my friend, who was incidentally caught in the crossfire, explain this to me, but once he did, it made sense.  The best part of the whole dream (except the part where I killed or evaded six (6) would be assassins) was after he explained how the movie worked, he told me "It's not as good the second time you see it." 

Friday, January 6, 2012


This morning on the train, I saw someone wearing a light jacket that had a tag that said "packable" on it. Why is that something you would mention about clothing? Of course it's packable, it's clothing, not a porcupine!

Non-packable item (unfortunately)
Packable item (whatever)

Quit telling me things I already know, clothing manufacturers!