Broken Escalator

I was going into the subway the other day when I saw a woman approaching the escalator. It wasn’t moving. She saw that it wasn’t working and  then she went out of her way to take the stairs instead. I couldn’t help but laugh at her. She recognized that the escalator was broken but opted to take the stairs, completely unaware that broken escalators are stairs. I don’t get it. Broken escalators look exactly like stairs. Yet I could see her entire thought process unfold in front of me: Damn, the escalator is out of commission. Better take the stairs! That’s the only way out of this mess. I know that I’m an asshole because it doesn’t matter what she’s accomplished in her life, she will always be a failure to me. 

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Playing Poker

I played poker the other night for the first time in a few years. It was a house game with some friends. I took that shit seriously. I downloaded some poker apps and started playing, studying as many flops as I could. I watched YouTube videos. I developed a strategy. And I dominated. I destroyed. I won the game and made my presence known. I made a hundred dollars. Yeah, a motherfucking Benjamin.

Poker was huge a decade ago. It was the game that kept you home on a Saturday night. You could get laid or you could make money. A lot of dudes chose to make money. For twenty bucks (plus maybe a couple of buy-backs) you can play cards with friends for hours on end and potentially make a profit. That sounds like a fun night. It was. It still is. Playing poker is a tradition for reason. Getting laid is always fun, but so is taking money out of your friend’s pocket. 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Broken Umbrella 

The past few days in San Francisco have been rainy and windy, which means there are a lot of broken umbrellas abandoned in garbage cans across the city. I counted five in a two block radius when I walked my dog earlier. That’s a lot of wet angry people that wish they bought a poncho instead. 

I hate when my umbrella breaks. I’m usually huddled under it when a gust of wind flips it inside out, breaking one of the spoke hinge things. I don’t know what you call those things, but they are crucial for proper umbrella functioning. You’re fucked once one of them breaks. You can either cling to your broken umbrella or throw it away and get soaked. You’re going to look stupid and be miserable no matter what. 

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Cannabis Card

Well, I finally did it. I got my cannabis card. I know that I’m a few years late to the party, but it’s good to finally be part of the club. I just never wanted to be on a list, to have documented proof that I smoke weed. Then I realized that it wasn’t a secret and nobody cares. And if they do care, fuck them. It was time to get it so I got it.

There are a few ways to get a cannabis card. I used an app called eaze. And it was really easy. I downloaded the app, answered a few questions, verified my identity, had a quick FaceTime session with a doctor, got approved, and started shopping for a home delivery. The whole thing took ten minutes and cost forty bucks.

I browsed a few strains before deciding on an eighth of NYC Diesel. It was in my hand fifteen minutes later. If only filing taxes was that easy. Oh well, priorities.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Don’t Touch My Chicken Wing

I was starving at work the other day and brought some buffalo wings into the breakroom to scarf down. I sat down and one of my coworkers had the audacity to take one of my wings without asking me first. She just reached her grubby little hand out and snatched one. Well, that really pissed me off and I let her know it. I grabbed the wing back from her and threw it away. I asked her who the fuck she thought she was. I told her that we weren’t homies. She doesn’t get to eat my food. She doesn’t get to touch my food. I let her know that she would have gotten one if she had simply asked. I said none of this nicely, mind you. I was fucking livid. I walked out of the breakroom and handed out a couple of wings to coworkers that I actually am friends with, knowing that they would take the wings back to the breakroom and she would see them eating the same wings that I had fiercely defended. They can have my wings. Her entitled self is forbidden. 

Looking back on it, I know that I overreacted but justice comes at a price. The moral of the story is don’t touch my chicken wing. Don’t assume you can just take one without asking. It’s my food. It’s my property. But if you ask, I’ll be more than happy to let you have one. I might even offer you some ranch to dip it in.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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I’m Not Watching Porn, I Swear

It was a gloomy, rainy afternoon today and I spent it watching Netflix. I was watching Hell on Wheels, a show about building the railroad in the Old West and suddenly there was a gratuitous sex scene. That part was pretty awesome. What wasn’t awesome was that my roommates were both home and sound carries down the hall. My TV was loud and they for sure heard the moans and grunts and cheesy music blasting from the speakers. My door was closed but that made it look even worse. To top it off I had to blow my nose earlier so there’s a couple wads of crumpled tissues clearly visible in my garbage can. It’s like the universe is trying to frame me. I’m not watching porn, I swear. I’m just trying to catch up on my shows. Don’t do me like that. 

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bye Obama

Today is the last full day of Barack Obama’s presidency. Tomorrow Donald Trump will be sworn in. It’s a time of great change and even greater uncertainty. I don’t know what the next four years will have in store, but I know the last eight years have been pretty rad. Affordable health care? I’ll take it. Gay marriage legalized? About damn time. Obama is cool. He’s the kind of guy you want to get a beer with. He plays golf with Steph Curry. He gets coffee with Jerry Seinfeld. Trump is the kind of guy you want to pour a beer on. He’s pretentious and proud of it. He grabs pussies and takes golden showers and talks about his own children sexually. And somehow he will be sworn in as our president tomorrow. Nobody seems thrilled about it.

Obama was change. He was progress. He was a president for the people. Trump is a president for rich white men. I’m not rich, I’m not white, and I’m not proud to call him my president. I can’t respect a cartoon character. I don’t vote. I think it’s a hollow privilege. That doesn’t mean I can’t be political. Not voting is how I choose to use my voice. I’ve now seen two candidates win the popular vote yet still lose the presidency via the electoral college. I can’t support a corrupt process like that. 

Here is what I’ve learned from the election. Racism is real. Bigotry is back. And the two party system is beyond flawed. I would change it if I could, but I’m too lazy and disillusioned to make an effort. 

Obama is leaving. I’ll miss him. Trump is coming. I’ll fear him. We have a Twitter troll in charge of nuclear weapons. God help us all.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Aunt Sally (Beer, Not the Relative)

Today is my day off and I decided to celebrate with a little day drinking. I went to the corner store and surveyed their beer selection for a few minutes before deciding on a six pack of Aunt Sally from Petaluma, California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company. It’s described on the label as A Unique Dry-Hopped Sweet Tart Sour Mash Ale, and that’s precisely what it is. It’s a good introduction to the world of sour beers. 

It pours a pale goldish amber color with a moderately foamy head. The aroma is of citrus fruits, green apple, and floral hops. It tastes sweet at first but turns tart and sour on the tongue. I get bursts of lemons, limes, maybe some pineapple, and hops. It’s crisp and seductive, the type of beer that cider lovers and wine aficionados can enjoy. 

Aunt Sally is a great beer for day drinking. It has an alcohol percentage of 5.7. It’s stronger than a Budweiser but lighter than most IPAs. It’s very drinkable and reminds me of sipping lemonade on the front porch at grandma’s house in the country. And my grandma didn’t have a porch or live in the country. Drink this beer if you’re lucky enough to get it.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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National Geographic Boobs

I remember one glorious fall day in second grade when I inadvertently opened up a classroom copy of National Geographic and saw boobs for the first time. There was a topless woman fetching water from a well in a third world country that might no longer exist. I’m sure the photographer was trying to depict her daily struggle. All I saw was boobies. Big, drooping, slightly uneven boobies in all their glory. I showed my friend and the magazine was snatched out of my hand and passed around faster than a blunt at a reggae show. Real boobs! With nipples to boot! Our lives were forever changed, all thanks to National Geographic. It was a soft innocent introduction to pornography at a time when we were too young to make the pages stick together. And yeah, we were too young to know what we were seeing, but it sure was exciting.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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The Best Day to Drive

I went on a little road trip to Santa Barbara over the holidays to visit my girlfriend’s parents. The drive from San Francisco is about 330 miles and usually takes five to six hours depending on traffic. But I inadvertently discovered the best day to drive out of the whole year. It’s Christmas. 

There was nobody on the road and we took advantage. We cruised along at a good ten to fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, comfortable enough to avoid getting pulled over for speeding. All the drivers were more considerate than usual. It was probably a byproduct of Christmas and Hanukkah overlapping. Everyone was overly generous. I hardly saw any tailgating or neglecting to use turn signals and there was a lot of thank you waves going on. We left the city around 8:15 and we arrived by 12:30, stopping only once for coffee. That’s not too shabby. From now on, I’m going to do all my road tripping on major holidays. While everyone is celebrating with friends and family, the roads are free for cruising. Take advantage.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Good Idea for a Restaurant 

I have a good idea for a restaurant. You remember that dinner scene with the Lost Boys in Hook? The one where Robin Williams as Peter Pan regains his imagination and an amazing feast appears before them, you remember that? My restaurant will recreate that wonder. 

You start by approaching a large communal table. You’ll sit right next to strangers. It’s real friendly like. The servers will bring out a bunch of empty plates and dishes and put them on the table. There’s about five minutes of pretending to eat, then suddenly the empty plates and dishes are replaced with real food.

Of course the food is all inspired by the food that appears in the movie. All the different types of meat and fruit, the hunk of cheese with Thud’s face in it, the crazy colered pie things, cups of hot cocoa with heaping servings of whipped cream, it’s all there. Everyone eats their fill. The feast ends with a food fight. It’s a little wasteful but it’s worth it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pockets

Being a man in today’s society has a lot of perks. I’m not trying to be sexist. I’m just stating a fact. We have pockets. Men’s clothing has real, fully functional pockets. That’s a huge advantage. Women’s pockets are mostly decorative, and as a result they are stuck lugging around a large external pocket that they call a purse to carry all the stuff they need day to day. Some might be able to use the butt pocket on their jeans to hold their cellphone if they’re lucky, but the other pockets are pretty much useless. It’s a novelty if they have an article of clothing with a working pocket. They show it off to all their friends, “Look! A pocket!” Meanwhile I have a pocket for my phone, a pocket for my keys, a pocket for my wallet, and I have a lot more pockets to spare. That’s just my pants. If I throw on a jacket, I’ll have even more pockets. Guys have so many pockets that there are multiple industries competing for pocket space. We have pocket knives, pocket watches, handkerchiefs, hell, we can even play pocket pool.  The Battle of the Sexes is finally finished. We have pockets. You don’t. Game over.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Home Videos

When I was a senior in high school I bought an iMac and a video camera and started filming my life for the next couple of years. I took my camera everywhere. I brought it when my friends and I would drive aimlessly around town staving off boredom. I brought it to school. I brought it on vacations. I brought it with me when I went to college. Literally everywhere. I would edit the footage and make home videos to give to friends and family. I’m glad  I did all that because I documented some of the best years of my life. 

My girlfriend saw some of my DVDs in my movie collection and begged me to show them to her. I popped one in and got to relive the last few months of high school when I was suffering from senioritis and filming Jackass-inspired stunts on campus instead of going to class. I got to relive my epic trip to Yosemite with twenty-something friends and remembered how grueling the hike to Half Dome was and how relaxing lounging riverside was. 

The memories came flooding back.  I saw friends that I’m still in touch with, some that I’ve lost contact with, and a few that are no longer with us. It was good to see them again. It’s a good thing I was nerdy enough to film my life for a few years. So many good times with good people caught on tape, preserved for as long as I have a working DVD player.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Coin Jar

I’m in the service industry and I rely on tips as my main source of income. Cash is my main form of payment and it works out pretty well for me. The only downside is that a wallet full of cash inevitably leads to a pocketful of coins. Coins are annoying. They jingle, they weigh more than paper money, and they are only worth fractions of a dollar. It’s very tempting to leave eight-nine cents at the cashier rather than be burdened with the excessive amount of change. But I’ve long ago realized that coins are still money and they add up quickly. So I lug home the random coins I’ve acquired throughout the day and throw them in a coin jar.

A coin jar is like a piggy bank for adults. The main difference between the two is that one is a jar and the other is shaped like a pig. You deposit coins in the jar and it gradually fills up. Then you take the coins to the bank and turn them into real money. The bigger the jar, the more money you get. It’s economics in action. 

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Sour Grapes (Documentary)

I’m in the restaurant industry and I’ve always been suspicious of self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs. They always seem so pretentious and full of shit. Last night I watched Sour Grapes, and it appears that my suspicions have been confirmed. Sour Grapes is a 2016 documentary about Rudy Kurniawan, a con artist who made millions of dollars by selling bootleg bottles of wine to rich suckers. It’s a cool crime story involving forgery, counterfeiting, manipulation, and wine. I won’t even discuss what Kurniawan did, how he did it, or who he did it to because I want you to watch it. It’s on Netflix. It doesn’t even matter if you like wine or not. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t like wine because it’s fun to laugh at other people’s misfortunes. Watch it. Or don’t. It’s really up to you.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pillow

A pillow is a sealed cloth bag primarily used for supporting your head or neck while you’re sleeping or lounging about. They are often filled with soft stuff like foam or feathers for added comfort. They have other uses besides being a sleeping accessory. They can be decorative. A nice pillow can really hold the room together. You can use them to battle siblings or friends at a slumber party. You can use them to put hospital patients out of their misery. You could spend thirty dollars on a fleshlight or use your already accessible pillow. 

A pillow is one of those things that you never appreciate until you don’t have one. Anyone who has ever gone camping but forgot a pillow will agree with me. A folded sweatshirt is not an adequate substitute. A good pillow is vital to a good night’s sleep. 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

2016 was a great year for Potterheads, especially me. I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood in April. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out during the summer. And then Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out in November. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a spinoff film and the first flick of a five film franchise. J.K. Rowling wrote a book with the same name for charity, but it was just an encyclopedia of imaginary creatures from the books. The film is a completely new story created for the big screen, which is awesome for real fans of Harry Potter.

Real fans of Harry Potter were never truly amazed by the films because we read the books before and knew what to expect. We already knew what was going to happen. We just debated what they were going to show, what they were going to skip, and speculate how they’d portray certain parts. I went into Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them without a clue of what was going to happen. It was awesome to meet new characters and creatures and to see a whole new side of the wizarding world as the plot unraveled in front of me. It was the most fun I’ve had at the movies since Deadpool. 

I won’t even talk about what actually happens in the movie. I want you to discover it for yourself. My girlfriend is not a Harry Potter fan (nobody is perfect) but she really liked it. That’s how I know it’s a good movie and I’m not just being biased. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay. David Yates, the guy who directed the last Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and both parts of Deathly Hallows, is back in the director’s chair for this film. You get solid performances from the cast and there’s a mindfuck of a cameo at the end that leaves you anxious for the next installment. Damn, 2018 is a long time away.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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