Cursive

I spent the majority of third grade learning to write cursive alongside my classmates. We had to use cursive on every paper in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. Then we got to seventh grade and we didn’t have to use it anymore. Papers were either typed or written in print. It’s been two decades since the last time I used cursive regularly.

I wrote my name in cursive today, just to see if I could still do it. I could. It looked sloppy but it was legible. I was actually a little impressed with myself. It became a bit of a game. I challenged my coworkers to write their names too. Most of them succeeded but there were a few spectacular failures.

Learning cursive was a huge waste of time. We should have learned how to code instead.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Three Thousand Meter Run

I went to a private school that was kindergarten through eighth grade. Once a year there was a school wide track and field day. All the students from grade 4-8 would choose two events and everyone had their moments to experience the glory of competition. The most popular events drew the best athletes, I thought I could cheat the system and get a medal by choosing a fringe event. Instead of competing against fifty kids in the hundred meter dash or high jump, I chose the three thousand meter run against six kids.

I was in fourth grade at the time, making me ten years old. I was the youngest one in the race, the others were all thirteen or fourteen and had been running the three thousand for years. They dominated me. I was so slow and they were so far ahead and there was no way I could beat them. I forget how many laps we had to complete but it was a lot, and that was a long time to know that I’m going to be in dead last. I just put my head down and kept on running around the track.

After a while I heard cheering. I thought someone finally won and it would be over soon. I kept running. I heard more cheering. I kept running. More cheers. And then my name. I realized that the cheers were for me. My fellow fourth graders were cheering for me, rooting me on. They didn’t care that I was clearly losing. They just didn’t want me to give up. I can’t remember how long it took me to cross the finish line but I did it and I did it because of them. It was a great feeling. Like something out of a Disney sports movie. I never ran the three thousand again. I never needed to. I already did it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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I Have Two Places in San Francisco

I moved into my girlfriend’s place a few weeks ago. It’s a big step in our relationship and our lives. Congratulations to us. It was not as smooth of a transition as it could have been because I still had to pay the last month’s rent for my old spot. It was a waste of eleven hundred bucks, but I technically have two residences in San Francisco right now. That’s twice as many as the average person. I believe that makes me a baller. I can either sleep downtown or retreat to my quieter house in the Presidio. I have options. I only have another week of dual residency and you can bet that I’ll be gloating as much as I can while I can. How many places do you have in San Francisco? Oh, I have two. Two places in San Francisco in 2018. That’s just how I roll. It’s more convenient than having one.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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SpikedSeltzer

I’m a beer drinker. I like to drink beer. But sometimes beer is too heavy and I want a lighter alternative. That’s when I go for SpikedSeltzer. SpikedSeltzer is a brand of alcohol-infused sparkling water. It comes in a variety of flavors, each one is crisp and refreshing with a 6% alcohol content and only five grams of carbs per 16oz can. You can drink it straight from the can, but it tastes better over ice. You can even use it as a mixer. It comes in cranberry, lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit.

They can be dangerous because you can’t taste the alcohol. It tastes just like sparkling water. Maybe it is psychological but I feel like it doesn’t dehydrate me. It’s my new alcohol of choice if I want to get a buzz while being active or for day drinking under the sun. The biggest downside to SpikedSeltzer is that it’s not really popular yet. I went to six different stores around my house to find it and didn’t have any luck. I found a twelve pack of it at Target and snatched it up. If you happen to come across it, don’t hesitate to pick it up. It’s worth it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is a 2018 documentary about the iconic comedian. Robin Williams was one of a kind, renowned for his quick wit and manic energy. Director Marina Zenovich takes you on a journey through his life, starting with his childhood, exploring how he developed his talent, the highs and lows of his comedy and acting career, revealing aspects of his private life, and ultimately his final days and his enduring legacy.

I was kind of reluctant to watch it at first. It was kind of late to be starting a two hour movie, and I was afraid that it would be depressing. It wasn’t. I was laughing and learning and reminiscing for pretty much the whole running time. It only got sad towards the end as his mind started to betray him and his talent slipped away.

The documentary is pretty thorough but doesn’t cover everything. It goes into behind-the-scenes stories from a lot of his movies, but omits Hook for some reason. It loses a couple of points for that. It also doesn’t delve into his habit of stealing jokes from other comedians. Yeah, he was brilliant but a lot of his jokes came from other people. They should have addressed that.

Robin Williams was larger than life, but Come Inside My Mind makes you realize that he was a real person too. He had hopes and dreams and flaws and fears. He accomplished a lot and was an inspiration for many. His death left a void in the world. This documentary is a nice tribute to a great performer.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Barbary Coast Trail

My girlfriend and I go hiking a few times a month. We prefer dog friendly trails so we don’t have to leave the pup at home. We live in San Francisco and don’t have a car so our options are mostly limited to hikes in the city and Marin, and there are only some many times you can do Land’s End and Twin Peaks before you get sick of it. So I googled good urban hikes in SF and discovered the Barbary Coast Trail.

The Barbary Coast Trail is a walking tour of some of San Francisco’s most historical sites and famous landmarks. The trail is not a loop. You can start at the old San Francisco Mint if you’re downtown, or you can start at the cable car turnaround at Beach and Hyde if you’re in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. The trail is marked by over a hundred and eighty bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk. The plaques have arrows to point out the direction you came from and the direction you’re headed to. It becomes a bit of a game to find and step on each plaque. The plaques make it hard to get lost, but every now and then you might stray away from the path and have to resort to Google Maps.

The trail takes you through Union Square, Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf and past iconic and forgotten San Francisco treasures. The best part about the trail is that it really is an urban hike so you can easily take a break to browse a boutique, stop for a beer in the city’s oldest bar (which is on the tour), or enjoy lunch from an outdoor cafe.

I’ve lived in the city for over ten years and the Barbary Coast Trail is one of the best things I’ve experienced yet. My girlfriend feels the same way. The dog liked it too. It’s a time filling activity that’s both recreational and entertaining, not to mention educational. And it’s free. I have a feeling that I’ll be taking visiting friends and family on the trail for years to come.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Roy Sullivan

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a guy named Roy Sullivan. Roy Sullivan loved nature. He was a park ranger. Nature didn’t love him back. Nature had a habit of throwing lightening bolts at him. Between 1942 and 1977 Sullivan was struck by lightning seven fucking times.

Sullivan was never much of a superstitious man until 1972 when he got struck for the fourth time. Then he started to get paranoid that nature had a vendetta against him and started carrying water with him in case his hair caught on fire after a lightning strike. He got to use that emergency water three more times. Right after his seventh and final strike he was attacked by a bear. Lucky guy.

Nature finally won its battle against Sullivan on September 28, 1983 when he died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head. I know that suicide isn’t funny, but that deserves a bit of a chuckle.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Josh

On June 29, 2017 my friend Josh passed away. I’ve dealt with death before. I’ve had grandparents die, friends from high school die, and pets die, but Josh’s passing hit me the most. He and his husband introduced me to my girlfriend and the four of us were supposed to grow old together. Instead Josh got sick and he was taken away from us. We were there when he went. We knew it was coming. We saw him go. I can’t describe the overwhelming rush of grief and devastation that washed over the room. It was crushing.

Josh had a lot of friends, so the lobby was full of people waiting and worrying about him. The people that couldn’t make it were calling and texting. I had to tell a lot of people that he was gone. I saw them break down and had to relive that terrible moment over and over again.

The next few hours were a blur, but time slogged on. Hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and now somehow it’s been a whole year since he’s been gone. It still doesn’t make sense to me. I’ll never understand why. I’ve learned a few things. Death is never easy. There’s no such thing as closure. All you can do is cry and tell stories and remember, and that’s still not enough to fill the void in your heart. Josh was a great person. I hate talking about him in the past tense, but he’s still a big part of my life. I miss my friend. I miss Josh.

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Portable Charger

I have an iPhone. That means I have terrible battery life. A few YouTube videos, one Snapchat, and two Facebook updates are enough to drain half of my battery, even in Low Power Mode. Luckily there is a solution: a portable charger. A portable charger is essentially a backup battery and it’s a lifesaver. I dropped thirty bucks on one a few weeks ago. I was hiking Half Dome in Yosemite and wanted to make sure my phone had enough juice to take plenty of pictures so I had to get one. It allows me to charge my phone up to three times before I have to recharge the charger. That’s good news for me, because I’m one of those anal people who can’t leave the house without being 100%. I dread a drained battery. Now I don’t have to worry about it. My charger also has two USB ports on it, meaning I can charge my vape at the same time. Not too shabby. The future is now.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Best Day of My Life. So Far.

Every now and then I’ll have a really good day. It feels like I took a swig of Felix Felicis and everything is going my way, like I can do no wrong. I’ll know it’s a good day and I’ll even tell people that it’s the best day of my life. So far. It’s important to add the So far. You don’t want to sell yourself short. You always deserve to have another best day of your life. The goal is to have your best days build up in bestness so you have a best day and then a better best day, and hopefully a few more best days after that. You don’t want to have your absolute best day too early because you won’t have anything else to look forward to.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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An Old Man and his Hose

I took the bus to work yesterday and there was an old man by the bus stop washing the sidewalk with a hose and a bucket of soapy water. As I walked up, I saw the notification that my bus was one minute away so I posted up near where one of the bus doors would open. I was standing there looking at my phone when I heard someone say, “You need to move! Hey, you need to move!”

I turned around to see what was going on. It was the old man washing the sidewalk, staring directly at me with his hose in his hand. He said I needed to move again. I looked right at him and said, “I’m waiting for the bus and this is the bus stop.” He told me I needed to move again. I asked him if he was threatening me a hose. At this point the bus was pulling up and the seven other people waiting at the bus stop starting walking through his freshly washed sidewalk to get on the bus and that seemed to really set him off. He started yelling at me and the other people that he makes more money than us. He makes four hundred dollars a day! He makes more money than we will ever see in our lives!

A few other people joined me in my casual resistance of the sidewalk tyrant by laughing at his pathetic attempts to start a fight. He didn’t like that because then he glared at me and said, “Semper Fi! That’s right! I’m a Marine, bitch!” I told him that Memorial Day was yesterday (it really was), and I got on the bus while he was still yelling about how rich he was and how that makes him a better person. I rode off on the bus, leaving behind the old man and his hose but gaining a new story of how miserable some people are.

That old man ultimately did me a great favor. I had no idea how lucrative washing the sidewalk could be. I’m going to get me a water hose.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Clausthaler Dry Hopped

So I recently decided to cut back on drinking. I bought a few six packs of non-alcoholic beer to help ease into the transition. The only problem is that I’m used to drinking IPAs and most non-alcoholic beers taste like bland lagers. That’s why I was pretty happy to discover Clausthaler Dry Hopped. It’s a non-alcoholic malt beverage with less than .5% abv, and it’s imported from Germany so it’s classy. They dry hop the beer with Cascade hops (meaning they add the hops to the beer after it’s been brewed and cooled, which gives it a hoppy flavor). The end result is a non-alcoholic beer that tastes pretty close to a craft beer. It’s hoppy with a little citrus and a malty caramel finish. It won’t fool an experienced beer drinker, but most casual drinkers would think it’s the real deal. It’s easily the best non-alcoholic beer I’ve ever had. Not sure how much that’s worth, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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O’Douls

I’ve been drinking a lot lately and my girlfriend was kind enough to point it out, so I told her I would put down the bottle for a few days. Yesterday was the first day of my temporary sobriety. All I could think about was how nice it would be to go to the bar and watch the baseball game after work, but then I remembered I wasn’t drinking. But then I remembered that non-alcoholic beer is a thing. So I went to the bar and ordered an O’Doul’s with a chilled glass.

The bartender came back with an O’Doul’s Amber. I didn’t even know they had an amber, I’ve only seen the one in the green bottles. I poured the beer into my glass and admired its reddish hue and slightly hoppy aroma. It looked like beer. I took a sip. It tasted like an amber, a little rich and sweet with a slight hoppy finish. It had good mouthfeel. I sat there watching the game and making small talk with the other barflies and it felt like any other day at the bar. I just wasn’t getting drunk.

I had one more O’Doul’s Amber before I left the bar. The evening was still young so I got a six pack of the original O’Doul’s on the way home. The regular O’Doul’s is more like a lager. It’s mild with a slightly dry finish. I normally drink IPAs so it tastes very bland to me, but I still felt like I was drinking beer.

O’Doul’s is not fully free from alcohol. It’s less than .5% alcohol by volume. Kombucha is anywhere from .5% to 2% for comparison. They brew O’Doul’s like a regular beer and then they distill the alcohol out without heating or cooking the beer. That helps to retain the flavor profile. It’s not perfect. It’s like eating meatless chicken. It’s almost like the real deal but something is missing. It’s still a good way to wean yourself off alcohol. I say that as I’m currently enjoying my second six pack in two days. It definitely helps keep me distracted from real beer and my typical morning hangover.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Everybody is Being a Jerk Today!

I had a difficult coworker a few years ago. She was one of those people that are simply hard to deal with. She thought she was the shit and she wasn’t, so she didn’t really fit in. I remember her complaining once, telling me that “Everybody is being a jerk today!” I like to use that story as a teaching moment. If you think that everybody is being a jerk, you are the jerk. If you have a problem with everybody, you are the problem. She didn’t last much longer and she eventually quit and found another job. She does that every few months. I can only assume it’s because everybody is still being a jerk to her.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Electric Scooter Invasion

San Francisco was recently bombarded by three electric scooter rental companies. Literally thousands of scooters have been dumped all over the city. You either love them or hate them, and some people really do hate them. I’ve seen pictures in the news of scooters that have been tossed in trees, thrown into the bay, stuffed into garbage cans, left toppled over, have had cords cut, have had QR codes removed to render them useless, and shat on. Like people have actually pooped on them. Electric scooter rentals are a new thing so a lot of the users are riding them on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians and dogs out on walks. They leave them parked in random spots, blocking the way for disabled people. They have been decried as a public nuisance.

But the scooters are a great alternative form of transportation in the city. It’s cheaper than a Lyft or Uber for short distances. There’s not much polluting involved. And it’s a fun way of getting from Point A to Point B. My friend started riding them about a week ago, he made a good enough sales pitch for me to download Bird and LimeBike. The apps sat dormant for a few days until tonight. I had to transfer buses on the way home and the next bus was sixteen minutes away. So I got pissed and jumped on my skateboard towards home. I passed by a LimeBike scooter and I took that as a sign to try new things. I jumped off my board and opened the LimeBike app. It accessed my camera and asked me to scan the QR code. I did. Then it asked me to activate the scooter by paying with ApplePay. I pressed my thumb on the sensor and the scooter came to life. It was that easy. There was a safety light in the back and a little headlight in the front. It wasn’t bright enough to see where you’re going, but it’s enough to keep cars from slamming into you. There was a speedometer that told me I was going about fifteen miles per hour. It took less than a minute to get used to the scooter. I was able to drive it with my longboard hanging from my left arm, a bag of groceries on my right shoulder, and my backpack of work stuff without any problems. I was able to go about a mile in eight minutes and it only cost me $1.20. Maybe there was a promotion or coupon added automatically but it was totally worth it. I’ll ride an electric scooter again. I encourage you to ride one too.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Muni Sucks

Muni sucks. I’m writing this as I wait at the bus stop for the 47 line. The app and the website both assure me that my bus is two minutes away, one minute away, and arriving. It’s been twenty-five, now, twenty-six minutes, and I’m still waiting for a phantom bus. It’s fucking ridiculous. I pay money for my Muni pass every month for a service that doesn’t deliver like it says it will. They should reimburse me the cost of a fare for every failed arrival. Netflix would reimburse me. Public transportation should too. Muni sucks.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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There is no Wayne’s World 1

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone inserts 1 into the title of the first film of a franchise. You often hear people say that Wayne’s World 1 is way better than Wayne’s World 2. Or that Rush Hour 1 was the best movie in the trilogy. I hate that. There is no Wayne’s World 1. It’s Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2. Rush Hour has two sequels. Yes, it’s the first movie but it’s not called Rush Hour 1. It’s simply Rush Hour. You can check IMDB.com if you don’t believe me. Don’t even get me started on people who say Die Hard 1 or Star Wars 1.

There are a few exceptions like History of the World, Part I and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. But there is no History of the World, Part II and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was the seventh film of the franchise, not the first. The moral of the story is there is no Wayne’s World 1. So don’t say it.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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