Category: Self


It’s a crisis!  I wish everyone I know would just buy a goddamn Porsche and be done with it.  Instead, everyone around me – everyone who is every bit as middle-aged as I am – is not doing that.


Midlife crises used to be so easy work through.  So predictable, so easy; practically transactional.  You ran out and bought a Porsche.  Or you got some bouncy new boobs.  Swipe your credit card, you’re done.

Suddenly a 911 and pectoral saline vessels aren’t good enough anymore.   No, now everyone’s got to get fit.  Gotta work out, gotta pump up!  When you realize that you’re closer to death than you are from your birth, no one wants to go out in a blaze of glory anymore.  Instead, everyone wants to amp up the health factor, make up for years of indulgence and intoxication, desperate to try and reverse the aging process.

So yeah, let’s all work out and kick ass.

Remember when everyone on the planet wanted to take up kickboxing?  Ooooh, so tough.  But kickboxing is just so ‘90s, you guys.  Now, if you really want everyone know you’re middle-aged, kicking ass, and taking names, you gotta run a dozen miles, AND go to a spin class, AND take a crossfit session.  All before lunchtime, bitches.

Marathons?  Fuck that shit, you pussy – ULTRAMARATONS FTW, motherfucker!  Wait, scratch that – running’s not enough, I better tack on some swimming and some cycling to it!  Fuck yeah!

“Hey, how’s your marathon training coming along?” “Hey, are you signed up for next month’s tri?”  “We totally need to sign up for that obstacle race where they swing glass-encrusted sledgehammers at you and send 50,000 volts of electricity right to your nipples.”


A buddy of mine once shared this joke with me, “When you’re at a party, how can you tell which ones are triathletes?  Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.”  Except it’s not a fucking joke.  The only thing more irritating than a triathlon are all the assholes running them.

All these fucking guys can’t wait to tell you about all their training, how their last event went, what races they’re signed up for, how many miles they ran this week, what shoes they ended up with after they got sized up by some supercomputer or some fucking shit like that.

Stop being so psyched, for fuck’s sake.  It’s fucking irritating.  Fucking nerd dorks with 2% body fat.  No one’s impressed.  You’re annoying as fuck and you look gross.

The most irritating of all are all these obstacle races that are all the fucking rage.  Crawling through mud, climbing walls, running under barbed wire, and fuck know what.  And these fuckers get so fucking carried away with all of it.

Mud Run

Admittedly, I signed up for one of these fucking things.  A year ago, happened upon one of these races and saw a bunch of people climbing ropes and running through mud, and thought, “Hey, playing in that mud looks fun.”  I have the maturity of a 5 year-old.  So I signed up for this year’s Merrell Down And Dirty Mud RunAs a goof.  Because I hate running with every fiber of my being, and I am the least competitive (in physical activity) person I know.  I chose this particular event because it was the most creampuff event, and it took place 5 miles from my house.  That’s how lazy I am.

No fire pits, no swimming through pools of urine, no electric fences, none of that bullshit.  This was no more treacherous than playing flag football a bunch of pissed-off midgets.  Seriously.

Yet, I showed up the day of the event, and the entire scene instantly laughable.  Girls with team shirts saying “Beast” or “Tough Bitch” or something touting grrrrrl power.  Beefcake dudes with bandanas wearing eye black.  Everyone was constantly growling or grunting and pumping their roided fists in the air.

I had entered the WWE of running.

Are you fucking kidding me.  This was little pussy 3-mile run with a bunch of shitty obstacles thrown in, and you guys are losing your shit over this?  Calm the fuck down, you Adderalled assholes.  Maybe cut your Red Bull intake in half, let’s start there.


And for all the posturing and bullshit tough guy theatrics, I ran this race and came in 8th in my class.  8th.  This fat fuck.  All without any growling or making my pecs dance.  Puh-fucking-leeze.

You fuckers need to save all the grunting and shouting and the eye black and the compression sleeves for something that’s worth going ape shit over.  At the rate these types of events are taking off, it won’t take long.  Assholes aren’t going to happy until there’s an event in which race organizers are firing live rounds at the runners, making them run through actual minefields, and playing dodgeball with a balloon filled with the Ebola virus.

This is how “The Running Man” will come about.  And when it does, I hope it comes with all the shiny spandex we can stand.  Until then, would the rest of you please, PLEASE, PLEASE shut the fuck up about your workouts.




I accidentally entered a bike race

“Withnail & I.”  Classic film by any measure.  Yet almost entirely ignored Stateside.  Everybody’s loss, I suppose.  Because the “we’ve gone on holiday by mistake” line is only one of what seems like a billion killer lines from the movie.  Quotable films extend beyond Will Ferrell’s fare, you guys.

And that’s the scene that conjured up in my head this morning.  This morning that came far too quickly after a night celebrating a friend’s birthday the night before.  The night before wasn’t conducted with a great deal of consideration of what this Sunday morning was going to bring.  It was, after all, a friend’s milestone birthday and we were going to celebrate it properly.  A catered dinner, wine that gushed from many bottles, coolers filled to brim with PBR, and a firepit out back that welcomed everyone outside on a frosty late-summer night.  And of course, there were cigars.  Of course.

So I got to bed at around 1am only to have to wake up around 5:30am.  Why?  Because weeks earlier, I had signed up for the Tour de Greenwich 20-mile ride.  What the fuck.

So, groggy, tired, and carrying a mild hangover, I hitched a ride with some friends up to Greenwich for this ride.  I didn’t mind too much because it’s only a 20-mile ride, and it’ll be a casual morning ride.  I was forewarned of a “nasty climb” at one point of the ride, but I shrugged it off as no big deal.  I mean, it’s not Alpe d’Huez, it’s fucking Greenwich – what’s the big deal.

When we got to the event, I looked around and saw the obligatory collection of rabid cyclists.  You know the sort.  The sort who shave their legs, who wear fully synchronized bologna suits; they ride carbon bikes that cost more than my car, and they nerd over their wattage, VO2 max, and electrolyte intake.

If somebody needs to nerd over shit that like, better them than me.  ‘Cause I fail to follow any of those cycling rules that govern such discipline in the sport.  I ride on the road with baggy shorts, I use mountain bike shoes and pedals, I rarely shift gears, and my bike has a flask holder.

Ti gearie

So, when I rolled up to the registration table, I was given a number to pin on with the instruction, “You’re in the second heat.”

Wait, what?  What second heat?  What “heat”?!  Turns out, the Tour de Greenwich wasn’t a casual ride through Greenwich at all.  Not at all like the NYC 5 Boro ride, or any of the other individual borough tours.  This was a fucking race!

I had accidentally entered a bike race.

RollersI looked around and started to take stock of all the people around me.  Guys were on their bikes doing short sprints in the parking lot.  Other guys had shot off to do a recce of the start of the course.  Some guys had hauled out their rollers and trainers and were spinning in place next to their cars.  I was in a sea of spandex.

Holy shit.

Realizing there was little I could do about this, I decided to that I was going to ride this the way I had planned to ride it all along – cruising around the 20 miles or so around Greenwich to admire the mansions, the huge tracts of land, and take in the morning scenery.  Fuck the race, I wasn’t prepared for a race, I wasn’t going to even try to “race” this thing.  The last bike race I did, it was a mountain bike race, and I came in about 20 minutes after everyone else.  I’m not cut out for this racing bollocks.

Tour de Greenwich start

Around 7:45am, the second heat were called up to the start line. Thick silence all around me.  Everyone was taking this serious as shit.  I started to giggle at how out of place I was.  I took a swig of scotch from the flask on my bike.  After about 3 minutes, they sounded the start, and the rapid clack-clack-clack of everyone’s clipless pedals accompanied the forward motion.  The road went straight, then a 90-degree turn to the left, and it immediately started to climb uphill.  Oh, for fuck’s sake.

I would later learn that the entire course was effectively 10 miles uphill, then 10 miles downhill to the finish.  Since I wasn’t going to race, I slinked to the right and let everyone fly past me.  Then I cruised along the course around lovely Greenwich and took in the sights.  And worked off the hangover.  And it was magnificent.  These enormous mansions all around me.  Some mansions had adjacent cottages.  Some of those cottages had their own cottages.  There were horses, there were farms, there were houses that looked like Hogwarts.

And the whole time, I kept thinking, what’s the fucking rush, you guys?  If I had ridden faster (I couldn’t ‘cause I’m fat and slow, and was still coughing up my cigar from the night before), I’d have missed all these sights.

I took the time to slow down, wave, and say hi to all the course marshalls and cops.  No one appreciates the thankless job they do.  Instead of tucking in, I would use my brakes on the downhills because I wanted to check out the ‘hood.  The only time I put the hammer down was when I got to this so-called “nasty hill”.  And holy shit was it completely ridiculous.  I checked the map and it says that it’s a 10.6% gradient.  I don’t know what the fuck that means, but it was every bit like climbing a wall on your bike.  Straight up.  Thankfully it wasn’t a long climb, and I just pounded my legs to crank up that sumbitch.  When I got to the top, I felt like my heart and lungs were going to explode out of my chest while I simultaneously shit my pants (I didn’t).

After about an hour and quarter, I reached the finish line.  Naturally, my other friends had all finished much earlier and had posted massively respectable times.  They’d docked their bikes on top of the cars, and they were already breaking out the coffee, the donuts, and they had the music was cranking from their cars.  A genius amongst us had the foresight to bring beer.  Now, since this was 9am, the beer was flavored with maple bacon.  Breakfast beer, perfect!

Coffee, donuts, and beer

So, in the end, the ride finished exactly how I had treated the whole thing.  To earn an excuse to stuff my face with donuts, drink beer at sun-up, and treat the whole thing as a goof.  Because I fucking goofed up by not realizing that I’d signed up for a goddamn race.

The next time, I ought to do a better job reading the descriptions to these things.




It started one drunken evening that got out of control quickly.  One minute I’m mixing up a strange brew called “Straight To Hell” at this party.  The next, there are incredibly ill advised joyrides in BMWs, cut-up cigars, and leg splits.  This was a dinner party that lost direction and veered off the deep end.

I can’t pinpoint precisely when, why, or how it came up, but the party decided that we needed to reconvene in a few weeks to take the Phaal Challenge.  Phaal, undisputedly the hottest curry in the known universe.  A dish conjured up by a sadist’s sadist for the sole purpose of inflicting excruciating palate torture.  I don’t really know what goes into a phaal curry, I just know of its legendary crippling powers.

Now, I don’t believe you can find phaal at just any corner curry house.  Most curry houses wouldn’t dare cook this.  We’d have to go to the Brick Lane curry house in the city, named after the famed street in London for all things India.  The Brick Lane curry house is THE place to get phaal in New York because they’re one of the few places outfitted to cook this curry.  Which – no joke – involves a full-face respirator and thick biohazard gloves.  The curry is cooked in a pot and stirred by what looks like a biochemical instruments.  It’s like Breaking Bad, except more lethal.  I’m pretty sure there’s witchcraft involved in making phaal.

In any case, about a dozen of us made this exceedingly poor decision about three weeks ago.  Of the dozen, only two or three of us were going to brave the phaal.  I wasn’t about to back down from this.  (I’m told that this whole phaal idea was my idea from the beginning but since I have no recollection of ever suggesting this, I’m not willing to own it – either way, I was in no matter what.) The rest of gang would cheer us on, laugh at our insanity, or have their fingers ready at their phones to call 911.

2 Hot Sauce BottlesI welcomed the three-week lead-up.  This would give me time to “train,” whatever the fuck that meant.  The best thing was having a good and proper excuse to order all the spicy shit when I ate out.  “Don’t mind me, I’m in training.”  Some people train for marathons, some people train for century rides, I was training for a bowl of curry.

It gave me a great excuse to eat unhealthy grub any chance I could.  And while I was at it, dump every imaginable hot sauce on everything.  I probably had hot wings a couple of times a week.  I loaded up my nachos with the hottest hot sauces I had.  Super spicy burritos.  All of it.

Then my friend – and fellow competitor – suggested that I try something called Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce.  Made a beeline to the store and scored a bottle.  Turns out this sauce is so over the top, so willing to live up to its name that you’re only allowed one drop.  And that’s one drop into whatever you’re cooking – a big pot of chili, a vat of pasta sauce.  Just one drop.

Chili with DavesGoing balls to the wall, of course I ignored that advice.  The missus made chili one night, and I put a drop of Dave’s into my bowl of chili.  Not the whole pot, as suggested, but into my own serving.  Holy fuck.  I was completely unprepared for this level of heat.  There was no aroma or flavor like you get with other hot sauces.  This was bottled-up Hades by the drop.

I now had a new threshold of heat I had never previously experienced.

A few days after that, the missus whipped up a large pot of spaghetti arrabiata.  She kindly left me a note, warning me that it was spicy.  I thought bullshit, I’m in training – so I made myself a bowl of this pasta and dropped in a slightly more generous drop of Dave’s into the lot.

Pasta with DavesPain.  Nothing but searing blinding pain.  It was like eating glowing coals plucked out of your Weber.  I started sweating buckets and my vision started to tunnel.  I ran to my bathroom and brushed my teeth.  I must’ve drunk about a pint and a half of milk – somehow I seemed to remember some advice about milk being a good flame douser.  Which also turned out to be complete bullshit.  None of it worked until I cracked open a can of PBR and shotgunned the entire thing.  I had to lie down for about 20 minutes after that.  All that over pasta.

I was starting to lose hope.  If I couldn’t handle some bottled up sauce you can buy off the shelf, how the hell was I going to stand up to a secret recipe that single-minded designed to inflict maximum pain?

This was all going pear-shaped.


NEXT:  Ring of Fire – The Event



Road Noob: Part 2


CONTINUED FROM Road Noob: Part 1


When I resolved to buy a road bike, you wanna talk about a smorgasbord of simultaneous emotions.  I was fucking bummed because I thought I was “resigning” or “downgrading” to a road bike (because, you know, mountain bikes are fuckin’ ‘ard).  I was thrilled because, holy shit, a shiny new bike!!  And I was dreading the inevitable “WTF, another bike?!” from the missus.  Ugh.

In the end, I bit the bullet and nailed a titanium road bike.  Oooh, titanium… so ‘90s.  Every fucker out there’s on a carbon fiber bike these days.  Titanium is so, so passé.  They’re the harem pants of road bikes.  But because I’d come from a mountain biking background, where everything is about durability – because let’s face it, you’re gonna fuck shit up when you’re trying to ride a bike across rocks and streams and logs and badgers – the idea that my fat and clumsy ass might inevitably shatter a carbon fiber frame scared the living shit out of me (reality check: carbon’ll hold up just fine).  Theory being that I can get titanium re-welded if I fuck it up.  If I fuck up a carbon fiber frame, all I’m getting an ass full of carbon fiber shrapnel.  Fuck that.

Nevermind that it’s impossible to choose from all the carbon fiber bikes out there.  There are thirty gajillion models to choose from, how the fuck do you make sense of it all.  Narrowing it down from only a handful of titanium options made the whole process more manageable.  [Let’s, for the time being, ignore the fact that there’s really nothing wrong with a carbon bike, I just wanted a titanium frame to be different.  OK?  OK.]

So I got the bike.  Off I go, right?  Fuck no.

There’s a lot of shit to work out when you make a wholesale change to what bike you’re riding.  Going from mountain bikes to road bikes is not like going from white toast to whole wheat.  It’s more like going from a rack of ribs to a salad.

As a result, I’ve had to relearn a shit ton of new things about cycling.  Things like:

HelmetHelmets.  Mountain bike helmets typically have a bill (visor).  I have no idea why but they do.  All the riding I’ve ever done has been under a canopy of woods, so I have no idea what that bill’s shielding me from.  And I’ve been using the same mountain bike helmet model for over a half-dozen years.  It’s the only helmet I use when riding my Frankenstein bike on the road.  Mainly because I’m already riding a completely unconventional fucked up monstrosity.  A mismatched mountain bike helmet? Perfect!  But roadies don’t wear billed helmets.  Oh no.  Roadie helmets have a billon vents and are made of carbon fiber (again!) and cost a trillion dollars.  Oh no, what to do!  Fuck it, I bought a road helmet.  I’m such a goddamn sucker.

On One MidgeHandlebars.  My Frankenstein bike has these cool flared dropbars (above).  They look a bit weird, but they’re massively comfortable.  This new road bike has conventional dropbars.  Ugh, another goddamn thing I’ve gotta (re)learn.

Saddle.  All my mountain bikes have exactly the same saddle.  That’s what my ass likes, so that’s what my ass gets.  All these road bikes seem to come with these thin wafer saddles.  Different saddles for different rides, I get it.  I guess they have little need for all that taint-saving structure on mountain bike saddles.  But which one to use?  This one’s thin, but is it thin enough?  That one’s narrow, but is it narrow enough?  WTF.

Road bike tiresTires.  So, so many tire choices.  With mountain bikes, I got quite good at understanding the tires.  There’s visual common sense that plays a big part.  Different tires have different tread patterns.  You can make a pretty well educated guess on how different tires will work on different terrains.  Makes tire selection not an entirely complicated affair.  Road bike tires?  There are four trillion models out there and they’re all slick.  How the fuck do you tell what’s a good tire and what’s a shit tire?  Getting up to speed on road tires has been a fucking tedious affair.  Also, I used to be able to score brilliant mountain bike tires for about $30 pop.  Why the fuck do road tires cost $80 a pop?  I blame the overall roadie populace for willingly overpaying for all sorts of shit.

Pedals.  Fuck road pedals.  Road pedals are big and clunky and they all use these massive cleats bolted to the sole of your cycling shoes.  And of course, these cleats aren’t compatible with mountain bike shoes.  Of course.

Shoes.  Fuck road shoes.  These things look like ass, with all the ratchets and straps.  And they all have these slick soles that’ll guarantee you’ll slip and bust your ass when you’re off the bike.  Speaking of off  the bike, those massive cleats on slick road shoes make you walk like a duck that’s just shit his pants.  I’m sticking with my mountain shoes and mountain pedals.

Shorts.  Roadies and their fucking bologna-skin outfits.  Mountain riders wear baggy shorts.  I’ve never worn anything but baggy shorts when I ride.  My ass is too fat to wear skintight lycra shorts without some modesty shorts to hide behind.  Fuck you, I’m riding with baggy shorts.

So much shit to think about.  So many rules…  Ahhh yes, “The Rules”

Velominati“The Rules” are a crowdsourced “sacred doctrine” devised by the brilliant cycling iconoclastic site, Velominati.  Velominati’s “The Rules” are fucking ace.  They’re hilarious.  But they’re also the quintessential road cycling commandments.  I love rules for things.  But while I love how fucking hardcore some of the rules are, there’s just no fucking way I’m adhering to all of them.

Because whether roadies want to admit or not, there’s a roadie mold, and it chaps my taint and I’m not doing it.  I’m not riding with a fucking heart rate monitor.  I’m not measuring my cadence.  I never want to know what a VO2 max reading means.  I sure as fuck am not shaving my legs.  I’m never wearing a bib.  I’m riding with sleeveless jerseys when it’s 100-degrees out.  I’m gonna keep wearing baggy shorts.  And I’ll keep riding with booze onboard.

I’m just gonna go out there and ride this stupid bike.



Road Noob: Part 1

Ti BikeJust over eight years ago, the missus and I were expecting our first kid.  And as fat and out-of-shape as I am now, I was even more grotesquely overweight then.  I was over my ideal weight by about 50lbs or so.  Absolutely no athletic ability to speak of, I got winded walking up the three steps to the front door of my house.  I was fat, repulsive, and I realized that this was no way to greet my firstborn.

So I bought a $300 entry-level mountain bike and started huffing it around town.  Then I took the bike the dirt and decided that a $300 bike wasn’t something I should use to bomb around these dirt trails.

As I have a slightly obsessive personality, one thing led to another, and eight years later, I ended up with eight bikes in my garage – each one quite different from the next.  Dual suspension, geared hardtail, singlespeed hardtail, geared 29er, singlespeed 29er, the list goes on.  But they were all mountain bikes.

I took pride in riding mountain bikes.  Because mountain bikes are fucking hard.  Mountain bikes are big and burly, not skinny and frail like road bikes.  Mountain bikes have big chunky tires that eat up the earth, not thin little pussy tires that glide on the road.

But I went further.  While everyone’s riding aluminum bikes, I only rode steel frames.  Heavy, tough steel rides.  And I assembled almost all of them myself.  I bought the frames, I bought the bike parts, I bought tools, and I gradually learned how to assemble bikes in my garage.  I was obsessed with building bikes.  If I’m honest, I probably enjoyed tinkering with bikes more than actually riding them.

In that time, I’ve had nothing but disdain and bucketsful of fuck you for road bikes and the sinewy, shaven fuckfaces who ride them.  Road bike riders are goddamn nerds.  And nerds ruin everything.  Road bike nerds are the fucking worst.  These shitheads with their immaculately specced carbon fiber bikes with carbon wheels and carbon parts and their shitty skin-tight bike clothes that are color coordinated with their Kenny Powers sunglasses and matching helmets, and their shaved legs and heart rate monitors, all nerding over their wattage and VO2 max and cadence and GGGAAAARRGGGGHHH, fuck you, fuck you to hell, roadies!

God, I hate roadies.

But the sad reality is that over the past two years or so, my time on dirt trails dwindled to almost nothing.  Trail riding takes time.  It takes time to get all your gear together, it takes time to actually get to the trail, and when you’re there, you wanna take your time to enjoy the trail.  Mountain rides go slow compared to road rides.

Having a couple of ingrate kids with increasing demands (soccer! baseball! camp!) meant time that would’ve been spent on the trails was now rapidly being sucked away.  A three-hour trail ride now turned into a mere hour-long sprint on the road.  To do this, I had to convert one of my mountain bikes for the road.

This bike was a proper Frankenstein’s monster.  I had bought the bike for $50 from my local bike shop and had immediate stripped it of all its shitty parts, then had the whole thing repainted.  Then through some manner of witchcraft and sheer luck, I was able to cram road wheels (which are larger than mountain bike wheels) into the frame, and cobble together something was somewhat roadworthy.  This beast would serve as my road ride for over two years.

But it was far from perfect.  The chain would fall off the bike frequently.  Using road bike parts on a mountain bike frame had its challenges.  Most of all, it was slow as fuck.  The combination of being an older heavy lugged steel frame with only 9 speeds meant that I wasn’t about to suffer windburn on my rides.

Denial: not just a river in Egypt, as they say.  I was in denial so long about needing a road bike, I can’t even pinpoint the moment when I finally did face up to the fact that my Frankenstein bike wasn’t cutting it anymore.  I mean, fuck road bikes, right?  I don’t ride road bikes.  Asshole nerds ride road bikes.  And you know who else ride road bikes?  Old people.  Old fucks whose bodies can’t hack it any longer on a mountain bike.  Because they’ve gone soft.  And old.  I’m not old, I’m still young!  That’s what I kept telling myself over and over again.  Somehow, in my head, I’d conjured up the perception that getting a road bike is a sign of giving up, growing old.  I wasn’t prepared to do that.

But then, I went and bought a fucking road bike anyway.





A few times a year, I become really “ethnic”.  That is to say, for a variety of reasons, I get into a phase where I really – and I mean really – embrace my Chinese heritage and my cultural upbringing.  Granted, I’m fairly selective in how I embrace my heritage.  Last September, I wrote a blog post that showed that I’m clearly not totally cool with my country of origin, and fuck hell, did I ever get a haterade bath for that post.

But this isn’t about Malaysia.  This is about being a Chinese person who grew up in Malaysia.  It’s is an entirely – and uniquely – different experience from any other Chinese person growing up anywhere else in the world.  Which is to say that it’s no different from an Irish person growing up in Boston having an entirely different upbringing from someone growing up in Dublin.

So anyway, about my occasional cultural embrace.  The only time I can seen reliably “throwing the switch” is during the Chinese New Year.  This is my Thanksgiving, Christmas, and St. Patrick’s Day celebration all rolled into some stir-fried holiday that goes on for 15 days.  Sure, there are many holiday customs I’ll go through each year, but the one thing I always do also – which has absolutely fuck-all to do with the Chinese New Year – is buy the biggest durian and can find and fucking go to town on it.


The durian.  It’s a fruit.  Proudly labeled the “King Of The Fruits”, which is a fucking stupid label.  Because, really – what the fuck does that even really mean….

In any case, here’s the durian I bought last week.

Durian 1

Except, the durian is more than a fruit.  It’s a conundrum encased in a paradoxical shell of sensory fuck-you-upness.  The durian has been, is, and always will be more than just another fruit.

I mean, look at it.  IT’S COVERED IN HORRIFYING, DEADLY SPIKES.  It’s so deadly it needs to be restrained in a net.  It’s Charlton Heston in Planet Of The Apes.  Like the lobster, who was the fuckwit who first looked at the durian and thought, “I’ve got to eat that”?  You’ve got to be mental to think that that’s something you should eat.  It grows in the tropical rainforest climate, and it doesn’t grow close the ground like a pineapple does – oh no, this fucking thing hangs from high up in the tree and, and like most other fruit, bombs to the ground when ripe.  Imagine that shit in free fall right into your goddamn head.  This is Mother Nature’s quintessential Fuck You Fruit.

Durian 2So when you get a fruit that’s covered in lethal spikes, and you’ve just got to get to the core of its forbidden treasure within, you don’t just ask politely.  That outer layer doesn’t just peel back nicely for you.  Fuck that, you know what you do – you fucking take a cleaver to the thing.  That’s right, a goddamn cleaver.  I’m not just doing this for dramatic effect, mind you.  Growing up, this is the only way I’ve ever seen anyone open up a durian – with a couple of a precise hacks of the cleaver.  This fruit requires boldness.

Once you make gash at the bottom of the fruit, you stick your fingers in there and rip that sumbitch open.  That’s right, nothing’s subtle about the durian.  It makes you fucking work for what’s inside.

And when you open it up…

Durian 3You’re greeted with yellow lumps of soft, delicate “pillows”.  There’s no other way to describe the edible insides.  Inside each of these lumps is a small chestnut-sized seed.  That yellow goodness is what you eat.

And since taste comes largely from your olfactory senses, I haven’t even gotten to one of the most ridiculous things about the durian.

The smell.

If there is something on this earth that is more polarizing than the smell of a durian, I haven’t encountered it.  Anything you can think of that’s polarizing – the U.S. president, EDM, assault weapons, Anne Hathaway, you name it – forget it, they’re all child’s play compared to the sort of reactions the durian elicits.  No one in the history of time has ever tried a durian and said, “meh.”  No, it’s usually squarely between “That is so sweet and heavenly I think I just saw cherubs descend from skies to paint the earth with rainbows” (the durian does not have hallucinogenic qualities as far as I know) and “Holy motherfuck, what the FUCK is that, it’s like Satan’s wet farts.”  No one’s ever reacted that way to Anne Hathaway.

I wish there was a scientific explanation for this – and maybe there is, and I just can’t be arsed to look for it.  I am firmly in the camp of those who think that there is nothing sweeter in the world than durian.  Nothing.  Not truffles, not my kids, not Kate Upton, nothing.  For me, the durian transcends earthly explanation.  It boggles my mind that something that tastes and smells so mind-blowingly amazing can exist without ripping a massive black hole in the universe.

Then there are those who think that the durian is proof that the devil exists because it is his festering hemorrhoid littered on this earth.  Those people would be wrong, and those people are stupid.

And here, I’ve saved the very best bit for last.  If you can wrap your head around this fucked up fruit at this point, then you’ll love this part – you can’t have alcohol when you eat durian “because you’ll die”.  This fucking thing will KILL YOU.  Shit, even the infamous fugu sushi doesn’t have any booze restrictions on it.  Not so with the durian.  At least that’s the unwritten rule that EVERYONE abides by when they eat durian.  You just don’t fuck around with that rule when you’re eating durian.  You’ve gotta make sure there’s no alcohol in your system before or after you eat it.  Eat it right, or you die!  Truth is, no one really knows if there’s any shred of truth to this, but to date, I don’t know anyone who’s been willing to put this to the test.  I’ve done a lot of stupid things, but I ain’t doin’ that.  Because that’d be a pretty fucking stupid way to die.  “The idiot knew he wasn’t supposed to booze it up with the durian, but he did, and now he’s fucking dead.”  That’d make for a horrible epitaph.

Durian = no booze, you guys.

Some of you are gonna read this and think, why the fuck is this dipshit writing about some goddamn fruit that sounds like a cancerous sphincter?  Because those of you who haven’t tried durian are gonna lack the balls to try something that could – as track records go – turn out to be the most glorious thing you’ve ever tasted.  But no, you’re gonna puss out.  And that’s going to be fucking shame.

Grow a pair, eat a durian.



Cock fight

I’m a lover, not a fighter.  And by that, I mean I’m a huge pussy.  I don’t like confrontations, and I certainly don’t like getting into fights because I’d just rather not get punched in the face repeatedly.

So it was sorta weird when I found myself having strange violent tendencies this morning.

Crowded TrainAfter a couple of warm(ish) days, mother nature decided to bring a fresh serving of mild rain and snow overnight.  Now, if you live in New York, you’ll know that the slightest whisper of inclement weather brings the highways and public transit to a goddamn halt.  And that meant that my commuter train into the city this morning was inevitably delayed. When it did show up, it was already packed full of commuters, with dozens more trying to shoehorn their way aboard.

Since all the seats were taken, I had to stand in the aisle.  No biggie, there are worse commuting catastrophes.

Now, to the uninitiated, there are two distinct forms of train-riding behavior.  There are those who’ll talk with anyone around them, whether they’re friends/neighbors or complete strangers.  These are outgoing, gregarious windbags who have a goddamn opinion about every fucking thing in the world.  Then there are those who will go to extraordinary lengths to mind their own fucking business.  Partly because of the first group who like to bloviate incessantly.  That first group need to go fuck themselves.  I fall squarely into that second group.  In fact, I’m almost religious about it.  More to the point, I find it hard to carry on some silly casual conversation without a beer in my hand.

Anyway, this morning, I’m standing the aisle in the middle of train car, minding my own business – headphones in ears (the new Orbital album “Wonky”, is lovely, by the way), tablet in hand, reading away.  Oddly enough, I was reading about a street fight.  Then I felt a slight nudge to the right.  Then another poke.  I look over and there’s some fussing from this guy in the seat next to me, as he reaches for his jacket, shuffles some papers around his briefcase.  He’s just being a fidgety wanker, I figured.  I ignored him and went back to reading.

As the train starts to pull into the Grand Central, there is now a distinct shove from my right.  Then what felt like an elbow in my side.  This middle-age Chinese guy seated next to me was now properly trying to irritate me with his shoving.

I swung around and barked, “HEY!  Stop shoving me.”  Everyone in this otherwise quiet train car now turned to glare at me.  Great, now I’m the asshole.

Like I said, I typically prefer to avoid confrontation, so I’m not sure what made me snap suddenly.  I must’ve spooked this asshole a little.  He looked at me and uttered, “Wha…?  What’s your problem?”

My problem?  My problem is you.  Stop pushing me.”  Everyone’s still staring at us, by the way.

He then motioned with his right hand, “Get out.”

What the fuck.  The train had just pulled in, the car was jam packed with riders, and there were easily 50 people ahead of me who were trying to disembark.  And this fucker tells me to “get out”?

I swear I was prepared to choke the bitch.  Actually, I was prepared to first punch him so hard and square in his fucking ratface, and then choke him.  I realized that my left fist was clenched, ready to launch.  I didn’t even think anything of hitting this fucking guy.  I was prepared to do it as if I routinely knocked people out every day.  Just as casually as if I was getting a cup of coffee.

What.  The fuck.

Somehow, common sense prevailed (or pussydom, depending on how you see it, I guess).  I gave him another glare and told him, “If you touch me one more time, I will hit you.”  And with that, I turned and walked off the train.  More bewildered glares.

Only after I had walked out of the train station did I realize that for some reason, I was fully prepared to beat the living shit out of some guy this morning.  Where the fuck did that come from?!  I don’t get into fights.  I get into plenty of arguments, but because I’m a huge pussy, I almost never let it escalate to the point of someone throwing a punch.

I’m pretty sure the last time I got into a fight was when I was about 10 years old.  When I was playing soccer in school, and some fucking kid missed a tackle on me, and in frustration, swung his open palm across my face, hit me square in the ear, and popped my eardrum.  I remember the instant pain and ringing in my head, and my own arms flailing wildly to exact revenge on this cowardly little shit.  That was the last “fight” I got into.  And it wasn’t even that good of a fight.

Anthony Bourdain suggests in one particular “No Reservations” episode, “I happen to believe that everybody in this world at one point in their life needs an ass-kicking.  It is an enlightening experience getting your ass kicked.”  He’s probably right.  Because whether you’re at the delivery end or the receiving end of an ass-kicking, it’s a life experience.  That’s a life experience I’ve never had.

Do I need this sort of life experience now?  In my late-30s?  Bullshit, I’m supposed to be a proper functioning member of society, a responsible dad (!), that sort of thing.  I can’t go around trying to punch complete strangers.  Right?  Right?

punchOr maybe I should just get it over and done with.  At the very least, if I get shoved again on the train, I’m just gonna punch the guy right in the balls.



Bespoke cocktail

The word “bespoke.”  I was in a bar last week that boasted “custom bespoke cocktails.”  First of all, way to be redundant.  Second, what the fuck is a bespoke cocktail?  By definition, that a poncy way of saying “we’ll mix whatever the hell you want.”  In which case, that’s like, you know, EVERY BAR.  Fuuuuuck yooooouuuuu.

“Curate” is another word.  Holy fuck is this word thoroughly misappropriated.  Almost as bad as “diva” was.  Museums and art galleries only, if that.  You don’t get to fucking curate anything else.  A butcher is not a meat curator, a DJ is not a music curator, you don’t curate Twitter feeds, none of you assholes are curators in any capacity.  Please fuck off with the curating.

Occupy Sandy“Occupy” anything.  Here’s a bonus fuck you to the assholes who wasted their meaningless lives about a year ago trying to picket Wall Street.  A lot of good that did, you fuckwads.  No one gave a shit then, and fewer than no one give a shit today.  But what’s worse is somehow this “occupy” term taking on a whole new meaning for which it was never intended.  Don’t believe me?  Look at this shit on the left.

Lena Dunham.  Holy shit, you are SUCH a bore.  If Lena Dunham is to be cultural milestone, then 2012 is the year of celebrating mediocrity.  You’re not funny, you’re not interesting, how the fuck you finagled million dollar deals out of tepid, borings ideas that no one gives a shit about is beyond me.  And frankly, I’m jealous as fuck.  Because no one’s giving me million dollar deals for any my stupid ideas.  Oh, that’s right, I don’t have hyperartistic celebrity parents like you, you charlatan.  Ugh, enough with this dummy.

Instagram is all its faux filtered tilt-shift bullshit glory.  If someone took away Instagram tomorrow, would you miss it?  Would you?  I know if someone took away my Facebook or Twitter, I’d be fucking pissed.  But Instagram?  Who gives a shit.  Instagram did one thing only – they ability to share filtered, tilt-shifted photos.  Sharing?  Any number of other platforms can do that.  Shitty filters and fake tild-shift effects?  Every other camera app can do that now.  So what’s the value of keeping Instagram around?  And they’ve now got some new policy where they can sell my photos?  Fuck that.  I just deleted my account.

Vinyl SkateboardPlastic mini skateboards.  I got my elder kid a skateboard last year.  It was brilliant – a proper skateboard with a maple deck, trucks, big bearing wheels, the lot.  Then these stupid vinyl mini-skateboards show up all over the city. All commandeered by some hipster douchebag with a gnarly beard.  It takes every fiber of my being not to throw an empty Starbucks cup in front of one of these douchebags just so see him fly and eat some curb.  Fuck off with these little skateboards, you look ridiculous.

Homeland.  If there’s one thing I can reliably count on each Monday, it’s that my Twitter feed and my Facebook page will be completely inundated with comments about fucking Homeland.  “ZOMG!!  Homeland is the greeaaatest!!!!”  “WTF!  Homeland jumped the shark!!”  I have never seen the show and at this point, I never want to.  It may be a good show, but I’ll never know for real because you fuckers have ruined it by being completely incapable of not yammering about it all day and night.

Dubstep.  Thank you all for already killing this off.  Skrillex can now go back to pumping gas in the Valley.

That Gangnam guy.  Please, PLEASE, PLEASE go away.  I hope someone takes him across the border and straps him to one of Kim Jong Un’s “weather rockets.”

YOLO.  A few years ago, when I was in the market for my first paddleboard, I nearly bought one that was Yolo brand.  Thank fuck I didn’t or I’d have to set on fire, gather up the ashes, then set it on fire again just to be sure.  If anyone ever uses the phrase YOLO to you, verbally or in writing, no judge would ever convict if you decided to stab ‘em with a rusty spoon.

Camera phone self-portraits in the mirror.  It’s the holding of the phone that’s so, so stupid.  If you must use your camera phone to take pictures of yourself, make sure it’s dick shots only (Brett Favre can help if you’re not sure).  No more self-portraits.  And I’m not even going to get into doing with iPads.

Moustache FingerMoustaches.  I don’t just mean in November (although that can fuck off, too, because all that Movember bullshit is prejudiced against those of us who can refrain from shaving for two months and still look like cantaloupes).  I mean year-round.  Hipster moustaches, moustache ink on index fingers, glue-on stashes, all of it.  A follicle tuft positioned between your upper lip and your nostrils is hardly a thing that needs to be celebrated, so please fuck off.  Moustaches on Instagram are the fucking worst.


This morning – probably like countless other parents around – I woke up feeling a sense of dread. Because we decided last night that we needed to tell our kids about Newtown. My kids are surrounded by a lot of pint-sized know-it-alls, and I’ll be damned if some other kid is going to feed my kids with all sorts of wild and horrific stories about the Newtown shooting. Because that’s what kids do. Kids have no governor. No, my kids are going to learn about this on my terms, on my time.

The fact that I have to do something like this…

24 hours after the fact, I’m just as dumb and numb about the Newtown incident as I was when first heard about it. Probably ’cause no one has any proper facts, still. What everyone seems to have, on other hand, is some rabid opinions – one way or another – about gun control. That, and mental illness being an underserved condition. But the loudest arguments have been about gun control.

Guns, guns, guns.

You know what’s awesome about guns? The fact that you squeeze a little pin on end of it, and something loud and destructive happens on the other end of the barrel. NOTHING else in the world operates that way. Not my bicycle, not my iPod, not my microwave (unless you count the time I didn’t realize that I’d left some foil my chicken leftovers), none of it. I’ll admit – I’m fascinated by guns. My kids have a shit ton of Nerf guns, and I squirrel away a BB gun to help deter herds of possum, raccoons, and skunks that overrun my backyard all year round. Yay, guns.

But do I need them? Not personally, I actually mean “we” as a larger societal collective. Before you roll your eyes about this being some anti-gun rhetoric, relax I’m not going to do that – truth is, I’m not properly-versed to take a side definitively. What I have an abundance of, however, are questions.

First thing I did was look up what the hell the Second Amendment actually says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” according to the National Archive. I don’t know these things off the top of my head because I didn’t grow up in this country. “Militia”? WTF? I didn’t know that was part of the statement. How the hell did we get from militia use to personal ownership of guns for personal defense and recreation? Well, I did a bit more reading, trying to follow the breadcrumbs, and it seems that the evolutionary interpretation of the Second Amendment upheld by various courts over time takes more twists and turns than the entire series of Lost.

Be that as it may, let’s just take the reality today for what it is – the fact that, quite simply, just about anyone has the ability drive down to your local Walmart, fill out some paperwork, hand some currency to the cashier, then come home with a shiny new gun.

One of my ill-informed and completely non-rhetorical questions here is, just because we can, do we need to? Just because I can own a gun, do I NEED to own one? Typically the first response from gun advocates when challenged about gun ownership is “because it’s my inalienable right.” Because I can. That’s a pretty lousy reason to ever do anything. I can eat every single piece of bacon at a Vegas buffet because I can, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Every time I hear “because I can” I think of the scene in Prometheus in which Holloway and David exchange thoughts on creation and purpose:

There HAS to be a grander purpose for gun ownership. And of course there are plenty. Self protection, hunting, recreation, the list goes on, and on. When I was in Arizona for a TV shoot, so many members of our production crew ‘fessed that they packed heat and that they always have either a handgun or a shotgun in their cars. They are absolutely steadfast in their belief that Arizona’s so fucked up that if they didn’t have these guns to protect themselves – one cameraman puts all his gear on top of wooden pallets in the back of his SUV so that he can easily and discreetly slide his shotgun under the wooden pallet – they’d constantly be mugged or might even be killed. When I asked, not a single one of them have ever had to fire a single round in self-defense.

How about hunting and recreation? Shit, if we don’t go deer hunting, we’re going to get overrun by these massive antlered rodents. To some degree, I get that. But do we need use high-powered automatic rifles to get the job done? Oh, that Uzi’s not for deer, but for your giggles down at the firing range? I play video games, so I get the thrill of unloading several thousand rounds into various targets. But what’s the thrill worth to you? In order for you to have (presumably responsible) fun with your high-tech ballistic contraption, are you prepared to have these same guns just easily make their way into the hands of less responsible individuals who use them for horrific outcomes?


Hey, maybe it’s not about taking away guns altogether. Is a compromise possible? I know this probably can’t apply to the self protection argument, but what if guns were treated like the Ferrari FXX? When you buy a Ferrari FXX (hah!), you’re not allowed to drive it home and keep it in your garage. Rather, it’s kept at the Ferrari factory, but you get to use it anytime you want. The car is carefully maintained, and its access is limited only to you. Could that work? Sporting weapons can only be kept and safeguarded at massively secure facilities in which they’re perfectly legal to use?

And maybe Chris Rock’s eerily prophetic bit about gun control from “Bigger & Blacker” has a good idea in it. Gun control? Ppffftttt! Fuck that. Bullet control. It’d be like the razor marketing strategy. Here’s a gun for $20. Bullets? Like Chris Rock said, $5,000 apiece. I’m being serious here – what if we made bullets a hundred times more expensive? If you’re buying ammo for sporting purposes, it’d make you a hell of a better shot, I guaranfuckingtee you. Detractors would argue that that would mean that only rich people can own guns. Fine, I’d be totally cool if guns were only owned by the likes of Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, or Mark Zuckerberg. Those assholes couldn’t hit you if you were standing 5 feet in front of them.

I guess what I’m trying to figure out here is if the ability to freely own and use a gun is so fucking vital to an individual, that events like Newtown, the Oregon mall, Gabby Giffords, and countless other acts of gun violence are acceptable collateral damage? Again, that’s not a rhetorical question – I genuinely want to know.  Does the preservation of an individual’s right far outweigh the collective welfare of the greater mass? Me me me me me me. If there have been enough examples showing a correlation between the easy procurement of personal artillery and the devastating outcomes like these fucking insane shootings, is that not enough for you to put aside your individual prerogative for the greater good? In my freshman year in college, I learned that a civil society only works when we are all willing to give up a little bit of our individual freedom for the greater collective, and entrust that right to some order that regulates that civility. As a society we don’t always get to do whatever the fuck we want.  Like stockpiling Liberia’s arsenal in your basement.

Seeking a different plan for gun control probably won’t be perfect either. But the current plan is far from perfect. In fact, look at where it’s gotten us. If it worked better, I wouldn’t feel the need to write all this. We can do better. Even if that means, for the greater good, maybe your access to the guns you love are far more restrictive. So maybe you can’t keep an arsenal at home. Maybe this means you won’t be able to get that shiny new Glock for your birthday. Big fucking deal, there are bigger catastrophes in the world. You know, like Newtown.

Because we owe this to Newtown.



Seriously.  I said, “please” after all.

This is some bullshit, constantly having my pretzel M&Ms wiped out from right under my nose.  And the thing is, I know who the culprits are EVERYTIME.

I like regular M&Ms well enough.  Peanut M&Ms, on the other hand, are like my crack.  I can’t get enough of those things.  Then, pretzel M&Ms showed up.  Total fucking game changer.  Scratch that: life changer.

So, I have a friend who once came over to my house, we were all hanging out, there was a bowl of pretzel M&Ms on the table, and as one would expect, the M&Ms got devoured.  They were, after all, pretzel M&Ms, the champagne of M&Ms.  Or something.  In any case, I guess I must’ve been visibly chagrined when the M&Ms were gone.  I barely got to eat any and now I had an empty bowl with little bits of the candy shell smithereens at the bottom.

Several days later, she came back and brought with her a new bag of pretzel M&Ms.  I had been a bit too obvious about those fucking M&Ms, after all.  I felt like a douche.  And I haven’t been able to live it down since.

I try not to buy pretzel M&Ms too frequently, despite my apparent fandom.  Common sense prevails when I realize how much I fucking love these crunchy M&Ms, and when you match that with my fat, doughy body, no good can come from enabled overindulgence.  I know my habits well enough – after all, I have first-hand experience of how to clock in at 150lbs as a 12 year-old by being an expert at standing at the fridge, door ajar, and devouring an entire Cadbury chocolate bar right there and then.  I’ve done that plenty of times, and it’s fucking grotesque.

It’s taken a lot of hard work (this is how I channel my energy?!), but I have learned to pace myself with M&Ms.  I now buy them once in a blue moon.  And when I do, I do my best to just eat a small handful, then walk the fuck away from them.  It’s not easy, but shit, do I work hard at not eating an entire pound of it in one sitting.  If I had my way, a bag now could probably last me about 3 weeks.  I AM A RESPONSIBLE ADULT.

But I don’t get my way.

Because these days, I’ll buy a bag of pretzel M&Ms, and it’ll be gone in 2 days.  Or less.  Not by me, mind you.  Once I bought a bag, got on a plane the next day for a day trip to Boston, came home, and the bag had all but disintegrated.  Naturally, I lost my shit, held a family inquisition, pointed accusingly at everyone, and all I got was a trifecta of fingers pointing every which way amongst my wife and two kids.  So, so messed up.

Today, I came home and it happened again – a freshly-opened bag of pretzel M&Ms laid limply on counter.  About four-fifths of the bag drained… again, not by me.  I peered at the missus and the kids.  No one returned any eye contact.  In fact, they all fled the room.

When it was clear that I gone into full WTF mode, the kids tried to be “helpful.”  “Dad, maybe next time you should keep the M&Ms out of sight, so that no one can see them and eat them.”  “Hey Dad, maybe you should put a sign on the M&Ms telling people to stay away.”  What “people” are you talking about?!  These people are you guys, you cheeky monkeys.  I shouldn’t have to hide my candy or make special signs.

How about you ingrates just not eat all my goddamn M&Ms.  How about that?  How about some goddamn self-restraint, kids.  There are two things I ask for that I don’t think are entirely unreasonable: the biggest piece of chicken, and someone else not eating all my goddamn pretzel M&Ms.  Is that too much of an ask?  No, no I don’t think so.

Just let me have my M&Ms, people.  Seriously, everyone please just stop eating my pretzel M&Ms.  ‘Cause I’m about to lose my shit.