The Blog of James – chapter 28 – verse 1

BEHOLD – the illiterate Phoenix rises from his modestly adventurous ashes! What monumentous, life changing, death defying event could have awakened his blogging hibernation while simultaneously compelling him towards 3rd person prose? How about our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Big enough reason for you heathens? Now that you are not at all squirming uncomfortably with the direction of this blog – let us bow our heads and begin.

Bla bla bla, a string of events occurred a little more bla took place and for the last 2 years I’ve been living in Los Angeles – the urban equivalent of a slutty 36 year old. Still attractive, you’ve got a chance at a wild time, but if you linger inside too long you’re going to catch something. That something, LA’s metaphoric herpes so to speak, is a completely vapid set of ideals, and a moron’s vocabulary. Also… literal herpes. People get around in this town.

But me, I’m immune of course. Only the gays are transformed by LA right? A straight white male with good old Virginia morals can’t contract this town’s sickness. How naïve I was.

2 months into my tour here I described a movie screener as ‘dope’ and a kale salad as ‘my jam’. The first 2 red bumps. You tell yourself it’s just a rug burn, or some irritation after that bike ride… but you’re still Usain Bolting to the clinic to get your junk examined. Praying to hear those blessed words “Mr. Calabrese, your dick is fine”.

I needed to do something about the metaphoric L.A. herpes I was showing early signs of (to be clear for those with James-esk reading comprehension – herpes is serving as a metaphor. I do not have herpes). More bla bla bla I decide that attending vespers at a Catholic church is the shot of penicillin I need to clear up the self absorbed infection I’m exposed to in L.A. By the way, ‘Vespers’ is Latin for “why the fuck are you going to church on a Tuesday night you dweeb?”

Turns out there are barrels of dweebs here. Sunday mornings alone are not enough to instill the soul crushing/saving guilt the young Catholics of Santa Monica apparently need to soldier on through their sun-kissed lives. I guess you lose sight of the righteous path when you’re perpetually long boarding past jaw dropping sunsets in designer beanies.

Asides:

  1.  What the freak is with the year round floppy beany? Did everyone but me suddenly decide they wanted to be as douchey and overheated as possible?
  2.  If something amazing is “jaw dropping” then something absolutely unbelievable should be called “pants dropping”. Imagine it – a sunset so spectacular that you immediately drop trou embracing an animalistic instinct to put the fewest possible barriers between it and your genitalia.
  3. If my blog posts became an album then my ‘asides’ would be the ‘b-sides’.

Anyways, it’s 7:30 on a Tuesday night and I’m sitting in a polite circle with 60 other twenty somethings. Quietly wondering if it was a lifetime of good decisions or a quick flurry of bad ones that brought me to this moment. Instead of actually challenging myself with this existential crisis I land on an eye roll and muttering ‘whatever’ as a suitable answer. Like a community theater student at my second improv class I’ve learned that I just have to go with whatever scene unfolds. I know full well that the scene is going to suck, but hell, the alternative to this ‘tear it down’ creative exercise would have been another night alone on the internet with my roommate’s obese asthmatic cat Rose by my side. 

B-sides:

  1. A Rose by any other name would be just as fat
  2. I sadly no longer live with Rose. I actually wrote this story 1.5 years ago, so a lot has changed. Actually, little has changed seeing that I wrote this 18 months ago so that means I’m still lazy as fuck, I’m still not doing anything on a Saturday night, and have my new neighbors obese husky at my feet right now to replace Rose.

Vespers get’s under way and I’m primed for some young adult discussion with steady streams of spirituality I can comfortably ignore when they get too dogmatic. But I forgot… this is a Catholic church. An institution not exactly famous for it’s open dialog, but one that leans more heavily towards a “shut the fuck up and memorize this shit – get them while their young – by ‘get’ we mean brainwash – by ‘get’ we mean sodomize – don’t talk unless you are telling us your secrets – push the stylistic boundaries of hats – are you guilty yet – love each other – hate gays – minimize women – god is love – god reserves the right to burn you forever – no it’s not magic – no it’s not science – sit – kneel – stand – sit – sit – sit longer – our new Pope is refreshingly not a dick – spare any change?” mentality.

So no – I obviously did not get the young adult discussion and potential friendships I was looking for. What I did get was trinity of hilariously Catholic experiences.

Firstly, the Vespers was 1.5 hours of getting talked at by a priest. That’s bold even by Catholic standards. We’re all young people volunteering to come to Church on Tuesday, and you have the balls to just jabber at us. How fucking un-creative too. Who’s the marketing genius that came up with this one? The dialog must have been something like this:

Concerned Parishioner : “Father, our Church is losing young people. It feels like we are lagging behind global social shifts, and our lazy assertions that God exists because there are forces we can’t explain has led to an ever diminishing view of His presence since that blasted ‘science’ is endless in its expansion of man’s knowledge of the universe”

Marketing Wiz Father : “Just have the kids do the same shit we do on Sunday, but on Tuesday… and in a circle”

Everyone : “Brilliant!”

Secondly, is this gem : the father is hitting his stride around minute 38. He’s explaining how he was a 14 year old kid who absolutely hated the church for numerous legitimate reasons. He’s really done well to humanize himself thus far, and in this moment I’m intrigued to hear about how he transitioned from this point in his life back towards faith. You know how he did? How he made the shift from literally punching holes through car windows when his mom made him go to church to being an ordained father? Here’s how – he saw the Pope from 15 yards away… once. I’m not making this shit up. At that moment he was, and I quote, “so overwhelmed with the presence of God” that he “broke down crying”. How spectacularly Catholic is that?!? The answer to all of our most profound and deep questions is the Pope. No more questions. Pope says everything is A-Okay!

There are 59 kids in a circle leaning in further than Sheryl Sandberg soaking this into their marrow. While 1 underground Episcopalian sits dressed to impress and desperately fighting back laughter.

Thirdly, everyone goes to a bar after Vespers. That pretty Catholic and pretty cool. +1 for Catholics there.

Amen.

excuse_me_jesus_youre_in_the_way._8073305287 2

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A breezy baby holiday: blow jobs, bros, and quantum mechanics

Happy holidays dorks. I give you the gift of video!

Back on July 31st I published the post Can a bro get a bro? A brave piece of blogging teaching the youth of the world how to pick up dudes. Despite the universally appealing subject matter of bro seduction the the post suffered from a serious case of ‘written words’.

Please enjoy the reading free adaptation of that forgotten post:

This was told with SpeakeasyDC on November 12th. I’ll be telling a new story on January 14th. Information can be found here.

-James

I’m so sorry

Wow! I have been getting flooded with hate mail after my last post. Lots of upset readers out there. And you know what… you’re right.

I’d like to formally apologize for my last post. You are all 100% correct. I was way way out of line. Through trying to take my stories in a new creative direction, I crossed the line.

By not including one single Star Wars reference, not even one Star Wars youtube link, I betrayed your trust. For this I humbly and sincerely apologize. I pray I can earn your trust back in time.

How about this for starters…

Check out this video of my October 8th Speakeasy DC performance. The story, titled “Fuck Pokemon”, is non-stop, wall-to-wall, ballz-out Star Wars!

Side note and promotion: SpeakeasyDC stories are all true stories told live without notes. My “Fuck Pokemon” story was picked up for their short film contest where I performed the story again last Friday and was randomly paired with a film team who had about 5 days to turn it into a short film. Those films are being shown this Saturday! Check out all the details and get tickets here.

Here is the original version of the story from October:

Here is the description of the movie that was made from this story:

“POKE WARS
In an attempt to shoot a film about Pokemon vs. Star Wars, a team chronicles what happens when everything goes wrong.
Based on the true story “Suck It, Pokemon” by James Pasquale Calabrese
Film created by Heisenberg; Jose Carceres, Director”

Sounds like it is a film, about the film, about the story. Some real meta shit right there. Also did you notice how they changed my title from “Fuck Pokemon” to “Suck It, Pokemon”? You may or may not be surprised by how angry and upset I was when I saw the “Suck It” version printed in the hand out for Friday’s show.  Story diva!

STAR WARS FOR LIFE!

-Kit Fisto

Them’s birds a-roost’n

My muse, James Calabrese, once wrote “These 48 hours will require a separate and detailed blog post in order to fully mention the bisque. It will undoubtedly come in an untimely manner.” How about over 3 months later? Untimely enough for you? Well estimated former James.

Looking back on those 48 hours through the rose colored lenses of nostalgia make me feel that those 2 days were in fact…. still really fucking miserable. Nothing changes. I’d like to elaborate on one portion of those 48 hours. A one hour span that wasn’t so much miserable as it was way to reminiscent to the opening scenes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It’s about 10pm, I’m camping somewhere outside of ___ Texas (overlap #1 of many with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and I’m driving away from camp with two bikini clad blond ladies (high five! Who saw that coming after my last bro-blog post. A brog post? also, overlap #2). We are heading out to purchase some firewood to bring back to camp. After a spell, we happen upon what looks like it could be a back-country general store of some sort. Blond #1 and I walk in, and immediately regret that decision (#3).

It was not a creepy general store, but was in fact a creepy trailer park bar. Blondie and I are greeted by a who’s who of trailer park trash (#4). A transgender going through a low budget male to female gender transformation. Or perhaps just a really big ugly women (think Briene of Tarth from GoT). Two guys who I think were brothers, or father & son, or father & brother, sporting a trailer-classic look. An IT specialist down on his luck. And a few more rounding out a crowd of about 7. All were well lubricated and staring at the bikini clad blond, and the tank top clad “fresh meat”.

Blondie somehow breaks through the silence and starts chatting with the bartender about where we can drive to buy wood. I stand there feeling useless and rapeable.

“Need wood for cook’n or for heat’n?” is posed to me unexpectedly from one of the particularly well seasoned alcoholics at the bar (although through the magic of alcohol and chain smoking he may not be 73, but could be 31 for all I know).

Not knowing there was a difference in wood types, I shakily answer “heating.”

“Would cedar do the trick?” he asked. Who is this guy? Some sort of arbor savant?

“Yeah Cedar would do just fine.” I answer trying to act like I actually put rational thought into it.

“Alright hold on.” He says as he pulls out his phone and begins dialing. He quickly gets someone else on the other end of the line and begins coordinating what I assume to be my kidnap and murder. God I hope it is only kidnap and murder.

“Sir, that’s okay. We are just gona go to a store and buy the wood”

“Nonsense, my brother Skipper lives right around the corner. He’ll sort you out”

At this the bartender considers his advice superseded and stops instructing Blondie on how to get to a real, presumably torture-free, store. We awkwardly listen to the directions to Skipper’s trailer and then shuffle outside. Back in the car we all agree/question that we guess we are going to Skipper’s. It was like a Ouija board at a middle school sleep over – nobody knew who was moving it, but we all held on as something terrifying was spelled out before our eyes. (just try to imagine how far off I was from correctly spelling the word ‘ouija’)

The directions were surprisingly good, and we arrive at Skipper’s trailer in no time. Skipper greats us in the headlights of our car with the beat red face of a life long alcoholic, and a 2 pack a day voice to boot.

“You need wood for heat’n or cook’n”. Damn these guys knew their wood.

“Heating”

“Would cedar do?”

“Cedar’s perfect” I answer with the confidence of repetition.

Skipper leads us around to the back of his trailer where what can best be described as a drug deal went down. “How much you got?” “How much do you need?” “How much does it cost?” “Is it dry?” “I’m not paying that for some damp ass Cedar!” “I’ll throw in some kindling”, etc etc etc. It even concludes with Skipper pulling out the largest wad of cash I’ve ever seen. He either is a drug dealer, or mistrusts banks. I’d believe either.

By the time we’re done we’re actually all quite chummy and I’m enjoying Skipper’s company. Skipper worked in a coal mine for many years, and all the noise isn’t from cicadas as I thought but in fact “them’s birds a-roost’n”. Skipper offers to help us out with any other camping needs that may crop up tonight or in the years ahead. During this offer he goes on one of my favorite monologues of all time:
“Now if yous come on back here, and that there truck is gone. Now that’s my wife’s truck. That means she’s gone… probalby at the bar. If that there golf cart’s a-gone. That’s my cart. That means I’m gone… probably at the bar.”

What a guy. God I want to party with him.

We return to the camp site in high spirits having completed our primary task of wood acquisition and our secondary task of not getting Texas Chain Saw Massacred, Delivered, Sling Bled (especially the Dwight Yoakum parts… mmhh), Roadhoused, Earnest Scared Stupdided, Southern Comforted, Motel Helled, or Taken (not a scary southern themed movie at all, but still that would suck to get your ass kicked by Qui-Gon Jinn or taken and sold into sex slavery).

Sadly I didn’t stay to enjoy the fire because if you recall I hated those 48 hours. So I promptly went into my tent alone and listened to Game of Thrones on tape (suck it reading!). Oh Daenerys, fetch me a dream.

-James

Bonus Q&A:

“James, you hit the obscure movie links extra hard this post, but somehow failed to add one Star Wars link. All we got was a lazy Liam Neeson Qui-Gon Jinn reference. What gives?”

“Great observation friend.  The lack of Star Wars was no accident.  I want you begging for Star Wars so I can shamelessly promote my upcoming performance at Speakeasy DC on Tuesday October 8th.  I’m telling a story all about Star Wars! I know, finally.  You’re welcome. Check out the details here if you want to come watch and be terrified by the role Star Wars has played in my life.”

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #2

Spooky Camping #2

You only get one chance at a first impression

Someone once said “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”  This person was both stupid and ugly.  If they were a book their cover would be something awful like this (not only is it one of the ugliest covers of all time, but if you read the summary the cover does a pretty great job of summing things up with it’s literal imagery and metaphoric bat-shit-craziness. Thus proving my point). Also if they were a book then I would support book burning even more ardently than I currently do.

Rambling Side Note: my support of book burning gets complicated when I think about Fahrenheit 451.  Judging that book by it’s cover leads me to believe that it espouses a philosophy I can really get behind. The idea of reading the book to learn more, however, is a conflict of interests.  Maybe I should just ironically burn it.  Is that ironic?  I don’t know, Alanis Morissette really messed me up on the meaning of that word.  2nd level side note, Alanis in the green at 0:43 is exactly what I look like on the road across America.  Also, what the hell is she smelling at 2:44.  Also, It must be costly for book burning advocates to get their message out there. Gota go with TV ads since distributing leaflets is off the table, and who listens to radio any more?  That’s probably why we don’t hear more people bring up the subject.

So I’d like to share a few of the more colorful covers of America I’ve witnessed on my journey thus far

Clemson, SC – I arrived around 5pm on a Wednesday physically, mentally, and spiritually ready to party it up with Dan Giordano.  I immediately saw that I was not as ready as I thought.  I pulled my car into the spot directly in front of Dan’s apartment only to find a horrifically drunk girl sitting on his steps.  She was drunk in the wonderful way only women can become drunk.  Crying hysterically, pleading to the heavens that she needed to get her car back, and judging by her wet shorts and the pool below her now beginning to trickle down the sidewalk, recently if not currently wetting herself. Being a well seasoned traveler I calmly got out of my car, quietly unstrapped my bike, deftly portaged across the golden stream and beyond the sack of hysterics no longer scientifically categorized among homo sapiens, and into Dan’s humble abode. Don’t worry though.  While I myself may be horrible, I do surround my self with good people and Dan is no exception.  The well know “sick guy” took care of her until help arrived.  Welcome to Clemson, where every fella is a gentleman, and every lady is a f**king train wreck.

Charleston, SC – After settling into my hostel I set out for a nice run in order to detox from my visit with Dan in Clemson ($2 bourbon drinks!).  5 minutes into the run I turned onto the main downtown street (because I only work out in order to ‘be seen’).  There I was greeted by a car door flying open in front of me, and a young man leaning out to vomit all over the side walk.  Again… it was 8pm on a Thursday.  The Palmetto State knows how to party!  They don’t follow the majority and hold off till night fall.  They do have a history of going against the grain (see: The Civil War). At least he was leaning out of the passenger door.

New Orleans – I parked directly in front of Bobby Dressel’s pad in the French Quarter. Stepped out of my car, and immediately had a cumulonimbus of weed blown in my face by the guy casually lighting up next to me.  Yet again it was 3pm on a Wednesday.  Did I miss something?  Is Wednesday the new Friday?  Is pissing your pants while black out and brazen drug use the new drinking responsibly? I blame books.

??? – To protect the innocent I’m going to yada yada over where I was and who I was with.  I arrived and knocked on the door only to be greeted by a poor man’s Dave Navarro. Dave Navarro is of course the poor dothraki’s Khal Drogo (If you need a link to know who Khal Drogo is then you can immediately unsubscribe from my blog, head down to the rickety chair store, swing through the rope depot, and then connect the dots).   Really though, this guy looked just like Dave Navaro if Dave Navarro was less into music and satanic fashion shoots, and more into acid.  The greeting was followed by a 48 hour introduction to rednecks, Abu Ghraib worthy music, and consistent James misery.  I hadn’t felt that out of place since Star Wars Card Friday Nights at the Burke comic book shop was taken over by the cancer known as Pokemon cards.  These 48 hours will require a separate and detailed blog post in order to fully mention the bisque.  It will undoubtedly come in an untimely manner.

Yada yada,

James

Unstoppable Force vs Immovable Object

By reading this blog entry right now you are participating in a grand experiment! Together we embark to answer a question as old as the title track from Beauty and Beast.  What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?  Long have our greatest minds pondered this question.  From Newton, to Einstein, to Yoda, to Gosling.  None have been able to crack the sexiest of human riddles.

In order to solve this I will abandon scientific theory and work backward from experimental measurements. Just like Max Planck working to make light bulbs more efficient for the German government (classic German, working to make things more efficient.  One of the few admirable “classic German” qualities).

I previously attempted to solve this question through empirical means while in college in my “Fratty vs Fatty” experiment.   I would observe the interaction of an unstoppable force (a drunk and horny frat guy) vs an immovable object (a drunk fat chick) at a party.  Unfortunately the University of Virginia was too close minded and refused my submission of this as a senior thesis.  Carrying on unsupported by the university my findings were inconclusive as documentation proved… hazy.

In my current experiment, of which you are all participants,  I’ll observe what happens to an unstoppable force (the J Breezy Baby blog) when it meets an immovable object (mundane conversation about Christian outreach).  That’s right, I’m risking the survival of the internet’s greatest creation according to ‘Things My Mommy Says” magazine (I know it is still second to www.hugh-jackman.com for her).  The experiment is simple: create the internet’s greatest website (check!), create a horribly boring video on a subject nobody likes (check?), post that interview to the website (check… see below), and track if the site continues to thrive like Star Wars Episode 5 or if it is never seen or spoken of again like Star Wars Episode 2.  With that we will finally know the answer to our question.  So feast your eyes, ears, and souls on the video below and decide if you’ll ever visit this blog again.

Video Back Story  Finding myself alone in Rob Manoso’s Knoxville apartment, I began drinking (like any socially and emotionally adjusted person would).  I finished  my rye whisky and much of Rob’s bourbon then grabbed my video camera, hopped on my bike, and set off for Knoxville’s late night scene.  After drinking more beers alone at a bar and getting some late night cereal I pulled out the camera and started talking to strangers.  The video that follows is objectively not entertaining.  I went through the trouble of editing it largely to learn how to edit videos, and after spending so much time on it I felt compelled to share.  So here we are.  An unstoppable force vs an immovable object.

Again… this video is really uninteresting… I’m sorry.

When we concluded they asked what newspaper or TV station I was with, and I started laughing.

Scientifically,

The Force