A patience for limited accommodations: Part 1

Everyone who reads this blog is one of two things:

1) a terrific human being who deserves a pat on the bum

  You know, the friendly sorta football coach pat on the bum. Not the Sandusky kind, just like… the normal jock homo erotic kind.

2) aware of my “patience for limited accommodations”

  See: Home Sweet Home, Punching Girls, Nothing beats the hobo life.

Those of you have seen my room in DC (bow chica wow wow, or really a bit more like this) know this fact even more intimately (seeing is believing). Those unfamiliar: for starters my room was formerly a large hallway.

So, obviously I have a “patience for limited accommodations”. Since being described as having this patience, is the nicest thing anyone has ever written about me I’ll indulge you (read: indulge myself) in the 24 hours surrounding this quote.

The quote was taken from a large excerpt posted on my couchsurfing.com profile. For those of you unfamiliar with couchsurfing, it’s like LinkedIn for unemployed people. We jobless network together, enabling us to sleep on each other’s couches and use one another’s showers.

Essentially, the website creates a social safety net so we can live like carefree butterflies going from flower to flower, slurping down all the sweet nectar we can handle in our greedy, self-indulgent, and gorgeous lives. We forego the song and dance routine of you worker bees slaving away to provide a few specks of pollen for your hive; eagerly signing away your free will, mindlessly taking orders from the queen bee; comfortably buzzing through life waiting for the sweet, sweet honey payoff… only to find on your deathbed that the beekeeper (The Man) was taking it for himself all along!

You never got around to that novel. You’ve made it to only 11 of the 30 ballparks you and your dad promised each other you’d go to. And you remain a novice salsa dancer. You were given a stinger, but you once heard that you’d die if you ever actually used it. So you lay on your deathbed with an unused stinger, another fucking bill, and the nagging feeling that you should’ve stung the bee keeper on his grubby hands and sorted out the rest from there. I mean, back in your younger days you could freaking fly!

Okay, what was this post about again? Right: another post about me sleeping in a weird place. Super original, James. I write one post every 2 months, and somehow manage to make 50% of them the same fucking story only with a different set of retarded YouTube links, and a new relative for me to apologize to.

Back to the quote which falls unfairly short of describing my full “patience”…

The day I earned this praise was to be my last full day on the road, and started similarly to many days in my life. I awoke in Chicago at 8am on a couch belonging to a friend from high school, who up until the night prior, I hadn’t really spoken to for 5 years. I snagged some free wifi (the lifeblood of a couchsurfer), and looked at the drive from Chicago to DC. I didn’t feel like driving 14 hours, so I selected the proud city of Pittsburgh as my home for that evening. I’d return to DC the next day. I hit up a celebrated doughnut shop in Chicago where I was pleased to be given several free doughnuts after tipping the cashier (pay it forward people, didn’t HJO teach you anything? Ignoring the part where he gets stabbed in the end that movie had a compelling message).

Celebrated doughnut aside: why do I go out of my way for shit like a great doughnut? I’ve never eaten a doughnut and thought “hmmm, I wish they combined butter and sugar in a more local, thoughtful way”. Who’s ever eaten a doughnut and thought how it could have been better or different in any way? The only thought after a doughnut is “that was a mistake”.

I ate the treats outside and had a lovely chat with the two architects dining next to me. They give me their business cards and tell me to get in touch with them. Turns out their names are the same names of the architectural firm. Back to the hive and Civil Engineering for James? I’d think on that later. Right then, I needed to find a bed in Pittsburgh.

I hop on couchsufing and fire off a generic message to the first 6 people that pop up in Pittsburgh. I don’t care who they are. I just need a couch, and I’m confident they’ll be more scared of me than I am of them (I’ve been on the road for 4 months at this point. And that extended duration has certain… side effects on one’s appearance).

I stop off for Thai food in Toledo, Ohio. A decision that resulted in the digestive issues one would expect from Midwestern panang curry. Ohio was slow going thanks to frequent pit stops, and INFINITY tolls! Everyone always asks “what was the best place you visited?” This can be tough to answer. You know what is not tough to answer? “What was the worst place you visited?” Because it is goddamn Ohio. I hate Ohio. A visit to Ohio is the tourist equivalent of paying a hooker for zero of the sex, and all of the STDs. Like when Angelina Jolie asked Billy Bob Thorton for a vial of his blood. (Went there! CELEBRITY B-U-R-N, BURN!)

So I crawl out of the Buckeye state in what was one of the lowest moments of my life. Holding back diarrhea and begging a toll booth attendant to let me through despite coming up short on my $11.50 toll. I scraped up all the change I had in the car, and they probably felt that my life must be worse than theirs and let me pass out of pity, and this is coming from an Ohio toll booth attendant.

More Ohio hatred asides: Ohio, you are pathetic. You’re the 13th most obese state in the US. If you rule out all of the South, thus leaving only the 40-odd states that people respect, then you come in about 3rd. Maybe it has something to do for your obsession with Ohio State football and their laughable buckeye mascot. You are literally rooting for a ball of peanut butter coated in chocolate. And when football pauses for one moment, then that band comes on and becomes your new god for the next 4 minutes.  NOBODY GIVES A SHIT.  It is a f**king marching band for Christ sake.  Is your  kid in the band? No? Then you shouldn’t care about a marching band. And don’t even start about some tuba player dotting the “i”.  Eat a salad and do something productive with your time like write a blog nobody cares about.

While on the road I get a couchsurfing hit. A pedicab driver will let me crash with him after he gets off work at midnight. Huzzah! That last sentence, while bone chillingly scary and pathetic to most, represents a moment of great joy and success for yours truly. I finally arrive in Pittsburgh at 8 pm, park in a garage and need to kill the next 4 hours until my pedicab prince can rescue me.

I end up at a stand-up comedy open mic because I wanted to make the day even more depressing than it was. I’d batted around a few new jokes I was thinking of on the drive that day and gave it a shot. I went about as well as expected… which is not as good as “bad”, but not as bad as Mike Birbiglia’s “human beings don’t like me”. All things being relative, 2 lines did land strong, and I’ll give them to you delightfully out of context:

1) Yo girl, you ever made love on the beach before? It’s about to smell like it.

2) I was watching a lot of Star Wars and getting pretty good at being a virgin

On top of the misery of my set I then need to kill more time and hang out with the other “comedians”. You completely understand why I use quotes there if you’ve seen me do stand up. It is hard to find a more depressing group of people then a group of open mic comics. You can be sure that nobody has business cards let alone cards where their name matches the company name.  Now thoroughly miserable I head out to the pedicab garage to meet Levi…

… to be continued

-James

PS: Sorry about the bee rant. I think I’ve drunk a little too much of the open- road-Alexander-Supertramp Kool-Aid. Sadly, I’m writing this while drinking even more of the punch, which tonight is in the form of a small pot of “Moroccan Mint” tea at my local fair trade coffee shop. Its 7:30pm, and I’m here alone. I need to get back to the hive and fast. At least bees have someone to dance with.

PPS: a guy next me right now is frantically working on his MacBook in order to pay off some taxes he owes tonight which he forgot about. A window into my future? Is this life outside of the sweet honeycomb? Give me the blue pill!!!

4 of the dozens of Lucy look alike pieces of street badger art. Like all public art the artist describes it's purpose as "to make the viewer more aware of their space".  I swear to god, every piece of large public art has this as the sole explanation of it's purpose. This is the greatest cop-out of all time. What about "this shit is fun to look at isn't it? Having it hear sure makes this park more interesting and huh?" That is a perfectly acceptable explanation for it.

4 of the dozens of Lucy look alike pieces of street badger art in Millennium Park, Chicago. Like all public art the artist describes it’s purpose as “to make the viewer more aware of their space”. I swear to god, every piece of large public art has this as the sole explanation of it’s purpose. This is the greatest cop-out of all time. What about “this shit is fun to look at. Having it hear sure makes this park more interesting huh?” That is a perfectly acceptable explanation for it.

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The Bean in Millennium Park is an amazing tribute to an under-appreciated Orson Scott Card character. On a sunny day though, it should be renamed to “Holly Shit don’t look dirrectly at that god aweful migraine machine!” as its curves serve to blast the awesome power of the sun directly at your face no matter where you are

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Chicago at Sunset #travelblog #barf

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Sneak peak at part 2 of this post: The view from the pad I ended up crashing at in Pittsburgh

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Can a bro get a bro?

Long time no write ya nerds. I’m not sorry for the blogging hiatus because I’ve been too busy picking up dudes. Yes you read that correctly, and I implore you to continue reading so I can add some heterosexual context.

Your first question for me is likely “what?”. An unimaginative, but non the less fair inquiry so I’ll be your huckleberry and answer before dying of tuberculosis. While traveling I’ve found I have an ample allotment of “James Time”. Typically this is my most favorite of times used predominantly to freestyle rap and play make believe. Much like midnight all you can eat red beans and rice or 3am $1 tacos (6 bowls and 13 tacos respectively), too much of a delicious thing can actually become sorta boring and leave you rubbing your distended belly on the couch for the next 12 hours while coming to terms with coronary artery disease. As convoluted as that last sentence was the point is sometimes I don’t want to be alone. And when I get that feeling, it’s not Marvin Gaye’s timeless cure-all that I need, it’s a bro.

Someone with whom to slam beers, hike, swap tall tales, and silently stare into a sunset wrapped in the comfort of our communal brodem. For these needs, a women just won’t do.

How does one pick up a bro though? Sadly there is no manual out there. No The Game to equip me with a pre-packaged conversation starter or closing ‘neg’ strategy. A google search of “how to make dudes like you” leads to a plethora of advice centered around delayed fellatio. This advice was not exactly applicable to my predicatment. Having been abandoned by google, I had to ford the raging river of Brotown USA all alone. There wasn’t even an Indian guide I could trade some of my thrift store clothing to in order to help me and my $1600 of ammunition across. (if you didn’t go to school as personal computers were becoming popular then you will not get the Oregon Trail references, and your life is sadder for it).  It turns out that in this river, however, I’m a god damn 2008 Michael Felps (remember how awesome that was? And that?  Sucks to be Italian at the 4:40 mark).

That’s right, I’m currently batting 1000 in the ball park of bros. And I’m out in the wild bromosphere in totally uncharted bro-ographies. This isn’t Dispatch’s last concert or something. These are real wild bros. Back story: In 2004 I had my first ever bro pick up while traveling to Boston for Dispatch’s last concert. Some friends and I beat a pack of college bros in a pick up game of ultimate frisbee at Harvard square the day before the concert. We then had said bros buy us alcohol and save us seats in the second row. Stellar bro pick up across all the major categories of setting, event, and favors garnished.

So that’s when I first dipped my toes into the brocean with some buddies at 17. Now I’m on my own at 26 and while my flick might be a little rusty I can still sure as hell hook a bro. (Did you notice the guys name in the last link? What a superb bro)

I have 2 primary tactics:

1) The move that never fails – Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

For years I’ve been extolling the merits of fruit and yogurt parfaits to anyone who will listen. There is no better way to start your day, and no better way to pick up a bro (or a chick. This one is a unisex move because EVERYONE loves fruit and yogurt parfaits). I used this tactic in Nashville TN with clinical precision going through all of the standard steps of brocation, broproach, brodvance, and brocure. It went like this:

After an evening of revelry I went to bed late at the hostel in my 4 person shared room. I noticed one bed still unoccupied despite the late hour. I woke up early to find it inhabited by a man fully clothed in the fetal position with the hostel linens still folded up neatly at the foot of his bed where the staff placed them prior to arrival [brocated – bro located]. I saw him again around 11am sitting in the sun outside the hostel smoking a cig (might as well have been flying a bro-flag). My bropening line was a textbook “big night last night?” [broproach – bro approached. Also known as the ‘bropener’ in some circles]. After swapping tales I went for it (better to strike early when hunting serious bros). “Hey, I was just about to walk to Walgreen’s and grab some Greek yogurt to complete my fruit and yogurt parfait. Do you want one?” [brodvance – advance the bro situation]. Of course he did. Everyone does.

Wrapping up breakfast at 12:30 he asked “do you want to start drinking” (wow, the brogame equivalent of an UNO reverse draw two). At this point of if you are not saying “oh most definitely” then you had no place trying to pick up a bro to begin with. Over a cooler of beer and a Nalgene of gin and tonic we discuss literature, philosophy, travel, and throwing knives (true bros are well read and well rounded).

12 hours later David (because at this point he deserves a name) and I were 25% of the occupants at a bar on the outskirts of town. We found ourselves in an arm wrestling match with a hulking man called “D”. The more impressive the man the fewer letters he requires. That is why I include my middle name on Facebook. This arm wrestling move is a more advanced blue-collar brogame tactic that shouldn’t be used lightly, and doesn’t quite deserve a full break down like the parfait does. Anyways… D and I roll up our sleeves, I turn my hat around backwards, and get my ass kicked. Beyond the obvious Over The Top implication of the hat turn, I also make plenty of Ash Ketchum references in case there were any bro-nerds at the bar. The brokemon shout outs didn’t win me any bros (couldn’t hurt to try, and it entertained me at least) but the arm wresting did the trick for D and his girlfriend. We proceeded to drink drinks and laugh laughs together for the night.

David and I toured Nashville the next day, and he is planing to meet me with his boat when I get to South Dakota [brocured – bro secured]. Doesn’t this feel like the final freeze frame caption on David and my coming of age movie? A truly great brogame win.

Related Side Note: In Calgary I received the best John Bender fist pump of my life.  Hamza and I were walking down the street and a homeless guy asked if we could spare any change.  Without breaking stride I grabbed all the change from my pocket and dumped it in his hands.  Because Canadian money is silly, they have $1 and $2 coins.  So I could have given him anything from 75 cents to 14 dollars.  It must have been a lot because as we walked off he took stock of the coins then shouted “where are you from?” I shouted back “Washington DC” and after a brief pause he simply gave me a huge fist pump and held it strong in the air for a few seconds.  I pumped back, and walked on.

Double Side Note: What is it like for strippers in Canada?  Do they just get pelted with coins when they are on stage?  That’s not sexy.  Maybe there is some sort of ticket system like at an amusement park? Wow, now there is a business idea. A Gentlemen’s Carnival!

2)  Still bros run deep

A bro slamming beers is a dime a dozen. Don’t get me wrong, though shallow, this is still a solid bro.  Star Wars parodies are a dime a dozen as well and that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t fucking rule.  But this bro is more of a drinking buddy, not a bro to share your broul with (broul = bro soul).  That requires a bro of some depth… that is what I advertise, and it couldn’t be easier.  Here is how to do it in a few easy steps:

a) Timing: Show up to a bar at the start of happy hour.

You do this because you want the atmosphere to be lively, but not crowded.  You need to guarantee yourself a stool at the bar.

b) Dress: Like you don’t give a fuck.

This doesn’t mean you dress like a GDI, but that you dress your way.  It lets everyone know you are from out of town, and that you don’t care about them.  I personally go with a lot of thrift store garb which in any combination guarantees a certainly level of weirdness. Weird = Intriguing.  Some might call this peacocking, but that implies that this isn’t your normal attire.  Wear what you’d normally wear, but make it the outfit you’d wear to a lake house labor day weekend.

c) $$$: Show your wealth

Everyone is attracted to money.  Men just as much as women.  Even more so perhaps.  And bros above all.  Remember, $$$ = rounds.   So when you sit at the bar don’t act like a peasant sophomoric frat bro and order a miller light, and don’t try to be some sorta hipster and sip on a PBR.  Order an IPA, or better yet something with bourbon.  Better yet, order a bourbon neat.  Also order some food.  Raw seafood if you can swing it, but any food will do.

d) Mindset: Block out the world

Remove your conscious self from the bar.  My preferred method is by writing.  Get out a little notebook and start scribbling and your first bro encounter is less than 5 minutes away.  You can also read a book, but this necessitates a very specific bromosphere.  If it is too rowdy you are just a weirdo for reading.  I pulled off a literary pick up once on this trip, but conditions were perfect.  I was also reading “Old Man and the Sea” which is a high on Broprah’s Book Club list.  Hemingway is one of histories top bros.

It’s that simple.  Follow those steps and bros will come to you.

Timely Testimonial:  I’m currently writing about tactic #2 at a restaurant in Missoula Montana.  I’m supposed to meet up with a friend from elementary school here, but this ancient connection is proving to be unsurprisingly fruitless at the moment.  I can’t exactly blame Nickie for ignoring my recent facebook messages since my adult life as a dork was proceeded by an equally dorky and even more sweatpants heavy adolescence when we knew each other. So I’m here quietly getting drunk with no place to sleep tonight.  Until my waiter checks my ID on my 4th beer and sees that I’m from DC. Blah, blah, blah I’m crashing at his place tonight.

God I’m good.  God I wish I was good at other stuff… anything else…

-James

One of my most bizarre thrift store arrangements.

One of my most bizarre thrift store arrangements. This goes a bit beyond what should be worn to a happy hour, but you can see what sort of weird articles I’m working with.

Athletic bro. Look at the tool limits I'm pushing in this shot. I'm actually holding the bike over my shoulder to show off how strong I am.  A bit much even for me... and it is me.

Athletic bro. Look at the tool limits I’m pushing in this shot. I’m actually holding the bike over my shoulder to show off how strong I am. A bit much even for me… and it is me.

Who doesn't like flowers? Is that related to my desire to pick up bros?

Who doesn’t like flowers? Is that related to my desire to pick up bros?

I'm a sucker for a good wild flower

I’m a sucker for a good wild flower

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Oh My God, everything is flowers!  Bro, take a picture of me and the flowers!

Oh My God, everything is flowers! Bro, take a picture of me and the flowers!

Picked up this bro while camping. He built a fire and had incredible movie knowledge.  Solid pick up.

Picked up this bro while camping. He built a fire and had incredible movie knowledge. Solid pick up.

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