A Note About Amber

The sky is cotton candy colored this evening on my walk home. It makes me think of Amber, who is always impressed with and struck by the sky in ways I can seldom recognize. It is something I envy, and something I deeply admire about her; she has the ability to do this with many things. Always seeming capable of making literal poop seem like something much more elevated and, perhaps, lovely than it is. She is a constant inspiration to me.

As someone who is generally more anxious than Harvey Weinstein walking through a ring of female kick boxers, Amber has — without her conscious knowledge (I think) — shown me several different ways to cope with my mind.

“Woah!” She will often exclaim while we are driving around, myself completely oblivious as to what could possibly be so amusing. When she points to the sky, I will sometimes almost hit another car while driving. At the stop lights, or on a hike, or when she is driving, I can usually see what she means, though. The sky can be an incredible thing to look at. Yet, even when I do not always see beauty in the sky, Amber can.

As someone who writes and makes music, I can recognize that Amber inspires me. She is the main reason I am able to make music and write so much.

Anyways, today is her birthday and it didn’t seem right to let that go unnoticed.

Happy birthday, Amber!



When the local news predicted that “dogs could be taking retail jobs by 2025,” I only raised half an eyebrow. When my NSU professors told me that “dogs will probably not take retail jobs, but will absolutely take babysitting jobs,” I was even less impressed. When Fox News stated that “the Democrats want the next president to be a dog and will do anything to trick you into voting for one,” I was just angry. But then 2025 came, and we slowly saw what the networks were talking about. Except Fox, they are literally insane garbage.

In 2020, we somewhat developed the technology to sort of figure out what dogs were thinking (this is to say that their thoughts were projected onto a screen, but only as graphs and charts that were 99.9% arbitrary). The technology kept advancing, though, and by 2024 humans could project in vivid detail, the thoughts of a canine companion. The thoughts started off as what one might expect it would be: “Let’s go on a walk,” “I want some more food,” “Get rid of the mail man,” etc. Yet, within a year, the thoughts quickly developed into more serious matters: “Do you know what you’re feeding your children, what is wrong with you?”; “Why is it that you love black labs, but seem cautious around black people?”; “Blowing pot smoke in our faces won’t really get us that high, mostly it’ll just make us quit trusting you,” so on and so forth. This uptick in canine knowledge is what sparked the #dogs4bbysitters movement: one that is based on allowing dogs to make their family extra income by replacing sitters and nannies.

“It’s not like my old nanny was any better than someone who licks their butt, anyways,” one mother and doggy-nanny-hirer declared. Another added that “If my human nanny steals from me, it’s my pearls and earrings; if my doggy nanny steals, it’s my bacon and my herb-crusted polenta.”

Yet, in times like these, when the national driving age has decreased to 14, (because President Nick Cage says, “I sell amazing properties like mad. Literally like that crazy guy I played in that movie… what was it… National Treasure, or something, that’s it(1). So, whatever, let 14-year-olds drive,”) we are forced to look at what our country has become. National Geographic recently published an article entitled “The top 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Dog, Nanny,” which displays graphic photos of doggy nannies raiding refrigerators, drinking from babies’ toilets, pooping in baby jumpers, and worst of all, playing the “airplane” game with the baby food, only to selfishly feed themselves instead. This is not to say that the babies went hungry; in fact, almost all doggy nannies are guilty of both themselves and the baby gaining an average of half a pound upon dismissal of sitting duties.

“It’s just like, why would you let a dog do that? I mean, I’ve been at [retail store name omitted] for like, six months now. If that’s not responsibility, then I don’t know what is. Seriously, I’m more responsible than that dog. How much is that dog getting paid, anyways?” Voiced one concerned neighbor, before asking if he made more than the doggy-nanny—several times.

An engineering-based school in Arizona has conducted a study on the new nannies, stating that drug-related babysitter arrests and episodes are at an all time low. “Instead of just following the natural trend of placing a baby in a large cage and giving it an iPad, the dogs seem to actually interact with the children. I really haven’t seen anything like it for several years,” states one of the college’s professors. Overall, the study has shown that dog-sitters spend an average of 70% more time just looking at the child they are watching, compared to human sitters. “That time really adds up,” another student tells me, “Some kids have just ruined their lives, or their parents’ homes by the time you look at them again, but the dogs seem quite a bit more alert.” This may possibly be attributed to the fact that dogs still cannot legally have their own phone plans. “Ever since president Cage has mandated watching at least two of his movies a week, average screen-time for an American has gone up from about 20, to 22 hours a day. This does, of course, not count for any time spent watching TV before bed, as many still like to do. But since dogs cannot legally have their own phone plans, their screen-time is significantly less. Plus, given their greyscale vision and notoriously bad password-making, most dogs become fed up with electronics fairly quickly, even when they do show an interest at first,” the student informed me.

Another professor at the school (who was not involved in this study) voiced her concerns, “It’s just not natural,” she says. “I don’t think any person, or dog, who is so disconnected should really have any responsibilities. What if a child asks for the current head count on the Kardashian family, or if they have not seen the latest video of a cat doing something boorish and lame? Dogs, from what I have gathered on Instagram, do not even seem to like cats. A child watched by a dog will miss out on these things that really matter—the reason that millions of Americans wake up every morning.”

When I shared this interview with leading members of the #dogs4bbysitters movement, they were not surprised. “This is why I take those responsibilities upon myself,” one leader told me, “I think it’s more of an ethical problem, and so of course I spend my nights not just plugging in my baby’s iPad, but also rocking him to sleep, assuring him of how many Kardashians there are, and telling him the dire differences between the Tumblr and Twitter communities daily.”

The group hopes to have dogs replacing at least 40% of sitters by 2027, and is also Kickstarting a small robot that can still keep babies and young children updated on the internet 24/7 via a loudspeaker which will read out the world’s most-viewed Tweets, so that all of a parent’s worries can be covered.

(1) Seriously, look up some of the properties he’s bought and sold. Just Google it.

Seeing Vincent

Amber and I just recently saw the new movie “Loving Vincent,” which is the world’s first completely hand-painted feature film. We didn’t necessarily know what the movie was about, just that we knew we should watch it. We did, if sort of by mistake.

Our bed is broken, by the way. Amber’s side, specifically, and I know why. Every time she gets home from work or school, she will first throw her things onto the ground and then throw herself onto the mattress like an overreacting child in a play pretending to be shot. If you do this enough times, we have found, it will break what can only be Amazon’s cheapest bed frame. Because of Amber’s bad back, I have volunteered to switch her sides of the bed. The situation I was in didn’t really bother me at first, only one of the ten bars on my side that was holding the mattress was missing. One night when I was eager to fall asleep I knocked another bar out—both of which are next to each other and happen to meet right around the small of my back. If I slept on my stomach I would start to feel as though I was doing yoga poses against my will all night. The mattress slowly kept seeping right in the middle towards the ground, and only on my new side. Rather than buy a new frame though, I suggested to Amber we go to Home Depot to find a solution.

I am not a Home Depot guy; Amber is not a Home Depot gal. There are Home Depot people who seem to know every nook and cranny. Need a blade for your power drill? Follow me. Oh, a cactus and a new chandelier? Right this way. Amber and I are not like that and so it took us a good deal of time just to figure out a proper solution. We finally found some metal piping that seemed as though it would work, and were told that the plumbing department could cut it into pieces for us. We then wondered around almost the entire store again, before stumbling on plumbing. We found the pipe cutter, but no one was waiting idly by to man it. Around the corner, Amber and I found an employee next to a ladder. After much time fumbling about “who last had to talk to someone,” etc., we both approached the man, who happened to climb up his ladder the second we turned the corner. Discouraged, we walked back to the cutter, close to fed up with Home Depot’s inability to read our minds.

When the employee finally got off his ladder, we almost ran to him. “Can you cut this? Who do we talk to for something like that? Is it you?” I can never manage to ask things from strangers the way I want to. The man gladly said he could help us.

“You mark it I cut it,” he said, handing me a Sharpie. “Do you need this to look nice? My machine is gonna leave some scratches.”

We said no, and minutes later he handed us four perfectly cut replacement parts for our bed. All we have to do now is crimp down the ends with a vice to make them fit into the old slots at the ends.

We were both hungry as we were leaving, and Amber suggested a Home Depot dog as a joke, which really just excited me to eat some food, and she had me convinced. “Yes,” I replied.

“Really?” She said.

“Yes. That sounds good!” And soon we were in front of the vendors of the Home Depot hot dog stand—an elderly couple: a woman who took our orders, got our dogs and placed them in the bun; and her husband, who mostly just watched football on tv. The couple seemed hesitant about us at first; then the woman gave me the receipt and I employed my usual 20% tip to the total. She then immediately perked up, as if tips were a sort of holy grail for her profession—I was the bearer of some sort of rare, exotic and wonderful news. After mostly not talking, she then asked Amber and I about our day and what we would be up to. She also complimented my shirt. Her husband, still mostly focused on the tv, asked us what we’d like on our hot dogs. Knowing that the station was self serve, however, he soon gave up on helping us in favor of football on tv.

Next on the list before we went home was to look for a music adapter I needed at Best Buy (who no longer sells any music equipment, other than online), and finally to go to an Asian market so that Amber could find some cooking ingredients.

The Best Buy did not seem to yield many results. Amber set off to look for cameras and I headed to where the music equipment used to be. There, I saw two employees. “But R, I don’t really understand how I’m supposed to set up the new display and a customer is asking me about it, do you know?”

“Well I’m sorry,” said R. “I’m off the clock, they’d get mad at me if I helped you. Get mad at us.”

R’s coworker walked away, but when one of his managers came out, he said, “Hey, P, I just got a new TV but can’t get the HDMI to work. Do you know what I should do?”

P answered his question, off the clock. On her way off, R said, “One more thing. A new guy was asking me a question while I was off the clock and I didn’t help him.”

“Good,” P responded, “that’s what you’re supposed to do in that situation. Don’t help them.”

Prior to this, Amber and I had ran into a childhood friend in the entrance of the store. “Hi, E,” I said. “This is my girlfriend, Amber.”

E proceeded to give me a handshake at a ridiculous angle and stare a what I can only assume was a single hair I had sticking up on my head. “How’s it going?” I asked.

“I’m good, how are you?”


He kept staring at the same spot. Just one hair sticking up. He then proceeded to quickly look me up and down, judging everything I had chosen to wear. “Are you sure you’re good?” He responded.

“I think so,” I said. We (the three of us) slowly rounded the cardboard DVD display stand we had been casually looking at to keep things as normal as possible. E was now really staring the DVDs down, though, as if he knew one had a golden ticket to live in L.A. for free or something like that. I watched him move out of the way a portly blonde woman who had also been giving the DVDs a good eying. After a few seconds of looking, E glanced up and seemed almost surprised that I would still be standing there, wondering if this was the end of our interaction or not, and if he had known the portly woman he’d manhandled earlier.

“This is my girlfriend,” he finally said, pointing the the woman he’d been avoiding around the DVDs. Her and I and Amber exchanged our hellos, and I left as soon as possible, knowing I had no regrets towards never talking to them again in my life.

When we left Best Buy I thought I could kill two birds with one stone, so we headed to Glendale, the Russian neighborhood in Denver. Amber and I stopped at a Guitar Center so that I could look again for my part. “I didn’t want to go out,” she said.

“I didn’t know, I’m sorry. You said ‘Asian market’…” I trailed off, realizing that not only had I gone all the way to Denver, but I had gone to the Russian neighborhood to find an Asian market. Amber forgave my stupidity, and driving around, we found the Chez Artiste Theatre. Neither of us had been there, but recognized it as being one of Denver’s only three artsy cinemas. Amber was looking up showtimes as I was looking through things I didn’t need to spend money on. We found a showtime, got snacks at a local Dollar Tree, and went in.

I suppose we did not see “Loving Vincent” on accident, it was very much on purpose. We really didn’t mean to see it on this day, though. Or at this theater. We’d both assumed that, like all people who want to watch an artsy thing, we would be forced to buy it since it would never be popular enough for streaming. I think that maybe it makes a difference that we saw the movie in an actual locally-owned, small theater. Isn’t that the point of things like these? Watching the movie on a small but glamorous screen, I was inspired. For me, it was surely the fact that Van Gough struggled with depression, but also there was a small conspiracy surrounding his death, which is something I pine for upon my passing. I also found solace in knowing that Van Gough is an internationally acclaimed artist, but you can still only find “his” latest masterpiece in small, cramped, local theaters.

Maybe someone will come to see my late works in a small, cramped theater someday. God willing.

Guy Fieri — Man or Myth

For the last month or so, Amber and I will generally close out the nights with some of our last words being “We’re rollin’ out! I’ll catch you next time, on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” shouted out in unison with Guy Fieri, the star of the show. We began watching the show semi-ironically, but now I don’t know that I have ever been so confused (intrigued?) by a human being—at least, not in the way I am confused by Guy. If one has not seen Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I do not necessarily recommend it. The show involves Guy going around to different restaurants (all in the U.S.) and trying their food. I use the word “trying,” because there is no real reviewing present. In the several seasons of the show I have so far watched, I have never seen Guy give a negative review, or even some constructive criticism. Every location he visits could be considered a diner, drive-in, or dive in some light—though, the restaurants in the beginning were a bit dirtier, since business owners initially didn’t want to associate their investment as a “diner, drive-in, or dive.” The star will enter the restaurant, “interview” some customers about their menu favorites, watch the chef make the food (while seemingly helping them, but mostly just making a mess), and then shove said food into his mouth. Guy has spiked, bleached hair, tattoos, a goatee, and a wardrobe out of a classic rock band’s 1990’s reunion tour. Some of his best catch phrases include: “Welcome to Flavor Town,” “That’s all she wrote,” “Dynamite, brother,” and “Catch it right now, on Triple D.” As Amber and I watched more of the show, I became more curious.

According to a mashed.com article entitled “The Untold Truth of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” by Jake Vigliotti, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is largely the work of a camera crew, who arrive at every location a few days before Mr. Fieri to get shots of customers, the outside of the restaurant, close-ups of the food, etc. Every restaurant usually gets a three day shoot, with Guy appearing on the last day to ask a couple of questions and mostly to eat. He drives a red Camero to almost every episode, which is in fact, not his at all. It belongs to one of the producers. Guy allegedly drives it for short distances, however.

None of this really gets at what makes Guy so interesting, though, which is his lack of connection to any one given stereotype; in other words, he can’t be pinned down. Guy Fieri (fee-et-tee, as he pronounces it) was born in Northern California to two hippie parents. Their meat-free, mostly raw foods diet is actually what drove Guy into cooking. Rumor is that at ten-years-old, he and his father created a pretzel cart. Guy supposedly kept running this pretzel cart to earn money for college [1]. Fieri then chose to spend a year of school in Paris, where he grew to love food more. He then went to Vegas for a degree in hospitality. Him and a friend soon opened Guy’s first restaurant in 1996, Johnny Garlic’s, which is now a small chain that still exists today. His season two winning of Food Network’s Next Food Network Star is what drove Guy into the limelight, in 2006.

Clearly, none if this is particularly strange. It is when you look into the nuances of Guy that one can see his oddities. Having the style of a classic “dad-rocker” is nothing to think twice about, but what about a dad-rocker who was raised by hippies and chose to go to Paris? The Food Network star also has what can only be described as a deep passion and admiration for the military—something which is generally seen as somewhat conservative. It seems just a bit surprising then, that Guy has also officiated some 100-plus gay weddings, including iconic chef Art Smith [2]. None of this is to say that Guy is good, or bad, right, or wrong, just that I simply cannot get a read on what is going on with him. This is not always in a political frame, however. For example, K.S. Wang, in a motortrend.com article nonsensically entitled “Celebrity Drive: Food Network Celebrity Chef and Car Junkie is a True Bow-Tie Guy,” we learn that Guy is a passionate Chevy owner (with the exception of one Lamborghini—which, how could he not have?), with five under his belt. He owns more cars, though they are exclusively and proudly American-made. Yet, Guy is still so happy to tell people that his first car was a 1978 Datsun 280Z (which is a Japanese car). Nevertheless, perhaps the most vexing trait about Mr. Fieri is how he can seem like—in Anthony Bourdain’s words—such a “total douche,” but still manage to have amazing PR and has never seemed to cultivate a legitimate complaint [3]. There are countless stories online—like the dailybeast.com one by Rachel Syme, entitled “The Trailer Park Gourmet”—of everyone from paying spectators of his live cooking shows, to reporters who want to dig up some dirt on the star, who walk away feeling like they have just talked to one of the only genuinely nice celebrities that seem to exist. Guy is known for having a good time with a live crowd, and will give out free drinks and get to know anyone he appears to have time for. With reporters, he is not afraid to laugh at himself, or to try and make light of someone who wants to tear his name to shreds for the sake of publicity. He doesn’t let things get to him, and he tries not to let them get to others, either. He’s the crazy uncle who is going to give you a noogie, making you want to punch him in the face; but he is also the crazy uncle who will get drunk at the family barbecue and make you laugh—genuinely laugh—like you haven’t in a while. I disagree with the New York Times piece by Julia Moskin, entitled “Guy Fieri, Chef-Dude Is [sic] in the House,” in which Julia claims Guy’s appeal can be mostly blamed for his attraction to men (that is, male viewers) and lower-income people. This is illustrated in the interview with a woman who claims that other cooking shows were “too preachy” for her.

This is where I struggle with Guy, I don’t know what to look at him as. Is he a chef? His restaurants regularly get poor reviews (Is it mean for me to say “hilariously” poor?). Gordon Ramsey has referred to him as a sham, as have other famous chefs—not to mention what the aspiring chef-star must think. And here is another struggle with Guy: the lay-people don’t seem to dislike him nearly as much as the popular people. I don’t think this makes him punk, necessarily, but it makes him something the likes of it.

As I grow, I am more and more curious about people like Mr. Fieri [4] and how I can incorporate their ethics into my (hopefully) sometime adult life. Guy is genuinely doing what he wants to do. Sure, a lot of Triple D is scripted, but it’s a script that he wrote himself. And when he isn’t sticking to the script, it’s his own shtick that we get to experience (endure?). He gets to travel all over (the U.S.), he gets to eat (junk) food for free, he runs into (B-list) celebrities all the time [5], and he gets to do (roughly) what he wants.

Though Guy will give a seemingly positive review to an old pb&j served in a shoe, he does have some apparent tell-tale signs as to whether or not he really likes a dish. The “mashed” article mentioned previously tells us that if Guy takes a bite and talks about the visual aesthetics of the place, he doesn’t like the food; just as well, if he stares into the eyes of the chef, the dish is a real winner. These things seem fairly obvious to me. The real question I’ve had on my mind is whether or not Guy has been doing drugs before every episode.

I would love to see Guy as a stand-up guy who travels around with women in the back of his ex-producer’s Camero doing the right thing, but something tells me there’s something fishy going on. Now, I don’t know Guy, I have only watched a fuckload of his shows and read just about every article I can Google about him. This is also coupled with my general pessimism. But really, I mean, he seriously does drive around in his ex-producer’s Camero with cheerleaders in the back. Not always, but it’s the screenshot for his entire show on Hulu right now. And even if you think, like, Well, what if it’s his daughter? (And it’s not, he only has two sons) that is even worse. Why would you willingly subject your daughter to be photographed in a cheerleader’s outfit, when she could just do it herself if she wanted to? And she could do it for someone other than her spiky-haired, backwards-sunglasses father. It’s just that, if this is someone’s first time looking at “Triple D,” and they see some bleached-hair guy in a sports convertible with a bunch of cheerleaders, they may not want to watch it with their family, and it is a family show.

Ethics aside, guy is seriously nice. Though I have always sided with the likes of Jeff Rosenstock’s new song “TV Stars,” it really does matter to be nice—even just seemingly. “TV stars don’t care about who you are” is true, indeed, but lots of people don’t care who you are. In a day-in-age in which I can obsess over what the “Puppy NFL” is up to, it is easy to see how many niches, subcultures, and cliques make it nearly impossible to really fit into a spot in which the average Hollywood celebrity is going to actually care about what the general public has to say or think. This is to say that Guy doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks, but is still a nice guy.

To show that Mr. Fieri doesn’t care about what people think of him, it might help to know that all of his cars are all either yellow or black—even his wife is encouraged to buy only those colors, and has. In every episode, no matter what time of year, Guy is also seen wearing sunglasses—if not on the front of his face, then on the back of his head [6]. He is knowingly and willingly the bulk of so many internet memes. His two major-league acting scenes are in an Evel Knievel documentary (as himself) and in The Interview, with Jonah Hill and James Franco (also as himself in a one-second cameo).

My ultimate views on Guy Fieri come down to what I can only conclude is the issue I take with several other people who are a part of my life [7], which is that I simply disagree with them. My dad is a conservative (he’d say “independent”) republican, some of my friends are overtly liberal, and I hold my own opinions. All of this is fine, though I can say that I don’t seem to align with Mr. Fieri on most things. Like, I also don’t think its ethically a good idea to drag your kid along for a food-eating series around the world with you. At least let him finish high school.

I can go back and forth about how I feel about Guy Fieri, and have. The point is that he is an interesting person who is seriously fun to watch. Love him or hate him, he is a spectacle. If you are a conservative, he has lots on his resumé to make your dreams come true; the same still goes for the liberals. Whether you love the system or hate it, he can be your man. Forgive me for not straying more from political terms, but Guy would be the icon of bipartisanship, if ever there was one. Of course we can have several gay weddings, but let’s do it classy: tacos, tanks, and truckers, you know what I’m sayin’ bro? Sure, if Guy were president there would be legalized coke, but there would also be a military base in every town. Every flavortown! There would be no Muslim ban, only a ban on eating too many righteous yurtas and kumis. Want to smoke a joint? Sure, as long as your city has access to the most authentic Jamaican tacos this side of the hemisphere!

Okay, so things would not be “organized” so much, or even “realistic” if Mr. Fieri were president, but that’s all beside the point; he’s not asking to be president, just mayor of Flavortown. Sure, there are people who’ve spent years mastering what can only be considered the perfect culinary pallet, only to have Guy frat-boy all over it, and I’m sure they have a point. Does Guy have a right to go about America and judge mom-and-pop shops, always giving them an overwhelmingly positive review? I think so, and this brings me to where I disagree with Anthony Bourdain: he is (that is, Anthony) also paid to go around to different places and eat food. Obviously Mr. Bourdain handles this with a bit more class, traveling to places around the globe, trying things many Americans have near heard of, and documenting all of this in a pseudo-Thompson/ Bukowski-esque manner, but the concept is the same. Whether Anthony likes it or not—and he must really hate it—him and Guy share the same job, just with a different fan base. Or in my case, the same fan base. I think both shows are equally entertaining to watch, and have recently taken to pointing out how hilariously similar the two shows are—if just in my own head. Guy will be presented with an otherwise awkward situation, where he’ll have to think of some not-so-clever joke to accompany either a chef who doesn’t want to play by the rules, or a judge who seriously hates a dish that a contestant has to present. Bourdain will (thirty minutes later) be presented with a dish that no living person could enjoy, yet he will chase his terrible food with some local-inhabitant liquor. Here entails the true difference between Fieri and Bourdain: one can drink and the other cannot. On their show, that is [8].

One other problem I take with Guy, however, is that he claims to be such a “car nut,” but has claimed that his longest drive ever was between some Northern California town and some Oregon town, totaling three hours and nineteen minutes, the long way. This is a type of drive that I have taken completely at random at several points in my life; it is hardly a long drive and for a self-proclaimed “car nut,” should be nothing short of a pit stop.

Overall, though, I think there is something to be learned from Guy. Over and over, the whole claim-to-fame is that he is just a regular dude who happened to win a cooking challenge. You can genuinely see that, though. Guy makes jokes that only the only out of touch camp counselors at IDRAHAJE (does that even still exist?) would make. He is fun for the whole family, in the sort of way that half of the family is making fun, and the other half is having fun. He is all too much himself, however off putting that may be. Guy is almost something mysterious and avant-garde—is he really the willing mayor to “Flavortown,” or is he something more [9]? The private details of Mr. Fieri’s life are (understandably) mostly under wraps. All that I can say though, is that Guy is either a mad man or a genius. It is genius to be a food enthusiast who has his own hobbies and goals, and makes money primarily by eating good food in front of TV cameras. It is absolutely insane, however, to believe for one second that I will buy into the lifestyle of eating food to make a living. It is this mystery about Guy that keeps me watching and keeps me guessing—is he a real-life badass, or just another burn-out. The evidence seems to go either way and I think only time will tell; as with anything else. A view on Guy probably just comes down to a difference of opinions. I like to hold on to the one that Guy is somewhat of a pseudo-punk outsider—doing his own thing to make money for his family, but in reality knows better.

But these things can always go either way.


[1]: Most of this is all general knowledge about Fieri that can be found on any number of Top Ten lists about the chef.

[2]: Art Smith’s wedding took place in 2015 and was part of a multi-wedding celebration to honor the American overturning of the ban on gay marriage.

[3]: I use the word “legitimate” because Bourdain is not the only person to have railed against Guy. Fieri seems to be an almost constant target of battering from reality chefs, to real chefs alike. This sort of makes sense, when a Food Network star has never complained about food outright, I suppose.

[4]: Meaning, famous people who somehow seem to fit, at least loosely, into the “punk” category. There is no one quite like Guy, let’s be honest.

[5]: Ex. Gene Simmons, Kid Rock, and Rosie O’ Donell (though his personal favorites are obviously the retired football players and coaches).

[6]: Come to think of it, I have never seen Guy wear a long-sleeve, either. He constantly visits low-cost cities in their cheapest months, but never seems to be physically cold, somehow. What a champ.

[7]: Yes, if someone is in your bedroom (on TV or otherwise) for several hours a week, they are a part of your life.

[8]: There has been a rumor that Guy’s tour bus is completely stocked with nothing to drink but PBR.

[9]: Let’s keep in mind that Rowan Atkinson—Mr. Bean—is a biochemist.

Geese Revisited

I don’t think most people know how interesting geese are. I think this is because geese are not fun to look at, necessarily. They are not new, or exciting, or exotic. They blend in with trees, and crows, and other innocuous surroundings. If you can force yourself to stare at geese though, I guarantee you will have questions, as Amber and I have found. For example, you’ll see maybe five out of fifty geese in a field or at a lake take off. Why just the five? What did the five know that the other forty-five don’t? Or maybe you’ll see one goose off by himself. What the hell is that guy doing? What happened to him? I was initially not going to look up geese on the internet. I wanted my blindness to keep me amused to their behaviors. But then their behaviors got weirder, and I decided I had to know what was happening. So, like any sane person who wants to know about something, I Googled it to get to the Wikipedia page. (I am name-dropping here so that the reader is aware of how potentially incredible my sources may be.)

The geese are specifically Canadian geese, with some giant Canadian geese mixed in. When these birds hatch, they are immediately able to walk, swim, and find food; they also look like yellow ostriches and not really in a cute way. Canadian geese are monogamous and their kind do not usually end in divorce. If one goose dies, the living goose will find another mate, though. During the three-ish weeks it takes for their eggs to hatch, Canadian geese (both of the parents) will go, what can only be called, bat-shit crazy on anyone who happens to get too close to the eggs. This includes humans, who are often attacked by geese, because geese, by all accounts, don’t really give a damn.

Geese are assholes. That is a subjective sentence, but here are some objective facts: geese like to live in populated areas, much more than they like to live in the wild; geese feed on grass, but have been known to steal things out of trash cans; geese have elevated stress levels during their winter migration, and are thus more likely to hiss at you before biting you; and if you live in Denver and see a goose, it either hates you, or is a new permanent resident who will abuse the hell out of the fact that no one can hunt it and it can shit wherever it wants to.

It turns out that lots of people eat goose meat as a protein, and some residents in Canada even seem to be upset that their government will not legally allow them to sell goose meat. It’s a tough world, but in these times I like to remind myself that geese shit literally everywhere. I walk to work every day and see cars from the morning covered in it, and trails I walk on force me to watch my every step. It seems like I am joking, but there are several sidewalks I frequent that are literally covered in goose poop. The somewhat good thing about geese is that they eat mostly grass and whatever they find floating around in the lake. (I recently learned that ducks will swim in circles in order to stir up whatever is beneath them so that they can eat it; geese do not do this though, and I’m not sure how they get to the crap at the bottom of bodies of water.) Since geese don’t eat anything of real substance, their poop mostly just resembles someone’s lawn when it has just been irrigated. It also smells almost the same way, though this could just be some sort of psychological memory trigger, since goose shit has generally followed summer irrigation though my youth up until now.

Male geese cannot fly after they have mated. They shed their flying feathers (whatever the hell those are) and do not regain them until about the time when their offspring can first fly. This is perhaps nature’s own way of preventing deadbeat fathers and bastard children, at least in the goose world. Also involved in the goose world is the very real threat of child death to salt water. “Moderate to high salinity concentrations without fresh water results in slower development, growth, and saline-induced mortality,” Wikipedia informs me. And if you’re now thinking Damn, way to answer almost all of my goose questions, but, what makes a group of geese fly off, man? The answer is simple: no one knows.

That is the greatest mystery about geese: we don’t know why they fly in a V formation, or who gets to choose the “flock.” (Flock is here in quotes because although some geese may fly off for a few hours, the main collection of these birds always seems to remain together, come the end of the day. The real “flock” does not seem to consist of the generally seen five or so birds, but rather, of tens to hundreds of geese.)
The geese I see do not seem to just be tourists anymore. As I have written about before (sadly), the geese seem to have permanently taken up housing in Denver. In the same article that mentioned this, (I’m not citing things; this is a comedy opinion piece that you can either read or not – I’m sorry, that sounds harsh, just please don’t take things too seriously, I’ll include the video at the end) I was told that geese are mostly a burden because of their poop. A local Denver woman “volunteers” – because they totally want to do it – her dogs (two golden retrievers) to scare off the geese of pretty much any given location.
Needless to say, the goose nazi has not made it to southwest Littleton.
Walking passed the birds, I couldn’t help but think of people, and what we would’ve done under the same circumstances. I was saddened to come to the conclusion that we would probably destroy all the ice, harvest everything at the bottom of the lake for food to sell, and profit off of lake-side communities (like the Concordia Assisted-living Home which already exists on the lake); and that’s only if you’re one of the lucky geese, the other 99% will just have to find somewhere else to live.
{That got real pretty quick. Good thing we aren’t geese.}

The main thing to take away from the goose is that it’s an individual creature; it will fuck you up regardless of how large you are, and it will take over whichever parks it feels are the best to be at, and it will empty its bowels wherever and whenever it feels appropriate.

During the winter, the lake I walk past every day freezes over, mostly. There is a large, perfectly circular pool , however, which remains unfrozen. It is here that the geese now congregate. Being that it is the only open source of water on the lake right now, it is also where the ducks and seagulls gather as well. Clement Park, and the lake it encompasses have become barren and cold, except for the pool which remains in the middle. Here, all birds come together to bathe, eat, and hang out. It is quite a sight to see, as this gathering does not happen any other time of year. For the rest of the year, the birds will make cliques far apart from each other, keeping to their own kind. But during the worst, coldest parts of winter, all of the birds will come together here. It’s a beautiful thing, and means more than I’d care to blatantly write down.

Metaphors aside, I do hope some of these geese get the fuck out after winter though, because there is actually goose crap everywhere I step.

Why I Am Not Worried About 2018

It’s not so much that I am not worried about 2018, just that I am choosing not to lose my head about it. So much of the time spent in 2017 I feel (and especially now, in December, when everyone is doing a yearly recap) has been spent on complaining about how bad 2017 is (and now was). And now, as news stories emerge about the coming 2018, almost all of them are doing their best at attempting to explain why we should all be shaking where we stand, or why the next year will be incredible.

I can understand why this might be. Media outlets make their money on taking a story and making it interesting, and a story like this – while not particularly interesting – does not have to be facts driven, and thus can be “spun” in whichever way the author would like. If a journalist should happen to oppose the coming of the new year because they believed it would obviously end in nuclear warfare, they could easily express their view in an opinion piece called “2018 is Coming and Everyone is Freaking Out,” or something like that, etc, etc.

2017 was in no way a great year, or even a good one. But compared to the rest of human history, even within the last decade, it was not such an awful year as many like to make out. The idea of the last year being an especially terrible one is something that is completely corporate and artificial in nature. For example, a left-leaning Vanity Fair article by a T.A. Frank, entitled “5 Nightmarish Headaches Trump Faces in 2018,” lists things like “Democrats [being] less open to deal making” and “Robert Mueller [sticking] around” as being some of the top issues which are sure to make the next year horrible for anyone involved in any way. While it’s fair that partisanship and an FBI head bent on proving collusion between the president and Russia must be a huge headache, I would not say those are even close to being the toughest things for the president to have to juggle next year. They are catchy themes, though. (Just for the record, I believe the inevitable proof of Russia collusion will probably happen a bit further down the line.)

In contrast, both the ridiculously conservative John Ziegler and Rush Limbaugh think that 2018 will be an incredible year because of Trump. They mostly site financial gain and job employment as an overall bonus. While both of these points are [mostly] true, one cannot deny the fact that this has been a horrific year for most people living south of Colorado; massive storms in Texas, The Virgin Islands, Florida, and Puerto Rico, plus raging, unseasonal fires in Southern California have made this year one that is probably not so great for many. This is not to mention the families who’ve been affected by the several tragedies to have swept through the country this year, from the Las Vegas shooting to the Muslim travel ban.

I am taking joy in the fact that the Miriam-Webster Dictionary is watching the word doggo in 2018. Aside from that, I am choosing to accept that things are cyclical. History repeats itself and I don’t have the time or the patience to be bothered about being bothered about current events. I care enough, I think. What I have learned in 2017 is that there are people at every time in history who have been as upset as people seem to be now, and I do not want to be one of them. If one does not want to believe that 2017 has happened before in America, I suggest looking into 1972. I say this not just because of Watergate, but because of arguing, of childish insults between political professionals, of a massive slew of scandals involving famous people, and of extreme partisanship. I think that both sides are generally – as a rule of thumb – absurd, inaccurate, predictable, and thoughtless. Their arguments have been made before. Their arguments are also paid for. Fox News needs to be right-leaning because that is what their viewers and listeners want, and so on and so forth. Anyone who chooses to pick a side exclusively is setting themselves up for the same things over and over: the left will take things too seriously and the right will be too insensitive, rinse and repeat.

The point I am trying to get at is that 2018 is just another year. Instead of getting mad at T. Swift for Tweeting that she had a good year, let’s all decide to just chill the fuck out. Not everything needs to be a political statement. Let’s just watch football this year (and that’s coming from someone who genuinely thinks that the NFL is legitimately comparable to the gladiators of Rome). Let’s read more news about things that don’t matter, like National Geographic, or stupid essays like this (but the non-political ones – this is it for a while, I promise). And for fuck’s sake, let’s not give a shit when we can’t watch the stupid president attempt to play sports which he claimed he had no time to play in the first place.

Mainly this year, let’s not be assholes. Let’s be more accepting and less prone to labeling everything. We should try to not act like the world is going to explode tomorrow; it’s not great, but maybe things have been worse. And even if things haven’t been worse, let’s make an effort not to fixate on that. Things at least could be worse. Right?