There’s a few things coming up that I’m extremely excited about, but for now I want to update the ol’ blog with something I am only reasonably excited about: Dunkin Donuts is coming to the greater Los Angeles area, AND it’s already ahead of schedule. I think it’s kinda whack that the first few locations all fall outside of the city and pretty far from my neighborhood, but what the heck, I’m sure it won’t take long to have a local Dunkin at my disposal. Once transplanted Yale grads having to journey to South Central for their fix becomes a concern, they’ll already have one in the works on every block.
Growing up in NE Ohio, I was never a big Dunkin Donuts fan. Or at least I didn’t know I was. We only had a handful, and they were too spread out compared to the availability of Starbucks. There wasn’t even one at-or-near Kent State until after I graduated. No, it wasn’t until I went to NYC for summer session and there was a Dunkin on every corner that I realized it was the best go-to place for coffee. Starbucks was exposed as kind of a bitter, overpriced, over-sweetened farce (Of course Starbucks isn’t that bad, but you get the point). It might not be flashy…but Dunkin Donuts coffee is affordable, consistent and very strong. For these and many more reasons, Dunkin is the Duncan of coffee
So I welcome Dunkin Donuts and hope for it to be a part of my morning commute in the next year or so, but more importantly, it got me thinking of some NE Ohio/Midwest-centric exports I’d welcome. Here are some old-fashioned Power Rankings.
5. Taco Tantos
There’s plenty of great Mexican food constantly available in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, but Taco Tantos in Kent always put an interesting spin on the classic burrito that I think would be a big hit here. It’s nowhere close to authentic, unless “authentic” means your “Mexican” food tasting like a Broken Bells album sounds, but they pull off some very unique food for a great price. Simply read the Yelp reviews and you’ll realize Taco Tantos would be a great fit in any gentrified neighborhood. http://www.yelp.com/biz/taco-tontos-kent.
Akron native Lebron’s favorite local burger chain. It’s drive-in style fast food that is literally FAST -they hire young, fit, unseasonably tanned dudes to run to your car and take your order/bring you the food once it’s done. I’m not guaranteeing that bringing Swenson’s here would lure ‘Bron to the Lakers, but it wouldn’t hurt. Plus, if that doesn’t work out, one of Swenson’s quick footed, fit waiter boyz could easily run point for the purple and gold.
3. The Cleveland Browns
Anytime I go out in my throwback Browns sweatshirt it starts a conversation. Believe it or not, it’s usually very positive. One of Hollywood’s best bars (St. Felix) is already a Browns Backers bar. Johnny Manziel would be closer to the parties at Drake’s house in the hills. The fact that the second largest market in the country doesn’t currently have an NFL team is pretty ridiculous, but I hope the Browns stay put, step it up in Cleveland and give the fans something to be proud of in Cleveland and nation wide. Plus, I think it’d be better if New York just gave Los Angeles The Jets. It would definitely be funnier.
2. Guy’s Pizza
There’s NY style pizza, there’s Chicago style pizza, and there’s Guy’s Pizza which is in its own zone. I don’t know if it’s the sauce, the cheese, or memories of post-Zephyr bar visits that make Guy’s so special to me and countless other NE Ohio natives (actually I think it’s definitely the sauce) but you just can’t duplicate it. The small chain is superior to 99% of the pizza I’ve had in Los Angeles, which, to be fair, is not known for quality pizza (though the new, by-the-slice place on York blvd holds its own). Plus, I’m a bit partial because Guy’s was started by a group of cool Garrettsvillians so I’d love to see the #Guys #brand go national and eventually global (sorry, I mean #global. Looks way better with the hashtag). Guy’s Pizza is a great local business story and an incredible piece of pizza you have to root for.
Thiswas a no-brainer as #1. I always explain Sheetz to those not in-the-knowz as “7-Eleven but with gas and "made to order" food" with namez that end in "z". What "made to order" entails is a huge menu of sandwiches, salads, finger foods, coffees, burritos, chili, hot dogs, and SO much more that you order from a touchscreen menu. The food is prepared for you while you finish pumping gas or gathering other goodz…and most of the food is pretty awesome. Sheetz would be unstoppable off freeway exits up and down Southern California, amongst the chaos of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards, and it would be a breathtaking site to see the red glow of several Sheetzs (Plural of Sheetz?) while overlooking the San Fernando Valley at night. The thought honestly gets me kinda choked up. Speaking of choked up, people in Southern California love being stoned, and Sheetz was invented to be in while stoned. Especially at 2AM.
The other night I watched Danny Tanner and Uncle Jesse completely botch finishing an intricate dance routine with “the splits”. This got me thinking about how the splits never seemed to go right, no matter how awesome the dude. If Uncle Jesse couldn’t even look cool doing it, could anyone? I decided to tweet an observation I’m sure MANY have shared:
"If you’re a cool guy in a 90s tv show or movie DO NOT try and do the splits. It never ends well."
Caveat came the next morning in a reply from my buddy Kevin:
GREAT point. Slater nailed it. And was still considered extremely cool (right?). This got me thinking even further about the splits.
1. Was there a wrong way to do the splits?
Or, more accurately, was there a wrong end result? When Danny and Uncle Jesse botched them, it was funny. When Slater nailed it, it was awesome. So in the end, weren’t we always entertained? These men put their bodies on the line and I think any attempt should be deemed a success. It’s not about being “cool”, it’s about entertaining.
2. What exactly HAPPENED to the splits?
Maybe the mid-to-late 90s ushered in a new non-split-friendly era for entertainment. Jerry Seinfeld certainly wasn’t doing the splits (but, HOLY SHIT, imagine if he did…). Limp Bizkit would have FLIPPED OFF the splits given the chance. By the time of the Bush (GW) administration, we’d probably all but forgotten about this male-physical-comedy staple that was once so prevalent.
Perhaps the most pressing..
3. WHO, IN 2014, COULD BRING BACK THE SPLITS?
Haven’t thought about this? Well, I will tell you my educated guesses:
JTs career kicked off a few years after the splits seemed to have died. Now, nearing his mid 30s, Timberlake is in the prime of his career as an entertainer. While many of his male peers are probably thinking about what fedoras to start rocking, Timberlake is in the best place physically, mentally and creatively to start thinking about bringing back the splits. His musical comeback/entire 2013 was the entertainment equivalent of Kobe’s 3 straight NBA Finals appearances (minus the loss to the Celtics and having to cuss into his jersey when he got ticked). Point is, Timberlake is perhaps the last classic triple threat, he’s setting the standard for “staying relevant” and he doesn’t really piss anyone off. It’s tough to argue that he’s not a front runner for bringing back the splits. If he’s successful, we all “raise the roof” like the splits never went away, if he fucks up, it’s at least 40 minutes worth of material for his next charming-as-heck SNL appearance.
Bruno Mars seemed to do everything over the last year. Everything except the splits. Actually, I don’t have time to rewatch his Superbowl half time show. Did he do the splits?
“All these ’90s fantasies on my mind
The difference is that with mine, they all come true in due time”
-Drake “Tuscan Leather”
Let’s say you have your list of possible splits-saviors already punched up. That’s pretty awesome. Let’s say you didn’t add Drake. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? If Justin Timberlake is the last classic triple threat, Drake is redefining it. A rapper that’s equally as Ross Geller as he is Jay-Z, a worldwide brand and all around picture of 2014 well-roundedness, he does it all and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Drake could do the splits in a pair of custom Jordans and a butt-load of chains. He knows you’ll make GIFs of it. He knows you’ll call him soft. At the end of the day, if it’s his fantasy, ’90s or otherwise, Drake can figure out how to make it come true. He could add “bringing the splits back” to his already mega impressive resume. “Y’all were on your Samsung Galaxies talkin’ smack for a while, now u endorsing me for ‘the splits’ on my Linkedin profile…”. The story and entire mixtape about the splits write themselves.
Even though my choices are pretty inarguable…this is totally open for discussion. Who do you think could bring back the splits?
My family moved to Garrettsville before second grade after bouncing all over the Cleveland area since I was born. The town is truly one of a kind, so much that I’m pretty sure it’s the only Garrettsville in the world (I did a nice, hard Google and only Garrettsville, Ohio came up. I tried “Garrettsville, England” and “Garrettsville, North Korea”. Nothing!). Though my family now lives in Akron, anytime I come home from Los Angeles I’ve done my best to work in a visit to Garrettsville. I even filmed the gym scene of this video at the middle school before moving here. Here’s a pic from a few trips ago where my buddies and I walked our old neighborhoods and ate some Italian Garden Pizza on the boardwalk:
(BTW it’s worth noting that the pizza in Garrettsville is awesome, thus why Guy’s Pizza, possibly the greatest pizza known to man, or at least outside NYC, was invented by some cool Gvillians.)
This past Saturday the town lost an entire block of small businesses on Main Street to a super terrifying fire. Though the Gville community (even those of us far, far away) are coming together in our owns ways to help rebuild as quickly as possible, everyone seems to agree the memories in in the buildings lost are irreplaceable. I delivered The Record Courier newspaper on this stretch for years. I got the same haircut from ages 13-19 at “The Barber of Gville” while having great discussions with Jim Reppy (the barber) himself. Kids could dress like Wes Anderson characters by picking up awesome, vintage outfits from Minard’s Sports, and I spent so much time at Dave’s Comics that I eventually wrote a true story about how I lied to my parents and said I worked there in this book.
While I’m thinking about something more to contribute, for now anyone can check out ways to lend a hand or dollar via these amazing outlets other Gvillians have put together in the short time since the fire:
On the quick-and-easy crowdfunding front, Sam Martin set up an IndieGoGo site that is picking up traction and I’ll be dropping some $tacks in soon:
On behalf of myself and all the friends I’ve made in Garrettsville, whether they’re now in Cleveland, Akron, Trumbull County, Chicago, Portland, Oceanside, Japan, etc: thank you, Garrettsville. We wish you a speedy recovery and we couldn’t be us without you. Let’s rebuild that entire end of Main Street so the kids who get a chance to grow up in Garrettsville next can make their own memories and hopefully get some cool outfits.
I could honestly talk Garrettsville for hours. Hit me up if you ever want to do that.
Just kiddin’. I thought I’d post a quick update with a very BUZZFEED like title in hopes it would be my biggest post yet. I’m sure it will be.
We did move last weekend, however. While I wasn’t the most help with the physical act of moving, I contributed plenty mentally to the move. I consider myself equally the Phil Jackson and Tito Jackson of moving. The move was a piece of cake thanks to the help of a few friends, including the tech-savvy heartthrobs pictured above (I work/worked with those guys on the internet!). I can’t speak to their choice of beverage, but it has to be better than the “Cocaine” brand energy drinks (yeah, that’s what they were called) my brother and I drank during a move once. I think we puked. He definitely did, I don’t remember if I did or if I just came close. I guess drinking disgusting energy drinks is just something only MOVERS understand!
Slightly Exaggerated Version of a Convo I Overheard in a Burbank Chain Restaurant About Making A Sci-Fi Web Series
I may have taken some liberties, but this is how I remember it…
Dude: So, I’ll be honest. We don’t have the biggest budget for this…but I’m talking to some decent-name actors. One has 4,000 followers on Vine, one is cross referenced on Dj Qualls Wikipedia page.
Girl (interrupting): Amazing. Does it link to his own Wikipedia entry?
Dude: No. But if we get the Vine guy, at 4,000 followers, and every follower gives at least $100, we’re gold! Plus your trust fund. Can you access any of that yet?
Girl: Yeah. I’m 36.
Dude: Great. We will need that for special effects.
They both look at their phones for awhile.
Girl: Totally. How do you think we shoot the laser battle scene? Real lasers? That seems expensive.
Dude: Nope. We get laser pointers. Remember those?
Girl: The things you use to mess with substitute teachers?
Dude: Yes! Much cheaper than CGI.
Girl: Amazing! Substitute teachers used to hate those. How are the drafts of the script coming?
Dude: Well, I sent the treatment over to this kid who lives in Grand Rapids this morning. He’s a wiz. He has like 90 Vine followers. He should have season 1 and 2 written tonight and we can start season 3 after the second Kickstarter campaign.
Girl: Love it. Amazing. Now I know we want to shoot the space rocket scene with a RED camera on a bobsled, which is gonna be AMAZING, but how can we make the bobsled MOVE without using snow?
Dude: F**K you’re right!
ponders. looks at phone for a while.
Dude: Should we have fake snow made?
Girl: Hmm. I think a more amazing idea would be wheels for the bob sled.
Dude: Yes! Much cheaper. Saves more budget for building the dragon.
Dude: I can’t wait to never actually make this.
Girl: It’s gonna be so amazing to never make this with you!
So this is my first post of 2014 and, honestly, I wish it was a more EPIC one. I’m not sure if people still use EPIC to describe things or if that was super 2008 of me to say, but hey, maybe we could all use a little more 2008 in 2014? Anyway, I got pretty injured right before the holidays. A semi severe muscle strain in my calves that could take even more time to heal, but I’ve been trying to work hard, stay positive and start 2014 like THIS
But I’ve definitely spent a few days feeling more like THIS
Nevertheless, it’s been a pretty fun first month of the year and I do have some exciting stuff in the pipeline. One goal I REALLY need to set my sights on is my dream of finally getting a 50★ tweet.
Look, I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 and had some great moments. Aside from YouTube, it’s still my favorite website/platform. That being said, I KNOW I need to take it to the next level. I need to put in more hours and characters. I need to execute flawlessly. I need to tweet until my Twitter idols (Twidols) become my rivals (Twivals). I need a 50★ tweet!
So how do I proceed? I already have 580 followers (give or take a few bots that might be deleted by the time I post this), shouldn’t that be enough for 50★s? I think my best bet would be consulting the pros and reach out to some top tweeters for advice. I need to think about everything that goes into composing a 50★er. Maybe I should pay to promote my account? If that’s the case I will need some corporate sponsors or AT LEAST a great crowd funding campaign.
I just thought I’d put it all down here as motivation to start my quest for 50★s. May the odds be ever in my favor.
Happy Christmas Eve. A lot of work to do today before heading to Ohio, but had to post another GORGEOUS CHRISTMAS POEM for the entire net!
Merry Christmas to a skunk
Merry Christmas to a hunk
Merry Christmas from a shiny sports car
Merry Christmas from a ROWDY SPORTS BAR (go team!!!)
Merry Christmas to your two free flight carry ons
Merry Christmas to Bow Wow and Omarion
Merry Christmas to seven rabbits
Merry Christmas to Lenny Kravtiz
And if Lenny aint a Christmas celebrator?
Merry Christmas to the guitar solo from “Love in an Elevator”!
Merry Christmas to strangers “hey, pleased to meet ya”
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO KIDS THAT ALWAYS EAT PIZZA!!!
With all of your wishes, be sure NOT to miss
Christmas wishes to YOU, give yourself a BIG KISS!
"What became of everyone I used to know" is probably my favorite opening line to any album. The Get Up Kids wrote this in the late ’90s before Facebook and other social media made the question a thing of the past. Luckily for me (since I am so into wondering), there are dudes I’ve met over the years that I have no idea what happened to them. Either it was a one-off meet/hang or they seem to be un-Googleable. Regardless, I figured I’d might as well draw some of them. Like they say: If you can’t find ‘em, draw ‘em.
Roger from the movie theater was a 40-something year old dude I worked with at Garrettsville Cinemas my senior year of high school. He was usually in good spirits and sometimes made inappropriate jokes to us teens and other people of all ages. Many teens teased him or were mean to him, but not me. Overall, we got along pretty well. We’d work late shifts together and listened to a lot of Delilah on the radio. For those of you who don’t know, Delilah hosts that call-in request show for lovers (current, former and long-lost) to dedicate love songs to each other. Delilah also says the kind of stuff that people with Drake parody accounts pretend Drake says. We’d chat here and there, but we mostly cleaned and listened to Delilah. I’m not even sure what his opinion of me was, but Roger definitely thought my friend Mike was incredible. When graduation day rolled around, he wrote an epic note to Mike that sampled lyrics from the hit song "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. In the letter, he encouraged Mike to “dance” in the figurative sense Lee Ann uses in the song. Maybe he meant it literally also. I guess he gave Mike some undies or something too, but those details are a little foggy.
I hope Roger is doing well, and I’d love to let him know that I’ve been doing my best to “dance” ever since our days at theater. Not that he ever asked.
This will be a gorgeous holiday gift. The comedy/drama vignette film I wrote/directed pieces for is available to preorder! The movie features the talent of Busy Phillips, Community's Gillian Jacobs and countless wonderful Northeast Ohians, including the great people pictured below.
I also ran an image search purposely misspelling “Blue Ray”. I had to scroll a bit, but my favorite result is below: