Friends for a night: why going to your local brewpub alone is good for the soul

“Are you done with the beer list?”

It was a question a man with a graying beard in a corduroy newspaper cap leaned over to ask me as we sat with one seat between us at the bar in Mother Bunch. The bartender overheard and grabbed an extra. He made a quip about how we shouldn’t worry and they had extra.

“You should have less than required so people are forced to interact.”


Gambino grows up: ‘Awaken, My Love!’ reviewed

Donald Glover’s artistry blossomed in recent years. It might have been an existential crisis in a hotel around the release of Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet in 2013. It might have been that he was finally allowed to write and act his own thoughts instead of helping Tina Fey on 30 Rock or playing Dan Harmon’s affable jock Troy Barnes on Community. Whatever it is: Glover is one of the most important artists right now, and his Childish Gambino alter ego is finally ready to step up to that level.


The sophomore slump of ‘Daredevil’ is still better than most of television

The first season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix was one of my favorite new shows last year. It was dark and gritty, but more importantly, it was a good representation of an important canon comic hero with enough interpretation to make it feel fresh.

The second season, which comes after Marvel’s better Netflix series – Jessica Jones – is still good. But it’s not as good as the first season, and it comes nowhere close to JJ.

Here are the pros and cons of the second season of the blind vigilante’s show.


5 goals for 2015

Publish more: fiction or non-fiction. On my blog, of course, but also try to contribute to a magazine or website. Keep writing short stories and submitting them even if everyone rejects me.

Be healthy: doesn’t mean get skinny. It means eat right, drink less booze, and exercise. I’ve let myself get unhealthy enough to the point where I’m out of breath jogging upstairs. It’s nought about my weight, it’s about my health.

Get out of the country: I’d even accept Canada, but I really mean Europe. Three summers in a row of European excursions and then nothing. This isn’t okay. Shoot for March when everyone I know is in England still and not at work in Maine. Maybe finally go to France and Germany.

Be smarter about money: save! Don’t blow though cash just because I can. Grocery shop instead of going to bars. Set more aside per paycheck and set up monthly bill pay. Actually check bank account. Don’t loan people money just because I feel bad for them. Think first!

Start a master’s program: or at least start taking classes. Literature would be the best because I want to teach college, but this media and culture one is more in sync with what I personally love. Plus, it could still be beneficial. Better decide by April!

“The Point”

The following as a short piece of fiction adapted from the episode “Double Double Date” of the ABC series The Wonder Years. The dialogue and a portion of the narration was taken directly from the episode written by Sy Rosen and Mark B. Perry.

We had just run off from both of our dates at the school dance. The night was warm and the sky was clear. Stars sparkled over the placid town that nurtured me my entire life. We parked in my parents’ car at a make-out spot on a cliff, known as the Point, overlooking the town in my tux and her in a ravishing pale dress. The effect the dress had by contrasting with her skin drove me wild. We couldn’t believe we ran off, but we had no choice. It was as if the stars, and the universe, and destiny had bound us together.

I moved to her and put my arm around her shoulders, but my cufflink had gotten caught in her corsage. Her face turned from total infatuation to total confusion in an instant. I leaned over and struggled to fix the problem. I was closer to her than ever before, and I didn’t want to break free. As I fiddled with my silver hook and her lilies, I awkwardly relayed a story about two people kissing and getting their braces stuck together. She made fun of me for believing that they had to go to the hospital, but when I finally dislodged from her, I saw her looking deep into my eyes, mouth agape and breathing heavy.

“Maybe I’ll just stay here for a while,” I said with my arm still around her. She was pushed into me; accepting the fact I would never let her go.

“You’re so cute,” she said, her eyes never breaking from mine. “You’ve always been cute.”

I wanted her again. We had been torn apart for too long. I gently took her chin to guide her eyes back to mine once more.

“I guess that’s why you’ve been crazy about me since the day we met.”

“I was not,” she responded. She couldn’t stop staring and smiling. “You were crazy about me.”

Now I couldn’t stop staring and smiling. “You’re right.”

And that’s when it happened. At that moment, all the feelings that she and I had been trying to bottle up finally came rushing to the surface. We couldn’t hide our passions anymore. I stroked her face and felt her soft lips. Her breath was warm on my fingers. So I leaned in closer and kissed her… Right on the eye.

I pulled away and our eyes locked. Hers broke away for a moment, but returned with a fire. And then she kissed me… On my eye.

I stroked the back of her head. Feeling her velvety, midnight black hair and whispered, “What happened?”

She looked at me wide-eyed and just as nervous as I was before telling me, “I’m not sure.”

And the thing was neither of us knew. Maybe our aim was off. Or maybe it was something else.

Our glances broke again, but she spoke.

“I was just thinking about the first time we ever met.”

“Yeah,” I barely was about to get the word out of my throat. “You were wearing a little yellow raincoat, and that stupid yellow rain hat.”

Her smile grew. Our faces were inches from each other and she said, “You were soaking wet.”

“My brother told me my folks got me a horse,” I revealed to her part of the story she never knew. “When I ran outside, he locked the door.”

“You came to my house to dry off.”

“Yeah. Right,” I said, always whispering as quietly as she was. “So,” I paused to notice the beauty in her deep chocolate eyes, “Do you want to try that again?”

Without missing a beat, she informed me, “I’d like to think about it for a little while.”

Even though I was hurt because I wanted nothing more than to kiss her, I agreed with her and said that’s what I wanted. She nuzzled her head against me, resting it on my shoulder. Maybe she wanted to kiss, and I know I did. We sat there holding each other as I waited passionately. The long cuddle continued. But the thing was that’s all we did. Maybe it was happening too fast. Maybe we wanted to hold on to what we had. Or maybe we both knew there were things we had to find before we found each other.

All we really knew for sure was, as we sat there looking out over the lights of the town where we had grown up together, it all felt right. It all felt… Perfect.

9/11/2001: where I was

Now that it’s been 12 years since the tragic terrorist attacks in Manhattan, Washington, DC and western Pennsylvania I have realized that officially half of my life has been lived in a post-9/11 world. From this moment onward only a fraction of my life will have been lived when Osama bin Laden, terrorist, Threat Level Orange, airport security and so many different words were just that: words.


Celebrating ‘The Office’

Tonight we say goodbye to The Office­. Throughout its nine seasons we’ve all laughed, cried, cringed and at some point near the latter half of the series said it’s not as good as it used to be. Still, since March 24, 2005 the show has captivated us all and produced some of the best comedic moments in the history of television. To celebrate those nine seasons before tonight’s finale I’ve picked nine things I love about the show. These aren’t the best moments or my absolute favorite. They are just the first nine things that popped into my head, and trust me it took a split second to think of nine.

This quote by Michael Scott

Wayne Gretzky Quote

I’ll always remember Michael’s sage advice.

“Did I stutter?!”

I’ve always loved Stanley. He’s most definitely my favorite minor character and I often repeat this classic Stanley line. Michael’s reaction is priceless.

Jim and Pam

Specifically all of their glances toward each other before they officially became a couple. Seriously, I think this relationship makes us all swoon.

Schrute Bucks

I guess this is another Stanley moment. But this entire episode is a gem. Probably a favorite for life.

This cringe worthy kiss

Only on The Office is sexual harassment funny.

“That’s What She Said”

All of them. Seriously. Never gets old.

Dwight vs. Jim

I think I’ve blown up the pranks in my head to be a bigger deal than they actually are. A lot of them are so genius because they’re done in passing and not made too big of a deal. My favorite one is still probably the vending machine one.

Parkour and Planking

Two fads that the show tackled beautifully.

This song that made me cry like a baby

Hopefully tonight’s episode reminds us all why we fell in love with the Scranton crew.

For my father

One of my favorite photographs of all time is one of my Dad and me when I was in third grade. We had just moved to Arizona and somehow Dad had ended up being asked to coach for the baseball league I was in and we, by chance, became the Phillies. It was one of those leagues where they gave teams hats and matching colored t-shirts with sponsors on them. We were sponsored by Ernie’s Refrigeration.

My third grade Phillies were boss. No joke. Dad whipped us into shape. We had a 1-2 pitching punch, the fastest lead off who played center field and a series of players who worked hard and didn’t complain. I was probably the worst player, personality-wise that is, on the field Dad and I would argue about little things. “I don’t want to catch anymore, I want to play shortstop,” “I’m batting sixth?!” and other selfish acts.

But Dad wouldn’t have any of it. He kicked my ass and our team ended up going something like 30-0 including tournaments. We were even in the local Chandler paper. It was probably my favorite summer of all time. I thought I’d hate living in Arizona, but Dad and baseball made me step back (yeah, as an eight year old) and say, “Alright – this ain’t too bad.”

After one of the games, I was still in my red shirt and white pants and Dad was wearing his hat, a blue coaching shirt tucked into jean shorts. He had his arm around me and we held up the number one finger. My hat was a little too big and he cocked he head and had a goofy smile like he always did.

It’s just one of those photos that I could explain every detail of and I probably haven’t seen it in almost two years. Dad always kept it and two Christmases ago I took to enlarge it and put in next to a more recent photo of us. I was a slacker and never ended up doing it and I either lost the photo or it’s in storage right now.

But that photo, if I ever find it again, will always be one of my most cherished possessions. It was only one of the millions of moments Dad and I shared that helped form me into the man I am today. He always did everything he could for me, regardless if he was slightly teasing me from time to time.

In between pushing me in sports and hating the fact that year after year I just wanted to stop and focus on being a dork and write, read and watch indie films we had more of those moments that I can just close my eyes and see so vibrantly.

From game one of the 2001 World Series and very away game I’ve ever played, including ones almost two hours away all the way to Sunday mornings at the cinemas and teaching me how to cook meals I always took for granted.

There are so many of them that may seem trivial to anyone else that listing them will take away from the fact that they were between Dad and me and no one else. I know every child has had these with their fathers and most of us will say our Dad is the greatest. I have a hunch every man my age will say something along the lines that they’re who they are today because of their father. Hell, I said it not 500 words ago. I just hope everyone has that one memory that will always stick in their minds like the one I have.

I can honestly say I wouldn’t have survived this past year without everything Dad has done for me. He’s always put Ashley and me ahead of himself, even though we don’t always believe it. Like always I probably didn’t say everything I wanted to about Alan David Vitcavage, but hopefully he knows how much he means to be.