Sub Life

That moment when you’re subbing a high school theater class in a repurposed church trying to coerce the outsider student to join in the class activities when suddenly you hear a noise behind you and turn around just in time to see the kid in crutches with a leg brace slip and fall and break his arm requiring you to wait patiently for a half dozen paramedics to arrive while you calmly continue “subbing” or whatever while the rest of the class is rubbernecking and naturally can’t concentrate until the kid is finally rolled out on a stretcher after twenty minutes so now that class proceeds as normal you then approach that outsider student again who promptly hands you a poem she’s been memorizing and asks you to check for mistakes as she delivers a very powerful performance explaining how “Anglos” (what I look like) negatively judge “Latinas” (what she looks like) as the rest of the distracted class poorly sings “Arabian Nights” in the background … is a moment that just happened to me. 

Apple Store

Whenever I go to an Apple Store for some unfortunate reason I always feel the uncontrollable urge to tell the person assisting me that I, too, once worked at an Apple Store and whenever I aggressively and inorganically work it into the conversation they always pretend to give a shit when they so don’t care and I don’t blame them as I really have nothing to say about it anyway thus the conversation always dies as soon as I bring it up and it’s always awkward yet I still always do it always.

Why Some People Are Not Photogenic

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This is purely speculation, but also common sense, really, to me.

I used to tell people, “I take a thousand photos, so hopefully one of them turns out alright.” With years of practice I’ve narrowed it down to maybe 10 or so at a time, and yes 1,000 was hyperbole.

There are some people that always look like themselves in photographs. It seems they simply cannot take a bad photo! If you hate those people, keep reading.

For many people, when they know a photo is coming they get abnormally self aware to the point that they end up making a face that they’d otherwise never make in their lives. When a camera isn’t around, we’re more or less living in the moment, not concerned with our facial expression. But suddenly, there it is! Camera in 1…2… panic! umm.. half smile, don’t squint your eyes, hands behind your back—AHHHH and I blinked. Result: awful photo. Moment ruined. Experience forgotten.

This is why many people can’t act. Sure you can behave truthfully under imaginary circumstances, but put a camera a foot away from your face and all of a sudden you forget how to be human and start thinking about your facial expression instead of viscerally experiencing the moment. You try and indicate what you’re feeling by changing your face accordingly to how you think it should look, and when you try and do that you look totally fake. Why? Because you’re faking it! Facial expressions happen naturally, without thinking about it, which is near impossible for some people to remember when there’s a camera about to snap.

As a former introvert and chronic head case, I’d get anxiety before taking a photo, just knowing it’s going to come out terribly because they always do! I’d always look unnatural because I was making a face, not living in the moment, but I could never understand why they came out so ugly when I’ve been told my whole life I’m “so handsome.” So I stooped to doing extreme smiles and goofy expressions that would mask my self-consciousness. “Yeah it’s a bad photo, but look at how much I don’t care by this moronic expression I chose!” Over the years I’ve gotten over it. And I think I know how you can to..

When posing for a photo, don’t think about how your face looks, think about how you’re feeling.

Think about an interesting emotion (excited, paranoid, skeptical) and FEEL that instead of trying to SHOW it. Maybe even think about particular events or people in your life when the camera gets ready that’ll result in the right expression, have a couple of those you can go to in a moment’s notice and forget the camera is there (despite looking right at it)—Bring out the actor in you just for a snapshot moment (of 15 as we are all so snap happy) and I guarantee your photos will take a turn for the mediocre, as opposed to the god awful. Happy Instagramming!

TL;DR— It’s more about how you feel, not how you look.

TL;DR— It’s all mental. Get out of your head, just for the moment!. If impossible, meditation can help with that.

TL;DR—Tips:

Imagine a word of phrase that you’re about to say at the camera and just hold it for a moment.

Look at the camera and imagine you’re looking at insert someone you love.

Fantasize about being on vacation, or living your dream job, or driving your dream car, then hold that feeling.

Judge the camera—you like it, but you think it’s up to something.

You don’t always have to smile.

If you know yourself well enough, show your personality by feeling who you are. (wow that’s deep—yeah! If I had a dime..) hey! you’re still reading. that’s very sweet of you.

Hell…

There’s a special place in hell for those who order every last remaining everything bagel from Noah’s by phone, whereas here I am in person, looking at them all, unable to grasp, settling for another. This place in hell I speak of is full of only the plainest bagels to be found; unfortunately Jews don’t believe in hell, and as an Agnostic Jew I don’t believe in anything.Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.35.10 PM.png

Larger-than-average-size fish in pretty-average -size pond

Eating breakfast at a local restaurant in my hometown of Vallejo yesterday. Someone walks past the table and says, “Matt?” I look up. “Matt Larson?” Yeah…? “You do the comedy shows! I’ve been to a few of them. Thanks so much for bringing good shows to town. I’ve also been reading your restaurant reviews every Thursday.” Hey! Yeah! Thanks! Working on one right now! Hahha. We laugh, life goes on—THEN, after the moment passed, he comes back later with two mimosas, one for me and mum, and says “I finally saw your COIT commercial too!” Wow! Thanks! And I didn’t even recognize the guy. It was the most famous I’ve ever felt. And now? Now I’m back in LA…unknown….and all alone……

Leg Shake Movie Man

I was at the movies last night. Guy next to me was bouncing his leg, as people do, and was shaking my chair without realizing it. I was terrified to tell him to stop. It’s a confrontation—with a stranger! Silly to be nervous, but I was. Like, what’s he gonna do? Say “FUCK YOU” and start shaking harder without breaking eye contact? No. Still, my heart was racing. I started to try and convince myself that I liked it. “It’s kinda nice.” I thought as I sat with my chair shaking ever so gently. “Yeah, like a free massage.” I soon decided I hated it and wanted him to stop. To procrastinate the confrontation, I started bouncing my own leg obviously in his general direction to try and hint at him that the seats are connected and Newton’s laws of motion are still a thing. Then, suddenly, someone on the other side said TO ME: “Hey asshole quit shaking your leg!” Just kidding. Thank god. I’d have peed. Anyway, my leg shaking went unnoticed. I had to say something. ::deep breath. pause:: “Excuse me?” I delicately whispered, waving my hand vaguely in front of him. He didn’t respond. (DAMN). Here we go again. Louder whisper, “Excuse me?” and I tap his arm (woo! confidence! alpha male status achieved!!!) He looks over. “Could you stop your leg?” I said, gesturing toward my own. He does, looking apologetic. I felt immense relief, and was kind of embarrassed by how fast my heart was racing. Geez. Anyway, I settled, watched the movie, and that was the end of it. And this is the end of this.

Fortunate Unfortunate

Left my card at a bar last night. Fortunately I realized it just before I got home and had enough time to get back before they closed. Unfortunately I live in Sherman Oaks and the bar is in Long Beach which is a 45 minute drive no traffic. Fortunately I was driving a rental so I didn’t have to worry about putting all that extra mileage on the car. (Unfortunately a tree branch fell on my month-old car last week so it’s in the shop for days. Fortunately AAA is awesome insurance and took care of me with a rental car. Unfortunately after getting denied a Mustang convertible for an extra $17 a day I had to settle for a Toyota Corolla with Texas plates. Fortunately it has a built-in Hertz navigation system so I was able to get directions back to the bar as my phone was near death. Unfortunately I was really tired AND it was raining AND it was 1AM. Fortunately I got to the bar before they closed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a parking spot. Fortunately I found one. Unfortunately, upon arrival, the bouncer wouldn’t let me in despite my plea and had to radio for assistance as I stood awkwardly in the rain. Fortunately I got in and was able to close out my tab at 1:45AM. Unfortunately I decided to tip the bartender $4.00 on a $6.00 tab because I wasn’t thinking clearly. Fortunately I got back to my car with enough phone battery to find a 24-hour donut shop. Unfortunately I bought 4 donuts for the ride back. Fortunately I only ate 2 and 1/5th of them. Unfortunately I tipped the donut lady $3 because I was so grateful they were open and I have no idea how they profit on these ridiculously cheap donuts. Fortunately the rental navigation system was able to direct me home as my phone had now died. Unfortunately I had donuts for dinner. Fortunately I made it home alive, all due to my offering to keep my tab open at the bar despite having never intended on ordering another drink just because the bartender seemed really busy at the time. Unfortunately karma probably isn’t real so all this was for nothing. Fortunately I have lovely people in my life that read these ridiculous ramblings and help give me purpose to live. Unfortunately I never found a good place to end the parenthetical so please forgive me for that…..)

Why Kids Are The Best People

Preschool. And me. Together. For the first time in… 26 years?

Age range was between 4 and 5. I thought I could handle it. I thought right. However some of the things the regular teachers had to do were definitely out of my comfort zone (i.e. underwear full of shit and … just that, really).

Fortunately I was one of three teachers in the room and really just supervised throughout the day.

As soon as I sat down when the day began a little girl walked over to me with a smile only bigger than her outstretched arms and exclaimed in the most trusting and gleeful manner possible: “Can I have a hug?” as she was walking toward me. It was hardly a question. It was GOING to happen, according to her. My first impulse: Don’t touch the children! My second impulse: Don’t make them feel unaccepted!! We hugged. Then I got arrested. Noticing her hug a young boy followed her lead and approached me the same way. I hugged him as well then got arrested a second time.

Kids are nice. I realized that kids at this age are probably the nicest version of people that we as a species have to present. Thus far, generally, people have been nice to them their entire life. Wherever they go they’re often met with smiles and positivity from strangers, and usually only exposed to happy things on TV. But they see people as a collectively nice group of animals (which is not at all true, thought I like to think most of us are and it’s just the meanies that get all the news media attention making us nicies think we’re outnumbered when we’re not, how mean of them!!). But to kids? We’re all pretty nice. Think about making eye contact with a random child out in the world. In many cases you’ll smile or make a funny face if you have a soul that is. Now think about making eye contact with a random stranger out in the world. Usually we look away immediately, pretend it didn’t happen or sometimes give a slight head not to communicate “I’m not afraid of you please don’t kill me”… my mother always told me “Just smile.” Yeah, easy for her to say. I, unfortunately, am not a lovely lady. A smile from me to a criminal-type would definitely be perceived as a threat of some kind.

These kids have yet to be exposed to how rude and mean people can be to each other; they have no concept of race and are completely free from prejudice. Makes me wonder when that all officially changes.. history class? The People’s History version that is.. a book which I’ve yet to get through the first two chapters of as 1. it’s so awful what “morals” this country is founded upon and 2. reading is hard. I need to make time for it. I have plenty of time to read, never do. My bookshelf embarrasses me every time I look at it. fuck my bookshelf. I hate it. For now. Until I read everything on it which at this rate will be in 600 years. C’moooon science. Keep me alive ’til then.

Some of the kids were mean to each other without realizing it. Saying someone couldn’t play with them because, “He never listens to the rules!” or “I’m Elsa and she’s the other one and there’s no more princesses she can be!” which are legitimate reasons to exclude, but to which I responded “If you’re playing a game where not everyone in your group can participate then you need to find a way to include everyone or pick a different game”—a moment that certainly changed all their lives for the better. A life lesson they’ll never forget. Yes I’m sure of it.

I get why people teach. Especially at this age. So much love that goes around. I found myself wanting for the kids acceptance. When I didn’t get it, like, when I come back into the room after taking my lunch and they all don’t go “YAAAY!!” yeah, it hurt a little. Reminded me of when I was actually in preschool……..at time at which I have no memories because I obviously blocked them out. Wait. One memory. Naps. Ahhh naptime.. I was wishing for that today. Jobs should have naps. 30 minute napbreak after 60 minute lunch. ThAt’s how life should be.. I mean, we’re all still children, really. Just look at Congress.

Strangest quote of the day: While swinging (on the swing (at recess)) a kid said to the next kid waiting, “Do you want me to peel my skin off???” He said it about a dozen times. Finally some other kid responded, “If you really want to..” while looking down, playing in the sand. That was weird. and graphic.

Also I went to get lunch and saw this storefront, as pictured below. Yeah free country and all, but the school’s been there for 36 years. This place seemed rather newish. Not sure how I feel about this being in walking distance of a preschool.. Actually I’m quite sure—I’m against it. Am I gonna do anything about it? Nope. Is anyone? Def not. Are the kids going to be traumatized by it? Pfshh no… Have they seen worse things on YouTube? Probably definitely. Will they get a little taste of culture by looking at this storefront and grow up with a greater sense of acceptance for things they don’t understand? I’d like to think so. Should this store be located in walking distance of a preschool? I’m not against it…

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Too Many Things

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There’s too much entertainment. Too much! I can’t keep up.. Too many TV shows especially. Movies I haven’t seen I can deal with, but catching up with 7 seasons of Lost and 5 seasons of Mad Men and 3 seasons of Game of Thrones … that’s like a year’s worth of free time right there. I went on a date with a girl once and all she had to talk about were the shows she watched. She literally went home from work and binged on Netflix until she passed out to wake the next day and repeat, unless it’s the weekend in which case more Arrested Development—a series she’d seen all the way through at least three times. All I can remember from that date—YES a Tinder date and stop judging! It’s the new norm. Get with it.—all I remember is her obsession with TV and her oddly pale skin, like she hadn’t seen the sun in 30 pilot seasons or something..

Now….I know there’s some of you out there that can relate to this girl. I’m not judging, BUT… it’s just… so much time! In retrospect I do waste a LOT of time that could be better spent watching something that I can later converse with other human beings about, but my scattered constant procrastination habits allow me to do nonproductive things while still feeling like I’m about to be productive even though I’ve just spent all day playing pool with foreigners via iPhone. I guess you win this round binge watchers.

It’s just too much of a commitment. I know it’d be good for me to watch some of these shows; I’ve had people start conversations with me by saying things like, “Have you seen Downtown Abbey?” and I’ll be like “I think it’s Downton, not town,” and they’ll be like, “Yeah! Downton Abbey, you’ve seen it?” “Nope…” “Oh…” Then silence because the conversation is now over.

….

Someone needs to create a sort of “Cliff Notes for TV Shows” thang where they compile all the main points of a series into a lengthy one-stop movie, or give an episode guide where if you “watch these 12 episodes you’ll at least be able to hold your own in conversation.” I have no intention of making this happen so please, steal the idea and do it for me and others of my kind.

Until then, I’ve seen all of Breaking Bad and Firefly and Lucky Louie. That’s about it. And I’m all caught up with Louie, Shameless, House of Cards and Homeland. So please talk about those shows with me so I can feel more like an insider.