Guns According to Yannis Pappas: A Survivor’s Tale

I have some really strong opinions about guns and people that should and should not have them.

I am from the South and so I’m used to visiting friends that have gun racks on the wall with pistols stored in various hidey-holes around the house.

It’s not uncommon for my newsfeed to be littered with pictures of people gleefully posing beside dead animal carcasses during hunting season.

BUT, and I thank my lucky stars everyday, I have never been placed on the unlucky side of a loaded weapon. I’ve also never brandished one and I get skittish when someone offers me the chance to hold an un-loaded weapon. I’m convinced I’ll somehow find a way to accidentally shoot myself or someone else.

Paranoid? Maybe. But accidental shootings happen all the time.

Yannis Pappas, the guy in the video below has been shot and not because he was “asking for it”. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s a comedian that I really admire and I had no idea that he’d gone through something so traumatic. How can he find the courage to be funny again after this? I don’t know, but I truly value his opinion and definitely learned from his story. Also, this video is NSFW, FYI.


James Franco and Me vs. HBO’s ‘Girls’

I can’t say I ever thought James Franco would be able to so eloquently take the words right out of my mouth when it came to the Lena Dunham created HBO show “Girls”. I haven’t seen much of his work and have often written him off as a “King of the Hipsters”–not a group I consciously identify with in any way, shape, or form.

However, he totally justifies critics’ (and my) complaints about the complete white washing of a show set in New York City–arguably one of the most diverse cities in our country.

The most reliable of sources, Wikipedia, notes that in the pilot episode “the only black actors in the pilot were a homeless man and a taxi driver, and the only Asian actress had the sole trait of being good with a piece of computer software.”

Jolly good representation of our society, Lena. Screw gender stereotypes, let’s go straight for race!

Before I read this Huffington Post article that Franco wrote, I didn’t stop to think how this show also misrepresents the male version of our species, as well (at least they get to be in the damn show). But there are plenty of other male centric shows, so that’s not what I want to focus on here.

He raises some interesting points about the race card, my favorite being the following quote:

“I guess all I have to say about the topic is that, because TV is such a popular medium, HBO has a responsibility to represent its subjects accurately, especially when the network is selling a show as a representation of young New York. There’s no obligation to be kaleidoscopic, but there is a difference between writing a short story or essay about a bunch of white people that only a handful of people will read and creating another show about white people that millions of people will watch, especially when you’ve chosen to set that show in one of the most culturally mixed cities in the world.”

Why not just call the show “White Girls” and be honest with people?

This will always be the reason I will choose not to watch this show–

–that, and I think one of the writers, Lesley Arfin, is a racist hiding behind the shield of “comedic license”.

-–that, and the focus of every episode is the over-sexualized life of my overprivileged, whiny, Caucasian contemporaries…hard to stomach when one has actual problems attempting to pursue a creative lifestyle and career while making ends meet in a big city like Los Angeles.

I am here. I am doing this, too. I have white friends!

This probably also explains my irrational distaste for Lena Dunham–someone who I should deeply admire for the leaps and bounds she’s made in the industry at such a young age (I think she’s 26).

So, Lena, when you feel like opening up your isolated white fantasy to the more colorful actors of our profession, call me. I’ll choke back my pride and help you gain redemption.

Not because of the paycheck; rather, because I’m fairly magnanimous.

And also for the paycheck, to be honest.

But, seriously, I wouldn’t do it even then.

Franco agrees.


1st World Problems

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I’m riding on a social media commentary kick right now and I thought I’d cover another topic that’s been on my mind for the last couple of months.

I think the “en vogue” trolling technique of some users of social media is to take the complaints of friends/people they follow and classify them strictly as “1st World Problems”.

For example:

Friend 1’s status: “UGH, my car won’t start and the mechanic can’t see me until 1pm!”

Friend 2 commenting: “1st world problem”

Tweeter 1: “Just spilled my entire plate of scrambled eggs on the floor and don’t have time to make more.”

Tweeter 2: “Dude. 1st world problem”

I’ve only personally experienced it once, under which circumstances, I don’t recall. But I’m seeing it more and more these days, especially on Facebook. I could be totally wrong here, and I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments.

Half the time, people write it without even thinking. The other half…well:

I believe these people aren’t commenting in order to “ground” their aristocratic friends. You’re definitely romanticizing the situation if you presume that those commenting are just trying to put their off-the-charts-jaded acquaintance’s problems into perspective. Sure, there are people in developing nations (formerly “3rd world” countries) that have worse problems to deal with than anyone who has the opportunity and the means to be on social networking.

However, I think the person who points out that there are bigger disastrous fish to fry elsewhere are just doing it to shame their friends and exert their own perceived superiority. Commonly, these comments stem from people who have, at one time, visited a poorer nation and now feel it their duty to let everyone know they’ve witnessed true struggle. It’s important to note that these same people no longer live amongst the poor and have no desire to, either. But they did for one week last July and now they count themselves as having lived it, people. Yet, you don’t see them doing much to help besides trolling online.

This person feels so superior in their own view of the way the world turns that they are freshly ordained to let others know that their issues, no matter what they be, are both shallow and insignificant compared to people in, say, South America who are constantly outrunning the oozing lava of their local volcano. Or people in deepest Africa that wake up the next morning to see that one of their close family member has been ingested by a wild beast.

Yes, yes, I’m a butthole for even writing this blog post

To which I always respond: “I’m sorry I live in a 1st world nation and, as a consequence, don’t experience the same issues that less fortunate citizens of other countries may have.”

We all know as Americans that we generally have it easy–I don’t need your smug visage to pop up on my newsfeed and remind me that my basic food, clothing, and shelter needs are being met. I appreciate all that I have, as do most people.

But sometimes when you’re really irked by something, you just gotta let it out. Of course, restrain yourself from turning in to a “Rager” like I mentioned here. But go ahead and let people know that you burned your lap when you accidentally spilled hot tea from your grandmother’s vintage china cups.

Because even though our issues are nowhere near life-threatening, they’re still troubles, nonetheless, and it’s nice to have people empathize.

And I’ll thank you others to go with the flow and, instead of sitting astride your High Horse, respond with: “Yeah, I hate it when that happens” or “I totally feel your pain” or “That sucks”.

I’ll make sure to post again should an inexplicable 3rd world problem plague me–gotta keep that balance.

1st World Children don’t know how easy they’ve got it.

She Put that on Facebook?– a Look at Internet “Etiquette”

The other day, I was introduced to the term “social media etiquette” when Facebook founder Mark Z’s sister, Randi Zuckerburg, complained about having her privacy violated by someone on the site.

Does internet etiquette really exist?

It’s undeniable that we’ve entered into an era of over share. The advent of social media has guaranteed that one can divulge previously taboo content, controversial topics, and completely mundane and unimportant life happenings in 20 different ways: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr––the sky’s the limit.

Feeling fired up about your political party or any other topic that you wouldn’t otherwise discuss in person among friends in order to maintain those friendships?


Dancing in your underwear because you’re home alone?


Your kid make their first poop in the potty?

POST IT. And make sure to include a picture.

(And yes. These are all things that I have had pop up on various newsfeeds.)

I wonder if people stop and think about how their content changes people’s perception of them. I know I certainly do. I’ve noticed there are several different personalities that one can come across on the interwebs. Here are a few:

  • The Rager: in person, this friend may be quiet, meek, or mild. On the internet, they’re a great big ball of rage and complaints. You can’t help but wonder what the heck is truly bothering them that they have to bring down everyone reading their status. “My boss spilled his potato soup in the microwave AGAIN. Ugh, I want to quit my job and punch all of these people in the face!”

  • The Grammar-Phobe: I’m not talking about the occasional “no” for “know” or missed punctuation. You wonder how this friend passed elementary school with statuses riddled with comma splices and spelling mistakes that not even 2nd grade students have the gall to make. Not even the Rosetta Stone can help you decipher the code they’re writing in (because it’s certainly not English). “Wher do yo thnik we are gunna go shoping today..who nos”. Why has autocorrect failed them so horribly?

  • The Braggart: oftentimes nauseating with the amount of optimism and “glass half full” attitude, it seems like these people have the answers to everything and never experience the normal lows of life. “It’s 200 degrees outside but my popsicle isn’t melting!” “I tripped walking down the street and realized I had just fallen on top of a briefcase full of cash!” Are they really being honest with their friends, here?

Full disclosure when it comes to the braggart: I’m guilty as charged. Very rarely will I post something negative or talk about that awful-thing-that-changed-my-life on social media. The reasons are two-fold:

  1. There’s an unimaginable amount of schadenfreude out there. People love a train wreck and can’t seem to look away when someone is self-destructing. Someone’s relationship status changes on Facebook? Here comes the slew of people prying into their dating life. Complaining openly about your job? People will start a count-down until you get canned for that bad attitude.
  2. People are already bogged down in their own problems. Who am I to chuck my woes on top of their pile? I hate walking away from Twitter or Facebook feeling heavier than when I came because there is so much anger and sadness ticking across my pages.

Ultimately, my feelings on the existence of “social media etiquette” is that it doesn’t. There is no governing body of the internet that says what’s proper for operating on social media–at least not one that truly enforces it. In the end, though, I think it’s the individual user’s prerogative. We all have to use our own moral compass to decide what we’ll include in our own definitions of “internet etiquette”.

So go ahead and post those filtered pictures of your vegan, gluten-free, quinoa and basil soup.

Just don’t try to get me to eat it.

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Soundtrack of the Day 1.14.13

I had a job interview today, for a second job.

In addition to my full-time M-F job.

Living the dream, right? That’s life in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities in the US.

Can’t wait till I make my first billion.

I’m totally going to hire someone to cut up my dinner into symmetrical pieces and to run my bath water…and other wasteful ways to spend the wheelbarrows of money I’ll have.

Because I won’t put it in banks–just wheelbarrows.