Category Archives: Short Notes

(SHORT NOTES) Last-Minute Strategies for Highly Effective New Year’s Resolutions

It’s time to turn over a new leaf.

This is something people say or Tweet right before they make a grandiose New Year’s resolution that they definitely, maybe won’t keep. I’m going to exercise every day for 30 minutes. Just stop it. Those high-flown New Year’s resolution things, and the mental burden induced by all the resolutions you haven’t kept over the years.

Here’s the thing about them. The changes resolutions require you to make involve a whole lot of commitment, and without instant results, most people are deterred from following through. “New Year’s resolutions are based on the fallacy that if only you can find sufficient motivation, you can achieve everything,” writes Oliver Burkeman in Newsweek. But motivation isn’t easy to maintain.

Pessimism is an ugly color on anyone. Let’s turn this sad, sinking ship around, yeah?

  1. Target the source. Resolutions usually stem from the feeling that something about you and/or the world is off kilter—unemployment, health care, self-image issues, Justin Bieber’s wardrobe! In any case, it’s easy to worry when there’s always somebody there to tell you that harm is near. (I was reading  “The Week” today and learned that sleeping in on the weekends can make you fat, breathing city air is bad for you, and breathing inside air is bad for you because exposure to carbon dioxide can make you dumber. Summary: We should all just hold our breath. Always.) So, put on your Perspective Helmet and zero in on the positives of the year. In 2012, for one, we’ve become increasingly gay-friendly! And drug-friendly, too! Breathe easy, you weed-smoking homosexuals.
  2. Step small. Don’t say you’re going to run 30 minutes every day. Instead, try running for five minutes and work your way up from there. Read the news for five minutes every morning. Go through your belongings and donate the excess to a local Goodwill shop. Trying being good people, ya dig?

K sorry for the preaching. Gotta get back to memorizing all the lyrics to the latest Bieber album. For now, I think I’ll just start with “Beauty and a Beat.”

It’s all about the baby steps, Baby.

Biebs 4 lyfe,



(SHORT NOTES) In Defense Of “Love Actually”

The Thanksgiving dishes have been put away, Christmas lights are out, and Grandma’s bulk order of vitamins has commenced.

It’s December, which only means one thing: It’s “Love Actually” time, and the excitement is palpable.

Let’s get something straight: “Love Actually” is a great movie and is more than just a guilty pleasure. (I hate when people say something is a guilty pleasure. There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. Just pleasures, you know? As Ira Glass says, “Pedophilia is a pleasure a person should have guilt about. Not chocolate.”)

In my world, straight dudes many people shrug it off as chick porn a trivial holiday flick, but it’s really a solid storytelling gem. Look closely at each storyline and I think you’ll be surprised by the emotional complexity that separates them from their Hollywood rom com counterparts—an aging rock and roll legend finds a friend in his longtime manager, an English writer falls in love with his Portuguese housekeeper in spite of a crippling language barrier, a sister struggles to maintain stability as she cares for her mentally ill brother. And then there’s Karen and Harry:

Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. Together. Ohhh, let the pleasure of the talking pictures sink in.

Please don’t make a “Love Actually 2” and compromise the sanctity of the original,


(SHORT NOTES) The House Hunting Diaries: Part 2

Random notes from Days 2-9 of our apartment search:

  • Started off looking at Art Lady’s apartment in the Haight. She doesn’t allow guests and says that said Adam is too tall. Despair.
  • Next guy was named Plant Dude. [Name changed to protect his privacy.] He works at Apple and is super cool! He’s not going to pick us.
  • Saw a 3 bedroom penthouse off Piedmont Ave. It’s owned by Russian Jews—a beautiful old couple, Elena and Jeff. Adam flirted with Jeff, which ultimately allowed us to leave a security deposit with them. Then they called later and said they’re holding out for someone else. Fudge. Emotional roller coaster.
  • Called to schedule another appointment. Woman said her back hurt very, very bad. I don’t believe her.
  • Made it to the next rounds for Plant Dude’s place! Maybe he DOES like us! This is SO Hunger Games. Gotta go fill out a 10-question survey. Is he really going to pick us over a ballerina? We’re screwed.
  • Weird day. Key words: weed, spiritual, unemployed.
  • Craigslist Creep of the Day: “i have a unique schedule, i’ll work 9-11 days a month, 24 hour shifts, meaning if i’m working, the whole place is yours and you can even have orgys. I am Asian, so you will have to be comfortable with Asian foods, and things like fish sauce” -Jimmy
  • Plant Dude didn’t pick us.
  • Fine. Whatever. Plant Dude’s real name starts with a “P” and ends with a “aul.”
  • My new home shall be a patch of grass in Alamo Square.
  • “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Who said that? G-d? No. Miley Cyrus. Definitely Miley Cyrus.
  • I blame Paul for everything.

(SHORT NOTES) The House Hunting Diaries: Part 1

April 5, 2012

Dear Impossibly Cute Couples Who Stole Several Apartments From Us This Week,

I felt compelled to write this letter to you all because, well, my gut told me so. (And Oprah says it’s always good to listen to your gut.) I’ve seen your type at all the open houses my brother and I have gone to during our apartment hunt in San Francisco. (Which, while we’re talking about it, is so Hunger Games, right?! Such a little Katniss/Peeta fight to the death kind of thang!) But anyways. I see you.

Yes, you.

Fighting outside like a typical married couple until those doors open and the realtor says “Come on in!” with an enthusiasm obviously lined with contempt. Your eyes widen, your shoulders straighten, your voices turn a tad higher, and your hands instantaneously become clasped lovingly together like you’d just die if you didn’t leave a crack of fresh air between your two now-conjoined bodies.

I just…It’s just like…I guess what I’m trying to say is…flirting is so not a good color on you. Even you, Pregnant Wife and Slightly Attractive Husband. (Yes, I heard you asking the landlord if he works out to in turn imply that you’d noticed his slightly bulging arms. Congrats on bringing your unborn child into a world of shame!)

So. I don’t know. I guess I should, like, stop before I go all Hulk and stuff on you. Because…see…I’m a NICE person! Really. But you’ve made me this way, and I’m upset about it. So I guess I should just end it there.

Oh wait. One more thing. Jeggings? It’s so not early 2009 anymore. And this apartment? Totally unsuitable for children. There’s a fireplace! And a balcony! I bet your holiday card is going to be, like, totally cute or whatever.

Never Yours,                                                                                                             Jonathan

P.S. Please invite me to your holiday party. I want to see what you’re going to do with that disgustingly small back room that’s advertised as a “cute, quaint sleep space.”

(SHORT NOTES) The Digital Age: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a 21st century morning, three women took their seats side-by-side on a crowded train.

The first woman texted something on her black Samsung flip phone, then closed it with a lusty snap. The other women looked over, jolted, and she sent an ostensibly apologetic nod back.

The second woman then pulled out her Apple iPhone 4S (White). Now all eying one another, the second woman slid her finger with a calculated velocity across the screen, sending a very angry multicolored bird hurtling toward a wall of very hungry green pigs. She tilted the screen slightly left, then slowly right with a quick nod of the head, telling her neighbors that said bird had crashed into said pigs as planned.

Next, the third woman pulled out her Amazon Kindle. The first two women smiled politely at her as she lightly stroked her case cover; it was dressed in “Kindle” stickers, which she’d thought about buying from while laughing maniacally over the NOOK® collection at her nearest Barnes & Noble. (She later tweeted: “See-it-here, buy-it-there, Suckaaaas.”) As she revealed the slick, spotless screen below the cover, the other women released faint gasps. The corners of their mouths slowly lowered, dejected albeit faintly roused.

As the third woman ejaculated silent shouts of victory, the train stopped. A fourth woman claimed the empty seat next to them. The women watched as she reached quietly into her Dooney & Bourke leather satchel and, in one swift motion, crossed her legs and produced an Apple iPad 2 (Black; 64GB) on her lap, as if by fate or magic or both.

The fourth woman sneezed, and legend maintains that if you were very, very quiet, a faint “Mine’s bigger than yours” could be heard.

And they all later relayed their respective accounts of the morning’s commute through passive-aggressive Tweets, except for the woman who didn’t have a smartphone. She just told her life partners (Petal, 41; Steven, 28) that she was really, really PO’d.

NOOK® by Barnes & Noble, Inc. All rights reserved. Used without permission, but who cares, right?!


(SHORT NOTES) A Little 9/11 Animation

Around this time of year, the Internet and TV shows and people turn up the volume on an ongoing 9/11 discussion that permeates our nation’s consciousness. I’ve been debating whether I was going to write about it, but I’ve ultimately decided to keep it short and to share something that’s inspired me over the past year.

It’s called StoryCorps.

As their website explains, they’re an “independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.” My interest lies mainly in their animated shorts, which are directed by the brilliant Rauch brothers.

Through these shorts, they do what I hope to do in my future through the mediums of animation and writing. In just a few short minutes, each video teaches you about what it means to be human. And that’s some powerful stuff. I had the privilege of seeing them speak in New York, and I’ve been hooked on their work ever since.

So, whether you talk about 9/11 with your friends and family or keep thoughts, if any, to yourself, watch this video called “John and Joe.” It’s important that you do.


(SHORT NOTES) New York, I Love You?

On June 3 I wrote a post professing my love for New York City. Then, on August 12, I wrote a post breaking up with New York City. And today I’m writing a post to officially declare that the aforementioned New York City is mindf-ing the living kittens outta me. (Sorry for the strong language, Grandma.)

En route to the city last week I tweeted the following: NYC bound. Expecting to flip-flop once again while writing a blog post about how I’ve re-fallen in love with the city. I did so because I know myself well enough to know that the adage The grass is always greener plays on a continuous loop in my brain place. When I’m in Manhattan, I crave space and quiet. When I’m in a place like, say, Chicago, I crave New York City’s hustle and bustle. That said, this tweet makes sense within the mental frame I’ve built for myself over the last couple years.

But walking around felt different this time around. I think it’s because I was released from Manhattan’s self-inflicted misery when I learned to enjoy Chicago and California this summer. It’s also because I went to a Beyoncé concert (Beyoncé post coming soon.) and Molly’s Cupcakes (Cupcake post coming soon.).

And so, as I sadly leave the city once again, my last week here has got me thinking about the bigger picture: Happiness isn’t a place. Happiness is something from within that you have to carry with you wherever you go. So as I struggle to decide whether I’d like to live in New York City or Chicago or Los Angeles upon graduation this year, my fears are somewhat assuaged by this realization. I’ll be just fine (almost) wherever I go because I can always pick my shit up and move once again.

But for now, London here I come. Prepare yourselves, dear Brits, for my offensively obnoxious British accent.

Until next time…Cheerio!

(Homework: Type the word “cheerio” into the Google search bar and click the little speaker to hear Google Man recite it aloud. Why does he sound so utterly surprised? LOL.)