jas_dustin1

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We discuss the important aspects of the craft, like Wifi and hotels.

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Let’s talk Tinder. Let’s talk awful dating habits in general.

I have a mostly hate/love to hate relationship with the hookup app that has taken millennials by storm. I hate that it has become so ingrained into our culture so quickly. I hate that I can’t go to a stand-up night without seeing at least one comic discuss Tinder. I hate that  jokes about Tinder became prevalent overnight and that any and all things I have to say about Tinder are now cheapened by the fact that every comic has something to say about Tinder. I admit that in that regard, my feelings about Tinder stem from my own selfishness; want to the the authoritative voice on why Tinder will destroy the human race long before the sun expands to the point of incinerating the earth. That said, I love talking about how Tinder is destroying the planet, so there we go.

I downloaded the app during a cell phone promotion. Half of the campaign was us standing on corners, begging those who passed by to let us tell them at least one cool thing about the devices we waved in their face. Eventually, we opted to stop bothering the public and pass the hours by downloading apps and playing games.

“Oh snap,” someone called out, “you can download Tinder on these!”

By lunch, we had collectively swiped through approximately one billion* people. Tinder felt more like a game than an actual hookup/relationship facilitator. It’s hard to take a dating program seriously when all the potential partners look more like extras from The Wolf of Wall Street B-roll than actual people. I deleted the account before I left that day.

Tinder is awful for a person like me. I’m not a user, mind you. I’m just the sort of person who would find out that you were on Tinder and would think something like, “You’re on Tinder? Ew, get away from me before I catch it!”

It  wasn’t always like this. The very first time I ever heard about Tinder happened when an acquaintance of mine, who had been single for years, actually found a legitimate partner through the app.
“I’m so embarrassed when I tell people how we met,” she had said, “But we’ve been together for three months and he treats me like a queen. I’m in love.”
That was a year ago and the photographs of their warm embraces still pop up on Instagram, so I assume that the tinder fueled a strong, steady flame. Feel free to use that; I doubt I’ll ever find a story of tinder-grown true love between two normal, sane adults again.

A few months ago, I joined a closed  group on Facebook for women. Most of the members reside in LA, so I figured it would be a great way to try and make some friends and acclimate a little bit more to LA culture and women in general (because I have problems with that.) There are approximately 4,000 members between Los Angeles and New York City. Some days I see some really interesting posts or discussions. Quite often, however, it’s a lot of women who are bringing up no-brainer personal problems – and Tinder. Lots of Tinder. Well, let me rephrase that: lots of dick picks and lots of Tinder.

These are the types of guys I read about on Tinder.

Case 1:

“I had a booty call over the other night. He’s doing me from behind. Except then he stops for a second and when he starts back up again, I know that he took the condom off. WTF?”

My internal response: WTF indeed. She goes on to say that she sent him home. That’s great, sister! You sent him home. But still, this question plagues my brain: how in the world does a scumbag like that weasel his way into your apartment in the first place? Social cues are real. They are real things. The “uh oh” feeling is a real thing. What the actual fuck is happening to women in the upbringing process that renders them incapable of detecting cues that let them know that someone is bad news? By the time you’re 25+, you should have had enough experiences to be able to identify a creep 9 out of 10 times. If someone sends you inappropriate messages after you meet them in a bar, DON’T BRING THEM INTO YOUR LIVING SPACE. If  you have not expressed interest in receiving a dick pic, yet someone still sends you a picture of their penis, DO NOT BRING THEM INTO YOUR LIVING SPACE.

Also, wait. People use the phrase Booty Call? I can’t bring myself to do it. I stick with long versions:
“The person that I sometimes do it with,” or, “This is the person that I make stand four feet away from me when I’m not having sex with them.”

Case 2:

“I’ve been single for less than 48 hrs. For future reference… Is tinder a hook up app. I’m so confused by the awkward msgs from guys about my boobs.”

My internal thoughts: Yes. Tinder is a hook-up app. Also, confusion is not what you should be feeling when total strangers ask you about your boobs. You should be angry.

Case 3:

Tinder Guy: You slut.
Girl: ?
Tinder Guy: In a good way.
Girl: Thank you?
Tinder Guy: No for real though are you
Girl: I don’t know what to say. I’m going to say no.
Tinder Guy: So you don’t like to have sex.
Girl: I don’t see what me liking sex has to do with me being a slut?

My internal thoughts: Burn him alive. Also, you should have given him a what-for the second the slut word popped up. Or sent him a photograph of a severed penis. You can find them easily on Google Image search.

On top of Whitney Wolfe’s lawsuit and the general assumption that start-up culture reeks of bro-tastic women haters who took a break from finance to learn coding and infiltrate the fastest growing industry industry in the world, you have the chunk of population that keeps these kids in business. I don’t understand why women continue to tolerate this kind of behavior. We don’t have to. We just don’t.

We CAN help stop it.

Some of the girls in the group are beginning to realize this. Posts like these give me a little bit of hope:

“I have deleted my tinder. and my OKC.
CAN I GET AN AMEN!?!
…those boys tho…. NOT REAL LIFE.”

Nope. Not real life at all.

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LOL help me be on CSI

Indi.com produces these “Acting Challenges” that I like to participate in every so often. I do this because of three reasons:

1. I like Law & Order and almost all of their challenges come from someone who has written for the show at some point.
2. The people who run Indi.com are really cool.
3. People who win actually get sit-down meetings with real life casting directors.

I’m not asking you guys for votes because I’m not hurting for rent money like I was the first time I did this. I just want to share the video with you because I really want you guys to see a side of me that I don’t let others see too often. I call her, “Chilled out Joe Pesci.”

 

jas indi

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The Story of Taxi: Fuzzy Butt Cat.

Those of you who have read Smile Big and Pretty for some time now are probably familiar with my mammoth cat-child, Taxi. I frequently mention him and post pictures of his various regal poses, but his actual origin story remained untold – until now.

 

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The only reason I even looked for a cat on Craigslist was because the program I wanted to adopt from denied my application as soon as they saw my apartment. I was still managing a six story nightmare house in Korea Town. In their defense, I do not blame them one bit. I doubt I’d let someone adopt a cat if a ravenous shell of a human being stumbled out of the elevator and wheezed, “Fuck this life, all I want are some goddamn crackers,” either.

Friends, if you ever find yourself in doubt about whether or not an adoption agency might find you suitable enough to care for an animal, rest assured that everyone is equal in the eyes of Craigslist. I found Taxi almost immediately. The ad said: SIAMESE CAT. SHOTS AND NEUTERED! SO GOOD!

A young woman answered the phone and I let her know I was calling about the Craigslist cat. I heard some shuffling and muffled voices followed by a man saying,
“Really? That’s wonderful, Honey, that’s just wonderful!”
I pictured an enthusiastic home schooler sitting in an easy chair wearing argyle socks and smoking a pipe. Wonderful, Honey, just wonderful!
“So,” she said, “You do know that he’s neutered, all shots taken care of -”
“And he’s so loyal!” the man called out.
“I will, honey. Also he’s a couple of months old already. He’s really big, but he’s still a baby. We have another one, too, if you want them both.”
“Tell her he’s loyal!” the man called out again.
“I can only take one, sadly,” I replied.
So loyal!”
“My husband wants you to know that the cat is loyal,” she said.
SO loyal!”
“I don’t doubt it one bit,” I replied, wondering what he meant by “loyal.”

My significant other at the time drove with me to Pasadena that night to pick him up. The young couple welcomed us into their apartment. They were lovely and very hospitable, offering us water and conversation. They told us a little bit about themselves; she was an accountant and he was still going to school. Then they got down to business.
“Any idea what you’re going to name him?” the man asked.
“We don’t know yet,” I replied, “Do you call him anything?”
“Well, we call him whitey because he’s the lighter one.”I paused.
“What… do you call the other one?”
“Oh, him? We call him Blackie. You know, because he’s the black one.”

Once we made it back to our car with the cat, my significant other said,
“So those people were definitely Mormons.”
“How could you tell?”
“You didn’t see all of the textbooks from Brigham Young University?”
“I didn’t.”
“Yeah, they were totally Mormon. And the guy was most likely Japanese.”
“So we totally just adopted a cat from an interracial Mormon couple in Pasadena.”
“I guess we did.”

I think the only reason I find this to be so funny is because it makes me think of one of my old temp jobs and how my boss would tell me stories of what it was like to grow up as a black child in a white, Mormon family.
“They told me that I was cleansed of sin because they had adopted me,” she said, rolling her eyes a little.
“Really?”
“Mmhmm. Mormons have all kinds of takes on the scripture in the Book of Mormon that deals with dark skinned people, but that’s what my family told me. They’re really nice people. But it’s some weird shit.”

It blew my mind.

We jokingly called him Elder until we decided upon the name, “Taxi.”

The name Taxi comes from one of the protagonists from Taxi Cat and Huey, a favorite book from my childhood.

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Taxi is possibly the greatest cat I have ever had. He is, indeed, so loyal.

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And sometimes he forgets how to cat:
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He is also ENORMOUS. I am convinced he is actually a Siamese mountain panther.

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Sometimes he’s over it.
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And just like me, he is a total weirdo.
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He also loves to be a fuzzy butt face wiener cat.
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But did I mention that he is SO LOYAL? Look at how he came over to check up on me when I had food poisoning.
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And that’s Taxi Cat, folks.

If you like Taxi, I post pictures of him ALL THE TIME on my Instagram! @jas_sams

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Don’t be this asshole.

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Everything Ever on a Nail

I have a really weird problem. I’m abnormally freaked out by long or overly decorated nails. A few things:

1. I know that this is weird.
2. I know that these nails have done nothing to me.
3. I know that lots of time, money, and artistry go into these nails.

I understand all of these things.

But I experience a physical reaction if someone brushes me with them or they come into contact with my skin. Or if they are close to me. The other day I went to go see For the Record: Tarantino at DBA and Rumer Willis was wearing an elaborate as hell set of nails. It was like she had a miniature bedazzled leopard (the actual cat, not just a picture) on each finger. And it was all I could focus on as I thought to myself, “I really hope that fight scene doesn’t come anywhere near me because her nails freak me out more than that Katana sword she’s slanging around.”

Please tell me that someone else feels this way or has a weird and arbitrary aversion to something like that.

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(In case you are wondering, Rumer Willis did a really good job. As did Tracie Thoms and that girl who sang the “No, really, Lea Michelle, I’m gonna murder you” version of “Anything Goes” on Glee. If you’re in LA, go see For the Record: Tarantino at DBA.)

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Doing Gas to the Car

I don’t know how it worked out quite like the way it did, but I never learned to pump gas while I was learning how to drive. Somehow, through the screaming, arguing, and several near-death experiences involving left turns and ongoing traffic, I failed to learn the process of extracting the gas from the machine and putting it into your car.

I knew there was a hose.

I knew the hose went into the car.

And I knew that the hose then did gas to the car.

Perhaps it was that Mom and Dad always filled the car so that I wouldn’t have to or maybe it was because they feared the fury within my fifteen year old soul would ignite a spark and blow up the entire *Golden Pantry. Whatever the reason, I made it through training and through my first and second driver’s tests without having to pump the gas myself.

By the time I realized that I didn’t know exactly how to do gas to the car, it was too late.  I was alone.
Mom and dad made it seem so easy.

What was I supposed to do? Pick up the pump? Ok, I’ll pick up the pump.

What the hell, why is this machine beeping at me?! What are those flashing lights? WHAT’S GOING ON? WHY IS THIS MACHINE AGAINST ME?

Ok. I’m going to press a button for Gas.

I wonder if it’s the right button.

Wait, do I pay here? How do I pay? Mom pays outside, but that lady with the Silverado is going inside. Oh my god.

Wait. Mom pays outside and she has a card. This looks like a credit card slot. But wait… do I pay first and then pump? Or do I pump and only give the machine my money if it asks?

How easy would it be to just pump gas and drive off?

I wonder if I have to hold down the lever the whole time. I really want to be doing other things while the hose does gas to the car.

… Wait. My cell phone is inside the car and IT’S STILL ON. I AM GOING TO DIE.

This is an accurate drawing my of first time alone at the gas station:

Finally, the lady with the Silverado noticed me standing there, pathetic and lost, and thought to herself,
“My, this girl looks tremendously uninformed. Perhaps I will go and help her finish the gas.”

And that’s how I learned how to pump gas from a lesbian who drove a Silverado.


*This sudden remembrance of the most popular gas station of my childhood prompted me to Google it and find that they ACTUALLY HAVE A WEBSITE. It looks like it was made in 1998 and all of the pictures and media come from security cameras. It’s here and it’s amazing.

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I have a couple of friends who are publicists. This means that they spend a lot of time fixing mistakes made by other individuals and doing what they can to maintain a certain image for their clients or, God forbid, repair a sullied one. And believe me, the people who hire publicists do so for a reason. Publicists get you into events and they clean up your mess when you take a giant dump on society by making sure that society knows that you do actually contribute in a big way. Preferably a way so big that it makes society forget about your massive dump.

Publicists excel at reading people. They are also great at communication, specifically in that they don’t hold back when dealing directly with the problem – you. Assuming you’re their client or, if they are particularly generous, their friend.

I’m light years away from needing/being able to hire a publicist, but sometimes my friends will give me their two cents on how I present myself and I recently had a come-to-Jesus talk with one of them. I thought I’d share the highlights because since the talk, I wrote/performed my first successful stand-up set, submitted to the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, and got a little spring back into my step.

I quoted as best I could. 

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1. If you don’t know enough about any given topic, then don’t talk about it until you can contribute to the conversation in an effective way.

“No, Jas, you do this thing where you talk about shit that you hardly know anything about. It is the conversational equivalent of a career-extra posting the photos they manage to get with celebrities on their IMDB page and passing themselves off as a big shot. It makes you look like a tool and it makes you sound uninformed. So fucking look up a current list of the top 100 people in Hollywood you should know about and, next time I talk about a project or a studio and I mention somebody who does profound shit in this town, I don’t want to see your eyes bug out because you have no idea what’s going on. Information is just too easy to come by to not already know it.”

2. Do know that it sounds weird that you call friends “buddies.”

“Just stop it already. Use your social jargon appropriately. You’re a fucking adult, not Juno.”

3. Know that if you post a picture of you with any male, at all, someone is going to think you’re fucking him.

“I don’t care if you’d never fuck him in a million years. When you have a ton of guy friends, especially if you document it in some way, people freely assume that you’re a big old slut. Especially since your thing as of late is, “Oh em gee, I am staying out of relationships on purpose because I need to work on myself” and all that bullshit. Know what “work on myself” means out here? It doesn’t mean that you’re working on your personality; it means you’re working on fucking a bunch of people. Look at this headline: ELLEN PAGE IS DEFINITELY PREGNANT WITH ERIC’S BABY. Does it matter that it’s trashy celebrity news or that Ellen’s been a big old lesbian since she was born? No. All that matters is that they were seen together. I’m also saying this because I know that most of your female friends are from the internet.

Also know that it could go entirely the other way and that people might think you’re gay. Because you do give off that vibe.”

4. If someone asks, you are fine. Even if you are not fine, you are always fine.

“I don’t care if are going through a phase or you’re depressed as shit. People hate a lost cause.  They don’t want to get to know you if their first impression is of what a Debbie downer you are. When you talk about being stressed, overwhelmed, or less than anything but amazing, they interpret that as a sign that you will bring all that BS into their lives. Which you probably will. Everyone here is already depressed or troubled enough by their own fucking lives. Nobody wants to be bogged down. They want to know people who will give them good shit to report to their fucking therapist. Everyone here wants a manic pixie dream girl to pull them out of their funk. Someone who laughs, vividly, while they paint shit or gallop naked through the rain – fuck, I don’t know.” 

5. You do not talk negatively about anyone. Ever.

“I don’t care what the circumstances are. I think you know this already, but it could always use a good repeating. Someone made you mad? Rise above it. In other words, don’t say shit unless you are 100% certain that it can’t come back on you. If you ever find yourself in doubt as to whether or not you can say something bad about someone else, the answer is DON’T.”

6. If you say you’re doing something, then you had better do it.

“If you say one more thing to me about a script or doing stand up or something you’re working on and it never comes to fruition, I am going to rip my hair out. Fucking do something already.”

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Obviously some of this is personal and pertains to me moreso than everyone else, but I was both leveled and amused so I thought I would share.
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