#414 Driving home from a long trip and getting all your radio stations back

Fade to fuzz.

It’s always a sad scene when you’re bumping down the highway and your old faves start fritzing out on the radio. Yes, you wince as songs start missing notes and DJs start garbling the weather…. before eventually just dissolving into the distance. Staring back through your rearview mirror a hot tear slowly drips down your cheek as you watch the orange sun set on your friends from the AM spectrum.

Now when you’re bumping back home it’s the opposite story. You’ve already tried and failed to latch onto new stations in new places. Scanning for new friends, skimming for old beats, you found annoying talk shows, scratchy music, and baseball games with all the wrong teams.

That’s why it’s great when you drive back into your radio station zone. Now clear voices, sharp drums, and familiar tunes float and fly down your antennae to welcome you back with a smile.


Photos from: here and here

Read More

#415 When you’re not the new guy anymore

The first day was scary.

When you opened the door everything was a giant swirling abyss of new teachers, new faces, new rules, and new places. So you tiptoed in smiling and shaking hands, learning passwords and policies, and staring around the busy cafeteria holding a red plastic tray trying to find someone to eat lunch with.

It wasn’t your fault but you were last to join the team, you were last getting in the game, you were last one signing in, and no one knew your name.

So you just put your head down and gave it a shot. You tried and tried and tried. You felt like you didn’t belong here so you worked a bit harder than the next guy. Maybe you organized a neighborhood garage sale, maybe you helped the bullpen in the clutch, maybe you bailed us all out of a big meeting, or maybe you threw a backyard party … with a special touch.

(Special touches may or may not include: big bowls of fizzy punch teetering on wobbly picnic tables, veggie hotdogs cooking to a crispy finish on their own grill, or baking anything rich and chocolaty for dessert.)

Soon you noticed you were starting to fit in and there were beers after the ballgame, lab partners in chemistry class, and new friends in the cafeteria. Somebody asked you for help one day, a nickname slowly evolved, and a dirty inside joke got everyone laughing for weeks.

One day someone even newer than you started up and while they squeezed nervously beside you at the lunch table it slowly hit you.

You aren’t the new guy anymore.

You fit in just fine.


Hello Halifax, Nova Scotia! I will be at Word on the Street this Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Photos from: here, here, and here

Read More

#416 When you try cooking something new and everyone likes it

I blew it last week.

A friend came over after work for that homemade meal I’d been promising her. Since my standard dinner lately has been a plate of nachos and a couple spoons of Nutella I figured it was high time to cook a proper meal.

It started well: I snagged a fancy pasta recipe off the innernet and raced through the grocery store after work loading up on ingredients I had no business buying — sun-dried tomatoes soaking in tubs of yellow oil, artichoke hearts squeezed into tiny square jars, and a big bottle of dry white cooking wine for simmering the sauce.

Then I came home and made a huge mess.

First, I didn’t have butter so I tossed the chopped onions into some lukewarm olive oil. Then after I realized I forgot to buy garlic I dumped the whole bottle of artichokes in to make up for it, figuring they were related somewhere way back in their vegetable family tree. Unfortunately, while trying to get the onions frying I dissolved those artichokes to mush. My grip on dinner was slipping so I tried saving the day with half a bottle of white wine before letting the whole thing simmer for ten minutes.

Smiling and satisfied, I washed my hands and scooped a bed of steamy pasta onto a couple dinner plates before pouring a generous amount of my sauce on each.

Well, guess what?

It was disgusting.

The onions were somehow raw and burnt, the artichokes were long gone, and the booze hadn’t simmered off so the entire thing tasted like hot wine. I got up to check the recipe and noticed I’d forgotten to put water in during the important final stage and somehow replaced it with triple the amount of wine.

It was a terrible meal and we choked it back through forced smiles and hot tears. A half bottle of Parmesan cheese and a loaf of bread were also called in to help.

It was a sad day but I really do hope that one day I get to experience the joy of cooking something new and having everyone like it.

Because I can see it now.

After flipping through cookbooks and strolling through aisles I get a sneaky twinkle in my eye as I race home ready to whip up a storm. Next I tie on a big apron, pull my hair back, and preheat that oven. After spinning like the Tasmanian Devil for a couple hours everyone finally comes over and samples my big meal.

“Ohhhh…” they say softly “Wow, this is delicious! What is this?”

“Oh … just some experimenting,” I smile back shyly, shrugging my shoulders and waving my hand. “It was so easy, honestly.”

But they won’t stop. None of them will.

“Can I have seconds?”

“Can I have thirds?”

“Can I get the recipe?”

“I love it so much!”

“Because it’s just so perfect!”

“And just so delicious!”

“And just so incredibly


Hello Halifax, Nova Scotia! I will be at Word on the Street this Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

Read More

#419 Correctly guessing if a door is push or pull

Doors can be trouble.

Strutting to the mall, strolling to the store, you spy those glassy doubles in the distance just waiting for you to size them up and give them a big push or pull.

Sure, it looks easy, but we all know it’s nothing but.

Nope, thanks to years of tense negotiations, backroom deals, and political infighting, the International Alliance for Door Design Consistency has reached a suffocating stalemate in its goal of coming up with one door we can all understand. So while those corporate bigwigs give each other evil eyes in smoky boardrooms We The People are left figuring it out on the front lines, door by door, day by day.

It sucks when you make the wrong move, too. Pull a push or push a pull and you’re suddenly five years old again. Forget the chemistry exam, gym class, or company meeting you’re about to attend — now you’re suddenly a toddler staring back at the waiting crowd with wide eyes, untied laces, and thick boogers snaking down your upper lip.

Yes, that’s why swinging open a confusing door on the first try is such a great high. You just saved yourself a horrible second of humiliation and are now coasting smoothly through life in the fast lane.


Thank you sincerely for making The Book of Awesome a #1 bestseller for over 100 weeks! It is currently in its 21st paperback printing and thanks to your support two brand new books are in the works for 2015.

Photos from: here, here, and here

Read More

#420 Scratching your back on some random thing

The middle of your back is no hands land.

Those itchy islands off the coast of Spine Beach see a lot of shade and a lot of showers but not much scratchy, scratchy fingernail loving. When you’re itching hard you might try the ol’ Reverse Angle Elbow Bender a couple times before giving up and going with a classic:

1. Tree trunks. Yes, in addition to life giving oxygen, skin soothing shade, and strong stable shelters, trees are a natural back scratcher. Make sure you find the old withered one full of knots in the middle of the forest. Trees: Nature’s massage therapist. Now covered on most health plans.

2. A big metal tool from the barbecue set. Using the burger lifter or rusty tongs are great moves but for extra caveman bonus points you’ve got to go with the giant two-pronged fork. Close your eyes and you’ll suddenly be back outside the cave using a woolly mammoth tusk in front of the fire.

3. Comb or hairbrush. Just make sure to rinse it afterward.

4. The corner of your wall. You keep watching football, I’ll just casually tiptoe over to the corner over here and rub my lower lumbar all over the pointy wainscoting. Mmmm, yeah. Now I know what the vacuum hose was talking about.

5. Your cat. After many patient hours of teaching you may eventually convince kitty to think of your back as a scratching post. If you get here, congratulations on reaching Total Backscratching Nirvana.

Now, scratching your back on some random thing is great because you don’t need a friend or family member to help you out. Let’s face it: we’re all gonna be alone sometimes so in addition to changing a flat tire and learning basic self defense, it’s important you pick up some solo back scratching skills, too.

Pack your bags because you’re going to Spine Beach.


Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

Read More

#421 Singing the guitar solo

Never stop wailing.

When you’re singing along with the lyrics of a song and a guitar solo starts up make sure you keep onnnnnn going.

We can’t have dead air in your steamy morning shower or all the fans will just hear the sound of you soaping up your armpits and blowing your nose. And that screaming mosh pit in your Toyota Camry is just jumping for more. You better blast those high-pitched guitar notes or they’ll go home cold and disappointed.

Never stop wailling.

When the words fade out and the guitar fades in it’s your big chance to keep the excitement flowing.

Maybe you already have practice from singing all the frontman and backup singer parts from the rest of the song. Now all you have to do is add in the guitar solos your fingers can only dream of playing. You’ll soon go from Axl to Slash in November Rain, start hitting the big notes in Bohemian Rhapsody, and you may even find yourself synthing along with Tainted Love.

“Sometimes I feel I’ve got to — boomp, boomp — run away. I’ve got to — boomp, boomp — get away.”

Yes, you do have to get away — get away from the notion of your sing-a-long stopping when the guitar starts slashing, that is. People, when you’ve sung the first six minutes of Stairway to Heaven there’s no way you can disappoint that packed arena now. So get to the front of the stage and shred that axe, verbally.

Feel free to also wobble your voice when you step on your air distortion pedal which may involve using meow’s for all the notes. “Meow meow meEEOW meow meow meEEOW,” you meow, in a beautifully sweaty, head banging daze.

Be one with the guitar solo, be one with the song, and be one with a few big sweeping moments of


Photos from: here and here

Read More

#422 Hanging on

We’re all pretty much the same.

Packed tightly in our skintight skin is a bumpy clump of slippery organs and brittle bones. Yes, you’re a pile of bones, I’m a bucket of blood, you’re a slab of muscle, I’m a chunk of chub. And no matter what we got squeezing through our veins, zooming through our brains, and dripping out our drains, one big thing just always remains.

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

Baby brains buzz and little eardrums pop, baby lungs breathe deep and little eyelids flop, but as we grow up and grow older maybe we start letting differences be our guide, start choosing our own adventures, start carving paths and curving wide. We settle into ourselves, settle into our skin, settle into our lives, and find the comforts within…

We grow up, we grow older, some grow hotter, some grow colder. We focus on our tastes, on our preferences and our choices, we find our kinds of friends, we read our kinds of voices. We might cut deep paths, we may turn others away, we may deepen our divides, we may have nothing nice to say.

But way down deep in our stomachs, way down deep in our hearts, we can always remember that no matter which way we turn, which lessons we learn, which bridges we burn…

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

No matter what money we earn, what chances we churn, what choices we spurn…

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

Because we’ve all got cracks and chips, we’ve all got sores and scratches, we’ve all got doubts and dreams, we’ve all got hearts with patches. We laugh and cry, we soar and sink, we go up and down, we stop and think. Behind your favorite things, behind your bestest friends, behind your fears and doubts… we’re all waiting here again.

We’re all in this big show together.

We’re all singing the same song.

We’re all walking into the future.

As we all keep hanging on.


Check out The Book of Awesome

Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, and here

Read More