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2016 – My Year In Review

My Annual New Year Note

This annual end of the year note is gonna be YUGE! Believe me! It’s gonna tell you tremendous things, things that are really great. Those who say it won’t are wrong. They’re liars and disgusting people. Sad. . . Now I know there are a lot of these notes out there that are spreading real anecdotes, but you can trust that my anecdotes are really and truly 100% real fake.

It goes out to all those dearest friends, family members, bad hombres, nasty women, Berners, Twitter trolls, killer clowns, elves on shelves, Pokemon Goers, and David S. Pumpkins who populated my timeline during the past 12 months. (And to those comrades hacking this transmission, a very heartfelt ?????????? ?????????? to you.)

So take a knee and we’ll get right to it!

I know a lot of you were not thrilled with 2016, but I’m a glass half-filled guy even if this year’s glass was filled with an Arnold Palmer-like concoction of water from Flint, Michigan and Guaranama Bay in Rio de Janeiro. In a year when we endured the loss of Prince, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, logic, Mohammed Ali, civil discourse, Gene Wilder, intelligent foresight, the Billy Goat curse, hope, Ryan Lochte’s integrity, real news, and Harambe, hey . . .  at least we found Richard Simmons!!!

So far, the holiday season is off to a great start as I wound up with a gift basket of deplorables at the Office Christmas Party (in theaters now) elephant swap.

From there, the year started off bigly. I’m putting you all on blast that I was like a fleekalaur on fleek mode going fleek trappin’ during Fleek Week, and overall representing the Urban Dictionary I received last holiday season.

Though I hit a funk as spring uncoiled and I felt a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time, a longing I hadn’t longed for in a felt time. I sat in solitude and took stock of my life. At that point, I came to the conclusion that I had to sell off my life stock before my portfolio went bankrupt. I was frustrated and wanted escape, to travel back to a time when life was simpler. I looked for a way to time travel, but couldn’t find a time machine, so I opted for a time staycation instead and remained right in March of 2016.

It was then I decided to do something really challenging, to venture out of my comfort zone. Should I be climbing mountains, running marathons, Standing Rock? Just the consideration seemed impossible so I ultimately opted for a staycation in my comfort zone instead. With my Phelps face on, I bottle flipped a mannequin while someone dumped an ice bucket on me as I performed 22 push ups with a mouth full of cinnamon, all to create an awareness for viral videos. We mustn’t let them die out.

With my soul replenished, I resolved to expand my horizons. Why, I learned so many life hacks this year, I started hacking life like a pro — I learned how to boycott a Broadway musical I couldn’t afford anyway, leak Wikis to the world, sell drug medicine to those who need it for prices they can’t afford while simultaneously giving myself a pay raise, all while reaching my Fitbit goal of “70% AWESOME”. (I didn’t want to overexert myself by doing too much too soon.)

Then this summer, I took up competitive eating. It was more on a whim, as I saw a bowl of oreos and Swedish fish and just started chowing down. They are addictive. Well, one thing led to another and against all odds, I won one contest, then another. Eaters with more of a pedigree of swallowing crap than I were swiftly eliminated. My rise was unpresidented. I reached the semis and then the Finals. I had to get serious.

I replaced my entire prep team and gave it my best shot. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I ate MORE Swedish fish oreos than my opponent. . . good enough for second place. (They have an arcane scoring system in these contests.) And here I am, back to private life. 

Though I recovered emotionally, my loss drove a wedge between me and my girlfriend Alexa. She left me, choosing to do it by writing a note on my 3rd Century replica manuscript book. The worst thing is that she took my collection of classic guitar players’ memorabilia, though I’ll also miss her cooking as she had a real flair for chile con carne and fajitas. Yep, I experienced a true Alexit-codexit-Jeff Beckzit-TexMexit. (Mom used to warn me it happens to all of us at one time or another.)

But now as 2016 mercifully becomes a dim ember in the rear view mirror, let us raise our glasses and scream, “YAHOO!” er, I mean, “VERIZON!” to toast to new adventures.

May you all grab 2017 by the click bait!

Yours Truly,

Andy Wasif

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2015 – My Year in Review

To all my dearest friends from Jon to Trevor, Stephen to Larry, Dave to Stephen, and Bruce to Caitlyn…oh, and, of course, Mr. Nutz (Deez, you know I can’t forget youz),

Hello! How are you? It’s so typical of me to talk about myself, I’m sorry. . . But Adele lyrics aside, according to my FitBit, I’m “Kill’nit!” even in the face of this tumultuous, turbulent, truculent transitioning of the times which glided by like a hoverboard along the crumbling infrastructure of society. That said, whereas the rest of the world saw a black dress, I saw a gold one!

It was a year of self-realizing who I was. . . and then self-identifying with someone else. This allowed me to park in handicapped spaces, accept a Tony Award, and step on the GOP debate stage to spout random stuff off the top of my head. But in the end, I showed up everyday and worked hard, sometimes 22, 23 hours a day. Such is the price to pay when you’re a part-time employee for Amazon. Hey, I do my job, even if I don’t believe in it. I mean, who am I, Kim Davis? BOOM!

[Mic Drop]

I spent much of the early part. . .

[Mic Retrieval]

My bad! I realize you can’t hear me without the mic. As I was saying. . . I spent much of the early part of the year preparing my place for a special visitor as my friend B-Dub told me he was “tight with Pope Frankie” and could get me a personal meeting. So after dumping the Chipotle in the toilet, erasing the hashtags from all my Starbucks cups, and hiding the Subway sandwiches in a box way back in the closet, His Holiness never showed! Turns out Brian didn’t know him at all; he didn’t even follow him on Periscope! (Way to get my hopes up, Williams!)

As a consolation, I did get to sit down for tea with another representative from the religious community. You know what they say, the only thing that rectifies our problems is a good chai with a nun.

Lest not ye think it was a year devoid of hardship, an incident thrust me into controversy. Well, the kerfuffle began when I purchased a piñata for my nephew’s birthday, stored it at his house, and upon hoisting it over the ol’ oak branch for him and his friends to whack open, we found far less candy inside than piñata regulations stipulate.

Don’t you know, this earned me a suspension from my nephew’s next four birthdays, which I thought was exorbitant considering it was the same penalty given his cousin for licking all the pretzels and putting them back in the bowl. After some investigation, it became clear his brother was the culprit as it is common for one sibling to steal candy from the other — The Natural Law of Relation — in what will forever be known heretofore throughout my family as Relategate.

But that ordeal was nothing compared to the water my proverbial ship (H.M.S. Measles Outbreak) took on when I penned that seemingly harmless magazine piece suggesting the work of three guitars in a band wasn’t necessary. I commented that a lead and rhythm guitarist were plenty. Oh, the heat I took! It was completely unfounded, I believe. I mean, you all know me! I certainly am no bassist. In fact, I can’t be a bassist. I have a friend who plays the bass. But alas, I was ordered to attend sensitivity training, mandatory listening to Sly & the Family Stone, and a meeting with the likes of Sting and Flea.

File Under: It Wasn’t All Bad. I did manage to do quite a fair bit of traveling, mostly to fan festival destinations as they have become very popular recently. To all you cosplayers, no, I couldn’t make Comic-Con, but in the span of a summer fortnight, I attended everything from Connick-Con, a celebration of jazz musician/actors from New Orleans, to the wonderful weekend of events centered around the character of “Frenchy” from the original “Grease” movie that was Didi Conn-Con, to the Rockettes own fan convention, Cancan-Con, to a week of eating all sorts of delicious pork products at Bacon-Con (which is not to be confused with the Kevin Bacon festival named after his role in “Hollow Man,” Sebastian Caine-con), to getting my sweet tooth on at Bonbon-Con. I even found time this year to participate in a useful four-hour workshop on decision-making — Pro/Con.

And finally, professionally, I achieved some good fortune. You may have heard that Daniel Craig’s days as James Bond are coming to a close and for his successor, the production company sought an actor outside the suave, dapper archetype we’ve grown used to. Well, after several rounds of auditioning and tense callbacks. . . I was chosen to be the next James Bond!  . . . and then I was told I wasn’t. At first, I was upset with Steve Harvey Casting but realize it was an honest mistake which they attempted to make up for by promising me a shot at another role, that of “008,” a spy with a license to sell jewelry at a mall kiosk, for the upcoming “Moonraker” big screen remake to air on television as a live musical. Fingers crossed!

May the force awaken inside you leaving you refreshed and inspired for a great 2016!

Yours Truly,

Andy Wasif

P.S. If anyone on my list is still having difficulty keeping their e-mail server from getting wiped clean, I’m happy to send a hard copy of this to you.

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2014 – My Year in Review

Happy New Year

December 24, 2014

Festive holiday greetings to you, my dearest friends, future McConaghey, Adell Dazeem, the sons of both Mumford and Anarchy, past McConaghey, and all my bros, brahs, boos, and baes,

I found myself rushing to finish ye annual note as I’ve been otherwise preoccupied with cleaning all the Jell-O pudding pops from my freezer.  In fact, I almost pulled it altogether due to the biting references I included to Kim Jung Un, but as we’re past them now, I decided it would be acceptable to send.

For ‘tis the season to Keep Calm and Open Carry On as we vape the residue of 2014 precipitating upon us.  Where did the time go? December has shown up unannounced not unlike a U2 album in our iPods.  In fact, the whole year stings of surreality.  Did the Ferguson Police dump an ice bucket on top of Joan Rivers and then launch her into Gaza or was that just a vivid dream I had that night I went heavy on the sriracha sauce? It’s safe to say, my 32nd year on this planet (of course, my time spent aboard the space station is another note for another time) was a time to remember.

It was a year of discovery as I found out which “Gilligan’s Island” character I am (“Ginger”), which spice I most resembled (also ginger), what’s the best city for me (Atlantis), and what my birthstone says about my personality (“supreme jackass”);

a year of conclusion as my lawsuit against the Golden Panda Chinese restaurant finally reached a settlement — I received no money up front, but they did promise in writing that a short stranger will soon enter my life bringing joy;

and a year of accomplishment as I completed my latest script, a remake of the comedy classic “9 to 5,” entitled “8 to 7-ish and Every Other Saturday.”  [smiley face]

But mostly, my experiences were as scattered as the choreography in One Direction’s act.  Early in February, as the Polar Vortex smacked me around like Solange Knowles in an elevator, I ventured to Sochi for the XXII Olympic Winter Games where I lucked out by securing a room with a working roof, but the thrill of victory soon dissipated as I could not help but notice all the stray dogs walking around. The only event that interested me was the tug-of-war on my heart strings, and I gave in to magnanimity.

I rescued one pooch whom I named Vlad and took him home with me. And the new living arrangement appealed to him. . . for about 24 hours at which point he invaded my neighbor’s apartment, and peed in the crock pot filled with her famous Chicken Kiev.  Needless to say, it has made our regular Cards Against Humanity game nights in my building quite awkward.

With spring now sprung, my concerns turned from chicken stock to my portfolio of stocks as the NYSE, that fickle foe, shifted along with public favor and suddenly, it was all about the bass, ‘bout the bass, when here I was, betting the farm on treble.  I foolishly ignored the first rule of shrewd investment and did not diversify, thus causing a conscious uncoupling with my savings. [frowny face]

But as Taylor Swift reminds me every day, I chose to “Shake It Off” by turning my bankruptcy into a bankruptunity!  And I took time for some domestic travel, hopping in my classic 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera and heading east where I got to see my friends in New York City . . . from the George Washington Bridge on which I was stuck in a governor-sized traffic jam.  (Cars for days, son!) Fortunately, traffic was alleviated when all the GM cars were recalled and I, a hundred feet from the off-ramp, was forced to walk the final stretch of road.

The adversity awakened the force inside me and I resolved to run my first marathon.  It was quite the undertaking; I had to hire the volunteers, solicit sponsors, find a 26.2-mile course that was both challenging and appealing — why, just filling out the license forms from the city was a Herculean task in itself — and it would have gone off without a hitch too had I remembered to market it to the runners.  But has it not been said many times that failure is merely the Secret Service of success?  [winky face]

And now, looking ahead to next year, I’m primed to take my career to new heights by optimizing my search engine, reshaping my sustainable organizational structure, branding my synergistic solutions, and, most importantly, downloading emojis so I won’t have to type out words in brackets any more.  Baby steps, baby steps.

To all of you and all of yours (whoever and whatever they may be and however they may have found their ways into your possession), may your Internet be hacked and infected with the cyber virus of prosperity and happiness for 2015.

Yours patiently awaiting Saint Nicholas,

Andy Wasif (a.k.a. Adlee Waifish to Mr. Travolta)

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Everything I Ever Learned, I Learned from Billy Joel

Billy Joel

There’s a storm front coming, if you will, as the Piano Man, celebrating his fiftieth year in the music biz, is back in the public eye with his residency at Madison Square Garden, his Kennedy Center Honor, his world tour, and his exclusive channel on Sirius XM radio.  But I, for one, never let my New York state of mind wane.  It may seem shameless to say, but everything I’ve learned, I learned from Billy Joel.

My father wasn’t around much to tell me the ways of the world.  (Well, he was, but he never sang his lessons, nor put them to music, so. . . y’know, in one ear, out the other.)  It was primarily from the extensive catalogue of Sir William Joel (he was knighted, wasn’t he?  I mean, if Elton John was, Billy should be, nationality be damned!) that I’ve picked up a thorough education on such diverse subjects as the entertainment business (if you get cold, you won’t get sold) to balancing work and play, succeeding in relationships, and money management all the way to the guy’s code and enjoying the moment — all the stuff that’s truly important in life.  (Yeah, I’m looking at you calculus, state capitals, chemistry, Shakespeare…  You’re all worthless!)

Hey, life isn’t easy.  Just surviving is a noble fight.  So in order to enlighten you as I have been enlightened, here are fifteen tried and true bits of wisdom from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer that help as we all have to deal with pressure.

  1. Never buy a big waterbed with the bread you had saved for a couple of years.  Really?  That’s your luxury buy?  Savings accounts barely even reach one percent these days.  The money you took out could not have been worth the time you spent waiting for its value to appreciate.  Have you tried mutual funds?  The stock market is riding new highs this year.  You could do a lot worse.  As for your purchase, who needs a waterbed anyway?  You get sea sick in your sleep.  If you’re gonna save up, buy something a little more durable.  A memory foam mattress is much more comfortable and better for your back.  Plus, you can drink wine while bouncing up and down on it without spilling.
  2. Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while.  This country is all about success.  If you’re not successful, then you’re nothing.  So we work 26 hours a day, eight days a week.  There’s always someone else who is working harder than you?  But is he happy?  Maybe he’s working so hard because he hates his wife and doesn’t want to go home?  How did he get his current position?  Who is he related to that got him the job?  The mind can literally explode if you work too hard.  I’ve seen it happen (in a reenactment on the Internet).  And still, things can never happen fast enough.  Why aren’t you successful yet?  You can’t be everything you wanted to before your time.  Cool it off before you burn it out.  Visit an amusement park, take in a jazz festival, go on a trip.  Vienna is nice this time of year.  Your mind will thank you by not exploding.
  3. You can linger too long in your dreams.  Dreams are nice.  Feel free to dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true.  But you’ve got to know when to pull the rip cord and resort to your fallback plan (assuming you have one).  There’s a popular image on the Internet of two guys digging in adjacent tunnels.  One of them throws his shovel down and we see that it’s right before reaching the diamond mine.  The point is, you never know when your dream will become a reality and you don’t want to bail too soon, but you’ve got to use some common sense here.  Some dreams have clocks on them.  Once you hit ten or eleven, if you haven’t mastered a back handspring yet, you could probably forget about being an Olympic gymnast.  Still, some guys keep that picture of Kate Upton on their vision boards way too long.  It’s getting depressing.  Give it up.  It ain’t gonna happen.  She’s moved on, so should you.
  4. We can only go so far on caviar and cabernet.  Who are you, Jay Gatsby?  That kind of extravagance is gonna bore you after a time.  That is, if you’re not already bankrupt.  How much caviar can one eat anyway?  It’s so salty.  Your lips are gonna prune up and you’ll be in perpetual “duck face” leaving you looking looking like a sorority girl in Spring Fling photos.  Quit pretending to be some pompous boob and go have some wings and beer.  So enjoy yourself, but don’t overdo it.
  5. We will all go down together.  Look at Mike and Trent in the classic movie “Swingers” when they went back to the trailer with the waitress and “Dorothy” — Mike couldn’t get out of his own way, wallowing in sadness over his ex-girlfriend.  He didn’t score, and that meant Trent had to curtail his activities.  It is the number one tenet of the man’s code:  Leave no man behind!  Either we all get the girl or no one does.  This also works during wartime activities, but hopefully you will not find yourself in that situation.
  6. Let people speak their mind, but not on your time.  Whether it’s cold remedies or stock tips, or the way to dispatch a hornet’s nest, everyone’s a know-it-all.  You can be polite, the ol’ nod n’ smile technique, if you’d like, but really, you have better things to do than to listen to their cockamamie advice.  If you ask for their advice, fine, but you don’t need their advice.  The only guidance you need is from Billy on this one.  Let them ramble on, though.  No need for you to be hot about it.  And then bring it up later to rub their faces in their heaping pile of wrong, especially if they’re covered in hornet stings and you’re not.
  7. Get it right the first time.  This one is rather straight-forward.  You get one chance to make a first impression, whether it’s with a guy/girl, or during your “elevator pitch” to the CEO of the company, or in your tryout as wideout for the San Francisco 49ers, so don’t blow it!   No one is giving second chances anymore.  In this day and age, with 140 characters on Twitter and fifteen second Instagram video clips, even that first time is condensed.  You have no autocorrect in the real world.  Earn the nickname “One-Take Charlie.”
  8. Don’t be afraid to try again.  Yeah, you blew it the first time, everyone goes south every now and then.  Get back on that horse.  Just don’t make the same mistake.  That falls under the umbrella, “If at first, you don’t succeed. . .”  I mean, it might not work.  Don’t beat a dead horse.  But we do like a redemption story.  However, this is your last chance.  So what if you made a fool of yourself on “American Idol” with the whole country watching.  Somewhere, there’s the back room of a sawdust-infested bar that’ll have you.  We’re not saying you’re gonna be back on Redemption Week on the “Idol,” but to remember rule #3.
  9. Never argue with a crazy mi-mi-mi-mi-mind.  It’s the argument equivalent of trying to get a sugar-crazed kid off of the jungle gym.  There’s the old adage that when you argue with a fool, anyone watching from a distance won’t be able to tell which of you is the fool.  It’s why umpires initially walk away from a heated manager.  Another way to phrase this is just avoid fans of any sports team other than your own, or political party, or anyone wearing a bathrobe in public, Alec Baldwin, Beyonce’s sister, a dude roller blading with a snake around his neck, etc.
  10. Tell her about it.  Tell her all your crazy dreams.  Open and honest communication!  It’s the key to any relationship.  What’s on your mind, what are you thinking?  Let’s take a moment to gauge where we are.  Put it all out there on the table, so she’s not left guessing because that’s where the trouble begins.  I lay everything out there — sometimes as I walk to my car, I imagine that I’m a walrus; what it would be like to be a woman; if bears are migrating into cities, why isn’t Bigfoot?  And if he does, what job would he apply for? (I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve gotten the “we need space” talk a LOT.)  It’s up to your discretion how much you tell.
  11. Leave a tender moment alone.  Okay, this one takes a bit of intuition and may seem to counter the previous rule.  Just because it’s on your mind doesn’t mean she needs to know.  Two people together, even soulmates, can annoy the hell out of each other at most times.  It’s natural.  But if you just keep quiet, it will make things a lot easier.  Recently, there was an Ohio couple married 70 years that died within fifteen hours of each other.  They held hands at breakfast every day.  They didn’t need to say anything.  In fact, the second one of them opened his or her mouth, it might have ruined everything.  No one wants to hear you free associate your feelings every minute of every day.  While you’re being all communicative, you must know when to SHUT. . . UP.
  12. In every heart, there is a room, a sanctuary safe and strong to heal the wounds of lovers past until a new one comes along.  Okay, so you told her too much and doomed the whole relationship, you’ll get over this heartbreak.  Suppressing your feelings is the best way to put the pain behind you, and nothing bad ever boils up again.  That’s what Billy means when he talks about the room in your heart.  Okay, so it’ll also help if you burn all his/her possessions and any of his/her favorite restaurants, just to keep yourself from being reminded of the monumental way you screwed things up with the one person in the world that understood you.
  13. Sinners are much more fun.  Stop being such a saint.  You’re always worried about doing the right thing and concerned about what other people think.  (Honestly, some of those Commandments are kinda overblown.)  “Only the good die young” isn’t completely true as there are so many other factors independent of your lifestyle that contribute to life expectancy, from genetics to environment to diet, etc.  So have some fun, fer cryin‘ out loud!  (I mean, we’re not talking about murder here.)  Claim someone else’s coffee off the counter at Starbucks, make a lefthand turn from the right lane, photobomb a family portrait.  It’ll be okay.
  14. Post-WWII history and pop culture.  All of it.  Him.  That’s where I got all my knowledge.  (Though, lately, I’ve been learning a thing or two from Wikipedia.)
  15. These are not the best of times, but they’re the only times I’ve ever known.  Quit whining!  Could things be better?  Probably, but you’re alive, so suck it up.  What are you looking for, unicorns and gumdrop forests with money trees?  The grass is always greener but you should just stay in the present and enjoy yourself.

There you have it.  It’s life.  Mistakes are to be expected.  But if you carry this list with you as a guide, the words of the Piano Man can take us all through the tough times.   And so it goes.

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My New Year Recap of 2013

December 24, 2013 11:53 p.m.

Knock Knock.

Who’s th–

POW!  You’ve been punched out with holiday cheer and good will!

To all my dearest, old friends (both tenured and vintage) and new acquaintances including Carlos Danger, Pope Francis, George Louis Alexander, and of course, the NSA (who are not on my mailing list, but are reading this anyway),

I wish you a secular and nondenominational, inoffensive greeting during this most hallowed and joyous time of year (should you choose to find it hallowed and joyous).

As I sit here on this yuletide, stoking a yule log in my hearth and simultaneously noshing on the culinary yule log while nestled comfortably underneath my framed photo of Yul Brenner, it dawned upon me that this is my tenth annual holiday note to the masses.  The swift passage of time has left me at a loss for — what do you call that? — unit of language which functions as a principal carrier of meaning composed of one or more morphemes.  I took at it as an opportunity to partake of the quiche of nostalgia and, via my TARDIS (I rented one as an outright purchase seemed obtuse), I engaged in “Throwback Thursday” (though it is only Tuesday), reviewing the swath of memories a decade has provided.  It was like binge-watching my life.

I chortled at 2004, the year I had my name legally changed to Wa$if, bellowed at 2006, which was adapted into the movie “A Madea Holiday Note,” guffawed at 2009 which was actually penned by another scribe as I was embroiled in a contract dispute, and cackled at my 2010 appearance on the popular reality program “So You Think You Can Dance With the Stars” and my attempt to sidle up to Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn only to get leveled by her bodyguards.  (My neck still hurts when there are sharknado conditions which happen more often than any self-respecting film major would care for.)

As for the past 365, I can only imagine what synonym for “laugh” they will conjure.  It certainly has seemed quite the roller coaster what with the smaug desolation and constant candy crushing, though we did manage to avoid the widely-predicted zombie apocalypse, which was quite a relief for me particularly, as I have a history of undead in my family (though book sales for my travel tome “101 Places to See After You Die” were predictably lackluster.  Such is the price of writing for a specific demographic.)

June, in particular, was quite challenging for me due to an ill-advised twerking accident.   The pain came to me like a wrecking ball and I yelped. . . giving it only two stars as it should have a warning label listing potential physical harm and an attack on good taste.  (Unfortunately, I had to pay for therapy out-of-pocket due to a pre-existing condition from last year’s planking accident. Had I only waited a few months for Obamacare to kick in. . .)  Fully recovered now, I am ready to enter BEAST MODE!!!. . . or beauty mode, whichever is less strenuous.

Creatively, it was a banner year for writing as I came up with such pithy fare as “Everything Must Go” for outside of mattress stores and “Come to Happy Hour for Drink Specials,” tailing airplanes over beaches.

Alas, I was forced to shut down all business for a time.  Apparently, my inability to come up with a budget left me unable to reconcile my meager earnings with my exorbitant spendings.  Fortunately, my insolvency was not terribly noticeable as I borrowed enough to live on.  I’ll let my children and my children’s children deal with it as I have greater issues on my plate such as why are children allowed to have children of their own?!  The very notion of it sickens me, though that could be the recalled poultry I bought on sale for Thanksgivikkah as part of their Duck Dynasty promotion.

I still managed my annual sojourn abroad this year as the Living Social travel deal I came upon was simply too good to pass up (without reading the “terms and conditions” to which I readily agreed).  I spent 39 glorious days in the transit zone of Moscow’s airport where I immersed myself thoroughly in the culture indulging on their authentic cuisine of vodka lattes at the Starbucks and the mcgoulash patty from their McDonald’s.

Upon my return, October featured some very heavy emotional times as I learned somewhat auspiciously that I was not, in fact, Woody Allen’s son.  The bombshell came as somewhat of a shock to me, but not nearly as much as it did to my parents who have been telling me I was for years, in spite of their names on my birth certificate.

All in all, if I’ve taken anything away from 2013, it was the teachings of Rob Ford, the great Mayor of the great state of Toronto, who showed that no matter how unqualified you are, to remain steadfast in your beliefs, even in the face of fierce resistance and common sense.  And conversely, if things are going great, you should voluntarily and without reason change them up, just to mess with people, like Yahoo! mail.

May unmanned drones rain down upon you in targeted strikes of happiness and health, inflicting unspeakable prosperity.

Yours truly,

Andy Wa$if

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Recapping My 2012

December 24, 2012

@Dearest friends, hobbits, Big Bird, Honey Badger, homophobic chickens, and the 47% of you I know are going to read this no matter what,

#Whatayear!  I refuse to concede that it’s over.  It went by in an instagram, just a flickr.  So much transpired, much of it incredibly pinteresting, such as the *asterisk* replacing italics.  In fact, 140 characters cannot even begin to describe the meme that was 2012, an affair that I attended clothed magnificently in Gangnam style dress of just more than four dozen shades of grey.

And assuming you are reading this now — SPOILER ALERT! – we are still alive!  The Mayans proved their prognostications to be more skewed than those of a Romney pollster, a predicament that proved both bitter *and* sweet, for I chose to engage in carpe diem — a spicy Argentine fish dish I came upon through Epicurious — and hence chose to max out my credit cards.  Boy, is my face red. . . matching my bank account.

The new resolve did however spur me to attack my bucket list, first moving to curb my hoarderism by cleaning my apartment.  Oh, the things I came upon, including six of the ten buckets on said list, my binder of women, my bayonets, the decade-old prototype for a “Touch Me Elmo” doll, and a cache of mislabeled “Livestrong” bracelets.  (The “v” was missing so, as luck would have it, I will be able to use them after all.)

When I reminisce on the year, the visions dance about with tapouts, copouts, knockouts, brownouts, obnoxious louts, acrimonious shouts, and bailouts.  Bailouts especially in Europe, as for much of year, Greece was the word, the word that we heard.  From the blue moon into the summer nights all the way to one evening I spent stranded at the drive-in followed by tears on my pillow straight up until Sandy showed up much different than we expected, the Old World home of democracy kept me engrossed with their economic discord.  The whole ordeal felt so cinematic, and made me want to sing for some reason.

A defining moment of my activity came early summer when I fell prey to the proverbial June swoon, captivated by one lady’s bottomless charm and nonrefundable grace.  Yes, I finally redneckonized what was already gospel — Honey Boo Boo was, indeed, a national treasure.  So I became a redneckluse to devote my time to watching her on television until my friends intervened, getting me to redneckonsider my admiration.  It was then I redneckoned the entire display was nothing more than a pain in the rednecktum.  I came away from the experience a better person, if not more brain dead.

Shortly thereafter, I embarked upon a spiritual awakening, eschewing the hustle and esswallowing the bustle in favor of calmness and serenity, discovering the Zen buried deep inside me (during a routine outpatient surgical procedure).  I took to meditation, walks in nature, and soothing soaks, even utilizing bath salts to relieve my troubles. . .  until I was booked for assault on my neighbors which caused me more trouble.  Admittedly, I was negligent for not reading the label on the bath salts that warned against eating them.

As reparations to my reputation, I volunteered to join the neighborhood watch committee and was quite the vigilant provider of security. . . that is, until the incident.  I believed, erroneously, as it turns out, that all clothes dryers had a protection mechanism that would allow them to shut down in the case of a legitimate fire, but alas, I was wrong.  And on one of my bimonthly trips to the laundry, the act of leaving my clothes in the dryer (having lost track of time as I frolicked in the fields), needless to say, caused me to burn many britches.

Though I was removed forcibly from all future meetings, I was impressed to learn the committee head Mr. Eastwood kept addressing my empty chair which curiously managed to sway his opinion on several key proposals.

As autumn arrived, and I in need of a respite, I did manage to squeeze in my annual sojourn (how journ was it?!).  Though short in duration, I managed to visit such historic sites as the Fiscal Cliffs and the Petraeus Falls, even spending one day in Pennsylvania along the Jersey Shore, its waters lapping the banks of Philadelphia.

Of course, the election cycle played a major role in my focus as it drew more confrontational than a cross-country flight with Alec Baldwin.  Taking my naturalized voting rights seriously, I made a difficult choice after much rumination, eventually casting my ballot for the one candidate I felt best represented my equanimity and sagacious thought — Team Edward.  Though I know not all of you would agree with me, remember, it is our difference of opinions on such important matters that makes this country great.

And so as we go “All In” to the new year, with the passion that Paula Broadwell conducts a no-holds-barred biographical interview, I conclude my primly proper prose whilst enjoying the one-of-a-kind vocal stylings of Michael Buble emulating Harry Connick Jr. covering a Frank Sinatra yuletide classic by wishing each and every one of you a 2013 unlike any other 2013s.  May your Ding Dongs and Ho Hos be abundant leaving your Twinkie and Sno Balls full of happiness.

Sincerely yours,

Andy Wasif

 

Featured Image by: Stuart Miles

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My 2011 in Review

My 2011 in Review

12/18/2011

Dearest ninety-nine percent, GOP mistresses, remaining Mideast tyrants, and Demi Moore,

First off, I want to thank all those who texted me their well wishes after my freak shake weight accident.  Your expressions of concern warmed the cockles of my heart. . . save for those of Anthony Weiner whose cockles are not welcomed on my phone ever again.

I enjoy this time of year when we can put the baggage of the past 12 months in a box, letting bygones be bygones so they may raise other bygones and those bygones can, in turn, become bygones of their own, potentially forming an organic bygone community in the woods somewhere.  But in this moment of introspection, I cannot help but think of how this year was nothing short of a veritable feast of historical significance.

So much has changed – the world was all at once both topsy and turvy, seemingly rotating on a tilted axis like some sort of planetary body.  Antioxidants, once the darling of health food circles, were now being unceremoniously dispersed through questionable crowd control tactics; free radicals now cost money, and the melodious aria cough was downgraded to barely a whoop.  We experienced carmaggedon, witnessed solar flares (from which I was disappointed not to receive super powers), had the end of the world postponed another year, and for a brief time, I became a Leo, before realizing I wasn’t generous enough to qualify.

Where did the time go?  It seemed the Arab spring segued right into the Paterno fall as quickly as a Kardashian marriage.  I had no time to waste in grabbing life by its Florida peninsula.  As a change to my health regiment, I began drinking tiger blood.  That is, until developing a severe allergic reaction to it.  But for that hour and a half, I was WINNING!

By the early summer, I’d come upon a fairly rigid obstacle to my proactive aspirations in the form of a vast financial deficit due to my ill-fated foray into the baklava sector of the commodities exchange.  I was not to be deterred, however, thanks to the motivationals of Governor Rick Perry who said, “The three non-negotiable keys to achieving one’s happiness in life are hard work, perseverance, and I’ll get back to you on that third one.”  Words to live by!

Mastercard was loathe to raise my debt ceiling (downgrading my credit rating to a C- to boot) upon my request forcing me to find more thrifty uses of my FRI (Farmville-related income).  Together with my new iPhone, Siri, I took to streamlining my budget, but after a drawn out battle over whether or not to spend less or earn more, the artificial intelligence system locked me out, unable to use it anymore.  Thus, I tightened my belt, restricting myself to the bare essentials such as food, rent, and the electric milk frother that I simply had to have.  It was bad business not to buy it, lactose intolerance be damned!

One respite from the unequivocal economic exorbitance was a deal I found at Godfather’s pizza offering 9 toppings and 9 dipping sauces for just 9 bucks!  And I could defer payment to my grandkids.  The only downside was that they said it wasn’t my right to choose the toppings.

Despite such difficulties, I still managed to satiate my appetite for travel by working selflessly for causes such as helping the earthquake relief effort in New York City.   The trip also gave me a chance to attend the infamous Occupy Walmart rally which was a powerful event that will stick with me like the pepper spray in my clothes, and a stop at Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park, home to the popular gourmet luncheon spot of the traders – “Quiche My Ass.”  I had the Elitist Arugula Salad for just $59 with a Groupon.

Creatively, I found my Muse fervently aroused as I completed my first novel typed entirely using a banana to hit the keystrokes.  I think the title speaks for itself – “Kjfoewwi6f.”

And as the waxings and wanings of the moon progressed rapidly, I nevertheless found time to learn a new vocation, officially becoming a fruit ninja.  The test was not easy as you are required to hack honeydews, carve cantaloupes, gouge guavas, and joust juniper berries all with finite precision and dexterity to the reverence of bystanders at the Farmer’s Market.  I feel the lifetime ban from the popular locale was well worth the citrus belt I earned.

Moving forward, I do not wish to let future opportunity pass me by, refusing to take for granted that which is within my reach.  As such, I am excited to finally attend a taping of Oprah and Regis in 2012!  It is with the same such enthusiasm that I say to you all, may the unmanned drone of prosperity rain unspeakable happiness and joy down upon your home.

Yours comedically,

Andy Wasif

 

 

[Featured image by: digitalart]

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Postcards From the Hedge

Postcards from the Hedge

April 29th

Dearest Penelope,

We arrived today in Chesterfield and are staying at a delightful bed & breakfast.  Winston is so romantic.  He had my favorite flowers, lilacs and petunias, waiting for me in our room.  Though he realized he’s allergic to lilacs, he insisted that we keep them in the room while he sleep outside.  What a gentleman!  We have an early morning in front of us so I’m off to bed without any further delay.

Sincerely yours,

Annabelle
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April 30th

My dearest Penelope,

I must tell you our nature walk was extraordinary.  When we set out down the path this morning, I expected only to see ants, mosquitoes, and ladybugs, but was overwhelmed by a variety of creatures including a stag beetle and a red-spotted purple butterfly.  And the things I am learning from Winston.  He mistakenly captured a regal fritillary in his net thinking it was a checkerspots fritillary before realizing the latter is indigenous to northern Spain and Central Asia.  I have never been more attracted to him as I am now.  I’m extremely tired now so I’ll continue my correspondence with you tomorrow.

Yours,

Annabelle
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May 2nd

Dear Penelope,

I believe that I am in love with Winston.  Today, as we were seated on a rotting log alongside the trail, he put his arm around me.  (Oh, Penelope, I know what you’re thinking and you do have the wildest imagination.)  No, he was simply brushing a Japanese beetle off my shoulder.  The chivalry never ceases with him.  Then he went on to describe the larvae stage of the beetle.  Fascinating!  He is so smart.  We went back to our room expecting to have a romantic evening last night, but Winston had a sneezing attack as the lilacs are still in the room.  So I went to bed alone and awoke well-rested for another day on the trail.

Annabelle
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May 2nd (p.m.)

Penelope,

This has been the most incredible day.  Winston proposed!  It was so romantic, like something out of a novel.  Instead of a ring, he presented me with a firefly.  That original Dickens!  Without me suspecting anything, he captured it on the trail with the intention of jarring it until evening when it might illuminate for me.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a striped blister beetle (the look quite similar to the firefly) that bit Winston on the hand.  My silly little Romeo has iced his hand and is now resting as he’s had his fill for one day.  I’m all flushed with excitement so I’ve ordered a hot toddy and it’s straight to bed.

Regards,

Annabelle
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May 3rd

Penny,

It seems my poor Winston had a slight reaction with that beetle yesterday.  He looks so cute puffed up like a float entered in the Rose Parade.  He hasn’t lost his nobility, though.  Not wanting to put a damper on my walk, he gave me his binoculars and sent me out by myself.  I missed him terribly, though I did encounter a pack of Monarch butterflies flying past me.  They must have been returning from their winter migration.  How lucky I was!  Absolutely breathtaking.

Anna
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May 4th

Dear Penelope,

Winston is dead.  The physician said the bite on his hand coupled with his allergy to lilacs weakened his immune system.  Given the news, I opted not to stray from my room today.  Perhaps I will write more later, but for now I am emotionally drained.

In deep sadness,

Annabelle
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May 7th

P,

As you can see by the front of the card, I’ve decided to finish my vacation in the Caribbean as I’ve never been.  It’s absolute paradise.  Plus, I’ve met the most wonderful man named Fernando who’s going to teach me how to “bodyboard.”  I look forward to telling you all about it when I return next week.

Hugs,

A

 

 

 

[featured image by: tharkul]

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Thor’s Exploration

Thor stood at the bow of the massive vessel.  He was tired.  It had been months since he constructed the ship, years since he first dreamed of setting out to discover new territory, and almost a decade since he and Fjorgyn Karsefni had spoken after one sordid night he deemed to be true destiny and she chalked up to too much mead.

In one hundred days at sea, they’d lost two ships and countless men.  Thor wondered if he’d ever see his family again.  He longed for the simple life of pillaging and plundering he’d left behind (though he could never remember which was which).

Their only amusement was a chessboard brought on board by Thorfinn Sturluson.  But the crew lost interest quickly when they realized Thorfinn cheated terribly.  He would swear, “The horsie can move anywhere!  If you don’t believe me, ask the Eastern Slavs.”  But if there were any Eastern Slavs on board, they weren’t talking.

The men were destitute:  want of spirit, want of affection, want of life.  Their meager diet consisted of porridge, boiled fish, and  crème de menthe brulee with wild berries and caramelized sugar garnished with a mint sprig.  They could take no more.

As they rowed, the crew glared at Thor with contempt, a far cry from the trust and admiration they felt towards him when the journey began.  But Thor was filled with resentment as well—mostly towards his longtime friend Thorvald Herjolfsson, who, in a moment of frustration, pushed Thor’s Runic monument to his father overboard saying it disrupted the energy of the boat.  Thor retaliated by throwing Thorvald’s book on Feng Shui overboard.  Petty as it was, neither man was going to present the other with an olive branch of peace.  Thorvald had thrown that off two days earlier.

There was not much time left as the supply of grain was running low.  Thor was not going to look at the endless horizon anymore.  He lowered his head and prayed silently to the Gods.

In a moment one could only call divine intervention, a speck appeared on the horizon.  Leif Thorrson cried, “Land!” but no one paid him any heed mainly because he had a bad habit of yelling “Land!” every hour, a habit that earned him the nickname, “The Timekeeper.”  This time, however, it was land.  All at once, the crew exploded in elation.  But lest they suffer from premature celebration, each man returned his focus to reaching the shore.  With the strength and power of a hundred ships, they stroked and stroked as the oak planks glided through the water.  The tide lent a hand and propelled the boat onto the beach lurching the crew to the sand.

Standing slowly on dry land for the first time in months, they looked around, gazing in stunned silence at the natural beauty that lay in front of them:  forests of willow and birch, magnificent fjords, rolling hills.

After what seemed an eternity, Thorvald approached Thor and handed him the flag.  Thor accepted it as the two men shared a moment of unspoken reconciliation.

With a tear in his eye, he jabbed the stick into the sand.  The crew cheered.  Then, with his voice cracking both from pride and exhaustion, Thor spoke.  “My friends,” he began, “it has been a long and arduous journey, but our labors have been rewarded.  We started out mere boys, but ended up men who have made history.  After a myriad of sunrises and sunsets, storms, the loss of our brothers at sea, we accomplished the impossible.  Now we must get word to our families and neighbors that we’re alive and well and about to settle in a new world.”  He sighed.  “Everyone back in the boat.”

*excerpted from “Will Beg For Dignity” (OhSchnappa Publishing, 2001)