Online Dating. It's All About the Pics.

Every few years, I get lonely.

Not the brand of lonely that's easily remedied by close friends, career, or the occasional hook-up. I become immune to those instant elixirs and get temporarily drunk on the idea-slash-delusion of meeting the mythical one.

The kind of lonely that makes you do passive-aggressive crap like Create Your Online Profile Today! It's Fast! It's Free! It's Fruitless!

What could be easier, right? It's a lot less humiliating than trying to meet someone at a bar or an orgy, right?


Nope. At least in person I get instant feedback and a legitimate opportunity to win them over. Most women on the interweb don't give me that chance.

The insecurity begins after the first girl doesn't return my e-mail...which is the equivalent of initiating a handshake while they just stare at you smugly. "I SAID, it's nice to MEET you. Bitch."

I fear that it all comes down to the photos. While I'm quite aware of my limited appeal, I am not an un-handsome man. But online dating makes me feel downright hideous.

I'm realistic, too. I punch my own weight. I don't bother with conventionally "hot" girls. Hot girls are fucking boring...and boring fucks. Congratulations, you were born attractive...don't be a cunt about it. You know what's worse than getting a shit-ton of attention? Getting ignored.

Oops. That slipped out.

That's another thing. I hate how online dating brings out the sour grapes teenager in me. I hate being misunderstood. I hate feeling the need to write a profile laced with justifications. "No, really, girls...I date attractive, amazing women...I swears! I'm here 'cos I'm lazy, not desperate! Whatever you're thinking, you're wrong! I am indeed in your league, I just look terrible in the uniform!"

It's not desperation, it's raw, head-shaking frustration.

Of the tens of thousands of Women Online Now!, I usually end up e-mailing only a handful of quirky, like-minded cuties. Most of whom would likely take a chance on me if we were lab partners or buddy cops. That's how it happens: attractive women only find me attractive after they get to know me.*

While I realize this about myself, I conveniently jettison this knowledge and hope that maybe this time will be different.

But it never is. In fact, my online-dating experiences are nearly mechanical:

-I join.
-I browse.
-Basic search.
-Advanced search.
-Increase distance from 10 to 50 miles.
-Write a brief hello to a few women.
-Add another photo.
-Tweak profile.
-Remove a photo.
-Mentally punch hole in wall.
-Delete account and promise myself never again.

And yet, here I go. Another service. Another profile. Another attempt at crafting the correct recipe of wit and sincerity to lure in equally scene-weary women.

I read and re-read it. I have female friends peruse and proofread it. But the string of non-responses have already begun. It all reminds me of a painfully accurate anecdote:

Did you hear about the guy who searched his entire life for that perfect woman, and finally found her? He rushed over, elated and excited. He promptly returned with his head hung low, shoulders slumped and said: "Turns out she's waiting for the perfect guy."


So ok, Cupid, I'm giving you one more shot. Please use the crossbow. And when you pull an arrow from your quiver, dip the business end in Rohypnol.


*Note: I know the pendulum swings both ways, but this is merely my own, personal slant.

I Got a Word in the Dictionary...

...the Urban Dictionary. But it's still pretty cool.

Click for the full definition of my submission: Hipocracy.

What's really cool, however, is while someone beat me to the punch, UD moved my version to the #1 spot.

It's a genuine honor to be sandwiched in between historic entries like Gate Rape and Izzle.


Ore-gone. Not forgotten.

I like puns. F**k off.

I also enjoy mispronouncing Oregon.

My five weeks in Portland were nothing shy of delightful. The drive down the coast was therapeutic and humbling. My brief stint in L.A. was productive and, dare I say, inspiring.

Back in Austin for two days and I'm already boring my friends with tales from beyond the borders of Travis County. And for the first time in over 10 years, I feel like I'm done with Texas.


Inside The Brody awesomely intimate room for comedy in Portland, OR.

If I'm honest with myself--which happens less often than it should--my stay in PDX was fulfilling because I was doing things like...doing things. I was making an effort to live and have fun. Remember fun? It's a faint memory, but it's like riding a bike. Best part? Letting go of the handle bars now and again.

I know how cheesy that sounds, but I'm Mario, have we had the pleasure?

I've also learned that those who say you can't escape yourself or solve your problems by running away have done little to no traveling. Worse yet: little to no paying attention.

You learn exactly shit by staying put. I think Emily Dickinson said that.

One more reason to relocate...
Yup. That's a Maple Bar w/ Bacon. Don't vomit 'til you try it. That little one is topped with Tang. Right above? Mango jelly-filled. Sugar high meets food buzz.

So, will Bat City be losing this witty wop to the land of skinny jeans and Subarus? Eventually.

While living in NYC for three years made me appreciate living in Austin, spending time in Portland has made me appreciate the benefits of leaving it.

1 Pseudo biker bar + 4 Unknown comics = 2 Audience members.
Inside Fresh Pot's wash room. Yes and Yes, I say.

There's something to be said about a crisp start in a new city...and here it is: while I'm not sure how to make things work if I left--condo, career, t-shirts--I cannot deny the fact that I was just as clueless when I first moved here with no condo, no career and no t-shirt business.

Being naive and impetuous yielded results I had never predicted or imagined before I packed up the van.

It's true...this big sign was made in Oregon.

This good-bye of sorts is at least six months ahead of schedule, perhaps even a year, but I've already flipped over the hourglass, one might say.

Not this one, but some one.

Inside The Kennedy School in old grade school with rooms converted into pubs, hotel suites and a brewery. This was outside a tiny bar called Detention.
Just like with regular detention, I'm gonna need a ride home.
An old-school mini bar. Heh.
Portland is teeming with friendly faces like this adorable mug. And a damn fine Scrabble partner to boot.
Forget it,'s (not even close to) Chinatown!

If I think about leaving behind my established group of passionate pals, cohorts, cronies and connections, it's enough to give me pause. It's a stiff price to pay.

The only solace is the thrill of both new and existing friendships that await me in Portland. 

30 days of inside jokes with my dear friend, Kimm. Met in 1991. Lost touch. Got back in touch. Will keep in touch. And Greg: there was never any actual touching.

If my face looks odd or slightly unrecognizable in the above pic, it's because I'm content. It's the same face I wore when I discovered Austin for the first (and second) time.

Again, it won't be for a while, and I'll miss it here, but I gots to follow that face.


Next Stop: Cheesus Camp!

Adults with braces need not eat in front of me.

My PDX pal, Kimm, and I wolfed down some gourmet grilled cheesy goodness at my new favorite guilty pleasure food cart...

Love that logo.

Food bus, vinyl seats and all.

Grade-school yearbook photos under glass table tops. Amazingly absurd artwork above you. And the most delicious, buttery, crispy-cornered sandwiches I've had since I was 12. Just like every Thursday in middle school.

We picked a cozy table over the wheel well.

Kimm...longing for an emergency exit.

For the sake of nostalgia, I had Kimm huck a spitball at me, shortly followed by an atomic wedgie. Then I got nauseous and threw up.

I will be back. Several times.

Check out their website and menu here. Today I had the one with roasted jalapenos, colby jack, cream cheese and tortilla chips on grilled white. Then we shared "The Jaime." Go look. Hoooly shit.

I'm developing a sweet and savory crush on you, Portland.....xomario

(PS)...Upon my second visit, the gal behind the counter remembered my "name"...Jack.

Damn right.

Aww, kids. Just before they learn to be douche bags.
I was scolded by the cook for sticking my hand out the window.
The entire ceiling of the bus was tattooed with sinister art like this. Like a vaguely deviant Sistine Chapel.

Tell me it's a horrible coincidence that the back of the bus is closer to Rosa Parks Way than the front.

A boobs!

I call this one: "The Field Trip."
His mouth looks like a blue papaya. Or Smurfette's toothy vagina.

Mario not Mario

I hate waiting for that penny...when I order coffee or something where tip jars exist, and my change is one penny.

It's no-win.

If I walk away: "Thanks for the tip, you cheap bastard."

If I wait: "Oh, here's your change, you cheap bastard."

The funny thing is, a one-cent tip just about covers the effort of handing me a self-serve coffee cup.

But that's another blog.

I'm also finished with giving my real name to coffee shop cashiers.

For those unfamiliar, I've always pronounced it: "Marry-oh."  It's an An-drea/Ahhn-drea sorta thing. Strictly preference. But apparently, once I leave the northeast region, I'm saying my own name incorrectly.

When I say "Marry-oh," baristas cock their heads like dogs at a Sonic Youth show.


I shit you not. I thought, really? BARRY-O topped the list on your mental quick-correct? Let's try again.


-How do you spell that?


-Ohh, Mahh-rio.

Sure. My mistake.

One time, after going through this at the register, the girl making my coffee held up a cup and shouted: "I have a tall Americano in the window for MARIA!"

I just smiled and said: "MARRY-oh."

She replied: "Oh, I'm fine, how are YOU?"


So now I'm Jack. You can't fuck up "Jack." Right?

That's what I thought until I used it recently: "I have a tall Americano in the window for JEFF."


PDX Minutiae

If this car could pat itself on the back, it probably would.

A common sight in Portland. Vintage puddles.

Even the dead presidents in PDX wear thick hipster frames.

The weird thing is, my friend's cat just crapped out some mediocre street art.

Okay, NOW which way should I go...?
"Go west, young man...but first, pull my finger. Young man."

Some Artsy. Some Fartsy.

Books in a bike Zoe Deschanel of her. This one contained The Alchemist. Good read for curious dreamers. But not bi-curious dreamers.
Oh no! There's a hairy Jew on my porch! Funny man Dustin Kaufman paid this visitor a visit for a night. Great set, Dustin. Great set.

Pfft. Cock(tail) Tease.

I've been told my eyes are of the bedroom or puppy-dog persuasion. Which is funny, 'cos I sleep doggy-style.

Lotsa vintage Volvos up here...all of them still running. Even this rusty bucket.

I'm thinking about trading in the wagon for a pair of these retro, eco-friendly skates. Because I feel like getting my ass kicked for the environment.

Portland, Oregasm...

The rumors are true...Portland is gorgeous. And I've only seen a fraction of it.

Not to mention the buzz I've gotten from the food; the espresso; the adorably mousy gals who make the espresso; and the polite, receptive crowds at Helium Comedy Club.

I can bore you with landscape pics, but I'd rather bore you with random minutiae...

...and my sincere apologies to those who have ever met me.

Cool idea for a fence, sure, but how do you repair it?

"High on Life," said the flower-faced skull.

Here in Portland, even the bike racks get chilly.

Woo. Hoo. One copy of my book left at Powell's.
Let's pretend mine falls under "Proverbs."

It's true. My book is swollen.

Sidewalk movie quotes. RIP Dennis Hopper.

Random Roadtrip Pics

Outside the Denver Museum of Natural History. 

Bet you guys didn't know that buffalo and other wild game used to roam the high plains with well-dressed, vaguely ethnic business women.
"If you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly!" 
-The black dude in Cannonball Run
RIP: Dragon P. Fly

9/10/2010 - 9/12/2010
Cause of Death: Hit and run
Suspect: 1994 Volvo wagon
Utah! Where the deer and the dinosaur plaaay...