Thursday, May 31, 2012


Hi!  I'm Jake!

It's almost summertime.  Growing up, one of my favorite things about summer was running around barefoot with the other kids on the Fourth of July. I loved laying on the cool, refreshing grass, looking up at the sky, imagining what it would be like if my parents let me watch the fireworks.  Childhood was great!

Me and my pretty bride to be.
Last night, I went to Austin's Blues on the Green with my lady.  As we traversed Zilker Park to get closer to the music, some chick looked back, checked me out, and gave me a sexyface smile.  Callie was like "Hey! Keep off my man!"  That was cool.

We met up with a couple of my couchsurfing friends to hear a few bands play the "blues."  It wasn't really the blues.  It was just a bunch of white guys singing about how they have a new CD for sale at the merch table. But it was nice listening to music outside.  We ate veggie burgers, and chips and guacamole.  I got a couple nice pictures with my lady. That all happened while we sat on the grass.  Thanks, grass!

Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because Grass:

1. Mowing the lawn is therapeutic.
I used to hate mowing the lawn.  It was a chore.  Eventually, I realized its potential to put my mind at ease. Mowing the lawn is relaxing. It's orderly. You have a simple task.  You go back and forth, clipping every lane of grass until it is done.  That's what makes mowing the lawn so great: Many tasks in my life are ongoing, constantly unfinished- but you either finished mowing the lawn or you didn't.  You either clipped that little grass mohawk by the elm trees or you didn't.  Either you whacked all the weeds with your weedwhacker or you didn't.  Either you ran over than tennis ball and it made a cool sound or you didn't. The point is, when you mow the lawn, there is no room for interpretation: You are either done or you are either not done. 

When you are done, you have a sense of accomplishment more rewarding than North Carolina corn pudding!  I'm thankful for that.  I'd also like some corn pudding.

2. You can put grass in your pants!
When I was a child, my cul de sac neighbors, John and Rocky made me put grass in my onesy feeted pajamas.  They were so funny.  I looked like a scarecrow!  That was silly!  John and Rocky always made the neighbor kids do crazy things. One of them is now in jail.  Guess which one!

Anyway, grass brought the Bristlecone Place cul de sac kids together.  I'm thankful for that!

3. Grass is a source of life.
I have done about a hundred video shoots for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and various other agricultural entities.  I have video taped cattle in all of their natural environments, including:
053112 maneatscoweatsgrass by Jake Sharon
  • the farm pasture
  • the ranch
  • natural grasslands
  • the feedyard
In most of these places, the cattle eat grass. That helps them become tasty cheeseburgers for my mouth. I have even eaten grass-fed cattleburgers- while sitting on the grass! I ate cattle as food while sitting on their food! That felt amazing. Go America!

Now, time to put a cloud on this glory. Imagine if cattle ate something besides grass?  What if they ate tasty cheeseburgers for my mouth? This whole cycle would be ruined.  Chaos. 

Thank India that's not the case.  Cows eat grass.  I sit on the grass. I eat cows. Life goes round.  Thanks, grass!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Live In AUX, Not PDX

Hi!  I'm Jake!

As some of me may know, I live in Austin, Texas, not Portland, Oregon.  Both have artsy fartsy.  Both have food trucks.  Both claim to keep it weird.  Both are cool towns. However, according to my budget, I can only live in one place at a time.  Currently, that place is Austin.

Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because I Live In AUX, Not PDX:

1. AUX Has Authentic BBQ.
I really enjoyed the "I Like Thai" food truck I found when I worked in Portland a few weeks ago.  It was only $5 for a ton of food. The Thai iced tea was only another dollar.  I love Thai iced tea!  So delicious!

"053012 Oregon BBQ" by Jake Sharon
However, before I picked the "I Like Thai" food truck, I passed about 20 other food trucks, including an "authentic Texas BBQ" food truck.  Granted, I didn't give that truck a chance- that's because I'm not stupid!  I eat Texas bbq all the time.  I wouldn't say I'm a bbq connoisseur, but I have eaten "Texas brisket" in other states and I have been burned!  I went to 12 Bones in Asheville, North Carolina.  That place makes a mean plate of pork.  They know NC bbq as well as anybody.  Their corn pudding is more rewarding than having a sense of accomplishment.  Their jalapeno cheese grits will rock your world like a fat chick fight.  However, even though they rock NC bbq, they made me a plate of brisket that had the flavor and consistency of shoe leather.

My point is 12 Bones will rock your hippie flip flops off with their delectable North Carolina bbq.  It's the best!  Yet, these bbq masters failed making Texas brisket. They absolutely failed.  So, do you think for one second I'm dumb enough to let some weed smoking, hipster Oregonians sell me their version of Texas bbq?  Think again.  

I am smart enough to know that you don't order sushi in Texas.  That's not not their specialty.  You don't get gumbo in Maine.  You don't get soul food from Albuquerque.  You don't eat Mexican in Boston.  You don't buy maple syrup from a midget. You sure as shrimp don't order brisket in Portland!

In short, I ate at Rudy's BBQ 3 times in the past week. I have eaten over 2 pounds of meat and several cups of creamed corn- made with real cream!  I am thankful for that!

2. Blow Your Mind With Barrels, Not Pipes.
In Portland, they have amazing weed.  No one can deny that. There was a time when that was important to me. However, in Austin -and pretty much anywhere in Texas- we have amazing gun laws!  Smoking weed may have calmed me down, but going to the gun range for several hours and improving my accuracy gives me a sense of accomplishment.  That's almost as rewarding as 12 Bones' corn pudding!

Sure, weed may have helped inspire me to paint some great paintings, but I never felt accomplished by merely smoking weed.  By the end of the day at the gun range, I feel calm because:

  • My breathing is more controlled, relaxed.
  • With controlled stance, breathing, and self awareness, you get focus- something that doesn't come naturally to me.
  • My groupings are tighter and I am hitting more bullseyes- so I have made measurable progress.
  • Most importantly, after a day at the range, because of my improved ability, I feel more empowered to protect my lady.  She deserves that.  It makes me feel good, too.  

So, I just outlined 4 more things I'm thankful for within the 3 things I am thankful for today.  There is a lot of thankfulness going around!  The point is I am thankful I live in a state that encourages responsible gun use instead of tempting me with drug use.  By the way, they still have drugs here; they just aren't as good.  Just ask Portland about that!

3. There Is A Direct Flight That Goes Between Both Towns.
I really do love Austin. It's great!  My fiancee and I spent a bunch of time the past couple days looking for a job, a horse stable, and a gym so when she moves here we can both be really happy. All this exploring is showing us just how great Austin truly is.

However, I got to explore Portland a bunch when I worked at Harvey's Comedy Club a couple weeks ago.  I know it is a great town too.  Harvey's was fun. Voodoo Doughnuts was delicious! I Like Thai was incredible.  Southwest Airlines, also one of my favorites, has a direct flight between the 2 cities.  So, even though I live in Austin, I am only a few hours away from Portland.  I am really thankful for that!

Monday, May 28, 2012

I Am Not A Pigeon

Hi! I'm Jake!

Rivercenter Comedy Club, courtesy of Google Maps
Last week, I worked with Jim Short at Rivercenter Comedy Club in San Antonio, Texas.  Those 8 shows were a blast! Each show was better than the previous show.  The final show, the Sunday late show was amazing!  I'm thankful for that.

Rivercenter Comedy Club is located a couple blocks from the historical Alamo, right in the epicenter of San Antonio's tourist trap.  Tourists clog the streets.  Employees at local restaurants don't like the tourists, so they frown a lot. They joylessly take their time bringing out their chain restaurant food.

So, Jim, Callie (my fianceè), and I decided to walk as far away from downtown as our hungry stomachs could take us.  We sought out delicious, local, San Antonio cuisine.  We found it a mile from downtown, at a little restaurant called Taco Garage.

Now, Sunday was a hot muggy, day. We checked inside Taco Garage to see if it was any cooler than their outside.  Nope.  The slight, almost imperceptible breeze outside made outside dining somewhat more pleasant.  Sitting outside gave us a chance to people watch.  Turns out, it also gave us a chance to pigeon watch.

The restaurant which shall heretofore remain nameless, had several un-bussed tables.  Pigeons, enjoying the food scrap bounty each dirty table offered, fearlessly feasted- which indicates these tables are dirty on a regular basis. These fat pigeons eat there all the time.

In some ways, the pigeon antics were fun to watch.  These rats of the sky had difficulty eating full-sized tortillas, so they flopped them in the air like Italians with their pizza dough.  They were territorial, too; the pigeons fiercely wrestled baby birds- and even crows- for every morsel.

Honestly, if I was a pigeon, I'd fight somebody for that food too: Taco Garage makes extremely delicious, authentic Mexican food.  It is soooo good!  We knew it.  The pigeons knew it.  So they battled for food.  They chased the other birds.  They pecked.  They tortilla tossed.  We had food and a show!

However, I soon realized the price for our entertainment: bird poop adorned our table.  If the food wasn't so good, we would have left.  I ate my delicious, molè-slathered chicken enchiladas- hoping my tasty wouldn't have a digestive price.  Pigeon poo does not do my insides any favors.

Callie, Jim, and I left full, and lethargic.  Even though those fat pigeons had a great feast that day, I am still thankful I am not one of those devil-eyed sky rats.  So, here are 3 Things I Am Thankful for because I Am Not a Pigeon:

1. Pigeons have to scavenge for their food.
Pigeons can't cook eggs.  They can't grill a steak.  Pigeons can't order chicken enchiladas.  They have to wait for us humans to leave our dirty plates before they can eat.  If they try eating before we leave, they might get a punch to the face! That's right, next time you see a pigeon eating your food, punch it in the face!

That is one of the worst things about being a scavenger: your nutrition depends on old ladies and dirty restaurants.  Stupid bird bums! I'm thankful I don't have that problem!

2. Pigeons have weird eyeballs.
If you dress like the devil, you will fail any job interview- unless they are casting a devil.  It's the same thing with pigeons.  They can't get jobs.  That's because their eyes look like devil eyes. That is inappropriate for any non-devil job interview. Maybe that's why pigeons act like beggar homeless people all the time: they can't get jobs because of their devil eyes but then it's somehow my job to feed them?  Well, pigeons can go suck an egg if they I'm going to pay their rent!

Anyway, I'm glad I have a job- kind of. I am so thankful I don't have stupid pigeon devil eyes!

3. Pigeons can't type very well.
Again, pigeons!  If you can't learn a basic skill set like typing, you are going to be jobless.  Again, pigeons!  Again!  You contribute nothing to society! You're everybody's burden!  Why don't you go back to that restaurant job where you flip tortillas for tourist entertainment?! I'd be thankful for that!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Do Not Have a Hump

Hi! I'm Jake!
I don't have a hump. There's no back story to this. I just don't have a hump. I'm really glad about that.

Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because I Do Not Have A Hump:

1. I don't have to wear a special sweater.
Hump people often have big heads too. I'm not saying they are overly egotistical- I mean, they are egotistical because they have more real estate for neck tattoos- but they also have physically bigger heads.  Humpback heads will stretch a sweater neck hole like a fat baby's birth.

I'm thankful I don't have the head or the hump to ruin my clothes.

2. I am not the go-to guy for piggy back rides.
052612 River Center's Rules Humpback,
by Jake Sharon
I used to work for a lady so big that her butt had a shelf. You could stand on it, take it for a ride! I pictured children gayly riding it around to all the barbecue joints.

Humpbacks have a similar kid seat on their neck. That torso cankle is a big enough platform to serve a four-course dinner!

People love a sweet piggy back ride like that. They ride it around like Hannibal on his elephants. It's fun for the passenger, but demoralizing for the Quasimodo. It's probably bad for their back, too! Their back is already bad- and now people want humpback pigback rides?

I'm thankful I don't have that problem. Now, if I could only get rid of this mustache, I wouldn't have to give any rides at all!

3. No hump sunburns.
A back hump is just an epidermal flat land. It would be a great place for a solar panel. However, when the sun is out, assuming there aren't any piggy back passengers, that area is exposed for the sun's scorn.

Imagine peeling off a humpback's plate-sized, post-sunburn skin peel! I don't have that problem and I am so thankful!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Susan Jones

Hi!  I'm Jake!

The past few weeks, I have had a blast on my Northwest tour.  Shows every night. Great crowds.  Headlining new rooms.  I'm ending this tour at one of my favorite club, Harvey's Comedy Club in Portland, Oregon.  Great town.  Great club.  I've been coming up to the Northwest for 2-3 years. Each time I work here, I get even better gigs than I had last time.  I love the Northwest!

One of the main reasons I do so well up here is several years ago, I did a contest in Colorado.  It was the first annual and last annual somethingorother Colorado comedy competition. I can't remember what that contest was called.  What I do remember is I briefly met comedian Susan Jones.  I had no idea how important that quick meeting was.  Susan has great advice.  She has helped open doors for me.

Susan is a killer comedian, on the verge of some really big things.  She's a great friend. She's helped me out a bunch. So here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because of Susan Jones:

1. Susan & Larry run a comedy bed & breakfast.
Most of the gigs put me up in a hotel or comedy condo. In the rare instance I have a night without a place to stay, my friends Susan, & her fiancee, Larry put me up on their couch or in their guest room.

It's a blast!  Besides Larry & Susan, there are always a ton of people in the house. Susan's nephew, cousin, & another nephew pretty much reside there.  Great people. There are always comedians at their place.  This time, Sam Demaris was in town. Killer comedian from Houston.  Great storyteller. Sam is actually staying at my place in Austin next week.  James Milton popped his head in a couple times.  He's quiet, but when he speaks, that kid is funny.  

Every time I'm there, it's a different mix of comedians.  We write, workshop material, exchange business ideas, exchange business contacts.  Mostly, though, we go on adventures. Midnight karaoke. Crash an open mic or two.  Stuff our faces with Seattle cuisine like dim sum, sushi, pancakes.  Five full comedians stuffed in a 4-person car, riffing.  It's a great time. It's like going to a comedy festival but nobody charged me a submission fee.  I've gotten more business & material, & I've had more fun during one stay at Susan's & Larry's than all the comedy festivals I have ever done - combined!  I'm thankful for that.

2. Susan Jones is connected.
So, Susan & Larry constantly host out-of-town comedians. Comedy comes to them. Susan is also an integral part of the Seattle comedy scene.  She used to manage a prominent comedy club.  When she isn't on the road, she's constantly onstage in town.  To say she's funny is an understatement.  You should see her level an audience.  Check out a clip here.

Partly because she's a strong comedian & partly because she's just a nice person*, she's a great resource when your schedule up here is a little light. She knows everybody. A high percentage of the gigs I get up here are due either to her information or to her direct influence.  "My friend Jake is in town next month.  Can you get him a gig?" We're sitting in her living room, me on the couch & her in "the command chair."  She says "Okay, so what dates do you have open again?" We make calls, send some e-mails. We fill the dates. Usually, it's pretty tough to get a hold of the clubs & bookers you want to work for, but bookers call her!

She's fostering talent, building a community of comedians who help each other get work. Usually when a comedian helps another comedian it's kind of like a "you scratch my back I scratch yours" kind of deal, but Susan's a lot farther in her career than I am.  I've gotten her a couple shows here & there, but nothing compared to how much she has helped me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to completely pay her back.  As I told her recently, I pretty much just need to get famous- just so I can hook her up someday!

These days, I know enough folks up here I can usually book most of my gigs on my own.  Susan helped pave that road for me, though.  Most of these gigs are repeat business- but before I could repeat that business, Susan helped me get in.  If you haven't worked in show business, you probably don't have any idea how important that is.  There are millions of new comedians taking gigs every day.  Even if you're super funny, it's a rough business.  Doors don't open themselves.  So, I appreciate the help!

3. Susan Jones has a Ragnar.
I never thought I'd like any poodle.  When I think of poodles, I think of high maintenance, fancy pants, snotty owners who give their dogs doucheface haircuts & parade them around on TV because that's easier than being an interesting person.

Susan has a toy poodle named Ragnar who goes absolutely batnuts when you come to the door.   His tail wags faster than a hummingbird.  It practically lifts him off the ground. You'd think you were his best friend who miraculously came back from the dead.

Ragnar doesn't have a stupid haircut. I didn't even know he was a poodle till somebody told me. He's just a happy little goof.  Plus, he has a couple buddies.  Lady is a sweet little dachshund.  Dozer is one of two or three cats on this planet I actually like.  Most cats suck, not dozer. Now that I'm engaged, she might be the only female my fiancee will let take a nap with me.

Anyway, Susan & Larry have exposed their animals to a multitude of us vagabond comedians, so they are social, super chill.  Along with Susan, Larry, their family, & all the comedians, these pets make you feel at home. When you're on the road, sometimes you're just in a crappy hotel, eating ramen.  So, feeling at home is pretty cool. I'm thankful & honored to be part of that cast.
There are a lot of great things I can say about Susan.  I barely scratched the surface. I haven't even begun to tell you how great Larry is.  Super chill dude.  He puts up with comedians in his house, constantly.  Believe me: that's a big deal.  Comedians are high maintenance! He takes us to the airport & the ferry....

Anyway, I'm thankful I know Susan & Larry.  Make sure to check out her website, . If you're in the area where she's performing, go to a show.

I'm also really thankful you read my blog.  Until next time...

Bye!  I'm Jake!

*Susan is a super nice person.  It's probably not a good idea to screw her over though.  She does know everybody up here. :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Can't Feel My Wounds!

Hi!  I'm Jake!

 Check out the grey skin surrounding my blister hole!
Bad news: last week, I was playing with fire and I gave myself a 2nd degree burn wound.

Good news: I burned my nerves!  So, when the grey-skinned pus-bubble blister burst open, I didn't feel it.  Hooray!

Here Are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because I Can't Feel My Wounds!

1. No pain means I can type this blog.
Last time I had a burn wound, anything that even came near my scar tissue issue hurt like a son of a grinch!

This burn is way worse.  If it felt as bad as it looks, my pointer finger would be debilitated. Unencumbered by pain, my pointer finger can peck at each individual letter.  In a few hours, this blog entry will be complete.  Without the use of pointy -that's the nickname I gave my pointer finger- without pointy, I'd have to use Middly. Middly is what I call my pinky.  Pinker is what I call my middle finger.  It's confusing.  Anyway, if I put Middly in charge of typing this blog, who knows how long it would take?  Truth be told, if Middly was in charge, everybody would probably die.

Fortunately, Pointy is in charge.  That means I can finish my blog tonight and not everybody will die.  I'm thankful for that!

2. I must not be hurt too bad.
I feel pain when I am hurt real bad.  I currently don't feel the pain. So, according to faulty logic, I am not hurt real bad.  I am thankful for that.

3. I can sleep tonight.
When I'm in excruciating pain, it's hard to sleep- probably because of all the screaming and crying.  The fact that I'd be up all night typing with Middly wouldn't help matters either.  Fricking Middly!

Fortunately, Middly has been given the responsibility of just occasionally typing the shift key.  Pointy is in charge and he feels relaxed enough to let me sleep without cries or screams.  As long as the voices in my head shut up too, tomorrow I'll awake, rested and content.  I'll be thankful for that!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thanks, Zoom!

Hi!  I'm Jake!

I have a bad memory.  I am constantly writing new material for my stand-up comedy act, but I have a hard time remembering half the things I've written.  So, whenever I do a gig, I usually revert to the tried and true material that I've been doing for forever.  My writing is way more prolific than my act would lead you to believe because my crappy memory bottlenecks my process!  I can't give you new material if I can't remember it!

So, a few months ago, I began a change:  I now record every single set on my Zoom H1.  Then, I endeavor to listen to each set within a week of recording it. This is crucial!  Listening to my sets while reading the material I wrote for those sets helps me remember the material.

Moreover, I ad-lib constantly. Even though most of my material comes from sitting down, shuffling through my notes, & cranking out jokes & stories, I have an improv background- so, a decent percentage of my best punchlines were originally ad-libs.  I tend to say things more naturally on stage than I do on paper.

The problem is my brain doesn't always remember my ad-libs.  However, my Zoom H1 records everything. Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because I have a Zoom H1:

1. The audio is crystal clear.
The microphones on the Zoom H1 sound amazing.  My previous voice recorder, some Olympus piece of dung cost $85, which is about $10 less than the Zoom H1. The Olympus recorder's microphones sounded horrible, tinny. Every time I tried listening to a performance, I had to play back each line about 10 times just to see if I could figure out what I said.  With the H1, I can recognize every word instantly.  Unless I am mumbling, or my face is buried in a pillow, I can hear & understand every word, every punchline, every ad-lib.

In fact, the audio is so good I often use my ad-libs on my podcast, The Battery Podcast.  If I'm interacting with an audience member, you can distinctly hear both of us. That Olympus piece of crap barely picked me up, let alone some loudmouth idiot from the 10th row! So, you can hear the same idiot I heard! I'm thankful for that.

2. The H1 is out of the way. I'm out of the way too.
In the past, to get a decent recording of my set, I'd have to get some line-cook slash sound guy from the comedy club to give me permission to connect my device to his soundboard.  "I promise: I'll re-connect all the cables I pulled.  I know.  I know.  The last guy that promised you that didn't take care of that. Then, because you do a soundcheck, you didn't have audio until a half-hour into the show.  I swear.  I won't leave you hanging."

I've had that conversation a million times.  Because I worked two weeks after an irresponsible, big-headed douche who screwed up the club's audio, I didn't get to record.  Or, I did get to record, but I had a long tenuous conversation before they'd let me do anything.

With the H1, I don't have to do that anymore. I also don't have to wear a lavalier mic.  I'm not a news reporter.  I don't need a lav.

I also don't have to worry about the door guy slash sound guy accidentally turning my device off or pressing a button so I don't get any recording.

I have crystal clear audio in my pocket.  If for any reason it is screwed up, it's because I forgot to put in new batteries. That's it.  I'm the only one who's accountable.  I am extremely thankful for that.

3. The H1 can record a variety of file formats.
This part isn't glamorous.  This is nerd talk.  My H1 can record broadcast quality WAV (96 kHz, 48 kHz, 44.1 kHZ, at 16-bit or 24-bit). It can also record mp3 from 48 mbps to 320 mbps. Source:

The point is, I can record over 2 hours' worth of high quality audio, or over 20 hours' worth of still pretty amazing audio!  Considering I'm the kind of guy who occasionally forgets to empty my memory card before my next recording, this is huge!

As long as I put in fresh batteries, I always have a recording.  Reliability is crucial when recording.  The H1 is more reliable than I am!  I'm thankful for that.