Monday, September 29, 2008

Pardon my British

I don’t swear. At times I think it’s a bit hypocritical of me. I watch movies that contain swearing and listen to music that contains swearing. I swear in my head. But I don’t swear out loud. I’m not really that temperant (not a word according to spellcheck, but I say it is) of an individual, it’s just that I don’t like speaking very much. So my speech is pretty deliberate, so it’s relatively easy to choose not to say certain things.

Which is not to say that my language is pristine. I had a missionary companion who told me sucks was a curse. I say sucks pretty often, so screw him. I also saw screw, and a variety of other words that I realize aren’t classy. But they’re emphatic, which is the argument people make for why they swear. And really, I don’t have a huge issue with it. It’s true, sometimes swearing makes me think less of people. But sometimes it makes me like them more. And there’s one particular girl who makes swearing cute. Using that language is gamble.

In addition to my low grade vulgarity, I do enjoy British swearing. My recent stint watching Skins reminded me of this. (Incidentally, I’m going to talk about Skins again next post, so deal with it.) If you’re British, you’ll probably be offended by this next sentence, so consider yourself warned. British curses that I enjoy include, but aren’t limited to: wanker, bollocks, shag, piss off, slag, bugger, balls, sodding, bloody and crap. I don’t consider myself British enough to pull off sodding or shag, but I’ve been known to use the rest on occasion. I was reading a BBC report on cursing and was surprised how highly some of these words ranked. Wanker for instance, is considered the 4th most offensive curse. I was also surprised that the C word beat out two F-bomb variations for the top spot, and wondered if it held the top spot on this side of the pond. I was also surprised to find crap and whore in their top 25. I use whore like water.

I don’t really have a conclusion, so here’s another Skins clip, which includes a fair amount of swearing, so should be avoided by civilized folk. It’s of Chris, who is probably my second favorite character.

Chris trying not to swear

Sunday, September 28, 2008

That's so Cassie

My favorite show of the last month is Skins. Yes, the competition was slim. But this show is great regardless.

Here's Cassie, my favorite character. This particular clip doesn't show any of the show's humor (or humour, since it's exceedingly British) but is still a quick glimpse into her damaged mind.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I hate my hippocampus redux

The other night we happened upon the topic of The Chipmunks Adventure. No, I have no idea what brought it up. But sadly, I found that I was able to remember the plot fairly well and even had bits of songs left in my head. After a debate as to whether the dolls they smuggled contained cocaine or not (kidding, it was diamonds and money) I decided I had to find a copy of the movie.

The saddest thing about this story is probably how quickly I was able to find a full copy of the movie. I had it downloaded in under an hour. Why in the world are people streaming this? But in no time I had the movie (along with the soundtrack!) and was ready for a flashback.

I have no idea how recently or how frequently I saw this movie. I do know that in the first ten minutes nearly every line sounded familiar. I didn’t know what the Louvre was in 1987, but I remember Alvin and Simon talking about it. Once again, I desperately wish I could choose what information I retained.

Some funny observations jumping through the movie

1. Didn’t these voices drive parents insane? The 7 main characters are all the same 2 voices, just at different pitches. Dave, Alvin and Simon are all one guy and Theodore and the Chippettes are all the same girl. You can find clips on Youtube where they’ve taken out the voice tweaking.
2. Getting Lucky With You? That’s a creepy song for pre-teen anthropomorphic chipmunks to be singing.
3. The Girls of Rock and Roll? There are few things I can think of less rock and roll than The Chippettes. But holy Flashdance, check out this video: Girls of Rock and Roll

Monday, September 22, 2008

Easy Cheese

Jim Gaffigan has a bit about Easy Cheese. Unfortunately I can’t find a video clip of it online, so I’ll have to paraphrase it. I realize of course that paraphrasing a standup bit renders it nearly humorless, but I see no way to avoid it. (Addendum: I found a audio sample of the clip here, but you still need the visual to do it justice: Spray Cheese ) Jim notes that people are incredibly lazy. How else can you explain Easy Cheese? People are so lazy that they don’t want to go through the tremendous hassle of eating cheese. Instead they want to move their finger ever so slightly, causing “cheese” to spray onto their plate/cracker/tongue.

It occurred to me today that I’m no different. Well, slightly different in that I realize Easy Cheese is pretty gross. But equally lazy. I opened my Google Reader and saw that I had 606 blog entries to read. 606 blog posts have been written either by people I like, or about things I like, and I’ve been too lazy to read them. I have to note here than none of you should be using Google Reader since that prevents me from counter-stalking you using Google Analytics, which I do. Which leads me this point: have I become precipitously less interesting since September began? Or did you all just discover Google Reader?

Admittedly, reading blog posts involves reading, which as a doctor I do get to count as working. So maybe I’m not horrendously lazy because I don’t get around to reading these blogs. But I’m also lazy enough that I don’t get around to watching videos. In years past I was a regular viewer of Homestarrunner, Ask a Ninja, Red Vs Blue and countless other silly internet videos. My first explanation would be that I’ve outgrown these shows, so no longer spend my precious time watching them. But when I do occasionally stumble across one of them during my surfing, I do think they’re funny. Perhaps not as funny as they were to 21 year old Chris, but still chuckleworthy. So the only conclusion is that I’m too lazy to nudge my finger a few times to bring myself to the site where I know the funny content to reside. Free of charge. On my computer, which is nearby 18 hours a day.

It’s just a flex of a finger, and I’m too lazy to partake of the metaphorical Easy Cheese. Though the metaphorical Easy Cheese may be as unhealthy as the Easy Cheese actual, so perhaps it’s for the best.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do as I say

I’m currently on my family medicine rotation. I think the common fear for med students is that they’ll be doing nothing but physicals and colds for 2 months. Perhaps things will change in flu season, but I haven’t done much of either. Instead it seems that everyone I see has the following: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes mellitus. Put in more common terms, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Put in simplistic terms, too much salt, fat and sugar in the blood. As you’d guess, this trio follows obesity pretty closely. Get rid of obesity and I’d be twiddling my thumbs for much of the day. (That’s not really true, as I’m sure I could fill my day with patients on pain and depression meds, but that doesn’t support this post.)

Which is why I nearly laughed out loud at Grand Rounds last week. Grand Rounds is a lecture doctors can go do once a week if they feel like it. A major benefit of going is that a drug company will buy you lunch. Normally this is pizza, barbeque, subs, burritos, or anything that’s relatively cheap and easy to buy in bulk. Last week our drug rep decided to think outside the box and got us food from The Winking Lizard, a local tavern. Have you ever had tavern food? The spread included the following: pizza, sliders (mini-hamburgers, for non Ohioans), quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, buffalo wings, onion rings, French fries, potato skins and fried ravioli. I didn’t instruct patients on diet changes for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Best Movie I Watched Last Week

The Fall.
Some interesting facts:

The director claims they didn’t use special effects. I don’t believe this (look at the monkey and the birds flying out of the mystic’s mouth) but they certainly didn’t use very many. Instead they shot the film in 18 different countries, in some very interesting buildings.

The little girl didn’t know English, she just memorized her lines. They did all her scenes chronologically and kept her in the dark so she was learning the story along with the audience. They also (unintentionally) had her believe that Lee Pace was actually paralyzed during the first bit of shooting.

The movie was fantastic. Fantastic in that it depicted various fantasy dreamscapes. Although it was very good, it certainly wasn’t without its flaws. The visuals were pretty amazing throughout, even when they were just in the hospital. And while most of the actors didn’t have anything challenging to do, the two leads both did very well. Lee Pace was more interesting here than in Pushing Daisies, which I was pretty happy about. Tarsem has greatly improved his work from The Cell by adding deeper story to accompany his beautiful visuals. Although this film did lack J.Lo. It seems likely that J.Lo and deep story are incompatible.

Runner Up: Pineapple Express

A pretty stark contrast, I realize. This wasn’t as funny as Rogen’s previous work, but it was still plenty funny. In annoying internet speak, it was LOL but never made it to ROFL. These guys are hilarious, but they seriously need some better editors. It may be too much to ask for a stoner movie to have tight pacing.

Runner Runner Up (Runner Up Up?): Burn After Reading

A much smarter comedy than Pineapple, but also less comedic. Brad Pitt and George Clooney elicited some laughs, and JK Simmons was hilarious, but a lot of the rest fell flat. And it’s annoying that Brad Pitt is in all the commercials when he’s a minor character. But in all fairness, I often like Coen movies better a couple weeks after watching them. I’ll catch it again when it comes out on DVD and see how it hits me.

50 hours without power, FYI

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have a week off at the end of October. Any suggestions on an awesome vacation that's also cheap, requires little planning and takes me to a land rife with beautiful women? That's my first time using the word rife and I'm not entirely sure it was successful.

Current considerations: Boston (we could go to Salem on Halloween! Nerdy extraordinaire), NYC, DC, and a distant possibility of Miami.

Stupid Ike

All week we heard the news reports. “Watch out Texas, Ike is coming.” “Ike’s coming, so everyone in Texas get ready or get out of the way.” Not once did you hear “Hey Ohio, just so you know, Ike’s going to mess you up too.”

But it did. My power’s been off for 24 hours. They’re not promising anything, but most reports say to sit it out until Wednesday or even Saturday. Why so long? Our powerline workers are in Texas.

TGISeptember. At least it’s just about room temp outside so I’m not freezing or burning to death.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why I'm not a parent

This is probably the first infantile outfit I've ever liked.

Seriously, the chicken outfit, the kids face, the chest-burster. I'd totally give the kid candy, any day of the year.

Monday, September 08, 2008

My old friend

I first came across Akira one Saturday morning in 1994. I was channel surfing, as I was prone to do, and came across this little piece of amazing. What in the world was this? Bikers, mutants, lasers, ghosts, psychics, telekinetics, aliens, swearing, violence, drugs, teenage angst, atomic bombs, all in a cartoon. A cartoon! After another viewing, it didn’t actually contain ALL those things, but it was still awesome. Transformers was great, but it couldn’t stand one round with Akira.

This was 1994. I’m making up that date, but it’s about right. Twelve year olds didn’t watch anime in 1994. The big invasion came in 1998 with Pokemon and all the mind-numbing overly-popular evil it brought with it. Akira was something grand and new. It was made in 1988, at the same time America was getting The Brave Little Toaster and Oliver and Company. Nothing against those films (the BLT had Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz! Didn’t remember that did you?) but they just weren’t for me. The Sci-Fi channel had provided me with my fix. The misused channel hasn’t really done much for me since 1994, but at least it provided this one gift.

I’ve never shown Akira to anyone. That’s not to say that I refuse to, or that I never will. I just haven’t. People have a gag reflex when they hear the word anime. To be patronizing, it’s because they haven’t experienced any quality anime. To be overdramatic, I’m not going to cast my pearls before swine. And to be elitist, I kind of like it better that people don’t like it. Certainly, swine is an unnecessary insult; the Bible’s making me sound like a jerk. Also, the anime the naysayers have seen may very well have been horrible. But if you’re rejecting anime as a whole (which is really tantamount to saying you don’t like any movie that’s in black or white, or was made in Australia) you probably haven’t tried to find the style/genre of anime that’s suitable to your tastes. And that’s fine. I’m probably not going to try to convince you. And I’m definitely not going to try to convince you with Akira.

I have shown people plenty of other anime. My original intention was to write a sequence of movies you could watch to give you a quick education in anime. But I really can’t do that. I don’t watch the kid anime (Pokemon), the teenage anime (Naruto, Inuyasha) or much of the girly anime (Love Hina etc), just as I see little of these categories in American cinema. I just know what I like, and will suggest some fine introductions below:

Miyazaki is the safest gateway anime to suggest to people. If you want something very Disney, try Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle. I prefer Princess Mononoke, and it’s the movie I most often show as an anime introduction.

Number 2 would probably be Cowboy Bebop. It’s not too deep, but it’s got style to burn. It looks great and has a great soundtrack. The action is fun and doesn’t get too extreme. If Cowboy Bebop goes over well I often introduce Samurai Champloo, which is the same production company. Bebop is a jazzy space adventure and Champloo is a hip-hip samurai tale.

If you think anime is for kids, watch Grave of the Fireflies. You’ll cry.

If you have a high insanity threshold, FLCL is one of my all time favorites. If you’ve ever walked out of a movie complaining that it was just too confusing, you probably can’t watch this. But it’s great if you can take blending your mind for a couple hours.

Lain is a couple steps less crazy than FLCL. But you have to be confused for 6 hours instead of 2. It’s also well worth the mental effort you’ll go through.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a show about emotionally damaged people. In the future. Who use giant organic robots to fight aliens. Using primarily Judeo-Christian imagery. I’d love to recommend this show to people, because the climax is glorious to behold. Unfortunately it takes 12 hours to get there, and not all of those hours are great.

Tenchi Muyo is kind of the opposite of Evangelion. It’s basically a romantic comedy. With demons, aliens, space police, light sabers, martial arts training and a cat-rabbit hybrid. But you’ll rarely be confused, which is a nice change from the last couple selections.

If you don’t understand the range of anime, you can watch Perfect Blue. It’s a murder mystery that could’ve been made with live actors. They just decided to animate it. It’s beautiful and intriguing, so I think they made the right choice. It’s also very dark. If you want something beautiful, intriguing and with less murder and paranoia, go with Paprika.

If you’re a sci-fi nut, you’ll love Ghost in the Shell. But if you’re really a sci-fi nut, you’ve already seen Ghost in the Shell. I wish I could recommend it to more people, but those giant guns and invisible clothing just don’t make it family friendly.

In 1994 watching anime took some dedication. It was hard to find, it cost a lot and people looked at you funny. Now it’s on TV (sometimes before 2 AM!), Netflix gives you nearly unlimited access and people look at you less funny. I decided I wanted to try Death Note last week and within a couple days I was enjoying the show. And as a mini-review, it was fantastic. And while I rarely watch anime anymore (stupid work, friends and other hobbies) I’ll always have fond memories of Akira and the time we’ve spent together over the years.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More of me

I just found this the other day. Having other people post videos of me on the internet is so much more convenient than making them myself.