Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dexter - another time killer

What do I need to help me study for my board exams? I know, a new tv show. I'm an idiot. But isn't this a perfect opening for a show about a socially responsible serial killer?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chris Oscars

I made it a goal to see all of the Best Picture nominations this year. Combining this information with the fact that my last post was about my goal of winning 50% of my Spider Solitaire games and it may seem that I live the idlest life of the planet. I highly doubt this to be true. I also performed my first full physical on a dermatomyositis patient yesterday, it just doesn’t make for very good blogging.

I’m never going to see every nominated movie, nor do I aspire to do so. I also don’t plan on watching the Oscars. But I figured watching the five “best pictures” of the year is a pretty good standard for my cultural competence. Here’s my take, in the order I saw them.

1. No Country For Old Men. A great movie, and probably the coolest of the bunch. I was rapt throughout, though having hitmen on the screen will naturally make it easy to pay attention. I’m not sure I fully appreciate the meaning of the story, but I’m certain it’s in there somewhere.
2. Juno. A great comedy. It was both very funny and very sincere, which is admittedly a hard balance. But I’d be hard pressed to say it’s important, which you’d think the best picture of the year would be.
3. There Will Be Blood. I’m pretty mixed on this one. I enjoyed it and feel that many elements were very well crafted. But it never really congealed for me. I loved watching Planeview go guano-crazy, but that was the biggest impact it had on me.
4. Michael Clayton. As a legal thriller I think it failed. There were no twists or turns. Despite his title, I didn’t think Clooney fixed much. It’s hard to get really into a movie when the protagonist just makes phone calls and arranges things. Some fantastic acting no doubt, but not really a fantastic movie.
5. Atonement. A bit slow and predictable, which seem to be the hallmarks of any romantic film. But very well done. I thought it was very believable and quite powerful, and all-around a great movie.

So what would I have win? That’s tough. Not Michael Clayton or There Will Be Blood. Don’t get me wrong, they were both good movies, and I did enjoy them quite a bit. But they don’t stand up to the other three. I probably would give Daniel Day Lewis the best actor and Tom Wilkinson the best supporting actor though. Juno was the movie that I enjoyed the most, but I have a hard time naming it best picture. I could’ve given Little Miss Sunshine the best picture nom, but not Juno. I’m sure I’ll watch it more than any of these others, but that’s not what I’m looking for in the Best Picture. So it’s down to No Country and Atonement. I just watched Atonement an hour ago, so I’m not sure if that helps or hurts it.

For emotional impact, Atonement wins. No contest. For cerebral impact, No Country wins, but it’s pretty close. For visual artistry Atonement wins, and it had a good musical score to boot. Acting is pretty much a toss up. No Country had much more interesting characters, but Atonement had more resonant performances. No Country had a silenced shotgun. Atonement had Keira Knightly. It’s so close! I’d say that No Country is the cooler movie, but Atonement the better one. Maybe in a couple weeks I’ll change my mind, but for now Atonement wins Best Picture. Incidentally, that’s not an indication that Keira trumps silenced shotguns. The other factors prevailed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I should throw a party

Demetri Martin believes that saying you’re good at Checkers is basically saying you’re not good at anything else. I can’t say that I’m good at Checkers, but I recently reached a milestone in my Spider Solitaire career.

To explain and perhaps justify myself, I don’t spend my free time playing Solitaire. I play it when I’m studying. Though I am capable of sitting in bed for 8 hours studying, I am certainly not studying the whole time. Rarely I will take a break for a TV show, snack, shower etc. But each of these takes 20 minutes, which is a sizable disruption of my productivity. So Spider Solitaire has become a standard break. I can play a gain in 3-7 minutes, which is exactly what I need before getting back into endocrinology or whatever else I’m drilling through.

So what’s my milestone? I just reached a 1:1 record. It’s actually 222:222, but it’s what I’ve been seeking after for the last few months. I would suspect that my current success rate is close to 70% (on medium mode, if you’re judging against your own performance) but with a poor starting performance and many incidences of quitting games before finishing kept me at 48 and 49% for several months. But now, mediocrity is mine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

But they increase eye hand coordination!

Some guys are way into movies, as are some girls. It doesn’t seem terribly lopsided either way. Some guys love music, as do a relatively equal percentage of girls. Books, magazines, television, internet, they each seem to have the same story. Perhaps there’s a slight male preference for internet, but I think it’s certainly arguable that they’re the same.

Where is there no argument? Video games. It’s test week so I’m not going to do any additional research, but the following video clip claim three times as many med are addicted to video games. I’d wager it’s more than 3:1 in terms of general video game usage.

In any case, this little blurb is interesting:

It's CNN, but it might be trustworthy

Certainly, video games are popular among males because they’re primarily made by males with a male audience in mind. But I’ve still wondered why I so infrequently find an Xbox in a girls apartment. It’s nice to know that there may be a neurological reason and not just that they’re spending their free time in art museums and soup kitchens.

Incidentally ladies, an Xbox in your apartment = hot. I don’t have time to play them anymore, but if Halo 3 were a valid dating activity I’d definitely date more, and probably be married.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chris Grammys

I’m not going to bother talking about the relative merits of the Grammys or who should have been nominated but wasn’t. But here’s a quick run of some things I liked and disliked. And in case you were wondering I didn’t watch. There’s a fairly good chance that I’ll never watch another award show in my life.

Best Record – Rehab I approve. Irreplaceable and Umbrella are very catchy tunes, but I much prefer this track.

Best Album – Herbie Hancock No good. Or more accurately, I did really like Back to Black so would have liked it to win.

Best Song – Rehab I generally think it’s silly that Record and Song are separate categories. I realize that they technically mean different things and are awarded to different people, but it still seems redundant. So I’m happy Rehab won this as well. Before He Cheats is another catchy ditty, as is Umbrella again. I’m glad Hey There Delilah didn’t because it’s a whiny piece of rubbish. That statement was brought on by overplaying, not actual quality of the song.

New Artist – Amy Winehouse I support this as well. I don’t really like anyone sweeping, but she’s the best of our choices here. Feist is a close second, but she’s not really that new. I see no reason why Paramore was nominated.

Female vocal performance – Amy Winehouse I probably would have given this one to Feist since Amy shouldn’t win everything. Or possibly Christina Aguilera for her sexy outfits in Candyman. That counts as part of the performance.

Best male performance – all bad choices.

Best group performance – Maroon 5 won, which saddens me. I hate them. But none of the other choices were good either.

Pop collaboration – Alison Krauss and Robert Plant I generally support this. Not my cup of tea, but I think they did well.

Pop Instrumental – Joni Mitchell. No good. Give it to Ben Harper.

Pop Instrumental album – Beastie Boys Of course. They had no competition.

Pop Vocal album – Back to Black Again, I would have given some of Amy’s awards to Feist.

Best Dance recording – Justin Timberlake I hate Justin, so I’m biased. But I would have given this to every other nominee before him. Chemical Brothers first, Mika second, Justice third and Rihanna fourth. Justin dead last.

Electronic/Dance album – We Are the Night A good album by the Chemical Brothers. I support them winning, but probably would have given it to LCD Soundsystem myself.

Best Solo Rock – Bruce Springsteen I would have given it to Beck instead. He’s not really that rocking, but he’s so much cooler than Bruce.

Rock group performance – Icky Thump Great. I love the White Stripes.

Hard Rock – Foo Fighters I don’t consider them hard rock. I would’ve given it to Ozzy since I actually liked a fair amount of his latest record.

Rock Album – Foo Fighers I don’t like the Foo Fighters, so I would have given it to Wilco. They’re pretty quality.

Alternative album – Icky Thump I’m very torn. I loved Icky Thump, but I loved Lily Allen’s debut more. Arcade Fire also had a good album. But in the end, Lily wins.

And as for the other hundred categories:

Int’l Players Anthem is better than Southside in Best Rap

Umbrella was a mighty fine collaboration. Kudos for winning.

Congratulations to Steve Earle for winning best Contemporary Folk.

Who knew Meryl Streep made a children’s album about Shrek?

Once should have won for best soundtrack in a film instead of Love.

Pan’s Labyrinth or the Departed should have won for best score over Ratatouille.

Congratulations to Mark Ronson as the Producer of the Year. He deserved it.

The Flaming Lips should have won for best surround sound album. I haven’t listened to it with surround sound, but I’m sure it would be fantastic. Stupid Love and their Beatles music won.

D.A.N.C.E. should have won for best music video, not Johnny Cash. How’d that even happen?

And most importantly, congratulations to Flight of the Conchords for their win in the best comedy album category. And thank goodness George Lopez lost.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Podunk, here we come

I’m blogging, which can mean only one thing: I have a test coming up. Yes, the things I do to avoid studying endocrinology.

Last week the nation celebrated Groundhog Day, and I organized yet another trip to Punxsutawney. The trip last year was a rousing success so we decided to venture off again. Last year about a dozen of us attended the festivities. We never got an official headcount this year, but I’m almost positive we had over 60. It was ridiculous, primarily in a good way, though not completely.

After our rave reviews from last year, about thirty people expressed interest in joining us for our return trip. As so often happens, most of the girls decided not to go, primarily because girls are inherently less fun than guys. So much more attractive, but so unwilling to stand in the forest at 4 in the morning in February. But our final count of close personal friends came to 11 guys and 6 girls driving from Columbus. Add another 4 of our friends from Cleveland and we’re up to 21. Add another friend of ours who drove up from DC and you’re at a whopping 22. Now the remaining 40 were people that I didn’t know. Most everyone invited their friends, family and coworkers. We even had a couple random guys who saw our cars in the parking lot and decided to join us. I probably wouldn’t have let them in, but I thought they were someone else’s friends and by the time I figured out that they were strangers it was too late to kick them out. So we spent the entire evening on Friday welcoming new people to our humble abode in Punxsutawney, making pizza trucks visit us numerous times, watching the famous film Groundhog Day and generally hoping the fire marshal didn’t discover our gross violations of proper procedure. It was indeed ridiculous and quite enjoyable.

We didn’t actually go into Gobblers Knob at 3 as we had halfheartedly planned. It was sleeting a bit and we really hadn’t gotten to sleep until 2, so we ended up waking up at 5 and getting to the Knob around 5:30. If you’re ever going to attempt this trip, this is really plenty of time. It’s fun to watch the drunk people, enjoy the bonfire and see the silly “crowd-pumping” for only so long. We were a little closer than last year, but generally had the same experience. The people dancing on stage were a little sillier, the music during the pre-dawn fireworks was significantly worse (they played Imogen Heap and Air Supply during fireworks. Hello? Who plans this?) and we got to see the crowd’s reaction to six more weeks of winter, but otherwise, it was the same. It turns out that the novelty of last year’s experience contributed greatly to the charm. I had a great time, but I doubt I’ll make the trip again next year.

Our adventures in town were much abbreviated from last year. A close friend of ours had the extremely poor sense to plan his wedding on Groundhog Day, so we had to rush back to Columbus to make it to the reception. We planned our trip way before he popped the question to his fiancĂ©. But we forgave his rude behavior and packed up our stuff to leave early. Consequently we didn’t get to see ice sculpting or antique shows or the flea circus we had heard so much about. But we hit some of the highlights, got our picture with Phil and made it out of there by noon.

All in all, a good time was had. I bragged to my carmates as we drove home that I had just thrown the most successful YSA Conference that I’d ever attended. Which really means that I should attend more YSA activities. And I would, if they had whistlepigs.

The Latest

I'm a little obsessed with Olive Snook right now.

That's not the best picture of her, but I only like her with short hair. Weird, I know. She cut her hair a couple episodes into Pushing Daisies and all of a sudden she's amazing.