Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shout out

1. To my old ambiguously named friend Pat. Some of my fondest high school memories are Pat, Scott, Shane and I, hanging out in Pat's attic, playing Soul Caliber until our eyes bled. Kind of sad, but fun nonetheless.

2. To Pat's most recent recommendation: Auditorium. It's a beautiful little piece of gaming. To play it is to love it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Sexy Chris Project

Last year my New Year’s resolution was to eat a lobster. I haven’t accomplished it yet, but I’m pretty sure I will. I don’t have to eat the whole thing or anything, so it’s pretty doable. So with that presumed victory under my belt, I’m taking on a bigger task for 2009.

I’ve come to the conclusion that 2008 Chris just wasn’t very sexy. I think 2007 Chris did alright, though he was nothing to write home about either. But there’s still hope for 2009 Chris.

But I need you, internet, to help me accomplish this goal. If I knew how to be sexy, I’d be doing it, and be married to Evangeline Lily. I know each of you has at least one thing you know about me that has kept you from dating me. For some of you it’s your sexual orientation, marital status or familial relation, which admittedly isn’t very helpful. But I’d like to know all the other reasons.

The question is, how can I best fish for insults? I think I’m going to get better info if the tips are anonymous. I know that you can’t hurt my feelings telling me face to face, but I’ll provide the anonymity to make it more comfortable for you. I also think I’ll get more honest suggestions if the answers aren’t posted directly on the internet. So here’s how it’s going to work:

Sign in to the group email account: . The password is sexyin2009. From there you can anonymously email my receiving account, . Simple. Probably overly complicated, but still in the realm of simple. If you don’t want people other than me to read the suggestions you send, make sure to delete them from the Sent Mail box. And presto, you’ve anonymously told me a way I can improve myself, and if Spam pirates or identity thieves try to get involved I can just delete the accounts. Perfect.

What do I mean by sexy? As I said, really I want to know things that limit my dating, because it seems pretty limited right now. So physical observations are fine, but not something I can do much about. Fashion, behavior, habits, personality traits, these are the things that would be more helpful. Obviously those who interact with me regularly will have better insight, but random internet folk should feel free to chime in. Also, input from womenfolk would seem to be more helpful, but maybe you fellas have some great tips.

So please, send those suggestions to me in within the next month so I can have a little list for 2009. If you don’t mind me sharing the tips on the old blog, please say so in the message. Otherwise I’ll assume it’s for my eyes only. Thanks in advance, and here’s to being sexier in 2009.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Steel City

I wonder if somewhere in Pittsburgh they have a Superman statue. I would. Except I hate Superman.

Here's pictures of my trip: pictures of my trip

So here's the story: I got free tickets to this Schizophrenia conference (because I'm a med student and was remotely interested, so they waved the 50 dollar fee.) Pittsburgh is 3 hours away, which is just about exactly the distance I'd be willing to go for a conference. 3.5 and I would've stayed home.

The trip there was uneventful. I widdled my ChrisMix 08 from 200 to 100. I ate Donettes (my preferred car food.) I regretted having to wake up at 4, but enjoyed not having to wake up at 5 and go to work.

The conference itself was pretty good. Most of the speakers were doctors, but we also had some advocacy groups, schizophrenic patients etc. I kind of got lectured out around 3 so the last couple presentations were lost on me. Oh well, I won't get my patients to quit smoking, or whatever the last guy talked about.

I wanted to do something fun while I was in Pittsburgh, but the fates conspired against me. I had a couple museums that looked interesting (Mattress Factory, an Internation exhibit at Carnegie Melon etc) but they all closed at 5. In retrospect I should've left the conference early and visited them. You live and learn. I contemplated driving the extra hour to Fallingwater, but it would've been dark, and it was freezing.

I did visit Mt. Washington, which is kind of a suburb or Pittsburgh that is 400 feet higher than the city. It was pretty nice, but it was freezing outside (15 degrees maybe) and I was just in my shirt and tie (and pants, if you were wondering) so my exploring was pretty brief.

Driving home was a nightmare. Combine driving in a new urban environment with the first ice of the season, with stupid drivers, with steep hills, with a poor sense of direction. Those sum up to a 5 hour drive home. Oi. Thanks to the Spaniard for guiding me home. She was rewarded.

Go to Pittsburgh some time. It's probably better than you think.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back in the day . . . 2005

Amy's comment last post reminded me of my yuletide tradition of the ChrisMix. Post haste I began working on this year's mix, which won't be ready for another couple weeks. But in an effort to not study acute coronary syndrome, and to provide a soundtrack for my trip to Pittsburgh, I decided to look back, all the way to the year 2005.

I started making ChrisMix in 2006, so it took some sophisticated scientific manipulation to formulate ChrisMix 2005. I had to dig out my old laptop to see what songs I downloaded in 2005. Then I sorted them by playcount, cut out multiple songs by the same artist and snipped various outliers. And since I don't have to put it on a CD, here are the top 35 songs of 2005. For the first time ever you can purchase ChrisMix 2005 on iTunes. They didn't have all the songs, but most of them can be found here: iTunes does my bidding

And without further ado:

ChrisMix 2005
1. These Colors Red - Nathan Duprey
2. Wise Up - Aimee Mann
3. I Changed My Mind - Quannum
4. Show Me Your Heart - Need New Body
5. Catch My Disease - Ben Lee
6. 27 Jennifers - Mike Doughty
7. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt 1 - Flaming Lips
8. Haven't Tried It - Piebald
9. Birthday Song - Spookie Daly Pride
10. CHerry Lips (Go Baby Go) - Garbage
11. Hazel Eyes - The Darkness
12. Gay Bar - Electric Six
13. Twisted Transistor - Korn
14. Chasing My Shadow - James Wolfe
15. Space Ho's - Dangerdoom
16. Call Call - The Faint
17. Blow It Out - The Features
18. I Predict a Riot - Kaiser Chiefs
19. The Future Freaks Me Out - Motion City Soundtrack
20. Fit But You Know It - The Streets
21. Bleed Like Me - Garbage (I cheated, 2 Garbage songs, but very different, and from different albums)
22. One Evening - Feist
23. Daft Punk is Playing at My House - LCD Soundsystem
24. Blue Orchid - The White Stripes
25. Tech Romance - Her Space Holiday
26. The Influence - Jurassic Five
27. Goodnight and Go - Imogen Heap
28. Kiss Me - Shelly Fairchild
29. Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
30. Running Up That Hill - Placebo
31. Jellybones - The Unicorns
32. Never Grow Old - The Cranberries
33. Such Great Heights - Iron and Wine
34. Get Over It - OK GO
35. Feel Good Inc - Gorillaz

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What I think about during Rounds

I can't tell people how to be happy. I haven't really figured that out yet. But I'm pretty good at having a good time.

Most people think that the key to having a good time is fun. Rookie mistake. The key to having a good time is the fun quotient. This involves doing some math (which slightly decreases the fun) but I assure you that you can do it in your head. But it may help to have your cell phone calculator ready.

Take the activity/event and rate how fun it will be. The unit for fun is the plesik.

Amateur fun-havers stop here. 80 plesiks? I'm definitely doing that. Incorrect.

Most, though not all, activities have a cost. There's no such thing as a free lunch, or a free plesik. It may not cost dollars and cents, but it will at least cost time and potentially effort.

Fun/Cost = fun quotient.

But wait, that's not the whole story. You need to add in the collateral damage and fringe benefits, namely, the people. Going to a concert may have a pleasing fun/cost ratio, but to make it worthwhile it nearly always requires the fringe benefit of going with friends. If no friends are going and you need a ride from Dweeby McHusky that counts as collatoral damage and it will almost never be worthwhile.

Some further examples from this week.

Bowling is fun, most likely 10 plesiks. But the cost is also relatively high, so your fun quotient ends up pretty close to 1. Is 1 worth doing? Probably not. Staying home and reading can probably break a 2 or 3. Add in a lot of fringe benefits (friends count as 1, cute girls count as 3) and you have a formula for a good evening.

Garrison Keillor is coming to town. I enjoy PHC, so this activity probably gets a 20. Maybe a 30. But for me (unfortunately plesiks are relative, confounding group calculations) it definitely doesn't break a 40. The show costs 50 bucks AND is an inconvenient time. Sorry Garrison, the numbers just aren't in your favor. Unless you add a lot of fringe benefits.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not cool Universe, not cool

Yesterday's post may lead you to believe I expect everyone to be good at everything. Not so. Obviously everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Except Dorota Rabczewska.

Let's start with the obvious, she's gorgeous, albeit skanky. Not that it's really a measure of beauty, but she has posed in Playboy. The Polish Playboy, but still.
Add the fact that she was nationally ranked in track and field. Polish track and field, but still.
Add the fact that she's one of Poland's most popular pop stars.
Add the fact that she has her own tv show.
Add the fact that she's in Mensa. Polish Mensa, but still. Actually Mensa is an international organization.

Is that fair universe? I submit it is not.

If you enjoy Britney Spears videos (and at least 50% of you do) here's one I rather enjoyed:

Avoid looking at her belt buckle

If any of you know Polish and would like to let me know what clever wordplay she's crafting using her genius IQ I'd appreciate it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


There’s a certain kind of guy that’s preoccupied with how his partner looks: all of them. But certainly, there’s a spectrum. We’re all shallow to different depths. There’s also a type of girl that’s compatible with every possible measure of shallowness.

PGS: Pretty Girl Syndrome. A sad affliction of our times. Actually, it’s almost certainly an affliction common to every time period. Pretty girls have everything they need. They’re pretty, they’re a girl, they’re set. With such an advantage in life, they can be successful without improving themselves in any other way. They don’t need to be smart, fun, interesting, kind or talented. That’s not to say a pretty girl can’t be these things, but one who has PGS isn’t. They depend solely on the prettiness to carry them through life. And frequently this works.

It’s worth noting that there are worse things than PGS. Such as PS: Princess Syndrome. This is a step more extreme. A girl realizes that she’s pretty, so develops PGS, thus doesn’t work on having any other positive attributes. She then realizes that men are shallow, so not only does her prettiness compensate for not having any other positive characteristics, she can also be extremely high maintenance. Her prettiness gives her power to make unreasonable demands. And frequently this works (though generally a higher aesthetic plateau is required.)

I write these potentially offensive things, which I generally consider to be true, to discuss a related topic: trophy wives.

When I see an annoying guy with a boring pretty girl, I think trophy wife. We men are shallow creatures, but it takes a certain kind of guy to say “What I need is a beautiful woman. She doesn’t need anything else, just looks. Then I’ll be happy.” Similarly, it takes a certain kind of girl to say “I’m happy relying solely upon my looks, and being with a guy who measures my value accordingly.” I don’t think this conversation ever takes place, but maybe trophy wives and hunters have very frank conversations. The amazing thing is that this works out reasonably well. Sure, sometimes the shallowness of the partners mix, resulting in a fiery explosion of pettiness, but sometimes they live happily ever after. I think as long as the shallowness levels are about equal, they have a reasonably good chance of surviving.

But consider this: there are ugly trophy wives and blind trophy hunters.

The popular conception of a trophy wife is a beauty queen. But really, it’s someone who has put all their eggs in one basket. She’s beautiful, so hasn’t needed to be smart, fun, interesting, kind, talented etc. Her one attribute outweighs all others. But isn’t a woman who uses a different attribute as her one focus instead of beauty afflicted with something very nearly PGS? Isn’t a guy who’s seeking just one thing, single-mindedly in his partner just as shallow?

I calculated last night and 77% of my college roommates are now married. The stats of my mission companions are equally depressing, and I’m not going to bother calculating the percentages among my friend population as a whole. Point being, I’ve watched a lot of people hook up. Some have been shallow in the traditional sense and have gone after the beauty queens. Another popular option among Mormons is being domestically shallow. I’ve had more than one friend tell me their favorite thing about their spouse is that she’ll be a good homemaker and mother. You can’t fault a guy for wanting a girl that will be a good mother. But it baffles me that the thing they were looking for was cooking/cleaning/child care. Personally, those things are perks, but pretty low on my list. But here are my friends and associates, who have picked the one thing they’re looking for, and are willing to ignore so many other aspects of their partner. There are many different types of trophy wives and trophy hunters.

I too, am a trophy hunter. I’m shallow, I admit it. Socrates said that the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing. I hope that acknowledging my shallowness may make me less shallow than my oblivious brothers. Certainly when I’m dating I think about what people will say when they see the wedding announcement. Will they be impressed? Shallow, I know. Despicable perhaps. But a thought you’ve most likely had. Unless I’m the only bad one; however, experience leads me to believe otherwise.

I have passing thoughts about the wedding announcement, but it’s not what worries me. What worries me is that first dinner we share. Will she get their jokes? Will she be able to run with mine? Will she know that current event? Will she mispronounce that author? I’m hunting for an intellectual trophy wife.

And it’s shallow. I realize this. I’ve gone out with pretty, fun, kind and talented girls, and when I my roommate asked me how the date went, I respond “She doesn’t know what the Louvre is.” I think it’s perfectly fair to have that as a strike against her, but I probably shouldn’t be eliminating girls outright for such gaps. But I’m getting better. I used to eliminate girls if they liked country music; now it’s just a strike. Maybe 2 strikes.

So there are more trophies and trophy hunters out there than we might think. We give ourselves tunnel vision and focus on just one aspect of ourselves, and expect others to do so as well. Multifacetism. That’s where it’s at.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pie Heaven

I held a pie election on Sunday. It was election week, it’s Thanksgiving season, it seemed like a good fit. I was in charge of FHE for the next day so wanted to give the people what they wanted.

Naturally, I used pie charts to record people’s votes. I always think that my handouts are perfectly clear, but invariably they confuse people. So there’s most likely some user error, or creator error I guess. But the results were interesting.

Banana Cream - 9 votes
Key Lime - 8 votes
Pecan - 8 votes
Chocolate Silk - 8 votes (minus 1 for suspected tampering)
Pumpkin - 8 votes (minus 2 for witnessed tampering)
Apple - 7 votes
Lemon Meringue - 5 votes
Cherry - 3 votes
Shepard’s - 1 vote
Write in for Peach and Custard

Obviously, it wasn’t a landslide, but Banana did win by a vote. Who knew? I was also surprised that Key Lime and Pecan were in the top running, as I’d considered them specialty pies. Maybe we have more southerners in the ward than I thought.

I thought Pumpkin would use it’s November-charm to win, but I guess people figure they can get enough of it in the coming weeks. Cherry’s failure surprised me, as it seems like such a pie staple. I guess the people have spoken.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

For you non-facebookers

Step 1: Get on Facebook.

Alternate Step 1: Look at these pictures that I posted on facebook.


They're of me, a dance I went to, a party I threw, and various people. If you're unfamiliar with my costume, the following may be helpful:

Dr. Horrible does laundry
Dr. Horrible plans an assassination

Party review: Pretty good. I get an excellent turnout, but with a number of notable no-shows. I threw a dance party for the first time, and was reminded that people have bad taste in music. There's only so much I can do. I was kind of lame and wore the same costume twice, but it was just so good. I daresay it is the finest 16 dollar Dr. Horrible costume ever created.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Plants and Beasties

On Thursday I saw the Beastie Boys, which was awesome. It was a Rock the Vote concert, which meant it was an Obama rally, but that was a small price to pay. Well that and the 35 dollars. And having to listen to Sheryl Crow.

Sheryl actually did a good job, apart from a fifteen minute rendition of A Change Will Do You Good. That woman hates oil, let me tell ya. Ben Harper was a little disappointing. He did a good job, he just didn't play any of his songs that I really like. Ben Stiller and one of the Robert Kennedy's son showed up pretty randomly.

The Beasties were great. It was pretty much a greatest hits playlist, which was fine by me. It's kind of funny to watch 3 middle age guys rapping, but they really got the house rocking.

Here's some pictures

Also included in that picture set is a trip I took to the Franklin Park Conservatory on Friday. Hands down the best conservatory I've ever visited. It was actually a pretty sweet museum. Ohioans take note.