Friday, July 31, 2009
I hadn’t realized it until yesterday,
but I kind of love Lady Gaga.
Normally I’m not a big pop slut fan. This doesn’t really have to do with music. I realize that pop music isn’t supposed to be good music, just catchy music. So I don’t particularly hold the fact that they’re pop artists against the likes of Britney, Xtina etc.
Lady Gaga is attractive with catchy music, fitting her in much the same boat. I would say that I find her music slightly more catchy, so that gives her a leg up. But I think other factors are more important in explaining my fondness for her.
1. She’s kind of European. She’s not really, she’s from NY. But she started getting popular in Europe then shifted back over here, giving her that fresh scent of Euro trend.
2. She’s very glam. Her name itself is a Queen reference. I’m a sucker for glam. The crazier her outfits, the more I like her.
3. She’s bisexual.
What do these add up to? She’s David Bowie’s daughter. That’s right, you heard it here first. Lady Gaga is actually Lady Bowie. Or maybe it's just Bowie himself. He is a chameleon after all.
4. She may very well be crazy. Go back to the glam. The continuum between glam, eccentric and insane is pretty narrow. And as a nearly-psychiatrist I’m in support of crazy people being successful in their chosen profession. Now I'm not a huge fan of tragicrazy like Britney, but Gaga's brand of terrificrazy is great. She and Bjork need to start a sitcom together.
5. If she’s not insane, and her insane act is intentional, she’s 100% pop. She’s purely superficial, eye-catching pop. And that itself is worthwhile.
Legitimately insane or faux-crazy, either way it's a winning situation.
This epiphany started when a friend’s status update said “Lady Gaga is the greatest entertainer alive.” And while I don’t agree with that statement (Hello, David Bowie is still alive) the world is a brighter place with her in it.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I need suggestions for a palate cleanser. I'd like something for people to eat between ice creams. The only palate cleanser I've ever had is sherbet, which obviously isn't a good choice for an ice cream tasting.
Thoughts so far:
Sour drink (lemonade, grapefruit juice)
Something salty (Saltines, Triscuits)
Vegetable tray (carrots, celery)
I’m not a huge Joss Whedon fan. Which is not to say I dislike his work, in fact I think the majority of his work is aimed directly at my demographic, and I do like it. I just don’t go crazy over it. I'm not a fanboy (though most fanboys would probably say that.) I haven’t even seen any of Dollhouse yet. But I certainly will see it at some point, and suspect I’ll enjoy it. Over the last year or so I’ve been watching alternating seasons of Buffy and Angel, and last week crossed into the last season of Buffy. So only a decade or so behind there. Anyway, along with the countdown. He’s done other things, but I’ve limited it to 10.
10. Toy Story – I hate Disney, so hate Pixar by extension. But if I didn’t hate Disney and Pixar, I’d probably like this movie.
9. Titan A.E. – Remember this? Not really? It’s pretty watchable. Plus it’s got a Splashdown song on the soundtrack, and Splashdown is awesome. Also, how weird that the Splashdown music video I found had Buffy on it? Weird.
8. Alien 4 – Not the worst of the Alien movies. I’m looking at you Alien 3. But I do think this is the one where Sigourney Weaver slamdunks a basketball, so that lowers it in the list.
7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Movie – cheesy fun. With Pee Wee Herman. With LUKE PERRY! I always suggest it as a choice for viewing on Halloween, and somehow I always get voted down.
6. Dollhouse – Seeing as I haven’t seen it yet, I didn’t think it fare to crack the top 5. However, I like the cast and the concept, so it will likely do well in future rankings.
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I like Buffy, but it suffers from Alias syndrome. I loved Alias, but mostly because of all the characters who weren’t Jennifer Garner. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at Jennifer, I just didn’t think her character was as interesting as any of the her partners/enemies. I don’t really care about Buffy. I’m even missing the male chromosome that makes Sarah Michelle Gellar attractive. But despite my not caring about Buffy as a character or as eye candy, it’s still an enjoyable show.
4. Serenity – A good movie, with better effects than the show (Firefly) on which it’s based, but just not quite as interesting.
3. Angel – I like the stories better, the action better and the humor better than in Buffy. The shows obviously have a lot of similarities, and even share cast members, but for my money this one is better.
2. Firefly – That Nathan Fillion is just so dang likable; I'll watch him in most anything. This is one of those shows that I can recommend to anyone. If you get over the fact that thousands of nerds across the country are obsessed with it, almost anyone will enjoy it.
1. Dr. Horrible - Come on, you knew it would be number one.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
E-etiquette is new and exciting. Well, exciting isn't accurate. If you find etiquette exciting, there's something wrong with you. So says 3/4 of a doctor. E-etiquette is new and interesting.
Established e-etiquette practice: I always accept facebook friendships. Every time. I feel it would be morally reprehensible to state, through my official inaction, that another living individual is most definitely NOT my friend. Accepting a fb friendship isn't a statement that they are a real friend, just an acquaintance or individual with mutual commonality in some manner. So I always accept fb friendships.
However, I only accept 365 fb friends. Sure, it will bounce up to 368 every now and again when I don't keep it neatly trimmed, but eventually it will be cut back to 365. Johnny Guy-from-the-street adds me as a friend and I am obligated to say yes. Do I cut Sally Cute-girl-who-should-date-me or Jimmy-friends-since-elementary to make room for Johnny? No. So to stay at my 365 I will cut Johnny from my list, usually a week or so later. He'll never know, he'll just think I don't update my status very often.
New e-etiquette quandary: Must I respond to every SingleSaints message? Due to my crippling social inadequacies, I am a member of SingleSaints, LDSLinkup, and probably other sites I've signed up for and forgotten about. They're Mormon dating sites, if you couldn't figure that out from the names. However, seeing as I'm cheap I've only signed up for these 2 because they're free, and because I'm busy I never use them.
Unfortunately other people do use them. Obviously that's the point, and it would be great if Sally, who is cute, smart, is Mormon, lives nearby and is fictitious saw my profile and decided to send me a message. Unfortunately Sally is fictitious. But Maria is not. Maria represents one of the thousands of Brazilian Mormon girls who are on SingleSaints. A couple times a week I get a message from a different Brazilian girl. The message is generally something like this: "I'm Maria. I love the church. Let's talk." Unfortunately that message has a fair amount of subtext. Namely "I live in Brazil. This is all the English I know. I live in Brazil. Also, I may actually be a dude from Illinois. But if not, I live in Brazil."
I get a couple of these messages a week. Any time I sign on to the account to see Maria's profile (who to be fair isn't ALWAYS from Brazil. Sometimes she's from Germany. Or is a single mother from Illinois who has no profile details) it updates me as Recently Active and I end up getting more emails because people think I actually use this site of my own volition.
Should I respond to Maria? It's rude not to respond to messages. I always respond to facebook messages. Because I'm on facebook 80 times a day and I feel there is actual utility to conveying information there. However, I don't think Maria and I have a future. I don't KNOW we don't have a future, but I think it's pretty unlikely. Maria could be a fantastic person. But she's in Brazil, and I never will be if I don't get that million dollars. And she doesn't really know English. I can hardly speak to people who know English, let alone those using Babelfish to send out mass messages. But I don't want to cancel the account, because what if Sally finds me on there?
My current standard is playing possum. I don't respond to Maria's messages. I also don't update my profile, because I think it's a finely tuned message designed to lead Sally to me should she read it. And hopefully by not changing my profile or adding friends, and otherwise avoiding the site, it will look like I don't use it. Maria won't feel personally slighted because the Ranteumptom she's reaching out to must have died saving puppies from a fire. Hopefully that gives her a warm fuzzy. And I won't have to try to have prolonged conversations in broken English with girls who are trying to escape the Southern Hemisphere. And although avoiding the site for prolonged periods diminishes the chances of Sally finding me, the chances were so small in the first place that I feel it's an acceptable loss.
I intended this post to be about 3 sentences long. The question: is it rude to intentionally ignore messages from people you'll never know? Does the social contract still apply to interneters? Answer: I don't know; maybe I am, but I don't see a good alternative. A new moral dilemma. Your thoughts?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Remember this song? I got it in my head the other day. Not a good song to get stuck in your head, what with it being almost entirely lyrics.
The video quality is horrible, but it's kind of fun to play Name the Movie while listening. It's obviously made by a nerd (well the fact that it's a homemade music video of a cult hit song made exclusively for youtube should clue you in) with the FF footage at the beginning.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Which is certainly not to say I wouldn't shop elsewhere. I'm always on the look out for the next not-so-big-because-big-would-be-too-popular thing. This one's a neat alternative: Woot Shirts.
Threadless sells their shirt until their batch sells out. Woot sells each shirt for just one day. Elitister! Threadless costs 15-20 dollars, Woot costs 10. Elitister! Well not really, less elitist really. Thriftier!
Anyway, Woot Shirts.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
You see, I hate Chris Sorensen. No, not myself. The internationally acclaimed Danish cyclist. Sure, he's Danish, which wins him a lot of points. And . . . well, that's the only fact I know about him. And that he placed 12th in the 2008 Olympics. But I hate him because he's more famous than I am. I've given up on being the most famous person in the world. The whole prodigy thing didn't work out for me and I'm over it. But wouldn't it be nice to be the most famous Chris Sorensen in the world? But no, this guy has to be in the Olympics. And some other Chris Sorensen has to be a frequently published college professor. And another has to be a photographer. I don't know if he's any good, but he sure advertises a lot. In any case, when you google Chris Sorensen, you don't find me.
How are talent agents supposed to find me? How are women supposed to track me down, claiming to be the father of their lovechild? How am I supposed to win the daily internet lottery? I've tried publishing in online magazines, joining organizations, going to various schools, turning my privacy status all the way down. It doesn't matter, there are just too many Chris Sorensens.
My name is almost unbearably common. I'm currently on a team of 5 students. 2 of us are named Christopher James. I forced the other guy to go by CJ because I'm bigger than him. When I was in 5th grade there were 5 Christophers in my class of 25. People by the name of Chris obviously make up 20% of the population. 3 of us were Christopher S. I had to go by CJ that year, like some kind of a . . . I don't have a stereotype for the name CJ. But it's not me.
I tried switching it up and going by Christoph one year. It's pretentious, I'm pretentious, I thought it was a good fit. I had a loyal following of 5 that called my Christoph, but no one else. Apart from CJ and Christoph, it's been Chris/Christopher the rest of the time. And I hate it when people ask what I go by. I don't care New Acquaintance. You can call me Christopher if you want, but you won't because you're lazy and Chris is easier to say.
I'll be moving to a new place with zero contacts in 11 months, more than likely. And with this move I have the opportunity to no longer by Chris. Which seems like an opportunity I shouldn't waste.
I've considered stealing my old roommate's middle name. He too was named Chris. But his middle name was King. And he still went by Chris! Ridiculous. If your parents are ballsy enough to name you King, use it my friend. When someone balks at your introduction as King, pull out your birth certificate and shove it in their face. You're the King, you can do what you want.
Sure, the first time they heard you say your name is King they'd think that you and/or your parents were weird. But after they keep calling you King, eventually it would lose it's royal connotation and just become your name. A name that won't be confused with anyone else. A name that will pop up on the internet. A name that will only be slightly awkward if you become a king someday and are King King Sorensen.
I can't really pull off an ethnic name. I'm clearly not a Fernando or Ryu or Vladimir. I don't have melanin or vaccination scars to pull that off. It would clearly do me no good to switch to a John or Robert and have nearly the same problem. I’ve considered making myself hyperBritish with a name like Ashley. But so far my test audiences haven’t responded well to it. I could just make one up, like Riles, which I just made up, and kind of like. But probably not enough to use.
In any case, good luck Chris Sorensen in your cycling thingy. I hope you appreciated this post about you, and me, and everyone we know.
A macho man named Ashley.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Last night I leaned back on my bed at 6, shortly after returning home from work. I woke up at 4 AM. That’s right, 10 hours of sleep. 2 hours more than is recommended by doctors like myself. 4 more than I typically average. And I have to tell you, it was awesome. Sure I didn’t go to FHE or eat dinner or study or watch True Blood or shower or turn off the lights. But I slept for TEN HOURS. Point Chris.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
1. Japan – is there anything about the Japanese I don’t like? Yes. Sumo thongs. But otherwise it’s the perfect place.
2. Denmark – perhaps I should be flogged for not having it #1, but technically I’ve been there already.
3. UK – kind of a cheat to get Scotland and Ireland along with Britland, but I’m sneaky like that.
4. Australia – even before my fascination with the UK and Japan, I was an Aussiephile. Don’t know why. Paul Hogan?
5. Cambodia – for my money, and hence my million dollars, Angkor Wat are the coolest ruins in the world.
6. Iceland – I hear every tourist is guaranteed a party with Bjork, Sigur Ros and Emiliana Torrini.
7. Italy – those 4 years of Latin need to be put to use some time.
8. New Zealand – the evil Australia. Bret and Jemaine are sure to let me stay on their couch.
9. Brazil – people often think I’m Brazilian, so I might as well visit.
10. Czech Republic – I really just want to go to Prague. But I imagine there are other cool places.
11. Portugal – no good reason. It seems like the Indie to Spain’s Rock.
12. Sweden/Norway – lesser Scandinavia to be sure, but I want to see more fjords.
13. Peru – The only Spanish speaking nation on my list. Just saying.
14. Switzerland – my favorite kind of cheese.
15. Alaska – I am in fact aware that it isn’t a nation. Though they might not be.
16. Thailand – perhaps my favorite type of food. Excluding the nation of Apple Crisp.
17. Madagascar – chameleons.
18. Philippines – I would like to feel tall at some point in my life.
19. Egypt – evidently they have all this old stuff you can look at.
20. Germany – sweet castles. And I should be able to make some money as a designated driver at Oktoberfest.
Only not dancing
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Hypnopompic Hallucination - hallucination you experience while waking from sleep.
I believe I've previously expressed my love of Zamzar and Myxer. Using these 2 websites I can make any youtube clip into a ringtone. Currently, the Scotsman's description of The Muppet Movie is my ringtone. Which is great. Except when I use it as my alarm clock.
About half the time I think the Scotsman is actually talking to me. This is slightly confusing, but becomes more confusing when I realize that it's my alarm going off. Because then I start thinking he's saying something other than his usual rant and part of me realizes RINGTONES AREN'T SENTIENT.
I blame this on having to wake up before 9.
Monday, July 06, 2009
You may have read some bad reviews of Transformers 2, namely all of them.
They are wrong.
My reflex review of almost all action movies is this “It wasn’t good, but it was entertaining.” That’s what I said when I left Transformers. But after thinking about it more, I changed my mind. It WAS good, in that it completely succeeded in what it was trying to do.
Is it going to win best picture, even with 10 spots this year? Not unless Michael Bay spends 10x what he spent in special effects on bribes. But that’s not what it was trying to do. In this kind of movie little things like plot and believable acting are purely optional. Sure, you can have a movie like Children of Men that had great action WITH skilled acting AND a compelling plot. And it was a great movie, hands down, without qualifications. (And look how little money it made.) Transformers wasn’t even trying to be great, just entertaining. Just awesome. And it succeeded.
Did I like the immature antics (multiple humping scenes, robot testicles, slapstick humor)? No, but I didn’t say “these are immature antics that I don’t find entertaining” I rolled my eyes and said “Oh Michael Bay, you rapscallion.” I did, I said it in the theater. Not really. Did I like that it was too long? And it was too long. But there was only one time when I started thinking it was too long, and then Megan Fox appeared again and I forgot about it. Point being they did run long, but they ran long because they kept cramming entertainment into the movie.
There are lots of people who won’t like this movie. However if you fall into one of the following categories, you’ll almost certainly enjoy yourself:
1. You had Transformers as a child.
2. You are a child who has Transformers.
3. If this description excites you “Giant robots with swords for hands performing wrestling moves.”
4. If this description excites you “Megan Fox.”
5. If you like Shia Labeouf.
6. If you like Shia Labeouf getting beat up.
By my estimation, that’s at least 63.2% of the population. And there are very few movies that appeal to 63.2% of the population. If a director successfully crafts a movie that 63.2% of the nation would enjoy watching, I think you could qualify that as a good movie.
In terms of my personal review, I’ll be brief. The new Decepticons were great, the new Autobots, not so much. The action is much better than last time. Yes there are gaping plots holes, HOWEVER, some of the plot holes I’ve heard referenced are actually explained in the movie. Yes, it’s a big dumb action movie, but don’t whine about it not making sense if you weren’t actually paying attention. That being said, there are some ridiculous plot holes, which ADD to the entertainment as you point them out. And I have mentioned Megan Fox a number of times because she is ridiculous in this movie. Somehow, whether it was a special lens filter or her own “acting” she constantly looks like she’s about to have sex. And while you could consider that morally reprehensible, I again attribute it as a success to Michael Bay. He wrapped as much PG-13 sex and violence as he could into this movie, and while it won’t change anyone’s life, it will entertain them for 2.5 hours. And that’s all he’s trying to do.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
But I’m that way with all holidays. I like Halloween, but I don’t really have any emotional investment in it. If there was a national crisis or budget deficit and they canceled Halloween for the year, I wouldn’t tear up. Though I might wear my costume anyway. It doesn’t matter if the holiday is fun (Halloween, Mardi Gras) has religious significance (Christmas, Easter, St. Patricks?) or patriotism like the 4th: they just aren’t a big deal to me.
That being said, I’m a sucker for theme parties.
I don’t know why. If someone was having a party because it was Thursday, I’d probably have just as much fun as if they made everyone dress up as their favorite tree for Arbor Day. But for whatever reason, I like the themes. Even if the holiday itself leaves me underwhelmed, I like thinking of ways to celebrate it.
This year we had Red White and Boom Boom Pow. In Columbus they have the city fireworks on the 3rd of July, with each town throwing their own display on the 4th. The 3rdof July fireworks are called Red White and Boom, so we had a Red White and Boom Boom Pow to celebrate the fireworks, and of course the ubiquitous Blackeyed Peas and their brand of generic hip hop. Rather than go downtown with the rest of the Columbus (seriously, it’s amazingly cramped and the traffic is death) we watched on the roof of the parking garage next to my house. We had a BBQ, played some good tunes (with the obligate BEP, as well as some memorial MJ and my latest favs) and generally had a good time. Afterwards I’d prepared some apple pie (I considered covering it in cheese, but decided to go with ice cream instead) and watched Independence Day. It’s not quite as awesome as when I was 13, and it wasn’t a good idea to start it at midnight, but again a good time was had.
The 4th was primarily noteworthy for the fact that I saw Boyz II Men perform. Jealous much? They were performing down the street from a picnic I attended so we partook of the blandness. It was pretty bland. But they did have some sweet dance moves, at least for a bunch of mediocre singers 15 years past their prime. Otherwise the day consisted mostly of me attempting to reacquaint my brother with the last 2 years of nerd entertainment.
Now I’m kind of looking forward to Arbor Day.
Friday, July 03, 2009
1. I hate the physical layout of newspapers.
2. What can paper provide me with that the interweb cannot?
Nothing. I get my news at the news sites. I get my editorials from blogs. And I get my comics from web comics. I follow the following, with varying degrees of regularity:
1. XKCD - I thought I'd just get this out of the way, because every nerd in the world reads it. But rightfully so.
2. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Not actually as funny as XKCD, but I like it better because it's not as popular. Plus it's in color.
3. A Softer World - Delightfully dark.
4. Toothpaste for Dinner - Today's isn't very good. And honestly, they only make me laugh about once a week. But I laugh pretty heartily when I do.
5. Cyanide and Happiness - Another pretty popular one. This one's probably the least tasteful of the bunch, which is something of an accomplishment.
Also worth checking out are Garfield Minus Garfield, Dinosaur Comics and the Perry Bible Fellowship. I think they're funny, but don't get around to reading them very often.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
I don't really care about Canada. But I do care about Robin Sparkles.
On a moderately related note, we were talking about concerts in Utah and I mentioned that I'd seen Tiffany at BYU. I immediately had to clarify that I unintentionally saw Tiffany. It's important to always clarify whether you saw a performance intentionally or unintentionally.
I was reading an interview with Elvis Costello. The interviewer asked his advice to prospective musicians. "Make sure they are in it for the music, and not in it for the fame . . . Fame can be disappointing, but music is rarely disappointing." Elvis Costello is famous. Sure, he’s not the most famous Elvis on the planet, nor the most famous Costello, but he’s the most famous living of either. And an international jewel thief. And he thinks that fame can be disappointing.
What is popularity, other than a very local fame. It’s being famous in a small sphere. I think the only real addition is that it’s also being liked; for surely there are many famous people that aren’t liked, so aren’t really popular.
Elvis didn’t say fame is disappointing, just that it can be. I think he’d also say it can be gratifying. It allows him to hang out with Alec Baldwin, Will Farrell and Stephen Colbert, so it can’t be all that bad. People often give popularity a bad connotation. Any competition can be dismissed by calling it a popularity contest. Is being popular bad? No. Like money, it isn’t itself evil. But the preoccupation with fame and the idolization of being an idol, that’s the problem.
Popularity: I kind of hate it, and kind of love it. Or more accurately I hate it and I want it, since I’ve never really achieved it.
I’ve written about social cycles before. I’m currently at the bottom of a social cycle. Or at least I think I’m at the bottom. I guess my imaginary friends could get married as well. In any case, my posse has been whittled down to the point where I don’t believe I could accurately call it a posse any longer. But I remember the high times. I liked being a nexus of social activity. I liked choosing between parties. I liked having people know who I was. I might like being known better than being liked.
But I hate it too. I hate getting tons of pointless calls. I don’t like having social obligations. Being popular isn’t exactly hard work (often the opposite) but it is certainly time consuming. Furthermore, being popular would seriously clash with my counter-culture sentiments. But the question of course is whether those sentiments are themselves a reaction to unpopularity. It’s hard to tell.
And imagine how obnoxious moving from popularity to fame would be. I’m kind of annoyed when I run across friends when I’m at the grocery store. I’m shopping here, you’re just going to slow me down. Imagine how much worse it would be if strangers stopped you. Strangers! Gross. Sure, once my book tops the NYT Best Seller’s List I’d have free reign to work on side projects, like chamber music rap albums, but if I can’t shop in piece what’s the point?
No, I don’t think I’d like to be famous. Just look at MJ. He could very well have been the most famous person in the world in his prime. Little happiness there. No, I don’t think fame is for me. I’ve succeeded in not being famous these last 27 years, and suspect I’ll be able to keep it up. I’m still pretty conflicted over the popularity though. At the end of the day, it makes life harder, but also fuller. Fuller in a shallow way. I guess adding heaping spoonfuls of pleasant shallowness is ultimately inconsequential. But perhaps pleasantly inconsequential.
Yep, no conclusion for this blog entry.