Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolute

I wrote about resolutions last year, over at my now abandoned side project This Mormon Life. I said this.

It's probably bad luck to start a post about your New Year's resolution by referring to a failed project from earlier in the year.

My resolution for this year is seemingly simple and counterintuitive: I'm going to listen to less music.

Counterintuitive, because by most measurable accounts apart from owning vinyls, I am a music person. I'm the kind of person that you might expect to say "I'm going to go to more concerts, try more kinds of music, learn to play the oboe etc." Though not the oboe of course, because even though it's cliche, if I had to learn to play an instrument right now it would be the guitar. Because I'm willing to be a bit cliche to get chicks. But no, my resolution is to listen to less music.

It's not a simple resolution either, because it involves a paradigm shift. And paradigms are not easily shifted.

I feel that I used to be smarter than I now am. And it's not that listening to less music is going to free up a lot of my time to learn more. But it is certainly going to free up a lot of thought.

Back in the day, before the iPod, I used to think more. Back in the day I didn't have my own room, my own office, my own car, each with sound systems set to begin playing the second I entered. Sometimes I had silence. I don't have much of that any more. And in that silence I'd write stories. Rarely on paper, just in my head. I'd make up songs, create theories, have conversations, organize things, set goals, and just generally tinker. I do much less of these kind of things these days.

There are many reasons why I do less of these things, these thinking things. I'm certainly busier, maybe dumber, absolutely sleep deprived. But the music is an extra hurdle. It's an extra distraction, to my already distracting life. And it's a distraction I enjoy and that I'm going to keep, I'm just going to moderate it.

2011: Less music. More thoughts.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Doctors without Burros



Which is not really accurate, because I'm pretty sure some of us did have burros.

Back in November we had our first resident retreat. As part of the bonding experience, we needed to ride horses. I don't understand bonding.

So rather than wake up at 7 to go to work, I woke up at 6 to go horseback riding. An hour of sleep is important enough to me that I probably would have preferred work.

I'm not sure where we went, but it was in the desert. After a cowboy breakfast (which is much the same as a homecooked breakfast, only not as well cooked) we hit the dusty trail.

Occasionally when I'm driving I think to myself, isn't it weird that I'm casually moving a little wheel and guiding a large contraption around at 60 mph? I got much the same sensation with the horse. I flip a rein this way or that, and a large beast moves. Most of the time. Anyway, it was odd, and somewhat enjoyable. The last time I rode a horse I was 11 and I got kicked. I didn't get kicked this time, so count it as a success.

The next resident retreat will be in April, and will probably be something I like better than horseback riding. But it doesn't really matter because I'll be in Thailand, which I'm hoping I'll like a lot better than horseback riding.


A bunch of pictures of us on facebook.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Guilt free

I don't feel guilty for not writing on you blog. If I had the time to write something substantial this week, I'd use that time to go on a date. Or maybe sleep 8 hours. So I don't feel bad about that.

But here's another quick post, not about me, but about some media.

It's December, the worst time of year for television. It's a barren wasteland from here until February. So I'll help you out a little.

Best show I watched this week: Louie.

I love Louie CK. I don't love him because he's funny, but he is. I love that he says horrible bizarre things that he believes to be true. He talks about, and to some extent does, things that our culture considers wrong and bad. But according to his morals, he's acting correctly. I respect that. Also, he's funny. And this show is funny and actually makes you think.

Best show I watched this week that isn't rated R: Raising Hope.

For whatever reason, I've never been able to get into My Name Is Earl. But this show is kind of similar. Let's laugh at the trailer trash. But where I've never laughed at Earl (and hence, never watched for more than a couple minutes) this one gets me pretty regularly. The protagonist, Lucas Neff, is fine, but kind of run of the mill. But Garret Dillahunt, playing his father, is golden. I've never seen him do comedy before, but he kills it.

If you're jaded, watch Louie.
If you're still a nice person, watch Raising Hope.

You're welcome. Hope you survive until February. You could try making friends instead of watching tv, but I don't really recommend it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ChrisMix 2010: Roll in the New

Warning, this mix will make you older. Maybe only 80 minutes older, but there is a chance it will prematurely age you with massive doses of retro goodness.

1. Get Down for the Holidays – Jenny O
I know nothing of Jenny O, other than she must be Karen O’s little sister, or possibly her confused little brother. Also, she probably shops at Target, as I found this on their website. It’s a secular little Christmas carol, perhaps befitting Target. The album, The Christmas Gig, is surprisingly good, free, and readily downloadable.

2. Way Down Hadestown – Anais Mitchell
Now that the obligatory Christmas song is out of the way, we plunge into the chronologically themed retro portion of the mix. We start in the 30s with Anais Mitchell. I love this Depression era retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice. It’s definitely the best blues/folk opera I’ve ever heard.

3. Polythene Queen – Miss Li
It’s pretty soon for me to show my lack of knowledge of musical history, because I couldn’t give you a decade for this one. Old. A bit of jazz. A bit of soul. I guess the main thing is good, so it doesn’t matter where it’s from.

4. Winter Winds – Mumford and Sons
I wish every band I picked could be a complete surprise, but if you’re an indie kid, I’m sure you’ve already heard of Mumford and Sons. They burst onto the scene this year, are pretty great, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss them. My favorite track is Little Lion Man, but this is my favorite non-profane track.

5. Pack Up – Eliza Doolittle
A friend came back from Europe with this recommendation. I very rarely turn down European recommendations. I kind of suspect that Eliza has a team of executives writing this stuff for her, but I’m going to ignore that fact.

6. Umbrella – The Baseballs
This is the last of the truly retro tracks, this time going back to the 50s. It’s also the first of the mixes covers. Rihanna is fine and all, but this rockabilly remix of the song just feels better than the original.

7. Book of Stories – The Drums
I’m a big fan of contrast. This song has an easy-breezy surf rock cadence, overlapped with the lyrics “I thought my life would get easier, instead it’s getting harder/darker/tougher/colder.” Maybe it’s ironic. Maybe it’s a message that even though life gets harder, you don’t have to be sad about it.

8. Stuck – The Heavy
Generally I’m not a huge guitar guy. Sure, it’s the basis for lots of our rock music, but it’s just not my bag. But The Heavy lay their guitar so thick that it’s hard not to take notice. And in my case, love it.

9. Bloodbuzz Ohio – The National
This is probably a bit of a cheat. I heard The National last year. My roommate kept saying I should listen to them, but every time he played them it just didn’t grab me. Then I heard this song and it grabbed me. Maybe because it’s a little autobiographical. Except for the bee part.

10. Bang Pop – Free Energy
I don’t know how talented Free Energy are. This doesn’t sound like that difficult of a song. But it’s an infectious one. You’ll be humming bang bang pop pop as you do your errands this week.

11. Comprachicos – Pendulum
Now we move from the retro flavored music to the future flavored. Admittedly Pendulum is a bit of both. They sound a bit like Prodigy’s slightly mellower sibling. I’m sure this will be many people’s least favorite song on the mix, but I felt I needed some industrial to balance out all the folk.

12. Under the Sheets – Ellie Goulding
I realize it’s a bit of a crutch, but dang it, I like a bit of autotuner. Ellie, like Eliza, may be a product of British corporate trendsetting, but I still like her. In fact, she may be the same person as Eliza for all I know.

13. Citizen – Broken Bells
My normal process for making this mix involves picking albums I like, then winnowing the albums down to my favorite tracks. I had a really hard time picking which BB track I liked best. But this one is kind of a futuristic folk ballad, which seems like it should be a thing.

14. Untrust Us – Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles are kind of post modern. As hip hop and dance have grown more and more reliant on sampling, CC have bypassed the whole process and just make music from samples. The found-sound result is great.

15. Kolnidur – Jonsi
Here’s some post-futurism for you. If this song doesn’t make you want to climb a mountain, slay some Scandanavian tyrant beast and make out with the damsel previously distressed, I don’t know what will. A friend described this album as life affirming, and I think that apropos. Again the indie kids all love Jonsi now, but if you missed the bandwagon, jump on now.

16. Ta douleur – Camille
If you’ve read my blog carefully, you’ll have heard of about half of this year’s picks, including this one, which appeared on SNL of all places. If you listen to this song carefully you’ll hear Camille blowing rasperberries as her own percussion.

17. White Russian Doll – Lucky Soul
For better or worse, timing plays a significant role in whether or not a song makes it on this list. For instance, I found this song last week. Would it still be one of my top 20 songs of the year if I’d heard it in January? Maybe. It’s certainly my favorite doll song since China Doll.

18. Carolina Cannonball – Kinch
Kinch’s music is all available for free on their website, so that’s cool. I discovered them after seeing them live, so that’s cool. They’re from Phoenix, which is, if not cool, at least convenient. I may go see them again next week.

19. Cannibal Queen – Miniature Tigers
Notice how close Cannonball is to Cannibal? Actually it’s a coincidence that I placed them together. I’m not quite neurotic enough to put that much detail into my mix. Here’s one I’ve liked all year, and I still rock out to.

20. Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare – Matt & Kim
Now we enter the orchestral section of the mix. Here Matt and Kim provide the piano and handclaps, two important sections in any orchestra.

21. That’s All – Clare & The Reasons
Clare provides the brass section to the orchestra, as well as a bit of strings. And does so with laid back confidence. Her lilting vocals aren’t too shabby either.

22. The End of the Movie – Stornoway
Stornoway provides a killer cello solo. Stornoway is a bit of a cheat because I found him through the BBC’s Sounds of 2010 list. It’s a great little list of artists that they predict are going to get big every year, and seems to be pretty accurate. So while he didn’t blow up this year, maybe next.

23. Oh Death – Jen Titus
Here, ChrisMix 2010 comes to a close. It’s not exactly a subtle way to go out. But for a song that’s a soliloquy to Death, it’s pretty beautiful. I guess hauntingly beautiful.

24. Where Is My Mind – Maxence Cyrin
Life after death. Maxence closes us out with his stellar cover of a stellar Pixies tune. I don’t know what to say other than I thought it was appropriate heavenly music, and that seemed like a good way to end the year.


So that’s ChrisMix 2010. You’ve got a week left until Christmas, so if you have a music lover on your list, pick one of these 24 groups, pick up their album and pretend that you discovered them all on your lonesome.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ChrisMix 2010: Rock Out the Old

Wonder where those artists from yesteryear have gone? Want that group from a couple years back who didn’t quite make the ChrisMix to get a second chance? How about those artists that barely missed the cut this year? This playlist is for you.

1. United State of Pop 2009 – DJ Earthworm
What better way to look back on music from last year than to mash the top 25 songs on the Billboard chart into one track. It’s a little disappointing that the music is similar enough that it can be mashed together. But that’s why I make these mixes so you won’t rely on Billboard.

2. Superfast Jellyfish – Gorillaz
This was my initial favorite track from Plastic Beach. The stellar Melancholy Hill music video may have pushed this track to number two, but it was my first favorite, and one you probably haven’t heard.

3. This Gigantic Robot Kills – MC Lars
MC Lars is perhaps the nerdiest man on the planet, and I love him for it. Here’s a track celebrating ska and robots. I was never a huge ska fan, but this song actually made me like it more.

4. Neckbrace – Ratatat
Ratatat got pushed off the list a couple years ago. And I was going to see them in concert a couple months ago, but The Pixies were playing the same night. But Ratatat is awesome. And for some reason I imagine a frog singing this song.

5. Private Eyes – The Bird and the Bee
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t love Hall and Oates. I feel like I should, but the love just isn’t there. But when tBatB did a whole album of Hall and Oates covers . . . well, I still didn’t love most of them. But this one is good.

6. Eat That up, It’s Good for You – Two Door Cinema Club
This is a new band, so really shouldn’t be on this mix. But I liked this song and it didn’t make it onto the ChrisMix proper, so I’m giving it a home here.

7. Fall Into Love – Rabbit!
The band has an exclamation point in their name. That kind of tells you about this song. They talk a lot about animals and musical instruments and use some cheesy samples, and you can imagine them in your mind just bobbing up and down to the beat. And if you watch them live, they do in fact bob.

8. Shark in the Water – VV Brown
I loved Crying Blood last year. I love this song even more. It was on a continuous loop in my head for much of the summer. Which explains why I didn’t do much swimming.

9. In the Sun – She & Him
I had a hard time picking a song from Volume Two, because there were a lot of winners. And generally I try to avoid singles as you may have heard them already, but I did end up deciding this was my favorite track from the album. It’s a winner; get it.

10. Friends – Luke Top
Kind of a simple track at first listen, but with both a driving pulse and a relaxed style. Both easy to sing along with, and with a lot of little musical twists going on in the background.

11. Oasis – Amanda Palmer
If you know anything about me, you know I’m firmly in the Blur camp, and have never been wowed by Oasis. But Amanda evidently likes them both. Also, she was raped and had an abortion. But not really, just in the song. Which makes it less horrible, but still a very odd song. But one that is very very catchy.

12. Hollywood – Marina & The Diamonds
Another call back from last year. I had only heard a couple Marina songs before this year, but found that their whole library is pretty satisfying.

13. Turnpike Ghost – Tegan & Sara
T&S is one of those groups that all the indie kids love, but that I’ve never loved. I’ve liked them. This song made me see the light.

14. Electric Twist – A Fine Frenzy
AFF missed the ChrisMix in 2007, but came storming back with this track. I don’t know what she’s singing about, but I don’t care. Her last song that almost made the album was about fish. I can’t say she picks the best subjects, but she plays the heck out of them.

15. Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit
I wanted to put this song next to the one by Rabbit!, but they just sounded bad by each other. Rabbit! is all jittery happiness. This track has a bit of happiness to it, which is why it made the album when Frightened Rabbit didn’t make it last year. The last album was too sadsacked, but this one is more hopeful.

16. Black Sheep – Metric
In Scott Pilgrim, this song was played by Clash at Demonhead, the sellout band. Maybe it’s bad that it’s my favorite Metric song. Oh well, take your favorites where you can get them.

17. Romans 10:9 – The Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats are so prolific that I’m sure I could include an awesome MG track on every ChrisMix from here until I go deaf. But at the very least they’re getting one this year. And it’s Sunday music!

18. Song for the Divine Mother Of The Universe – Ben Lee
It’s been a number of years since I’ve sought out a Ben Lee track, and then this one pops up. I’m a sucker for a sing-along. Sure the track would be half as long without the callbacks, but they’re fun.

19. Madder Red – Yeasayer
I was going to pick Rome or Ambling Alp off this great album, but then the music video for Madder Red came out. Kristen Bell makes everything so much better. The song suddenly became a great melancholy track of beautiful imminent doom.

20. Sit Down By the Fire – The Veils
I know nothing about this band. I just really like the escalation of this song.

21. Dead Hearts – Stars
Kind of a morbid title, but really this whole album is morbid. But great. Stars always have a good interplay between the male and female vocals, making the songs conversational and intimate. Even when singing about dead hearts.

22. A Dream Within a Dream – Oren Lavie
A song about Inception? Not really. Oren’s voice kind of puts me to sleep. Which I mean as a compliment. It’s very relaxing and nearly a reading of the poetry rather than the singing of a song.

That’s Rock Out the Old. In theory I’ll post the main event, ChrisMix: Roll In the New tomorrow. In theory.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jim, Kristen and me (ie Heaven)

I saw Jim Gaffigan a couple weeks back. It was awesome. I was going to write a post about how funny he is, but I don’t really know what the point of that would be. He’s funny, so you should give him money to continue to be funny. He’s so funny in fact, that when I show his comedy to people and they don’t like it, I’m tempted to not bother being their friend. It’s not that Jim and I are synonymous, but I just have a hard time imaging the person liking me if they don’t like Jim.

My devotion to Brother Gaffigan is such that I watched Going the Distance the other day. Why is this such a sacrifice? Because GtD has Drew Barrymore in it.

Now I’ll admit, I’ve liked movies with Drew in them. Donnie Darko and The Wedding Singer and Charlie’s Angels come to mind. But in each of these movie there was a factor (creepy rabbits, Billy Idol and Cameron Diaz dancing in her underwear, respectively) offsetting Barrymore’s presence. I don’t think she’s funny, charming, attractive, talented, or any other attribute you’d want in a film star. And she’s got a man’s name.

And I’m no Justin Long fan either. How dare he try to make John Hodgman look foolish. And he was in both Planet 51 and Battle for Terra? Way to do animated science fiction a solid Justin.

But I saw it because it had Jim Gaffigan in it. GtD, not Battle for Terra. And do you know who else it had in it? You could look on IMDB, or read the next sentence. Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston, Rob Riggle, Kristen Schaal and Mike Birbiglia. I’d watch any movie with that cast. I’d watch a Care Bears snuff film with that cast.

Turns out the movie was pretty alright. A bit slow and predictable, but hello, it was a romantic comedy. But the comedy was decent, even though I wanted the 2 main characters to leave so I could just watch everyone else in the movie.

Just as I will watch anything with Jim Gaffigan in it, I will watch anything with Kristen Bell in it, including Burlesque. Sadly, it wasn’t as bad as I hoped it would be. Sure the dialogue is asking for some MST3000 treatment, but it wasn’t as entertainingly bad as it could have been. It wasn’t good either, which would be the other way to go. It was just pretty average. But it had Kristen Bell wearing fetishwear for nearly an hour and Stanley Tucci hit another homerun with his snarky delivery (he was the best part of Easy A earlier this year.) Plus there was sappy emotional stuff with Christina Aguilera and Cher, so I imagine it’s a worthwhile movie for most men and women of the world.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Flashback Friday (early, on Thursday)

Oi. I've been way busy. I'm not even sure with what. I'm not sure whether with what or what with is more correct, and I'm too busy to investigate it at the moment.

If you receive the standard ChrisMix this year, you're going to miss this song, which is on the runner-up CD. But I just watched a year retrospective video, and this will serve as a 2009 retrospective. It's the top 25 songs of 2009 mashed into one song. Hopefully DJ Earworm makes another one for this year.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A test

If you happened to be wondering this morning "Self, how much time have I wasted in my life?" I've got a test for you.

Watch this video.

For every person you recognize, add 3% of your life you've wated. For every person you can name (without looking at the German subtitles) add 10% of your life that you've wasted.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Foodie Wannabe

I'm not sure either of those words are the Queen's English.

I wish I were a foodie. Really I do. I’m not sure what a foodie’s qualifications are, or what would appear on their CV. But I covet the “title” because then it would make eating out a hobby and not an extravagance. It would change something I like doing into something I in which I have expertise. But sadly, I don’t know anyone on the Foodie High Council. And even if I did, I lack the time and finances to put into the art of eating. And perhaps the sophistication. Of the last two establishments I sampled, one used Cheez Whiz in their signature dish, and the other’s main claim to fame is being featured on Man V Food.

A couple weeks back I was in a part of town I don’t usually frequent, so decided to find an interesting restaurant. Forefathers ended up winning. Turns out this place specializes in that local delicacy from across the US, the Philly Cheesesteak. Now, I’ve always enjoyed a good cheesesteak, if only because of the delicious name, so decided to give it a try. I admit, I wussed out a bit and didn’t get the classic sandwich which featured the Cheez Whiz. I just couldn’t bring myself to order Cheez Whiz in a public setting, instead going for the more classy provolone. I considered asking for some Havarti and really classing up the place, but constrained myself. THC went for the real deal, but it seemed like I enjoyed mine a bit more than she did, so I’m ok with my decision. We also got the obligatory sweet potato fries (obligatory because I very rarely turn down sweet potato fries when they’re offered), as well as the surprising menu option of bread pudding. Both were top notch. So while it’s not exactly a place to cater your reception, Forefathers definitely is worth a stop if you’re passing through south Tempe.

My brother was in town this last weekend and I was at a loss as to where to bring him for fine Arizona dining. In Columbus I had a list of couple dozen places I wanted to try, but I have yet to build one here. So I turned to the only food expert I knew in Phoenix: the guy from Man V Food. I don’t know his name. But he went to 3 places while in town. One was a baseball/Alice Cooper themed restaurant, and since I don’t particularly care for either of those, we passed on that. Another was a deli specializing in brisket sliders. I’ll definitely go there some time. The third was Los Reyes de la Torta, which had come up in conversation earlier in the week, and was thus obviously my destined destination. I love tortas. Most people don’t know that about me. Eric doesn’t feel as strongly, but he was game. Turns out, it too was great. Perhaps another thing keeping me from foodie greatness is my reviews. The tortas were great. No fancy verbage there. But they were just the right balance of spicy, greasy, tasty, messy and fresh. AND pretty cheap. I definitely recommend them to anyone who likes sandwiches and would like to venture into the Mexican variety.

So if you’re in Phoenix and want to try someplace new, chances are I’m in like flint. I’ll even explain the origins of in like flint as we eat. I’m sure you’re looking forward to that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The time of the season when I rank things: Christmas Music

Last year I ranted a bit about how I dislike a lot, but not all, Christmas music. I thought it would be a bit more positive this year to actually point out some music that I like. Facebookers, check out the blog for videos.

12. Maybe This Christmas – Ron Sexsmith

I normally limit these lists to 10, but hey, 12 is a Christmassy number. Though I hate the 12 days of Christmas. Criminally, there are no youtube clips of Ron singing the song. Here's someone else:



11. Wrapping Paper – The Waitresses
My friend Paul reminded me of this one last week. It’s a good one.



10. Last Christmas – Wham!
Shut up, I like it. And there are a billion covers of it, only half of which appear to be ironic.



9. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Zoey Deschanel
For whatever reason, they won't let me embed Zoey singing the song with Leon Redbone or Will Ferrell. Clearly Zoey must be scared of the internet.

8. O Holy Night
Admittedly, the Southpark isn’t my favorite version. But I had to include a video, and it was the most interesting one.



7. Let It Snow – Sinatra
I do tend to like these post carol, pre modern Christmas songs.



6. Carol of the Bells
Most any version, even Mannheim Steamroller. But this was the video I thought of.



5. Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie
Yes, this is a pretty secular list. OHN and LDB are the only Christian songs represented. The churchy songs are really a separate category in my mind, and not what I’m counting down today.



4. Walking in the Air – Aled Jones
Not strictly a Christmas song, but it is to me.



3. Christmas Time is Here – Vince Guaraldi
Thanks Peanuts and Arrested Development.



2. The Christians and the Pagans – Dar Williams
An odd little ditty, but one of my favorites, and with an actual message.



1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
My favorite Christmas song. No good reason. Depending on how it’s sung it’s joyful or a bit melancholic. All songs should be that way.



Top Churchy Christmas Songs: Angels We Have Heard On High, Far Far Away On Judea’s Plains, Hark the Harold Angels Sing, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, We Three Kings

Top Kiddy Christmas Songs: Up on the Housetop, Here Comes Santa Claus, Heat Miser

Friday, November 26, 2010

Riddle me this

What is your interpretation.

Yesterday, Girl A told me that I should date Girl B. Girl B has previously told me that I should date Girl C. Girl C has previously asked for my advise about how to get boys to ask her out.

My math:

Girl C can have one of two views:
1. She is following the age old trick of asking someone you don't want to date about dating. Despite their opposite gender they get immediately pushed into the friend category. Potential tension (potension?) dissipated. Thus doesn't like me.
2. She doesn't follow this social norm, and was asking me about dating to build intimacy, moving us closer to dating. Thus may like me.

Girl B has on multiple occasions told me to ask out Girl C. Does not like me.

Girl A out of the blue stated she thinks I should date Girl B. Does not like me.

On the plus side, Girl C seems to feel I have some sage wisdom regarding dating, and Girls A and B want me to date their friends. So that's a plus.

Also, I have too much time to dissect social situations, which should be spent finding Girl D.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ChrisMix 2009 and 2010

If the last post confused you, you've probably known me for less than a year. I put out a yearly mix CD called ChrisMix. CM2010 will be the fifth iteration. You can have a copy if you want one.

FYI there will be 2 editions. CM2010: Rock Out the Old and CM2010 Roll In the New. Rock Out will feature 20 or so new tracks from bands from previous ChrisMixes. Roll In will be the traditional ChrisMix featuring new bands from 2010. You can request Rock Out if you'd like it, but generally I'll be giving out Roll In.

So that's what that's about.

I was going to say that this week was the first time I've gone to see a ChrisMix band, but then I remembered I saw The Fratellis a couple years ago at the Newport. It was awesome. But this week I saw The Thermals, a band from last year's mix, and it was similarly awesome.

A great thing about the show was that it was at The Rhythm Room. It's a tiny venue. The opening acts probably had 50 people watching and the place felt full. The Thermals probably had a little over 100 and it felt packed. We were sitting against the wall and were only 20 feet or so from Kathy Foster. I've never seen a band I really like in a room that small, and it was a lot of fun. If you have a chance to see them, you should. Hutch is a good front man, Kathy brings a lot of personality on stage and Westin really worked the crowd. A great live act all around.

Also of note were the 2 opening bands. One was really horrible, but entertainingly so. The lead singer flailed around spouting simplistic lyrics like "Let's get high. It's fun to get high. Let's get high." He tackled both of his guitarists during the course of the evening. I was enjoying their public failure, but THC (pseudonym of the day) was clearly not impressed. The other band was called Kinch and was actually very enjoyable. I bought their album, but then discovered that all their music is available for free. Oh well. They deserve some extra cash. Check them out, especially if you're a Phoenician as they're a local band.

So yeah, music is good. I might go see The Weepies this week. I'll mail out the ChrisMixes in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Put your orders in now.





Just post a comment if you want one. And email me your address. You can post your address if you want, but my innumerable stalkers may decide to start stalking you for variety's sake.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I don't like robots

No, I'm not talking about Bishop or MechaGodzilla, Johnny 5 or Data. I'm not talking about Deckard, Bubo, T-1000 or the Techno Trousers. I'm not talking about the Iron Giant, the Fembots, the Go-bots, Bender, Rosie, Marvin, Starscream, Kitt, the Cylons, the Mousers, Small Wonder, Tom Servo, HAL, Ultron, Red Tornado, the Sentinels or the Spider Slayers. I like all those robots.

(To discover your nerd score, take the number of those you recognize and divide by 25. If you feel prompted to insist I add another robot to the list, multiply by 10.)

No, the kind of robots I don't like are people. People that are completely predictable. You give them a prompt, such as "Let's go bowling" or "I love Bon Jovi" and you know with 100% certainty what they're going to say or do. It's lame.

Which is not to say the person is lame. I have a great many friends who are like this. And to a certain extent we all do this. You have thoughts and feelings and opinions (which really seems to be just a combined thought and feeling) so people that know you well can predict what you'll say.

Just try to mix it up. Yes, maybe you have a clever tidbit you like to whip out every time someone mentions William Howard Taft. Learn another one. Figure out other things you can say. Maybe you hate the word subtle (I know I do. What's that B doing in there?) You don't need to let everyone know you hate the word subtle every time it is used.

Don't be a robot. Be a person; full of inconsistency, unpredictability and nuance. And most importantly, let me know when I'm acting like a robot.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Forget You [NSFW]

Opinion 1: Last week’s episode of Glee was the Worst . . . Episode . . . Ever. Which is not to say it was a horrible way to spend an hour; it was just a poor showing of a good show. The comedy was flat to nonexistent, the musical numbers were dull, the plot uber-contrived. Come on, the big football player who picks on gays turns out to be gay? Shocker. But next week’s episode looks more promising.

Gwyneth on Glee



Question 1: Who hates Gwyneth? This article seems to indicate that people hate her. I’m someone who will readily and without reason dislike people, and I have never had a negative feeling towards her. I’m not a big fan either. The only movies where I specifically liked her were The Royal Tenenbaums and the Iron Men. Otherwise I’ve found her performances pretty neutral. But evidently other people disagree. It could be that I kind of like uppity ice queens. Or it could be that her negatives (Apple?) balance out with her positives (Simon Pegg is Apple’s godfather!) In any case, I have no strong feelings about her.

Fact 1: I don’t swear. There are any number of crude words I will say, but I have lines I have drawn. Though to disclose fully, I suspect I may need to abandon those lines. So far I haven’t needed to repeat a patient’s profanity in the course of an interview or affidavit, but it does seem like it is only a matter of time. But my point is I don't condone swearing.

Declaration 1: I like a lot of music which happens to contain cursing. Forget You, whether performed by Gwyneth or Cee Lo is just not the same as F*** You. F*** You is a great song. The cursing is the exclamation point at the end of each phrase. So I’ve included below ten songs that I love that are reliant on their profanity. Some are expletive heavy, others just have a swear or two to add some spice. I’ve generally avoided rap and hard rock, as the swearing there is pretty commonplace. Seriously though, don't click on the links unless you want an ear-full. And the songs are catchy, so it might stay there.

List 1: The time of the week when I rank things: Songs With Which I Can’t Sing Along


1. Good Intentions – Tito and Swan

A bizarre confluence of blasphemy, profanity, intoxication and debauchery. It makes it all sound so playful and innocent. Sure to offend most anybody.

2. Toxic – Mark Ronson

ODB is on the track. Ergo, it can't be played in polite company.



3. When You Wasn’t Famous – The Streets

Most any Streets track could be included. I love these guys. Strangely enough I couldn't find an uncensored version of this song.

4. I Can’t Decide – Scissor Sisters

Another track that throws around the F bomb with zero spite or malice, just a smile.



5. F******* Boyfriend – The Bird and the Bee

This is one of many tracks that would have been included in past ChrisMixes, if not for its lyrics. Consequently, ChrisMix usually gets skewed a bit nicer, older and girlier than the actual tracks I hear over the course of the year.

6. Mother****** – Xzibit

Generally I avoided rap music as it is famously profane, so not much of a challenge to include on a list of songs with swearing. But I really like the way this song sounds, even though I can't agree with any of the content.



7. B***** Mother******* ***hole – Martha Wainwright

My third favorite Wainwright. Well, maybe second favorite. But she pulls no punches on this one. She's singing about my third favorite Wainwright.

8. Stack-O-Lee – Samuel L Jackson



This was an underrated movie. This is a great song. Mr. Jackson is a king of cursing.

9. The Dirty Glass – Dropkick Murphys

I think there's only one curse in this one. But it's hard to miss.

10. Don’t Marry Her – The Beautiful South

The contrast between sex and love is so eloquently pointed out using the most famous of curses.



Honorable Mentions
Song of the Dumped – Ben Folds Five
B****– Merideth Brooks
Any one of dozens of Beastie Boys tracks, and most every Eminem track.

Bonus 1:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I would murder someone to get a job as a critic

Despite my unhealthy fascination with all things entertainment, I’m not much of a movie-goer these days. I like going to movies with girls, but watching movies at home is really a much better date. You can talk, pause, eat, switch movies when she figures out there are zombies in it, etc. I don’t really have many guy friends in Arizona to go see manly movies, nor am I looking for them. Netflix takes care of a bunch, the internet takes care of a bunch, being too busy to realize what movies are out take of the rest. So, the movies I’ve seen in theaters have been few and far between. Except for this week when I saw 2.

The first was It’s Kind of a Funny Story. It was kind of a funny movie. It is a bit stuck in the dramedy zone: spending equal time on both drama and comedy, so not really dramatic or comedic enough to stand on its own. But it did have one of my favorite celebrities of the moment, Zach Galifianakis acting more than he normally does. Admittedly, playing a psych patient wasn’t a huge departure for him. Jim Gaffigan was along for the ride as well, which was a plus. I saw it with 3 of my work colleagues/friends and so we had a good time comparing their psych hospital to ours. But even if you’re not a psychiatrist or a mental patient, I think it was a reasonably good movie. Not great, which was disappointing. It’s one of those movies that is pretty good, but you could see lots of amusing scenes which could’ve been funny, and touchy-feely scenes that could have been genuinely touching. It just wasn’t quite there. It was also one of those movies where they throw in some artistic accents (visual effects, music, creative structure) but none of them REALLY helped anything. They were just there. I sound negative, but only to point out that it wasn’t great. But you’ll laugh, you’ll be a little touched, you’ll be able to overlook some of the clich├ęs and pat conclusions.

The other movie was Easy A. I’d heard some pretty positive reviews, so when a group congealed to see it, I congealed along with them. I’d give Easy A a solid B to B+. It was preachy, but self aware and referential enough that it wasn’t annoying. And the preachiness was actually kind of a unique take, which also helped it stay more palatable. I’m a bit of a comedic misogynist (Sidebar. Women, as a group, are not nearly as funny as men. I don’t think this is genetic, I think it’s societal pressures. It helps men to be funny much more than it helps women. So men spend a fair amount of time and energy fostering this. At the end of the day, women (with important exceptions) tend to be significantly less funny than men. End sidebar.) but Emma Stone pulls it off. Yes, her dialogue is not really believable coming from a 16 year old, but the dialogue is funny, and she delivers it with aplomb. Most everyone else in the film is similarly witty. Her parents in particular are hilarious. I imagine there was a meeting early in production when they had to decide between PG-13 and R, and I’m glad they went PG-13. I’m no prude, I saw MacGruber last week and it was HILARIOUS (I use all caps not because I’m a teenage girl, but because that is going to be the entirety of that movie review) but I feel it really served this movie well to be PG-13. It was kind of the point that the characters were all discussing, worrying, lying and obsessing over sex, but not participating in it. The dialogue was cleverer because it had to stay under the R level, though it came mighty close. It was good times for not the whole family, but for a larger portion of it.

So there are some movies that you should see. It occurred to me as I saw these movies and all the posters for the blockbuster schlock coming out that all movies should be double features. And not just due to exorbitant ticket prices. Every big budget movie should be paired with a little indie flick. There are good and bad movies in both categories, so I’m not saying the indie flick will provide some nutrition after the blockbuster junk food. Just that it would benefit these little movies to get seen, and it should be an option after the popcorn flick to stick around and catch something that might be great.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I'd watch the heck out of that



Maybe even better than my old favorite:

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm bitter, but you're ridiculous

Today I walked into work and my boss, let's call him Beard Gap, was talking about Dick Cheney. Why? Because they have the same birthday. I don't know how he got on this subject, but we spent the first ten minutes of our day finding people with our birthdays. Sorry psychiatric patients, but this had to happen before we could start rounding.

I feel the need to post this now so it doesn't seem like a birthday hint-drop. Because those make you a bad person.

Anyway, I share my birthday with:
Maximilian the First, Holy Roman Emperor (dude, sweet moniker)
Marcel Marceau (who strangely enough, died on Beard Gap's birthday)
Bill Shatner (guess how old he is. Wrong. 79.)
Stephen Sondheim AND Andrew Lloyd Webber
Orrin Hatch
Reese Witherspoon

Goethe died on my birthday. Which is sad because I would have liked to have met him. Also he died in 1832.
It's the earliest possible day for Easter to occur.
It's the World Day for Water. I'm not proud of that. That sounds like a lame holiday.
Rarely the Vernal Equinox occurs on my birthday. But usually not.
In 1997, it's the day when Hale-Bopp was the closest it's ever been to the Earth.
I think once I get to the history of astronomy, I've probably included enough.

No, the title of this post isn't a mistake. Sometimes people give me grief over the content of my blog. I don't talk enough about work, I talk too much about tv, it's too dirty, I don't edit it, I don't talk enough about them, it's not in iambic pentameter etc etc. Screw you. I talk about what I want to talk about. Don't read it.

I came across this parody blog the other day. Now, I'm WAY behind the times because I should've been reading it for the last 2 years. But it slipped under the radar. I do study every now and again.

Seriously, so blessed!

It's awesome. I'm bitter so it's doubly funny, but even those of you in fully functional relationships should enjoy it. Hopefully I'm never happy enough to write something like this.

My blog is me. If your blog sounds like SSB, well, I hope that's not actually you. I hope you just need a better editor.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bonus Post: Miss Li

Since that last post was not terribly funny, personal, insightful or helpful, I'll do another quick note. Though this one isn't any of those things either.

I'm starting to put together ChrisMix 2010. This song will probably be on it.


It’s the (e)company, stupid.

No, this isn’t about e-company, my e-readers and e-friends. I just felt I had to include the E to make the reference recognizable. It’s a reference, look it up.

The point of this post, is that activities don’t matter. Much.

Before I became activities committee chair, I was very critical of ward activities. Fitness night? Dumb. Stoplight dance? Dumb. If the activity was dumb, I wasn’t going to go.

Then I became the activities committee chair; and I tried really hard to plan activities that people would want to go to. And this is, in fact, the job of the activities committee. And I knew from the get-go that you can’t please everybody all of the time. But I tried to make activities that most people would like most of the time. And for the record, I encourage people planning official activities as well as throwing their own parties to make things as fun as possible.

However, an awesomely planned event can still be lame. A horrible event can be awesome. It’s about the company. It’s not that the event doesn’t matter at all, but in the end, it doesn’t matter terribly much. If the company is good, it’s worthwhile and enjoyable.

I went to a monster truck rally this week. A monster truck rally with lame people, or by yourself, probably wouldn’t be very good. With great people, it’s great. Now this particular example does have to be taken with a grain of salt. I often LIKE bad things. Bad movies, horrible bands, awkward situations etc. The train wreck is kind of a good time to me. So maybe watching a monster truck rally would be good for me no matter what. But I talked to people about going to the rally and their response was “why?” Why becomes inconsequential when you maximize “with whom?”

I had a couple great meals with great people this week. But whether it’s finding a great new Chinese place or enjoying a home-cooked meal, food on its own has never registered as a great experience for me. Food with great people is a great experience.

I just wanted to express the following:

1. On a micro level: Go where the people you like are. Maybe you don’t like the event. It doesn’t matter. You like the people, so you’ll be happier than doing something you like alone.
2. On a macro level: Life is a series of events. Some will be good, some bad. But if you focus on the people, the events become secondary.
3. Monster Truck Rallies are awesome.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Partymeister

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty consistent person. I act much the same from day to day. I have better or worse days, but they’re generally pretty similar. I think this is much the same over the long term. I have never reunited with someone I haven’t seen in a year, five years, ten etc and had them remark how much I’ve changed. I realize that it’s impossible to judge these things accurately, but I’d say I’m much the same person I was at 18, for better or worse. And of course being the same person I was a decade ago is definitely in the worse category. Or more accurately, in the same category.

But I threw my first party in probably six months this weekend. There have been times in my life when I threw a party/gathering every couple weeks. Clearly this is not one of those times. Moving itself was pretty disruptive in party throwing. Even more damaging is the depletion of my friend pool. Some people can throw a party with the point of making friends, but I’m not one of them. I can only throw when to entertain friends that I have already recruited. And really I’m just barely at a critical mass for party throwing.

It was a Halloween “party.” Being on a Sunday is limiting. But my Halloween and my Love Sucks Party were the biggest two of the year, so I thought it was important to put something together. We chit-chatted, munched, and watched Beetlejuice. It was good times. It did however rekindle my nearly unhealthy desire to plan things. The following are parties I’d like to throw, if I had sufficient time, and sufficient friends.

1. Little Provo. I bought myself a ridiculously large bottle of J-Dawg’s Special Sauce when in Utah a couple months back. I want to set up a little J-Dawg’s assembly line in my apartment. Add in some fry sauce and apple beer, and it would be just the right amount of Provo to experience in Phoenix.

2. Clue Party. I considered watching Clue for Halloween, but Beetlejuice won out. But I think it would be fun to have a Clue party. Everyone would dress up as one of the characters. We’d pause the movie periodically and debate who was the killer. Bets would be placed. Some manner of prize would be awarded. Maybe 7 minutes in heaven with Yvette. It would take an already great movie and make it into an interactive experience. The problem being those of us who have seen it would need to abstain. But it would still be great.

3. Garbage Plates. There are a surprising number of New York alum floating around Phoenix. Some of us know and love Rochester’s most famous food. We figure it would be easy to at least approximate the gastronomical experience of the Plate. I even looked into shipping in some Zweigles, but they are ridiculously expensive to ship.

4. Film Festival. I have ½ a script for my next movie, but no actors. I feel like I would need to have a night to show some of my movies to convince people that they should permit themselves to appear in a Sorensen production. I’m not sure which movies I’d pick, as I wouldn’t want to overload people with awesomeness, but a night of amateur movies and discussion of the new film seems like a good time. But of course I’m biased, as it would be kind of a Me Night.

5. The Tour of Ice Cream was fun, but I think it would be too hard to do in Arizona. The distance between locations would be prohibitive. But I would like to do a Tour of Pizza instead. Rather than hop for parlor to parlor, we’d have everyone (or maybe every other person) bring their favorite pizza pie. We’d compare and contrast, and know which location has the best pie in Phoenix.

You’ve probably noticed the common threads of food and television that dictate all my leisure activities. It’s not the most healthy system, but at least I know what I find relaxing. Once my free time and/or friend number increase, you (within driving distance) can look forward to all kinds of food and television themed activities.

Monday, November 01, 2010

And I'm back

Whenever I've taken a blog sabbatical I feel like I need to return with something profound. And if/when I'm lacking something profound, it keeps me on sabbatical longer. So I'm going to jump back into it with something mundane.

I hate you Captain Obvious. I hate that expression also. But more, I hate it when people say things that everyone universally agrees with. It's like having a conversation about bowling and having someone keep saying "I sure like not being punched in the face." No, there is no connection there, and that's the point. The statement really conveys no information because it's what we assume to be true. Saying "I sure like being punched in the face" would be fine, because that would be a surprise.

I hate it when people say "Saturday Night Live isn't as good as it used to be." Duh. I really only want you to tell me if you somehow think it's better than it used to be. Otherwise you're just stating the universally agreed-upon truth.

I do find it slightly interesting to hear what people define as "used to be." Some people refer back to Lazy Sunday. Some people back to Sandler/Farley. Some all the way back to Eddie Murphy or Bill Murray. The description of "the best" at least has some merit.

But due to our shortsighted nature, "the worst" is always now. But I'd submit that most every episode has a gem or two. I watched last week's episode, fast forwarding when necessary, and came across the following, which gets funnier every time I watch it.



The humor is very repetitive (this is the 3rd in a series, with no comedic progression) but it still gets me. Furkles.

Also pretty darn amusing is:



And there was a dumb sketch involving French people dancing, but the song sure is catchy:



Anyway, I guess my point is don't say SNL is not as good as it used to be. We all know that. And also don't whine about stupid things like that. They put a show on every week, some will stink. Don't watch it if you don't like it. I usually don't. But if you've got some time to kill, you can usually find some funny bits. It's better than Outsourced or $%&# My Dad Says.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Commentary on Jersey Shore

A couple weeks ago I watched 4 hours of Jersey Shore. Put away your pitchforks, I had some very compelling reasons for doing so. I was on call, so stuck at the hospital, with only basic cable to entertain me. But more importantly, cute girls, and a specific cute girl, seem to watch this show. I feel that any activity that helps me better understand cute girls is worthwhile. Here are some things I learned.

- I'm not attracted to any women on the Jersey Shore. This was a bit surprising since television doesn't usually let many women on its pristine screen that aren't absurdly attractive. These women aren't absurdly attractive. It could be that I don't watch reality tv, so am used to fake people on my scripted programs. Or it could be that their behavior makes them unattractive.

- That being said, I would totally hang out with Snooki. If you don't think of her as a stupid person, but as a very clever pet, it would work out.

- I'm not a big fan of anyone else, but I would also hang out with Pauly D. He's the funniest of the bunch and his hair alone is entertaining.

- I don't understand how the men achieve these bodies, and especially don't understand how they maintain them when they never seem to work out and eat crap all day. Maybe they're having really athletic sex.

- Speaking of sex, I think smush is the most awesomely unromantic euphemism I've ever heard. It's definitely added to my thesaurus.

- I can't watch reality tv. I find the pacing infuriating. A semi-proficient editor could whittle an hour of Jersey Shore into 6 minutes of plot.

- I can't watch reality tv. I get mad at the "stars." Mostly it's envy that they get paid ridiculous sums of money to be ridiculous, and I want that deal. So if anyone is looking to cast a show about Mormon psychiatrists in the Southwest, give me a ring.

- I probably couldn't be on reality television. The Jersey Shorians seem to forget that they have cameras on them, or else don't care what America thinks of them. We all act differently in private than in public. I wouldn't be able to put down my public behavior with the cameras rolling.

- I feel like they need to ship the cast to Italy. They're always talking about being Italian, and I think their definition of being Italian wouldn't fly in Italy.

- It does make me want to eat gelato.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Knowing is half the battle

Actually it's all of the battle.

If you knew the following, you should've been on my trivia team tonight. Because we didn't know them.

Timex is more popular than Swatch.

Alice in Wonderland was written in 1865.

A Hitchcock film with numbers in the title? 39 Steps

Greek word for milk, used in astronomy. Galaxy

Celebrity who first touted the Corinthian leather of the Chrysler Cordoba? Ricardo Montalban. (Seriously trivia?)

1200 mile wide hurricane from 1956? Hurricane Greta

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reader's Digest

I sometimes use my blog as a social shortcut. Someone says to me “What’s been going on?” and I say “read my blog.” Those three words are much easier than giving a synopsis of the many aspects of my life. However, people rightfully respond “You just talk about Lady Gaga.” I don’t JUST talk about Lady Gaga, though my posts about her remain my highest viewed to this day. So if you’re googling randomly:

LADY GAGA LADY GAGA LADY GAGA LADY GAGA LADY GAGA

Sorry, just trying to get some extra traffic.

But they are correct; I don’t talk about my life so much as I talk about my interests. But this is how I am in real life. I’m ok with the standard “How was your day. Good, how about yours” rigmarole, but I’m not too excited by it. I expect that if you had a really interesting anecdote about finding a finger at work or seeing David Bowie at the mall you’re going to tell me. Those stories are exciting and are going to get told.

The story about how I had to come to work today, and then I finished my work and I went home. I watched Mad Men on the elliptical machine, read about SSRIs and fb chatted for an hour. Well that story doesn’t really need to be told. And that’s what I did on Wednesday.

But, for those of you who want my blog to be about me, here are some things that have been going on:

At work I just finished a rotation in Mesa, now I’ll be in Phoenix for the next 2.5 months. I’m dreading the traffic, excited for some new co-workers and expecting to have less free time.

At church I’m teaching Sunday School. It’s Isaiah, so that’s going as well as can be expected. I teach about every 2 weeks which is more than I’m used to, but has improved my scripture study.

At socializing I’m having a hard time balancing my time. There are too many things going on between work people, church people I do know and church people I need to get to know. But it’s better than the alternative.

At dating, I’m having more success at accomplishing my mission president’s goal of a date a week for life. I’m a couple years behind from my time in Ohio.

At being creative, I’m working on 2 projects. One is a screenplay about a couple that’s engaged and half their friends are trying to split them up and the other half is trying to keep them together. Also it has spies. My other project is trying to figure out how to make my own talk show in the style of Between Two Ferns.

At work but not part of work, I’m trying to redesign our call schedule to incorporate a night float system.

At being a good roommate I’m not doing it.

At being a world traveler I’m trying to commit to either a trip to Thailand or Croatia.

At being a music snob I’m going to Gorillaz next week and paid more than I ever have before for tickets.

At not dying before I’m 60 I have been going to the gym more.

At wasting my time I have figured out a way to mooch Netflix On Demand.

At not wasting my time I have refused to watch any new television shows this year.

At fulfilling my New Year’s Resolution that I just now made, I’m going to win Team Trivia some time this year. I may feel ok about holding this resolution over until next year since I just made it in the middle of October.

Inappropriately Allocated Resources

I wanted to write a post called Things Girls Think Guys Might Care About But They Don't. But I'm on call, so I'm just going to give you 2 examples instead of the dozens that are probably out there.

1. Made From Scratch

All guys like food, so it makes sense that you might try to impress a guy with cooking. And admittedly, some guys even rank cooking abilities in their top 10 qualities in a companion. Personally I think cooking skill is a great bonus, but it's not even on my radar in terms of picking girls to date. I do like it when girls have hobbies and interests, so to me cooking is really more valuable in that it shows an interest in SOMETHING, but the food itself is just a minor benefit. Of course I eat fried egg sandwiches several times a week, so I'm not the world's best food connoisseur.

Anyway, the point is this: it doesn't really matter if you can cook, but it's nice if you do. If you do cook, I think most men don't care if something's made from scratch. That's fine if you like it better that way, that's fine if you take pride in it, I just don't think it wows us like you might think it does. If the pasta salad tastes great, I'm happy. But the fact that you grew the herbs that went into the home-made dressing, well that's impressive but it doesn't make you more attractive.

2. Shoes

Most men will not notice your shoes. Ever. We'll notice if the shoes clash drastically, but not really in any other situation. We'll notice if you're suddenly 3 inches taller and if your legs look great, but not really notice the characteristics of the shoes that are making you so.

I'm not saying don't make things from scratch. If you like it better, it's worth doing. I'm not saying don't take pleasure from your shoe buying and hording and displaying. If you like them, great. If other women notice them and like them, great. But it's not going to make guys like you more.

I'm not sure if there are opposite examples. There are many things that men do that don't make us attractive to women, but I'm hard pressed to think of anything that we THINK impresses women but actually doesn't. There's stuff like manscaping or bodybuilding, but most men don't engage in these to any great extent.

Any ideas? Things (most) men do to impress women, which are missing the mark?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From the Peanut Gallery

Can you imagine what would happen if this group of men got together? They'd surely conquer the world.
































Thanks for your contributions. Clearly though, saying someone has a beard doesn't mean MY beard can approximate it. Plus I'm glad Dumbledore is dead. But if nothing else we've assembled a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Oh, and facebook crushed blog. 27 entries to 5. Twitter zero.

What we have here, is a failure to communicate

A friend told me the other day that she was going to do an impersonation of me. I asked what this would entail. As expected: monotone, straight face, dry jokes. Then she added “speaking in the vernacular.”

I don’t like to be put in boxes. Literally or figuratively. Any descriptor you might apply to me, I would add a caveat or clarification. I don’t really want to be unabashedly anything. Except intelligent. I want people to know that I’m smart. I’m not particularly proud of that desire, but clearly I am proud of that particular attribute.

Why then, when I so arrogantly want people to know that I’m intelligent, do I sometimes talk like a Real World contestant? I know that’s a dated reference, I just hope that by ignoring reality television it will go away. But the question remains, why speak like I do?

When my SAT score came back, I shocked and chagrined to discover my verbal far exceeded my math score. This is a sad realization for a budding scientist. Not that the SAT is all that methodical in terms of intelligence testing, but really it has turned out to be accurate. Words are more intuitive to me than numbers. A good enough arrangement for a psychiatrist I suppose. The point being, my vocabulary is actually pretty good. I rarely hear words that I don’t know; in fact I tend to cry BS when someone uses a word I haven’t heard. I’m sure this is very endearing. So I think I’m quite capable of making my language more florid, if I had the inclination, and also of choosing my words more expeditiously to make them more precise.

But I don’t.

The goal is communication. I want to convey my meaning as clearly as possible. Esoteric polysyllabic tongue-twisters are fine and dandy in moderation. But generally, they’re not helping to get the point across. It might sound nice, but it doesn’t help. It might be EXACTLY the right word for the job, but if the audience isn’t familiar with it, it doesn’t help. And I’m not implying that I have to condescend and patronize people all day long. This isn’t really about intelligence, it’s about ease. And the best communication is easy. The focus should be on the content of the message, not the structure of the words. I want the attention to be on what I’m saying, not how I’m saying it.

So, I speak in the vernacular. There are other reasons. I find other people’s pontificating annoying so I try to avoid it myself. I sometimes like the challenge and freedom of knowing the rules so I can break them. Refined language often ruins jokes. But generally, it’s about being a good communicator. A great one even.

Monday, October 11, 2010

1/3 Heretic

So on Sunday Sacrament Meeting went over time. Fine, whatever. People like bearing testimony. I can dig it. So we end up 15 minutes over. I get up to make the Sunday School announcements and announce that Sunday School will end 6 minutes late to compensate. I then think to myself, well, I probably shouldn't make decisions for the whole ward without at least consulting with the Bishopric. So I turn around to confirm that that's ok and he looks at me seriously and says "You'll end on time." I was irked.

For starters, let's go into the logistics of this specific situation. Perfect world Sunday School: 50 minutes. Realistic Sunday School, about 40 minutes. Singles Ward Sunday School 30 minutes. People need to flirt, I get it, I support it. But when Sacrament goes over 15 minutes, then we're getting a 20-25 minute lesson. To teach Isaiah. Adding insult to injury, I was forced to end right at 3:00. Elder's Quorum ended 15 minutes early. Lameness all around.

I didn't write this post to complain about this Sunday. I wrote this post to complain about Elders Quorum, and how I just don't like it. There, I said it.

I have 2 clear biases. 1. I've been a Sunday School teacher 4 times. I like being a Sunday School teacher. 2. I like girls. These 2 biases are going to fuel most of my complaints.

On average, the lessons are worse. I've had good EQ lessons, but they are much rarer than good Sunday School lessons. EQ lessons trend worse for two main reasons. Firstly there are no girls in the class. The problem is not that I don't have girls to talk to during the lesson, though that is a negative. The problem is that the teacher knows there will be no girls in the audience. Without girls, guys lose much of their motivation to achieve. Hence poorer preparation (ie sometimes no lesson preparation) and thus worse lessons.

Secondly Elders Quorum has "worse" lesson material. I don't think the material is actually worse, it's just not as conducive to my learning. Right now we're doing Gospel Principles. You can pull stimulating conversation from GP, but it's tough. When we're not using GP we're using those president of the church manuals, which are great IF you spend a lot of time preparing the lesson. If not you spend an hour reading quotes aimlessly.

The content of discussion is less varied than Sunday School. Home Teaching, performing ordinances, service. Got it. There's a lot more to the Priesthood, I know that. But we don't talk about it as much.

They talk about football a lot more in EQ.

I think an important element of Relief Society is the emotional component. The sisters bond, share feelings, become a cohesive group etc. Great. The Elders Quorum doesn't try to do this much. And if they did, I wouldn't be very interested in it. I have some great friends who happen to be male, but generally I'm not inclined or interested in bonding with men. I don't think there's any homophobia involved, just a strong sense of effective time management. I have a limited amount of time, I want to spend it bonding with women. I'm a far cry from a Don Juan, I just prefer the company of the fairer sex.

I'm not saying get rid of Elders Quorum. I'm just saying I wouldn't miss it if they did. And they should have let me have that 6 minutes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Redeem your honor

My polls rarely turn out well on my blog. But on facebook, they do pretty well. Are you going to take that blog people? Are you going to let facebook show you up like that?

Today's "poll": To assist me in my Halloweening, name some awesome characters/people/concepts involving beards. Go.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Little strikes, not deal breakers

My default setting is negative. This isn’t to say that I’m always negative, just that I think of things in terms of the negative aspects, and then process the information from there, sometimes in a positive manner. I’m much better at listing movies I hate than movies I love. I’m much better at listing traits in a potential date that will eliminate them as a prospect than listing the qualities that I want.

All kinds of things are strikes for me. Strike probably isn’t the right word, as it takes many more than three strikes for me to eliminate a girl. Some are simple matters of preference: being blonde is a strike. Some are petty and unfair: lactose intolerant is a strike. Some are downright wrong: never watches R movies is a strike. These are all little strikes. Bigger strikes include stupidity, insanity, history of spousal abuse etc. A big strike can eliminate you, again making strike probably the wrong word.

Anti-depressant use: little strike. I have talked to a couple people recently that felt in no uncertain terms that anti-depressant use was a deal breaker. It was a sad statement to me.

Now I’ve had numerous girls tell me that they used anti-depressants. Certainly, this doesn’t make them more attractive, but it was no big deal. Another couple have told me about their anti-depressant use on a date. That was a bigger deal. I have more issues with the fact that you think your medication use is good first date chit-chat than the fact that you’re on them. Ladies, a good rule of thumb is to keep your crazy to yourself until the 4th date. Keep that in mind.

But to say that anti-depressant use is a deal breaker, well that shows a lack of something. Empathy, understanding, tact, something. One of these girls was not at all familiar with mental health, and so her statement of “run far away from that” is more understandable. The other girl was well acquainted with mental health, which made the statement worse to me.

Do I want to date sad girls? No. Do I want to date people with any chronic illness? Not particularly. Do I want to date someone that refuses to try therapy as an alternative/adjunct to their medication use? No. But using anti-depressants is a little strike. I feel like having it as a deal breaker would devalue my work as a psychiatrist. How could I say that I want to help people when I say that the depressed are entirely undatable.

And no, this diatribe is not my justification for dating patients. I promise.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Quote Camping Unquote

My blogging was pretty intermittent the last couple weeks, but this was primarily because I was out doing things. I find it acceptable not to blog when I replace the blogging with living.

2 weekends ago I went camping for the first time in a number of years. And let me tell you, it was a pretty awesome camping trip. And let me tell you, it really wasn't camping.

A sizable chunk of the weekend was driving since the campsite was in Show Low. Why did we need to drive 3.5 hours away to go camping? I don't know. But it did allow us to be cold, something that is difficult to do in Phoenix. So that means we were in the car for 7 hours out of approximately 24, which is not a terribly good commute to activity ratio. But I made the best of it by creating a 90s playlist. I figured people wouldn't want to jam out to my latest indie/Euro/techno/folk stylings, but instead would want to revert to some comfort music of their youth. I will not disclose how much time I spent creating this playlist. I will disclose that it was chock full of cheesy 90s goodness like Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Chumbawumba, Alanis, Coolio, Nirvana, Aqua etc. I actually forgot Aqua (blasphemy!) but added them to the list after I got home. It was a 7 hour playlist, which was really necessary to define a decade of music.

So roughly 1/3 of the camping trip consisted of singing along/loving/mocking the 90s. Approximately another 1/3 consisted of playing cards. Phase 10, Scum, BS etc. Some people go camping to enjoy nature, I really go to play cards. Thankfully I was always able to find like-minded individuals.

The remaining 1/3 consisted of chit-chatting. I really don't know how to successfully blog about chit-chatting, so I won't try.

I spent approximately 15 seconds setting up and taking down my tent. This was done by sleeping in the car. To be fair, I actually kind of like setting up tents. But I hate taking down tents, so in order to avoid that I slept in my car. As we all know, my car is in my top 10 places that I like to sleep, so that works out pretty well. Unfortunately, it did get down to 50 degrees and my Arizona-adjusted body didn't handle that terribly well. But apart from that, it was a good night's sleep.

So I didn't set up a tent. I ate Wendys for dinner. I did enjoy a campfire, but did zero work in setting it up or keeping it going. I didn't tell ghost stories. I didn't hike. I didn't swim. In short, I didn't really camp. Which is really what made it a good campout.