Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My kind of Democracy

A couple weeks ago I found $134 dollars in my junkmail. No joke. Stranger still, that $134 windfall was distributed over 4 different letters, that were all on the way to my trash. Unfortunately with my frugal mind I just got frustrated thinking of all the money I may have thrown away in the past. But I tried to focus on this new unexpected treat.

Five of those one hundred and thirty four dollars came from the Nielsen Media Research Group. They sent five lightly-used dollar bills in an envelope (which I thought was odd, both that it wasn’t a fiver and that it wasn’t crisp) in return for completing a survey. Heck, I would have done Nielsen survey for free.

On Sunday I got a call during church from an unknown number. Seeing as I was about to enlighten my congregation as to how many unicorn references there are in the Bible (9) I ignored it. But when I called it later I discovered it was the kind people of Nielsen. Curses! I’d missed my chance.

But they called me back last night. I am now a trial member of the Nielsen Research Group. It’s kind of sad how excited I am about this. But my television viewing habits will now count for something. Maybe I can save Fringe. Maybe I can kill reality tv. In the very least I’m going to keep getting strange dollar bills in the mail.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's good to be bad

I have a bit of a penchant for bad things. Who knows why. For whatever reason, all of my favorite movies have come up in the last week or so. Now at this point in my life, with uncountable movies under my belt, I’m not going to try to figure out my favorite movie. However, in the past I have had a favorite movie, and they have been almost entirely, bad.

The time of the week when I DON’T rank things: Favorite Movie Edition

1. Clash of the Titans (1982-1987)
2. Beetlejuice (1988-1991)
3. Tremors (1992-1994)
4. Akira (1995-2000)
5. Gladiator (2000-2002)

Yes, those dates are almost entirely made up. But they might be true. The only movie on the list that is solidly a good movie is Gladiator. Akira is an excellent movie in some ways, but I like it because of many of its faults (the nonsense plot, horrible dub etc). Tremors, Beetlejuice and Clash, well, they’re just bad. And still some of my favorite movies.

So indeed, I felt quite obligated to see the new Clash of the Titans. Sadly, it wasn’t as bad as the original, so not as enjoyable. It was pretty bad though. Everybody in the film was very contradictory: most notably “I hate the gods! Pray to the gods! Let’s show those gods! Use the gifts the gods gave you!” Worthington did fine, continuing his run of forgettable but adequate performances. Liam’s main personality trait was that his armor was shiny. Ralph still has a ridiculous name, and somehow looked like Bobcat Goldthwait throughout the movie. Gemma was very attractive, but for some reason dressed like a Viking, and did a lot more butt-kicking than Io probably should. You know, since the rest of movie was in line with Greek mythology. Anyway, it was bad, but fun, but could have been a lot worse-slash-better.

I’d like to be early adopter with cool things like iPads, but I can’t afford it and hate waiting in lines. So I was an early adopter with the Double Down sandwich, getting one the day after they were released. I couldn’t quite make myself get one opening day, lest the staff openly mock me. I got one expecting it to be gross, and it largely met my expectations. However, part of this is the fault of my local KFC, which I imagine doesn’t do well at the KFC Olympics. They served the sandwich in a box, allowing it to fall apart, and not providing the wrap shown in pictures to help you eat the sandwich. So basically I had to assemble it myself, and it kept falling apart. So basically it was like holding a fried chicken meal all at once, with too much sauce. So my biggest impression was that it was messy, much more than how it actually tasted. But it tasted alright. I’ve certainly had worse foods, fast food and slow food, but it wasn’t good.

Here’s an interesting article about how bad it is nutritionally: here’s a link! Surprisingly, not horrible. Doubly surprising, I haven’t had any of the sandwiches that are worse for you. So while it was no taste sensation, I guess it was the unhealthiest sandwich I’ve had, which made it a worthwhile experience.

Wait for the dollar theater for Titans. Probably don’t try the Double Down. Definitely don’t have a Triple Baconator.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Palette Cleanser

My Mac and I have spent a lot of time together lately.

Here's a video I made for my ultrasound class. I made a bunch of other videos as well, but they're instructional so probably a bit less interesting to the general public.

I had fun with this one for a couple reasons. I kind of like using found footage. Most of this video was shot by others (I'd like to think I have a little better control of my zoom than demonstrated here) so it was different making videos with foreign material. I also liked branching into music video territory, matching visuals with beats and lyrics.

Anyway, here it is. No mTV today.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

mTV: Finale

Hopefully this doesn't distract you from Lost or Glee tonight.


If you can only see the right half of the videos on my blog:

1. I should probably figure out why, but I'm not going to.
2. You should go to my youtube account and watch them there instead.

Ranteumptom on Youtube

Monday, April 19, 2010

mTV: Third Episode

This won't make much sense if you don't watch Arrested Development. But if it gets you interested in Arrested Development, my job is done.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Speaking of Speaking

So I gave a talk today, which isn’t all that unusual. But it was Senior Sunday, the Sunday all the wards in Columbus ship their high school seniors to the singles ward to show them that it’s not the hell they might have imagined. It’s not a bad idea. Also not a bad idea is that our bishop has the head of each auxiliary speak, and the topic is always the benefits of being active. So it’s an odd talk where you’re recruiting the seniors, trying not to speak ONLY to the seniors, talking about yourself and talking about your auxiliary of choice, all in 3-5 minutes because there are 7 of you speaking, plus the bishop.

Add an extra challenge in that this is my 3rd year in a row giving this talk. First I was Activities Chair, then Sunday School President, and I still retain that calling this year. So I want to do all those things listed above, plus not give the same talk I’ve given twice before.

Additionally, I have my own spin on the Sunday. I always try to have my talks be enjoyable, that goes without saying. So my opening jokes tend to go a bit long and my pop culture references are sprinkled pretty regularly and I try to pick only my best anecdotes. But I feel the entertainment versus education balance of this particular talk should be even more skewed. The seniors don’t go inactive because they don’t think the ward is spiritual enough, they go inactive because they don’t want to go. And the only way I can make them want to stay, in 5 minutes, is be funny. So my talk is usually pretty fluffy. And evidently, this is what people expect from me, because the following were comments before my talk:

“Ah Chris, we get another performance this year.”
(Another speaker) “Chris is from the Sunday School, but he’ll be telling jokes”
“I hate having to speak after Chris. But here’s my testimony.”

Those aren’t necessarily positive comments, but I think they were largely meant to be. But the comments afterwards were even stranger.

“Chris, that was a very Chris Sorensen talk.”
“Did you write that down? Can I have a copy?” (Which was weird, because who wants a copy of a 5 minute talk about Sunday School/being active/Rocky Run middle school?)
“Can I be Chris Sorensen once you’re gone?”

Anyway, all in all I was happy with it. Although I think moving will do me good, it’s going to be annoying to no longer have a reputation. It’s not that my rep is exactly sterling, but people know what to expect, whether for good or ill. And now, for a time at least, I’ll have to return to being unknown.

mTV: Episode 2

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Impasse Broken

It's been an odd week for blogging. Not for you, as you've just had an empty blog with no updates. But pretty much everyday I've had something I wanted to write about, and a moderate amount of free time, and still nothing came of it. Basically the topics kept piling up and I couldn't decide which I wanted to devote some prose to, and hence, nothing.

So, I'm not going to write anything today, other than the above. Instead I'll post this:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Legend

The other night I was tired of editing my current movie, so decided to watch my old one. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen it since I finished it 2 years ago. And I have to say, dang, I did a good job with The Legend.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Beautiful vs Interesting

I feel like I’m getting back to my roots. This blog was made for ranting, and I’m going to fulfill that purpose today.

The only worthwhile thing Josh Groban has ever done in his life is this:

That’s it. I don’t think I can think of a musician more boring than Josh Groban. I’m not really a good judge at such things, but I think he’s very proficient at his craft. Unfortunately, his craft is pitch perfect boredom. It doesn’t matter how grandly or operatically he sings; it’s just dull. Because just because something is beautiful, doesn’t make it interesting. Often the opposite is true.

Certainly humans are drawn to symmetry, order and perfection. But those things, while beautiful, aren’t necessarily very good at evoking an emotional response. There are nothing like flaws to get us involved with a piece. The flaws help us relate, throw off our expectations and make us think and feel more deeply about the subject.

I remember the first time I heard Placebo and I thought to myself that Brian Molko had such an irritating voice. And while Placebo still doesn’t crack my top 50, I’m very fond of some of their songs, most notably their Running Up That Hill cover. The flaws in his voice just work for me. I’ve had similar experiences with Bright Eyes, the Pogues etc. I hate the vocals at first, but then grow to really connect with them.

I don’t think I can connect with Josh Groban, nor do I want to. It’s not the he sounds robotic, because he doesn’t. He just sounds lifeless to me. The singing is just too pristine to be alive.

Chompers lovers her some Groban, so I decided to make her a Better Than Josh Groban playlist. I mentioned it to a friend, and his response was “Wouldn’t that just be every band ever?” so I know my feelings are shared by some. And admittedly, it takes almost no provocation for me to drop my studying and assemble a playlist, but I still felt this was a worthwhile venture. There’s very little these songs have in common (male vocalist, minimal accompaniment), but as my friend said, really any song deserves a spot on the Better Than Josh Groban Playlist.

BTJG Playlist
1. Landed – Ben Folds – I wouldn’t qualify Ben’s vocals as exceptionally good or bad. But I kind of feel like he’s the male vocal equivalent of the girl-next-door concept.
2. Catch My Disease – Ben Lee – a lesser Ben, but an enjoyable one. With jangly, loose lyrics, it begs for a sing-along.
3. Tender – Blur – not exactly fitting with the rest of the songs on the playlist, but it’s Blur, so they can be on whatever playlist they want.
4. Waiting for My Real Life to Begin – Colin Hay – a great song, whether sung by Colin Hay, or the cast of Scrubs.
5. 9 Crimes – Damien Rice – the closest thing to Josh Groban that I find acceptable. And yes, he’s not very similar to Josh Groban.
6. Eli, The Barrow Boy – The Decemberists – I sometimes feel the band devolves into a novelty act (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but sometimes they rock my socks.
7. The Last Cigarette – Ed Harcourt – lots of these artists have appeared in past Chrismixes, but that’s just because they’re awesome.
8. Needle in the Hay – Elliot Smith – everyone should listen to a little bit of Elliot Smith. If you listen to a lot you probably have problems.
9. Wicked Little Town – Hedwig and the Angry Inch – I tried to think of operatic singing that I liked, and glam rock opera was about the closest I could do.
10. Flightless Bird, American Mouth – Iron & Wine – excellent vocals, but not JUST excellent vocals.
11. Laid – James – I’m biased because I like songs that mention therapy. But it would probably help Josh is he had some songs about therapy, fighting, stalking, screaming and loving.
12. Tears and Rain – James Blunt – the closest thing to a pop vocalist on the list. Pop can be good sometimes.
13. High & Dry – Jamie Cullum – there’s no way this cover could live up to Radiohead, but Jamie shows that some simple vocals can put an interesting spin on a classic.
14. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley – voted the best Hallelujah by Hallelujah experts.
15. I’m Wrong About Everything – John Wesley Harding – provides some variety to the playlist, as it is heavily produced, but still stays interesting.
16. Tremendous Brunettes – Mike Doughty – this partly made the list because Chompers is brunette, but also because Mike Doughty is amazing, and also because he’s better than Josh Groban.
17. Love Love Love – The Mountain Goats – my song of the year in 2008, and still amazing. Perfect not in execution, but in honesty.
18. These Colors Red – Nathan Duprey – Yes, Nate is relying on that vibrato a bit, but dang is it a good song.
19. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk – Rufus Wainwright – Really any Wainwright will do, but Rufus is the most accessible.
20. Humpty Dumpty Love Song – Travis – by far my favorite Travis song. He whispers, he mumbles, but he succeeds.

Monday, April 05, 2010

I should know this

So I was looking through the new shirts at Threadless today, and this one comes up:

And I'm horribly embarrassed that I can't name all the characters. I could wait a couple days for the discussion board at the site to let me know (there are always explanations of obscure shirts eventually) but I thought I'd let you guys have a shot at naming them all. I won't post the ones I know yet to give you a chance. The ones I don't know are 35, 93 and 96. Let me know if you can ease my mind.

PS I'm still in med school, I'm just doing a boring rotation this month so likely won't discuss it. My rotation last month was actually pretty cool, and maybe one of these days I'll go into why.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Not Peter Pan

I hate
I hate
I hate
Peter Pan
No, cancel that. I’m neutral on Peter Pan. What I hate, is plaid cargo shorts.

I’m not sure why.

But I do. I was positive this style would die a quick death, but no, they just keep coming back, every time the temperature starts a risin’. I just don’t understand the appeal. I mean, I think I get it: look how I’m both wearing slacker clothing and preppy clothing at the same time! That’s the idea right? It seems like something I could get behind, but I just can’t.

Honestly, Uggs don’t bother me. Ugly leggings don’t bother me. Bizarre-neck sweaters don’t bother me. There are countless fashion faux pas that I agree are unfortunate, but they don’t actually annoy me. But plaid cargo shorts, they just drive me crazy.

Happy Easter.