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:


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.

Internet Find

I've liked this song for a little while now, and it may well make it to the ChrisMix finals in a couple months. Turns out, there are videos of people hand dancing to it. Good just got better.