Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Speed Rejection

There are 3 kinds of people that go speed dating.

1. People who aren't able to sustain a conversation longer than 3 minutes.
2. People who like the challenge of condensing an interesting conversation into 3 minutes.
3. People who are bored.

I was definitely in category 3, and mostly in category 2, so I decided to go. I've gone speed dating a couple times before, and found it to be entertaining, if not strictly productive. One time had been a speed dating church activity, which was both good and bad. Good in that I am primarily interested in dating Mormon girls, and bad in that I knew all the Mormon girls in attendance. So it wasn't so much about speed dating, but speed conversing with someone I saw every week already. The other time was speed dating with professional students. Here I didn't know anyone, but also wasn't terribly interested in dating them. But I did make a couple matches, went on a couple dates, and nothing became of it. Interestingly enough, I only ended up matching with other medical students. Sorry lawyers, pharmacists and dentists.

However, at this particular church-run speed dating experience, my success rate indicates I may have been in category 1. To clarify, I didn't do very well. But, that does depend on how you define doing well. I did have a good time, I just didn't get very many numbers. There are a number of potential reasons for this.

1. I'm me.
2. I have a beard.
3. Here is a sampling of the 3 minute conversations I had: thoughts and feelings about crustaceans, pottery experience, how to beat lie detectors, the evils of Disney, how to add talking animals to Phantom of the Opera etc. If you know me, these are the types of conversations I like to have, but if you don't know me, I might come across as a crazy person. I'm not sure mentioning the fact that I'm a psychiatrist reinforces that view or mitigates it.

So there are many reasons why I could be responsible for my speed dating failure. However, in this little experiment I have a control group. My roommate also attended, and is much nicer and more attractive than I. And, admittedly, he did much better than I did. However, lots of girls still didn't give him their number. Which leads us to an important 4th reason for my failure at speed dating.

4. Faulty female thinking. (insert your own joke about female thinking not existing, about any female thinking better than male etc etc)

I spoke with a number of girls after the event. Several expressed how disappointed they were with the prospects. Fair enough. For one, there were many more girls than guys, so odds were bad. For two, many of the guys were 21ish, and many of the girls were . . . not 21. These are fair criticisms and fair reasons for them not to give out their number (that was how a positive match was made, the girl would give the guy her number.) No faulty thinking there.

The problem comes from the girls who said they decided beforehand that they weren't giving out their number to anyone. This is faulty. Now, I don't believe them, so there may not be any faulty thinking. I think it's an ego defense mechanism to SAY that you're not going to give your number out, so when the opportunity comes you can rely back on your previous statement. I think if Brother Charming were there, and flirting up a storm with them, they'd forget this bloodoath from earlier in the day. But if it is true that they had made secret combinations not to give out their number, in any situation, then that's just a recipe for confusing men.

Do you go grocery shopping, if you've decided you're not going to buy anything? No. Admittedly, some people go clothes shopping, knowing they won't buy anything. But men don't. Showing up at speed dating with no possible way for your prospects to be successful borders on cruel. Now, you shouldn't expect a match made in heaven from speed dating. Far from it. You should expect very little, just go along for the ride, and maybe something good will turn up. But if there's NO chance, that's tantamount to lying. Don't be liar.

Another girl told me that she only gave out her number if the boy asked for it twice. So after she said no on the speed date, you had to ask her again, and then she would think about it. So the guy's choices are to be rejected, to look like a creeper by asking again, with only a slight hope of having this go well. She's thrown off the awkwardness exchange of speed dating.

Speed dating is awkward, but roughly equally awkward to real dating. In normal dating you have to ask a girl out, which can be awkward. And you have to evaluate the date afterwards to decide whether to ask her out again, which is awkward. In speed dating you get to skip these steps, and instead just have to deal with the contrived situation awkwardness, and public scrutiny awkwardness. It roughly balances out, provided you have the right expectations. When you have to decide whether to ask for her number AGAIN, it you have to deal with the contrived situation, the public scrutiny, AND no definitive answer at the end of the experience.

This girl was cute, and apart from this faulty thinking, fun and reasonable, so she did get some numbers. But I maintain that it's unfair to expect the men to know that No doesn't mean No, it means ask me again.

It could be an entire post on its own, but this is an issue with Mormon dating. The guys are messing with the formula by being lazy, it's true. But the girls are messing with it by erecting additional barriers to dating. What's worse, not trying hard enough, or trying to actually set up roadblocks? I guess it doesn't matter, but you can see the barriers in things as small as speed dating. What matters, is if you're going speed dating, be open to giving out your number, don't talk about crustaceans, and shave your beard. I don't have any advice for the men.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I found this website: this website

It claims to analyze your writing and tell you what author you write like. Surely, you've wondered this. I submitted my most recent blog post and got the following result:

H.P. Lovecraft

I've never read any Lovecraft, but I don't really think of my blog as a horror blog. I'm not sure if horror blogs exist. If they don't, someone get on that.

So I decided to submit blog entries into the analyzer until I got the same result twice. The following is what it found:

1. H.P. Lovecraft
2. Robert Louis Stevenson (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
3. William Gibson (Neuromancer)
4. Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
5. Dan Brown (rubbish)
6. J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye)
7. David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
8. Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
9. Dan Brown

I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I couldn't have picked an author I wanted to emulate less. Unless you count hobo literature. But really, Dan Brown is pretty much hobo literature. I guess I would hate it more if I were compared to Rowling or Meyer or Paris Hilton.

Honestly, I couldn't tell you who I'd like to sound like. Douglas Adams maybe? Dave Barry? I was pretty happy with Palahniuk and Salinger, but otherwise the list was saddening. I guess I should give up writing. Unless I want to be wildly successful

This post, in case you're wondering: Cory Doctorow. Whoever that is.

Vote now. Who do you think I sound like? In person or print. If you say Dan Brown, I will stab you, through the internet.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flashback Blog: May 2010

For the entire 4 years of my Ohio period (great men like Pablo and I have our lives divided into periods) I had been intending to go to Fallingwater. The most famous work by my favorite architect was a mere 3.5 hours away, across the Pennsylvania border. This was practically one of the reasons I went to Ohio State. And for the 4 years I never went. 3.5 hours is just enough time to make the trip inconvenient. And people always wanted to watch football instead of going to see famous architecture, so I was stuck.

But with a week before I left Ohio (forever?) I was bound and determined to see this modern marvel before I traveled west. Because who knows what kind of architecture they’d have in Arizona. Teepees and sod-homes if my 7th grade history taught me anything (which it didn’t.) So I decided to take a Me Day. Not only was I going to finally go to Fallingwater, but I was also going to stop by Pittsburgh “on the way home.” It wasn’t at all on the way home, but it was close enough to justify combining the trips. And what did Pittsburgh have? Only the largest collection of Akira artwork ever collected. Clearly this had to be a Me Day as there has likely never been someone who would drive out of their way to see both a Frank Lloyd Wright home and a collection of art from a Japanese cartoon.

Rather than listen to music on the drive I listened to the Ricky Gervais show. If there has been someone that has gone to Fallingwater and the Pittsburgh Cartoon Museum in one day, they almost certainly didn’t listen to British comedy podcasts in between.

Fallingwater was awesome. Sadly, it’s covered with people pretty much every day of the year. This day was no exception. But was exceptional was that it was bright and sunny and breezy, a pleasant combination to hike in and around a house with no air conditioning, many steps and multiple photo ops. My tour guide was fine enough, except she catered almost exclusively to the two small children on the tour. And man, those kids knew nothing about architecture.

I decided that it’s my goal in life to become fabulously wealthy and buy Fallingwater. And probably move it somewhere other than rural Pennsylvania. Which would likely require me to build a waterfall first, but since I’m fabulously wealthy that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

The Akira exhibit was also awesome. I realize that having an anime movie as one of my top all time films relegates me to the untouchable outcasts of polite society. But the movie looks so amazing, even in still frames. And now I can justifiably say “It belongs in a museum!” Because it was in a museum. A museum of cartoons, but a museum nonetheless.

All in all, Me Day was pretty great. I’m glad I celebrated it instead of somebody else’s day. Pictures are available here: Me Day

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inception was a disappointment

Which is an intentionally misdirecting statement. It was a pretty great movie that I quite liked, I just wanted to love it, and I didn’t. I love relatively few movies, so I won’t hold it against Mr. Nolan that this one missed that high mark.

I like high concept movies, and this certainly was one. I was expecting it to be even more confusing, and was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t. It certainly required you to pay attention, but there were few quick plot twists or paradigm shifts. And really I just like those things so I can hear other people get confused, so I was only robbed of being a jerk, not of a genuine cinematic experience. But in case you were worried that this movie is too nebulous, it’s much more along the lines of The Matrix than of Primer.

It reminded me of Avatar. Avatar had a blah story, with blah acting, and amazing visuals. It put all its eggs in one basket, and that basket was the best basket (or best eggs, I’m not sure how this idiom is being twisted) ever. But the other areas were lacking, so I could only like it and not love it. Inception has an amazing concept, with blah characters and blah pacing.

The characters were hardly characters. They were chess pieces. I don’t think any of the actors are to blame, as they all performed admirably. Nolan just didn’t need people, he needed cogs. The only fun character was the Forger, though JGL did have his moments. Ellen Page successfully seemed like an adult, so that took some acting chops. But again, it’s not the actors fault. The movie had freaking Michael Caine and he still came across flat.

The other main problem, for lack of better word, was lack of chutzpah. There was no fist pumps in the film, mostly because of the flat characters. But still, an action/heist/sci-fi film without a single F Yeah moment? Again, the eggs were all in the great ideas basket, with no time/space/eggs left for other areas.

So, after 4 negative paragraphs, the conclusion is you should see the movie. It’s novel, interesting, visually impressive, and people are going to be talking about the ending, so you might as well see it before they ruin it for you. It was good, very good even, just not great.

The time of the week when I rank things: the films of Christopher Nolan:

5. Batman Begins – You know it’s a pretty impressive list when Batman Begins, a genre reviver and blockbuster is the “worst” film on it.
4. The Prestige – It pains me to not give a movie featuring David Bowie the top spot.
3. Inception – Good, not great. But very solidly good.
2 Dark Knight – Admittedly, without Heath’s performance, it wouldn’t be this high. But it did have it.
1. Memento - If you haven’t seen it, get on your Netflix buddy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Flight of Ideas

Want to sound like a psychiatrist? Phrase of the day: flight of ideas. Boom, you can now fit in when all your psychiatrist friends are chit-chatting at the party. Wait, you don’t invite psychiatrists to your parties? You my friend are a racist.

Flight of ideas: basically it’s when someone speaks in stream of consciousness. They just keep talking and talking, each phrase peripherally related to the last. Today’s post will be in a stream of consciousness format.

The topic: would I date a racist?

We’ll get back to that in a minute. First, why write a blog?

I’ve thought about this many times before. Is it really a good use of my time, or anyone’s really, to write a blog? What does it accomplish? After 5/15/50 minutes of writing, you really haven’t created anything concrete. I don’t really anticipate my grandchildren (fingers crossed) searching the internet and finding my blog and suddenly having a diary of my life. I don’t anticipate a publisher running across my blog and deciding to give me a book deal. Though, publishers, you should. But my blog does accomplish 3 main goals.

1. It means I don’t have to write as many letters and make as many phone calls. If you want to know what’s going on with me, you can read my blog. The burden of effort is automatically shifted to you. If you don’t write a blog for me to know what you’re up to, that’s your fault. Yes, I may not tell you what I had for breakfast or what I did at work, but that’s not what I would want to talk about if we were actually speaking. Dating racists is what I would want to talk about.
2. It reminds me how to write. Like using semicolons and adverbs.
3. It allows me to analyze myself. Sure, you can sit and think about yourself and your actions, but trying to hold a complete picture of yourself in your own head doesn’t work well. You’re too complex. Or at least I am. So by regularly writing about myself, I’m able to analyze myself. And by reading this you can analyze me as well, if you so desire.

One thing I was analyzing about myself recently was what jokes I find acceptable. The answer: all of them. We were discussing racist jokes, and I wondered if I should be morally outraged by them. Yes you say. No I say. Being racist is bad, and sincerely deriding another group of people is bad. A joke is inherently insincere. If it were sincere, it would be a sentence, maybe in an encyclopedia. A joke is connecting various bits of information in a way your brain finds pleasing. I can think of no subject that I feel I can’t make facetious comments concerning. Sure, I’m not going to make a lot of crucifixion jokes, but I don’t feel like I can tell someone else they can’t if they really want to. The point being, racist jokes might not be my cup of tea, nor is a cup of tea my cup of tea, but I don’t think the telling of a racist joke makes one racist. Does telling a lawyer joke make you an anarchist? Does joking about serial killers make you one?

I’ve never told a racist joke. Now I can say this only because I don’t really tell jokes. I joke about things. Sadly, the part of my brain that should allow me to remember humorous anecdotes and rejoinders verbatim is absent. So all I can do is make up my own commentary about situations. So while I don’t really know any racist jokes, I most certainly have joked about racial matters and racism.

A key point here, in case you’re about to leave in disgust, is that I would imagine that 99% of the racially charged statements that I may have made have been to a member of that race. Why joke about Argentineans if there are no Argentines in the room? Spellcheck says both of those are correct. And while I have no issue with people making jokes about white male Mormon Yankee slightly overweight Republican heterosexual psychiatrists of Danish decent with great taste in clothing behind my back, I’d much rather they do so to my face. Because I’d like to hear the joke. JOKES ARE JOKES. Joking about a subject doesn't make you for it or against it. It just makes you aware of it.

BUT, certainly telling a racist joke would statistically increase the chances of you being a racist. Which begs the question, would I date a racist? In case you are wondering, I am anti-racism. I feel the unprovoked, unconditional and illogical hatred of another group of people is unbecoming. Call me old fashioned. Or perhaps, call me new fashioned. Racism is unquestionably a character flaw. BUT, is it a fatal one? Yes you say. Maybe I say.

I have a type. Well, my first type is Kristen Bell, but after that, my second type is intelligent brunettes who are kind of mean. Now most would consider the meanness a character flaw, but I need it because without it we couldn’t make fun of each other, and if you haven’t noticed, making fun is fun. But unfortunately the girls who are smart enough and cute enough that they fall into “my type” are usually kind of vain. Why wouldn’t they be? They’re smart and beautiful and entertainingly mean. And I accept that they’re going to be a bit vain, and that’s just part of the package. There is no perfect package. Except for Kristen Bell.

I used to eliminate girls as dating prospects rather readily. Liking country music, being from Utah, lactose intolerance, owning You’ve Got Mail, being a dog person, having a U2 tattoo, the list could go on ad nauseum. Point being, none of those are deal breakers any longer. Similarly, I don’t feel like character flaws can really be deal breakers either. I’m not excited that a girl is selfish or lazy or dim or a redhead, but can any one flaw eliminate the person as a dating prospect entirely? The magnitude of the flaw certainly plays a role. If a girl has a literal shrine to herself in her bedroom, that’s probably a relationship to avoid. If she has an overly elaborate makeup set, well, we all have foibles. If she’s a member of a Nation or Militia or Klan, then yes, that could safely be a reason not to investigate further. But if she just doesn’t care to be around Luxembourgians, well, I think that’s probably ignorable.

I could talk about comedy or dating all day long, and about racial issues for at least a third of a day, so I’ll try to conclude this rambling flight. Racism is bad. Making light of irrational racial stereotypes, is not so bad. Dating a racist, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Unless she's a gypsy, because I hear they can’t cross over water. I’ll just say this: that you racist girls are going to have to be pretty hot to compensate for it. Analyze that.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Best Commercial of the Year

I'm pretty unforgiving of advertising. If you asked me last week if you should buy a Kia, I'd have said no. They named a car the Sportage. Clearly, such a company makes an inferior product.

But then I saw this commercial. I watch almost all my television via computer/Tivo/DVD, all commercial-less media, so commercials have a tough time making it to my eyes and ears. But the stars aligned and I came across this one. Now I fully support you in your decision to buy a Kia. Any company that produces such advertising is trustworthy.

Also, you should be using Old Spice deodorant.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The most expensive date that never happened

To start off, that title really isn't accurate. The most expensive date that never happened would probably be something like Bill Gates funding a time machine project, traveling back in time and asking out Mary Antoinette by buying the moon for way over its bluebook value. But this is the most expensive date that never happened to me.

A problem with being hip deep in Mormons is that if you meet a pretty young thing (side note, that means a girl. Additional side note, what a creepy title for a song by Michael Jackson) you may never see her again. She can vanish back into the masses of Mormons, never to be seen again. Which just screws my mojo right up. Because I'm an acquired taste. I'm pretty sure that no one has ever liked me right from the start. So I need a while for people to figure out that I’m not actually a boring weirdo, but an interesting one, and one that they should flirt with. But sadly, I no longer have that opportunity. If you don’t make the connection right off, it could be months/years/never before you have a chance to try again.

So I was talking to a PYT at a party, and the conversation turned to Jackie Chan, one of my many areas of expertise. Turns out that she had never seen Jackie Chan until The Karate Kid. What a tragedy for that to be her first exposure, not Supercop or Drunken Master or another such masterpiece. So in the very least I thought she should see Rush Hour, so she can see that the man has moves. We exchanged numbers, arranged the time and place and all was well with the world.

Except for the fact that I didn’t have a television. Or more accurately, there was one in my apartment that was old enough that it couldn’t connect to a DVD player, let alone a BluRay. So I needed a new television.

My television purchasing adventure is really not terribly interesting, so I’ll jump to the point where I spend $550 on a television so I can watch Rush Hour with a girl I barely know. I would like to throw in that I got an amazing deal on the tv (originally 1400) because, if any eligible PYTs are reading this they might be attracted to my extreme shopping skills. But the point remains that I had intended to buy a television in November, but was “forced” to move that timeline up. So here I am, ready with my sweet television, some sweet snacks and a sweet Hong Kong kung fu legend.

And she cancels on me.

I think she may have heard I didn’t buy the $1550 tv. Which is just a little too high maintenance for me.