Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Funny Girls: Part 2

As a footnote to yesterday's post:

The Time of the Week when I list Funny Female Celebrities

There are plenty of actresses that are given funny lines by funny writers. And delivery is not an unimportant element of comedy. But while Emma Stone or Kaley Cuoco do a fine job entertaining, I don't really consider them funny. And when you narrow the field of celebrities to women who are primarily comediennes, well there aren't many. And of that small number I don't think most are very funny (Sorry Chelsea Handler, Wanda Sykes, Margret Cho etc.) Here are ones that are funny, in no particular order:

1. Kristen Bell - She gets an automatic spot on every list where she remotely applies. But if you youtube any of her talk show appearances, she actually is funny.

2. Maria Bamford - I generally don't care for impressions or funny voices, but Maria is just so dang likable.

3. Jane Lynch - To be snotty, I liked her before Glee. She's great in Party Down, Role Models and A Mighty Wind. She has a pretty extensive improv background, and I hear she handled herself pretty well at the Emmys this year.

4. Ellen - Another funny lesbian. Her wife Portia is also someone who almost would have made the list despite no formal comedic training.

5. Kristen Wiig - I had a Tina Fey v Kristen Wiig debate with a friend once. Summary: Fey is the better writer, Wiig the better performer. Both are very talented.

6. Amy Poehler - I'd given up on Parks and Rec until this clip. But despite Leslie Knope not being super compelling, Poehler is. She does some of my favorite improv.

7. Mindy Kaling - She's not my favorite character on The Office, or even in my top 50%. But she's one of the writers and she writes some pretty good episodes. And she convincingly plays someone that couldn't write a good episode.

8. Sarah Silverman - I have a very high threshold for shock humor. So I certainly understand people that hate Sarah, but I think she's pretty darn funny. Being funny is hard. Being funny while saying horrible things is harder. Being funny and adorable while saying horrible things? She must be a witch.

9. Kristen Schaal - Honestly, I haven't seen a ton of Kristen Schaal, but I've liked everything I've seen. She shines on Conchords of course, but also does very well on Bob's Burgers and The Daily Show.

10. Paula Poundstone - She's a little hokey, but she's definitely got her own style, or lack thereof. I'm pretty sure she's given up her stand-up for full-time WWDTM, but I always thought her bits were good.

11. TIna Fey - Last but not least, comedy goddess Tina Fey. Loved and respected by all, and with reason.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Funny Girls

One of my fondest memories is making several of my friends regurgitate. One night four of us were dining at the fine establishment known as The Spaghetti Warehouse. Admittedly, the fact that it was The Spaghetti Warehouse may have contributed to the regurgitation. But over the course of the night I was successfully able to make each of the other three laugh hard enough to cause them to spit, vomit or otherwise emit their food. It was a proud day.

I’d like to claim that the sheer magnitude of my wit caused this, but this was not really the case. It’s extremely difficult to keep up a string of jokes resulting in the loss of control of body function all on your own. The group included two of my more amusing friends. And with the momentum the three of us provided, I was able to capitalize. The four of us spent the night eating mediocre food, cracking each other up, and at times losing the mediocre food, and it was glorious.

Dates often pale in comparison. I love women, and enjoy the company of men considerably less than the average bloke. My use of the term bloke may contribute to this. But how often have I laughed uncontrollably on a date? I’d have to check my archives, but without doing the research, I’d say never.

For some reason, I’ve never thought to combine the crackup with the date, or at least to attempt to combine it. By and large, it’s because I don’t find women to be as funny as men. I’ve blogged for many years now and have covered the subject before and in more depth, but I think men tend to be funnier than women. I think it’s due to societal incentives more than inherent qualities, but it’s just there. I laugh at things men say and do much more often than what women say and do. And I’m sure part of it is that I’m a guy, and it’s not entirely that women aren’t funny, but that women aren’t funny to men.

In general, I’m in the business of removing criteria from my dating standards rather than adding them. That’s horrible advice for some people, but good advice for me. But I think I may need to add a criterion to my dating checklist. It’s not that funny women don’t exist, they’re just less common than funny men. But I like laughing. And I’d like dating more if I were laughing more. And what would be better than a couple who make each other vomit every once in a while.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tales from the Vault

As a man, I generally have control over the horrendousness of my dating. Which is not to say that women don’t have control, but they are at a distinct disadvantage when they are primarily being asked out and not doing the asking. I don’t ask out girls when I have reason to believe we’d have a horrible date. But some girls feel obligated to say yes when asked out, and consequently, horrendousness may ensue.

So my repertoire of dating horror stories is less robust than I’d like it to be. But after a decade in the meat market, I’ve accrued a fair number or interesting tales. Sadly, I’m too good of a guy to immediately blog about a bad date, providing real time awkwardness to the world. But I’m not too good of a guy to relate a story that happened some time in the last ten years.

The Picture

At various times and places I’ve ventured into online dating. I have my reasons. My failure at offline dating primarily. But I feel like it’s a good medium for me as I’m far wittier with a time delay between interactions. And so long as online dating doesn’t replace my efforts in regular-type dating, I see no problem with having it as a hobby or series of social experiments.

I’m a horrible commuter, and terrible long distance friend, so I never bother to contact anyone outside of my state. And I’m doing this mostly as a hobby or Hail Mary pass, so I’m not going to actually spend money to be on a legitimate dating site. So my pool of local people on free Mormon dating sites that I don’t already know is generally pretty small.

In that pool was Becky. Her name wasn’t Becky, or at least I don’t think it was, as I don’t actually remember it. She was cute enough and local enough and so I contacted her. If I remembered what we small talked about I would tell you, but since I can’t remember it was probably quite dull. Turns out that Becky didn’t live close by me currently, as she was at college, which was at another location. But our small talk was successful enough that she wanted to exchange numbers, and we left off saying one of us would call the other one sometime, maybe, if we got bored enough.

A couple months later I got a text message with a picture attached. The picture was of Becky modeling a thong.

Now I hadn’t actually entered Becky into my phone, so it took me a while to figure out who this girl was that was sending me pictures of her in her unders. She hadn’t included this photo, nor any photo of her at this angle, in her online free Mormon dating profile. But with the grainy photo and my wit I figured out who this was from. There was no message, only the picture. A mystery.

I don’t know what your first reaction would be, but mine was to immediately go to my roommate’s room and show him the picture. It helped that it was the night before a test and thus we were both keenly excited to do approximately anything other than study. And looking at innocently obtained pictures of girls in lingerie and debating their meaning fit the bill.

Not long after showing him the picture and earning his jealousy, a flood of texts came in. To paraphrase: Oh my gosh! I didn’t mean to send that to you! So so sorry! Don’t hate me!

I’ve often wondered if this was actually an accident, or a ploy to gain my attention. If it was an accident, who was the intended recipient for such a text message of her bared buttocks? What’s the point of modeling a thong? You might as well be modeling a bookmark. So many questions, which never were answered.

To further complicate this complicated situation, I didn’t text. Up until the last year I adamantly refused to text. So here I was with an inflammatory text, a whole series of apologetic texts, and I was going to be forced to call someone I’ve never talked to before to discuss the issue of her bared behind. But my alternative was to do nothing and leave her dangling in the wind, so to speak.

So I called her and she apologized again. She didn’t want to talk about the picture, which to a large extent invalidated the apology in my eyes. Turns out that she was in town for the week, so we again left off that maybe one of us would call the other and we’d get together. I said I needed to get back to studying, which, in fact, I did.

A few minutes later I got a text: Take a walk with me? This concept of studying didn’t sink in with her. Also the fact that it was 1 AM and taking a walk with someone without other tasks to accomplish is still an odd activity. I wish that I’d blown off studying for a couple hours and had let this train wreck occur, but sadly I was responsible. I had images of her throwing me against a tree and again inappropriately displaying her various items of clothing. She was a hockey player, which somehow made this a more likely scenario in my mind. But no, studying would be my fate that night.

I still have the picture on my old phone, as a memento. We did get together later that week, but she didn’t throw me against a tree or show me anything scandalous. She did turn out to be an odd rabid Obama supporting, Jack Mormon kind of girl with limited social skills and no driving skills. But the lackluster quality of that date pales in comparison to the bizarre first text. To this day, every time I get a text with a picture attached, I wonder to myself, is Becky back? Or more importantly, is her backside back?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Suits Me Fine

A couple years back I made my mTV movie, and it occurred to me the other day that the different segments have something in common: an infatuation with suits.

Barney is of course the world's premiere suit enthusiast. And if there's anyone that I model my life after it's Barney Stinson.

Suit Song and Dance

Only slightly less enthusiastic about the suit is Gob.

Admittedly, Michael Scott is less vocal about his love for suits, hence the horribleness of this clip.

I guess this post had little point other than youtube theft, and for to say that I bought some new suits this week. I've been trying to motivate myself for several months into making this purchase. Generally I like suits, I was just hesitant for a several reasons.

1. I don't like buying expensive items.
2. I especially don't like buying expensive clothing.
3. I live in Arizona, and buying extra layers of clothing in 120 degree weather seems daffy.
4. Jos Banks is on a neverending sale cycle, so I could never be sure when it would be a good deal to buy one.
5. I've been waiting for white tuxedos to come back into style.

But Jos Banks came up with a 3 for 1 sale and I figured I wasn't going to do any better than that. I very nearly made the mistake of buying the exact same suit I already owned because it seemed so familiar, and thus appealing. The saleslady suggested I throw out my old suit and buy the new one, but since I'm not made of money I told her to shove off. I did however pick up a nice grey, brown and blue pinstripe triple threat. That's right, brown! I'm a crazy person. Here's hoping I don't get laughed out of church this week.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Music Monday: Things you won't like

Last time I highlighted some bands that I think everyone would like. Here's some tracks that I think are pretty nifty, that most of you probably won't like.

Purity Ring: Ungirthed

Bonus track: Belispeak

2Cellos: Hurt

Wynter Gordon - Buy My Love

Bonus track: Drunk on Your Love

Noir Desir: Le Vent Nous Portera

If you like all 4 artists, well, you may well be me.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

In depth analysis of shallowness

A friend recently called me shallow. This is the kind of things my friends do frequently. She drew this conclusion because she couldn’t make any connection between the girls she’d seen me with, other than the fact that they were attractive. Clearly there weren’t enough data points for her to draw any sort of accurate conclusion.

But rather than argue my intense depth, I readily admitted my shallowness, which took away her burning desire to prove my shallowness. But my point wasn’t how shallow I am, but that we’re all shallow. I don’t think I’m more shallow than average, though I don’t think I could argue that I was significantly less. I would say I’m equally shallow as the average guy, I’m just more honest about it.

Indeed, probably the only thing the girls I’ve asked out in the last year of her observation have in common have been that they were attractive, or at least were so to me. And they were Mormon. And if you wanted to be technical they were all between 5 and 6 feet tall, none were bald, none were of Sri Lankan descent, none were dolphin trainers etc etc. But generally speaking, attractive Mormon girls pretty well describes them.

She felt this was noteworthy in some way, but why would it be? The only thing I can definitively know about a girl I meet at church is whether or not I find her attractive. So who will all my dates be? Attractive Mormon girls. Or attractive girls hanging out in Mormon churches.

I try to gauge other things ahead of time, but you never know what you’re going to get. First I have to decide how much of flirt-mode girl is real, then how much of 1st-date-mode girl is real. I can try to find interesting, compelling, smart, talented, fun girls from the start, but you can’t really tell those things from the beginning. So you start with attractive, and search for the other qualities as you spend time together. But we don’t all wear our ingenuity or compassion or other non-obvious qualities on our sleeves, so sometimes it pops up later and sometimes it doesn’t.

Am I shallow? Yes. Are all guys? Yes. Are all girls? Yes. I guess I can’t say all, because if multiple choice has taught me anything, it’s that the answer with all, always or never in it is wrong. But most.

Another friend posted this facebook status this week: “Funny to girls is like boobs to guys!” [sic]. I think we’d have to have a bisexual officially state whether that comparison is accurate, but I’d have to call bull. Attraction is to girls as attraction is to guys. Shallow is as shallow does.

Some women do favor funny men, but I hardly think it replaces physical appearance in their priorities. I know funny guys and I know attractive guys, and I know which get more women. Obviously both humor and beauty are very subjective, but I’d say the beautiful people are doing a lot better than the funny ones, whether male or female.

I’ve written bitter posts before, and this isn’t one of them. I’m not mad about this particular subject. I just think both guys and girls need to realize that they are in fact shallow. And we shouldn’t expect them not to be. Certainly we can be overly shallow, but using attraction to dictate dating isn’t really being shallow. It’s dating. Do your best to be attractive, to be appealing, and to be honest with yourself.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Consumer Consumption

I feel that as a physician I should have some kind of advice for weight loss. But unfortunately I don't. I don't even have any very consistant or relatble personal experience. I have at various times and to varying degrees sought to lose weight, but I haven't done the same thing twice.

When I first moved away from home, simply being away from prepared meals helped me lose weight. Later in college, saving money restricted my intake. In China I was only partially able to digest my food for 5 months and got to my lowest adult weight. When I was preparing for my first board exam in med school I made a point of biking into the middle of Columbus each morning, to some success.

I suffer from many kinds of blindness. I don't notice what color people's eyes are. I can tell you when a girl is flirting with someone else, but often not when she's flirting with me. And I suffer from near total me-blindness. I don't notice when I need a haircut, don't notice when I'm getting sunburned, and don't notice when I'm gaining or losing weight. So when I went to the doctor a few months ago, primarily so I don't "lose" the money I pay for health insurance, my current weight came as a near complete surprise. As a result, I came up with a new diet: The capitalist diet.

I gained weight because of work. I don't have a lot of time away from work, and my work is often sedentary. And most importantly, I get free food at work, and as a capitalist when I'm given something for free, I take a lot of it. So I have to use capitalism for my benefit. I hate paying money for things I don't particularly like, such as vegetables. So rather than buy vegetables, I can get them for free at work. I hate buying food at all, so when possible, I've been eating exclusively at the hospital. And when I intentionally choose protein, vegtables and low calorie drinks, this works out pretty well for me. A free diet that saves me money and calories, and is usually convenient.

There isn't much to losing weight other than diet and exercise, so the other half is exercise. I have been making playlists that are exactly 40 minutes long. I have to shoot hoops until the music ends, or I accomplish a set of goals (this many around the worlds, 3 point shots, free throws in a row etc) that I determine before I start exercising. I hate running, and love television, so I have paired the two together. I've picked certain shows that are very cliffhangery (Game of Thrones, True Blood, Supernatural) and I'm not allowed to watch them unless it's on my iPod as I'm running on a treadmill or eliptical.

I've been following these strategies since May. The best way I've found to keep this program running is again using my consumer greed. For every 2 pounds that I lose, I buy something. Often it's something practical. Shoes, a wallet, some new shirts or ties. But every other time or so it's something more fun. An ice cream maker, some Blurays, some new headphones etc. When I reached my halfway goal I bought a moderately ridiculous 27 inch iMac. I'm not a huge fan of the diet or the exercise, but I am a big fan of getting to buy something new every week or so, and justifying it with the money I've saved and the theoretical health I've added.

I can't really reccomend this program to anyone else. It has no specific principles, and at the same is extremely personalized to my own current lifestyle. I don't intend to keep it up longterm and the fiscal responsiblity of it is highly questionable. But it's working for me. And in the end that's all the advice I can give my patients. Do what works for you. Set a diet, set the exercise, and set some rewards. If the first two are healthy and the last effective, it'll work.