Monday, October 31, 2011

Music Monday: Halloween Edition

Choose how dark and creepy you want your Halloween.

Option 1: Not at all dark

Air Review - America's Son

Option 2: Creepy video, non-creepy song.

The Cool Kids - Sour Apples

Option 3: Dark video, dark song. But so so good.

Grouplove - Colours

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What I Was

I have some costume philosophies, for Halloween in particular, but also just in general. I don't generally like wearing a costume that you've seen before. IE apart from thinking that dressing like Steve Jobs is a bit tacky, I wouldn't do it because you'll see other Steve Jobses at the party. My costume should be something you won't see from anyone else.

Preferably, it would also be something people would recognize. If I dressed as Soren Kiekegaard that would be kind of cool, but no one would get it. I don't care if most people don't get it, but at least my target audience should get it. I don't have a lot of philosopher friends, so Soren is out.

I don't like spending a lot. I don't mind spending a bit, for instance my welder goggles for Dr. Horrible weren't inexpensive. But I don't think would makes the costume special is the cost. It's the thought of the costume, which may translate into cost or time, but it's nicer if it doesn't. My costume cost 3 dollars this year.

I don't intentionally do so, but the majority of my costumes come from pop culture. In the last few years I've been Zach Galifianakis, Robin Sparkles, Dr. Horrible and Jemaine Clement. All are from recent film and television, but that's nearly happenstance. Nearly, but given the amount of time I devote to following such things, it's not surprising that the costumes end up coming from there.

This year I was Ron Swanson. Chances are, you don't know who Ron Swanson is, and that's fine. That indicates you probably have more of a life than I do. But if you want to understand the various bits and wonder of my costume, you can watch the following clips:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tv, racism and more Tv

X Factor ran for 2.5 hours last night. I watched it in about 45 minutes while writing emails. I love the internet.

My horses all made it through. I'm not going to link to videos, as they're not too tricky to find. But Josh did well, Canty similarly, and Drew dominated her competition. Simone, Tiah and Dexter all crashed, burned and were eliminated. It really annoys me that they didn't fall out sooner, but the universe caught up with them I guess. If the universe is fair Rene and InTENsity will be the next to go. I'm going to re-pickup LeRoy Bell, as he's a champ, and am going to pickup Lakoda Rayne, because they sang Come On Eileen and are the least annoying group.

Reading a bit through internet commentary last week after the people I liked best were all sent home I came across something interesting. Racism. I find racism very interesting. Clearly I'm not a proponent, but it's interesting. Turns out some of the crazy internet trolls think this show is racist. It is interesting to note that 17 people/groups made it into the most recent round, and 11 were African American (or in the case of groups, contained African Americans.) Has race played a role in who gets into this competition? Is this balancing out American Idol? I don't watch Idol, but it seems like most of the people I've seen it turn out have been white. Is 65% African American representative of the acts currently in the music industry? If not, is it good that this bucks the trend of the current music business? Anyway, I'm new to the talent show tv thing, so I'll let you know what my research shows.

As predicted, Funny Rumble didn't make it 2 consecutive weeks. But HA, it will. Last week's contestants were:
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. The League
3. Always Sunny in Philadelphia
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. Modern Family

The winner is: The Big Bang Theory. Honestly, it wasn't an amazing episode, but everyone seemed to be having a down week, so it ended up winning out. A default victory is still a victory.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Monday

State of the Art - Gotye

What a weird weird weird song. Good luck getting it out of your head.

The following song contains swearing. And phat beats.

Rocket Scientist - Teddybears

If you're tired of vocoders, here's another Gotye that eschews technology.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thailand from your Living Room

I have a journal of notes which I intended to use to write a travelogue. But chances are high that this will never happen. So in place, in lieu and instead of that, here are the sum of my pictures.

Thailand: Getting There
Thailand: Bang Pa and the Emo Temple
Thailand: Sex, Violence, Food and Fire
Thailand: Water for Elephants
Thailand: Something Clever
Thailand: Bring on the Opium!
Cambodia: Another place in Asia
Cambodia: My Favorite Place on Earth

With all the pictures posted, I need to start planning my next trip in earnest.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Not today

Most days I think the guitar is a highly overrated.

Not today.

Friday, October 21, 2011


When a particular friend of mine became frustrated with the unfair struggle with the fairer sex, he’d say he was going “into the cave” for a while. Ultimately he was full of crap, because he’d always spring from the cave almost immediately when a new girl piqued his interest. It was more like he was standing in the cave’s entrance, ready to flee it at the first possible opportunity.

I don’t know whether he knew it or not, but the cave is a concept most famously used in Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus. To quote Wikipedia, paraphrasing the book (which is a fairly silly book in my opinion, but it does have an interesting point here and there)

Another major idea in Gray's books are the differences he believes operate in terms of the way the genders react under stress. He believes that many men withdraw until they find a solution to the problem. He refers to this as "retreating into their cave". In some cases they may literally retreat, for example, to the garage or spend time with friends. The point of retreating is to take time to determine a solution. In these "caves", men (writes Gray) are not necessarily focused on the problem at hand; many times this is a "time-out" of sorts to allow them to distance themselves from the problems so their brains can focus on something else. Gray posits that this allows them to revisit the problem later with a fresh perspective.

Gray holds that this retreat into the cave has historically been hard for women to understand because when they are stressed their natural reaction is to talk about issues (even if talking does not solve the problem). This leads to a natural dynamic of the man retreating as the woman tries to grow closer. According to Gray this becomes a major source of conflict between women and men.

I am currently in the cave. I have been for the last couple of weeks, and being a cave-dweller has treated me well. After a series of unfortunate events (ie girls turning me down) I decided to throw in the towel. Or at least throw in the towel to pick up at some point in the future, most likely December. If a girl were to pick up the towel and return it to me before then, I’d be hard pressed to refuse the gesture, but I have no intention of picking it up until then.

I don’t like being unsuccessful. Few people do. Maybe unwilling suicide bombers. And this last decade or so I’ve been largely unsuccessful in the dating arena. It’s not my poor stats that bother me, because I only need to be ultimately successful once. It’s just tiring. I imagine the feeling of powerlessness of being a girl and not being asked out would be frustrating. But the male problem of being an active participant in your rejection particularly annoys me. Getting punched in the face hurts (or so I’ve heard, I’m far too endearing to have been punched) but how much worse is it to have to walk up to people and ask them to punch you in the face.

So I’m just living in my cave for a while. I’ve always been an introvert, and I’m just promoting some super introversion. Actively dating and being unsuccessful has filled me with dissatisfaction these last 8 years, and I’m tired of being dissatisfied. In my cave, everything on my to-do list is actually in my power to complete. I don’t have to define myself as failure, and ultimately am not defining myself as much of anything. This cave is very zen. It’s a cave of wonders. And it might take a bit of prodding to get myself out of it come December.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I understand now why people get so impassioned watching American Idol. The judges are infuriatingly inept. The producers have an exceedingly low expectation of their viewer’s intelligence. And contestants are more repetitious than professional athletes in their analysis of their performance. What I don’t understand is why people are impassioned in a positive way towards these shows. My brief foray into reality television may be at an end.

When I picked my favorite performers previously, I mentioned 11 out of the 32 currently in the running. I wasn’t exactly dead set on one person who NEEDED to be the winner of the contest. But it turns out that the judges read my blog (Hi Paula!) and let almost none of these 11 through. They also looked down at my list of 5 people I hated (as performers, not personally) and let all 5 of them through.

The biggest mistakes were cutting Caitlin Koch and Tora Woloshin. These two actually had some personality, quite a bit of talent, were gorgeous and had what I would call “The X Factor.” I almost turned the show off when they were cut.

Brennin Hunt was a douchebag, but I’m positive he would make a lot of money as a professional douchebag, so cutting him was a mistake. Jazzlyn Little was the oldest of the little girls, and seems much more marketable to me than the younger bunch.

I picked up Christa last week, after a great Radiohead cover, only to have her cut. Sorry Christa, it was my fault for liking you. Anser was the least annoying of the groups so I thought about adding them, so again, they were cut.

I understand Dexter making it. He’s a sob story, so people will like to watch him. Problem is, no one is going to listen to a Dexter Haygood album. He’s not very good, but the judges don’t seem to mind that. Simone FORGOT HER LYRICS in the last round and is still going through. Brian Bradley can’t sing, only rap, and is going through. Hopefully they won’t ask him to sing, dance or not be conceited, because he doesn’t have any of those skills.

Blarg. Anyway, I do still have horses in the race, but they’re not my favorite horses.

Girls category – Drew.

Boys category – Marcus Canty and Chris Rene. I’m dropping Chris Rene due to his sob story, and I now refuse to support anyone with a sob story thanks to Dexter. So Marcus is my pick.

Old category – Josh Krajcik, LeRoy Bell and Stacy Francis. I’m going with Josh as he is the least sobby of the three.

Groups – No one cares about this category.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My problem

My problem is not this video. I think it is catchy, colorful, and if the blacklight isn't flattering on Ms. Minaj, well I don't think it's flattering on anyone.

My problem is not this video. Children doing/saying inappropriate things is pretty funny. See The Landlord.

My problem is not this video. I don't understand where the random stay in school plug came from (seriously Nicki, do you think she's going to go professional with the tutu thing?)

My problem is this: Nicki Minaj won't date me. But the problem here isn't me for once, it's her. According to the lyrics of the song she is looking for the following qualities in a potential partner:

They use their air conditioner when the windows are down. That's just irresponsible.
Smokes weed. No can do.
Is rich. Not yet.
Right kind of build. Probably not.
Is the following - cold, dope, real, ill, trip, sailor, pelican fly
Sells cocaine, or at least might sell cocaine.
Doesn't fly coach (I can only assume this again refers to his wealth.)
A heck of a guy. I got this one. 1/dozens.
He's shy (because there are so many rich shy coke dealers.)
He wears ties. Score, 2/dozens.
Slicker than the guy with the thing on his eye. Your guess is as good as mine. I think Nicki might not like men in glasses, or know the word for glasses.
He wears polos and fitted caps ( I don't, but I could change.)
Entrepreneur/mogul. Again, rich. I think I'm sensing a pattern in one area at least.
He can both be alone, and at times be in a group. I can do that one.
He's dolo. No idea.
He can give her the look that renders elastic useless.
In touch with his feminine side. This doesn't seem to jive with anything else in the song, but ok.
American. Ethnocentric much?
He's got the super bass.

So, probably not me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Funny Rumble

Now for a feature that there is approximately zero chance that I will keep up regularly: The Funny Rumble.

Each week I'll tell you which television comedy was the funniest that week. You know, in case you feel like waiting until Sunday night to have me pick the funniest 22 minutes of television programming from the previous week. I'm here to help you out.

The 9 Funniest Sitcoms Aired This Week:

1. How I Met Your Mother
2. The Big Bang Theory
3. Modern Family
4. Always Sunny in Philadelphia
5. The League
6. The Office
7. Community
8. Parks and Recreation
9. Whitney

(Other shows that will be in contention on week they air, Raising Hope, Archer, Wilfred, 30 Rock, The New Girl. Eventually I'll get around to watching Up All Night and Workaholics, but I haven't seen them yet so they are not in contention.)

So who won the first Funny Rumble?


Community has been jumping the shark since halfway through the first season. Abed allows the show to be extremely meta, which they've taken full advantage of. This week they roll a die early in the episode and create 6 different time lines. Some of the repetition got old, but the different timelines created the chance to have recurring jokes that technically only happened once. The following clip really requires you to watch the episode to fully enjoy it, but it made me LOL, which is an achievement few can claim.

FYI: 2nd place would go to an above average episode of The Office, or a surprisingly well structured The League.

FYI2: Last week's winner would have been Parks and Recreation. If I'd been doing this way back then.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Soft in the head

On June 11th, 2002, I was a missionary in Idaho. A missionary in Idaho who had no appointments on his blue planner that night. So I started hitting up the regulars: recent converts, ward leadership, past investigators, whoever would listen. Turns out none of them would listen, because every single house we stopped at was watching this new television show: American Idol.

Over the years I've seen hundreds of little bits and pieces of Idol. Mostly I like the beginning of the year when half of the contestants are so horrible you wonder why anyone lets them leave the house. But I've never gotten into the show, mostly because I'm a heterosexual male. Also because Ryan Seacrest fills me with an irrational anger.

So it's difficult to explain why I've started watching The X Factor. I'd like to say that I'm doing so because of it's named after the X-Men's sister team, but I don't think anyone watching the show also reads semi-obscure comic books.

Mostly it's the fault of Viral Viral Videos. I'm a busy guy, so I don't actually have time to cull in internet for all the inane things that I post for other people's amusement. So I let VVV do the work for me. Lately they've been posting whatever X Factor contestant is trending most on the internet, and like a sucker I watch the clips. And now, I want to see who wins.

Turns out I like Simon Cowell. This isn't too surprising because I like quick witted sarcastic truth tellers, and that's what he is. Turns out I also like Paula Abdul. She's about as lovable as a raving lunatic can be. The Pussycat Doll is fine enough on the eyes and L.A. Reid serves as good foil for Simon. And generally I skip through all the intros and fluff and hugging and junk, because I like these judges better than most of the contestants. So just watching the actual songs and the judges saves a considerable amount of time.

So without further ado, here are the people I like. So I'm guessing they won't make it far.

Top X Factor picks, in no particular order.

1. Caitlin Koch. She's a rugby player from Western NY. Win.
2. Tara Woloshin. From Tucson, and she may be the hottest mechanic in the world as the clip states.
3. Josh. I'm not going to bother to learn to spell his name, I'm not that invested. But he's from Columbus and dresses like a schlub so I like him.
4. Leroy Bell. The most interesting thing about him might be his refusal to age, but that's still pretty interesting.
5. Brennin Hunt. I'm quite confident that he's a colossal douchebag, but I really want to see him explode in national tv so I don't want him eliminated yet.
6. Marcus Canty. Vanilla, but likable and talented.
7. Talented youngins. I don't imagine these three will be able to play with the big dogs, but Drew Ryniewicz, Rachel Crow and Jazzlyn Little are all pretty impressive.
8. Stacy Haygood. I'm only going to pick one sob story, and she gets my vote. Chris Rene is a close 2nd, and Dexter Haygood would be a contender except I don't like watching him.

And for good measure, the people who I want to get off my tv quickly:
Simone Battle, Tiah Tolliver, Brian Bradley, Phillip Lomax, Dexter Haygood


Music Monday: So I don't have to actually blog

Sorry, it's been a weird week. There will be a semi-post tomorrow. But today, here are some songs I like:

Snapped - Jhene Aiko. It contains haunting melodies, dark imagery and swearing so beautifully rendered that you may not notice it. I've got it on pretty heavy repeat.

Icona Pop - Manners. Another juxtaposed set of lyrics with chirpy pop sound. The Chiddy Bang rap that samples it is ok too, but I much prefer the original.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Music Monday: The Usz

How do you spell usz, as in the abbreviated form of usual?

Not sure if I'm too late for this bandwagon, but you should check out Lana Del Rey.

If you have heard Lana Del Rey and currently furious at me for suggesting you hear something you've already heard, here's something from a band who's name I can't type. I'm guessing that fact alone will have kept you from hearing of them.