Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Music Monday, er 2011 / ChrisMix

Lauren Pritchard - Not the Drinking. Seemed like a good choice to end my addiction medicine rotation.

I've narrowed my ChrisMix selections down to 365 songs. In case you were wondering, I'm significantly behind schedule. But I'm confident I'll get it down to 20 by Christmas. Whether I get it down to 20 in time to mail it to you by Christmas remains to be seen.

Caveats: my New Year's Resolution was to listen to less music, and I was moderately successful. Also, if you've been reading this blog all year, I've posted 50 or so songs, and many of those will likely make it into the final 20. But if you want a copy of ChrisMix 2011, just send me some manner of communique.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for too much television

A friend asked me the other day how many tv shows I watched. I didn’t know, but answered about a dozen. Which is more or less correct. Last week’s Funny Rumble includes the following 10:

1. New Girl
2. The League
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. Community
6. Modern Family
7. Parks and Recreation
8. The Office
9. Whitney
10. It’s Always Sunny

That is the order of their funniness by the way. I don’t want The New Girl to win every week, but it was hilarious. The League was inconsistent, but gut-busting when it was funny. It has an excellent cast, which was bolstered by guest stars Sarah Silverman and Jeff Goldblum.

But those are just the 30 minute sitcoms I watch. Add in Dexter, X-Factor, Chuck, Supernatural, Psych, Castle, House, Doctor Who, QI, Fringe etc I go well over a dozen.

There’s a good chance that I should feel guilty about this, but I don’t. I watch what I consider to be either entertaining, educational, important or worthwhile. Some shows I watch only while working out, others only while emailing. Some I watch only with friends. Some I save up for months until there’s a day I’m post-call or otherwise too tired to do anything other than watch tv. Also there’s the fact that I rarely feel guilty.

In any case, I’m thankful for television. It’s not only a past-time for me, but a hobby. It is something I enjoy, and while I can’t say it’s important, my life would be more bland without it.

Some other lists for you:

Shows I’ve given up on:
1. 2 Broke Girls – I liked the different tone, but the laughs are too few and plot too dumb.
2. Up All Night – I love Will Arnett and like much of the rest of the cast, but they forgot to put jokes in this comedy.
3. Whitney – Again, liked the different humor, but I feel like they have used up their best jokes in the first couple episodes. The characters are all ridiculously 2D.
4. Burn Notice – It took too many seasons, but the formulaic nature of the show finally got to be too much for me.

Shows I haven’t watched yet, but will at some point
1. Terra Nova – at this point I’ll likely wait until the summer, and see if it is renewed.
2. Ringer – bad reviews, but we’ll see.
3. Homeland – I’ll probably wait and have a marathon.
4. Person of Interest – looks interesting, I’m just busy.
5. Walking Dead – Yes, I still haven’t watched season 1.
6. American Horror Story – even if it gets cancelled I’ll still watch it, but not right now.
7. Bedlam – Maybe I’m just stockpiling horror shows.
8. Luther – looks so good.
9. Grimm – I’ll watch this one. I likely won’t watch Once Upon a Time.
10. Boardwalk Empire – once I’m rich probably.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The VA

Now if I were to guess I'd say the following 3 events had more to do with the part of town I was in than the fact that I was working in the VA. But still, it was weird.

Event 1 - Because I have no badge, I can't get any free food from the cafeteria. This may seem like no big deal, but to me the free food the hospital provides is essentially half of my wage. In any case, no food means I have to walk across the street to Jack in the Box, but it's not like I'm going to start buying food to keep in my home so I can make lunches to bring to work. That's crazy-talk. I digress. I exit the hospital to go to the nearest purveyor of fast food. As soon as I get to the street I see two young guys yelling at each other. One then stabs the other. HE STABS HIM. To be honest it looked like he punched him, but then the guy yells "I've been stabbed!" and I gather that he's been stabbed. On the plus side, it was relatively kind of the attacker to stab someone right in front of the hospital. I'm doubting the stabbed fellow was a veteran, but I guided him into the Emergency Department anyway.

Event 2 - As I walked back into the hospital after getting some tacos (no, watching someone get stabbed doesn't keep me from eating lunch. He wasn't bleeding significantly and it's unlikely any organs were punctured) a gentleman in a Rascal yells out to me. He uses the exact same tone as the guy that had been stabbed. But rather than say "I've been stabbed!" he says "Doctor, I have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving!" I'm not sure if he was making smalltalk, or wanted me to invite him over. But since I'm not having Thanksgiving, and because I'm not a good enough person to invite strangers into my home, and even if I were I have no way of getting him to my 2nd story apartment, I didn't. But I did help him find the number of a steakhouse in the phonebook that he thinks is open on Thanksgiving.

Event 3 - As I was leaving work, I hear a honk. I don't think anything of it as I don't think it was directed at me, and I was rocking out to my new lesbian blues CD. A minute later, sitting waiting for a green light, someone walks past my car and knocks on the driver side window of the car in front of me. I have my music on so don't hear what he says. But the driver has foolishly lowered his window to talk, and the other fellow uses this to his advantage as he punches the guy full force in the head. He then walks away. The light turns green.

Also, I saw the mentally ill during my normal office hours.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Same old

This weekend:

I ate at an exclusive/famous/infamous/pretty good pizza place.
I ate at an unknown/homey/pretty good coffee shop.
I tried New Mexican food.
I pretended to dance.
I pretended to know about teapots.
I watched When Harry Met Sally for the first time.
I watched Tremors for the 132nd time.
I bought a giant cookie (who does that?)
I gave away the giant cookie.
I got Radiohead tickets.
I set up an hypothetical boxing tournament.
I got 2 new roommates.
I decided I don't want roommates.
I was accused of being a lawyer (I wore a suit to work.)
And most importantly, I got hooked on lesbian blues.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened

I remember the first joke I wrote.

Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Dragon Boss?
Dragon Boss Who?
You're fired.

I don't remember how old I was, but I'm going to be generous and say I was 5.

I attended a lecture at BYU where the speaker expressed his view that a joke is when your mind connects two previously unconnected points of data forming a new synapse. To be honest, I'm not sure I can get behind his neurobiology, but I like the idea. My attempt as a child to connect office procedure and mythical creatures failed in that it wasn't funny, but it followed the basic formula of a joke.

I don't think I was funny until I was about 16. Obviously some would argue that I never became funny, but I think I did. Before that I tried connecting these data points and only produced weirdness. I remember having a running joke about mutant mice with my friend Jeremy, which just consisted of drawing deformed mice on each other's papers. I had a joke with another Chris where we'd chant "WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY HOW" during dodgeball games. Why did I do those things? I don't know. As I said, I only succeeded in being weird.

But in late highschool I figured out ways to connect things that other people found humorous, not just disconcerting. I started testing myself by seeing how many different variations on a theme I could make, such as different campaign posters, or different answering machine messages in college. I started understanding what I thought was funny, and how this material wasn't the same as what most people thought was funny, and started to be able to decide which type of joke I wanted to make.

I told a joke this morning at a breakfast gathering and a friend asked me how I could tell the joke without laughing at it myself. My answer was that I had told the joke in my head a few seconds before, so had already heard it by the time I told it. This is true, but also I think it was just a joke that wasn't one of MY type of jokes, just one I knew other people would connect with.

I want to be funnier. Some people are born funny, but most are made funny by their life. Some become funny instinctually, others as a concentrated effort. I think I am funny, but I need more variety. Some people don't react to witty or droll or sarcastic, and I don't have a lot of range beyond that. And if humor is just a skill, it's one that I haven't spent much time practicing in recent years. And it's one I'm going to start practicing.

Bonus Post:

Funny Rumble

1. Always Sunny
2. The League
3. New Girl
4. Community
5. The Office
6. Parks and Rec
7. Whitney

Winner: New Girl (with a close 2nd to Always Sunny.) Schmidt is hilarious. He's not believable as a person, but as a character he has a lot of opportunities to amuse. Having Zoey step back and become the secondary story was a good choice. Always Sunny was also very funny, with an in medias res approach. If you hadn't seen the show before it would be confusing, but if you have, you can clearly understand each characters dysfunctional thinking. Worth noting, Parks and Rec had some great Denmark bits, as well as Model UN jabs, so is worth watching as well.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Alt November

Things that people do in November:

They eat a lot.
They are thankful for things.
They watch football.
They write novels.
They grow mustaches.
They shop for Christmas.
They are cold.

I'm not going to do any of these things.

I'm going to grow strong enough to wrestle a bear.
I'm going to be proud of my bear-wrestling strength.
I'm not going to watch any football that doesn't involve flags, people I know and questionable half-time shows.
I am going to write a novel, but only after my next movie is finished, so maybe in March. Maybe.
I just shaved off my stach, and while I'm having some phantom beard syndrome, I'm not missing the soup strainer.
I've finished my Christmas shopping.
And being cold is for non-Vikings and people not living in Arizona.