Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The time of the year when I rank things:

Movies of the year edition.

The Top 7
1. Fantastic Mr. Fox – I rarely get to say everyone should see a particular movie. Everyone should see this particular movie.
2. Zombieland – So fun. Everyone was at the top of their game. And the game was fun.
3. In the Loop - Viciously funny.
4. Avatar - I liked this movie. It’s my 4th favorite of the year. But it didn’t make me giddy like the top 3.
5. I Love You, Man – The Hangover is the more innovative comedy. But I just like Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Rashida Jones too much to let them get beat.
6. District 9 - Overrated (by nerds at least, if not the general public), but still pretty darn good.
7. The Hangover - Not hilarious the entire time, but when it wasn’t hilarious it was at least amusing.

The Penultimate 7
8. Coraline- Aesthetically pleasing. Pleasingly creepy. Creepily entertaining.
9. (500) Days of Summer – A flawed, but ultimately enjoyable film. Many of the flourishes may not have worked, but I appreciated the effort.
10. Drag Me To Hell – Not the scariest film of the year, but the return to old-school tactics, masterfully done, elevates the film.
11. Star Trek – They did almost everything right. But even if they had, I’m not sure it would’ve cracked my top 7.
12. Ponyo – It was weird, it was aimed at kids, I still had a good time.
13. Watchmen – Honestly, I can’t tell you what went wrong. But something did. And that something made this good, but not great.
14. Paranormal Activity – This was the scariest film of the year. But even at 86 minutes, it was 15 minutes too long, and those 15 minutes sucked the fear out of it.

7 That were still pretty pretty good
15. Observe and Report – There were some things I loved about this movie. Just not enough. It did feature the funniest near fatal shooting I’ve ever seen.
16. Adventureland – Dramadies are hard to do. This didn’t have quite enough comedy to pull it through. Both the drama and comedy were good, they just need to get the ratio right.
17. Funny People – The people were funny, the story was flat.
18. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – I enjoyed the film. But it had Megan Fox in it so everything else was just icing.
19. Sherlock Holmes – Not bad by any means. But for a movie about the world’s greatest detective, by a director famous for complicated frenetic plots, it was pretty straightforward and predictable. Predictable but fun.
20. Terminator: Salvation – It was dumb fun. It would’ve been better with Megan Fox.
21. Fanboys – Only made the list because of Kristen Bell.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ChrisMix and Christmas

If you haven't received a ChrisMix or requested one, and don't plan on doing so, you can find most of the music on iTunes:

ChrisMix 09

ChrisMix 09: Outback

Did you know iTunes only lets you make 7 copies of a song? Seems like that hasn't happened to me before. In any case, I had to get creative in making more mixes.

Merry Christmas all. Here are some random Christmas videos to help you put off wrappping:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Not Scrooge, I just have standards

Here's my thing with Christmas music.

I like Christmas. It's fun, it's got religious stuff, it's got a season etc. And I support all of December being Christmassy, as I support all of October being Halloweeny etc etc. So the Christmas songs coming on after Thanksgiving doesn't bother me. Before Thanksgiving I think is a stretch, but whatever, that's not my issue.

I love variety. There's a reason my ChrisMix is all new music. I listen to dozens and dozens of new bands every year. Sure, Radiohead is, and (fingers crossed) always will be awesome, but, I love getting new music.

What was the last good Christmas song? Do we have to go back to the 50s for Rocking Around the Christmas Tree or Jinglebell Rock? I'd accept Last Christmas from 1984, but still, that's 20 years ago.

Yes, I'm sure there are thousands of Christmas songs released every year, but the fact that a song mentions, or is even about Christmas, doesn't make it a Christmas song to me. Half of being a Christmas song is being about Christmas, and half is the reminiscent nature. It's not a traditional favorite unless you've heard it before, to establish the tradition.

And I realize I'm contradicting myself. I want more Christmas songs, but I want them written before I was born so I grew up with them. And since recording artists don't have time machines, that puts them in a hard position.

So what do we get? Covers. And, if you recall, I love covers. BUT, the problem is who is covering the music. Who does Christmas covers? Josh Groban. Mariah Carey. Crappy people. Yes, there are awesome covers out there, David Bowie doing Little Drummer Boy, pretty much anyone doing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (my favorite Christmas song) but those don't get played on the Christmas stations. They do the same 20 songs I've heard, over and over again, only changing the innocuous mainstream drivel-schlocking pop singer singing it.

That's my thing with Christmas music. I like listening to MY Christmas music. Just probably not yours. And I don't listen to mine every day, just every once in a while, in small doses. Then it's great.

Avatar: great but could be greater

When we left and started talking about it, Peetie thought I didn't like the movie. This is not accurate. I quite enjoyed Avatar, it just had some issues. Few movies lack issues. But I still liked it.

I don't have a lot of criticism that's unique; other critics have all said it before. The story is thin, 100% predictable and with sub par dialogue. None of these are dealbreakers, especially in an action movie, which is what this is. It just dropped this from being an excellent movie to a very good movie.

The visuals are amazing. Cameron claims it will change the way you think about movies, which it doesn't. Really, I don't know what would change the way I think about movies unless the characters started asking me about how my shift at the hospital went. But certainly, the CG is the best I've ever seen, and there wasn't a single "that's a special effect" moments, which is extremely rare. The 3D was done very well, though personally, it sometimes knocks things out of focus just so they can have something else pop out at you, which isn't ideal.

The characters, despite the sub par dialogue, despite being CG, were very personable. There wasn't a lot of depth to them despite being 3D, but they were effective and evocative. They were simple archetypes, doing their archetypal thing, but doing it well and making it look pretty.

So, the moral of the story is that you should go see Avatar. If you're a nerd and have been hearing the hype for the last half decade, it's not going to live up to your wildest expectations. But if you're just looking for something in the theater this weekend, it'll rock your socks. And pony up the 10 bucks to see it on the big screen, because you'll get more out of it. And pony up the 15 to see it IMAX and/or 3D because that's how it's meant to be seen. And maybe it will change the way you think about movies. Or at least about Smurfs.

Friday, December 18, 2009

In case you missed it.

I need to watch Iron Man again. Yes, Spiderman is my favorite. Batman is the coolest. But Iron Man was just fun. I'm looking forward to this sequel.

I'm seeing Avatar tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ChrisMix 09

This year the songs are in chronological order, from Chromeo in January to Glee in October. If I were super cool I’d have two from every month, but I’m not. Also, sorry songs from November and December, I’ve been too busy. They follow the ChrisMix rules, new artists, one song, no (minimal) swearing etc. Let me know if you want a copy.

ChrisMix 09

1. Bona Fide Loving – Chromeo

I’m proud to say that I used Garageband to make this, The ChrisMix Remix of the song. It’s got extra beats, a horn section, audio samples from Veronica Mars. No, really I just cut off the super annoying minute of outro. You’re welcome.
2. Grounds for Divorce – Elbow
I’m sure the lyrics to this song mean something to Elbow, but they mean nothing to me. They just sound awesome. With awesome handclaps. And super awesome bass. So in summary, awesome.
3. Can’t Stop Moving – Sonny J
This is my tribute to MJ. Sure, it’s not actually the Jackson 5, but it sounds like their kids got together and formed a band. And if there are Jackson kids beyond Blanket, so should totally do that.
4. Gasa – Reset!
This song will likely be polarizing, love it or hate it. Actually, everyone I’ve played it for has hated it. But you’ll love it under the following three conditions. 1) You’re at a rave. 2) You’re driving. Just try not to speed. 3) You’re me.
5. Bang Bang – K’naan & Adam Levine
I put this song on a friend’s mix and she said she basically didn’t listen to the rest of the music. Please don’t just listen to this song. Even if it’s Andre 3000 reminiscent goodness.
6. Imitosis – Andrew Bird
I probably should’ve hopped on the Andrew Bird train earlier, but I’m most definitely on it now. For one, he uses words like osmosis and mitosis n his music. For another, he makes up words like imitosis, perhaps only to rhyme with mitosis and osmosis. In any case, you should hop on the train too.
7. Never Had Nobody Like You – M. Ward
The first of two Zooey Deschanel connections on the mix. This is a bit of a cheat, seeing as M. Ward is the other half of She & Him, who made it last year. And Zooey provides backup vocals on this song. But I allowed it for the following reason: it’s great. I liked the S&H album, but I like M. Ward’s album much more. Keep it up.
8. Strobolights – Supercar
One of my favorite albums of the year was a mix I was given for my birthday by The Boy Who Could Fly. Really any song from the mix could have made it onto my mix, but almost at random I picked this one. It’s a Japanese band (cool points) and it sounds like Sigur Ros (cool points) but is more upbeat (cool points?).
9. She Loves Everybody – Chester French
I made monthly mixes this year for my own benefit, and Chester French managed to make it onto at least half of them, usually with different songs. The album has enough variety and enough quality that they just kept making it. Here’s my most recent favorite song from the album, though that may change again later.
10. I’m Going for Your Brother – Blank
One of my original reasons for ChrisMix was to let people know where to find new music, and I’ve slacked in that respect. But I can tell you I found this one from Palms Out Sound, which is a hipster electro site that gives out free remixes, nearly daily. Like all electronic music you have to listen to 7 bad songs to get to 2 good ones, and 1 great one (if you’re lucky.) I consider this one a great one. And not just because it’s about rejection, but that helps.
11. Destination Calabria – Alex Gaudino ft. Crystal Waters
I got a bit too into European House music this year. Or as a friend put it “Club Axis music.” Axis is our local dance club catering to those of the homosexual persuasion. But this song clearly doesn’t swing that way, what with the music video containing the sexiest marching band ever committed to film. So sexy in fact that I really wouldn’t suggest viewing it. You’ll never let your kid play the saxophone.
12. I’ll Kill Her – Soko
Strange story, this song was playing in the background of a youtube clip. So after some searching I found it. Turns out it’s a French singer (which explains her outrageous accent you silly King) and was the number one song in Denmark for a time. Once again, my Danishness is affirmed by my affinity for this song.
13. Crying Blood – VV Brown
This song kicked the Noisettes off the ChrisMix. To be fair to the Noisettes, their album is better. But this song is better. Failed romance in British retro pop is a winning formula.
14. New in Town – Little Boots
Another fantastic album all around. I sometimes forget how strongly my Britophilia runs. For instance, who was number one on the Sound of 2009 British music rankings? Little Boots. Who else was in the top 10? Florence and the Machine, La Roux, Lady Gaga, VV Brown and Passion Pit (which would’ve made my 3rd ChrisMix album). It’s not like this song is about tea and crumpets, but evidently the singer’s nationality still resonates with me.
15. Here Comes Your Man – Meaghan Smith
I love The Pixies. I love Pixies covers. I love this song. (500) Days of Summer had a number of issues, but the soundtrack was not one of them. If I could find a girl with Zooey’s taste in music, but who wasn’t a queen B, I’d be happy.
16. Armour Love – La Roux
Did you know, the La Roux is a hairstyle in Britain? Like The Rachel over here. But it takes a certain kind of girl to pull it off. Like being this singer.
17. Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine
Florence claims this song “was recorded with no instruments in a studio the size of a loo." I don’t know how that worked, but it certainly worked well. I imagine it’s hard to decide what to put on your debut album, so Florence put out a double album. And it’s all good.
18. Does This Mean You’re Moving On – The Airborne Toxic Event
I thought I should include some American rock so I didn’t come across as some Euro expat. Here’s some. I like this album a lot, but the songs do run together a bit. This one is my favorite.
19. Now We Can See – The Thermals
I couldn’t tell you what it is, but some songs make you sing along, and some songs, while equally enjoyable, just make you sit back and listen. It seems like every Thermals song makes me want to sing along. And although I find Pitchfork a deeply flawed institution, they did recently rank this song as in their top 100 for the year.
20. Psychic City – YACHT
For some reason I came across the acoustic version of this song first and though, what’s this junk? Who listens to this? Then I heard the studio version. Ahh, I see. I listen to this. Trippy weirdness, catchy and fresh.
21. The Wind – Alan Lastufka & Tom Milsom
This guy wrote the book on how to be a Youtube musician. Seriously, he did. I haven’t read it. I just like this song.
22. Somebody to Love – Glee Cast
As much as I hate liking popular shows, I am a pretty loyal Glee follower. Their take on recent hits (Rehab, Golddigger), old favorites (Can’t Stop Believin, Bust a Move), and even showtunes (On My Own, Defying Gravity) have turned out well. But they knocked one out of the park with this Queen cover. It’s not even in my top twenty Queen songs. But they reinvigorate a slightly sleepy number with teenage angst and the drama only high school theater can provide.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Every day

Every day someone asks me if I've seen this video. I have.

Now you have.

It's pretty funny. My favorite part is being allergic to the direction East. I feel your pain lady.

One more week in the ED.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

ChrisMix 09: Outback

No Rules, Just Right

ChrisMix 09 is done. I had too hard a time of narrowing it to one album, so you’ll get two. The forthcoming album follows this ChrisMix rules. This one doesn’t, because it’s a rebel.

1. Myriad Harbour – The New Pornographers
Eliminated for being from 2007. Also, due to pornography, new or otherwise. I go through a lot of music. Sometimes I miss something, like this one that’s been sitting idle for 2 years. So it couldn’t make the final cut, despite being great. And also, because I don’t really know what it’s about. But I’m pretty sure it’s not actually about pornography.
2. Mr. Hurricane – Beast
This song was eliminated for being free on iTunes. I downloaded it, listened, and didn’t love it. But I liked it enough not to delete it. Then I listened to it another dozen or so times, now I love it. So listen to it a dozen times and get back to me.
3. I know UR Girlfriend Hates Me – Annie
Embarrassingly jangly. I get kind of subconscious when I play it with my windows down. I have to turn to the drivers by me and assure them “I’m not listening to Ace of Base or Bananarama. It’s Annie. It’s totally macho.”
4. Boys with Girlfriends – Meiko
Eliminated for being on Grey’s Anatomy. That’s not where I heard it, I swear. You may notice that I include a lot of anti-love/relationship songs. I listen to what I know.
5. Last Stop : This Town – Eels
I love the Eels. But unfortunately, I’ve known them since 1996. And technically this song is from 1998, so there’s certainly a chance I’ve heard it before. In any case, it’s awesome. The Eels are awesome. I’m awesome.
6. Girls – Walter Meego
Eliminated for not being in my top 22. A good song, with a simple but true message. “Everything I do, I do it for a girl.”
7. I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked – Ida Maria
Eliminated for being on the radio. It’s a fun song. I guess I could’ve picked another song as the whole record is pretty good. But this was the single for a reason. It’s a fun sing-along, provided you’re not with a priest or something.
8. I Don’t Want To Get Over You – The Magnetic Fields
Eliminated for past winning. The Magnetic Fields were on the ChrisMix a couple years ago. But I finally made it to listening to all 69 Love Songs, and this is the best one.
9. The Calculation – Regina Spektor
Again, past winner. But an amazing song. I nearly put another song from her new album, Dance Anthem of the 80s, on as well. This one was such quirky-great lyrics that it won the spot, on this, the runner-up list.
10. Let Your Love Flow – Petra Haden
Eliminated for being off a car commercial. And being an artist I knew previously. And being a cappella. But except for those three things, it’s great. And the car commercial isn’t half bad either.
11. Ce Jeu – Yelle
Eliminated for Frenchness. A friend of mine posted a video of herself dancing to this song, which I seriously considered posting here. But I still want her to be my friend. I don’t know what Yelle is singing about, and probably don’t want to. Probably cheese and cowardice and streets that smell like urine.
12. The Girl and the Robot – Royksopp ft. Robyn
Eliminated for being about robots. Also because I think it’s been on the radio. It’s hard to tell since I don’t listen to the radio. But I like Robyn and I like this song. She’s great because she sings good pop music, but pop music that people don’t like, so I can like it.
13. I Am Not a Robot – Marina and the Diamonds
There’s not actually a no-robot rule. I just didn’t like these robot songs well enough to put them in the big leagues. But I still like them, probably more because they’re about robots.
14. Don’t Stop Believing – Glee Cast
Eliminated for being my 2nd favorite Glee song. Now you know there’s another one on ChrisMix Proper. This was in the first episode of Glee, and I kind of worried that they could only go downhill from there. Because Journey is ironic-awesome, and this song is just awesome.
15. Take Me On the Floor – The Veronicas
Eliminated for breaking my heart. Jessica Veronica friended me on facebook accidentally, thinking I was another Chris Sorensen. Evidently a cooler Chris Sorensen, because then she defriended me. But the song is still dang catchy.
16. Symmetry – Little Boots
Eliminated for being too slow. It’s important to have fast songs and slow songs. But pound for pound, I prefer fast. A fast Little Boots song made the top 22, but this one was still a strong contender.
17. At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be) – fun
Yep, that’s The Format guy. I don’t know his name. I just know I like this song better than any The Format song I heard.
18. Wild Young Hearts – The Noisettes
I love the Noisettes. But I told myself I was only going to put one funky/soul/retro song on the ChrisMix and another band got it. So here they shall remain. They’re touring with Lady Gaga in Europe. If you’re in Europe, and love Lady Gaga, here’s another reason to go to the show.
19. Kiss With A Fist – Florence and the Machine
I’m kind of in love with this song at the moment. It showed up in Community last week and instantly made me love the episode. But I didn’t want Steve Earle to feel lonely as the only country-type number, so I put Florence on this mix.
20. Lungs – Steve Earle
I’m pretty surprised how much I like Steve Earle. But I do.
21. Liquid In, Liquid Out – The Thermals
A very simple song about the third most overlooked phase of matter. You may notice that Steve, Florence and The Thermals all clock in right around 2 minutes. Normally I prefer a 4 minute song and start to drift off at 6 minutes, but these little nuggets work well. This album is great, so you should buy it.
22. Carol Brown – Flight of the Conchords
I couldn’t leave this song off after singing it in concert. It’s definitely one of the strongest songs in the Conchords repertoire.
23. Scars – Basement Jaxx
Although I prefer the fast songs, it’s interesting to hear fast bands slow it down. The Jaxx do almost all dance music. Upbeat, move your body dance music. So this wonky number really stood out, in a good way.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Things that happened in Boston

1. It rained.
2. It snowed.
3. My umbrella was turned inside out by the rain.
4. An interviewer was upset I was interviewing outside of Boston.
5. An interviewer told me I had a beautiful soul.
6. I had another 4 interviews that weren’t as noteworthy.
7. I had a tour of the hospital that didn’t include the psych ward.
8. I had delicious chocolate carrot cake.
9. I learned how to use The T.
10. I had clam chowder. At the airport. It was still good.
11. I learned that chowder isn’t the official Boston food. Dunkin Donuts is.
12. They do like beans.
13. They don’t like Boston Market.
14. I went to a Mormon church service in an Episcopalian church.
15. I lost my voice, twice. It was inconvenient while being interviewed.
16. A driver asked me for directions, then swore at me when I couldn’t help him.

Friday, December 04, 2009


Mistakes I Made Today:

1. Staying up until 3 AM (technically today) playing Batman Arkham Asylum last night. This didn't make me happy getting up this morning. But it did make me happy when I was playing so maybe this was a draw.

2. Spending 1.5 hours looking for a USB cord for my printer. I spent literally 1.5 hours looking around my relatively small room for this cord. I opened the box, took out the printer and set everything on the floor. I tried to connect the printer to my computer not 2 minutes later. The cord had vanished. How could this possibly happen? Had I gone insane? Turns out, the printer doesn't come with the cord, you have to buy it separately. But I did clean up my room, find some old notes, my H1N1 vaccination record, and a missing memory key.

3. Forgetting my iTouch in Ohio. So I had to experience my flight without 30 Rock, The Office or Always Sunny to distract me. No Weeds or The Shield either. Luckily I'm a nerd and have a backup iPod with me, so I at least got to listen to Rescuing the Spectacled Bear by Stephen Fry. It was pretty good, but I still don't know what these Scott's Tots are, and why people are talking about them.

Non-Mistake I Made Yesterday:

1. Seeing The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I had intended to see this movie earlier, but for some reason I suddenly had a burning desire to see it, which began about Tuesday. So I rallied the troops (I'll name them so I get to make up some new pseudonyms: Bookwormwood, The General, Peetie, Swoopes, and Sacagawea) and we went. And it was, for lack of a better term, fantastic. Now I love Wes Anderson (which is kind of indie cliche, but whatever) but normally I don't love his movies at first. I watch them and like them, but don't love them until later. His movies have an aftertaste, which many movies don't. After you've seen it, you keep it around in your head and get a different flavor. But with this movie, I loved it right away. Clever things were happening, on average, every twenty seconds. Which is much higher than most films, I assure you. It was funny, it was pretty, it was family appropriate (a novelty for me) and it was just great all around. If you like me enough to be reading my blog, you'll like this movie. And if you don't like me, I'm sure you have something better to be doing than reading my blog. Like seeing The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I wish I had time to watch the Daily Show

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Scientists Hide Global Warming Data
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

1. John isn't as equal-opportunity mocking as he claims, so it's nice when he takes a shot at the left. Even a pretty weak shot like this one.
2. Here's FoxNews commenting on this clip, and ABC/CBS/NBC's silence on the news.
3. I hope global warming either gets moving or gives up by March so I'll know whether to move to the NE or SW.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I've whittled it down to 60. It'll be done in a week or so.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Brad Pitt was Right

This isn’t a Jen v Angelina thing. Though I am firmly in the Angelina camp.

I’m not even sure these reflect Brad’s feelings in any way, or if he actually has feelings. He may be all washboard. But in any case, here are some quotes from 12 Monkeys and Fight Club:

There's the television. It's all right there - all right there. Look, listen, kneel, pray. Commercials! We're not productive anymore. We don't make things anymore. It's all automated. What are we *for* then? We're consumers, Jim. Yeah. Okay, okay. Buy a lot of stuff, you're a good citizen. But if you don't buy a lot of stuff, if you don't, what are you then, I ask you? What? Mentally *ill*.

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy expletive we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives.

Tyler Durden: Do you know what a duvet is?
Narrator: It's a comforter...
Tyler Durden: It's a blanket. Just a blanket. Now why do guys like you and me know what a duvet is? Is this essential to our survival, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word? No. What are we then?
Narrator: ...Consumers?
Tyler Durden: Right. We are consumers. We're the bi-products of a lifestyle obsession.

You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your expletive-ing khakis.

Earlier last week I was feeling very pro-consumer. I’d received a good price on a hot-ticket item due to my savvy (ie eavesdropping and mixing work and shopping) and snagged myself another limited time offer. I was thinking to myself, this is kind of fun. Being a consumer is kind of fun. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying shopping, whether it be bargain hunting or the occasional splurge. I was talking to a nurse at work, whose hobby every December is hunting down the toy-of-the-season. If she gets pleasure from collecting a dozen Tickle-Me-Elmos or Zhu Zhu Pets, kudos to her.

On Black Friday, my friends wanted to go all out. So Funshine and Husky dragged me from my bed at 3:45 in the morning and we went to worship at the shrine of Consumerism. The first temple on our trip, Kohls. We arrived at 4 AM, to find a parking lot entirely filled. Filled. At a store that I really hadn’t known existed until that moment.

As I wandered the aisles, following my gleeful companions, I was in awe. Again, it was 4 in the morning. People pushed their carts, filled to the brim with kitchenware and electronics. Businessmen, teenage girls, not-teenage girls wearing teenage girl sweatpants. It was surreal to me.

A large part of this being strange, is that they were so excited about things that I cannot become excited about. Funshine wanted a certain set of Pyrex, which was sold out at one location so we ended up hunting down another. Pyrex. I hope and pray that I’m never excited at Pyrex. Now I’ll get excited for movies and music and terabyte hard drives, which I realize are in many ways less practical. But the people around me were buying so many things, and in bulk, that I’d never consider buying. Yes, the price was good, but do they need the item?

And I’m being a hypocrite about the whole thing. Because to reward myself for leaving the house before 4 with nobody’s life on the line, I bought myself a PS3. And I tried to calculate why it was a good investment (my DVD player is broken, I’ve been meaning to buy a Blu-Ray player, I haven’t bought a system since 1999, I’m single so might as well stop delaying my gratification and have a modern game system etc etc) but it comes down to something I wanted was dangled in front of me for a relatively cheap price.

The Black Friday experience turned into a marathon. Eight hours later we were finished. We spent a full workday shopping. And what did I have? I was exhausted by noon, I have three hundred fewer dollars, and a new way to distract myself from studying. But feel free to buy me PS3 games or Blu-Rays, because I might as well have fun as I sell my soul to consumerism.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Blog is a contraction of web log. Blalk is a web talk. I just invented it. Yes, the name isn't very good, and maybe the concept isn't either. But it's a novelty and it amuses me. I'm giving a talk in an hour, and the following are outtakes, bonus features works cited.

My Top 25 Holidays:

1. Halloween
2. Christmas Eve
3. Christmas
4. Mardi Gras
5. Groundhog Day
6. Pi Day
7. St. Patrick’s Day
8. My Birthday
9. Cinco De Mayo
10. Love Sucks Day (Valentine’s Day)
11. Leap Day
12. Fallback
13. Thanksgiving
14. Vernal Equinox
15. New Year’s Eve
16. Friday the 13th
17. Independence Day
18. Boxing Day
19. April Fool’s Day
20. Easter
21. Summer Solstice
22. All Saints Day
23. Autumnal Equinox
24. Memorial Day
25. Winter Solstice

President Monson's Talk

Every President Monson Talk
- Must involve widows.
- Must be in passive voice.
- Must have story about Tommy.
- Must speak in triples. "This talk was heard before. This talk is heard now. This talk will be heard in the future."
- Chock full of adverbs, allusions and alliteration.

Patton doing his thang (which includes a curse or two)

Barney, being his awesome self

Also, you can buy this shirt!

CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Rolling Stones + House = ok mashup

Here's a weird Disney /Avenue Q Mashup:

Used verses 7-9

Cut this analogy:

We can think about our trials as punishments. But unless you’re a masochist, that’s not going to make you happy. I’m honestly not sure how to teach the Gospel to masochists. If you instead think of your trial as tempering, you might see God’s plan. The difference between a sword and scrapmetal is that scrapmetal doesn’t have any problems. It just gets to sit there, languishing, as scrapmetal. When the swordsmith takes that scrapmetal, heats it till it's nearly molten and hit over and over by a hammer, it can become a sword. I’m not suggesting metal can think, but if it did, the metal could choose to be angry that it’s being so contorted, or it could choose to be happy that it’s becoming a sword and gets to fulfill it's swordly destiny in Lord of the Rings, or whatever else the posh sword life entails.

And this story:

During med school we learn a little bit of phlebotomy. If a nurse if having trouble drawing blood she should theoretically be able to ask a doctor to help. Why would a nurse, who does this multiple times a day, ask a doctor, who did it a couple times in med school, to help? No one knows. In any case we learn how to do it. Obviously none of us are any good at it, as it requires practice, of which we have little to none. So it's painful, and awkward, and a bit embarrassing. And since I had a number of cute girls in my group I offer to be stuck additional times. Because clearly having track marks is the best way to impress your classmates. We all had a problem (learning to draw blood) and we all found a solution by relying on our friends to help us out.

Because they're convoluted and unclear.

I hope this blalk has supplemented your intellectual and spiritual experience of my talk.

Breakin' the Law (and/or Stupidity Tax 2)

I’ve been speeding for the last decade. I’m not proud of it exactly, it just happens. I like driving fast, I like not being late, and I like not leaving early. I listen to fast music. I date fast women. And when you have a Subaru, you have to show folks what it can do.

And until recently, I’d outrun the coppers. I developed techniques and strategies to avoid the fuzz. But on Halloween they caught me.

I feel like women have a variety of options when they see those lights behind them. They can flirt, cry, play dumb, use mace. Guys on the other hand have play dumb. And unfortunately, I’m not very good at playing dumb.

But I tried. The speed limit was 45? I was going 56? Well, that was really my only defense. And I’m guessing a lot of the time this would work. But not in this case. Because:

1. It was Halloween and it was 2 in the morning. Stupid church activity.
2. I didn’t have my license. Again, stupid church activity. Sure, I’m glad people helped me load my car with the supplies from the Spook Alley. That was great. The fact that they put my backpack in my roommate’s car, not so great. The bag that had my wallet in it. He wasn’t too impressed with my excuse.
3. My fingernails were painted. Admittedly, I don’t think he noticed. But I noticed. What’s worse than being pulled over in the middle of the night? How about wearing nail polish from your now-absent Halloween costume? Awesome.

Seeing as I’ve never received a speeding ticket, I may have gotten a warning, but not when I couldn’t show him a license. So, there goes 146 dollars, low insurance rates and the carefree days of my youth.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Poor neglected blog. The following are blog posts that I've been meaning to write:

Different Folks
She's Crafty
King of the Nerds
Breakin' the Law
Flaming Bird

Maybe they'll get written, maybe you'll just have to make up what they're about.

What I will write is this:

ChrisMix 09 (clever title to be determined at a later date)

Kid-Sized reminded me the other day that I needed to get working on my ChrisMix. So today, rather than studying for the last hour, I picked out my top 500 songs of the year. Over the next month I'll whittle that down to 20ish.

Place your order now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lady Gaga Needs to Make a Horror Movie

I'd watch it, but maybe that's not saying much.

I'm not actually as into Lady Gaga as my blog would lead you to believe.

Lady Gaga Needs to Make a Horror Movie

I'd watch it. Maybe that's not saying much.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?

Chris Tucker. Rush Hour.

Funshine: “Am I supposed to get the meaning behind your comment? . . . I'm sorry Chris we just don't hang out enough for me to get your language”
Renard: “Chris, I still remember . . . the strangest things coming out of your mouth.”
Stems: “How do you do that? Are you making this stuff up right now?”

Evidently, I have my own language. Chrispeak. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one that’s fluent. I don’t know if I can teach you how to speak it, but I can provide some basic principles that should at least make interpretation easier.

1. Welcome to the Gun Show.
I like to flex. Some people flex by using words like sacrosanct or soporific or supernal. And that’s all fine and well; I do that sometimes. But that’s really the fast-track to pretentious, not flexible. I like to flex by connecting things. Stems was confused because I picked up some banjo picks (which I didn’t bend) and started talking about homemade Catwoman suits, Michelle Pfeiffer playing the banjo etc. If I don’t keep connecting things I get bored. So expect frequent jumps to topics that are only loosely related, and enjoy the ride.

2. Just the Facts Mam.
I like to flex, and don’t mind how convoluted and inefficient conversations get because of it. But I hate conversations being inefficient for no reason. So I nearly always skip the “How’re the kids” and the “Goodbye” parts of the conversation. Jump into it, then keep moving.

3. Everybody lies.
Bookwormwood and Husky have taken to questioning every little thing I say, which I must say, is counterproductive. I lie for the same reason I connect banjos and Batman; it’s flexing. It’s easy to tell the truth, it’s hard to come up with convincing and entertaining lies. But I’m not actually trying to bear false witness, just entertain, myself and/or others. So almost always (excluding stories about twins or ice cream eating championships) I’ll tell you which parts were lies by the end of the conversation. Another clue: if it’s funny it’s fake, if it’s boring it’s the truth. Why would I make a boring lie? And when is the truth of my life funny?

4. Srsly.
I was recently asked if I’m ever serious. Making out, temple sessions, suicidal patients, residency interviews, I’ve yet to encounter an experience where flippant remarks didn’t come to mind. Obviously I censor myself when necessary, but it’s so rarely necessary. Meaningful doesn’t require boring, and jokes shouldn’t restrict conversation, they should enhance it.

5. Keep Your Enemies Closer.
If I’m making fun of you, chances are very good that I like you, and feel that your ego strength is sufficient to withstand my barrage. I try not to make fun of people I don’t like, and if I do, it’s certainly not to their face. So if you’re being mocked, you’re in like flint. If you’re not, I may not be too fond of you. Or maybe you have no foibles to flaunt.

6. Nothing Bears Repeating.
I hate retelling stories. I hate hearing stories retold. However, I love being self referential. So I don’t want to retell the story about Shoneys, but I want to be able to compare things to it. Unfortunately this means I prefer my company to have been with me for past experiences so we have the same pool of experiences. Which means I tend to keep talking to the same people. So part of Chrispeak is that it discourages branching out.

7. SpongeChris.
I’m a tv/movie/music/(former) literature person. Even if I don’t like a certain element of our culture, I try to at least be aware of it. My average conversation would have a lot of footnotes to various media. If you don’t have the cultural background, the conversation may not make a lot of sense. This is why I’ve given up talking to exchange students.

8. Jump . . . to Conclusions.
I often jump straight to the punchline/conclusion without laying out all the groundwork. When it works we save a lot of time. When it doesn’t, just ask me to start at the beginning.

Hopefully these points will make me little less indecipherable. Because we all want to be decipherable.

Media referenced in blog post: Rush Hour, CareBears, Batman Returns, Anchorman, Dragnet, internetese, The Godfather, SpongeBob, Office Space

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

That's The Impression That I Get

Hatrack: “Chris, you seem like the kind of guy that doesn’t recycle.” What? I’m not saying I’m the world’s best recycler, because I’m not. I’m probably not in the top 3 billion. But what about me indicates I’m not a recycler? Mostly correct.

Me: “I’ve never cursed.”
Bookwormwood: “That’s a lie. Yes you have.” I haven’t. With the exception of the first instance, when I learned it was a curse, and when yelling random consonants which happen to converge into a four letter word, I haven’t sworn. What about me indicates that I’ve a sailor’s mouth? Incorrect.

Fruhead: “You seem like a Star Wars guy.” Incorrect. I may know more about Star Wars than you, but I don’t like it. Star Wars is pretty much the epitome of overrated. Good special effects yes, but the rest of it does little for me. Especially Mark Hamill. He's like a fork in my eye. I repeat, Incorrect.

People are hard to read. Keep trying.

Lentish 2

Like most males, I enjoy video games. Playing video games was a popular past time of my youth. After my mission I decided that video games were not the best use of my time. Shocking, I realize. I don’t think video games rot your brain or lead people to shoot up schools or any other malarkey reasons that parents may give for why video games are evil. I stopped playing video games because they impaired my socializing, and being an anti-social person to begin with, this wasn’t something I needed to promote. So while I occasionally indulge in the bliss of gaming, I made a rule for myself. I could play video games, but only when it was with others. If the video games enhanced my socializing, rather than hindering it, they were an acceptable use of my time.

Last Thursday I made a realization. I was looking at the shows that I wanted to watch: 30 Rock, The Office, Community, Always Sunny, Fringe and Bones. On one night. I would like to point out that I was going to watch all 4 hours in one night, but still, I wanted to watch those 4 hours at some point. Then you could look at the rest of the week. How I Met Your Mother, House, Glee, Dexter etc etc. Too much. I consider these all worthwhile shows, but they just take up too much time.

So, I have an experiment for November. I wanted to come up with a clever play on Ramadan or Lent, but nothing comes to mind. For the month of November, I’m not watching television alone. If I watch one of these shows with someone, that’s fine, I’ll consider it a worthwhile use of time. But I’m not watching them sans company.

So if you, like me, like tv, and you like me and/or my tv, let me know. We can get together and watch something so I don’t have to quit cold turkey. And hopefully I won’t end up like Homer from The Shinning.

Monday, November 02, 2009


If ever I ask you “Should I throw two parties in one weekend?” you can smack me. Make sure to cite this post when you do so.

Friday was my quasi-annual Halloween Party. This year it was a Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. I’m getting much better at underpreparing parties. In the past I’ve come up with all kinds of gimmicks and additions to parties, which would make each even more unique. However, this really isn’t necessary. It really boils down to this: people want a place, preferably comfortable and convenient, to be with other people. Everything else is icing. So rather than come up with an intricate playlist of Halloween songs, you just grab the Top 40 (minus Miley Cyrus) with some old favorites and occasional indies thrown in. Don’t buy a feast, just some donuts, grapes and punch. Don’t spend more than an hour in decorations. And it will all work out.

And it all worked out. We had 40-50 people crammed in the house. We had some great costume debuts. We had some visits from old friends and met some new people. And we had only minor property damage. Success.

Party Dos was the Spook Alley I’ve been “preparing” for the last couple months. Although there are a couple dozen things I’d do differently if I were putting it together again, it came together well. I daresay it was the best Spook Alley possible given the conditions. According to my new laissez faire attitude, I let my improvisation skills do a lot of the work for me. It took a lot of work getting materials together so I could improvise, but it turned out well. I had a good time picking out music, lighting, decorations, gags, and costumes. Unfortunately my camera is currently out of commission, so I have pictures from neither event. Sorry.

It was fun, but it was very busy. Combined with being sick and pretending to be a resident, it made for a hectic weekend. Thankfully I can’t be expected to do it again for another year, and no one in my new home will expect me to do it anyway.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Still Gaga for Gaga

The Ranteumptom experienced its 2nd most popular day ever yesterday. 72 visits. Yes, I'm both nerdy and egotistical enough to keep track of these things. I thought perhaps everyone was visiting to read about my fast food experiences (the guy ordered extra grease, I'm not sure why people don't believe me) but in fact they were looking up Lady Gaga pictures. There are going to be a lot of Gagas this Halloween.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fast Food Follies

Like most everyone that has access to fast food, I eat too much fast food. It’s just so fast. And so . . . food. But because I spend too much time in fast food lines, I get to see some amusing interactions. Which really, is the exact opposite what fast food is about. The drive-through is there so we can have as little interaction with people as possible. I digress. Some drive-through anecdotes:

1. I have supersonic hearing, so can hear what the people in front and behind of me order. The other day the guy ahead of me ordered three cheeseburgers, hold the ketchup and mustard, with extra grease. HE ORDERED EXTRA GREASE. At least get extra grease on just one of your burgers fella, not all three.

2. I pulled up to the window and the worker started to laugh at me. Huh? I was wearing some bulky sunglasses, but I didn’t really think they were that entertaining. I didn’t give him a tip. Because normally I tip my fast food attendant.

3. I pulled up to the window another time and thought to myself, “Self, the girl at the window is too hot to be working at Wendys.” I then had to question myself, exactly what kind of prejudice was I experiencing? Where does someone that’s too hot to work at Wendys work? I didn’t give her a tip either. That tip thing before was a lie.

4. Another time there was more of a line, so after I got my change I couldn’t drive ahead to the other window. So the cashier guy asks me if I have a girlfriend. Small talk? I came here for a Whopper dude, not to talk about my dating life. And dating? What about the weather, or the new Angry Whopper, or Afghanistan? I tell him I don’t and he starts to tell me about his girlfriend. I was in the middle of a story when I was able to pull ahead, so I had to interrupt him. I didn’t feel too bad about it.

5. One time I got my change, then drove away without my food. It’s on my list of stupidest things I’ve ever done. Also on the list, leaving behind my $40 at the grocery store, and trying to unlock the door to my house with my electronic car door opener.

This post made me want a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Girls Will Be Girls

To continue this week’s theme of sounding bitter (but not actually being so), I experienced the triple flakeout this week. None of the flakeouts were particularly heinous, it was simply their proximity that made them noteworthy. And after the first couple it become almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, where I was looking for the next injustice to occur. I also think it’s likely that males flakeout in roughly the same frequency, I just don’t care when they do so don’t note it. In any case, the flakeout marathon:

Thursday – I’m supposed to go shopping for Halloween supplies with Girl Uno. On the way to the store I thought I’d confirm the time/place of our rendezvous, which had previously been established. “That was tonight?” was her response. Yes. “I can’t tonight.” So instead I bought a strobelight on my own. Hopefully it will never flake on me.

Friday – I’m actually with Girl Uno, doing the previously night’s shopping. Girl Dos sends me a text thirty minutes before we’re supposed to meet up for some ice cream exploration. She’s not going to make it. Does she have a legitimate excuse? Yes. It wasn’t “I remembered you were boring, so don’t want to eat delicious frozen desserts in your presence.” But it was still bailing at the last minute. Fortunately I had my strobelight at home to keep me company.

Saturday – Admittedly, this is a bit of a stretch. I needed to find a taker for my roommate’s football ticket. Girl Tres said earlier in the week that she wanted it. Saturday morning she decides that she no longer wants it. So I had to go to the game. I HAD TO GO TO THE GAME! Tragedy.

I’m not mad at any of these girls. They were all minor obligations, with feasible excuses and easy remedies. But the stereotype that girls are fickle and unreliable creatures? Not exactly crumbling.

Side story – my first OSU football game.

I noted during the game that I must be missing the football gene. I just don’t understand the appeal of the game. But I knew this ahead of time. I went for the experience, not for the football. The experience fared decently, but didn’t excel. My favorite part was drunk fans yelling obscenities, which is sadly lacking from watching football at home. At least at my home, but mostly because I don’t care about the outcome enough to yell (or realistically to watch in the first place.) The stadium was neat, the fans were a bit entertaining, the band was ok (they only played Motown, which is far from my favorite genre), and for some reason they kept playing White Stripes. I’m guessing that Jack White isn't the world’s biggest football fan. So, it was a worthwhile experience so I can say I went. But really I would’ve had just as much fun sitting anywhere else with a couple friends, without a football game in front of us. Oh, and the Buckeye’s won. Go Bucks. That’s what you’re supposed to say right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The time of the week when I make gender dynamics observations

Also the time of the week when it’s going to sound like I’m being whiny, bitter and chauvinistic, but in reality I’m trying to make some sociological observations.

1. Hot girls like boring guys. Now 90-some percent of my friends are married, and I’m not saying that all the males are boring. Fun guys do get married on occasion. But I’ve just observed a lot of hot+boring couples lately. And it baffles me. And it’s not that I’m particularly jealous of these particular couplings; just baffled. Because I often see the hot girl choose hot boring guy over hot fun guy. Again, I’m not hot fun guy. I’m not even in the equation, just observing. Sometimes I even see hot girl choose plain boring guy over hot fun guy. Obviously, people aren’t entirely superficial beings mating simply on aesthetics, and I’m not suggesting they start. I’m just not sure why boring (also a very subjective term, in this case judged by me) is so popular with the ladies. Oh the cross we interesting people bear.

2. Girls shouldn’t call other girls hottie. When a girl describes her friend as a hottie, it’s a lie. There’s nothing wrong with describing friends, or with talking up friends, or with objectively stating your friend is attractive, I’ve just never found a girl describing another girl as hottie to be accurate. It may be that girls don’t know the definition of hottie. And it's not that guys are demanding hotties. They're requesting, politely, accuracy. All babies aren't cute and all your friends aren't hotties.

3. Girls carry courtship expectations into platonic relationships. Maybe things aren’t exactly like they used to be, but generally speaking guys are still the inviters and providers in dating. Generally speaking, they initiate contact, make the invitation, plan and pay. I’m not debating the system, its benefits or breakdown. However, I’ve noticed that a great many girls expect the same arrangement to carry into platonic relationships, and I don’t think it should. The paying is split, but guys tend to do a lot more of the inviting and planning in friendships. Why? If they’re not going to get the benefits of dating, shouldn’t the effort be more 50/50 in friendship? And notably, some girls are great about making things happen and calling their guy friends, but it seems that most aren’t.

Again, I’m sure these came across as negative, shallow, and potentially anti-girl. I am in fact pro-girl, as my voting record will indicate. If you like boring guys, go for it. Thankfully some people at least find me boring. If hottie seems like the best description, go ahead and use it. Just know that your overuse has rendered the term meaningless. And if your platonic relationships are running smoothly, you should probably keep up your MO. Just know that some guys, potentially including myself, may feel a bit drained.

Until next week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Hini

It had to happen eventually. I got a swine flu patient. Now, were I on a medical unit this would be less problematic. But being on the psych unit out patients are always up and around and “in milieu” in psych speak. Which complicates things. And she was coughing on me all day, which complicates things. Thankfully I have managed to maintain my teenage invincibility, so have nothing to worry about.

By the way, I’m back on the psych ward. I really haven’t talked about work these last few months, because I’ve been doing stuff I don’t like. And despite the fact that I made this blog to rant, I prefer not to discuss work when I don’t enjoy it. It already takes up 12 or so hours a day, why let it occupy more by writing about it. But now I’m back on the psych ward, and life is good.

For the first two weeks my attending was on vacation. This was great, because it means sometime in the next ten years I too may be able to go to Italy for two weeks. Unfortunately since there was no attending, they didn’t bother to assign a resident. Which means I got promoted to resident, which was somewhat inconvenient, but somewhat fun. I got to order med students around and do other resident-type things. But the ordering med students around was really the only concrete benefit.

So in summary, I may have the swine flu, but I get to be bossy so it all equals out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stupidity Tax

I use my grocery store as my bank. Unfortunately, that means the groceries sometimes distract me from my money. Like today, when I left my $40 at the dispenser. I realized my mistake at my car, but alas, upon my return it was gone. I was taxed.

Forty dollars. I must replace it. But with no income, it's problematic. I can skip eight movies. Six lunches. Four CDs. Three dinners. One date. Almost certainly one date. Way to keep me single stupidity.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Head for Cover

Covers, in my opinion, are a glorious thing. Whether a band is sampling, mashing up, or covering, there’s a good chance I’m going to enjoy it. Sure, Miley Cyrus singing Backstreet Boys isn’t going to do anything for me, nor is Nickelback singing anything, but doing a cover is automatically going to increase the chances for a pleasing performance, for me at least.

Some people get upset at covers. I was playing a song which sampled The Cure recently and my passenger’s response was “They’re ruining it.” Typical Cure fan. They’re not ruining it. They’re reimagining it. They’re taking something existing, and generally favorably accepted, and twisting it into something new. And while I have a slight issue with bands that do nothing but covers (I’m looking at you Me First) I think doing them as part of your act is great.

And generally, the stranger the better. Sure, David Bowie’s cover of China Girl is good, but he’s covering Iggy Pop. It’s like imitating your twin. It’s much more fun when Johnny Cash covers Nine Inch Nails or Placebo covers Kate Bush. Mix it up and show us something new.

Sometimes the results are just amusing, but sometimes the cover surpasses the original. Who doesn’t like Save Ferris’s Come on Eileen better than Dexy’s? It’s only embarrassing when you don’t realize it’s a cover. I was at a concert where they started playing 99 Luft Balloons and a kid yells “Yeah Goldfinger!” Admittedly, the Goldfinger version is great, but I still wanted to smack the kid. But it happens to the best of us; I just found out Nothing Compares to U is a Prince song. My bad. (And yes, I just referred to myself as the best of us.)

Anyway, the point of this post was to show this clip:

Glee is a dang fun show. I had a bit of a heterosexual crisis last week watching this episode. I was thinking about how much I enjoyed this show, then Kristin Chenoweth showed up and I liked it even more. And then they started singing Queen and I liked it even more. And I then realized I needed a girlfriend. Point being, take one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, have a glee club (which incidentally is not my favorite musical subgenre) cover it and the result is fantastic.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Consumer Reporting

The Whatchamacallit holds a special place in my heart. It’s not the prototypic candybar. That belongs to Snickers.

Fast Snickers Facts!
-Were called Marathon Bars in the UK until 1990. When they switched from Marathon to Snickers they went from the #9 candybar to the #3.
-You can purchased caffeinated Snickers.
-A Limited Edition in Canada contained Maple.

Whatchamacallit isn’t my favorite candybar. That belongs to Twix.

Fast Twix Facts!
-Was called The Raider internationally until the 90s. I wish it still were.
-Special flavors have included Orange, Mint, White Chocolate and Coffee.
-Limited Editions have included circular and square Twix bars.

So, back to Whatchamacallit. Whereas Twix and Snickers and so many other candybars existed before I did, the Whatchamacallit is the first candybar I remember being introduced.

Turns out, that’s a lie. It was introduced in 1978. My memories lie to me. It’s sad.

But in 1987, the year that I thought they came out, they changed the formula of the Whatchamacallit, and gave it a new advertising campaign. Maybe you remember this bit of trippy goodness.

The commercial worked, and I insisted we go to 7-11 and try one. Because at the time, 7-11 was my favorite restaurant. Yes, restaurant. In some ways I was a clever little kid, but in many others it’s remarkable that I survived.

Despite what this entry might lead you to believe, I haven’t thought much about Whatchamacallit’s over the years. Until they did this :

So I rushed to 7-11 and tried one. So now, the great Whatchamacallit v Thingamajig Taste Off!

Whatchamacallit wins. Sorry if that’s anticlimactic. It just tasted better. But I’d love it if they just kept spinning off new Doodads, Doohickeys and Gizmos.

Monday, October 05, 2009

How could this happen?

Rotten Tomatoes recently released their worst 100 movies of the last decade.

I've only seen one of the movies.

How could this happen? I tried folks, I really did. When a trailer comes out and the film looks truly awful, I always turn to my neighbor and say "Opening Night." Admittedly, I rarely follow through, but 1/100? I'm ashamed.

Of course you want to know. The answer is Corky Romano. And I have to tell you, it wasn't that bad of a movie. A bad movie certainly, but not a horrible movie. Okay, it was horrible. But not horrible horrible. Not enjoyably horrible. And I guess that's why it got on the list.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The time of the week when I rank things . . . poorly

I’m feeling too lazy to rank things today, so instead I’m going to cluster them. So in no particular order:

British shows I Love
1. Monty Python’s Flying Circus – the best example of smart people acting silly.
2. The Mighty Boosh – the ridiculous plots and musical numbers are fun, but my favorite thing is just listening to Howard and Vince banter.
3. The IT Crowd – fantastic cast (many from Mighty Boosh).
4. Coupling – the dirty(er) friends. Only much funnier.
5. Green Wing – the dirty(er) Scrubs. Admittedly, not quite as funny. But still, pretty hilarious.
6. Blackadder – I thought Rowan WAS Mr. Bean until I saw this. With the fantastic meanness that spews forth from his mouth, it’s a shame to keep him quiet.
7. The Office – I like the American office, but it just can’t compete with the humor and, dare I say, art of the British version.
8. Skins – I’m not much for soap operas, but this one is the perfect balance of angst and humor.
9. Doctor Who – my current go-to show. It’s good times all around.
10. Torchwood – Season 1 wouldn’t qualify as a show I love, but Season 2 has been much better. And I hear Season 3 is absolutely fabulous. (Which is another British show, if it sounded odd.)

British shows I Like
1. Mr. Bean - It’s really amazing how much I can like a comedy that removes my favorite part of comedy, the dialogue.
2. Wallace and Gromit – not a show exactly, but there’s enough of them that I’ll count it as a series.
3. My Hero – It’s basically Superman crossed with Amelia Bedelia, but that Ardal O’Hanlon is just likable enough to make it work.
4. Whose Line is it Anyway? – Yes the American version was lackluster. But the British one never disappoints.
5. Spaced – I was hoping to love it, but only liked it. Oh well.
6. Extras – This might have made the Love It category if I’d seen more episodes.
7. Jeeves and Wooster – more amusing than funny, but pretty amusing.
8. The Thin Blue Line – Blackadder light.
9. Absolutely Fabulous – Comedy Central didn’t provide a lot of British comedy in my youth, but I enjoyed this one. Mean people are funny.
10. The Young Ones – I can remember practically nothing about this show, apart from liking it. I think it’s what I watched waiting for Space Ghost to come on.

British Shows I May Love, But Haven’t Seen Yet, So You Should Let Me Borrow Them If You Have Them
1. Fawlty Towers – I know, blasphemy against the great John Cleese. I’ll get around to it one day.
2. A Bit of Fry and Laurie – I love Stephen Fry and I love Hugh Laurie, so this should be a homerun.
3. The Thick of It – In the Loop was hilarious, and I hope this will deliver as well.
4. Life on Mars – I actually have it, and will get around to it eventually. I purposefully skipped the US version so I’d get it undiluted.
5. Black Books – I have almost no background on this one, I just heard it was good.
6. Da Ali G – Cohen has proved himself worthy.
7. The Prisoner – Supposed to be amazing. Hopefully I can withstand the 60sness.
8. The Dead Set – British zombies! Worked for 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead.
9. Snuff Box – Mighty Boosh alumni, so worth a viewing.
10. Father Ted – It’s got Ardal O’Hanlon, so again, worth a viewing.

Thanks BBC!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I was talking to a friend the other day and she asked what I’m up to these days.

Growing a beard.

That’s about it. While I’ve been growing my beard, as a hobby, I’ve been studying for Step 2. Which I’ll be taking exactly a week from now. Accordingly, I’ll be on blog hiatus until then.

For those of you in suspense: my beard failed. I gave it my best shot, but I couldn’t will the moustache to meet the beard. That single centimeter, between me and success. Here’s hoping Step 2 goes better.

See you on the other side.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Quick Emmy Follow-up

Some years I’ve done an in depth “Who Should Have Won the Emmy” but not this year.

I’m happy for:
Mad Men, I should probably put it higher on my to-watch list.
30 Rock. They deserve their props.
Bryan Cranston is terrific in Breaking Bad.
Michael Emerson kicked the tar out of his category.
Alec Baldwin has problems, but dang is he funny. Sorry for losing Jemaine.
Good going Kristin Chenoweth. Daisies was great, but you were the best part.
John Hodgeman, for getting some national spotlight.
Sarah Silverman's mustache.
NPH for getting the popular vote.

I’m sad for:

I didn’t think Family Guy was the best comedy, but I like to cheer for the animated shows.
Conchords, I’d be more sad if your second season were as good as the first.
Michael C. Hall and Gabriel Byrne deserve awards.
House. But really, would House want to win any awards?
NPH for not winning his category officially. Long live Barney Stinson.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

(Flaming Lips) Fan

I don't know what you were doing last night, but if you don't have a girlfriend, I was probably having a better time than you. The Flaming Lips were in town, and I got to cross another must-see band off my list. It was a glorious show to behold.

I've posted a bunch of pictures on facebook, so you blog people can go there to see them: Facebook photos

I've also posted a video on facebook, but you should be able to see it below as well:

It was a crazy night. The Lips involve the audience in the show more than any other band I've seen. People are dancing on stage, we each had laser pointers to shine on the stage, we had a 2,000 person sing-along to Yoshimi. It was good times.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Island Auditions

I never filled the 10th spot on My Island. It's kind of like leaving a chair at the table for Elijah. Or maybe it represents the spot for my wife. I'm sure she'd love to live on an island with myself, Kristen Bell, Evangeline Lily, Tricia Helfer, Jenna Fischer, Olivia Wilde, Kristin Chenoweth, Gillian Anderson, Jennifer Garner and Tina Fey. Initially I said that sarcastically, but really, who wouldn't want to live with that group? We'd have music, comedy, survival skills, me. Anyway.

It's all good and well to have famous celebrity crushes, after all, if they weren't famous they wouldn't really be celebrity crushes would they? But being as elitist as I am, there is a slight taint to heavyhitters like Tina and Olivia and Evangeline. So it's nice when I come across a minor celebrity just as likable and beautiful as these other actresses. Today's shoutout comes from Doctor Who, since that's my show of the moment.

She stars in the episode Blink, which was one of my favorites so far. For one, she's in it. For two, it was more X-Filesy than the typical episode, which was a nice change. (I'm liking the show quite a bit by the way.)

Anyway: Carey Mulligan

You can see her here. Skip to 1:40, that’s when she becomes most charming.

Sometimes her hair is wet.

Sometimes she lays on the grass, with practically no hair.

Sometimes she lays on other people.

It seems that she's always cute.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Glad you read my blog, not Kanye's

I don’t watch the MTV VMAs. Apart from the Breakthrough Video category, I don’t care about anyone that was nominated in any category. Well, apart from Lady Gaga, who did well. And the Beastie Boys, who won an award for Sabotage, and I’m not sure why. But they’re the Beastie Boys, and it’s Sabotage, so they deserve it.

The thing you’ll read about, if you read about anything in the VMAs, which you probably shouldn't, is Kanye West acting like a stunted manchild. I’m not going to bother recapping it, Google it if you hadn’t heard.

I think his “apology” that he posted on his blog is amusing. I bolded the nonapologetic portions for emphasis.

““I’m sooooo sorry to taylor swift and her fans and her mom. I spoke to her mother right after and she said the same thing my mother would’ve said. She is very talented! I like the lyrics about being a cheerleader and she’s in the bleachers! …………………… i’m in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment!……………. beyonce’s video was the best of this decade! I’m sorry to my fans if I let you guys down! I’m sorry to my friends at mtv. I will apologize to taylor 2mrw. welcome to the real world! everybody wanna booooo me but i’m a fan of real pop culture! No disrespect but we watchin’ the show at the crib right now cause … well you know! i’m still happy for taylor! Boooyaaawwww! you are very very talented! I gave my awards to outkast when they deserved it over me… that’s what it is!! i’m not crazy yall, i’m just real. Sorry for that! I really feel bad for taylor and i’m sincerely sorry! Much respect!!”

This is an apology Kanye? Go back to school my friend. You can’t apologize, immediately followed by, BUT I WAS RIGHT. You can’t take it upon yourself to introduce “the real world” of you being a lowlife to teenage girls. You can’t “subtly” suggest that she should give Beyonce the award.

I considered going through and highlighting the things that make Kanye sound brain dead, but really, it’s most everything. In his defense, he was incredibly drunk when he wrote it. Don’t blog drunk.

Lest you be confused, I don’t care about Taylor Swift. In the slightest. There are 100 bands or so I’d give a VMA before her. 1000s of bands if we’re giving out awards for videos as old as Sabotage. I just have a zero tolerance policy for celebrities acting like morons.

Look, we shower you with money and attention because you can do something moderately well. Your job? Don’t be an A hole. That’s it. Steal a microphone from a 19 year old on stage to promote a video you like better? You don’t get to be famous anymore. Suckerpunch a guy because he beat you at football? You shouldn’t get paid to play football anymore. Scream at a line judge because you're not as perfect as you thought? Sit in the corner for a while.

Were I King of the World, Kanye would never get paid to rap again. He can do whatever else he wanted, but I’d revoke his celebrity card. Easy come, easy go Kanye. Now be gone.


It's Blind Date Weekend!

No, I didn't have any blind dates. Though this one girl wore glasses.

Just posting my first movie, Love is Blind . . . And Dumb.

You can also find it on Youtube:
Part 1
Part 2

Love is Blind Bloopers

Triple Post Sunday!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pluck out my eyes

I returned from China, a lone man in the world. This, I decided, needed to change. But having lived in the remotest of locations for the last semester, I knew not where to start.

The answer was the first blind date of my life. Sister Missionary was, appropriately enough, a sister missionary. She had recently served as a missionary in my ward in NY, and my parents were smitten with her. They had met her just before she was to finish her mission, return home, then return to BYU. They figured, she’s single, I was single, and we would be in the same geographic location. A match made in heaven. I was dubious. Little did I know that 3 years later this would pretty much become the extent of my dating requirements.

So I returned from China, she returned from Japan (her home) and we met at BYU. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to date someone right off their mission, but it’s hard. She thought I was evil, which is more or less true. My charming wordplay didn’t translate across the language barrier, so no help there. So after a couple dates of discussing our mutual love of Japanese things, and our lack of love for each other, that died.

Back to square one. Since Sister Missionary hadn’t panned out, I decided to try Sister Missionary #2. SM#2 was a sister missionary from my mission. Yes, dating a girl from my mission, kind of skeazy. Dating a girl when I was her District Leader, skeazier. Oh well. I call her up. We chit-chat for ten minutes or so. How’s so-and-so? How’s the major going?

Me: Remember that time at Llamafest . . .
SM#2: I’m married.

Oh, SM#2, I knew there was a reason I liked you. Not because she’s married. Because she cut to the chase. Not in the best way imaginable, but she read between the lines and did what needed to be done.

SM#2: . . . but I’ve got a girl I want you to date.

The date went horribly. SM#2 and I had known each other for 4 years. She’d known her husband for 4 months. Well, a bit longer than that, but significantly less than 4 years. She and I could talk for hours. My date and I could talk for minutes. Well, a minute. I’m sure she’s married with 8 kids by now, but it was pretty clear within that first stunted minute of conversation that I wasn’t going to be the father. We went to the Work and the Glory movie because my date wanted to see it. It was more interesting than she was. Yep, that’s how bad the evening was.

Two blind dates in two weeks. Never one before, never one again. I haven’t sworn off them, I’ve just never been offered another. It could be because I appear ungrateful for the two I’ve gone on. Not true. I’m glad the matchmakers made the effort, and the girls gave them a try. They just didn’t work. My blind date success rate is only slightly lower than my normal date success rate. A more likely cause of my lack of blind dates is that I tend not to talk to my married friends. I usually talk to singles, and single folk are much less prone to set up blind dates than married folk. Single folk realize that being with another warm body isn’t inherently better than being alone. And I’m not knocking you married folks’ matchmaking efforts per se. Yes, I think your married rapture tends to cause you to oversimplify relationship requirements (a newly engaged acquaintance suggests I date every girl he meets. Literally. Every XX we come across.) but I still appreciate the effort.

My other single friends get set up on blind dates fairly regularly. Why don’t I? Well, probably for the reasons mentioned above. Also because I’m a tough match. Quite a few people have told me I’m the weirdest person they’ve ever met. How do you match that? Probably with the second weirdest person they’ve ever met. And I already know those people, because I go to the Singles Ward too. When I’ve discussed matchmaking, people always seem to tell me that “Oh, you don’t need help Chris.” I’m glad that my charming wordplay and superb confidence have succeeded in fooling the world.

No, I haven’t sworn off blind dates. I like my dates like I like my movies: really bad or really good. Anywhere in the middle is pretty boring. But you can’t intentionally set yourself up on bad dates, because that’s just mean to the girl. So blind dates are great; although there’s a lower chance of them turning out great, there’s a greater chance of them turning out horribly. And then you have things to write about on your blog.

Art says I

The Cat Piano from PRA on Vimeo.

A bit overwrought, but I like it that way.

Yes, you caught me not studying.