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.