Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spectate with me

True friends are blah blah blah blah blah.

I don’t actually have any insight to what makes a true friend. However, I do have an insight into what makes a convenient friend. Media.

If you find someone that likes the same movies, music and activities that you do, chances are you’ve found a friend. Maybe they’re not going to give a toast at your wedding, but I bet they’re going to provide some good time for the weekend. And that’s a good enough place to start.

On Friday I went to The Pixies show in Mesa. I’ve got pictures, but honestly I’m too lazy to post them. I’m pretty happy that I’m managing to write a post again after getting out of the habit. But I’ve yet to take any good pictures at a concert so it’s a bit inconsequential. The point of the concert is the music, and The Pixies delivered. Apart from some slight missteps (starting with the B sides? 2 encores?) the show was awesome. I had a hard time motivating anyone to go see a band that last released an album in 1991, but eventually I scrapped 3 of us together. And I think we all agreed that it was quite awesome. They don’t have the manic energy from 20 years ago, but artful mix of screeching guitars, screeching vocals and powerful pop hooks was still there and a force to be reckoned with. Even my 6 hour headache couldn’t dampen the experience. Well, it dampened it, but not significantly. Add to the evening some delicious peach cobbler and frozen custard, and it was a winner of a night.

I had better luck putting together a group to see Daniel Tosh on Saturday. It’s amazing how popular a show on Comedy Central will make a stand-up comedian. I of course have to snootily point out that I liked him before he was famous. Or at least THIS famous. So me and some work friends got tickets and joined the thousands of other people crammed in the 5500 seats of Dodge Theater. Though first we had some top notch sushi. But after the top notch sushi we had the top notch comedy. It was about 95% new material, and 95% funny. Excellent stats Dan. He surprised me with some Mormon bashing, which was sadly pretty mundane. Oh well, we can’t win them all.

On Sunday the priority was Dexter. I don’t have Showtime, so needed to mooch off someone else’s largesse in order to watch my favorite premium cable serial killer who kills other serial killers. Luckily I found just such a dealer. We ate hummus and enjoyed some red velvet cake, all on a plastic wrapped table to celebrate the premiere. The time I spent this week studying Isaiah may have been negated by my Sunday evening of watching people get murdered, but I think it’s a fair trade.

Am I still going to be talking to these 8 people about concerts, comedy and television in 8 years? I don’t know. But for now, I’m glad that I’ve found people who similarly enjoy pastimes of mine. And if I could find a lady friend who enjoys influential 90s alternative, clever but blue comedy AND finely crafted ultraviolence, well, I’m pretty sure I’d be talking to her in 8 years. Because that would be more than a convenient friend.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sounds and Funny

Roadtrip music, traditionally, is well known, pre-established music. People like to rock out to their favorites, car dance, sing-along etc. But when I roadtrip I like to listen to new music. Frequently when I listen to new music at home I get caught up in this-that-or-the-other and may not notice if I’m digging the music at all.

This most recent road trip I listened to about a dozen albums I’ve been sitting on for months. I also listened to about a dozen new comedians, for variety sake.

It’s the time of the week when I rank things: Top 5 albums I listened to last week

(facebookers, the blog is chock full of videos so I'd recommend you head over there)

5. Free Energy – Stuck on Nothing

No commentary really, just a fun album. Give it a try. Kind of like Weezer and Cheap Trick had a baby, with Spoon as the godfather. Okay, a little commentary.

4. Ellie Goulding – Lights

I’d heard a couple Ellie Goulding tracks already, Starry Eyed and Guns and Horses, but neither had really stuck out for me. The album as a whole though shows some neat variety, dipping into electronic, folk, rock etc. I’m a sucker for any British female vocalist, but you should definitely try Ellie out.

3. Scott Pilgrim vs The World

I’d listened to it a couple times before seeing the movie, but afterwards it is so much better. I can’t decide whether I like the Sex Bob-omb or Beck versions of the songs better.

2. VV Brown – Traveling Like the Light

A British female vocalist. Not technically true as I had her single Crying Blood on my ChrisMix last year, but she released her full album, and it has a bunch of winners. Shark In The Water would be on this year’s ChrisMix if it weren’t disqualified.

1. Anais Mitchell – Hadestown

I have no idea how I came upon this album. I think Anais may have hacked my computer and put it on there herself. But it’s awesome. It’s a blues/folk opera. Yes, awesome. It’s the story of Orpheus, as told during the Great Depression, with help of such folk as Ani DiFranco, Petra Haden, Bon Iver and the Low Anthem. It’s awesome, in case you missed that.

The time of the week, after that first time of the week, when I rank things: Top 5 new Comedians

(contains spicy language)

5. (Tie) Eugene Mirman / Brian Posehn

I put these two together because they only made me laugh half the time. But they have such bizarre jokes that it was surprising that I laughed at all. Odd stuff, but funny.

4. Louis C.K.

I’ve seen Louis C.K. here and there on tv, but never heard his stand-up. It’s good.

3. Nick Swardson

Turns out that I’ve seen Nick live. He was at a comedy tour I saw a number of years ago. He also plays Terry on Reno 911. None of the comics I’ve listed are terribly mature, but he’s the least mature of the bunch.

2. Todd Barry

I can’t find a single good video of Todd Barry. So you’re just going to have to trust me that he’s funny.

1. Maria Bamford

Maria is not my cup of tea. She does a lot of impersonations and “funny” voices. It’s generally the kind of broad schtick I avoid. But turns out, she’s got enough personality to pull off the slapstick. Maybe I was grinning more than laughing, but I was grinning a lot. Plus she's got OCD, depression and anxiety symptoms, but is never a downer. That takes some skills.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Prophet and the Whore

I taught a lesson about Hosea today. As per normal, I didn’t finish the lesson. I believe that I have never finished one of my lessons. I think I should get special permission to continue my lessons through Elders Quorum so I can actually reach the resolution of my thought process. Oh well.

Even more concerning, because I didn’t finish my lesson, I didn’t get to use all my puns, references and plays on words. So here are some of them.

I did get to use my new verse of Follow The Prophet. It goes like this:

Hosea was a prophet, who did everything right,
Even when God said wed a lady of the night.
She cheated on him, ‘cause she was still a ho
God said “This is how I feel, I thought that you should know.”

Thank goodness that didn’t go unsaid. But I did miss my chance to say “No way Hose . . . A.” I had been looking forward to that all week.

I was going to talk about fictitious countries, including Latveria, Elbonia and Genovia. I was going to marry any girl that knew all three.

I was going to see how many people we could name that were hookers with a heart of gold.

I did get to talk about Shawn Spencer and Professor Xavier, but did not get to talk about Todd the Vegan or Sookie Stackhouse.

I did not get to tell the stories about my Elders Quorum president who received inspiration NOT to go on a mission or my branch president who owned a casino.

I had a very timely Jerry Springer joke regarding Hosea’s paternity testing that I didn’t get to use.

We didn’t get to talk about Armageddon, AT ALL!

I had a quip about children being both the negative consequences of our actions and the blessing of our actions.

I considered singing bits of Love and Marriage, All You Need is Love and Roxanne.

I was going to talk about walking a mile in a prophet’s sandals and an adulteress’s hooker boots.

I didn’t get to make an internal citation joke regarding Christ quoting Hosea quoting Christ.

Clearly, I would benefit from getting another hour for my lessons.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Utahcation: Day The Rest

Day 2 was my “reason” for going to Utah. The ostensible reason was going to a wedding reception. The real reason was to hang out with other people who happened to be going to a wedding reception. But first, I had some time to kill. And I am an excellent time killer.

I wandered around my old haunts for a while. I found it very strange that my brother happened to live 100 feet from one of my old apartments, and 100 feet from another. And while I didn’t have any particular attachment to either, I did walk around both. Then I walked up to BYU campus.

First, and most importantly, the girls. Turns out, BYU girls are in fact as cute if not cuter than I remembered. I was a bit confused at first, as the girls were registering as both cute and not so cute. Then I figured it out: I wasn’t in Arizona any more. All the short shorts and tube tops had been replaced with pants and Y t-shirts, or even sweatshirts. I don’t think I’ve actually seen any tube tops in Arizona, but comparably skimpy attire. But now, these girls were fully clothed. Also, being in Utah, 50% of them were holding hands with someone, even at 10 in the morning. Oh puppy love.

I’m not terribly sentimental, so tried to figure out what I needed to re-live while I was on campus. First and foremost I wanted some hot bread from the Cougareat, but sadly, it was sold out. I realized at that point that I hadn’t had anything but cookies and NOS in 24 hours, so decided to continue the streak by getting a cookie and Creamery chocolate milk. I considered getting some chocolate covered cinnamon bears, but Arizona has made me paranoid about things melting, so I didn’t want to carry them around with me all day.

I strolled through the Wilk, the Marb, the library. It’s all still there. But seeing as they’re now filled with people I don’t know, it wasn’t terribly interesting.

I met up with Stiletto for lunch. It had been a couple years. I have nothing to report other than we had a good time, L & L is still delicious, and she nearly made me late for the reception.

I didn’t feel too bad though, since I wasn’t actually invited to the reception. That’s right, I’m a wedding crasher. I’m dangerous like that. But seeing as I don’t like wedding receptions, I’ve never had reason to crash one before. But that’s where my friends were, so crash I must. I had 8 or 9 of my Ohio peeps there, so it was a fun reunion. The reunion was a bit premature given I have only been gone for 3 months, but it was certainly better than meeting new people. Some new people tried to introduce themselves to me over the weekend and I steadfastly refused. I needed a break.

Perhaps a bigger event than the wedding was the after-party. Probably not for Gary and Sachi, but for the rest of us. We drove out to Heber for our We’re Still Single So Will Eat Junk Food and Lick People Party. There was only one licking. Half the guests were locals, but since I wasn’t about to meet new people this weekend, I don’t know who they were. Apart from they were 98% blondes. But again the old Ohio crew had a good time partying, relaxing, and touring the palatial mansion where we were staying.

It has occurred to me that this report is pretty boring, so I’ll fast forward. I spent another half day with my Ohio peeps, before we sadly left our luxurious lodgings. Seriously, it was one of those houses that made you hate rich people and urgently desire to be rich at the same time. After that I spent the next couple days visiting BYU friends, mission friends, China friends and Ohio friends. Even one person that was primarily an internet friend. Plus I filled in the gaps with hanging with my brother, picking up my own personal supply of secret sauce at J-Dawgs and generally trying to remember my way around Provo and SLC.

Tuesday I drove back to Phoenix, with 2 headlights and 0 stops by the police.

That was my Utahcation. May my next vacation be more exotic but equally satisfying.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Utahcation: Day One

The plan was for no patients to get admitted to the hospital, for all of the ones in the hospital to stay healthy, and for me to sleep a healthy amount, leave work early and drive to SLC by 8 PM. I got to Provo at 2:30 AM. My first vacation of residency didn’t start well.

The work side of the explanation is relatively mundane, so let’s jump to the point where I leave work 4 hours later than I would have liked, and having slept only in ten minute increments scattered throughout the night. So I got home, packed, and slept for an hour. Then I got on the road.

Apart from being rather tired, the first five hours of the drive to Utah were uneventful. I had over a dozen albums to listen to and this was as good a time as any to give them a whirl. I also brainstormed how in the world I was going to teach a lesson about Hosea next week, and set out the plot for a new movie I was working on. Also, I was 100% focused on the road.

That is, until I was focused on the sirens flashing behind me. I never know what to say about speeding. I had set my cruise control to exactly 7 miles over the speed limit. Should I admit to going 7 over, claiming this was reasonable, or plead ignorance? Turns out the debate was moot. My headlight was out. It seems that every time I take a roadtrip one of my headlights goes out. They must hate crossing state lines or something. In retrospect the drive had been a bit dim, but my rods and cones are just so good that I had compensated. The officer claims I was going 10 over ( I was going 7 over!) but gives me a warning, telling me to fix the headlight. By this point it’s 8 at night, and I really don’t have any options for getting it fixed. So I keep driving towards Provo.

A couple hours later I get pulled over again. This time I was going the speed limit, but, surprisingly, I still had a headlight out. The officer needs to check my registration and insurance again of course, because only drunk deviants with warrants drive around with their headlights out. Eventually he sends me on my way.

A couple hours later I get pulled over again. Turns out my headlight is out. The events of the last stop repeat themselves, only it seems to take longer every time.

Eventually, I pull into my brother’s apartment at 2:30 AM. A late start, plus getting pulled over repeatedly, plus having to drive THE SPEED LIMIT the whole way equals one evening lost from my vacation. On the plus side, getting pulled over every couple hours does wonders for keeping you awake.