Friday, July 29, 2011

Maintaining islands

I’m exceedingly bad at meeting people. Really it’s a wonder that I know anyone at all. Like most things in life, this impairment is multifactorial. Factors include:

I don’t remember names well.

I don’t remember faces well.

I have horrible eye contact.

More than not remembering faces, I Just don’t remember any of the common descriptors. I can’t tell you if a person’s hair color, eye color, height, ethnicity, anything. I can generally tell you whether I found them attractive and whether they shop at Old Navy.

When I go to a party, I always spend all my time talking to people I already know but don’t see often.

When I do meet someone new, I don’t instinctively tell them my name, or ask for theirs.

When people tell me their names, I don’t like storing that information until I’ve determined if they’re interesting or not. Then it’s rude to ask again later.

I prefer my own company over that of most others, so it’s hard to motivate myself to meet new people when the odds are against them.

I don’t drink.

I’m a visual learner, so nametags are enormously helpful. Except when nametags are involved I don’t store the information because somehow I think their names will always be available on their chests.

Favorite topics of small talk include: nothing than people normally talk smally concerning.

I don’t naturally say hello; I jump to what I consider to be the matter at hand.

I have a beard.

I’m biased, but I think I’m an excellent person to know. I’m just horrible to meet.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The time of your life when I rank things

In case you missed it, because you were living your life, Amy Winehouse finished living hers this weekend.

My facebook status said "RIP Winehouse. You were interesting." I realize the astounding levels of coolness displayed by quoting my own facebook status in case you were thinking that yourself. However I feel like that is actually the distillation of what I feel/felt about Ms Winehouse.

I hope she finds some peace, and I do think she was interesting. If I knew her personally this would be more tragic, but I didn't and my long distance empathy is pretty limited. As a potentially future addiction psychiatristI could take an opportunity to step onto the soapbox about the dangers of addiction, but I'm not going to. I could point out the dramatic structure of someone who's first US hit proclaimed "They tried to make me go to rehab and I said no" dying of an overdose 5 years later, but I think I already have.

Amy Winehouse was unique, and I value that. She wrote much of her own music, and I value that. She was very open and truthful about her life and who she was, and I value that. She was flawed, and made a lot of mistakes, but she seemed like a genuine person, which so many people don't.

So, RIP Winehouse. You were interesting. Here are my 5 favorite Winehouse tracks.

5. Rehab. Her breakout for a reason.

4. Stronger. Not remotely PC. I hate PC.

3. Valerie. A fantastic track, not from either of her albums.

2. Tears Dry On Their Own. She didn't do a lot of chipper songs.

1. You Know I'm No Good. True in some ways, not in others.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

People I like

I’m going to interrupt the interruption of my blogging to blog about my appreciation of blogging. Not all blogging of course. To say you appreciate blogs is like saying you appreciate books. You appreciate some, and not others; and blogging is even more varied because there is no hurdle of being considered good enough by someone to be published. The blogs I like best don’t simply regurgitate events: for instance I went camping last week, but I didn’t post about. I may in the future, but only if I have something to say about it. The blogs I appreciate most take the events happening to the writer, and dissect and analyze them, and comment on what the writer feels is important, interesting or noteworthy. I want the writer to take the minutia and the milestones alike, and create a narrative. It’s the creation that’s interesting.

I initially made this blog to complain about things. This is what I’m best at, and what I’m naturally inclined to do. But today I’m going to tell you something I like: creative people.

Something I dislike: people that call themselves artists. I think it’s very difficult to call yourself an artist without being pretentious. You can call yourself a painter or a sculptor or a graphic designer and that doesn’t bother me. But just calling yourself an artist, one who produces art, it just bothers me. If you work in mixed media and there’s no more specific term for how you earn your livelihood, well, be creative and figure out something else to call yourself other than artist.

So I don’t like “artists” but I do like creative people. And I don’t just mean painters/sculptors/violinists/writers. Again, if your creativity is your livelihood, I think that too makes you less interesting to me. I like amateur creative people. Blogging is to some extent an outlet of narcissism (my own blogging has been waylaid these last couple weeks because I have a limited amount of time allotted to narcissism and have been using it toward captioning pictures on facebook) but in its best form also an outlet for creativity.

So being a painter is fine, but I’d rather have you be an accountant that paints in your free time. Chances are much better that I’m going to like that person. And being an accountant that paints still-lifes in your free time is good, but even better being one that doodles. In Never Let Me Go, Tommy is mocked by the other students because he can’t paint or sing or write. But he creates highly detailed miniature doodles of imaginary creatures. And the fact that he created his own form of creativity makes him much more likable to me.

My friend Mark made a mixtape recently. I consider a mixtape in and of itself creativity. In this particular mixtape he took a story he liked by one of his favorite authors and inserted songs into the story that he felt emphasized plots elements, themes, and the feelings of the characters. Primarily he chose songs from 1967, the year the story took place. While I’m not sure if I’d call this art (there’s very little that I do) it’s most definitely creativity. The story was good, the songs were good, the project was great. And while there are other reasons to like Mark (he has a beard for one) his creativity is a pretty good one.

On Futurama this week Leela professed “Stealing is a form of creativity!” And to me (in some cases at least) it is. Mark stole the songs and stories of others and made it into something new. Bloggers take the events of their lives and of the world at large and create their own constructs. Tommy created what he felt the urge to create, without any personal benefit and without any potential audience. He did it for the sake of creation.

It’s hard to say who I’ll like. Sometimes I like someone that is generally disliked, for some little reason. Sometimes I’ll dislike someone generally found appealing, for no apparent reason at all. But I think an element may the creativity. Do they see world as a picture? Or do they see the world as a billion bits and pieces, waiting to be twisted and turned and stolen and combined. Do they, in some way, produce new and better and different things to be added to that world? If so, the chances are much higher that I’ll like them.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scandinavian Sunday

In my efforts to promote all things Danish, here's Atoi. I can't say that these are my favorite music videos ever, but I quite like the band. Plus, they're Danish.

The Fight


Saturday, July 09, 2011

FYI: I was in Thailand

If you're not on facebook, you may have missed my Thailand pictures. The first three albums can be found here:

Thailand: Getting There

T2: Bang Pa and the Emo Temple

T3: Sex, violence, food and fire

Thursday, July 07, 2011

My So-Called Life

A friend threatened that he'd call me so we can catch up if I didn't blog about my actual life more often rather than pop culture fluff. So, here's some stuff.

I've been in Arizona for a year. The other day I was running some errands and realized that I was doing so at noon. When I first got here I'd make sure that anything that would require leaving the house would be done in the early morning or evening. A year later it didn't even occur to me to avoid the 117 degree middle section of the day. So, I guess I'm acclimated.

I still haven't hiked, which clearly shows that I'm not an Arizonan. Hiking may be the only qualification on the Arizona citizenship exam. So really, I don't know what all this immigration hubbub is about.

I had my first call the other night training the new interns. The good news is that I know a lot more than the interns. This is also the bad news. Training caused what may have been 10 hours of work to grow to 20. Until 2 AM I think I was a pretty exemplary teacher. After 2 AM I started losing the drive to educate. I'll be training for most of the month of July, and I think this may be a very long month.

In the olden days, ie 2010, the change from Intern to Resident was a joyous occasion. Gone are the frequent calls. Gone is being lowest of the low, with no perks, benefits or seniority. Now, not so much. I'll be doing approximately the same number of calls this year. But whereas the majority were Friday, Saturday and Sunday last year, they should be primarily weekdays this year. So socializing may be making a comeback. And I'm done with the Emergency Department and Pulmonary Clinic and titrating insulin scales. From here on out it should be much more psychiatry based, which will be a welcome change.

Socializing though, likely needs more than just an infusion of free time. The number of new people I've met in the last 6 months has dropped precipitously from the previous 6. I think I've gotten so bad that a couple friends have taken to playing Haaaave you met Ted? for me. So along with upping my time socializing, I definitely need to up my effort.

I've started studying for Step 3. There's nothing interesting about my studying for Step 3.

While studying commences, my latest movie will go on hold. But to be honest, it's been almost entirely on hold for the last 9 months, so this isn't much of a change. My travel memoir from Thailand will also be on hold, potentially indefinitely. But to compensate, I'm going to start posting pictures in the next couple days. I've narrowed it down to my favorite thousand images. My narrowing skills need work.

Until next time.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


So last night we in Phoenix were trounced by a haboob. It's been my life long dream to see one. I kid of course, I've never heard of one. But generally speaking, I think inclement weather is pretty grand. So when I heard the wind outside I should've have gotten out of bed and seen what was up. But of course, I didn't.

I missed the haboob.

I hate you J.D. Salinger and your engrossing books.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sex and violence

Really, sex and violence shouldn't need any help promoting themselves. They are what other mundane things use to advertise. But if there's anything that can ratchet up the appeal of sex and violence, it's a killer soundtrack.

I love a good trailer. I think movie trailers should have their own category at the Oscars. Because a great trailer will give you goosebumps. A great trailer gives you the essence of a film and distills it down to a couple minutes of tantalizing hints and clues of what is to come. A great trailer takes a movie that you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, will be horrible, and for a minute makes you want to see it.

I saw this trailer this morning, and found myself thinking, why isn't it December yet? It also helps that it's July in Arizona, and December is a beautiful thought. In any case, this trailer is a clusterwin. Great book plus Daniel Craig plus Fincher plus Karen O plus Trent Reznor plus one of the few Zeppelin songs I do know.

Dragon Tattoo

Here's another one I came across earlier in the week. Lykke Li plus Batman plus Catwoman plus video games? Even if most of that equation is of no interest to you, I think the music sells it.

Arkham City

Trailers. They're a thing of beauty.