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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Serious Matter

I'm a pretty silly person in general. Those who know me the best see this side of me constantly. That being said, I am also extremely reserved, especially around people I don't know very well, or in situations where silliness is not appropriate(such as at church.) My primary reason for wanting to start a blog was so that more people could get to know the real me through my writing. I quite enjoy documenting the goofy and weird things I say, think, and do.
My other reason for writing, is to try and express some of the deeper and more meaningful thoughts that I have on occasion. Lately I have felt the desire to publicly share these thoughts. There is one issue in particular that I have wanted to write about for some time.

There are many common expressions in our western vernacular which, when we really think about their origins, should probably be eliminated from our speech. Phrases such as "I got jew'd out of such and such," or "I totally got gypped," or "he is such a retard," etc.
One common phrase in particular bothers me above all others, and that is the flippant expression of a desire to commit suicide.
If you listen for it, you will find that young people use phrases to this effect all the time, i.e. "this homework assignment makes me want to kill myself", "if I have to go do such and such one more time I'm going to slit my wrists", and so on.

I have personally been acquainted with far too many people who have committed suicide. I have been to their funerals; I have seen their families devastated by their single horrific deed. Suicide has never been, and never will be, a casual or humorous event. How is it that these expressions found their way into our language in the first place? I can't imagine how it would feel to make such a comment to a friend only to discover that they had lost a loved one to suicide. This would be beyond the common foot in the mouth, this would be beyond a minor faux pas, this would be a terrible display of unsympathetic, uncharitable, ignorant, dare I say sinful behavior.

What would it be like if we were as flippant with an equally serious matter? What about rape? Can you imagine expressions of committing rape being used casually? Try these on for size:
"If she turns me down one more time I am totally going to rape her!"
"That girl is so rude...I hope she gets raped."
Not good is it? Such language is unthinkably horrific. I think that the casual phrases involving suicide are equally horrific.

I am absolutely certain that any person who has witnessed the effects of suicide would never, under any circumstance, make a joke or flippant remark about killing themselves.

I don't often get up on a soap box, but on this matter I feel very strongly. I ask that we each do our part to try and eliminate such phrases from our speech.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Aspirin Face!

Once in a while I enjoy reading Google's How to of the Day articles. Frequently they have amazing articles such as How to Survive Falling Out of an Airplane, or How to Pick a Lock, or How to Unclog a Toilet, etc. This is obviously really useful stuff. The other day I read an article that I just had to try out; How to Use Aspirin to Clear Up Pimples. Apparently, since Aspirin is an anti-inflamatory, you can crush it into a fine powder, mix it with a little water, and spread it on the affected area to reduce swelling and redness overnight.
Thankfully since my Accutane treatments in Jr. High I have been mostly blemish free. On occasion one or two pesky clogged pores will emerge. I just happened to read this article on a day when I had a particularly nasty pimple creeping up to the surface. I decided to give this little treatment a try.
I made the suggested concoction, and applied it to the hideous protrusion. I had a lot of the white goo left over, and I thought it would be an awful waste of a single Aspirin tablet to throw it out, so I began searching for more red spots to treat. As you can see, I got a little carried away.
My optimistic roommate Dave said that I looked like I was applying war paint in preparation for battle. He usually finds a way to make my dumb ideas sound more cool than they actually are; for which I am grateful.
The next morning I carefully inspected the treated areas. The swelling in the most severe area had gone down a little, but not as much as I was hoping. All the other areas I treated looked exactly the same as the night before. I guess I got myself all Aspirin-faced for nothing. On the bright side, I did get a particularly rediculous looking photo out of the experience...that's good right?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Few Cinematic Surprises

I'm a pretty opinionated person. That's right I said it! My opinions are especially decided when it comes to films. I also like to read about films before I see them, which leads to the sometimes bad habit of forming an opinion before actually experiencing a film. Here is a tribute to several films which not only overcame my initial skepticism, but actually became some of my favorite films:

V for Vendetta
"Remember, Remember the Fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot..." When a coworker told me about this film, I honestly thought it sounded pretty dumb. A mask wearing terrorist going around London blowing up buildings and killing prominent people because of a personal vendetta against them? Seriously? Within the first few minutes of the movie I totally changed my mind. Watch the movie and then tell me that the knife wielding, Shakespeare quoting, Guy Fawkes mask wearing hero named V isn't cool! I dare you! The story is complex and intriguing with strong Orwellian themes; basically this is totally my kind of movie. V for Vendetta is one stand out flick with a lot of interesting social and political premonitions. The music and imagery in the film are amazing and beautiful and really sets the film apart from other comic book action movies. "...I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."

Cloverfield
When this was in theaters It seemed to receive very mixed reviews. A lot of people complained about the handheld camera thing. Several months ago, after a few weeks of coaxing, a friend from work convinced me to watch it and loaned me his copy. It was a little slow getting started, but it sure took off! This is by far the best monster movie I have ever seen. It is a pretty short movie; it's runtime is only about an hour and a half, but it has better character development than a lot of three hour epics.

Dan in Real Life
Prior to seeing this film, my only exposure to Steve Carrell was through the first season of The Office (which I hated.) I remember seeing the movie poster hanging in the TSC, but I somehow missed every other ad for it. I still have no idea when it was actually in theaters. One night I was talking to my Mom and she told me that she and my Dad rented Dan in Real Life and really enjoyed it. They didn't tell me anything else about the film; but I decided to give it a chance and see if it was any good. From the opening scene of the film I could tell that this was going to be something special and thoughtful. I was right. I loved everything about the movie. After the movie ended, I immediately popped onto Amazon.com and ordered my own copy. I think I even watched my rented copy again the next day; I just couldn't wait for my own copy to arrive! After several more viewings, I decided that Dan in Real Life was the best "feel good" film I had seen in seven years! I often find that I relate to characters in movies, but in this case Dan fits me to a T. How he reacts to situations, the types of struggles he deals with, even the feelings he demonstrates all seem to describe me. This film totally changed my opinion of Steve Carrell, and made a significant impression on me. "Prepare to be surprised."

Stranger Than Fiction
I hate Will Ferrell with a passion! I think every film he has ever made is pure garbage and should never have seen the light of day. I interpret the popularity of his movies as evidence of the general stupidity of most movie goers. (Note: if you happen to enjoy Will Ferrell and his films, I mean no offense. I understand the appeal of 'dumb humor,' I just don't enjoy his style at all.) That being said, Stranger Than Fiction is totally different from anything else he has ever done and let me tell you...it is excellent! I was amazed to find out that Will Farrell can actually act, and when he does, he is really good. Please Will Ferrell, for the good of humanity please do more films like Stranger Than Fiction, and fewer films like Elf(shudder.)

Spanglish
This is another film wich had an effect similar to Stranger Than Fiction. Prior to viewing Spanglish, I didn't think much of Adam Sandler or his comedic style. I can't remember what made me want to watch Spanglish, but it was so refreshing to see Adam Sandler in a normal role for a change. Like Dan in Real Life, I ordered my own copy immediately after the first viewing, and proceeded to watch my rented copy again the very next day. I loved the story and the characters. The two children in the film are amazing, as are Sandler and Paz Vega. Spanglish is definitely the jewel of Sandler's career thus far.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Speed-Dial #2

I have a lot of little quirks and strange habits that to me are perfectly justified, but might not make much sense to outside observers. I hope that most of my oddities aren't annoying or obnoxious, but if they are, I apologize; and I promise I will try and work on them.
Lately I've been giving particular thought to one little quirk: I am rather rigid regarding the speed-dial assignments on my phone...
I only use speed-dial for the numbers I dial frequently (duh), or for extra super special people. If a person (other than my immediate family) were to make it onto one of my eight speed-dial options, it would be considered a high honor.
I always make assignments in order of importance. Currently numbers 3 through 7 are assigned to family members. Slot #1 is my voice-mail, and #0 is something funky that I never use. I'm not sure what to do with numbers 8 and 9 yet, but perhaps one day two lucky people will be fortunate enough to obtain one of these much coveted slots.
If you were able to make sense of that jumbled up explanation you may be saying to yourself, "What about #2? He didn't say anything about #2 yet! Who gets assignment #2?"
Well I'm glad you asked. After all, the identity of my #2 is pretty much the entire point of this post.
For me, button number two is the most central, most comfortable, and easiest to press of all the buttons on the phone. This is significant. It is for these reasons that the assignment of speed dial #2 is reserved specifically for the most special person in my life.
Unfortunately, this number is currently unassigned. While it has occasionally been the happy residing place of some pretty special phone numbers, for the last year and a half it has been vacant, lonely, and unused. I suppose what this post really boils down to is the confession that, like many others, I am involuntarily single.
I am not desperate or depressed; I am simply looking forward to the day when I have found that certain special woman to fill the vacancy of my #2 speed-dial slot. To me, #2 is actually #1.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eating Out of the Trash?

Yesterday I was presented with an unusual moral dilemma that I feel is blog worthy.
I started out the day running late for work (as usual) and neglected to pack myself a lunch. I also happen to be low on cash at the moment so I already knew I would not be going out for lunch.
I get to work late (as usual) and I am already hungry. I usually begin my work day by wandering around the shop looking for things that need to be straightened, or put away. While I am wandering around I see a pizza box on one of our counters left over from the day before.
"Hmmm...," I say to myself. "I wonder if there is any pizza left in that box..."
I pick up the box and give it a little shake. Indeed there was! I open up the box and inspect the contents. The day old pizza looks a little cold, and a little stale, but otherwise edible.
I was just about to help myself to a slice when my conscience kicked in. I didn't want the owner of the pizza to come to work and find their carefully preserved leftovers inexplicably missing.
I found out from another coworker who the pizzas rightful owner was; unfortunately this person would not be in for several more hours. I walked past the pizza several times over the next few hours, each time deliberating on whether or not I should sneak a piece.
As the time for the pizza-owners arrival drew near, work became busy. It continued to be busy even after his arrival. When I finally had the chance to inquire about the imminent destiny of the pizza, I discovered that the box was gone! I looked around the shop and it was nowhere to be seen. I began to fear that the much coveted pizza had been thrown out. As inconspicuously as possible, I slipped outside and opened the trash can. There it was! Sitting neatly upon a pile of cardboard and bubble wrap, with the box still perfectly closed, the pizza beckoned to me. I opened the pizza box once again and inspected the slightly stale slices. As before, they looked reasonably edible. "No," I said to myself as I closed the pizza box and carefully placed it back in the trash can. "I can't eat out of the trash." At this point you may imagine a tiny angel appearing over one shoulder, and a tiny devil over the other.
Tiny Devil: "Go ahead, no one will see you take one little slice."
Tiny Angel: "What about your dignity? Are you the sort of person who eats out of the trash?"
TD: "All you have to do is take a quick look around and make sure no one is watching."
TA: "But if you walk back inside munching on a piece of pizza your coworkers might question its origins..."
TD: "Just stay outside to eat it."
TA: "Someone might come looking for you and wonder what you are doing outside on a cold day eating a mysterious piece of pizza."
TD: "Just eat it really fast."
TA: "Think of how much can happen in the time it takes to eat a piece of pizza! Someone will catch you."
TD: "Just tell them you had it stashed in your car. Listen to your stomach growl, you know you want it."
TA: "What would your Mother think?"
TD: "Mommy's not here, Eat it!"
TA: "If you eat out of the trash no girl will ever want to kiss you ever again..."
TD: "Uhhhh... that's a good point."

After carefully considering Tiny Angel's argument, I decided to just leave the pizza in the trash and go hungry. Most of me wishes I had just eaten the dang pizza but I think I made the right decision. I just hope an attractive girl will come along and remove all doubt (wink wink.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Red Rum

Let me start by saying that I'm not particularly skilled in the art of social conversation. Sometimes I will say something to a group that I think is clever and interesting, but only draws blank stares and silence. Several Sundays ago I had one of these experiences.
I was walking through the bishops office/clerks office area at church when I overheard part of a story a girl was telling. She was saying how you shouldn't bend your index finger into a hook shape because in some Asian countries that is a symbol for death.
As I am passing by I stop and make the comment, "Oh, that is kind of like Red Rum!"
Everyone just looks at me with these confused blank stares.
"You know, Red Rum...? From The Shining...?"
Silence.
"Stephen King?"
More silence.
This time I give them more of an explanation, "You know, that creepy little kid in The Shining who makes that same finger sign and says 'Red Rum' in that creepy voice, but Red Rum spelled backwards is Murder?"
Still no response.
"Ok nevermind."
As I am walking away down the hall I hear them start giggling. I guess I just assumed that most people would be familiar with a classic horror film like The Shining. I guess I was wrong.
I take comfort in knowing that my foolish appearance was entirely due to their ignorance of classic films and not from my own social awkwardness. That's what I tell myself at least.