Monday, March 31, 2008

Thoughts on a Road Trip

While we were driving to Denver, my wife and I passed many small towns on the way. Some I couldn't even call a town. Its a house or two, and then nothing for about ten miles. It got me thinking. Who lives in these small rural towns that the rest of the world will never know about? I imagine its mostly people that had already lived and grew up there. But how could you do it? There's no grocery store, no hospital, no school, no police, no form of modern entertainment. Even the houses some people live in look unimaginative and boring. Most houses I can see from the road look like a giant box. Just four walls with six windows and one door. How do they do it? Why would they want to? The luxuries of city life aside, these people are probably terribly alone and bored. It can't be healthy for a person to be away from other people for a long period of time. People are meant to live with other people. They don't even need to talk to other people, just being around others makes one realize that they are not alone, that they're normal, and that if nothing else, we are all connected in the common goal to keep living and to limit the pain that affects us while we are trying to do so.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Promise To Blog

I know I haven't blogged in awhile but I promise I will....just not for awhile. I have two blogs I already know I'm going to write, and some more on the way. But I'm incredibly busy at the moment, and I'm going out of town this weekend. So I promise, that when I get back, you'll have a lot of blogs to read.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

5 Things

5 Things I Do For Myself:

1. Play music and write songs.
2. Go out to lunch when I'm on campus and have the money.
3. Text people frequently of things of no importance.
4. Take hot and relaxing showers.
5. Play video games.

5 Things I Do For My Wife/Close Friends

1. Cover her up with the blanket when I come to bed late.
2. Take the trash out.
3. Calm her fears.
4. Ask how they are doing.
5. Try to keep everyone in a good mood when I'm around them.

5 Things I Do For Strangers:

1. Give money to people on the street.
2. Talk sense.
3. Be kind.
4. Make sure I don't smell.
5. Tip well.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Journey into Nerderdom

This past Saturday night, I went to the midnight release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, which, in short, is every nerd's dream come true. The game consists all of the famous Nintendo characters (Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Link, Zelda, Samus, Kirby, Pikachu, and Wario-to name only a few of the 35 characters from all of Nintendo lore) fight each other. So, naturally, being a video-game afficiando and a Nintendo fan-boy, I was very excited to play the game. So much so, that I decided to attend the midnight release of the game at my neighborhood Gamestop. Now I was fully aware of the absolute nerdiness that was going to descend and engulf the Gamestop long before I even got there. I was mentally preparing myself all day for this. However, I had been to a midnight release for a video game before, (a game called Mass Effect which though less known, was a much nerdier game) and that wasn't so bad. It was just a bunch of people hanging out, talking about video games. So I didn't think it was going to be that bad. I was wrong. My wife and a friend of mine went with me, which made me feel better (especially cuz my friend promised that if he heard the word PWNed (a very stupid nerd term in nerd language) he was going to burn down the building. I realize this was going a bit overboard but I thought it would be interesting to see if, when the building was lit on fire, if the nerds would save themselves or the video games. We got there and I almost immediately realized this wasn't going to be a regular midnight release. Half the people were kids, under 14 years old. On top of this, there was a tournament for the game going on, and a whole host of nerds had gravitated towards it and were cheering for people they hardly knew. After a little while, I realized that they were, most of the time, rooting for the characters rather than who was playing. And the smell. We all know stereotypes are wrong but we never said they weren't true and the stereotype that nerds don't shower is absolutely true. My friend made the comment that he felt like Ethan Hawke around all these terribly ugly people. My wife said if he was Ethan Hawke, then she was Heidi Klum. It was finally time to line up for the game. There was an older man in front of me and a horribly smelly guy behind me. While I was trying really hard to not breathe so I didn't have to smell, I was very interested at how everyone was feeling, particularly the older man in front of me. Most people, like me, just wanted to get the game and get the hell out of there. Some were looking around and talking loud and basically trying to act like they were cooler than everyone else (which they weren't). When it hit midnight (no countdown! thank the Lord), the nerds took their games and would cheer when they got the game. Naturally, this was highly annoying to me. But the older man in front of me was enjoying it. He was there with his son, who looked about 12, and he looked like he was having the time of his life. I wondered if maybe I was just being hard on all of these nerds, and I started to feel bad. But when I got a whiff of the guy behind me again, I realized that they deserved every bit of the crap they got from the rest of humanity. I took my game and resolved to never attend a midnight release for a video game ever again. But knowing myself, I probably still will. I'll just sit in my car till midnight next time.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The New Water Bottle

This story is so funny, I had to share it. And its not so much a story as much a funny happening that someone should put in a story or something. So you know those little spray bottles that you push the top down to spray, the kind of spray bottles that are used for some hair spray bottles or even Banaka (on a smaller scale)? Well, apparently a good deal of my wife's students have gotten some and are putting water in them and taking sprays in the mouth whenever they are parched. I can just see a bunch of teenage girls, standing around, taking water sprays in the mouth, and passing it around. Not surprisingly, the students doing this are the less intelligent kids in her classes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An Obsession of Criticism

I have an obsession with criticism. Before you start telling me what you don't like about me, let me clarify. I obsessively read criticism of movies, music, video games, and occasionally books. After I see a movie for the first time, I go to Roger Ebert's website and read what he thought about the movie. I also double-up and read what Peter Travers (the movie critic for Rolling Stone) thought about the same film. Everyday, I go to Rolling Stone's website to see if they posted any new album reviews. I also check what is said on Filter's (another rock magazine) website and Pitchfork-media (a delightfully unforgiving rock criticism website). For video games, I receive Game Informer in the mail, and if I can't wait to see what they said about a certain game, I check their website. If they don't have it, I got to And sometimes, I go to Metacritic which is a website that compiles all the reviews from all the different mediums and I can see snippets of what everyone that matters in the criticism world said about a movie, cd, video game, or book. Surprisingly, I did not realize I had an obssesion with criticism until a few days ago. I was reading two books alternately, by Chuck Klosterman (a pop culture critic) and a book with the writings of Lester Bangs (arguably the greatest rock critic of all-time). My wife knows that I'm a big fan of Roger Ebert's criticisms when it comes to movies, and she asked me what he rated some movies that had recently come out (how many stars a movie got). I told her that Be Kind Rewind got 2 and a half stars, The Other Boleyn Girl also got 2 and a half stars and surprisingly, the Spiderwick Cronicles got 3 and a half. I was not surprised I remembered these numbers so well. I was actually surprised that I knew the gist of what he said about all of them. Not only that, but I could remember the gist of what he said about a lot of other movies as well. However, this doesn't weird me out. What I find fascinating about criticism is how it gives you the ability to get more out of your experience from using your chosen piece of entertainment, provided the critic has something interesting to say about that piece of entertainment. Critics often see things that the average person does not that makes the average person totally change their perspective on what they thought the entertainment was trying to say. For example, I'm currently watching the video for "Scar Tissue" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Someone who does not know the history of the band, just sees them driving in a beat-up car with broken guitars and bandages on their head and face. They look like they just got jumped. To the average person, the video is mildly entertaining. But to someone who knows the history of the band, they would tell you that the video is a metaphor for their troubled past. Three members in the bands have had trouble with drug-addiction, and one member died from it. But despite all of that, they still manage to move forward with their careers and their personal lives. When the average person hears this, it makes them really appreciate this a lot more. And this is why I'm obsessed with criticism. It makes me learn about the entertainment I enjoy which in turn makes me enjoy it even more.