Monday, February 22, 2010

An Olympic Revelation in Curling

Lately I've been watching the Olympics quite a bit. The other night it took me 2 hours to finish some homework that should have taken 15 minutes because I was trying to do it while I was watching speed skating and women's downhill skiing.

One of the things that I think is awesome about the Olympics is how I'm able to pay attention to sports that I don't care about. I don't think there is a single sport in the Winter Olympics that I take time out of my day to watch any other time of the year. But there's something about the international stage that makes every sport very important to me. Literally anything. If we don't win Ice Dancing, shame on us! How dare we let another country out-dance us...on the ice...of all places! When we beat Canada in hockey, a sport I have actively tried to ignore my entire life, I swell with pride. Even the Visa Olympic commercials beat my emotions to death. Lock me in a room with a TV airing Visa Olympic commercials featuring stories on how Olympic athletes have overcome diversity interlaced with American-winning Olympic medal ceremonies and you will find me a tear-stained, emotionless pile of pathetic the next day.

One of the sports I don't care about is Curling, but thanks to the Olympics, I desperately wanted the U.S. to win. Surely there is something in the core of all Americans that should make us superior at sliding a slab of granite across a sheet of ice. If I know anything, I know that. Unfortunately, this year's team left that somewhat untapped, and last I saw, got beaten pretty soundly by some team from Scandinavia, where children begin sliding things across the ice before they learn to walk.

The thing about Curling is that I cannot interpret the rules at all. I thought it had something to do with getting the granite block to the center of the blue circle. But 95 percent of the time they are just sliding it way short of the blue circle, and talking about, "blocking" the other team. But they do this even when the other team is already way closer to the blue circle than them. So you would think they would try to get closer to the blue circle...right? I have no idea. And I don't have a clue what the red circle is for either. And finally I realized -

I don't think there is a single person that is involved with this sport who actually knows the rules.

That's right, I think pretty much everyone who has anything to do with this sport has no idea what is going on. But they've all been doing it for so long, that they are all too embarrassed to finally admit that they don't know the rules. So although no one knows the rules, they are terrified that everyone else but them knows what is happening. The second a person makes it on the Olympic Curling team this thought crosses their mind: "Oh long can I keep this up!?"

Luckily for them, no one else knows what is happening either. So pretty much the whole sport is based on reactions. As long as you do anything, literally anything, in this sport, the only real trick to scoring well is to react positively:

Player: Yes! We did it! We totally bounced the granite block thingy against all the walls and...then...we swept it around for a bit. And that was awesome! (Oh man...I'm so screwed...this is the moment they finally realize that I'm a total hoax.)
Judge: Right. Well done. You get a bunch of points. (Oh man...this is it...they're going to find out that I have no idea how to score this game.)
Player: Oh...oh, well of course. Thanks. (Phew.)
Judge: Oh...yeah...well you are welcome. (Phew.)

Here are a few bits of photographic evidence on what is going on in the minds of the people participating in Curling:

This is a perfect example. You can completely tell that the guy in the bottom right is looking up at his teammate, thinking: "Does he look happy...yes...okay, what we did was good." What he doesn't know is that the whole team is looking at each other trying to figure out how the others felt about that last play. In this example it seems like they all got on board that whatever they had done was a good move.

In this picture, the woman is thinking, "I have no idea what I have just done...what in the hell am I going to do?"

Look at the expressions of uneasy relief. What they are trying to say with their body language is: "Oh yeah, I totally won this gold medal for Curling. You know, it's quite technical, a lot of pushing stuff around on the ice. But I totally won."
What each of these guys--especially the guy to the far right--are actually thinking is, "I have no idea what has just happened. I swear this is my last Olympics."

In 2014 I'm totally going to try out for Curling. I'm sure I can sell each move. After every push of the granite, every sweep of my sweeper thing, I would stand up with a, "Yes! I totally rocked that last thing I did," while I skate around the ice pumping my fist. I will be a Curling gold medalist.

Final Note: Please take a moment to vote on the attached Olympic Curling Poll on the ride pane. If not for me, then for science.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love, Hate, and a Spectrum of Emotions!

A nice gal named Whitney Roberts suggested I fill this out recently. I'm a total sucker for "getting to know me" lists, so I'm going to go ahead and do it. Soon enough I'm going to start taking these lists to the next level by forcing my friends to listen to me read them aloud beginning to end:

"If you're really my friend, then you'll listen to me answer the following 100 totally random questions. Let's see...have I ever been in love? Hmmm...well... --- (20 minutes later) --- no, I don't think so. Okay then, number two: kissing or hugging? Hmmm... --- (20 minutes later) --- well hugging is nice, but so is kissing. It's a real tough decision, you see? -- (20 minutes later) -- kissing, naturally." BANG, BANG. "I've been shot!"
The Task:
Fill in twelve likes, one love and eight hates.

- I like being unemployed as long as I have some money.
- I like sleeping on my stomach, even though that means I have to mash my face into my pillow in a state of near suffocation all night.
- I like hanging out with my 9 year old sister. This week her and I went to the ballet and saw Swan Lake. It was a good time.
- I like to make tacos. I make some pretty awesome tacos.
- I like to memorize rap songs and surprise people who don't expect me to know the lyrics. Especially Ludacris songs.
- I like to be extremely competetive in party games. There was a period of my life where I would go to Provo for parties thrown by my friend Scott. At these parties I would keep my socializing to a minimum, consequently meeting zero new people, but compete tenaciously in the Limbo. After a while, I'm sure all the return visitors were shocked and irritated by my constant appearances, "Oh, it's that guy who comes to win the Limbo again. I hate that guy. Who invites him?" One of these parties degenerated into me dancing around with a piƱata panda head over my face.
- I like to occasionally watch 3 or 4 movies in a row in the middle of the night all by myself. Granted, I haven't often tried watching 3 or 4 movies in a row in the middle of the night with someone else. I'm sure I'd enjoy that too.
- I like to think about what songs and shots I would use if I was making a movie montage about whatever I'm doing at any given moment.
- I like going on long road trips with people who have good attitudes.
- I like going to Denny's in the middle of the night and getting their bottomless hot chocolate.
- I like taking jokes way too far, and way past the acceptable time period.
- When I meet someone I don't expect to meet again, I like to tell them inconsequential things about myself that are completely untrue. Like, "I'm Catholic" or "I'm from Rancho Cucamonga."

- I love being loyal to brands, activities, and television shows. When I buy groceries, I love to support the same brands of groceries. When I find a television show I like, I love to love that show no matter what kind of abuse it inflicts upon itself. I am loyal to things long after everyone else in the world has decided they are stupid. I think that's a really good attribute.

- I hate it when drivers decide to be extra courteous and wave you across the road when you are waiting to J-walk. Just follow the law you ridiculous people! I'll make it.
- I hate when Rick Sanchez on CNN introduces every commercial break with a cliff hanger after telling me 98 percent of the details. "Who do you think has been embezzling money from the tax payers? Tax payers like you, and me. Even worse, who do you think could have had the nerve to use that money to sell cocaine to school children? I'll tell you, after the break." Thanks a bunch RICK! All I can think of when I watch his segment is a flurry of dismembered arms punching him in the face.
- I hate it when I go to a party that slowly, and accidentally morphs into a dance party. I love myself a good dance party, when I go there with the intent to dance. But if you are trying to turn my perfectly normal chatting party into a dance party, then you and I are enemies.
- I hate asking people to write me letters of recommendation.
- I hate it when church hymns are played way below tempo.
- I hate it when the lady that lives next door goes outside and yells in her screachy high-pitched, 12 year old boy voice: "Here kittykittykittykittykittykittykittykitty...YODA! Here kittykittykittykittykittykittykittykittykittykittykittykittykittykitty...YODA!!"
- I hate how they never find the Monster on MonsterQuest. It's always like, "We set up some sensors in the forest! And a camera! We watched for 5 days! But we didn't see anything! But we found a track! And it looked abnormal! But it turned out to be a fox! But the fox was deformed! Kind of like the legendary monster! But it turns out the fox wasn't a fox! The fox was actually a big rat! Which completely explains it's abnormalities! But eye witnesses still swear there is a monster!" - I wish, that just once, they could be like, "We went looking for this monster, and check it out, we totally found it!"
- I hate looking for parking places when I'm in a hurry.
- I hate getting shots. My exterior looks brave. But on the inside, I'm very nervous.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Romance For Our Time

I think I should make sure everybody knows about the romantic comedy that will be happening in my life this week.

This week I will be attending three weddings in a row on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I thought that was pretty crazy, and then I realized, my day has finally come! All these years of watching movies featuring two unlikely yet perfect-for-each-other individuals fall in love by their uncanny ability to run into each other constantly has finally been matched by something equally unlikely happening in my own life. This is how it's going to go -

Wedding Number 1: Jordan Smith and Melissa Campbell

At this wedding I will just so happen to meet a girl. Of course I won't like her very much at first. Chances are she will be a waitress who spills something on me or accidentally hits me in the nose with her elbow resulting in a bloody nose that she feels obligated to awkardly mash napkins into.

Of course, we could also hit it off immediately, and I drive her home after her douchey boyfriend forgets to pick her up. I have a feeling it's going to be this guy:

Wedding Number 2: Andrew Cantwell and...the girl he is going to marry

In a shocking turn to the both of us, me and--how about we call her Meg?--Meg and I will discover we are once again at the same wedding. At this one, chances are she will be a bride's maid, or sister of the bride, or something like that. Eventually we will find ourselves in a real pickle, arguing in hushed tones under a table-clothed table while people eat above us, as we wait for them to leave so nobody knows we were there. At first inconvenient, we will find that we are forced to spill our souls out to each other.
Once again we'll head home, without contact information. Douchey boyfriend probably shows up and crashes the party.

Wedding Number 3: Nick Golden and Blair Fitzgerald

Now if this was make-believe world, it would make more sense for me to show up and for the girl to be the bride, and for me to break up the wedding. But that would make her Blair, which would screw up the entire plot up to this point. So I think it would be good for me to remind everyone at this point that we live in the real world. We are dealing with facts, and obviously that isn't going to be the case. So in reality, she will probably be a relative at this wedding, and we will once again, to our surprise and secret delight, be at the same wedding.
In some kind of major conflict, I will confess my devotion, the wedding will somehow be ruined, and there is a slight chance I'll get punched in the face by douchey boyfriend.

Valentine's Day

After one day of soul-searching for the two of us, and thanks in part to some intervention by both of our wacky friends, one of the following things will happen on Valentine's Day:
1. I will stop her at the airport and tell her not to move to the big city.
2. She will come to my apartment and stop me from taking the big job oversees.
3. I will arrive at her place of work and cleverly slip her a wedding ring.
4. I will forgive her for getting a heart transplant from the heart of my dead ex-wife.

Anyway, we will then get married, and everything will work out great. Here are two things I will be sure to keep in mind as I enter this week:

- I hope to incorporate ice skating into this week. In these types of situations, the amount of affection a girl will have for you is directly proportional to how badly you skate. If ice skating is a no-go, then I will at least try to slip around on some black ice and fall down. That is also attractive.
- I'll be sure to keep my eye out for a good nervous habit or quirky attribute. Not all, but many of these kinds of girls have nervous habits or quirky attributes that can act as a good indicator of what is going on in her head. Maybe she chews on her lip when she is nervous, or she really hates one of my favorite books. Somehow, these will become invaluable clues.

Anyway, that's kind of how my life is going to go over the next few days, so don't be surprised if I'm too busy to do anything with you. I tried to think up a good title for this next week, but I couldn't quite pin one down. Feel free to suggest one.

Friday, February 5, 2010

For Love of the Game

(Before you begin, scroll down, press play on the divShare audio file, and mute it. Then return to the top. That way it will have loaded by the time you get to it. Meanwhile, see if you can discover my pun on golfing hidden slyly amongst the text.)

I'm not way into sports. I love playing sports, but I've never been a huge spectator. I used to watch the NBA back when the Jazz were in the playoffs. My dad would shoot off a scuba emergency flare after every game they won, until a helicopter started hovering over our house. The Jazz lost both years in the playoffs , broke my heart, and then the NBA lockout poisoned what remained of my budding sports fandom. Of course, thanks to Super NBA '98, I have seen to it that the Jazz have won the title several times, in the same world that Dennis Rodman has won the 3-point shooting competition year after year.
Luckily, both of my roommates are sports enthusiasts, and because they like sports so much, some people who don't know me give me credit for liking sports as well. Fore example, sometimes people walk into our apartment and see the huge March Madness board taped to the wall and think, "Wow, Craig is totally into sports. He's a real man." Also, I see quite a bit more basketball/football games than I would if I was sitting at home playing Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup (PS3) in the absence of their sporty influence. That way I can insert myself into sporty conversations that I don't really know much about:

Sports Fan: Wow, Boozer sucks! They have to trade him before the trade deadline!
Craig: Oh yeah, the trade deadline. That's a big deal. I mean, what if they don't trade him and then they get nothing for him later on? It's a real puzzler.
Sports Fan: Gee Craig, you are truly a man's man.

Anyway, thanks to my roommates, I was exposed to this awesome radio show. David Locke is the fellow who replaced Hot Rod Hundley. He has his own radio show called Locked on Sports, and right at the end of the one he broadcasted on Feb. 2 he gets really upset with some of the things the caller has said about the Jazz. Basically, the caller was talking about how the Jazz still aren't good enough to beat the Lakers, and whether or not they should get rid of Boozer (see Craig's conversation with the Sports Fan above). And here is his reply - (You have to skip right to the end. It starts at about 50:51.)

Final Note: If you like sports, I have a friend named Joe who does a really swell sports blog. Check it out. Occasionally I will post in disguise as a sports enthusiast.