Monday, May 31, 2010

Three Things to Think About

I have a few things on my mind. I thought about doing them all in separate blog posts, but I've decided to combine them all in this one blog post. I think that's very efficient of me. Here are a few unrelated thoughts:

I made another song recently. I hope you listen to it and then give me a compliment. Either that, or you can listen to it and give me a harsh personal criticism on the way I dress or the way my face looks. Here it is:

This Hat by Craig Barlow Blake


The other day, I was trying to research the best way to win at Checkers. I typed "How to" into Google in preparation to then type "win at Checkers." But before I got to the Checkers part, Google suggested a few popular searches that start with "How to" in a drop-down menu. These are the searches that are typed often enough that Google assumes they're probably what you are looking for. I wish they took this opportunity to berate their patrons by putting this disclaimer next to their suggestions: "You're probably looking for this aren't you? You unoriginal simpleton. You're a sheep! You're all sheep!" Anyway, I thought it was pretty interesting what dropped down. Here is the list in order:

How to:
- kiss
- tie a tie
- get pregnant
- solve a Rubix Cube
- lose weight fast
- Train Your Dragon
- get a girl to like you
- write a resume
- download Youtube videos
- get a passport

I think this demonstrates the underlying social anxieties people are dealing with nowadays. I like to imagine there is someone out there furiously typing every one of these into Google. If we could just find that person, we could identify someone who truly represents humanity: An overweight lesbian, who desperately wants to have a baby, on her way to a job interview in another country. Unfortunately she can't remember how to tie a tie, because she is apparently wearing a suit. Also, she loves How to Train Your Dragon, doesn't really understand the complexities of YouTube, and is occasionally unsuccesful in getting girls to like her, possibly because they know she cannot solve a Rubix Cube. That is pretty much what humanity boils down to. It terrifies me how much I have in common with this lesbian. Give me a few years to forget how to tie a tie, gain some weight, and become a woman and I will be this lesbian. However, I guess it does make sense that I'm kind of like a lesbian somewhere. She is the ultimate representative of humanity, after all.

In the end, I didn't learn how to do any of those things. So wherever this lady is, she is now way better off than me. On the other hand, I could probably beat her in a game of Checkers now, so I guess it all evens out in the end.

Last, I was shown an excellent music video by Roxy the other day. I'm a sucker for a good music video, and this is one of the better ones I've seen in a long time. Afterward, Bridger showed me a pretty exciting music video. I'll embed Roxy's here, but Bridger's won't let me embed it, so watch it here.

Hot Chip - I Feel Better

Monday, May 24, 2010

Three 80's Music Video Honorable Mentions

The other day I was watching VH1's top 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80's. For as terrible as MTV can usually be, it sure knows how to win me over. Every time MTV's ratings begin to drop they re-air this program because they know I'll watch it again.

MTV Peon: No one is watching our channel anymore.
MTV Executive: Quick, re-air the Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80's!
MTV Peon: Yes sir...rolling. Oh, it looks like we now have one viewer.
MTV Executive: Thank goodness. We'll stay on the air for at least four more hours.

This time I only caught the top 18, but I have slowly been patching together each portion of this program over the last year. They always show portions of the music videos, and there are a few great ones. Here are a few I'd like to give a special honorable mention.

1. Ah Ha - Take On Me

This video is absolute genius. It has danger, it has a love story, it has compelling characters, it has dated special effects, and it doesn't make me hope my brain is about to hemmorhage--and that makes it superior to all three newer Star Wars movies. In 3:35, Ah Ha managed to show me a story that was worth my time for every second. Over the course of 6 years, George Lucas made three two-hour films that not only weren't worth my time, there wasn't even one person singing in any of them throughout the entire film. Had Ah Ha directed and written the new Star Wars movies you can bet they would have delivered exactly what everyone had hoped for--three entire movies shot it rotoscope. The major downfall of most movies today is that they don't look like I'm reading a comic book incredibly quickly. That's what people want to see. This song came in on VH1's list at No. 3. Here is the music video:



2. Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance

I like to imagine this video depicts the celebration that takes place immediately after Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ends, and that the lead singer is Frodo, the woman is Giladriel, and the midget is another new Hobbit who wasn't in the movie.. This is pretty much how I imagine Middle-Earth is likely to react after the fall of Sauron. Yes, that does mean I have now referenced both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings in this one post. This is part of my campaign to give some people reasons to not want to know me. This song was on the list at No. 17. Here you are:



3. Devo - Whip It

This song features everything I care about: a cross-eyed woman wielding a gun, silent movie-style subtitles that read "Ride 'em cowboy!", and a woman literally being safely and gently whipped into her underwear. I care about those things. Even the fairly nonsensicle plot contained in this video is by far superior to the script of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Not a single one of the three subtitled lines written for this music video makes my head implode. I guess it's pretty clear which film is the best. This song came in on VH1's list at No. 15. Here it is:



Anyway, those were the three music videos that I thought deserved honorable mentions. If you would like to vote on the poll on which music video deserves your honorable mention, please look on the right side of the pane until you find it. If you're thinking about not voting, remember, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I've Been Writing About Bar Stools Lately


If you hadn't heard, I got a job recently. Nowadays I work at Overstock.com as an SEO Copywriter.

Now, I know some people get to design exciting things at work, or build skyscrapers, or be rockstars, but few people get to write loads of paragraphs about stools of every shape and size one after another. First I got to write about backless stools, then black leather stools, then brown leather stools, then swivel leather stools...then I had to wave a tearful farewell to stools and move on to luggage. But one thing is certain: you'd be surprised about how many original things you can think to say about different kinds of stools when you really put your mind to it. You doubt this because you've never really put your mind to writing a lot about stools, have you?

Anyway, I won't go into any major details about my job, but it's working out fine. There are a few things I thought about at work today that I'd like to talk about. Some have a little to do with work, and some have nothing to do with work. However, I thought of them at work, so I'm sure they reflect the condition my mind is in when I'm thinking about stools.

First of all, the bathroom stalls at Overstock.com are exactly what I've hoped bathroom stalls could eventually be to me. You might have used a bathroom stall in your life, and if you have, you've noticed how they leave an open space about a foot to a foot and a half off the ground. I have no idea why this is necessary, but it fills me with anxiety because the people sulking around the bathroom can see my feet. Suppose someone was trying to murder me, and they were familiar with my footwear? What would I do then?

At Overstock.com, this is no longer a problem. Whoever designed the bathrooms made the bathroom stalls go all the way to the ground. I have no idea why this was never done before. Why did the first inventor of the bathroom stall think it critical to expose people's ankles? What could he or she have possibly been thinking? - "Oh no, we couldn't possibly build the stalls all the way to the ground. For one, we wouldn't be able to see anybody's precious ankles once they entered the stall. And second, how could I crawl under the stalls to attack my helpless victims without open space?" Anyway, I'm glad someone has addressed this problem. One point for Overstock.com.

Today my co-worker and friend Bridger somehow acquired a ring pop. I've decided a ring pop is a candy that requires a determined patron. It's like one of those giant jawbreakers. When you buy one, you know you are going to be licking that mass of solidified throw-up for at least three weeks. That's a candy that teaches kids responsibility. "Don't you dare put down that horrible glob of syrup until it's finished. I know I can trust you to do the responsible thing." Any child who has actually finished a ring pop or a giant jawbreaker has only great things to expect from their future. I would like to put them in a battle of wits against the kids who waited to eat their marshmallows so they could get another marshmallow.

Trident gum gives me headaches. I bought it because it claims to be good for my teeth. I wish it had continued it's advertisement, "Good for your teeth...also, makes the rest of your head and face feel like it's being squeezed in a vice." I have no idea why Trident gum has this effect on me, because I don't get headaches from other gum. I think it's a little tougher, and so I chew with added tenacity.

Today I finally dropped my '93 Ford Taurus off at Pick 'n' Pull for $240. It's been collecting dust under my carport for a few months since it broke down right before Christmas. If you live around or near the Pick 'n' Pull, I suggest vacating the area for the rest of your life. That car is like the button from Drag Me To Hell. The moment one of those Pick 'n' Pull folks wrap their arms lovingly around that cursed car they will be pulled under the earth's crust by a giant, angry demon. A special thanks to Scott for helping me tow the dangerous item to the drop point.



And those are some of the things I thought about at work today. Invest in stools, before they explode in value.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Entered a Contest + Thoughts on Tapes

So I entered a contest with the song posted below. At the very least, I was able to construct this fancy-looking tape gizmo. You've probably already listened to this song, but now you can pretend you are listening to it and it's also 1995.

Back in the day my brother and I would sit around next to the radio and record music onto tapes. For some reason, the two songs I really had my eye on were 1. Supertramp-Dreamer, and 2. Annie Lennox-Walking on Broken Glass. If there was any indication early in my life that I was going to grow up to be the posterchild of raw masculinity--someone that the Spike Network could be proud of--it is definitely my childhood interest in the music of Annie Lennox. Nothing says, "I'm a real man" like waiting by the radio for "Sweet Dreams are Made of These" to play. And who doesn't get moisty-eyed when she sings "Into the West?" How could you not? Gandalf, Bilbo AND Frodo are all going away, forever. What could we possibly have to look forward to now? Nothing.

This radio/tape recording scheme was also my first introduction to music piracy. Fifteen years later, it has become one of my greatest skills. And it all started so innocently with Annie Lennox...she doesn't look so tame now, does she? I just wish I had focused on something more lucrative than the violation of creative property. Something like accounting. Anyway, here is this song once again.




Editor's Notes:
- You can check out the actual page for this contest and my tape here. I listened to some of the other songs, and there are some good ones. All of which have much better production than mine. Give them a look if you like.
- The linked video for "Dreamer" is just a picture of a lion coexisting peacefully with a lamb. I would love to find the person who thought it was a meaningful gesture to edit this song alonside that picture.
- The linked video for "Walking on Broken Glass" looks like a social situation I could totally thrive in.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Can Operate a Camera

I graduated! That's exciting for a number of reasons. For one, thanks to my purchase of a black graduation gown, I can now put together a Harry Potter costume more accurately than in the past. Until I graduated with my bachelor's degree in English I only had a blue gown to double as a Hogwarts cloak. Now that I have acquired a black gown, the subtle differences between my outfit and a real-life Harry Potter outfit will be very hard to detect. I predict this will serve me well at least one more time in my life.

According to my math, I've been sick nearly 50 percent of the last month. Luckily, I'm back on the road to recovery. For weeks I've had nothing to do but visit my fiercest enemies and breath heavily into their faces.

The other day an actor at the University of Utah read the monologue I wrote in my playwriting class. I posted it earlier, so if you would like to read it, take a look. He did things a bit different than I imagined them, but I thought it was pretty good. But feel free to imagine it however you please. Here is the reading:



Editor's Note: I posted a picture link to the write to my musical project. You can check it out if you like. You can check it out every once in a while if you like.