Friday, December 31, 2010

A Salute to 2010

2010 has finally come to a close. This year I made many large decisions, such as moving to a new state, beginning law school at the University of Denver, and buying a see-through shower curtain. However, some things stayed exactly the same. With no difficulty at all I remained true to my conviction to drink whole milk, and considering I have had nearly the same haircut since 2003, I can't imagine why 2011 would be any different from any other year since then. However, my bones are stronger than they've ever been, and last week a girl who does eyelashes told me I have beautiful, thick eyelashes. That is why, in 2011, I'm going to bat my eyelashes more, and I'm going to find some use for my whole milk-fortified, powerful bones; such as ultimate fighting. And in 2011, when people ask me if I'm a lover or a figher I will bat my beautiful eyelashes and say, "I am a lover, and I am also a fighter. I'm an ultimate fighter."

Before I launch into some of my bests and worsts of 2010, I finished a song today. Remember, when I share a song I expect only praise. Tons of praise. Since it is the last one I finished in 2010, here it is:

Craig Blake - Not Like the Movies



Best Movie: This is a very, very difficult decision. I don't think I'm going to be able to pick between True Grit and Inception, but both of them were great movies. If the world of Inception actually existed, I would spend all my time filling my dreams with safes. Every night I would dream of at least 1 million safes. Then no one would be able to figure out which safe had my secrets in.

Anyway, I thought both of those movies were spectacular, but I also feel like I ought to mention Amelie. Amelie didn't come out this last year, but I did watch it for the first time in January of 2010, and I love it. Also, considering the fact that it came out in 2001, it has all the required numbers. It's a French movie. It's a good time.

Another honorable mention goes to Best Worst Movie, which is a documentary about Troll 2. I saw it at a live screening with the director and some of the original actors from Troll 2 and it was probably my giddiest moment of 2010.

Worst Movie: Defendor. This movie is miserable. The only good part of this movie was watching Woody Harrelson throw babyfood jars of angry bees at people. I wish that the entire movie was just Woody Harrelson throwing jars of angry bees at people.

An honorable mention goes to Zardoz. 1970's Sean Connery in the future wearing a red ensemble composed of a diaper, knee-high hooker boots, suspenders and a flowing pony tail. How could this have possibly gone wrong?






Favorite Band:I went through tons of music this year thanks to my employment at Overstock.com. While I was hard at work getting people to look at our selection of armoires I would shuffle through loads of music, and so this is a tough decision. However, I think I might have to go with the Detroit Cobras this year. There is literally not a single song they have ever produced that I don't like to listen to, and that is an achievement.

Best Modern Songs: This section might be up to some debate, but I'm going to attempt an honest ranking system. However, I don't think you should feel too limited by this. This may or may not reflect what I actually think.

First Place: The Detroit Cobras - The Real Thing - I still cannot get enough of this song. Listening to it for an extended period of time will turn me into a sweaty clapping mess.

Second Place: Super-Furry Animals - Run Away - When I first heard this song I listened to it on repeat for literally about 1 and 1/2 hours. I couldn't stop listening to it. The next time I listen to this song that many times I will probably be sobbing and wearing nothing but a long nightshirt.

Third Place: Mark Sultan - Go Berzerk - I think Mark Sultan deserves your respect.


Honorable mentions in this category will also be awarded to:
The Magnetic Fields - Long-Forgotten Fairytale - I do a pretty exciting dance in the shower to this song.
The Detroit Cobras - Out of This World - These gals do it again.
The Films - Holiday - Fun time.
Johnny Flynn - Tickle Me Pink - This is a more recent addition, but I've had a great time with this song for the past two weeks. This is a silent plea for someone to tickle me. Go on.
LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean - There are so few listenable 9 minute songs in the world. Why not give this one a try?

Best Old Songs:

First Place: The Beatles - Honeypie - I have whistled this tune nearly non-stop for 3 months. Everyone loved it.

Second Place: The Undertones - Get Over You - I feel like this band deserves a lot more of my attention than it sometimes gets. Today, publically, they are getting it.

Third Place: Bay City Rollers - I Only Want to be With You - This is another song that will throw me into a toe-tapping, delirious fit.


Honorable mentions in this category will also be awarded to:
Edison Lighthouse - Love Grows Where my Rosemary Goes - They nearly made the cut thanks to how often I sang this song during finals weeks directly into the ears and face of Kirstin D.
Eddie Cochran - C'mon Everybody - This song is a great time, and I think Eddie Cochran deserves a lot more attention from people who like Elvis. People who like Elvis haven't given him enough attention, so I have to give him attention.
Timi Yuro - If I Never Get to Love You - Timi Yuro has an attitude. Timi Yuro goes buckwild.
Diane Renay - Watch Out Sally - I think this gal was really ahead of her time. She also has another fantastic song called Kiss Me, Sailor. I'd be very happy to own this CD, "Navy Blue" but it is apparently very rare, like The Last Unicorn.

Best Worst Songs:

First and Only Place: Lou Bega - Mambo No. 5 - Without Mambo No. 5, law school could have easily been a gray, joyless, spirit-sucking endeavor. Thanks to Mambo No. 5, law school has been a bucket of laughs!




Best Restaurant: This year I was forced to eat my fairshare of sweaty, taco, meat cubes. I have been completely unable to find a decent taco in Colorado. Every time a slippery, wet, sweaty meat cube hoodwinks its way into my stomach, I wish I was at the Taco Stand on 800 S. and State St. downtown Salt Lake City: Tacos Don Rafa. This year they were once again open for Christmas Day at 10:30 p.m. For their dedication, quality, price, and willingness not to serve up cubed, sweaty, snotmeat, I award upon them my favorite restaurant of 2010. It is fantastic to finally eat a good taco.

Worst Restaurant: This is a two-pring award -

1. Crappy Taco Place in Breckenridge, Colorado - They advertise "Real Mexican Food" on their sign. But I'm pretty sure that the people of Mexico aren't accustomed to eating their sweaty, suck tacos. Thanks for nothing crappy taco place in Breckenridge, Colorado. A person could truly serve me ground kitten meat with some seasoning and it would blow this cubed, sweaty, wet meat out of the water.

2. Crappy Mexican Food Place Somewhere in Colorado - I may not remember where you are Crappy Mexican Food Place Somewhere in Colorado, but my back will become crippled several years prematuraly thanks to your chairs. Bad chairs? Bad form. Bad form Crappy Mexican Food Place. Secretly charging for the generally complimentary chips and salsa appetizers? Bad show. Bad show Crappy Mexican Food Place.

Best TV Show: The Walking Dead - I didn't watch an awful lot of television this year, and The Walking Dead did it's very best to fill the gaping hole in my heart that Heroes left. It didn't quite fill the entire thing, but I look forward to what it can do for me in 2011.

And of course, The OC wins the true first place award. I never, ever get tired of watching The OC. When was the last time Anna Stern turned your heart into liquid by moving back to Pittsburgh? Too long:


Worst TV Show: I didn't really watch any bad television I didn't like this year, but I did watch a ton of Campus P.D. and Ninja Warrior. At least one of the two is really crappy television that I do enjoy watching.



Best Vacation: I really enjoyed going to Moab with some friends this last summer. I had an absolutely excellent time. My favorite moment was playing fairly embarrassing pool games while some girls watched us from the hot tub.



I've had enough. Happy New Year.

In closing, here is another song I finished recently that seems fitting because it says "It's Over" several times.

Craig Blake - Told You So

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Recap: Finals, A Wedding, Christmas, and Movie Reviews

I'm sorry to say my posting has been few and far between lately, but I swear I have some good excuses. I promise I'll change, and we'll be together.

Since late November I have been busy pretty much all the time. I began and finished my first set of law school finals, which was truly a miserable experience. My largest complaint with law school finals is there is no one readily available to feel bad for you. Considering nearly everyone I know in Denver is a law student, you don't get an awful lot of sympathy from them when you complain about the misery of finals. The joy of complaining is to have other people feel sorry for you, but law students are already occupied feeling sorry for themselves. In the effort to find someone who will feel sorry for them, law students turn mostly to Facebook or seeking out conversations like this:

"Oh hello...I'm doing great, totally fine! Feeling wonderful! Just wonderful! Really nice day. Couldn't feel better, really...Well, I am very tired...Oh, it's nothing. Nothing at all...Well, you know, just a lot of work lately... Oh, no big deal. It's just school...I'm in law school...I'm taking my law school finals right now...yes, I'm very tired...It's just horrible, I feel completely horrible...my life has never been worse actually...Yes, terrible...I am a sad, sad human being...Anyway, I would like a #6 with a root beer."

It's exhausting just thinking of the energy I'm going to expend next semester trying to make people feel sorry for me.

Craig's Finals Low Point: One night I nearly lost my mind. In response I went to the grocery store and bought myself 5-quarts of ice cream to help drown my tears. This was a good reminder that even though I'm a 24 year-old man, I grapple with extreme pressure like a 40 year-old woman facing a crisis.

Craig's Finals High Point: When I finished my last final, Civil Procedure, I went to a party for a few hours, went home, and fell asleep on my couch while eating a bowl of ice cream. This was a good reminder that even though I'm a 24 year-old man, I celebrate like a 40 year-old woman facing a crisis.



Anyway, I did survive finals, and soon afterward I was heading home to Salt Lake City. Two days after I arrived I was in a minivan with four other guys on our way to Huntington Beach, California to attend the wedding of my friend, Scott. Scott is an excellent guy, and he doesn't read my blog, so I will recap his wedding and the rest of the trip in a few points:

1. Scott and I met in 9th grade when we would spend every day immediately after lunch flooding the bathroom toilets with toilet paper. Petty vandalism lays a solid foundation for lifelong, rewarding friendships. I can't express how great a friend Scott is and has been without undermining my street cred(entials), so I won't go into detail, except to say he is a truly great person and friend. Congratulations to Scott and Jenesee.
2. The wedding dinner was held at the restaurant at the end of the Huntington Beach pier, called Ruby's. It's the building in the picture of the beach right there. What an incredible idea.
3. We spent a fair amount of time playing Super Smash Brothers on our trip, including in our parked and running minivan in a parking garage somewhere in Hollywood. Beautiful California.
4. It rained every day until the last day, just in time for the wedding and reception. This paved way for probably the best wedding reception I have ever been to. I ate tons of cheesecake. The temporary shame I felt while sliding 3 large pieces of expensive cheesecake onto my dessert saucer was immediately deflected by the eternal reward of eating three large pieces of expensive cheesecake. (The bride's father specifically told me I could eat all I wanted, and I believed him.)
5. I got a great deal buying a $65 shirt for $20. The buttons on the way down spelled "BURTON." Unfortunately, the "R" fell off and has gone missing. Now it spells "BUTON," which means "Button" in spanish. Now spanish-speaking people will be able to clearly identify that my shirt has buttons.
6. My aunt and uncle let us stay at their place, which was very nice of them. I award upon them an honorable mention.



Upon the most uncomfortable trip home I've ever experienced, I was home for Christmas. I love Christmas. I had a wonderful time. Now that I'm home until early January my main focus will naturally be French kissing.

And that is why I have been busy. All I ask is that you forgive me and things go back to the way they were.

Here is a list of the movies I've seen recently and how I felt about them:

A. Tron - Good/Enjoyable. Not a critical gem, but I very much enjoyed it.
B. True Grit - Excellent. Incredible performances by all three leading men/lady.
C. The Fighter - Somewhere between Good and Excellent. This movie includes a character who I desperately wanted to light on fire. I wish she had spent the entire movie on fire. Woman on fire. Literally on fire.
D. Tangled - I really liked this show. Rapunzel may be my new favorite Disney princess.
E. Unstoppable - Somewhere between fine and good. I enjoyed it. This movie demonstrates how even something as fun as a totally unstoppable train can become a nuclear bomb so long as everything that could possibly ever go wrong does go wrong. Here is a synopsis:

Conductor: Denzel Washington, look, a runaway train.
Denzel Washington: I'm Denzel Washington.
Conductor: It's like a bomb.
Denzel Washington: I'll stop it.
Conductor: But it's (duh, duh, duh) UNSTOPPABLE!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Craig Blake: Human Butterfly Inside and Out

Three days ago I got home to my apartment at 11:00 p.m. to find the following notice taped on my door:

ATTENTION RESIDENTS:

Tomorrow, Thursday December 2nd, the concrete will be poured on the walkways outside your apartments. Between 8:30 and 5:00pm you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GO INTO OR EXIT YOUR APARTMENT. I apologize for the short notice and appreciate your understanding.

Since I hadn't really made plans for this beforehand, and I knew there was absolutely zero chance of me escaping my apartment before 8:30 a.m., I pretty much condemned myself to a day trapped inside my apartment. For about two hours the next day there was a man outside my door in the act of troweling cement. I know, because I stood silently against my door and peered at him through the peep hole for a moment. This should teach you two lessons:

1. Be careful what you do, because you never know when someone might be watching.
2. Craig is probably watching you.

However, the main point of this is that when I finally emerged from my apartment after my 8 and 1/2 hours of house-arrest (Like a butterfly springs from a cocoon. I don't have video of me finally leaving my apartment, but here is a video that will help you understand the difficult yet liberating process I experienced), the cement outside my door was the same stained, cracked cement that was there before. I can give no explanation for what happened to me on Thursday. I feel like somehow I have been tricked. That man wasn't troweling after all. I cannot imagine what he was actually doing. Somehow my apartment manager has fooled me into remaining trapped inside my apartment for an entire day, and I don't understand why. First the constant jackhammering, now this. But in exchange they did give me a $10 gift card to Jordan's, a local pub. The 3/4 of a sandwich I can purchase with this valuable gift card will make it all worth it.

I also enjoy this line from the letter: "I apologize for the short notice and appreciate your understanding." Extending this kind of credit was probably a mistake, because I did not understand. I spent the entire day thinking, "What is going on!? I don't understand!" They presumed a little too much about my capacity to understand. I'm going to start taping these type of notices to the manager's office door:

Dear Managerial Staff,

I've started my apartment ablaze. I apologize for the short notice and appreciate your understanding.

OR

Dear Managerial Staff,

I have coated this paper in a venereal disease. I apologize for the short notice and appreciate your undersanding.


Anyway, I did survive, so it turns out everything is going to be okay. As I told a friend earlier, during the ordeal there was a moment when I was lying on the cold tile, shivering, naked, and starving, and I didn't think I was going to make it. Then I remembered I could go sit on the couch and turn on the heater. Then I remembered I also have tons of food and clothes. Suddenly survival didn't look so out of reach.


Change of topic - Very shortly: Today I was talking to some friends about Christmas. I love Christmas, and the more I talked about it the more excited I became. Although my finals schedule has kind of prevented me from getting in 100 percent Christmas spirit, a few friends of mine watched a Christmas movie last night at our friend Will's house. It was an excellent time, and my Christmas excitement has increased. Meanwhile, here is a Christmas song I recorded (without a proper microphone, so enjoy the static) two years ago and distributed to my friends and family. Please keep in mind no one but Craig was involved in the recording of this holiday gem.

Craig Blake - Baby It's Cold Outside