Sunday, November 28, 2010


I like humor, who doesn't?

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Today there was a best of Chris Farley which I've probably seen three times now however it never gets old and it MUST be watched. Everyone knows his SNL classic skits; The Chris Farley Show, Matt Foley (the motivational speaker), Bill Swerski's Superfans otherwise known as Da Bears, Lunch Lady Land, and arguably the best SNL skit ever Chippendale's dancers with Patrick Swayze (if you want a good laugh here it is). I was watching the best of Chris Farley with my dad and we both pretty much died laughing. Its strange how different things are funnier to different degrees depending on who you are with. With my dad SNL and slapstick comedy becomes magically funnier, however when we watched The Hangover together (this was my second time) something was missing. Whereas me and my brother lost our shit when "little carlos was jacking his little wenus" my father and I simply chuckled and continued the movie in relative silence.

Beyond the idea that the company around you effects the relative "funniness" of humor, is the fact that humor is extremely subjective. Take for example my mother who finds her husband and her three children to be funnier than any stand up comic. Or my lack of interest in "Family Guy" which never ceases to produce dramatic gasps from fellow teenagers. And lastly my opinion that 30 Rock is one of  the top 5 funniest shows ever made, which again always gets met with gasps. In fact, its this love for 30 Rock which spawned my senior quote, as well as the title for this blog.

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When people read Tracy Morgan's line they either burst out laughing, or looked at it in confusion, trying to find some deeper meaning. Another example of humors subjectivity was when me and a couple kids made shirts that just said "Colledge", senior year. I got the idea when this girl wrote "write colledge essays" in her agenda. I read this, bursted out laughing, and told her not to bother with those essays, she had this college thing in the bag. This then became the name of our dodgeball team (for a high school tournament) which like my senior quote, made our competitors laugh or squint in confusion. One kid facing us asked if we simply just "supported college". No I said its funny because its spelled wrong (things aren't funny if they have to be explained). He uttered an "oh" and then the dipshit proceeded to beat us in the finals. Did I mention that same kid also got a 1420 on his SATs?  Funny stuff.

Humor is subjective, but also it is a critical for socializing as well expressing ideas and emotions. Its not really a surprise that the people I like the most are the people that subsequently make me laugh the most. We're friends because we share similar interests but more importantly we share a similar concept of whats funny. However sometimes humor can get you in trouble, especially during first impressions. I find it necessary to tone down my sarcasm to a minimum when meeting new people. Sometimes they love it, but other times they take offense to things which were never intended to be hurtful. Humor can be used to express emotions too. Mine tends to be purely self-deprecating. My favorite example being a poem I wrote in 10th grade about what a non-bad-ass I really was:

Me in 10th grade with my brother Alex, laughing of course
I like to live dangerously 
N64 maybe a bit of taboo
You honestly just don't have a clue
Don't mess I might explode
Uhhh! Why won't Halo load?
You see that baby over there? Shes mine
0-60 in three minutes flat
Red Volvo station wagons are where its at
Risk follows me wherever I go
I'm a global domination Pro
Lifes hard in the BCCC (Bent Creek Country Club)
Straight up gangsta's where ever I go
Oh my god I forgot to comb my poodles fro! (We have a Standard Poodle, her name is Cordelia) 

My parties are bumpin' too
We got soda and can stay up till two!
If you see me on xbox live better step aside 
A lot of noobs didn't a lot of noobs died
I'm just kidding i'm pretty much bluffin 
In fact my mother calls me MUFFIN

THERE I'm finished! No more blogging ever! To all of my zero followers we had a good run...If you got anything out of this I hope it was to "Live Every Week Like Its Shark Week"-Tracy Morgan.

Pausch and Wallace

I like smart lecturers because they teach me new things

I love listening to smart people. Some express abstract concepts with ease, others can distill facts from fiction, and few may even influence the way you think. It's great when you have one of those "damn why did I never think of that before" moments. When it happens, you automatically know that the person is worth paying careful attention to. You also know that these people don't come along often. Everyone has their own list of speakers and lecturers that influenced them, mine includes Randy Pausch and David Foster Wallace.

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The first smart lecturer is Randy Pausch. He was given an opportunity to present a lecture at Carnegie Mellon where he was teaching at the time. The lecture was traditionally called the "Last Lecture", the idea being what would you share if this was your last chance to share knowledge with the world. However in 2006 he was diagnosed with a terminal form of pancreatic cancer, so this really would be the last lecture he would give. Before his lecture he commented on the irony that the "Last Lecture" series had recently been renamed "Journeys":"I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it." The lecture is filled with similar jokes, Pausch's attempt to address the elephant in the room (Entire Video Of Lecture).

There is bound to be something that everyone can take from this lecture. The one thing that stuck with me, which is also a recurring theme in the lecture, is something that Pausch calls the "Brick Wall"; The brick walls are there not to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.

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The line is good because its true, the people who work the hardest are the ones that get what they want. That's what separates the great from the ordinary, not necessarily who's the brightest, but who is willing to prevail. The second comment that struck me was, wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you, when people piss you off or make you angry you just haven't given them enough time...Just give them a little more time and they'll almost always impress you. 

I found this line particularly helpful because I'm quick to judge, and my first impression is as indelible as stone. I remind myself of this general idea whenever I meet someone I dislike for whatever reason. I'm hoping one day it will become automatic, for now the personal reminder will have to do.

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The second smart lecturer is David Foster Wallace. My two favorite things he's written are Consider the Lobster (The feature essay takes place at the Maine Lobster Festival where Wallace considers the moral dilemma of eating meat), and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (This feature essay discusses the excessive pampering and psychological stress that he encounters of a cruise). However my favorite thing Wallace did was his commencement address to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005 (Full Address Here). The main points of the address are the value of a liberal arts education and the importance of knowing how to thing. His address really shouldn't be taken of context...but here are my favorite lines anyway!

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship you intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not they they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

This is meaningful to me because its easy to get lost its ones brain, especially in the belief that your opinion is the right opinion. While growing up I felt I was somehow in competition with others for this ridiculous concept of cerebral dominance, naturally some insecurities popped up. Wallace manages to distill my experience (and possibly his own) into the perfect the words. Another great pong Wallace makes is regarding the significance of awareness. Simply it's the importance of being aware of yourself and the world around you.

 The capital-T truth is about life before death. It is the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us...

Wallace acknowledges difficultly of being aware of our default settings, however by staying conscious we are putting our educations to use and ultimately becoming better people. Though the address wasn't directed towards me I feel like its message is directly applicable to my life, regardless of my major or freshmen status. Especially so after the final line of the address,

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another cliche turns out to be true: your education really is the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.

I wish you way more than luck


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ghost Adventures

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I like Ghost Adventures because it blows my mind.

During this television show three "paranormal" investigators go to "haunted" locations where they spend an entire night. During their lock-down, voices are heard, doors are slammed, and aberrations are caught on video. These investigators come equipped with the tools of the trade; EMF detectors, Static Night Vision/ Infrared Cameras, Digital Recorders, and many other strange devices that apparently aid them as they probe the unearthly.

Do I believe it all? Of course not, however some of the things they find are compelling and never cease to give me chills. Take for example their investigation of the Waverly Hills Asylum. A door slams shuts in front of the crew (link to video), after they get over their immediate shock they walk into the room to investigate, finding no rational explanation for the slamming door. Apart from simply trying to catch paranormal occurrences on site, they also attempt to communicate with suppose entities. They accomplish this by recording the audio in real time, or they use a device called a spirit box which interprets incoming signals and converts them to phonemes (don't ask questions just believe!) . In theory this device allows spirits to communicate, and sometimes they get significant responses to the questions they ask (example here). There are many episodes when nothing very significant happens yet two in particular really gave me the chills.

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The first one occurs at a southern plantation where slaves practiced dark rituals as well as voodoo. During this episode they brought voodoo objects into the slave quarters in an attempt to produce some paranormal activity. The crew was stunned, and frightened when both their ears and their instrument pick up disembodied chanting. The chanting got louder and louder until it reached its apex and died away. This event was enough to leave the crew shaken and naturally they were reluctant to provoke the energy around them any further. Another episode had a similar effect on the crew, however the energy contacted there was more direct, and seemingly more malevolent. This episode takes place at Bobby Mackley's Music Hall where the Ghost Adventures crew always seems to return. They believe this place to be haunted by evil entities, so during this investigation they invite a bishop to accompany them. At first the crew receives no activity, greeted only by an eerie silence. This all ends once the bishop steps into area, vocally intent on performing an exorcism. Upon his entrance their instruments jump to life and the spirit box greets the bishop with a taunting hiss "Hello Bissshhhop".

I like this show so much because I love being scared, but also I find its content particularly thought provoking. What is making these voices? What is draining freshly charged batteries? What is moving objects and slamming doors? And most importantly why? Are these people in some form or another sill there? Is their energy recycling itself, reproducing past episodes? The frustrating fact is their paranormal escapades always produce more questions then answers.

"I see your Schwartz is as big as mine." Found Here

When I talk about this show as well as similar topics I approach it with a healthy skepticism. This is because mostly my mind is grounded in the rational, convinced by empirical data, and science. However with this show I throw my preconceived notions aside and willingly immerse myself in its strange realm of possibilities. I do this partly because its so much fun, but also because its interesting to ponder the strange energies that pervade these places. I have to admit that these things make me believe something akin to what the Jedi believe (Yes, I believe in Star Wars. I'm just as bad as the people from my first blog).  I think there's some sort of force that binds and connects all living things. And to different degrees, people can feel and tap into that force. All things are just energy vibrating at different frequencies, and to take a line from therymodynamics "energy cannot be created or destroyed" it is simply borrowed and one day you have to give it back. Maybe life is about what you can do with this borrowed energy before time beckons its return

With the heavy stuff aside, and as your attorney, I strongly advise EVERYONE to watch Ghost Adventures. I look forward to all the mind blowing

Thursday, November 25, 2010


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Oh, bloging...Honestly, this whole blog-writing thing isn't as easy as all those morons out there blogging make it seem. Then it hits me, if all those morons are out there blogging away and I can't blog ("blog" is now, apparently, a verb as well as a fair phonetic rendering of the sound of vomiting) then what kind of moron does that make me?

A special kind of moron. That's what

I've managed to turn something that was suppose to be fun and easy into the hardest project of the year. The depth and complexity of my previous topic proved too much for my freshmen writing ability. Sadly, my ambitions were greater than my skill. This project was supposed to by easier (lies!). However, desperation mounting, I'm staring at a blank page with the cursor flashing in and out of existence. What the hell am I gonna' do?

Probably, at this exact moment, thousands of people across the country are clacking away at their keyboards, turning their thoughts about the "Star Wars" film franchise, or the "Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative" into blogs because of an unwarranted yet unwavering belief that other people at their computers want to read those blogs. Why they would I have no idea. For that matter why would anyone read this blog, what makes my introspection so keen?

In times of frustration like these I turn to one thing and on thing only, The Who. More specifically it's almost always the song "I've Had Enough" (Link to Song) which has one of my favorite opening lines of all time;
 You were under the impression
That when you were walking forward
That you'd end up further onward
But things ain't quite that simple

Its lines like these that become this strange catharsis for me. The Who manages to articulate my feelings through its lyrics, guitar, drums, and bass. Its almost like Pete Townshend was writing these songs with me in mind. Take for example the song "Misunderstood" (Link to Song) which manages to sum up my feelings of insecurity in high school;
Just wanna be misunderstood
Wanna be feared in my neighborhood
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Just wanna be a moody man
Say things that nobody can understand

I wanna be obscure and oblique
Inscrutable and vague, so hard to pin down
I wanna leave open mouths when I speak
Want to people to cry when I put them down

I wanna be either old or young
Don't like where I've ended up or where I've begun 
I always feel I must get things in the can
I just can't handle it the way I am

The song is too long to be repeated in its entirety however lyrics can be found in the the next link (link to lyrics).

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Its great to find something that speaks to you. I think its these things that can tell you a lot about a person. What they like is a sort of window into who they are. I like The Who for its inexhaustible song library that I can relate to on countless levels. And lets not forget the fact that they rock harder then most bands ever. WAIT! Hold the phone, do I detect a blog theme? Not a blog solely on The Who (however what a grand blog it would be) but a blog on why I find these songs meaningful. WAIT AGAIN! How about a blog on what things I like and why I find them meaningful?! The Who, you've done it again.