Tuesday, September 2, 2008

#10 - That pause while people are trying to digest really subtle humor

There are three kinds of comedians in the world: 1. Loud, obnoxious ones that try to be as crude as possible. 2. Loud boring ones that mostly make observations about the world that everyone has thought of at one time or another. 3. Quiet, unexpected ones that throw in snappy, sarcastic one-liners that you're not even sure you heard correctly for a second or two. I think I'm the third one, because I'm not that loud most of the time, and I really hate repeating myself. So it's really rewarding when I make a totally unexpected quip, and it takes a heartbeat or two to get a reaction from those nearby. It means the joke was complicated enough to take some thought. Elitist, if you will. Not everyone is going to laugh. Not everyone is even going to hear it. But when those within earshot start bursting out in laughter long after I've shut my mouth, like some sort of comedic time-bomb, everyone always wants to know ‘what’s so funny?’

I also take a very particular pleasure in not repeating my punch lines, because the timing and delivery is critical and I don't want to ruin the funny by butchering it the second time. Let someone else take the fall. If it doesn't come out as good second-hand, I can just say 'you had to be there' and make it seem even more elitist.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

#9 - Lost

I think my favorite thing about watching Lost is how, despite all the terrible thing they have to go through on the island (surviving a plane crash, getting shot at by crazies, fighting polar bears, etc), I really wish I could be there. I'm mostly speaking about the first season or two, because things got gradually sillier the further along they got into the mythology. I really just want to be on the island right up to about the point where the freighter showed up and ruined everything. Yeah, it's a TV show, but how awesome would it be to actually be stranded on a 'deserted' island and have to fend for yourself? We are so far removed from the actual day-to-day survival needs of the human body that most of us have no idea what it is like to actually have to search for food, water, shelter. Going backpacking for a weekend is one thing, but when you actually have to make decisions that decide whether you live or die on a daily basis, you appreciate life in a way you never could in today's modern technology-driven society. But I would totally be okay with it if I was on a beautiful island surrounded by a cast of beautiful people, and guns. Actually I'd probably be okay with it if there was only the island. And John Locke, so we could hunt boars and excavate hatches, and at some point a drug-smuggler's plane will fall on me and he'll have an emotional breakdown and star yelling at The Island like some sort of deist manifestation of Fate.

I guess all I really want to do is just go backpacking in Hawaii. With John Locke. Kate would be alright too.

Monday, August 4, 2008

#8 - Seeing my Alma Mater in the news

So depending on which day you have checked the news, the Mars Phoenix Lander has either found life on Mars, rocket fuel on Mars, or toxic chemicals on Mars. The semantics are unimportant, just as are the implications of life on another planet. What gets me excited is hearing about UofA in the news, every single day. And look! It's not just for interplanetary exploration!


Now I'll be honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of the engineering program at Arizona while I was there. Some of my professors were jerks. But they are jerks who make the news. I guess that's what it takes to be the #1 recipient of NASA grant money. So not only do we send a spaceship to Mars, but we're making a holodeck for the Air Force. Awesome. What did your school do today?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

#7 - Pollution

The title of this post is a lie. I hate pollution. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning, going outside, and seeing a band of hazy brown smog on the horizon. It makes me want to throw up. This is why I can never live in LA or New York. My ideal local would be in the middle of an aspen forest deep in the Rocky Mountains, or possibly a hidden village filled with idealistic scientists on a tropical jungle, like the island on Lost before Ben killed everyone with poison gas. Which, oddly enough, is precisely what pollution is.

If I was an Olympic athlete I would be boycotting the Beijing games right now just on the grounds of preventing irrevocable respiratory harm to international competitors. I guess the upside would be that I would probably have a better chance of beating everyone who does compete next time, after all that nasty Beijing pollution settles in their lungs and gives them chronic emphysema. But would it be worth it, to come out ahead at the price of harm to so many others? I mean, I know 18 million other people live in Beijing, but only about 2 of them are competing in the 400m hurdles. The rest of them can go about their normal, masked, coughing, polluted lives, because this is their home. The athletes are just visiting, and they deserve the best air in the world for three weeks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

#6 - Proving how much fun I am by staging pictures for Facebook

When a young person reaches the age of about 23 or 24, they realize that the care-free world they grew up in really isn't suitable for young adults such as themselves anymore. They have to get this terribly time-consuming thing called a 'job', starting dressing semi-professionally, or even worse, start to feel the effects of what is collectively known as 'old age'. 'Old age' is primarily exhibited by working more than 40 hours a week, refusing to hang out on weekdays later than 10pm, making car payments, or spending more than two consecutive weekends 'resting'.

The best way to prove to all your hip, youthful friends that you are in fact getting more awesome with age is to take spectacular pictures of your exploits and post them all over Facebook, traditionally with as many people tagged in them as possible. Not only will this garner the most exposure for your photographic evidence, but people might starting talking about their horrible facial expressions or how huge your beard is getting. It's a win-win, because all the while they are drawing more attention to pictures where you are either doing something incredibly heroic, looking incredibly baddass, or are surrounded by throngs of good-looking people. If none of these situations are feasible, do not despair: just photoshop it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

#5 - Making fun of Guitar Hero

Vince and I came up with a good one a few months ago called "Hip Hop Hero" (featuring two microphones, turntables, and a pistol), but I think this takes the cake:

Monday, July 21, 2008

#4 - Making the Boy Scouts sound like serving in the Special Forces

On 12 July, 2001, I was stationed with Troop 44 at Gold Lake, CA, under the command of SPL Cameron T. Fan. I was ordered to lead a patrol of new recruits out for a night recon and astrometrical viewing, and to return to base at 0800 the next morning. Scout 1st Class Michael Bauld took point in Canoe 1 with Scout 2nd Class Brendon Lim, while I took rear guard with several Tenderfoots (yes, the plural form of Tenderfoot is not Tenderfeet, that just sounds stupid). We left base in a standard line formation, guarding the middle canoe containing Scoutmaster William T. Bauld, Esq, and our GPS and communications equipment. At 2130 we approached the unnamed atoll. S1C Bauld made first landing, while Canoe 2 covered the beach head with suppression splashes from their dual aluminum paddles.

The rest of the mission was completely uneventful, but when I list out our ranks and troop positions it makes it sound like we probably had night vision googles and M4s straped on our backs. Which we would have, if given a choice. Being in the scouts for seven years makes me think that given the opportunity, I could pull a Bear Grylls and survive in the wilderness with nothing more than a waterbottle and a knife. And there's some truth to it. We got a lot of good training and preparation that would have served us well if ANY of the kids I knew in the scouts had gone into the army. I like mentioning that an Eagle Scout that enlists in the US armed forces is given an automatic promotion to E2 grade upon graduating from basic training. Also one time we waterboarded a kid for failing a uniform inspection.