Monday, June 25, 2007

Where Did My Funny Go?

I remember a time in my life when I used to be much funnier. My mind would sometimes come up with absurd perspectives about whatever topic was being discussed - sort of a reactive type humor. I was never stand-up comedian funny, but I definitely had more of a sense of humor and was more fun overall.

But why the change? Now I cringe whenever I make an attempt at humor, because inevitably it will go over like a lead balloon. So is it the audience, or is it me? If it's me, then is it from so much responsibility, whereas my mind is just distracted by all of the requests and requirements being placed upon me on a daily basis. Am I just never fully relaxed enough to let my mind wander to places of absurdity, since I'm constantly bombarded now by so much reality?

Maybe I have had so many moments of regret from the words that I've spoken (without thinking through their potential effect) that I just think too much now before speaking. While that actually sounds good at first (thinking before speaking), perhaps now I don't let my mind and tongue be free enough to just let some comedy roll off.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I AM the Weakest Link

I occasionally play basketball during lunch on a half-court that is next to my work building. Last week we played two games of 3-on-3. After the team I was on lost the first game, me and another Mike switched teams. Then my new team (you know, the one that had just won the previous game) lost too. I believe that makes me the weakest link (say it with drama like on the game show)! Ugh.

Not only was my playing bad, but I was exhausted, especially after the first game. I tried to come up with excuses, like for starters, it was freakin' hot outside. But there were six of us, so it shouldn't affect me any more than anyone else. Plus, I have less fat to haul around than most of the other guys, and I'm from Florida so I should be plenty used to the heat. So there goes the heat excuse. Maybe I should be drinking Gatorade or some other sports drink to compensate for the sweating.
Today, we played two games of 2-on-2 and the team I was on won both games. Of course, the other team had a girl on it but hey, she was pretty good! I did drink Gatorade this time, and maybe I scored a couple more baskets than last week. It's so easy to improve on pathetic though.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cinematic Silliness when Searching for Some Classics

Since Amanda had never seen it, I was hoping to rent First Blood (Rambo 1) a couple of nights ago. But I couldn't find it in either of the video stores near us, although they both had Rambo 2 and 3. She has never seen Rocky either, or Escape from New York, Mad Max, Christine, Jaws, or Smokey and the Bandit. All classics that we will have to rent someday, especially since it seems like it's getting harder and harder to find good movies in the new rental section.

But I ended up renting Death Race 2000. I found this gem under the "Sci-Fi" category and remembered seeing it on a list of The Top 40 Best Car Movies on DVD. It was made in 1975 and depicted what the U.S. would be like in the year 2000. Sylvester Stallone was in it, but his name wasn't even in the opening credits since he hadn't made a name for himself yet.

The plot was about a transcontinental race where the winner must not only get to the finish line first, but must kill the most people with their car along the way. I am certain that this movie inspired the video game "Carmageddon", which was actually a very fun game.

It's always interesting to see how people predict the future to be, especially now that it's already in the past. Unfortunately, there were a few scenes with gratuitous nudity in them, and the special effects of the movie were hilariously outdated. Ok, so the movie more or less completely sucked, but it was still kinda fun and silly too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Letting Go - An Observation

I worked in the toddler room (1-2.5 yrs old) on Sunday at my church. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. When numerous parents dropped off their children though, I observed something interesting.

After I would entertain and distract their child so that they would no longer be crying (usually not an easy task), instead of the parent sneaking away undetected, they announced their departure to the child's back "OK, goodbye Geoffrey (or whatever the child's name is)." At that point, the child would turn around and be reminded that mommy or daddy is leaving them all alone, and thus start to cry all over again. As if that isn't annoying enough, this cycle would then be repeated yet again, perhaps even two more times before they finally leave to attend the service.

Of course, this makes me wonder "What is the cause of this behavior?". Is it too difficult for the parents to admit that their child is OK with them leaving? Do they desire being needed by the child to the extent that they actually want to see their child cry every time they depart to make themselves feel better? Are they still debating in their mind whether or not they trust the people in the room to take care of the child, and maybe making the child stop crying numerous times will prove that the child-care workers are capable enough? Or is it just difficult for the parent themselves to be separated from the child, so that they linger their goodbyes way longer than necessary?

Whatever the reason, it's more work for me and more trauma for their child. So here's a tip to all of you parents with separation anxiety - the minute that you see that your child has stopped crying, especially if their back is turned toward you, take a deep breath and say a little prayer if you must, but then just let him/her concentrate on the activities in the room and get your lingering butt out of there!

Friday, June 08, 2007

UFC Stuff

UFC 71 occurred while we were in Oregon for Memorial Day, during which Quinton Jackson beat Chuck Liddell to become the new light-heavyweight champion! It was the first UFC that I have missed in several years and yes, I unsuccessfully checked first to see if any sports bars would be showing it near where we were staying.

I must admit that for a long time I really didn't like Chuck Liddell, mainly because he is such a one-dimensional fighter. He just throws bombs with his fists while standing, even if he is one of the best in the business at it. But the more I read about him, the more I grew to appreciate the man behind the belt. Nevertheless, Quinton Jackson whooped him - twice even - and is a most interesting character himself. While he was previously a ghetto mouthed thug (I knew of him and watched interviews of him back then), he experienced a really strange experience that led him to become a Christian. For more information on Quinton check out the Wikipedia entry about him.

On TUF (The Ultimate Fighter - the UFC's reality show) a couple of weeks ago, two of the fighters got in a personal fist fight while at the house. Afterward, I was a little surprised at Dana White's (president of the UFC) reaction to it, but I also really appreciated and admired it. From Sherdog's review:

This time however, Dana's words seem to sting everyone since when he said "For the last six years I've been busting my f______ ass to prove that this wasn't what this sport was about." He explained that this would have the non-fan thinking what they've always thought, that this sport was full of "a bunch of goons." Dana decides to kick Marlon and Noah off the show and includes Berube as well, since he was the instigator.

I really hope that I will be able to watch UFC72 this Saturday. It's occurring at 8pm in Ireland, which unfortunately equates to noon here in the pacific time zone. Since my in-laws will be here visiting us this weekend, the big question is whether or not I should disappear to the bar for a few hours in the middle of the day to watch it. Who am I kidding, they'll probably be happy to lose me for a little while.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Random Thoughts and Interesting Art

Things that look modern and/or artsy in appearance used to be advertised as having a "space age" appearance, or as using "space age" materials. But what do you call modern looking things now, especially since space exploration has been gasping for breath since the Columbia disaster in 2003?
I read a great article from the founder of XXXchurch, titled Opponents or Teammates. I really admire the way Craig deliberates about some of the issues he recently faced. I also appreciate his position on relationships with non-Christians, focusing on sharing meals with them and meeting them wherever they are at spiritually.
For Memorial Day weekend, we had a great 5-day getaway to the Oregon coast, where we stayed in a cabin with Amanda's aunt and cousins. With all of the fun events and beautiful scenery of the trip, I'm inspired to begin updating our family's web site again with a new entry in the "Events" page. I usually make thumbnails and resize the pictures manually using GIMP, but with over 100 pictures, I think it's time to find or make a batch script for the task.
The battery on my other Timex watch is now dead too (see previous post). Interestingly, my significantly older Casio watch is still running just fine. Although they do look nice, Timex watches are annoying to operate and drain the battery too quickly - I'm switching back to Casio.
I clicked across (found the article in FARK) some really sweet LEGO art the other day. Make sure you browse the pictures.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Uncommonly Cool

A female friend of ours and fellow blogger recently posted about how shooting guns is becoming a hobby for her. I can't help but think that this activity is high up on the list of things that are really cool when girls do them. The idea of it inspired me to make a list of activities that causes a female to automatically jump up a rung on the coolness ladder when she participates in them.
  • Shooting guns (as mentioned above)
  • Riding a motorcycle - at least as a passenger, but if she rides by herself then that's even cooler (Amanda rode with me regularly).
  • Driving:
    • Fast (Amanda's friend Susan impressed me with this).
    • A stick shift (shifting gears at only 2000 rpm almost doesn't count though).
    • A jacked up 4x4 (my brother's friend Lisa had a sweet Toyota pickup).
    • A sports car or powerful muscle car, especially if it's customized (Amanda's Miata was pretty darned cool).
  • Knowing how to kick ass - trained and competent in some form of self-defense.
  • Participating in board sports - surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, etc.
However, the catch is that while doing the above tasks that are typically associated with men, women still have to look sexy and feminine. In other words, for women to be considered cool, they must still look hot.

But what makes the above activities cool for females? Besides being mostly male-oriented, I think the common thread to the above list is that most of the activities are either somewhat dangerous, or they require a certain degree of strength and/or fearlessness, or they are a display of the woman's strength and power.

Anyone have any other activities to add to the list? Would the list for men be the same?
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