Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stuff the US Air Pilot Could Have Said.

"I know I can speak for the entire crew when I tell you we were simply doing the job we were trained to do." -- US Airways pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger II, who brought 155 passengers to safety by landing his compromised jet in the Hudson River

You knew from the moment it happened that the headline on the post-rescue story was going to be "Hudson River pilot says he was just doing his job." But what if...

  • Hudson River pilot: 'Jesus, that was close, thank god I'm awesome'
  • Hudson River pilot thankful he happened to be sober on day of water landing
  • Hudson River pilot considered 'letting God take the wheel'
  • Hudson River pilot disappointed by 'ungrateful' passengers
  • Hudson River pilot: 'I thought that was a runway' (courtesy M.R.)

Any other ideas for stuff Sully could have said, just for the sake of being original?

Music: "Take Me to the River"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Weirdest Fan Entries on Facebook.

Of the many bizarre and pointless things one can do on Facebook, I find declaring oneself as a "fan" of something to be one of the more unsatisfying. (SuperPoking, on the other hand, I acknowledge to be bizarre and pointless, yet oddly fulfilling.)

Fandom on Facebook is a nice promotional tool, but it's a weirdly fallow experience for the fan. Declaring my fanship of something has not yet resulted in any discernible benefits. And look at me, asking for benefits just because I click on "become a fan"! Next I'll be asking for accolades because I brushed my teeth.

But still. Has anyone had a more fulfilling experience as a Facebook Fan? I invite you to comment. Lately, commenting and telling me I am full of shit is in vogue at UncMo.

If you have chosen to become a fan of something on Facebook, why have you done so?

I am a fan of exactly seven things. Here are the seven things and the reason I fanned them.

1. Chill Radio. "What, Christina?" you say. "You seem so easygoing. I'm shocked that you would seek out anything to help you chill." I know! But it's true. This Internet station rules. I became a fan to remind myself to download their podcasts. It didn't work.

2. My employer. Enough said.

3. Crushpad. Work-related, but cool.

4. Lykke Li. She's a Swedish pop singer whom I really, really like. I hoped that in becoming a fan, I would maybe find another friend who likes her, or turn a friend on to her. I don't think either thing happened.

5. Adele. She's a British soul singer whom I really, really like. I hoped that in becoming a fan, I would maybe find another friend who likes her, or turn a friend on to her. I don't think either thing happened.

6 and 7. Gabriel Mann and The Rescues. Gabe is a friend from college who was music director of my singing group and is an extremely talented musician. His band, The Rescues, was recently featured on Grey's Anatomy. I support anything Gabe does, because he kicks ass.

I took a spin through other profiles in my network to see what other people I know have in their fan pages. Nothing too surprising: musicians, schools, politicians, some brands. Movie titles I don't quite get, but I can sort of see how that would be like a TV show or a band, so it sort of makes sense.

But then there are some things that I see and become totally confused as to the point of be-fanning those things. Here's my list of those instances:

1. Charles Darwin: Charles proves his own theory by making it all the way to Facebook. More than 10,000 people have felt compelled to state the equivalent of "Hey, I dig evolution," which makes sense, because hey, it's worked out for us so far.
2. Sushi: This delicious foodstuff beats out Darwin in terms of Facebook popularity with more than 451,000 fans at this time. This number jumped up by about 5,000 in one day. Jeremy Piven, are you among these fans?

OK well, actually, that's all I have for now. If you are a Facebook Friend and you are a fan of one of these two things, I apologize, but I don't understand. Maybe you can enlighten me. In the meantime, I think I will start a fan page for Breathing, or maybe Porn. Neither of these things yet has an altar on Facebook.

Anyone else perplexed by certain Facebook behavior? Maybe you are not on Facebook (JK, PB, HI, DR), in which case I support you in your Lifestyle Choice.

Music: "Little Bit"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day In and Day Out.

So, it has been several weeks now since the writer David Foster Wallace hung himself.

Usually, when we hear that a public figure has passed away, if it’s someone we like, we get sad for a few minutes. We talk about it with friends or coworkers: “Did you hear that so-and-so died? It’s so sad. I really liked him/her.” You might even get misty when you see the tribute in People magazine or read the AP article.

For me, it was different with Wallace. The news made me gasp with disbelief. I cried about it. And then a few weeks later I looked him up online and cried again. I revisited A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, wishing I’d revisited it earlier, as if appreciating DFW more when he was alive would have made a difference in how or when he died. Then this weekend I thought about it again, and read this speech, and cried again.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I'm reacting this way. After all, as DFW himself would point out, it’s not completely about him. When you mourn a death, you’re not sad for the deceased, or at least that's not the whole story. You’re sad for you, because someone or something has been taken away from you.

I mean, I didn’t know the man, never had a correspondence with him. Never saw him speak. Didn’t follow his career particularly closely. Hell, I haven’t even read Infinite Jest. Where do I get off, really?

The fact that it was suicide, obviously, is the most salient thing about how upsetting his death is. I just didn’t know what he was dealing with. Apparently, many people didn’t. We had only experienced the benefits of his massive brain. Now, reading his writing with the knowledge that he ultimately strangled that brain into submission, it becomes clear that its power to torture was as great as its power to produce amazing language and insight.

The essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” DFW’s account of his experience aboard a cruise ship, first appeared in Harper’s in 1997, and it was my introduction to his writing. I don’t think I’d ever seen anything like that piece before. I couldn’t believe it. And using my own clumsy writing in an attempt to adequately praise or describe his feels like an insult, so I’ll leave it there.

The point is, he was deeply inspiring to me. I didn’t hope to match his level of skill, but I hoped that exposure to it would make me a better writer. One of the jarring things about his death, to me, is the revelation that someone whose intellect vibrated so loudly and whose writing screamed with life was so shackled internally that even his own talent could not unlock him.

And so I guess if I look at this from the me-as-center-of-the-universe perspective that DFW has chronicled so well, what's grievous is how he has bluntly shattered a notion with which I liked to comfort myself sometimes: that language and intellect are unassailable buffers against darker things. He had one of the biggest, fanciest minds I'd ever encountered on a page, and he was forced to pack it up and take it home.

Anyway, it just makes me profoundly sad, to learn how he suffered and to know that he is gone. In one sense, I’m glad that I was such a lazy admirer, because it’s left me with more yet to discover than his truly diligent fans have.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Disconnect.

From time to time, the company I work for runs events for singles.
Without fail, we sell out of women's tickets every time we have one. And without fail, we are scrambling for men -- anyone with a Y chromosome really -- willing to attend.

The other day, one of our precious male ticket sales called. "Hi, I was just told that I have a ticket to tomorrow's event," he said. "I will not be able to attend. Can I apply my ticket to another class?"

"Sure," I said. "We're having another event for singles in Februrary."

"What about OTHER classes?" he said. "Someone else bought this ticket for me, and... I just found out and... she did it out of self-interest."

"Well... we have some classes scheduled... for couples," I stammered.

"Hmm," he said. "The person who bought this ticket is trying to marry me off."

"I hate when that happens," I said.

"She is about the grandchildren," he elaborated, his anger barely concealed.

I felt for the guy. He wasn't the first emotional person I'd encountered calling about singles classes. I've had a woman call me an hour before the event, asking what she should wear, because she's a single mom and it's the first time been out there in years. Another woman asked if it was OK that she's 52, even though our age guideline is 35-50, because all she runs into is sixtysomethings. Some women, encountering a sold-out message at the ticket site, have tried to buy men's tickets instead.

One man bitterly asked me why he should bother coming to our singles events, given that we don't show photos or profiles of the registered attendees ahead of time. I acknowledge that this would be helpful, in theory. Hell, wouldn't it be nice to get a roster of scheduled attendees handed to you before you went to anything, including work? But my attempts to explain that this wasn't feasible were met with further complaints. He typed that the "couger [sic] thing is out of control" in the Bay Area and that the events he has been to have been all older women and younger men because there are "too many tech guys" in this area.

Somehow, I don't think age discrepancies are this guy's main hurdle.

Still, it makes me sad to see so many hopeful, eager women and more than a few angry and/or apathetic men. But then again, the context is a singles event. I think once you get to the level of "singles event," you have been through some things. And those things are probably not good.

But here's the thing: We are offering a night of food, wine, and at least 15-20 seriously eager single women. Sometimes, when we are in dire straits, we are offering it gratis. And we STILL are scrambling in the 11th hour. What is it, men? My sense is that if you are a guy who is a) honestly straight and b) 35-50, you may be in a sort of recessed zone only reachable via porn sites, takeout menus and Law and Order. Should we advertise on these channels instead?

Music: "Feel This Way"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hot Old People.

I'd like to take a moment to appreciate these silver foxes. As we embark on another year, let's hope we all still have this appeal heading into the golden years.

This list is totally random and any other AARPtastic GILF suggestions are welcome. I know there are more. I need pipe dreams like this to assuage the anxiety about aging that has plagued me since approximately 16 years old.

Music: "I Will Dare" with compliments to Verbungle

Thursday, January 01, 2009

One-Night Stands: 'Million Miles (I Love You)'

When most people think of Apollonia 6,

Wait, let me start over. Most people don't think of Apollonia 6. But if they do, they most likely recall the song "Sex Shooter," the single featured in Purple Rain.

Recently, a propos of nothing, I remembered another song by the group that joins "Sex Shooter" on their sole album.

Despite my mania for Prince in the '80s, I did not make a habit of buying full albums from the staggering number of spin-off acts that he generated. In the case of Apollonia 6, which has a mere seven songs on it, I apparently wasn't missing much. But I do think "Million Miles (I Love You)" is worth hearing if you like '80s Prince music.

There are many things I love about this song, starting with its focus on the piano. (Someone commented to me recently that boys should be encouraged to learn piano if they want to get chicks, and I endorse this view.) The music for "Million Miles" is credited to Lisa Coleman (of Wendy & Lisa, looking and sounding startlingly matriarchal here), which makes sense, but the words are credited to Apollonia 6, which I find to be dubious, given Prince's penchant for posing dares and asking questions in his lyrics.

I also love that the lead vocals are not by Apollonia but by Brenda, the blonde chick. Brenda sounds sort of like a female version of Prince, who's really the only person who should be singing this song to begin with. The man himself is audible in the background during the jam that takes up practically the last half of the song, so you know he had to be running the show.

Apollonia 6 was just Vanity 6 with a new lead singer. Vanity 6 had even recorded "Sex Shooter" before Vanity ditched the group (which was, I learned from Wikipedia, originally named The Hookers). I find it entertaining that Apollonia and the other singer, Susan, are mixed so far down in "Million Miles" that they are nearly inaudible. Prince was never one to make singing ability a primary criterion for his protégés.

While the topic of this post may imply that I am looking to winnow my already cozy readership on this blog, I do appreciate those of you who continue to visit and wish you the best for '09.

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