Wednesday, May 20, 2009

LA Is Strange

I went out to a bar last night with my friend C and my cousin N. Nothing particularly swanky. A dive bar. The kind of bar where, if you go up to the pool table and plug in some quarters, you'll be approached by a guy named OP challenging you to a game (I held my own). Not too bad.

After a few beers, the three of us got to talking, and I threw out the following nonsense theoretical question: Given that he is presumably more famous, richer and successful with people of his chosen gender of interest than you will ever be, would you want to be Steven Seagal? -- accepting that you would have to live your life as the washed-out star of such horrible action movies as Fire Down Below and Under Siege 2 (tagline: "It's exactly like the first movie - but on a train!").

We debated this question for a little bit (general consensus: "No. Why the hell would I want to be Steven Seagal?") before being interrupted by an onlooker. Apparently, said woman's boyfriend used to be Steven Seagal's chauffeur, and she proceeded to regale us at length with a story of her boyfriend getting pulled over for speeding only to be waved on when the officer realized who his passenger was.

I suppose this made us something like three steps removed from Mr. Seagal, so not the most direct connection. But still. Strange coincidence.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A few days ago, during aforementioned trip to Portland, I did manage to find the time to drop by a party hosted by SonicLllama's household.

Apparently, parties in Portland are different from what I'm used to.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Graduation Faux Pas

My sister graduated from college last weekend. Being a loving brother, I took a weekend out of my life to fly up to Portland and watch the ceremony (sorry to the Portland friends I didn't have time to see: I really didn't have much time for socializing). For the most part, it went quite well. A speech by Ray Suarez, a family picnic, and a carnival-themed birthday party where I dressed as the bearded lady (miniskirt and all). You know, the usual.

There was one slightly awkward moment, though. Sitting in the audience waiting for the Phi Beta Kappa initiation ceremony to start (she's a clever one, my sister), I took a little time to chat with my dad. At some point, I launched into a diatribe about how boring your standard graduation is. You know: you sit in uncomfortable seats for a couple hours, just waiting for that 10-second interval when your friend/relative walks across their stage, while watching ceremonies for awards that don't interest you and listening to Pomp And Circumstance (I loath that song with a burning, burning passion).

And then every speech you hear at these events is pretty much the exact same. The phrase "value of a liberal-arts education" gets used more often than can reasonably be accommodated by a drinking game. Every college has "uniquely prepared you for the challenges of the modern world". Everybody who has ever graduated is living in "a unique period of human history". I'm sure you've heard this speech. Many, many times. (Of course, it's not that this stuff isn't true -- but there have to be more innovative ways of presenting it!)

After several minutes of somewhat spirited ranting on my part, the ceremony got underway. It was a reasonably good ceremony, all things considered. And then around halfway through, the master of ceremonies announced that the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences would be giving a brief speech to the graduates. And so the dean stood up to talk.

From the chair immediately behind me.

He had apparently been there the entire time, listening to me complain about how awful I was expecting him to be. If there had been any doubt that he had heard me, it was quickly dispelled by his first few words when he mentioned he had overheard someone in the audience complaining about the formulaicity of all of these speeches.

I slowly sank in my seat and didn't rise until well after he left the stage.

Of course, he did end up making exactly the kind of speech I had been grumbling about. So that made me feel a tiny bit better about things.