Wednesday, December 8, 2010

4. Awkward timing

I'm classifying this as "awkward timing" simply because I'm not quite sure how to put it. It all started when I watched 127 Hours earlier this week. If you haven't watched the film and don't want me to give away the climax (most people who have heard of the film know it by now), then you should probably stop reading. Stop reading and start watching. And by "watching," I specifically mean "the film."

Now that I've introduced the remaining readers into a pact of secrecy, I should note that this isn't the first time I've heard of Aron Ralston. I actually remember watching his interview on the David Letterman show. I specifically remember that no one knew him by name, so the announcer had to be like "Tonight! On The Late Show with David Letterman! A man who sawed off his arm! And Tobey Maguire!" It's rare to be introduced by your accomplishments rather than your identity. And even rarer to have your accomplishment be your identity (which, for the record, I do not think is the case for Aron Ralston).

It's an incredible story and a fantastic film that really makes you think a lot. This makes for rather awkward timing if you happen to have a doctor's checkup the next morning, particularly if the checkup calls for fluid samples. Usually when walking around carrying a cup of fresh urine, my thought process is simply Ewwwwwww..., which is a surprisingly good alternative to If I ever got trapped by a rock, I'd probably have to drink this. I'd covered my eyes during the climax of the film since I'd been warned it was very realistic and people had had visceral reactions to it. As the nurse tied a rubber band around my arm to draw a blood sample, I looked away. When she told me to look to the side and focus on the comics that had been posted specifically to take your mind off of things, I felt like I was watching the movie version of my life and I was covering my eyes. If only things were that simple.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

3. Self-given Haircuts

I'm actually rather proud that I've never paid for a haircut, despite the fact that it goes against most logic. First off, I'm not saving that much money. Secondly, it pigeon-holes me into the following vicious cycle:

1. decide I need a haircut
2. cut my own hair
3. freak out over new haircut and try to hide it with updo's and various cranial accessories
4. let the hair grow out long enough until I can dismiss said haircut as "shagginess"
5. continue step 4 until step 1 comes about again

Have you ever held your bladder for a really long time just so you could have that moment of total relaxation when you finally let it go? Me neither, but that's the theory behind step 3. Cornered into desperation, creativity springs forth to save the day! I start off with the usual collection of hats, headbands, and pins. Then I start to experiment with styling my hair differently with the hopes that dramatic side parts cover the bad portions of my hair with good ones. Lastly, I warn people who see me on a daily basis in advance by drawing pictures of me with doo-rags and in tall updos associated with singing groups from the 60's. I like to think it lessens the initial shock while giving the situation some levity.

On a side note, I've actually had a few guy friends ask if I could cut their hair. Although I've cut my sister's hair multiple times (she cried the first time I cut her hair but has since hardened up to the experience), I refuse to cut a guy's hair. Guys can't afford the hair accessory path out that most girls have.

So why do I do it to myself, the most important person in my world? I've surprised myself each time despite the fact that I have a set routine for cutting hair. And assuming I think of other alternatives to my hairstyle other than emo-themed, I find the haircutting adventure to be a strange exploration into the various other personalities that I could be. I've often bought small accessories that don't fit in with the rest of my clothes, but usually chicken out such that I only wear them once as a novelty item. But your hair is always with you, and what's more, if it's bad, you can only make it shorter! The nature of hair's slow growth forces me to try out a new me, and to stick with it for awhile until I've reached the next awkward stage (which I usually refer to as my "David Cassidy stage"). And so I do it to, in my small and insignificant way, push myself out of my shell.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2. Embarrassing youtube karaoke videos

A couple months ago we had an on-campus company party where two things were provided: booze and a karaoke machine, which is a fantastic combination because just in case drunk-you isn't quite loud enough, we can amplify it and set it to a soundtrack. Nevertheless, after hearing other people William-Shatner various other songs, I decided to give it a shot.

Like the Spanish inquisition, I decided to use the element of surprise, so I ascended to the stage to the guitar riffs of Slash. My co-workers looked confused. As I pulled the microphone up violently and screeched out "Welcome to the Jeee-ungle!!!" as loudly as I could, the crowd went wild. People started filming me with their phones. Everyone gave me high fives and for days afterward, everyone referred to me as "Axl Rose."

Of course, the next day, I saw the video that was posted. I could see how most people were surprised when a frumpily-dressed short girl started dancing, singing with hand gestures more associated with rap, and screeching one high, long, out-of-tune note into the instrumental break. It was a lot of stage presence that night. I was torn between the glowing reviews everyone had given me in person and the slightly dimmer review I gave myself.

I didn't think much about it until several months later. By then I was working on a new project with people who were mostly unaware of this video, and my new supervisor, who'd been slipped the video on the downlow, told me he had a treat. He sent me a link to a youtube video featuring one of our other co-workers singing an 80's love song at a karaoke bar. The intense passion of his voice and the slightly out of tune melodies weaving in and out of background noises made me laugh so hard that one of my co-workers had to check up on me because he thought I was crying.

It turns out this co-worker also has a love of karaoke, and many more videos of him, all which would have given me stomach cramps had I not paused the video. He has a great stage presence, but better than that, he knows how to make fun of himself, allowing him to lose himself in the moment and bring out gushing performances, complete with dance moves.

I started to feel a little guilty talking to him seriously about work while "Total Eclipse of the Heart" would be stuck in my head, so finally I broke down and in a work email, added a hesitant P.S. that mentioned I'd seen his videos. As payment for the immense joy they'd given me, I sent him the video of me singing "Welcome to the Jungle." I felt like a Stonecutter showing a fellow member his Stonecutter ring. It was like saying, "Look, I know about your karaoke double life, but it's okay! I have one too!"

My co-worker's never openly mentioned the video to me or commented on what he thinks of it. I used to wonder if he'd watched it. But then, in other people's presence, we will discuss karaoke as a general topic, and we'll give each other stealthy, knowing nods. And strangely enough, I'll feel pride in the three minutes, now being watched completely out of context, where I was a rock star.

Friday, November 26, 2010

1. Nerdy puns

What is a Chinese programmer's drink of choice?
Perl milk tea!!!

I came up with this because I've been confined to using a keyboard with a sticky "a" key. Now when I laugh, instead of saying "hahahahahaha" I just say "hhhhh," which makes me sound like some sort of perverted breather.

I love accidental jokes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1001 Awesomely Awkward Things: the beginning

A friend recently pointed me to the blog 1000 Awesome Things. The concept caught my attention, but when I started trying to evaluate my life through the somewhat sugary viewpoint of "let's appreciate all the great things in life!", I noticed how so many of said things are intertwined with other non-related adjectives. For me in particular, awkwardness was a prevalent theme.

I should mention that I'm a pretty weird person, a trait that I actually pride myself on. I say random things. I have giggle fits over jokes that no one else understands and then I laugh too hard to repeat the joke correctly. If you've watched the BBC show Coupling, I love Jeff Murdoch. So sometimes I wonder if it's some characteristic I possess that lures in awkward situations or if I have an average number of awkward encounters, I just am more amused by them as a coping mechanism. If I were to agonize over the embarrassment of them, I don't think I would sleep at night.

This blog is meant to be a look at life in general through a series of awkward, embarrassing, and hopefully humorous situations that I find myself in (and I'm sure I'm not alone in). Some of them are due to my character, some of them are interactions with other people whose personalities I don't quite know how to mesh with, and some of them are just random events that I didn't know what to make of. All of them awkward, but hopefully in an awesome way.