My Top 10 movies of 2010

Sometimes I like to write pointless blogs that everyone else and their mother will also write over the course of the next two weeks.  This is one of those times.

I like movies.  Some would say it's an unhealthy obsession.  I would however say shut your face I'm watching a movie.  Clearly I win this argument.  Below is a list of my favorite movies of 2010.  As a disclaimer I have not seen True Grit, Black Swan or Yogi Bear and so they are not on this list and as a result I will state here and now that they are complete crap.  These are also in no particular order though I am sure I do have a few absolute favorites.  Click on the titles for links to their trailers if you are still not convinced of how right I am, though rest assured I am 100% right.

I would like to first take a moment to tell you all just how much I hate Michael Cera.  That man is single handedly dumbing down America and killing the art of the leading man.  If he died in a fire tomorrow I would be happy for two reasons: 1. he would be dead. and 2. People would stop talking about an Arrested Development movie like it is a good idea.  Now with all that being said Michael Cera and his whiny pathetic act are perfect here.  There was no greater reason for this horrible human being to exist than to make this movie.  All of the Evil Exes are great, Edgar Wright made the perfect graphic novel movie.  Everything about this movie is wonderful, and unfortunately it is almost all thanks to how perfect Cera fits in.  Kieran Culkin is also brilliantly cast as Scott's gay roommate and he steals every single scene he even breathes on.

2. The Town
I already had a feeling I was going to love this movie going into it because of the cast involved but I didn't realize just how much I was going to love it.  Coming off the wonderful Gone Baby Gone I was convinced that Ben Affleck just got lucky when it came to his directing but with The Town he really impressed me and he showed me some of his true talent.  He's not the best actor in the world but when he surrounds himself with the likes of Jeremy Rennar, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, and Blake Lively's breasts you see less of his failures as an actor and believe him in the role.  This is one of the movies where for some reason you find yourself rooting for the bad guys to succeed and that is all thanks to some wonderful storytelling.

3. Inception
Is it a dream or is it real?  A better question is does it matter?  The answer to that is no.  Christopher Nolan has proven himself once again to be infallible.  Traditionally when you dip yourself in the Superhero genre pool your career doesn't come out the same.  From my vantage point most rarely survive.  Meanwhile all Nolan does to follow up one of the greatest comic book movies ever is create this mind altering experience that treats our thoughts like it's own personal marionette where we have no control at all.  Dicaprio shows us once again why he is one of the finest actors of our generation without an Oscar with his leading role.  All in all this movie was designed for multiple viewings and unlike other movies you can say that about, this one is well worth it.

4. Kick-Ass
There are very few times where I can wholeheartedly recommend a Nic Cage movie.  Honestly it's really only this one and MAYBE Family Man. It's just he has a very specialized brand of crazy that either really works or REALLY fails.  Thanks to some clever writing and a really clever Adam West impersonation his crazy really works.  That said though the real star of this movie is Hit Girl played by Chloë Grace Moretz.  I mean seriously how can you not fall in love with a movie that features an 11 yr old assassin with a mouth that could teach a few sailors a dozen or so new swears?   The answer there is you can't.  It's brilliant.  It's over the top in all the right ways and is the perfect deconstruction of the comic book genre.  I'm really disappointed more people didn't see this in theaters, so to make it up to me go rent it right away.

5. The Social Network
Sure they splurged a bit with the facts.  You really can't make a biopic these days without doing just that.  You also can't make one without making the person who's life you are chronicling a complete and total douchebag. Those are just the rules of the biopic.  The dialog is crisp and mesmerizing  in a way that only Aaron Sorkin knows how.  David Fincher is able to bring emotion and life to a story that is just about as mundane as mundane could possibly be.  I managed to sit through a two hour movie about Facebook and not feel like my life was robbed of me and that is an amazing accomplishment.  Jesse Eisenberg deserves a lot of credit too for getting me to care about a man that is so pompous and self absorbed that in most settings I simply wouldn't.  And I can't not mention Trent Reznor's amazing score.  It turns out he can make music that doesn't scare me.

6. Toy Story 3
Pixar has really made this really nasty habit of making movies that make me cry like a little girl.  From top to bottom Toy Story 3 would have to be one of my favorite films from the company that can't seem to do any wrong (this sentence will be null and void once Cars 2 comes out but I digress).  In a world where the third movie in any trilogy is most assuredly the worst (Return of the King was a fluke) it is refreshing to see one that doesn't crap on it's predecessor's legacy and actually manages to complete it.  There is really nothing much else I can say except thank you Pixar for your continued dedication to brilliance and for making movies for the right reasons.  I hope eventually everyone else can live up to your example.

7. Hot Tub Time Machine
I will not sit here and tell you that this movie is brilliant.  It's not.   In fact it's quite impressively stupid.  However that doesn't stop it from being hilarious.  It's self awareness of exactly what it is is refreshing and in it's own way what doesn't let it become terrible.  Sure it focuses too much energy on John Cusak and his search for love instead of Rob Colddry or Craig Robinson but honestly you can't completely blame them.  From beginning to end this movie gave me exactly what I expected from it and it did it with charm and semen jokes.  Well played good sirs, well played.

8 Catfish
There isn't much I am going to tell you about this movie.  In fact there is nothing I am going to tell you about this movie.  I will tell you that for the 48 hours after I saw this movie I lost all faith I had in humanity.  No, I didn't have a ton of faith to begin with but this movie killed it.  You owe it to yourself to watch this movie.  Just do it.  And not just because it's marketing told you to, but because I told you to.

9. Iron Man 2
This spot was a tough choice for me but in the end Iron Man 2 won out over Tron Legacy because while Tron was beautiful to look at, IM2 was better acted and flowed seamlessly from the first one.  Also my love of Scarlett Johansson in the skin tight Black Widow outfit did not hurt either.  The chemistry that seemed to be missing from Roddy and Tony Stark was remedied by the inclusion of the amazing Don Cheadle.  Robert Downey Jr is also astounding and proved once again that he really is the only man for the role of Tony Stark.  Yes the movie had it's flaws but once again it's a comic book movie and for that I can easily forgive it it's ttransgressions and flimsy plot devices and side stories.

10. Buried
It's a movie in which Ryan Reynolds is on my screen 100% of the time.  On what planet did you people not think this would be on my list?  In all seriousness though this movie was intense and riveting.  At a little over 90 minutes it is the perfect length for such a brave and unique movie idea.  It's just you and Ryan trapped in a box in the Iraq desert with just a cell phone to survive.  The tension builds perfectly, the ebbs and flows of the emotions brought about through the ordeal are incredibly suspenseful.  Just a top notch effort all the way around.  Did I mention it's Ryan Reynolds in a box?  It's like the writers of this movie found my Christmas list and turned it into a suspense movie.

Honorable mentions:
Tron Legacy
Four Lions
Tucker And Dale VS Evil



We always seem to find new songs that seem to scream out from our souls as if the writers wrote them entirely with us in mind.  Lately I can't stop listening to Kanye West's new album, but more specifically I can't stop listening to his song "Runaway".  So often I have thought these lyrics in my mind, only to have them come out of the mouth of a man who essentially invented the word "bravado".  And that's what makes it interesting.  If he can hide these feelings from the world and convince everyone that he's one of the most self aware and self confident people in existence then why can't I?

And I always find, yeah, I always find something wrong
You been puttin' up wit' my shit just way too long
I'm so gifted at findin' what I don't like the most
So I think it's time for us to have a toast

Let's have a toast for the douche-bags,
Let's have a toast for the assholes,
Let's have a toast for the scumbags,
Every one of them that I know
Let's have a toast to the jerkoffs
That'll never take work off
Baby, I got a plan
Run away fast as you can

She find pictures in my email
I sent this girl a picture of my, Dick
I don't know what it is with females
But I'm not too good at that, shit
See, I could have me a good girl
And still be addicted to them hoodrats
And I just blame everything on you
At least you know that's what I'm good at
See, I always find
And I always find
Yeah, I always find somethin' wrong
You been puttin' up with my shit just way to long
I'm so gifted at findin' what I don't like the most
So I think it's time for us to have a toast

Let's have a toast for the douchebags,
Let's have a toast for the assholes,
Let's have a toast for the scumbags,
Every one of them that I know
Let's have a toast to the jerkoffs
That'll never take work off
Baby, I got a plan
Run away fast as you can

Runaway from it baby.....
runaway from it baby
Run away........
(if stuff gets crazy)...why cant she just runaway...
(baby i gotta plan)...runaway as fast as you can
runaway from it baby

24/7, 365, pussy stays on my mind
I-I-I-I did it, all right, all right, I admit it
Now pick your next move, you could leave or live wit' it
Ichabod Crane with that motherfucking top off
Split and go where? Back to wearin' knockoffs, hah
Knock it off, Neiman's, shop it off
Let's talk over mai tais, waitress, top it off
hoes like vultures wanna fly in your Freddy loafers
You can't blame 'em, they ain't never seen Versace sofas
Every bag, every blouse, every bracelet
Comes with a price tag, baby, face it
You should leave if you can't accept the basics
Plenty hoes in the baller-nigger matrix
Invisibly set, the Rolex is faceless
I'm just young, rich, and tasteless

I was never much of a romantic
I could never take the intamacy
And i know it did damage
Plus the look in your eyes is killing me
I guess you have an advantage
You could blame me for everything
And i dont know what im'a manage
If one day you just up and leave

Oh and i alway find..
and i always find..
yeah i always find something wrong
You been puttin' up with my shit just way too long
I'm so gifted at findin' what I don't like the most
So I think it's time for us to have a toast

Let's have a toast for the douchebags,
Let's have a toast for the assholes,
Let's have a toast for the scumbags,
Every one of them that I know
Let's have a toast to the jerkoffs
That'll never take work off
Baby, I got a plan
Run away fast as you can


Stand up or sit down

Growing up when I was asked what I wanted to be I don't remember ever having an answer.  Not a doctor, not a policeman, not even a ninja.  I just never really thought of it as a decision that I needed to make when I was young.  I figured it would eventually reveal itself to me and I would just know my calling and be happy with it.  I had hobbies and interests that I liked a lot.  I played football with my friends, I acted in plays, I helped out in video stores, essentially I lived my life in search of happiness and I found it in many different places but i never really found my calling.

Or had I?

Through out all of this looking the one constant thing in my life that would bring me the most happiness was stand up comedy.  It started out simple enough with Gallagher smashing watermelons.  While it may not seem the funniest thing out there now, when you are 6 trust me it was hilarious.

I must have watched his tapes hundreds of times, however as I grew up I started looking for even more.  Now this was back before Comedy Central existed.  Yeah that's right, I'm old.  So I would scour the TV guide and find out when HBO was playing one of their famous hour long comedy specials.  And that is when I was introduced to a man that changed my life: George Carlin, specifically his Carlin at Carnegie special.

Carlin not only served as an eye-opener as to what real stand-up comedy is but he also acted as a gateway drug.  He led to Richard Pryor, he led to Lenny Bruce.  He provided me with motivation that I had never really felt before in my life.  I knew what I wanted to do now.  I wanted to be a stand-up comedian.

By the time I had graduated from high school I had it all planned out, I would write jokes, and work open mics in town during the week to perfect my act.  From there I would move to a bigger city and work there, and eventually be discovered and be well on my way to fame and popularity.  The plan was in one word - flawless.

And then I realized I lived in the tri-cities and there wasn't a comedy club anywhere even remotely close to there for me to work an open mic at.  I was busy taking care of my mom and making sure she was safe and well writing jokes became something I would do later.  I found other jobs that I loved and provided me pleasure and so my dreams became a distant memory of a time when I wasn't thinking straight.  I wanted to raise a family and be there for my children.  I wanted security that working on the road as a comic simply cannot bring.

Stand-up still played an important part in my life though.  Once I moved to Seattle I started to attend shows around town and through volunteering at Bumbershoot and going to these shows I was able to network and meet many wonderful local comedians.  I am always looking for more excuses to attend a comedy show.  I have been to every comedy venue in Seattle at least once, certainly enough to know that (at least prior to new management taking over) that the Comedy Underground was about a billion times better than Giggles, or that the Parlor in Bellevue is almost too hip and trendy to actually seem like a real comedy club.

Recently through my friendship with Greg those feelings from my childhood have come creeping back into my mind.  Not so much the idea of being rich and famous because of my stand-up, that doesn't really happen as often as seeing people on Comedy Central or HBO would let you believe.  No instead the thoughts are that if I don't go out there and try it I will never know if I could have done it.  It's the great unknown right now.

But that isn't going to always be the case.  I've decided that I owe it to myself to give it a valiant try.  I recently started to network with some of the local comedians that I know to get advice as to what I should do and where I should go.  Eventually I will truly test my will and my spirits.


And now pitching for the Seattle Mariners... Allen Brand!

I have mentioned before how much I love my job, but once again I have experienced two of the highest moments of my life that remind me why I keep doing it recently and I thought I would share.

A few months back when I was in the middle of applying to become the Store Manager at my store (I didn't get it, but it's cool I like the guy that did) the Mariners came up with a fun little contest among the stores.  Over the course of one week when the team was out of town (to make it fair) the sales associate that sold the most jerseys, authentic or replica, would win the following prize package -

1 personalized jersey
2 Lower box tickets to an upcoming game
The ability to throw out the first pitch at that Mariners game.

Now anyone who has worked with me in the past knows I take contests very seriously.  In fact once there is a contest out there I will win it no matter the cost.  I am already a pretty decent sales associate when there is nothing on the line but once there is a prize to win I flip a switch and I absolutely must win.  I won contests at Blockbuster, and previous in store contests with the mariners for much less of a prize so this suddenly became priority number one.

I already had the advantage at my store in that we were thinly staffed that week and I was getting the most hours since I was acting as the defacto-manager and most everyone else had only one to three shifts.  Still it wasn't enough to lead my store, I had to beat the other four stores including Safeco too.

By the end of the week I had fluked into twelve jerseys sold.  It was a lot, 2.4 jerseys for every day I worked to be exact, but I was still nervous about the other stores, Westlake and Safeco to be specific.  All they needed was a rush of Asian tourists or a large tour and they could steal this from me.  I waited nervously to turn in my results and get an idea if anyone was close from Doug.  My nerves were settled when Doug saw my results and exclaimed "wow someone sold twelve?!?  The most I have seen so far is eight!"

I gots this.

Well it took a little while to get the official word but it turns out my suspicions were correct and my twelve had stood up and I had won!  I then immediately ran a few laps around my store and hugged both of the people I was working with much to their displeasure.  No seriously Andy hated every second of that hug and not just because I may or may not have held it for a little too long.

After an absurdly long waiting time I found out the date of my first pitch would be September 30th.  I invited everyone I knew to see me throw my pitch and even my dad and stepmom who hate baseball wanted to come to take pictures and gush about their son.

The day came and I showed up about an hour before I was told to be there because I was nervous, and as a result my friend Jon Cox and I were allowed to go down onto the field and watch the Oakland A's batting practice.  The closer we got to my big moment in front of an estimated 13,000 people (actual attendance was more like 9,000 and even less when I threw my pitch) the more nervous I became.  Eventually they gave me the ball that I was to throw and I proceeded to play with it endlessly until the moment came to actually throw it.  We made our way back into the back hallway and threw a few practice tosses to ease my fear about the distance.

This is the point where I would post a video of my throw but unfortunately I don't have any videos other than the ones that are already posted on my facebook and I am being techno-retarded right now and can't figure out how to download them.  Once I figure it out I will get them up here.   Here are some videos my friends Jon and Jaime took of my first pitch performance.

This one is Jon's.  He was on the field with me.

This one was Jaime's.  I didn't even know she was there!

I know I mentioned two things but well, this post is getting a little long so I am gonna just end it here and post another update about the second thing later.  You understand.



I think we can all agree that in this world we always need to be validated for what we decide to do.  I am no different at all in that quest.  There was a time when I would walk around high school with signs on my chest that would say funny things just to make friends and get people's attention and approval.  It worked and I had more friends than I could have possibly have needed for those three years.  Once high school was over I couldn't really make a spectacle of myself for the validation I craved.  Instead I went to work at Blockbuster Video and let my vast movie knowledge and endearing personality validate my existence and earn praise.  Again it worked and I spent a year and a half happily living this life.

As time goes on we have less and less opportunities to be validated for the things we do and we have to depend on silly things like confidence and self esteem to build our sense of personal worth.  Now at the age of thirty I work at a thankless job that I absolutely love that I am AMAZING at.  I have wonderful friends that put up with my neurotic behavior.  I find that more and more I live to make people laugh.  That simple sound is validation enough for me to keep me going through this life that I have chosen.  Make no mistakes I know I chose this life and this is not meant to be construed as whining but rather just explaining why I am happy with this life that some people would find lackluster and empty.  It is because of all of your laughter and smiles.

This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Bumbershoot here in Seattle.  I go every year mostly because of the stand-up comedy that they have there and this year was no different (though Weezer, Bob Dylan and the Thermals also came into my decision).  I was most excited to see one of my favorite shows from Bumbershoot past come back - Greg Behrendt's Bring the Rock.  This show is not like a regular stand up show in that the comedians involved don't really tell jokes.  Instead they tell stories from their lives that involve music in some way, then from those stories the house band The Electrick Snowflake plays a song related to the story to help it come full circle.  It may not read like much on paper/screen/shut your face but I can promise you that the show is amazing.  Six years ago Greg brought the show to Bumbershoot before the release of his book and a trip to Chicago for Oprah and I fell in love real quick.  It is hard to not fall in love with a Nina Gordon acoustic version of  N.W.A's "Straight Out of Compton".

For reference this is what Nina Gordon looks like.  N.W.A. is like the EXACT opposite of this.
Since then I have been following Greg's career and have developed an Internet friendship of sorts with the man and his family (if you see me wearing an odd looking pair of fingerless gloves his sister made them for me and I love them.) We have been friends on both myspace, facebook and he even followed me on my original @allenbrand twitter account (he has yet to follow me on my replacement @theallenbrand account though).  When I found out he was coming again this year it became my quest to meet the man again and maybe get my copy of "He's Just Not That Into You" signed (yes I own that book, yes I have read it and shut your stupid judgmental face).  Well this plan it turns out took all of about 40 minutes on the Bumbershoot grounds.  I picked up my comedy pass for Greg's show and decided to stop by the venue to try and get into the early show there, a recording of Jimmy Pardo's Never Not Funny podcast and say hello to my old friend Devo that works there every year.

The original plan was to try and pull strings with Devo to get into all of his shows so I could hang out in the lobby and wait to meet him and get a picture with him.  After exchanging pleasantries with Devo I mention that I was coming back for the Bring the Rock show, I notice the door to the venue that I am haphazardly blocking is opening.  I turn my head while stepping to the side so whomever it is that is coming out can get by (because I am courteous like that and I want this blog post to longer somehow so I need to add these small details) I immediately recognize Greg.  I am a little taken back that meeting him was so easy, but I just start small talking with him about how I am going to see his show later.  He then asks me if he has met me before at Bumbershoot and I mention that we met six years ago when he first brought BTR to Bumbershoot before the book came out, then I mention buying the punk mittens from his sister and he immediately stops me and says "wait are you Allen?"  he actually knew who I was from facebook and twitter.  It was like we had suddenly gone from fan and performer to old friends.  I asked about his sister a bit and he said she was doing better, and I said I was glad because I'm not a jerk like that.  Then he asks me if I am going to be here all weekend, and I said yeah (I was originally not planning on going on Monday but after meeting him I really couldn't not go Monday now) and he asked if I was going to check out his show, I said I was going to try but getting comedy passes is a rather annoying process so I might miss out.  I then jokingly said that if he told them I was with him I could definitely get in though.  Without hesitation he turned to Devo and said "Okay, he's with me.  Take good care of him."  And with that I was set.  I didn't need to wait in line, I didn't need anything but to show up and see the show.

After his first show I didn't want to bother him so I quickly left the theater with the rest of the audience that had been sufficiently rocked (so much so the guy next to me decided to go see all three shows when he was originally only going to the first one).  That night I came home and received a friend request from Greg on Facebook (we were originally friends but about two weeks ago he deleted his personal account because so many fans were sending him Farmville requests and he was tired of it, He started a new one shortly their after for just his close friends).  Along with the friend request was a message telling me that he could put me on a list as a guest in the morning if I wanted to.  I thanked him for the thought and then went fanboy on him about a post he put on his website about a week ago.

On Sunday I was with my friend Cassie and I partially wanted to show off that Greg knew me, and I also wanted to thank him again for everything and tell him how amazing the show was so after the show we kind of hung out after the show a bit on the stage when Greg saw me and immediately came over and gave me a big hug and said "Thanks for coming.  It was good to see you out in the front."  Again it was like we were long lost friends.  I introduced him to Cassie and he asked if we were going to see Weezer and Hole later in the evening.  We told him we were definitely seeing Weezer but that we didn't have any interest in watching Courtney Love mumble through her songs doing a poor man's Bob Dylan impression.  And like that we were off again.

Monday was the last day of the Festival and so I made sure to remember to bring my book and a pen.  I hated that I was going fanboy on him so much at this point but I have been trying to get this book signed for the better part of the six years I have owned it and damned if I was going to let that stop me now.  After his last show of the festival he was signing other autographs and being the general nice guy that he is and he sees me and again gives me a hug and says "Hey man!".  I tell him great show again and ask him to sign my book.

And then it happens.

Greg - "Hey man do you do stand-up?"
Me (kind of taken back) - "I don't actually.  I wanted to do it when I was younger but I decided that I wanted to raise a family and life on the road isn't really typical of that."
Greg - "Yeah I understand that.  You're really funny."
Me (REALLY taken back) - "Thanks man that really means a lot."
Greg - "Yeah your tweets are really funny.  Be sure to hit me up next time I am in town."
Me (searching for the only words I could think of) - "absolutely"

Then Greg handed me back my book shook my hand and then I was off dazed and amazed.  Greg thought I was funny.  A man that gets paid regularly to be funny thinks I am funny.  It is widely said that the greatest compliment a comedian can receive is having another comic say you are funny because they are traditionally a rather fickle bunch and one of my absolute favorites just said that I was funny.  Suddenly the little joke on my facebook page "I am funnier than you think I am" became true because of his validation.  I.AM.FUNNY.

I left the Charlotte Martin Theater in a blur.  I don't remember leaving the theater.  All I can remember is wandering around lost mumbling that he thought I was funny while crying in the middle of Seattle Center desperately searching for someone to tell.  I found my friend Elisa.  I found Kaylene.  I found Laird.  I found Jen.  I found my phone and told Twitter and Facebook in vague terms.  And now I am telling you.

Thank you Greg for saying something that might have seemed normal conversation to you.  There is no way for me to properly convey how much this very simple and honest conversation meant to me.  I won't say the cliche that this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, because I do understand the mundane nature that this exchange could have to everyone reading this.  I will however say that this was just the shot in the arm that I needed this weekend.

Thank you Greg.

This would be the place where I would put the picture that I took of Greg and I after his last show at Bumbershoot, but wouldn't you know it I forgot to take said picture.  But that is okay because this memory is even better.  Also here is a video of Greg performing at BTR this weekend that I took nevermind I had to take my videos down. Boo.


New blog

Alright so I have once again entered one of my many phases where I need another blog. Once again it is a movie blog because - hey why not? I will essentially use this blog as an online catalog of my movie collection where I will write reviews of all the movies that I own.

Now I know exactly what you are thinking "Allen, if you own these movies that means you spent money on them and therefor you had to like them and so aren't reviews kind of pointless?" To which I say, shut your face. Clearly you forget that I own Alvin and the chipmunks, Alex & Emma, Blankman. No one likes those movies.

In a way this is a continuation of my resolution last year, except I don't have a deadline for watching them, and I don't have a particular order for them to go in, and the reviews will be longer and singularly reviewed instead of large groups of movies like I did with my resolution write-ups I stopped caring about after the letter F.

Anyway feel free to stop by Allen's Movie Stash and find out what I am watching this week.


One Month Later

Wow have I really not updated in a month? Well here is an update for you to tide you over for another month.

A lot has happened to me since I last blogged. I wet to San Francisco and got sunburned for the first time in years (not because I have magical luck that prevents me from getting burnt but rather because life as a shut-in doesn't allow for much sunlight.) I also moved out of my parents house once again, and this time for good. With that move I have also found myself in a new ward for the first time since 2005 and it is more than a little troublesome right now. I have been to baseball games and concerts. I have attempted to eat my weight in ice cream. And I have discovered what I am going to talk about with you today.

Now as the name so obviously states this is a box of ramen that you get delivered to your house for a nominal fee. But really it is so much more. As a youngish single man who can cook but refuses to cook for himself ramen has always been a mainstay in my diet. It's cheap, easy, and comes in single serving packages what is not to love (aside from the over abundance of sodium of course)? The problem with Top Ramen, the standard easily recognizable brand of Ramen that eleven times out of ten is the first thing you think of when you say ramen, is that the flavors are bland and the meal itself is lifeless. There is no real substance to the dish unless you add your own stuff.
If someone could explain to me what "Oriental" flavor is supposed to be besides racist I would love to know.

Ramenbox meanwhile completely ignores the Top Ramen Americanized version of the dish in favor of a heartier variety of asian imported ramen brands and flavors. Each brand is different and unique compared to the last. You can still add your favorite veggies or meats to your meal but there is no real need to thanks to the thicker noodles and the additional flavor packets within each package. You can get cups, bowls, larger packages with multiple servings, or the traditional single serving packages. They have quite literally everything. You can choose between two different sizes of ramenboxes the standard with 20 "slots" or the large with 40 "slots" and each package is worth 1,2, or 3 slots. I opted for the large box and tried to get a little bit of everything and as a result I got something that looked a little like this:

It was so much delicious that I didn't know where to start. But start I did. Every package that I have eaten so far has been amazing and unique. The one thing that I have noticed is that with my old cheap ramen I would find myself cooking two packages at a time to tide me over. Not with this though. No I have barely put a dent in my ramenbox because quite simply I haven't needed to. One package and I am good to go for pretty much the rest of the day, and for a guy my size with my appetite that is an INCREDIBLE thing. I have already decided that once this box gets low I am going to order it again because I am that in love with this service.

I still don't think I will ever get to the point where I will make ramen for a date, but now it isn't because I am embarrassed to purchase it, but rather I don't want to share.


I gave a talk

So three weeks ago I was asked to give a talk. I couldn't do it that week because Carl convinced me to go to a YSA conference in Everett. However I decided to mention that I could talk this week instead. CJ agreed and gave me my topic - D&C 10:5. And I was off. This is what I came up with. Let me know what you think. I think it's slightly genius but then again I am slightly biased.


I have always wanted to be a superhero. Some of that comes from the cool clothes, the idea of a secret identity, and that they always get the girl. The main draw though was always their super powers. Flight, speed, talking to fish, razor sharp claws, the ability to heal, x ray vision. the list of cool super powers can go on forever. The one super power that all the heroes seem to have though is, unless they are possessed by an alien symbiotic creature they seem impervious to temptation. There is nothing that can be said or done to these heroes that will sway them from their code of ethics.

Man, on the other hand, no matter how strong-willed is always open for temptation. Everywhere you turn there is something new tempting you into sin. I could waste your time and mine by listing all the ways we have to sin, but instead I would rather focus on some of the ways that we can resist temptation, primarily with prayer.

In Doctrine and Covenants 10 verse 5 we are commanded to pray always that we may conquer Satan. Which sounds a lot easier than it really is. We can become distracted by the business of our every day life, a pressing deadline at work, or even the shock and awe that the Sun is actually out in Seattle that we must absolutely go play in it right this very second. However it is important to realize that it is in those stressful moments in our lives that we need to pray the most. Spencer W. Kimball said "When I used to travel throughout the stakes and missions of the Church in earlier years, I often met people who were in trouble or who had great need. My first question to them was, “What about your prayers? How often? How deeply involved are you when you pray?” I have observed that sin generally comes when communication lines are down. For this reason the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always lest that wicked one have power in you.”

So very often we are faced with serious challenges in our lives, and we will quickly turn to parents, coworkers, or our closest friends for advice to help us through our dilemma. This isn't necessarily the wrong thing to do, but my question is why is it that we choose to turn to our Heavenly Father for guidance and directions like we do our real fathers? Perhaps we feel that our issues are too small to waste God's time with. There are other people who need their answers more than I do. I can handle this on my own. As we all know this is the work of Satan. We are all equal in the eyes of the lord, and so are all of our problems. There is no DMVesque queue where he takes the more important and pressing needs first. He loves all of us and he wants to help us find our way back to him. If we simply turn to him in our time of need he will guide us to the solutions.

In 2003 Russell M. Nelson relayed the following story about one of his experiences with prayer.

Many of us have had experiences with the sweet power of prayer. One of mine was shared with a stake patriarch from southern Utah. I first met him in my medical office more than 40 years ago, during the early pioneering days of surgery of the heart. This saintly soul suffered much because of a failing heart. He pleaded for help, thinking that his condition resulted from a damaged but repairable valve in his heart.

Extensive evaluation revealed that he had two faulty valves. While one could be helped surgically, the other could not. Thus, an operation was not advised. He received this news with deep disappointment.

Subsequent visits ended with the same advice. Finally, in desperation, he spoke to me with considerable emotion: “Dr. Nelson, I have prayed for help and have been directed to you. The Lord will not reveal to me how to repair that second valve, but He can reveal it to you. Your mind is so prepared. If you will operate upon me, the Lord will make it known to you what to do. Please perform the operation that I need, and pray for the help that you need.” 21

His great faith had a profound effect upon me. How could I turn him away again? Following a fervent prayer together, I agreed to try. In preparing for that fateful day, I prayed over and over again, but still did not know what to do for his leaking tricuspid valve. Even as the operation commenced, 22 my assistant asked, “What are you going to do for that?”

I said, “I do not know.”

We began the operation. After relieving the obstruction of the first valve, 23 we exposed the second valve. We found it to be intact but so badly dilated that it could no longer function as it should. While examining this valve, a message was distinctly impressed upon my mind: Reduce the circumference of the ring. I announced that message to my assistant. “The valve tissue will be sufficient if we can effectively reduce the ring toward its normal size.”

But how? We could not apply a belt as one would use to tighten the waist of oversized trousers. We could not squeeze with a strap as one would cinch a saddle on a horse. Then a picture came vividly to my mind, showing how stitches could be placed—to make a pleat here and a tuck there—to accomplish the desired objective. I still remember that mental image—complete with dotted lines where sutures should be placed. The repair was completed as diagrammed in my mind. We tested the valve and found the leak to be reduced remarkably. My assistant said, “It’s a miracle.”

I responded, “It’s an answer to prayer.”

The patient’s recovery was rapid and his relief gratifying. Not only was he helped in a marvelous way, but surgical help for other people with similar problems had become a possibility. I take no credit. Praise goes to this faithful patriarch and to God, who answered our prayers. This faithful man lived for many more years and has since gone to his eternal glory.

Now just because we are all on a level playing field when it comes to having the Lord's desire to listen to our prayers, this doesn't mean that we don't need to strive to build a stronger level of communication with our heavenly Father. If we cannot completely convey our situation to the Lord there is no way for him to be able to accurately know what we need to fix it.

In 1990 Ezra Taft Benson gave 5 ways we can improve our communication with the Lord.

1. We should pray frequently. This one works in a couple different ways. For one, how likely are you to help a friend that you talk to on a daily basis when they come to you in a time of need? Now how likely are you to help a friend you haven't seen in 15 years and won't tell you the whole story behind their dilemma so you can understand it properly? It is the same way with the lord. The more he knows of you and your intentions the more he will know that if he gives you aide you won't just turn around and return to the behaviors that got you in trouble in the first place.

2. We should find an appropriate place where we can meditate and pray. if you are praying in a place full of distractions, it is very likely that you aren't as interested in what you are saying and you are more likely to rush through your prayer to go out and enjoy those distractions. Instead try and find a nice quiet room away from everything and everyone. That way you can dedicate all of your attention to your conversation with the lord.

3. We should prepare ourselves for prayer. When entering into a conversation with a superior about an issue that is important to you it is fundamentally important to know your talking points. Recently I had a job interview to become the Store Manager of my store. I spent almost a week preparing myself for this conversation so that I could best convey why I felt I was the best option for the position. If I didn't believe I was best for the position, neither would my boss. It is the same way with prayer. If you don't know why you are praying then neither will God. Meanwhile if you know exactly what you are asking for it will help the lord know what is best for you.

4. Our prayers should be meaningful and pertinent. As much fun as everyone can say small talk is, there is very little room for it in our prayers. Let's put it this way, if you were to sit down with the President would you waste his time with standard getting to know you questions? I most certainly wouldn't. His time is valuable and as someone who has seen a lot of the West Wing, he is a busy man and he has much better things to do than tell you how his day is going. It is the same way with the Lord. He wants the meat, or meat-like substitute, of the conversation sandwich. That is not to say that he doesn't want to hear about our day, but rather that he wants to hear about the important stuff more. This is why repetitive and memorized prayers are a waste of time. He heard you the first time. Eventually if you don't say anything new or pertinent to the conversation, it will tend to end before it actually ends and you are left talking to yourself.

5. After making a request through prayer we have a responsibility to assist in it being granted. it is like dale Carnegie said "If you want to conquer fear, don't sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Once we ask for help we absolutely cannot sit and wait for the answer. If I were to pray for a new job I can not possibly get that job unless I go out and apply for many, many, many jobs. No one is going to come to my door and say "Hey I would like to give you a job complete stranger. I pay $45,000 a year and you only have to work 3 hours a weekday." It just doesn't work that way. As Spencer W. Kimball once said "It is such a privilege and joy to pray to our Father in Heaven, such a blessing for us. But our experience is not finished after our prayer is completed. Amulek correctly taught: “And now behold, my beloved brethren, … after ye have [prayed], if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.” (Alma 34:28.) We must never forget that we are to live the gospel as honestly and earnestly as we pray."


In two weeks...

I will be here -

With her -

And aside from this -

I have no idea what we are going to do, but I am sure it will be fun and exciting.



There are friendships in my life that tend to go on for too long. Either I get tired of them, or they get tired of me, but they should have ended long before they actually do.

Then there are friendships in my life that never seem to end, but they change and evolve into less of a friendship and more of a acquaintanceship and then into "Oh yeah I know that guy/girl, I wonder if they remember me."

Other friendships grow and evolve from that one random kid that you kinda know, into the closest friendship one can have without becoming lovers. You know each others thoughts and needs. When you need a shoulder they are there with two. When you want a laugh they will give you more than your share. When you need your space, they flat out refuse. It's the type of friendship that you cherish for a lifetime. It changes your entire life, but you don't really recognize it until it's gone.

Today I lost a friend of four years to a bright future doing something that he has known his entire life that he has wanted to do but only recently decided to pursue. The selfish part of me wants to sneak over to his house tonight and slash his tires. However the logical side of me knows that isn't going to stop him. There is part of my mind that really hopes he changes his mind and decides that the safe and easy route is the better one for him to take. Again, I know him too well. If he wanted safe he wouldn't have traveled the road he's taken to get to this point in his life so why would he stop now?

I know how this story ends, and it isn't good for me, but I am getting better. Kurt will go on to do many great things and change many, many lives. It's in his blood, and it's in his heart. And I am proud of him for all the decisions that he has made.

In all honesty I don't know if I will see him again, I wish I could be as steadfast as he is when he says he's coming back, but as I learned with Dean even when they come back they don't really come back the same. However I do know that through the many memories I have with Kurt from these last four years will live with me forever and the lessons he has taught me will continue to teach me throughout the rest of my life.

Thank you Kurt. And I love you.


Unposted postings

I haven't updated this blog in a month at least and really I have no excuse for it. I have done plenty of things. I have had plenty of interesting (to me) thoughts that I needed to write down. I even have yet another Birthday coming up that I definitely have had on my mind a lot lately. I have written about those things, but I get distracted half way through and I save them for later never to be seen again. Sorry about that. I do plan on going back and finishing them up so you can see them it just takes awhile so I can figure out the point I was trying to make with that post or just what I wanted to say in general. This is just to let you know that I haven't died and that I do plan on updating eventually.

One day.


Hip Hop isn't dead it's just malnourished and underfed

About a week ago I was having a conversation about music. There hard been a miscommunication of sorts. She was under the impression that I listen to mostly punk. Now I will be the absolute first to let you know that I don't have the most genre specific music tastes. I constantly have my iPod on shuffle sliding from genre to genre with no real connection between the over 7,000 songs that I have in my collection. However I will say that my first love is and always will be hip hop. Well when she heard this in an effort to get back at me for calling her favorite band mediocre she called hip hop "crap". Now this isn't a comment that I have never heard. Shoot they even worked int into a wrestling angle in WCW where Jeff Jarrett wrote a country song called "Rap is Crap". I think Jeff is working on a gimmick infringement lawsuit on Cassie as we speak over these comments. In response I simply said "that's only because you haven't heard the good stuff yet.". So after a little bit more talking we made a deal that she would create a CD of punk songs that I would enjoy and in return I would school her in the good hip hop. Apparently she didn't think I would be done with mine in two days. Here is my playlist for you guys to look at and gain a proper appreciation for all things hip hop. I had a hard time coming up with a proper order to put the songs in so I decided to go with Alphabetical just because it seemed to work. I've included youtube videos so you can listen to the songs too, though I will warn you there will be swearing so listen at your own risk.

B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) - Outkast
I needed an Outkast song for the mixtape. It was either this one or Miss Jackson. I decided the very explosive antiwar song would win out on the apologetic song about divorce and the effects on the family.

Bleed Slow - Atmosphere
I dare you to find a better ode to the death of a love one.

Brenda's Got A Baby - Tupac
The effects of teen pregnancy in the ghetto. This is why we miss Tupac.

C.R.E.A.M (Cash rules everything Around Me) - Wu Tang Clan
The story of a youth's understanding as to how the drug game has destroyed his life and why he felt there was no way out of it.

Fight the Power - Public Enemy
One of my comments to Cassie was that she would be surprised with how much Punk and Hip Hop have in common. If this mix tape only consisted of this one song she would still have to agree with me. (also the man is evil and needs to be stopped)

G.O.D. (Gaining One's Definition) - Common
When I need a reminder as to why I go through all the crap I do in my life and that I still have things to give in this life I listen to this song.

Hip Hop - Dead Prez
Quite simply this song is the very essence of Hip Hop. It's angry, neglected people reaching out to share their message to educate those who have been blinded by the disaster that is popular music.

The Inkwell - Blue Scholars
This song made me love Seattle. There is so much out there that slips through the cracks that you have to find and cherish.

Katrina Klap (Dollar Day) - Mos Def
Hurricane Katrina was a horrible disaster, however it led to many of my favorite hip hop songs ("That's life" by Killer Mike and "Georgia... Bush" by Lil' Wayne are a couple others I suggest you listen to, well unless you liked GWB). Some will think of Mos Def as just an actor but this song will remind you just how good of an MC he is.

Keep On Rockin' - Asheru
I just found this song on Saturday and I already think that Asheru is my new favorite underground rapper.

Little Girl Gone - Devin The Dude
There is so much emotion and love in this song that it makes me wish I could find this lost little girl and save her.

Little Weapon - Lupe Fiasco
The snare drum alone makes this an amazing song but when you combine it with Lupe's delivery and the symbolism to his lyrics it becomes truly EPIC.

The Message - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
The sad part of this song is that while it should have served as a time capsule of the 80's and led to the clean up of the ghettos, it instead is a timeless classic that is STILL culturally relevant.

Mr. Wendal - Arrested Development
I can't not give at least my spare change to a homeless person thanks to this song.

The Nature - Talib Kweli
Perseverance and growth in the face of our problems and an ode to changing the nature of our lives and help those that are in worse conditions than we are.

Talib Kweli (Feat. Justin Timberlake) - The Nature from The KatyCapsule on Vimeo.

Sound of Da Police - KRSOne
Just in case Fight the Power left you asking more questions than it answered here comes the great KRS-One to make it a little clearer that the Man is evil. His verse comparing the slave Overseer and Officers is especially moving and poignant.

Soundtrack 2 My Life - Kid Cudi
I think I like this song mostly because I identify with it so it obviously becomes a favorite.

Turn Off the Radio - Dead Prez
Dead Prez are the only group to show up twice and with good reason: they're amazing. I chose this one showcases exactly why pop music is horrible and the only proper solution to getting rid of it is to turn it off. I haven't listened to the radio in years and I am quite proud of it.


A brief post of thanks

As a male I don't usually get to receive the benefits of the Relief Society. I mean I get the benefits of their smiling faces and their wonderful company on dates and whatnot but I don't get that sense of community and sisterhood that a regular member of the Relief Society SHOULD get. Instead as a man I am subjected to the Elder's Quorum. Now I may be entirely off base when I say this but, at least with my experience with a singles ward EQ there is no community or real togetherness. Rather it's a bunch of males sizing each other up as competition and declaring themselves superior in some way to make themselves feel better. The sisters have enrichment where the get together and talked and craft and learn skills that better themselves as people while also growing closer together as sisters. The men however have "Manrichment" where we sit around and watch sports, or play video games while eating pizza and beating each other up either physically or via the bloody games. I think that just made my point for me. I do have some friends in the EQ, but for the most part I keep to myself and I find myself making friends with the sisters which probably bothers oh so many of my brethren which I will admit is at least part of why I do it.

Anyway back to what I was trying to talk about before I tangented myself into dangerous territory - the Relief Society. I honestly do think that the strength of any good ward is in it's sisters. Earlier this week my mom went in for gastric bypass surgery. After she was released from the hospital she was required to stay in a hotel here in Seattle in order to recover fully and make sure there were no complications. She couldn't just go home because she lives in Prosser and that's too far from the hospital for them to get to any problems in a timely manner. I tried to get the time off from work so I could stay with her all day while she was in the hotel but unfortunately a coworker had already requested the time off and I was the only other keyholder available to close the store so I couldn't get the time off I needed. What commenced was a stressful week of me trying to figure out how to ask for help and who to turn to. Naturally I turned to my friends from the church and I also talked to my boss about working my schedule so I was working the least amount of hours possible while my mom needed me.

I heard very little back from anyone that could actually help me. I had friends in Idaho and the Tri-Cities say they would help me in a heartbeat if they could. My EQP and friend Carl volunteered for the first night with my mom which was a huge load off my shoulders. Then my good friend Laura called and said she could help the second because it's her spring break. I had Sunday off thanks to my wonderful boss Wes, and then I started to get phone calls and emails from other SISTERS in the ward offering their time to help. A lot of them couldn't actually help but they sent their prayers and well wishes anyway. Then my friend Megan volunteered for Monday and it looked like all the shifts that I had told people about were filled.

One little problem - when I sent out the email I miscalculated when my mom was getting to go home. I thought she was leaving on Tuesday because that was the fifth day. It turns out that she needed to stay for five NIGHTS and so once again I was left with an open day. Miraculously I didn't even need to ask for help. Sunday in the morning I got a phone call from Whitney in my ward's Relief Society presidency making sure that I had all the days covered and asking if there was anything she could do. I mentioned that I still needed Tuesday night covered and she said she was going to take care of it. I felt relieved as I passed on the information that she needed and I went about my day believing that someone would come through and that Tuesday would be okay.

After church Whitney called me and said that not just one sister but two of them volunteered to help on Tuesday and that Erin would be there from 4-7 and that Geneva, a sister that met me for the first time a week ago, would watch her from 7 until I got home from work. Everything worked out and on top of it all my mom has been feeling better and better as the days go on. I can see her strength returning and her spirits lifted and I can't help but think that while spending time with me is part of the reason for it, I really think that being able to see that other people who don't even know who she is care about her enough to take 4-6 hours out of their day and spend it taking care of her out of the kindness of their hearts is a much bigger part of it.

I just wanted to take this time to say thank you to all of you who helped, or promised to help, or wanted to help my mom this past week. Specifically Laura O'Brien, Carl Cutler, Laura and Byron Schmidt, Megan Wixom, Erin Leigh Chapman, Geneva Pelfrey, Whitney Thompson, Rachael Knudsen, Aimee Elber, Andreanne Loiselle, Jon Cox, Derek Child, Kurt Kaiser, Brian "Little Bingo" Stephens, and Wes Miller. Without you guys working with me I really don't know how I would have survived these five days. Both my mom and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being the single most amazing people that I know. I love you all, and I never say that so you know I mean it.


new feature

So I have had an account on formspring.me for awhile now but I haven't bothered to do anything with it. Well that all changes now because if you will look to your right you will see a box where you can ask me questions. You don't have to tell me who you are if you don't want to (obviously I would like it if you did but whatever). you will have to go here to see the answers to your questions, but I think it will be worth it.

Essentially I am just playing around with another pointless social networking site in an effort to help make my life more open and available for those who want to hear about me, which as far as I am concerned should be everyone since I am incredible.


I have finally figured it out

After exhaustive research I have finally discovered why women are so completely insane. It turns out their minds are constantly trying to decipher every word and action that men such as I make. And of course as opposed to taking the logical and responsible thought pattern as to what a man is saying they twist it into some malfunctioning rude statement or a blatant attack on their person. Now before you misconstrue this as me being bitter and angry because a girl hurt me recently. I can assure you that that is far from the truth. No instead this morning while I was at work waiting to clock on thanks to MSN I stumbled upon a Cosmo test on "50 guy phrases translated". Now I'm a guy so I figured it would be good for a laugh and that I would see some sort of honest article to show to women that while occasionally we don't say what we mean, by and large we aren't some slimy jealous jerk who only wants to have sex with you and will say anything to accomplish that feat.

Holy crap was I wrong. First they only give 3 possible answers to the questions, and I'd say 75% of the time they are all snarky, horrible, and absolutely not what I mean when I say something. For example when I say "I like your shoes" that is not me trying to get out of trouble by saying something nice that I don't mean. No it means I like your shoes. THAT WASN'T EVEN A POSSIBLE ANSWER.

Seriously though women I have to know, do you actually think this way? Because I'll be honest I don't think most men are like that. Yes some of us are I will admit that. Some of us are so full of ourselves that we can't actually carry a conversation without it being about us and we will say anything to get out of an argument even "I like your shoes". However that's a minority. There are nice, honest, sincere, kind, loving, good men out there*. Stop trying to analyze what we are saying to find the base of our character, try our actions. Those are much more telling as to what we mean than what any ridiculous quiz will tell you.

*they're called homosexuals.


Thank you for entering my life, now please never leave me

I have an absolute crap load of music on my computer, 7,888 tracks to be exact. If I listened to all of the songs from beginning to end it would last for over 3 weeks without repeating a song. Obviously I have never actually achieved such a feat because I always seem to get distracted and find myself only listening to the newest stuff that I have downloaded and then my favorite artists when I get an urge to listen to say the Beatles or Outkast. However when I am out away from my computer I just put the entire archive on shuffle and let it go until the batteries die. Sometimes it plays a song that I enjoy, others it plays something that I just don't want to listen to at that time, which is where the skip button comes in handy. Occasionally it will play a song that I have never heard in my life. These moments are rare because I always try to educate myself on what I am downloading to see if I like it, but when you just download the entire catalog for a particular artist you are destined to come up with something weird. I've grown used to this and it has given me a few new favorite songs by my favorite artists that I wouldn't regularly have heard.

Earlier this week though something interesting happened. I found a song that I haven't heard of by and artist I have never heard of. I don't know where they came from, how I managed to download these songs or this artist, and I most certainly have no clue what made me go through the effort to download 6 tracks by this guy. All I know is that I like him. A lot. His name is Stephen Malkmus which isn't even a name I can connect to a stray download because of a name. It's like he came out of absolutely nowhere. He isn't even the type of music I regularly enjoy or listen to and yet I can't stop myself. And so here I am on my blog rambling incoherently like I am prone to doing about him. You should all go listen to him and discover a love for him much like I have. At least you'll know where you were introduced to him.


Bowling For Soup

Alright so I rarely do these types of updates but I had such a good time that I figured I should share with you, my wonderful blog readers (all 7 of you). Last weekend I went to my first concert of 2010. I went to see Bowling For Soup, which some of you might be surprised is still out making music and have several other songs besides 1985. As I am not one to come to something like this all on my own I brought along my friends Cassie, Hollis, Jon, and Michelle.

Guess which of these three didn't seem to belong at this concert

Now there were multiple highlights to this show which include:

Slow dancing at a punk Rock show.


I couldn't tell if he was wearing this ironically or not.

And the most rocking and unfortunately supervised nine year old ever.

Now these "look what fun I had" blog posts aren't complete without videos so here are some that I took at the show.

1985 with wonderful singing along by myself.

A cover of Katy Perry's Hot and Cold that made me immediately think of Sarah Pearce.

My Wena, quite possibly my favorite song on their new album. No Hablo Ingles is a close second.

Their Encore, which proceeded to stay in my head for the next 3 days.

Great fun was had by all, and I can't wait for my next concert.


I was clearly the wrong person to ask to do this

In a follow up on my last post about writer's block I thought I would share with all of you what I wrote. This was all featured in today's ward newsletter.

Alright so I really don't know what I can tell you that you haven't heard already in regards to dating. I mean we've all been in a singles ward long enough to have heard all the boring cliches (yes even you freshmen). Be patient, go on dates, respect each other, be friendly, blah, blah blah, etc. etc. etc. It's a bored and tired record that I know I am sick of having spouted to me week in and week out. However I do have a few thoughts on the matter that I am going to share with you, feel free to ignore this and fold it into a paper airplane if you don't want to listen.

Ladies: No one wants to hear you complain about how no one asks you on dates. No matter how true it may be, chances are you really just mean that boy you like isn't asking you on a date. Perhaps instead of whining about it you should be proactive about it. Men aren't mind readers, we need you to tell us what you want. Maybe not as blatant as "you should ask me out for this weekend." but flirting is essential. And by flirting I don't mean hard to get flirting because hard to get just means high maintenance to most men.

Men: Stop being so shallow. I really can't say that enough. There are so many women in our ward that deserve to be asked out on dates that simply aren't because of some stupid juvenile thoughts on beauty. Looks will fade. She will put on a few extra pounds. It's her personality and soul that will stay through the ages and eternity.

Ladies: Remember your worth. If a man isn't treating you up to your worth he isn't worth your time or energy. You're amazing, always remember that. Don't stress about that one boy who isn't showing the affection you want, and deserve. He's an idiot who is missing out on you. You just need to go out there and live your life and be happy. Don't waste your pretty on jerks.

Men: You have a cell phone - use it. Email, Facebook, and texting has made us lazy. If you want to show a woman you are serious about spending time with her call her. It will mean a lot more than writing on her wall ever could. If you don't have her phone number, the next time you see her just ask. I'm sure she will be willing to give it to you.

Ladies: If a guy asks you on a date for the first time, say yes. No he may not be that dreamboat you've been eying in Sunday School, but it took a lot for this other fella to ask you out and you never really know just how much fun you could be having until you actually go out.

Men: If a woman declines your invitation for a date, and you aren't sure if she is blowing you off or not apply what I call the "Brad Pitt Rule". If Brad Pitt had asked her on a date would she have turned him down? No. She would have moved heaven and earth to make that happen. Now while you are not Mr. Pitt, if a woman is into you she would drop anything to go out with you. ANYTHING. Obviously there are exceptions and plans that cannot be moved, but if she is into you she will suggest another time for the date. If she doesn't do that, well you've been shut out and there is nothing you can do about it. But don’t worry, she probably isn’t as cool as you thought she was since she doesn’t appreciate your charms. Start pursuing another lady who will.*

Alright there you have it a few simple tips and unsolicited advice on how to date. I do have one more bit of advice for you ladies and gentlemen though if you haven't quite tired of this shtick yet: Just go out on dates. I figure the sooner all of us are married the sooner we can stop being the guilted and start laying on the guilt trips instead.

*The Brad Pitt rule was blatantly stolen from one of my favorite blogs "The Art of Manliness". The whole post can be read here


Writer's Block

Why is it that when I am given a specific topic to write about I can't think of anything to write, even if it's something that I have a lot to say about it, but when I have no real direction or thought into my writing it comes with ease?

Essentially I have been given my first real responsibility in my calling on the fellowshipping committee. They want me to write a little blurb on dating and relationships. I have thoughts in my head that I want to get out but I don't know how to say them without losing the point. I have a voice but I just can't find it.

But don't you fine readers worry, I have plenty of time to get this done. The deadline is tomorrow. Sleep is WAY over rated anyway.


So that happened

I have shared my love affair with Twitter on my blog before but one thing I forgot to mention is celebrities who tweet. Now I know some people believe that they are just using it as a medium of blatant self-promotion with no real desire to interact with their fans, and in a lot of cases they are absolutely right. However there are a select few that do use twitter as a way to talk to their fans and garner an insight into what people think of them. I'm still amazed Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt haven't killed themselves after some of the things people say about them on there. I'm a very mean person but even I think some of it is over the top which definitely says something. Today however I am going to talk about one celebrity in particular on twitter, Rainn Wilson.

Rainn Wilson, or as 99% of all of his fans know him "the cashier at the beginning of Juno"(I think he also has a show on NBC you guys should check it out I hear it's funny), has a little bit of a following on Twitter. In fact as I am writing this he currently has 1,833,915 followers on the networking site. Just to put this into some prospective I have had an account for about 2 years now and I currently have 133 followers. That's a ratio of 13,788 to 1. On average I would say I get anywhere between 1 and 20 @ mentions a day. If we apply that same ratio to Mr. Wilson's @ mentions that means he gets anywhere from 13,788 to 275,760 @ mentions a day. That's a lot to keep up with which makes what happened today that much more impressive.

Now I am one of the 1,833,915 and so earlier today Rainn decided to tweet this little gem about his experience this weekend at Sundance -

Pretty funny right? Well while I understand that most of the celebrities that I follow won't have time to read my replies, I still occasionally will respond back to them as if they are just another friend that I have on twitter. And as such I decided to share my cleverness with @rainnwilson with this little throw away joke -

Now like I said I understand the odds. I know he isn't going to see this. I mostly do it for my friends that follow both myself and Rainn because they can also read it and be mesmerized by my wit. Which is why this next part kinda blew my mind -

Now those of you not familiar with twitter this looks like it's just another post, but let me break it down for you. The RT means that he is "retweeting" my previous tweet, as referenced by the (via @theallenbrand) tag after the RT. The "Love this idea!" part of the post was an original message from Rainn. The point of a RT is that if you see a tweet that you enjoy and you want to share that comment with the people that follow you but might not follow the original poster you can retweet it. So essentially out of the vast majority of comments that he gets Rainn Wilson decided that my comment was clever enough to share with his 1,833,914 other followers. Pretty awesome right?

Surprisingly enough the awesome doesn't end there. Apparently on the website for Rainn Wilson's show "the Office" they have various twitter feeds of their shows stars. Which resembles something vaguely like this -

That's right, not only was my tweet shared with almost 2 million people, it was also shared with everyone on the Office's website at that moment. Now I realize NBC is about as popular right now as a stripper with multiple c-section scars but I still like to imagine this reaching another huge audience, and every last one of them thought to themselves "I like that idea too Rainn. This Allen Brand fellow, he's not only breathtakingly handsome but also some sort of comedic genius!" I don't know why they thought I was breathtakingly handsome since they can't see my face but that's their prerogative and who am I to argue with that?