Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Celebrity-a-Likes

It has come to my attention that there are a lot of faculty members at the law school that could pass as celebrities, not just in looks, but in sounds. You don't really hear of celebrity sound-a-likes very often, so it was quite the ordeal when I realized that I had at least 2 celebrity sound-a-likes teaching me the law of this fine nation.

While lecturing on hate speech in Constitutional Law, I noticed that my professor had a certain twang about his voice that sounded very familiar, like the voice of a character that was often a part of my Thursday night television line up back in my youth. Celebrity Sound-a-Like: Larry David as George Steinbrenner on "Seinfeld."

Later that night, I headed off to my legal professions class to spend the next 2 hours listening to a man who sounds like Harold Ramis, more commonly known as Dr. Egon Spengler from "Ghostbusters," but he doesn't sound like the Harold Ramis of "Ghostbusters;" he sounds more like the older, portlier Harold Ramis that makes a cameo in "As Good as it Gets." Interestingly enough, there are similarities in appearance to the more rotund Ramis & my legal professions professor as well, but the voice is what's more astonishing.

I don't know what it is about IU school of law & its propensity towards hiring individuals that resemble public figures. Perhaps it draws in more prospective students. Since I get to enjoy these celebrity look & sound-a-likes every day, I figured I would share the wealth. But it's not going to come that easy! Here's a little game. Below you will find a picture of an IU law professor next to a picture of an identifiable celebrity/public figure. See if you can figure out which one is the professor & which one is the public figure. Be careful! It gets tricky! (I wanted to post more, but blogger wouldn't let me...)







Sunday, September 14, 2008

Surreality

About a week ago I was hanging out with my friend Megan, sharing our list of favorite blogs and whatnot when we were struck with longing taste buds and growling stomachs. Luckily, Bloomingfood's was right around the corner with friendly faces and curried lentils. We leashed up Megan's dog and brought her along for the trip. Scout the dog was oh so happy to be outside of the apartment in construction, and head back to the co-op for round 2 that day. We decided that we might as well sit outside and enjoy the scenery while we ate, so Megan brought Scout over so that she could see us and feel a bit more connected, regardless of the communication barrier which exists between humans and dogs. Sounds like a pretty nice afternoon meal, right? It's amazing how quickly things can happen. I am still a bit stunned by this whole experience. A bit too surreal, and some top of the line comedic material that Larry David would love to get his hands on.

Scout started barking. Barking and barking. I didn't think anything of it, probably because my hunger was blocking any of my sense and not allowing them to function properly. We just talked right over her. But apparently others didn't have the same patience that Megan and I had.

Scout: "Woof! Woof!"
Megan: "Scout!"
Old Lady with menonite hair (bitchily): "Why don't you just tie the dog up next to you!"

"Oh, okay. Sorry," replied Megan. Scout soon joined us, up close and personal, while we ate. I awkwardly attempted to keep conversation going after the confrontation, but Megan seemed a bit distracted and aloof as a result. I didn't know what to do. I felt weird even taking bites of my salad.

"I think we should leave," Megan finally said.
"Oh, okay. Yeah, sure," I responded, a bit relieved thinking that maybe once we started moving and getting blood pumping it would be so tense. I placed my fork in the dirty dish tray and off we went. After we turned the corner and were no longer in site of the other dining patrons, Megan unveiled the source of tension.

"So, that woman that yelled at me is my gynecologist."

What an odd run in. Your gynecologist lecturing you on how to deal with behavioral issues of your dog. Gynecologists should stick to cervixes. Especially when they're jerks in real life.

We're walking and talking about this lady parts doctor when I see my neighbor, Wyatt, with his son's dog, trying to get into a car parked on 7th street.

(Quick profile summary: Wyatt. Looks exactly like one would expect a "Wyatt" to look. Listens to classic rock post-loud clanking weight work out which shakes the picture frames in my apartment. Never listens to music while he works out. Smokes. Heard him & his son fighting around Christmastime about Wyatt's inability to be "grown up," which is why all of his relationships fail. Uses a fleece Indianapolis Colts blanket for a curtain. Enjoys making hamburgers, the aroma of which floods my apartment and provides me with a pleasant surprise when I come home from school late in the evening and smell ground beef seeping through my vents.)

I usually try to avoid Wyatt as much as possible because it's always an awkward conversation. Once I spotted him, I started thinking about how I would approach this situation. While Megan continued to vent about the mean gyno I began to play out in my mind different strategies on how to deal with the ever-approaching Wyatt encounter. "I could just talk the whole time that we walk by him & act like I just don't even see him because I have something really important that I'm saying"...Okay, if he doesn't look up I won't say hello; if he does then I'll ask him how he is, but I won't stop walking. It'll be a brief, mobile exchange. Darnit, he looked up."

"Hey Wyatt, how are ya?"
"Well hey, I'm do-"

Wyatt's dog was not on a leash. While I initiated the conversation I thought, oh, these dogs will probably smell each other and we'll have to stop for them to be friends for a few seconds. That'll just make things even more awkward. But instead, cordial sniffs were traded in for vicious fangs. Wyatt's dog lunged at Scout and attacked her. Megan freaked out. Wyatt yelled at his dog. I stood there, wondering how I didn't come up with a plan of action for "dog fight." But no, that was not the end of it.

Megan, full of frustration from the previous incident with Dr. Rude snapped at Wyatt.

"Why don't you keep your dog on a leash?!"
"Well, I normally DO keep my dog on a leash, but I had things to do and I couldn't put her on a leash!"
"Well, it's inconsiderate to me, my dog, other people, and your dog to not have a leash on her!"
(Maggie, stage right, slowly trying to inch away from both parties with a certain cringe on face)
"Yeah, well what's inconsiderate is not picking up your dog shit and leaving it out in other people's yards!"
(Maggie, a little further up on stage right, wondering what the heck kind of comeback that is?)
"I DO pick up my dog shit!" (point, Megan)
"Yeaaaah, well fuck you!"
"No, fuck you!"

We started towards the crosswalk. I didn't know if I should say goodbye to Wyatt. In a 12 inch voice, I leaned over to Megan and said, "That was my neighbor, Wyatt, the one I was telling you about."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Warning: This Blog Full of Emotional Ranting

I don't normally like to use my blog as a diary of sorts, but I figure if there's something that's so overpowering occurring in my life, then I have justification for writing about it.

I think I've cried more over the past 7 days than I have in my entire life. This morning, I was plagued with not wanting to get up and go to church. When I got to church, my eyes wouldn't stop welling up with tears, and my throat burned so badly I couldn't sing. I just kept feeling the urge to leave because I didn't want to be seen crying, but something kept me there. Bob (the pastor) started a series on the challenges of faith in following an unseen God. A flood of convicting thoughts rushed my brain.

Something that I've been struggling with over the past year or so is the idea that I can control what's happening and have no need to rely on God. We're fed to believe that we can direct our lives; that we're supposed to be suspicious of things in life and we can and should predict what will happen next so that we stay in complete control and everything remains safe. I figure, hey, I can handle this. But just when I get comfortable with me being the director of my life, everything blows up in my face. Why? Because I didn't trust God. I didn't need Him; everything was great without His contributions. Then what does He do? He humbles me hardcore. I come running back to Him, urging for Him to intervene. Why can't I just learn my lesson and admit that in reality I am not competent to face these hardships alone? Deep down I know that, but I constantly deny God His role in my life.

And the thing is, when I do come begging, admitting that I don't know what to do, He steps in and takes on His role. He was just sitting there waiting for me to acknowledge Him. I can't help but think "I don't deserve Him." After what I've done, how I've treated Him, I don't deserve God's intervention. Why on earth would He be willing to come back after my repeat offenses against Him? I guess I am feeling guilty because I am realizing what it feels like to be treated the way I have treated God over the past year. He wants to be there; He wants to help me; He wants to care for me; but I resist, believing that I can do it on my own. How painful this must be for Him to constantly be rejected when He just wants to give me the best that He has to offer. And He doesn't begrudgingly intervene. He hops off the bench, embracing the challenge of cleaning up the mess I've made. And once again, I am truly humbled.

I said the other night that I felt like I was not struggling with my faith in Christ, but my reliance on Christ. Today's sermon helped me realize that when I'm not relying on God I'm not exercising faith in Him. The two are inseparable. Faith is complete reliance and belief that even though I might not see, hear, or feel God in my life, He is still a force that needs to be recognized and relied upon. Because, how can you rely on someone in whom you don't have faith?

The sermon closed by posing a few questions to think about in application to our own lives. The one that struck me the most was "Why do we trust ourselves, but don't trust in God?" My answer is that I'm so stuck within selfish and sensory physical boundaries that I'm not willing to step outside of myself to recognize that an unseen force far beyond my comprehension in terms of grace and mercy and love could possibly exist. I'm not willing to just leave my life in the hands of something I've never tangibly experienced because I need the security of limiting my life's potential to the common, convenient, and comfortable. What's sad about this is if I would be willing to just have complete faith in Christ's command then my life would be nothing less than far beyond what I could have ever imagined for myself. I'm limiting myself by not relying on God. My hope is to be less of the "Doubting Thomas" type and more of the "Father Abraham." I want to go to my grave having the strongest faith that the unfulfilled with be fulfilled (even if I don't get to see it). You know, you think you have this shit all figured out...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Dream of Swayze

I usually try to find something good in everything out there. There are a few things that, no matter how much I try, I just can't beyond pure hatred. The list is rather short, but in a way the brevity of the "hate list" provides for intense levels of disdain for the particular items.

Things I hate:
1. Brussel Sprouts
2. When people have a "bubble" in their throat (some phlegm gets caught, forming a bubble that changes the individual's speaking voice, making it more muted & Kermitish)
3. The words "Yeast" and "Moist"
4. Dinosaurs (love to hate them)
5. Geese
6. Patrick Swayze
7. Feet

This post is going to focus on #6, Mr. Swayze. I don't know what it is about Pat, I just really don't like him. I think a major influence on my opinion was the "Chippendale's" skit on SNL with Chris Farley. He was legitimately trying to be sexy, regardless of the fact that he didn't have to put forth huge amounts of effort next to Farley's ingenious performance of unsexiness. It was almost as if he was purposefully trying to make Farley look even worse, while exalting his own flawless muscular structure. He just doesn't seem to have a sense of humor. Also, I really don't see him as a fantastic actor. Sure, "Dirty Dancing" is a cinematic classic, but throughout my years I have always been frustrated with Johnny, thinking he was just flat out annoying and not in the least attractive.

The problem is that my subconscious has cursed me with 2 Swayze dreams within the past 3 weeks. These weren't any normal dreams; Swayze didn't just make a cameo but was front and center. He was a love interest. Dream one: I am teaching at my old middle school. I have my hair in long, braided pig tails and I go down these stairs to an area that looks like a pool and a New York subway. I stand down there for a second, then start to walk back up the stairs in a crowd of people. While jammed amidst strangers, someone starts commenting on my pigtails and sort of hitting on me. It turns out that it's Patrick Swayze. I am completely grossed out and ignore him. I walk faster towards my destination. When I get there, Barbara Bush is at a circulation desk in my old middle school gymnasium. We start talking about very philosophical topics, and Patrick Swayze tries to interject some words in the conversation in order to impress me, but what he says is not very intelligent. Barbara and I just look at him with blank stares. He feels a bit dumb and walks away. Barbara gives me advice that he's no good.

Dream two: I have a sister. We're living in a doll house, meaning there is no 4th wall. My sister and I are both in dating relationships. I am dating Patrick Swayze, she is dating this guy that I really this is an awesome dude. She's actually in love with Patrick, but I somehow convince the cool dude to ask my sister to marry him because I really want him in the family. After he proposes and she says yes, I announce that I am going to break up with Patrick because he's just a little too stupid. My sister becomes irate because she is now trapped in a relationship with someone that she doesn't want to marry when she actually wanted to be with her sister's boyfriend, or should I say ex-boyfriend. I feel like conscious me was trying to tell the character's in subconscious me's play that they should all just switch and be happy. I don't think subconscious me was happy with the plot suggestion.

They're not the greatest dreams, but they still made an impression on me. Why is Patrick Swayze making repeat appearances in my dreams? Not only that, why are they romantic repeat appearances? Usually you can connect the dots between things going on in your actual life with the things that appear in your dreams. There is a clear synapse between reality and subreality. But here, there is just no reason for it. And especially, there is no reason for it twice.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Have it Your Way

Earlier this summer I was strolling down the sidewalk when I saw the remnants of a drunken hunger raid carelessly discarded approximately ten future paces in front of my path. I approached and quickly assessed the sample. Half eaten; two buns, which were no longer stacked on top of one another but were "open" so that one could see the contents held within; an all-beef patty, significant smaller than its bun case, and covered by a slice of cheese that initially tried to melt but did not succeed; wilted pickles; and little onions diced into tiny cubes that left an imprint on the underachieving cheese. Based on the evidence, I was able to conclude that this was a cheeseburger from the well-known fast food chain, "McDonald's."

As I proceeded on my way, I continued to think about this hamburger. I became intrigued by the thought that I could pinpoint the source of a hamburger, an all-American delight, simply by its structure and accessories. The diced, cubed onions instantly caused a light to go off in my head that this was a McDonald's burger. No doubt about it. No other restaurant dices their onions. Now, let's switch things up a bit. What if the hamburger on the street had a tomato slice instead of ketchup, a dab of mayonnaise, onion slices, and a SQUARE meat patty? Or, that there was an interesting odor that accompanied the burger, like it was FLAME-BROILED? How about if the hamburger was not a standard-sized hamburger, but very small. Almost as though you could fit it in your pocket And there wasn't just one of these burgers, there were about seven. What if, when I walked by the hamburger, I instantly got diarrhea just from looking at it? (see answers below)

Is this something that I should be proud of? That I can identify a hamburger on the street, sans signifying wrapper? Should any of us be proud of that?

On another hamburger note, I left the sidewalk burger puzzled as to how it got to that particular location in town. For those of you that know Bloomington, this hamburger was on 6th street, right in front of Vintage Phoenix Comics. There is no McDonald's anywhere remotely close to that location. I can only think of 3 McDonald's in Bloomington as I sit here, and I'm sure that I could only think of 3 McDonald's on that particular day as well. One, on North Walnut as you're heading out of town, right by the bypass. Two, across from College Mall. Three, on the west side, across from the movie theater and next to the Scottish Inn. None of these are within drunken sidewalk distance. I'm completely baffled.

Answers to fast food burger quiz:
1. Wendy's
2. Burger King
3. White Castle
4. Rally's

Have if Your Way