Everyone I’ve Been To A High School Dance With

In the style of Tracey Emin’s “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995”  and Megan Boyle’s “Everyone I’ve Had Sex With”, I too have decided to chronicle my own personal tales of relationships, although I’ll tell stories of a more intimate nature: Everyone I’ve Been To A High School Dance With.

1: We had ‘dated’ for about a week back in 7th grade and most freshmen were excited to go to their first high school dance, myself included. It was freshman year homecoming and I wore a completely tweed suit, of which I’m still ashamed (although it was slightly hilarious). I was still pretty uncomfortable around women, so I imagine she didn’t have a great time with me. We don’t talk.

2: After a significant high school dance dry-spell until the end of my Junior year, I was asked to prom by [2], a senior. I wasn’t her first choice, but she asked me via a cookie cake so plenty of points for that. My good friends drove me to the dance and her little brother tried to squeeze my hand threateningly when I shook it. The food was pretty crappy, but it was a fun time in general. [2] is a nice girl, but our interests were pretty different. I remember I wanted to talk about music and I had nothing to respond to her liking of Fall Out Boy. We made out on the dance floor. She was my first kiss. We don’t talk.

3: I had only met [3] once before her senior year homecoming. She went to a nearby high school and needed a date to the dance, which was Harry Potter themed. Once I hear about the theme, I asked my friend who went there to get me date and she introduced me to [3]. It was a good time, mostly because I got to dance with a girl for a while and I got to wear a Gryffindor tie. I usually never care about decorations but they did an amazing job at the school. I went out for pancakes with a friend after the dance. [3] and I went on two dates after that, but nothing materialized. One of those dates was to see “RocknRolla” though, which was awesome. We talk infrequently.

4: I had had a crush on [4] for a few weeks and had hung out with her a few times before my senior homecoming. I’d say this is the first dance where my confidence started showing and I was actually a fun date. This is also probably the first dance I had been to where they played Hot N Cold by Katy Perry (these are probably related). I had a great time and I think she did too. We faced some drama at some point when one of her friends got kissed by her date. I still have no idea why this was such a big deal. I should have kissed [4] and I regret not doing it. We still talk occasionally.

5: She asked me to senior year turnabout with a mixed CD (great idea) of what I think was Jimmy Eat World and other bands I didn’t really enjoy much. She was a sweet girl though, and I had a fun time. Our principal had redesigned the dance floor such that grinding and more promiscuous dancing were more difficult. I didn’t spend much time with [5] at the dance, instead I kind of ditched her and goofed around and danced with my guy friends instead. It was a ton of fun, but I feel guilty for not hanging out with her the whole time. We don’t talk.

6: We had been dating for about 2 months before my senior prom. I asked her with a coffee and a sign that read “Foam the bottom of my heart, I sure do like you a latte. Will you go to prom with me?” (Nailed it!). She pre-ordered (and I paid for) the whole tie, corsage, garter, and colors of my tuxedo. The corsage came with a really expensive necklace or something and ended up costing like 80 dollars. I was secretly upset with this for a really long time (every other of these dates had gotten a 12 dollar corsage from Jewel; they’re great). The pre-party was at my house and most of my best friends were there. After the dance, we went to Rock N Roll McDonald’s in the limo. We still talk.

7. I asked her to prom during her senior year in high school while I was finishing my first year in college. We had a really fun time and we share many mutual friends (including [4]). Something about not being a high schooler as well as just having ended the relationship with [6] made me feel very carefree and fun the whole night. It ties with [5] as being the most fun at a dance. We made out, but I screwed up relationship possibilities gradually over the next month. We infrequently talk.

Age at first time: 14

Age at present: 21

Total dance dates: 7

Total female dates: 7

Total male dates: 0 (but I did spider-juke with Brian once)

Alcohol involved: 1

Limo rides: 3

Dances with regrets: 3

Danced to “Hot N Cold”: 4

Favorite song to dance to: “Twist and Shout” -The Beatles

What I felt like after completing this list: Happy. I think every one of these dances was a lot of fun. I hope my dates had fun too.

A critical review of your new favorite television shows

Three nights ago, I set up my first official account on Netflix. My long-term relationship with Mike guaranteed some access to Netflix, but Mike eventually discontinued his subscription and I had to rely on nbc.com’s weekly uploads and also some probably illegal streaming. But the other night I caved and made an account!

Since the first month is free and it’s really not all that much money anyway, I have definitely been using the subscription to its fullest value. I’ve probably watched at least 12-15 hours of television since setting it up. Yup. But before you tell me I’m wasting my time, I should add that I’ve watched some truly good television I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to watch. Also, I’m not taking any summer classes so just relax. I’m blogging to tell you that you should take a look at these shows if you haven’t.

Parks & Recreation, better known as “Parks ‘n’ Rec”
I know, everyone’s either heard of or seen this show. And until recently, I had only seen a few episodes, only to concede that it was okay, but ultimately too much like NBC’s The Office with its mockumentary style and awkward humor. No! It’s still awkward, but way better. As I am wont to do in the summer months, I decided to start from the beginning – Episode 1, Season 1 – so I could give it a chance to impress me. Sure, the first few episodes weren’t much since the characters weren’t too developed (case in point: Tom, Leslie’s assistant, is waaaay apathetic toward his job and has a much more deadpan style. Also, nobody really hates Jerry yet.) – but it quickly gets better. Leslie becomes way more overzealous and Ron becomes way more libertarian/apathetic/hilarious.

My purpose isn’t to explain the full character arcs, but just to recommend starting from the beginning! I definitely have a better grasp on the character relationships and the backstories of everyone. So good – 4.4 stars, if I’m going to rate it.

Running Wilde
This is actually a Mike-recommendation based on a Netflix-recommendation (I think). Running borrows a little bit from Arrested Development, at least with its core characters, Will Arnett and, to a lesser extent, David Cross, but has a passably distinct premise and more interesting scenery. The show is about a clueless rich guy (Will Arnett) who constantly flaunts his wealth and fake generosity to win back his high school sweetheart, who spends her time trying to prevent the extinction of Amazonian tribes with her daughter, Puddle, and gross fiancé, David Cross, who sports a fittingly gross goatee braid. It’s gross.

But beyond that, Puddle is very cute and undertakes a vow of silence to convince her mother she needs to get out of the wilderness. Puddle colludes with Will Arnett (hereafter known as Will Arnett) to stay in his mansion and sparks fly between Will Arnett and the female lead. If you liked AR and want to see more Will Arnett/David Cross, this show is pretty good and has an interesting dynamic. It doesn’t totally compare to AR, but what does? I only watched the first two episodes, but it probably gets better after that. I give it a 3.5/5 stars.

Twin Peaks
Totally hooked! There is a great soundtrack that plays on a loop and a lot of grungy teenagers – a combination that sums up most great television. The storyline of Peaks revolves around the seemingly random murder of Laura Palmer, a stereotypical popular girl at her high school, and the impact of her death on the small town in which she lived. When the police dig a little deeper, though, they find that Laura was not just a prom queen with a football-playin’ boyfriend, but, like many of the show’s characters, maintains a darker life as a prostitute and cocaine addict.

I barely scratched the surface with that summary, but you get the point. The show has some awesome scenery of the Pacific Northwest (the show takes place in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington) and a haunting soundtrack. There is also a supernatural streak to it and it really works, even though it’s not always my thing. Also, if you get a kick out of the late 80s and early 90s, you’ll really enjoy this show. I give the show a 4.5/5, even though the pilot is super long (1 ½ hours).

So, readers, I hope you took something away from these reviews, like an idea of what to watch next (Peaks, hands down). Good luck!

2 Simple Things (I’m Awful At Doing)

I consider myself a fairly capable adult (or young-adult or man-child or whatever), but there are a few simple tasks that I can’t do. And it isn’t out of laziness, I’ve put in effort to learn to do these actions like normal humans. So please, give me any advice if you’re good at these impossibly difficult tasks:

Using A Can Opener

I’m not talking about one of those new-fangled year-3000 electronic can openers that kids with smart phones probably have. I’m talking about a good old fashioned, two-handed can opener.

I’m already confused.

In my last apartment, I probably broke at least 8 of them over the course of the year. I have no idea how it is that I’m terrible at using one of the most simple tools ever designed. If given enough time (like 5 minutes?) and if I avoid breaking the can opener (it happens a lot), I can eventually get the can open, but that’s depressing enough right there. I’ve had people demonstrate right in front of me how to use it, but for some reason its not sticking in my brain.

Drying Off In The Shower

Most people finish their shower, grab a towel from a rack, rub themselves dry, and walk off to their next adventure (or at least get dressed). For me though, I finish my shower, grab a towel from the rack, try to imitate how a human would dry off, and then walk out of the bathroom even wetter than before. I have been yelled at dozens of times in my life for leaving a bathroom covered in shower water and then trekking more water into the hallway.

“I’m sorry! Maybe if I had like three more towels… everything would be fine?”

And I’m trying my best! I towel off all the parts of my body: legs, arms, torso, groin, head, and back. What am I missing?! Those are all the parts, right?

Living With Shingles: A Guide

Hello, if you’re reading this, you have shingles (or will soon catch shingles from a friend or coworker due to the highly contagious nature of shingles). Here’s everything you need to know!

What is shingles?

Shingles (also known as zosta) is essentially the reawakening of the chicken pox virus within your body. It will manifest in a rash on one side of the shoulders, back or neck which will be very painful. The rash will appear small and acne-like. Do not let it’s size fool you; shingles hurts bad. The other main symptom is malaise, which generally just means feeling shitty. Really.

The first cut is the deepest? Well, the second bout of shingles is the worst.

Is it contagious?

Shingles is contagious, but only to people who haven’t contracted chicken pox or who haven’t been vaccinated against chicken pox. This will in no way comfort your terrified roommates.

How do I treat it?

Using antivirals such as aciclovir will help reduce the severity and duration of shingles[1]. To reduce the pain of shingles, rub some capsaicin cream on it[2].

Can I drink while taking antivirals?

While it may be your 21st birthday and you want to just relax by enjoying two drinks because you have a final the next morning, don’t. Even though the doctor said it should be fine, you’ll get really drunk just from a beer and whiskey sour and you’ll feel really hung over during your planetary final but it won’t be that bad because you’ll still get an A in it.

How long will this last?

The pain should only last about a week (basically, until you’re in enough pain that you go see a doctor, then it’ll stop), but the rash should stick around for about three weeks. But don’t get complacent, it’s totally possible that you’ll get shingles again only 6 months later.

What are some good pickup lines to use while I have shingles?

“What say you come over to my place and rub some capsaicin on my shoulders? Because you’re single, and I’ve got shingles”

“Is your dad a roofer? Because… I have shingles.”

“Where all my shingle ladies at?”

“Yo girl, those dance moves are on fire! Also, my nerves are too.”

“Shingles totally isn’t contagious if you’ve already had chicken pox!”

How can I change the photo on the wikipedia page for shingles to one of me?

While this is an awesome idea and I encourage you to try your best, you won’t be able to figure it out. I mean,  they’d have no reason to take it down if you simply replaced an existing photo of a dude with shingles. Please try! But you’ll give up after an hour because do you really care that much about putting yourself as the face (but mostly back and shoulders) of shingles?

1 If you googled “aciclovir”, you will discover another name for that antiviral is herpex. Yes, chicken pox and shingles and herpes are all in the same family of disease. Yes I know, its hilarious.
2 If you googled “capsaicin”, you will discover that capsaicin is derived from chili peppers and is the main ingredient of pepper spray. Yes, the severe burning of the irritant is so strong that it temporarily shuts down the nerve endings in the your skin. Yes I know, its awesome.

Smart Meters? What?

The Naperville Sun posted a letter to the editor that I wrote about a topic that no one cares about. They edited it somewhat… so you can read the original here.

[For background info on what the hell I’m talking about, check this site out first. This whole situation is really frustrating.]

This whole Smart Meter situation makes me so sad. Our city is trying to update its power grid so that power can be used more efficiently. It will save everyone money, and amount to less wasted electricity (which means less power outages). This should be a slam dunk, except for the fact that some people are just crazy. There seems to be two main arguments that people are using against this Smart Meter installation: “I don’t want the government tracking my power usage” and “Smart Meters communicate with radio waves and I’ll get cancer!”. As a physics student, I want to talk about the second one.

Radiation is everywhere. Stop being afraid of it. That’s what light is. That’s how your cell phone works. That’s why you can use the internet without cords. That’s how your radio works. But some people are freaking out that the wireless Smart Meter system will give them bad vibes or cancer or cluster headaches or autism or whatever. I’m pretty sure that this just stems from not understanding how radiation works (just open up the wikipedia page and give it a quick skim. It’s not too hard.) And as Batman said, “You always fear what you can’t understand”.

Seriously?

But in short, higher frequencies aren’t great for our bodies. That’s why it’s bad to take a bunch of x-rays of a pregnant woman or to stick your head in a microwave. And guess what? Smart Meters don’t release that band of radiation. Smart meters use radiation around the same frequency as 4g cellphones and satellite radio. And guess what? That band of radiation has been proved to be safe (thanks, science). There is no discussion as to if Smart Meters can have harmful health effects.

Oh, you have a personal story of your aunt’s friend’s son who has headaches because the government installed a Smart Meter in the house. Do you know what causes headaches? Your anecdotal stories instead of science (also, seriously, anything can cause a headache).

So please stop talking about the Smart Meter thing. It’s the future, get on board with being able to pay for electricity based on what time of the day we use it.

Sharing A Bed With Michael: A Guide

[Note to my parents: this FAQ is satire. Not only have I never shared a bed with anyone, but I also am not sure what a “bed” is.]

So… you’re sharing a bed with Michael.

Wait, what?

Yes. You two will be sleeping in the same bed tonight.

Ok… Why?

Maybe you’re a friend from out of town looking for a place to crash for the night, or his new romantic interest, or his cousin trying to save some money on a hotel while backpacking through Europe. Whatever caused it, there’s two things that we know: you and Michael will be sleeping in the same bed tonight, and he is pissed.

You’re right, he looks really angry. What did I do?

Well, however it is that you ended up sharing a bed with him, he probably fought against it pretty hard.

Yeah, he did.

He did that for the sake of both of you. Come morning, there’s going to be two miserable people in this bed. Neither of you will get a good nights sleep.

Oh that’s why? It’ll be fine, if he needs his space we’ll just sleep on the far sides of the bed. There’s plenty of room!

Do you know what would be plenty of room for him?

What?

His own goddam bed.

Oh jeez, calm down. I’ve got a really comfortable bed. He’ll love it.

Is it the “Beddinge Lovas” from IKEA?

No…

He’s going to hate it. He likes a really firm mattress. Specifically that IKEA one. Also, you better have a boxfan; he needs one of those to sleep too.

Michael seems like a jerk.

Yeah… whatever. You put him in this situation. You have literally made your bed, and now you have to lie in it… with Michael.

Okay, I’m just going to sleep now. Let him be miserable.

Good luck!

Continue reading

Two Brief Stories About Memory

[I like the idea of really short stories. Here two about memory: false memories and lack of memories]

I was sitting at a park when a young woman and her friend sat at a bench next to me. From the moment that I first saw her, I was struck. Not by her, but by her blouse. That grey lacy blouse, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I immediately remembered that blouse, and the girl who wore it last summer. I remembered what it felt like to hold her hand, what it felt like to kiss her lips, and most of all, what that blouse felt like to my touch. But, I wasn’t transfixed because I was so sad that it had ended, or because I was fondly thinking back. I was stunned because none of it ever happened. That girl had never kissed me, we had never held hands, and I never touched her blouse. Sure, one night we spent drinking too many beers and talking. Even though nothing else happened, I have memories of so much more.

There is an old man who had lost the ability to to form memories when he was young. He was completely lucid and intelligent, but in all the 40 years his brain had been ill, he had only one thought: how lovely, that I am finally conscious now. For the first few months, he spent his time elatedly talking to everyone around him that the haze was finally lifted, that he was a person again. His excitement was so genuine that his wife didn’t get sick of the yelps of joy until the fourth month. Who could have blamed her for leaving him? Without the constant company of his wife, his doctors gave him a diary. He has spent the rest of his life breathlessly repeating the same actions hundreds of times a day. He first crosses out the last line written in his diary, chuckles to himself, and writes the time followed by “This is the moment when I am finally awake.”