7 Rules For A Successful Double Date

I like my dates like I like my tea: with two honeys. Whatever. You probably already knew this, but Val and I are huge fans of double dates.

Val, Chris, and myself on a double date [my date not pictured]
Myself, Chris, and Val on a double date [my date not pictured]
You name the place, and we’ve been there on a double date. Giordano’s? Double date! Museum of Science and Industry? Double date! Simply put: we’re pros, so I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you if you ever go on a double date. Good luck!

A double date that didn't go great (I felt kind of excluded)
A double date that didn’t go great (I felt kind of excluded)

1. Dress The Part

A double date isn’t just a chance to have a good time, it’s also an opportunity to show the other couple that you’re in a happier/healthier relationship. The best way to show this is obviously by coordinating with your date to make sure you two are wearing matching outfits. So go out and buy a pair of matching overalls or maybe just wear the same colors. Either way, the other couple will be beside themselves with jealousy.

2. Conversation Cards

Whether one of the couples is meeting for the first time, or you’ve all known each other all your lives, a lull in the conversation can bring a double date into a dangerous boredom. To combat this, bring a set of (laminated) conversation cards to help move the conversation along onto a more interesting topic! Here’s a few that I bring to every double date:

  • What is your favorite color/are you colorblind?
  • Which areas of politics are you the most passionate about?
  • Roe or Wade?
  • Sports?
  • What’s the deal with laundromats?

3. Alcohol

There’s no social lubricant like alcohol (well, possibly ecstasy), so be sure to grab some brewskis for your double date! If one of the members of the group doesn’t drink/is an alcoholic, just try to convince them just to have the one drink. You’ll be saying hello to fun in no time! I’d strongly advise getting the Margaritas at Chili’s.

4. Don’t hit on the other persons date

With all that alcohol in your system, you may be tempted to hit on your friend’s date in order to “upgrade” date partners. This is generally frowned upon and rarely works. This is (one of) the reasons why I’m not allowed back in the chemistry fraternity on campus.

5. Choose the right movie

A film just might be the perfect way to spend a double date, but make sure it’s going to work well for everyone. While Passion of the ChristShawshank Redemption, A Clockwork Orange, and There Will Be Blood are excellent movies (and I’d recommend them for  experienced couples going on a double date), I’d stick with something easy to digest such as Napoleon Dynamite or Wayne’s World 2. The movie should be relaxing enough to snuggle up to your date, but also interesting enough to have a good conversation about over drinks after!

6. Ecstasy

If you feel like the date isn’t going as well as you’d hoped, why don’t you offer the group some ecstasy? It’ll help lower your inhibitions and let the happiness flow through you like the red sun. Sit back and enjoy the flowing, mysterious waters of your mind ebb into the cosmos and just live it. (Note: be sure to drink enough water so you don’t die of dehydration)

7. Foursome?

Who says the date has to end after you leave the bar? Keep the momentum going and take a cab back to your place. Be sure to lay down a large tarp and have some fun!

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Adventures In Online Dating: Part II

As I explained in an earlier post, I’m socially retarded so I’ve started online dating. You can see my actual profile at http://www.okcupid.com/profile/MikeWhatever. But like, whatever.

A photo of me socializing with girls at a party

It’s been about 3 months that I’ve had my account on OkCupid, and I’d like to say that I’m totally great at online dating. The key to success in online dating is to open conversation in an interesting (and fun!) way. Find a common interest and keep it short and jocular!

Boom!

Throw in some friendly physical contact into it while you’re at it too.

Nailed it!

Somehow, those messages both got responses from women. Dating Tip: Those were sent out while I was drunk! For best results though, throw in a personal, open-ended question that let’s them talk about their interests and themselves.

Dates!

So yeah, I totally rock at online dating now. So since then, I’ve been getting artsy with my posts. I always enjoy debates in a relationship, so why not just begin with one?

She opened her profile with a tirade against cargo shorts. Oh you!

Or… why not make wild assumptions about her profile?

Get out of my dreams, and get into my other dreams about The Mighty Ducks

Or just write a message with the most awkward segue possible!

Jokes jokes jokes jokes jokes

But I digress. The fastest way to a woman’s heart is obviously… poetry.

I’m sorry I didn’t meet all your specifications. But I totally know haikus!

Dating Tip: Except for the first two and the Mighty Ducks one, none of those messages got responses!

I Enjoy Art (Incorrectly)

People are usually pretty open minded about art. As a dead guy said at some point, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Nice. Well, to show that he was totally wrong, here’s a list of ways that my enjoyment of art is wrong.

1. I define art extremely narrowly
When I discuss art, I will cringe if someone says the word “contemporary”. I do not want to see a chalked lines on a garbage bag. Why would you pretend to enjoy it?

You're An Idiot

I went to a local art museum on campus last weekend and we walked through the whole dumb modern art section. I looked like a crazy person, muttering to myself “Thats not art, thats not art. Oh, thats not even close to art. Thats just some chickenwire with a petrified grapefruit on top. Stop it, artists!”
Oh, I hear your rebuttal: “But Michael, you need to think deeper and think about what it means. Thats whats wrong.”
No. Thats not enjoyable to me. When I look at ‘art’, I want to see a nice oil painting of something concrete.
“But Michaaaaaael, you’re being closed-minded.”
Let me enjoy art the way I want to! You know what, from all of your arguing I’m going to go ahead and make the definition even more narrow: ‘Art’ is paintings and sculptures from anytime before 1900. But one more word from you and I’ll bump that date back a century.
“What?”
Well, Van Gogh is no longer an artist, thanks to you. Art is now pre-19th century paintings. Cool? Want to argue more? Because just give me the chance and I’ll knock art all the way back to the Renaissance.
Good.
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Blast From The Past: A Conversation About Global Warming

Disclaimer: Internet arguments are not fun for anyone to read. But, because I’m narcissistic enough to have my own blog, I’m going to post sections that I think are interesting and probably edit them so I appear more clever. This is easily the most self-indulgent, masturbatory post on this blog. 

In 2007, Josh from my high school posted this as a facebook note:

If you want to believe in global warming then go for it. Just let those of us who choose not to believe it live our lives. You can’t force us to believe it nor can you say that we are stupid for not believing it because scientists haven’t even truly figured it out.

I wish I had gotten into the argument at that time, even though I am very much not an environmentalist (seriously, I use a ridiculous amount of plastic water bottles each week). I didn’t get involved until Josh posted this comment in late 2010:

For one, scientists have asked these people who have studied and found that global warming is the most accurate description to weather trends what experiments they did to find this out so they could see if they could reproduce it and these people would not give them any info. Furthermore there was a leak that scientists hand selected 3 specific trees and used their rings as support for the theory of global warming. This is not the scientific process, you do not make the facts fit the theory, you make the theory fit the facts. Besides that, they make incorrect alterations in their scientific model. They change the effect, i.e. global climate change, but with the new effect they have no new cause. They still say that CO2 is the cause, but from a chemistry stand point that does not make any sense. Furthermore I am still right, the fact that the theory of Global Warming is constantly changing shows that we do not know enough about it. Tell me, how often has the theory of gravity been altered? 

And you’re right, people observe a phenomenon and make a hypothesis. Other scientists have observed that CO2 actually increases as a result of warmer temperature. As far as best explanation, Global warming is not one of them. One that works a lot better and actually fits the observed phenomenon is that the sun has cycles it goes through that changes how much heat it is radiating. This is consistent with observed trends. 50 years ago, scientists were saying that there would be a global freeze, and scientists now are saying global warming. That is a complete 180 of the original prediction, but attributing this change to cycles in the suns radiant heat fits this observation. You can say you don’t let misinformed people go unchallenged, but you yourself are misinformed.

Theres just so much in there, that I had to jump in:

There are a few problems with your response, Josh. But grammar and punctuation aside, lets just discuss CO2 and its role in our atmosphere. Any basic environmental textbook can explain how CO2, along with greenhouse gasses, is a big reason our planet isn’t perpetually frozen. We can back that up by observations of other planets, like Venus and Mars, and with experiments that show how these gases keep energy in our atmosphere. It is very clear to scientists that there is a strong correlation between the presence of greenhouse gases and the temperature of a planet. In the past years, our CO2 emission has significantly increased, and scientists have linked that with the climate change we’re going through.

But lets not try to argue that now, the better argument is your problems with science. If the scientific community bands together and explains a theory, its a goddam justified theory. To snuff PhD’s and top scientists on science topics using talking points given to you by some clearly biased pundit isn’t right. If you want to argue this global climate change, take an environmental class and educate yourself. Between you and a guy who has dedicated his whole life to learning about climate, I’m going to have to trust his expertise more.

And one more thing, please don’t assume that just because one scientist was’t honest with his results, the whole community is dishonest. Its easy to say how these scientists are corrupt and full of crap, but they are the reason you don’t have any friends who have died of polio.

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part 1 of a short story?

On Friday night I stayed at the river house with my parents and drank a lot. Here’s what was on my computer when I woke up:
(Oh, and I have no idea where the title came from. Thats just what the document was titled)

Cold Pizza

Raymond was unhappy and frustrated. Well, he was only frustrated because he had no idea why he was so unhappy. He had a fine job, a few good friends from high school, and a decent apartment. If he had been asked what would make him happy back in college, he probably would have only mentioned those three things. But still, Raymond was unhappy.

He lay awake so many nights, not sure as to how he could be happy again. “What happened?” he would ask himself, not even close to the verge of sleep. “Should I watch sports? Do I need to exercise more? Go back to school? Join a religion? Get into philosophy?” Raymond tried all of these and felt the same. He still found baseball boring, running still made him feel tired, math still didn’t make sense to him, he still didn’t have faith, and existentialism still just seemed depressing.

For two months, Raymond was, as his friends said, in a rut. He thought to himself, “Its not that I’m in a rut, I’ve just realized that life is a rut.” That was probably the existentialism talking, but Raymond felt that he was in need of a dramatic change. Its living in the big city, he thought, “I need to get away”. The next day, he told his boss that he was taking a week vacation with his girlfriend, and told his girlfriend that he was going on a work trip for a week.

Raymond loaded up a backpack with a toothbrush, a pair of jeans, a few shirts, and a few socks and jumped into his car. He had no idea where he wanted to go, or what he wanted to do. He wasn’t even sure if he would come back after the week. He stopped at the bank and took out a thousand dollars. “This should be enough”, he thought. “this can buy a lot of gas.” Raymond filled up his tank and headed south, excited about the possibilities in front of him.

The giddiness of exploration soon left him, and Raymond simply felt relaxed and free. For the first few days, he drove from dusk till dawn, stopping at noon for a cheap sandwich at nondescript truck stops. He’d make polite conversation with the waitresses, talk about her kids, but she’d soon realize that he preferred to be on his lonesome. After his quick lunch, he would fill up his car and buy his upcoming dinner and breakfast. He liked it on the road, with long stretches of potential to either side of him. But mostly, he liked sleeping in the backseat of the car, all the stars laid out in the sky for him to see.

One afternoon in a diner, Raymond looked into his wallet and saw that he was down to his last two hundred dollars. Realizing that gas was more expensive than he reckoned, he decided that he’d like working at a quiet place like this to refresh his funds. He asked the waitress if she could help him out.

“Well dear, theres no open positions here, but you could check ’round Buxton. Its a nice town ’bout 10 miles west of here. I’m sure theres some business there that needs a young guy like you.” she said helpfully. He thanked her and hurriedly finished his meal.

Raymond instantly liked Buxton. Population: 253, the sign read while he entered the town. There was one main street, with buildings that hadn’t been remodeled since the 50’s, he figured. Raymond parked his car in the town’s single gas station and introduced himself to the elderly attendant inside.

“Hi there Ray” bellowed the jovial man. “The name’s Bo. What can I do you for?”

“I’m looking for work somewhere in town. Do you know anyone thats hiring?”

“Well, you just may be in luck. My friend Bill, his son just went off to college last month and he’s been telling me he needs another hand on the farm. Would that interest you?”

“Oh really?” Raymond’s eyes lit up in excitement. He had never done real outdoor work before; just waiting tables in college and his desk job back in the city. He’d always secretly wanted to do some sort of labor for a living. Always in the back of his head, he had figured that that would be so much more satisfying than working with needy customers all day.

Less than a half hour later, Raymond was speaking to Bill at the farm. He was a pleasant enough man, but stern.

“I’m looking for someone who can put in an honest days work for an honest days pay. Can you manage that?”

“Yes sir, of course” Raymond said. “But um… what is it that you need me to do?”

“We’re doubling our beef cattle next year, and we need to fence their grazing area so they can’t wander off. Thats two weeks of pounding in fenceposts, and then a week of throwing up the barbed wire. I’ll need you from 7 in the morning till 7 at night. A hundred dollars a day plus lunch and dinner. Well, and the sabbath off, of course. Does that sound alright?”

It sounded more than alright to Raymond. He gladly accepted the job and drove back into town. After a trip to the local laundromat and then the general store to pick up an alarm clock, Raymond parked his car in the woods outside the farm. He finished off the last of his beef jerky and lay on the roof of his car, glad that the mosquitos didn’t seem to want to bother him. Raymond was one relaxed breath away from from sleep when he heard a voice.

“Hey kid, you still awake?”

“Huh? Yeah. Where are you?” Raymond asked the darkness surrounding him. He heard a soft patter on the ground to his left.

“Right here kid. Don’t freak out, but I should let you know: I am a talking squirrel.”

Raymond looked around in disbelief. Sure enough, a squirrel walked slowly into the moonlight beside the car. Raymond lay there dumbstruck and the squirrel opened its mouth.

“Sorry, its got to be pretty startling for you.” the squirrel shrugged its shoulders and said with mock excitement, “Here I am. Look, talking and stuff.”

Raymond was unsure how to react. “Oh, hello there.”

“Alright, you’re with me now. I just stopped by to offer you a place to crash for the night.” The squirrel continued to speak and Raymond suddenly realized that it spoke with a Boston accent.

“There’s a cabin just a quarter mile deep into the woods where I’ve been staying for a while. Want to come along?” Raymond shrugged his shoulders and leapt off the car.

The squirrel bounded off into the woods and Raymond did his best to follow the voice which belted out “this way” every minute or so. Soon enough, Raymond saw a small wooden cabin with smoke billowing from its chimney. The squirrel jumped through the open window and Raymond walked through the door.

A Summertime Carol: A Novella

It was a dark and unpleasant night. Rain had begun to fall and Michael burst through the door of the apartment, reasonably intoxicated.
“Guess who’s…” his voice trailed off into the obviously empty place.
“drunk.” he sighed softly to no one in particular. It was his second night here, and he noticed that it unfortunately still smelled strongly of cat fur, and even more unfortunately, there were no cats in this apartment. Michael sat on the edge of the couch, thinking of putting in that Spiderman 2 dvd, but on second thought, he needed the sleep.
“Bah.” He said again to himself. This was kind of odd, Michael didn’t normally speak to himself, but he supposed that it was a valuable narrative tool.
Michael latched the deadbolt shut, turned off the lamp, and laid down on the couch for what was to become a very troubling night.

“Why is she not in her room? That better be her on the couch.” a quiet female voice whispered a few hours later.
“Well go wake her up then. We’ve only got so long.” responded another.
“HAILEY! WE HAVE COME WITH A WARNING!” the first voice suddenly boomed accompanied by what sounded like metal chains being dropped into a frying pan. Michael awoke with a start, absolutely sure that he had probably 30 seconds before he was violently murdered.
He ripped the blanket from his body and yelled to the seemingly empty room, “She’s not here! She’s st-st-staying with a friend”
A silence spread across the room as all three voices realized they were all extremely confused.
“Oh… shit. Sorry dude.” one of the female voices began meekly.
Michael, head full of both curiosity and aches, reached up and turned on the light. Standing near bathroom stood two ghostly figures; he assumed they were ghosts. One of them held a large handful of ghostly chains over a ghostly frying pan. They both looked shocked.
“Woah, ghosts huh?” Michael said, instantly realizing he should have said something cooler to the attractive apparitions.
“Yeah. Ghosts… This is really embarrassing. We totally screwed up.” said the ghost with the red hair as Michael threw his shoes at the girls, watching his sneakers sail harmlessly through the couple. She followed up, “Are you sure Hailey isn’t here?”
“Yup” said Michael “She said that she was going to crash at her friends house. Dylan? Doug? I don’t remember.”
“Who are you?” asked the other ghost, a brunette who wore a large triangular hat.
“Oh me? I’m Michael. I had to move out of my apartment yesterday and I need a place to crash so I’m staying here. And like, I don’t know what beef you have with Hailey, but I don’t really know her. I’m just friends with her roommate.” Michael paused and tried to remember if he’d ingested any hallucinogens that night. “Who are you guys? Should I go?”
“We used to be friends with Hailey back in the day. I’m Jessica and thats Jen.” said the ghost in the hat. “And we’re supposed to be here to give her a warning about the three spirits that come to visit her tonight. Ya know? Kinda like that thing from that Dickens’ book.”
“Kinda? Thats exactly the plot from ‘A Christmas Carol’.” noted Michael aggressively. “Thats either really pretentious or really lazy. I can’t decide which”
“Listen asshole” said the suddenly-not-so-kind Jen. “We have this whole life-changing night planned out. The wheels are already in motion. There’s nothing any of us can do to stop this. So don’t whine and just go with the flow.”
Michael shrugged and Jessica continued, “It’s not a big deal, kid. You’ll just have to wait out the night and hang out with some spirits. Even if you don’t learn anything, you’ll have a really kickass ghost story to tell.” She thought for a moment. “I mean, no one will believe you, so you probably won’t bother telling it. But still, its a once in a lifetime opportunity. Okay?”
“Yeah alright” he mumbled while the girls walked around the room.
The ghosts gave him some space and looked through the dvd collection next to the television.
Michael continued after a moment. “Fine… Wait, aren’t you a little young to be dead? Not that like, young people don’t die, but…” Michael decided he wouldn’t ask anymore questions.
Jessica laughed and smiled. “No, don’t worry. People usually open conversations in the afterlife by asking how you died. I ate some bad pizza. Make sure you always check the expiration date!” she said with a grin.
Jen poked her head up from a magazine she was flipping through. “I was hit by a train.” Michael wondered how she was holding a magazine.
“Oh!” said Michael. “Thats horrible”
“Nah, Its way more common than you think. Trust me, thats how you’ll probably kick the bucket too”. Jessica said with some gloom in her tone.
“Thanks, I guess.” Michael felt awkward and hoped that the ghosts would leave. “Well, I’m guess that I’m all set for the rest of these spirits…”
“Sure thing, seeya Michael.” said Jessica as Jen gave a noncommittal nod.
“Bye guys, have a good night or whatever.” Michael coughed as the pair disappeared in a very dramatic puff of smoke. Michael drank a glass of water as the rain lightly plinked on the roof.
“This night is going to suck” sighed Michael to himself. And lo, the night did suck.