Monday, February 15, 2010

A note to my charming neighbors

To the girls in the apartment upstairs,

I understand that you are a playful bunch; I can hear your late night parties that seem to involve nothing but stomping every Friday and Saturday evening. Be that as it may, I feel that it is my duty to address the girlish shrieking that I constantly hear from the stairwell as an issue that you might want to take into consideration. Fact is, hearing somebody scream bloody murder out of the blue any time after dark, whether you're playing or not, puts everybody on edge, but there comes a certain point that we become used to it and stop reacting. You must realize that this means that when you actually get raped and murdered in the parking lot, NOBODY WILL HELP YOU. If you've ever heard of the boy who cried wolf, this is the same principle. As your concerned and disgruntled neighbor, I urge please consider this the next time you feel the need to scream at the top of your lungs late at night.

Best wishes,
Erin from downstairs

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Relative Grace

I came to an important realization today. It was caused mostly by a very spectacular fall that I performed for two members of the grounds crew on an icy hill earlier today.
In general I am not too clumsy of an individual(no, really!) and I have successfully walked down the hill in question every day for the past week on my way to the bus without falling down. Furthermore, I've never fallen down a flight of stairs unless somebody has been there to witness, and the only truly grand spills I've taken have been in the presence of company. This being the case, assuming I'm not the only one who has experienced this, I would like to propose a theory simply called "the Relative Theory of Clumsiness." It goes a little something like this:
In any situation wherein the potential for clumsiness is immediately present, the likelihood that an individual will fall, stumble, slip, or trip is directly proportional to either a) the presence of another individual(s) or b) the presence of a video recording device.

Note that the subject is able to Travel from Point A to Point B without difficulty.
Now add a couple witnesses :

This likelihood is also inversely proportional to the level of familiarity between the subject and the witness(es):

and directly proportional to the amount of awkwardness likely to be caused by any clumsiness:

Anyway, as theories go, it's still a bit rough, but I think I may definitely be on to something.

If nothing else, it's a good solution to the great American problem of how to blame all our problems on everybody else, and should at least give you something to think about the next time you're tumbling down a flight of stairs in front of several onlookers.

Tread lightly now, readers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rock (not so much) Band

Rock Band is a great concept for a game; it has four players, and requires each of them to do something different in order to achieve a common goal (the goal being to play an awesome show.) It's a great party activity, and to be good at it is to guarantee yourself permanent social acceptance. As such, it goes without saying that I am terrible at Rock Band.
Simple fact being that I suck at Guitar Hero and I cannot play the drums, the genius of this concept is wasted on me and whenever Rock Band gets turned on I tend to hide in the corner to avoid feeling the disgusted stares of the other players radiating off the back of my neck. However, on the odd occasion I allow myself to be talked into it. The reason for this is that there is another option besides guitar and drums that seems a good deal safer, particularly for someone like me; this option is, of course, vocals. As a trained singer, the vocals naturally beckon to me, promising safety and social acceptance, and I'm always quick to trust. In addition, if the group in question knows me well enough to know that I'm a singer, they will enthusiastically urge me to pick up the microphone and rock it; their looks of excitement and complete faith in my abilities further fuels my confidence and gets me pumped and ready to OWN that microphone. Unfortunately, there is one little snag; Rock Band does NOT smile upon the trained singer. About thirty seconds into the song (usually one I don't know in the first place, as I am completely lacking in my knowledge of rock music) I will begin to notice that the game is punishing me for singing with vibrato. After that I will get thrown off by all the random little riffs and trills that I didn't know existed and am expected to sing perfectly. Meanwhile, I am frantically trying to find my frequently changing pitch and failing. Hard. At this point I start getting looks from the other players, particularly the guy who put me on advanced mode because he was convinced that I would just breeze through it. I shrink beneath their gazes as I choke out another painful, wavering flat, and note that looks of faith have all turned to looks of incredulity. About three quarters of the way through, the game finally decides it can't take it anymore and fails me right the heck out. It is at this point that I thrust the microphone into the hands of the nearest free person and scramble off to hide behind the couch before the disgust rays can hit me. Invariably, I am not encouraged to pick up the mic again after that, and when it is free, I am immediately pinned to my seat with looks of condemnation from every corner of the room. What's worse is that everybody else is good at the vocals, which only serves to kick my incapacitated and profusely bleeding dignity in the head a good two or three more times. Even so, through the painful humility that was forced on me, I had many things brought to light the last time I played, most notably the fact that you shouldn't try to make friends with something if you suck (something I had already realized with things like sports,) but more importantly that Rock Band singing is actually just yelling on a pitch. That being the case, it followed that people who have been beaten senseless with the idea that singing is something else entirely would have an immediate disadvantage. Enlightened, I tried it again, this time using the intended method and--
I still failed, and ended up handing the mic off to somebody else who got a perfect score doing exactly what I had been. I soon began to recognize this particular brand of humiliation as something I have felt many times before and it was then that I realized that it didn't matter how I did it because Rock Band -- like Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers, and DDR-- is a video game and, as dictated by the cosmic forces, I shall always suck at video games, singing or not. Effectively, I am doomed, because while this knowledge is most valuable to me, I unfortunately cannot use it as an excuse, and people shall continue to assume that because I am a singer, I am actually competent at Rock Band, and I will continually be forced into committing social suicide. As a rule, every party I attend is fated to end with me eating nachos alone in the corner while I cringe under the glares of my peers. I think this is another one of the levels of Hell that Dante didn't want to write about; there's more than one way to punish the proud, after all.
This is precisely why I don't go to parties.
And don't get me wrong, I really do like Rock Band a lot, and I have no issues with it being something of a social standard, I just wish it wasn't quite so deceptive as to convince me that I'm actually good at it every single time because it always ends with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth... And many trips to the corner of shame to think about what I've done.

Thanks a lot, Rock Band, not like I NEEDED that dignity or anything...