Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pimp and Circumstances

Last week was graduation. I looked damn fine in my Doctoral Cap and Gown. As always.

For those who don't know, Doctoral robes are a lot fancy than the plain black you wore for your graduation ceremony. Velvet highlights, puffy hats, metallic "gold" tassels. The works. The school I received my PhD from goes even further and rocks the alternate color robe. Regal purple. Did I mention I looked damn fine?

I have two theories on the color. First is that it is a safety feature. That part of the country is known for heavy snow. You go down in a snow bank in that purple and rescuers will have an easier time finding you. The other is a message to other schools. And that message is, "Our degree costs more."

While sweating out the ceremony in the poorly ventilated gym (it holds more people than the auditorium but is hotter then hell inside) I kept myself awake by jotting down some notes that should prove useful if you ever find yourself being asked to be the Commencement speaker at a graduation. Commencement speakers seem to think that what they have to say is important and everyone is excited to hear their words of wisdom. I've done several of these now. I've heard one good speaker in all the ones I've attended.

So with that in mind, here is what you need to think about when you compose your speech. You may want to write these down for future reference.

  • Be brief. Even if you haven't started writing yet, it is already five minutes too long.
  • Only try to be funny if you are genuinely funny. Be honest about this. Are the only laughs you get pity laughs or from terrified underlings?
  • Don't be in love with the sound of your own voice.
  • Dramatic pauses are not dramatic at 8 in the morning. They're annoying at best, invitations to fall asleep at worse.
  • Avoid cliches. I hate the part where you tell us all about what it was like for you when you sat "right where these graduates are sitting right now."
  • Avoid "In conclusion..." If it really is your conclusion it should be obvious. If it isn't then you've given us all hope and then destroyed it.
  • Nobody but your family and the trustees care that you are here (Note, trustees only care if you are donating money, are a golf buddy, or will attract attention with your fame). Parents just want to hear their child's name announced and you are holding up the show*. Professors just want to go home or go eat (or go drinking depending on the Professor). Students just want to party.
By the time you speak, the crowd is already growing restless. You are not why they are here. Of course if you are a celebrity, none of these rules apply.

As for the alumni speaker, if you go longer than 2 minutes to make your asinine "join the alumni association and give us money" pitch then you are a douche bag. Yes, please, tell us the joke about how you are older than the students but not as old as their parents. That one is hilarious. Or the story about how much (or little) things have changed on campus since last you were there, especially if it involves cafeteria food. Never gets old.

And I care about how much our school still touches your life. Truly.

I need one of those wrap it up signs from the Chapelle show for next year. Or to start sneaking in my ipod. Because I've got decades more of these to sit through.

*My own Father however, enjoyed the speaker for my undergraduate degree immensely. When you know that, you know I had no chance but to be weird.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trust me on this one

I know, I've been trying to be better about posting and then I disappear for a week.

I've got a silly post I'll put up in the next two days. And after that, well, it's huge news.

HUGE news.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something else for the young lad on the town

Long time reader(s) or those who got really bored one day at work and went through the archives might recall that I'm willing to share my wisdom regarding how to be successful when wooing a lady.

So I've come up with a few more ideas in that vein. These are pick up lines that I have modified to be more modern or more successful. If you use these on the lady of your choice I guarantee results.

(Note that Professor Matthew has a much different definition of results than you may be thinking of. Also, this guarantee is useless in a court of law or a bar or the ladies room of a family restaurant, or anywhere else you go to pick up women).

So here are modern pick up lines for the modern randy lad (I leave it up to you to find the original if you are so inclined):

  • If I told you that you have a beautiful body would you allow me to photograph it and post it to my facebook page?
  • I hope you know CPR because in the current economic climate insurance rates are becoming cost prohibitive.
  • Do you know karate? Because I bruise easily and would hate to be kicked.
  • Are you from Tennessee? Because I hear Memphis has some really great bbq and I really like bbq.
  • Baby, I'm no Fred Flinstone, because he is a fictional character and also quite a bit dated as a cultural reference at this point.
  • Pardon me miss, I seem to have lost my twitter username, could I borrow yours?
  • Would you like a staring role in my next vlog?
  • Is your father an investment banker? Because he must have acquired the stars through a ponzi scheme and put them in your eyes.
  • Do fries come with that ass?
So there you go. Good luck and remember to get a DNA test before you admit to anything in a deposition.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's beard time of the year

If you are new here then allow me to explain something. I live in the South and love hockey. Some of my fondest memories of my youth are watching NY Islanders games with my dad on TV. Later he took me to a couple of games and we were still able to communicate about hockey even while I was going through the usual (and in my case unusual) issues of teen angst. We got to see Lemieux and Gretzky face each other one amazing night. So many goals were scored that we won free chili thanks to a local give away (ahhh, the magic of the chili goal).

With that introduction out of the way, the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the playoffs. It looked rough there for a little while and firing the coach midseason (the same coach who took them to the Finals last year) seemed like a desperation move at the time.

But it seemed to light a fire under them. That and some key acquisitions at the trade deadline and they're in again this year.

With two games left in the season it's time for the growing of beards. In fact, a student already asked me why I hadn't started growing one yet. (Because you don't start until your team clinches. I'm not jinxing them).

Except this year there is a big but.

I have a wedding to attend in a few weeks. Now if it were within two weeks time or less then this wouldn't be an issue because it would not have had time to grow into something too fuzzy. But it is about a month away. I can grow some mean levels of hair in a month. And I actually like the couple getting married.

On top of that Wife is related to one of them. So I don't want to upset them or her. I've done that already. One of my Sisters got married and I had crazy long chin whiskers at the time. MANY comments were made during and afterward that I should been more "considerate" in my appearance. (On a side note this is not the only time my family has been upset at my appearance during an important gathering. At some point I need to tell the story of my bleached hair during my grandmother's funeral).

In fact, my telling this story will potentially result in Wife commenting on it again. Except that now I've typed it out so it might work as a whammy and she won't because she doesn't want to be predictable. Except that I've typed that out so it might work as a double whammy so she will. Except that would make her predictable in that direction. And she hates to be predictable.

The gist of all of this is this year it will have to be a playoff goatee. I know. I feel like I'm letting them down too. But something is better than nothing.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm so mad that I'm angry

This is not an April Fool's joke.

I've mentioned before that I have a love of Taking of Pelham 123. The original has a great story, low key but tense action, very clever dialogue and an amazing cast of actors. The biggest names though are Walter Malthau and Robert Shaw. It also has Ben Stiller's dad. If you haven't seen it, put it on your netflix and watch it already. Or Robert Shaw will make you regret it.

And tonight what do I see? They're remaking it. And what makes this worse? Robert Shaw is being replaced by John Freaking Travolta. It's not his fault but this just sucks so much ass. You know they're going to replace the low key tension and clever NYC style cynicism and humor with lame action cliches and high impact action. Because who needs clever writing when you can have explosions and car chases?

Get that action beat in, it's been almost ten minutes since something went boom!

So a big old screw you to Hollywood for remaking a movie that so did not need to be remade. Why make something new when you can just redo a movie from the 70s only in a worse version? Fuckers. Think this would happen if Robert Shaw was still alive? Let him tell it in his own words what would happen,

"Now, then, ladies and gentlemen, do you see this gun? It fires 750 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition per minute. In other words, if all of you simultaneously were to rush me, not a single one of you would get any closer than you are right now. I do hope I've made myself understood."

And that's real.