Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011: An Improv Travesty

Saturday night, the Improvables sent a team to compete at the Third Annual Utah Battle of the Improvs. Brittney, Bryan, and Steve represented the troupe and, I must say, made me proud, really giving it their all. They played “Replay at Bernie’s” in the first round, getting the first perfect 10 score of the evening and collecting the highest composite score of the first half.

We were also well represented in the audience, with several troupe members and loyal fans in attendance.

Colten and Brittney helped collect votes for us at halftime.

Advancing to the top four in the second half of the show, they played “Accents” and were rated even higher, getting two 10s from two of the three judges and a 9 from the third, resulting in a 29 out of a possible 30 points – higher than any other troupe who took part – as well as a strong audience reaction and applause.

However, we were all flabbergasted when the two finalists were announced, and our troupe wasn’t one of them. In addition, we were also somewhat collectively offended by Toy Soup, the troupe that ended up winning the competition as well as the Audience Favorite Award, who put on what I thought were a very vulgar set of games that broke many of the basic rules of Improv. Not that we are bitter. Or in the least bit biased. It was rather frustrating.

On the bright side, Brittney did take home the Miss Congeniality Award.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Alpocalypse" Comes to Salt Lake City

My next birthday is still a few weeks away, but earlier tonight, I was given an early birthday present by my good friend Pepe: tickets to the "Weird Al" Yankovic concert at the Utah State Fair.

If you know me - I'm assuming that you do if you're reading this, but you never know - you know that I'm a huge "Weird Al" fan and that I had already been to the last four of his previous concerts in Utah, as well as one in southern Georgia in 2003 (another birthday present; thanks, Clayton). They've all been hugely entertaining, and tonight's show was no exception.

Al is currently on a cross-country tour to promote his latest album, "Alpocalypse," and he performed six or seven songs from that record, including his Lady Gaga parody "Perform This Way," for which he dressed up as a peacock.

I guess the picture speaks for itself; I couldn't make this stuff up. Of course, it's really pretty tame when you think about some of Lady Gaga's outlandish wardrobe choices.

Additionally, "Weird Al" sang several of his older favorites, such as "Amish Paradise," "Canadian Idiot," "Fat," and "Smells like Nirvana." The evening's encore performance was a medley of his two Star Wars-themed songs, "Yoda" and "The Saga Begins."

Good times were had by all.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today

We're all very familiar with all that went down on that infamous day, ten years ago today. I don't need to go over the details.

I was not in New York City; western Pennsylvania; or Washington, D.C., on that day, but like most Americans, I remember exactly where I was when I found out about it. I had a doctor's appointment that morning to have my wrist checked out, and while I sat in the waiting room, I watched speechlessly along with a handful of other patients as the events unfolded on the TV set in the corner.

Something that few people know about me is that while I was not a witness to the events on 9-11, I have been a witness - an earwitness, anyway - to a terrorist attack. On a warm December night in 1996, my companion and I were in the San Isidro borough of Lima, Peru, trying to hail a taxi on the side of the road, when we heard an extremely loud explosion. The taxi driver who pulled up shortly afterward said that it had come from less than a mile away. How grateful we were that we were not any closer.

Through the news and such, we learned that the explosion had taken place at the Japanese embassy and that it was caused by a terrorist group that went on to hold most of the people inside, who were attending a Christmas party that night, as hostages for the next several months.

Well, that's another story. But it will suffice me to say that I'm glad I live in a country where we don't have to worry about those kinds of things happening. I'm grateful for those who are abroad defending those freedoms and for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One of These Things Is Not like the Other . . .

After a few months of ward hopping and wandering like a stranger in a strange land, I have finally come to a decision. I'm going back to the home ward. At least for now.

During the aforementioned time period, I spent several Sundays visiting two of Salt Lake's mid-singles wards. Joining one of these wards is one of two options I faced upon forcibly "graduating" from the Millstream Ward in May. I met some good people in both of these wards and enjoyed visiting them. However, in the end, I could not justify the 45-mile round-trip commute just to attend church, not to mention the additional commutes for going to FHEs, temple nights, firesides, etc. If I were to join a ward like that, I would want to be as involved as I could be. In addition, both of these wards are currently being overrun - think of ants at a picnic - by hundreds of other people who find themselves in the same boat as myself. It's just too many people, in my humble opinion. I have friends who have joined both of these wards, and I wish them the best; it's just not for me.

The other option left to my disposal, of course, was going to the home (family) ward where I reside. It was an option that became, for me, the lesser of two awkward choices. Sure, I'm an orange among a room full of apples - including some "apples" I went to school with who are, for example, now married and have four kids. But it's the best option. For now.

Anyway, as I prepare to climb down off of my soapbox, let me add one last thing: If there are any other mid-singles out there who happen to read this and who are not currently involved in the mid-singles Institute in Centerville, may I politely urge you to get involved? For me, it has been an excellent social supplement - providing FHEs, activities, firesides, etc. in addition to the Institute classes - with people in my own age range that I no longer get for three hours on Sundays. If you're worried about feeling out of place if you show up to any of the activities, please don't worry; the people I've met have been welcoming and friendly. If you're worried about not knowing anybody, well, you know me.

Just come one time, and if you have a horrible experience, then you can go back to staying home Wednesday nights, staring out the window and wishing Edward from Twilight would appear at your door and command you to elope with him. Because we all know that's gonna happen.

But you won't have a horrible time, because it's been great. Who knows? You might even meet some real people of the opposite gender. It's my personal guarantee.