Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blogger Brawl: The Lost Entries, Vol. 2

Missing out on a chance to have a paid weekly blog on was bad enough, but now, it seems if I had reached the finals I could've participated in a super-cheesy Rocky-esque photoshoot. I'm so bummed out.

But at least the contest generated some new content for this blog. Here is the piece I had ready to turn in if I had reached the finals. All links and italicized comments would have been left out of the "real" entry.

Thank you to everyone who has voted so far and helped me reach this point of the competition. It’s been a lot of fun.

A few years ago, while an undergrad at BYU, my roommate Will and I watched a VH1 show ranking the 200 greatest pop culture icons of all-time. While some of the rankings were dubious (JFK was ranked 32nd, but JFK Jr. was #24), the show inspired us to make our own list of the top 200 Mormon pop culture icons. Should I emerge victorious from this Blogger Brawl, and should that list be expanded to one thousand names, I’d like to think I’d have a spot on it. [It's tempting for me to attack that list in the same manner as the top 500 songs list that dominated my blog last year, but I'll try to refrain.]

Around the time we were making our list, I saw an article in the BYU newspaper about Andrea Finch, who had recently been crowned as America’s Junior Miss, and would be enrolling at BYU that fall. I found her address in the online directory and sent her an e-mail, introducing myself and explaining our list.

I told her we hoped to turn it into a show on BYUTV (which was true, but there was basically zero chance of that ever happening) and invited her to be the host, figuring she would be good at it but mainly trying to figure out a way to get a date with a Miss America-type.

Amazingly, she responded, saying she’d be interested if it fit in with her busy public appearance schedule. I replied that the show was still in pre-production and might not make it to air, but I would keep her updated. We had no further contact.

This was not the only time I attempted an elaborate, far-fetched scheme to get a date. I once found a cute game show contestant on MySpace (how did people ever stalk each other before the Internet?) and sent her a message letting her know how much I enjoyed her performance. [I chronicled this in much more detail here.]

Another time, while working as a reporter for the aforementioned BYU newspaper, I was interviewing a really cute girl about her recent victory in a Dancesport competition. I asked her “off the record” if she had a boyfriend, and if she would mind if I asked her out. This was certainly a more realistic scenario, but I chickened out and never called her again. [This was actually a girl I knew, the first one I had a crush on after my mission. I didn't get a date out of it, but to my knowledge the resulting article was the only one I ever wrote to be picked up on UWIRE, which is the college equivalent of the Associated Press.]

Why am I sharing all these stories? To make sure it’s clear that when it comes to dating, I really have no clue what I’m doing. I don’t know any more about dating and relationships than the next guy or girl; chances are I know much less.

So if I’m fortunate enough to get my own column here at MormonTimes, rest assured I won’t make huge generalities, I won’t try to dispense advice, and I won’t get preachy or super-serious. Instead, I’ll just share my experiences as a guy involved in the dating process (while regularly mixing in pop culture references, of course).

I think a lot of people will find what I have to say relatable. I hope some people will find it funny. I know I’ll have a great time doing it. Thanks again for reading and voting.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blogger Brawl: The Lost Entries

If you didn't already know it by now, you probably guessed it: I lost in the quarterfinals of the MormonTimes Blogger Brawl. Thank you to everyone who voted for me. It was a pretty fun experience.

Due to the deadlines set by the contest's editor, I had already submitted my semifinal entry and nearly completed my final blog before I was eliminated. They won't go to waste, though. Here's the marvelous piece of prose you would've had the chance to vote for if I had reached the semis.

I am a long-time student of television—literally while in high school and college, but unofficially since I was very young. I watch a lot of TV, and appreciate it for its entertainment value. But I’m also fascinated by the industry itself, and pay close attention to all the little things that go into getting a show on the air.

For example: my mom likes to tell a story that happened when I was five years old. I was in the hospital, and had patiently endured days of tests, needles, and the like, without crying or complaining. But one day I just started bawling uncontrollably.

The event that sent me over the edge? Someone had misplaced the remote, and by the time we found it and turned the hospital TV on, He-Man had already started. It was only a minute or two into the show, but that was late enough to miss the title of the episode, and what’s the point of watching if you don’t know the title? I was inconsolable.

I don't actually recall this event, but I don't doubt its veracity, because my mother is an honest person, and because He-Man was a really great show.

I often think about He-Man when I'm trying to get a date, mainly because I retire to my bedroom so I can have some privacy to call the girl, and once there I see my He-Man pillowcase. I missed the show opening that one time, but I've seen it enough to know that “fabulous secret powers were revealed” to cowardly Prince Adam, transforming him into the fearless hero.

Oh, how I wish I could channel some of those powers when I'm asking someone out (I also wish I had his smile; with just one long tooth in each part of my jaw, I'd never need to floss again). I'm rarely nervous while on a date, but the process of calling a girl to invite her on one terrifies me. When you're on a date, it’s easy to relax because she's set aside that time to spend with you; when you're talking to someone on the phone, there's no way of knowing if you're bothering them—unless they tell you that, which is even more awkward and unpleasant.

You can't see her, so there's no body language cues to pick up on. Plus, I never know how to end the conversation (or begin it, for that matter). Do I get right to the point and ask her out? Do I make small talk first? For how long? After asking, do I make more small talk, or if she said yes do I make my escape as quickly as possible before she can change her mind? I long for the days of high school dances, where the norm was incredibly elaborate methods of asking that allowed me to show off my creativity and avoid any awkward conversations or immediate rejection.

Another of my TV heroes, Batman (the Adam West version), once told Catwoman that "a wife, no matter how beauteous or affectionate, would severely impair my crime fighting." I don't have that excuse. Plus, I know that I need a wife if I ever want to become a "master of the universe." So I'll continue stretching my comfort zone and keep calling girls for dates, using my childhood idols to psych myself up if necessary. And if my dates are ever a little late, I'll do my best not to cry.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rock the vote...again

It's time to shamelessly beg for votes again. My quarterfinal matchup is live, and the poll will stay open until Friday at midnight. So vote for me, and spread the word to all your friends! Thanks, you're great!

I'm more nervous about this round than I was for the first two. Unsurprisingly, my competition keeps getting better, and the format of my new post will certainly stand out, but maybe not in a good way depending on people's tastes. Plus, as my friend Tamara pointed out, the song I'm parodying is not exactly current (though I'm confident most of the target audience for this contest will recognize it). I can't coast on talent anymore; at this point it's more about the campaigning. So please vote!

(Some of you probably noticed that I have already used that song as a blog post, about 18 months ago. You may rest assured that my writing is not so much lazy as it is procrastinate-y. I was working on a different blog, but wouldn't have finished it in time for my deadline. So I adapted that old post and sent it in. If I make the semis you'll get to read something even better.)

Monday, May 3, 2010


I forgot to add a title to my last post. That's weird.

This is my 200th post! To celebrate, I finally made some changes to my blog.

It still looks pretty boring, but considering it's the first time I've changed anything since my blog debuted about 28 months ago, this is pretty significant. Here's what's new:

--I have a new picture! You have to admit, I'm looking pretty good there.

--The banner is no longer misleading (it said I was living in New York, but I've been back in Utah for nine months now).

--I've added a number of blogs I follow to the sidebar. See Marlene, I told you you were forgiven!

--Right above that, I've added a button you can click and become an official follower of Amateur Blog at the Apollo! Go ahead, stroke my ego.

--If you want to leave a comment, you'll now do so in a pop-up window, and fill in one of those word-verification thingies. Now I won't have to reject all the weird spam comments full of weird links and Wingdings. Mmmm....wingdings....

That's it for now. Maybe when I get to post number 400 I'll consider changing the color scheme.