Sunday, July 12, 2009

Facebook Chatting

I love chatting on Facebook, especially with people I don't get to see that often. It's the next best thing to talking on the phone, which is the next best thing to talking face to face, which is the next best thing to being friends that hang out. It's a great way to get in touch with long lost friends, exchange quick information, and carry flirtatious conversations with people of the opposite gender, typing things you'd be WAY too uncomfortable to say to their face.

Sometimes I wonder how awesome it would be if our regular everyday conversations carried on like a Facebook chat. You could be talking to two people at the same time about two entirely different subjects, just taking turns commenting or asking questions, and when a third person came along, you could just add him in.

You could ask him a question, and he'd ask you a question before realizing that you had just done the same thing, then quickly answer your question right before you answer his. Then you both would realize how awkward the mix-up was and take turns chuckling, "Haha." "Lol." And if someone told a really funny joke, you could actually roll on the floor laughing, and no one would think anything of it.

If you were at a party, and someone you didn't like showed up and said, "Hey, broseph, how's it hangin'?" you could just leave the room, and he'd assume you weren't available for conversation. Also, if you asked someone a question, he could just walk to the other side of the room, grab a drink, come back, and say, "Oh, sorry, I was off getting some punch."

Also, flirting would be incredible. I wish girls winked as much in real life as they do on Facebook. The wink has become a generic "Well, hey there," facial expression in electronic communication. There was once a time when a wink meant a WINK, as in, "Between you and me, I think you're sweet stuff." But those days are long gone. Same with the tongue sticking out. I can't imagine any actual, normal conversation I'd have where I'd stick my tongue out to emphasize jealousy or sarcasm, but it's become a pretty casual expression.

But alas, all these delightful quirks are limited to the world of Facebook and texting. But not Twitter. That's a whole 'nother league of dysfunctional social interaction.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Freebies in the Workplace

Usually when you work somewhere like, say, a restaurant, you eventually become so tight with your manager that you get start getting free stuff. Food, pens, whatever it is, at some point you're able to make yourself lunches and get family and friends in for free.

However, as I learned today, it is usually very difficult to tell when exactly that moment comes. I work at the Pizza Factory in Provo, a generally pleasant but sometimes awkward restaurant. Some of my coworkers are able to make salads, pastas, or pizzas whenever they're hungry, while other employees, like me, are allowed 50% off. For those of you who aren't aware of how expensive Pizza Factory food is, even 50% is a kick in the shorts.

So today, I was watching one of my coworkers, an assistant manager, make himself a free pasta dinner when I thought, "What the heck; I've been here about two months, why not see if I can get a freebie?" So I paced back and forth, contemplating how I could bring it up without sounding like a creepy freeloader that steals from work.

Honestly, I think the only other things that could possibly compare in awkward uneasiness are: a.) asking a guy to sell you drugs without knowing for sure if he's "hip to the scene," or b.) a gay man coming on to another man whose orientation hasn't been established yet. It's a scary thing, revealing a suspicious request to someone whose standards and rules you are unfamiliar with.

So, having finally summoned the courage to ask, I walked up to him and said, "Hey, Dustin, I've got a question for you, and keep in mind, there are NO wrong answers... But what would the chances be of me making myself a small pasta tonight?"

He gave me a blank stare and said, "Well, you can make anything you want, if you pay 50%... I don't know what to tell you, man. That's all I can do for you..."

I quickly nodded and tried to cover up my request. "Yeah, man, that's totally fine," I sputtered, staring off into the distance. "I was actually just wondering if I was allowed to make it now, or if I had to wait till we close."

"Make it whenever you want, just make sure that we're not busy and that you pay for it."

I hung my head in shame and agreed as he walked away to finish his free pasta.

How do you know when you can start getting food from your job for free? No one knows. You just somehow get to a point, whether it's after three weeks or an entire year, when you're no longer required to pay. This is a subject as old, familiar, and mysterious as the purpose of life. It becomes even more controversial once you learn how much it costs to make the food that costs $20 a serving. The ingredients are surprisingly cheap.

In conclusion, asking the assistant manager for a freebie ended up being extremely awkward. Maybe I should have just asked him for some heroin or told him he had cute pants, and spared myself the discomfort.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Anti-Religion Movies: The Plusses

There have been a few movies in recent history that take pretty sharp jabs at organized religion, or even the idea of a God. Some have been more "fun-spirited," like The Da Vinci Code (which I personally thought could have been more fun than it was), while others are pretty straightforward in their message, like the recent Religulous, by Bill Maher.

The typical conservative religious response to films like
Religulous, whose messages aren't interlaced with fiction, is to boycott and complain and organize protests. This doesn't exactly help our case, since religious types are typically accused of being close-minded and prejudiced, and boycotting a movie one hasn't seen falls into that category.

However, I look at
Religulous and other films like it as a much needed wake-up call for the religious people of the world; not as proof that God doesn't exist, but as a reminder that no matter how weird someone else's religion may appear, yours looks just as weird. Online and offline, I've bumped into people who claim that the LDS church (which I'm sure isn't alone in this situation) CAN'T be true, because there isn't enough proof to support its claims. On many occassions, the individual belongs to the Catholic church, or some other religion with deep history and traditions.

I find that comparing one religion to another by way of facts and evidence is a fool's errand. I think sometimes people get so caught up in their own religions and traditions that they forget how absurd religion itself looks to the atheist. Think about it: We believe in an all-powerful being, embodied or not, who created and controls everything. He lives in "Heaven," an unspecified world that is generally regarded as cloudy. If we're good, we go there. If we're bad, we go to "Hell," a land of fire and brimstone. These are pretty typical Christian beliefs.

Where is Heaven? Where is Hell? Are they here on Earth, a planet we've pretty much explored inside and out? Why is God able to control everything?

The claims of religion are difficult to believe or even grasp in this world of advancing science and technology. As religious and convinced of God's existence as I am, I can't blame the atheist for being a bit skeptical. And yet somehow, the major conflict has almost always existed between different religions, not between religion and the absence thereof. We're so busy trying to convince each other through facts and evidence that one is better or more right than the other, we forget that we're trying to prove an factual argument about someone whose existence is still in question.

In my opinion,
Religulous is an opportunity for religious people everywhere to understand that we are ALL under scrutiny; not just Mormons, Jehova's Witnesses, Scientologists, or Catholics, but everyone. To the atheist community, we are no more than kids, arguing over whose imaginary friend looks the coolest.

So many people rely on facts and history as a source of their faith. Bill Maher, Dan Brown, and others like them have called these things into question. This strips the religious community of the worldly evidences it so desperately clings to and REQUIRES that we turn to faith for our testimonies.

I'll probably never see it, but I'm glad
Religulous got made. It's about time we were all brought down to the same level, where all that we have to hold onto are the things we can't see. That's what faith means.

Maybe you agree, maybe you don't, but either way, you should speak up about it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Supporting a Cause, Without Supporting a Cause

There's something that's been getting under my skin lately on Facebook, and I'm somewhat uneasy to talk about it, because I'm pretty sure that around 50% of the people that read my blogs take part in it. If you do, just know that I always remain faithful to my "Love the sinner, hate the sin" policy, so although I see this ridiculous fad as retarded, I do not think that you yourself are a retard.

The fad I'm talking about is the Facebook invitation to "Causes." This thing used to be done through e-mail, but now that Facebook is the hotspot of the Information Superhighway (Internet), it seems like the traffic has all been shifted over.

I'm just going to come out and say it. I've ignored
every cause invitation I've ever gotten. It's not that I disagre; to the contrary, I'm all for fighting the big abortion movement, or stopping cancer, or feeding the starving kids in Africa. But one thing you have to understand is, joining this cause does not help the cause.

It's a slightly more complex version of those e-mail petitions that get sent around. I remember getting one where two men apparently had killed a kid, and there was some controversy over whether they should get the death sentence. The petition requested that every recipient type in their name and what state they're from, and pass it along to all their acquaintances. If they could get 1,000 votes, the guys would be put to death.

Now, IF the story is true, then I'm sure the guys deserve death. But seriously. An e-mail vote? Who in their right mind could think that this affects anything anywhere in the world? It would be superfluous to point out how easy it is to simply type in hundreds of names and states, without the e-mail even going out. Also, many times those petitions are fakes designed to get your
e-mail address, so you can be spammed for the rest of your life.

I'm not trying to generate any conspiracies about the Facebook method of supporting a cause, I just want to point out that in the cynical, "anything goes" world of the internet, a Facebook cause doesn't mean a whole lot to people who expect physical results. You want to support a cause? Go be active in your community. See how you can help
real-life people in your immediate neighborhood. Anyone can sit at a desk and click "Accept" on the Cause invitation. It takes a truly passionate supporter to get off their fanny and go do something about it.

And as long as I have your attention, I'd also like to point out how silly and nonsensical it is to get a notification saying, "Food-fight invitation: Billy just threw a handful of grey poupon at you! Will you throw something back?" It takes more time to fill out all the forms and select the food I want to throw than it would for me to just grab some real food and throw it at someone. All these little games we play, to me, just seem like a more boring version of the real thing with more paperwork to fill out.

So there it is. Sorry if I'm a killjoy, but somebody needs to stop this madness. If it bugs you as much as it does me, please join my cause, "Let's put an end to the Cause Invitations." Hopefully it will make a difference.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Movie Pirating

You know those ads you see before movies, where it shows a teenager downloading movies with quick cuts and jolted editing? And in grungy, ghetto-type it says, "You wouldn't steal a car. You wouldn't steal a handbag. You wouldn't steal a television. Downloading pirated films is stealing. Piracy. It's a crime."

I always knew the MPAA was out of touch with the public. I mean, look at how bogus the rating system has become. But this commercial really took the cake for me. I agree with the message that downloading movies is against the law
; there's no arguing against that. What I don't get is the extreme comparison they make to prove a point.

No, we wouldn't steal a car. But if it was possible to download a Ferrari off the internet, it'd be a different story. Same with TV's and money. The MPAA has too much faith in the public's willingness to spend money. If something is available for free, and you can get it without leaving your house, whether it's a movie, a car, or an X-Box 360, people will probably just go for the download.

When we choose not to steal a car, it's not because we'd rather buy one. It's because stealing a car is hard. Plus it belongs to somebody already, which means you're costing him thousands of dollars, not to mention the fact that cops will be out looking for the car as soon as he knows it's gone. Who wants that kind of stress? I sure don't.

This logic reminds me of the comment that people make whenever you're following the crowd: "If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it?" Well, of course not. That's insane. Why is everyone jumping off the cliff in the first place? If I saw that going on, I would freak out. What area of human psychology leads people to believe that if someone witnesses a mass-suicide, he'll just throw himself into the mayhem? Granted, I might see a movie or play a video game if everyone tells me it's good. But if everyone told me that jumping off a cliff was good, I would seriously doubt their judgment.

Who was it who first came up with that phrase anyway? It's so specific, somebody had to have said it first. I wonder if that person is still alive, and if he or she is amazed at how greatly it's caught on with the American public. Funny how random stuff spreads like that.

So there you have it. If you're trying to prove a point, don't compare moderate, relatively normal things to extremes like car theft and throwing oneself from a cliff. After all, you wouldn't just stab a person in the face with a fondue fork.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oh, Yeah.

By the way, if you ever think of something that you want to hear me talk about, whether it's a movie or some topic of great importance, e-mail me at and I might just put it in my next post.

Boy, would you be lucky then.

And Thus It Begins...

Hello, everyone. My name is Chris Bringhurst, and I have just created a blog. I'm not sure why, or what exactly I'm going to talk about, but I already talk so dang much, I figured I'd let you guys know about all the random stupid stuff that pops into my head.

This includes random observations I make, social commentaries, movie "reviews," and inspiring motivational speeches that will leave you weeping and screaming into your pillows. So prepare yourselves for a total mental "SLAM DUNK!"

I was thinking the other day about elementary school. Remember the obnoxious kid who always thought he was the first one to come up with a completely worn-out prank or joke? A favorite of mine was the one where he'd walk around with his hands spread out about two feet apart, and he'd ask you, "Are you afraid of a fly this big?" You were supposed to say no, then he'd clap his hands really hard, which made you blink, and he'd say, "Haha, yes you are!"

I always thought that was a dumb joke, but thinking about it years down the line, I realize now how flawed it was. Who
ISN'T afraid of a two-foot fly? I mean, when you think of the shock value of two hands clapping in front of your face, as compared to a MASSIVE fly buzzing slowly towards your head with bile oozing from its proboscis, I think I would definitely be more horrified by the fly. Imagine if it landed on your back and started squirting its stomach acids onto your neck! Gehhh...

But apparently, by the standard of a retarded class clown in 4th grade, it is comparable to two hands clapping. Such foolishness...

I think a better prank would be if a kid held his hands out two feet apart and asked, "Are you afraid of me clapping my hands?" and when you said no, he pulled a massive, hairy fly out of his backpack and let it buzz onto your face.

Now THAT would get some laughs.