## Wife math

March 29, 2008

For some reason, jokes become funnier the more exasperated my wife gets by them. I don’t know why this is, but it’s a universal truth. The equation can roughly be described as:

F = [Sum(j)/J x We] + J
Where
F = Total Funny
J = Joke score
Sum(j) = Number of occurrences of said joke
We = Wife’s exasperation

Let’s pretend you and a friend are casually making fun of Armenians, perhaps laughing over the appeal by former president Levon Ter-Petrossian to annul the results of the 19 February presidential election in Armenia currently being considered by the Constitutional Court.  By itself, the funny from this joke can be measured as:

F = J
where
J = 7 (Jokes are always measured on a scale of 1 to 10).

So a simple rank 7 funny. Not too bad, a good way to break up the day. Now add in the Wife Exasperation factor (The exasperation is on a scale of 1 to 3, 3 being me sleeping on the couch. This has only happened once and it involved jokes about robots).

F = [4/7 x 1] + 7
where
J = 7
Sum(j) = 4 (I’m assuming 4 total Armenian jokes)
Total funny = 8.57!!

You see here that some simple exasperation from my wife has increased the overall funny of this joke by a factor of 1.57. Also note that the more the joke continues (increasing the value of sum(j)) the more funny you can extract from the Wife Exasperation factor.

## Top fears that will never happen

March 24, 2008

According to some random pages on the internet, if you were to poll a bunch of average people, you would find that their top fears are very similar. Death, public speaking, spiders, heights.. it’s a fairly common list of responses.

Due to a prolonged incident during my childhood which saw me addressing a group of furious spiders in an dangerously elevated hot air balloon while fending off a life-threatening illness (hint – it wasn’t cancer!), I have been forcibly cured of the top fears which plague normal people. Which isn’t to say I’m a fearless, danger loving automaton – far from it. Like every other trembling sack of organs on this planet, I am also assaulted by a constant barrage of fears. The only thing that gives me comfort is the fact that my top fears are less likely to ever actually occur. I have listed my top two fears here (more coming!)

1. Fear of being simultaneously struck deaf and blind while in public transit
This one is pretty horrifying if you stop to think about it. Imagine you’re going about your business, maybe commuting to work or god forbid commuting in a strange city. You’re “happily” riding the public bus (which is of itself a cause for alarm) when out of the blue you’re suddenly struck deaf and blind. What would you do? How would you handle it? You could make thick, grunting noises to try to indicate your advanced state of agitation, but then what? Even if people did try to help you, would you understand? I have read several books on Helen Keller and it took her nearly 5 years to master the art of commuication bereft of 2 of the major senses. You have like, 10 seconds. Are you smarter than Helen Keller?

If you said yes, or even snickered a little, you’re probably going straight to hell.

Solution:
The only way out of this one that I can come up with would be to have a cell phone and call someone. This assumes a couple things though:

a) You have a cell phone
b) You have a someone
c) Someone picks up
d) You are able to grunt “help me for god sakes help me bus deaf blind help” articulately enough such that they are able to plan a response strategy.

Most likely scenario
Due to your ravings and complete inability to make use of the most helpful of suggestions (i.e. Hey buddy, shut up!) you are promptly thrown off the bus and left to your own devices. Totally unable to care for yourself, you eventually cause enough of a scene that the police are called to taser you into some semblance of normalcy. They steal your wallet and you live out the rest of your days scrawling “Why?” on the sidewalk using your own feces.

What you can do to prevent this:
The obvious one is never ride public transit, ever. I think that’s just a good ground rule for life. Constant eye and ear checkups can’t hurt and maybe make sure you always have a cellphone on you.

2. Fear of diving into a pool, only to emerge in the middle of an unfamiliar ocean.
I should probably take the word “unfamiliar” out of this one, because I’m not actually sure it would be that comforting even if you could identify which major body of water you had emerged in. “Oh thank god, the Pacific. If I was “Life of Pi” what would I do? Oh yes, hallucinate a Tiger and escape to a magical world of fantastic religious whimsy.” I just don’t see it helping.

Solution:
After screaming yourself hoarse, a process which probably takes anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes depending on your lung capacity, you just pick a direction and swim. The really optimistic among you might dive a couple times hoping to find your way back to the pool, but that’s pretty naive. Come on.

Most Likely Scenario:
You die, probably within about 2 hours. Either hypothermia gets you or the sharks. I assume there’s sharks.

What you can do to prevent this:
Presumably the drastic alteration in your location was caused by some kind of wormhole, so try to avoid diving into swimming pools where singularity is collapsing into one area. Early warning signs of this include the mass of every object rapidly flowing towards the same physical location, and this weird humming noise.

## Music test

March 19, 2008

I’ve come up with a test to determine how much people like music. As I reflect on the fact that I’m the type of person to come up with tests to reveal how much other people like music, I realize I could have saved myself the time and just posted this:

1. Do you ever come up with tests to determine how much other people like music?
2. Do you even care how much other people like music?

If you answered yes to either of the above, you probably have an unhealthy fixation with this entertainment medium. Anyway, that’s not where I was going. If you were to do a mental map of my brain, I think 60% would be devoted to how much I think about music, 30% would be devoted to finding ways to fit Arrested Development quotes into everyday life and the remaining 10% is for everything else. Job, kids, family, whatever.

Because I think about music so much, I’ve come up with a way to figure out how much other people think about music, which for some reason is important to me. It’s a simple test you can take on yourself right now. Ready? Here’s the test.

Name your top 5 favorite bands of all time.

<pause as I wait for you to complete>.

Now depending on how much you think about music, or how much time you spend listening to music, you had three possible outcomes.

1. This question totally threw you. After thinking and stammering, you were able to come up with 2, maybe 3 bands. Overall you don’t think you have 5 favorite bands.

2. You were able to come up with five bands, pretty quickly, and were satisfied with the list

3. You not only were ready for this question, you were excited to answer it. However, you only got about 3 bands in before you started second guessing yourself. Within the span of a minute this list changed three times. At some point you had an internal debate with yourself about your ranking method and your fluctuating internal rules. You were very likely unable to answer cleanly and thought the question would be more fair if you could somehow break it into categories or if you were allowed to select more bands.

If you fell into category one, you don’t care about music very much at all. It’s not that you dislike it, it’s just an afterthought for you. If music were to disappear tomorrow, you probably wouldn’t notice. Your attention is spent on some other form of entertainment media, perhaps art or movies.

If you are in category two, you like music the exactly perfect amount. It doesn’t dominate your life, but you have a healthy interest in it. You think about it while you’re listening to it, but you don’t obsess over it. You might turn on the radio while cooking in the kitchen.

If you’re in category three (as I am) you spend way too much time thinking about music. If you’re in this list, there’s another related test you can take. Stop trying to list your top five favorite bands and just randomly list three (which is easier for some reason). Now say exactly where you were and who you were with when you first heard these bands. People from category one and two would not be able to do this. People in category three can not only do this, they can probably tell you the exactly song they heard. For me:

1. REM – first heard at guys house in grade nine during lunch hour. The song was World Leader Pretend off the Green CD.

2. They Might Be Giants – First heard at a very small party with close friends in grade 11. The song was Birdhouse in your Soul, it was on a mixed tape brought by a friend’s girlfriend.

3. Liz Phair – January, 2001. This was right after Christmas where I somehow ended up with Whitechocolatespaceegg in my bag of Christmas Gifts. I listened to it the week when I got back to work. The first song would have been Whitechocolatespaceegg (first track on the CD)

And so on. I can do this for just about any of the favorites in my top ten. The nice thing about this test is it works for any entertainment medium.

Bonus (worth extra points)!
Some other signs you think about music too much
1. You are worried about bands you don’t like because you think you “should”. You think about these bands a lot and it bothers you that you don’t like them. (mine – The Hold Steady, Interpol, Band of Horses, Ambulance LTD, Neutral Milk Hotel”

2. You like certain songs because of one line and put them on a CD just to hear that one line, even though you mostly don’t care for the song (mine – The Accident by Calamine)

3. You randomly and frequently come up with ranking mechanisms for your songs. You probably have hundreds, they change every day.

4. Your iPod playlists are very specifically divided – walking music, working music, work out music, driving music, etc.