Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Albums that I Love

I've been wanting to start doing some reviews of albums that I love for a while now and have been really quite busy and not sure when to start, because I'd like for it to be fairly regular. I've been so busy lately between school and church stuff that I'm not going to promise anything at this point, but I'm sitting here and I might as well start typing.

In way of introduction, I'd like to say that I first started building my music library in 1995, after receiving my first CD player for Christmas in 1994. Given that I started with just a few CDs, I used to listen to them quite a bit all the way through. Probably within that first year, I'd discovered Columbia House and their 12 for a penny deal ("The first 12 were only a penny and then they jacked up the price!"). This allowed/forced me to expand my library quite a bit, but even still this was way before the advent of buying single songs from iTunes, so it was very common to listen a CD all the way through. Listen to every CD all the way through repeatedly made me really appreciate an album that was solid from front to back, that was enjoyable the whole way. It seems like most artists come up with a few solid "hits" and fill the rest of the album with crap. It seems even more rare now in the era of buying one song at a time.

I've decided I want to share some reviews of my favorite albums -- albums that I can listen to in their entirety and really enjoy. I'm hoping this new feature will be more reliable than the book reviews I tried to do. I found it hard to give good reviews to books I hadn't read in quite some time, and listening to an album shouldn't be as much of a time commitment. Look for the first review this Friday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Random Thoughts on the English Language #9

If you can be "nonplussed" can you be "nonminussed"? or "plussed"? or "minussed"? How about "nontimessed"?

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Nation Divided

Over the last few months, we have seen our great nation become divided, sometimes household against household, as things escalated continually til now we find that a rift has opened that may or may not be healed any time soon. No, I'm not talking about the democrats taking a majority in Congress. Rather, I refer to the Jim-Pam-Karen love triangle on The Office.

Quick recap for those of you who haven't kept up. From the beginning, Jim (salesperson) had a crush on Pam (receptionist) who happened to be engaged to Roy (warehouse worker). Pam's engagement had been ongoing for about 3 years and seemed to be headed nowhere til Roy decided to set a date after talking to a war veteran booze cruise captain. Then, in the season finale, in a courageous move, Jim proclaimed his love to Pam, only to be shot down. Here's some of the dialogue:

Jim: I was just..umm..I'm in love with you.
Pam: What?
Jim: I'm really sorry if that's weird for you to hear, but I need you to hear it....Probably not good timing, I know that. I just...
Pam: What are you doing? What do you expect me to say to that?
Jim: I just need you to know. Once.
Pam: Well, I...umm...I...I can't.
Jim: Yup
Pam: You have no idea...
Jim: Don't do that.
Pam: ...what your friendship means to me.
Jim: C'mon. I don't want to do that. I want to be more than that.
Pam: I can't. I'm really sorry...if you misinterpreted things. Its probably my fault.
Jim: Not your fault. I'm sorry I misinterpreted our friendship.

Jim walks away.

Then, even after that, Jim had the nerve to go into the office, find Pam while she was on the phone with her mom and kiss her, and that's how the season ended. At this point, everyone is excited to see how things will turn out. Jim has solidified himself as the guy we can all relate to, and we are cheering for him for laying it on the line in a way that perhaps we wouldn't be able to.

Fast forward to this season's premiere. We have to wait a bit to get what we've been waiting for, a flashback to when Jim kissed Pam. Here's the dialogue:

Jim: You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that.
Pam: Me too. I think we're just drunk.
Jim: No, I'm not drunk. Are you drunk?
Pam: No...Jim...
Jim: You really gonna marry him?
Pam: Nods
Jim: OK.

Following this final rejection, Jim packs his backs and transfers to the Stamford branch. Meanwhile, Pam did not go through with her wedding to Roy and continues on as the receptionist at Dunder-Mifflin Scranton.

This season Jim's found a new pal/love interest, Karen. It was unclear whether we'd be seeing Jim and Pam back together this season or not, but last week the Stamford branch was closed and its employees were given the option of transferring to the Scranton branch (Jim's original location). Jim and several of his fellow Stamford-ites have come to Scranton, including Karen, who we saw this week scratching his back, and Jim told Pam that he's kind of dating someone now. Now that he's back in Scranton, its safe to assume that we'll see him be torn between Pam and Karen throughout the rest of this season, and in Ross and Rachel like fashion, its probably a safe bet that Jim and Pam will wind up together in the end.

All of which brings us to the debate at hand, should Jim take Pam back, assuming she has the nerve to confess her undying love for him. Pretty much all the girls I know are rooting for Jim and Pam to get back together, while most of the guys I know, who were excited for him and Pam last season, are pulling for Jim to give this Karen thing a shot, and things seem to be pretty well divided down the middle of the gender gap. Us guys are saying that Pam had her chance, and Jim took a pretty big leap of faith and was rewarded with a "lets just be friends". He put himself out there, twice mind you, and got nothing in return. Clearly, Jim has no option other than to pursue other options romantically. Why would he assume that now that Roy is out of the picture that its safe to approach Pam again? He's already misinterpreted things once. Clearly the ball is in Pam's court.

Meanwhile, the new girl (Karen) is on his same level professionally and has shown sparks of developing a good friendship with Jim. She's clearly more attractive than Pam, and while Jim clearly has some feeling for Pam, he really doesn't have an chance to act on them, as its now on Pam to say that she was wrong. She can't expect him to just sit around while she makes up her mind, and if he did that he'd just be beating himself up for just sitting around hoping that things will change.

Am I wrong here? What move does Jim have that doesn't either come across as overly egotistical, i.e. you told me you didn't want a relationship, but I'm going to try to force it anyway, or just foolish, i.e. I know I thought you were interested before and I was wrong, but maybe this time things are different?

Tell me what you think, America (or the very small portion of America that reads this blog).