Archive for November 2009

Who Am I?

November 24, 2009

It has just occurred to me that there might be people reading this who either don’t know me that well or have lost touch with me over the years.  About eight or nine months ago, the “25 things about me” note was all the rage on Facebook.  It circled around like wildfire, and everyone found out everything about everyone.  I didn’t do it then, but I figure now would be a good time, so that you, the reader, could get caught up with me, the blogger.  Plus, I really enjoy being on the cusp of the dated and the outdated1.

The following things you will learn about me are in no particular order.  They will, in fact, all be true, but may include a joke that is either an obvious exaggeration or something else that I find funny.  So, you know, be on the lookout for those.  Here we go.

There are three things I love a whole lot2.  Chicken, “Back to the Future,” and my wife.  Now, if I were to put these in any kind of order, sadly chicken would inevitably come in third.  As for the other two, that’s a little tougher.  I love my wife very much, but to be fair, I’ve loved “Back to the Future” longer.  However, my love for “BTTF” has most likely peaked, whereas my love for my wife grows every day.  So, gun to my head3, I’m pretty sure the wife will be number one for the long haul.

I pronounce the word “probably” with three syllables.  Bet you didn’t know that… or care…

I am related to the current “sexiest man alive,” Johnny Depp.  Don’t believe me?  I don’t blame you, but it is actually true.  Any questions as to how can be directed to my Granny.  On a personal note, even though, since he’s family, I don’t particularly find him sexy, I’m still very proud of what he has accomplished in the “sexy” category.

The first movie I ever saw in the theater was “Sesame Street’s Follow That Bird.”  If you haven’t seen it, it is at times hilarious and at other times incredible, and then at different times heart-wrenching.  Spoiler Alert:  Bad guys paint Big Bird blue, put him in a cage, and force him to perform in front of people.  It’s sad, but thinking about it doesn’t make me cry…at all.  I’m not crying.

My oldest friend is Eric Christiansen.  He is 39.

Over the course of my 26 and a half years of life, I have lived in Bluffton, IN, Fort Wayne, IN, Muncie, IN, New Castle-Under-Lyme, England, Newington, CT, and Omaha, NE.  Now, I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Wow, Josh has lived in a lot of boring places and one awesome place.”  Well, you are absolutely right.  Nebraska is awesome!

If I could be any alien, I would Superman.  The reasons are threefold.  1.  I wouldn’t look all weird and gross.  2.  I’d have superpowers, duh.  3.  I’d be working at a newspaper, writing for a living4.  Sweet!

Every Sunday right around two p.m., I check to see what movies were the top ten grossing films of the weekend.  For some reason, I’m fascinated by what movies do well and what movies fail miserably.  And yes, I really do find that fascinating.

My wife and I have an incredible story, and someday, I’ll lay the whole thing out on here.  But for now, here’s a long story short.  We met in England, got engaged on top of the Empire State Building in NYC5, got married in Sedona, Arizona, and honeymooned in Hawaii.   And now we live in…let’s just end it at Hawaii.  I think that’s a stronger finish.

I would much rather take 30 to 45 seconds to squeeze my foot into a tied shoe than waste the ten seconds it would take to un-and re-tie it.

I have very little use for slang.  I don’t know how words that mean one thing end up meaning something completely different.  Whenever I use the words “sick” or “wicked,” you can be sure I’m talking about feeling ill or a witch of the west.

Over the course of my life so far, I’ve had many “dream jobs.”  In a very specific order (which I won’t reveal to you), they are:  Math Teacher, Filmmaker, Policeman, Sitcom Writer, Pro Tennis Player, Radio DJ, and Ghostbuster.  But just recently, I’ve found my true calling.  I want to be the new voice of movie trailers.  I think I’d be pretty good.  I have the required soothing, yet menacing baritone voice.  And with my love of writing, maybe I could do that too.  “In a world that’s about to be destroyed by various alien-vampire-robot-werewolf-frankensteins, one man will stand up and fight, and probably win.  ‘The Man Who Stops the Alien-Vampire-Robot-Werewolf-Frankensteins’ opening everywhere July 19th.”  Yeah, that job is MINE!

  1. Is there a difference between dated and outdated?  I think they both have negative connotations.  From now on, I’m going to think of “dated” as bad.  But “outdated,” that’s like the opposite of dated…or you know, out of the dated…which can only mean better than…dated.
  2. This is excluding family, which I love more than anything, but I have a joke to get to.
  3. My wife is holding a gun to my head.  It’s a squirt gun, but still.  I’m pretty sure she filled it with really cold water.
  4. But I honestly don’t know how much writing he actually does.  I think I would spend a lot less time saving people, and a lot more time getting my articles in by deadline…Maybe I shouldn’t be Superman.
  5. As opposed to the Empire State Building in Wichita?  Stop including redundant details, idiot.  I’m sorry.

So, there you have it.  12 things about me.  This is a rare occasion when I hope you found this blog entertaining but also informative.  I hope it has fostered a new connection between you and me, dear reader.  Leave those comments below.  And if you’d like to tell me a little about yourself, please email me at start_your_own_blog@gmail.com.

Is It All In My Head?

November 18, 2009

It’s been over a week since my last blog.  Here’s the problem I dealt with all that time.  I want to make every one of my blogs worth reading.  I want them to be long enough and interesting enough to make it worth your valuable time.  I want them to be well written.  I want them to flow.  I want to cover singular ideas in my own unique style.  Unfortunately, I spent the previous week starting and scrapping idea after idea.  So, rather than trying to make this blog any of those things I mentioned above, it will, instead, be random thoughts and occurrences that individually are not good enough for the blog, but hopefully will be, when working together as a cohesive unit.

 

One day, I was out with my dog, Murray.  We were just taking a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk.  I heard a car coming up behind us.  We continued to walk, minding our own business.  The car slows down to a crawl.  It was maybe travelling six miles an hour as it passed by us.  Now, I get what they were trying to do.  I guess they were trying to be considerate, passing by us so slow.  But come on.  My dog is on a leash, and he’s not getting away from me.  I’m not stupid enough to let him get hit by a car.  Needless to say1, I was insulted because by driving so slow, he was basically calling me an idiot.

 

I remembered a joke I just made up.  Stop me if you’ve heard it.  Two film critics walk out of the preview screening of a new movie.  One thinks it was a very well made film, and the other thinks it was a terribly made film.  In doing so, they completely invalidate their own profession…  Okay, maybe “joke” wasn’t exactly accurate.

 

I love television.  I really do.  For years, I completely ignored it and concentrated solely on film, thinking it was the superior medium.  And while I do believe the best writers are now working in television, one thing will always, at least in my mind, make films better.  No laugh track.  I honestly don’t understand the point of them.  The worst part is when the “audience” laughs at jokes that aren’t even funny.  It just makes me question their intelligence.  I’m sure the laugh track is there in some cases, so the audience at home will be more inclined to laugh along.  You know what?  I’ll decide on my own what I think is funny.  And I won’t be bullied into laughing by a bunch of slap-happy studio audience members.  Besides, dramas don’t have a sob track.  When something sad happens on “Grey’s Anatomy,” you don’t hear a bunch of people crying.  Right?  I’m actually not sure.  I don’t watch “Grey’s Anatomy.”

 

You give a man a fish, and he eats for a day.  You teach a man to fish, and in about a month and a half, he’s dead from mercury poisoning.  And you killed him.  You killed him.

 

The other day2, I was out driving.  I slowed to a stop at a red light in the left turn only lane.  I was sitting there, staring intently at the light, focusing all my energy on making it turn green.  Once I got my green arrow, I turned.  After driving about half a block, I saw the red and blue lights of a police officer pulling me over.  What could I have done?  I was stopped at a red light and turned left at the green arrow.  The officer walked up and explained to me that she had pulled me over because I did not turn on my turn signal when turning left.  How ridiculous is that?  I was in the left turn only lane, stopped at a red light.  I understand that turn signals are a courtesy to the other drivers, so they know what you’re doing.  But come on!  It was a left turn only lane.  Did my left turn from this lane surprise anyone?  Now, I can’t give her too much flack.  She’s just doing her job.  In fact, I hear they caught Al Capone the same way3.

 

Do you ever notice in cop shows how the forensic team refers to a gun-shot wound as a “GSW?”  Why do they do that?  I get it.  GSW are the initials and the short form of writing gun-shot wound.  However, gun-shot wound has two less syllables than GSW.  So why would anyone ever speak it?

 

One day, I was out with my dog, Murray.  We were just taking a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk.  Then out of nowhere a car goes flying by us.  I thought to myself, “Unbelievable!  What if Murray had gotten away from me?  There is no way this guy could have slowed down in time.  What a jerk.”

 

I’ve often pondered the meaning of life.  For me, the discussion comes down to one fundamental question.  Does each tiny decision we make affect our path or does each of us have a place we are destined to end up?  It’s such an interesting question.  Fate or no fate4.  I, like everyone else, have no idea, but I do take precautions.  Recently, I’ve started overanalyzing and researching all sides of even the most insignificant decisions I have to make in order to determine what kind of lasting effect it could have on my life, just in case there is no fate.  Then I pick a side at random, in case there is.

 

  1. If something truly is “needless to say,” then why do we say it?  More importantly, if what we’re saying is needless to say, surely the phrase “needless to say” is even more needless to say.  Awesome.
  2. It was actually months ago, but it sounds much more relevant and folksy by saying “the other day.”
  3. You know what they found in his glove compartment?  Road maps!
  4. We certainly know what Sarah Connor would argue.

 

Thank you for reading.  For those of you who enjoyed it, I can’t wait to hear your comments below.  For those of you who didn’t, please let me know by emailing me at is_this_joke_still_funny@gmail.com.

Ramble On…

November 10, 2009

Hello again!  Or perhaps, hello for the first time.

First off, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who stopped by to read my blog.  I got over ninety views in the first two days, making it my most successful blog ever1.  As an added bonus, it made my wife pretty jealous because she has a blog of her own and rarely gets such high traffic.  So, as a favor to me, you should go check out her website (after you finish reading this post and then tell two friends to read it).  She’s an amazing photographer.

Now that I’ve boosted my ego and given my wife’s site a shameless plug, on to the new post.

A lot of the blogs out in cyberspace are filled with the ramblings of people sitting around and complaining about things they don’t like or things they think are stupid or things they think should change.  It’s kind of ridiculous.  I don’t want to take time out my day to read about someone going on and on and on and on about something they don’t like.  The people who write these types of blogs just sound like they’re whining, you know?  Personally, I just can’t stand blogs that do this.  I think they’re stupid.  And I think we should figure out a way to change it.

Since we’re on the subject of things I don’t like, probably my least favorite thing about being in a car, besides passing a speed limit sign I’m not exceeding by at least seven miles per hour2, is sitting still at a green light.  Look, if you are stopped at red light, you only have one responsibility.  Hit the gas as soon as that light turns green.  Sitting there isn’t the time to be introspective about your life.  It isn’t the time to text your friends.  It’s a time to sit and stare intently at that light.  Focus all of your energy, as if the harder you stare, the quicker it’ll change.  Some of you out there might be thinking, “But Josh, ‘a watched pot never boils.’”  To which I respond, that’s just silly.  Of course it does.  I have neither read nor seen any empirical evidence to suggest that an observed pot of water boils any slower than one left unattended.  In fact, who in their right mind wouldn’t watch a pot of water they hope to boil?  That just seems like an accident waiting to happen.  It’s a stupid saying.

Although, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” is much worse.  I get what it’s trying imply.  You can’t have it both ways, but this is just an asinine example.  Some sayings I can get behind because I can imagine a realistic, real-world experience in which the phrase came about.

For example, one day, an industrious, forward-thinking man3 thought ‘Maybe a horse could push a cart even better than it could pull one.’  So, he put his cart in front and tied his horse to the back of it.  Unfortunately, the man riding in the cart now had no control over where the horse went, and that horse pushed the cart right into the river.  And the man drowned.  Luckily, someone watching the whole thing from the river bank took the time to write down, ‘Never put your cart before your horse.’

Another example, one day, a care-free little girl took two baskets to the henhouse in order to collect eggs for her family.  “Wait a minute,” she thought, “if I put all the eggs in one basket, I can use the other one to carry home flowers that I pick.”  On her way back home, with one basket filled with eggs and one filled with picked flowers, out of nowhere, a cart being pushed by a horse ran her off the road, and the basket filled with eggs was destroyed.  When all she brought back was a basket of picked flowers, her family forced her from then on to where a scarlet ‘E’ on her chest as a constant reminder to “not put all her eggs in one basket.”

These are logical stories that might have inspired these popular sayings.  But what kind of a story could have inspired “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”?

It’s a young boy’s birthday.  The father says, “Okay, blow out the candles son…Wait, what are you doing?  You have a cake, but you can’t eat any.  Honey, did you hear that?  Billy wants to eat his birthday cake.  No, Billy, this is a rental.  It has to be back at the bakery in an hour.  We could have made you a cake ourselves if your sister hadn’t broken all the eggs.  But don’t worry, we’ll take some pictures, so you will never forget this beautiful cake that you couldn’t eat.”  After his party, he ran up to his room and through tear soaked eyes wrote in his journal, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”  And little Billy never did forget that cake.  He grew up to be a baker.  The end.

I guess this post kind of got away from me.  I have no idea where I was going with any of this, and it’s too long for me to go back and try to figure it out.  I hope you have a great day.

  1. Do you get the joke?  Cause, it’s my only blog ever.  Although, by that rationale, I suppose that also makes it my least successful blog ever.  Hm.  Now, I’m sad.
  2. Got this from my mom.  I also inherited many good qualities from her, not just my need for speed.  Hi mom!
  3. Or woman…I’m not sexist.

Well, thanks for reading.  If you have any positive comments, as always, please leave them in the section below.  If you have any negative comments, feel free to email me at  like_you_could_do_better@gmail.com.  I haven’t added any pictures yet.  So, it’s still boring looking.

Josh Branyan: Son, Brother, Friend, Husband… Father??

November 9, 2009

(I also considered this for the title of my boring autobiography or for my tombstone)

I’m writing the inaugural blog with a pretty important announcement, but I’ll get to that in a bit.  First off, I’d like to welcome all the readers1.  Welcome!  I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a long time, but sadly, my life is somewhat uninteresting.  I have always been of the opinion that my initial blog should concern something completely life-changing and monumental2.  I mean, there are things in my life worth writing about.  I’m married which at times provides material that could be blog-worthy.  For instance, one evening, my wife, Julie, was craving tuna casserole.  She went out and bought all the ingredients, came home and cooked it, only to realize after it was done, she had forgotten to include the tuna.  She had cooked noodles and peas topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Yum.  Also, we live in Omaha, Nebraska, which could provide an endless comedic goldmine of jokes about cornhuskers.  I mean, come on.  It’s a funny word.  We have a dog, Murray, whose antics are often times hilarious.  But how many times have you heard a story about someone else’s pet that inevitably ends with the phrase, “I guess you had to be there”?  People often don’t realize that their pets are only interesting to them.  The same can be said of children as well.

I will no doubt eventually get to those topics.  But as I said, for this first blog, I wanted to talk about something huge.

So, here goes.  Concerning the title of this blog, I’m sure everyone is asking the same question.  “Why, Josh, did you put those words in that order?”  That’s what you were thinking, wasn’t it?  Well, quite obviously, they are in chronological order.  First, I was a son, then a brother, friend, husband and so on…“But Josh,” you’re thinking, “weren’t you both a son and a brother the instant you were born, since your brother is older than you?”  Ah, an excellent point, dear reader, but consider this.  With or without, my charming older brother Jamie, I still would have been a son.  Therefore, I believe that should come first.

(I’d like to take this time to thank everyone for wading through the first four hundred plus words in order to get to this, the actual crux of the blog.  Well done!  I hate to think how many I lost along the way.)

Perhaps there are those readers out there concerned only with the last word of the title of this blog.  I have for a long time put serious thought into the idea of becoming a father.  What would it mean to me?  What kind of father would I be?  Am I ready for that kind of responsibility?

What would it mean to me?  I have wanted to be a father since the moment I knew I would spend the rest of my life with Julie.  If you don’t know us, you’ll just have to take my word when I say, we are awesome.  The idea of the two of us putting our combined awesome into one human being is – let’s just say, I would feel sorry for everyone else in the world because no one would measure up.  That’s not arrogance, just a fact.  Look it up3.

What kind of father would I be?  In three words, probably pretty good.  I have a great set of examples to follow.  My own father, my brother, and a couple of my friends all have incredible fatherly qualities that I hope to incorporate.

Am I ready for that kind of responsibility?  You know, it’s funny.  This was the question that always scared me the most.  I think maybe I’m too young at 26.  But then I think about my friends who are all younger than me, but have kids.  Then I think about my brother who had his first little girl (Hi Maris!) at 30.  And I think about my dad who was 31 when Jamie was born.  And it makes me wonder if anyone, no matter what their age, is ever ready for that kind of responsibility.  I think it’s more of a “rise to the challenge” kind of situation.  Julie and I got a dog (the aforementioned Murray) at the end of August.  I know a dog is in no way an equal representation of the kind of responsibilities that come with having a child.  However, in these last two and a half months, I have come to a life-changing and monumental conclusion.  I am in no way whatsoever ready to have a child.

I love Murray.  He is a great dog, but his bark, while rare, is one of the most grating sounds I’ve ever heard.  He doesn’t know how to do anything.  It’s disgusting picking up his poop in a plastic bag.

I have no doubt that if I did have a child I would love him/her.  But I could not take the crying.  Dogs can walk when they are like two days old, why does it take a baby so freakin’ long to learn how to crawl?  I’m pretty sure if the baby gets too annoying I can’t just stick him/her in a cage and go out for a couple hours.  Seeing a movie in the theater is still too important.  And I’m sorry, but wiping someone else’s butt is still the grossest thing I can think of.  If this sounds immature, well, I guess that’s my point.  I am still way too immature for a kid, but at least I’m aware of it.  That’s something, right?

  1. This, of course, is an assumption that there is more than one reader.
  2. Every good tv pilot has the main characters go through a life-changing event.  Be it a plane crash on a mysterious island, regular people waking up one day with extraordinary powers, or a hot neighbor moving in next door.
  3. For reference, please reread this blog.

What did you think of the first blog?  If you have any positive comments, please feel free to leave them below.  If you have any negative comments, please email me at i_will_not_read_these@gmail.com. Thanks for reading.  Check back periodically.  I hope to write three per week, with one of the three pertaining to either a movie or tv show.  Exciting, eh?  Also, the aesthetic of this blog will improve over time.  For now, it’s boring.