Sunday, December 20, 2009
In response to an invasion by American forces led by John Candy, our not-so-friendly neighbor to the north, Canada, has launched an air strike on the citizenry of the United States - namely this citizen.
I narrowly escaped becoming a casualty of this tense conflict yesterday, avoiding what would surely have been an international incident. What follows is a harrowing tale of timing, fortune and sheer dumb luck. The following is intended for mature audiences only - viewer discretion is advised.
I was returning to my apartment home in the waning twilight of the day when I heard a sound that chilled my soul and made my blood run cold. It was the ominous honking of the Canadian Goose. No sooner did I hear the honking than I saw a great formation of geese appear over the rise. The cloud of geese blocked out what little light was remaining.
I instantly felt the fear those feel who view their mortality in a split-second video played before their eyes. I quickly snapped out of it, however, and did what any man in my situation would do: I ran for cover.
I reached the protective covering of my porch and turned around to witness carnage never meant for human eyes. In the very spot I was standing previously I witnessed a precision guided smart-bomb explode with unparalleled viciousness and a resounding "SPLAT!". Mercifully, I was spared a fate worse than death.
Remember, when you hear the honk, don't be brave and don't be a hero, just get yourself under something real quick. Those Canucks are crazy, eh!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Bear with me folks, this is a long one. It took me some time to put it together, so if you’re going to read it, I would appreciate it if you read it all the way through.
It’s difficult for me to accurately express my feelings about Christmas. There are some things about Christmas that I absolutely love and there are things about Christmas that I really don’t like much. It’s always an interesting time for me as I try to manage the sometimes conflicting feelings I have about the season. If you’ll indulge me for a while I’ll try to explore my thoughts and feelings about the season and maybe it’ll end up making some sort of sense.
I'd like to end on a positive note, so let’s start with the reasons why I don’t like Christmas.
I don’t like how Christmas has become a very commercial holiday; it seems the only reason Christmas exists is so the the corporate world can make a buck. I was in a Wal-Mart store before Halloween and there were Christmas trees, angels, colored balls, tinsel, lights, Santa Clauses (or is it Santa Clausi?), and decorations of every sort and size. Perhaps I’m just a naïve shopper, but I was really taken aback by this - it seems Christmas goes on sale earlier every year. In the not-too-distant future, we may be seeing Santa Claus in the mall on the 4th of July.
Kids make a list of the things they want for Christmas, listing such things as iPods, Nintendos, cell phones, DVD’s, toys, etc. They sit on Santa’s lap and recite the list to him hoping and expecting to receive the things they request. This attitude of "gimme, gimme!" is pervasive and dominates the Christmas season. Do I blame the children for this? Absolutely not. Do I blame the parents? I think they may share some responsibility for this, but honestly I don’t know who to blame, nor do I know that it’s important that someone receive blame for this. It’s just something I don’t like. On a day we commemorate the greatest gift we, as children of God, have received the only thing people think about are bicycles, Barbies, movies, and what “I’m going to get for Christmas”. It’s disheartening to see.
Santa Claus plays a big role in all of this. The jolly old elf who slides down chimneys, rides in a sleigh pulled by tiny reindeer, checks a list twice that he maintains of every child in the world before he goes on his worldwide whirlwind journey has become a symbol of everything I dislike about Christmas, which is unfortunate really, given the history of Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas. According to Wikipedia, St. Nick was the “primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Santa Claus.” Apparently, he was well known for giving gifts to the poor – definitely a noteworthy and laudable practice.
I don’t dislike Santa Claus for the history behind the legend, for his tradition of distributing gifts or even for the fabricated story of his existence. In fact, I don't actually have a problem with Santa Claus himself. The problem I have is that Santa Claus has become the central figure of Christmas.
Christmas is not the celebration of a fat man in a red suit. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ. Even with the benevolent background of St. Nicholas, there really is no comparison between the two. Santa Claus’ supplanting of Christ as the central figure of Christmas is really what is at the root of my distaste for what the holiday has become.
A poem, by an author unknown to me, encapsulates my thoughts on this:
At Christmas time there was a man
who looked so out of place
as people rushed about him
at a hurried sort of pace.
He stared at all the Christmas lights,
the tinsel everywhere,
the shopping center Santa Claus
with children gathered near.
The mall was packed with shoppers
who were going to and fro,
some with smiles, some with frowns,
and some too tired to go.
They rested on benches
or they hurried on their way
to fight the crowds for purchases
to carry home that day.
The music from the stereo
was playing loud and clear
of Santa Claus and snowmen
and funny nosed reindeer.
He heard the people talk about
the good times on the way,
of parties, fun and food galore,
and gift exchange that day.
"I'd like to know what's going on,"
the man was heard to say.
"There seems to be some sort
of celebration on the way.
And would you tell me who this is
all dressed in red and white
and why are children asking him
about a special night?"
The answer came in disbelief,
"I can't believe my ear.
I can't believe you do not know,
that Christmas time is here.
The time when Santa comes around
with gifts for girls and boys
when they are asleep on Christmas Eve,
he leaves them books and toys.
The man you see in red and white
is Santa Claus so sly.
The children love his joyful laugh,
and twinkle in his eye.
His gift packed sleigh is pulled along
by very small reindeer
as he flies quickly through the air,
while darting here and there.
The children learn of Santa Claus
while they are still quite small.
When Christmas comes he is the most
important one of all."
The stranger hung His head in shame,
He closed a nail pierced hand.
His body shook in disbelief.
He did not understand.
A shadow crossed His stricken face,
His voice was low but clear.
"After all these years they still don't know."
And Jesus shed a tear.
Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of the Only Begotten of the Father, the One who came to save us from our sins. He condescended to become like us so we could become like Him. As has been said by His duly ordained Prophet and Apostles, “God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”
The greatest of all was born in a lowly stable and wrapped in swaddling clothes. Angels heralded His arrival, a new star announced His birth, wise men traveled from afar to present Him with gifts, shepherds left their flocks to worship Him. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the great Jehovah was come.
Herein lays the true reason for the season. Above all the sparkling lights, the wrapping paper, the reindeer and elves, and all the hubbub that accompanies the holiday, we should celebrate Christ and His birth. Let us teach our children that Christ is the center of Christmas and all the other traditions or celebrations are secondary to Christ.
This time of year, please consider the things that truly matter and it’s not Santa Claus or presents under a tree, it's not stockings hung by the chimney with care or sugar plums dancing in your head. The things that matter are family, friends, goodwill, love and kindness. These are the things that mattered to Christ when He walked the earth and those are the very same things that matter to Him now and are the same things He would have matter to us as well. Please share that love with the people around you.
Remember what the Grinch said in Dr. Seuss' famous story, after the Grinch had stolen the presents, packages, food and all the trappings of Christmas:
"It came without ribbons, it came without tags,
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before...
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more."
Merry Christmas and God bless you my friends – may you be happy and loved this season and throughout the year!
Adapted from my Christmas post last year.
Monday, November 30, 2009
You may be wondering where I've been because I haven't posted any fresh material for a while...or you may be asking, "Who is this guy and why does he think we care about the drivel he puts out in cyberspace?" I have an answer for you: you're obviously still reading, so, small as it may be, this means something to you. Take that.
I've been involved in a very important project - scientific research. No, I was not abducted by extraterrestrials, nor was I selected for top secret government work at a remote Nevada airbase. Rather, I designed, conducted and analyzed this research myself. In my bedroom. With no government grants, either.
You're probably dying of curiosity right now, just itching to know what could be so important that it would consume a portion of my precious time and attention, and now a portion of yours. I'll tell you: socks. Yes, those socks - the very same as the kind you (hopefully) put on your feet.
Haven't you ever wondered why some of your socks come out of the wash inside out, or even balled up? I have. A lot. I've decided to get some definitive answers to this perplexing modern conundrum, so I did what any reasonable person does: I googled "inside-out socks" and hoped for an informative Wikipedia site. Unfortunately, apparently none exist. This is obviously new scientific territory.
With this in mind, I set out to get to the bottom of the sock mystery, even if it meant doing actual work. "Fascinating" does not even begin to describe the results of my exhaustive research efforts; no, there are many other words that more accurately describe my findings, words which we shall not mention in this post.
To begin, I had to design the experiment. I used a highly specialized process and employed techniques you probably wouldn't understand even if I explained them twice and used small words. That won't stop me from trying to relay to you my method, so I will explain it thusly: I sorted my laundry - and what a painstaking process it was. Not only did I have to divide my laundry according to color (in our modern day and age, how can one feel right about segregation in any form?!), but I had to make sure all my socks were right-side-out (so if any switched to inside-out I would know. I didn't want mixed inside-out and right-side-out because then there would be no way of controlling for potential switching - this is a scientific study, after all) and counted before they went into the machine.
I've never had to do this before (count socks, I mean; I sort my laundry - I'm no Neanderthal) and it was an enlightening experience. I learned from the outset that the reason that sometimes I have an odd number of socks coming out of the laundry is because sometimes I have an odd number going in. I have effectively, and unintentionally, debunked the myth of the dryer-sock-eating-monster. It was encouraging to me to see such progress at the very onset of my study.
I had 17 ankle socks and two calf-length socks go into the wash. That's 19 total socks, in case you needed help with the math. I ensured that all socks were right-side-out before going in the wash. After the wash cycle, I discovered that the washer sometimes eats socks as well. I had 17 ankle socks going in, but unfortunately we lost one in the mix somewhere; only 16 made it to the dryer. A moment of silence, please.
Turns out that the sock that went MIA after the wash cycle was never recovered. S/he joined the rest of the socks in sock purgatory where they await something, I'm just not sure what.
I recovered a total of 18 socks - both calf-length socks and the remainder were of the ankle variety. All 18 socks were right-side-out, leading me to believe that one of two things happened: either socks don't go inside-out on their own, or I have intelligent socks. I'm leaning towards the latter.
While this study is far from comprehensive, I believe it lays the foundation of important work and future study.
Where's my Nobel Prize?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
A phobia is a "persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it." These phobias come in many shapes and sizes. Some are more incapacitating than others.
Topping the list of the ten most phobias is arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), and ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes). Not too much further down the list is cynophobia - the fear of dogs. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a recovering cynophobic. As the saying goes, "time heals all wounds." I know that I'm not a completely recovered cynophobe but I'm working on it. However, there are bigger fish to fry right now.
I also have two lesser known, but equally debilitating, phobias. I don't know that they have names just yet as they are probably off the phobologists' collective radar. Don't laugh...these are things I deal with on a daily basis. I haven't yet developed a complex over them, but I'm convinced that's due solely to my vigilance in protecting myself against these phobias so they don't come to pass.
What are these irrational fears, you ask?
Firstly, I'm afraid that I'll be walking in public with my zipper down. Zipping up becomes such a part of the routine that there are times that you don't think about it at all. It's kind of like when you are driving somewhere familiar and all of a sudden *POOF* you're there and you have no idea how you got there, but yet there you are. When this kind of short-term amnesia is zipper-related, a moment of panic ensues - did I zip up or did I forget..I don't know...I can't remember! Alarm bells ring, my face flushes and I immediately seek a casual way of checking to make sure I'm secure down south. I'm usually able to accomplish this by a subtle belt buckle adjustment. So far I haven't had any issues, that I know of anyway.
My other phobia, coincidentally, involves bathrooms. However, this time it's a place I'm not familiar with that scares me - the women's bathroom. Sometimes when you're in a public place and in a hurry to answer nature's call you just rush into the nearest restroom. Like driving and zipping up, this can be an autopilot occurrence. Sometimes I don't check the signs well enough as I'm walking in. There is a split second of sheer horror as I realize that I may have just walked cavalier-like into the women's restroom. I wait for the inevitable screaming, but it doesn't come. There's a urinal. Ahhh...I picked the right door. I've been lucky so far, but one day, unavoidably, I fear I will pick the wrong door and have to deal with the consequences of it.
They say the best way to overcome a fear is to face it head on, so if you see me with my zipper down heading into the women's restroom, just pat me on the back, wish me well, praise me for my courage and know that I'm confronting my fear.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Step One: Don't Be Scared
The store is not going to eat you. It may take your money, but your physical well-being is almost guaranteed. If you can't do this step, you will not be successful in your shopping endeavors.
Step Two: Locate the Mens' Department
There are some very alluring clothes in other departments; but if you stare too long, feel the fabric, or (heaven forbid) try an item on, people will think you are a creep and you may be kicked out of the store. Trust me on this one.
Step Three: Memorization
You must very casually and nonchalantly memorize every outfit and article of clothing featured in pictures or displayed on mannequins. These are your targets and the only items of clothing you need to pay attention to. If you happen upon an article of clothing you potentially like, you must first check with the pictures and mannequins to make sure it fits the style. If the item doesn't match the style, don't touch it! The only items of clothing you should be buying are on display.
Step Four: Fit
When you locate an approved item of clothing, you must make sure the item is the right size for you. This is accomplished by simply holding the item up to your body. A trip to the dressing room is not necessary if you hold it up to yourself properly. If you are an experienced shopper, you may try taking into account shrinkage resulting from washing and drying. Exercise caution, however, accounting for shrinkage is an advanced technique - do not even think about attempting if you are an amateur.
Step Five: Store Help
If any store personnel ask you if you need help, politely decline. You are your own man (or woman), help is for people who don't know how to clothes shop.
Step Six: Checking Out
Inevitably when you're checking out the cashier will ask you if you want to keep the hangers. The correct response is: "no". You don't want to seem like you're unprepared for your new clothes. You must give the impression you have plenty of hangers - remember, clothes shopping is a regular event for you. Besides, we both know the clothes are just going to end up on the floor anyway.
Step Seven: Time
You must complete all prior steps in ten minutes or less. Fifteen is acceptable in extreme cases.
There you have it folks, a sure guide to shopping. Good luck, have fun and remember: tags always go in back. Always.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
When you dine at a restaurant, it is considered good form to leave a gratuity, or tip, for your server. When you get your hair cut, a massage or other personal services performed it is also appropriate to tip the person providing those services. I suppose this is our culture's way of thanking them for the service rendered.
I've never really been comfortable with the idea of placing a monetary value on another person's work so I tend to maybe be a bit more generous than I should be. However, I had an experience recently that totally changed that mindset.
I was returning home to Utah from a quick trip to California and had to pass through airport security. I emptied my pockets and walked through a metal detector. The alarm went off, so I had to go back and try again. It went off again. I walked back to try again - BUZZ. Try again. BUZZ. Try again. BUZZ. The friendly TSA agent asked if I had anything in my pockets. I assured him I did not. He had me move into a glass box and wait for a more intensive search.
A not-so-friendly TSA agent carrying a wand approached me and had me step to the side where he was going to perform a search of my person to ensure I had no dangerous items I was trying to carry onboard a plane. The Wand Man asked me to turn out all of my pockets, which I did and in the course of so doing discovered that I had forgotten to remove my wallet...with a magnetic money clip.
I tried to explain to Wand Man that my wallet was obviously the cause for the metal detector alerting when I walked through and that I should be allowed to proceed on to my gate. But Wand Man wasn't having any of it. He explained to me that he had to conduct his search and that he would pass the wand over me and if it beeped, he would have to pat me down in the area it beeped.
He passed the wand all over my body and it never beeped once. Somehow Wand Man still felt the need to thoroughly pat me down. After becoming more acquainted with me than I am comfortable with any man being and satisfied that I was not carrying any dangerous items, I was free to go.
This left me with just one question: what does one usually tip for such intimate, personal service? Ten percent? Fifteen? Twenty? I didn't know either, so I just walked away, red-faced, to my gate.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
This wasn't your typical road warrior thumbing by the freeway, no siree. I didn't even have to stop to pick him up, he was sitting on my hood when I walked out of work. I tried to shoo him off the hood but he merely moved a little and looked up at me - this was a bee with an attitude. I thought for sure he would hop off when I started driving - no such luck, he just sat there.
I decided to see how fast I could get going before he'd fall off so I gunned it out of the parking lot. When I was on the road, he was still on the hood. I figured I'd lose him on the freeway, but that danged bee kept hanging on. I decided to test his endurance and got up to about 85 MPH (don't try that at home) but the bee was still there. This was one tenacious bee.
Despite my Andretti-like speeds and stuntman maneuvers, the bee wouldn't budge. The only time I saw him move was when he crouched down, presumably to be more aerodynamic. He hung on the entire time on my way back from work. As I was driving and watching the bee cling to my hood, I thought about life. I thought about how we should attack life with the same resolve this bee had; how we should never lose sight of our goals and pursue them with all the effort we had; how when life is battering us and we want to give how we should hang on for all we're worth. I thought about how much fun the bee must have been having and I also thought that maybe the bee had died and gotten stuck somehow.
This last thought proved to be false when I got out of my car and observed the bee crawl on the hood. If I'd had a hat on, I would have taken it off for this bee. I did have my shoes on, however.
I took off one of my shoes and as I raised it above my head I said with a snarl, "Adios, vaya con Dios" and let the shoe fall. Mission accomplished...or so I thought. It seems the bee has gotten the last laugh - he is still on my hood.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
However, it has not been all peaches and cream. The pro ram is difficult at times and my computer has, at times, been less than friendly. Immediately followin the first semester, the hard drive on my laptop decided it was done with school (wish I could say the same). Fortunately for me, Pam was warrantied and the nice folks at HP sent me a new hard drive lickity split so I could et back to my learnin . Pam’s name chan ed at that time to Pampire – a laptop risen from the dead.
There's a new problem, thou h. I noticed shortly after purchasin Pam that there was a key on the keyboard that liked to fall off. I was always able to put it back on and proceed on my way. But this time, thou h, the key has fallen off and I can't et it back on.
It's a ood thin my papers are done for the week. I'd have a heck of a time explainin to my professors why my paper has no letter " ".
Monday, September 14, 2009
When I was born I had a little hair, but by the time I was toddling around I had beautiful tresses of light blonde hair. Life was good.
As I've aged, my hair has darkened. It went from toe-headed blonde to blonde to dark blonde to light brown to brown. Now, unfortunately, it's gone from brown to gone. As a result, I made the life-altering decision to shave my head. It's been over a year now since I made that decision and I haven't regretted it once. Something like this can really shake a person to their core and make them feel like they are seriously lacking in their life and they attempt to make up for it in interesting ways.
People will try to compensate for perceived inadequacies. Some people buy fancy sports cars or humongous pickup trucks in order to compensate for shortcomings (tee hee). Other people grow beards when they can't produce thick locks of golden blonde (or brown) hair. Apparently they think that by growing hair lower on their face it will somehow make up for a lack of it up on top. Weird, huh?
In many ways, my personal recession is something of a migration. You see, the hair that is was once on my scalp is starting to take up residence on my ears. MY EARS!! I thought that kind of craziness was reserved for old men, in which group I most certainly do not classify myself (right? right?? RIGHT?!?!).
The United States will eventually pull out of its recession. Some of us, however, won't be so fortunate. I guess we'll just have to resort to growing beards...and shaving ear hair.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I had no idea that toothpaste was considered a dangerous substance, or a liquid. On a recent flight to Dallas, I had my hygiene items in my travel case, a Wal-Mart bag, and thought that was sufficient. I was wrong.
The top-notch, highly-trained and educated Homeland Security agency, the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, screened my bag and then decided that it warranted further searching. One of their crack agents had noticed that I had an unsecured tube of toothpaste not in the clear plastic bags. My bag was searched and the offending tube was removed and the TSA agent eyed my warily, "This tube is larger than 3.4 ounces and you are not allowed to bring it on a flight."
Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate that there are measures in effect to protect our nation and keep air travel safe, I really do - but toothpaste?! Maybe I should have done a science fair project where I blew something up using Crest Whitening Mint flavor paste instead of baking soda and vinegar. I probably would have gotten something more than just a "Participant" ribbon.
After further research, I found that toothpaste actually does contain an explosive ingredient - propylene glycol, which "becomes deadly when added to a mixture of concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids creating the liquid explosive called metriol trinitrate, which is similar to nitroglycerine."
For now, I use a mini-tube (3.4 ounces) of toothpaste, hoping to show the government that I am not in fact a terrorist, but rather a dentally concerned citizen. Maybe next time, TSA should be on the lookout for nitric and sulfuric acids instead of my toothpaste.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
In elementary school, I learned about magnets and how they have two poles. The poles are known as a North pole and a South pole. One pole of a magnet will attract the opposite pole of another magnet and repel it's counterpart on the other magnet. In 1989, this concept was effectively proved to be true when Paula Abdul released her hit Opposites Attract.
I am currently a ripe 29 years of age. And, I am not ashamed to admit I have a certain degree of animal magnetism. Historically, I haven't been a serious fisherman, but in the last couple of years I've gotten my fishing license and a modest fishing pole with a limited amount of tackle. I've gone fishing throughout Utah and in some places in Alaska. I've fished in Alaska at times when the salmon were running and fishermen were lined shoulder-to-shoulder in a river. I've seen fishermen on either side of me pull fish out of the river with ease while I look on with envy. Apparently my animal magnetism repels fish.
I haven't caught a fish in years, probably since I was about 14 or 15 years old; I'll leave it to you to determine just how long that is. I've spent countless hours trying to overcome this animal magnetism, to no avail. You just can't compete with physics.
This weekend my animal magnetism was again brought to light. In the Uinta Mountains, there are easily dozens of lakes, if not more. These lakes are stocked with an assortment of fish, especially trout. Using a highly specialized (and stinky) trout bait, I spent a couple hours trying to trick just one fish that the yellow sparkly gelatinous blob on my hook was, in fact, tasty and delicious. The closest I got was watching fish jump and trying to cast said gelatinous blob in the general vicinity of where I thought the fish was. My animal magnetism was in full force, yet again.
Good thing my animal magnetism doesn't work the same with women or I'd be a single 29-year old LDS man.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
When I grew up a little my answers changed a bit. I had more realistic, if not vague, goals. I started school studying Business Administration, but had no idea what I wanted to do with that degree, or even what I could do with it, but that didn't stop me from forging ahead one whole semester in pursuit of this goal.
When I came home from my LDS mission, I was talking with some friends and we had decided to move to Arizona and pursue our fortunes. Education was important to me, so I insisted we move someplace near a college or university. We learned that Arizona State University was a short drive from Phoenix and thus it was settled. We were moving to Arizona. Why Arizona? Why not?
After checking the tuition rates and realizing that I would be an non-resident student and would pay double for tuition, I shot that plan down. A short time later, I decided to change my major and my post-college plans to that of the field of Criminal Justice. This path lasted for all of a year and a half until I changed my major, yet again, to Psychology. At this time, I was "pot committed" (beware the link soft-hearted people). I finished my degree in Psychology, but couldn't settle down.
I planned to be a police officer in Phoenix, because I wanted to be a cop and I wanted to live in Arizona. Nevermind that my entire experience with Arizona consisted of a short stop in Tuscon (?) for a day (maybe two) when I was about 8 years old, planning a move with my friends years earlier, and hearing a song I now know is by Mark Lindsay, aptly titled "Arizona". The chorus of the song is all I really knew (and know) and it goes a little something like this: Ar-i-zohona (something, something), Ar-i-zohona (something else, something else). Profound lyrics.
After my brief foray into the police hiring process, I decided it wasn't for me. I felt lost. My life's plan of almost three years, the longest to that point, was gone. I didn't know what to do or where to turn.
It was this point that I started getting creative with my plans, and it hasn't really stopped yet. I wanted to buy a motorhome and a couple waverunners and move to Lake Tahoe and live in the motorhome and rent the waverunners to tourists seeking summer fun. When winter came, my plan was to buy some snowmobiles and do the same thing.
I wanted to own a dive shop and be a SCUBA instructor/tour guide in Hawaii taking people to old wrecks and WWII relics under water. Nevermind the fact that I'm not a SCUBA Dive Master, not SCUBA certified and have never actually been SCUBA diving, a dive shop in Hawaii was the plan.
These are just two examples of some of the more 'creative' life plans I've had. You'd think that now that I'm a college graduate, in a solid career and a graduate student in a program attached to a fairly prestigious college in a well known university, I'd grow up and settle down a little. Guess what? I'm still thinking and scheming for my life plan.
In recent weeks, I've wanted to live on a houseboat on the Great Salt Lake, be a flower farmer in Hawaii and have a ranch in Texas. Give me a couple of weeks and I'm sure I'll have at least one more plan.
I'm a stage in my life where most people would consider themselves "grown up", but I'm far from being grown up. Is there a rule that one has to grow up? I sure hope not, because that's one thing that is definitely not in any of my plans.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Folks, these are questions with no easy answers. I thought long and hard this morning to come up with some answers and I present them now to you. They are, respectively: don’t know, don’t know, most likely.
But, on a more serious note, let’s examine this phenomenon a little more and see if we can’t come to some conclusions regarding the shoes. The first thing I always think happened is that it fell off of, or out of, the back of a truck. But, then I start to wonder, “How does a shoe just fall off of, or out of, the back of a truck?” I’ve had plenty of shoes in the back of a truck and not one has ever fallen off, out or in any way become separated from the truck. This explanation is clearly not reasonable.
Another possibility that must be examined is that someone, out of sheer malice may have thrown it from a car. This hypothesis has some holes, however. When I was a kid and on road trips, my siblings and I would generally take off our shoes because it was more comfortable. Inevitably, I would get mad at a sibling (usually my brother) for such heinous offenses as putting his arm on my side of the seat, staring at me, pretending to touch me and calling me names under his breath. When an appeal to parental authority didn’t resolve the situation, I would take matters into my own hands – I would grab one of his shoes and threaten to hurl it out the window. I knew I would never actually throw my brother’s shoe out the window, but if it happened to somehow fall out of my hand…
Another possibility is that the owner of the shoe could have been wearing it when he was crossing the street and an inattentive motorist may have struck the individual, knocking him clean out of his shoe(s). He would probably not have the presence of mind, while being wheeled into an ambulance, to inquire about his missing left shoe. However, in the course of the investigation, I would hope some observant police officer might happen upon the shoe and return it to its rightful owner, thus removing it from the street before I have the opportunity to ponder it.
Lastly, a fourth, and decidedly more likely, possibility needs to be discussed. I realize this may be uncomfortable for some of you to consider. Out of my kindness to the sensitivities of my readers, if you are faint of heart or easily frightened, I ask you to stop reading now because what follows will surely be disturbing to my more delicate readers. What I will speak of next has to do with things some people aren’t comfortable discussing in an open forum.
We are being invaded by aliens; our vagrant population is being abducted. You see, the shoe I saw was not a child’s shoe, so the possibility that a kid would be mad at his brother for encroaching on his vehicular territory is not a plausible explanation. It was not a newer shoe; in fact, this very shoe (like many others seen on the road) had seen its fair share of use and was almost completely worn out, not a typical shoe that your average Joe-blow would wear. This was the shoe of a person whose home was the street.
Think about this people. If YOU were to be abducted by an alien spacecraft, people would know that you were missing, questions would be asked, investigations would be started, searches would happen, billboards and signs would be erected and after all that, when you couldn’t be located, people would start looking skyward for an explanation. The aliens are smart beings and they recognize this. They don’t want the attention, thus they target people that few would notice are missing: our homeless population.
So, my friends, the next time you see a lone shoe sitting on the road, do what I do: pause for a moment of silence, bow your head and remember those who have gone before. Then, adjust your tin foil hat and get the heck outta there!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
It seems that, for me, this has been a season of death more than birth. I already posted once about my alarm clock dieing (the first turn), but if that had been the only thing, I would have been fine. However, it's been a rough little while - you know what they say: bad things come in threes...turn, turn, turn.
If I'd been paying attention to that karmic adage I would have been on my toes, watching for the other two impending deaths. Unfortunately, I failed to heed the warning of karma and have suffered the consequences. Fortunately, I've completed the fatal trifecta and have lived to tell the tale.
As many of you know, I am in a graduate program working on a degree in Public Administration. Part of being in a graduate program entails the necessity of owning a laptop, which I affectionately call "Pam" (an anagram of MPA - the program I'm in). Well, unbeknownst to me, Pam recently started having health problems and on a sad Sunday a couple weeks ago, gave up the ghost...or the hard drive. The second turn. After talking to half of India (apparently where HP's customer service/tech support centers are located), I was able to get the much needed replacement hard drive and have since brought Pam back to life. However, it's a different Pam, a Pam who once was dead and now is alive, a veritable vampire of computers. A Pampire, if you will.
Shortly after Pam expired, I was laying on the floor in my living room, wearing a favorite pair of plaid pajama pants, watching television. I happened to glance down at my black plaid pants and saw a flash of white. Weird. Upon closer examination, I noticed that the white was coming from under the pants. I had split the seam and torn the area surrounding the seam without knowing it. The third turn. These weren't just any pajama pants, these were special. Growing up, our family had a Christmas tradition of getting pajamas on Christmas Eve and I had been given this pair circa Christmas Eve 2002 -- the last pair I'd been given in this tradition.
Using amazing powers of deduction, I determined that the splitting was caused by the pants' shrinking. Over the years, a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, and a slowing metabolism combined to shrink the PJ's approximately three sizes and created a curve-hugging pair of pajamas that had no equal. Shrinkage is no myth folks - it's a fact.
Julius Caesar was warned about the ides of March. Too bad nobody told me about the ides of April.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Another source of frustration and disappointment has been my inability the last couple summers to get on a lake and do some serious skiing. I fancy myself an above-average slalom skier and in my (less mature and responsible) past have actually passed on jobs to allow myself more time on a lake. This summer, I intend to do whatever it takes to get some skiing in, even if it means standing on the dock with my ski bumming a ride. Incidentally, if you either have, or know someone who has, a boat and are willing to let a semi-cool guy who's probably a better skier than you on the boat, I'd sure be appreciative.
Being the creative-minded bachelor I am, and possessing a penchant for doing things my own way, I have discovered what is surely the ultimate bachelor pad - a houseboat! Paying less than $20,000 for the boat and about $200 for power and water as well as slip fees at the Great Salt Lake Marina, I'm coming out ahead of where I am with rent. And, I'd have the coolest bachelor pad ever. It's the best of both worlds - I get a house and I get a boat!
Who else do you know has a view of the sunset over the lake, while sitting on the lake? Who else do you know can pull up a chair on their back porch, and while watching said sunset can drop a line in the water and do some fishing? I don't actually know if there are any fish in the Great Salt Lake, I probably wouldn't catch one if there were...but that's never stopped me from trying before. Who else do you know can be rocked gently to sleep by soft waves? I don't know anybody like that, and chances are you don't either.
While the up-sides are apparent, there are also a couple downsides about living on a boat on the Great Salt Lake. Apparently there are brine flies, mosquitoes and orb weaver spiders in great abundance. There's also the fact that I'd have running water six months out of the year and the rest of the time I'd have to bucket it to my boat so I could fill my fresh-water reserve tanks (how long would it take to fill an 80 gallon tank using a 5 gallon transporter bucket?).
Maybe the houseboat idea isn't the best idea I've ever had. If the marina were closer to town and I lived in a warmer climate, I would battle the bugs and inconveniences and jump at the idea. For now I guess I'll just have to stick with the traditional, boring house or condo idea. How...normal.
Besides, when was the last time you saw someone skiing behind a houseboat on the Great Salt Lake?
Monday, March 30, 2009
I rushed through the shower and into some clothes and on my way. I also decided I needed a new alarm clock. After little deliberation, I decided to go to Wal-Mart to find my new clock. And find I did.
My last clock was a radio alarm clock, which was nice because I like to listen to the radio in the morning as I get ready for work, but is bad if I set the clock's alarm to music because I hear the music in my dreams. Instead of being an alarm clock, it provides a soundtrack for my dreams. It's not just music that finds its way into my dreams, either. If I fall asleep in class, the lecture appears in my dream (there's just no escape sometimes), if I fall asleep in a movie or during a TV show - guess what, they magically show up in my dreams too.
I wasn't able to find another radio-clock, but I did find one doozy of an alarm clock that even has soothing sleeping sounds to help lull you to sleep. And, it was only $10 - perfect. I couldn't wait to get home and turn on the ocean waves sound and drift off to sleep listening to waves crash on the shore. I was just imagining the peaceful sleep this $10 machine would give me.
I got home, plugged in the clock and got the time and alarms set. I was practically grinning as I laid under my covers thinking of how awesome it would be to sleep to the sound of the ocean. I turned on the blessed machine and laid back on my pillow to hear waves crashing - some big, some small but all peaceful.
Then the seagulls came. CAW! CAW! It sounded like a flock of seagulls was trapped in an echo chamber and some sadist threw some bread crumbs in for them all to fight over. After apparently getting their fill of bread, the gulls departed and I was once again treated to the lullabyic sounds of the ocean. I was almost asleep when the blasted seagulls returned for more bread. Darn those gulls!
Fortunately for me, there is more than one setting for soothing sleeping sounds. I decided a brook would be something nice to listen to and made the switch. I again laid back eager to greet sleep. A soft babbling brook sounded near my bed...until the frogs showed up. Who knew it was mating season along my quiet brook? Obviously the frogs knew and they were eager to find a companion for the evening (can't blame them too much, I guess). I guess they all found someone to spend some time with and soon they went away, leaving me to my brook. Then, like the gulls, the frogs came back. This was obviously a group of swinger frogs, because they were all looking for a new partner, croaking as if their life depended on it.
In frustration, I switched to the third setting and my last chance for a soothing sleep - windchimes. I really enjoy listening to the wind blow through trees as I'm sleeping, so this one had to be a winner, right? Wrong. How in the world can anyone sleep when it sounds like there are three or four doorbells constantly going off. At one time, I actually got up out of my bed and started walking to the door before I realized it was just my clock. Oh-for-three. I struck out with the soft sleeping sounds.
I turned off the machine with a level of disappointment and laid there in abject silence. There would be no soothing tonight, or any night for that matter.
However, I did have the last laugh. As I drifted off to sleep, I reminded myself that my dreams incorporate things I hear around me, and I didn't really need to listen to a babbling brook or ocean waves crashing all night.
Especially after that last glass of water.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
However, and many of you may not have noticed this, there has been a celebrity sighting on my blog. That's correct, right here on Musings, a celebrity was spotted. And, he even left his mark. You may be wondering who in the world I'm talking about.
The Normal Mormon Husband has been here. In fact, he even commented on my last post. Folks, welcome to the big time.
The Normal Mormon Husband gained his notoriety with such posts as "I Got Jumped by Santa in the Vernal, Utah Wal-Mart!", and "South Carolina, Hobos & Doggie Doo", not to mention countless other equally awesome posts.
You may not realize it yet, but the Normal Mormon Husband (NMH for short) is perhaps one of the most clever blog writers of our time. He's witty, pensive, engaging and clear in his writing style. You may laugh, you may cry (I don't because I'm tough), you may relate, but I guarantee you will enjoy his writing. I highly recommend his blog - I have a link to it on the bottom right of my page, but I don't know how many people venture down there, so I'll put it here too. And, unlike me, he has real sponsors - so that should tell you a little something about his blog.
I told you I was saving for a truck (I'm currently at $2.82 - rock on!) so after you click on a google ad, I encourage you to visit his site but just don't forget about me while you're over there...
Monday, March 2, 2009
So, naturally, in an effort to maximize the use of my time on my way to work, I try to avoid traffic (read: I'm late and in a hurry). Well, this morning the traffic wasn't too bad as I made my way to the far left lane. I couldn't quite get there right off the bat though, so I was cruising along in the next-to-the-far-left-hand-lane when some bozo decides he wants my place in the lane. This guy came from the right, seemingly without looking and cut right in front of me.
This really torqued me off and as I was able to move left (finally!) and pass the yahoo, he turned and looked at me with a look of smug superiority on his face. Apparently he didn't know he'd just been passed by a Civic. Sucker. I wanted to wipe that smug look off his face with my right (or left) fist. As I passed him and steamed, I came to a realization.
If I had punched that guy in the face, my problem would have been solved. I think this could be extended to more than just the jerk who cut me off. If everyone who deserved it got punched in the face, think of how happy the world could be. Think about it -- school yard disputes used to be settled by a fist fight and then they were over and done with, hockey players fight and then the conflict is over, boxers...well, boxers take a little while, but the idea is the same.
I wonder how many of the world's problems could be solved by a simple punch to the face. One person can made a difference. Remember the guy who would go around hugging people at random? Imagine the impact he had on people's lives. I would bet this would be similar in scope.
I'm going to implement this practice in my life. You can all thank me later for doing my small part to help this world.
Think globally, act locally. Amen.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Actually, I don't know how many clicks equal how many dollars, but I'm sure it's a lot of clicks for a dollar. Just thought I'd give it a shot to see if I can earn any revenue this way. So, do me a favor? Whenever you visit my blog, please take the time to click a link. Who knows, maybe you'll find something you like or could use.
One note of caution - the ads are run through Google's Adsense which draws information from your history and content on the page you are viewing (similar to many other ad services). So if you have distasteful ads, before you rant on me for them, check your history and know that I am not in control of the content (Google assures me they will be family friendly, however).
Incidentally, that makes me laugh too because a lot of people got up in arms for Facebook having such ads, but I've never seen one...care to guess why?
I delete my distasteful browsing history.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I'm not talking about the finer sex (although my above statement holds true for them too). I'm talking about my t-shirts. What gives? It's perfectly acceptable for socks to disappear in the dryer, but t-shirts? They're supposed to stick around, through short and fat and tall, through thick and thin and rain and snow and ice.
Unfortunately, life is not a cheesy Mormon play/movie soundtrack. I have shirts that I think have eloped with socks. I only know this because the sock's mates are mad. They want the socks back and I want the shirts back. I think we're close to a deal.
Where do these shirts go? Heaven only knows because I can't find them. A song came to mind (surprise, surprise) while I was scouring my closet for a shirt the other day, but I've had to change the lyrics a bit. Nirvana did it originally and I first heard it my freshman year of high school. It's not a song I hear a lot, but somehow it draws me in. It goes a little something like this:
Where do bad folks go when they die?
They don't go to heaven where the angels fly
They go to a lake of fire and fry
Don't see them again 'til the fourth of July
Kinda sad/depressing/dark lyrics, so I changed them a bit. The new lyrics go to the same tune (in case you don't know the tune, click here for some help - you'll have to wait until about the 0:34 mark for the tune).
Where do my shirts go when they hide?
They don't go in the closet to hang in line
They go to a place, deep dark and dim
And make me spend hours looking for them.
I thought I had a good relationship with my shirts. Couple a favorite shirt with a pair of favorite blue jeans and you are set for a good day. I can't think of a good reason why my shirts would leave me. I shower daily and wear deodorant - what else could they want?
I'm begging you, shirts - come back. Please don't make me clean my room.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I love music. I can’t play it worth a spit, but I really enjoy listening to it. I like to listen to it almost constantly – at home, at work, in the car, exercising, etc. I like to compare songs to life and find deeper meanings or connections between the songs I listen to and my life. I’ve done that in a couple posts and this one will be the same. Almost. Instead of comparing a song to my life, this post will be about songs I like and what I remember, or think about, when I hear them. Some songs make me think about certain people and some songs make me remember events or things I had or did at a certain point in my life.
You may (or may not) find yourself in a song below. Happy reading.
- Trace Adkins: I Wanna Feel Something
There was a girl a while ago that I was trying to date and things were moving along smoothly, or so I thought. One of the last things she said to me when she told me she didn’t want to date me anymore was that she wasn’t feeling anything – happiness, sadness, excitement…nothing. This song reminds me of her every time I hear it. I’d be shocked and awed if she reads this. If she does, I’m sure she knows who she is. Hi.
“But I wanna feel somethin’
Somethin’ that’s a real somethin’
That moves me, that proves to me I’m still alive
I wanna heart that beats and bleeds
A heart that’s bustin’ at the seams
I wanna care, I wanna cry, I wanna scream
I just wanna feel somethin’ ”
- The Darkness: I Believe in a Thing Called love
During my college days I had a roommate (Brian) who, when he heard this song, said something about the uniqueness of the song and the rock ‘n roll nature of it. I wish I remember exactly what he said. I’m sure it was profound.
“I believe in a thing called love
Just listen to the rhythm of my heart
There's a chance we could make it now
We'll be rocking 'til the sun goes down
I believe in a thing called love
- Red Hot Chili Peppers: Other Side
On my mission is where I first heard this song. I know what you’re thinking, “on your mission?!” I had some relaxed rules for the first bit of my mission and I may have taken a liberty with this song I shouldn’t have. Whatever the reason, every time I hear this song, I remember an apartment on Flatbush Ave above a Jamaican bakery on P-Day. It’s a good song and it was a great time.
“I heard your voice through a photograph
I thought it up and brought up the past
Once you've know you can never go back
I've got to take it on the other side”
- The Get Up Kids: Mass Pike
Speaking of missions, I served a few months with Richard and we ended up being roommates at BYU. He turned me on to this song, which I still listen to today. Richard likes to argue; he and I would argue about stupid things just to argue and one of the things we’d argue about was a line from the song: “Last night on the Mass Pike, I fell in love with you…” I’d say it was: “Last night on the hash pipe…” while Richard maintained it was “Mass Pike”. He was obviously correct, but sometimes when I hear this song I insert “hash pipe” just for old times.
Thought I was losing you.
Last night on the Mass Pike,
I fell in love with you.”
- Billy Joel: We Didn’t Start the Fire and Boston: More Than a Feeling
Oh boy. Good times here. When I was in high school in Vancouver, we had early morning seminary. Early, early morning. I don’t remember what time it started, but I think class started at 6:30am. During my junior year, I was the designated driver for myself, my brother and two friends (with whom I have unfortunately lost contact) – Jared and Alexis. I’d pick them up in the morning and we’d drive in my (dad’s) 1991 Geo Metro to the school. In the morning, we’d listen to We Didn’t Start the Fire and More Than a Feeling while driving in the dark and sometimes fog. That is the scene I see in my mind when I hear these songs. As a result of daily listening, I have We Didn’t Start the Fire memorized. I rarely make an error when singing that song. Yeah, I’m a nerd.
“I looked out this morning,
and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
Then lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes, and I slipped away”
- Boston: Amanda
Picture 1985(ish). Got it? I do. Okay, I don’t know the year exactly, but it was around there. My dad had a cool silver stereo and it was big. He’d put this song on and we’d listen to it. Every time I hear this song, I can picture the stereo and I have a memory of listening to this song on that stereo with my dad. I enjoy the memory and the song.
“Babe, tomorrow's so far away
There's something I just have to say
I don't think I can hide what I'm feelin' inside
Another day, knowin' I love you”
- Notorious BIG: Big Poppa
I don’t remember where I first heard this song. It may have been the movie Hard Ball, a story about inner-city kids and their baseball team. One of the players, the pitcher, would listen to this song on his earphones and wave his hands in the air before he pitched the ball. Somehow that ended up being the thing to do while waterskiing. I don’t know how it made the jump, but it did and is now a tradition.
“I love it when you call me big pop-pa
Throw your hands in the air, if you’s a true player
I love it when you call me big pop-pa”
- Rascall Flats: What Hurts the Most
Fast forward a few years to my college days. I had a crush on this one girl, but never did anything about it because I was her home teacher. I didn’t want to make things awkward (lame excuse, but there it was) between us, so I didn’t do anything about it. We became, I thought, pretty good friends. We would hang out a good amount and seemed to always have fun. She ended going on a mission about the same time I graduated. I went to her farewell and wished her well. I never told her that all this time I had a big crush on her. I ended up sending her a letter while she was on her mission, but didn’t reveal any of my feelings to her.
“What hurts the most
Was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was tryin' to do”
- Guns ‘N Roses: Paradise City
If you’ve read my previous post, this song will make sense to you. This is an ultimate white-trash hair band song. I would rock out to this song while driving my 1971 Chevelle Malibu. This song still gets my heart pumping and my foot somehow gets a little heavier on the gas when it comes on.
“Take me down to the paradise city,
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home”
There you have it folks – a small peak in on my inner musical workings. There’s more, oh man is there ever more. This will suffice for now. Be nice.