Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

I vividly remember the day I stayed up past midnight and woke up that morning feeling like I had been hit by a truck.

In college, missing out on sleep was no big deal. All night cramming sessions. Midnight trips to Denny's.

Then came that fateful day when my body decided to strike and officially label me as "old."

I've never been the same since. That's why I am excited to continue a family tradition I have. This is one that we have in place purely for the sanity of the grown ups.

Tonight, we're setting our clocks forward a couple hours to trick the kids into thinking it's midnight.

They can have fun thinking they're staying up late and I can get the rest I'll need to function the next day.

Win. Win.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I like the song in this video

I don't want to get all sappy on everyone, but I really like the song on this video. It reminds me that I shouldn't neglect giving a gift to my Savior this season.

And as great as the Wii is, I'm not so sure that kind of a gift would work. The song reminds me I should be a better person to those around me because that is the gift that will mean the most.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

You know the inevitable let down when all the Christmas presents are opened?

You can have the most altruistic attitude about giving instead of receiving, and there is still a little deflated feeling once it's all over on Christmas morning.

My family has a tradition I wrote about last year, and it has become one of my favorite traditions.

Click on the link for the full explanation, but this tradition is called the "White Envelope." It never fails to give a perfect ending to gift giving on Christmas morning, and I walk away from the whole experience feeling completely satisfied.

There are a couple sticks in the mud ...

(Tangent)
That's right, isn't it? Sticks in the mud? My internal grammar alarm isn't going off, but it doesn't look right for some reason.
(End Tangent)

... in my family, but for the most part, people are willing.

It's seriously my favorite part of the whole day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Scavenger Hunt

It was Christmas, and I was 8.

I had opened up most of my gifts, including a Where's Waldo book and a Dino Rider (now there's a blast from the past), when my parents gave me an envelope. It held the first clue in a scavenger hunt that eventually lead me to the storage room.

Inside was a cage with my very own hamster. (My dad was allergic to pretty much every kind of animal, so this was the best I was going to get.)

It was instant love, and I'd spend the next 2 years with that little guy riding shotgun in my shirt pocket.

But the real question is, what did I name him?

I named him Waldo because of the book I got that same day.

Feel free to ooh and ahh at my dazzling creativity on that one.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Boil Water

Yep. Someone actually spent the time to write this and publish it to the Internet.

I guess boiling water is more of a science than I thought.

Friday, December 18, 2009

California Propaganda

Everyone is a lemming in one form or another.

And sometimes it surprises me how many of my current opinions have been shaped by what I heard as a kid.

Some (translate: almost everyone) would say I'm gullible.

(Tangent)
Did I already mention I fell for the "Did you know that the word "gullible" isn't in the English dictionary?" thing? ... Twice.
(End Tangent)

I grew up in California, and one day while I was in elementary school, we had a slide show about our state.


It was one of those filmstrips with the accompanying tape that beeped when the AV monitor was supposed to move the filmstrip forward.

(Tangent)
That last sentence made me feel kind of old. Does anyone use those anymore?
(End Tangent)

The presentation covered California's economic development, agriculture, military bases, history, the kitchen sink ...

Years later, I only remember one sentence:

"If one state in the union had to survive as their own country, California would be the best equipped to do so."

I guess the brainwashing starts early on the West Coast.

And I think they forgot about all the water that gets pumped to southern California from Colorado.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going Overboard

My family has a tradition of giving friends and neighbors pumpkin chocolate chip bread for Christmas.

(Tangent)
Emphasis on the bread.

It's WAY better than pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
(End Tangent)

This year, we made 43 loaves, and we didn't even make it to all the people we wanted to.


(Do you like the plastic pitcher and cereal box accents in this picture? We thought it gave it a homey touch.)

I'm sure everyone who got one would have preferred something healthier, but it's tradition.

(And I love eating the leftovers.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moron, party of one?

As you've probably figured out, I can be a little dense sometimes. Thankfully I put up a good smokescreen and got my wife to marry me before she figured it out, but it can get me into trouble sometimes.

So, my daughter is obsessed with movies (I wonder where she gets that addiction ...), and as a result, we've occasionally let her watch one on our portable DVD player so we can finally have something non-Barbie/non-animated/non-sing-a-long on our regular TV.


(Tangent)
Portable DVD players are LITERALLY the best invention EVER. I don't even want to think about how annoying it must have been to be trapped in a car with me when I was 3 years old. It's amazing I survived to adulthood.

Seriously, they are AMAZING. Last night, we delivered some holiday treats to friends, and let our daughter watch a DVD in the back seat while we drove all over town.

Aside from the muted sounds of Aristocats and Sleeping Beauty, it was blissfully silent.

If you have a kid and don't have one and have a few bucks, GO. BUY. ONE. NOW.
(End Tangent)

A couple weeks ago, we had our daughter on the couch, cuddling up with our portable DVD player and letting her watch Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow for the 834th time, when she decided to have one of her life-is-too-hard-for-me-so-I'm-going-to-lash-out-at-the-nearest-inanimate-object-and-take-out-all-my-frustrations moments and threw the DVD player on the floor.

When I went to pick it up, the screen was black and all it said was "Line-In."

That's when I lost it.

Knowing Christmas was fast approaching and we would need the DVD player as our only link to sanity in the next car trip, I flew out the door in a rage, hoping I could get Sony and Best Buy to fix it before we had to leave.

I explained the issue to the Geek Squad and specifically mentioned the "Line-In" problem.

(Tangent)
The Geek Squad crew looked like, between the three of them, their collective age was 19.
(End Tangent)


After they took it with plans to ship it to Sony for repairs, I still had to cool off a little more, so I finished my Christmas shopping.

After a week of shipping and waiting in the repair queue, we got a phone call from a Sony technician.

Do you know what the problem ended up being?

There was a little switch on the said that got flipped. "Line-In" meant it was waiting to display an external media source.

Leave it to me to ship my DVD player across the country (and maybe even the world) so that some guy can flip a switch.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Carpool Lane

Last week, my wife and I were driving in a traffic jam (although the better verb in this sentence would probably be "parked" in a traffic jam). In a vain attempt to get where we were going a little faster, we shifted into the carpool lane ... and promptly came to a stop.

I was just starting to feel my blood pressure rise when I glanced in the rear view mirror.

Right behind us in the carpool lane was this girl who couldn't have been more than 10 years old.

(Tangent)
I think the first sign of aging is when you look around and see all these little kids driving cars, going to college or registering to vote. Whenever I see this, I keep thinking, "Was I really that young when I {insert grownup activity here}?"
(End Tangent)

This infant looked like she was in a real hurry, and while I watched, she pulled something into view and held it up in the passenger seat.

It took me a second to realize what it was, and when I figured it out, I nearly choked on my gum.

It was a mannequin head. Yep. Just the head.


Is it bad that I REALLY wanted a police officer to drive by right about then?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Oxidize Silver with Egg Yolks



I didn't realize people would want to oxidize silver. I thought the whole point was to get the oxidation off, but the link explains why.

The best part of this "how to" is that it's cheap.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Have you ever had one of those days?

When your inbox exploded?

When you can't get up from your desk to eat or answer the call of nature until 3 in the afternoon?

When anyone calling your cell phone has a 100% chance of getting your voicemail?

When you go in early and leave late, but it doesn't make a dent?

I've had one of those days. I've had one of those weeks, actually. And that is why I've been AWOL. But I'm making a commitment. Next week, I hope to be back to my old self.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Christmas Tradition

My wife and I decided to start a new tradition this year. We bought this and filled it with little papers describing activities we can do as a family.


Growing up, my parents gave me those chocolate advent calendars , and I struggled hourly to keep from eating all 25 in one sitting.

So far, we've loved all the activities. Since our daughter's attention span is about the same as a Chihuahua hopped up on Mountain Dew, none of our activities are elaborate, but she seems to like them too.

However, her favorite part is opening the little doors each day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I guess anyone can be a scientist

I've made a remarkable discovery.

The Nobel Prize committee will probably call me any day now.

And I didn't even major in anything science-y.

You may want to sit down for this one, but I think I've discovered an entirely new element for the periodic table.

It's definitely not a gas. And it's not really a solid or a liquid.

You'll have to see it to believe it, so head over to the grocery store and buy a stick of light margarine.


Even refrigerated, it isn't completely a solid. It's almost like Jell-O, but it's still gooey. And it doesn't seem to melt either. Putting it on toast just smears it around without actually shifting into a liquid.

So, when the Nobel Prize committee calls, do you think I should give any credit to the people who actually make light margarine?

I didn't think so either.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's so tasty too. Just like candy.

My daughter is literally bursting with personality. It's cute now, but I worry about our sanity when she gets older.

She is also beautiful (while I'm biased on this one, I can still say it because it has been substantiated by numerous third parties).

(Tangent)
Thank goodness she takes after her mother.
(End Tangent)

As a result, all the present-day noise and flurry of activity makes me forget what she was like as a baby.

So what does this long intro have to do with anything?

My daughter gagged whenever we tried to give her a pacifier. This was depressing when we wanted to soothe her to sleep. And when it's your first kid, everything out of the ordinary tends to inspire completely undeserved panic.

One night, we peeked into her crib to find her happily sucking on one of her socks.

I can't figure out why anyone would be content to slobber all over a strip of cotton, but she loved it. It reminded me of the Vitameatavegamin fiasco on I Love Lucy.

"It's so tasty too. Just like candy."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm done with it ... really. I am.

You know that stupid little hand motion Keanu Reeves does in one of the Matrix fight scenes that has been repeated on every fight scene since then from cartoons to big budget blockbusters?

Yeah, I'm done with it.

Feel free to leave that out of your next production.

Thank you in advance.

Monday, November 30, 2009

If I ran the world ...

Between you and me:

I would be happy to have ads plastered all over the overhead bins, the tray tables, the shell of the plane, etc. if it meant cheaper flights. Let some advertising dollars take some of the sting out of the bill for my tickets, especially since my kid is now 2 years old and has to have her own seat.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain

I can't think of anything more (translate: less) appropriate for a Thanksgiving weekend than discussing clogged drains.

Anyone?

Happy Thanksgiving anyway.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time Flies

It's hard to believe it's Thanksgiving again. My body still thinks it's July, so I get a shock every time I brave the cold outdoors.

And it will only get worse.

When I'm 65, I'll probably keep thinking I'm 48 and wondering why I have so many wrinkles.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Colorful Socks

Recently I bought some new socks. Unfortunately, the only ones that were on sale had some pretty bold stripes on them, and I worried about causing undue attention to my clown-sized feet.



(Tangent)
I'm tall and skinny.

So are my feet.

I'm positive they would fit perfectly in those insanely long shoes.
(End Tangent)

So, who could have predicted they would become my favorite socks?

I've almost been tempted to start pegging my pants like I did in the 80s, just so I can show them off a little more. Almost.

The only thing stopping me is calling attention to those blasted clown feet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Overactive Enthusiasm

Last week, I was talking to some of my coworkers about how loud I get on the phone when I'm trying to sound enthusiastic or knowledgeable. It doesn't even occur to me until I hang up the receiver.

Then, I get all panicky, wondering how many people around me are planning to add my face to the front of their respective dart boards.

Without realizing it, I coined a cheesy phrase.

From now on, speaking with the enthusiastic dial turned a little too high will now be synonymous with: Verbal Jazz Hands.



9FBFSQ9XUJMR

Monday, November 23, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

This is the final story (unfortunately):

My coworker, we'll call her Serendipity (Dipity for short), had this habit of doing a series of stretches throughout the day. Typically, she would stand up at her desk and go at it, verbalizing what she was doing the entire time.

"Stretch!"

"Stretch!"

This occurred roughly every two hours (about halfway in between her candy offering ritual). You could set your watch by it.

However, sometimes she would develop a sudden case of modesty and retreat to the kitchen area for her calisthenics.

It was during one of these moments that my other coworker, we'll call him Brian, wandered into the kitchen to get some water.

(Tangent)
There is one thing you need to know about Brian. He is ultra conservative. ULTRA. CONSERVATIVE.

For example, he was on location with a female executive from one of our clients, and he refused to take a cab with her because he would be alone in a car with a woman who wasn't his wife.

... Last I checked, cabs don't run on autopilot. Technically, your cab driver is a built-in chaperon.

But this gives a little insight into how horrifying the next part of the story is for Brian in particular.
(End Tangent)

Dipity was still new at this point, and Brian wanted to help her feel welcome. Here's how the exchange went:

Brian: It's probably hard getting used to sitting in a desk all day, huh? (referring to the all the noisy stretching)

Dipity: Oh ... no ... I just have big boobs.

Brian: (moonwalking back out of the kitchen) ... uh ...

Later, Brian told me about her comment and said, "What do you say to that?!? There is no safe ground for a guy in the workplace."

And he's right.

"Oh, now that you mention it, you're right. You definitely do."

Nope.

"Nah, they're actually pretty small compared to others I've seen."

Not a chance.

"Yeah, I figured that was the problem."

Definitely not.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Use a Dash in an English Sentence

As grammar conscious as I try to be, dashes have been a mystery to me. This helped clear it up a little, so I thought I'd pass it along.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ruprecht

Everyone should see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

It's about two con artists who swindle rich women out of money.

One of my favorite parts is Ruprecht. He's the character they use to get the women to go away voluntarily after they've conned them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

UP - Best part of the movie

I saw UP this week. First, I thought it was great. Second, I'm amazed at how the Pixar creators capture body language and other movement in computer animation so perfectly. I'm starting to wonder if they're witch doctors or aliens.

My favorite joke?

"Squirrel!"

If you haven't seen the part, here it is:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Long-Term Dating

I tend to make assumptions pretty regularly.

I assume everyone thinks I'm funny.

I assume my feet have stopped growing.

I assume chocolate will always be a viable breakfast option.

When I was dating my wife, I also assumed we would never break up.

This wasn't really an issue until the Dave Matthews Band came to town and my sister wanted to go. Since we wanted to make sure to get good seats, I staggered out of bed one Saturday morning to get in line for tickets.


I assumed (notice a pattern here?) that my wife (then girlfriend) would be willing to go too, so I got in line intending to purchase three tickets.

That's when I attempted math (something I should never try without a calculator present) and realized the concert was still several months away. Technically, that meant my girlfriend could come to her senses and realize she could do better.

So, I thought I would confront this dilemma head on. I called her up and this is a rough approximation of the resulting conversation:

Nathan: ... Hey ... Sorry to bug you so early on a Saturday.

Saintly Girlfriend: (Trying not to sound groggy) Oh, it's no problem.

Nathan: I'm in line to buy tickets for the Dave Matthews Band concert for my sister and me, and I wanted to see if you'd be interested in going too.

Saintly Girlfriend: That sounds like fun. Sure. I'd love to.

Nathan: Here's the catch. It's not for another 5 months. ... So ... do you think you'll still be around at that point?

(That's me. Smooth as sandpaper.)

Saintly Girlfriend: ... Um, yeah. I think I'll still be here.

(Honestly, what did I expect her to say? Yes, I'll marry you?)

Nothing says awkward like getting a call from your boyfriend at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning to ask about your level of commitment to the relationship.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving - Back to Basics

(This is posted over on if i were really skinny, but I had to throw it up on my blog too.)

As the last of nine children, I was a little spoiled. However, when I was 13, my eyes were opened to an entirely new (and higher) echelon of excessive spending when my family was invited to this rich family's cabin for Thanksgiving dinner.

It was up in the mountains and snow was everywhere. As we pulled into their driveway, we were greeted with five garages all filled with snowmobiles and other "toys." Inside, there was an entire wing of the house filled with bedrooms and bathrooms for the 283 guests these people evidently needed to house at any given moment (I may have exaggerated that number a little).

There were media rooms and game rooms and rooms set aside for displaying antiques. The view spanned the entire valley, and in another wing, I met my first indoor pool.

However, the icing on the cake was at dinner. When one of the baskets of rolls came to me, I discovered it wasn't just any old basket. It was an antique Native American basket from one of the original local tribes.

It would be an understatement to say I felt awkward and out of place. It made me appreciate my own family traditions during Thanksgiving. Looking around at all the beautiful things, they seemed to get in the way of just being together. While my family doesn't have a specific traditional activity each year, we always spend time together, and that is what is important.

{insert the coolest title you can think of here}

(Tangent)
Before I get to the post, I have to make one tangent.

(Be warned this is an inside joke that won't be funny to anyone but a few.)

The title I wanted to give this post (except that no one would get it and I'd probably open myself up to tons of unwanted spam):

Sexy Bandwidth 2.0
(End Tangent)

I have arrived.

The person who first made me think about starting a blog is letting me guest post on hers (I just hope my idiocy doesn't downgrade her credibility in her readers' eyes).

So, if you don't already know about if i were really skinny, you should.


Go there, but when you see how much greener the grass is on the other side, try to come back every once in a while to remember the guy who is arguably responsible for your enlightenment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bucket List

Tomorrow, I may or may not be able to check off an item on my bucket list.

This may or may not involve a guest post.

This also may or may not involve the swanky blog, if i were really skinny.

I'll leave you in suspense until tomorrow, but let me just say I may or may not be so excited I won't be able to sleep tonight.

That is all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Decorate a Gift With Plastic Straws

I saw this and thought it was going to be really lame, but after clicking on the link, I was kind of impressed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm a little late to the game on this one.

Did you know Utah is the happiest state?

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (whatever that is), Utah hosts the happiest Americans. Too bad for West Virginia, though. They're ranked as the grumpiest.

Should we send them a condolence card or something?

Oh, and being known for our slot at the top of the happiness index is a little better than being known for our Jell-O consumption.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here, here, here, here, here, and here.

This story requires some background:

Every week, our office issues a large internal report. It is filled with individual chunks of data that someone back in the day lovingly labeled, "Notes." There is also a team tasked with researching these Notes each week. The deadline for the report is Wednesday, and because some of the information can be difficult to track down, Wednesday is usually very busy for this group. Someone even more creative than the first guy nicknamed this "Notes Day." We also work in an industry where it is important to jump in and be proactive. Everyone is busy, but we make time for projects that come up and work it out.


Now for the story (which, even after that tedious explanation, may still only be funny to the few people who work with me):

My coworker, we'll call her Spacey (can you tell I'm running low on creative/wacky nicknames?), had been working here for a few months. She was on the team doing the Notes report.

One day, we had a new hire come on board to the team. We'll call her Lindsay. One of the first orientation meetings for Lindsay was to meet with the manager of the Notes team. He explained how the team worked and the process for researching. After going through some of the difficulties that can arise in the research, he also explained that other coworkers (translate: bosses) may approach her, asking for help on various projects. Here is the gist of what he said:

"Sometimes, people will ask for help on a project. If they do this on Wednesday, don't say, 'But it's Notes Day!' Now, you may think this is a no brainer, but we actually had someone do this to one of the bosses ... and I'm not going to name names (translate: Spacey), but I'm betting you'll be able to figure out who it was by the end of the week."

Lindsay knew by the end of the day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Potty Humor

I should probably be ashamed to admit this.

When I was 6 years old, I remember being confused about the toilet. There were so many parts on hinges (well ... two, but for someone that small, two might as well have been 50).

I had a pretty good idea about the lid, but I couldn't figure out why the seat could be moved up and down.


Then one day I had a moment of brilliance.

Of course!

The seat was a "training seat" for little kids like me. Adults don't need it, so they lift it up and sit directly on the porcelain!

After congratulating myself on solving a mystery that would leave Sherlock Holmes green with envy, I smugly decided I was too big for the "training seat" as well.

So, the next time I had to go, I flipped both lid and seat up, and plunked right down on the cold, shiny bowl.

That's when I almost fell right into the water.

That's also when the freezing bowl nearly made my lips turn blue.

After that disconcerting experience, I decided I would never be too old for the "training seat" and I've been using it faithfully ever since. I just couldn't figure out why grownups would punish themselves like that by having to perch precariously on the lip while trying to keep their teeth from chattering.

That's a mystery I doubt even the great Sherlock Holmes could solve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Paula Abdul was right

Have you ever had French fries dipped in a chocolate shake? For some people, just mentioning the two together makes them slobber like Pavlov's dogs.

However, sometimes weird food combinations work. I have a friend in high school who tried Oreos (Oreoes? Oreo's? Fine ... Oreo cookies.) and squirt cheese on a dare and loved it. (I had to take her word for it because I never had the guts to try it on my own.)

However, there is one food combo I grew up with that makes perfect sense to me but causes my wife to cringe.

It's a grilled cheese sandwich:


With hot chocolate:


I dare you to try it. Tomato soup is fine, but this is the way I really love to eat grilled cheese sandwiches.

So, there you have it, Paula Abdul. Opposites really do attract.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update: Dishwasher

There are a few alternative titles for this post:

  1. Update: The dishwasher from %$@!#
  2. Why I'm never touching a screwdriver again
  3. The universe and it's sick sense of humor - a case study
I went with the one least likely to end with me in the fetal position, sucking my thumb on the floor.

As some of you may know, our dishwasher died, and since I prematurely labeled myself as Mr. Fix It, I decided not to pay the astronomical installation fee.

(Tangent)
There are two things that freak me out with home improvement projects: Electricity and water. Electricity because it's invisible and can kill you. Water because it's amazing how much property damage it can do.

Guess which appliance uses both?

Yep, the dishwasher. (I should have known I was out of my league.)
(End Tangent)

Since most of my home improvement projects involve running to the garage every two minutes for another tool, I decided that this time, I would be completely prepared. I gathered all the conceivable tools together on the kitchen counter, confident that this would be a snap. That's when the universe decided to have a little fun at my expense.

The new dishwasher must have been designed by a monkey with the brain of a hamster because none of the parts I had to work with were logically accessible.

The short version is that after 3 hours, the water line was still leaking whenever I turned it on.

At that point, unloading a BB gun on the piece of junk would have felt immensely satisfying.

Instead, I made another trip to Home Depot for yet another part (a grand total of 4 trips, by the way), and we finally have a leak-free dishwasher.

The best part was when I shoved it under the counter. The directions said I needed to use a level to make sure it was ... well ... level. Gearing up for another bitter disappointment, I whipped out my level and lined it up with the washer.

I nearly went into a coma when I discovered it was perfectly level. It made me feel like I was in one of those movies where the people cheat death only to have accident after accident happen to them until they all die anyway. I keep looking over my shoulder, waiting for it to catch up with me.

Out with the old:



In with the new:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Treat a Bullet Wound

(I was NOT going to do an image search on this one.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here, here, here, here and here.

There are a bunch of smaller faux-pas that I figured I would combine into one list. All of these are courtesy of one of my coworkers (we'll call her Amellyah).

What not to do in an office environment:

  1. Don't ask if a gay guy has a girlfriend just so you can get him to tell you he's gay.
  2. Don't talk about the dog diapers you have to make out of Depends so he/she doesn't have to try to hold it until you get home.
  3. Don't stream TV shows when you're supposed to be working, especially when it brings the network to a crawl.
  4. After watching TV shows all day, don't complain about how busy you are.
  5. Your endometriosis is not a topic for general small talk.
  6. Your constipation is also not a topic for general small talk.
  7. Personal visions of your future husband should be exactly that ... personal.
  8. Don't tell the only Catholic in the office that you found out her religious affiliation and that you won't be offended if she asks about yours.
  9. If you have to stretch (at your desk or anywhere else in the office), don't become your own narrator by saying "Stretch!" every time.
  10. Don't assume a female coworker is your age when she has a birthday. She could easily be 10 years younger and a little disheartened when you ask if she's 35.
  11. Even if you know every famous person in Hollywood, don't one-up every story with some obscure reference about how you met a celebrity at a party or saw them in the McDonald's drive thru.
  12. If you have to clean your sinuses in the bathroom it might be best to try toning down the noise (unless you don't want anyone to eat their lunches). (I’ve had to do this, and I know for a fact it’s possible to do it without sounding like you have a loogie fit for the Guinness Book of World Records.)
  13. Don't expect the office to foot the bill for your tampons.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swine Flu Mania

I saw this post from politicchic6 and had to add my enthusiastic "Amen!"

This is a list of the number of deaths in the last 300 days and their causes.

I don't know where she got this image, and I don't even know if it is accurate, but it makes a good point. Notice that Leprosy is the only communicable disease below the Swine Flu.



And in case you're wondering, the swine flu has been around before.

The creepiest part of the two commercials below?

"But Betty had a heart condition and she died."



I'm not saying we don't need to be careful, but I get the feeling some people are magnifying the risks just a little bit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My New Favorite TV Show

When I first flipped over to Modern Family, I wasn't anticipating much and was pleasantly surprised.

Mainly, I was thrilled to see that they end most episodes with a moral for making families better.

A coworker of mine also made a good point. With the TV industry trying to be cutting edge, it is refreshing that in a show called Modern Family there is still a family where a husband and wife haven't been divorced and have a few kids together. That used to be the norm and some people may forget it still exists.

Here's the preview:



I also loved watching this guy become a Costco convert:

How to Get People to Like You

You know the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People?

My daughter can't even read yet, but I get the feeling she's already a pro at this.

Exhibit A:



She saw this picture and immediately yelled, "Grandma!"

Exhibit B:

She was listening to a Halloween song the other day, and a pumpkin with a REALLY low voice came on to sing a verse, and pointing at the radio, she said, "Daddy!"

Since telemarketers regularly mistake me for a woman, she probably had no idea how much she scored by that comment.

I immediately turned to her and said, "With that one comment, you have just endeared me to you forever."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Boston Bust

I was supposed to go to the east coast this weekend for my friend's wedding.



Well ... I didn't.

After spending 4 hours in the airport (in the middle of the night), they canceled my flight. They tried to book me on a different one, but the soonest I would get there would have been 10 and a half hours after the wedding started.

So, I missed it, and I'm still depressed about it.

While I was in line to get reimbursed for my trouble, the guy behind me commented on what a joke the whole situation was. I agreed and told him I was missing my friend's wedding. Then, I looked at the TV, which was broadcasting CNN International, and saw a story about the freak storms hitting the Philippines. The anchor talked about all the homes that have blown away and all the damage the storms have done.

I turned back to the guy, pointed at the screen and said, "But, at least my home hasn't blown away. I guess that's something to be grateful for."

It helped me put things in perspective.

I'm still depressed, though.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

My best friend from childhood is getting married on Halloween. That may sound weird, except their first date was on Halloween and they got engaged on Halloween, so Oct. 31 has sentimental value.

I think it's a great idea.

Right now, she lives on the east coast, so I'm flying across the country to be there for the big day.

I will seriously miss spending Halloween with my family, but there is no way I was going to subject all the other passengers to 6+ hours of my daughter on a plane.

So, for anyone traveling on my flight, you're welcome in advance.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Traditions

I've always enjoyed Halloween, but it has never been one of the bigger holidays in my family. We did all the costumes and the candy, but there weren't any traditions ... until I got married.

Now, Halloween is one of the better holidays of the year (thanks to my wife). She has huge positive associations with Halloween from her childhood and has carried them over into our family.

There are a number of traditions, but here are a few of my favorites:

I love the last one most. My wife grew up decorating houses for Halloween instead of Christmas. I thought his was a unique twist on a regular tradition and made it more fun.

Here's one of the ones we did this year:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Birthday Cake Debacle

I wish all of you could meet my sister. She's the embodiment of a tornado, a Mariachi band and a 200 pound bag of glitter. I defy you to not have fun when she's around.

All year, she's been telling people she's turning 47, and it wasn't until shortly before her birthday, that she realized she was only 45 going on 46. She and her husband had a good laugh about it and figured she could just start telling people she was turning 45 and then next year catch back up to 47.

So, the big day came, and her husband baked a cake. After dinner, her family all crowded around to sing happy birthday, and her husband presented his masterpiece. He'd taken the time to put the candles in the shape of her age ... and that's when my sister noticed the cake said 47. She started laughing and reminded her husband that she was only turning 46 this year.

Embarrassed, he took the cake back to the counter to change the offending number.

When the cake came back, this is what my sister saw:

67


Her husband changed the 4 instead of the 7.

Now my sister keeps joking about how good she looks for a 67-year-old woman.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here, here, here and here.

Here's another one:

There are several alternate titles for this post.

  1. Invading My Personal Space
  2. Why I Could Sue for Sexual Harassment
  3. An Unconventional Way to Induce Vomiting
(But since this is part of a series, I'll stick with the original: Office Outtakes.)

I'm a peon in a cubicle. And it's a small one. Reaching out, my fingers can easily touch the opposite walls in both directions. (FYI, I'm not complaining, just stating the facts.)




Since I have an abnormally large personal space bubble, this means anyone coming in my cubicle had better be someone that won't set off DEFCON 1 when that bubble is breached.

Enter my coworker (stage left), we'll call her Brytnee.

Evidently, Brytnee had a MUCH smaller personal space bubble than I did because every time she came over to ask a question, she would waltz into my cubicle and lounge on the 2 cubic inches of desk space not already occupied by my computer, pen organizer or telephone.

Each time, I tried to do my best to answer her questions while attempting to unclench the giant muscle knot that inevitably formed between my shoulder blades (see DEFCON 1).

With questions answered and concerns alleviated, I would turn my attention back to my computer, hoping she would make a hasty exit so I could painstakingly rebuild my emotional boundaries.

That's when Brytnee out did herself. With my focus glued to my computer screen, I nearly flew out of my chair when I felt her finger tips rubbing my back as she murmured, "Thanks, Honey."

Even my wife doesn't call me "Honey."

And nothing has ever given me a stronger urge to recoil than those finger tips.

(Now, in her defense, Brytnee called everyone in the office, "Honey." Still ... not cool, Brytnee. Not cool.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

R.I.P., Dishwasher

Our dishwasher just kicked the bucket.

(Tangent)
By the way, you're welcome for that antiquated phrase I just used. That's courtesy of my parents who are full of all kinds of euphemisms thought to be extinct.

You want proof? Here are a couple of my favorites:

"We're as busy as cranberry merchants!" (Exactly how busy are cranberry merchants?)

"That's the straight poop." (I have NO desire to find out the origin for this one.)
(End Tangent)

What does a broken dishwasher mean? It means Nathan is going to once again deny his inability to fix things in favor of saving the $119 installation fee and try to do it himself.



Wish me luck (Translation: pray I won't lose a finger).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Properly Throw a Boomerang

I have a feeling step 7, "Catch the boomerang," would be the trickiest for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Prayers

My wife and I are in the middle of teaching our daughter to pray.

While there are a multitude of mispronunciations all the way through, her intro gives me the giggles every time.

Here's how it usually goes:

Me: Do you want to say the prayer?

Daughter: Yes.

Me: Okay, say Dear?

Daughter: Dear!

Me: Heavenly?

Daughter: Funny!

Me: (trying to keep a straight face) Father.

Daughter: Fadder!

Now, I'm sure Heavenly Father is funny and has a great sense of humor. I just don't know if that is one of his typical prefixes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here, here and here.

Here's another one:

One weekend, our company went to a local college football game. This coworker of mine, we'll call her Steffanii (Steffi for short), was known to latch onto another coworker, we'll call her Becca. As luck would have it, Becca sat down with her husband, and who sat right next to her? You guessed it. Steffi.

At this point, Becca was 8 months pregnant, so Steffi decided that a football game would be the perfect atmosphere to pepper Becca with detailed personal questions about her pregnancy.

Evidently, this bonding time was going well for Steffi because she confided in Becca that by the time she gets married, her uterus would be all dried up (after which she made an accompanying straw sucking sound).

A little while later, Becca needed a break and had her husband switch seats with her. The result was this gem of a conversation:

Steffi: So, how old are you?

Becca's Husband: 25

Steffi: ... (Pause) ... Oh, I'm really into younger guys

There you go. Klassy with a K. When putting together a "How to Make Friends" list, hitting on a pregnant woman's husband probably shouldn't make the cut.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Club

Everyone? I would like you to meet "The Club."



This was one of our wedding gifts, and while I greatly appreciate the gesture, I don't really know what to do with it. Nothing in our house goes with it, and it is substantial enough that airport security would probably detain me for carrying a concealed weapon in my carry-on (if I randomly decided to tote this thing around on a business trip).

The Club was given to us by a distant relative (some kind of 4th cousin 3 times removed) who made it out of the wood from our common ancestor's farm.

(Tangent)
I know. I'm a jerk for even attempting to make light of such a thoughtful gesture.

I guess we all know where I'm going when I die. I'll send you a postcard.
(End Tangent)

The guy took the time to carve a candle holder out of it for us and even put some symbolism into it to kick it up a notch.

Evidently, the three rings around the middle have a special meaning. The bottom one represents me, the middle one represents my wife, and the top one represents all the children we will have as we fill our home with light and joy and rainbows.

Since we don't have a place for it at home and I just can't bring myself to use it for firewood, we found the perfect solution.

It has a permanent home on my desk at work.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Lost in Music

I'm a sucker for good music. Most of the time, I just like stuff I can enjoy while I tap my foot.

(Tangent)
I draw the line at foot tapping, because if I actually tried to dance and anyone saw me, the shame of knowing that image is burned forever into their brain would force me to relocate to the moon.
(End Tangent)

Despite my toe tapping tendencies, I'm always on the lookout for the good stuff. You know the songs that pull you out of reality for a minute and give you a glimpse of something better?

I have a small hoard of CDs with these kind of songs on them. One that continues to affect me, even when I'm not listening to it is Jesu, the Very Thought is Sweet sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I still remember the first time I heard it. I was glued to my seat. I couldn't move and just sat there until it was over.

I found a recording of it on YouTube (although, the full song is another minute or so longer). The arrangement is amazing (Mack Wilberg, you outdid yourself), but the kicker is when the women break into their descant at 3:53.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make a Bullet Belt

Hunting is HUGE in Utah, so feel free to go nuts with this.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My blog is 1

Exactly one year ago I started this thing.

So, you all have my permission to go out and buy yourself some cake. And get one for me too while you're at it.

You're welcome.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Can't Wait

I just saw this.

Which made me think of this:



Now I can't stop thinking about 30 Rock quotes.

Conference Jeopardy

I owe a big thank you to Laughing at Life's Little Wedgies. Last year, she wrote this post about one of her family traditions, and I promptly stole it from her and made it into my own.

We have now completed the second semi-annual, post-General Conference, Jeopardy tournament, and I think it is officially a family tradition.

This year, we even had a trophy for the winner. A couple nights before the event, my wife suggested I make an Angel Moroni statue out of foil (the guy on top of the Mormon temples) to give to the winning team.

BRILLIANT!

So I went to work. Now, I'm not an artist, so the end result only vaguely looks like an amorphous humanoid ... thingy. The only defining feature is the trumpet. Thankfully, my family isn't too picky.

Here is the real thing:



And here's my sad attempt (Please also admire the wood veneer paneling on our cabinets. You have to pay extra for that level of classy.):

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not too shabby, Volkswagen

All I know is, this would definitely motivate me to take the stairs.

(Thanks, Mindi)



And here's another good one:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here and here.

Here's another one:

The Hershey's Nuggets Debacle



In my office, if candy is in a dish on your desk, it is fair game. Everyone knows it's a silent tactic to coax people into your cubicle to chat. Well, one of my coworkers, we'll call her Syndee (not Cindy), wanted to make sure everyone knew her Hershey's Nuggets were there for the taking.

About every three hours, I'd hear her get up and start making the rounds, offering everyone a Hershey's Nugget from her jar.

"Do you want a Nugget?"

"Do you want a Nugget?"

I thought this was nice, continually offering something I love (chocolate) and giving me a chance to enjoy my favorite pastime (eating).

And then, Syndee went on vacation and made a big mistake. She left her jar of Nuggets just sitting on her desk. Doing that is like throwing a raw steak into a pond of piranhas.

When Syndee got back, she found her jar scoured clean of all traces of chocolate.

That's when the "poop" hit the proverbial fan.

Everyone in our section of the office got a lovely email from Syndee explaining her shock and chagrin at finding an empty treat jar. She detailed how much she has to pay for a bag of Nuggets and even did the math for us, showing how much we were eating into her salary with each Nugget we took from her. She concluded by asking the Nugget thieves to contribute the amount of money they owed so she could replenish her stash.

Ironically, the next day, I was sitting at my desk when I heard the familiar:

"Do you want a Nugget?"

"Do you want a Nugget?"

Needless to say, I didn't accept any more Nuggets.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Me + Legos

I have always loved Legos.

In fact, when my friend got "too old" for her sets of Legos, I promptly bought them all from her (i.e. got my parents to buy them for me for Christmas). Now I have a giant bin in our basement just waiting until my daughter is old enough to really get into them.

So, you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this.

I guess these people go out and fix public spaces with Lego constructions. This gives me all kinds of ideas for fix-it projects around the house ...





Friday, October 9, 2009

I can breathe!

That was my first thought when I stumbled back into consciousness yesterday after my surgery. Even from under the gauze I could breathe better than I ever had before.

My nose is swollen, and I'm exhausted, but the pain has been minimal.

Oh, and you know that nasal flush? I read the instructions the night before my surgery and wanted to call the whole thing off. This is what it said:

"Place cap snugly against your nasal passage and squeeze bottle gently until the solution starts draining from the opposite nasal passage or from your mouth."

I'm just full of pleasant mental images this week, aren't I?

And let me tell you. They weren't lying.

Still, it's the only way I'm going to be able to clean everything out, so I guess I just have to buck up and do it.

And on a side note, my wife is a saint. Essentially, she now has two children to take care of, and she hasn't complained once, even though I have this driving need to eat peaches every second of the day. We have a big box of fresh ones thanks to a neighbor, I think she's given up washing the cutting board each time because five minutes later, she has to pull it back out again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Surgery Day!

Remember this post? My doctor said I'm impressive (or at least my deviated septum is).

Well, today is my surgery day.

Besides the pain afterwards, do you know what I'm most looking forward to?

The obligatory gauze mustache I'll have to wear for a couple days to catch the drainage. Oh, and the nasal flushes I'll have to do four times a day for a month.

Yeah, I'll let those images sink in for a minute ...

... you're welcome.

However, I'm kind of excited to be able to breathe through my nose without feeling like I'm trying to suck all the air through a straw.

Have you ever done that? Tried to breathe through a straw?

Not fun, but if you like exercises in futility, then go for it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Dad and the Birthday Present

Some of you may have read this story on Laughing at Life's Little Wedgies.

Well, I have another one.

If there is one word to describe my dad, it's: focused.

He has the remarkable talent to pursue his goal to the exclusion of everything else. Unfortunately, this also means he probably still doesn't know what color the carpet is in his house (and sometimes I wonder if he realizes he has nine children).

One year, my mom decided to get him a special present for his birthday. He has always loved the picture of George Washington praying at Valley Forge by Arnold Friberg.



So, she bought him a huge framed print (arguably as big as I am). On his birthday, she hung it above the fireplace in his office with a big, metallic "Happy Birthday" banner across it. It was the perfect place for the picture because it would be right in front of him as soon as he opened the door.

However, her giddy excitement slowly ebbed as days went by without any comment from my dad. Finally, she pulled him aside and asked, "So, how do you like your birthday present?"

His response?

"What birthday present?"

After finding out it was in his office already, he bounded down the stairs.

Seconds ticked by.

Then minutes.

Finally, my dad trudged back up the stairs and said, "What birthday present?!"

It turns out, he spent all that time rifling through his desk, looking for the gift my mom had "hidden" in his office.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How to Fail a Test with Dignity

Holly sent these over to me, and I had to post them.

I wish I had been this lucid during my tests in high school. There were definitely some questions I knew I was going to get wrong, and it would have been more fun to go down in a blaze of glory like these people.

Disclaimer: If you don't like seeing the "B" word written out, I wouldn't recommend scrolling down to the last image. If you can handle it, though, it's hilarious.