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.


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.

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.


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.



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.

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."


"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


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?


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}

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.

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.