Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stunted Development

When I was 11 years old, my parents moved to Utah for 3 years, which really did a number on my friend quotient.

This is one example of what happens when a tween has too much time on his hands. For more stories, go here, here, here or here.

It was Valentine's Day. In elementary school, this was the day to find out just how popular you were. It laid bare the truth of what people thought of you, based on the quantity of Valentine cards and the quality of candy attached.

As a brand new Utahn, I felt a driving need to make a real splash my first year. I knew I was lost in the obscurity of the cliques and carefully arranged social hierarchy.

I also had pretty much every afternoon free from annoying distractions like friends or a social life.

The result?

I decided to make the biggest possible Valentine box. The inspiration came from one of the wardrobe boxes my parents used to move to Utah. Have you ever seen those things? For an 11-year-old kid, it looked like you could fit a whole car inside.

I decided to make one to look like the Tower of Big Ben. I used poster board to make the roof, and after drawing on the clock, I knew it needed a little something extra.

That's when inspiration struck. I decided to make a face and have the mouth be the slot for the cards. I also decided it would "Super Fun" if I used light bulbs for the eyes and nose. Then I could have them flash on and off whenever a card went through the slot. (I used one of those long skinny bulbs for the nose.)

Because I still hadn't brushed up on my electrician skills, the only way I could make the flashing face work is if I was hiding inside the box and flipping the switch each time.

So ...

I got permission from my teacher to come in early from recess to deliver my own Valentines and slip into the box unnoticed. Once all the kids started delivering their own, I had to flip that switch like crazy. It was thrilling to see how many times something came through the slot. I began to daydream about all the popularity I'd achieved with my Big Ben wardrobe box and how I'd be showered with praise once I finally revealed how it worked.

What I didn't know was how the kids kept testing the light bulbs. They were so amazed that they shoved anything they could into the slot: pencils, pens, paperclips, candy wrappers, garbage.

I had an amazing pile of stuff that year, but half of it belonged to the school or had to go right into the trash can.

And for the record, despite their interest in my box, I still wasn't carried around on their shoulders or invited to any after-school parties.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"You too"

I have this nasty habit of saying stupid things.

I know.

It's a shocker, isn't it?

One of the most common is when I reply with "you too" to someone helping me in a store or some other customer service situation. It just comes flying out of my mouth, even if it is completely inappropriate. It's as if I have a very specific form of Tourette's.

You can guarantee that if someone says any of the following, I will inevitably follow with an enthusiastic "you too!"

"Enjoy your movie."
"Good luck with your interview."
"Enjoy your purchase."

I also have the uncanny ability to say "you're welcome" before anyone has a chance to say "thank you."

It's a gift.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sinking to a new low

Those who were around in 2009 may remember my nearly constant problem of getting mistaken for a woman on the phone.

I call it getting "Ma'am-ed."

Well, last week, I hit an all-time low. By now I'm used to hearing "ma'am" all the time, but this time, I called the LDS distribution center.

This is a store where Mormons can pick up Mormony things, like scriptures, hymnbooks, pictures of temples, etc.

I wanted to know if they had a particular book in stock.

You know when people are really happy and peppy on the phones?

Whenever I'm confronted with someone like this, who probably has a massive sugar high from eating a dozen jelly-filled donuts, I unconsciously try to match their energy level.

My voice inflection becomes like a roller coaster at Disneyland, and my volume rises to the point that I sound like I'm stuck in a wind tunnel.

Well, this lady was EXTREMELY friendly, and I didn't even realize how enthusiastic I had gotten on the phone. I'm surprised the world didn't implode from the joy of our little conversation.

This may or may not have had something to do with what happened next.
(End Tangent)

When she got back on the phone, she said:

"Okay, Sister. It looks like we have several in stock."


To fully understand the crippling embarrassment of this word, you have to understand Mormon culture. In the Mormon church, Brother and Sister are used as prefixes, just like Mr. or Mrs.

In the many years I've been getting Ma'am-ed, I've never been Sister-ed.

Now I'm going to go console myself with a dozen jelly-filled donuts.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nathan's OBGYN Appointment

Yep, you read that title correctly.

For those of you who don't know, Mormon boys are encouraged to go on missions for the LDS church.

It's actually a pretty cool experience that not only helps the little 19-year-old twerp grow up a little, but it also allows them to share something with others that has brought them a great deal of joy and peace.

Before any of them can go, they have to have physical with a doctor to sign off that they are capable of the rigorous physical activity often required.

I was one of those 19-year-old twerps once. And I had to get a physical just like everyone else.

For the life of me, I can't remember the situation, but for some reason, I had to make a last minute appointment with my brother-in-law's father.

He was an OBGYN.

Needless to say, it was a little awkward going to his house for what could potentially be an unpleasant experience from someone who knows me and my family.

We sat down across from each other in his office, and all he asked was: "So, do you feel healthy?"

I said "Yes," and he checked off the paperwork. He had to take a blood sample or something (I honestly can't remember), which had to be analyzed by a lab, so he asked that I pick up the completed paperwork a few days later at his work.

That day, I wandered into a surprisingly large waiting room filled with women in various states of pregnancy. I told the nurse why I was there, and she asked that I have a seat.

I figured they would do the logical thing and bring the papers to the front desk for me to pick up. That is why I was so flabbergasted when a sweet nurse opened the door to the back and called, "Nathan? ... Nathan?"

As I got up and crossed the room, I could feel the eyes of every women in that waiting room on me. Questions like, "Why is that guy seeing an OBGYN?" or "Is that really a guy?" or "If that is a girl, how can that skinny little thing actually be pregnant?" were probably eating away at them.

Red faced, I went through the door, and she took me back to see the doctor. He was sitting at his desk, and when he saw me, smiled pleasantly and handed me the paperwork.

Are you kidding me? Did I actually have to go through that walk of shame just so you could hand me the paperwork yourself?

To this day, I still think he did it on purpose just for the comedic value. I'm positive I was a popular story at their office Christmas party that year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

... Thanks ... Scooby Doo.

So, this probably won't be funny to most people, but it is indicative of my daughter.

The other day, my daughter came up to my wife and asked:

"Mommy? Does Jesus fight the Holy Ghost?"

This may baffle most of you (it baffled me when my wife told me), but in context, it makes perfect sense.

My daughter is a huge fan of Scooby Doo right now. HUGE.

Since most of the episodes are of them fighting some type of monster, and since many times it involves some sort of paranormal entity, my daughter has developed a certain contextual association with ghosts.

Now begins the uphill battle of trying to explain that not all "ghosts" are bad.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Best prank ever ... or at least the most devious

So ... my bishop (that's Mormon-speak for my local church leader) is also a colleague at work. And he has a sense of humor.

On Sunday last week, I got a phone call from him where he announced himself by his official title, which was an immediate clue that something was wrong. When he hesitated a little and told me this phone call was particularly difficult, my nerves nearly forced me to lay an egg. (He probably deserves an Oscar for that performance.) He then told me that it had come to his attention that my daughter had punched another little girl in the face during church. (This is the assault I referenced last week.)

I was mortified.

He went on to explain that he was going to have to address the situation with me and figure out what we were going to do about it.

At this point, mortification wasn't nearly enough of a word to describe how I felt.

Then he started laughing.

It turns out it was all a big joke. My daughter had in fact hit another little girl, but he was playing a prank on me for making it a bigger issue than it was.

... So, I decided to get him back.

I found out that his son had been a little bit of a stinker in elementary school, receiving two action slips last week, one on Monday and one Wednesday. If a student gets five action slips in a school year, they must have a mandatory suspension.

To be clear, this boy is absolutely adorable. He's not a troubled child, and his parents give him all the love and support he needs.

But as my mom would say, he just likes to march to the beat of his own drummer.
(End Tangent)

So, I got a friend to call from a number that would display as a school district number on my bishop's caller ID, and read the following script:

Hi, is this Mr. Johnson? (Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent)

This is Sylvia Barnes with Fieldcrest Elementary. I'm calling to let you know that your son, Timmy, received another action slip this morning. I don't know if you are aware of our policy, but if students accrue three action slips in one week, they are required to have a 3-day suspension and must meet with the school social worker.

We tried calling your home, but we weren't able to reach your wife. Timmy is currently in our office, and we will need you to come pick him up.

It worked like a charm. Thankfully, I told his wife last night, because by the time I got to his office, he already had her on the phone, telling her he just got a call from the school district.

Once I told him it was a joke, he burst out laughing while telling me he was going to get me back.

I have two words for him ...

Bring it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stunted Development

When I was 11 years old, my parents moved to Utah for 3 years, which really did a number on my friend quotient.

This is one example of what happens when a tween has too much time on his hands. For more stories, go here, here or here.

If you grow up in the snow, you instinctively know when snow pants are needed and when they will just get in the way. Since I grew up where the lowest temperature was 50 degrees, I was blissfully ignorant by the time we had our first snowfall.

So, when I got ready for school that morning, I pulled out the bin of all the winter gear my mom purchased, intending to find a way to strap all the pieces onto my skinny little body ... because if they sell this stuff, it must be important to wear, right?

Have any of you seen "A Christmas Story?" That kid who couldn't put his arms down has got nothin' on me. Click here to view (the clip I found won't allow me to embed the video).
(End Tangent)

So, after becoming my own version of the Michelin Man, I headed off to early morning choir practice.

At school, all the little choir geeks had to sardine themselves into the room (I believe they called it a kiva), and started going through warm up scales.

The janitors were a little overzealous with the thermostat settings, and it wasn't long before I felt like we'd all been transported to Egypt. I was roasting in my layers of thermals, sweat pants, jeans and snow pants.

As the practice extended into the eternities, I started to wonder if I hadn't been very good in life and mysteriously died during the night. That would certainly explain the torture I was being subjected to at this moment.

After I had sweat my own body weight in fluids, they finally dismissed us, where I went to the bathroom and peeled out of the 18 layers, swearing off snow pants for the rest of my natural life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm back ... I think

It's amazing how student paperwork deadlines (and the weeks afterward with students panicking about missing the deadlines) sucks up all my time.

I feel like my head is still spinning.

The other day, my wife was outside with our daughter, when she went up to my wife and said:

"Mom, I'm a Sleeping Beauty Monster."

My wife immediately thought, "I can't think of a more concise way she could have described herself."

And I agree. That brings her completely opposite personality types into perfect oppositional clarity.

And since we just received a report that she slugged another kid in nursery at church yesterday, I'm wondering if the Sleeping Beauty part is just that. Sleeping.

Let's just say our daughter is becoming an expert at time outs.
(End Tangent)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make a Simple Sound Pipe from a Plastic Straw

I can only imagine how this sounds. The alternate title for this one could be: How to Lose Friends and Irritate People.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: 9 Tips for People Watching without Being Creepy

Since it's impossible for me to read a book in an airport (because I always end up people watching for 40 minutes at a time), this would be seriously beneficial for me to read.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Deadlines and Drama

It's amazing what happens to this blog when I have giant deadlines at work and midterms for my first graduate class.


Hopefully it will calm down by next week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Men and Women: Mars and Venus

Recently, my wife got a book as a gift from her sister-in-law. She finished it, so it is my turn to read it.

This morning, I read a paragraph that made me laugh, and for all the men out there, I feel the need to post it here. It's from Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.

Disclaimer: This is not how I feel about my conversations with my own wife ... (Love you, dear!)

"Maybe she'd tell him what this message meant. Though, more than likely, Mother would simply go enigmatic on him, give him one of her inscrutable smiles and tell him that if he didn't already understand, he never would. Women always said things like that, and it made him crazy. It's as if every conversation with a woman was a test, and men always failed it, because they always lacked the key to the code and so they never quite understood what the conversation was really about."

I immediately had visions of spies trying to decipher encrypted messages without a codec.

So, to all the men out there, be careful. It's a war zone.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Save a Wet Cell Phone

I have severe toilet issues, so I don't know what would happen if I ever dropped a phone in the toilet.

I'd probably just move.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Too Much Love

At my previous job, I had a good friend who was also a client. We talked on the phone regularly.

One day, I was in a particular hurry with a project, and he called to discuss. As we were wrapping up, I was affirming answers to his questions while simultaneously drafting an email.

At this point, you should be seeing red flashing lights and hearing a loud buzzer with a computerized voice yelling, "Danger! Danger!"

I've never been the most gifted at doing two things at once. When I write a paper for school while watching TV, I inevitably start quoting the cast members in my homework.
(End Tangent)

We were just wrapping up, when the following came spilling out of my mouth:

"Yep ... K ... Sounds good ... Yep ... Ok ... K, Love you, bye."

How's that for professional?

I should write a book or something, so I can gain my rightful place as the Miss Manners of the business world.

The guy was really good natured about it, which was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he quickly forgave me. On the other, I had to deal with months and months and months of emails and phone calls from him where he would always say:

"Love you too."

That's just a little too much love spreading around for my taste.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Encore: Extrovert with a Capital E

You know how I'm an extrovert? With a capital E?

I found out from my neighbor (a college professor) that he uses me as an example of extreme extraversion in his classes when they take and discuss personality tests.

Evidently, when we first moved into the neighborhood, he and his wife would always be able to tell when I got home from work to find my wife still running errands because I would always call them or drop by with some inane question or random comment.

Now, in order for them to see a pattern, this would have had to occur ... often.


What's worse, I have no memory of this, and I like to think I'm at least marginally self aware.

I'm thinking of getting a paper bag permanently attached to my head. It would be fitting, since who knows how many other people I keep hounding when (heaven forbid) I have to spend more than 2 minutes by myself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lost in the Maze

Our church building is ... unique.

I think at one point it was a functional/logical building, but those days are a dim memory. It has all the typical features of an Mormon meeting house, the chapel, the gym, the classrooms, the offices for church leadership, and pianos all over the place, but sometime during its long history it got remodeled.

My best guess is that a chimpanzee got a hold of the blueprints.

Now, it's like a rabbit warren, and anytime there new family starts attending, they get completely lost. My wife still has a hard time telling which way is north once she gets into the labyrinth of hallways.

But my favorite part is that whoever drew up the plans forgot one of the hallways. There is a classroom connecting two parts of the building, but if the room is being used, people have to trek outside to get around it. As someone who hates the snow, I'm not looking forward to this winter.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Do Laughter Yoga

I'm sure this is helpful, but the first time I heard of this, I lumped it into the "Oxygen Bar" category.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Extrovert with a Capital E

We took a personality test in my class, and we just went over the results.

When I opened the packet, the first page had a scale showing how far to one side or the other I scored in the four categories.

One of them was Introvert/Extrovert. When I saw my score, I was just a little embarrassed. I was as far over to the Extrovert side as the test allows.

According to the results, I should be one of those manic spaz-oids on a permanent caffeine high.

But then I thought about it and realized it's probably right.

I spend all day talking to students. When it's time to go home and I'm in the car by myself, what's my first impulse?

Call someone on the phone.

When I get home and my wife and daughter are out running errands, what is my reaction?

"Dang it. I'm by myself."

When my wife and I are in bed reading, what inevitably happens?

My book ends up on my lap while I continue my verbal diarrhea. My wife either makes a noncommittal grunt of acknowledgement every once in a while or she politely sets down her book and smiles at me with a strained expression, waiting for me to finally run out of steam.

I guess the title and subheading of my blog are just as applicable today as they were when I was a kid.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"No, I say it by myself"

That is what my daughter told me this morning when I tried to help her with prayers.

She has developed an independent streak recently, and for those of you who know her, you may find this laughable.

"But Nathan, she was already stubborn/independent/bullheaded/insert-your-own-word-here."

Yes. I know.

We thought her previous "tude" was as pronounced as it was going to get. Evidently, the universe wanted to show us just how wrong we were (which seems to be a common theme in my life).

Needless to say, I wondered how well this prayer would go and how soon it would degrade into a monologue about her favorite toys and her current duties as a princess/queen/prince/mommy/dragon/monkey/frog/insert-make-believe-character-here.

Instead, we were pleasantly surprised when she rattled this puppy off:

"Dear Heavenly Father,

Grateful ah Food,

Grateful ah Dresses,

Grateful ah Shirts,

Healthy and Strong,

Grateful ah Rainbows,

No Kitties,

Grateful to color the knight, the elephant princess, the king, and the zebra queen,

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

(The reference to coloring has to do with some wood cutouts my wife got at the store for 49 cents. They are a hippopotamus knight, an elephant princess, a lion king and a zebra queen. Don't ask. Just nod and smile.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mustaches and Skinny Jeans

Evidently, I have missed another memo.

After spending a few weeks on campus, I've noticed a much higher percentage of mustaches going past me in the halls. Most of the ones I've seen around here are scraggly ones that are either completely uneven or not full enough to constitute more than peach fuzz.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have a good friend who's dad has a mustache and he looks just great. There are a few people (i.e. Tom Selleck) who can pull one off, but for the majority, it looks like one of those fuzzy caterpillars crawled up and took a nap on the guy's upper lip.

When I asked a kid who is completely up to date on current fashion, he told me it was more than a local thing. Mustaches are coming back everywhere, right along with skinny jeans.

Thinking about this is about as soothing as staring at this picture:

You're welcome.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Sew an Elephant Cushion

... because I've always been wondering how to make an elephant head cushion.

Friday, October 1, 2010

If only I had this kind of creativity

I recently discovered an artist named Kumi Yamashita. She does all kinds of stuff, but she works a bunch with creating artistic shadows.

Go here and click on "Selected Work" for more examples (and be sure to read the descriptions of each one to see what materials she used (i.e. military boot prints to create portraits).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stunted Development

When I was 11 years old, my parents moved to Utah for 3 years, which really did a number on my friend quotient.

This is one example of what happens when a tween has too much time on his hands. For more stories, go here or here.

It was my first winter in Utah. My first winter with the chance of snow. My first winter dealing with temperatures below 50 degrees.

Watching snow fall for the first time outside made me feel like I'd accidentally chugged a bottle of cooking alcohol. I couldn't stop running around the house, looking out through all the windows. Finally, I yanked on my black sweatpants, which I stylishly paired with my black sweatshirt and accessorized with the trendy moon boots my mom bought for me at K-Mart.

Let's just say that there are pictures of this fashion crime against humanity, and they will never see the light of day. EVER.
(End Tangent)

Then, I bounded outside into the snow, armed with a shiny new snow shovel. After my mom burned through a couple rolls of film, documenting my embarrassing wardrobe choices for posterity, I got to work.

... And the fun lasted for about 5 minutes.

Once the snow started to melt on me and soak into my remarkably absorbing ensemble, I got pretty miserable and had to head back inside ... with the walkway only half finished.

This was the beginning and the end of my love affair with snow. However, it was not the end of my poor cold weather fashion choices ... (Was that foreshadowing? Maybe I should write a book or something.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Head Scratching Compliment

The other day, my wife and I were talking about how many people say our daughter is pretty. These comments happen regularly and are usually sparked by her curly hair.

Below is the joke I made and my wife's response:

Nathan: ... But, she could still turn out like this (Doing my best "The Price is Right" impression to display my face).

Wife: No, you would make a pretty girl.

Nathan: Um ... thank you?

But seriously, I'm just glad my daughter takes after her mother in the looks department. It's going to make her life much easier.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Guaranteed Entertainment

I'm completely impressed by the music videos for OK Go.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Build a Simple Wood Truss

I don't think words like "simple" and "wood truss" should ever be in the same sentence.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Real Life Super Powers

I'm jealous.

One of my old co-workers has a wife with an astounding super power. He told me about it, and I would normally have immediately assumed he was lying. But this kid makes Mother Teresa look like she had a shady past. So, I have no choice but to believe him.

Which means I'm jealous. (And with that jealousy, let's just be glad I didn't compare him to me and stuck with Mother Teresa.)

His wife has a super powered nose. She can smell when ants are in her house. She can also smell when people are getting sick.

Are you kidding me?!? How cool would it be to be able to go around telling people that they are about to get sick?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When all you sing is a D ...

Carrot Jello posted this video, and I had to steal it.

My wife and I have a running joke that in our hymn book, the alto's favorite note is the D above middle C.

The tenor line is usually better, but it's been known to get stuck on the G.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stunted Development

When I was 11 years old, my parents moved to Utah for 3 years, which really did a number on my friend quotient.

This is one example of what happens when a tween has too much time on his hands. For more stories, go here.

When I got to Utah, I was in the final year of elementary school (6th grade), and my social studies teacher had a unit on the medieval period. We had all kinds of projects, and one of them was to draw a picture of a medieval castle.

I went home fully expecting to dazzle her with my crayon skills, but when I got done with the picture, it was only 3:30 p.m. and I found myself facing 6 hours of either watching paint dry or playing Skip-Bo with my parents.

In an effort to fill the void, I decided I wouldn't just settle for a drawing of a castle. I would make one out of sugar cubes. My mom (the saint that she is) went to the store last minute and cleaned them out of every box of sugar cubes they had. She also had to load up on Elmer's glue.

Once I had all the supplies, I got to work, and 5 hours later, I had a file box sized replica of a medieval castle.

But I didn't stop there. Then came the accessorizing.

I dragged out my LEGOs and set the stage for an epic medieval battle on the walls and in the courtyard of my new masterpiece.

I may have even reenacted a few scenes (allegedly).

The next day, I proudly staggered in under the weight of 8,000 sugar cubes, and I seriously don't think my teacher knew what to do with me. I got an A on the assignment, but I'm sure there is a note lurking in my permanent file about how I need some help socializing with the other children.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hand Tap Dancing

This video makes me want to find a hand tap dance class.

Thanks to Kate for posting it on her blog.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Use Assure, Ensure and Insure

My mother, the grammar queen, would be thrilled to know I'm taking up her torch.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Easy Listening = Slow Death

For about three weeks, the speakers in our office ceiling haven't been working.

I've been giddy the entire time.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of music, but the only thing that comes through those speakers is easy listening. This wouldn't normally be a problem because I can appreciate all kinds of music. I get that from my mom who loves all kinds of music and even owns an album called (and I'm seriously not kidding about this) Deep Breakfast. One of the songs on the album is affectionately called Celestial Soda Pop.

For those of you bored enough to click on the link ... you're welcome. Your ears will never be the same.
(End Tangent)

Yesterday, the speakers suddenly switched back on, and by the 8th rendition of "Have you ever been in llllooooooovvvvvveeeee?" by Celine Dion, I was about ready to declare martial law in the office and start stringing barbed wire around my door.

When I worked in this office as a student employee, I became convinced that the radio station had a tradition of playing Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" every hour on the hour. I kept a tally one day and during my 4 hour shift, I remember hearing it 6 times.

And in case you don't remember some of Bette's finer moments during that song, the parts that made me wish I was tone deaf were when she went sliding slowly into some of her notes toward the end. "Ffflllllllyyyyyyyy! ... Fffllllyyyyyyyy! Fly high up in the sky!"


Pardon me while I go look for a blankie and one of my daughter's old pacifiers. I feel the sudden need to curl up in the fetal position.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Huff and Puff

My daughter loves when my wife tells her the story of the 3 Little Pigs. In fact, she'll often ask my wife to blow down several of her imaginary houses per hour. This means my wife spends much of her day getting lightheaded and nearly passing out.

"Huff and puff, mom."

Little does my daughter know that her father has started huffing and puffing too.

Now that I have a new job, I've decided to park my car in a lot that is not right near my building. This forces me to get out and walk for a minute before I sit down to my desk.

Being as skinny as I am, I forget how out of shape I am until I have to walk more than 3 feet. I can only imagine how comical I look as I stagger up the last flight of stairs, doubled over and wheezing as if I'd just completed a marathon.

Still, I'm crossing my fingers that someday I'll be able to walk up a hill without feeling like I should have invested in one of those Life Alert necklaces.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Check a Microwave for Leaks ... with your cell phone

I had no idea you could do this, but I think I'm going to try it out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Insight into Asperger's Syndrome

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I have a bunch of nephews and nieces with some form of Asperger's Syndrome or Autism. They are both on the same spectrum, and they are both social disorders. If anyone knows someone with these disorders, you'll probably enjoy this Q&A of a little boy and his mother. This is from Story Corps, which is a group that has placed sound booths in various public places and encouraged people to use them to record anything they want.

Then they put a few into videos and added animation.

Here is the Q&A:

And in case you want to see another one, this one is pretty good too:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stunted Development

I grew up in California, but for about three years, I lived in Utah with my parents. These three years were right during those awkward "tween" years (from ages 11 to 14), and I moved into an area where none of the groups of friends wanted to take a chance on a lurpy kid severely lacking in any athletic ability.

So, I spent a lot of time by myself. This was socially dangerous because it was right during the time when kids help each other move beyond pretending, wearing capes and playing with LEGOs. I didn't get the memo that these things were suddenly not that cool anymore, so I had a grand time being a kid for longer than I should have and was probably a major embarrassment to all my older siblings.

The result?

I could fill an encyclopedia with all my embarrassing/stupid stories from this part of my personal history.

(Let's just say that some of them really do involve a cape.)

In the coming weeks, I'll try to relate some of these stories (similar to my other series, "Cult Chronicles" and "Office Outtakes"). These won't be as funny, but I'll put them all under the title, "Stunted Development."

Monday, August 30, 2010

I need a translator

My daughter usually speaks pretty clearly. Granted she has a few speech impediments that are typical for a 3-year-old:

Negs = Legs

Spwaenet = Bracelet

But in general, she is relatively easily understood.

... until she's on the verge of tears.

This morning, she woke up crying, and when I went into check on her, she said (with crystal clarity): "I want sdfalkmweoinoasd."

Me: "What do you want?"

Her: "I want qoinwoefmzxedn."

Me: "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I don't know what you're saying."

Why is it that tears automatically make kids tongue tied?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Plop Your Hair

I think they need a name change for this method of hairstyling.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing

Have you ever noticed that "Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing" has the same melody line as "Go Tell Aunt Rhody?" (At least it does in the Mormon hymn book)

Every time we sing the former in church, I can't help but think of dead geese.

If you hadn't thought of that before, you're welcome in advance.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010


This video makes me realize how easy I have it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Potty Training

News: My daughter has been completely uninterested in potty training. We finally coaxed her into it by bribery for a good job. Unfortunately this didn't work for "Number 2."

Yesterday, however, I got a call telling me my wife and daughter finally had success.

I'm grateful. I was just about to start looking into the social ramifications of Depends for 18 year olds.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I still feel like I'm floating about an inch off the ground

The last few weeks have been a new level of crazy. Between shutting down my old job responsibilities and training for my new job responsibilities, I've completely neglected everything that wasn't essential.

However, despite all the craziness, I'm still on Cloud 9.

My job is perfect, and I couldn't be happier.

However, after seeing about 8 iPads in two days, I kind of want to bring my Nerf bow and arrows to work tomorrow so I can take shots at all the students who think they are now superior to everyone else, just because they have a flimsy computer that has a retail price tag exceeding the amount anyone would pay for my own life.

I'm all for people getting cool gadgets. It's when they start to believe it entitles them to super-human status that I start to wonder if they should be taken down a peg.

And the Nerf Avenger might be just the guy to do it ...

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Dirt about My Job Change

Ok, so here’s the scoop (it’s pretty boring and lacks my usual sarcasm, so feel free to skip this one).

My current job is great. I had a number of clients, and it was always thrilling to help them be successful. I worked for a public relations agency in Provo. One of the things I always appreciated about the company is the work ethic exemplified by the company’s partners. In other agencies, it seems like the main item on partners’ calendars is their golf schedule. In this company, the partners are the busiest people of anyone getting a paycheck.

I also loved (and I mean LOVED) the people I worked with. Over time, these people became like family and my job slowly seeped its way into becoming part of my identity.

But then my neighbor told me about a job at the local university. He currently works in a department where I used to work as a student employee.

I worked there for three years, and I can truthfully say that I felt like skipping to work every morning. When I graduated, I jokingly told my boss that if she could give me a salary and let me work full time that I would stay, even though I knew that was impossible.

When my neighbor told me about this job, the impossible suddenly became possible … even probable.

There were some definite cons to the job (reduced salary, less vacation time, less flexibility regarding work hours or work location, etc.), but there were also a number of pros (getting my masters for free, working in an amazing environment, doing work I never thought my current education would allow, etc.).

In the end, my wife and I prayed about it, and it felt completely right. The peace of that decision washed away all my anxiety about losing part of the identity I’d cultivated for the last four years. Even now, as I stand on the edge of making the flying leap into a major career change, I feel completely calm.

What will I be doing? Academic advising for students on academic probation.

When is my last day at my current job? August 10.

When do I start my new job? August 11.

While I’m sad about what and who I’ll leave behind, I’m a little giddy about what is ahead. Okay, more than a little giddy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Job

So ... I have a new job. Or at least, I will next week.

I'll have more details in a little bit, but right now I'm running around trying to get all my clients transitioned to other employees.

It's crazy, but the bottom line is, I'm thrilled and couldn't be happier with the shift ... although it will be sad to leave my current job behind.

Until I come up for air, it may be a little sparse on here.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make Sunscreen

Any project that involves putting on a pair of gloves and a face mask is probably not the best idea for me to try out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Senseless to you, but sacred to me

Last week, Holly, who has this amazing ability to balance witty humor with thoughtful insight, saw this article and wrote her thoughts about her own sacred places.

(Shamelessly stealing her description of the article)

The article, which you really should read even though I know you probably won't, is about how we all have these specific sacred places that are related to a life-changing memory.

She shared some of her own personal sacred places, and I was so moved, I thought I would share some of mine.

  1. The huge tree in my backyard when I was young that had a perfectly shaped branch for sitting and thinking up near the top.
  2. My upstairs childhood bedroom where I spent a night on my knees, talking with my Maker.
  3. A little house in Atikokan, Ontario where I struggled to figure out how to get some of the most bitter members of the LDS church I'd ever met to cooperate. This was also the house where I felt like the words of my prayers were not only heard but listened to with perfect attention.
  4. The picnic table where I first told my future wife I loved her.
  5. The hospital room where I saw my baby for the first time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"... Cry Baby ..."

This video had me in stitches, mainly because I sometimes wish I could do this to someone else.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Read this now ... No, seriously. NOW.

Katelin over at Blah Blah Blog posted this, and I was literally compelled to steal it and post it over here.

I haven't laughed this hard in a while. Read through the entire thread, but don't scroll too fast or you'll see the pictures early and ruin the surprise.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.15am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Poster

I opened the screen door yesterday and my cat got out and has been missing since then so I was wondering if you are not to busy you could make a poster for me.

It has to be A4 and I will photocopy it and put it around my suburb this afternoon.

SHANNON: This is the only photo of her I have she answers to the name Missy and is black and white about 8 months old. Missing on Harper Street and my phone number.

Thanks, Shan.

DAVID: Dear Shannon,
That is shocking news. Although I have two clients expecting completed work this afternoon, I will, of course, drop everything and do whatever it takes to facilitate the speedy return of Missy.
Regards, David

SHANNON: yeah ok thanks. I know you don't like cats but I am really worried about mine. I have to leave at 1pm today.

DAVID: Dear Shannon,
I never said I don't like cats. Attached poster as requested.
Regards, David

SHANNON: Yeah that's not what I was looking for at all. it looks like a movie and how come the photo of Missy is so small?

DAVID: Dear Shannon,
It's a design thing. The cat is lost in the negative space.
Regards, David

SHANNON: That's just stupid. Can you do it properly please? I am extremely emotional over this and was up all night in tears. you seem to think it is funny. Can you make the photo bigger please and fix the text and do it in colour please. Thanks

DAVID: Having worked with designers for a few years now, I would have assumed you understood, despite our vague suggestions otherwise, we do not welcome constructive criticism. I don't come downstairs and tell you how to send text messages, log onto Facebook and look out the window. I have amended and attached the poster as per your instructions.
Regards, David

SHANNON: This is worse than the other one. can you make it so it shows the whole photo of Missy and delete the stupid text that says missing missy off it? I just want it to say Lost.

DAVID: Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

SHANNON: yeah can you do the poster or not? I just want a photo and the word lost and the telephone number and when and where she was lost and her name. Not like a movie poster or anything stupid. I have to leave early today. If it was your cat I would help you. Thanks.

DAVID: Subject: Awww
Dear Shannon,
I don't have a cat. I once agreed to look after a friend's cat for a week but then he dropped it off at my apartment and explained the concept of kitty litter. I have attached the amended version of your poster as per your detailed instructions.
Regards, David

SHANNON: Thats not my cat. where did you get that picture from? That cat is orange. I gave you a photo of my cat.

DAVID: I know, but that one is cute. As Missy has quite possibly met any one of several violent ends, it is possible you might get a better cat out of this. If anybody calls and says "I haven't seen you orange cat but I did find a black and white one with its hind legs run over by a car, do you want it?" you can politely decline and save yourself a costly veterinarian bill.
Regards, David

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

SHANNON: I didn't say there was a reward. I don't have $2000 dollars. What did you even put that there for? Apart from that it is perfect can you please remove the reward bit. Thanks Shan.

DAVID: Subject Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

SHANNON: Can you just please take the reward bit off altogether? I have to leave in ten minutes and I still have to make photocopies of it.

DAVID: Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

SHANNON: Fine. That will have to do.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Rebecca has some fat thumbs."

This is a video of the Harvard Sailing Team doing an encore of Boys Will Be Girls. Just like the first one, there are so many lines that crack me up.

Thanks for letting me mooch off you, Mindi.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Juggle Three Balls

I've always wanted to know how to do this. They make it look so easy, and yet when I try, they always go flying in all directions.

P.S. Happy Pioneer Day to all you Utahns!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I think I'm a fan

This is the music video for Brandon Flowers' new single. He's the lead singer of The Killers, and I must admit I may have watched this a few times, trying to get the song stuck in my head.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My 15 Minutes of Fame

I just read about dentists, singing geriatrics, brownies that are hard enough to chip teeth, music from the 50s, clean dishes and dirty laundry on Carrot Jello's blog ... all in one post. It gave me a flashback that I thought I'd share:

Once when I was in middle school, I donated $5 to the local classical station. They were having their donation marathon, and I had it set as the station for my alarm (don't judge).

A few days after I sent in the donation, I woke up to hear them talking about me on the radio, essentially saying that if some 12-year-old boy could donate $5 then surely "you" could find some money to contribute.

And that's how I wasted my 15 minutes of fame.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Sister-in-Law is a Saint

Last night (or more accurately, early this morning), my sister-in-law arrived in Utah with her four kids for a visit while her husband is in training for a new position in the federal government. She is going to spend the week in a condo my parents own.

Because she was traveling without a spouse, I wanted to make sure to be there to help her unload. After she got there, I saw something seemingly insignificant that (to me) shows what an amazing person she is.

To give you a complete picture, she wasn't able to get on the road until 5 p.m. and due to delays, wasn't able to get into Utah until 5 a.m. Two of her kids have social disorders (one has Autism and the other has Asperger's), and then she has a set of twins ... all under the age of 5.

After helping her get all the bags inside, she had one sleeping baby left. I came up the stairs behind her while she cradled her little girl in her arms. When she got to the front doorway, she paused to wipe her feet.

Normally, this wouldn't have made me look twice, but knowing the exhaustion she must feel and and the lack of rest she is going to get today, I was impressed.

She is truly one of the sweetest people I know, and it shows in how considerate she is of using my parents' home away from home.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh yeah? Well, I work in a cubicle and type on a computer.

That is the only thing I'd be able to come back with if I ever met this guy (Diego Stocco). I can't even imagine how cool it would be to have his job.

I guess he is a sound engineer who works on music scores for movies and video games, but he specializes in finding music where people don't traditionally look. He also creates his own instruments.

Most of his videos are kind of wacky, and it's hard to see what he's doing, but these two blew my socks off.

This is him playing one of his manufactured instruments (bassoforte):

This is him playing a tree (Yep, you read correctly. A tree.):

And in case you want another one, here he is playing a Bonsai. The best is when he starts flicking one of the leaves:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Turn Your Jeans Into Earth Friendly Slippers

Don't get me wrong. I love to recycle, but the term "earth friendly" (when attached to jean slippers) made me gag a little.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

... And I got what was coming to me.

Even before Shawn got back into the office, one of my coworkers decided to get me back.

Well played, mystery co-worker. Well played.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm asking for it.

This guy I supervise at work went on vacation all last week. By now, if someone goes on vacation for an extended period of time they know there is a certain risk.

If I'm not swamped, part of my brain automatically starts thinking about what I can do to their desk. For me, teasing is a Pavlovian response.

This guy is amazingly fast at all his projects. Every time I give him something to do, I have learned it will take about 2 hours less than if someone else did it.

That may or may not have influenced what I ended up doing.

It's nothing big, but here is the finished product:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Escape from Killer Bees

By the time I was 11, I had been stung 6 times.

Needless to say, I hate bees.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Is it bad that I identify with this statement?

"I have CDO. It’s like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order … as they should be."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tetris Funnies

Over the weekend, Super Happy Girl posted another of her famous Silly Saturdays.

In the midst of all the hilarity was this Tetris cartoon:

When I pointed it out to my coworkers, one of them showed me this one:

Just thinking about how to get a full row to line up on this makes me cringe.

It's too stressful and I have to avert my eyes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dryer Sheets: The New Toilet Paper

I just read the title of this post again, and it has an entirely different (and somewhat disgusting) connotation than what I intended. For the sake of freaking out my minuscule readership, however, I'm going to leave it as is. You're welcome.)
(End Tangent)

It is now 11 a.m.

I've been sitting at my desk for several hours, and I just looked down to find one of these laying on the floor by my left foot.

Realizing I've been walking around with one of these shoved up my pant leg all morning is similar to finding out I have a strip of toilet paper stuck to my shoe or a giant piece of lettuce in my teeth.

Klassy with a K.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Clean Crayon out of a Dryer

Honestly, this has never happened to me, and I hope it never does.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Like Nails on a Chalkboard

I'm not a mean guy. I may be a little on the spastic side, but I like to think I don't get terribly angry all the time.

However, there is a short list of songs that have amazing powers. Hearing a few bars of them causes such a violent reaction in me, that I have to restrain myself from punching a hole in the wall (or breaking my fist while attempting to do so).

There used to be two, but recently, a third has made it to the list:

  1. "Fly" by Sugar Ray
  2. "Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney
  3. ***New Addition*** "Ridin' Solo" by Jason Derule
I know many may disagree with me, but these are so epically bad, that I have to leave the room when they are on, or I risk getting a second view of my lunch.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Correction to previous post about my coolness factor

Soon after writing the post yesterday, I opened my email to find a plethora (thanks for teaching me that word, Three Amigos) of emails notifying me of comments on my blog.

My heart got all warm and I may or may not have gotten something in my eye. Allegedly.

All of these comments were from persistent spammers who desperately wanted to gain visibility on my blog.

I had to take a step back from my pity party and realize just how popular I truly am ... with spam bots.

Needless to say, it was a huge relief. No matter how bad I fail at anything, spammers will always be there trying to get me to advertise their bargain Viagra on my blog or sending me uplifting messages about how I can become a millionaire if I help some obscure Nigerian royalty transfer his money to the states.

In an effort to see if I can cut down on the number of spam comments I get filling my inbox, I'm going to see what happens when I turn off comments. For the three of you that like to comment, this may be mildly annoying, but rest assured, it will come back up. And with my luck, this will most likely also cause the spammers to come at me with renewed vigor.
(End Tangent)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm not as cool as I thought I was.

In the LDS church, women have this thing called Enrichment. It's a meeting they go to during the week to learn different skills (canning, quilting, making a lampshade out of Popsicle sticks and mosquito netting, etc.).

Not to be outdone, a guy in our local congregation came up with the ingenious idea of having the same kind of meeting for the men, but instead, we would learn how to shoot guns and eat tree bark. He dubbed it Menrichment. Get it? With an M?

Because there are a bunch of new couples moving into our area, we thought the next one should be more of a "Couple's Retreat" with a get-to-know-you activity. So, we got all set up to play the "Not-So-Newly-Wed Game." We thought this would be a fun, low-key way to get everyone together and have a little fun while embarrassing a few of the couples who have to answer questions like:

In one word, describe your first kiss.

(My wife and I agree on this one, by the way: Awkward.)

The fateful night came, and after waiting for 45 minutes, here is the list of attendees:

My daughter
The guy who planned it
The other guy who helped plan it
The other guy's wife
The other guy's 2-year-old boy

Since the kids don't really count for the game or getting to know the other adults, we essentially had one genuine couple for our "Couple's Retreat" and two guys going stag.

Let's just say I've had to take a hard look at my perceived popularity. After a significant blow to my ego, I've realized that true stardom still eludes me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Cope when Your Favorite TV Show Ends


I've never been so involved in a show that I've needed a step-by-step process for getting over my depression about a TV show ending. I guess there is still time for that, but wow. I'm floored.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What happens when you don't have a DVR

We're probably one of the only families left in the state of Utah without a DVR. Since we only get the 5-ish free channels through an antenna, it is hard to justify the expense.

I vividly remember having to sit through the agonizingly long commercials when I was younger. Not only were they longer than the show I was trying to watch, the same advertisers reserved a slot at each commercial break. The monotony made me wonder if they were actually driving customers away.

With the advent of DVRs, I'm curious if we are raising an entire generation that is completely unfamiliar with the pain of having to sit through the commercial breaks.

Well, my daughter is definitely not one of them. She has to sit through commercials, and she hates them just as much as I did. She has even learned to say the word "commercial" and associates it with anything boring or distasteful.

The other day, she was looking for a book to "read" to my wife. Pulling books at random off the shelf, she happened to grab a chapter book without any pictures. Immediately, she looked at it with disgust and tossing it aside, muttered, "Commercial."

It will only be a matter of time before she starts calling her father the same thing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I LOVE the video of this commercial from Lowe's. I've probably seen it about 30 times now, and I'm still laughing.

However, it hits a little too close to home. As my loyal readers may know, I don't do home improvement very well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If I'm not back in 5 minutes, call the cops.

I have a cough.

I’ve had it for 5 days.

There is no end in sight.

I’m almost desperate enough to take drastic measures like sticking a vacuum hose in my mouth to try to suck out the ... flegm … (flegm? flem? phlegm?) … mucus.

It sounds like a shotgun is going off in my cubicle every time the tickle in my throat gets unbearable.

I brought some cookies to work as a peace offering on Monday, but I have a feeling my coworkers are currently plotting my demise. I’m sure it involves a strobe light, water torture and seasons 1 through 3 of Barney and Friends.

Help me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make a Cardboard Rubber Band Gun

When I was little, my brother had one of these made out of wood and clothespins. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever for a 6-year-old boy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I wouldn't have the patience

Every time I see a video by OK Go, I think about how much time it must have taken to put it together.

I would never be able to stick to it that long, and this one is no exception.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Recorder vs. Tonette

After an informal poll at work, I discovered yet another pathetic anecdote about my childhood. If you are like the 100% of my coworkers, you probably played the Recorder at some point during elementary school.

But not me. Oh, no. Evidently, I lacked the emotional fortitude to handle such a complex instrument.

My school had the Tonette instead. It is a piece-of-junk plastic whistle with a few holes to change the notes. Basically, it is a glorified Kazoo.

To give you a better idea of how cheap this thing is, it has a bell shaped piece on the bottom, but it is just for show. Plus, about 95% of the kids in my class found their bells would fall off repeatedly. My mom had to wrap a few layers of tape over the end to hold it on.

So, my question is: Am I the only one who had the metaphorical "Pinto" of childhood musical instruments?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why I can't ever give blood.

Yesterday was World Blood Donor Day. While I'm not a huge fan of needles, I've given my fair share of blood in the past, and it makes me feel good to know I can help out. That, and I will do pretty much anything for a free cookie, even if it means making holes in me and draining my fluids.

I'm even an organ donor too.

But my blood-donating euphoria was short lived. I was in Canada during 9/11, and I wanted to give blood to help with the increased need in New York. A few weeks after I donated, I received a letter in the mail telling me to call an 800 number. It said my blood had been tested twice and received both a positive and an indeterminate result for some random acronym. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: Hi, I received a letter in the mail telling me to call this number. I guess my blood tested both positive and indeterminate for something.

Red Cross Lady: Okay, did it give you a name in the results?

Me: Yes, it was HTLV 2. I've never heard of it. Do you know what it is?

Red Cross Lady: (Suddenly sounding much more nervous and stressed than before) Oh, sir? Let me first tell you that because one of the tests was indeterminate, that means you don't have the disease. If you did, it would have tested positive both times.

Me: (Trying not to imagine all the possible mutating diseases that HTLV 2 could be) Okay ...

Red Cross Lady: I just want to make sure you know that you don't have it.

Me: Okay, but what is it?

Red Cross Lady: Well, it's like the Asian form of AIDS. It basically turns into leukemia. In North America, it has mostly shown up in port cities and has spread through the drug using population.

Me: (Feeling a little lightheaded) Oh, okay. So I don’t need to worry about it?

Red Cross Lady: No, you are just fine. If you want, you can go have your blood rechecked, but the results will be negative. Plus, it’s pretty aggressive, so if you did have it, there would be other symptoms. And if you don’t have the risk factors, then you’re definitely safe. Do you share needles?

Me: No.

Red Cross Lady: Are you sexually active?

Me: No.

Red Cross Lady: (Sounding much more upbeat) See? You have nothing to worry about. Our testing is so sensitive that we often get false positives. It could be anything, including the start of a cold that will red flag the test. The only downside is that you are now banned from giving blood to the Canadian Red Cross in.

When I got back to the United States, I tried to give blood again. It worked once, and then the second time I got a letter telling me I had a false positive for HTLV 2. I am now banned from giving blood in both the United States and Canada for a disease I don’t have.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Enjoy a Museum

I'm still waiting for the how-to article about enjoying a museum with a 2 year old in tow.

I have a feeling I'll be waiting for a long time.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do you sneeze when you walk outside?

I’m curious.

How many of you sneeze when you walk outside into the sun?

For me, it is pretty much guaranteed. In fact, some ancient prophetic text buried somewhere in Egypt probably says that if I don’t, it’s an omen that the world is about to end.

However, I didn’t know that only about 1 in every 4 people “sun sneeze.”

So, for those who want to take an informal poll, feel free to leave a comment about whether or not you can join me in the sun sneezer’s club.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why I will never be drafted into the NBA.

Due to my 6'3" lurpy frame, there is one question I get on an almost daily basis.

"Do you play basketball?"

This question usually comes from people who don't know me, so they don't know how laughable it is.

I may have the height going for me, but I'm the guy on the team who regularly dribbles the ball with his face and completely misses the backboard when shooting from the free throw line.

When I was younger and we'd divide into teams, I could almost always count on being the last one picked, like those kids with bad acne, halitosis and a dandruff problem at school dances who are left watching all the coats and purses.

However, this didn't bother me because I'd already been exposed to the awful truth during my years in little league basketball.

My mom came to every game and filmed each one in their entirety. If I dug out the tapes, you would see hours of footage with all the action on one side of the court and me watching it from the other.

It looks pretty pathetic, but in my head, I had a brilliant plan. I knew that if I stayed in position across the court, as soon as the ball turned over, I would be in a prime position. On our end of the court, my teammates could pass me the ball and let me get an easy shot before everyone made it to my side. On their side, I would be in the right spot to prevent them from breaking away and getting an easy basket.

What was the one fatal flaw in this devious strategy? I neglected to mention it to any of my teammates or the coach.

As a result, they pretty much played an entire game with only 4 active players.

Monday, June 7, 2010

She-Ra: Princess of Power

Recently, I introduced my daughter to the glories of 80s TV shows, with a heavy focus on My Little Pony and She-Ra.

(Do I know my audience, or what?)

We tried a little He-Man and BraveStarr, but those bombed out pretty quickly.

Thanks to Hulu, you can watch a number of the old She-Ra episodes online.

If you ever want a fun game to do on a mindless afternoon, get a She-Ra episode on and start counting the puns. If you don't get into the 30s or higher, you probably weren't paying attention.
(End Tangent)

On Sunday, my wife realized that all the She-Ra watching was probably altering our kid's brain.

After church, I was in meetings while my wife and daughter drove home. My daughter was looking at a picture of the Book of Mormon she colored in Nursery, and suddenly belted out (in her best She-Ra voice):

"THE POWER ... OF ... GOD!"

With the potency of my daughter's imagination, I'd bet money she fully expected a Pegasus with rainbow wings to appear beside her in the back seat.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Cope with Sleep Paralysis

I had no idea this even existed. What a horrible thing to be tied to sleeping. I love sleep, so this would be awful.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I want one.

I know a bunch of people have already posted this video, but I had to add it to my blog, just so I can watch it over and over and over and over ...

I'm one of those guys who doesn't mind minivans. I know there is a huge love affair with SUVs in this country, but I think minivans are perfectly wonderful without cheap thrills of maintaining the status of being the "cool" family vehicle.

I think Toyota was brilliant in this music video, though.

I'm still laughing at it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My living, breathing throw pillow

I've mentioned my cat before. My wife loves him unconditionally.

I don't love his shedding. When we first got him, I had this doe-eyed view of what it would be like. I got his bed all ready (made out of a cardboard box and a blanket), and I thought everything was set. Each night, I woke up repeatedly to find him smashed up against my leg. He was like those radiation blankets you have to wear when getting x-rays. I felt plastered to my mattress. Each night, I doggedly worked to kick him off the bed.


In the end, I realized I was on the losing end of the war, since I needed to get some sleep.

Last night, I was reading a book before falling asleep, and he wedged himself particularly deep in my armpit. Everything was fine until he started rubbing his head and neck along the book cover.

I couldn't help laughing as I watched him trying to get to second base with the binding.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Music Merit Badge Fiasco

For those who actually read about my Eagle Project Disaster, this is a story about my music merit badge experience that probably should have clued me into the emotional root canal that would be the rest of my Scouting experience.

First, for someone who isn't brimming with love for the outdoors, the traditional merit badges can be difficult. Don't get me wrong, I love me some camping. I just don't want to spend 15 hours hiking into some remote backwoods location where no one can hear you scream.

I'm all about convenience camping. As a result, some of the bark-eating, latrine-digging, bear-proofing requirements in Scouts didn't exactly make me jump for joy.

It was during a particularly low point, that I thought I would take a break and do an "easy" merit badge ... one that dealt with a topic in which I was actually interested. I thought it might reignite a fire under me (unlike my futile efforts with flint and steel).

I love music. Good music. Music that makes me think about deep stuff. Music that makes me happy.
(End Tangent)

So, I found the Music merit badge, and thought it was a sign that even nerdy, awkward boys like me have a place in the Scouting program.

Because I had recently moved, I had no friends, so I threw all my attention at this stupid merit badge. It was like one of those guys who love wearing Hawaiian shirts. If left unchecked, the infection can spread until his entire house resembles the Tiki Room at Disneyland.

So, I went overboard.

Exhibit A: One of the requirements was to make up an 8-measure melody line. Now, 8 measures isn't that long. I decided to write a song to play on the piano with both hands, not just a melody line. In the end it was somewhere around 65 measures, and I was pretty proud.

After finishing all the other requirements, I made an appointment and went to the merit badge counselor's house. He asked me to play my song, and I confidently swaggered up to the piano. When I finished, I turned around with a big grin on my face, expecting him to be wiping a tear out of his eye, telling me I was the son he never had and offering to put gold plating on the merit badge patch once I received it. Instead, this is what I got:

"Oh Nathan ... (as he slowly shook his head) ... You can do better than that."

I was devastated. On top of that, he decided to give me homework (beyond the requirements in the book) and had me take a bunch of his classical CDs home to memorize the names of the songs from various composers for a quiz he would administer during our next appointment.

So much for rekindling my love (translate: marginal acceptance) of Scouting. It looks like I'm about as good with potentially interesting merit badges as I am with flint and steel.

(In case you're wondering, I did get the merit badge in the end.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

New song

Carrot Jello cracks me up. Her post about her out-of-state laugh (I would normally link to it, but it is untitled with no hyperlink available) had me in stitches, but it also introduced me to a great song I'd never heard before.

Since then, I've been playing it for pretty much everyone who will let me.

... And now, that includes you.

You're welcome.

Video of VV Brown's Leave.