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.)