Saturday, January 30, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make Elephant Toothpaste

I've never heard of Elephant Toothpaste before, but I guess it's a science experiment.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Best Scene in Fried Green Tomatoes

A friend of mine reminded me about this scene in Fried Green Tomatoes.

I think we have all weighed the costs versus benefits of doing something like this in our own grocery store parking lot.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A moment of bliss (which swiftly ended)

This morning, I nearly cried like a little kid who just got a pony or one of those motorized power wheels (I still wish my parents would have bought me one of those).

I was getting my stuff together for work, when my daughter quietly padded up to me and with head bowed, whispered, "Daddy? I go to store ... with you?"

I gently told her that I wasn't going to the store but that I was going to work, thinking that would be the end of it.

Her quick reply was, "Daddy? I go to work ... with you?"

Hold on a minute ... I have something in my eye ...
(End Tangent)

So I replied, "Oh, I'd love to take you with me to work, but I can't."

Then I tried to change the subject by telling her we needed to go change her diaper.

That's when the moment of bliss hit the metaphorical brick wall.

After that, it was all screams and complaints to go see Mommy and escape from the guy who would dare clean her bottom.

This post will be for when she is older, and I can remind her that at one point, she actually wanted to spend time with me.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Before I say anything else, let me first say that I love my daughter.

However, I'm NOT a fan of her fascination with her nose.

She picks it all the time. I know it is normal for kids to dig for gold, but it's constant.

Yesterday, I got a frantic call from my wife telling me that I needed to get home immediately. She said our daughter had shoved something up her nose and we might have to take her to the doctor to get it out.

When I got there, I tried to grab it with some tweezers and was able to yank it out (saving me a doctor bill that would have added a few exclamation points to the title of this post).

It turns out it was just a small piece of something we got for her at the dollar store.

And this wasn't the first time. When she was younger, she managed to lodge a pea up there.

As much as I hate to admit it, I don't think this will be the last. Only a few hours after the latest fiasco, I looked over at her to see her trying to get a Cheerio up there.

As frustrated as I get, I have to remember that she probably just takes after me, her father, who managed to do this three different times.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Use "i.e." Versus "e.g."

I never knew when to use which one until now.

Thanks, WikiHow!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Drunk on Almond Extract

When I was little, my friend and I loved to make "potions." We would get a big pot and fill it with a little water. Then, we'd add random food items from the kitchen: chunks of bread, seasonings, chips, ketchup, salad dressing, etc.

Throughout the whole process we would stir it, pretending we were creating something totally mystical and amazing.

In truth, it always just ended up as cold, inedible soup.

One day, we decided to make a potion we would actually want to drink at the end. We added sugar and food coloring, and I'm betting we even added a Kool-Aid packet.

Then we struck gold.

We found all these random extracts: mint, almond, lemon, etc.

We didn't bother with the vanilla extract, but we loaded the potion up with everything else. And it wasn't just a drop or two. We poured everything in.

Once the magical properties had enough time to gain maximum potency, we got two glasses and took a big gulp.

Honestly, it wasn't that bad. My friend and I drank the rest of our glasses, daydreaming about the super powers we would develop.

Then, I noticed the back of the extract bottles. Each one had a 50 percent or more alcohol content.

I'm from a family that doesn't drink alcohol, so this came as a huge shock.
(End Tangent)

Once my friend saw the bottles, we almost immediately started to feel a little tipsy. We started laughing and staggering around the kitchen, surprised at how much it was affecting us.

Looking back, I have to laugh because the amount we put in compared to the amount of water and other ingredients would never have been enough to cause our reaction.

Unless we really did make a magic potion after all ...

I guess I'm going to have to try to remember the recipe.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I'll never graduate from the bunny slopes ...

I grew up in a place where "snow" was what the TV did when it didn't have any reception.

Outside, we were lucky if it even rained.

However, for a few fateful years (between 11 years old and 14 years old), my parents and I lived in Utah. In an effort to help me forget that I didn't have any friends, my mom signed me up for skiing lessons.

I moved into a neighborhood where everyone had divided into cliques when they were still in diapers.

As a result, it was a little hard to find a place.


And it probably didn't help that I hadn't grown up yet and still liked wearing capes and playing with Legos. (Don't judge.)
(End Tangent)

So ... skiing.

The adventure of trying to stay standing while also trying to keep my skis from crossing would probably be a good post all by itself.

Let me summarize by saying that the instructor probably wanted to put me in his "skiing toddlers" class.

When we finally got to the point where we wouldn't pose a significant danger to ourselves or others, it was time to conquer the ski lift.

While waiting in line, I started to lose my nerve as I saw those chairs whip around before smacking into people to carry them to the top of the mountain.

They looked awfully fast.

When it was my turn, I tried to do my best not to look like I was about to wet my pants and prepared to get a permanent dent in my calves from the chair.

However, I had nothing to worry about. I felt like a pro as I plopped down on the bench and felt ready to tackle the giant mountain ahead of me ...

... until my poles suddenly shot out of my hands.

No one told me I should take the straps off my wrists and hold the poles away from the ground. There was a little lip of snow right after we got on, and before I knew it, my poles were lying in the snow about 20 feet behind me.

Immediately I wondered how I would be able to get off the chair without them.

Fortunately, I managed to get off without dying, and a nice skier behind me brought up my poles from below.

That is why I'm sticking to the bunny slopes from now on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cheapety Cheapskate Cheaperson

My wife and I are cheap. We love scouring for a sale and have serious anxiety about spending money.

I guess the politically correct term is "frugal," but since I always have a habit of sticking my foot in my mouth, we're going to call it like it is. Cheap.

My wife once confessed that she loves coming home from the grocery store with a receipt full of 99 cent purchases.

I didn't tell her, but it makes me a little giddy too.
(End Tangent)

When we were about to get married, my wife and I had to buy a bed. Rather than go to a store or even one of those mattress warehouses like normal people, we found an ad for a guy selling beds at a super reduced rate. He was in school and as a side job, bought mattresses at wholesale and sold them out of a rented storage unit.

When we got there to select our new bed, we (of course) chose the cheapest option. Compared to all the plushy pillow top mattresses next to it, our new mattress looked like a couple pieces of cardboard sewn together.

We still feel good about our purchase because it lasted about 5 years, but we've reached the beginning of the end. I don't know if it's the box spring or the mattress, but if I have to shift my arm or even my pinky toe during the night, the creaking sounds like a logger is sawing down a Redwood in our bedroom.

The upside? Now it's harder to hear the trains that blast their horns a few blocks away at 3 a.m.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gag Reflex

My daughter's nose finally stopped running on Sunday. It's been a leaky faucet since the holidays.

But, I guess we were only getting a temporary vacation from it. Yesterday, she started coughing and now we have a special encore of the runny nose.

While I'm completely disgusted watching my daughter continually eat her own mucus (insert MAJOR gag reflex here), I feel even worse for my wife who has to deal with it all day and is also quarantined in the house.

Tonight, I'm kicking her out of the house so she can have some much needed alone time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Without a Clue

My sister has never seen Without a Clue. When I found out, the sun dimmed, chocolate started tasting like crushed up aspirin and I'm pretty sure that somewhere, a little puppy died.

Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it's a fun movie to watch.

Now I just have to get my sister to come over so we can fix this horrific oversight.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My (secret) super powers

At the risk of divulging government secrets or causing national panic, I'm coming clean.

They have since disappeared, but I guess I had some pretty cool super powers when I was little. At least that's what I confessed to my mom one day.

My mom was innocently sitting in her office (probably sewing yet another hole I made in one of my shirts), when I came barging in, brimming with enthusiasm.

"Mom!" I said. "I have to tell you something."

My mom, who never knew what was going to come out of her youngest child's mouth, politely replied, "Oh really? What is it?"

In my most somber tones, I said, "I really think I have the eyes of a hawk and the speed of a puma."

Now, for those of you who never saw Bravestarr, the previous statement is probably baffling to you (as it was to my mother).

It was some TV show in which the hero could call on specific powers when needed (eyes of a hawk, speed of a puma, strength of a bear and ears of a wolf).

I honestly don't remember this show and have no memory of ever watching it.

However, in an effort to claim my lost childhood, I sat down one morning with my daughter and found a couple episodes on YouTube.

Now I know why I only remembered his super powers and forgot the rest of the show. It was awful!

The tragic end of this story came when my daughter didn't want me to turn it off.

There's a lesson in here somewhere about apples and trees and how one doesn't fall far from the other, but I'm drawing an intentional blank.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mission Impossible: Movie Theater Edition

Alternate title for this post: My secret life as a food smuggler.

While I was in college, my coworkers and I decided to go to a movie. However, because "ordinary" or "sane" don't exist in my vocabulary, we decided to make the outing a contest as well.

We thought we'd see who could smuggle the most creative food item into the theater to share with the group. And since "harebrained" is my middle name, I decided to go BIG.

We all arrived at the theater and sat in a long row, each of us waiting for the lights to dim so we could break out our contraband.

My wife and I pooled our resources (including her big purse), and left with the title of smuggling champions.

She had a few things in her purse, and I practically had a bulletproof vest with all the plastic bags of stuff I had lining my coat.

So, what did we bring?

12 cups
2 bottles of water
2 flavor packets (to turn the water into juice)
12 paper plates
12 napkins
12 forks
1 chocolate pie

Illegal pie in a movie theater is probably one of the best desserts I've ever had.

Update: Frozen Memories

It's currently 57 degrees inside our office.

It's only 7 degrees outside, so I guess I should count my blessings.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Frozen Memories

For those of you who don't know, I spent two years in central Canada. Growing up where snow was something we only saw on TV, it was a bit of a shock to the system.

I had no concept of what -40 degrees felt like, and now I hope to never feel that cold again.

All of these memories have dimmed somewhat in the balmy winters of Utah (sarcasm intended) ... until the heater went out at work today.

It is now 65 degrees according to our thermostat, and I keep trying to guess when my fingers will freeze enough that I'll no longer be able to type.

Still, it is nothing compared to a Canadian winter, so it's a little bit of a relief that this office cold snap has dragged all those memories back to the surface.

So, here's what I learned in Canada:
  • I have a survival instinct: Until that first bonechilling winter, I never had to test my fight or flight response. The first time I walked outside in that freezing weather, every cell in my body screamed for me to run back inside.
  • After -20, it's all just COLD: Up until around -20 degrees, I could feel a difference in the temperature. After that, it became a blur. I wonder if that is the point where the part of the brain with the will to live freezes over.
  • Winter gives you a temporary nose job: I wish I had a camera pointed at me the first time I sniffed during the winter. All that cold air stuck my nostrels together, and it took a minute for them to pop back out.
There are plenty more, but my hands are starting to ache and I'm going to have to go look up frostbite on WebMD.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make Cool Weather Minimalist Running Shoes

I had no idea minimalist running was a real term. I guess that's a direct result of how little I like to exercise.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nervous Tick

This is a story about my brother-in-law (we'll call him Bruce).

Bruce is an identical triplet and has always been amazingly cool. He and his brothers had to have the sturdiest cribs available because they would stand up in them and throw their body weight around, using them as makeshift bumper cars.
(End Tangent)

When Bruce was little, his parents noticed that every once in a while, he would rapidly jerk his head from side to side. Usually, it was when he watched TV.

They were understandably concerned and took him to a specialist to find out what was wrong. When none of the tests identified anything, they took him to another specialist. He went through several doctors who were all baffled at what could be the problem.

Finally, one doctor sat down next to Bruce and asked, "Bruce? Why to you jerk your head back and forth?"

Bruce said, "Oh, that? I like the way my hair feels when it brushes against my forehead."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Scientific Comparison

I have a hyperactive eye for detail. Don't ask me how, but I notice if my toothbrush has been moved even a fraction of an inch.

(Incidentally, I promptly throw it away because this means my daughter found it again and used it to brush our cat.)


Aside from being specially attuned to my tools for oral hygiene, this unhealthy attention to detail shows up in other ways.

You may remember my now famous comparison of a certain Muppet and a Hollywood celebrity.

You aren't? Well then, click on the link and prepare to be amazed.

I also have another comparison for you, but it's only funny if you've seen Zoolander.

Have you ever noticed that some actors have a specific default facial expression when their on screen?

No? Just me?

Allow me to illustrate.

Michael Vartan's face for 90 percent of Alias:

Elijah Wood's face for 96 percent of The Lord of the Rings:

Whenever I see these kind of faces (which usually mirror some form of constipation) I nickname them Blue Steel (the name for Ben Stiller's signature look in Zoolander).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mother's Day

This is a true story about one of my dad's brothers and his mom:

The scene is Mother's Day. My grandma was standing at the sink, washing the dishes from dinner.

My uncle was still a kid then and saw her quietly working in her apron. He walked up behind her and gently untied her apron, saying "Mom, if there is one day a year that you shouldn't have to do the dishes, it's Mother's Day."

Then, he turned her around and lovingly pulled the apron up over her head.

Then he said, "They will be here tomorrow."

(Thankfully, she knew he was kidding. My dad and all his brothers love to tease.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Consequences of the Flu

Growing up, I got sick just about every Christmas holiday break.

Many times, I was curled up with a vomit pan while the rest of the family opened gifts.

And since my family usually converged in one house from all over the planet, my flu would be the gift that kept on giving ... to pretty much everyone else in the family.

(You're welcome for that visual.)

However, I've evidently built up a ton of antibodies because I don't get really sick like that very much anymore.

That is until this year. I got hit bad with something that took me out all last week.

I'm still recovering, which means I'm winded just walking into work from the parking lot.

Now I know for a fact how the flu saps my desire to get on the computer and type something up for the blog.

In fact, since I'm still in space cadet land, I'm not even proofreading this post before I hit "Publish" so, for all I know, I just spent the last five minutes talking about flying cows and psychedelic corn stalks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make Peanut Butter from Scratch

In theory, this is a cool idea (if my laziness doesn't get in the way).

The only downside is that my wife doesn't like peanut butter. She can't even stand the smell, so making this and storing it in the fridge may not go over too well.