Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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, here, here or here.

So, what does a boy do when he's bored out of his mind and completely friendless?

That's when he turns to his nephews and nieces. Fortunately, I had a gaggle of them living about an hour away, and their mother was willing to bring them up for visits. When I knew they were coming, all my creative juices would spring into action. While there were many more examples of crazy hyperactivity on my part, here are the highlights:
  1. Creating a "haunted house" in our basement, complete with spinning flashlights, rooms strung with toilet paper and "eyeballs" and "brains" lurking in the double sinks of one of the bathrooms.
  2. Hosting a bike parade on July 4, complete with streamers and flags to decorate the bikes.
  3. Organizing a drive-in movie. This was the most cumbersome, because I had to collect boxes they could decorate and use as cars. We had duct tape parking stalls, an admissions booth with a ticket collector, play money and a snack bar.
I think they had fun, but I'm mostly impressed with my mother who let me routinely tear apart the house for each of these ... productions.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Living in a Dictatorship

Sometimes I wonder who is really in charge in my house. I like to think that my wife and I are the ones making the decisions, but every once in a while, I start to second guess myself.

My daughter has started asking us our opinions:

"Mommy, Daddy? What's your favorite color?"
"Mommy, Daddy? Which crayon do you want?"
"Mommy, Daddy? Should I wear my pink shoes or my brown shoes?"
"Mommy, Daddy? Should I watch Dora or Sleeping Beauty?"

While I'm indifferent to these questions (except for the last one, which I will always emphatically resist Dora), no matter what answer I give, the response is always the same:

"No, you like yellow."
"No, you want the green one."
"No, I should wear the brown ones."
"No, I should watch Dora." (cringe)

In a small way, it's kind of cute to watch her exert complete control over her little tiny world.

Of course, it also makes me worried we're raising the next political dictator.

Friday, March 25, 2011

In my (not so) new job ...

First, I have to tell you how much I love my new job. Not to rub it in anyone's face, but it is astonishingly fulfilling.

As an advisor at the local university, waiting for an appointment to arrive is a little like waiting for a blind date.

I feel like I'm sitting at a table with a red rose nestled in a copy of "Pride and Prejudice" or waiting at a park bench with a yellow ribbon in my hair.

Aren't you proud of the subtle reference to "You've Got Mail" I just made? I'm hoping this establishes me as a sensitively masculine guy rather than a pansy.
(End Tangent)

When the student doesn't show up, I can't help but feel just a little bit rejected.

Still, my total number of "kept" appointments currently outnumbers my number of "no-show" appointments, so I don't feel like a complete and utter waste of space.

... yet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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, here or here.

I don't know of a single kid who doesn't love a good cape. Strapping on a cape makes a kid feel invincible, even if the rest of him is dressed in footsie pajamas.

Well, I don't want to spawn a rash of jealousy, but I had the BEST CAPE EVER when I was little. It was made of some kind of satin material, so it billowed perfectly in the wind. It was wide enough, that I could stretch it out to both sides with plenty of room for it to swirl and swish. And, it was luxuriously long.

I still have nostalgic memories of strapping that thing on and running around the backyard. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear I flew a couple times.

The only problem?

I brought it with me to Utah.

As a result, it became my security blanket when I had no one to play with. I'd spend hours in the back yard, whooshing and twirling, fighting imaginary bad guys ... and I was 11 years old.

Years later, as I type it out, it stings just a little.

Part of me wishes someone had exercised a little tough love and ripped it off my neck. And yet, another part of me is glad they let me have my imagination for as long as I did.

But I still cringe when I think how many adults must have seen me glide and pirouette like a moron.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My New Best Friend

I have a new best friend.

I call him Floyd, and he seems to go everywhere with me.

As cool as he is, when we walk into a room together, no one seems to notice me anymore because they're too busy staring at him.

I discovered Floyd a couple nights ago when my lower lip started to feel tender on the left side.

Now Floyd has blossomed into one of the biggest zits I've had in a long time.

I don't know how long he'll be with me, but he is going to be unforgettable.

You would think that now that I'm 30, the Floyd's of the world would leave me in peace.

Evidently not.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Wide Range of Emotions

A friend at work showed this video to me. This kid goes through the full range of emotions in a matter of seconds, not unlike my daughter, the little drama queen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Garth and Kat - IRL

Have you seen Garth and Kat on Saturday Night Live?

I love watching Kristen Wiig try to guess what Fred Armisen is about to say.

Well ...

Last week I had an "In Real Life" Garth and Kat moment. I was driving with my daugher, singing every song I could think of with her, when she said she wanted to sing a song about the horse in the ocean.

Um ... ???

I told her I didn't know that one, so she said she would sing it for me. She proceeded to belt out a song about a horse falling into the ocean with a whole lot of other randomness thrown in.

Then she said, "Now it's your turn to sing it with me, daddy."

And off we went, my daughter doing her best Garth impression with me tripping all over myself trying to keep up.

As near as I can remember, here is how it went:

There was a hoooorrrrsssseee
Who fell in the ooooccceannnnn
He fell down and doooooowwwwnnnnnn
Into the oooooccceeeeeaaaannnn
It was daaarrrrrrrrkkkkkk
And we tried to find hhhhiiiiiiimmmmm
The horse was in the ooooocccceeeeeaaannnnnn
And when we found hhhhhhiiiiimmmm
We said we would keep him sssssaaaaaaffffffeeeee

I'm copyrighting these lyrics, so don't even think of trying to get it on the radio. I'm betting this will top the Billboard charts sometime next year.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Encore to Turning 30

You may ask, "Nathan, what is the perfect gift for someone turning 30?"

Well, I can't answer that.

Instead, I can tell you what I got.

For the purposes of scientific analysis, I will divide the gifts into groups.

Good: Lots of chocolate, slacks and a dress shirt

Mildly Inappropriate (but still hilarious): Prunes and Depends for Women (because I get "ma'am-ed" all the time)

The last ones were given to me by my neighbors. He gave me the prunes and she gave me the Depends. She used to be my boss when I was a student, and I have to admit that I gave her the same package of Depends when she turned 40.

So, if anyone invites me to a white elephant gift exchange in the near future, you'll probably be able to guess what's lurking in the shiny, wrapped box under my arm.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I am now 30.

... and it doesn't feel any different than 29.

Except I keep feeling the need to run around quoting Pinocchio.

"I'm a real boy!"

It feels like 30 is the official gateway into adulthood, and normally, I would get excited and think that now people will finally take me seriously.

But I don't think that will ever be possible.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


A couple weeks ago, we took our daughter to Disneyland.

We scheduled out day at Disneyland on the Friday before President's Day, and that just happened to be the one weekend of the year in Southern California when it decided to rain almost the entire time.

The next time you take a vacation, ask which weekend I would choose and then DON'T go that weekend.

I have an uncanny ability to summon bad weather whenever I want to do something outdoors.

But hey, at least I can add "controlling the weather" to my list of possible super powers.
(End Tangent)

Despite the rain, it was absolutely magical (and I'm not just being cheesy in the hopes that Disneyland will read this and cough up a couple free passes for next year).

I could go on and on all day, but I only have time for one comment about the Disney princesses.

A miracle occurred that day, and I don't think any of them were aware of the profound experience they got to witness.

On that day, the 18th day of February in the year 2011, the sight of Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel left my daughter speechless.

Just let that sink in for a moment. The daughter (who takes after me in the chatty department) was speechless.

Disneyland really is the place "Where Dreams Come True."

There is also something special about a location where my daughter insists we all dance to the music down Main Street.

It was a perfect day, and it was wonderful to watch a little girl discover such a magical place for the first time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Temple Grandin

I just saw the movie Temple Grandin.

For anyone familiar with Autism or Aspergers, it is a must see.

It is a true story, and it was amazing to see how much she overcame, both in dealing with Autism and in leaving her mark on the cattle industry.

And for all those people convinced that Claire Danes is a bad actress, all I have to do is point at this movie. She was amazing and captured Temple Grandin perfectly.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Request

There is a friend of mine who is pregnant and currently on bedrest. She can't get up to do more than take a quick shower, and as a result, she is EXTREMELY bored.

... so much so that she has burrowed through my entire blog history and read every post.

Can you believe the dedication that takes? I can't even fathom how painful it must be to overdose on the ramblings of Nathan's mind.

The fact that she is still coherent probably means she has an industrial strength brain and should be studied by neuroscientists.

Obviously, she is testing her mental limits because she just sent me an email requesting more posts.

So, Jessie, because you asked and because it breaks my heart to think that you are bored enough to WANT to read this drivel, I'm going to make a greater attempt to increase my blogging regularity.

Think of your email as my blog Metamucil (despite the horrible mental image that phrase just conjured for me).