Thursday, June 27, 2013

Utah Names

I saw this during my hiatus.


Holy crap.

I'm amazed how many people are dooming their children to have to spell their names to every person they meet.

These names are klassy with a "K."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wild Cow Milking

Did you know this is a thing?

My wife took my daughter and me to the rodeo last week. My daughter and I were (until that evening) rodeo virgins.

Living in Utah has given me a chance to discover what I affectionately call the "hunter/gatherer" lifestyle. I still don't feel like I "get it," but this is the mentality of a guy who counts down the days until elk season and spends countless weekends making bullets and shooting clay pigeons.

As a non-hunter/gatherer, I'm personally grateful that I can buy meat in nice little shrink-wrapped packages. Had I been born any earlier in the course of human history, natural selection would have weeded me out rather swiftly.
{End Tangent}

Before I get into the glory that is "wild cow milking," let me first say that "mutton busting" is simultaneously incredibly adorable and slightly creepy.

For those lacking the broad knowledge of rodeo counterculture that I now possess, mutton busting (i.e. mutton bustin') is where little kids pretend to be bull riders and hang onto a sheep for dear life as it runs around the arena. It may or may not have been the cutest thing I've ever seen, particularly when some of them came decked out in a full set of leather chaps.

Now, wild cow milking.

The announcer said it is where a team of three men try to milk a wild cow. I assumed it would be like all the other events, and the teams would go one-at-a-time. Suddenly, 10 cows came flying out of the shoot, and ... the best way I can describe it is that ... chaos ensued. Men and cows were everywhere, and more than one guy got dragged unceremoniously through the dirt. I'm still amazed someone didn't get kicked in the head.

My wife had as much fun watching the spectacle as she did watching the incredulous look on my face. I was speechless except for the phrase, "What the crap is going on?"

Oh, and before I forget, my daughter is now begging to participate in the mutton bustin' next year. Maybe the hunter/gatherer instincts skip a couple dozen generations.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Aftermath

Yesterday, I mentioned I was going to go repelling with the youth in my church.

Fortunately, it was largely uneventful, and I managed to avoid death or dismemberment.

At one point, I was halfway down the side of the cliff when I remembered the repelling scene in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

PLEASE don't go and see that movie. I'm perfectly comfortable with a movie that has a loose plot with a bunch of explosions, but I think I know how they wrote this movie. My theory is that they all got together and brainstormed all the action sequences they wanted (and they wanted a ton of them). Then, they ran out of money, so they just tried to string the different sequences together the best they could. By the end, I found myself laughing at the randomness of it all.
{End Tangent}

So, there I am, halfway down, and I decided to shout to everyone below, "Hey! I could be like G.I. Joe!"

At that moment, I began running back and forth along the side of the cliff like they did in the movie (minus the murderous ninjas). I probably wasn't the best role model, but at least I got a laugh.

For the most part, the evening was injury free. One girl got her hair caught in the rope and had to get some help, but otherwise, everyone came back with all their limbs.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I'm supposed to go repelling tonight ...

In my new capacity working with the youth in my church, I have to (er ... I mean, I GET to) participate in activities each week.

Tonight, I get to go repelling.

For those who know me, asking me to succeed at any physical activity or exercise is like asking a kindergartner to solve a quadratic equation.

To illustrate, I give you this commercial:


The dad in this commercial would be me on the best day of my life. I laugh every time I see this one, and yet a little part inside of me dies with each viewing.

I have full confidence that tonight I will spend my evening face-planted against the side of the cliff slowly giving myself road rash as I inch my way to the ground.

My hope is that I will somehow be able to sell the lie that I got in an accident while speeding on my bullet bike or something.

Again, for those who know me, I'm pretty sure they'll see through the ruse.

Please excuse me while I go prepare myself emotionally for the pending public humiliation.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What the @*?% did I just watch?

A while ago, my friend showed me a video. It was baffling on so many levels.

I spent the better part of the video, knowing the guy wasn't speaking English, and yet my brain kept subconsciously trying to piece together what he was saying into recognizable sentences. All the random sounds he makes simply sound like English sounds.

It gave me the same feeling I get whenever I try to push two magnets together. The more I fail, the more intensely I want to make it work. Maybe it's just me, but when I finally get the two magnets pushed together (however briefly) I have the idiotic feeling like I have accomplished something worthwhile. As if smashing to magnets together will somehow help bring an end to world hunger.

Unfortunately, there is no way to get this feeling when watching this video. At no point does anything said actually make up an English sentence.

Watch at your own peril. I also had to wonder who on earth said, "Yeah, this is a fantastic idea for a video. Let's give this thing a budget. It will be off the hook!"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Messages from the Dead

So, my wife is a talented musician. I'm not biased (well, yes I am, but in this case I don't have to be).

I'm talented too. I have a pretty cool talent of being able to listen to music ... and really, REALLY appreciate it.

I know. You're jealous. What can I say?

Let's just say I hope our daughter gets her talent from the maternal side of our little family.
{End Tangent}

At this point, I'm used to people coming up and telling me how much they love hearing my wife sing or play one of her instruments. However, a while ago, I had a much more ... exotic experience.

I was in church, and a gentleman came up to me. I will call him Brother Screwloose (names changed to protect the innocent).

Brother Screwloose is a nice guy who likes to give organ lessons to pretty much anyone who is willing. His obsession with the organ is kind of endearing, and it is really sweet to see him so excited about an instrument.

Well, Brother Screwloose came over to me and said, "There is an organ workshop coming up, and I have a special invitation for your wife to attend. I spoke with Brother Fancypants, an extremely talented organist in the area, and he wanted me to extend a personal invitation to your wife."

"Wow, that's very nice of him," I replied. "I don't know if she is available, but I'll check with her, and if she can come, she will."

He responded, "I think it would be really important for her to attend. You see, Brother Fancypants died in 1972."

Yup. Some creepy organist felt this particular organ workshop was so important that he managed to send a message to this mortal coil through this kind brother to invite a woman he had never met to attend. Talk about dedication to his instrument!

At this point in the conversation, I swear I began to hear the theme song from the Twilight Zone.

I had no idea what to say. If I remember correctly, I simply said, "Thank you. I'll let her know."

How do you handle something like this?

Monday, June 10, 2013

The analogy that blew my mind ...

In the LDS church, I teach (correction: change this to past tense as I was released from that job on Sunday) gospel doctrine. This is the adult class in the middle hour of church.

I guess I should be scared since I don't have my dad's profound knowledge of the scriptures, but really, I was just excited at the prospect.

If I'm brutally honest with myself, I think the excitement stems from suddenly having an opportunity to hold a group of adults captive in a room so they can listen to my stories and jokes.
{End Tangent}

A few weeks ago, I taught a lesson on the importance of the sacrament. In the LDS church, the sacrament is a renewal of the covenants we make at baptism. While preparing the lesson, a story from my sister's mission popped into my head.

While she was on a mission, she got invited to an elderly woman's home for dinner. This was extremely rare in that area, so she and the woman with whom she served were ecstatic. They had a delightful time with the lady and offered to help her with the dishes. Upon entering the kitchen, my sister was horrified to find that the sink was filled with dark brown water, peppered liberally with dead cockroaches floating on the surface. In an effort to save money, the woman said she fills the sink once a week and washes all her dishes in the water.

I relayed this story to the class and then explained that all of us are sinks of water, filled once a week. We are filled when we take the sacrament and renew these covenants. During the week, we inevitably sin, and our water gets dirtier and dirtier. The way we become clean once again is to repent and take the sacrament each week, which fills our sinks once again with clean water.

I was so happy with how perfectly this analogy fit into the lesson, and when I told my dad, he asked, "Did the class like the analogy?"

This was followed by a long pause as I realized I never gave them a chance to provide feedback. Instead, during the class I simply finished the story and blurted out, "Isn't that a great analogy?!?"

Totally smooth, and not manipulative AT ALL.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Please ... call me "master"

For those of you who still have my blog in your feed and have conveniently forgotten about me (all 1 of you ... and my mother), I am here to remind you that I am still alive. It has been a long two years, but as of May 17, I now have a bright, shiny new piece of paper that says I'm smarter than I was.

While that is debatable in a practical sense, my dear alma mater can't take it back. (insert evil laugh here)

As you may remember, I have been in school (while working) to get a master's degree.

When it was awarded, friend asked me, "So ... are we supposed to call you Master Nathan now?"

My response:

"Why, yes. I think that would be completely appropriate."

Master Nathan.

It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?