Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why women find gaudy, flamboyant teenaged vampires attractive.

Why are women so intrigued with effeminate, pale skinned, scrawny-butted vampires?

I know I have written about Twilight before (you may read that post here), but I felt this continuing vampire phenomenon needed a follow up post.

I thought Twilight signified the end of this inane, maudlin fetish women have. I thought wrong. Apparently, there are even more sappy vampire chronicles out there that the lady-folk are inhaling it like it is potpourri scented marijuana wrapped in Bonbons that they purchased at their BFF's Lia Sofia party.

When I was a kid, vampires were ludicrously cool. They lived in tall towers and preyed on the weak. They wore long cloaks and slept in a coffin. Back then, being a vampire for Halloween was killer-cool. You dress like a vampire today and you are just begging to be pounded in the torso after school. Today vampires are the weak, or at least they are albinos, which is just another way of saying they are weak.

Somewhere in the year 2003, vampire-ism merged with emo-ism which had previously merged with a combination of goth-ism and grunge-ism. It is now 2009 and after all these subcultures have merged, pop culture has left us with this: the sissy-faced, pussyfooted eighteen year old vampire man-boy that women love.

Why do women love these freakishly white faced, juvenile, fanged lady-men? Clearly, these pubescent vampire boys must be doing something right to garner all this pent up sexual energy from females aged 12 - 65. I have several theories why women are going gaga over Edward...

1. Apparently, boy vampires have begun to keep diaries. DIARIES! They don't even bother calling them journals. What kind of vampire keeps a diary anyway? Is it a Hello Kitty diary or a My Little Pony? Does it come with a plastic key with a ribbon tied to it?

Women love men that pretend to keep diaries. What's next... "The Vampire Blogs"?! Do they make cute vampire backgrounds on that "Cutest Blog on the Block" site?

2. Male vampires secretly have shiny skin which 50% of women secretly wish their spouse had. This is a strange phenomenon since women are generally not attracted to rainbow trout.

3. Today's version of the male vampire can be thoughtful and considerate, which completely spits in the face of the legend and history of the vampire.

4. Sexy vampire man-boys are always accompanied by swoopy, saucy, cheese music that conjures up memories of their lost highschool crushes.

5. Unlike most guys, vampires guys are interested settling down and starting a family. Well, either that or killing you. Vampires aren't into playing games and they will never ignore you to answer their cell phone.

Fortunately, my wife has no shrouded desire for me to become a vampire. I am not sure if she has a jaded dating past with vampires, but luckily, fangs and pale faces are not attractive to her.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lincoln's day at school. (Not for the faint of stomached)

I had the following conversation with my seven year old son Lincoln yesterday...

Abe: How was your day at school today?

Lincoln: Good, but the GROSSEST thing happened.

Abe: What would that be?

Lincoln: We had to switch seats and get into groups. I had to sit in this slobbery girl named Betty's seat. (Actual name has been changed to protect the slobbery)

Abe: Oh yeah?

Lincoln: Yeah, and I put my hand under her chair to move it and when I lifted it up I had the biggest, longest, slimiest, grossest booger I have ever seen on it.

Abe: OH YUCK! What did you do? Did you ask your teacher if you could wash your hands?

Lincoln: No. I just wiped my hand on my pants.

Abe: Oh yeah, well that makes sense. Did you at least put hand sanitizer on?

Lincoln: Well, not until lunchtime.

Abe: How long was that?

Lincoln: I don't know. Probably a long time.

Abe: Well, your pants probably sanitized your hand enough.

Lincoln: Yeah, probably.

(Pants have since been decontaminated, sanitized and thoroughly cleaned. Still no sign of the swine flu)

Song of the Day: The Rural Alberta Advantage - Don't Haunt This Place

I just checked my iPod play count, and amazingly, I have listened to this song 28 times in three days. This is a great new band from Canada (I'm not sure what part) and their new album is addictive. In fact, this being the most addictive song on the album, I would recommend bypassing this one. I'd hate to be responsible for a bunch of addicts.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cheeseboy's Rules for Healthy Living (How to live to 114)

About a week ago I saw in the Yahoo news feed that a man had lived to be 113 years old. "Not bad" I thought as I gracefully wiped the mayonnaise from the corner of my mouth. "But I will do you one better. I am on my way to 114!" (114 is one better than 113 in the base 10 model of counting)

I had to see a picture of this guy (hopefully a picture of him alive) so I clicked on the link and read the story. Of course, this wrinkled old guy had provided a short list of secrets of a long life. I was slightly disappointed to hear his "secrets": eat a lot of fruit and wake up early.

Eat fruit and wake up early? Why I eat two pieces of fruit a week easy. And sometimes I get up as early as 7:15 in the morning. Those aren't secrets - they are common sensible items that most morons do in their sleep. (I know a lot of morons that eat fruit in their sleep. Well, not a lot, but at least two)

I may be only 33 years old, however, like I said, I fully plan on living to 114. I know that 114 is not going to come easy, but I do have a set of secrets of my own. (They do not include eating fruit and waking up early. Those lame secrets will only get you to a pathetic 113) I will only be giving you eight of my secrets. The rest will cost you $29.99 that you make in three easy payments.

Cheeseboy's Rules for Healthy Living

1. Take a run every night of at least 4 miles. Ensure rehydration by drinking 32 ounces of Diet Mt. Dew. (It replenishes the soul as well as the joints)

2. Eat at least once a week at a Greek fast food joint such as Apollo or Crown Burger. This is God's health food and will keep the pounds off. (Most people don't know this but God is Greek. How else are those burgers so darned tasty?)

3. Always park as close to the door as possible. Why waste away your muscles when you don't have to?

4. Maintain a body mass that is consistently 10 pounds over weight. This will always give you motivation to work it off. If you maintain a healthy weight you lose your motivation to maintain a healthy weight. Makes perfect sense.

5. Never smoke. However, occasionally inhaling the second hand smoke from the expensive, sweet smelling cigars from the next door neighbor is fine.

6. In order to keep a youthful complexion, never shave on vacations longer than two days. This exfoliates and lifts germs through the hair pores and refreshes your skin. At least that is what I tell myself.

7. To stay young, always shop in the youth section of Mervyns. I've tried shopping in the adult section and the clothes are so old mannish.

8. Always eat dinner before 4:30 PM. I recently visited my Grandma in her old folks home and she invited us to dinner. There wasn't a single person left in the cafeteria after 4:30. These people are OLD. They must be doing something right, and that thing right is eating dinner about an hour after I eat lunch.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Too many danged kids!

AHHH! There are toys and shoes and blankets thrown everywhere like that long, stringy stuff that falls after a Jazz game win. (I forget the technical jargon for that stuff) The doors are being left open, my toilet is working overtime and I don't have a place to sit on my own couch.

There is a reason we have two kids and two kids only.

[Think: New TV, new TV, new TV]

The screaming, the squealing, the maniacal romping through the house like they are chasing cattle. A man can only take so much chaos. I am not quite sure what the chaos theory is, but I am sure the guy that came up with has at least 4 kids under the age of 7.

[Close eyes. Think of new television]

My 3 year old son screams like a girl. A 3 year old girl screams like a house cat being skinned alive by a thousand scorpions. A house cat being skinned alive by a thousand scorpions sounds a lot like... well, a 3 year old girl's scream. It all goes full circle here on the cheese blog.

[Deep breaths. Close eyes. Think: HD will look so nice on the wall of my living room]

We are watching my two nieces for a week. Only 6 days and 10 hours until their triumphant return. (I am not anal enough to count minutes, but if I were, the minute number would be 27)

Here's the deal: We watch these 2 cute little girls for 9 days and - in return I get a 40+ inch television. Okay, they are not giving me a television - rather, they are paying us enough money to buy a television. The money we earn will be spent toward a beautiful television set. They will pay us some money and we in turn, will take that money and purchase a television.

[Television set seems so close now. I really need to talk about this TV thing more]

Stop screaming! Stop running! Stop fighting! Calder - just give her the stinking toy so she will stop squealing!

[I think that the first thing I watch on my new HD television will be something like the Discovery channel's "Earth". Either that or "The Biggest Loser". All that sweaty blubber in HD sounds intriguing. I haven't really decided though]

How in the world do people have so many darned kids? My 2 kids get along great, but there are still times they just annoy each other to no end. I can't fathom adding more kids to the equation, especially ones that do not get along. Actually, I can fathom it; I am living it as we speak. Living it sucks worse than just attempting to fathom it.

"I neeed a drink." "Can I have a treat?" "I'm hungry." "Calder's not sharing."

[I need to measure that wall. Make sure it is a perfect fit. Probably is... but I should still measure it]

The thing is, if it were just me, I'd probably just say no. I know, I know - it's a new TV. But really, the wacky thing is I like my old TV. My TV has been my trustworthy friend for almost ten years now. I've never had a problem with it.

[WHAT AM I SAYING?! We are talking about a new TV - HD, flat panel, pixelations, high-tech standardized equipments, THE WORKS! No, it will be worth it. Just keep telling yourself that]

I think I need to work late for the next few nights. I may actually attend the UEA conference this year. I think the Bishop needs me over at the ward this week. I've got stuff going on. Important stuff.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Song of the Day: Manchester Orchestra - I've Got Friends

This song is rip-roaring fun. Makes you want to get up and dance, then tear a phone book and then pulling out all the hair out of a Ken Doll. It's just that good. These guys are from Atlanta Georgia and have some very happenin ' stuff. I apologize, the embeddedness of the actual video has been disabled. However, if you are really interested, you can watch it here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My swine flu vaccination is lost in the mail.

I've got two weeks to survive. Well, two weeks plus the customary two week incubation period for the virus to take hold within my system, lodge in my heart and then kill me in cold blood.

I am a little scared of getting the swine flu.

Fortunately, we are pretty well connected when it comes to the immunization industry. Let's just say we know a guy who knows a guy who knows a girl. Fortunately, we also know that girl, so we don't have to go through the guy and then the other guy. They are just guys she knows too.

For whatever reason, our girl with the goods can't get the goods until the beginning of October. This is a very frustrating problem for a hypochondriac. Apparently there is some sort of missing link in the supply chain, probably with Larry who tends to hoard vaccines and use them on his pet monkeys.

Larry, if I die because your monkeys got immunized before I do, I will personally visit you and your monkeys at your house and they will be traveling with me to monkey heaven.

I don't want to go to monkey heaven, but I will if it means killing your monkeys because they stole my swine flu vaccination.

I don't make idle threats! When I make my threats, I am usually doing something very active, like dancing or yelling at people poking me with swords. For instance: right now, I am making this threat while typing angrily on my computer. That is not an idle threat.

In the mean time, I will wait for my immunization patiently; hoping that I do not contract a deadly virus. If you happen to have swine flu, will you please stop trying to kiss me? (That goes for you too, Megan Fox)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Real life stories of Murray Househusbands.

I've debated on whether or not I should be posting the highly confidential enigmas of an American Househusband. I then thought about what I am about to write and it occurred to me: I am sure that most wives already know our secrets and suffer with them for fear that we may go to more football games or spend more time on the couch. Further, when I debate myself, I very often win. Or, I should say, I win more often than when I debate my wife, which is virtually zero percent of the time.

Here is the deal: When we men are responsible for the kids, we do things our way... which is to say - we do things the way we would normally do them if we were not constantly being scrutinized by our wives.

{Shhhhh! Don't let the ladies know.}

Tonight I had full rein of the house. Here was what was on the agenda:

I mowed the lawn, which I did without being asked or persuaded. Calder helped by pushing his little plastic lawn mower behind me, catching any spots I may have missed. This was the highlight of my chivalry husbandry for the evening. Time to get break out the "World's Greatest Husband" mug I got for Father's Day.

It was then inside for a some Root Beers and pizza. Normally, we would split a Root Beer, but tonight was a special occasion! Everyone gets their own Root Beer! I am the coolest dad on the block. No dad gives their 3 and 7 year old sons full-on Root Beers, do they?! And these were the bottled Root Beers. Someone could have sliced a finger open... and seriously, does a 3 year old really need 12 ounces of liquefied sugar and bubbles in a glass bottle?

After pizza and Root Beer, it was to the couch for some father/son/Wipeout bonding time. We cooked up some extra-buttered popcorn, which we ensured was spread evenly throughout the floor. (It is a little known fact that microwave popcorn grease-butter works wonders on hardwood floors. However, it is also a well known fact that too much microwave popcorn grease-butter can also cause cancer and death. This is why I never roll around on our floors with my shirt off after spilling popcorn on our floors)

My wife returned before bedtime, but I normally let them stay up a little later when she's not around. Sometimes I allow the boys to jump around the front room to loud music, most of which is curse-word free.

Occasionally, we play with pocket knives and fire... but never together... that would just be dangerous and irresponsible.

Why do we men do this? Well, really it can be narrowed down to two reasons: 1. A need to be considered the cool parent. 2. Pure laziness.

My mom claims that when my dad would watch us and there was a poopy diaper involved, my dad would put the pooped up child in the bathtub and await the return of my mom to clean up the mess. I'm not sure that this is actually true, but some of my earliest memories are of sitting in a waterless bathtub, waiting for my mom to get home.

There you have it ladies. You now know our little secret. But look - take it easy on us - we're men. Further, when you come home, your kids are happy, healthy and safe. FYI: Just don't slip on the buttery floor.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I am so chapped right now.

I'm really chapped. I rarely get chappy, but my chap level has risen today. Too much work and school will really chap someone as it has chapped me. I'm so chapped, my lip balm is down to the round, smooth nub. I am so chapped I've was asked to chap-erone and was told I was too chappy. I am so chapped, I have 78 chap-ters left of my chap. I am one chapped sonofagun.

My Grandfather was a Chaplain and he was never as chapped as I am now. True story.

Here are some real chapped folks that are just slightly less chapped than I am today:

5. Kenny Rogers - Here is one chappy dude; gamblers are always chappy. Most people don't know this about Kenny - he's got the temper of a greasy, hot chicken wing; extra crispy. He is one chappy juggernaut that rules the country music world with a chapped, tight fist. Kenny, you think you are chapped? Think again.

4. Skeletor - Here's a frustrating case of chappiness. This dude has everything to live for: a crew of bros, a castle, a freaky live-in lady-friend, a six pack an skeleton would be proud of. Yet, here he is, chapped like he just went on a hike in the desert. What is his problem? Why so chapped? Skeletor... chap the heck down!

3. Paris Hilton - She is actually just temporarily chapped due to another recent nasty outbreak of Herpes.

2. Dick Nourse - Dick was a chapped legend. A legend of chap. Sure, he was pleasant enough when the cameras were on, but we all know that was just a show. Dick knew how to dive into a vial so full of chap, he would not surface until hours later with yellow eyes and cold breath.

1. The Grumpy Old Troll that Lives Under the Bridge - It matters not who visits the bridge: Dora, Boots, even Cousin Diego - the Grumpy Old Troll could never rid himself of chap. No matter the situation, his tone is always filled with mistrust and chap. The Troll has even established a unique and creative Troll jingle that he sings upon the arrival of others at his bridge. Despite of having so much to live for (especially the Troll jingle), he continues to push his drab brand of negativity and chap on the world. Grumpy Old Troll - time for you to chipper up and chapper down!

There you have it... a rundown of chapped people that are slightly less chapped than me. I just need a couple days off to un-chap; to de-chap-asize.

Song of the Day: Flight of the Conchords - Think About It

This New Zealand band does things right. By that, I mean - they know how to do things, and they do them right. These guys are the fourth most popular indie, folk band in New Zealand, but first in my heart. I actually have heard rumors that they have signed on with a little local television station to produce a series. This is my favorite Conchords song.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stadium of Fire! - My thoughts and ideas for improvement.

While rousing through the neighborhood rags today, I noticed that this will be the first year that we the people will be able to VOTE for the STADIUM of FIRE entertainers!

Never have I taken a vote so seriously.

The Stadium of Fire is a Utah original; an opportunity for a bunch of Utah County Patriots (mostly Glenn Beck's clan of zombies... That's not to say that the ENTIRE audience is Beck's crew - I am simply saying he is the host and he is in Provo... you do the math) to get together and celebrate our country by slam dancing to the the Jonas Brothers, or a pre-pubescent Hannah Montana.

God Bless America!

Let's take a look at some of the past "performers" that have laid it down hardcore in Provo, Utah on the Fourth of July. Their star power will amaze you:

THE Lou Diamond Philips (2005)
THE ONE AND ONLY David Hasselhoff (1985)
The Osmonds (8 times)
Mr. T! (1886)
The sweet, smooth caramel sounds of Thurl Bailey (1987)
Williard Scott (1989)
Kenny Loggins (1993)
Huey Lewis and the News (1998)
All-4-One (1999)
Taylor Hicks (2006)
Wayne Newton (1990)

Of course, prior to Glenn Beck leading the charge, Provo was pleased to welcome his BFF and former husband, Sean Hannity as host.

In the past few years, there have been some very memorable moments:

A couple years ago, BYU invited the lovely, innocent, family-centered Miley Cirus to perform. One week after the show, Miley can be seen in provocative photographs in a magazine with her dad! Ewww.

The same year, the bozos at S.O.F. had a very special moment in which they invited a soldier in Iraq talk live - via jumbo tron. At the conclusion of the lovely family reunion, the soldier unravels a Utah flag and yells, "GO UTES!". He is the first active US soldier ever to be boo'd in Provo. He also became a lifelong hero of mine and rightfully received a Utah game ball a year later.

Let us not forget this year's debacle: the flag burning ceremony. Apparently, the Stadium of Fire pretended to hold a real flag burning ceremony that was so touching, so moving, so awe-inspiring, it brought many in the audience to tears. The problem was that the entire thing was a fraud; there was no fire, no burning, no flag. The sham was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I would have felt so jipped.

So now we are being given the opportunity - no the responsibility - to select our next Stadium of Fire headliner. Granted, there are some prerequisites for those that wish to apply: 1. You must be viewed as Ultra-Patriotic, or a country music star, or both. 2. You must in no way be affiliated with the Democratic Party. 3. You must agree to release your provocative photo shoot after the show and then promise to claim it was all an accident.

I am not sure what our current voting options are; I don't think they have been released yet. However, I have had a bountiful harvest of ideas that I have forwarded to the S.O.F. organizers for their consideration. I have never been to a Stadium of Fire, but if any of these ideas get the go-ahead, I may just purchase a ticket:

  • An all-Utah minivan Demolition Derby.
  • Simon Cowell and Simon Lythgoe judge a "Who's Whiter?" contest between Orem and American Fork.
  • Madonna (with the Osmonds as backup singers)
  • Neil Diamond sings Primary songs (Including Pioneer Children Sang as they Walked... and Walked... and Walked...)
  • ZZ Top shave their beards to meet the rigorous Honor Code standards in order to perform. Their first number is "She's got Capri Covered Legs".
  • 20 minutes of Ryan Seacrest trying to high five a blind guy.
  • Ellen Degeneres leads an MTC Choir in a rendition of "So I'm Proud to be an American!"
  • Bill Clinton plays the National Anthem on his Saxophone.
  • The entire cast of "The View" give a demonstration on how to properly dry-pack-can beets.
  • You could never go wrong with inviting Mr. T back for a reunion tour.
Actually, if I were choosing the entertainment, I would definitely go with a full hour of this kid:

Friday, September 18, 2009

The most recent Cease to Exist Order

I hereby issue a Cease to Exist Order for the following items:

1. Super Dell - Will this man just pack up and take his shtick somewhere else? Clearly, he is not right in the head and he is desperately seeking attention. Something tells me that the story of Super Dell's life is going to end very, very badly. And while I'm on this topic - what is with the media's insistence on covering this man like he is Brittney's Spears third husband? Perhaps if they were to just ignore him, he might go away.

2. Tomatoes - I love tomatoes. I love them enough to eat roughly 2 a day. However, I am not positive on the exact numbers, but I believe that roughly 85% of Utahns grow tomatoes in the summertime. We are included in the 85%. Once the town crier has spread word of you liking tomatoes, you must endure a never ending, torturous barrage of tomato offers. "Do you want to take home some of these tomatoes?" "I brought a wheelbarrow full of tomatoes to work... YOU HAVE TO TAKE SOME TOMATOES HOME. YOU... JUST... HAVE... TO!"

Sometimes I actually do take tomatoes home, only to have them rot on my countertop with the thousands of tomatoes from my back yard. But, since I made it known that I like tomatoes - I JUST HAD TO!

I can eat about two tomatoes a day and it doesn't matter who's backyard they are from. My tomato eating to day ration is approximately 2:1. This ratio is fixed.

3. The MTN, Versus, Comcast, Direct TV, Dish, but mostly the Mountain West Conference - Will someone please just put my team back on ESPN/KJZZ?! And don't tell me to call each other to resolve your disputes. That's not my job, nor do I have time for it. "Call Dish and DEMAND the Mountain!" Uh... no.

4. Motorhomes over the age of 10 years of age. Anyone wanting to own one of these monstrosities should be required to trade it in for a new one every ten years. Any motorhome over 10 years of age should be promptly destroyed using firebombs and/or ripped to shreds by Wolverine (See: new Origins movie) Note to folks in my neighborhood: This especially applies to you!

5. School - It turns out that I have to become "Gifted & Talented" certified. This means a year and half more of classes. When I am done, if you add up all my graduate credit hours, I may have enough for three Master's degrees, yet I will still not have my first. Perhaps I should look at it as an opportunity to learn, but simply put, I am tired of taking classes. I believe Cathi is tired of me taking classes as well. Perhaps this will be the end of it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to enjoy a weekend in Provo (for Florida State fans)

I am a man of little words tonight. However, I did come across this recent post on (via that I found quite amusing. In it, the author gives advice to the Florida State fans coming to Provo to see the game on how to enjoy their stay in Provo. (I wish I would have come up with this, but I didn't) For the sarcasm impaired, please note that this post is loaded with it. Enjoy!

FLORIDA STATE FANS: I hope you have a great time here! Provo is one of the nicest cities in the country (voted #89 by one online site), and a GREAT place to watch college football. Here's some advice.

You'll fly into Salt Lake City, but if I were you I would stay in Provo where there is far less gangs and violence, and some great places to eat and shop. Trust me - you'll feel much safer in Provo and there's just as much to do. "Provo; where you don't have to be drunk to have a great time."

- Plenty to choose from, but I would seriously consider the Knights Inn on University. It's REALLY inexpensive ($29 - $39), and close to great eateries and shopping. There aren't a lot of frills, but the sheets are washed every day and it's mostly non-smoking. There's a pool that has a "No Swimming" sign, but they've never kicked me out, so bring your swim suit!
- There's a Hampton Inn close by but it's ridiculously expensive (over $90).

Shopping... lots to choose from:
- Orem and Provo have the 2 biggest malls in the entire county.
- University Mall is a little further out (10 minute drive), but it has an awesome treehouse and some really posh department stores like Macy's. There's also a Mr. Mac (famous in Utah for men's can get a quality wool/poly 2-pant suit for $99 AND get free alterations).
- Provo Towne Centre is not far from campus and it has a Sears and a Dillards, as well as a FANTASTIC Kiddie Candids, and a high-priced movie theater.

- You may have heard about a local favorite - "The Training Table" - which is a great suggestion.
- There's also a GREAT burger place 20 miles north in American Fork called Chadders...this is such great food it's often the talk of our board.
- We have a restaurant called Chili's, which is also a community favorite.
- I would also recommend Cafe Rio, which is quality fresh fast-food Mexican like you've NEVER tasted.
- Besides these there are the usual - Wendy's, McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc.
- Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong in Provo!!

- Orem has the best miniature golf in the valley (Trafalga), with both an indoor course and an outdoor course.
- Springville has a fantastic art museum with a Kincaid original.
- Many tourists like to "hike the Y", which offers a great view of the valley.
- There's the Monte L. Bean natural science museum on campus.
- If you ask around campus you can probably catch the infamous "tunnel singers" as they put on a free show of vocal awesomeness.
- Sundance is always a beautiful drive (about 30 minute drive), but VERY expensive.
- There's a dollar theater (Movies 8) that is both economical and fun (though it infuriates me to no end that movies are $1.50, yet they still refer to is as a "dollar theater").
- Temple Square in SLC is a "must see". It's 45 minutes from campus, but well worth the drive.

What to pack:
- Weather looks like it will be nice, but you'll probably want to bring a light jacket, as it cools down quite a bit this time of year in Provo. You shouldn't need anything heavier...jut plan on a t-shirt, jeans, and a braided belt.

- Get there early. Traffic is at the peak mid-way through the first quarter, so don't be late!
- Free parking just west of the stadium.
- Awesome tailgating all around LES.
- No alcohol or caffeine...don't even try to smuggle it in.

Hope you have a GREAT time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The joys of teaching in Utah.

I was playing a game with the kids today. Essentially, I ask each table a question. They talk amongst themselves and if they are able to answer the question correctly, I give them five points. If they are wrong, I move onto the next table.

Question: Who were the first people ever to live in America?
Answer: The American Indians

Table 1- Who were the first people ever to live in America?

[Discussion amongst the group]

"The pioneers?"

Good answer, but no. Table 2?

[Discussion amongst the group]

"The Columbus people?"

Good answer, but no. Table 3?

[Discussion amongst the group]


I'm not sure, but I am going to say no, because that is not what this card says. Table 4?

[Discussion amongst the group]

"Adam and Eve?"

After I am done laughing, I have no idea how to respond. How should I have responded?? I gave them some points but did not say they were right or wrong, only that it was an interesting answer. The next table finally got the answer right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Perhaps the funniest true Dollar Store story you will ever hear!

The other day, I had a few (a few meaning 45) minutes to kill before I had to go over to our church to be audited by an auditor. Now, I would never think to be so cavalier to think that I could just kill minutes like they were candy, but I also don't think I would be so cavalier as to mix my metaphors.

Given that 45 minutes is plenty of time to complete many menial tasks, I decided to cross one the most pressing ones off my list: shopping at the Dollar Store.

I set foot in the Dollar Store on a blustery day. It was a blustery day on account of the wind. The wind causes a bit of a bluster and when the wind blows it creates what is referred to as "blustery". Just ask Winnie the Pooh. It's always blustery in his neck of the woods.

The Dollar Store has two different carts to chose from: those with long, metal rods to hold your balloons and those that do not have long, metal rods to hold your balloons. I selected a balloon holding cart, even though a balloon purchase was not in my future that day. Balloons always seemed such an odd thing to buy at a dollar store. I mean, who is really trying to save money on balloons? "I need to get my fiance some balloons, but I really don't want to spend the $1.50/balloon the big box chains charge. I better hit the dollar store!"

My shopping list for the evening included 100 different toys and prizes, to be joyfully distributed to the good boys and girls in my first grade class over the course of the school year. I had not done the calculations prior to entering the store, but I estimated that the prizes would cost roughly just over one hundred and six dollars. (I am not good with math)

There I was, standing in a full on, double-breasted cream suit with an accompanying white and black striped tie - my cart stuffed to the brim with with all sorts of garbage toys. As I reached for my third WWF fighting figurine, it was then that I realized - people were looking at me. Apparently, the Dollar Store regulars are not used to seeing a suited man storm the aisles in search of plastic toys - 100 plastic toys.

As I caroused the store, it dawned on me: I have never, ever, in the course of my 33 year old life purchased pre-filled balloons for any reason. What kind of horrible person am I? I have kids, you know! Kids! And not once have I ever bought them a balloon. I bet even Hitler bought his own kids balloons, and he was Hitler. Which begs the question: If Hitler had not been Hitler, would he have bought his kids more or less pre-filled balloons? These were the questions I was asking myself as I aimlessly wondered the store. (The questions about Hitler and the balloons, but mostly about the balloons)

Finally, I had reached my 100 toy maximum and became firmly entrenched in the checkout line. I am not sure why the Dollar Store only hires one employee to work at a time. Maybe it is the fact that they don't want to pay people more than a dollar an hour? But every single time I have the pleasure of shopping there, there is always a line of people at least ten deep.

You do NOT want to be behind me in line at the Dollar Store. It takes a very, very long time to scan 100 items. I could just hear the groans and complaints as I piled my stash on the automated treadmill. As the 17-year-old with the horrible half mustache scanned each item, the kind lady behind me surprised me with a question.

"I just have to ask - are you buying all of this stuff for a company party?"


"Is it for some sort of carnival?"

"No - it is for me."

"For your kids?"

"No, I'm going to use it."

"Oh. Hm. I see."

I never did tell her why a well dressed man like myself (I was wearing a double breasted suit. One breast is simply one breast not enough... That is good rule of thumb for most things in life actually) was in the dollar store buying 100 plastic trinkets. I find the idea of her sitting in her Lazy-Boy recliner at home, calling all her friends, trying to figure it out... hilarious. I find the idea of her becoming completely creeped out by it all even more hilarious.

Finally, the strangely, greasy mustached boy gave me the total: $103.67. I thought back to my original estimate of $106.00 and was angry at myself for overbidding. If this was the Price is Right, I would have gotten the "Duh, Duh, Duh Duh, waaaaah" sound and I would have had to put all my prizes back on the shelf. Thankfully this was not the Price is Right, but it was odd that a man looking vaguely like Bob Barker was looking at the dollar spaying and neutering kits. (I would NOT recommend a dollar spaying and neutering kit. Your dog or cat or husband will thank you for it)

I rolled my cart over to the sliding doors, which magically opened upon my arrival. I energetically left (I had an auditor to meet. Who wouldn't be eager?!) but alas, I could not leave. The long bar extending upward from my cart was too long for the door frame! I tried again, this time still unsuccessful, but creating an even louder crash. Given that the door is right by the registers, I glanced over and noticed all 25 people in line staring right at me.

I thought to myself, "They must have gotten this thing in here SOMEHOW!" I tried again. BANG - No success. "This must be a cart that just stays in the store" I rationalized.

What I did next and why I did it will forever remain a mystery. I took the cart and leaned the entire thing sideways, allowing for just enough clearance for the bar to pass through the doorway. This would have been a genius plan, had my cart not been overflowing with crap. When I tilted, a fourth of the contents spilled across the floor. I embarrassingly hit the ground and spent the next few seconds scrambling to pick up seven Bratz type dolls, a load of fake playdough and a couple packs of garbage crayons off the Dollar Store floor.

I am not a proud man, but I can honestly say that this was the first time I have ever spent any time on the floor of a Dollar Store. Fortunately, I was wearing my Double Breasted!

I can still hear the giggles from the people in line. They pierce my soul like small, midget like daggers that are normally used to scale fish.

I am not a proud man, but I can honestly say that this was the first time I have ever been laughed at in a Dollar Store. Fortunately, I was wearing my Double Breasted!

Dignity intact, I put the spilled bags back in my cart, turned toward the parking lot and left in a jiffy. I swear I could still hear the people laughing at me when I reached my car.

It was a blustery day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why I refuse to be a Jazz fan this year.

I have recently heard that the Utah Jazz have had a difficult time selling tickets for their upcoming season. Well, clearly in these tough times, a team has to do something more than simply offering a "friends package".

The Jazz folk are also car salesmen. If anyone could sell a clunker to a sucker, it would be the folks at Larry H. So, here is a sales pitch they SHOULD be making:

Jazz: What's it going to take to get you behind the wheel of a 32nd row seat?

Customer: Well, I am not sure I am too impressed with this year's model.

Jazz: Oh, it's all new and improved. It's got sooo much more horsepower.

Customer: So, what is it that is new and improved?

Jazz: We drafted a brand new point guard. It's an immediate fix for all of last year's little little problems.

Customer: Yeah, but he's small and he can't shoot.

Jazz: That is just what the Lakers want you to think.

Customer: Okay, but last year's model was a wreck. Nothing seemed to work right. Every time I would turn around there would be a broken Boozer or a leaky AK.

Jazz: That's all been fixed. We put a lot of energy into fixing those parts.

Customer: Well, why not just get new parts?

Jazz: Nobody would sell them to us at cost.

Customer: Well, I don't care about that. I just want better parts. So what you are saying is that you didn't change anything?

Jazz: Well, besides the point guard, no. But we kept Milsap! He hustles you know.

Customer: Yeah, I've seen him hustle. But he hustled last year. What I want to know is why is this year's model DIFFERENT?

Jazz: Four things: 1. Boozer loves Utah again. Look, he has even taken upon himself the Utah culture and has begun to wear kapris! 2. Hot Rod is not calling the games anymore. 3. AK's wife has already allowed him his free-bee. He will be playing with a lot more energy this year. 4. Harpring has a year more experience under his belt. We have just been waiting for him to take off. This is his year!

Customer: So how many more wins can I expect?

Jazz: [Puts their arm around you] Here... let's go into the back room and we can talk numbers.

Customer (Me): No, I think I'll pass. What is the cost to you?

Jazz: Well, it is way more than it's worth and more than most the teams in the NBA. But look, everyone is coming back from a 46 win season! Like I said, we have a room where we can talk numbers.

Customer (Me): No thanks, I think I will go take a look at the Blazer dealership.

Sometimes, even a used car salesman can't sell a giant piece of crap.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An aFAIR to remember.

Unlike most of my family members, I really hate the Utah State Fair. To be fair, the fair has some fairly fair qualities; most of them involve either a deep friar or the world's largest swine... or best case scenario - a combination of both!

To be honest, I haven't been for at least six years, and before that - the sixth grade.

Why am I so unfair to the fair, you ask? I was able to concoct a list of ten reasons why the fair is simply not for me.

1. If I wanted to be bothered by salespeople making seven dollars an hour, I would simply go to the mall and walk down the center of the concourse.

2. I hate being bothered to put my name in some random drawing that: a) I will never know if it actually takes place. And - b) Is simply a tool to get my information so they can send me spam email or get me into their overpriced gym.

3. If I wanted to see people that spend too much time at Walmart, I would just go to Walmart. (Or visit this website)

4. I don't care about the following things: Canning, vegetables, the newest line of hot tubs, what's new in $100,000 motor homes, samurai knives, dream catchers and baby goats.

5. The only ride I would ever want to go on is that giant slide. It is like $2.00 and I am always winded by the time I get to the top.

6. I am doubtful Peter Breinholt will give a better performance on the South Plaza Stage at 7:35 PM than I have seen the previous 65 times I have seen him perform (Most of them coincidentally).

7. While the fair is going on, I can get in some activities that are normally packed, like the racetrack, drive-in movie, shopping at the aforementioned Walmart, hitting the Nickelcade and spending time in Liberty Park drum circles.

8. The giant pumpkins never seem giant enough. I want to see a pumpkin I could carve out and use as shelter in a pinch.

9. I cannot tell one sheep from the next. I doubt the judges can either and the fact that they pretend they can makes me angry.

10. They never schedule Boyz II Men as a musical act. Wait... I am getting word that they actually did that this year.

New #10 - They never schedule Bel Biv Devoe as a musical act!

I do have one distinct memory from my youth at the fair. I was on a sixth grade field trip and during this time, my buddies and I were really into all things ninja. We had heard that some vendors at the fair were selling Chinese throwing stars, but we would have to have our parents permission to purchase one. Not to be denied, we looked for the shadiest dealer of crap at the fair.

Once located, we informed the neck tattooed freak of our desire. He took us behind his tent and pulled out a small packet of weed and some Chinese stars. He then told us that they were $25.00 each and that we wouldn't need our parent's permission as long as we kept it on the down low. I had been saving for this moment for quite some time and I left the tent with a new Chinese throwing star but no pot. (I think this was because Barbara Bush had told me to say no to drugs and at the time, I really respected her opinion)

Apparently, the sixth grade teachers thought that allowing the sixth graders freely roam around the fairgrounds without supervision.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Beauty is... a boom box and a slab of cardboard.

The Reflections contest is a time of year for teachers to reflect on how awful the Reflections assembly is. However, today was an exception, at least for me.

The theme for this year's Reflections contest is: "Beauty is..." Could you be more vague? How about just calling the theme: "Stuff" or "Things".

ANYWAY, a well intentioned PTA lady came into my class today, asking me to discuss the theme with my kids, which I agreed to do. She also asked me to brainstorm with the group some things they could do for the contest that fit the theme. She told me to invite the person with best (completely arbitrary) idea to share with the entire school at the assembly.

Our class discussion went well. I received the expected responses. Beauty is... Draw a picture of the mountains, take a picture of my baby sister, paint a picture of a flower, etc.

Now, I have a girl in my class that I shall refer to as "Amanda". She is tiny, of Chinese decent and one of the kookiest, adorable spark-plugs I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. She is waving her arm like a spastic octopus and she clearly has an idea what "Beauty is...". So I called on her... "Amanda, what do you think beauty is?

Amanda holds her arms out to her sides and then does a wave with them - like she is in a really bad Kid & Play movie. She then looks right at me and says, "Beauty is... berrr-AKE-dancin'!"

I kid you not. That is exactly what she did and said. At that moment, in my mind I said to myself, "We have winner!"

I told Amanda that she would be sharing at the assembly.

The assembly went as expected - a lot of hollering and wooing in kid-like, mob fashion. I did my best to tolerate the mayhem and attempted to visit my happy place. (An adult-sized McDonald's Playland)

Finally, the time for the chosen students to share arrived. The order of sharing went from 6th to 1st grade. Amanda was to be last.

As we sat through the stale, dry responses from grades 2-6, I eagerly awaited Amanda's turn at stardom. Alas, the PTA President asked "What do you think beauty is?" and handed her the mike.

Amanda looked out at the audience and hesitantly said, "break... dancing". The PTA President asked, "What was that?" Amanda, more confident this time replied, "BREAKDANCING!" The PTA President laughed and told her that was a great idea.

Now, this is the best part - Amanda hands the PTA President the microphone and then begins to walk back to sit down. She stops - mid stride - turns around, and MOONWALKS ACROSS THE STAGE!

I kid you not. She really did this. In front of the entire school! One of the coolest things I have ever seen a first grader do.

She looked at me and smiled and I gave her two thumbs up. It's all I could think of to do. That, and laugh.

Sometimes teaching first grade is so cool.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What happened to you Cheeseboy? You are so much more drab than I remember.

I know exactly what most of you are thinking, but are too afraid to say.

Abe, you have lost your touch. What happened? You used to be so funny.

It's okay, you don't have to whisper anymore. I know, I know.

So, I'd like to say that I am not trying to be funny anymore; but the fact is, I am. Regardless of if I am trying to be funny, most of my humoristic energy is spent elsewhere... entertaining six-year-olds.

So, making adults laugh is kid's stuff. It's making kids laugh that is adult work! Six-year-olds don't understand sarcasm. They won't banter. Hyperbole generally flies way over their heads. There is no irony in the first grade and any wit I exhibit is met with clueless grins.

So, there is nothing left, right? That is what I thought at first, but I had it all wrong. And then it dawned on me: kids don't want dialog, they want a show! They don't want a Woody Allen movie, they want Home Alone! (But then again, who DOES want a Woody Allen movie? Maybe Woody Allen's mom? She is probably dead)

So, what is it that gets them laughing? Two things: 1. Falling, banging, getting hurt and disgusting sounds. (Okay, that was four things) 2. Generally acting like a complete and total moron.

So Cheeseboy, what is so difficult about that? You are king of moron. Moron is your middle name and "you are" is your middle initial. If I wanted to hire a moron, you are the first moron on my speed dial. You are the wind beneath my morons.

Enough. I get the point.

The thing is, first graders may not be able to smell sarcasm, but they can smell a fraud a mile away. If my face-plants are not believable, if my voice breaks while I am in character, if my goofy dance is just not believable - I am deemed a phony baloney. YOU try getting a laugh in a room full of jaded, dubious tots. They'll boo you off the stage like you're Kenny Chesney performing in Compton.

So, next time I speak with you, if I am not living up to the comedy sparks I normally produce, please feel free to visit me in my classroom some afternoon. I am putting my heart out there for those kids. My heart... and soul. But mostly my heart. And sometimes I hurt my head.

One last thing: Lincoln's legs were perfectly fine today. Dr. Google - you are dead to me!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

No rest for the weary for a hypochondriac.

If you hadn't heard, I am a huge hypochondriac. In the last couple years, I really thought that I had overcome this horribly annoying character trait. I was wrong.

Lincoln has awaken the past three mornings with horrible pains in his legs - specifically his calves. He can barely walk to the bathroom and hobbles around like Bilbo Baggins - in his ancient years. Things seem to get better during the course of the day and by the evening, he is outside, climbing trees, running around and riding his bike. Throughout the day and into the night, he walks on his toes, claiming that this is the only way he is able to get around without his legs hurting.

Needless to say, I have been freaking out.

My best friend and confidant, Dr. Google is of no help. Apparently, the doc has informed me that Lincoln has everything from leg paralysis to spinal cord irregularities. (Those could be caused by a frightening variety of things) Of course, the good doctor and I have not ruled out severe neuromuscular diseases and other underlying pathophysiologies. And of course, it could just be some short term soreness or a reaction from a virus, but Dr. Google's research says it's most likely something extremely serious.

I have thus been focusing all my energy on worrying about Lincoln. All day long, every spare moment, every spare thought was spent thinking about my poor, crippled son and his aching legs. Needless to say, when I came home, he was climbing over a fence... but still walking on his toes.

I wish I could summon Mr. Miaggi; he'd know what to do. Probably clap his hands together and rub. Lincoln would be walking with no problem again in seconds. In the mean time, this is pretty much how the conversations with my wife have gone lately:

Cheeseboy: Lincoln is still walking on his toes today.

Wife: Is he? I hadn't even noticed.

Cheeseboy: Yeah, and he had a real hard time getting out of bed. He was really sore.

Wife: Yeah, I am not worried.

Cheeseboy: He said he didn't even play at recess. His legs hurt.

Wife: I will worry when he stops playing after school. Look, he is out there now, jumping on the tramp (FYI, he was not jumping on Paris Hilton)

Cheeseboy: Well, I am worried about him.

Wife: He'll be fine.

---------- 30 minutes later ----------

Cheeseboy: Why do you think his legs are hurting him?

Wife: I don't know. He'll be fine!!!

Cheeseboy: Yeah, but look what Dr. Google has to say.

Wife: I don't care! Don't show me that stuff. He's fine!

------------ 30 minutes later-------------------

Cheeseboy: This article says he may have a neurological disorder.

Wife: I am not talking about this anymore.

Cheeseboy: Do you think we should do a family fast?

Wife: Look outside. He is wrestling his brother.

Cheeseboy: But...

Wife: [No response]

Cheeseboy: But...

Wife: I'm done.

Someone help me.

Song of the Day: Neil Diamond - Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show

It's about time the Great Neil Diamond made another appearance as the song of the day. I would like to dedicate this Song of the Day to two people: 1. A new reader, fellow Neil devotee and parent of a student in my new class. 2. My cousin-in-law, Jen; also a devoted Neil-ite and one that has impecible taste in music and film. This is her favorite Neil tune.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy one year anniversary to the Marathon Man!

T'was but one year ago to this day that a lone man, equipped with a few water bottles, some Gatoraide and an iPod, set out on a quest that would forever change his life.

This moment in time marks the one year anniversary of that fateful day. Not hail, hell or yes, even Hale theater - could stop that hell-bent boy from going through hell to finish his goal. The goal was to reach 26.2 miles, all on foot - mostly running on the foots until the foots bled like a third scene from a Quintin Terratino movie.

The "Marathon Man", as he is now known through these parts, finished his quest that day. He received no applause, no fanfare, no pictures with sweaty friends. No, this was an internal struggle of wills, and the will to succeed outlasted the will to stop. Will Smith came in a distant third.

Once word of the amazing accomplishment got out, Marathon Man became an inspiration, a staple in the community (Well, a second staple. There is a Staples on like 6300 South and State), a living monument to perseverance. Women would flock to him at church in hopes of obtaining his autograph. (He was the one that signs the checks) The neighborhood Costco begged him for pictures of himself. (They have an underrated and high quality photo lab with reasonable prices) He was overcome with fan mail. (Fan mail sometimes looks like junk mail, so it is a little hard to tell)

Now, a year has passed and the Marathon Man's star has begun to fade. New, greater accomplishments have surpassed his bravery on that lonely, 26 mile death jaunt. Jasper - from the southern part of Murray - swam 6 miles upstream in the Jordan River, pushing away a few dead bodies from his path. Little Kelvin Landerson - from the North - played one-on-one with Utah basketball legend, Tom Chambers... and won! Roberta Slodginghouseton - from the west - placed 6th place in the regional female ultimate fighting semifinals.

No, the Marathon Man has accepted his fate as a simplistic bedtime tale to be told in mid afternoon to bored housewives. While his accomplishments may be vast (In that 26.2 miles is very vast when compared to say - 8.5 miles), his shining moment has forever dissipated like the fog from a Guns and Roses cover band fog machine. It's been months since he has been recognized on the street. No one ever asks for an autograph anymore. Even Costco is dodging his calls and they will take returns on everything!

If you haven't been able to figure it out already, that 'Marathon Man' was me! I know... I am a little shocked myself. It's been a tough road, these past few months. I feel a little bit like a reality show contestant; I just spent 3 months on an deserted island with nothing but crabs, coconuts and Jeff Probst, and 3 months later, no one remembers me. Of course, I could rebound by doing a stint on Dancing With the Stars, but I would have to insist on having Julie Ann Hough as a dancing partner.

A better plan might be to try and do something even more daring, more cutting edge, more exhausting. Perhaps I could beat up Super Dale or play a rousing game of table tennis with Julie Ann Hough? I just want to be someone again. I am tired of being "that old Marathon Man" guy.

So happy one year anniversary to myself. (No one else is going to wish me one) I think I will spend the day thinking about my past glory or imagining that David Hasselhoff just told Julie Ann and I, "The Hoff says 'You were Hoff the hook! That dance was not one to scHoff at! You two are ready for lift-Hoff! You two should have a seat on the Hoff Tamale Train!'"

Am I mixing up my reality TV shows?

Wax on - (will someone please) Wax Hoff!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some very random Labor Day thoughts.

I signed up to tweet, but I don't tweet. I looked at the benefits of tweeting and the tweeting benefits were few.

My son has pooped his pants three days in a row. That's 2 more days in a row than I have pooped my pants total in the last 10 years.

Did something happen in Provo this weekend? I heard a collective cheer coming from the south. I thought that perhaps they Hogi Yogi was giving away free food.

I am officially addicted to two new shows on TV: Shark Tank and Glee. Glee is fantastic, or at least the first episode was.

The reason I love Glee is that I believe that High School would have been so much more bearable if it involved whimsical Broadway singing as I walked down the hall. Now, I know 'High School Musical' involves whimsical song and dance, but here is the difference - High School Musical is preteen garbage with no redeeming value.

Still no response from Off!.

I watched "Forever Strong" a couple weeks ago. Two things made me laugh: 1. Highland Rugby games were broadcast on the radio?! What station was that on? And Dave Fox did radio for Highland Rugby matches? 2. I went to a couple rugby matches while at Highland and there was MAYBE 20 people there. Amazingly, hundreds showed up for the movie matches.

My order of hateness: 1. BYU 2. Boise State 3. Ohio State 4. Texas 5. Notre Dame

My order of un-hate-ness 1. Utah 2. Penn State 3. Boys II Men 4. Cheese Fries 5. BYU's next opponent.

My Labor Day festivities will include a trip to the Dollar Tree (a former employer of mine). I hope they are having a Labor Day sale.

The other night was Back to School night, which can generally be described as parents wondering, staring and screaming at their kids. Of course, my classroom was different as I treated my parents to sushi and mini sausages and we karaoke'd Neil Diamond songs together.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The true story of Samuel and the creepy janitor.

My second job at Sylvan is remarkably unremarkable. However, I will say that one of my favorite aspects of the job is that I get to interact with kids of all age groups. During one session today, I was tutoring a 5 year old, a 18 year old and a 12 year old at my table. It was at this session that I had the following conversation with the bright-eyed, innocent, ultra-gullible 12 year old boy that just started his first week of Junior High at Bennion.

Once again, I will be playing the role of "me", a strikingly handsome man that has sacrificed a potentially lucrative career in modeling to teach the needy children of Utah. Although this character receives in payment but a trifle of what he is really worth, he continues his good work, hoping someday to be the first Mormon of Jewish decent to obtain Catholic Sainthood.

The child, "Kevin" will be played by Zac Efron, who - although he is 23 years old - will always be 12 in "movie years".

Me: Hey Kevin, how is school going?

Kevin/Zac: Well, it was okay, but... I learned about Samuel today.

Me: Who is Samuel?

Kevin: He is the guy that is stuck in the wall of the school. [This kid is DEAD serious, and is not flinching at all. I can tell that he has totally bought in to this story]

Me: What?

Kevin: Yeah, when the built the school, Samuel was laying concrete for the foundation and walls and he fell in.

Me? Really?

Kevin: Yeah. They would have had to dig the whole thing up and start over, but his family said, "No! He was doing what he loved. When they tear up the school in 50 years, we will give him a proper burial."

Me: Really? Wow!

Kevin: Yeah, it is for sure true. Everyone has known about Samuel for like years and years.

Me: So, I bet he haunts the school then?

Kevin: Yep. And sometimes when you are in the choir room, you can hear him tapping on the walls.

Me: Wow, this is just insane!

Kevin: I know!

Me: You will never believe this.

Kevin: What?

Me: I went to Junior High too. I went to Hillside Junior High. And I remember, I was always hearing these taps on the walls. Especially behind the clay oven in the wood shop.

Kevin: Really? What was it?

Me: I didn't know. But I started asking questions. I could tell my councilor knew more than she was letting on. So, there was this custodian that had been there for like 80 years. He was really old and he had a wooden elbow. Oh, and he would walk up and down the hall with his mop turned sideways, just knocking people over.

Kevin: [This has to be the most gullible kid alive] Huh.

Me: So anyway, one day I ask the custodian about the tapping. He turns to me and says [I use my real grumbly, gruff voice], "Samuel... Samuel... SAMUEL!"

Kevin: What? No way!

Me: I know. And I never told anyone about it. I thought everyone would say I was nuts.

Kevin: Huh

Me: Yeah, and here is the really weird thing: I never knew what "Samuel" meant. At least until we had this conversation RIGHT NOW.

[I show him my arms] Look, I have chills.

Kevin: That is soooo strange. I'll have to tell my teacher about that.

Me: Yeah, you really should.

So easy, yet so satisfying!

Song of the Day: Passion Pit - To Kingdom Come

This Mass. band is fast becoming one of my all time favorites. Their first EP was amazing enough, but they followed it up with a genius of an album that I never tire of. As a matter of fact, this song off their new album, Manners is electric, saucy and icy smooth. I could honestly listen to this song forty five times in a row and it would still leave me aching for more. This is the second Passion Pit song I have upped, but I like this one infinitely more.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dear Off!

Email I just sent to Off! I will keep you updated as to their reply.

Dear Off,

I have always been an enormous fan of your bug detraction products and paraphernalia. I've undoubtedly had an affinity for your bug sprays and creams and gels. Sometimes, when we are heading out the door for a trip into the Rockies, I say to my wife, "Honey, did you bring the Off?". And here's the wacky thing - she always does!!! It's like we're totally on the same length of wave. (That means we think a lot alike)

I am writing you today because I have a question regarding one of your products: the Off Clip-On Fan. In theory, I love this product. You have combined the force of moving air with the force of repelling bugs. That's two forces in one! Most repellents barely have one force going for them. Add one more force and you could rid the world of bugs forever! (Which ultimately may be bad for business)

So my wife and I recently went on a trip to Island Park, Idaho. This is a mosquito infested, larva-coated, smorgasbord of itchy bites. My wife strapped on her kerchief and Off Clip-On and headed out to read a novel. I, on the other hand, lathered every inch of my body in Off repellent (with deet). Seeing the repellent in my hand, my wife also sprayed a bit here and there for bonus protection and coverage. A little bit like a bug insurance policy, minus the $50 co-pay.

We then waited for the feeding frenzy, and boy did it come. Swarms of mosquitoes surrounded our bodies like Japanese bombers attacking Pearl Harbor. Nevertheless, the Off and Off related accessories held strong. Not a single mosquito penetrated our Off force field! Off saved our lives that day in the forest. Saved... our... lives. I owe you my life - Off employee reading this email in your cubicle.

Anyway, here is my question: Not a single mosquito bite, but how much can I attribute to the spray and how much can I attribute to the fan? My wife wore the fan and was not bit. I did not wear the fan, but sat close to my wife and I also did not get bit. Or, now I am shooting fish in a barrel here (metaphore for "shooting from the hip"), but was it the combo of the two?

The next day, I wore the clip out jogging, which proved the be highly uncomfortable and a bit showy, like "Look at me! I can afford a mosquito clip!" Suddenly, much to my dismay, I was bitten... by a mosquito. The fan clip had failed me. (Failed in the sense that it did not protect me. However, it did not fail in the sense that it was keeping my upper left thigh rather cool and refreshed)

So you tell me, person sitting at computer, free from any sort of mosquito infestation and under zero risk of obtaining the West Nile Virus: Was it the clip or the spray that protected us from the swarms of blood suckers that dreadful day in the depths of the forest?

As 'Product and Merchandise Tester' (PAMT) for the Dollar Tree chain of stores, I know a thing or two about what makes a good product tick. Most people think that the only qualification a product must have to be sold in Dollar Tree stores is that it is a "thing". That could not be further from the truth. Dollar Tree merchandise goes through a vigorous process of tests and trials before it hits our shelves. I poke every stuffed teddy, I squeeze every turkey baster, I shake every sparkly pen. Some nights, I leave the office with such sore fingers from all the coloring (in the coloring books), I can barely open my car door.

In spite of my history in product testing, I can not get my finger on this Off Fan Clip thing. I have limited knowledge and skills in the repelling of insects and perhaps that may ultimately prove to me my demise. I hope not.

Thank you for your time and your anticipated response to my query,