Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to get a girl to wait for you.

A 17 year old kid at Sylvan asked me the other day how I got a girl to wait for me while I was on my mission. I am not sure how this conversation started.  I think he was referring to her telling him she wanted to date while he was away.  

I was a bit dumbfounded when he asked me this question.  I had never actually given much thought as to how it happened.  It had happened, and thank goodness that it did.

The young man that had questioned me was himself looking for advice on how to keep a girlfriend while you are away for two years.  At the time, I only told him to "write her letters".  Brilliant!  I thought so too.  

I remember one day in the MTC, my teacher pulled me aside and asked me if I had a girlfriend.  I told him I did and for some reason he took this as a personal challenge to convince me that she was not going to wait.  I recall him saying these immortal words: "She's not going to wait.  Only 1% of girls wait.  You might as well focus on your mission because there is no way she is going to wait,"

The odd thing about this exchange was that I felt focussed and I had only mentioned that I had a girlfriend to a couple other guys in our district.  It was such an odd conversation and if I was focussed before, I certainly was not following the news that, "there was no way she was going to wait."  

Well anyway, she waited and I have given it some thought as to why.  As a gift to my hundreds of readers that are leaving on missions soon, and that also have girlfriends, I present to you a list of suggestions that worked for me.

1. Give the girl just a few personal items to "hang on to".  These don't have to be huge or expensive.  Perhaps a few CD's or a iPod.  Certainly try not to give them something you are too attached to or would be devastated to lose in two years.  After all, only 1% of girls wait.  By giving the girl your old Chicago CD, you are saying, "I trust you and only you to hang onto this for me.  This is not a responsibility I would entrust to just anyone.  Oh, and by the way, listen to 'Love Me Tomorrow' over and over while soaking my picture with your tears."

2. Consistently remind the girl that only 1% of girls wait and she has a chance to be part of that special group.  Girls want to be part of a prestigious club.  The more you stress the 1%, the more they want to be part of it.  Perhaps even giving them a few "Future 1%" stickers to hang around their room would be appropriate.

3. Forbid them to attend BYU, BYU-Idaho or BYU-Hawaii.  These are not good institutions for ladies in waiting.  These places want to brainwash young girls into getting married young.  Further, the boys that attend these places are weak in mind and spirit.  They go out of their way to wine and dine you at the local Hogi Yogi, Coldstone and Brick Oven Pizza place.  If they choose to go to one of these institutions, you did not want to marry them anyway.

4.  Date a girl that is one or two years younger than you.  Lets face it; you increase your odds of her waiting tenfold by simply dating a younger girl.  My girl was one year younger than me and she was in no hurry to get married.  Note: This does not work if you are over the age of 22 when you choose to go on a mission, or for married couples.

5. Be a complete and total stud.  Be such a man that no other man could ever compete with your manness.   This kinda worked for me in that I was lucky enough that the girl did not realize how much man I really am.  Do not, however, refer to yourself as "The King of Awesomeness."   

6. Buy as many "RM Wife in Waiting" tee shirts as you can afford.  Preferably one for each day of the week.  Except Sundays.  Sundays are sacred.  Buy her a "RM in Waiting" pendant to wear around her neck for that day.  Also, have her check the "Waiting for my missionary" website every day.

7.  Every month, send her a tape of inaudible crying and begging.  Make sure she can decipher the words "I love you." and "Don't leave me!".  Ensure that there is a 3:1 ratio of sobs to "I love yous."  The last two minutes of the tape explain that you are totally committed to serving the Lord.

8. Instead of a giant jar with a jellybean for each day that you are gone, give her a giant jar with Cadberry Eggs filled with pictures of you. 

9.  Call your girlfriend on Mother's Day.   Make sure you call your own mom too.  

10.  Give her a CTR ring.    Make sure it is the biggest ring they've got.  Inside the ring inscribe the words, "I would die without you.  No, really, I would literally die on my mission.  If you die on your mission, you go straight to the CK, where I the tables will be turned and I will be waiting for you!"  

What I didn't mention is that the most important thing is to be very, very, very lucky.  

A tour of my hair.

Proof positive that I am a hairy man.

 My lower leg.  If you will notice, the dark layered fur, proudly protruding forth in exclamation of it's thickness.  The roots run deep here.  Deep like the muddy waters of the mighty Mississippi.

My arm hair.  When the wind blows, the thick locks curl in unison, waving together like the dense forest trees of the Amazon river.

My head - no signs of balding... yet.  Also, notice the lush and stodgy brow.  Both lines of bristle reaching out towards each other in desperate hope of collision.  Unibrow or no unibrow, the hair will not be denied of it's rightful place.

That is all of my hair that I feel it is appropriate to share on my blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Countdown - 30 days!

Only 30 days until my beloved Utes shock Michigan!

Only 5 more months until we get our revenge on the Cougars and reclaim the Mountain West title!

Only 6 more months until we go to a BCS bowl, leaving BYU to head to their annual B.S. bowl in Vegas and inspiring signs like these ones:

A conversation I had the other day with a 16 year old girl.

As many of you know, I tutor at Sylvan for a little extra money.  I have mixed feelings about tutoring:  I wish I could have a part time job that did not involve teaching, but at the same time I love working with kids of all different age groups.  I especially like dealing with the teenagers.  They are very different than my first graders and they can actually comprehend many of the sarcastic remarks I throw out.  Unfortunately, they can also be just as brutally honest as my first graders.  I shall provide an example of this henceforth.  In your minds, I shall play the part of "Cheeseboy" and a 16 year old girl will play the part of "Stephanie".  Granted, we should have been worried about her studies and working on identifying similes, but occasionally I will get on a bit of a tangent with a student, as I did here.  Also, this student was much like my first graders in that she could also not identify or comprehend sarcasm.  So anyway, off we go...

(This conversation did actually take place.  However, the names have been changed to protect identities.  Just to set things straight, my name has been changed to CB, or Cheeseboy.  Bethany's name has been changed to Stephanie.)

Stephanie: You know, you really shouldn't wear a white shirt with khaki pants.

CB: What?  Why not?  I see guys wear that all the time.

Stephanie:  Well, maybe some would match.  But yours definitely don't.

CB:  Oh, why?  No, these clothes match.  I even asked my wife before I left and she said they do.  (I almost always have my wife do a spot check for me, just to make sure.)

Stephanie:  Well, they don't.  Sorry.

CB:  What makes you an expert on what matches and what doesn't?

Stephanie:  I just got a job at American Eagle last week.  Plus, someday I want to create my own clothing line.

CB: Fine, fine.  But lets ask some of the girl teachers in the room... (Calling over to another teacher.)  LISA - LISA - Do I match?

Lisa: (Halfheartedly and a bit confused.) Yeah, I'd say you pretty much match.

CB: SEE!  I told you!  I told you!

Stephanie:  I'm just saying, if I were you, I would not wear those pants with that shirt.  Sorry.

- 15 minutes pass - 

CB: What about yellow.  Can guys wear yellow?

Stephanie:  Um, yeah.

CB:  Oh sweet!  I can finally break out my yellow pants I've been saving.

Stephanie:  NO, NO.  I meant shirts.  NOT PANTS.  Yellow pants are not good.

CB: Oh.  Well I can't return them now.  Shop Ko won't take pants back that were on the clearance rack.

Stephanie : (Looking disgusted, totally believing me.) You got them at Shop Ko? 

CB: Yeah. Why?

Stephanie: (Looking down at her book, getting back to work.) No reason.

- 15 minutes pass - 

CB:  You know, I use to be the best dresser around.  They use to call me, "Abe, the babe."

Stephanie: (Laughing) You are not a babe.

CB: Ouch.  Thanks for that.  Well, I did say they USE to call me that... But I totally made that up.  No one has ever called me that.  Oh, and did I mention - ouch.

Stephanie:  Well, what I meant is that your wife probably thinks your a babe.

CB:  Yes, I don't know what is wrong with her eyesight either, but thanks for confirming it for me.

Stephanie: Sorry.

15 minutes pass, the hour is almost up.

CB: If I give you some money, will you buy me some American Eagle clothes that will match for me?

Stephanie:  No.

CB: Why not?  I thought you worked there?

Stephanie:  Yeah, I do, but I am not going to buy your clothes for you!

CB:  How hard could it be, I wear a 32 waist and a XL shirt.

Stephanie:  Well, it's not that I can't... It's just that I don't want to.  

CB: Oh, I see.  Hey, are you the girl that holds the key to the changing room?

Stephanie:  Sometimes.

CB: I thought so.

Stephanie: Why do you ask?

CB: No reason.

Jim Gaffigan Clip of the Week: Salad

If you liked my bit on the salad bar, you will love this 10 times more:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Should I make an attempt at authorship?

Cathi is a left brained person.  I, on the other hand, am completely right brained.  It is difficult for me to think logically or analytically.  I struggle with numbers and patterns.  My right brain, however is a finely tuned machine.  

Cathi loves and excels at games that involve patterns and numbers.  Just try and beat her in a card game involving speed or Boggle.  She will spend hours playing Solitaire or Sodoku.  I tend to gravitate towards creativity games such as Scattergories or Outburst.  I'd rather shove the Soduku book in one ear and out the other than actually attempt one of the puzzles inside.  Why people subject themselves to those things is beyond my rightish brain capabilities.

It is my right brain that has driven me towards this blog.  Since discovering this free, creative outlet, I have been able to allow my right brain expand to new proportions.  Writing these little, pointless ditties has been fun and entertaining others has been my main goal.  However I feel inspired to write something more for myself.  It is like I am joining "The Finer Things Club" and I have only invited myself.  I have considered inviting you all, but more on that in a minute.

My goal is to write a book.  I have deliberated on what kind of book to write. I would love to write a short children's story or a book of short stories.  However, I think that my current mood and desire is to write a short, comic novel.  I have no further details at this time about the content, nor do I have any idea where to start.  Yet this is something I have always wanted to do and there is no better time to start than now.

I do not have any grandiose thoughts of fame or even publication.  In fact, my primary intention is to finish this project for my own selfish needs and to cross the task off my ever-expanding bucket list.  

Writing is like singing in that 50% of Americans think they are good at it, 10% actually are and only 1% are great.  American Idol proves this theory again and again. When it comes to writing, I am not sure what category to place myself, but if I had to guess it would probably be category #1.  I know I come from a family of fine writers including my Grandfather, Father, Brothers and even Cousin. I do not consider myself more skilled  in the textual arts than them in any way.  Nevertheless, I do have some confidence in my use of words, especially when it comes to compelling semantics, quirky humor and engaging storytelling.

I first realized that I might be skilled at writing in college. (I mean, I knew that it was a strength in high school but I never took it seriously.) I was taking a race relations course from the best teacher I have ever had, Dr. Theresa Martinez.  The first assignment we were given was to write a three page paper on our personal race, class and gender.  The assignment was easy for me and I had completed it within an hour.  I didn't give it a second thought and I turned it in the day it was due.

Approximately two weeks later Dr. Martinez stood at the front of the classroom with two of the papers in her hands.  As was customary in her classroom, she selected the two best of the 100 or so papers and read portions of them to the class.  I was stunned when she began reading the first words of my essay.  She did not reveal the author until she was done and I sat in my corner seat, embarrassed and proud at the same time.  What stunned me more than the actual reading was some of the reactions of the students in the classroom.  I looked around to see many of them actively listening to what was being read.  At one particularly emotional and stirring point of my story, there was a collective gasp from the audience.  I was blown away.  My words created that gasp.  They had molded a palpable mood in the room that had many of the people on the edge of their seats.  I never knew that my writing could have that kind of effect on others.

As she completed her reading, the audience burst into applause.  Of course, it may have been the jealous, compulsory type of applause, but it was applause none the less.  I felt a sense of self-assurance I had never felt before as she announced the paper was mine and gracefully walked it over to me.  I took every class she taught and there were several times that she read from my work.  This brought me a newfound confidence and I was humbled by her sincere acclaim.  

From that time forward in my college career, I never received below an A on a piece of writing.  Dr. Martinez had given me the confidence to succeed and even experiment in my writing.  She may never understand what kind impact she had in almost every phase of my life.  I had never had a teacher in all of my youth that I considered "great".  Her influence helped me in my decision to select a career that would make a difference in the lives of others.  I will always be in her debt.

Beyond my love of writing, I have an even deeper love for storytelling.  My favorite classroom activity is to simply sit in front of the students and make up a story; the more outrageous, the better.  I will liven up each chronicle with various voices and humor. I will build the anticipation until it appears that the students are so engrossed that nothing will take their attention from my face.  Most stories end with the children laughing senselessly until their sides hurt.  I had a student teacher last year and she told me that I was the best storyteller she had ever heard and that I could simply tell stories for a living if I wanted to.

I do not tell you these past events to boast.  I am simply explaining the all of the events that built up to my current decision to write a book.  I am still not convinced that I am anything more than an above average writer.  Notwithstanding, I have a strange feeling that my writing efforts, combined with my skill in storytelling may actually result in a tale worth telling.

My plan is to write a chapter a week and post it on my blog.  Please provide any and all feedback on the current chapter.  Furthermore, in order for me to place this personal quest for your viewing pleasure and criticism, I will need some level of dedication on your part.  I need some sense that these entries will actually be read by more than Tammy and Lori and that the feedback will include more than, "That was a good chapter Abe."  If you are interested in me actually posting each chapter for you to read, please put a comment below.  By doing so, you are signing an unseen contract that you will read every entry and provide honest feedback.  If there is not enough interest expressed, I will simply write the book on my own and become rich and famous without you.

As a teacher, I read a ton of children's literature.  A byproduct of all this reading is that I am exposed to a lot of very crappy stories.  I would say that only about 30% of children's literature is worth the time it takes to read it.  Often, when I complete a story, I simply shake my head and wonder - now why was that published?  Is it because the publishers think that kids won't know any better?  On the other hand, there is some truly remarkable and inspiring children's authors that I have learned to love.  I do not want to prove that I am one of the 30%, I just want to prove that I am better than the 70%.   

I have now posted my first semiserious blog post.  It is a very strange feeling.  Do not fear, as I write, I will continue with my cheese posts you have all come to acknowledge and tolerate.  I just read a professional blogger state that people do not want to read more than a couple paragraphs per post, so I am way beyond that limit.  If that is true, you have probably not read this far anyway.  Thus, I will end this dissertation now and simply ask for your feedback about all that I have said.

How many people have our last name?

According to there are about 315 of us Yospe's in the United States.  

Another interesting note, Calder has the least common first name of us all.  There are only about 1,200 Calders in the entire nation.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pants shopping with a woman.

As I previously mentioned, Cathi recently celebrated a birthday.  As a married couple on a teacher's budget, we rarely get any large surprises for each other on our birthdays.  Sometimes we talk about it, but that talk always seems to be reduced to, "I would really just like to go out and get some new clothes."  

Cathi is out getting some new clothes right now.  She deserves whatever clothing she opts to allow grace her body.  However, there is one biyearly clothing charade that digs a craven pit deep inside my gutless guts: The pants purchase.

Most men know exactly of what I speak.  If you have been to a mall with your companion, you have been to hell and back.  It's the same game every time we go; "These pants are kinda cute.  These ones look long enough.  I think I will try these on!"  

I have seen Cathi go into a dressing room with both shoulders loaded with pants 8 deep.  I have seen some of the slacks she has picked out and I have had very high hopes for at least one.  I wait, and wait, and wait until I have been sitting on the stool outside the dressing room for at least 45 minutes.  I realize she has been in there a long time.  That must be a good sign!

The worst store to be stuck in while your loved one unsuccessfully tries on her britches is a women's clothing store with no customary changing room stool and without any sign of a men's section.  You are relegated to the lonely man wondering walk of shame.  Sliding carefully through rows of bras and blouses, occasionally lifting a price tag to look busy.  It seems to always be the same girl that follows you around for a few minutes with her eyes and finally unassumingly blurts out, "Can I help you find something?"  

I swear that this gum snapping, disgustingly skinny, butterfly tattoo'd, overly ambivalent, future spa receptionist, simply moves from one store to another to mock me.  She knows I am waiting for my wife to finish her pants marathon and she is simply messing with my mind.  How I want to say, "Yes, I am looking for anything that is not a doll's dress that might fit your disgustingly frail frame."  Alas, I timidly answer, "No, just waiting for my wife."  Why are these teenage snobby girls so darned intimidating?  

Finally, as my stomach grumbles to warn me of dinner time, my wife emerges from the golden changing room gates; bright eyed and smiling like she just lost a bet.  But what's this - NOTHING?  But she went in there with 45 pairs of pants... NOTHING?  Perhaps she was abducted by pant's stealing aliens while she was in there?  

She has an excuse for every pair; the hips were too wide, the legs too tight, the fly was a button fly.  I ask, "Well what about the Levi's?  I had high hopes for those."  She always sighs before providing the excuse.  It's as if the sigh is the preparing me for the horrible news by providing a buffer of sorts.  "The Levi's were too tight on my thighs."  "Oh", I say.  "Well, we can't have that."  There is 45 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

My favorite excuse is, "Those jeans ride way too low."  This seems to be a fairly common excuse nowadays as low riding jeans have become an unfortunate fashion trend.  My wife is not a plumber and she does not have a large butterfly tattoo on her lower back, thus rendering the low-rider jeans completely useless and unsexy on her.  It is time for this trend to die.

Sometimes there is another man sitting on the changing room bench reserved for men.  We always give each other the obligatory nod.  It's as if we are the two new guys in prison, waiting for our turn in the lunch line.  We do not speak as it may jinx our presence, but we are connected by a common bond that will share for the next 45 minutes.

45 minutes and not a single pair of pants fit.  When I tell this story to other women they say, "You don't even know... you don't even know."  And you know, they are right, I don't know.  Selecting pants is easy for a me.  I know my exact size and which brand fits the best. It is an easy chore to accomplish. It has gotten to the point where I can enter the department store, tell the lady at the counter, "Size 32 Silvertabs please", and she will direct me to a stack.  I will pick the one laying on the top and proclaim, "PANTS SHOPPING DONE!  LET'S GO!"  

When I do actually go into one of those tiny dressing rooms, for some reason I am always concerned about 3 things: The lock, the space below the door and the space above the door.  Why can't they just put a full door that goes to the floor in these things?  I guess I worry about a small child climbing under the door and screaming at the pale, naked man standing before them.  Or even worse, I worry about a tiny, pervert midget looking for a man with extra hairy legs.  They do exist!

While I am changing and I hear someone new entering the changing area, I make sure to give out a few coughs and grunts, just to know that this here area is TAKEN.  Don't even try and open my old west saloon door or look through the semi closed blinds.  

Things have changed at these places since I was growing up.  The doors now have locks and they are controlled by who else - the snobby, teenage, nazi girl.  If I want to try anything on, I have to search the store while yelling, "SKINNY GIRL?  SKINNY GIRL?"  It is tough because sometimes I mistake the clothing racks for the skinny girl.  I once turned bright red when a group of girls caught me asking a metal rack if she might have a key to the fitting room.

Cathi hates shopping, which does not help the situation at all.  She becomes easily frustrated by clothes that do not fit and she will often give up before trying everything on.  There are some stores that I know never to even mention.  Old Navy and the Gap just cannot, for the life of them, produce a pair of pants that will effectively fit her body.  Strangely enough, she finds that Target, of all places, has their finger on her pant needs.  

Of course, there have been the very rare cases when she actually purchased a pair of pants that looked less than flattering on her.  She uses these cases as proof to the frustration of buying pants.  I might say, "Those pants make you look like you sat in a frying pan."  (I don't think I have ever really said that.) To which she would reply, "I know!  I hate these pants!  I told you, I just can't find pants that fit me!  Stupid stores."  I know now this is a path of dialog I do not want to go down ever again.

Fortunately, most of the pants she does eventually select look smashing on her.  In the right pair of jeans, she looks like a sleek, salacious jaguar on the prowl.  I then realize that the quest for the perfect pair of pants is indeed a righteous one that benefits us both.  If I truly desire her to look good, I must endure the hours of affliction outside the waiting room.  This reminds me of a quote that I just made up: Behind every successful women stands a man, browsing for push up bras, while she is trying on pants.

Song of the Day - Dr. Dog - The Girl

Dr. Dog is from Phili and although their name sounds like rappers, they are indeed nothing like rappers.  They blend the sounds of recent times into a 60's vibe.  The result is a super swell taffy like sound that moves you to the core.  Here they are performing on late night with some great chops and sideburns.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Rise and Fall of The Sharper Image - by me.

The Shaper Image has been in business since 1977.  Business was slow at first, but suddenly took off in 1979.  They made their first million that year.  Below is an excerpt from their monthly newsletter detailing the events that sparked the drastic financial upturn.

[Letter is not authentic.  It is a fabrication of my imagination, although any events that actually did occur are by pure coincidence.]

By David Sharper and Engval Image
January 6, 1979

The past year has proven to be an unaccommodating and taxing financial year for The Sharper Image, Inc.  Beyond the strain on the nationwide economy and the burden on the average American, we remain optimistic for our future.  We have some sensational conceptions of where we would like to take our product line in the coming year.

What have we learned this past year?  We have learned a lot about the consumerism of fans.  The small handhold fans are hardly worth the $39.99 we charge.  People also feel self conscious about holding a tiny fan up to their face in public.  We have also learned that there is a very limited market for the underwater fan that increases the swimming speed of the average scuba diver.  As it turns out, divers don't want to hold a large fan while diving.  They would rather use their hands for things like moving scuba equipment, taking pictures, swimming and saving other divers.  Who would have thought?

There were other miscalculations: Our line of tiny travel pillows was discontinued when we learned that airlines were providing a free pillow at no charge!  We also learned that the key hiding rock proved very befuddling to those that have a yard that is a rock garden.  Finally, we completely miscalculated the public's lack of demand for the life size, $2,000 Spidermen.  We may want to rethink the price of those or stop making them of pure granite.  We will continue to offer all of these products, but on a very limited basis.  

Despite our misfortune, we are super charged (with our line of $25.00 alkaline batteries) for the products we have in store for 1979.  There is one particular item that has both Mr. Image and myself hopping with jubilant elation.  A brainchild of one of our MIT trained scientists, this product has the potential to overtake the world.  We feel that it is so full of possibilities, that it will have our competitors scrambling for an answer.  This product will put The Sharper Image on the map.

The future of our company rests upon a product that does the unthinkable - It trims nose hair!  Now clean up the coffee you just spit all over your desk before you read on... Got it?  Okay... allow me to continue.  Not only does it trim nose hair, but it does it with an, now hold onto your seats, ELECTRIC MOTOR!  

Again, we know what you're thinking: What self respecting man sticks a moving blade up his nostrils?  Certainly a valid question.  Well, included in today's newsletter is a free travel sized version of this product.  Give it a try.  If you do not like it, no hair off your nose.  But we have a strong feeling that this will be a smashing success and move our company into an entirely new hemisphere.  Or, dare I say, rhinosphere.

We do not have a name for this product yet. Finding the perfect name has become tiresome and arduous.  As a result, we have created a company-wide competition to find the perfect name.  Please place your ideas in the giant jar on Barb's desk. (Please do not mistake the entry jar on her desk with the other jar that she uses to collect the business cards of all of the crazy people that enter our office with some insane idea for our next catalog.  Like that guy, Daryl Frattenhouse and his demented product, the "self massaging chair".)  Make sure your name is on the back as the winner will receive the entire stock of leftover miniature air purifiers from the October catalog! (The winner will get the 2" model, not the full foot longer.)

And this is not the end of our good news!  As of Friday, David Sharper and I have struck a deal with a magazine entitled, "Skymall."  This is a brand new magazine that will be placed on every Continental flight!  Our consumers will have the opportunity to browse this periodical while they are traveling to Tuscon, Calgary or even Fort Worth.  Our researchers have concluded that people are more bored while flying than ever before.  Many even forget reading material and find themselves desperate for even the slightest entertainment.  Picking up the free magazine in the front pocket of there chair will occur in 90% of continental flights and 72% of transatlantic flights.

What is even more exciting is that our research shows that 60% of airline passengers are bothered by their nose hair during flights of two hours or less.  Apparently, by sitting so close to other passengers with long nose hair, they become more self absorbed by their own nose hair.  The hair begins to tingle and tickle until it becomes such an annoying quagmire that they are relegated to unruly rubbing and picking.  70% of the 60% previously mentioned say that they would happily pay upwards of $50.00 for something that would rid them of this irksome dilemma.  (The research has an accuracy rate of + or - 39%.)  

We feel confident that the strife of the last year will begin to turn into anti-strife and yes, even un-strife.  We appreciate you for all of your hard work and innovative ideas.  However, we feel that this one idea is going to put us over the top of our competition.  While your ideas have counted, they do not count nearly as much as the one George Q. Tweezers had when he thought of this one.  Thank you and sorry.  So here's to a new year of success and glory!


David Sharper and Enval Image
Presidents and CEOs of The Sharper Image


The Shaper Image declared bankruptcy on February 19, 2008.  Consumer insiders state that their downfall was their inability to create an updated method of trimming nose hair in the new millennium.  Of course, their dedication to the giant Spiderman statue did not help either, despite nationwide yearly sales of 7.  

Let it be known that Carlton Schuller won the naming contest for the new product.  His thoughtful and impressive entry "The Nose Hair Trimmer" won critical praise and the lifelong supply of 2 inch air purifiers.  In 1989 he was given a lifetime achievement award by the academy.  He died in 2004 of a hemorrhage to the left fibula.

That is all.  Thank you and good night!

Cheeseboy Book Club: Yes, You're Pregnant, But What About Me?

I know what you're thinking - this book is all about a pregnant woman whining and crying about being pregnant and her husband's whining and crying about her whining and crying about it.  If you think that, you would be only partially right.

This book is much more than a simple memoir about a pregnancy.  Essentially, it is the life story of Kevin Nealon, culminating in the greatest moment of his life; the birth of his son.  The stories are captivating and the humor is spread thick throughout.  

If you enjoy my writing style, you certainly would enjoy this book.  I am not comparing myself to a professional writer. Well in a way, sure I am. What I mean is that he will be telling the main thrust of his story and he will think of another story that is even more engaging than his first story.  He will then go off on a tangent to prove the point that he was trying to make in his first story.  While this sounds frustrating, it is often done with hilarious affect and you become more caught up in the new story than the one he originally started to tell.  He does, however, always return to the main point of the book; his journey from boyhood to fatherhood.  

So, give it a read.  But you don't have to take my word for it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Aldrin Brothers

Lincoln bowed to peer pressure and separated himself of his long locks of love.  In our family, we now have a pair of "Buzz Brothers".  Calder completely approves of Lincoln's new haircut as was referenced by his rubbing of Lincoln's head while saying, "ah, cute."  Together they stand united in their buzzdome, ready to vanquish the world of the woolly man.  

By the way, I received my refund for the scooter today!  Thus ending a week of frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, frustration again and finally elation for ending the frustration.    

The Wacky Wall Walker - WARNING

While researching the below post, I came across the most famed, illustrious breakfast cereal surprise of all time.  - The Wacky Wall Walker!

The best part of opening that brown box of Reeces Peanut Butter Cereal (gross) was pulling out your freshly minted Wacky Wall Walker.  The first few hours of wall walking were the best.  That thing would stick to anything!  You could throw it at your younger brother's forehead and it would hold fast.  At any time in your life, if you owned one of these zany, gooey octopuses, you knew of their shortcomings as a plaything.

They should have come with the following warnings on the plastic wrap:

  • May lose sticky substance within 3 hours of opening.
  • May fall on floor and entrap small particles of dirt and hair into it's sticky substance.
  • It may take you over an hour to pick out each hair that has been entrapped on Wacky Wall Walker.
  • Do not wash Wacky Wall Walker under tap water.  It will rid it of all it's sticky substance.
  • Do not put in sister's hair.  (See previous hair warning above.)
  • Do not allow Wacky Wall Walker to climb on dirty surfaces of any kind.  
  • Do not throw your Wacky Wall Walker on the floor of your bathroom.  
  • To ensure stickiness, do not play with Wacky Wall Walker.
  • Keep Wacky Wall Walker away from children with dirty hands.
  • Store Wacky Wall Walker in an air tight container that is germ free.
  • Do not open Wacky Wall Walker and then place it back in the cereal box.
  • Wacky Wall Walker should not be played with by children under the age of 14.
  • Do not hold one Wacky Wall Walker leg while your buddy holds his other leg and stretches him.  Do not let go - sending the Wacky Wall Walker towards your buddies face, leaving him helpless and likely blinded.
  • If Wacky Wall Walker gets dirt on it, throw it away.  It is a worthless piece of crap that sells cereal.  Once it is dirty, it is useless.
  • Do not play with the Wacky Wall Walker.

80's commercials I loved to hate.

Do you remember some of the old 80's commercials that were played EVERY SATURDAY morning during the cartoons?  You know, the ones that were played during every single commercial break.  You had seen them so many times that they were permanently engrained into your skull.  If you were to put me on a flat table, cut open my skull and look inside my brain, a handful of 80's commercials would probably fall all over the floor.

Here are a couple that I can still recite every word to:

And... Whatever happened to Smurfberry Crunch?  I thought it was fun to eat and a smurfy, fruity breakfast treat.  

I miss seeing this guy every week:

I think I must have seen this commercial over 5,000 times.  (I watched a lot of TV.)  That wise Mr. Owl, he is always a hoot. 

Let us not forget the most important breakthrough ever in  the history of toothpaste dispensers and the predecessor of the Rebok pump - The Colgate Pump!  I remember begging my mom to buy the pump toothpaste, but alas, at an extra $2.00 per bottle, it was not happening.  Oh well, the commercials still made it look really swell:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Strange Disease of the Day: Pica

Pica is the unhealthy desire to eat nonedible items such as clay, dirt, cigarette ash, glue or laundry detergent.

This disease sends cold chills through my spine.  I have eaten clay, dirt and even glue.  In fact, I ate glue just two months ago to see if it would make my first graders laugh.  That reminds me - Note to self: Remember this year that eating glue will not make first graders laugh; it only sparks their curiosity as to what glue tastes like. 

Fortunately, I do not have a desire to eat these items, I just do it for shock effect.  

Pica most often affects pregnant women and children living in third world countries.  I am not pregnant and I don't live in Ogden, so I should be clear and free of this disease.  

However, the other day I did have a strong craving for coconut.  It was such a powerful yearning that I thought about eating some of the boy's sunscreen.  Blessedly, I found a Mounds bar in the kitchen cupboard that must have been 3 years old.  (I know it was that old because it had a promotional wrapper with Chicken Little on it.)  I gobbled up the stale, white flaky candybar and felt refreshed.  Now I feel a little Picish.

If I develop further Pica symptoms, please take me immediately to the nearest mental health facility and check me in for further research.  Oh yes, please also remove any glue, dirt, ash, sunscreen, and especially 3 year old Mounds from my possession.  If I continue to eat these items, I give you permission to pull my plug.  

Corporate advertising slogans that could have also been Jeffrey Dahmer slogans.

(As written and compiled by me.)

10. Eat Fresh!

9. Takes a licking, but keeps on ticking.

8. Got Milk?

7. Where's the beef?

6. Have it your way.

5. Betcha can't eat just one!

4. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

3. Can you hear me now?

2. The other white meat.

1. It's finger lickin' good.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What was really running through my head when I first kissed Cathi.

When Cathi went to girl's camp this past week, the girls were very interested in their leader's first kiss with their husbands.  Cathi was willing to share our enchanting embrace, but as it turns out, teenage girls nowadays are disgusted by the thought of kissing on the first date.  Cathi tried to explain that we had known each other for quite some time before the passion filled smooch.  However, it mattered not.  Apparently, if you kiss someone on the first date it seals your fate as a terrestrial being and ensures your place in the Young Women Hall of Shame.

The story of our first kiss brought back a flood of memories.  I give you my exact thoughts as I leaned in for what would be the first of many kisses... 

(By the way, our ages at the time were 18 & 17.  It was December 23, 1994.  I have not kissed another girls since.)

-- Okay Abe... I think she really likes you... She held your hand and everything after the movie. Oh, and my hand was sooo sweaty.  I should have spread some deodorant on them like I usually do.  But I thought I really had no chance with this girl. She is the cutest, coolest, most sensational girl I have ever dated. I am so stupid!  Why didn't I deodorize my hands?  I should have deodorized my hands.

--She even laughed at your joke at your Adam Sandler impersonation!  Ha ha, that was actually pretty funny, most people would actually laugh at that.... But she did seem to laugh extra hard.  Come to think of it, she laughed at me all night.  That has only ever happened before with my ugly dates.  Remember Debbie?  Oh gross, how could I forget that laugh?  That stomach bouncing with every chuckle - yuck!

--Alright, let's do this!    But look at her.  If I kiss her, she will break my "hottest girl I have ever kissed" record.  And it is not even close! I will have to put up a new plaque with her picture on it.  No, that will not be enough for this girl... She deserves a statue.  Yes, a full fledged statue made of melted plastic roses.  Wow, that is really creepy; I know we made a connection, but I hope she is not reading my mind right now.  If she is, I was totally kidding about that statue comment.  But you knew that because you totally get me.  I wonder is she has some antiperspirant spray in her bathroom?  

--  Okay, deep breath, and here we go.  Lean in - lips at the ready - WAIT! - Pull back!  Retreat! What if she doesn't want to kiss me?  No girl this hot has ever wanted to kiss me.  Why am I kidding myself here?  Maybe she is just a big tease?  Maybe she is one of those girls that goes out with goofy guys just to get a laugh and a free meal at Crown Burger? Hey, if she loves Crown Burger, that automatically makes her cool. - Sigh - Lets just give this a few minutes... I'm not ready.  My hands are the Niagara Falls of hands right now. 

-- Get some confidence here Abe.  Come on.  You have met 311 for goodness sakes!  I bet she has never dated anyone that has met those guys.  You are a killer dancer and a master karaoke artist.  She would be lucky to kiss you.  Then why could I wash my car with my hands right now?

-- We have been sitting here for an hour now.  She is still sitting very close.  What the heck am I waiting for?  Abe, it's time to grow up.  This one is not getting away.  Lets do this!  Just as soon as my hands stop sweating.  I wonder who is winning the Jazz game right now.  Oh geez!  FOCUS ABE!   FOCUS!  Would she notice if I returned from her bathroom with hands that smell like her armpits?  

-- Breath - decent.  B.O. - fine (I think).  Hair - Who cares. Unibrow - shaved last night. Sweaty hands - wiped on pants, better wipe again for safe measure. Oh great... now it looks like I pee'd my pants!  Nevermind that now... It's go time.

-- Lean in slowly... Lips at the ready... and ... What the??? YES!  She is kissing me back!  This is great!  But why is she kissing ME?  Who cares?  This is great!  Just keep on with the kissing.  I wonder if she would like a little thing I made up called the lip curl maneuver? No, I better practice that a few more times on my mirror.  Just play it safe Abe... play it safe.

-- Oh crap.  She is closing her eyes.  Should I be closing my eyes?  I am not very good or experienced at this.  Forget that - If I close my eyes, I can't see her.  What if I close my eyes and then when I open them, I will be back in my bed and this will have all been a dream?  What if she opens her eyes and sees my eyes open?  What if she opens her eyes and realizes she is kissing ME?  I better close my eyes.  Okay, eyes closed.  Not as fun.  

-- Okay... now I wonder how long this is supposed to last?  It is, after all, our first kiss. How long does the average first kiss last? How long did that first kiss last in Back to the Future? What if I have already passed that time limit and she is just waiting for me to stop?   I better end it or she will wonder if I am creepy.  Okay, ready and... wait, no this is no, better stop.  STOP!  

-- Okay stopped.  Wow, that was great.  Wait until I tell Steve!  Wait until I tell everyone!  No, no... I'll just tell Steve.  But wow!  She is so beautiful.  Just look how pretty she is.  I can't mess this one up.  Most likely I will, but I am going to try so hard not to.  And look, she isn't even gagging or vomiting like the other girls.  I am the luckiest boy alive!

The End.  And The Beginning.

Movie Review: The Hammer

I get most of my ideas for movies to watch from .  If the movie has better than a 60% rating, I generally find it worth watching.  If it is less than 50%, it is generally awful.  Between 50-60% is a toss up.  

When I saw a movie staring Adam Carolla received a rating of 71%, I knew there had to be a typo.  I mean, this was Adam Carolla; star of The Man Show and genuine pervert.  However, I was compelled to check it out from the library.  71% was a very favorable review and the critics were very kind.

I had not laughed so hard while watching a movie in a long time.  The dialog was extremely clever and there was an actual plot with deep characters and heartfelt emotion.  

After the movie ended Cathi and I looked at each other and said, "That was actually quite good."  Amazing... Adam Carolla... movie... quite good... who would have guessed?

When it was over, I looked on the back of the case and noticed it was rated R for "mild language".  I remember a few swear words thrown out here and there, but nothing that you would not hear in a PG-13 movie.  

I don't remember a single F bomb, but I am sure that there must have been one.  There was no sex and the only violence was boxing scenes.  There are some major problems with today's movie rating system.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What might happen if Lincoln lost a tooth on Christmas Eve this year...

Tooth Fairy:  Who the heck are you?

Santa:  I'm Santa.  Who are you?

Tooth Fairy:  I am the Tooth Fairy.  

Santa: What the heck is a Tooth Fairy?

TF: I put money under kid's pillows for the teeth that they lose... Now what exactly are you doing?

S:  [mouth full] These cookies are delicious.  They just leave them for me.

TF: Who leaves them for you?  The kids?

S: Yeah, see the note that says, "To Santa". 

TF: Sonofa!  They don't leave me crap!  All I get are these disgusting teeth that fall out of their disgusting mouths.

S: They leave you their teeth?  Why do they do that?

TF:  It's all about the money with the kids nowadays.  It used to be that a quarter will do, but now they want at least a dollar!

S: If you hate it so bad, why don't you just quit?

TF:  Only one more year until I am fully invested.  Plus, they have the best dental insurance I have ever seen.

S:  Oh, I just have the elves do my dental work for me.

TF: Really?  I have been looking for new dentist.

S: Hey, try my guy, Dr. Leppezew.  Give me a call, I'll get you his number.  Here's my card:

TF: Hey, it says here that your name is really Tom Kliner.  Your no Santa!

S: Hey, I've been outsourced.  Santa can't do it all in one night.

TF:  I know what you mean!  But what scares me is that they might give my job to a guy from India named Rasheed.

S: Oh man, you need to talk to your union.  Hey want one of these cookies?

TF:  No sir.  They are larger than my entire body.

S: So how much did you leave the little stinker?

TF: One dollar - he is a pretty good kid - but I hear Rasheed is giving 5 bucks!

S: Oh brother.  You'll never keep up.  Well I left him some nice underoos and a basketball hoop.

TF: That's great.  Hey, how many more do you have tonight? 

S: 500,000 - My route is all of the Salt Lake Valley and Fresno.  And you?

TF: Last one.

S: Dang!  You get off easy.

TF: Christmas Eve is always a slow night.

S: I wish I could say the same.  

The Putridflickator

The Putridflickator - A person that is addicted to awful movies.  

I feel sorry for these people.  They rent every Scary Movie, see every Norbit and discuss the plot of every Bethoven's 2nd until you want to reach into their mouth, pull out their tongue and wrap it around their waist.  

At a function that we were recently invited to, we had the opportunity to view a movie.  The man that provided the movies was a super swell guy and very well intentioned.  He had brought with him a stack full of movies to choose from.  The stack contained the following options:

The Little Rascals (The new one.)
Dennis The Menace
Ghost Dad
The Land Before Time 5
The Super Mario Brothers Movie

Which one would YOU choose?

Granted, this function involved the kids and it needed to be age appropriate, but this was the best he could do.  We looked up and down the pile until blood flowed from our eyes.  It was like trying to pick the best Chinese scooter - you really could not go right!

The funny thing was that when the guy introduced each selection, he would preface it with something like, "Here is a very funny little ditty that the kids will sure find amusing."  Or, "This one has a great moral.  I've seen it several times and I can't get enough."  He is the guy that when given the options at the movie theater this weekend will say, "Hmm, Batman looks too dark... I think I will go see Space Chimp."  When the box office totals are released and you notice that Space Chimp made 3 million dollars, you will understand that there is a small audience out there for this type of crapfest. 

So the next time someone starts having a serious conversation with you about the story line to Howard the Duck or how Tim Allen make THE FUNNIEST MOVIES, stop them in their tracks and tell them to just knock it off.  It is clear that they are suffering from a case of putridflication. 

Friday, July 18, 2008

Watch for me on 2 News - Fresh Air!

2 News came and videotaped Sylvan today.  I am not sure why.  Slowest news day ever maybe?  Anyway, they filmed my table for awhile.  They said it would be on a "5:00 newscast".  They weren't sure if it would be today or another day.  Please watch or DVR every single newscast until you see my face for 3 seconds.  It will totally be worth it.

What does fresh air have to do with a newscast anyway?  What a lame-o slogan.  I think their slogan should be "2 News - We report news."  

I don't do well with conflict.

This whole scooter thing still has me very flustered and stressed out.  I shouldn't be - I got the money back, but I just keep replaying the yelling and the fighting in the showroom and the negative vibe that was there.  Even though everything should be A-O.K. and I watched the guy credit my card, and I even received a receipt, I still won't completely worry free until I see that credit on our credit card bill.  Unfortunately, it can take several days for it to show up.  I guess if it doesn't we can always challenge the charge with our credit card company.  I never want to have to call that place back again!

I could not stop thinking about the entire ordeal last night.  I tossed and turned until I finally got out of bed and took two Tylenol PM's.  Today, my stomach has been tossing and turning.  It has to be all stress related from this incident. 

I hate confrontation.  I back down from it like a shy little orphan girl that is getting adopted by hungry hyenas.  I get befuddled and rattled until I am so overly traumatized that I do not make rational decisions.  I remember once, when I was working at a call center, a man called to complain that he had not received his software kit that he had ordered months ago. Sensing that I was vulnerable to conflict, he totally took advantage of my weakness.  He belittled me and called me every name in the book until my voice was shaking and I was unable to speak.  I should have just hung up on him, but I was new and was worried about having the call monitored.  I should have just hung up on him though.  When the call ended, I had to go out into the hall to compose myself.  But I will never forget that one man.  Some jobs are just not worth the abuse.

In Junior High I was exiting a classroom.  Little did I know that a very large Tongan boy was running down the hallway at full speed.  His face hit the door that I was opening with such force that it knocked him clean over.  I stood frozen in the middle of the hallway, staring at him.  I had never before felt such overwhelming fear.  In my mind I knew I must say something.  Through my throat I let out an inaudible and perplexingly faint "Are you okay?"  

The boy gathered himself, stood up and lifted me by the front of my shirt.  He pinned me against the wall and gave me three solid sucker punches to the gut.  By this time, people had gathered around expecting a full fledged fight.  A full fledged fight was not something I could provide at this time.  

I rolled around on the floor, attempting with ever gasp to regain the air that had been knocked out of me.  My voice became that of a overweight, dying toad as I embarrassingly suffered in the middle of D hall and in front of 50 of my peers.  No, there would be no retaliation.  The boy simply walked off, leaving me in the middle of the floor to face death and humiliation.  I knew from a young age that dealing with conflict was not my thing.

I am lucky to have married Cathi.  She is one tough cookie and does much better in conflict situations.  She does not thrive on it, but at least she keeps her composure.
I am sure the stress will subside as time passes and especially when I see that credit on our credit card bill.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Scooter update -

The scooter wouldn't start again today - twice.  I called my neighbor and we took it back - again.  They said, "It has run out of gas."  Okay, fine, but I totally filled up 20 miles ago.  These things are suppose to get 80-100 MPG.  

My neighbor went with me (he has a truck) and I wanted to get my money back.  They wanted to charge us an 18% restocking fee.  My neighbor was very forceful and even got kicked out of the place.

After much argument with the manager, we got our full refund.

Stay away from Chinese scooters!  I actually think I am going to stay away from scooters all together.  The last couple of nights I have had nightmares of being run over in an intersection or losing control on a turn.  I feel more secure in the confines of 4 doors and a windshield.  Maybe we should start saving for one of those gas saving hybrids.  Only $26,000 more than a scooter!

And what am I going to do with this worthless motorcycle license?  

The DMV - Test... PASSED!

Today was a proud, proud day for me.  I successfully passed the motorcycle license test and am officially licensed to drive a two wheeler in the state of Utah.  
I thought that I was done with taking tests in my life.  Turns out, taking tests is part of God's eternal round.  When you are a born, they give you blood tests.  As a toddler you are tested to get into a good preschool.  I don't need to mention the endless tests you must endure during your school years.  In college, tests become an almost daily part of life.  I had to take two tests to become a teacher.  The worst test is the test I take every year to make sure I know how to successfully give tests!  I believe that there is a test in the works that tests the tests that have been tested to see if there are any irregularities.  

When you get older you get the whole battery of tests:  The eye test, the two finger swoop prostate exam (fortunately, my prostate seems to be repairing itself and I do not need to be subjected to such a test... yet), blood pressure tests, blood-sugar level exams, the list goes on and on.

This test, unfortunately, required a bit of study.  I reserved a special block of time to get my research and study done; the half hour I waited to for the DMV to call our number - number 195,635. 

The computers were down so I took my test the old fashioned way - with a dark piece of coal and a writing board in the corner.  Fortunately, when they saw that I had dark coal dust all around me, they realized their mistake and brought me a piece of pencil and a paper.  

The test started out very odd for me.  The first five answers were B!  How could that be?  I knew I had to have had one of them wrong, but they all seemed so right.  I decided to cut my losses and leave my B's in filled in and in place.  When I got to question six, I was sure to put A.  There was no way possible that they could have six B's in a row.

When I took my test up to be graded, I was reminded of a teacher in high school that would correct the tests as we handed them in.  You were required to stand at his desk and wait while he marked up your answer sheet with a red pencil.  Inevitably, he would hand back your paper and say for all to hear, "72% - Go correct the ones you missed."  This was a great way to get a great grade.  Second chances were always nice.  At the same time, when your average math test score was 65%, it proved to be a very embarrassing situation.

The people in line before me were failing left and right.  The most common phrase at the DMV seems to be, "FAIL!  Do you want to take it again?"  The test taker gets three chances to pass and then they must pay the additional fee.  You would think that would be enough, but the man in front of me was on his third driving test try and only got 59%!  The scary thing is that we saw him get in his car and drive off as we left.

I got an 84% on my first try.  80% was passing.  I felt great, but at the same time I was left a little disconcerted.  By my calculations, I had missed four questions.  I was sure I passed the questions like:  

What is the best head protection for a motorcycle?  
A)  A helmet
B) A handful of potato chips
C) A Darth Vader mask.

But what were the questions I missed?  What if I missed the questions that could eventually keep me alive?  What if I had missed this question? 

When avoiding a crash, you should:
A) Speed up and scream as you sail to your impending death.
B)  Slow down until you come to a complete stop.
C) Drive directly into the oncoming vehicle.

What if I had passed the helmet question, but failed the crash question?  Which one bore more weight?  This wasn't a curved test and each question was weighed equally.  I am not sure if that is a good thing when it comes to motorcycle safety.

It took us an hour and a half to get out of that madhouse.  It took us 45 minutes just to get our "number".  Contrary to popular perception, the DMV people were all very friendly and had a sense of humor.  I think it is because they all get drunk at lunch time so they can play with the alcholizer test.  "Yep, Bob - .07% - Just under the legal amount to take people's pictures with a giant black box."  

I took my scooter back into today for some more minor problems.  It looks like they fixed them, but I am beginning to regret buying a no-name, Chinese brand.  I will keep you updated on it's condition.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Scooter Frenzy!

Well, since the poll held true, and I make all major decisions in life based on polls, I got the scooter.  

It is a 2008 Chinese brand that I cannot pronounce. I think the meaning of the name means "speed demon" but I am not positive. It holds one gallon of gas.  A single gallon.  It cost me 4 bucks to fill her up and will go 80 miles before I have to fill it up again.

This baby is fast too.  I got up to 45 on the way home.  I get a little scared going more than that, but not to worry, I have already got my back road plan to get to school and work.

It was fun to pretend what we were talking about when we bought the thing.  I asked questions like, "What kind of engine is in this thing?"  And, "Where is the crank shaft?"  I have no idea what a crank shaft is, but it made the salesman think, "this guy knows what he is talking about!"   Cathi also asked what "safety features" it had.  He mentioned something about the brakes, but I wanted to know where the airbags came out.  

The bike cost us $1,300.00 and included a helmet and a trunk.  It also included registration and taxes and a 6 month warranty.  It's a good thing, because as soon as I got home, I noticed the fuel gauge wasn't working.  I took it back and watched the guy fix it with some fancy shmantzy tool - a wire hanger!  All seems to be working now and I am set to ride!  I only need to pass a written exam and get it insured.  (It is about $11.00/month to insure.)  I will keep you updated on my test results in future blogs.

Actor in LDS films booked in jail for felony theft

Hey, at least he wasn't in a beer commercial.  Now THAT would have been bad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Salad Bars

I rarely get the salad bar at restaurants.  Too much effort.  "Wait,  I have to get up and prepare my food myself?  Why did I actually go out to dinner again?"

Now they have places that are purely a salad bar.  There is no main course or appetizers, just salad.  Of course, they try and include such salad mainstays such as the shrimp basket or the pizza in the back windows.  This is a great way for fat people to feel like they are doing something to stay on their diet but get their usual calories at the same time.  

One thing I really enjoy is the opportunity to pick my kind of lettuce.  Will it be the dark lettuce or the light, fluffy lettuce today Abe?  I have always wondered, when rabbits are given the choice of dark lettuce and light lettuce, what is their preference?  If I had to guess, I'd say it is 50-50, depending on the rabbit's mood, time of year and their current cholesterol level. And if a rabbit's buddy is out, do they say, "Save some of the dark lettuce for Cal.  He loves that stuff!"

 I always pick the dark lettuce because it is "better for you".  It makes perfect sense to go for the healthy alternative... I tell myself as I pour on 32 ounces of Ranch dressing.  

I am a boiled egg man.  Nothing tastes better than boiled eggs sprinkled atop a heaping pile of vegetables.  Boiled eggs are a risky proposition at a salad bar though.  Who knows how long those things have been sitting in that bowl, atop a few ice crystals?  And who peels these eggs?  Do they come to the salad place prepeeled by sweat shop workers in China?  And if they are prepeeling the eggs, when do they have time to make the Kathy Lee line of clothing?  Or are there a bunch of guys in the kitchen that get together and peel eggs every 10 days... or whenever the eggs are out - whatever comes first?  It seems like it would be a lot of wasted time, just sitting around and peeling eggs.  To save money, they will eventually just put a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the salad bar with a sign that says, "Peel your own damn egg!"  If they ever do this, I will be happy to accommodate as I am truly against underage sweatshop workers in China.

Another bypassable item in the salad bar are the little, round balls of nothing.  Have you seen these things?  They are white, about the size of a marble and taste like a wet rice cake.  This is just filler material for the salad.  It gives the salad some buoyancy, but does little for the flavor. I also hate the beets in that red syrup.  Why in the world would anyone (besides my dad) put that nasty crap on their salad?  Even Dwight Shrute passes on the canned beets in the salad bar line.  

It seems that every time I reach for a cherry tomato, I am unable to fully grasp it with the tongs and it ends up rolling across the floor.  What is the salad bar etiquette for that situation?  Do you pick it up and put it on your own plate or do you place it back in it's proper spot?  Perhaps you should just leave it, or go get a manager?  I am never sure, so I almost always end up picking it up and placing it on my own plate, making sure that it is resting on the very edge of the dish, unable to contaminate the rest of my food.  I am sure when I do this, people are wondering, "Is he really going to eat that?  Didn't it just fall on the floor?"

By the time I have reached my seat, I have dropped the tomato three more times and chased it through the entire establishment, hitting my head on highchairs and tripping over old ladies legs.  It had been quite an ordeal, but at least I have saved myself from embarrassment and shame. 

Another salad bar haphazard is the accidental dropping of one item into the next.  I once dropped a fish cracker into the Blue Cheese dressing and spent the next 25 minutes trying to get it out with a butter knife and a miniature fork. I was very fortunate that the old man behind me was of Asian decent and had been a fisherman most of his life.  He told me of his life in an old Okinawa fishing village and how he had helped a young American boy learn karate once.  As he spoke, he dipped a long strand of noodle into the dressing, stirred three times and pulled out the fish cracker.  Amazing and resourceful at the same time.  What was even more amazing was the fish cracker was struggling to get away.  

If you put tuna fish on a fish cracker, I bet the cracker will be totally disgusted.  Even if you were dead and crusted over, how would you like someone else's guts spread all over you?

By the time I get to the dressing portion of the salad bar, I am exhausted.  I just want to be done with the entire nightmare.  I grab the handle what looks like Ranch dressing and pour one or two ladles on top of my foot tall creation.  Of course, they make the ladle handle two feet long, and with the sneeze guard hanging down like a rigid blockade, it is very difficult to bend your arm in such a way as not to spill the dressing all over the bowl of olives that are six inches away.  And, of course, the word "Light" has been rubbed off the handle of the two foot long ladle from years of wear and tear on silverware death row.  

When I am finally able to sit down and enjoy my massive, thousand calorie creation, I take one bite and realize my fat free dressing mistake... Ugh, gross!  Fat free dressing!  Why do salad bars just assume that everyone goes there is on a diet?  And oh crap... I forgot to get my Diet Coke.  DO I REALLY HAVE TO GET UP AGAIN??

Song of the Day - Rogue Wave - Chicago X 12

OK, youtube won't allow me to embed this video, so here is the link.  It is a pretty funny video, but the song is just genius.

These guys are superb.  They were supposed to open for Death Cab about a month ago at Thanksgiving Point, but they canceled.  I was so bummed.  I would have been even more bummed if I would have had tickets.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What happened to Calder?

Do you remember the episode of Sesame Street in which Cookie Monster sneaks a cookie?  I know what you are thinking: That is every episode, you crazy imbecile!  Well sure, but in the one that I am thinking of, Cookie Monster takes one small bite of a cookie.  In effort to conceal the bite, he tries to round out the rest of the cookie with several more bites.  Of course, the cookie is never again completely balanced and more and more bites were needed.  In the end, Cookie Monster was left with a few crumbs on his plate, wondering how he could allow this to happen.  Riveting television.

Well we decided to get Calder's hair cut yesterday.  What started as a trim became a rapid and
 uncontrollable progression to this:


Looks a lot like Lincoln, doesn't he?  I have noticed that with his new hair style he has much more pointed ears than Lincoln, but even bigger eyes.

He went from this...

To this:


It has taken some getting used to and Cathi was worried at first that he looked like a cancer patient, but it has really grown on us.  It is a little sad because he would get so many compliments on his hair.  But given that he could care less and that the compliments were more for his parent's egos, this hairdo will do just fine for the next couple of months.

Fortunately, he still has his super silly and very determined personality and he is still cute as beans, so we have come to accept it.  I hope, of course, that he is as cute as navy beans and not lima beans, because lima beans are just gross.  I certainly hope he is not as cute as Mr. Bean because that, my friends would be a new low for a 2 year old.

And no Grandma, we have no hard feelings.  You have given our kids so many cute haircuts and saved us so much money over the years, you are allowed this one mistake that turned out to be quite funny.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The cure for what ails me. (My prostate, in case you forgot).

(Thanks Caradee)

My latest hypochondriac scare - the enlarged prostate.

My bishop came up to me today and asked me what my health scare of the week was this week.  Apparently he has been reading my blog and like the rest of you, enjoying a good laugh at my expense.  Of course, he already knew this week's round of paranoia as I had called Cathi in a panic while she was at girls camp and she very happily shared my story with the group.  Apparently, my mental illness has turned into a way for her to entertain others at dinner parties and youth camps.  I don't mind though.  I will do anything for a laugh, even if it means becoming mentally insane and living a jittery, unnerving life; scared silly of death.  Well, laugh it up girls camp girls!  Just wait until YOU think YOUR prostate is enlarged.  You will be singing a different story then.

I was worried about this organ (or is it gland?) for a mighty fine reason:  I had been peeing every one to two hours!  That could not be normal, I thought, and I Googled my one and only symptom.  (Actually, I had another symptom; my stream does not seem to be up to it's usual power, but I was not too concerned about this.  I mean, it is still a decent powered stream.  It's not going to remove paint or anything, but it will do.)  Google, as I have previously learned over and over, is no substitute for a good doctor.

The first thousand or so hits were for enlarged prostate.  I was concerned.  I needed to learn more.  Apparently, it is rare in men under the age of 50, but pay no attention to that fact.  I was convinced.  My symptom fit the description.  I had an enlarged prostate.

My conviction turned to doubt a couple days later, when I realized I was going 8 hours at a time during the night without using the restroom.  My conviction was completely overturned when I went to church and did not pee once in 6 hours.  No, my prostate is probably fine.

This is the weird final analysis:  I was thinking about peeing so much, it was making me need to pee.  I was so worried about having to pee every 2 hours, I subconsciously made myself pee.  Ah, the life of a hypochondriac.  Will it ever end?  Someday it will, when I die of one of the 200 diseases I was sure I had.  

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go pee.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cathi returns with honor.

Cathi is back from her trip with the Young Women.  She said she had a great time and it was much more up her ally than trek.  (Her hatred of trek has been way overblown I think.  It really wasn't that bad, it just wasn't her cup of tea.  Of course, she doesn't drink tea, so nothing is really her cup of tea.  I guess if there was a tea that she liked, it would probably be herbal tea.  So, herbal tea might just be her cup of tea.  I will get back to you.)

It has been strange having Cathi gone so much.  I like to pretend that she is a successful business woman has to go on business trips.  Old, dependable dad gets to stay home and take care of the kids.  When she gets back, she is so grateful that she has such a wonderful husband that takes care of the kids.  Boy, I am an amazing man!  

I took the boys to Cherry Hills with my parents and siblings.  They had a blast, but I am not too fond of the sleeping situation at that place.  You can hear every dog bark, ever child cry and every car drive past.  I had a terrible time sleeping with all these distractions.  But I didn't have nearly the night that Ike and Janna had.  Their kid ate too many Cheetos and puked all over their sleeping bags and tents.  They spent half the night cleaning up the tent.   Poor Jana had vomit all over her sleeping bag. She had to sleep with a wet towel as a blanket the rest of the night. 

Thanks Ike for the tickets!  Thanks Mom and Pa for the rest.  The boys had the time of their lives.  

Finally, my dad sent me this advertisement that he thought was clever.  Lincoln has watched it several times and finds it funny.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stuff you should not own if you are Mormon.

I was commenting on my sister-in-law's blog yesterday, and I thought that subject needed a posting all it's own.  

If you are LDS, and I assume that you most likely are if you are reading my blog, then you need to know not to purchase the below items.  If you are not LDS, thank you for visiting my blog and would you like some missionaries to come visit you?  Just kidding.  Actually, if you are not LDS, most of the same list holds true if you have any friends or extended relatives.

Things you should not own:

1. A boat.  

This one goes without saying.  Sure, boats are generally fun if you like wiping out on water skis and circling a floating man in the water 6 times before he is finally able to grab the rope.  But, a boat is a death wish if you have any sort of youth in your ward.  Every BYC meeting, your name will be brought up as a "potential boat person".  You will then be asked to subject your boat to a week of dragging a "water weenie" full of 6 screaming girls around a lake until one of them gets hurt.   This of course, does not apply to really rich wards in which everyone owns a boat.

As I have mentioned before, boats are always the first thing people bring up in Sunday School when asked the question, "What are some things that people put before God in their lives?"  First answer - boats!  You may have a boat that you have owned for years, never driven on Sunday and rarely drive now.  But in the eyes of most, if you are a boat owner, you are Satan's spawn.  Good luck getting that temple recommend renewed in two years!

2. A pickup truck.  

The first thing the bishop thinks when you pull up in your pickup truck at church is, "Scoutmaster!"  Only men with pickup trucks can tow all that crap up canyons and over rocky mountains.  In addition, every time someone moves in or out, in Elder's Quorum they will say, "hey, Joey's got that pickup truck."  You need to ask yourself - What do I really want to be doing every Saturday morning?

3. A giant snowblower.  

Not a big one here, but if you have one of these, people expect a lot out of you.  One of our older neighbors has one and you can depend on him to go up and down the street during every major snowstorm.  It got so I gave him an hour buffer before I even went out with my shovel.  No use in shoveling if the SB 5000 would be heading down the pavement soon.

During our last big snowstorm of the winter (which was what, like April this year?), there was no sign of the snow killer on wheels.  One of my neighbors actually had the gumption to come and complain to me. "If I had one of those, I would do the whole ward" he had said. Turns out, the old guy had gone out and had a heart attack while getting the snow blower out.  What this shows us is that if you own one of these behemoths and just snow blow your own walk, people will think you are a jerk.  And if you go up and down the street, you better plan on doing that for the rest of your life, or until you have a heart attack.  Whatever comes first.

4. An in ground swimming pool. 


A swimming pool is a stupid thing to own for lots of other reasons, but here is one reason specifically for the LDS crowd. 

Do you really want to have this conversation with your ward scoutmaster?

SM: Can we use your pool to get our swimming merit badge?

You: Uh, yeah, I guess.  When do you want to use it?

SM: Tuesday afternoon at 4:30.  We will have 57 boys there.

You: Hmm, okay.  Well, I have to work until 6:00.

SM: Could we just let ourselves in?  We will clean it up real good like after we are done.

You: How many boys did you say there would be?

SM: 57.  Oh, and they will be wearing pants in the pool.  They have to blow them up like a balloon to make themselves float. 

You: How many leaders will there be?

SM: If you count the Varsity boys as leaders, there will be 10.

You: Are the Varsity boys considered leaders?  How many of them will there be?

SM: Well, according to rule 14-2 of the scouter manual, they can be considered leaders when within 5 miles of the vicinity of their own home. Oh, and there will be 9 of them.

You: So, you, 9 Varsity scouts and 48 regular scouts? Can't you do it at 7:00, when I will be home?

SM: No, the Varsity scouts don't count as the regular scouts.  And we can't do it at 7:00 because there is a Jazz game on that night and the Junior High is having their dance recital.

You: How many boys dance in the dance recital?

SM: None, but they want to go support their friends that are girls.

You: Oh boy.

SM: So, what do you say?

You: Okay. 

SM: Great!  Will you leave the back door open in case we need to to to the bathroom?  I'll make the boys take off their wet long pants before they go in.


5. A summer home within 100 miles.

I am not really sure when the church rule that you can not go more than 100 miles away from SLC came about, but when it did I am sure the sales of summer homes exactly 100 miles away from the SLC area skyrocketed.

Girls camp, scout camp, the ward camp out and nursery camp all have the potential to be held in the back yard... of your summer home!  Just ask Cathi.  She is at someone else's summer home right now for girls camp. 

Of course, I will never have to worry about owning any of these items.  I am a teacher.

Are there any other things I need to add to this list?  Let me know.