Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tomorrow morning I will run a marathon.

Tomorrow is the day.  I feel as prepared as I am going to be.  I have trained and I am probably in the best shape of my life.  

There will be no fanfare, no cheering celebrities, no dancing bears; just a man, his shoes and the road.  All that separates me from this milestone is 26.3 miles.  

I shall awake at 5:00 and will attempt to be done by 8:30 - 9:00.  My plan is to run the entire way, but we will see how my body holds up.  Weather also seems to becoming an issue, but I figure better rain than heat.  

I have measured my route carefully to ensure that I will in fact, run 26.3 miles.  I believe my measurements are spot on.

I will have the key to our ward building, which I will be running by every 3 miles in case I need to use the restroom.  On my final lap, I will call Cathi and let her know I will be home soon.  Apparently, a few neighbors are planning on coming out to welcome me home.  

If I have enough strength, I will blog about this journey tomorrow.  Wish me good luck!  No, no, pray for me!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who am I sir? A Utah Man am I!

If you haven't learned to love to win ugly, you truly haven't loved Utah football.

Don't give me the fact that we stunk in the second half. 

Don't give me the fact that Brian Johnson needs to throw the ball away.

Don't give me the fact that they blew a huge lead.

Don't give me the fact that they had 16 penalties.

They will clean those things up and the schedule only gets easier.  Hey, and no one got injured.

Okay, give me those facts, but I don't care if you are Utah, Appalacian State, Ohio State or USC, a win in the big house is a win in the big house!!  This is the best defense the Utes will play all year, and the Utes pulled it out.


PS - What was the deal with the announcers getting Sakoda's name right the whole time until the end and then calling him Sack-o-da?? 

Friday, August 29, 2008

The first two CD's I ever owned.

My brothers, who begged and pleaded with me to go with them, returned last night from the Boyz II Men concert. I felt bad, but a trip to Orem to see a band that I haven't listened to in years and I am a little embarrassed of actually liking did not sound too appealing.  Apparently, the Boyz are still alive and actually performing, barely.  Here is a great review of the concert by my brother Ike for those that may be interested.  I highly recommend this reading.

His review inspired me to write about my very first purchase of a compact disc.  I believe that it all began in December of 1993.  (It could have been 92 or 91, but I think that it was 93 because that is just what my heart tells me.)  I had just received an enormous stereo system for Christmas, complete with an audio tuner, turntable, tape player, CD player, amplifier and equalizer.  The entire thing took up about a forth of my room and it was my pride and joy. I cherished that system so. I carried pictures of it around in my wallet for heaven's sake!  I gave it baths on it's monthly birthday. 

The day after Christmas, I visited the local Blockbuster music store to select 2 CDs to start my collection.  I had plodded for months about my upcoming selections and I had already made them in my mind.  I left the store that day with a Boyz II Men CD and PM Dawn.  You see, I was 14 years old and I had not discovered what real music was yet.

I must have listened to Motownphilly over 2,000 times.  I would crank it up in my basement bedroom and think up new dance moves.   I had even created a pathetic fantasy in which the Boyz lose one of their members in a street shooting.  They ask me to become the first white Boyz II men member.  The remaining members tell me that it doesn't matter that I am 14, white or without any sexual appeal at all (made the last part up), it is the music that matters.  They just want to do what is best for the music and if that means hiring a pasty whiteboy, so be it.  I even got a souped up flat top with racing stripes to fit in.

I wish I could tell you that the above fantasy was just made up by me now to enhance the story.  As it turns out, this was a very authentic fantasy and every word of it is true.  I forgot to add that by becoming a member of Boyz II Men, I also became the nation's biggest teenage heartthrob, sending girls into utter and complete shock with the very sight of me. I am not sure why or how I remember this entire fantasy sequence.  I guess it was a very big part of my incredibly piteous 14 year old life at the time.  As long as I am putting it all out there, it was also during this time of my life that I would listen to "Casey Casem's weekly top 40" every Sunday afternoon after church.  I would write down every pop tune in order and then make my own "personal" top ten.  Using my tape deck on my new stereo, and after taping my favorite songs from Casey's top 40, I would make my own "Abe's top 40"  in which I would introduce my favorite songs of the week and count them down myself.  I was a stone cold, perfectly formed and mentally weak - dweeb.  

When I had exhausted myself by dancing endlessly to Motownphilly, I would lay in the middle of my room and just relax to PM Dawn's "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss".  I loved how I could skip to the next song so quickly and effortlessly.  I loved the look of the shiny CD as I took it from the case.  I loved everything about the disc experience.

Thankfully, I broke from the bonds of nerdness, grew into my own and created somewhat of a life for myself.  It's a good thing because had Cathi known about my lonely Boyz II Men dance-a-thons in my room, there's no way she would ever have anything to do with me.  Of course, there are some nerd tendencies I will never grow out of, nor do I want to.  

May I present to you, the two best music videos from my first CDs:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The hiring interview of Henry the Octopus by the Wiggle family.

Many of you may not know that The Wiggles began as an Australian pop band, The Cockroaches.  When it became obvious that the band was clearly not going to be successful, the members decided to go an entirely new direction.  I have often wondered how a group of college chums made the jump from wannabe rock stars to singing infantile, irksome chanties.

  At one point the Wiggles added a character named Henry the Octopus to their show.  The following is a script of their first interview with Henry:  (Greg was suspiciously missing from the interview process.  It is believed he excused himself due to the fact that he hates seafood.)

Anthony:  NEXT!

Henry:  Hello, I am Henry the Octopus.  

Jeff:  What is it exactly that you do, Henry?

Henry:  I twirl around and sing.  When I twirl around, my legs spin around me like a tornado.  It's like nothing you've ever seen.  It's like a guy in an octopus costume that spins.  You don't see that every day.

Murray:  Do you dance?

Henry:  Mainly, I just twirl.  Do you want to see me twirl?  My legs spin and...

Jeff:  Yes, we've established that you twirl.  But can you do anything else?  For instance, can you drive a gigantic red car that goes "cho-cho chuga chuga, cho-cho chuga chuga"?

Henry:  No, but when I twirl, my legs go like everywhere and I maintain a smile on my face the entire time.  

Murray:  I think you are a bit much Henry.  I mean our target audience is looking for realistic sea creatures.  I think they are going to get tired of your twirling. 

Henry:  Well, what about that purple dinosaur, Dorothy?  She doesn't do squat.

Jeff:  Hey, Dorothy was a friend of a friend.  I owed him a favor.  Plus, we don't pay her.  She might not even be a real dinosaur.  I think she might be Barney's retarded cousin or something. We're looking into it.

Murray:  Have you had any experience battling evil pirates that have feathers for swords? 

Henry:  You have a pirate with a feathersword on your show??  I am starting to get a little uncomfortable here.  I mean, I can handle myself, but I feel so badly for that dog.  Do you have any idea what it is like to get a beating with a feathersword?  It stings like heck fire!

Jeff:  How are your six shooter, finger wagging dance skills?

Henry:  Not bad, if I had fingers.  I can spin or twirl really well though.  I am allergic to fruit salad though.  I hope that is not a problem.  I make up for it with my spinning and twirling.

Jeff:  Not a problem.  What are your feelings about sharing the spotlight with an overgrown dog named Wags?

Henry:  I like Wags.  Wags and I have a good working relationship.  We don't talk offstage, but we get along great.  Due to my 8 legs, I'll need a bigger dressing room than Wags.  I need extra room to practice all that twirling.  Does Wags twirl?  No?  Good, then yes, I'll need thatbig  dressing room.  

Jeff: Do you like hot potatoes?

Henry:  I hate hot potatoes and cold bananas.  I mainly eat things from the sea, like sea creatures and things. I'm from the sea.  I live in the sea.  I mean, my home is under the sea.

Murray:  Why are you purple?

Henry:  [Looking at his leg] I'm purple?  What are you trying to say?  Is this a racial thing?

Anthony:  Do you have any music experience?

Henry:  I direct an underwater brass band.

Anthony:  You're hired!  

Will someone please check the hearing of our teenagers?

Do the Jonas Brothers count as real music?  What about Miley Cyrus?  In 20 years, what will be more embarrassing, admitting you listened to In-Sync or the Jonas Brothers?  Will Miley Cyrus be this generation's Tiffany?  Will she fall into the depths of obscurity only to be discovered 20 years later on an episode of "The Biggest Loser: Celebrity Edition"?  Or, perhaps in a few years we will find her with her own reality show on E!. - Miley Cyrus (colon) I Want To Be Famous Again, PLEASE MAKE ME FAMOUS AGAIN!!!.

What is truly scary is that when you are old, you tend to listen to the music you listened to as a teenager.  In fact, there is a great stand up bit by Nick Swardson, that predicts that as 80 year olds, my generation will be wondering around in our underwear, looking for our Dr. Dre CD's.  (Warning: Clip has some language issues, most of which are beeped out effectively by Comedy Central.)  

The strange thing is that it is not just preteens that are falling into the premade plastic, made for TV movie music trap.  I hear a lot of 15-17 year old girls professing their love for this crap.  If the Jonas Brothers count as a bonafide boy band, then I am also counting The Wiggles too.  When I ask a teenage girl what kind of music she listens to, and she says The Jonas Brothers, I always ask her if she is a Wiggles fan too.  After all, both shows are on The Disney Channel and both make wonderful tunes for the youth of our world.  Both spend an extraordinary time perfecting their craft and music.  Both make annoyingly catchy music.  They are really one in the same.
What happened to kids with real taste?  When I was a kid, I loved tangible music with real emotion:  Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Weezer and Rage Against the Machine.  Those bands have stood the test of time and have proven themselves great for any era.  Are today's youth really going to feel the same way about Hannah Montana or Aaron Carter?  And who is force feeding this crap to our youth?  It's all an embarrassment.  My rant has ended.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The real reason why I hate BYU, a memoir of my nemesis and his favorite team. (Not really football related.)

When I was 13 years old, I was not much to behold.  I was skinny as a rail, had an acne clad face and as awkward as a drunken, baby giraffe. As a result, I had a very difficult time making any sort of lasting friendships during Junior High.  In fact, I remember spending a lot of time as a library aide, talking to a Chinese foreign exchange student.  

Nevertheless, I did have one good friend that I could cling to in rough times.  He took pity on me and would wait for me to eat lunch.  However, he had another close friend who was extremely cruel and took every opportunity to make fun of my clearly vulnerable awkwardness.  He was of course, a huge BYU fan.  He would take every opportunity to pledge his loyalties to that dreadful place.  Knowing that I was a blossoming U fan, he would never miss a chance to poke fun of my horrendous team.  It had been nearly 20 years since the Utes had beaten BYU and it did not seem likely to change in 1988.

Each and every day, this nemesis would poke fun at my nerdiness or tease me about my ever growing pimple problem.  I was beginning to consider simply eating alone during lunch, or even finding my Chinese friend that spoke very little English.  Either quickly became a better option than taking a constant pounding from the nemesis.  The others at the table had picked up on my vulnerability and had often joined in the harassment.  The entire time my so called "friend" sat silently while I was humiliated.  Junior High was the worst time of my life.

November 22, 1988 was one of the best days of my life.  As I watched the game unfold and the Utes cruise to the first victory, I could just feel Daniel's (That was his name, that evil, sinister boy.) shame and embarrassment melt into my body.  I could feel him eat every last word about my beloved Utes.  I sat at that game, in sheer disbelief that God could turn the tide in my favor, at least for one day.  In my 12 year old eyes, God DID care about football and he was not a Y fan.  The impossible had been done, a miracle had occurred that day and my social life was bound to improve.  Utah 57, BYU 28.  Surely the folks at the table would remember his guarantee and arrogance.  If they didn't, I was going to make sure they did.

I spent the following Sunday clipping article after article about the Ute's thrashing of BYU out of the newspaper.  I clipped and pasted them all onto a 3 foot poster, which I was going to present to Daniel during the lunchtime rush the next day.  My plan was to get everyone's attention, unravel the ode to domination and hand it to him in triumph.  The prepubescent males would whoop and laugh, hopefully directly in his face.  My plan failed.

I was unable to garner much attention of anyone.  I was not even a rung on the Junior High social totem pole. I was below the rungs.  I was the dirt below the rungs.  I was rung dirt.  Rung dirt with bad acne to be precise.  Wait, totem poles don't have rungs, ladders have rungs.  I am totally mixing my cliche metaphors.  What do totem poles have?  Heads?  Animals?  Maybe some totem poles have rungs?  That would be a really boring totem pole, just rungs of a ladder.  It would make it extra easy for indians to climb though.  I wonder if that is how that indians invented ladders?  Interesting thought, me.

After trying unsuccessfully to catch the attention of anyone but my silent friend, I simply handed Daniel the home made poster and laughed at him.  He sat, unflinching and in silence while he held the cardboard facial in his hands.  He began to chuckle.  I was a bit disturbed.  He then stood up and in front of the group and while holding my hard work over his head, he shouted, "Oh my goodness, look what Abe did!  Look how much time he spent on this crap!  What a loser!"  

The words stung, but not as much as the laughter.  Daniel then ripped up my poster and threw it in the trash.  It was like a sick scene from a painful high school movie.  I sat down and buried my face in the table.  I will say it again, Junior High sucks.

Every time the Utes beat BYU, I cherish the event with extra tenacity.  With every victory over their rivals, it is as if I am renewed.  I imagine Daniel, sitting in his parents basement where he probably lives, clutching the edge of his couch and yelling at the television.  How could his cougars let him down?  How could they lose to their lesser and evil rival again?  Every time Utah beats BYU, I think, "My tithing dollars might go to the Y, but that doesn't mean that God is a Y fan."  And then I think, "I hope Daniel is watching every minute of this."

A few days later I broke both my legs and was out of school for a year.  (Of course, BYU beat Utah 71-32 the following year.)  When I returned, it was nearly time for High School and I thought my issues with Daniel had come to an end.

As luck would have it, in High School I was the last to be cut from the basketball team.  Daniel, on the other hand, was the last person to make the team.  Also, the first time I asked a girl out to a dance, she rejected me.  Of course, Daniel had already asked her.  I spent the night alone.

In conclusion - GO UTES!

Song of the Day: Editors - All Sparks

My friend Jess pointed me in this band's direction.  Often referred to as "geek rock", their stuff is amazing.  It's not just for geeks like myself.  Here is a live show I found of one of their best songs:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watching a morning waltz by a teenager and a dying bird.

I must say that it was a very idiosyncratic, very surreal day in the life of Cheeseboy today.  I woke up eager to get the school year started right, but was stopped short 20 feet out of my driveway.

There is a 13 year old, moppy haired, dopey kid that lives up the street from us.  However, he really is a nice kid and I even tutored him for a bit while he was in 6th grade.  As I am driving down the street, he flags me down.  "ABE, ABE!  STOP!"  Worried for his well being, I pull over in a lurch.  "Nick, what is it?  What's the matter?"  He says, "There is a bird in the middle of the road and it won't move!  I am afraid that the magpies will get it."

Now I am not sure of magpie rituals or habits but the magpies were clearly swirling overhead.  I am also not sure if magpies will eat other birds or if they were just tormenting it, but Nick was overly concerned for it's safety.  Clearly, I need to update my knowledge of what magpies actually do.  What is their purpose?  Are they simply bird bullies?  I inform Nick that I don't have time for this.  "Nick, this is the first day of school.  I really need to get going." But the look of dread on Nick's face was too much.

Flustered, I quickly get out of the vehicle.  I am now on a rescue mission to save a perishing, marooned sky rat.  "I am not sure what you want me to do Nick?  I am NOT TOUCHING THAT THING!", I say as I stand, semi-hunched over the bird while Nick circles it.  The boy, clearly unafraid of catching the bird flu informs me that he has an idea.

The dance begins with the 13 year old squirt placing his foot out in front of the bird, introducing it as a sort of a size 10 Nike perch for the fledging sky creature.  "What is it that you plan to do Nick?" I ask.  "You'll see", he replies, while he steadies his other foot.  He then uses his second foot as a sort of scooting system, gently shoving the bird onto the shoelaced perch.  Once the injured bird is comfortably on his shoe, he slides gracefully through the street like an injured pedestrian that just so happens to have a large fowl on the tip of his shoe.

The dance finally ends as he reaches the grassy parking strip and dumps the bird in a heap.  The bird falls, gathers itself and then immediately flies into the nearest tree.  We look at each other, stunned.  Why didn't the bird just fly into the tree into the first place?  Why go through this entire Junior High charade?  The best I can figure is that it was a bird with a sinister sense of humor.  He was probably up in that tree, laughing his tail feathers off at us.  He probably even had his bird buddies take pictures of the whole polka and place them on his bird blog, The Blog O' Bird.  

The event came to a close as I said, "Gotta go Nick.  See you later."  Nick however, still had his eyes in the trees.  He was watching the magpies circle the nearby house.  Instead of saying goodbye as I drove off, he simply said, "Geez, I hope those magpies leave that bird alone!"  He was still standing there, eyes on the skies when I reached the corner.  I am sure he was late for Junior High.  

I need to start taking a camera wherever I go.

The first day of school is always torture for a First Grade teacher..

Want to know what my first day with the kids was like today, check out this article today by Robert Kirby.

(Unfortunately, I have about 5 "Kirby's" in my class this year.  I already miss my class from last year.)

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

Monday, August 25, 2008

My experience with telling people my dreams. Oh, and I share a dream.

I have never been one to freely share my dreams.  In fact, when people start to tell me about a dream they have, I quickly lose interest.  More often than not, the dream story never actually gets interesting and soon I am thinking things like "Can I talk Cathi into going to Crown Burger tonight?" Or, "I wonder where that sticky crap on the bottom of my shoes came from."  Nevertheless, I found my dream last night to be captivating and quite funny.  If you begin to drowse off while you read, then I have indeed become one of the same boring dream tellers that I loath.  No doubt I will give it my best shot anyway.

Before I delve into last night's dream, let me first explain why I am a bit hesitant to share my dreams.  First, I am quite a dreamer.  If I were to share every bizarre or disturbing nightmare I have, people would run from this board in terror.  It seems that every night I am caught inside some sort of odd story inside my brain.  Secondly, the last time I truly shared a dream, I was ridiculed and embarrassed.  I was a 15 year old scout.  Let me explain further.

I was on a weeklong hike in the high Uintah's with the Varsity Scouts.  We had hiked nonstop nearly all day long for three straight days and my body and mind were completely exhausted.  That third night I had a dream that my hiking partner, Alex, legs and arms had been removed.  He had also been transformed into a hiking backpack, straps and all.  Worst of all, he was shirtless and had grown very large breasts.  In my dream we had all stopped for a quick break.  When it was time to leave, I looked over at Alex and reminded him that it was time to go.  I was horrified to see him limbless and with large bosoms.  I quickly ran away in fear as the backpack boy screamed, "YOU"RE NOT GOING TO JUST LEAVE ME HERE!  YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME!"  

In retrospect, it might have been a very good idea to just keep this dream to myself; especially considering the current company that I was keeping on this trip.  Needless to say, this story garnered a considerable amount of laughs and I was soon fell victim to much ribbing.  Every time it was time to leave, the fellas would call out, "Abe, do you want to check on Alex before we leave?"  Or, "Abe, you might want to carry Alex some of the way."  I don't believe I have shared a dream with anyone but my wife since.  Until now.
In our district the First Graders did not attend school today.  They simply came with their parents for a quick interview and conference.  It is simply a "get to know you and let me introduce our curriculum" session. And so...

Last night I had another dream. I guess that my mind was focussed on today's interviews.  In my dream the first child ventured into my classroom with his mother.  Not unusually, the mother informed me that her son had ADHD.  I told her that was fine and we would work extra hard with him.  The dream then became a series of quick clips and flashes from proceeding interviews. 

Flash to the next interview.  I find myself asking the mother the following question:  "So how long has he been missing his arm?"  Flash to the next interview.  I ask the mom, "So if he brings the knife to school again, what do I do with it?"  Each interview gets more and more complicated and the kid has more and more problems.  Finally, flash to the last interview.

The mother of the final child wheels him in on a gurney.  I find myself asking her, "So how long has he been in the coma?"  She informs me that "he has only been in a coma for a couple weeks, but should be waking up at any time."  She continues that he "should not be a distraction.  Just wheel him into the corner."  I find myself thinking that this is going to be a very long year.

I finally woke up after what seems like a marathon of a dream.  Fortunately, there were no limbless or comatose children that I met today.  

Happy first days and a welcome to my ever growing viewership.

Welcome to the 3 or 4 school moms (and their husbands) that I found out today were secretly reading my blog through the summer!  A special shout out goes out to the mom that told me today that I was "hilarious" and another shout out to the mom that told me her that her husband gets mad if I miss a day blogging.  This is the first and last "shout outs" that I will ever give on my blog, so it is a time to rejoice.  Here's to you - cool moms!  Last year I really had the most rad moms ever.  Bless you for your support.  By the way, feel free to comment.  Right now Kerianne comments represent all of the West Jordan Elementary moms.  While her comments are generally interesting and valid, I welcome any and all feedback from my current and former parents.

It appears that my readership/subscribership just keeps growing and growing.  What with my Bishop, boss, moms from my school, neighbors and especially my own mom now regularly reading these words, I must be very, very careful in what I say.

Speaking of "Welcome", a teammate of mine today pointed out to me that my bulletin board actually said "Welcolm to First Grade".  Ugh!  About ten moms had already come into my room for their Parent Teacher Conferences.  I hurried down to the supply room and made an E to add to Welcome.  However, as I type this, I realize that my bulletin board now says, "Welcolme to First Grade."  Oh geez -  And now every mom has seen it.  What a first impression to make - My daughters teacher doesn't know how to spell "Welcome."  That is why, when possible, I always have a mom helper do my bulletin boards.  (By the way, it also just took me about 5 attempts to correctly spell the word "bulletin".

I have noticed that the hip thing to do today is post a picture of your kid on your blog on their first day of school.  Not to be outdone by other Mom blogs, or Daddy blogs, here is a picture of my boys, only one of which is headed to school:

Lincoln must have had a great day because he was still awake at 9:30.  (He went to bed at 8:30.) I went in and asked him why and he had a big smile on his face.  He said, "I am just too excited to go back to school tomorrow!"  He has a really nice teacher and I had a few classes with her at Westminster so I know she is well trained.

I just completed a 6 mile run in the wind and smoke.  God should put a warning label on the mountains.  "Warning: Inhaling smoke from the mountain may cause wheezing and death to joggers."  I am not sure where the fire was, I heard somewhere up in Draper, but if felt like I was running through the ashes of a campfire.  After I peeled the final layer of ash off my body, I actually felt a little like this lady.  

***My thanks to The Soup for this clip.  However, no thanks to that beeotch, Tyra Banks who still has not returned my emails or calls.  I thought that with her questionable morals and desperate producers, I would at least receive a hint of interest.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Movie Review: Be Kind, Rewind

Just a quick rundown on the plot of this flick:

Danny Glover owns a movie rental shop that specializes in renting old VHS tapes.  He has two buffoon like imbeciles that work for him, Jack Black and Mos Def.  Glover leaves them in charge of the shop while he goes on a short getaway to find out more about the DVD rental business works.

Both of the morons are close to being certifiably insane.  In fact, I never was sure if they were supposed to be mentally handicapped or not. Jack Black's character gets electrocuted while attempting to shut down the power plant.  He then comes into the video shop the next day and is clearly magnetized. The magnetization completely erases every movie in the store.  Unbelievable?  I have only just begun.

People begin to come into the store and ask for specific movies.  This is where the movie actually gets quite hilarious.  Instead of just telling the customers about the mishap, they tell them to come back in the evening.  During the day, the two boneheads go out and try and videotape their own version of the requested movie, the two best being "Ghostbusters" and "Rush Hour 2".  Watching Black and Def recreate famous scenes from those two movies is just about as entertaining as it gets.  I would recommend this movie simply to watch the ludicrously hairbrained flicks that Black and Def make.

Inexplicably, people actually LIKE the movies that they make!  Again, inexplicably.  They begin to make loads and loads of money on their homemade remakes.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie gets a little bogged down by the sheer unbelievability of it all.  You can tell that the director strives to keep this movie from falling into a deft of comic movie cliches.  However, in the process he loses all sense of story and much of the film just comes off as weird.  But again, without a doubt, the middle of the film is clearly worth the rest of the film's downfalls.  

By the way - this picture is of Jack Black recreating a scene from Robocop.  Ha ha!  There are some pretty funny parts in this movie.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Men's Synchronized Swimming - It's a shame that it never became a sanctioned Olympic sport.

I was watching a little synchro swim today on the NBC Olympic channel, hosted by Bob Costas.  I was impressed with how in synch synchronized swimmers can be. It's like they are a female version of the Backstreet Boys, but they do their dancing underwater.  I was reminded of this classic swim from 84'.  One of the most impressive routines of all time.

(By the way, Christopher Guest in this video is DEFINITELY warming up for his Corky chararcter on Waiting For Guffman.)

You may find the video here.

**Note: I had posted this video on the Blog O' Cheese, but every time I would open this here Blog O Cheese the video would play automatically.  You may have noticed this also.  It was VERY annoying.  Thus, I just posted the link if you want to watch it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Come on' over to Peter Piper Pizza and other lost places from my youth.

In the past, I have mentioned some of the places I frequented as a kid and how they are all disappearing.  I have made a mental list of some of these locations and I shall now share them with the world.  Let's take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?

1.  Then: The 49th Street Galleria - Built in 1983 and later renamed the Fun Dome, this building was the only spot in the valley that you could rent skates, play laser tag, get a strike, get accosted by gang members and contract an STD all in the same place.

Now: It seemed so far away growing up, but now the spot is just a few blocks away.  It was supposed to be turned into a restaurant hub with 7 or 8 restaurants, but I believe it is now the Utah Pet Center.

2. The Sports Park - This was a great place, just off the freeway around 9000 South.  It was a sort of precursor to Boondocks.  It had a go-cart track, bumper boats and batting cages.  My mom would drop my friend and I off there and we would spend all day on the go-cart track.  This was strictly a place for boys to be boys.  I don't know how many coins we dropped into the video games there.  

Now: I have no idea.  Maybe a used car lot?  Speaking of video games...

3. Peter Piper Pizza - Home to the world's worst pizza.  The crust was always burnt, we would often find hairs in the cheese and once the tomato sauce smelled like cottage cheese.  Nevertheless, I spent countless hours there as a boy, cranking quarters into the machines and earning all sorts of tickets.  My friend down the street would pay for it all using his endless supply of quarters.  We collected so many tickets as a group that we were able to exchange them for a $200 boom box.  It turns out that  my buddy was stealing his Grandpa's quarters from his quarter collection.  We were suspicious, but we were not about to turn him in for fear that our free pizza play dates would come to an end.  And who could forget the old chef saying, "SO C'MON OVER TO PETER PIPER PIZZA!"

Now:  A Patagonia store, I think.  Also, Big Brown Bear's burgers and dogs was around the corner and I think that is now a coffee shop.  Big Brown Bear's - home to the burger topped with a hotdog.  Like no one had ever tried that before.

4. Swimming pools - The old South High Pool, the Sugarhouse waterslide, and the Higea pool.

Now: Salt Lake Community College, a Wendy's and an Outback Steakhouse.  

5.  The University of Utah golf course - I've played this course more than any other by a landslide.  Even though I haven't played it in years, it will be missed.

Now:  Future home to more ugly buildings.

6.  The old dirt track.  My buddies and I were on our way there when I was abruptly struck by a car, but that is a story for another day.  Our BMX track was awesome.  It had 4 different trails to take and the all ended with a giant, sloped turnaround.  Each trail had different challenges.  I bent the fork of my bicycle on that track at least twice going off jumps.  

Now:  A giant condo unit.  Shame.

7.  The Blockbuster music store - Every other Friday when we got paid, my friend and I would cash our checks and head straight to the Blockbuster music store.  We would buy at least two CD's, sometimes more.  We would then hop into his old jeep and pop them in our Discmen and start enjoying.  Through this method I was able to accumulate a collection of more than 200 CDs.  

Now: A Blockbuster video

8. The old Taco Bell on 21st South.  Back in the day, this was a huge hangout for my high school.  It was truly an old school taco bell, complete with a viewing area so that you could see your tacos getting made by the same punk kids you went to high school with.  Often, I would wonder if I really wanted my taco to be handled by a kid I knew.  In the end, it didn't matter.  Taco Bell was going to make me ill one way or another.  

Now:  I want to say a dry cleaning place.

9. The softball field below our church (a.k.a. "the gully") -  I have such fond memories of this old field.  Every summer we would borrow some unsuspecting dad's weed wacker and lawn mower and mow down the weeds in the field.  I recall one friend getting grounded for weeks because he completely dulled the blades on his dad's mower.  Once we had the weeds down to a manageable length, we would play hours upon hours of softball.  That is perhaps how our ward became the softball champions that we were.  The left field fence was a  perfect distance and by the time we we all 14, we could launch balls over it with ease.  We didn't care when the weeds grew back, it just meant that we could spend the night playing capture the flag.  Surrounded by trees and rocks, it was a early teenage boy's dream playground.  I may have spent a quarter of my life between the ages of 13-16 down in that gully.  If you have ever seen the movie "The Sandlot", this was our perfect sandlot.

Now: The church has actually remodeled the field, introducing a beautiful pavilion and lush grass.  We would have hated it though.  The pavilion is centered directly in right field. We would have been constantly running into picnic tables. 

10.  The Salt Palace - Some of my most fond memories with my father occurred in this old, oval crap hole.  As the oldest boy, I was spoiled in that I was the only one remotely old enough to understand basketball.  Thus, my dad took me to ever game, or so it seemed.  I remember walking up the long, twisted ramp to get to our seats.  I recall just enjoying the game as I sat next to my dad.  Once, I stood on my chair and pulled down a miniball, only to have the man behind me spill beer all over me.  My dad was so patient and helpful, taking me to the bathroom and drying me off.  I am not sure how he pulled this off, but after the game he took me down into the tunnels where we met some Jazz personnel.  He explained the situation and we were able to exchange the miniball for a free Jazz jersey.  So cool.

I loved going to the games with my dad.  I remember once the Jazz being down by 8 with just 45 seconds to play.  Darrell Griffith hit three 3 pointers in a row and the Jazz won at the buzzer.  I remember jumping up and down with my dad and hugging him as the crowd went berserk.  And we would always stop for the free fries at Hardies if the Jazz held their opponent under 100 points.  (Speaking of Hardees, that is another place that is no longer around.)
Back in those days, there were no cheerleaders, Jazz bears or even fireworks.  We only had the Jazz band to keep the energy up.  My dad and I would always make fun of the Jazz band.  Once, after a game as we were traveling back to our car, we met some of the band.  I must have been all of 11 years old.  Jokingly, I asked for one of the band member's autographs.  He seemed genuinely excited and came over to give it to me.  Flustered, I did not know what to say, so I simply said, "Uh, I was just kidding."  As the band member sadly walked away, I recall my dad just chuckling and telling me that it was funny.  Great times.

Now: The convention center.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sometimes I can be such a smart-aleck punk and sometimes, unfortunately I can't.

I am not sure my Principal likes me at the beginning of the year.  I have become a master of the well placed funny antidote during our faculty meetings.  I have found that you can get away with saying almost anything if you say it with enough innocence.  Let me provide you with a couple of examples.  

My Principal was discussing what to do if a child brings medicine to school. Every year we have the same chat - Send any medicine to the office.  But what about an inhaler?  Those the child can keep them in their backpack.  Well, what about cough drops?  No, a child can have cough drops.  They are fine.  So I chime in - "Well what about a nicotine patch?  Do I send those to the office?"  My Principal is great, he always gives me the same grin and just shakes his head.

During a separate meeting, my Principal was discussing our budgets.  He stated,  "The district only gives us $76.00 a year for nursing supplies.  I couldn't resist, so I chimed in, "Do we have a lot of teachers that are nursing?  What do they need, like a pump or two?"  Again with the grin and the nod.  

Finally, and thankfully I don't think my Principal heard this one, during our yearly sexual harassment powerpoint, there was a slide that read "Men can harass men, woman can harass women, men can harass women and women can harass men.  I asked, "Who do transvestites harass?"  

Knowing that my Principal occasionally reads my blog, I am hoping that he will find this post humorous.  I don't think that my comments are ordinarily out of line or inappropriate, so I think I am safe.

The best people in the world to make laugh is a room full of women.  I'm not sure, but it is a lot easier than cracking jokes for say, the Elders Quorum.  During EQ I tend to keep my wise butt comments to myself.  Perhaps I should start speaking up and spreading my wisdom with the rest of the world? Perhaps not.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Chinese aren't just cheating in gymnastics.

As you know by now, I am not a huge Olympic guy.  These Olympics have been made even worse for me by those lying, cheating, medal hungry Chinese.  How dare they have the gall to throw out a bunch of 12 year old girls onto the balance beam and tell them to have the poise and confidence of a mature adult?  It disgusts me and if it doesn't disgust you,  you need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Where do I take my shallow, unfulfilling life from here?"  

Even the appearance of impropriety by the host countries "woman's" gymnastic team has me second guessing their success in every event now.  I have come up with a dozen or so (depending on how many I really come up with in a few minutes) potential cheating violations that the Chinese might be covering up in order to secure the medal count.  I am sending this list to the IOC for their further investigation.  If found guilty of any or all of these violations, I expect a full written apology to the United States of America, written by the little girl that lip-synced the Olympic anthem.  I also expect them to forfeit all medals, throw them in a gigantic heap, melt them down and remold them into one ten foot high medal which they will give to America to be hung around the Statue of Liberty's neck.  The inscription on the medal should read. "In our shame and humility, we present to Lady Liberty her rightful medals for which she is legally and lawfully worthy of as we have cheated our way through our own Olympics."  Anyway, a list of possible swindles by the Chinese:

1.  In the summer of 06, Yao Ming received unauthorized finger extensions.  Unfortunately, it did not help him beat the US, or become a better ballplayer at all.  His fingers, however, did cause quite an uproar at the Ming family reunion arm wresting championships/kite flying events.

2.  The Chinese are known to cork their ping-pong paddles. 

3. The Chinese equestrian horses are clearly on steroids.

4. In beach volleyball, the opponent's sand has been replaced with kitty litter.

5. Rowing is a lot easier and less intimidating if your paddles have not secretly had a Hello Kitty painted on the end.

6.  In Judo, the Chinese team advocates the "sweep the leg" technique and boisterously screams "Put him in a body bag Johnny!"   

7. Speaking of inappropriate comments, during fencing the Chinese are known to taunt the Americans by chanting, "Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die."  Ruthless tactics.

8.  The Chinese women are always leaving the penalty box 3 seconds early in field hockey.

9. The chalk that weightlifters are using is secretly replaced with petroleum jelly.

10.  The Chinese women weightlifters have male genitalia.

11.  In archery, they replace the normal Chinese targets with pictures ones with a picture of George W. Bush.  

12.  The Chinese always do really well in windsurfing and sailing events because Beijing is just west of the ocean and Beijing sucks.

Song of the Day: Shiny Toy Guns - Don't Cry Out

I started listening to this band as soon as their album came out about a year ago and I must say, at first listen their album surprised me at every turn.  They have a polished sound and even though they might be a little too emmo for some, I just can't get enough.  Last weekend I heard one of their tunes on      X-96 and their videos have been huge hits throughout the various music video channels.  Despite their overwhelming popularity of late, I can still appreciate them.  Their music definitely has a bit of an 80 Thompson Twins vibe.

This is not my favorite song they sing.  "You Are The One" is their best, but every single one of those videos are not allowed to be embedded.  So the song of the day is another decent effort.

FYI - I originally put "On a Rainy Monday" as the song of the day, but I like this song a lot more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My letter to Tyra Banks

Letter sent today at 10:30 PM.

Dear Tyra,

Let me first just admit that the internet is not ruining my love life. I clicked on that link on your site because I could not find another way of contacting you.  You may want to add a link on your site called, "Awesome guys willing to share their awesomeness with the world."  I would have certainly clicked on that link. If getting on your show means admitting that the internet is ruining your life, than let me just tell you that a pop-up add once murdered my Great Aunt.

My cherished Tyra, your show is a theatrical mishmash of ravishing trumpery and haughty demigodness.  Your dialog is impeccable and your screen presence has reached mythically groundless proportions.  During your show, you have helped an enormous amount of people find comfort by "embracing your B.F.A." (Big Fat Ass) and providing a guide for "gossip girls".  You are a truly a gift.  It is because of you that I have finally been able to embrace my BFA.  

Tyra, I have tried to contact two of your competitors, Dr. Phil and Oprah, to no avail.  My original hope was to have my first book in the prestigious Oprah book club.  I am not sure if it is the fact that the book has not yet been written or that I referred to her as a bit portly, but much to my dismay, my email went unanswered.  I have lost all respect for her BFA.   

Dr. Phil ignored my pleas as well.  I am not sure what his deal was; maybe he had a rough day consoling the rich and famous? His BFA is dead to me!  

Thus, my voice cries out in hope to you Tyra.  Please be inspired by my words of wonder and questioning.  If you currently lack inspiration, when you read these words, imagine that Morgan Freeman is reading them to you.  I find that everything is more inspirational when read in your brain in the imaginary voice of Mr. Freeman.

I realize that you currently do not have a book club on your little show.  However, what better way to denounce your reputation as a cumbersome, ditsy, person; completely hollow and without soul - excuse of a talk show host?  What better way to earn some respect to the silly circus you've got going on there?  I have even thought of a name for the book club on your show: "The Book Banks".  

If you are not willing to place my book in your yet to be established book club, perhaps you can just have one of your models mention how good it is on "America's Next Disgustingly Skinny Model"?  Perhaps you could show a clip of one of them reading it while sipping on a vat of carrot juice?   I have already dropped the chapter on Dr. Phil and I am willing to replace it with a detailed look at the depths of Tyra Bank's heart.  I realize a single chapter might be a lot to ask for, but with a few lies and a lot of effort, I could make you look like Mother Theresa.  Well, maybe not Mother Theresa, but I could make you look at least as good as someone semi- famous like that hussy on that MTV New York show.

I look forward to an invitation to your little hippodrome of a television series to discuss my book.  You may contact me at any time.  I eagerly await a call from your people.


Abe and his BFA.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The World's Hottest Crossing Guard

It's official.  Cathi has her first job in years.  She will be helping poor, helpless children cross the street.  She won't be doing it for Lincoln's school, rather she will be doing it for McMillan Elementary.  

I never thought the job of a crossing guard would be considered sexy until now.  I thought Cathi would make a super hot librarian or an even hotter snow plow driver.  Yet, the more I think about it, the more sexy a crossing guard seems.

By the way, half the kids in our ward go to McMillan Elementary, half go to Parkside.  McMillan should actually be called McMansion Elementary for all the ridiculously wealthy kids that go there.  Since Cathi will be be a crossing guard there and it is about as close as Parkside, we thought about just sending Lincoln to McMillan.  However, we really like Parkside and I think we will be keeping him there.

ANYWAY, my beloved wife will be grasping a hand held stop sign and setting up cones on a daily basis.  Fortunately, crossing guards make a very impressive $400.00 a month, so we can put that money aside for either a Chinese scooter or a Chinese Hummer.  (In honor of the Olympics.)

Of course, Cathi still must pass a drug test on Wednesday.  That might be a bit tricky considering she has been smoking pot for medicinal purposes for the past 2 years.  Her doctor prescribed the ghanja to help her deal with her unusually long toenails  Gratefully, she hasn't inhaled in the past few days so I think she'll be in the clear.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I almost died last night!

I ran ten miles last night in the dark.  It appears that I am back to my long distances, not that you are interested in my boring running log.  What you may find amusing is what happened in the course of my travels.

I had run about 7 miles and was on my final leg home.  During my run, I always jog adjacent to the Murray cemetery.  No, I don't jog through it, just beside it.   My headphones were booming the sounds of the Shiny Toy Guns and I was totally zoned into outerspaceville land when I heard a loud clacking sound.  

I had no idea what this sound was or where it was coming from, but it was loud.  It was so loud that I could easily hear it over my blaring headphones.  It was getting closer and I became rather frightened.  It soon became obvious that the banging was coming from a red Honda Civic coming straight at me. 

I was certain they were shooting at the very least paintballs, but perhaps something as deadly as an AK-47.  I immediately ducked onto the grass of the cemetery and fell to the ground in hope that they would not see me.  I listened to the car drive by, popping loud shells into the air the entire time.  I was able to gather enough courage to sneak a peak as it drove down 5600 South.  I quickly picked myself up and checked to see if anyone had seen my awkward display of fear.   Glancing into the distance I could see that the killer death machine that had me praying for my life was actually this:

The noise, however, was not coming from simple soda cans, but from giant coffee cans tied behind the car.  No wonder it was so flipping loud!  

Fortunately, no one saw my pathetic, cowardly display.  Nevertheless, I am blogging about the entire ordeal now, so I am not sure what the difference is.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Movie Review: Definitely, Maybe (Oh and a great Ryan Reynolds video.)

Sappy, occasionally funny and perfect for women. A chick flick indeed.  

 If you want to see a funny Ryan Reynolds movie that is VERY underrated, check out "Just Friends".  It might be the most underrated movie of the last 8 years.  

The first five minutes has Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit, singing "I Swear" into the mirror.  I don't know if I have ever laughed so hard in any movie.  So sensitive.  So soft.   So beautiful.

Check it out - 

Holy toledo, no matter how many times I watch that it never gets old!  I love how he sings all the parts.  Fortunately, this is not the only funny part of the flick.  The entire thing is filled with belly laughs.  If you have something negative to say about this movie, you will need to deal with fist #1 and fist #2!  But you can diss Definitely, Maybe all you want.

Friday, August 15, 2008

How to get out of going the extra mile when it comes to the Mormon folding chair..

Folding chairs.  They are the lifeblood of the Mormon church.  Whenever there is a large gathering of Mormons, there is always a plethora of these shiny metal folding chairs to be folded and unfolded by the Elders Quorum.  I hate everything about these silver chairs from the netherworld.  They are heavy, uncomfortable and loud when you drop them onto the long, rolling rack that goes under the stage.  Worst of all, it is always, and I mean always, the Elders quorum that puts them up and takes them down.  Even when it is a stake activity, it seems that it is always our ward's responsibility to fold these finger death traps.  

During my 11 lazy years since returning from my mission, I have developed a methodology to escaping from the curse of the folding chair setup.  I give you the five most optimal techniques for eluding the dreaded chair put-a-way.  Since I have tired of making lists with the normal, boring numbering system, I have for your entertainment, used a system called "Roman Numerals".  If you are confounded by this system, you may visit this website to understand how to read them.

I.  Get a job in which you work Saturday mornings.  This has worked great for me over the years.  Not only has this method got me out of  chair duty, but it has got me out of countless moves, property clean ups and canning assignments.  Even though I do it for the money, I might actually consider working Saturday mornings to get out of other Saturday morning work.

II. Use the quick exit strategy.  This works especially well during General Priesthood Meeting.  Sit by the door and as soon as the prayer is over, you are history.  If anyone calls you on it, you can just claim that you forgot it was your ward's turn.  This method will not work if a do-gooder from your own ward sits next to you.    Or, if you are a total jerkwad, you may want to exit during the closing hymn.  This serves two purposes: You get an early jump on the line at the Arctic Circle and you get out of dreaded chair duty.  I have yet to stoop to this level of Mormon idiocracy.  

XI.  Play the old two chair pickup card.  Pick up your chair and one other and set it gently against the wall.  Then look around to ensure that someone saw that you indeed did pick up a few chairs.  When all is secured, leave quietly and gracefully.  It is best to play this card before the main chair cleaning up event has begun.

VIIX.  Attend the service with an elderly person.  Nobody can hold you accountable for not staying to take down chairs when you have a slow walking, old guy with you.  What is he just going to stand there and watch you take down chairs?  Come on, this guys bedtime is at 6:30!  He's got to get home to take his pills and watch his news.  You might also want to insist that the old person brings a walker.

E.  When all else fails, there is one highly classified method that I dare not even speak of on this forum.  It is known only to a select chosen few.  Heck, who am I kidding, no one reads this crap.  During the service, poke yourself in the eye until you are either crying or bleeding heavily from the eyeball.  If you are crying, the men will understand that the talks have you emotionally crippled and in no condition to be taking down chairs.  If you are bleeding from the eyeball, they will need to take you to the hospital.   But the good news is that you can still stop and get ice cream on the way home!  It might be hard to enjoy the ice cream with a bloody eye, but if you get Oreos AND sprinkles, it will take some of the sting out of it.  If someone just so happens to ask why your eyeball is bleeding, you might want to tell them that you were trying to pull out your contact with the pen from your Blackberry.

Of course, every so often it might just be nice of you to just help pick up the chairs.  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

If you like Breaking Dawn, do not read this blog entry!

It seems that the blogger world has been overrun with Breaking Dawn junkies.  They have bonded together to form a Breaking Dawn blog chain across America.  Remember that Coke chain of love that stretched across America back in the 80's?  This is very similar, except that the chain is more metaphorical than real and instead of singing "I'd like to buy the world a Coke.", they are singing "I'd like to buy the world a Breaking Dawn."   And everyone in the chain is female.  Oh, and they are all drinking DIET Coke.

I have no idea what Breaking Dawn is about.  Every time I start reading someone's blog about it, I get very bored and push the "channel up" button on my blog remote.  I think it has something to do with romantic vampires that live good lives. Kind of like Interview With The Vampire, but much, much longer.  I am also very aware that the audience for these books isalmost 90% female.

Cathi has read these books.  However, she reads over 8,000 books a year so that is not a surprise.  She told me they were, "alright, but they are not my favorite."  Nevertheless, she did just pick up the newest one at the library today, in spite of being #58 of 300 on the reserve list.  Evidently, and I am not making this up, the library ordered over 60 copies.  And I thought vampires were so 1990's.

Even though I have very limited information on the plot of these books, it shall not keep me from venturing a guess.  In extremely limited terms, here is the probable plot, according the Cheeseboy.

1. Four women vampires move to New York City in hopes of meeting new friends, a career and a hunky vampire man with extra long fangs.  They also have a fat friend that they invite along because she is so jolly and has the perfect wisecrack for every situation.

2. One of the women writes an advice column for the local news rag.  While writing her weekly article she becomes much more self aware as a sexy vampire woman.   She realizes that she is incredibly shallow and needs companionship. She meets up with the four others to discuss her new self aware-ity at a local coffee shop.

3.  The women vampires drink a lot of cosmopolitans while giggling incessantly at each other's inadequacies in a crowded restaurant.  Here they huddle and spread rumors about vampires that don't live on the east side or drive minivans instead of SUV's.  They are protected by the United Order; a vampirish version of the Relief Society.

4. Evil vampires show up and cause a bloody mayhem, breaking the heels of the women's shoes and shaving their mink shawls with a Bic razor.  

5. A handsome vampire man,and an adoptive brother of one of the vampire women shows up to save the night.  The women are enamored with his physical brute strength and they all want to make out with him, except of course for his adoptive sister. He also shaves a V in his chest hair for Vampire.

6.  The love scene ensues.  Of course it is only sensual enough to tantalize the Mormon Mom blogger, but never gets too sexual.  It never gets sexual enough to offend women by it's graphic nature; for it is just a couple of deep tongue kisses.

7.  The other two women that were not chosen by rugged vampire man are incensed.  They move to have the traitor's name removed from the vampire record books.  The outcast must move into a trailer park reserved for impish dwarves.  The vampire woman is ashamed beyond reproach.  

8.  The new romance is a deeply connected one. More sloppy, hot-blooded kissing from the vampires, but nothing you wouldn't read with your Grandma.  It doesn't matter much anyway, because the fat vampire friend accidentally barges in and breaks up the sexual tension with her silly antics.

9. There are some jaw dropping moments.  Some of the vampires are really werewolves.  Some of the werewolves are really tigers.  Some of the tigers are trailer park dwelling dwarves.  There is also two versions of the handsome vampire God: a good one and an evil one. 

10. The women all become one again, swearing off vampire men forever.  They raise their blood filled glasses to a toast:  To the power of women vampires!  Forever we shall reign!  

11. Oh yeah, and "Mr. Big" shows up with two vampire holes in his neck, just in time to tease the next sequel.  

Roll the credits...

Now if you are a huge Twilight series fan and you find yourself furious at my spoilers, you did not follow my clearly stated advice in the title.  And also, what can I say?  I am a really good guesser when it comes to chick books about vampires.  I have been doing this sort of thing for years.  You can only blame yourself for this mess.

As Billy Ocean would say, "Get out of my dreams, get into my bus!"

There are some strange things I have wanted in life:  Heelies, a Chinese scooter, nose hair trimmers, a Gazelle.  However, there is one thing I have wanted since I was a teenager and that one thing is the car of my dreams: a 1959 Volkswagon Bus.

This has to be the most insanely beautiful car ever created.  From top to bottom, it is a sight to behold.  Of course, red would be my choice of color.  Shiny, spotless red.  

Cathi has long known of my desire to obtain the V-Bus, but she has her doubts and they are many.  She claims that they break all the time, that they are old and don't get great gas milage.  She doesn't even find the beauty in them.  She even has the gall to call them ugly!  Well, we all have our vices and the 59 Bus is mine.

If I actually owned a VW Bus, I would detail the entire thing red and white.  On the sides I would have the Utah logo engraved.  I would completely remodel the inside as well.  I would pull out all of the benches and insert a very low sitting leather love seat.  A flat panel television would hang on the opposite inside wall.  On the floor would sit a bear skin rug.  No, no, a cougar skin rug.  A  skylight would be installed that would open and reveal a giant Ute flag, waving furiously in the sunset.  "Go Utes!" people would cry as I drive down State Street.  My bus would be the talk of the town.

I would become the ultimate tailgater.  I would invite people from all races, creeds and religions around my bus for a hopping good time.  Cougars and Zoobies alike would look at my bus and cry loads of jealous tears.  The only time I would ever take my bus out of the garage would be for games, parades or special occasions.  My bus would be kept in immaculate condition.

Now if I can only talk Cathi into it...

Song of the Day: Of Montreal - Gronlandic Edit

It is difficult for me to post a new song of the day.  I am still totally engrossed by the majestic sounds of Cloud Cult.  Here is a great little dance tune from another of my favorite bands, Of Montreal.  Hope you enjoy it!

The only band aid I could find at our house today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Captain Crunch, Ward Softball, Pickle Pants and Grocery Sacks

My family was cool, I just didn't realize it.  From the ages of 12-18 I avoided them as if they had chunks of Captain Crunch constantly falling from their mouths.  My brothers were not my age yet they still wanted to be around someone so awesome as I was.  On the other hand, my sister and I generally did not get along at all.  (Sorry, Esther.  You know it's true though.)  I was left simply trying my best to avoid them, whether be it in my room or out and about with my friends.  Now that you have the background of this soon to be told story, I shall now tell it.  For it has never been told from MY perspective.

My ward basketball team always stunk.  Well, we didn't really stink, but compared to the other wards in our stake, we stunk.  Compared to a group of 4th grade girls we were amazing.  Each and every year we placed 4th, never higher and never lower.  It was our destiny to be 4th, just out of medal contention.

Softball, on the other hand was our sport of sports.  Not only did we finish first each and every year (thanks to an extraordinary amount of defaults by the other wards), but we would often go deep into regionals.  I recall making it far enough to be invited to play in the stadium, under the lights.  Quite an honor indeed.  

We were so good in softball that we actually purchased team uniforms effectually known forever as the "pickle pants".  We had selected the ugliest uniforms on the planet for a reason:  We were simply those kind of guys.  The pants were indeed a plaid green and the best example I could find on the internet are these:

Imagine those pants, only in baseball uniform style.  We didn't care though.  We were the only team in the stake with their own uniforms and that was enough for us.  It did, however, look like we were at convention of standing pickles playing softball. But I digress.  This story is not about our crappy basketball team or our pickle pants, it is about a family making a statement.

My parents knew of my embarrassment of my siblings.  I always begged them not to come.  Nevertheless, I was the only kid in our ward that had their brothers and sisters attend the softball games consistantly.   I am not sure why I was always so embarrassed to have them show up and cheer us on. Perhaps it was just that there were so many of them.  Maybe it was because my dad was the Bishop.  Most likely it was my belief that I was too cool for my nerdy family.  I am deeply ashamed of my conceited attitude and condescending ways regarding my family as a teenager.  But that was the way it was for me back then - a skinny, pimple-faced twerp.  

One night, my mom told me that the family was going to come watch our big game.  The alarm bells began ringing in my immediately mortified brain.  Hadn't they just come last week?  Why were they so intent on making my youth a living, abashed house of hell?  I begged.  I pleaded.  "Please don't show up and embarrass me in front of all my friends!"  I was such a joke of a human being.  

My mom, being the understanding mother that she was, agreed that not one person of blood relation would be seen at my softball game.  Relieved, I thanked her, grabbed my glove and hitched a ride with the coach to Sunnyside Park.

The game started off well enough.  We had a commanding lead as usual.  I was at  my customary, third base position when I saw the Yospe Tomfoolery Train heading our way.  My heart sank as I saw all of them exiting the minivan.  Of course, all six were there, but something was amiss.  Something was deeply and horribly amiss.

They sat on the first row, their beady little eyes all looking right at me.  I was horrified as their eyes were the only thing I could see.  For each and every Yospe family member had dawned a perfect, plain paper bag to cover their head, complete with two eye holes cut in each sack.  

I could feel the laughter of my best friends penetrating my back like the blades of tiny Swiss Army Knives as I tried to focus on the game.  "HEY, IS THAT THOSE YOSPE'S?"  "WHAT IS WITH THOSE BAGS?"  It was absolutely and completely ashamed.  This was one hundred times worse than just showing up!  Why would they ruin my life?  Are they trying to make me a laughing stock?

Just as I thought I was going to sink into the third base line and melt into the dirt, I realized something.  My friends had absolutely no idea the real reason my family was wearing the bags.  My friends thought they were wearing the bags because they thought my family thought our team was so awful!  They thought that their insult was directed at the team!  Shouts came from the outfield.  "HEY YOSPE'S, WE'RE NOT THAT BAD!"  "GIVE US A BREAK YOSPE'S, WE ARE SHORT HANDED TONIGHT."  My sheer horror made a quick 180 into pure comedy. I thought about the embarrassment they were causing my whole team as the other team pointed and laughed.  I giggled my way through the rest of the inning.   Life wasn't so bad after all, I thought.

Now, there is one part of the story that I think happened, but I am not sure.  Perhaps someone in my family can help me out with my memory?  As I recall, we had a dog named Tramp.  Tramp was also decked out with a bag over his head.  So, there on the first row we had: Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Brother, Brother, Tramp the dog, all comfortably wearing the latest in style from Albertsons.  

My family was so cool and I didn't even know it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Letter To Dr. Phil

Letter sent to Dr. Phil today at 5:00 PM - I will update you on any reply.  (Still no reply from Oprah.)

Dearest Dr. McGraw,

I have recently had the pleasure of corresponding with a dear friend and former confidant of yours, Dr. Oprah.  Unfortunately, our correspondence was very brief and very inequitable in that she has been too busy to respond to my letter.  I understand that she is a hopelessly important individual with a girls camp in Africa to run and a few favorite things to pick out.  I hope, however, that you will take me into your loving arms and hold me close; metaphorically of course.  

Dr. Phil, I have but one request of you:  Ask Oprah to read my letter.  The letter is regarding a book that I will be publishing in the near to distant future.  I would like to be a member of her fastidious book club and I think, no I know, that this yet to be written book about a yet to be determined subject or person, or talking animal, or killer robot would be the perfect addition to the gold lined walls of her club.  

I know what you are thinking Doc; how does talking to Oprah about this benefit me?  It's simple.  I will devote an entire chapter of the book to you.  In this chapter I will take a deeper look into your family life and your relationship with your wife.  If that is too personal, I will naturally name a killer robot after you.  Because the book has yet to be written, there are an assortment of different directions that we could take your character.  If you chose to decline, I will have to present this offer to another close friend and fitness guru, Richard Simmons.  He might not fit the killer robot stereotype, but he would make a perfect talking animal, specifically a gay penguin.

Your show, Doctor Phil, is a gift to the American public.  Your show on husbands that verbally abuse their fat wives had me weeping.  How could that man ever say that his wife was "too fat for affection"?  400 pounds is not too fat for affection, you just have to hug a little piece at a time.  And how about that recent show on the "Cougar Craze"?  It is about time that someone approached the subject of fifty something women on the prowl, looking for a younger man.  What is wrong with America?

The way I see it, you are an American hero.  Just look what you did for Ms. Spears!  She is almost 100% normal now because of you.  She might as well move into a suburban neighborhood, buy a minivan and watch your show all day because, by-golly she is just a plain old American woman now.  She can give all the credit to you.  You have a heart of gold Phil, a heart of gold.

Rescue me Phil!  Rescue me like you rescued Brittany!  All I am asking for is a simple 30 second chat with the Big O. (Oprah, not the tire place.)  I am a needy man Phil.  I have all the classic symptoms of a guest on your show:  I am drowning in my own self pity, my male ego is out of control, I have a sister-in-law from hell*, I was banned from my own brothers wedding**, gorgeous just isn't enough for me, I was a Scott Peterson juror, and I am an ghastly, overbearing stage parent.   I am not asking you to fix all of these personal flaws, I am simply asking you to talk to Oprah.

My friends have also told me that it might be beneficial to mention that I am a male, First Grade teacher.  Did I mention that?  I am a male, First Grade teacher and I make minimum wage.  I do it because the kids in my class are missing arms and legs and even backbones.  I teach for kids like little Benny.  Benny was born without the ability to grow finger or toenails.  He comes to school with fakes, only to be teased and ridiculed until he leaves each day drenched in his own tears.  (He also has a tear gland problem.)  I teach because of girls like tiny Barbara.  TB (Tiny Barbara), as we call her, has TB.  I am not sure if she got the nickname or the disease first, but she is sure a cute, sick kid.  

Living on minimum wage is tough, but I also work nine other jobs to help support my family.  The worst job I currently work is on Sunday nights.  I watch the rabid dogs at the Humane Society that are on death row.  It is tough to look into their soft, sad eyes as when they realize that their time is soon up.  Fortunately, their rabid slobber and fierce red eyes quickly bring me back to earth and I realize that it must be done.  When will they ever find a cure?  

Last week my sons ate only cornmeal and a sampling of food from the local Costco.  It is nice when they have the fish samples, because at least they can get their Omega 3 vitamins for the week.  The old ladies that cut the food up with scissors are sure nice to my boys.  Sometimes, when we are lucky, it is a holiday week and we go get free hotdogs at a local furniture retailer.  Unfortunately, it seems that in our me first society, holidays are coming around less and less often.  I mean, the last holiday was what, Memorial Day? We as a society should be ashamed.

Phil, I live a tough life.  You wouldn't believe the diarrhea you get from eating only cornmeal all week!  It gets so bad that I am forced to put sponges in my undershorts.  As you might have guessed, walking with spongy undershorts is a little difficult.  But try and walking with wet sponges in your undershorts!  Maybe then will you begin to understand the depth of my problems.  

Doctor, please do not feel sorry for me or send money.  (Well, you can send money, but make sure it is in unmarked $20.00 bills.  I am not sure why they need to be unmarked, but that is one thing I have learned from movies.  I don't want your sympathy cash but I will take your compassion cash.  Just make sure they are in twenties, unmarked of course.)  I simply would like you to have a brief conversation with Oprah.  Tell her it is about Abe's book.  She'll know what that means.



*  Added for effect.  All of my sister in laws are beyond great.
** Again, for effect.  I planned to get kicked out of my brother's wedding, but thought better of it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

France - All the arrogance of BYU but without the honor code.

I am not a big Olympic guy, but last night... wow!  I love to see folks with big mouths go down in flames.  That is why I had no sympathy for Cowboy Joe Glenn when the Utes crushed them last year.  I found myself screaming at the TV like a certifiable maniac during the last few meters of that swim relay.  In your flippen' face France!  Go back to your France hole and hide in your French chambres and mourir une mort horrible!  

Other random ramblings:

People in my ward keep asking me why I run in the heat of the day, at 1:30 in the afternoon.  They think I am nuts, which of course is not far off.  I calmly explain that I am training for a double secret marathon in the Egyptian desert in 2010.  I also ask them why they are home at 1:30 in the afternoon, spying on me.  

Usually by now I am beginning to get excited for the upcoming school year.  So far, I feel no excitement in my gut.  Perhaps I have become numb to the hysteria autumn brings to a teacher.  I'm sure it will hit me soon.

We went back to Cherry Hills (Thanks Ike!) for a second time this summer.  (First time for Cathi.)  We left Calder at Grandma's.  We probably went on the wild tube ride 30 times in a row.  Lincoln could just not get enough and we could pretty much walk it on over and over.  

While we were swimming, I was looking at my thong.  (Not the one I was wearing up my butt.)  I began to wonder, whoever invented the thong, why did they put the thongy part of the thong between the big two toes?  Why not put it in between the two middle toes?  Or why not put one in between every toe?  I thought about this for hours.  More on my other thong later.  

I have decided to run my marathon on Labor Day by myself.  I don't need all the
 fanfare and excitement an organized race 
brings.  I just want to do it for myself.  Afterward I plan on eating 17 lbs of red meat at the Rodizzio Grill.  Interesting fact: Did you know that a vegetarian owns the Rodizzio Grill?  If you said yes, you are lying because I totally just made it up.  Since I am on the subject though, I would highly recommend staying AWAY from the hard boiled quail eggs at Rodizzio Grill.  Stick to eating three things there: Meat, cinnamon bananas and fried pineapple.  But for the love of all things holy, STAY AWAY FROM THE QUAIL EGGS!

I have also decided not to post my book entries as I write them on the Blog O' Cheese.  My reasoning is that having my chapters critiqued by my best friends may actually take the fun out of writing.  Alas, I will write the book and THEN post it chapter by chapter on the blog.  Because I have already written the entire thing, my fun will have been had and I will be more open to criticism.  Thank you for your support. 

Oh yes, and check out this stupid BYU fan showing their racist side holding a sign at a BYU/Utah volleyball game.  Can you believe this crap?!  The girl holding the sign of the girl holding the sign is a Navaho University of Utah graduate.  Apparently, the Y fans also held up a sign saying, "Trail of Tears part II".  Now if that is not offensive, I don't know what is.  Some of the stuff that comes out of Provo just blows me away sometimes.  Here is the article if you are interested.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cease to Exist Order

As a citizen of this great land, I hereby issue this Cease to Exist order to the following entities:

1.  People that spend more on the rims of their tires than the car itself.
2.  Fake accents done by people that stink at doing fake accents.
3.  Croc shoes
4.  Middle age men that wear berets.
5.  The sayings, "It is what it is." and "Don't go there!"
6.  Radio commercials with sirens.
7.  Radio commercials that change the words to a catchy pop song into an add for their product and in the process ruin the song.
8.  Invisible spiderwebs in doorways and trying to peel them off your face.
9.  The term "soccer mom".
10.  The knuckle bump.

(The Cease to Exist order is now a regular feature on the Blog o' Cheese.)