Wednesday, February 29, 2012

i saw you!


Friday I drove to St. George for a little overnighter on business. It was really messy weather. Nephi was dark, Fillmore was rainy, and Beaver was snowed in. I didn't mind, because I was so busy making friends on the freeway! Friends on the Freeway is a new program I'm creating where you send special messages to other drivers on the road. And you include their licence plates, so they know you are talking to them! It's really a lot of fun. I made several new Friends on the Freeway, and would like to send them each a message:

UT B36 DSX: Hey, even though it was snowing like a bugger through Cedar City, you still managed to text and drive at the same time! You have some impressive skills! I'm sure Oprah is impressed. I certainly was. Icy roads be damned, you got that text done and sent!

UT R42 FGX: I like that dog you had on your lap. Was that an Irish setter? I bet you talked to that dog the whole trip. Did your dog talk back? Did you share some special secrets?

CA 5BBM29X: Fancy Audi! Feel free to come right up on my back fender, and then when I move over so you can pass, slow down so I get stuck behind a semi! Feel free to do that! That's just what freeway friends do.

UT 6TY KLX: You look like my dad.

NV 485 TVX: What's your hurry, Superman? Something really pressing in Tonopah you gotta get back to? Swap meet? Seriously, what's going on? Next time let's slow it down a little, yeah?

UT 8IK PLX: I was really embarrassed when you passed me and I was singing in my car. I bet you never do that. I bet you never pretend like the yellow lines on the road are note markers from Guitar Hero. You probably never tap along on your steering wheel like it's a big note highway. You probably are busy listening to NPR.

HI KTE TUX: Seriously, in fifty words or less, can you explain how you got your car here from Hawaii? There's just not a ferry for that. Does your car fly? Was your car built by Caractacus Potts?

UT 5JM DGX: I saw you get off on that exit to Carl's Jr in Fillmore. I hope you are pleased with your decision. It probably tasted great at the time, but there is no accounting for your gastrointestinal pain round about Scipio! I guess you probably know that by now. Next time pack a lunchable!

I hope you all made it safely to your destination, Friends on the Freeway!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Water.

There are times when your life changes forever after that moment. This story is about one of those.

My best friend Cory and my best friend Joanie had decided to take an 4 hour drive down to the red rocks of Utah and hike 12 miles off the road...in the desert... and camp in a place called Escalante.














One quick search on the Internet for images of 'Escalante' will give you a ton of shots like the above.

And below:



Beautiful, I know.

I should begin by telling you that I am not known for my "Camping Skills." It's true that I am an Eagle Scout, but an overzealous scout master/scout master's wife, enough 'Fine Arts' merit badges, and one puppet show at a children's hospital and you find yourself with all the awards and none of the qualifications.

Any of you who know me are already skipping to the end...where I will most certainly be crying. This story will not disappoint.

SO! We make the drive and all Cory talks about is this basketball tournament (the NBA Playoffs) and all Joanie is talking about is her new hot boyfriend (my brother) who stayed behind, most likely to watch the tournament.

We park the car. This is important, as this parking lot will soon become the golden-gated deliverance from lapping fires of Hell. But not then. Then I was thinking how far away this lot seemed from everything. I had been expecting red rock canyons but this, where we stood, was flat desert, almost as far as the eye could see...almost.

Cory set out the plan. Cory had the experience. Cory had done this before. Cory should have known better.

"We'll walk along the river and then hike through the canyon, then up and camp under this cliff next to the river." He said calmly as though there was a river, a canyon, or a cliff anywhere near us.

"What river?" I asked.

"That one." He pointed to a wet spot in the ground. No joke. It looked liked someone had spilled something in the dirt in a straight line.

"What canyon?" I asked.

"That one." He pointed to the only thing he could point to, which was this fuzzy, purplish shape on the horizon.

"That!!! That has to be 30 miles away!"

"It's ten."

So we're walking. Keep in mind, Joanie and I had spent the day before at Nordstrom's picking out some real cute hiking shoes for the journey, and Joanie had got these hot little Doc Martins with chunky laces that looked great with the green cargo shorts she got to match. They were a half size too small but they were on sale so we snatched them up. In time, these shoes would be filled with blood.

We walked and talked for a while; then, we just walked. The ground was beach sand (or, ya know, Desert Sand), so as you walked on it your feet would kinda push out and away from the ankle, just a subtle little bend to the outside, something I think you would only notice if you were walking 8 miles and your ankles begin to feel like taffy on the taffy pull, but it's freezing in the taffy pull, so it keeps stretching and snapping. You know, like that.

We do make it to the fuzzy purple rocks (our first land mark), and the rocks do turn into a canyon, the dark patch of water does turn into a stream, the canyon turns into a mountain and the stream into a river and the whole thing is beautiful -- I mean, better than the pictures. It was magic, it came from nowhere in the middle of nowhere and we were there. Well... almost there.

We had to stop and fill up our water bottles at this little waterfall...which is to say, water dripping of this mossy rock. I was not too keen on this task but, as there didn't seem to be a Maverick anywhere near by (neither the gas station or republican), I did what I had to do.

We make it to our cliff and camp next to the river, and the night sky is littered with stars and the moon sets a cool white light on every detail. It is magnificent and well worth the journeying.

And we sleep.

The next day, we spend the morning eating some of the canned food we packed in (cause cans are light and won't snap your back as you walk through the desert) and we play in the river and it is fun. The plan was to spend one day hiking in, camp there for two days, and then spend one day hiking out. That was the plan before my nap. That cursed nap. Had I just stayed awake.

I woke up to the sound of cans being stuffed into backpacks.

"What's going on?"

"We're leaving." Cory says. "I want to see how the Playoffs played out and Joanie wants to get back to Spence."

"Wait. What? We just got here. I just took a nap."

"If we leave now, we can make it back to the car before dark."

"It's, like, noon."

"Yeah, grab your stuff."

Note: I certainly don't mean to make Cory out to sound like a Nazi, but in this case he absolutely was. A Nazi from Hell.

So, we begin to walk back (our backpacks still brimming with the four-day supply of food we never got to). So, here's the math for you: 12 miles in. 12 miles out. Less than 12 hours rest between the two. TWENTY-FOUR MILES of taffy-snapping steps back to the 4 hour car ride back to basketball and boyfriends. It's a wonder I speak to either of them.

We make our stop at Moss Rock and I don't fill my water bottle all the way up...'cause there are floaties, and they're gross.

I know that I built this up to have some big event, and I wish there would have been. I wish I had stepped on a snake and had to have been helicoptered out of that inferno but there was not.

We walked.

We walked.

Cory eventually broke way out in front and we lost sight of him. Sometimes we would catch up to him resting but then we would take our rest and he would leave and we would eventually follow his footprints. I guess he loves basketball.

Joanie finally stopped walking with me and stayed pretty much 50 feet ahead, which didn't matter, we could not talk. One: we were dying. Two: it was her fault. I can still remember watching the trail in front of me, each step, one at a time. And each little hill would come and go and we would stand at the peak of each one and look for the parking lot, squinting and straining to see it and absolutely knowing that, though we can't see it now, the next hill would be the last.

Once, I looked up to see Joanie on the hill in front of me and she was standing there, not moving. When I got up to her, she was looking out over the trail that led us here, with no car in sight and she was sobbing. And so I cried. And we stood there crying, knowing that we couldn't sit down and cry or we wouldn't get up; we truly believed we would never get back up.

The water was gone and there was nothing. I remember thinking I would never EVER drink anything other than water for the rest of my life. The idea of Coke made my tongue twist down the back of my throat. I could feel Coke sticking to my teeth, the sweet sickness clinging to the roof of my dust filled mouth. I was dying. I was dying and the only thing I wanted was clean, cool, water.

Some hikers are coming toward me. Play it cool, man. Don't let them see you've been crying.

But they must have sensed my discouragement. Either that or they just passed a sobbing girl in her Doc Martins 50 feet ahead of me. Certainly the mud on my face made from the mixture of dirt and tears was no indication. " You can do it, Man, just a little bit more." The looks on their faces were so encouraging. "We just left the car maybe...one mile back, maybe two. "

We walked.

I could feel my body and mind separate as if my brain said, "Look, just put one foot in front of the other. You don't need me for that, I'll be over here if you do. Heaven knows you stopped listening to me long ago."

I looked up and saw Joanie at a hill 50 feet a head and she collapsed. She was either dead or she saw the car. And for the first time since starting back home, I hoped for the latter.

When we got to the car, we saw legs sticking out from underneath. Cory did not have the keys. It was Joanie's car and it's a good thing, as he may have left us in his mad quest for Scores. He told us that he had felt miserable for making us do what we had done, and he had wanted to get to the car, dump off his backpack and come back for ours -- as if anyone who just finished this journey would have turned around and started it up again.

Joanie sat in the car with her feet out on the ground and pealed off her boots and, as promised, blood dripped out. Her feet looked like chewed up hamburger with blisters that had popped and reformed and popped again.

I remember laying flat in the back seat as we drove, my legs pounding and seizing up when we pulled into a gas station.

"You coming in?" Cory asked.

"Choke on your own face."

"Do you want anything?"

Brief Pause.

"Water."

Even now, when we're at a restaurant and the waiter asks, and even though I know he will judge me, I still think of this moment and my mouth gets quenched, my legs tighten up and I say the same thing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

May I Axe You a Question?


For those of you who know me well, you know I’m a pretty conventional kind of a feller. I wear a suit to church on Sundays, I shower every day, and I never drive slow in the fast lane. I even use all the correct grammar and punctuation when I text, for crying-gosh-sakes-out-loud. Bottom line: I’m as socially and hygienically moderate as it gets.

So obviously, I have no business purchasing, much less wearing this very special concoction:


Yes, AXE Dark Temptation.

I know, I know. Who do I think I am? I should have just kept my nose clean and stayed to my side of the aisle. Right Guard, Old Spice…maybe even Mitchum if I were feeling adventurous. But AXE? What am I, auditioning for an MTV reality series? Old Dudes Not Acting Their Age! Or America’s Next Top Delusional Father of Seven. I don’t own any gold chains and I’m not personal friends with any club owners. What am I doing?

And not just AXE, but DARK TEMPTATION!

But hear me out. See, I figure that if there is a body part in need of some serious help in being considered tempting…ladies and gentleman, I give you…the armpit.

So now, when I get all dolled up for a night out with Katie, I gots everything a-workin’ for me. Oh, yeaaaaahhhhh. Salt n’ pepper hair? Check. Pants? Check. T-shirt? Check. (What? Were we going someplace nice?) Pocket change? Check. 2005 Toyota Camry? Check. And now…tempting armpits? Double check. Sorry ladies…I’m spoken for.

To be completely candid, though, I should admit that “tempting armpits” was not the biggest selling point for me. No. It was the tagline “As irresistible as chocolate.” Strangely, it comforted me to know that in some post-apocalyptic setting, if all the world was falling apart and food everywhere was predominantly contaminated and looting was commonplace and we were on the verge of extinction…I could eat my deodorant. And it would be delicious.

Anyway, I’ve been wearing/eating it for about a month now. And … nothing. I’d like to start a class action suit against AXE for false advertising, because I am neither more tempting than I was before, nor is my deodorant as satisfying as real, legitimate chocolate. But the good news is I think Katie and I might be candidates for the new reality show now in pre-production: Men Who Believe Everything They Read, and the Women Who Love Them.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Your horoscope: March Madness

With March on the horizon, it's time to come in like a Lion and go out like a Lamb! Gear up everybody: it's going to be March Madness!

ARIES: Have you heard the news? The big news about you? I think most people know by now. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? The big thing that's going happen to you this month? How do you feel about it? I would be terrified, but that's just me. You know what I'm talking about, right?

TAURUS: It's time to turn that TV off and get in shape! Spring is on the horizon and you need a little work. I mean, you look great. I think so, anyway. But I can tell you don't feel good about yourself. It's just how you act and stuff. Don't be so hard on yourself! Join a gym already!

GEMINI: March would be a good time to think about how awesome your spouse is. They are always there for you. What are some nice things you could do for them? I know he likes a good head message (or she.) He likes to eat big meals and have giant naps (I mean he or she.) Just some ideas!

CANCER: Hey, buddy. I'm in no hurry to get that 25 bucks back from you that you "borrowed" from me last week. I do not have a mortgage to pay or mouths to feed, and I'm glad you were able to redbox that video game for your PS3 even though you "borrowed" the money for food. Take your time, pal! I know you are good for it.

LEO: Hey sexy! Are you from Tennessee? Because you're the only ten I see!

VIRGO: It's time to get beyond yourself and help people who are really struggling. Like your sister, for example. She was one of the best figure skaters in the world until that tragic accident and now she's blind. She still wants to skate! But she's up against narrow-minded judges and cut-throat competitors and she can't even see them. When tragedy strikes, love comes to the rescue! Get out there and help her!

LIBRA: That Gas-X you have been taking sure seems to be working. Congrats. And I think next month I may even ride in a car with you! Baby steps, though. Don't get too excited. I still have a memory.

SCORPIO: Hey. I dig the new tattoo. I like how it's a big bloody knife running right down your arm. It's like your arm is saying "check me out! I'm a big bloody knife." I like that. And I fear it. So your plan is working.

SAGITTARIUS: OK, wait. Let me get this straight! You still watch American Idol? You still think it's on TV and that it's fun to watch? Dude, even your mom stopped watching American Idol. Get with it! Everyone is totally watching Downton Abbey now.

CAPRICORN: This isn't meant to be a criticism, but I think you wore your cardigan two days in a row last week. I keep a log on your outfits. I know that seems weird, but to me it makes perfect sense. It's just what I do! Anyway, you need to rotate. People notice that stuff. People like me, who keep logs on your outfits.

AQUARIUS: I'm sorry everyone thinks you look like Octavia Spencer. I don't see it. Maybe next time someone says that you should offer them some pie...

PISCES: Man, March is going to do a number on you. See you in April. MAYBE

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Privacy Matters

Image from here.
I read an interesting article in Time Magazines Techland Blog. It turns out there was a man who complained to his local Target that his teenage daughter was receiving coupons in the mail about baby clothes and cribs. He couldn't understand why they would be sending these mailings to a girl who was clearly not pregnant...except it turns out she was. And the kinda incredible thing is that Target knew she was pregnant before her parents knew.

Here is how they knew:
It was a fact Target had obtained after carefully collecting information about her. The company, like many others, assigns each shopper a unique Guest ID. Every time you buy toilet paper with a credit card, visit its website, fill out a survey or, really, interact with the retailer in any way, Target assigns this information to that ID.
In a nutshell, but tracking the way this girl had interacted with them, Target was able to predict (with great accuracy, apparently) that she was pregnant and started to send her the coupons and marketing designated for pregnant women. So is that creepy? Or amazing?

Privacy is kind of a big buzz word lately. Are we all silly to be giving away all of our information to these companies? Should we be worried that in a certain way advertisers may know more about us than our loved ones? Should we be terrified that every dumb photo and stupid comment that our kids make on Facebook during high school will be accessible in perpetuity by every hiring manager, college admissions board and future in-law? Or is it no biggie?

In a way, I am lucky that I grew up before the dawn of the digital age. I recall some pretty embarrassing photos of me taken in high school. And I don't really want people to have instant access to my run as Oberon in my High School's production of A Midsummer's Night's Dream. I know I thought I was the next Olivier, but I am pretty confident looking back on it that I sucked. As an adult, I am pretty lax with my own Internet privacy. I am mindful of who I friend on Facebook, and I don't broadcast every detail of my life, but I enjoy putting information out there. I live a pretty boring life, so I don't think I have too much to be afraid of, but I don't carefully curate who gets to see what information. And truthfully, I think it is fun. I like posting what books I have read on Goodreads and letting my friends comment on them. I just returned from a family vacation where I was uploading pictures throughout the day and I would have a lot of fun each night coming home and reading comments that friends had written on them.

But maybe that is naive. Maybe there is a potential for harm to come from all of the information we post online. Cultural paranoia tells us that we need to safeguard our information because we could be endangering ourselves, as illustrated in the creepy Facebook lollipop video. (Be warned: it is pretty messed up. Don't watch if you are easily frightened.)  But truthfully, I am less worried that my Facebook updates will lead to some crazy person coming to kill me and more worried that when my neighbors dog goes missing I will be the prime suspect because of my well publicized hatred of the canine.

So where do you stand in the world of online privacy? Do you think we are living in a new age where eventually everyone will have an Internet history of embarrassing photos and stupid comments so we just won't care anymore? Or do you think we need to be mindful custodians of what we choose to share and who we choose to share it with? Or do you just publish everything on MySpace so you are sure that it is safe from prying eyes?

At least now we know that if your teenage daughter starts receiving coupons in the mail for diapers, you may need to set aside some quality time to chat.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

what to talk about at your oscar party


I know that not everybody is into the Oscars like I am. The Academy Awards are sort of the Super Bowl for the artsy-fartsy crowd and I get that. But there are many of us who prefer both the Super Bowl and the Oscars and see both as a celebration of life, liberty, and the pursuit of attention. I won't judge you if you don't watch the Super Bowl, and I won't judge you if you don't watch the Academy Awards. But I will judge you if you make disparaging remarks as if one or the other doesn't matter. Because if you can't at least enjoy one of these ceremonies, then the verdict is in: YOU'RE BORING!

Now, for those of you who aren't into the Oscars, I'm here to help. If you are the sort of person who says "Oh, Golly! The only movie I saw last year was Cars 2!" then I will assist. If you want to look relevant, even though clearly you aren't, I am here for you. When Oscar Night rolls around and you go to some party and you don't know what to say, well, how about these ideas:

1. It's ok to discuss ladies outfits as long as that's not the only thing you talk about. That gets old. If you don't know what to say about a dress, you should just make a lot of references to how everything is "a return to Old Hollywood Glamour." This works every time.

2. If you really want to be bold and discuss someones make-up, I can't help you there. Except you can always admire somebody's "smoky eyes."

3. Here's what the nominated movies are about:

The Artist: A black and white silent movie with some cute dancing and an awesome dog.

The Descendants: George Clooney lives in Hawaii with his comatose wife and his daughters, who are jerks.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: A super annoying kid does a scavenger hunt

The Help: Some maids get on and off a lot of busses

Hugo: Martin Scorcese makes a "family film" about the origins of cinema and zzzzz

Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen movie about time travel in Paris, starring Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway

Moneyball: An awesome movie starring Brad Pitt that helps you to like baseball

The Tree of Life: Dinosaurs, Death, and Sean Penn in an elevator

War Horse: Steven Spielberg's story about a special pony

4. Talk about who was "robbed." These are people who should have been nominated but weren't. This year you can mention that Tilda Swinton, Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks got robbed. You can also complain about how Michael Fassbender got robbed for Shame, but then you are admitting you saw an NC-17 movie starring lots of naked people. Just letting you know.

5. Mention that anything from Drive got robbed. Your cool factor just went up. You're welcome!

6. This year, feel free to complain about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It got nominated for best picture even though it was so dumb. Boring and irritating and everyone hates it (not just me.) Everyone will complain about it this year.

7. Feel free to complain about how dated Billy Crystal is. But then roll your eyes as you remember last year's Anne Hathaway/James Franco debacle. Remember that? Oh, jeez. (rolls eyes)

8. Talk about how amazing, beautiful, and touching Tree of Life was. Or talk about how slow, confusing, and pointless it was. Doesn't matter. Either way, you won't be alone. And everyone will start fighting! Make some hors' d'oeurves and let people throw them.

9. I bet Glenn Close hates Meryl Streep, don't you? Discuss.

10. Don't, under any circumstance, make that lame comment about how you haven't seen any of these movies. It's not cute and it's your fault. Seriously, go on a date sometime. And if you truly haven't seen any of the movies, you have five more days to catch one or two. Also, if all else fails, just pretend you saw them. Lie! I'm telling you right now: LIE

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I wish I was meaner.


Once, while I was working at Pier 1 in New York, a man came to the counter to purchase a candle. I loved the candle he was buying and gave it a farewell sniff to send it off into the world. I told the man, "I love the smell of this candle." and I smiled.

He, in turn, looked at me and asked, "Do you have one your nose hasn't been all over?"

We stood for a moment regarding one and other, me wondering if he was serious and he wondering why I wasn't moving. "Sure." I quipped finally, and took his filthy, snot covered candle back to the shelf, pick up another and returned to the man. I did not wish this candle luck, rather, I suffocated it with tissue paper and shoved it in a bag and sent them both on their way with out another word. Though I was bothered, I could not help be jealous of the man who got to say the mean thing to a person who, he knew, had no choice but to take it.

I did dabble in meanness while living in New York, but it it was mainly for the tourists. My friend Katie and I were walking down 34th street and this cab came barreling into our cross walk and slammed on it's breaks. Well, everyone knows you can always be mean to cabs, but never more so then when they are in the wrong. So Kaite swung her purse down on the hood of the cab like Thor's Hammer and screamed, "Slow Down, Expletive*!" and we kept walking. I may have tossed over my shoulder a "Yeah!" like a side kick greaser in some 50's show, you know, the one who was always wearing 3-D glasses so they always called him 3-D. He was never the mean one, and in my blog post about a time I was mean, this was the best I could come up with. It's not even my mean story, it's Kaite's. And anyone who knows Katie knows, she's plenty mean. Also, in an unconnected thought, she does not read blogs.

I don't want to be meaner to my wife or daughter, or my friends, just to strangers who deserve it.

Once, when my sister-in-law was pregnant she asked her husband (my brother) and me to go get her a McShamrock Shake from McDonald's (is that what they are called?) She was pregnant and neither my brother or I are mean so, of course, we went. We ended up ordering ourselves some food and more food for the pregnant lady at home and headed back on our way. When we pulled into his driveway we realized they had forgotten the McClover Shake! Oh man, it was on! Speeding back to drive thru we let loose a barrage of 'How do you dos' and 'What fors'. Each of us upping the ante and then encouraging the other to 'Really Do it!'

"Don't back down."

"No, I won't, why would I? It's her fault!" Most of our ammo was aimed at the 14 year old manning the drive-up window.

"It IS her fault! Who knows what she was doing back there?! I mean, it's just a shake it's not surgery!"

"I'm gonna say that!"

"You should! It's NOT surgery! Also you should get that shake for free!"

"I should! Wait, we've paid for it."

"That doesn't matter! Give her the card and make her put that McLucky Shake back on the card! We got time! Heaven knows she thinks we've got all the time in the world to be driving back and forth for McLeprechaun Legs Shake's!"

"We DON'T have all the time in the world!"

"WE DO NOT!"

"I've got a pregnant wife at home who could go in to labor at any moment and I'll be sitting in line AGAIN waiting to get my bleeding green shake!"

"Tell her that! You gotta say it! You gotta tell her off!"

"I will!"

"You should!"

"I'm going to!"

"Good she deserves it!"

"Well, she gonna get it!"

We pull up to the window and my brothers greeting was very forceful.

"HELLO! I was just here and I ordered some food and a McBlarney Stone Shake."

"Yeah?"

"Well, you forgot the shake."

"Oh, hang on...yeah it's right here, you can pull forward."

"I WILL!"

We pulled up to the window and the girl apologized, and now that we were face to face with her and we now had the shake, we responded it was no problem, (I was responding from the passenger side seat, just like 3-D would) and headed off on our way. We drove in silence for a bit, then my brother told me, "I just can't be mean to people."

"No, me neither."

"I mean, she just a 12 year old kid working at a drive through."

"I know, and what, she forgot a shake? It's not like she screwed up a surgery."

"I know, right? We live, like three minutes away. It's no big deal."

"One time this guy at my work got all bent out of shape cause I smelled his candle."

"What?!"

"I know! I was like, "Oh sorry." and I had to walk all the way over and get him a new one."

"Cause you smelled it?!"

"Yeah!"

"What does he think people do with candles in the store?"

"I know! I should have been like, "Um. they've all be smelled, Sir, and by people a lot less appealing than me!"

"He was lucky you were the one who smelled his candle!"

"He WAS lucky! I should have shoved that candle up his butt!"

"Yeah, how do you like the smell now, sir!!"

"Yeah, have a nice day! You should have gone for a votive!"

"I don't know what that means."

"Oh, it's a much smaller candle."

"Oh yeah. Good one."


Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is, I'll have to settle for just being mean to strangers-that-done-me-wrong (and Katie) on this blog. But there in lies the beauty, last week I was posting about the disintegration of our basic human rights, this week it's candles up the butt.

Hope you check back often, cause you never know what you're going to get!

Love,
~Patrick




*I can't recall which one but either way I couldn't have posted it here. She's got a mouth like a trucker* and knows how to use it.

*Mostly tired, with a five o'clock shadow.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents Day!



Stop! Before you run out and celebrate Presidents Day by making your ice sculpture of Mount Rushmore or reenacting the Lincoln assassination or putting up your Roosevelt tree with all the trimmings, I have a question I’d like to pose.

Since this is an election year (I’m assuming you don’t live under a rock, so you are well aware of this), what do you think would make you a good presidential candidate for 2012?

If you were to make a list of all of my wonderful strengths and unparalleled abilities…then first of all, I’d like to see that list. But second of all, political savvynessocity wouldn’t be on there.

To prove my point, here is my list of Top 10 things I would do immediately upon being your new president, and moving into the White House.

  1. I would call Bono and say, “Come to the White House. I’d like to talk about a real solution for forgiving third-world debt.” And then when he arrived, I’d be waiting in the White House Concert Hall, and I’d say, “Just kidding, dude, here’s a guitar, let’s start with “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and play all the way through The Joshua Tree. Where are Edge, Larry, and Adam? I’m pretty sure I told you to bring them.”
  2. Then, so there were no hard feelings, I’d have the #1 White House Chef make up a mess of bangers n’ mash for dinner. (I hear the Edge loves bangers n’ mash.) And since we’d be hanging out all night, for breakfast the next morning, of course, Lucky Charms.
  3. Then I would take Air Force One out for a spin. (Not with U2 though, because frankly, they have their own ride, and Air Force One is my time.) Me and my First Lady would spend some time in Fiji, New Zealand, Italy, and the Azores.
  4. I would throw a ginormous barbecue on the White House Lawn with all my friends, and as kind of a bon voyage party for all the snooty celebrities that had threatened to leave the country if I were elected president. I would convert half of the lawn into a miniature golf course, and the other half into a water slide park. The White House Chefs would be cooking all day (because let’s face it, I’m going to be putting them to work 24/7, as it is only a matter of days before I am impeached.)
  5. I would have my secretary call Lorne Michaels and arrange for my immediate hosting of Saturday Night Live; and let everyone know that I will be bringing some of my own sketches, that I wrote in college. Also I would like them to invite Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Amy Poehler, and the late Phil Hartman to appear as “special guests.” (Coldplay as musical guests.)
  6. I would arrange for a private screening at the White House Movie Theater Room of Three Men and a Baby, and hold a discussion about my conspiracy theory of how Steve Guttenberg managed to make so many movies in the 80s.
  7. I would also arrange for a kind of hybrid game of “Hide and Seek” and “Paintball.” Where legislators and I would put on camouflage and hunt each other throughout the White House. (Think of how many awesome rooms there would be to hide in! … I  KNOW!) And if they catch me, then I won’t veto the bill; but if they don’t, then I get to veto whatever I want.
  8. Since I have never watched a Super Bowl game, then I would of course want to appear at the half time show and perform with The Police. I would play the cowbell, just to mess with people’s minds, and kind to see if I could start a fight between Sting and Stewart Copeland.
  9. I would constantly be meeting with my publicist and Hollywood folks, who would be working on my biography/movie entitled, Impeachment: My 72 Hours in the White House.
  10. I would contact Ben & Jerry and insist they create a new flavor named after me. Executive Craig Chip or Craig-o-licious. Presidential Party in Your Mouth. Something. I trust them.
Perhaps I don’t possess the qualities you are looking for in the CEO of America. I get that. But consider this. YOU would be invited to that White House lawn party! How ya like me NOW?!

Friday, February 17, 2012

And so it's Friday...

...and what have we learned?

This week Ken reminded us of girlfriends we might still have. Patrick, in an effort to correct decades of persecution and racism posted a little post about Rosa Parks. Chris shared his relationship issues with his robot wife. And Josh introduced us to a wonderful place to store our recipes and Kung Foo moves. All in all, not a bad week.

But to send you off to your weekend, after hours of research and prayer, I found this video:

Funny Cats:




Ha Ha...I super hate cats.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Man's Guide to Pinterest


I am a bit of a social network junkie. I'll try anything. I'm on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. I've used Path and Instagram and Photovine and Goodreads. I even occasionally check my Ping page. So when I heard so much hullabaloo on the interwebs about Pinterest I wanted to give it a try (you even have  to be invited, so it makes it seem even more exclusive.)

No doubt you've heard of Pinterest, probably from your wife or sister and probably with a comment about how addicted they are. Techcrunch.com reported that 97% of Pinterest users are female. And while I can't say that I am addicted or spend hours madly pinning things to my boards, I think there is some room (and a need!) for more men to join Pinterest.

First off: What is Pinterest? Basically it is an online bulletin board. It is a way to organize bookmarks of websites or ideas that you might want to visit later. Other people can see what you have "pinned" and re-pin it to their own boards, comment on it, email it to a friend, etc. When I started using Pinterest (and it is still what I primarily use it for) it was to keep track of recipes I had seen online that I wanted to try. Rather than having hundreds of bookmarks I had to flip through to find a recipe I wanted, I have an easy to navigate visualization of everything I have saved.

I know bookmarking recipes probably isn't really selling you on the whole "Why Men should be on Pinterest" argument. But I also pin DIY projects and ideas of things I would like to do around the home and garden. I have a pinboard of tech products I want to buy. You could just as easily have a pinboard of workout ideas, hikes you want to do or interesting articles you want to come back to later. There is also a whole world of humor (Like Beccy's "Trying to Hard" board) and geeky fun.

So as you begin to navigate the world of Pinterest, here are a few things that I have learned:
1. It is really complicated plan Young Women's Values night. Every third pin is a recipe for pretzels dipped in values-colored chocolate, or crocheted Values-colored iPod cases. I guarantee the men of the church are not spending 1/100th of the time planning anything for the Young Men.
2. Some women like to imagine Ryan Gossling is saying sensitive things to them, because you get a lot of these:
I'm not judging. Let's be honest, if I looked like Ryan Gosling I would have a board called "Awesome Pictures of Me: Check out my Hair."
3. Feel free to unfollow anyone who starts pinning a lot of ideas for great Halloween decorations in February.
4. People like to put babies in bowls and take pictures of them. What's up with that?

So join me in the world of pinning. Let's get some men pinning manly things. And if you are not into manly things, I have some great ideas for Young Women's values night that I wanted to discuss. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

oh really, pandora?


Pandora and I are fighting. If you don't know Pandora, she's the special lady who plays songs for me on my computer. I know all the kids have moved on to Spotify and the like, but I made a commitment to Pandora a few years ago and I'm not someone who drops a lady just because someone flashier came along. I only wish we had a better relationship, Pandora and I. Because she lies. And I get all passive aggressive. And Pandy lies more. It's a vicious spiral.

I carefully crafted a station I like, and for a while Pandora was playing songs that were surprising and delightful. She was like that awesome teen in your ward who introduces you to bands called "Tokyo Speed Demon" and "Dubstep Dummies" and makes you feel momentarily relevant. I loved hanging out with Pandora because she made me believe I was hip. Little did I know that this feeling was unsubstantial and built like a pack of cards.

Pretty soon Pandora starts "introducing" me to hits from the 90's. And then there's all this Deep House Dish Euro pop that leaves me confused and a little tweaked. It's not constant: she'll play three or four songs I like, and then hits me with Color Me Badd or some Greek bubble-pop. And when I hit the thumbs down button she gets all coy and says "You don't like that? I'm so sorry. I thought you liked that." She's lying. She knows I don't like it. I made the station! Don't just put random crap in there and pretend like you thought I liked it, Pandora!

And then she goes on these kicks where she plays Jack Johnson and John Mayer ad nauseum. I don't mind those guys, but she plays them like they are the clarion call of the new millennium. Jack Johnson always seems so lazy and John Mayer is super spitty in concert, so I feel listless and moist when I hear their music. Pandora thinks it's funny, I can tell. So I turn her off. Or turn down the volume. It's a passive way to protest and I'm not above doing it.

Anyway, I'm hoping I can fix this relationship. You can't fix another person, though, just yourself. That's what all the TV doctors say. So I guess I can try to adjust myself to Pandora's choices. I just don't like doing it. It's fraudulent and it's manipulative and it just feeds the snake that will eventually bite me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Preparing Our Children

So, I'm glad Ken took a moment to remind us of young love and young love still harbored. But I would like to place my focus on our American History. It's almost the same thing.

This week, a pretty horrible video was put up on Youtube of a "comedian" who put on blackface and tromped onto BYU Campus and asked students their thoughts on Black History. Needless to say, no one looked good. The students, with cameras on them, gave into what I assume they thought was the easy joke. "Q: How do you celebrate Black History Month? A: We love our fried chicken and grape juice." "Q: Name a Black Historical Figure? A: Samuel Jackson." "Q: Everyone has a 'Black Person' impression, what's yours? A:..." as you can imagine, it wasn't good. Appropriately, the "comedian" is coming under a lot of fire for using blackface. Unfortunately, he's from Utah so the whole lot of us come off looking, well, dumb.

It's all really bad and it's all a little close to our house, so in celebration of Black History Month, I wanted to post a little something about an inspiring woman and a major player in our American History.


Rosa Parks

I know it may feel cliché; there are literally thousands of people to choose from, but hers is such a good story and there is more than you may know.

You'll remember that she was riding the bus coming home from work. A white man asked for the seat and she said no, was arrested, the black community boycotted the bus system until the buses became fully integrated.

What I didn't know is that she was sitting with three black men on the bus. They got up to move, and she stayed. I didn't know that it wasn't that she was tired from work, but that she was tired from life and having to move back for white guys. I didn't know that the boycott lasted 382 days: it wasn't a quick sentence in a book, it was more than a year of walking (some people more than 20 miles a day), carpooling, or taking African American operated taxis (these cab companies eventually had their insurance canceled in an attempt to end the boycott). And it was 40,000 African American people boycotting every day! Rosa Parks and her husband lost their jobs and had to move to Virgina. And the end of the Boycott did not come from a sweeping feeling of injustice on behalf of the bus company or the city of Montgomery, or the state of Alabama. It was the Supreme Court shoving a law down to the state that forced them to integrate the bus system. Imagine, after all that, getting back on the bus only because the people who persecuted you were now being forced to let you on. How those people must have looked.

I don't like this part of our history, but I like it even less when it's not history but something we have to face today, and that my daughter will face tomorrow. I love these words from Mrs. Parks: "Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome." I'm sure she was speaking to a group of African American people when she said to "prepare our children for what they have to meet," but thinking about those white students who gave in to doing impressions of how black people walk and talk and eat, not necessarily because they were malicious but because they thought it would be funny, it seems more important the we white parents "prepare our children for what they have to meet...

and, hopefully, we shall overcome."



"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."
– Rosa Parks



"People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired.…the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."
– Rosa Parks



"Each person must live their life as a model for others."
– Rosa Parks



"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free... so other people would be also free."
– Rosa Parks



Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92. Her casket was placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol for two days. This is an honor usually only reserved for Presidents when they die. People waited in line for pay their respects.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Young Love



Remember Valentine’s Day in elementary school? We would gladly hand out Valentine’s cards to everyone in class. Boy, girl, weird smelling kid with a lip fungus – everyone was endowed with a written sentiment. On Valentine’s Day, charity abounded and we were all compassionate.  

There was one year when cupid paid me a visit, and I was indeed hit with his arrow. It was fourth grade and her name was Tess Dresher. I can still recall the day she walked up to me during recess and asked me to “go with her.” “Sure,” I answered. And those were the last words every exchanged between Tess and myself. We occasionally sat by each other, and I gave her a very special Peanuts Valentine’s Day card, but we never did speak, or even make eye contact. So I guess technically we are still “going together.” Boy is she going to be mad when she finds out I got married and had seven children. She’ll want to break up for sure. I’m not looking forward to that conversation.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Say That You Love Me


Have you read Senor Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages? A fascinating read! And by “fascinating” I mean “easy enough for even me to understand.”

According to Captain Gary Chapman, love is spoken in five different languages. You want I should spell them out for you? Done. They are 1) Physical Touch, 2) Acts of Service, 3) Gifts, 4) Quality Time and 5) Words of Affirmation. One of these is YOUR “love language,” that is, the way YOU feel loved. (No, Eating is not one of them. But mark my words, Sir Chapman has a sequel in the works, and it includes a title somewhere along the line of The Sixth Love Language: The Most Delicious of All.)

As I read Sergeant Chapman’s theory, it made me feel like a genius. Because I was pretty sure I was multi-lingual. I spoke several of these love languages, if not all of them. Give me a hug (physical touch), and you bet I’ll feel loved. But give me a hug while telling me how smart I am (words of affirmation), pulling money out of my ear (gifts), and brushing lint off my shirt (acts of service), then I really feel loved. And if you make it a long hug, then that’s quality time, and we just covered all our bases, and I’m feeling more loved than Santa Claus.

After a more thorough reading and much deliberation, I have concluded that my love language is actually Words of Affirmation.

According to Saint Chapman, the reason it was so difficult for me to narrow in on my love language is due to his theory that if you hear your love language spoken regularly, and your Bucket O’ Love (scientific term) is full, then it’s difficult to detect which language is yours. Or, if you feel absolutely no love, and your Bucket is plumb empty, then it is equally difficult to determine what your love language is. But if you know my wife, Katie, then you know that my struggle to determine my love language is because I have marinated in love for so many years, my Bucket runneth over. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Get Out of the Pool!

image from disney.com
Amy and I have been on vacation this week (at Disneyland!) which is why this blog is posting a little late in the evening. The other night while I was at the pool with my kids, I witnessed a parenting moment I have lived through about 150 times.

A couple was ready to leave the pool and had already gathered up 2 of their 3 kids. The third was still in the pool and when they asked her to get out, she refused. Mom went to reach for her arm, but she swam just out of reach. When Dad walked around to the other side of the pool, she swam away from him, too. I can hear your gasps from here. Nothing is worse than chasing your kids and looking like a fool doing it. Following the unwritten code of parental conduct, all the other parents at the pool tried to look away to lessen the embarrassment of the couple who was now circling the pool and trying, in vain, to grab their wayward daughter.

Things then went from bad to worse. The girl started splashing water at her parents as they tried to grab her. "Oh no she didn't!" I wanted to yell, but didn't think my helpful comment would be appreciated. The parents started making threats, all of which the girls laughed off. "If you don't get out now you are going to time out!" Ha ha! *splash* "Get out or there will be no swimming tomorrow!" Ha *splash* ha!! "If you don't get out this minute we won't go to Disneyland tomorrow!" *SPLASH* Bwua-ha-HA-HA-HA!!!

We have all been there. The empty threat that we know holds no power. Unless those parents have a lot more discipline than me, there is no way that after paying all the money to get to Disneyland, get a hotel and buy the park tickets that they were going to hang out in a hotel room for 16 hours to make a point about the importance of listening. I know I frequently make threats that I know I don't have the energy or willpower to carry through on.

It is the great lie of parenting. Kids think the parents have all the power, but the real truth is that the kids are 100% in control. If my kids just say no, then I run out of options pretty quick. Sure I can send them to time out, and take away privileges and restrict their behavior. And I do all of those things and sometimes they get results. But sometimes, like that family at the pool, your kids decide to call your bluff and see how far you are willing to go. And pretty soon you get to the empty promises that are really just punishing you and the rest of the family.

Every day as parents we walk that line. Trying to maintain order in the household without showing too much of our hand and hoping the kids don't figure out that I won't really throw every toy in their bedroom in the garbage if they don't clean it up and that they won't really have to sit at the table until all of their dinner is gone. Those punishments would just really punish me. I just hope tonight they all get out of the pool, because I really want to go to Disneyland tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the more you know: Poltergeist


I'm sorry to report that the special effects in Poltergeist do not hold up. As a result, the movie is just not that scary anymore. How is it that I thought these special effects were terrifying back in 1984? None of them look remotely real! You could argue that we'll feel the same way about Avatar in twenty years, but at least Avatar doesn't feature a tornado made by someone scribbling on the film stock with a pencil eraser.

I loved Poltergeist when I was an early teen; it was rated PG so we were allowed to watch it. We always wanted to watch it at sleepovers, but everyone made an excuse to talk or go to the bathroom during the scene where Marty rips his face off in the mirror. Why we were so scared I will never know, since it's basically a dummy head covered in wax and cheese whiz.

There's also the following concerns:

Skeletons that do not look like skeletons

"The Beast" number 666 who looks like an angry old goat wearing a diaper

A swirling orange CGI thunderstorm that moves a few hundred miles per hour but doesn't concern anyone

A ghostly hand that shoots out of a television set, courtesy of "Steamboat Willie"

A room full of swirling toys being flung around, courtesy of a giant green screen

Child actors

I would not necessarily recommend you not watch Poltergeist, especially if you loved it as a kid. But you should be educated and aware: this movie is a relic. JoBeth Williams looks great, and there's some funny parts. But overall it's just not scary and the steak that slides down the counter and starts cooking looks super fake.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Go Away" Part 2


In the week since I posted about my daughter's new-found fondness for telling me, my wife, and strangers to "Go Away," I have come to learn a lot. First, the phrase is everywhere. No doubt you saw that I have been spoon feeding her the phrase, biweekly, with Sword in the Stone, but Lindsay just reread it to her in The Paper Bag Princess, a healthy women's lib book if ever there was one. Remember when I cited Babe as my "never would say" example? Well, some Scottish rooster says it to some crowing duck. I've overheard other kids say it and grown-ups say it, which brought me to this terrifying conclusion: My daughter is a genius. It really is the only way to explain how she can pick up things so quickly, then retain them, then wield them for her own purposes.

When I was Daisy's age, which is not quite two, I was sitting in my stroller, living my life, having mashed up food placed in my mouth only to move through my digestive system, out of my body, to be cleaned and taken away by the person who mashed the food in the first place. A woman approached my stroller and reached in and scruffed her hands through my hair and said, "What a beautiful boy!" My parents beamed and the three of them regarded me. I squinted my eyes and looked to the woman and said, "Don't touch my hair." I was not quite two, but being who I am at 33, I'm sure that I meant it. What gave her the right? I'm sure it took no less than twenty minutes to get it looking just so, and Heaven knows where her hands had been--after all, she had just shoved them into a stranger's hair. I'm sure if she had seen a passing orangutan, she would had taken a moment to compliment the back of its tongue, but only after getting both of her filthy meaty fists down the back of the poor monkeys throat.

Don't touch my hair.

Of course, I was not quite two, and my very plain English was lost on her, but my parents heard me clearly. And when the woman asked what I had said, they shrugged and smiled and gave each other a look--which Lindsay and I have recently come to perfect--of "Our child is a genius."

Daisy can say about a thousand words. A quick google search tells me she should have 25-50 words in her cannon. She's WAY past that, not that you could understand them, but we can. Her word for "Popcorn" is very close to "Taco" and if she wants you to lay down next to her she says, "Leit?" and pats the spot at her side. She can say all her colors--even that Red and Yellow make "Orr-inge" and Blue and Yellow make "Geeen" and that Red and Blue make "Paw Pole." Not that she would ever tell you if you asked, mind you, but when you read the story of the white mice dancing in paint it's clear as day. Don't bother me with animal sounds; they are for, like, 18-month-olds and are beneath her. If you ask her what a cow says, she tries to avoid the embarrassing question by tasking elsewhere. She may give in, if you persist, but she'll tell you as if to educate you--you, a grown person and don't what a cow says? Humiliating.

The point is, she is not a genius...well, probably not. Does every parent think their children are adroit? We know Chris thinks Miles is too smart for "The Arts" and Ken and Josh both could fill this blog with their kids and their genius antics...and soon will. But for now it's me, with my magic daughter who can ask you "A Snake in the tree?" or can tell me where the dog has gone to the bathroom by pointing and saying, " 'Touts a-poo-poo, daddy a-mess."

Just so you can see what I'm talking about, here's a video. Enjoy.


video

Monday, February 6, 2012

Part Time Authors


…But full-time awesome.

As this is our official “Launch Day,” and presumably more than our wives and mothers are now reading, I’ll make the introductions. The Part Time Authors are, in order of appearance on the blog and in our candid photo: Ken, Patrick, Chris, and Josh.


The four of us in college, where we first met. 
Imagine our embarrassment when we all showed up to Freshmen orientation in the same outfit.

We are contributing authors in a collection of personal essays featured in Tell Me Who I Am, a book that will be published next month.  We are also great friends.

One of the themes of our friendship, along with good food and elaborate lace collars, is storytelling: sharing the stories of our lives. When our families get together, the food sets the stage, but it is the conversation that carries the evening. The stories are usually funny, sometimes poignant, and often bizarre.

Storytelling can also be revealing; especially after midnight and a gallon of horchata. In fact, that is how I heard about the time Chris knocked over a Circle K, Josh threw up on a State Senator, and Patrick entered the Witness Relocation Program. (I think I’m remembering all that right, but you’ll have to ask them.)

The thing is this: Chris, Josh, Patrick and I have these “real jobs” that sometimes get in the way of how we would like to make a living…writing, and tending a goose that lays golden eggs, and also doesn’t need much actual tending and doesn’t poop. But until we can find said goose, we’ll just be “Part Time Authors.”

That’s what I’m hoping this blog will be: a conversation of stories and observations from four friends.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Meal to Impress

Earlier in the week Ken said that he wanted to know "How to Make a Meal that Would Impress Anyone."  When I read that I thought to myself "I love to cook. What meal would I make to impress anyone?" And then it hit me, my go-to show-stopper meal.

The Monte Cristo.

Image from Disney.com
"What is a Monte Cristo?" you might be saying. And I pity you if you are saying that. Get this: It is a batter-dipped and deep fried ham, turkey and Swiss sandwich that is sprinkled with powdered sugar and dipped in currant (or raspberry) jam.

I was first introduce to this wonder of wonder at Disneyland as a teenager. They serve it in the Blue Bayou restaurant (that's the one you can see inside Pirates of the Caribbean) and some friends and I were dining there one day. I, of course, ordered it and it, of course, rocked my teenage world.

As a college student when I was an intern at Disney World (why this sandwich is connected to Disney in my life is inexplicable, except that it is Magical.) the only restaurant we could reach without a car was a Bennigan's. They serve pub food like chicken fingers and patty melts. But they also serve a Monte Cristo. We dined on it many times.

I had long wanted to create it at home, so googled a few recipes, made some tweaks and have perfected it over the years. It does indeed impress and is oft requested at book clubs, birthday parties and gatherings of friends. Don't be fooled by recipes that are some sort of weird sandwich made with french toast. That, my friends, is a sacrilege and not a Monte Cristo. You need this baby deep fired.

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces of white sandwich bread (I sometimes use the "Texas Toast" kind if I want the sandwiches to be nice even squares.)
  • 4 pieces of ham, turkey and Swiss cheese.
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper (or white pepper if you have that kind of thing and are concerned about black flecks in your batter.)
  • Oil
  • Powdered sugar
  • Currant (or more likely raspberry) jam
Procedure:
  1. Prepare sandwiches with bread, turkey, ham and Swiss. Cut each sandwich into two triangles and secure each triangle with a toothpick.
  2. Whisk the eggs, flour, water, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. The batter should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Add flour or water as needed.
  3. Pour the oil in a big dutch oven and heat over med-high heat. You are looking for about 350°. For many years I did this part in an eclectic fryer. Don't bother. It is just as easy to heat the oil in a pot and much easier to clean up.
  4. Dip each sandwich half in batter, coating all sides and then drop in hot oil. Don't overcrowd the pan, yo! Just do a sandwich or tow at a time.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown and puffy.
  6. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove the toothpick, or at the very least warn your guest that it is there so no one gets stabbed in the uvula. 
  7. Sprinkle warm sandwich with powdered sugar and jam for dipping.
This may sound a bit odd to you. A savory sandwich with sugar and jam. But believe me, it is not. It is delicious and wonderful. And sure to impress. YOU'RE WELCOME, KEN!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Consider the Hair

This is a picture of me when I was about 18 or 19 years old.

I am not posting this picture to point out the fact that I evidently thought it was OK to wear a suit with a shirt with a button down collar (Honestly, who let me leave the house that way?) That is another blog. It is to show you my hair. Are you kidding me with that stuff? Thick, gorgeous, full of body. In a word: awesome.

I was apparently more smirky as a youth
This is more the look I am currently rocking (I'm the one in the back.)
Poor son. That hair is doomed to go.
What happened? Well, genetics happened. When I was about 19 or 20 my hair started to go and went pretty fast over the next few years. I miss it greatly. Only men who are not bald try to say that losing your hair is "no big deal." It is a big deal and it kinda sucks. I would trade up to three fingers (if I could pick which ones) for my hair back. Vain, yes. But I miss those locks.

What I miss most about my hair, other than its sheer beauty and brilliantine shine, is going to get a hair cut. When I was in college and was still clinging to my mahogany tresses, I would go to fancy salons when I would be given a cold Diet Coke, have meaningful chats with beautiful stylists and finish it all off with a minty-scented shampoo and a scalp massage. It was a treat and a delight. Relaxing and fun. I still remember my stylists fondly (I miss you Heidi and Shep!)

About 10 years ago, I realized that it just wasn't worth it anymore. I was paying a lot of money for not a lot of hairs to be cut. So I started going to those strip mall saloons - "Fantastic" Sam's, "Great"Clips, "Super" Cuts. (Ironic quotation marks mine.) For $11 someone will buzz my hair with clippers and clean up the mess. No meaningful chit-chat. No minty shampoo. No scalp massage. But it gets the job done. Going to get a hair cut is no longer an indulgence. It is just another item on my to do list.

Today at a unnamed haircutting place (between a Check City and a Pizza Hut - oh, the Humanity!) I was told the following things by my stylist:

"My doctor prescribed me Xanex to take when I was standing outside my 13 year-old's room with a pillow thinking 'He won't struggle that much!'"

and

"I used to tell my son 'I have a shovel and grandpa has a shotgun and it would just take a jury with one parent and I would never be convicted.'"

I wasn't sure if after the cut I should tip her or call child protective services/ the police. Heidi and Shep would never have talked about filicide!

So I am living in a different world now. A dark, hairless scalp massage free world. And I sometimes miss the old one. But if I have to be bald, at least I don't wear a button down collars with suits anymore. Now that would truly be something to be ashamed of.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

play on, miles!


Lisa came home this morning from Miles' college and career planning meeting with some good news and some bad news! The good news is that Miles scored very highly in the performing arts! The bad news is that Miles scored very highly in the performing arts! And in other news: Miles hates the performing arts.

You can understand my trepidation in seeing any of my children go into the performing arts because I, myself, have chosen this path and have been witness to so much crashing and burning. You know how everyone secretly thinks they are a great singer? (admit it.) Everyone also secretly thinks they would be a fantastic actor (under the right conditions.) But the truth is, most people aren't fantastic singers or actors. And this is how it should be! The world needs accountants and gym teachers and data-entry people, probably more than it needs a bunch of indulgent actors.

But I guess we were a little disappointed when Miles' career counselor recommended the performing arts for him, because he seems too smart for it. He is capable of so much more! He's a sharp graphic designer and I've never seen anyone more comfortable and adept with a computer. Bear in mind, of course, that he's in the eighth grade and probably none of this career guidance matters yet. But I always wanted him to be so left brained. I wanted him to make some money and pay for all of my performing arts. C'est la vie!

Of course I'm reminded of the time I scheduled an appointment at BYU with a career guidance counselor who had me take a test which would tell me what careers I was best suited for. After taking the test I returned a week later for a follow-up appointment. The guidance counselor seemed really cagey and embarrassed. Turns out, the computer program recommended my number one occupational fit to be "circus performer." Secondary options included "teacher" and "lawyer." I can't imagine that counselor had to recommend circus performance to too many students. But I'm just really special, and apparently aerobatic.

So I'm not going to sweat Miles' proclivities for the arts. It could be worse, I guess, but I'm not sure how. Poetry, maybe? He insists he doesn't want to act, and he hates singing, so I'm just going to bank on computer programming and communication design until one day, when he's sixteen, he comes home and tells me he's going to play Jubilation T. Cornpone in the Timpview High School production of Lil Abner, and I'm going to smile and say congrats, and then hide in my room for a while.
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