Monday, January 31, 2011

This Isn't What She Signed Up For

I was thinking about my wife today, and about how thankful I am for her.  Among other reasons, the one that has stood out the most over the past few months, is how supportive she is of me.

When we very first got engaged, and before that as well, we talked a lot about a lot of things.  We discussed goals, and how we wanted our house ran.  We decided that she would put me through school and that I would become a therapist, then I would work and she would be a stay at home mom.  I hadn't looked into Yoga, or Buddhism, or any other Eastern thought.  I never wore sweats, and I never wore shorts.  I thought I had a lot of things figured out, and because I'm so opinionated, I'm sure she had no reason to think that any of those opinions would ever change.

Well, they did change.  I decided not to become a therapist, and my wife pushed me to try writing (something I had always dreamed of doing, but which I had thought was a little too risky).  We discussed how much money I would make, and realistically realized that it may not be that much, but that if I am moderately successful and love it, that she would continue teaching, and I would be a stay at home dad.  This semester, as most of you know, I've fallen in love with Yoga, and how great it makes me feel.  I've also started looking into Buddhism, and how some of those practices might help me come closer to God.  I wear sweats now, most of the time, and my wife talked me into shorts last summer.  My opinions have changed drastically.  I don't have anything figured out (which I'm told is normal the older that you get), but I'm still just as opinionated.

A few weeks ago, while my wife and I lay in bed, I turned to her and said, "_______, this isn't really what you signed up for is it?"  She gave me a puzzled look, and told me she didn't know what I meant.  I rehearsed to her what I wrote above, about how much I had changed, and how I certainly wasn't the person that she married.  She thought for a while and said, something to the effect of, "Paul, you are the man I married.  I knew you were passionate, and I knew that things would change.  You still love me, and you're still what I want."

I still don't think this is what she signed up for, but it's nice to know that she's still supporting me no matter what.  I've been told, a few times here in blogger world, that it's so great that I'm so loyal to my wife.  Now, I'm not saying that there aren't assholes who step out on some pretty great women, but I really can't take all the credit for how loyal I am.  My wife deserves at least half of that credit, if not like ninety percent of it.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't be loyal if I had married a shrew, but my wife sure makes being loyal easy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Watching the Fish at Cabela's Get Fed

A while ago I wrote a blog about bad drivers. Part of what I wrote about was the parking here at UVU and how much I hate people who stop their cars in the middle of the path and wait for a spot to open up.  I have a confession to make,  yesterday morning, I was one of those people.

Don't burn me at the stake just yet, let me justify myself.  First, let me paint you a picture.  I go to a community college which just upped its number of students, so much so that the current stat on parking is 1 spot to 6 students.  Now, this doesn't take into account the people who walk and take the bus, but I go to a commuter school (which means few people walk) and I live in Utah (which means that the only way they'd take the bus is if they woke up two hours early to do so).  Let's say, to be fair and probably pretty conservative, that it's more like 1 spot to every 4.5 people.  Either way, there aren't many spots available, and I'm surprised that no one has been shot over getting a good spot, even here in Orem. 

So, with this competition, I get to school about an hour early every day, just in case a spot doesn't open up for a while (I've almost been late before doing this, I kid you not).  Yesterday, upon arrival, I scoped out the lot and saw seven cars driving around, every spot taken, and exactly zero students walking to their cars.  I drove around a bit and finally realized that I was just waisting gas and should probably stop driving until the students came out.  So I sat.

As I sat, more cars came.  So many more that I looked in my rear view and saw a row of ten cars slowly driving the other way.  All with no real hope because students had not come out yet.  Where I was parked happened to be looking right at the main doors to one of the busiest buildings at my college, so I watched them. 

Have you ever been to Cabela's when they drop little fish into the bass and trout tank for feeding time?  If so, keep that in mind. 

The doors opened and out poured dozens of students.  I could feel the tension mounting around me.  I began strangling my steering wheel and poking out my elbows in preparation to get one of these prized spots.  I saw other drivers doing the same.  A few were unaware of the swarm of students heading our way, but I was not about to let them in on the secret.  My animal instincts kicked in, and I was going to get what I wanted.

This whole time, I stayed in the same spot.  I debated moving, but I was in a good spot.  In front of me lied dozens of spots, ripe for the picking, once students reached them.  So I sat.  That's right folks.  I was one of the squatters who was too selfish to drive around like everyone else.  I defended my own conscience by noting that cars were constantly passing me; if I moved I would probably cause an accident.  Oh, what a liar I was (Gulliver's Travels reference anyone?)

I did eventually get a spot, though I probably didn't deserve it.  I feel a little bad, but I do understand how some of these people get to be squatters.  It's not that they are the jerks I thought they were, it's that they don't want to waste gas, and once that shoot opens up that let all the fish students out into the tank lot, it's hard not to just wait for an easy meal spot.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How D&D Went

Well guys, A&G asked for it, and as we all know, A&G gets what he asks for.  I'm going to try,to the best of my ability, to tell you how Dnd went without boring you to death.  Explaining a dnd game is much like explaining a video game: it's awesome when it's happening, not so great in the explanation.  I see this as an opportunity to do a few things.  First and foremost, use it as a writing exercise.  I'll call it, 'taking something that is boring as hell and trying to make it interesting.'  Second, I'm hoping to get a little feedback on the storyline, because being a DM is really just telling a really long choose your own ending book.  And lastly, I had nothing else to write about today.  If you're one of my three players, there will be spoilers.  If you're going to criticise my writing, go ahead, but I have no intention of really revising this.  Here we go, welcome to the magical world of: DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS!  (my sister in law gave me a set of dnd cartoons for Christmas, they're actually pretty good and they say this before every episode).

Three adventurers are questing to end the slave trade of a quickly dying race (much like the Na'avi from Avatar: look, society, race name, pretty much everything).  Little do they know, an Ancient, Red Dragon, through lesser dragons who are his puppets, lies behind the slaves' captures and distribution.  He hopes to once again help his lesser race, The Dragonborne, rule the world, with him at its absolute head.  The slaves are being taken to make weapons out of a material called Unobtanium (I shit you not) which is perfect for weapons of war, but will not bend for any race, but the Na'avi.

The latest installment of quests came when our three heroes sailed to the city of (I can't remember, something coolish) to try and find the root of the slave trade, one of them being a Na'avi himself, one being an Eladrin (closely related to Elves, but a different species), and a, oh goodness, I can't remember the name, picture Wolverine without the claws, who is in search of coming closer to the land, and knows no race is closer than the Na'avi.  The three meet a man whose ring was stolen while he was on a merchant ship.  Through asking around, they are sent to talk to Rafael, a Shadowfell who runs a theives' guild.  Rafael explains that one of his men did steal the ring, though he shouldn't have because it was something special to someone, and Rafael makes a strict rule not to do that, but cannot let the three leave until they have stolen some things so that Rafael can blackmail them in case they decide to turn on him.  He gives them three tasks to perform.

The interesting part happened on the second task.  It was supposed to be easy.  They were told to steal a Barbarian's sword from a man who was known to be evil.  The man was away on business, they were told to go to the house at night, and that only one person would be watching the house.  All they had to do was climb to the top window, be a little sneaky, steal the sword, and no one would be the wiser.  Here's how it went down:

The three approached the home of Alfred (the evil guy) carefully, trying to make sure that they were not seen.  They looked at the three story home and analyzed its layout, windows and height, and decided to let the thief (the Eladrin) climb the home while the other two went to the front of the house to keep watch.  The thief had trouble at first, the house was not easy to climb, but eventually reached the third story window (where any dnd player knows the sword must be).  He did so stealthily, no one saw or heard his doings.

At the front of the house the two rangers waited, and eventually became bored and wanted to help.  So, they went to the door in hopes of distracting the man guarding the house.  The wolfman pounded on the door, pretending the Na'avi with him was his slave.  The guard woke, and came to the door, opened the smaller window to peer out at them, and asked what they were doing.  The wolfman explained that the Na'avi had been acting up, and the he was told that this was the house that would help him teach the Na'avi slave to mind "properly."  The guard explained that Alfred was not home and that he could not help in such matters.

The Eladrin continued sneaking into the home and found a forge with some Unobtainium weapons in the same room. He grabbed a rock of it without fully knowing what it was, and began picking the lock to leave the room.

Below, the wolfman and Na'avi continued trying to distract the guard, but only succeeded in the guard calling the town guards over for assistance and making him closely listen for if the two at the door were trying to distract them.  The Eladrin made more noise than he was supposed to and the guard began running up the stairs.

The guards below were telling the two to take off, and the Na'avi began a tribal dance to distract them while the wolfman laughed at the Na'avi.  As the dance continued, the guard eventually found the Eladrin thief, and the thief was forced to drug him and tie him up.

The Na'avi continued trying to distract the guards, but fell over, alerting them that they needed to go into the house to make sure everything was okay.  With the guard upstairs tied up, the thief went to statue of the Barbarian and unsheathed his sword without trying to see if there were any traps.  The sword was trapped with a fireball, which the Eladrin mostly dodged, but could not stop from starting the house on fire.  This alerted the guards below even more so and they ran up the stairs to see what was the matter.  The Eladrin, acting in haste, and not knowing what to do (the player did a great job of keeping in character) threw the young tied up guard into the fire and began running for a window.

He failed to pick the lock at the window and heard a creature waking up in the other room that he was not aware of.  The thief attempted to pick the lock to get to the other room, but could feel the flames from the trap engulfing the room on the other side.  After one failed attempt, and the fire raging, he finally made it to the other side of the door, and saw a Na'avi burst through the door leading into another room.  He called to the Na'avi and opened the window.  Both jumped down and took minimal damage.  Then the Eladrin player had to go home.

Basically, things went as bad as they could have gone without the players dying.  I thought it was hilarious.  Anyway, I hope that wasn't too boring.  It was a fun game though, I will say that.  Can't wait for February's installment, when they will finish up the third task and go to the tomb of Lord Darkstar, should be good.  Let me know if you are at all interested in me explaining how Dnd went again.  If I hear nothing, I will assume that I should blog about other things. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Mind Won't Shut Off

So, I've been having a hard time sleeping lately.  It's not because I don't exercise (remember all of my Yoga incidences).  And I wouldn't say that I don't wake up early or go to bed early (I wake up at six forty to make my wife breakfast and go to bed at ten).  I've decided it's because my brain won't shut off.

When I was little, and I was having a hard time getting to sleep, my dad would often tell me to envision what I would do with one million dollars.  Now, I was ten, so it usually consisted of my buying every X-Men action figure imaginable, but it started me on a path of sleepless nights (when I have something really good to day dream about).

Lately, I've been thinking about my writing career.  I have a children's book already written.  What if, I entered it into some contest and they found it so wonderful that they wanted to pay me to publish it?  What if, because I published it, I got to speak at the writer's convention I went to last year as an aspiring writer?  How would I finish school?  How much editing would need to be done?  What if it made it so my wife and I could pay off our condo!?!?  And it's moments like this that I realize something:  being married changes what you daydream about.

I cannot explain how excited I get when I think about paying off the condo.  It's so far off.  We've pretty much concluded that we will move before it's paid off, and still, we pay more than the minimum payment.  Wouldn't it be awesome to have that much more money every month to work with?  That whole house payment's worth?

I also dream about other things that I never thought I'd dream about, like what my kid will do when they're growing up, activities wise.  Will he play football like his grandma would love, or will she play ice hockey, like her dad?  Will he be an actor like his mom, or will she water ski like her grandpa?  I get excited thinking about this too.

And then I think about what I used to dream about.  I used to dream about BMW Z-3's, now I wouldn't even think of buying one, not until all my kids are grown anyway.  That little sport's car costs a lot, and doesn't have room for a car seat.  I used to dream about a mansion.  Why would we get a mansion?  That would just be more rooms to clean.  What I really dream about now is making life comfortable for me, my wife, and our little family.  It think it's funny how pathetic I might have seen myself three years ago, and how I really just don't give a damn. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some of My Writing

As many of you know, College is a great experience, and part of that experience is meeting new people.  I made a friend when I very first started in one of my general classes.  As with most college friendships, I wasn't sure how long it would last, but we found that we both loved writing, and that love seems to have been one of many things that has kept us in contact over these three or four years.

A couple of months ago, he asked me to do a character sketch for him.  It was for a book he's been working on for a while, and he was trying to make one for his heroin in the story, but was finding it difficult because he was basing her on a person he actually knows really well, and as us writers know, it can sometimes be difficult describing someone for the first time when we've known them for years.

At first, I didn't know where to start.  I have a hard time doing the cut and dry character sketches, and I knew he wanted more than a sheet with that said, Eyes: Brown, Hair: Brown, Complexion: Exotic, blah blah blah... so I left it on the back burner until I got an idea for describing her yesterday.

My real issue is that I needed her in some kind of setting.  I needed her to be doing something.  I finally figured out that writing stories, is kind of like making movies.  In a movie, they show you a picture to evoke an emotion, in books, we have to make you think of a picture that evokes an emotion (a pretty difficult task).  I had to do more than describe her dimensions and hair color, I had to help you know what it's like to first have her walk into your life.  I need for you to feel what that's like.  I have a feeling that I wrote her stronger than my friend wanted, but I think it was a good exercise anyway.

Anyway, this is me, taking that real big leap that many of us bloggers often want to take, but are very afraid to:  I'm going to show you some of my writing.  I'll add the caveat that many of us do, I only worked on it for like, two hours, and if I had cleaned it more it would be better, and blah blah blah.... tell me what you think, but don't be too crushing. :)

She was late.  Not by much, but enough for me to notice the dim, 1950’s hotel lights lining the walls.  The place was packed with high rollers in Italian originals, playmates flaunting their little black numbers, and the department store two piecers feeling up the high rollers.  The room itself was thin, just a sliver in the row of buildings it rested in.  Fire Code probably restricted the number of occupants hours ago.
I sat alone, watching the low roar.  The predators, their prey, and the poisonous temptations.  Then she walked in.   The energy of the lights, the music, the tinkling glasses and the talking people were stolen to illuminate her perfect figure.  The elongated neck, the slender shoulders on down to her muscular legs, shown by the slit in her dress.  Her figure made her look much taller than she was, even among the power mongers and their leggy toys.
Her creamy, milk chocolate skin spoke Aztec Goddess, clad in a silk dress, made of leopard print material.  The trappings may have screamed indigenous native, but her eyes were unaware of the Spanish Conquest’s success.
Those staggering eyes glanced over the room and eventually found me.  Her target.  She walked toward me, each step calculated and fluid.  Each step sunk into the floor and became one with the room.
I searched through the brown of her eyes for information and found a vault and an open book, all at the same time.  Tears were not a rarity, but few had been seen by any living person.  The cause of her grief was also a mystery, though I knew they had seen Hell.
She searched through me as well.  She’d been hurt, but was determined not to be hurt again.  I could feel myself being picked apart.  My fear, my weaknesses, and my worries were all on display.  I tried to build up a wall, but I was already in her grasp.
  Within the ten seconds it took her to walk to me, I knew that she would be my predator, and I her prey.  Either the strength she exhibited was real, and I would find myself following her to my death, or it was a fa├žade, and I would protect her to my last breathe. 
Her slender hand gracefully gripped the back of the chair, pulled it out, and she slid into the seat opposite mine.

Thanks for reading.  Have a nice day. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Someone Sent a Little Love My Way

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I've made it a point not to blog on the weekends and wouldn't you know it, that's when I get my very first blogging award.  Alittlesprite came and dropped off some love to me over the weekend and it's not until now that I've been able to address it.  I'd like to thank my wife, for putting up with my whining about views and comments, I'd like to thank Alittlsprite for noticing my little speck of a blog on the vastness that is the Internet, and I'd like to thank my parents for always believing in me.  Here are the awards, and my attempt at following the rules that go along with them:

Well, like Alittlesprite, I don't think I'll choose 15, because (again like her) I think I follow about 15, so if you'll please look to the right in the section that displays blogs I follow, it would be greatly appreciated.  If you're on my list, please take these awards and run with them.  I do feel a need to point out a few that I particularly like following though (although I think they already have both of these awards, I'll mention them anyway).

Vinny C :  Who never fails to make me laugh, along with making me think about the world at large.
Average Girl : Who is anything but average and always gives me compliments that make my heart glow a little.
Highway 10 : Who makes me wish he'd post a little more often so I can laugh at life a little more.

Of course, I would also encourage anyone to go and visit Alittlsprite, who is one of my favorite Aussies and is also a great source of encouragement and laughter.  Thanks Alittlesprite, I'll put seven things about me, or at least I think that's what I'm supposed to do.  I'd hate to not follow the rules on my first award.

Here we go:
1.  My elbows are double jointed.  They can hyper extend without me getting hurt and I can twist them around.  I've heard it looks gross.  I'd show you if I could.
2.  In High School, I played ice hockey, danced on the ballroom team, and played hacky sack in my free time.
3.  I'm currently going to school for Psychology, but plan on being a writer.
4.  I have the best family ever (you think yours is better, but it's not ;)).
5.  I have flat feet, so there's no such thing as not catching me flat footed.
6.  My favorite X-Man is Nightcrawler.
7.  My favorite band is Radiohead.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Inner Nerd

We all remember them in High School. Some of us were them.  The Nerds.  The Geeks.  The Dweebs.  The kids who talked about things that were so off our radar that we couldn't help but laugh a little that they cared about something so foreign to us.  These are the kids who programmed their calculators to have games on them, or learned Japanese so that they could read their Manga from the source.  But as much as we liked to make fun of them, I think we all have a little nerd inside of us.

I think that I've written before about how I played hockey in High School, but deep inside my jock self, there was a nerd just dying to get out.  When I was younger, the nerd made his first appearance.  In first grade, I got REALLY into The X-Men.  I collected cards, I begged my parents for comic books, we played X-Men at recess, all two of us.  I was usually Gambit (falling in love with Rogue) or Wolverine who was always pissed.  And I eventually "grew out" of loving the X-Men.  Sure, when they were brought up in conversation I could run with the best of them, but I didn't buy anymore of the merchandise.  I even remember scoffing at people who said Wolverine's power was his claws, because as all X-Men nerds know, his powers are super strength, super fast rejuvenation, and, if you follow some comics, bone claws.  The adamantium skeleton was an experiment.  Granted, The Origins movie that just came out helped with that knowledge, but people still get it wrong... and I still scoff.

So, like many people I suppressed my nerdy self  and hid him away so no one could see him.  I kept him at bay with Warcraft II, Final Fantasy, and Diablo.  Video games that can be played in your own home where the only people who can know about them are people you want to tell.  And for four and a half years, the nerd passed out of all knowledge, until, when chance came, it ensnared a new bearer (Lord of the Rings reference, anyone).

After High School, I was asked to play Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) by some of my nerdy friends from High School.  When I was ten, I had some twelve year old friends who tried to play, but as 'anyone who know the game' knows, twelve year olds have a hard time figuring out the rules, let alone setting up campaigns.  So, we pressured him to play, he wasn't ready, got mad, and killed all of our characters, never to break the books out again.  When this new chance came, my inner nerd could be held back no longer, and it jumped.  I tried playing with them, but the Dungeon Master (DM)  was, we'll say, less experienced, and I ended up getting all that I wanted in the game and eventually got bored, got a girlfriend (in real life), and quit playing.

When my wife and I had been married for about a year, I got a crazy thought, "Why don't I buy the DnD books, and start my own campaign.  Then I'll be the DM, I'll make it up, and I'll do my best to make it not suck."  So, I got a couple of my friends together to play (ones who also hid their nerd away), and a friend I made on my mission who I knew had played the game a lot and knew the rules.  We played for a couple of months and things went well.  I had a good story going, things were moving along swimmingly and my friend from the mission had to move.  So, we stopped playing for a several months.  But my inner nerd had already been out in full force and I have not chained him since.  So, when I met someone who also played DnD, I asked if he would be interested in a monthly game, and he said yes.  My other two friends were also on board and we're playing again tomorrow night.  And I'm really excited.

This whole post was to get to those last two sentences, but could anyone really have understood them without the explanation, I submit that they could not.  I just wanted to share my excitement with you all.  Hope your weekend rocks too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Come on Paul

So, when I was a little kid, I could not play sports very well.  It wasn't that I was out of shape, or uncoordinated, or short, or that I didn't like sports, it was that I wasn't competitive.  I really didn't care if we won or lost, I just enjoyed being there.  There was even a time I played city league basketball and there was a kid on our team who was like, two feet taller than everyone else who did nothing but drive the lane.  You'd think that I would have been mad at that and yelled and stuff, oh no, I just went to where the coach told me to go, and folded my arms, waiting for him to drive it.  He never passed, what was the point of me freaking out about it?  My Grandpa still holds that I was praying for the ball :).

With those upbringings, I went on my mission.  A little known fact is that Mormons actually do play sports (right Vinny ;)).  And it was in the last city that I lived in that I had a companion who loved sports.  All sports.  And what he loved most of all, was competition.  We played basketball, soccer, and football, and eventually, that competitiveness rubbed off. Suddenly, I became a winner.  Not in the winner/loser type of way, in the "I feel a strong desire to win, and feel disappointed if I don't."

This has been both a joy and a curse.  I've learned to slough it off in most situations where it's not appropriate, like in board games with family and stuff, but have still felt it about physical games.  It has made it so that I perform better than I normally would at things I haven't done in a while.  I'm still not great at them, but I certainly hold my own, and don't fold my arms.  That aggressive, competitive nature that usually comes naturally to people, did not come naturally for me.  I had to learn it.  And once I felt what it was like to be competitive, it was a little addictive.  I began being a little competitive in classes, in online debates, and I assume, in other subtle ways that have slipped by my consciousness.  The issue with being competitive though, is that it stresses you out.

So, I took Yoga.  And for the first time in a long time, I did something physical without feeling competitive.  I didn't notice it last week, I just noticed that Yoga was hard.  I stood in the poses, and I focused on them.  Only them.  Sun Salutation A, Sun Salutation B, breath, shoulders back, pelvic loop, and spine alignment.  And breath.  I worked myself as hard as I could without even noticing there was anyone there but me and the instructor.  And when I left, oh, I can't even describe the feeling of euphoria that I felt.  And wasn't that the point?  This isn't a work out class for me, it's a time for meditation.  A time to think about one simple thing at a time:  my pose, my breathe, my being.

I tell you all of this to bring you with me to yesterday afternoon.  I sat next to a guy in Yoga class, and I don't usually talk to others, but thought it might be a good idea to get to know people.  Other people in the class talked and it seemed nice. So, I introduced myself and talked for a bit.  Then, the lights went off, the teacher's voice started, and I was in my own world. Well, it was difficult.  As always, I pushed myself to do everything correctly, and in my  two years of workout absence I've gained some fat that doesn't have more muscle attached to it, and Yoga is all about lifting yourself with yourself.  I began to feel sick, a little from the workout, a little from the space heaters in the room, and a little from breathing my own sweat.  So, instead of throwing up, I left Warrior's Pose Two, and stood for a moment.  The whole time the teacher kept saying to make sure to listen to our bodies, and not to push ourselves too hard.  I took this to mean that she didn't want us barfing on the floor, so I thought I would rest.  She also kept saying that she wasn't judging us, no one was judging us, and that we shouldn't judge ourselves.  She said that it is natural to be competitive, but to just do this for us, and if we needed a break, to take one.  All of this culminated into me stopping and just focusing on breathing, and suddenly, from the mat next to me, comes the voice of the guy I just met twenty minutes ago.
"Come on Paul!"
"Uh..." I was honestly taken aback a little, "I'm about to throw up man."
The workout continues and I've lost the ability to just focus on me.  I try to get it back, but can do nothing but look around at the people who are doing the poses when I'm not.  So, I start doing the poses again.  I luckily had the good sense to keep resting when I felt sick to my stomach, but continued comparing myself to everyone else.  Finally, the end of the class period comes, and with it comes the voice of my new found trainer.
"Rough day huh?"
"Yeah, I haven't worked out in literally two years and it's catching up with me."
"Yeah, I really don't work out either, well, I guess I'm a cyclist..."
I honestly wanted to punch him.
"Well, you know, I usually do some of the easier poses at home, and even if you just stand while flexing all your muscles, it really helps in here."
I didn't even answer, I just picked up my mat, block and strap, and walked them to the storage room.

Now, I'm not mad at him (not much anyway); he just sees the class differently than I do.  He sees it as a workout class, like aerobics.  And if we were in aerobics I would appreciate his feedback.  I would need to hear, "come on Paul," to keep me swinging my arms and pushing myself to get the best work out possible.  The issue is that I see it as a meditation class, which means that I don't want feedback.  I don't want criticism, and I don't want compliments either.  The only thing I want to hear from anyone in there is that it was nice to have me there.  That they like my aura, or something chill and non-evaluating.  I left the class without that wonderful feeling of no stress and being one with the world.  All I could think about was how much I sucked at Yoga.

I am going to shake off his little constructive comments and not talk to anyone next class.  I'm there for me, so I'll just focus on me.  I refuse to let this one bad experience ruin Yoga for me.  My wife and I even bought mats online last night with Christmas money we got from people.  It makes me feel great, and that's what matters.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kay Jewelers

So, I bought my wife's wedding ring at Kay Jewelers.  She had explained to me what she wanted, but like the surprise addict she is, refused to go with me to actually pick it out.  I wandered the mall like so many other men in love, barely knowing what I was looking at and praying I'd get it right.  I found what she had explained, bought it, and she loved it.  We had the actual wedding band custom made to fit the ring (they didn't make it how I drew it, but my wife loved it none the less. I find it funny that whenever I bring this up in Kay the whole staff suddenly swoons over the beauty of how well the ring fits the engagement ring.  Thanks guys).

On a following Valentine's Day, my wife happened to like their really cheap heart shaped ring, and since I was an existing customer, I was able to get it at an even greater discount.  My wife hasn't asked for jewelry since...  not sure what that means.

Anyway, with these three purchases we paid for the lifetime cleaning thing, and have to drop the rings by Kay's twice a year to get them dipped, cleaned, and checked for loose stones.  Well worth the money spent, the dipping keeps them looking nice and I think they replace the diamonds if they've checked their security (not really sure about this one).

Either way, my wife usually sends the rings with me and I go through the same ritual.  I toddle up to the counter like a child who's bringing a twenty dollar bill to his mom that he found on the sidewalk, a little awkward and a little confused.  They greet me, and ask what they can do for me. 
I'm holding three tiny rings in my hands, it's a hold up.  Obviously I'm here to drop these off.  I mumble that.
What's your name?
Paul ____________. 
They continue, let's see, did you buy them at this store. 
How long ago was that? 
I don't know.  How long have I been married?  Like, two years ago.
Did you buy all the rings at the same time?
Obviously not. First the engagement, then the wedding, then the valentine's day present.  Am I really that hard to find in the system?
Let's see... Are you Paul ________?
Yes.  I just told you that.
Okay, fill out this carbon paper.
I fill it out and it asks for my phone number and address and stuff.  Instead of when I bought the rings (because I doubt anyone remembers), why don't you ask for my name and phone number?  Obviously the system has some sort of searching capability.  I wish there was some way of knowing how often they asked when a piece of jewelry was purchased and the person gave a definitive answer.
Anyway, I dropped them off and we should get them back in February.

Stores frustrate me.  Have a nice day. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pauly, Pauly, Stop Resting Your Head, Only Whores Make Money in Bed

Well guys, anyone who knows me, knows that I hate one thing, possibly more than anything else in the whole world. Okay, not that bad, but it's at least in my top twenty.  I hate to wake up.  If I wanted to create a Hell for someone, and I really wanted them to suffer, I would give them an eternity of them being in the most warm, most comfortable, most amazing bed, while outside of them was a house made cold by winter, and I'd have them get woken up and forced to step onto tile.  Yep, I'm that evil. 

What made me think about it was my wife waking me up this morning.  Every morning she wakes me up to make her breakfast because she really doesn't have time and because we want her to get a good breakfast for the baby.  We also don't want her throwing up while on her way to work with her carpool.  And as soon as I heard the words, "Paul, it's time to wake up."  My stomach turned.  I kid you not readers, I got physically ill.

This really should come as no surprise, I've been traumatized by being woken up.  My family moved from Arizona to Utah when I was about five.  I still vividly remember being woken up for my first day of Kindergarten.  I remember green and white linoleum flooring (the kind that is supposed to look like tile), an off-white counter top beneath those yellow lights, and my parents, one holding on to two of my limbs, the other holding the other two, and them throwing me into the bathtub.  Now, I will note that this was not child abuse.  I'm sure that my parents tried to use their sweetest voice in waking me up.  They probably told me that it was my first day of Kindergarten, and that I didn't want to be late, but it seems that from the womb I didn't like waking up and they were eventually forced to physically pull me from my bed or not get me to my first day of real school on time.

Apart from the physical forcing when I was five, I think that I've been traumatized in the same way that all of you have.  Again, you're laying there in a wonderful bed, dreaming of whatever your mind can think up to make you the happiest, and in comes someone to wake you up.  This well meaning individual is trying to be a chipper as possible, but little do they know, that's the worst thing they can be.  Let's be honest, getting woken up puts us in a bad mood, and the last thing we want to hear is some sing-songy voice telling us that sleeping time is over.  I can imagine them trying and I feel the rage boil, "Wake up sunshine, the world is waiting for your bright, shining face!"

I think some people understands that happy, sunshine is not what people want first thing in the morning.  My Great Great Great Grandpa, from Denmark, knew this all too well, and I have a Great Great Uncle who feels about the same about waking up early as I do.  So, my GGG Grandpa would yell, "Jensey, Jensey, stop resting your head, only whores make money in bed!"  It's a hilarious story, so I think my dad thought that this would somehow make me happier to wake up.  He tried it, and I can say that he was wrong.  Humor, like super happy fun voice, really only pisses you off further.

But my traumatizing continued.  When I was in Junior High and High School we owned a dog.  Not just any dog.  We owned an over-weight, very well trained, black lab.  My dad had this dog trained to the nines.  The dog knew where he was supposed to be, when he was supposed to be there, and if my dad wanted that changed it only took him saying so once.  Our dog knew that, in the morning, he was not supposed to be in my room, but I know that he relished in the times that my dad would command him to "Go get Paul!"  And in came the black lab, all seventy pounds of him (I'm totally guessing, all I know is that he was big), jumping on my bed and licking my face to the music of my dad's cackle, and then my dad being like, "What Paul?  Why are you so mad?"  These were often Saturday mornings too, when I had nothing to wake up for.

During that same time, I got an alarm clock.  It woke me up fine, but pissed me off too.  It sounded like a cat being killed in rhythm and increasing volume by a digital monster.  This noise makes me physically ill as well.  I debated getting a clock that played music, but I suspect it would have turned out like "A Clockwork Orange"* and I would have wanted to jump out the window each time I heard some of my favorite songs.

Along with each of these atrocities, I've heard of people singing Happy Birthday to wake someone up on their birthday (I can imagine how that would go over if it happened to me).  I know people who scare people awake.  If my feet were out of the bed my mom would often tickle them to wake me up.  All of these seem horrible.

So, I've been thinking about my own children, as I often do.  Now, I'm sure that whatever method we use to wake them up will traumatize them in some way, but I'm debating if I want to use the least traumatic, or the one that is the most fun for me.  What do you guys think?  What would be the least traumatic, and what would be the most fun?  I was thinking that the least traumatic would be me being pissed myself.  No happy sunshine, no sing-songy voice, just simply, "I hate this as much as you do, but it's a fact of life, now wake up."  Anyway, let me know what you think.

*A Clockwork Orange is a film my Stanley Kubrick, in which, a young man loves music by Bach, and also commits atrocities (such as rape, and savage beatings).  He goes to jail and they torture him to music by Bach.  Afterward, whenever he hears Bach he wants to get away from it by any means necessary, including jumping out a window.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Getting Names Wrong and the Proper Soda to Drink with Asian Food

On Saturday night, my sister invited us to go and eat Thai food at Jasmine with her, her husband, and his friend.  I had met the friend before, but remembered his name being Colby.  My sister had a stalker named Colby, which is probably why the name was familiar (in that we often talked about he creeper).  Well, I called him Colby for about half of the night until my brother in law started talking about when he and Cody used to play football in Cody's yard, and about how they used to get flood lights so they could play well into the night.  It suddenly dawned on me, hey, who is this Cody character?  And then I looked over at our dear friend "Colby" and asked, "Hey, is your name Cody, and not Colby?"  Sure enough, his name is Cody and everyone let me call him Colby for half of the night.  What a family I have.  Luckily, Cody is a solid guy and realized that forgetting names isn't that uncommon and that I surely don't have bad feelings toward him.  I can say that I'll never forget his name again.  Man, did I feel like a dope.

On a lighter note, is there a drink that goes with Thai better than Mountain Dew.  Jasmine changed owners, and apparently soda companies because they only had Coke, and no Dew.  In my opinion, there is no soda that goes better with any Asian food than MD, and I don't think Asian restaurants should be allowed to partner with anyone but Pepsi, or Coke needs to step it up and come up with a better competitor than Mellow Yellow.  Anyway, just my thoughts on Soda (you'd think I never stopped thinking about it, huh?).

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Project has Officially Begun

A little while ago I blogged about an old friend asking if I'd write a screenplay with him, based on a story I wrote in high school.  We had our first meeting last night and I can say that I forgot how much I like creating stories, and specifically, how I'd like people to see them.  I was at his house, sitting at his kitchen table, trying to explain my vision to him, and trying to understand his for three hours, and it felt like I'd been there for an hour.  Before I knew what time it was my wife texted me, asking when I'd be home, and I couldn't figure out why she was asking so early, when I had really been there for like two hours.  It makes me all the more excited to get going on the project.  I'll have to relearn how to write screenplays (I learned in high school, but what do any of us remember from high school?).  Short and sweet, it was a blast. 

The real difficulty we face is that both of us are still in school, plus we have families and wives, and all the other things that keep you from projects like this.  I'm going to try and write down some of our shooting ideas before they get lost in the void of other responsibilities.  I'll try to make this a top priority this summer with his go-ahead and see how much of it I can get down on paper.  Part of the difficulty is that we are setting it up in two parts right now, and the second part is still pretty ambiguous, though the first part must be FULLY thought out before we can really work on the second.  We have thought of actors and actresses that, in our dream world, would of course play the parts for us do amazingly (they just have the look and acting style we'd want).  Anyway, just thought I'd give an update for those interested.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

November 17th Near Puke

This occured on November 17, and we're past the first trimester, so I can share.

My wife has always had trouble taking her pills, even when not pregnant, but tonight was especially difficult.  I could hear her gagging (definatly not out of the ordinary), and after about the third gag I asked if she was okay.  She answered tha she was. 

A little while later, she calls and asks if I can turn off the light, which is on a wall that is in the kitchen, but the switch is technically in the living room.  I asked, "In the kitchen?"  She said yes.  So, I complied, and after doing so, I walked into the kitchen and saw my pregnant wife, clad in her blue pajamas, lying on the tile floor, holding a popcorn bucket between her legs.  I asked if she felt sick, and she said yes and that this position was helping her.  I told her we could not use that bucket later if she threw up in it, she agreed, and I brought the bucket we had set aside for puking.  She laid there for a good ten minutes, wishing she could get up, eat her ice cream, and drink the rest of her water.  All I could do was laugh, and she did the same.  Being pregnant is so much fun... for the dad. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Dreaded Check Engine Light

My car's check engine light came on last night.  I drive a (I think...) 1998 Kia Sephia.  It's a manual transmission that my wife's parents bought her, then sold to her, then she drove it all through college, then I drove it after we got married.  After fixing a few things I think the car only cost something like three thousand dollars (my wife is sure to read this and correct me, so expect this dollar amount to change).  Either way, it's been a great car.  It's arguable that I learned to drive stick on here (I'd learned in a few other cars, but the Kia is really where my knowledge was tested and then honed into ability).

To say the least, it's been a good car.  My wife drove it from Salt Lake to Richfield all while we weren't married.  I've driven it to and from school for about a year and a half now.  I learned how to change the oil and spark plugs on her.  She houses the four summer tires for my wife's car.  I've laughed, I've cried, and I've done a good deal of living in her.  She's never been much to look at, but she's been mine.  My little area that no one else touched.  I could say whatever I wanted in that car without her judging me.  I could tell her about my problems and my successes without shallow construction or reality bringing relativity.  She could be counted on to not be counted on.  To not start when I most needed to get to a class, causing me to sprint to the lot where my wife leaves her car for car pool.

She's been good to me, and that check engine light made me think about it.  My wife has tried to comfort me "That light comes on in a lot of old cars for no reason.  It might be nothing."  Yeah, it might be nothing, but what if it's something?  She's ran well for over 100,000 miles, I look all the time and smile at the accomplishment.  I don't want to have to go looking for another car and try to whisper, "How many miles until you give up?"  I know they won't give me a straight answer, not the way the Kia did anyway.  I hope that it's nothing, but don't be surprised if I do another ode, an ode to a Kia.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Something Quick

I just put in a word verification for a comment on AverageGirl's blog and the verification was "hackedu."  I know it's just coincidence, but it did freak me out a little. :)

I Had to Change My Favorite Movie

Since I was sixteen, I've had a solid answer for "What is your favorite movie?"  My answer:  Fight Club.  The film spoke to me on a level that is hard to explain.  It taught that we are not the contents of our wallet, or our job, or our bank account.  It gave a feeling of unity that we are not special snow flakes, but vessels for advancing human kind.  It showed that deviance was the only way to true freedom and greatness.  "Self improvement is masturbation, but self destruciton..."  said our knowledgeable leader, Tyler Durden.  I remember coming within moments of asking my friends to fight me, "If this is your first night to Fight Club, you have to fight."  I held strongly to the beliefs it taught.  On top of that was great cinematography, writing, and an ending that made you reanalyze the whole movie, which had made you reanalyze your life.  It was genius, and it was undoubtedly my favorite.

While on my mission, I noticed that certain medias had tuned my mind to thinking the obscene more than I wished, so I made a vow that I would no longer watch "R" rated movies and that I would try to stay solid to taking away the "F" word from my music.  I tried to clean up my act, and have done fairly well.  I've had my slip ups where I've had to delete a few dollars from my iTunes library because I slipped on my promise, but on the whole, I've done well I think.

Last Night, I think I changed my favorite movie.  After so many years of spouting "Fight Club," to the favorite movie question, I feel hesitant to make this announcement.  Fight Club felt good.  It was artsy and well known.  It distinguished me as someone who was a free thinker and a rebel in my own right.  But, I feel that I must relinquish those titles, not because they were not worthy, nor that they are not now, but because I'm growing up.  I'm not the deviant little shit that I once was.  I'm a preparing father, a soon to by writer, and a devout husband.

My new favorite movie is "The Legend of Bagger Vance."  Some of you may have seen this movie while half awake and your response is, "A golfing movie?"  I understand your confusion.  I don't golf.  I once got double my uncle's score while playing nine holes on the dot, but The Legend of Bagger Vance is not about golf.  Not really.  It's about life and God.  When you watch it, think of Bagger as God Himself.  He leads Randolf Juhnuh, a broken war hero who wishes nothing more than "to forget and be forgotten," through a golfing match, or we could say, through life.  Juhnuh has given up on golf.  He's lost his swing.  Bagger, decides to help him find it, "His authentic swing.  The swing he had when he was born."  Bagger talks about the world trying to take that swing from us, by telling us that our swing is wrong and that we need to do it their way.  The golfing tournament, or this life, is for us to refind our authentic swing, and play that field the way that only we can.  Juhnuh also has issues with a love he left behind and never confronted upon return.  He has memories of the war that he can't seem to shake.  His ball goes  way out in some trees, and just as the flashbacks start coming, he reaches for the ball (to give up of course), and Bagger says, "You gonna be needing a different club?"  Juhnuh explains that he can't do it anymore.  Bagger tells him that it's time to put "those things" to rest.  He tells him to hit that ball, don't hold nothing back, give it all that stuff so that Juhnuh can move on.  It's hard to go into detail, but the next time you watch it (and I implore you to) think of Bagger as God, Juhnuh as you, Harvey as the people who try and help you, the field as the world, and Golf as life:  The game that "cannot be won, only played.  It's hard, it's fun, and you can call a penalty on yourself if you're honest, which most people are."  Along with the message it portrays comes the work of Matt Daemon as Juhnuh, and Will Smith as Bagger (one of his lesser known roles).  Great cinematography and writing.  Some of the best parts are when Juhnuh does something awesome and watches the ball as he holds the club and Bagger comes up and takes it as if nothing had happened and it's time to get on with the match.  I hope you can see why my favorite movie needed to change.

Monday, January 10, 2011

An Ode to Ruth and Ralph

I would normally have blogged on Saturday, but I had a funeral that I was a pall bearer at, and the following activities, along with hanging out with my family afterward hindered my blogging opportunities (I know, you make time, you don't find it, well I didn't make it). 

The person who died was Ruth Handley.  She lived next to me when my parents moved into the house they live in now (about seventeen years ago).  She was married to Ralph Handley and the two were inseparable.  Ralph had Parkinson's and spoke slowly because of it, but that was no hindrance because Ruth finished his sentences for him anyway (even when he didn't want her to).  When I was twelve or thirteen, clear until they moved (I think when I was fifteen or sixteen).  After I got done mowing their lawn I would come inside and talk to them for a while.  They bought diet, caffeine free Pepsi for when I came over because they didn't want to give me caffeine, though they knew I drank it plenty on my own.  Ruth would often make me brownies or whatever she thought I'd like.  I specifically remember brownies that started out as a liquid and after baking, the top would be brownie and the bottom would be a kind of chocolate syrup.  I was amazed to say the least.  I didn't know that could happen.  She also made amazing peanut brittle, something I didn't even know existed until Ruth.  Ruth and Ralph were much like another set of Grandparents to me.  Ralph, with his quiet strength, and Ruth with her spit fire attitude.  I remember them talking about their son, "Young" Ralph, who drove truck for Savage.  I can't remember what he was hauling, but they had pictures of him driving something like five beds in a row or something.  It was pretty impressive.  I remember their toy semi trucks.  I remember them telling me about their mission to Louisiana and how if you left crackers out on the counter at night they would be mushy in the morning.  They also showed me their pictures of when they went to Hawaii and told me how wonderful it was there.  I remember Ralph showing me where to spray the WD-40 on the lawn mower to make it start.  He knew so much about machines.

Anyway, Ruth was an amazing person who taught me a lot, and I thought I should write something about her and her sweet heart.  My adopted grandparents who took a couple of neighbor kids in as their own.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Let's Just Get this Out on the Table Now: Sometimes, Life Sucks

So, about four months ago now, my mirror broke off of my windshield.  I'm not talking about when the glue gets too old and falls off.  I'm talking about the mirror falling off as I drove and taking a piece of the windshield with it.  So, I went to  the junk yard and found a suitable replacement, not the same make or model, but a mirror that had a little metal piece that I could pry off and put on my windshield, just below where the original had been.  The new mirror has a propensity to go crooked.  Nothing has to touch it for this to happen, I'll just get in my car and there it is, crooked, and I have to turn it a little to go along my way, and the same thing happens after I'm done with class.  I looked at it more closely today and realized something, I still notice that it's crooked, but I haven't let it get to me.  Now, I think that I could allow that crooked mirror to control my emotions and make me grumpy and short tempered.  I could even get mad and say that I am a good person, I don't hurt anyone, I am a loving husband, and a supportive friend:  This INJUSTICE should not happen to me.  My mirror should stay straight.  Instead, I've come to realize that, as Wesley says in The Princess Bride, "Life is pain, highness."  And I look around, and life is.

Being in the Psych major that I'm in, I am often in discussions about lessening human suffering, and I'm beginning to think that it's a lost cause.  Again, life is pain.  It just is.  My mirror will continue to be crooked, working out will make my muscles sore, and ass holes will continue to try and make life for all of us miserable.  I submit that we need to stop trying to shun this pain, but embrace it.  Realize that there is no pain that is not insurmountable.  I'm taking a Positive Psych class this semester and there is a girl in there who is going through Leukemia treatment and said that she was taking this class for something fun, and maybe as a way to help with her recovery.  Even someone going through a disease like that can be happy, why should I let a crooked mirror throw off my whole day?

And I understand that we each have a cross to bear, but I don't think that there is a pain that hasn't been felt by humans.  As Hobson says in Arthur, "You feel unloved Arthur, everyone is unloved."  I'm not saying that people don't have a right to have these emotions.  In fact, I think someone would be unhealthy if they never felt sadness, or pain, but I think we all need to embrace the human existence for what it is.  Our existence here is pain, but that isn't depressing.  What is depressing is when we decide to focus on that pain, and think that is is simply awful and that we certainly cannot deal with it, because we are good people, and bad things should not happen to good people.  As Albert Ellis says, "Stop 'shoulding' all over my office!"  Things happen that suck, such is life.  But what we need to focus on is that while some of these ailments may never go away, we can deal with them and go on to focus on the things that are good.  There are so many good things in the world if we just look around.

Now, Some of you will note my age.  I am only twenty-five, and I certainly have not gone through what many of you have.  I may not really know what I'm talking about, but something inside me says that I'm on to something, and if I can cling to it through my life I'll be a happier person.  I will still complain, because it's fun.  I'll still tell you that my furnace is unpredictable and that people simply do not know how to use roundabouts, but I'll try to leave them here on my blog, and take the good things that all of you have to share, while being a listening ear to the things that suck.  I guess what I'm trying to say here is that life sucks, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Scared as a Kid in a Spelling Bee

Well, it seems that our furnace only works when the door to it is open.  This seems unsafe, so I'm having the repair guy come back.  Maybe it's just in our minds, but I do read seventy two degrees as where I'd like it to be and sixty two as where it is, until I open the door of course.  It's up to seventy three right now and I'm as happy as a mouse in a bakery.  Weird stuff.

School started yesterday.  Luckily, I've gotten the hard classes out of the way (for the most part) and am taking some super fun ones this semester and next.  Yesterday was Power Yoga (you read it right, Power Yoga) and marriage and family relations.  Today will be Positivee Psychology (a theory of Psychology made up by the same guy who made up torture methods for the US, should be fun), Eastern Religions, and Tests and Measurements (my only hard class, as far as I can see).  It should be a fun semester, and it's only this one and the next and I'll have a Bachelor's.  Feels pretty good, I'm not gonna lie.

Yesterday was also my first day of working out again.  I weighed myself this morning and I'm, oh do I actually share this with you all, 213 pounds.  My Aussie, SA, and Swiss readers (along with everyone else not in the US) will have to tell me what that converts to in kilos.  213!  I'm only 5'11'' (again, you'll have to convert).  I'm not HUGE by any stretch, and I realize that, but in my prime I was 180.  I felt really good then.  I could run fairly quickly, jump as high as most white men, and take my shirt off without shame.  I'm making this sound like a much bigger deal than it is to me.  Let's back up.  I have a baby on the way.  I'd like to do things with my grandchildren.  Not just see them, but actually DO things with them.  When my wife and I hovered over that pee stick, I noticed that I should get into a little better shape so that I can be active in my later years, and have just now found time to do that.  So, yesterday was chest/tri, today is back/bi (muscle groups), and I ran today too.  My plan is to run on the days I don't do Yoga in school.  I think, if I can keep this up, I should be in good enough shape to go hiking with my grandchildren, or at least I hope so.

I should say something about my first day in Yoga.  It was pretty amusing.  Dozens of girls sitting around a room of mirrors and I think, if I remember right, seven Y chromosome holders.  Yep, just seven of us.  And the guy sitting next to me looked like a kid in a spelling bee.  I asked him about his nerves and he blew me off.  I can't really blame him, I wouldn't want to admit that I was scared shitless of how bad I would look in front of all these girls.  All of the other guys (apart from nerves and me) said they had done Yoga before.  They asked our name and if we had done Yoga before.  My first thought was, "does Wii count?"  but quickly said "Paul, No."  I decided to set expectations low so that if the Wii really did help I would just seem good at picking it up, whereas, if I had said yes, they might be disappointed.  At any rate, it should be a fun class.

That's pretty much it for me.  Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm. So. Cold. Part III: Things Warm Up

Well, the guy from PPM came to fix our furnace.  I learned that if you don't change your filter for an extended period of time, your furnace's duct coils will fill with the stuff your filter should collect, this will make your furnace overheat and then shut off automatically, making your house freezing.  I got the joy of writing a $327 check to a guy whose name is also Paul to clean out the coils and get my heat back on.

Paul was cool enough, but he taught me something about the ducts that go to my furnace, the only way to get into them is to cut into their sides.  How stupid is this?  Other ducts have a nice door that allows the maintenance man to get in and clean out the coils without destroying anything.  My maintenance guy got to spend five hours, ten feet away from me while I watched "Catch Me If You Can,"  cutting through metal and using a citrus smelling chemical to clean out the inside of my ventilation system.  Fun huh?  Anyway, I didn't think $327 was too bad for five hours after all was said and done.  And my wife was pretty happy about our house being a balmy seventy two degrees.  I still kind of suspect that our furnace may not be entirely fixed, but we'll see.

On a totally different topic, my first day of school was today.  My wife was really excited for me.  I'm not sure why that is, but she said it had something to do with planning out when my classes were and what I had due in them...  it's obvious she and I are different people.  She was baffled that I wasn't excited at all.  She said that I should be excited for the new teachers and new classmates that I'll get to know. That, honestly, doesn't excite me anymore.  Maybe I am getting old.

Oh, and my sister's German Shepard only woke them up once last night to go outside.  The night before, she barked and whined all night.  So, good news on that front.  Also, she loves a bone they got her, and they put it on top of the fridge to hide it from her.  My mom caught the dog trying to get atop the trash can next to the fridge.  It was obvious she wasn't trying to get into the garbage, so we suspect she has found the hiding place for the bone.  What a smart dog huh?

Anyway, that's all from this front.  Have a nice day.

Oh, one more thing, I got more than double the views last month as the month before.  Thank you all for being interested in my nonsense.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm. So. Cold. Part II: Paul May or May not Get Taken, He'd Never Know

So, my house is still super cold. The heating guy was supposed to come to come yesterday between three and five.  I called at five thirty asking what the deal was and they had either forgotten to put me on the schedule or they over scheduled and I got the shaft.  My wife (the pregnant one) was starving and waiting for the heating guy.  The girl on the phone asked if I could wait until six.  My wife could not, so I've got the guy here now.  He has a cool camera that shows the inner lining of my air ducts, they were filthy and making my heater overheat and shut off.  It will cost a little over three hundred to fix... so it goes.  I really can't go against the cost because I don't know how to fix it and we need heat.  It is a little awkward to sit here watching tv while there is a guy who is also named Paul, no more than ten feet from me, working on my heater.  I feel lazy, but what would I do?  Hover over the man, asking him questions about what he's doing.  It wouldn't cost me any less.  And as much as I may think he's trustworthy, I've heard too many stories to leave the house while he works... I have an Xbox dangit! :)

Anyway, I won't be surprised if one of you gets on my comments and tells me I got took.  That's what I get for not knowing much about heaters.

On a happier note, my sister and her husband got a German Shepherd yesterday.  A cut little 11 week old pup.  Very dark with tan socks.  Nice coloring.  A very pretty dog.  She is also very smart.  They bought her a raw hide bone and a rope with a tennis ball on it.  The dog liked the bone a lot, and when my sister got the bone from her and tried to give her the rope, she walked the house looking for the bone.  She should be a good dog.

Man am I cold.  I hope this guy can get this done soon.  Anyway, that's how things are on the home front.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm. So. Cold.

Our heater has quit working.  That's right.  Right in the middle of winter, our house hasn't seen a temperature above sixty-three, and that was when the thermostat was set for it to be eighty.  At first I thought I would just tough it out.  I played hockey.  I have cowboy blood in my veins.  I have lumberjack blood in my veins.

But then came the realization:  I also have a pregnant wife in my house, and she is less happy about the temperature situation. 

At first, we went through the manual to see if it said anything.  It said to change the filter, which we did, and how to check and see if the pilot light works.  We did that, and while it seems to work sometimes, other times it seems to crap out, and not try again.  I'm no heating specialist, and I might be less of a handy man, so my diagnosis may be wrong.  Either way, the manual basically said, if it's not the filter: DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING. So we haven't.  I stayed up most of last night playing NHL 11 and trying to turn the heater on and off to attain prime heating.  It kind of worked, in that I took my team who was 26th in the standings to 6th.  Go Penguins.  Oh, and I think I helped in raising the temp in the house around three degrees.

So, I will have the pleasure of calling a repair man.  I'll clean my house (something I was planning to do today anyway).  He'll come, he'll ask what's wrong, I'll try to sound smart, I'll sound dumb, and he'll charge me an arm and a leg to fix the problem... and we'll have heat again.  And my wife will be happy, so it'll all be worth it.

Either way, things are cool here.  Hope things are good everywhere else.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Some New Year's Excitement

Well, it's a new year ladies and gentlemen, and last night did not disappoint.  It was a night of steak, fondue, pirates, Madden 11, a puzzle of the US in license plates and my brother in law and myself finally beating the computer in NHL 11 (scoring in the game is satisfying because it's so hard to do).  As any of my readers might guess, my family was probably my favorite part of the evening.  I'm so happy that I have such a great family.

My family, like most, is great, but odd.  We discussed this yesterday after my sister and her husband told us that they were getting a German Shepherd.  What makes our family funny, is that the first reaction we all gave was not, "Oh, great." it was, "Okay, what will you name it and what words are you using for what?" Note that, in the questions, there was an air of excitement that's hard to explain.

Growing up, we had a Black Lab named Bear Dog.  He was originally just Bear, but somehow the Dog got added on later.  He was a big part of the family, and my dad was his master.  My dad, among many other talents, knows how to train dogs.  He has the know-how and the personality.  Bear didn't know many "tricks,"  but he did some things that would amaze most people.  For Bear, apart from when my dad walked him off, our yard might as well have had a fifty foot brick wall around it, because no matter what was across the street, or even on the sidewalk, Bear didn't go after it, cat or man.  Also, my dad taught Bear to bark, so as to scare away intruders, but all he had to do was tell Bear once to stop and Bear was silent.  We also trained Bear to only bark twice when he wanted back into the house after being outside.  He was an amazing dog and my dad was an amazing trainer.

Along with growing up, my sister and I learned a lot about training dogs.  Not so much that I could do it myself, but I know some things that are important, like not to just run at a dog, but to approach it slowly with my fist out so that it can inspect me.  We learned that dogs like to be part of a pack with structure.  They like to know what rules to follow and what etiquette is appropriate.  They like to know where they stand in the pack.  The only way to obtain this sort of structure is for EVERYONE to treat it in the same way.  Because of this, when my sister told us the good news, we wanted to know how to act immediately.  We know that children and dogs are similar, a well behaved dog, like a well behaved child is a pleasure to be around.  You can have fun with it without it getting annoying.  A poorly behaved dog, like a poorly behaved child gets obnoxious, and no one wants to be around it.  For those reasons we also wanted to all help with making the new addition to our pack as pleasant to be around as possible.

Either way, I'm really excited about the German Shepherd, along with a miniature Yorke that my mom is getting in February.  I'm always excited when our pack gets a little bigger.