Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Pitfalls of Greatness

1. I got a good parking spot this morning, and was only a little late instead of a lot late.
2. I was able to get most of the living room/kitchen cleaned up for my wife in only fifteen minutes or so.
3. While I may not know where I'm supposed to go next in Castlevania, I'm still having a blast.

A buddy of mine heard that I was a stats tutor and told me that he was tutoring a girl, and was doing fine at teaching the data inputting part of it, but was having trouble teaching the theory behind it all.  He asked if I was good at that part and when I told him it was probably what I was best at, he asked if I could help him tutor her.  I said yes, and had an hour between my last class and when the tutoring would start.  So, I decided to stop by one of my favorite teachers classes to talk about the recent issue at Alta High.

He was in his office on the computer, I knocked, he let me in, I told him that if he was busy I wasn't coming for anything important.  He let me in anyway.  We started with him noticing my Yoga mat and recounting his Yogic experience in college, when, because he has high arches, his feet would not lay flat while in the downward facing dog position, and the 5'4" instructor got up on his butt and jumped up and down, trying to make his feet lay flat.  We both laughed and another student showed up at the door.  My teacher said that he did really want to meet with the guy, but that Wednesdays were busy.  I of course quickly got up and said that I really just wanted to talk about what happened at Alta, my teacher hadn't heard of it, but quickly came to same conclusion that I had, "It was much ado about nothing,"  and I left so that the other student with actual needs could talk to him.

Those of you who know me and my teachers well probably know who I'm talking about, and chances are, you are not surprised by this story at all.  This teacher is always busy.  He knows a lot, about a lot of things, has thought out opinions about those things, and is open to hearing students meanderings about the same subjects.  In turn, there are a lot of us who really like spending time in his office. In reality, I didn't need to know his thoughts on what happened at Alta High, I just wanted the pleasure of sitting with him, and pontificating about the state of the world and racism in general.  I was not surprised at all that someone else showed, because when I was still going to be a therapist, I had a heart to heart with him about what a good path might be for me.

Really, I'm just thinking now about how great people, often have very little time.  Once someone becomes openly great, others will naturally be drawn to that person, and that person, because they are great, will give much of their time and talents to help those who are drawn to them, because truly great people, will want to make others great.  I'm sure I'll never have this problem, but I thought it was one that was interesting.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Assignment About Complaining

1. I have a mom who is willing to do Psychological tests for me (she's taking the NEO-PI for me right now).
2. Remembered I had downloaded Castlevania on my Xbox and played it a bit. (We're talking old school Super Nintendo Castlevania.  Good times.)
3. I'm getting meat delivered to my house and it's a little chilly for this time of year, so I don't have to be too worried about the meat going bad on our porch.

I mentioned yesterday that the not complaining challenge had been going well and Maundering Mutterer asked that I give updates.  I also have to write an update for my class this morning, so I'll kill two birds with one stone here.

In my Positive Psych class, we learned about a preacher who was sick of this congregation complaining all of the time, and about everything.  So, he gave them all a challenge to try and not complain for 21 days straight.  The put bracelets on, and switched them every time they complained.  Pretty soon, they realized how much they were doing it and eventually made the twenty one days.  Word spread about the challenge and soon, people all over the world were strapping on their bracelets and switching wrists when they fell short, starting their 21 days over again and pushing forward.  In the preachers congregation the challenge made a huge difference.  People were happier, and more grateful all around.  It's hard to say how much of an impact it had worldwide, but I do think it's interesting that years later, and states over, my Positive Psych class is still hearing about it and trying it out.

To say the least, this assignment has been difficult.  I knew I was a complainer, but am amazed at how much and how often I catch myself doing it.  I've noticed that I don't often ruminate on what I'm complaining about, but I do have a habit of one word complaints.  For example, yesterday, after Yoga, I rolled up my Yoga mat, and as I turned away from it to clean up the block and strap, my mat unrolled itself.  When I saw it I reacted to it by saying "Awesome."  I've done this a number of times since the challenge started a week ago.  I have several words such as: Goodness, Great, Nice, Wonderful, and oh, for crying out loud.  I've used each of these over the past week to complain about something that has happened.

I have a few weak areas that quickly came up.  I have issues complaining during video games.  NHL 11 is particularly troublesome because it has a random shot placement generator and the puck goes off the post in some games more than others.  Goodness.  I also have issue with action games where I think my button push should have been fast enough to beat the bad guy's attach.  For cryin' out loud.  And I've noticed that some of Orem's streets are made in particularly stupid ways.  I don't complain about them often, but when my wife brings up certain areas, it's hard for me not to chyme in.  Wonderful.

When I first got the assignment I thought it would stress me out not to complain, but it's actually been nice.  I've noticed that I have a more positive outlook on things, and that I look for solutions more that I look for faults (because I can state solutions and not consider it complaining).  It's been good for me and I firmly believe that I will eventually make it for 21 days... or die trying. :)

Anyway, if any of you out in the blogosphere want to join in, go ahead and buy yourself some kind of bracelet that can easily be moved from one wrist to the other.  My teacher gave us hair  things.  They work fine.  It's been good for me, and since I believe everyone is just like me, it'll probably work good for you too.

Have a nice day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Wife Failed the Glucose Test

1. Had a great time with my Aunt, Uncle, and their kids.
2. Yoga kicked my butt in the best way possible.
3. I went like, two days without complaining.  It's a new thing I'm doing for a class where we try not to complain for 21 days straight.  Super hard, but super worth it.

Well, my wife's test came back and her glucose was two points too high.  So, she gets to spend part of her spring break sitting in the doctor's office while drinking that nasty stuff, getting her blood drawn, and being bored.  I have so much respect for her.

I know some of you have already gone through it, but for those of you who don't know the joy you feel when your blood sugar is too high:  You get to fast for twenty four hours before going in.  As an added bonus, my wife is pregnant, so she gets sick when she doesn't eat.  Then, you get to drink liquid sugar with a hint of flavoring (Mmm, Mmm, good).  Then, you get your blood drawn (think every hour on the hour) for the next three hours.  During that time, you can't leave the office, because you blood must be drawn at very specific times and if you leave, you might not make it back in time to get your blood drawn at the right time.  The office closes at four or five, so my wife can't do it on a normal day, because she teaches school, so she gets to go in on her spring break.  I also think that if you throw the drink up the test has to be done, which, because my wife is pregnant, is a virtual certainty.

On a related note, I've been thinking about how much my wife, and women in general, give to pregnancy.  Don't get me wrong, us dad's give a lot.  And, more and more, we are becoming involved in the pregnancy (not just the conception), which I am very much for.  We go to check-ups, we go to birthing classes, we help get the house together, we worry about finances, and we even help out in the delivery room.  But even with all of this, we cannot possibly understand the sacrifices that our wives make.  I'll never get diabetes because my wife is pregnant.  If I get heavier and my body is forever changed it has nothing to do with the pregnancy (unless you count stress, but I could find another outlet than food).  I've never heard of the man dying because of complications during child birth.  Women are "all in" when it comes to pregnancy in a way that we simply cannot fathom.  And I love my wife for that.  Before we "pulled the goalie" we discussed all of this.  We discussed what having a baby would/might mean for her, and there was no hesitation on her end.  She wanted to be a mommy, so long as I'd stand by her in that.  Now, I'd like to think that I've had some selfless moments in my life, but nothing I'll ever do will equal what my wife is doing right now.  Thanks babe.  You're my hero.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The First Album I Really Loved

1. Picked up our season passes to Trafalga, went there and played a round of mini golf and had a blast.
2. The glucose test didn't make my wife sick.
3. Started Arkham Asylum... super fun.

Okay, so let's take a trip down memory lane.  Do you remember the first album you REALLY loved.  I mean, the kind of album that you didn't skip a single song, and you listened to it so many times that friends and family eventually told you that if they heard a particular song again that week they would break the device that made it play?  Well, today's post is about that.

When I was ten, or eleven, or twelve (I'm sure my sister will know and chastise me in the comments) my parents bought me and my sister a boom box for Christmas.  Do you remember boom boxes?  Yeah, good times.  Anyway, my sister was a dancer, so her's was smaller than mine so it was more portable.  Mine was bigger and made more noise because I was a boy.  We had a lesson on the proper care of CD's, because that's what was used at the time, and we were given a disc or two to start with.  I started with one of the Jock Rock series (a conglomeration of songs by various artists that were often played at sporting events), and I think a TLC album... I liked one of their songs, so my parents bought the album.  This was not my first favorite though.  I remember loving that boom box.  My love affair with music had not started yet, so I don't think I loved it because it dispensed music.  Rather, I loved that it was a big person item that was mine.  My uncles owned boom boxes, and now I owned something they owned.

Shortly thereafter Matchbox 20 made it big.  I can hear the groans of you readers, reading this in the future and remembering Matchbox 20.  Yep, they were overplayed, and we all knew every word to 3AM whether we wanted to or not.  Like many of my peers, I loved Matchbox 20, and somehow, I acquired their album, "Yourself, or Someone Like You."  I assume I got it for Christmas or something, but that was my first loved album.  I knew every song by heart.  I often put it in my awesome boom box, played it, put it on repeat, and didn't change anything but the volume for hours.  I don't know why, but Rob Thomas's voice touched my soul, and I loved the music and the way it made me feel.  I also came to like the name of the album.  I still love it.  It was very clever and made sense. The whole album was about insecurity and sadness:  Things you feel, or someone like you feels.  I think it's one of the best album names ever.  You can disagree, but you'll be wrong. :)

There were some lines that just hit me right, like, "It's sittin' by the overcoat, the second shelf, the note she wrote, that I can't bring myself to throw away,"  "What we learn here is love tastes bitter when it's gone,"  and "She's said 'it's cold outside' and she hands me a raincoat.  She's always worried 'bout things like that."  I mean, they had one song NAMED Damn!  Damn!  It was named a cuss word.  What twelve or thirteen year old wouldn't be in love with that?  Somehow the whole album was just edgy enough for me to feel like a rebel listening to it, but not so edgy that my parents wouldn't let me listen to it.  Heck, my mom even liked it a lot.. still does.  Yeah I wrote heck on my blog, what are you gonna do about it?

Now, I didn't like Mad Season (their second album), it didn't have the same feeling.  I also came to love other bands more, and other albums, front to back, more than Yourself or Someone Like You, but that album will always hold a special place in my heart.  It doesn't even have many memories affixed to it, because I was too young.  It just has a feeling affixed to it that I'll never forget.

So, I really do want to know your first loved album.  Go ahead and put yours in the comments.  I'd hate to think I'm alone on this.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Glucose Drink

1.  That my wife carries Baby J and not me.
2.  I have awesome, caring friends who listen to me whine.
3.  I have a class that is challenging me to stop whining.  (It's a 21 day in a row thing, I'll probably blog about it tomorrow or something... let's just say that if I don't stop playing NHL 11 I may never get past day one).

So, the Glucose drink.  For all of you parents this is old news, but to us knew daddies, did you know that women sometimes get Diabetes during pregnancy? It's called Gestational Diabetes.  Yeah, news to me too.  We're pretty sure my wife doesn't have it (what with her having no symptoms and all), but the doctors want to make doubly sure (or just like to torture pregnant women... both are understandable).  I'm totally kidding, torturing pregnant women is not what I'm about, chill out.

This, dear friends, is how they test for it (my mom said they didn't do it when she was pregnant):  First, you can't eat sugar that day... like at all.  They say ANYTHING with sugar in it.  I actually think we may have broken this rule for breakfast, but my wife was dead set on egg sandwich.  So, I fried up an egg and put it on white bread toast (which I'm pretty sure has high levels of sugar, but whatev).  Usually she has oatmeal, but it had sugar, so we had to go a different route this morning.  We also couldn't give her a banana, because fruit has sugar.  I'm not even joking.

So, she has to carry on all day while teaching high school students math without any kind of snack, because all of our snacks consist of candy or fruit... Chips!!! I'm a moron, we had chips... I hope my wife doesn't read this, she could have had a snack.  Oh well.  Regardless, she will be snackless.  For lunch, a frozen burrito.  She must eat her burrito in the first ten minutes of her lunch period (the end of the semester approaches, so she'll probably be eating it with a million kids who want to change their grades).  Then, once burritos are consumed, she must eat NOTHING for an hour.  The nurse was VERY clear on this point.  SO clear that I feel I need to use CAPS to emphasize her CLARITY.  Okay, I'll stop.

After this hour of nothing, preceded by a day of no sugar remember, she needs to drink a drink.  Not just any drink though, it's a pink glucose drink that is supposed to be fruit punch flavor.  Basically, it's a little bottle of high fructose corn syrup.  She can't take her time either, she needs to pound this thing in ten minutes.  Then, when her sensitive tummy has dealt with said drink for an hour EXACTLY (I know I said I was done, but she emphasized this too), she has to go in to be tested.  They said that if they are even a few minutes off, the test is ruined and she must do this again.

Can I just reemphasize the first thing I'm thankful for today? 
1.  That my wife carries Baby J and not me.

Have a nice day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Losing's Rough

1. D&D went well.
2. My bracket is all kinds of messed up, but it's still fun to watch.
3. Modern medicine.

I covered my wife's eyes last night at the end of the Syracuse and Marquette game, because she didn't like to see the faces of the players and fans who lost.  Before that, we watched Arizona beat Texas, and the camera focused in on a little girl who held up the longhorn hand sign thingy as she gulped air between sobs.  I remember one player on Purdue lie underneath the basket crying, for at least a couple of minuets after the upset by VCU.  And during each one of these, I felt a little pang in my stomach (more so when I had them winning in my bracket), that reminded me of the time when I felt something, probably a little similar to what they felt last night.

No. 15 Richmond upsets No. 2 Syracuse in first round

Now, let's hurry up and throw out the obvious caveat that I'm sure some of you are already preparing to fill my comments with by saying that everyone is different in their feelings of loss after a sports game, and my level of sports was nowhere near theirs, and I didn't put nearly as much time into it, and my financial future was not resting on the game.  I understand all of this, which is why I said that I felt 'a little similar' to what they felt.

That being said, I'd like to blog today about losing the ice hockey state championship in the year of two thousand and four.

I played ice hockey, starting at when I was about eleven or twelve.  It was expensive, and my dad said he'd pay for it, so long as I didn't have a girlfriend and my grades stayed up (if you had time for a girlfriend, you had time to get a job and pay for hockey, and school was more important than sports).  This stayed the case until I was sixteen, and then I got the girlfriend and you can read about that on my previous blogs.

My parents bought a tumbling mat for my sister, which was eventually put on its side to protect the walls from pucks that I shot at a PVC goal (this did not save the roof, or much of the wall that was not covered by the mat, or the cement floor that I think still has long black marks where pucks were shot.  I spent hours doing that, and never scored in a varsity game.

I played all through high school.  My Freshman year we got to the playoffs, but lost pretty early.  I don't remember getting very close until my senior year.  We were playing Riverton.  They had won it every year that their star player had been there.  This was his senior year.  The way the tournament was set up, was that a team had to lose twice to be out.  In the end, we had gone undefeated and they had lost once (I think the one game their star player had a Junior B game), so they had to beat us twice in a row.  The first game, we were beat pretty handily.  They had a hot goalie, and in the last moment of the game their star shot a slapshot that broke my stick in half (I'm not even joking, it hit between my hands, and at the buzzer I held two ends of my stick).

The next game was different.  Our offense somehow found a way to get it past their goalie, and we as a defense, were able to keep any from going in.  We were up four to nothing going into the third period (the last period).  I need to explain, for all of you who don't follow hockey, four points is a big deal.  It's like in soccer.  Scoring only a couple of goals a game is about average.  Scoring six is a blowout.  I say again, we went into the third being up by four goals.  They got one past us and things started falling apart.  Much of our offense stopped passing.  We had been beating them with our system, not with our talent, and the system fell.  There started to be bickering within our defense, and it fell down.  Everything we had worked so hard at.  Each hour staring at the whiteboard while Coach Spice drew where we were supposed to be, each time we heard Coach Holmes tell us to stay in front of the net, all fell apart.  And Riverton scored five unanswered goals.  Five.  I can't tell you what that's like in basketball terms.  It would probably be something like us being up by like, forty points going into the second half.

I still remember being on the ice.  Their sticks, gloves, and helmets were all strewn across the rink as they hugged and yelled.  We all stayed in uniform, ready to accept that second place trophy.  To be honest, in the moment, they may as well have been giving us dog shit.  Why would we ever want that trophy?  Our captain went and got it.  We stood there and accepted it.  Then we changed out of our equipment, and couldn't figure out what to do next.  This is what we had worked for.  It was our senior year.  We had a bunch of great players.  We had been working on these systems since my Sophomore year.  I remember my buddy and I drove to the school's parking lot, where he tried to teach me to drive a stick, because we simply didn't want to go home.  I relived the last period of that game for months.

Eventually I got over it.  I moved on.  I worked toward other goals and succeeded.  To be honest, I sometimes wonder if losing that game didn't teach me more than winning it ever could have.  But I still feel that pang in my stomach when I think about it.  There is still that feeling of regret.  There are still the what if's.  What if I hadn't tried to do Ballroom too?  What if I spent more time practicing?  What if I had spent more time lifting?  What if?  But, it all comes down to one moment, and I had my allotted time, and did with it what I saw fit.  And I really don't think I'd change any of it.  Maybe regret is the wrong word. I still feel that loss.  But I don't think I'd change the person that I am so that I could relive the glory days of high school.  I live the glory days of now, every single day, and maybe that loss is what has kept me going.

So I guess this one goes out the the men of Purdue, Syracuse, and any other team that's lost in the tourney, those who will, and all that have or will lose something similar.  It hurts, and it always will, but it's you who decides where you'll go afterward.

Have a nice day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Couple of Women I Saw at School

1. My parents are letting me use their card table for D&D tomorrow to see if the extra space helps.
2. My wife wrote "Chest," "Rock," "Tree," and "Bush" on a bunch of squares of paper for my new D&D idea.
3. I'm still on Spring Break, which is great. :)

So, this is a little something that I wrote last semester while waiting to tutor a stats class.  I saw a couple of women that thoroughly deserved writing about, so I did while their images were still in my head.  Let me know what you think.

She lunged forward, each step calculated and stressed over, like the first steps of a baby.  Her feet were a little more than shoulder width apart, and may have been connected to her hips by broom handles under her brown pants, because it seemed she had no knees.  It was probably good that her feet were so far apart because her balance was questionable.  Her arms swung wildly to counterbalance the jerking of her hips.  Her whole body pivoted together, and the vibrations of each step made her brown curls bounce around her face.  It hurt my body to watch her, but it amazed my soul to see the determination in her eyes.

This is about the second woman:

She looked positively unfriendly.  Her eyes gazed straight forward, unless they noticed somebody looking toward them, and then they sneered at the intruder.  Her lips were painted bright red and were always puckered, as if she had something sour in her mouth that wouldn't go away.  She had been wearing this expression for so long that wrinkles formed from her lips and ran toward her cheeks.  I wondered how long it had been since that pucker had been stretched into a smile.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Family Home Evening

1. I finished Assassin's Creed II last night. 
2. I pack my wife's breakfast everyday (which usually consists of milk so she can make oatmeal), and she remembered to take the lid off of the leftover milk.  She usually remembers, but the few times she hasn't makes me thankful for every time she remembers.
3. It's still spring break, and I don't really have to do much.  Apart from breath and stuff. :)

In my church, there's a program that has kind of been instituted, but isn't mandatory for salvation.  It's strongly encouraged, but no one will ever show up on your doorstep asking if you've done it that week (no one will even call you.  The only time you're really accountable is in the occasional lesson about it when the teacher asks whoever does it to raise their hand, and if you have the honesty in you, you keep your hand firmly on your lap).  Those of you who are LDS already know what I'm talking about.  It's called Family Home Evening.  It's really very cool, and I'm sure that all of you non-LDS folks will automatically appreciate the greatness of it.  The idea is for a family to stop what they are doing for one night a week (Monday night is the night set aside for it by the church, but again, you don't even get a phone call, so if you do it, let's say, Wednesday... hypothetically... then no one would be the wiser... unless you blog about it).  During this get together, you can do whatever you want, but the general pattern is: Song, Prayer, Lesson About Some Gospel Principle, Prayer, Treat and Game.  Of course, any of these can be interchanged with other stuff, or mixed around for the family's purposes.  It's really a great institution, but I can honestly say that it's hard to remember to do it and to find the time.  And I know, it works if you do it every week and that's why setting aside Monday night works so well.  I really haven't been good at it, but I'm trying.

So, my parents have been awesome, and since both of their kids are recently married and have no children, they've given their home to be the FHE house for all of us (this way we can break up the responsibilities).  Last night, it was our turn to give the lesson.  We chose an article written by Elder Uchtdorf (it's the same guy I talked about during Christmas time.... I promise we have other people who speak).  Anyway, the article was about being optimistic and finding the good in people.  He wrote about how we can always find a character flaw in everyone, but if we look hard enough, we can often find the good, and if we take the time to try and find the good, we'll often be happier.

As I prepared (read it an hour or so before FHE began), I thought of my Great Grandpa Paul.  I've also written about him.  He might just be the best person I've ever known personally.  I thought about how people could have seen him.  He did chew tobacco.  He did like to drink.  He cussed, and spat, and raised cows, and probably did some other stuff that I'm not aware of.  Granted, he quit all of this (except the cussing, spitting and raising cows) by the end of his life, but I thought about how people might have looked down on him for some of the things he did, but I had never really thought about any of those things until last night.  Even with all that, I still hold that Grandpa Paul is probably the best person I've known personally.  He always took care of his family, he was charitable, he was hardworking, and wonderful to be around.  He seldom said anything bad about anyone (except John Kerry... he hated that man).  He was always smiling and very welcoming.  I only brought a few friends to Fredonia, but I remember Grandpa automatically loving all of them (it actually makes me tear up a little when I think that he never met my wife).

And I imagine that most people are like this.  They are human, which means that they have 'faults,' but we all do.  And because they're human, they will (in most cases) have good points too.  I'm going to try really hard to start looking at the good in people from now on.  The issue is that one of my many faults is being a fault finder... oh well.  Nothing good ever came easy.  You can do whatever you want with this info.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Game With the Doctor

1.  I didn't get into a car accident today.  I'm not saying I normally do, but I'm man enough to admit that it happens to the best of drivers.
2. I had a great weekend visiting family.
3. My buddy's wife had their baby!  Go Brad and Mel.

Let me just start this post by saying that I have a tremendous amount of respect for doctors.  They have a skill that I will never have, and it amazes me.

That being said, I had a fun little encounter at the doctor's office today that made me chuckle a little.  I hurt my neck about a week and a half ago (how I hurt it will not be discussed, because I'm not sure if my best guess is the actual cause, but if it is, I'm pathetic).  The pain moved from my neck to my left shoulder, and I assume the pain should have stopped by now, so I made a doctor's appointment (for all of you who understand the male psyche, you know what a big step this was, and how much my shoulder hurts).

Now, most (if not all) of us have gone to the doctor before.  We understand the check in/waiting room dance that we all go through, and that has been thoroughly covered by comedy, so I won't go there.  I did discover a game that we all play today though that I found amusing.  I like to call it, 'Tell the Doctor What You Think is Wrong.'  It seems to happen in four parts, each of which has it's own unique joy.

Part one:  He asks, "What SEEMS to be the problem?"  I love when it's phrased like this.  It's like he's assuming that there probably is no problem, but you SEEM to be having one.  My doctor bypassed this little undercut, and asked it more kindly.  "So, what are you in for?"

Part two:  You try to respond without sounding like a moron.  This part is the one that requires the most mental dexterity.  First off, you don't want to come off as the whiner who has a cold, but acts like they've just contracted a disease worse than cancer.  Then the doctor won't take you seriously.  Like in my case:  When I move my arm just so it feels like someone is driving a dagger into my back.  Do you see how this is hard to take seriously?  Secondly, you do want help, so you don't want to say what you have really isn't bothering you.  "Oh, there's really nothing wrong, I just thought it'd be fun to go to the trouble of making an appointment, showing up, paying the copay, sitting in this tiny room, so that I could chill with you for fifteen minutes while sitting on butcher paper.  We just hadn't hung out in a while.  I know there are people dying in the waiting room, but is that really more important than our friendship?"  See how dumb this sounds.  So, really, for part two, you have to find that nice medium where the doctor knows you're there for a reason, but that you're not faking it to miss school that day because you have a big test you haven't studied for.

Part three:  The doctor laughs at how dumb you sound, but only on the inside so you'll keep coming back to him, and assisting him in his boat payments.

Part four:  The doctor takes your poorly worded symptoms, combines them to mean some kind of disease, writes you a prescription so that your body can fight off whatever this is, and you can continue functioning, without too much belly aching.

I just thought it was funny.  Have a nice day. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

I was 'It" a While Ago, Now I'm Just Playing Catch Up

1. I got a great idea late last night as to where I want my D&D game to go.
2. My dad took me and my brother in law to DP Cheese Steaks last night (so good).
3. In the midst of about fifty cars gunning for the same set of spots, I got a good one.

Okay, I was tagged by ol' Vinny C a while ago, and told him I would play as soon as I was done with my chores (my ten dating tips).  So, I'm playing now!  That's right people, you've been tagged, and now must use the Alt+Tab key sequence over and over answering questions and tagging others.  These people are 'it.'

Sheri over at Laughing My Abs Off
AC over at Antares Cryptos
and who could leave out our favorite Aussie Fairy over at Alittlesprite

You're all it.  Have fun.

So, on to the 19 questions that I need to answer...

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or are they members of your family?

The closest thing that I have to a pet is my sister's dog Zuka.. and yes, she is a member of the family.  The most recent evidence of this is that Zuka is now allowed to sit on the couches...

2. If you can have a dream come true what would it be?
I become a world famous writer and am considered one of the great minds of my generation.  Wouldn't that be awesome?
3. What is the one thing most hated by you?
Selfishness.  If you really wanna bug me, go ahead and be selfish around me.
4. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Start by paying off our condo.  Then invest the crap out of it and live off interest... while writing full time (which is what I love) and my wife helping people get organized (which is what she loves), and both of us having a bunch of time to spend with our baby one the way... does anyone have a billion dollars they can part with?
5.What helps pull you out of a bad mood?
My wife.  And Yoga sometimes.
6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone.
Loving someone.  As much as I love being loved, I think the act of loving people is much more satisfying.
7. What is your bedtime routine?
Turn off the Xbox, read scriptures with my wife, pray, and if there's time, read some of Rahld Dahl's childhood stories to my wife.
8. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?
At church, I asked her out.  For more details see my post: Let's work on your pick up line
9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?
Tim Burton.  That man fascinates me.
10. What kind of books do you read?
The good kind!  Yeah, I dunno, lots of the classics.  My favorite might be Of Mice and Men, or maybe Catcher in the Rye... I dunno.
11. How would you see yourself in ten years time?
With a time machine.... or maybe a crystal ball. I really don't know.
12. What's your fear?
13. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for an opportunity to visit outer space?
No.  Why would you?  I see outer space just fine from here, and can do so while eating Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream potato chips...
14. Would you rather be single and rich or married, but poor?
Married and poor. I wouldn't trade my wife for anything.
15. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Can my answer be 'go back to bed?'  Yeah, I'll stick with that.
16. If you could change one thing about your spouse/partner, what would it be?
That she would be comfortable talking to people on the phone... 
17. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?
Exactly what it is.  I'm named after my dad, who rocks hard, and my Great Grandfather, who rocked even harder.  And my last name is Irish... why would I want to change any of that?
18. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done?
I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested, I'd like to think that if I was I would pass.  The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
19. If you could eat only one thing for the next six months, what would it be?
Pizza, think of the possible variety.
Yeah, that's it.  If you read all of these I commend you; I tried to keep them short.  Now for the rest of you to answer these silly questions. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rule 10: A Few Tidbits and Tying Up Loose Ends

1. My D&D stuff made it to Vineyard, and should be arriving at my house today. :)
2. I was able to type the & sign without looking at my fingers... twice.  This is a big accomplishment for me.
3. I got a 98% on my Yoga midterm.  The test wasn't hard, but it still feels good.

Well, here it is:  the last day of my rules of dating.  I hope you've enjoyed them the same way that I have, and if I only help one guy do better at dating I'll feel like I've done well (so if this info helped you and you said something about it in the comments, I wouldn't feel too bad...).

First off, I meant to mention this, but found no nice place to put it:  Beware of Perseverance Propaganda.  "What is Perseverance Propaganda?" you might ask.  It is American media.  It's every movie and song where the girl cannot stand the guy at the beginning and somehow, by his harassing her, she falls in love with him and they end up together.  Guys, do not be obnoxious.  Do not fall into the trap of thinking that if you could only stalk this girl for a few months she'd eventually fall for you.  Chances are, she won't, and she'll hate you more by the end of things, tell all her friends that you won't leave her alone, and depending on the girl, you'll end up face first in a garbage can, courtesy of the football team.  So, if she's not interested, leave her alone.  Now, you might ask, how do I know if she is just busy, or if she is not interested.  Good question.  Here's a good rule of thumb:  Ask her out three times.  If she's 'busy' three times, give up.  Unless of course each time she says no she tells you to ask her again. Then, chances are, she really does want to go, but really is just busy often.  If you ask her and she just says she's busy that day, stick to the rule of three.

Secondly, don't get discouraged.  Dating can be fun.  I had fun by the end of things, and I got turned down more then than in any other time of my dating. You just have to switch your paradigm from thinking you need to find THE ONE, to you finding the one that would be fun this weekend, and if things go well from there, so be it.  Ask a lot, get turned down a lot.  My cousin (the one who said dating is a numbers game) said he got the info from his mom, and his mom gave him the ratio of 10 turn downs to 1 number.  It seems like a steep ratio, but my experience says it's true.  But think, every turn down, is one of those tens that will lead you to a number.

Third, realize that there are always exceptions.  For the most part, consider yourself the rule (you'll have more luck this way), but also know that every couple is probably an exception in someway to any of my rules.  You see super ugly guys with attractive women all the time, my mom couldn't stand my dad to begin with, and I swore for the first time in front of my wife while we were dating when I thought her dad was going to run into the shore while water skiing.  If you break a rule, don't think that it's the end of things, but if it is, don't be too surprised.

Anyway, that's all of the knowledge on this subject I'll dispense here (for now).  Do look forward to the book I plan on writing on this subject, I promise I'll keep you posted.  And as always, have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rule 9: Work On Yourself

1.  I won the Stanley Cup for the second time with the LA Kings this morning in NHL 11.
2.  Found out my buddy and his wife will have their baby this Sunday at the latest.
3.  My car still runs.  It's old.  I'm just really grateful for it this morning.

Well guys, second to last rule.  This one may cut you to the quick, but I've got to tell it like it is.  We've discussed the normal curve, and a little on how to beat it, but this post should help you look seriously at yourselves, where you fit on that curve, and if you want to change things.

Let's start with this:  Would you want to date you?  I want you to think about it seriously.  Take a moment.  Be silent.  Stop reading for a little while and think about it honestly.  If you were a woman in today's world, with rape, murder, abuse, and pain in the news everyday, would you want to be with you?  Would you trust you?  If a guy who looked and acted just like you walked up to your girl self, and asked for her number, would your girl self give it?  If you took your girl self on a couple of dates, would your girl self want to continue?  Even if the dates were planned well?

If you said no to these questions, let's consider changing.  Now, before you get all huffy, I don't want you to change what is fundamentally you.  Don't change your values, or your morals (unless your values consist of instant gratification and violence, and your morals consist of as many partners as possible and doing drugs as often as you can get your hands on them, because these can and need to change).  The image I want you to think of comes from Hitch, when he has the guy buy the new shoes and the guy says they aren't really him.  Hitch answers, "YOU, is a very fluid term right now.  You bought the shoes.  You look great in the shoes.  This is the you I'm talkin' about."  Don't change what's really important, but look at things that drag you to the outlying parts of the normal curve, and think about if those things are endearing or obnoxious.

For example:  When my wife and I first got married I was on the VERY far right side of opinionated... to be honest I still am.  How I expressed those opinions was also to the very far right.  How this really came across was that I always sounded like my word was law whenever we had an argument, because I expressed my opinions so forcefully and with so many supporting points.  My wife hadn't even had a chance to think about the issue, so she felt trapped, though she didn't like my conclusion.  She expressed that to me and I had to think, "Is 'expressing my opinions forcefully' really fundamentally me?  Would I want to be in my wife's position, feeling trapped every time there is a difference of opinion?"  My obvious answer was, "No.  On both counts."  So what did I do?  I changed.  I now ask my wife about something and give her time to think, or try to phrase my opinions in a softer way.  Everyone is happier.

So, today's advice:  If your not who you want to be, you can change.  If  you want to get fitter, weights and fitness plans exist.  If you want to be less abrasive, ask friends and family to tell you when you're being abrasive.  Do you dress in all black and wear KISS make up?  It's an easy fix:  buy some new clothes, and wake up a little later every morning.  Change will take time and effort.  I can say that because I used a lot of both of these before I became someone my wife would be able to tolerate.  I quit swearing.  It was hard, but chicks tend to not like it.  I figured out which jokes were funny to my guy and girl friends, and which ones weren't, and I stopped using the ones girls didn't like.  Change is possible and effective, I promise.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rule 8: Don't Go Steady in High School

1.  I got into the playoffs again in NHL 11, and I swept Phoenix in the first. 
2.  I did partner Yoga yesterday for the first time and lifted a football player with my legs.
3.  My wife accidentally spilled water on my lap top, but after it dried out some, it still worked.

Today's post won't be popular, and I understand that.  I know this because I remember me in high school.  I remember buying into the 'liking one person' phenomenon.  I remember looking at my parents and noticing how happy they were just to have each other. I also remember thinking that I was very mature for my age, and was ready to be in a serious relationship.  I remember my dad telling me that having a girlfriend was a bad idea in high school, and just like with the quick date idea, I thought that my dad was an idiot.

It all went down my junior year.  I made the ballroom team, along with the hockey team, and was in the middle of juggling both.  Most of my friends were either on the hockey team or ran with hockey players, so I didn't really have many friends on ballroom to start with, and I mostly kept to myself.  In one of the dances (I think the two step routine), I got paired with the ballroom captain.  She was cute, and there were enough breaks for me to joke around with her and eventually drive her home, and end up holding hands with her on her mom's couch.  It was pretty cool.  What followed can be observed on Bambi, we both got butterflies, and our eyes got large and glassy.  And soon, we became inseparable. 

So inseparable in fact, that my friends remember it as the year that I disappeared.  What can I say?  They were out chasing girls, and I had a girlfriend.  We really weren't up to the same things.  I saw my hockey buddies at practice, but that was about it.  The rest of my time was spent with my girlfriend.

She was a year older, so that summer we broke up.  She went off to college and I started my senior year.  I rarely dated that year, and found no other girlfriend.  I dated the girl my junior year for nine months.  To be honest, it was nine months of making out and arguing.  That's really all we did.  And, the other girls at the high school who were interested in me had noticed us, and never asked if we were still together.  Because we had been inseparable, I assume that people assumed that we were still together, and because I'm an introvert, I didn't talk enough to let them know otherwise.

Now, I do need to say that the girl I dated really is a wonderful person.  She is very sweet, and very kind.  To be honest, I didn't deserve to be with her.  I was kind of a jerk through a lot of the relationship (not as mature as I thought).  The bottom line though, and again, I don't expect this to be a popular opinion, is to date a lot of people in high school, and don't 'go steady.' I know that your mature, more mature than I was.  I know you've thought this through, and it seems like the right idea.  But please, just take it from me, and don't go steady in high school.

Have a nice day.

Friday, March 4, 2011


1. I've had a chance to reflect on some of the amazing people I've met here in blog world
2. I'm reminded lately about how much great literature we have.
3. My team in NHL 11 is still undefeated

"You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."
                                                                                  -Peter Pan (All children, except one, grow up)

Fairies, or sprites, are mischievous, fun loving, trick playing creatures that find joy in a good laugh.  They are often thought of as aloof and frivolous because, when seen, they are often laughing, and chattering to each other, or playing tricks on some unsuspecting victim.  But, upon closer inspection, we see that they are, in fact, very deep feeling creatures who are in touch with the emotional well being of those around them.  They care about everyone (even when they are pulling that person's hair because they are jealous of them). 

In fact, part of the charge of fairies is to care for one child as he or she grows up.  Of course, there are not enough fairies anymore for each child.  The reason:

"No.  You see, children know such a lot now, they soon don't believe in fairies, and every time a child says, 'I do not believe in ________.' There is a fairy, somewhere, that falls down dead."

Dear friends, let's all look at our lives.  Both when we were young and now that we are old, and we were able to find ourselves a little sprite to care for us.  Let's look seriously at the times when we got hurt, or just needed someone to turn to.  We needed a protector, and so often, one came.  I'm inclined to say that I believe in Sprites, no matter how ordinary they may seem on the outside.  For all I know, simply because they could not bear for children to not believe in them anymore, they have changed shape and size, so that they can continue helping, just as they did when they first 'wen't skipping about.'  Please dear friends, try to find it within yourselves to once again believe.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rule 7: Figure Out What She Likes

1.  My wife let me order a bunch of D&D stuff.  I have three books and 23 miniatures coming to me in the mail right now... I'm so happy.
2. I got a good parking spot quickly.
3.  I took the Yoga midterm and feel really good about it.

When I was in high school, there was a woman in  my church who thought that I was such a nice young man, and she knew a girl who was just getting back on to the dating scene.  Previously, the girl had dated some pretty big jerks, and the woman in my ward asked if I would take her on a date.  Now, I have mentioned previously that I was not a natural at dating.  I was natural at being a nice guy, but I was only sixteen, and did not know how to plan well.  I can't remember what we did first, but I decided to take her to a Thai restaurant that I liked a lot afterward.  Note:  That I liked a lot.  It was a little hole in the wall back then, on an out of the way street in Provo.  We probably drove around for twenty minutes looking for this place, until I gave up and asked if she liked Mexican food.  She said that she did, but that she liked fast food Mexican (Taco Bell was her example).  I'm ashamed to say that Taco Bell was 'below my dignity' and I took us a to a Mexican food place that I had never been to before.  It was pretty good, but not great.  After we ate, I asked if she liked it.  She said that it was okay, but that she liked Taco Bell better...

When my sister was just out of high school, there was a guy who took her to a movie.  They had been on a few dates before, and my sister thought he was pretty cool.  He took her to Knocked Up.  I've never seen it.  Some of my buddies said that it was funny, but that there was a lot of swearing, a lot of nudity, a lot of sex jokes:  a lot of stuff that offends my sister.  She walked out of the movie, and the guy didn't come looking for her for half an hour.  When he did finally come, she asked for him to take her home.  She never went out with him again.

Guys, I should hope by now that you can see what's wrong with both of these stories.  At the base of both, is selfishness, which is against the gentleman's code anyway, but just as evil as selfishness, is the inability to do one's homework, and to think of the girl he's taking out.

The first thing to do to avoid this is to plan before you go.  I know that I've already stressed this, but let me give you some specifics.  Eat at the restaurant before you go to it.  Know a few different things on the menu, so that when she asks what's good, you know a few things that might spark her interest (the girl I went with asked what was good at the Mexican place.  I had no clue).  Know how to get to that restaurant, clear exact directions that make it so that you can drive to it confidently.  See the movie before taking the girl to it (breaking this rule is the only possible saving grace for the guy mentioned, in my mind. He already knew that stuff offended my sister).  And even if it's not a movie or a restaurant, always do your homework on any activity.  Does this band cuss every three seconds even though they don't in their songs?  Is this ice rink in a sketch part of town?  etc. etc.

The second thing is to listen to your date and figure out where she stands on stuff.  I should have listened to the girl and gone to Taco Bell.  It was what she wanted, and I was too selfish to figure that out.  The guy knew that stuff offended my sister, he should have walked out too.

So, to reiterate:  Plan to impress, not just a list of things to do, but a way to get to them and make them as enjoyable as possible once you get there.  And, listen to the girl.  She has opinions and stuff that you need to know to help her have fun.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rule 6: "Why Not Just Call Her Up on a Wednesday Night and Ask if You Can Buy Her an Ice Cream at Dairy Queen?"

1.  This may sound dumb, but in my NHL 11 season, I'm eighteen games in and still undefeated.  That just feels good.
2.  I found a fourth player for my D&D game yesterday.
3.  My wife bought me Cold Stone ice cream.

Today's post is really coming from some good advice my dad gave me in high school.  At the time, I was having a really hard time aligning my schedule to the girl I was trying to date (because I was in high school and hadn't figured out that I could like more than one).  I kept trying to set up these big dates on weekends, but she kept being busy (but was obviously interested at school.  I'll write about when to stop asking later).  I asked several times, and she was always busy.  I complained to my dad about it and he gave me some advice that I still kick myself for not taking.

He said, "Paul, why do you keep trying to set up the big date?  Why not just call her up on a Wednesday night and ask if you can buy her an ice cream at Dairy Queen."  Of course, when I was in high school my dad was an idiot, so I scoffed and said that was the stupidest idea ever.  I would continue down my path of rejection and there was nothing he could do to stop me.  He dropped the issue.

Somehow, after I got home from my mission, my dad's idiotic advice suddenly became smart.  Don't ask me how it happened; I still consider it a miracle.  I did what he said to do, I asked girls on short quick dates that were allegedly sporadic and only took about thirty minutes.  Guys, I found that the quick date is just as good as the drawn out one.  Do remember that the same rules apply to the shorty:  Planned, Paired Off, and Paid for.  The real difference is in the call.  You'll want to call about thirty minutes before you want to go on the quick date, and in the call, you need to say something slightly different than for the long date.  In the short one, don't say actually say the word date. I know, this is completely against what I said before, but our society has trained us to think of dates as several hours long and something you need to 'get ready' for.  Instead, you explain a date.  Like this, "Hey (her name), in about half an hour I was going to go to Dairy Queen and get something.  I was wondering if you'd like to come and let me buy you an ice cream."  Check it out:  It's planned out, you told her a time, a place, and what you'd be doing.  It's paired off, she knows you are asking her, not that your buddies are going and you'd like her to come too.  It's paid for, she knows that you'll be buying her an ice cream.  It answers all the questions that make girls annoyed when you don't use the word date, and it's not a big event she has to plan, or get ready for.

Anyway, give the short date a shot when she doesn't have time for the long one.  Sometimes it'll get you into doors the other one won't.  Have a nice day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rule 5: A Few Things to Consider During Date Construction

1.  Our teacher gave us all the answers for the Yoga test.
2.  My mom made Turkey Poppy Seed Casserole.
3.  My car worked again.  (I know it's been a constant, but I'm still grateful for it)

So, today's post is probably a little more of a personal preference of mine than it is a hard, fast rule, but there's logic behind it that I think makes it valid enough to put on my list, and for guys to think about during date construction.

First, the logic.  What should a first date be?  I think it should be fun; not all dates need to be fun.  Before my wife and I were married we went to a funeral of a friend of mine who had killed himself.  It wasn't fun, but I'd still consider it a date.  I wouldn't take a girl to a funeral on a first date if I were you ;).  The date should give the two of you an opportunity to get to know each other better.  That is what dating is for anyway.  But, you need to consider the fact that you two don't know each other very well, so two hours of constant conversation might be a little awkward.  Again, it's possible that you only asked her out because she had cool earrings on...

In considering these things, I think I have the best and worst possible first dates.  Let's do worst first.  In my opinion, "dinner and a movie" should be left for later dating.  Let's look at it.  Dinner:  Let's put the two of you across from each other for an hour, with no one else there and hope you don't run out of conversation pieces before you get some food in front of you so that you can stuff your faces every time there's a laps in conversation.  I would advise not going to dinner on the first unless you are doubling and there are more people to fill the void.  A movie is not so much awkward as it is pointless.  "I want to get to know you better, so let's stare at a screen, in a place where it is bad etiquette to talk at all.  If I want to get to know you better, I'll creepily look over at you, until you notice and then I'll whip my head back toward the screen."  I just don't think it's the best first date...

I'll tell you what is the best first date though:  ice skating.  I can hear you over the Internet, scoughing at my idea.  I know that not everyone likes ice skating, and there is a possibility that she'll  bruise her tail bone (as might you), but it really is the best first date option.  First, does it give you a chance to talk to each other in a non-threatening space?  Yes.  Does it also allow for pauses in conversation without it being awkward?  Why yes, because one of you can just skate off.  Does it work if you, as the guy, suck at the activity?  Yes.  If you suck, you're like most of the world and both of you can just slide around together.  If you're good at it, you can spray here, impress her with your speed, and show off with what tricks you have.  Does it work if she sucks at it?  Yes.  Most people do suck at it, or if she's good, she can impress you.  Does it take an appropriate amount of time?  Yes.  One or two hours of skating and her ankles will be sufficiently sore, and she'll have had fun.  I submit that ice skating is the best first date, possibly preceded by dinner if you are doubling.  I know it works.  It was my wife's and my first date.

Have a nice day.