Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finally, Some Evidence to Help Us Know which One is Best.

1.  I have enough to eat.
2.  Our air conditioner works (thanks to our awesome downstairs neighbor who knew what was wrong).
3.  We had enough money for a pad lock, to keep the darn neighbor kids from removing the key that makes our air conditioner work.

Based on a true story*:
Many years ago, many more now than it seems, America was swept up by invention.  Everyone was looking for new things to manufacture, or for better ways to manufacture what they had.  Yes, it was an exciting time, full of competition and partnership, feast and famine.

Among the residents was a family who lived in New York.  They were a family of twelve, packed into a house of two rooms, but they had what they needed and were happy.  Among their children were two boys, Jeff and Skip.  These two were only about a year apart, but were as different as night and day.  Skip was an entrepreneur from the moment he had services to sell.  He was very industrious and never seemed to stop working.  Jeff, on the other hand, was a loafer.  Wherever there was work to be done, you could find Jeff as far from it as he could be.  Jeff could not always get away from work, what with his family being so large and needing to get so much done.

As part of their chores, Skip and Jeff were asked to make the family peanut butter.  Now, back then people didn't just run to the store to buy their peanut butter like we do today, not the poor ones anyway, so it was the job of Jeff and Skip to make the peanut butter.  They were to mix the ingredients, and then, by hand, smash every single peanut until it was a creamy goop that could be spread easily on to toast or apples, or whatever else goes well with peanut butter.

You would think that Skip would be a little put off to have such a lazy partner, but you'd be wrong.  Skip loved peanut butter, and prided himself on coming up with one of the best recipes for it anyone had ever seen, in the neighborhood at least, and focused very hard on getting the right consistency of goop that would be the very best for eating.  The fact that Jeff only helped a little didn't even phase him.

One day, a Tuesday as fate would have it, Jeff and Skip were making peanut butter (well, to be accurate, Skip was making peanut butter and Jeff was taking a nap), when Skip suddenly remembered he had to go and paint a fence across town.  He left the peanut butter to Jeff and went running.  Not wanting to do more than he absolutely had to, Jeff sneaked out of the room and went to play with his friends.  Both boys came home at just about the same time to see their mother taking a big spoonful of their half done peanut butter.  Skip cried out in protest, but it was too late, that big wad of goopy stickiness had already past the lips, teeth, and gums.

"Mom," Skip cried, "don't eat it.  It's not done."
"Oh, Skip, now it's just fine."
Jeff, hoping to never have to get the peanut butter creamy again chimed in, "What Skip means to say is that this is our new way of making peanut butter.  Do you like it?"
"That's not what I mean to say at all.  That peanut butter's only half done."
It should be said that Jeff was the more attractive of the boys, and against all unwritten mother laws, their mother had chosen a favorite, and even worse, made it known, "Oh Skip, why, I think you ought to listen to your brother more often.  This is the best peanut butter I've ever tasted."

And so the rivalry was set.  Jeff started making his own batch of peanut butter, or it should be said that he made Skip's peanut butter and was too lazy to mash all the peanuts, and Skip made his own batch, and the two of them started selling the excess to people in their neighborhood.  Jeff, because he made his peanut butter so sloppily, was able to pull off an order faster than any other peanut butter maker around, so people started calling him Jif, because he made his peanut butter in a 'jif.'  Skip could be seen running to make deliveries as fast as his little legs would carry him, so people started calling him Skippy.  The two grew up to own their own peanut butter franchises.  We know them now as Skippy and JIF.

Jif made crunchy peanut butter while Skippy made creamy.  After the incident with their mother, Jeff coined the well-known phrase "Choosy moms choose JIF."  To which, Skip tried to coin, "Moms who choose one child over another because of their swagger and good looks choose JIF."  Needless to say, Skip's didn't catch on real well, though neither are all together true. I'm sure there are plenty of mothers who love all their children equally, and who let those children eat whatever they want, who also choose JIF, but whatever.

The years went on and both Skip and Jeff passed away, selling their companies and leaving a great deal of money to their families.  In their absence, savvy businessmen with no knowledge of the feud, realized that half of people like crunchy, and half like creamy, so they started making both.  I'm sure Skip is spinning in his grave.  I doubt Jeff is, he was a lazy ass.

Moral of the story:  I am a creamy peanut butter lover, and people who like crunchy peanut butter often ask us creamy loving folk why we love creamy, to which we usually reply that we just think it tastes better, to which they have a witty comeback that goes something like, "Whatever it does.  Crunchy tastes SO much better."  Which, how can you dispute that logic.  But, if we were to dig a little deeper, I think we would find the true reason that we like creamy: We don't like shoddy workmanship, and we know that crunchy is really just a half-assed attempt at peanut butter.

Now, some of you will disagree.  But, let's look at the evidence.  When someone does a sorry job, don't they usually try to cover it up in some way, and then make smart people look dumb when the half done job is pointed out?  Look at what has happened to crunchy peanut butter.  The companies want to do even less work, so they leave even more peanuts in, and to cover their laziness and keep us intelligent creamy lovers quiet, they name it EXTREME peanut butter, as if anyone who eats anything else is a wuss.  Once again, smart people get bullied into silence.

Of course, I'm not saying that you have to like creamy peanut butter.  By all means, eat crunchy, or chunky, or whatever it is you like to call it, just please, for all of us, stay out of the quality assurance industry, because you obviously don't know how to do it.  Have a nice day.

*This story really has nothing to do with real events.  We could say that any likeness to real events are coincidental, but that would imply that the writer actually did research, and tried to not make them be.  What really needs to be said is that any likeness to real events are cause by sloth on the part of the writer, who didn't feel like doing research.  Really, I'm sure this note was only needed by crunchy peanut butter lovers...
You're welcome.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm About to Lose My Mind

1.  My wife is amazing.
2.  My family is remarkably supportive.
3.  My wife's family is remarkably supportive too.

Hey everyone!  I'm going to wager a Buffalo Nickel (a fairly rare U.S. coin) that unless you are one of my facebook friends you thought that I didn't blog on Thursday and Friday because I was telling my wife to keep breathing, and because I was taking care of a newborn.  I might even go so far as to bet that you thought I was losing my mind because said newborn wouldn't fall asleep.  And you know what?  I'd win that bet because on Thursday I was helping my buddy move and on Friday I was at a midwife's appointment where my wife's cervix was checked, we were told she'd have a no stress test in a few days, and the topic of induction never came up.

That's right people, we are six days over the due date, and I'm not to prideful to tell you that I'm step closer to the edge, and I'm about to break (obscure Linkin Park reference anyone?).  I remember reading the What to Expect book about not getting too set on the 'due date' because it never happened on that date and to think about it as more of a ballpark, and I also remember thinking how pathetic someone would have to be to get themselves set on that date, because we all know that babies come early, and babies come late.  Well, I'm pathetic.  Maybe my hear wasn't set on the Summer Solstice exactly, but I thought within the week might be nice.  Oh, who am I kidding, I started losing it on two days late.

And then, because I'm part of my paternal family, I start to worry.  We have a confirmed worry gene... well almost confirmed.  I start thinking about umbilical cords, and amniotic fluid, and big babies coming out of small mommies, and I start Googling what the risks are of inducing, but all I can find are sites trying to calm parents whose doctors want to induce early.  *deep breath*

So, now my mind won't stop having a make believe argument with the midwife about how the risks of not inducing greatly outweigh the risks of keeping the baby in longer, while refuting each of the few risks I've found on the internet, while trying to hide from her that part of my reasons for having said argument aren't because I fear for my wife's and the child's safety, but because I'm really just anxious about getting the baby into the living, breathing part of life.  Though the safety stuff is really a big part of it.  maybe, eighty percent safety, twenty percent inpatient.

Anyway, the non-stress test is tomorrow, I may just have that argument then.  On the bright side, the place where we bought Mass Effect had a really good deal, so we bought Prince of Persia also (the one where you have the claw hand), and both games are off the hook (Vinny, that street slang was for you, and AC, the video games were for you).  Have a nice day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things Require Maintenance, Though it would be Nice if Their Maintenance were Spaced Better.

1.  Products that work well, like Bert's Bees Lip Balm.
2.  "On Writing," by Stephen King.
3.  Opposable thumbs.

Why do bad things happen in groups?  Well, I shouldn't say bad.  What happened was really just par for the course (yep, a little Buddhism coming your way).  We own a toilet, so it would make sense that said toilet would eventually break.  We actually haven't been able to use it for a couple of week because I've been too busy/tired/lazy to fix it, and we have another, so there wasn't a lot of pressure to do it.  I fixed it pretty quickly, because the guy at Home Depot didn't give us good info on how to reinstall toilets after installing tile (for the record, the 'extender kits' do not actually work, you just have to get three or four wax rings and play a stacking game).  So, that went quickly enough.

After fixing said toilet, I put the towels I'd used in the washing machine and went to lay down for a bit, when my wife suddenly yelled that the washing machine was leaking.  Sure enough, there was a puddle of water under the machine as it rhythmically bumped away.  So, I quickly turned it off and called for towels as I tried to assess the problem.  The hose where the water leaves had come loose, so, like an idiot, I pulled it out.  Here's a physics question for your final exam:  Does gravity move gallons of water to a lower or higher geographical position?  If you said lower, you'll know what happened when I pulled that hose from the bottom of my washing machine.  I don't know if I've ever called for a bucket or tried to stop a hole with a towel faster in my whole life.  We did finally get that fixed though, and our hearts calmed down until the next day.

The shelf above our toilet has always been an issue.  It's one of the ones where you screw a piece of wood to your wall, and the shelf has a hole that fits that piece of wood, and you screw the shelf to the piece of wood.  Those of you who have these probably know that if you don't have a stud right where you want that shelf, the shelf will sag.  Ours has sagged for as long as I've known my wife, and just this week, it decided its lotion holding days were over because it sagged enough to make everything fall off of that.  It was wrong about those days being over though, all we needed was a couple of brackets, a couple of screws, and a drill I got for our wedding and it was holding lotion again (thanks to everyone who gave us money to Ace Hardware for our wedding, the drill has been used).

Now, I don't complain that this all happened.  Part of owning a toilet, a washing machine, and a shelf is that each will eventually require maintenance.  This was all part of the human existence.  Though I would have been cool with them being spaced a bit farther from each other.  Anyway, I'm going to go and meditate on life now, and invite you to do the same.  Have a nice day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Doc Holliday

1.  Today is Baby J's due date.
2.  Funny jokes (sometimes they're all that gets me through).
3.  John "Doc" Holiday's last words as he looked down at his naked feet: "This is funny."

When I was in high school, my friends and I found the movie Tombstone.  We all fell in love with Val Kilmer's character John "Doc" Holiday.  In the movie he always seemed to know what to say, he spoke Latin, he never stopped drinking, and he was an amazing gun fighter, all while fighting tuberculosis.  To say the least, we loved his lines, and his character.

So, when my high school English teacher asked us to pick a real person to do a report on, my immediate thoughts were of Doc Holiday, shortly followed by thoughts that I didn't want the truth to disappoint me.  I was afraid that, as in so many movies, Doc had been blown up to super human proportions and wasn't really as cool as the movie lead me to believe he was.

So, I bought Doc Holliday, by John Myers Myers, to my knowledge, one of very few books written on the man.  I read it carefully, because the report was some incredible amount of my grade.  I was amazed to find that Doc was all the movie said he was and more.  He was a dentist before becoming a gambler, but because of his tuberculosis, he would often cough while working on patients, and as you can imagine, people weren't big fans of their dentist coughing up a storm when he told them to open their mouths.  So, when his doctor said he should move to a drier climate, he started wandering and gambling.  When he was younger he had learned to shoot a gun, and found that gun play was important in gambling as well, so he really was the gunslinger the movie made him out to be.  He was so good that he one time shot a man in the chest and was mad at himself for not hitting the head.  He was also a drinker.  The book said that his nerves were never really calm, even when he was a dentist, and so he'd drink to steady them, and that never stopped until he died, though it wasn't what killed him.  He was, as the movie shows, very good friends with Wyatt Earp, though he wavered between the side of the law and the side of the outlaw much more than Wyatt.  He was at Tombstone, and he was given a shotgun during the fight at the corral, though what the movie doesn't show is that he hated the shotgun because it wasn't as accurate as his pistols, and Wyatt gave him one in hopes he wouldn't jump in to a fight as quickly with it as he would with pistols.

He spent his life a gunslinger, a gambler, a drinker, and a southern gentleman, which is why his last words are so awesome.  Just as the movie shows, he was in a hospital at the end of his life, because the tuberculosis had gotten the better of him.  His last words really were "This is funny."  It makes sense that the movie has him looking at his feet, because it shows why he'd say it.  All his life he'd been in situations where he should have died with his boots on, and yet, his actual dieing place was in a hospital, from a disease he'd tried to ignore for years.

I watched Tombstone last night and thought of what an amazing man he was.  How I'd read a book to find out the truth and found the truth to be just as amazing, if not better than the film.  I thought about the choices he made and why he was remembered.  I won't say that I want a life like his.  He had very few friends, and many enemies.  But he was always in the middle of the action.  He was willing to fight for things he thought were important, and he was willing to help a friend, both worthy of remembering.  Just something I've been thinking about lately.  I hope both can be said of me when I die.  Have a nice day.

Monday, June 20, 2011


1.  My Geekiness finally paid off.
2.  The due date is tomorrow (which doesn't mean we'll have the baby then, but it's nice to know we're getting close).
3.  God is teaching me patience.  Though I think my lesson is learned, so if He gave us the baby now I wouldn't be any worse off... just sayin'.

First and foremost, I got an award.  It is probably the most fitting award for me, as laid out by the giver of it: Antares Cryptos.  Who, for all intents and purposes of the award, deserves it right back.

So, there seemed to be no real rules with this, but to pass it on to other blogging geeks.  I knew and loved the people AC gave it to, so all of you can say yours is from me too.  But two more people who I think deserve this prestigious award are Kev D, who hasn't written for a whole month now, but when he does it's always nerdy fun stuff with words, and DBS who loves to take words at their root meaning and then mush them together to make a word that all of us need almost daily.  So, here's to both of you.  You're both great English nerds.

Now that we're done with the awards, let's get to my weekend.

My wife and I decided that we should go on a walk... which had nothing to do with trying to induce labor... much.  We went with my sister in law and her husband, because she's prego too and exercise is good.  We got Subway sandwich's and drove up a canyon near our home to a nice little path through the trees.  It really is nice.

On our way up, we stopped and rested on a rock near the trail.  There was a nice breeze that made the spot just the right temperature.  As we sat, we noticed a raven come and perch on what looked to be a branch that was much too small for it.  We watched it for a while, and then noticed there was a nest near it.  At first we thought it was the raven's nest.  Then, lightening quick, his beak flew into the nest and pulled out a tuft of feathers.  That's right ladies and gentlemen, we watched the raven grab a meal... from another bird's nest.  We then watch it fly away as three other birds flew after it pecking feverishly, but to no avail.  The baby bird would be returning to the nest nevermore.

My sister in law cried.  My wife was extremely concerned.  And my brother in law and I noticed how lucky we were.  We saw something you only get to see on Animal Planet.  Don't get me wrong, I feel bad for the mommy and daddy birds, and the third one... the uncle bird maybe?  It would suck to have my kid ripped from my carefully made home and only be able to punch the huge assailant in the head while never getting my child back.  And yet, it was still pretty cool to see it as a third person spectator.

Needless to say, the two pregnant women did not want to stay in that spot anymore.  So we continued on.  On our way back from our destination, we were walking along, dodging worms that were hanging by thread from the trees over the path, when we heard a loud noise, and no more than thirty feet in front of us barreled a moose onto the path.  It wasn't big, about the size of a small horse, and it was very thin, you could see its ribs, but neither of those things made me want to stay near it.  My wife tried to say that it couldn't hurt us as much as a full grown moose, but I explained that hurting is a function with an end point, that end point being death.  Both could get us there.  Therefore, this horse sized moose could, in fact, hurt us as much as a full grown one.

Luckily, we didn't have to test my hypothesis.  It walked down the path toward us for about ten feet, with us back peddling the whole way, until it got past a wooden fence, then it turned and walked into the pond.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't scare me.

After that though, we did finish our walk without incident.  We seldom see anything on that trail, but this time, we were reminded that just behind the tree line lives wildlife.  Scary, dog eat dog, trampling wildlife, that we need to respect.

Have a nice day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Waiting

1.  Today may be the last prenatal check up we have for the baby.
2.  Blogger wasn't working for me yesterday for some reason, so I got a lot of my novel finished.
3.  Only four more days until the due date (which I know doesn't mean the baby is coming in four days, but it still makes it feel close).

I feel like we're just about as ready as we can be.  We have bottles, binkis, booties, and blankets, and all the other stuff that I never knew we needed.  We have the oh-crap-it's-time bag, and a route all picked out.  Two routes if the free way looks backed up.  We have the phone number for the hospital and the midwife, and we know that it's 3 to 5 minutes between pains she can't talk through for an hour, then we take her in.  Our parents are ready, our siblings are excited, and we are... well, we're a cacophony of emotions.  We're really happy, and excited, and grateful, and nervous.  We've read "What to Expect," but still aren't sure what to expect, and it sounds like no one can really tell us exactly what to expect.  "Every baby/labor/person/car seat is different," they tell us.  So, it seems there's really no way to know what to expect, and so we wait.

The waiting hasn't been bad so far.  I've really been trying to psych myself up for a week after the due date, and then be surprised and happy if it comes early, but I don't know how well that's working.  Again, I really can't know until the time comes.  A couple of women in our neighborhood had the exact same due date, one of them gave birth twelve days early, while the other gave birth a few days late.  It's as thought the due date doesn't even really help us, except for the preparation part.

And to be honest, it's the preparation part that will probably kill me in the end.  We have the room all picked out.  Proudly displayed are our children's books that we want to read to Baby J.  In the crib is a giraffe that plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  In the Pack-n-Play is a stuffed Goofy in a onesie.  It all makes me just a little more anxious to have the baby here.  I've done it to myself though, ya know?  When you're preparing for Disneyland you put everything Disney out of your mind until the day of, so you don't torture yourself with what you dream it will be like.  I might as well have been wearing Mickey ears for the past couple of months.  Every daydream is that of a son or a daughter.  Every car ride is looking back at the car seat we already have installed, with a cooing infant going up the canyon, or to grandma's, or to Wal-Mart for the very first time.  It's sleeping in, and knowing that I won't be able to shortly because we'll have an alarm that needs to be fed every two hours, and I think changed about that often.  It's the budgeting, and the saving, and the long talks about if we think we're ready for person number three.  And then, it was deciding that we were.  And now, it's the waiting.

But, I might as well be happy about it.  Every day the baby doesn't come my excitement builds a little more.  Soon, I have the feeling that every hour will build the excitement as well.  I love him/her already guys. I love him/her and I don't even know what gender he/she is.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Nerd Pontificating About Nerd-dom

1.  I started Mass Effect yesterday.
2.  I slept soundly.
3.  I live in a free country.

I'm gonna let out my nerd a little today, so break out the tape for the middle of my glasses, and a protector for my pocket, because I just started Mass Effect (the first one), and it's made me think about how gaming has changed.

My first gaming experiences were probably before I can really remember.  I'm told that my dad had an original Nintendo and that he played Mario... I think.  I honestly don't remember playing it.  I then remember when we got a Super Nintendo.  I think it had been out for like three years before we got it.  It took a lot of convincing, because my dad didn't want us waisting all of our time on it, but we eventually got it on my birthday.  I say 'on' because my parents' made it VERY clear that just because we got it on my birthday, it did not mean it was just mine.  It had the Mario five pack, which meant the original one, the second and third ones, Yoshi's Island, and one other one that escapes me now... I'm sure it'll come to me tonight after it's messed with me all day.  We also Primal Rage (the giant apes and dinosaurs fighting game) and Mortal Combat.  I eventually bought a cowboy shooting game (it was originally an arcade game) and a hockey game (not surprisingly).  I played some, but not very often.  I never really talked about what I played with anyone, because no one cared, and none of the games were really that impressive anyway.

Then, we got computer games.  My dad works with computers, so we were one of the first families on my street to get one, and we got a fast one, because my dad knew what made them fast.  We started out with Real-Time Strategy games.  That means you make and control an army that goes and tries to take out another army.  Popular ones are War Craft and Star Craft.  Then I learned about Diablo.  It was a great Hack and Slash (meaning you run through and hack and slash everything in your path) with a great story.  After much discussion my dad finally bought it.  He ended up liking it too, and so started my love for story telling in gaming, though I didn't understand just how much I would enjoy it yet.  After that I got Baulder's Gate and Final Fantasy 7, both Role-Playing Games (meaning you play the role of a character and it takes you through a story).  And I enjoyed both.

What I really didn't understand was how much I enjoyed them.  See, great video games are like choose your own ending books on crack.  It gives a great story and leads you through it in a way that you become part of it.  I really hadn't played much up to this point. I did finish Diablo I and Baulder's Gate, and I almost finished Final Fantasy 7, but the length of the game turned out to be too much for me.  And my love for gaming lay under the surface for years.  It almost passed out of existence.

Then, on a day that my live in infamy in my wife's eyes forever, she let me buy an Xbox 360.  I honestly had not owned a console since the Super Nintendo.  We had bought the Wii, but it was mostly for her.  I was suddenly, and unexpectedly thrown into a world of gaming that I didn't know existed.  I found out that games were expensive, and because I have little money, I started doing my homework on games.  I quickly found websites like Gamespot and ING that literally do nothing but talk about video games.  They explain what makes one good, and why one really isnt' worth the twenty bucks.  I also found that other people commented on video games.  They gave their input.  And, as with music and movies, I was suddenly able to explain, in words, why I liked a game.  I knew I liked Diablo I, I knew I liked Baulder's Gate and Final Fantasy, but I didn't know why.  Gamespot in particular, gave me the ability.  I now talk with people about games all the time.  I explain that I like action/adventure games and RPG's because they tend to have great stories.  I say that Fall Out 3 worried me at first because it was a FPS (First Person Shooter) and I usually don't like those, but the story and RPG elements were too great to overlook.  It then led me to try Mass Effect, which I'm really enjoying.  I'm able to see game footage of Dungeon Siege III and see the similarities between it and Diablo I and it makes me want to play it.

And then, I look back at gaming fifteen years ago.  I don't want to say we've 'come a long way,' because I don't know as we really have.  We play a lot more now.  We play because we want to talk to others about it.  Games are made to satisfy very particular tastes, so you don't have to spend a lot of money to find the games that will last long and keep you entertained, but I don't know how much that's necessarily great.  What I do know though, is that it gives me something to think and dream about.  It keeps my imagination active, and gives me a reason to talk to people.  I won't say Gaming is great, but I won't say it's horrible either.  It's been good to me so far.  Have a nice day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

$1 a Day is Totally Worth it

1. I was able to get some Claritin D yesterday.
2. I played golf this morning.  Like, third or forth time in my life...
3. We can buy Mt. Dew that is made with actually sugar.

My allergies were horrible again a couple of days ago.  Here in Orem there's a celebration we have called Summer Fest.  It's a carnival, a parade, and fireworks.  We went with my mom to the fireworks and happened to sit right near three or four big pine trees.  I'm almost sure I'm allergic to pollinating pines now.  I could not stop sneezing.  After they were over my wife and I went to Target to get me some allergy pills.  We couldn't get Claritin D because the pharmacy was closed, so I settled for some Benadryl with the decision to go back the next morning.

Friends, I looked like a zombie the next morning.  My eyes were blood shot, and it looked like I'd been in a fight the day before.  My mouth gaped open as I tried to breathe.  It was horrible, and I needed drugs.  I went back to Target, but forgot Kleenex, so my first order of business when I got there was to grab a box, rip it open, and start using it before purchasing it.  They usually don't care if you do this, but I would have done it even if they did, I simply couldn't go without.

After I had Kleenex in hand, I went to where you get the little paper that you take the pharmacy that says you want the drugs (I guess because you can't convey that to them in words...).  So, I stagger up to the counter and hand the woman the slip of paper.  It is for the generic version of Claritin D.  She walks on back, looks on a shelf and then leans out saying, "I'm sorry, we're out of that." She's about to walk back to me, when I gasp, "Then get me some Claritin D."  I kid you not, I looked like a zombie, why she didn't just grab the Claritin is beyond me.  She then asks if I want the five pack of the fifteen.  People, I am squinting through two puffy eyes and holding a Kleenex under them to catch the tears.  Why did she think I would get better in five days?  So I told her the fifteen and she heads on back.

I hand her the Kleenex and ask her to "Ring this up to.  I had an emergency."  She rings up both and it comes to twenty something dollars.  As I walk out of the store I notice that I paid eighteen dollars for fifteen days worth of Claritin D.  At first I was a little annoyed, but then I realized why it was so much.  My allergies had me by the balls.  I was willing to pay way more than a dollar a day to support my delusion that they might loosen up if I fed them something.  To be honest, I don't know why they don't charge more.  My only thought is that then they'd have another crazed group of people trying to break into pharmacies to try and get their Claritin fix.  I know I would have that morning anyway.  I would have been violent.

But anyway, I got my Claritin and feel better enough to think eighteen dollars was worth it.  My allergies have more or less let go of my testicles now, and I can function.  I'll just leave you with that little image.  Have a nice day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's Funny How One Night Can Seem Like Just Enough and Hardly Enough All at Once

1.  My wife didn't have the baby without me (though she didn't have the baby yet at all).
2.  The Equate Claritin hiding in our cupboard was somewhat helpful against my allergies.
3.  The zombies haven't taken over yet.  One more day to party.

It's a dew covered morning out at Five Mile Pass.  About an hour ago a young member of an LDS congregation bellowed as the leader explained that it was time to get in the truck and go out on their outing.  The boy protested, but his protests fell on deaf ears, either because they didn't care or his Banshee cry blew out there ear drums.  All  has been still, but oh, look there.  The sun is just peeking over the horizon.  It's warming rays kiss the dust and the cave men's dwelling.  We may just get lucky enough to see... yes.  One caveman unzips the dwelling and steps into the light.  Notice the squinting eyes, the hunched back, and the protruding belly.  Yes, this is a Paulus Needsmoresleepus.  You'll note the hair on his face, the sticks in his hair.  Clearly related to humans, but severally under evolved.

Yeah, camping was a blast.  By the end we all smelled greatly of burning cedar and something else that would be difficult to define and none of us would probably want to.  We did sleep next to a large group of boys and their fathers, one of which could not seem to stop crying, which was super fun at like four in the morning.  I did feel a little bad for them when I noticed the gallon jugs of Tropicana on their folding tables, slowing soaking in the heat of our biscuits and gravy and hash browns that the wind was carrying perfectly over to them, but for the most part I just wished their leader would have let the poor boy sleep.

As I figured, it was short lived (one night) but lots of fun and just enough time to mostly catch up with each other, and reminisce about stuff we did together, or other good and horrible camp outs we'd been on.  All in all it was a success and a memory that I'll cherish for a long while.

In other news, I'm taking the copy of my book my dad edited today and I'll be compiling to start sending out to my other editors.  I promised one I'd email it before tomorrow, so I'll have a lot of work to do today.  I should be able to do it though.  It's really exciting seeing it all come together.

And, as I said in what I'm grateful for, my wife hasn't yet had the baby.  The 'due date' is only eight days away though, so it's getting close.  I'm really excited.  Which is the most obvious thing to say ever.  And on that happy note, I hope you have a good day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Quasi Annual Hoo-Rah

1.  I have a wife who let's me hang out with my friends.
2.  I have lots of friends and family who want to help me edit my book.
3.  The sun is shining here in Utah, and the sky is blue.

I am about to embark on an adventure.  Well, not so much an adventure as a night spent with my high school buddies, cooking outside, talking around a fire, and sleeping in the same dwelling, but in separate beds...  I'm talking about The Quasi-Annual Friends' Camping Trip!  The reason I say quasi is that we've only done it one other year and while I REALLY want it to happen every year, I'm not getting my hopes too high.

Last year was awesome.  We went to Fish Lake and camped for a few days.  Shot some skeet, played a little D&D, cooked outside, and just caught up on everything.  Basically, we did a bunch of manly stuff and felt great.  My buddy got us some "No Wifies Allowed" t-shirts and away we went.

This year is going to be a little more small scale because my wife is having a baby and I didn't want to be gone too long in case she goes in to labor.  My friends have been really cool about it, but shortening the trip for me was probably not something they intended to do.  Anyway, we're going out to Five Mile Pass (I've never camped there), but we hope to have a little cell coverage in case my wife has a surprise labor (which I doubt) and it's close to home since we'll only be gone an evening.  Either way, it'll still be a blast and we'll still catch up just like we want to.  By the end of the trip we'll probably miss our wives again, but the fun will be too undeniable to not do it again next year (I hope).

I'd better finish up because I still have mushrooms and onions to cut up (to fry up with the steaks, because my buddy is awesome enough to bring his camp chef), and I still have to get a few other things together.  But uh, here's to hoping your weekend will be as awesome as mine will.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

James McAvoy

1.  My parents taught me how to work.
2.  We have enough money to live comfortably.
3.  I woke up this morning.  I know not everyone has that luxury.

James McAvoy.  Is the name familiar?  I'm sure to some of you it is, and you're big fans and this post will leave you wondering if my wife ever lets me out.  Well, for the rest of you, James McAvoy is Charles Xavier in X-Men First Class, which I saw last night.  I really liked it, but as soon as I saw James, I was just a little annoyed. I knew I had seen him in another movie, but could not figure out which one.  Even you McAvoy fans can relate to this right?  When you see someone in a movie and you can't fully enjoy it because you know you've seen them in something else, but can't quiet put your finger on it.  Well that's where I was watching the new X-Men movie, which, in my opinion, is the best X-Men movie yet (not counting Wolverine Origins).

I expressed my concern to my wife, my sister in law, and her husband after the movie ended.  I thought hard and all I could think was that he'd been in Becoming Jane, or some other movie about that set of sisters.  Which, by the way, James is in Becoming Jane.  I just checked.  But after such a bad ass performance in X-Men, I could hardly believe that I didn't know him from something cooler.  I apologize to all of you Jane fans, but that movie was boring.  I love most cinema, but I honestly almost took a nap.  Just like her books, about three fourths of the way through I started asking myself, "Who cares?"

Sorry, back on topic.  So, I continued to think about what I'd seen him in.  I pictured him yelling, which I'm quiet sure he never did in Becoming Jane.  To say the least I was bugged all night.  Even after I beat a boss that had sent me playing other games in frustration before, I still could not get my mind off of where I'd seen James's grimacing face.  Then, around four in the morning, it suddenly hit me.  He's Tumnus in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I can't fully describe the peace that came over me when I figured it out.  I even woke up my wife, who humored me a little before going back to sleep.  I'll have to watch X-Men again so that I can fully enjoy it without the real world identity of James looming over my head.

This is me, hoping that all of you don't have this happen to you for a good long while.  Have a nice day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ambiguos Facebook Status Updates

1.       My wife washed the towels.  Not that we don’t usually, I just love freshly washed towels.
2.       It’s my brother-in-law’s birthday, so we’re going to Tucano’s and seeing the new X-men movie.
3.       I finished the writing part of my book and have already found a few willing editors.

Let me just start by saying that if you are one of my Facebook friends and you do what I explain today, please don’t be offended.  I don’t mean to be mean, I just had to get it off my chest.
I don’t like Facebook status updates that leave no real clue as to what the person is talking about.  A good example is when a whole status post reads, “Awesome.”  What is that?  What’s awesome?  Did you just see someone do something stupid and all you can think is ‘awesome’ or did you just find out that you were given a large inheritance and we’d all better start being ridiculously nice to you?  Your status update leaves us no clue.
Then, even worse than ‘Awesome,’ is ‘Best day ever,’ or ‘This is wonderful.’  Again, what’s wonderful?  Why is this the best day ever?  Then, we, as your true blue facebook friends must ask you what’s wonderful or why it’s been such a good day.  Questions that seldom get answered, and even when they do we are left thinking, “Huh, that’s nice.  They could have just written, ‘My brother got married, this is the best day ever.’  Would it really have taken that much longer?”  To be honest, I seldom ask what these are about anymore.  I figure that if there really is something interesting going on, I’ll eventually hear about it.  I imagine it makes me a bad facebook friend, but I just don’t have the patience anymore.
But even more annoying than those is “Today sucks,” Or “FML.”  These are like ticking time bombs.  I’m afraid that the person who wrote this is someone I barely know and they are going to answer me with something like, “My husband just walked out after he found out I lost my job and our fifth child is on the way, taking his Xbox with him, not because he meant to, but because non-stop playing has fused it to his hand.”  What do you say to that?  “I’m sorry.  You’re right, your day does suck.”  But even more obnoxious than an answer is the “It’s personal.”  Then why did you post ANYTHING about it on facebook?  Do you really think this is a ‘personal stuff only’ site?  Guess what, it’s not.  Everyone you’ve even met will soon know that your day sucks and because we give a damn about your well being/we’re nosey bastards, we are ALL going to ask what’s up in one way or another.  Don’t post it if you don’t want us asking.  If this is your venting place and you want no feedback on what you write, keep a journal instead.
Anyway, that’s just been on my mind lately.  Have a nice day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We're Better Together

1. My boss let me have the day off yesterday.
2. Someone invented Kleenex.  I honestly can't tell you how many handkerchiefs I would have needed the past few days if they hadn't.
3. Modern Medicine.  That's pretty much all inclusive.  There are so many things that would have killed us fifty years ago that simply will not kill us now.  Yay for life.

So, as some of you may have noticed, I took yesterday off.  I talked to my boss (me) and my other boss (my wife), and told them it was my second anniversary and how my wife wanted to spend the day with me.  The two of them talked it over and said that I could.  Suckers.

Yep, it was our second anniversary yesterday, which made me think a bunch of stuff.  First off: Two years.  The woman has put up with me for two years.  I've written about this before, so I won't go into detail, but two years is one long ass time to deal with me.  Talk about moxy (from Night at the Museum II), talk about muchness (Alice in Wonderland).  If for no other reason than she can put up with me (and it's not), my wife is amazing.

The day started with, let's say, some difficulties.  Namely, allergies.  I took an allergy pill, but even with the pill, I still thought that I would get dehydrated from blowing my nose, and that my eyes would eventually be swept away by the rivers they were obviously holding back.  I looked like every bit of water in my body was piling up and spilling out of my face.  We'll say it was dodgy.

Well, some of you might not know this, but my wife loves eating out for breakfast.  She likes fast food's fake eggs and diners' quaintness.  We chose Kneaders.  The workers probably thought I had the plague or something, but allowed us to order and didn't complain when we chose a table that was far away from the rest of the customers and mostly out of sight.  They even brought our food to our table.  I think they were afraid I would suddenly explode and they'd have to mop up if I walked around too much.

On the way home we got gas (because we were going to Salt Lake that night) and got The Green Hornet from Redbox (because, with my allergies, we weren't going to do anything else).  While walking from our car to our condo I noticed the wind pick up and watched what looked to be a big cloud of dust come wafting off a big pine tree in front of our house.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I think I'm allergic to pine trees pollinating.  I almost cried.  I was already hurting so much, and I'd just seen my nemesis show its power, and I became afraid.  I knew we had a big night planned, and a little pine tree procreation was not going to stop it from being awesome, so against recommendations on the bottle, I took another half allergy pill and drank lot of water to keep myself from turning into a raisin.  We watched Green Hornet, it was really so-so.  I doubt I'll buy it.

The big plans we had made were going to The Melting Pot for dinner.  It's a place that requires reservations and has a valet.  To my knowledge, I've never used either of those services before last night.  It's a fondue place that is designed to allow people time to sit and talk without the waiter being annoying and while enjoying great food.  It did not disappoint.  Our waiter, Ryan, was great.  He answered all of questions without being snooty and was always quick to refill drinks - just what a waiter should be.  The food was awesome, and my wife and I got a chance to talk.

In our conversation I asked what her favorite part of being married has been (talk about your loaded questions).  She smiled and said there were lots of favorites, one of them being 'cuddling up close.'  It's what normal people call cuddling.  Not sure why we say this.  I pressed her for another favorite, and while she thought I thought of mine, which was that I liked having someone there no matter what happened.  Sure, my wife is beautiful, and fun, and cool, but when it comes right down to it, I know that my wife is going to be there for me, no matter what happens, and that's really what I love most about her.  She then said basically what I had been thinking.  It was nice to know she depended on me too.

Later, we talked about how I want so badly to take her to Switzerland.  I know she would love the food, and the architecture, and the people, and the green grass, and the water (it's seriously everywhere, which for people from the desert, lookss pretty awesome).  After we'd talked about that for a while she looked at me and said, "That's another favorite.  I like sharing experiences with you."  I hadn't thought of it, but I love that too.

I love being married to my wife.  Sure, we're not always in sync, and sure, we don't always agree, but it's so nice when we do that it makes up for when we don't.  In my Marriage and Family Relations class my teacher asked us how we would define a successful marriage.  After some deliberation about happiness, and fulfillment, and time spent together I came to the conclusion that a successful marriage is one where the end product is greater than the some of its parts.  A marriage where each person is lifted because they are married.  And I feel like, at least for the time being, my marriage is a success.  I am a better person because I'm with my wife, and my wife says the same thing, though it's hard for me to believe.  As Jack Johnson would say, "We're better together."

Have a nice day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fresh Off the Vine

1. We bought a bunch of used DVD's and they all work.  We watched the last one last night.
2. My dad and mom went on a trip to Australia.  I'll miss not having them here, but my mom seldom does anything for herself, so I'm really happy to see her take a trip and rest a bit.
3. My dad took my (mostly) finished manuscript on the trip so he can start editing.  All I lack is the concluding chapter and looking up a few more quotes.

My wife and I bought some bacon about a week ago with the intention of making bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.  We decided not to buy the produce until we were sure we were going to make them so that it wouldn't go bad.  Last night, we decided that today was the day, and we went to the grocery store to buy the lettuce and the tomatoes.  My wife went off to grab the lettuce and left me to choose the tomatoes.  I've picked out tomatoes all my life, so the choice was easy.  I knew we didn't want Roma's because they weren't good for that type of sandwich.  The other choices were some orange looking ones, and some beautiful, medium sized red ones that were "fresh off the vine" -a new phenomenon here in the states that really just means that they are still on their vines and that they cost more.

As I grabbed them, their sweet perfume wafted up and I couldn't help but smile a little.  That smell has meant so many things to me in my life, all of them wonderful.  My wife caught up with me and I didn't have much time to think about the scent, so I bagged them and we checked out.  It wasn't until we got home and I sat down in our "reading chair" that I smelled my fingers, which still smelled of the tomatoes, and had a moment to think about what all that smell meant to me.  It turns out that there were three things that the smell reminded me of, all three of them people.

The first person was Great Grandpa Paul.  So many of my memories are of his garden.  I remember thinking it was huge when I was younger, but looking at it now, it's really just normal sized for anyone living in the country with some land.  In his garden was usually corn, and a few other things, but it always had tomatoes.  Beef Masters were his favorite.  They grew in little bushes and he always fought off the dry heat of Arizona and parasites to ensure a good harvest.  Some of my fondest memories are of the two of us watching water slowly run down each row, and smelling the tomatoes when we picked one or two.

The second person was my dad.  As I've said before, my dad is a bit eccentric when he sets his mind to something, but he's innovative as well.  When we moved to 'the big city' - which was really just Orem, but it seemed big- my dad got the idea that we needed a garden, but we had very little space for one.  So, he learned how to make certain tomato breeds climb a piece of twine, so as to keep them off the ground and use what little gardening space we had.  He liked Early Girls and Better Boys.  They both climb and both produce quickly.  My dad got them to grow so well that they stood taller than a full grown man, and the tomatoes were between a baseball and a softball, I'm not exaggerating.  I remember being outside in the summer time, helping my dad water them or picking some for dinner and the sweet aroma of the tomatoes filling, what felt like, every nook and cranny of my soul.  I love summers and part of summers are tomatoes.

The third and last person I thought of was my sister.  She was always more involved with the garden than I was.  I enjoyed watering and eating the tomatoes, fresh off the vine and still warm from the sun.  She loved those things too, but she loved working at making things grow.  So, my parents gave her some cherry tomato plants, and she went to work, having them climb a post next to the house.  When the summer was over the plant was taller than the house and had some of the best cherry tomatoes you've ever tasted.  Every once and a while I'd sneak one of them and if she caught me she'd get mad because they were hers and I needed to ask if I was going to eat one.

Mostly tomatoes make me think of happy times.  Gardening, lazy summer days, or preparing for a nice meal with the freshest of produce.  So, it was no wonder that Ridley's "Fresh Off the Vine" tomatoes made me smile.  They make me think of great people, and great times.

Have a nice day.