Saturday, April 29, 2006

Embracing Your Inner Nerd

Forget that I write a blog. Forget that I talk about basic chemistry and current events on that blog. Forget that I constantly try to teach my kids history that they shouldn't be bored through until high school. Forget that I don't mind driving a minivan and that I like bands like They Might Be Giants. Forget that I got all excited because I swapped out the powersupply, sound card and doubled the RAM in my computer so I could put together a home recording studio and listen as I describe how nerdiness must be at the core of my person. Rearing its ugly head with it's cowlick, glasses and overbite in all things and in unexpected ways:

I started writing stories when I was about 13 (Nerd!). Maybe someday I will actually get something published. Who knows? I've had some concerns about the latest "novel" I've been writing.

I actually thought it would be just another short story but it has taken on a life of its own and now is so long it must be novel. Despite some ridiculous elements in the story, I was attempting to write the book with a serious tone. I've been a little worried because I have known what I wanted to write but I couldn't clearly say what audience I'm writing for. Now, I think I've figured it out.

I wasn't going to let the lack of an audience change the way I wrote the book. I figured it must be a science fiction book because it takes place in the future, it involves a robotic clone and a man-eating monster. The other night it hit me like a bolt of lightning: Even though I have already typed out 100 pages of story, this story is PERFECT as a graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? It's what I used to hear people say and I would laugh and say "You mean BIG COMIC BOOK." Sin City and V for Vendetta are both examples of graphic novels which were recently turned into films. Graphic novels are becoming very popular, very fast. I read some blog-sites of a group of people who make graphic novels for a living and I think my foundation is better than most of theirs. It looks like most of them don't actually have a strong story, they just like to draw stuff.

At two in the morning the other night, I sat down with the first pages of my novel and started sketching them in comic book form (I would post some but I don't have a scanner). It works. And the story I wrote seems to have been meant for this medium. The nerd in me knew from the beginning. The story will probably be easier to finish in this form, too. It is more work, sketching everything out like a comic book, but I'm going to try it out and see where it goes. Maybe nerdhood will have its rewards.

Ready to Fish

Just for reference, here is a picture of our daughter just BEFORE we went fishing.

A Celebration of Life

Ethan has been very vocal that he would like to go fishing. We are also supposed to make a poster about Ethan for his kindergarten class that tells about him and what he likes to do. I thought it would be good to include a picture of him fishing so today (after the drug test and after lunch) we went to the local pond.

Yes, it's spring and we were ready for a faceful of nature. We found that the pond was a little lower than usual and pretty aromatic with swamp-smell. The edges of the pond were lined with empty drink containers and general pond-scum. When we got there I declared: "We will catch the biggest goldfish in the pond." Because I know that is what Ethan wanted to do. There are some pretty big ones in there. We saw a lot of ducks and a few eggs and some pet-store turtles sunning themselves on a log but mostly we noticed things like a big dead catfish and a big dead duck. It isn't uncommon to see a big rat or a bullfrog hanging around.

The catfish was big enough that you probably couldn't reach both hands around it. Some kids who were fishing nearby determined that the duck had suffered a fatal gunshot wound, most likely issued by a kid named "Casey." All kids named "Casey" are bad, they claimed.

It was a popular day for fishing. The russian olive trees that line the banks kind of look like christmas trees, full of shiny red bobbers. I pulled a worm out of a container and snapped off the end of its body. Then I jabbed the hook through him a few times. Ethan watched me and asked, "Does that hurt him, dad?"

I said, "Yes. But he's going to have to be mad at God for making him a worm because that's what people do to them."

The sunfish and bluegills kept nibbling our worm and dragging him around but none of them would get on the hook. Eleanor took our baby out of the stroller and it wasn't long before she handed him to me. Our now-three-year-old took the opportunity to hop into our sherman-tank stroller and strap herself in. A few seconds later Eleanor screamed and I looked over just in time to see Olivia roll off the bank, face-first into the water; on top of the dead duck and below the stroller. I jumped to the edge of the water where she went in but I was holding our baby and camera and felt helpless to do anything. Eleanor jumped right in the water. I watched for what seemed like a long time as Eleanor fumbled around but she couldn't seem to get our daughter's head above water. I'm sure any amount of time is a "long time" when you are three years old and you are facedown in dead duck water.

I got annoyed with the situation. We spent way too much money on diapers and formula to let her die so lamely. Still holding the baby, I reached down from the bank and grabbed one of the wheel-axles on the stroller and lifted the whole apparatus, coughing-bawling toddler and all, up out of the water. Furniture-moving power to the rescue! Eleanor was going nuts trying to make Olivia feel better. Ethan sprung into action, too. He said, "We have to save Jonah's bottle!" and he plunged into the knee-deep water to get it. Jonah was probably grinning to himself because his socks were floating in the water, lapping up against the dead duck next to the drinks and licorice we had bought. Everything had fallen out of the stroller. We had to borrow a net from the nearby kids. They had watched the whole event and when I asked them if I could borrow their net to get OUR garbage out of the pond, they asked, "What for?"

We got things in order and made the long walk back to the car. Olivia's galoshes were still full of swamp water. We didn't get a picture of Ethan fishing or catch a fish. And our house smells like a swamp. The weather is great! Get out there and enjoy it like us!

P.S. I could do a lot more good in this world if I wasn't holding babies all the time. Things like that come up all the time, like the other day when I could have stopped a shopping cart that was rolling downhill at about 5 mph from slamming into someones parked car. Oh, well. Me and Jonah will laugh about it all later.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Let's Do It, Let's Fight Romantically

I had to get up early and take a drug test for the chip loading job. I called my wife yesterday and asked her to wake me up early so I could go. This morning she woke me up and said...

Eleanor: "A dumb telemarketer called and it reminded me that I had to wake you up. It was a close call." Proud of herself, she added, "What would you do without me?"

Me: "Probably get more action... with a girl who likes it when I touch her. And I wouldn't bang my knees on the dashboard when I get in the car..."

Eleanor: "Noooooooooooo!!!"

Me: "Oh, you were asking rhetorically, were you?"

I have a habit of using the bathroom when I first wake up. I was worried there wouldn't be anything left to contribute to the "drug test" so I drank a soda while I was driving. I couldn't help but have silly ideas that the soda would make my drug test "gunky."

Them: "Sir, you tested positive for benzene, which isn't actually a drug so it's okay."

Me: "Mmmm... it was cherry flavored."

The guy who administered the test seemed to take pleasure in announcing, "This IS a hair-sample drug test. It's nearly impossible to cheat." He grinned at me like the jig was up.

I was just glad I didn't have to pee in a cup. Cut away.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Legend of the Rent is Way Hardcore!

I auditioned to be second guitarist in a Heavy Metal band today. The guy said it would be a few weeks before they got back to me because they have the "core" band together and want to get some songs completed before bringing in more musicians. They seem very serious and motivated. Most of them play in other bands as well.

I don't know if I impressed them. The guy just said, "Play. Only original stuff." Which was good for me, because that's about all I play anyhow. The only time he seemed impressed was when I tuned my guitar: "Wow. You can tune a guitar." I looked at him trying to figure out if he was being sarcastic and he explained, "You would be surprised how many guitar players can't tune their guitars."

Aside from that he said, "Well, you can play." He explained that a lot of guys show up to audition with really expensive gear but can barely play a note. It was a short notice thing for me so I played pretty sloppy. I didn't have a guitar pick. But I think my strength is my interesting songs rather than the technical precision with which I play them.

He said he would call me and two other guitar players in to listen to the songs they write a few weeks from now and then we would see if we thought we belonged in the band and compete for the spot. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Immigration and Puzzling Evidence

I thought I would weigh in on the immigration issue:

As "human beings," if it was MY government's position that the best job I could get in my mexican city was welding exhaust pipes on american cars (see my past blog about Guillermo) for $40 per week then I AM CERTAIN that I would seek work elsewhere (over the border, if that's where the money was) and I would no longer heed any financial advice from my government nor pay any mind to any beauracratic crap they may throw my way regarding how I may "legally" go elsewhere to make that money. That government obviously DOESN'T CARE, so neither would I.

At my job, the "illegals" work just as hard as I do. They do the least desirable work for about $3 less per hour and work until the middle of the night. In this case, if the "illegals" were NOT there, the company would not pay ME anymore than I already make to do that same work. And essentially, anyone who answers these questions correctly can get my job (they're hiring right now and have been for months):

EVERYBODY deliberately steals from their employer. True or false?
My past employer would describe me as A)Hard working and reliable or B)An abrasive, lazy piece of crap.

I'm sure there are situations where having the cheap labor might affect the pay of americans but it probably isn't as much as you think. If you haven't noticed, businesses DO NOT seem to share their wealth with their common workers. Just like at the furniture store, they hold on to every penny until it is wrenched from their fingers. If I made $1 for every couch or refrigerator I moved, my paychecks would be 4 times bigger than they are now. What is $1 out of the price of a couch or refrigerator? Not much.

Is it only the jobs we care about? Some people say that illegal "boarding" houses ruin neighborhoods. I would say that it is probably the situation of POVERTY that these people live in that is at the root of that problem. It's not the people, it's the tension of the struggle.

If americans don't like the "illegal" workforce then american businesses should not be hiring them. But what an opportunity for business in america. It allows american businesses to skirt all those pesky labor laws that have been put into place. What are the workers going to do? Complain?

I have a belief that american companies should be held to american labor laws, regardless of where they go to make their merchandise. Has the price of one pair of "Nike Air Jordans" dipped below $100 because the company is able to go to China and pay some 10 year old $0.10 per hour to glue together a couple dollars worth of leather and make those beloved shoes? And it is the same case with Ford Motor Company going to Mexico and paying $40 per week. If OUR governments (ours and theirs) addressed this, then there shouldn't be a migration of workers wandering around looking for a living wage. Talking about Mass Deportation is to focus on the mess rather than the CAUSE of the mess. And it's a waste of resources anyway. Send the police out to gather 11 million illegal immigrants hiding in every town across the United States? Get real.

In Utah, they talk on the news about how our local "Crystal Meth houses" are being run out of business by large supplies of imported Crystal Meth from super-labs in Mexico (again, if mexicans had opportunities for better work at home, they probably wouldn't be hanging around in super-meth labs). If we don't have the ability to stop large supplies of Crystal Meth from reaching Utah then what are the odds that we can stop Jose from showing up on our doorstep asking if he can paint our fence? And, do we care that Jose is here relative to the drugs?

In the movie "True Stories," made by the singer of THE TALKING HEADS, there is a scene titled "Puzzling Evidence" that takes place at a church revival. Like the rest of the movie, it comes off as retarded and nonsensical, but I think they are describing how business and government have combined in America. Business CEO's become president and CIA agents and politicians step down to take high paying jobs at major corporations. The immigration issue is not an issue for "the people." The people don't have the power as everyone likes to say we do. MONEY IS THE POWER. Duh. And it will be until we die. Some people drink Pepsi, some people drink Coke. The wacky morning DJ says democracy's a joke.

When we vote in November, if they ask:

Should we deport anyone determined to be inside of our country illegally?

I will vote NO.

Should our governments get their economic shit together to create a system where people can work in their native countries and earn a wage high enough to obtain food, housing and health services, all while american businesses treat workers worldwide with comparable wages, hours and overtime laws set by labor laws for american workers?

I will vote HELL YES.

Someone should mention it to the guys with money. I still have to get my kids dressed, put the baby down for a nap, feed them lunch, clean around the house, get the yard in order per new city codes and then go to work all night. But as soon as I get the chance I will be sure to march on Washington and reform society. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow.

For people who are so bent on deportation, I was thinking that we could vote to deport ALL IMMIGRANTS who have come to America in search of opportunity within the past 500 years as well as their children. That would clear things up around here. I would miss you.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

There is a Gust of Wind and Now it's Just a Cloud Again

I was talking to my sister-in-law on Friday night:

Me: There is only ONE guy that I have ever thought of setting you up with... but, a couple weeks after I thought to do it, he got engaged. But you are much prettier than the girl he married.

Her: Well, you are biased.

I thought about it today and whether your name is Hugh Hefner, People Magazine or Lorenzo Lamas... isn't the act of deciding what is pretty ALWAYS a biased event?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Everything in its Right Place

If you want to know your exact place in our social structure, you can get a good represetation by trying seriously to buy a house AND car. I wanted to move to California to increase my odds of getting a degree, but Eleanor refuses to live anywhere if we can't afford a house. We can't afford a house in California unless we live on the rez, which Eleanor isn't willing to do. And to put a nail in that coffin, my sister is interested in moving to Utah. So now we are looking at buying a new house in Utah.

I mentioned earlier that we were approved for $50,000 more than when we bought our current house but, after house hunting, we discovered that that amount will only buy us a house worse than the one we are living in now (which will be nice when we sell our house - it's a seller's market here). We came up with the idea to buy a BIG house and share it with my sister, which would require us to get a co-signer (these aren't just ideas, we've sat down with people and done credit checks and crunched all the numbers). But even with our BIGGER approval amount and the task of finding a house with six bedrooms or more, the pickings are mighty slim. Everytime we look seriously at buying a house, the ones we can afford look like a shabby pile of crap. We don't mind buying and improving piles of crap, but it just knocks you down a peg to know that that is ALL you can afford.

We can afford a nice house out in Saratoga Springs, "city-big" housing development quite-a-ways south and on the west-side of Utah Lake (formerly known as "Provo's Toilet" (they've cleaned it up). The odds are good that we might end up there. It's scenic with the lake and mountains and there is enough open space we could probably get our kids some dirt-bikes or a mini-dunebuggy and let them tear up the sagebrush before they build more houses on it.

While we were house hunting we started having some problems with the frontend of our Jeep. It was late in the day so I took it to Midas. They said the major problem was the Universal Joints but that some bearings were also going out, requiring the replacement of an entire hub (the thing the tire bolts to). They gave us an estimate of $1000. I told them I wasn't willing to spend that much money fixing it and we started hitting the car dealerships. If we are going to live in Saratoga Springs a better commuter car would be needed anyway. We wanted to buy a used-car so the new loan would not have to great an impact on our house-buying-ability. After two days of searching, the best we could find was a 1998 Jetta with 80K miles for $5000. (My wife had a Jetta before and I got used to driving it. The suspension is tighter and the engine has more pep than the Civic we used to have.) But before we bought it I took our Jeep to some REAL mechanics who said that it was the U-joints. I asked, "Did you see any problem with the bearings?" They said, "No." I told them the other mechanics had said they were about to go out. They went to the garage and checked them again. They said the bearings looked fine. Damn Midas! So I paid the $300 for U-joints and the Jeep is going strong.

I'm just saying that, unless you're raking in the cash, it paints a clear and horrible picture of your place when you get serious about buying a car AND a house. "I can only afford this wobbly shack? I can only afford this car with the busted turn signal?" Try it if you dare.

This might be as good a place as any to mention that I interviewed for that "chip" job yesterday and they hired me on the spot. They were out of forklift jobs so my new duties will be putting bags of chips in little cardboard boxes: two bags of this, two bags of that, box is full, get a new box, two bags of this...etc. It's a George Jetson job but it pays $2 more per hour than the furniture job and there is probably little risk of throwing out my back moving Cheetos around. The boss was excited, he took me out and introduced me to his whole team and showed me exactly what I would be doing. I called my other job, called out sick for my daughter's birthday and gave them my two weeks notice.

And I will also throw in: Two nights ago, my main boss at the furniture store was arrested for Solicitation of a Minor on the internet. Not exactly the kind of "star" you want to hitch your wagon to.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

De-Winterizing Your Bedroom

I had to wake up really early to go take some "pre-employment" tests at the chip warehouse (you have to do it just to get an interview; it was 250 scan-tron questions and loads of ruffled fun). I'm about to head to work moving furniture for the next 11 hours so I wanted to lay in bed for a quick rest. When I got to our room and turned on the ceiling fan:

Me: "Eleanor, hurry! Come check this out!"
Eleanor (hurrying): "What is it?"
Me: "It's a dust blizzard in our bedroom."
Eleanor: "Sick. Why did I have to hurry in here to see that?"
Me: "It's special. It only happens once a year."

Nobody likes a dusty ceiling fan.

This is Officer Van Halen...

I have some things that don't belong to me:

  • A David Eddings book called "The Diamond Throne" that belongs to Shooting Star's sister (And a book called "The Swordbearer" for that matter). Loaned to me when I was 15.
  • A "Great White's Greatest Hits" CD that I believe belongs to Sandskier. I don't know how I ended up with it.
  • Ross's "A Wrinkle In Time" book.
  • A "Harry Potter" and "Baby Name" books that belong to my supervisor at my desk job.
  • Presents for my sister's entire family for Christmas 2005.
  • Gordon's "Cadillac Desert" book.
  • Minnow already came and picked up the socks he left in our basement.
  • A big stack of mail addressed to someone named "Current Resident."

    If you want'em, you better come and get'em. Does anyone want to loan me anything else?
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Wrong Again, Gay Guide to the Magic Kingdom

    I'm convinced that the Disney Corporation has a heart much darker than the wholesome family values they try to market in all of their products. Basically, that they worship money and that they will do anything for it.

    Most of us know about the strange things that end up in animated Disney movies, like the moving bulge in the pants of the priest who marries Ariel and Eric in The Little Mermaid, or the "S-E-X" clouds in The Lion King. Those things are probably only the company's fault in as much as they treat their animators like crap. Most of the cartoons are still pretty entertaining despite being reprocessed to give classic stories hokey, sappy, feel-good endings.

    I watch a lot of these with my kids so I thought I would point out a few good and bad things about a handful of the flicks.

    I already mentioned, in a previous blog, the blantant racism in Disney's Peter Pan. That bugs me, especially since there are so many interesting things about the story of Peter Pan.

    Alice in Wonderland: I really like the original story. I get the sense that it was written by a man who knew a little girl and penned her a story. A story that serves as a warning that the world of adults is chaotic and absurd. We seem to give children the impression that they are being raised to enter into some well-organized, rational, fair and clockwork world of goodness. Carroll seems to be pointing out that it is the complete opposite and that the girl should enjoy being a child while she has the chance. That adults blow.

    The Disney version of the story twists things so it becomes Alice's disobedience and stubborness that leads to bad experience after bad experience. As though, if she just would have paid attention to her lessons on manners her wild imagination would not give her such nightmares. At the end of the cartoon she is more than begging to get back into this perfect world that the adults have fashioned for her. It's a whole different story.

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The classic Disney lesson that only pretty people can find love. (It seems, in this case, it was an unpopular enough decision that they had to release a sequal.) I haven't seen that one, but I doubt the hunchback kills himself there, either.

    Pocahontas: My two-year-old daughter loves this one and it bothers me because of how romanticized and unlike the truth it is. If you do a Google Search for Pocahontas one of the first hits is a statement by the Powhatan Indians rebuking the Disney film.

    The indian girl's real name was Matoaka. The tribe says "Pocahontas" was a nickname, meaning "the naughty one" or "spoiled child". At the time of the event with John Smith, "Pocahontas" was about ten or eleven years old, which I would think puts a damper on a love story between the two, but hey, back then pedophilia was cool (or so I gather). People also speculate that the girl saving John Smith from being clubbed to death was a ritual the tribe did with prisoners, I guess to put the fear of God in them (heathen or otherwise) before they released them. They say John Smith first told the story 17 years after it would have occurred and well after the death of "Pocahontas." They say when the two met again, years later, they did not get along. They seem to describe Smith as a pretentious mercenary who liked to tell three different stories where he was saved from death by some exotic babe.

    The girl, Matoaka, served as a messenger between the indians and the colonists in Jamestown for years and played a vital role in ensuring that the colonists did not starve to death. John Smith had been injured by a powder blast and left to England and it doesn't sound as though "Pocahontas" knew much about what became of him. Later, when tension grew between the indians and the colonists, "Pocahontas" was taken prisoner and held for ransom. They said her father paid part of the ransom and asked that her captives treat her nicely. About a year later, the colonists tried to get the rest of the ransom which resulted in a big fight and burning down some indian homes. Pocahontas remained captive.

    No one seems to have a consistent story regarding "Pocahontas'" marraige, but this is how one page describes it:

    "John Rolfe was a very religious man who agonized for many weeks over the decision to marry a "strange wife," a heathen Indian. He finally decided to marry Pocahontas after she had been converted to Christianity, "for the good of the plantation, the honor of our country, for the glory of God, for mine own salvation ..." (I'm sure, "because I love her" was somewhere on the list," at least the way Disney would tell it.)

    They called her "Rebecca" after that. The indian girl was taken to England, put into a dress and makeup, and paraded around as a sign of how the indians were seeing the light about how wonderful English folk were. Their family was known as "The Red Rolfes."

    "Pocahontas" died on the boat back to America at the age of 21 (pneumonia). On her deathbed she said to her husband, "All must die. 'Tis enough that the child liveth" (About their son). She was buried in Gravesend, England but the grave was destroyed when they later reconstructed the church. In what would have been her normal lifetime, her people were frequently attacked and finally driven off their land.

    How do you explain all that to a two-year-old? Oh, nevermind, let's just sing: "JUST AROUND THE RIVERBEND...!"

    Beauty and the Beast: The original fairy-tale is actually pretty messed up as it is; All of this focus on justice for pretty people. According to the story, everyone was attractive and deserving. Ladies, don't be afraid to take a chance on a guy with too much hair... he may look like Fabio under there.

    Bambi: It has kind of a She-Male essence. It's so girlie at the beginning (just look at the title!). There's a lot of focus on baby animals and then falling in love. Then all of sudden, Bambi's mom is getting blown away, Bambi has to fight off some pushy dude for his girl, then he fights off Satan's dogs, outruns a forest fire and takes some hot lead in the back... and then still gets to rule the forest as KING STUD. I guess it's cool.

    Swan's Thong Song

    I just want to know what kind of a world we live in when a pair of flip-flops retails for $40.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Gotta find a new place to hang out, Cause I'm tired of living in Hell

    Me: "Can you smell cat pee downstairs?"
    My wife, the cat-lover: "How can you tell the difference between cat pee and human pee?"
    Me: "Trust me, there is a difference."

    There are dumb cats that come to our house all the time. They hide in our bushes, they try to jump in our car and I'm fairly sure they would like to get in our house, too.

    My wife: "Did I tell you that I went over to the neighbors to borrow an onion (which they didn't have) and Rachel was holding a kitten? I said, 'Oh, you have kittens' and Rachel said, 'yeah, one of our cats just had five of them... AND the mother cat is pregnant again.' I said, 'So you'll be giving away some kitten soon, huh?' And Rachel looked surprised. She said, 'my kids won't let me give them away.'"

    My wife left without suggesting the cat can be "fixed." (And that's not the only thing that can be "fixed," lady.) Yesterday, one of the neighbor kids was hanging in the prominent tree in their yard and snapped off a huge branch. All the lilac trees they chopped down are withering on the lawn next to their respective stumps. In your face, plant-lovers. Where are all the loose pitbulls when you need them? Release the hounds!

    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Walden Pond to Here

    For the past three Easters, we have gone to my wife's aunt's house. The house is a huge, brick, colonial house with a three car garage and horse stables in the back. They are nice people and deserve what they have, but I always think that it is funny that this house and several more just like it, are located on WALDEN LANE.

    I have no doubt that the street name was chosen to fill your head with ideas of the simple and minimalistic life described in the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Maybe the upperclass lifestyle of today is the NEW just-what-you-need-to-survive lifestyle of Thoreau's day. I don't know, I just can't ever drive onto that street without these ideas running through my head. Would Thoreau puke or what?

    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    The Best Compliment I Have EVER Received

    "I don't mind sharing a desk with you... you seem like the type of person who washes his hands after he uses the restroom."

    You Say Tomato, She Says Tornado

    My daughter is quickly approaching the age of maximum cuteness: 3-4 years old. It's the age where kids have the funniest thoughts and the coolest speach impediments.

    I sort of feel bad if she says a word like "Yellow." I'm sure it sounds correct in her head but it comes out as "Wheh-Whoa." Her older brother corrects her, "It's YELLOW!" and she says, "That's what I said, wheh-whoa."

    When the kids eat salads, she says, "Ethan is being so nice to me. He gave me all his tornados!" I correct that one. "They're TOMATOS!"

    The kids also talk about actual tornados, which they also call twisters. They worry about the dangers of twisters. I tell them that tornados are made of wind and that the mountains of the west break up the wind so tornados have a difficult time forming. My daughter embellishes on this explanation when she repeats it, "The mountains break up the tornados and get all their blood out!" (I would type it the way she says it if I thought it would be legible to you readers.)

    The other day, we went to the grocery store and she got all excited, "Daddy, I want to buy some Goo-goo Bops!" I said, "Huh?" She said, "I want to buy some Goo-goo Bops. They have that bird and he's so silly. He says, I'M CWAZY FOR GOO GOO BOPS!"

    Cocoa Puffs? I almost like the name Goo-goo Bops better. The cereal makers would probably think it sounded less healthy than the food stuff already is.

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Weekly Work Rant

    The next time I saw Guillermo after that first night I worked with him, he had shaved his face clean. He grew back the mustache later, though. I talked to him again later and he asked me if I knew about working on fishing boats in Alaska.

    When I mentioned that they have six months of prominent sunshine and six months of prominent darkness in Alaska, Guillermo looked at me like I had just told him the world was not flat. I told him you could make a lot of money on the fish boats but you have to work really long hours and that there is that risk of having your head severed by a snapping cable or hypothermia if you fall in the water for more than a minute. I told him you have to stay at work or end up paying $5 for a bar of soap when you venture into town. I asked, "Do you have enough time to go to Alaska before you get married in June?"

    Guillermo said, "I was going to take my wife to Alaska so we could both work." Not exactly the kind of honeymoon Utah girls would have dreamed about. I warned him that making money in Alaska is somewhat dependent on your ability to stay at work and sleep in their beds and eat their food. I told him the name of a city that hires a lot and how to look up jobs on the internet. I told him there may be complications if he tries to bring his wife in.

    That was most of the conversation. Guillermo only came to work one more time after that. I asked another temp, "Adonde Guillermo?" the other night. He said, "Alaska!" I wonder how you say "Rolling Stone" in spanish.

    So many people are quitting and there are so many new people. I'm like a seasoned veteran, already. Except there is a Somoan gangster named Dallin that I work with (I think he's a gangster, he has all the tattoos on his triceps), he said that all the bosses and some of the workers hang out in the parking EVERY night and drink till morning. He said he stayed and talked to them and they admitted they all have "tricks" to using the laser guns to make it look like they do more work. I assumed they did. It's annoying that they won't just tell you the fastest way to work from the beginning. You have to be "in the club" before they will tell you.

    I gave George a copy of Tricky's "Blowback" CD just because it's easy to imagine him getting down to it. I asked him if he liked it. He said, "I like it. And my misses, she loves it so much." He told me he just got a new job driving a forklift at a chip factory that pays about $4 more per hour. He told me to apply. I think I will. All you have to lift is chips.

    That gangster that got in my face that one night, later, made a point to find me and ask me "What's up?" I just said, "How's it going?" I think it was our way of making sure everything was cool. He's the one that freaked out in the first place, I just dropped my diplomacy. It was late.

    The other night, someone hijacked the warehouse PA system and played the theme song to "Charles in Charge" over the speakers. People goofing around isn't strange. The fact that someone has the "Charles in Charge" theme song saved on their cell phone is the bizarre part. I wish I had that kind of foresight for my pranks. It was probably one of the managers but they mostly talk about having porn on their phones, so who knows.

    It's always hard to remember all the strange things but they are in endless supply, so I will catch you up again next week.

    Jellybeans and How I Like Boring Food

    I think I've mentioned before that part of my bad attitude may stem from the fact that I don't derive much pleasure from eating. If I had my way, people wouldn't need to eat. It's a hassle.

    I like baked potatos with just salt and pepper; maybe a little butter. But never decked out with sour cream or chives or baco-bits or anything like that (although, cheese can be good). I think people who try to make FANCY macaroni and cheese are ridiculous. Mac and cheese is what you make when you have NOTHING else to eat. It doesn't turn into pasta primavera just because you add peppers.

    I just like BASIC things. I think it is silly when people drown EVERYTHING they eat in ranch dressing or tobasco sauce. It just makes everything taste like the dressing. I told one guy he could save a lot of money if he just put his tobasco on cardboard and ate that instead of wasting good food.

    My wife gets very annoyed with me that I like simple foods. I go to a salad bar and only get lettuce. I like cheese pizza. I WILL eat the more complicated foods, too, but when I choose it is usually something simple. I even like oatmeal.

    Yesterday we went to Costco. They were handing out little paper cups full of jellybeans. I dumped half of them in my mouth and nearly gagged. Just the mixture of buttered popcorn, cantelope, pear, chili pepper and whatever else was in there. The flavors are too different to be mixed. It was the nastiest thing I've eaten in a long while and I eat a lot of fast food, people. If you are going to make specialty jelly beans, you should at least separate them into flavor groups. I'm a busy, impatient guy. I don't spend my time eating dumb jellybeans one at a time and savoring exotic tastes. I do much better with the sour Starburst jellybeans that you can pop in your mouth by the handful.

    When I complained about the gross jellybeans, my wife said, "You are not adventurous enough with your eating."

    I said, "What are you talking about? I ATE THEM. I just never seem to be rewarded for being an adventurous eater. Where is my return?"

    Not Just Whistling Dixie

    I've been trying to spare you but it has been building up. I'm going to talk about music now.

    First, let's establish that country music is out. It's no good. Occasionally I will hear a song that sounds like country music and I will think, "If that was country music, I would like country music." Example: Beck's "Rowboat." But it is NOT country music. It never will be accepted as country music. When I was in college and had a job changing oil we listened to country music all day long. Anytime I thought a song was okay, I would suddenly realize, "Hey, this is a remake of an old Sting song (I'm so happy I can't stop crying)." Even most of Garth Brook's songs were written by Billy Joel, cheater. Garth is a nice guy but he has issues. What was all that "Chris Gaines" stuff? Bottomline: Country music is no good. End of that discussion.

    Rap music: Some is cool but not much. Rap never seems to evolve. It always comes back to bitches and hos and money making. It's like Aaron McGruder pointed out: In the videos they have all those girls and cars and money and still only rap about how angry they are and how hard their life is. It has the potential to be cool with the beats and rhymes but the subject matter needs to get out of the gutter.

    Jazz and Classical are both good but it's hard to collect the stuff you want and nobody really discusses them much anymore.

    About a week ago at work I went to lunch with a guy named Steve. He talks like Boomhauer from King of the Hill, swears like crazy, never shuts up, and most people don't like him. A lot of people tell me they think he is verbally abusive. Anyway, we hopped in his car and he whipped out his Ipod. He said, "What music do you listen to? Crap?"

    He said "Crap?" over my response so I changed my answer, "That's right. I only listen to crap."

    He asked, "But rap or rock?"

    I said, "I like rock and roll."

    He said, "Do you listen to Adema?" He played Adema and I said, "They sound a lot like 'Faith No More' but without the talent." I think that made him a little mad so he enlightened me with "Club Music." Steve is all about clubbing. I tried to act impressed by "Drum and Bass" crap and that Madonna song about how "Time Moves By... So Slowly" but I don't know if I was convincing.

    I try to keep up with the music young people are supposed to like (as the radio stations would have it) but so much of it sucks. Most of the "harder" songs sound like boiled down "Faith No More" to me. "Korn," sucks. Korn's brother, "Adema," not very impressive. I know there were many more bands than Faith No More that had that sound but I think they did it the best. I miss Mike Patton. He needs to cut out some of that John Zorn experimenting and just sing something. EVERYTHING doesn't have to be groundbreaking art. Just sing man. The same goes for Radiohead. The first three albums were awesome. Now it seems like they just want to go nuts with their keyboard effects instead of utilizing the gifted musicians.

    Some of the new crap is alright if you're in a bind for loud guitars. Like that Crossfade song, "Cold." It's still just powerchords and a heavy beat but the vocals carry the song. But I have to subtract a point for the boring wah-pedal guitar solo. Evanesence is kind of like Sarah McLachlan with a hip band. Most of the alternative bands you see on MTV or VH1 (if you can find a video on there) are worthless.

    There are a lot of good musicians out there who write boring songs. Like Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz and please stop writing crap, John Mayer! Nobody wants to hear wuss songs about your high school or bubblegum tongues and all that other crap. I think John Mayer is catching on and that is why he has changed to the John Mayer Trio featuring music where he jams on his guitar a lot more.

    I think music is kind of a lifestyle. For instance, I think my wife likes music that emulates the way she wishes the world was. She likes PRETTY songs and she seems genuinely revolted by any music that dares not to be pretty. Sadly, this seems to give her... (dread!)... Top 40 leanings. She always denies it when I say that, but she is more prone to like (the cooler) stuff on the Top 40 than most other things. Five for Fighting? Baby, c'mon. She likes Keane a lot. It's good but so agreeable that that seems to be the flaw. Music shouldn't be afraid to challenge you, now and again.

    I made a mixed CD for my kids the other day. They really love the Tenacious D song "Tribute." Ethan plays air guitar when it comes on - it's cool. I put on a They Might Be Giants song that Minnow gave me called "I enjoy being a boy" and even some old Weird Al songs (Why-ohh Dee-aay, YODA!). I put a song on that CD by The Flaming Lips called "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" and my wife said, "I like the clapping but the song is TOO PEPPY." What does that even mean, dear? Music that keeps me awake and keeps me going is much more important to me than all that stuff that puts me to sleep.

    Shooting Star likes Sufjan Stevens a lot, if you read her blog. But he needs some rock in there. Ballads should be the gourmet chocolate chips in the hot, chewy cookie of rock. If music is all ballads then it just turns into some melty american chocolate bar.

    I read Dooce's blog the other day and she really likes a song by Wolf Parade called "I'll believe in anything." (You can play the song by clicking the link on that page). My wife didn't like the song because she didn't find it to be pretty.

    Triumph the Insult Comic Dog went to some music awards and was hanging out with some nominees (like John Mayer). There was a Native American up for an award and Triumph said something like, "If your music was any good don't you think the white man would have stolen it by now." So I count the song "I'll believe in anything" as a success for native americans. "I'll believe in anything" seems like an obvious take off of just about every Indian song ever sung at a pow wow. Listen to the song. Picture some indians sitting around a large leather drum striking that beat. The way the song is sung is just like the Indians sing. Even the lyrics about nature, ghosts and bones seem to have an Indian vibe. The hook, "nobody knows you and nobody gives a damn" just seems like an easy way to connect with lonely listeners. When I hear the drum and the singing I can easily picture girls in jingle dresses and guys in their feather regalia dancing their hearts out like if they just dance hard enough it will save their culture from being melted down completely into america's soup pot leaving nothing but footnotes in the Big Book of Wealthy White Dudes and the People Who Helped and Hindered Them. You know, history books. I like the song and I like that someone ripped off the Indians and their beats and singing. It's better than being a forgotten and mystified culture. I guess I should have said NORTH AMERICA's pot of soup, as the band is from Canada. A gothic canadian navajo that I used to work with told me they say "The Reserves" in Canada instead of "Indian Reservation." Just a fun fact.

    Minnow has given me a lot of music that I really like (a lot of which I was heading towards getting anyway but he sure sped things up). Like Stephen Malkmus, Death From Above 1979, that Pedro the Lion song "Rapture." Ben Folds is good but doesn't it seem like "piano rock" is starting to saturate the scene?

    I want music that speaks, lyrically or musically, about the world we live in. It doesn't have to be pretty. It just has to have some sincerity and meaning. My wife likes pretty. I like a view of the world. The world is far from perfect. Looking at newer music I see stuff for Swedish bands like "The Knife" and "Envelopes" (Don't ask me how they come up with these wildly imaginative names. They must have a super-computer or something.) Those bands seem to be very keyboard intensive. Too much, really. One or two songs can be okay but the singing starts to seem like a joke if not done right. I was going to say, "Listening to that accent makes me feel like I'm living in a Ricola commercial" but I checked and they are SWISS. Do you get my meaning anyway?

    It is rare to come across awesome rock music. It is sad when bands could become legendary and then burn out, like Guns N' Roses or Pearl Jam. Their first albums were amazing and then they sputter. (There ain't gonna be any middle anymore!) Why must it be so?

    A very proud "father moment" occured the other day. Eleanor saw that scene from "Kindergarten Cop" where he asks the kids "who is your daddy and what does he do?" She was curious to see how our son would answer that question so she caught him off gaurd and said, "What does your dad do, Ethan?"

    Ethan thought for just a moment and calmly said, "He rocks." And he meant it in the musical sense! I was proud. My son doesn't think of me as a cubicle fungus or a dirtbag on a forklift. He when he thinks of me and what I like to do he sees visions of me playing the drums and strumming a guitar - rocking out.

    Pick the life you want. Pick the music that goes with it. Rock on.

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    Olaf, Big and Dumb

    I'm a little disappointed in our military. Here we are talking the big talk (just like the guys at work) against Iran but all we have to show is a tired army. And Iran has cool crap like flying boats! What advances has our military made in the past 20 years? The world's biggest SUV that still only seats four passengers? Not very impressive.

    Come on brainiacs, come up with something good. USA, USA, USA!

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Only Clowns Ride Unicycles

    Do you notice that a lot of television writers still love to use "Soap Box Derbies" as plot lines? Show after show about kids rummaging through garbage to build the ultimate go-cart and then they all get together at the top of a big hill on Saturday to see who is the fastest.

    Has anyone under the age of 40 even built a Soapbox racer? Has anyone seen any kids doing this on a weekend in the past 20 years? Not me. I guess it must make good TV.

    When I was growing up it seemed like every other TV show featured an apartment with one of those beds that folds up into a wall closet... they don't use those anymore. Remember? People would accidently be laying on the bed when it suddenly folded up into the wall. Hilarious (for 1970).

    And why won't unicycles go away? There is NO advantage on any level in riding a unicycle. You don't get a favorable return from the gears, you can't coast, even when you see "Park City TV" and some extreme dude is riding his unicycle on steep cliffs, the unicycle is a hinderence, thus making it extreme. Unicycles are novelties for people who wish they were clowns.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    maybe they had a ridiculous statement to make about something they hadn't experienced

    This post isn't for the Pollyannas of the world. This post is for my friend Sam. I mentioned Sam a little while ago, deeming him the world's best skiing companion. If you've used the link to my short stories there is also one story with a character named Sam. That character is NOT the same Sam but Sam did unknowingly contribute to the story (Deadweight).

    The last I saw Sam was on his wedding day in Park City. I seem to recall him saying he was moving to Connecticut. After years, I got an email from Sam the other night from the Middle East. I told him to read the blog. So, in welcome of Sam's arrival I will post, in it's entirity, the one page story Sam and I wrote together a decade ago (Don't worry, Sam reads the likes of McPhee and Krakauer in his spare time and has a degree in Geology). This is gonna be sweet:

    The gladiators were roasting hotdogs. Gruntor, the big one, was roasting two....

    On second thought, maybe the world isn't ready for this story, yet. The highlights include the gladiator, Little Wiz, having his genitals mocked by some man-eating "Munch Fish" as they eat his ear, followed by Little Wiz taking out a personal ad in the newspaper:

    Single White Gladiator, 5'1", 320 pds. wants a hot chick with a nice ten speed (please provide a picture of the ten speed).

    Then there's some stuff about a jackass named Josh, some Mud Ducks and dancing worms. The story also makes use of a "cheetah" graphic from Word Perfect. The story really doesn't make much sense without that graphic. I would describe it as a cross between Edgar Rice Borroughs and Harry Potter.

    I probably shouldn't tell the incriminating story of how we obtained the lumber to modify our dorm rooms or about dirty dishes, so I will tell a story about one of the best weekends of my entire life when Sam drove me and Sculpin and one of his rock-climbing friends up to his grandmother's house near Jackson, Wyoming.

    Basically, we hauled up all our skiing and snowboarding equipment and spent the entire weekend cruising around the tetons on Sam's grandparents snowmobiles (or snowmachines, as Sam likes to call them). I guess I imagined the trip would be similar to when we would do backcountry skiing up Logan Canyon but it was a world apart. It was endless fields of snow and trees and mountains. It was the deepest of winter but the sun showed up anyway (we had to snowmobile just to get to the house). It was fun, even when Sam would try to shake you off the back of the snowmobile just to watch you fall. Even when we spent nearly as much time trying to get the snowmobiles un-stuck as we did riding them. Doing that thing when we towed people behind the snowmobiles to launch them off that 40 ft. cornice into that bowl of powdered sugar will be on my top ten list of life events till the end of my days. And I never thought a giant chunk of metal and plastic, like a snowmobile, could fly through the air and land so gracefully. This is due to Sam's riding knowledge, which his grandparents might dispute.

    Those were the main things, but I liked the rest of it, too. When your grandmother cooked for us, that is the only time in my life that I can remember eating three home made meals every day for three days. And the Goo Cake has it's own place on my top ten list, too. I really appreciated that she made us chop wood and shovel snow off the deck to attempt to earn our keep. I didn't even mind holding the 2X4 for your grandpa as he wailed on it with a sledgehammer after what's-his-name crashed the snowmobile into a tree when we tried to cross that deep gulley.

    All through life, realities never live up to the fantasies we create. I hadn't even thought to create that fantasy, but it was perfect; One of the only weekends I can describe with absolution as perfect. Water that smells like sulfur seems undesirable but in this case, it was yet another thing which separated this fantastic world from the world I usually find myself in. I liked the Elk Migration. I liked that you took us to that frozen lake in front of Square Top, even though we didn't really do anything there. It all meant a lot to me and I never told you before.

    I regret saying that I was going to steal your grandmother from your grandfather. That was dumb. I just meant to say I really enjoyed myself.

    Another thing about Sam: He has made good. Sculpin met my girlfriend (soon-to-be-wife) and called her "The fair Eleanor." Sam had a more derogatory name that he spoofed from the name "Eleanor." I won't mention it here, because Sam now has a daughter who he has named Eleanor and we certainly wouldn't want it following her around. My Eleanor was happy to hear about this, Sam. Thanks.

    Two Bad Neighbors

    Spring is setting in. There are many kinds of flowers that have been in our yard for awhile. When we bought our house it needed a lot of help. The front and back yards were completely dead. We've put a lot of work into the yards but we haven't really established any strong prominent plants. For this, we rely on our neighbors. The houses on both sides of us have some very nice plants that have grown big and always overflow into our yard and make our house look a lot better: A pine tree, Virginia Creeper, roses, some giant lilacs among others.

    But I told before how the widow next door had to sell her house and now it is being rented to a wild family. Their free-range rabbit (Liked to loiter around next to our rabbit hutch and eat food that fell through the floor. We kept that bunny alive.) over-fertilized our backyard and nearly chewed through our cherry tree like a hungry beaver. Now, the free-range rabbit (Cuddles) is missing. He's been gone for some time. How do the neighbors react. They go out and buy a DOG, of course. A pomeranian. Don't worry, it has already made itself quite familiar with our yard.

    And actually, the neighbor mother (Rachel) has been getting know my wife (Eleanor). When their car broke down Eleanor would take their kids to school in the mornings. Rachel is pretty nice and has been helping out the "cowboy hat people". Sometimes, if Rachel is busy she will ask Eleanor to help the cowboy hat people in her stead.

    As of a few days ago, our kids started playing together. I think it's a political thing; they are not making best-friends. I think the benefits are: more kids to play with, more toys and expanded territory. The neighbor kids keep breaking our toys and just show our kids how to be mischievious in general. None of it is a big deal, just little, annoying things like turning our sandbox into a silty lake.

    The real problem is that these people moved into the house last fall. One fall day I entered our living room and looked at the tall lilacs filling one of our windows almost entirely. The branches moved gently with the breeze and light shined through the leaves. And just while I was admiring the lilacs there were several violent jerks and then moments later the lilac trees were decimated and taken to the ground, revealing the ugly entryway to the dirty yellow house. The neighbors thinned down the trees but left most of the plant intact. I was annoyed but moved on.

    On Sunday, our kids saw the nieghbors outside and ran over to play with them. I asked Eleanor if she would go and bring them home and she went after them. I went to the livingroom and sat on the couch and noticed through the window that there were long green tufts already forming on the lilac tree and it made me excited for spring. Excited to see the tree swaying in the breeze with light shining through the leaves. When, much like before, there were suddenly a couple of violent jerks and the entire tree went down. I was dumbfounded.

    A few seconds later my wife came hurrying into the room. She said, "They just cut down ALL of those lilacs!"

    I said, "I know. I watched them. And they have no idea what those plants even look like in the spring. They have never seen them alive."

    Eleanor said, "She is a stupid, stupid woman." Then she did some cussing.

    I said, "I thought you were friends now?"

    Eleanor said, "She is stupid. I can't believe they did that."

    The nieghbors ripped out EVERY plant that had been growing on their side of the property line. Plants that could not have been more perfect.

    My wife said, "Now I REALLY want to move."

    The cowboy hat people were actually the ones who did the cutting. The neighbors had asked them to. Eleanor talked to them and expressed her disappointment. Nora (hat-woman) said, "Oh, they are going to plant in this WHOLE side of the yard... ALL FLOWERS."

    Call me pessimistic, but I find it hard to believe that the lady --- who can't find time to put on PANTS even three times a week, who wears only boxer shorts and tanktops as she chases her barefoot children across the streets and through our yard, and who has proclaimed that she does NOT fold any laundry, EVER --- is going to have money or time to line the entire side of the yard... ALL FLOWERS. The father? Well, I will just tell you that when their two year old recently had a stroke and firetrucks and ambulances came and the mother rushed to the hospital with the child, the father was inside... he was taking a bath; couldn't be disturbed. Sorry. The plants will not be replaced. And even if they were, they would be no replacement for the plants they hacked down with an axe.

    We dub the parents next door: Two Bad Neighbors.

    The End


    Someone at work asked me, "Hey, what time is it?"

    I said, "Let's see." I reached into my pocket.

    The someone said, "Can't you just look at that computer right there?"

    Taking a page from the "Book of my Older Sister" I said, "Yeah, but this is the 21st century. Let's check my cell phone."

    (No, seriously. My phone is like hooked up to a satellite and stuff. They use those old school computers with the black backgrounds and one-color monitors at work. Remember those from the 80's? "This fancy monitor over here has TWO colors. See these wiggly lines? They will pave the way to the future and what will be known as a screen saver... later to be made obsolete by better monitors that just shut down when not in use... but we're getting way ahead of ourselves here!")

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Tragic: Slick Willy

    He's a sexual predator. Maybe you've met one. I met one... at my computer job. He liked to talk about his achievements with naive girls. "Oops, baby, have we gone too far? I feel horrible. Was I grinning when I said that?"

    Utah is a good place to be a sex hobbiest. A lot of young mormon girls are "hot to trot" as an old friend of mine used to say. Meaning, they want to find that perfect guy fast, get him to the temple and proceed to "replenish the earth." It is not uncommon for a couple of starcrossed mormon lovers to become engaged within a couple of weeks of meeting in this state. You can put on a nice shirt and talk deeply about your spirituality and the girls at church will eat it up. Not because they are naive, but because they WANT to believe; Believe they have found the future preisthood holder of their humble homes. Utah girls want to get in deep, posthaste.

    The predator I met seemed goofy enough that I really didn't care about what he did. If I had the power to do or say something to change his passion in life (deflowering mormon girls) then my powers would be great enough that there would no longer be a need for prisons in our country, nay, the world.

    But last week, my sister-in-law went on a group date with the predator from my old job and now I'm bothered (he's been dating her friend). I love my sister-in-law. I am bothered that she had to talk to the guy, be in the same group as the guy, or even the same room as the guy.

    I can't change him so I am just here to tell the girls to stay sharp. The rule I recommend for judging guys is: Assume they only want that one thing until you KNOW otherwise. (They will still want that one thing but there should be more to the relationship than that. Much more.) If you like church or anything else and the predator knows that then you need to remind yourself that he is just going to keep blabbering about church or your likes until you let him feel you up. Keep this knowledge close at hand on ANY date. Consider all the meanings when he tells you he'll throw in an All-Day-Sucker.

    Comfort must lie in the notion that the predator leads a trite and meaningless life. He probably feels smart when he gets what he wants but sex is one of the most temporary fulfillments there is, that's why people want it so much; over and over. For the predator, each triumph evaporates within minutes but his spotted past will remain for a lifetime with each day spent in loneliness and fear that his hobby will catch up with him, be it in the form of a brother with roid-rage or a sentence in a jail cell. It's safe to assume it's just a matter of time.

    Predators hit points: Vary depending on how much of his B.S. or GHB you swallow.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    1000 Words

    I came in to write something but I felt like drawing instead so you will have to live with a picture. It's a dude eating raspberries.

    One of these days I will get a scanner and then I can post some cool drawings. If those guys at Industrial Light and Magic use the "Paint" program to do their work then they are amazing.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Baby's Mouth Already Potty Trained

    It is my firm belief that if babies COULD talk in their infancy, they would be swearing like crazy:

  • Get that #$@!# blanket off of me!
  • See you in Hell socks!
  • Hey!Get your @$$ over here and pick me up! Pick me up! I'm talkin' to you! You better... ooooh... if I could get at your face I'd claw your eyes right out!
  • Just leave the #$%!# booger where it is.
  • Nobody tells ME what to eat. If you don't want me eating paper then get me off the #$%!@ floor.
  • I've been in this &%@$! carseat for three hours and there's been a #!%$@ prickly pear in the back of diaper for two.
  • That's right. I just took a $#!+ on you. Get over it.

    Given that alternative, I like the quiet stares just fine.
  • Baby Alligators May Seem Like Good Pets But They Grow Up

    Alpha Girl (linked through Minnow's page) recently talked about changing careers to work with babies in hospitals. My sister has been working in hospitals and studying nursing and such for some time so I decided to ask her about that particular job prospect. My sister's response was something to the effect of:

    "Why not take care of the elderly? It's practically the same thing. Nurses are being discouraged away from pediatrics because the baby boom generation is hitting retirement age and there are a lot more old folks than babies."

    I told her that I think Alpha is intent on being with babies. It got me thinking about how I have worried about having more people on earth than the planet can support, but I have also had this thought:

    If the smart people of the world are the ones avoiding having kids then who does that leave to continue the human endeavor?

    I think it is funny how people ask me how many kids I have and they think of 3 as a lot of kids. They say, "Wow, you're breeding like crazy." I really wouldn't expect this reaction in Utah. UTAH!

    So, true, I have probably doomed my kids to live in a ridiculous and dangerous world but I see them as the hope of their time. The other day I took my kids to the school where my wife works so she could watch them while I went and applied for another job and I returned to find that they had drawn some pictures. The pictures were mostly of banana slugs, as usual. My kids love drawing banana slugs. Probably because they are easy to draw: an oblong shape with those stalky antenna things. But my two year old daughter had done a special drawing.

    I said, "What is this?"

    Answer, "It's a happy guy in jail." (a red smiley face behind a lot of parallel yellow lines)

    And I thought, "This is probably the best prepared for our world as she can be at two years." She's on track and the best hope we've got, as far as I'm concerned.

    It Might Not Be the Blues, But it Sure Makes Me Sad

    I was going to type up something about a song by M. Doughty called "Frog and Banjo" but when I went to look for the lyrics I found that someone else has already done a bang up job on this topic so I will be lazy and just link to them:

    In the song, the lines in parentheses are song by another person.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    The Thrill is Gone

    I am worried that work will take the thrill out of life. I'm talking about rollercoasters and other thrill rides at amusement parks.

    If an average day of work is to be on this lift 40 feet in the air with one foot on a shelf and another foot across a three foot chasm as the lift sways around, all while trying to wrestle a mushy king-sized matress onto my cart then how are amusement park rides going to get my adrenaline pumping? On the lift we use a seven foot safety strap (like a tow strap for a car) that is just as likely to tear your skin off and dislocate your bones if you actually fall as it is to save your life (One guy told me his cart was a foot or two away from the cab and he slipped through the hole; 27 stitches in his leg). How am I supposed to get nervous about being strapped in, six ways to Sunday, on some park ride that just takes you up to the sky and then brings you back down again?

    I never really doubted it before, but I know for a fact I have no fear of heights since I started this job. What is a guy like me supposed to do for fun anymore?

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    No Pressure for Utah Girls

    Here is a billboard about a mile from my house. It has some woman's picture and reads:

    "Get married, get a home."

    Sponsored by the good people at Subtle. So, ladies, you can do it now or you can do it later. It's totally up to you.

    What is Utah's divorce and bankruptcy rate? Never you mind.

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    Wild World of Leisurely Activities

    This is a post that grew in my mind when I was thinking about water skiing. I know a lot of people love water skiing but I have never liked it. Am I alone in this? Everything I love about snowboarding seems to have been removed in water skiing.

    On a snowboard you can choose any path down the mountain. On water skis, you just get pulled behind a boat and everyone stares at you like you should be doing something. It's easy to stand there being pulled. Maybe you should get nuts and ride over the wake. Do you feel like tempting fate? When you get nuts on a snowboard, the ideal crash has you rolling downhill through soft snow. In water skiing, the vast majority of crashes have the skier slapping their face against the water and skidding across the surface at about 30 miles an hour. Science fact: Liquids, like lake water, do not compress (snow does).

    I'm starting to think water skiing is one of those sports that can only be enjoyed while drinking. I propose a new rule: Do not invent any sports while drinking. The sport should be entertaining on it's own, without the aid of alcohol.

    Furthermore, sports should have some kind athletic aspect to them. Sports that do not have that aspect ARE NOT SPORTS. Even cool things like fishing. It's cool, but it isn't a sport. Hunting? Blasting a deer's face off while it gets a drink or shooting a mountain lion out of a tree after you've chased it down on a four-wheeler with a big pack of dogs has about as much to do with "sports" as accidentally running over a cat on the street in front of your house. It's a matter of luck, really. The bad luck of the animal in crossing paths with humans. Killing for survival? Fine. For recreation? People need a better outlet.

    What is up with Poker, Billiards and Scrabble on ESPN?

    Race car driving: It's a big circle people and gas is expensive. When lame-o's go on TV and say, "I worked with a professional driver for this film. They are so amazing the way they handle the car." I don't know whether to laugh or throw up. To me that's on the level of, "You should see the way he dials a telephone. It's amazing." It really does not impress me.

    It is hard for me to speak about golf because of what it has come to represent, personally, to me. First, I do not think Tiger Woods is the devil. Bill Murray plays a lot of golf, I really like Bill Murray. I play a few rounds of golf with my dad as a bonding thing. It's okay. Why you would ever watch golf on TV, I do not know.

    Golf, to me, is people trying to raise themselves to an imaginary plateau where their life is redeemed by surrounding themselves in idealism. "Hey, rich people like to golf. Rich people are the best people in the world. If I am poor or even just-not-rich, it makes me feel like I can taste the highest success if I golf."

    Take a step back: Tiny little kids can golf. The fartiest of old people can golf. People claim it is a sport, like they are exercising between drinking and riding on their carts and paying some kid to carry their clubs for them. They like that they get outside, but it is nature so manicured that it doesn't even look real. And it goes on for miles (even in the desert). That way you can brandish an "I've got mine" attitude while everyone else is ground into hamburger. Now watch me sink this drive.

    To me, golf has become the epitome of voluntary self-delusion and a lack of regard toward your fellow man. I don't expect you to follow this belief, but that is what it has become inside of me. So I don't like golf. But even if it wasn't symbolic to me, golf would still not be a sport.

    Deconstructing Star Wars

    The core elements of the Star Wars movies are typical of fantasy stories (I'm talking the classic Star Wars):

    The reluctant farmboy is called to adventure, guided by a mystic wizard with a ragtag group of friends and their noble steed to infiltrate a spooky fortress and rescue a perfect princess from the sinister clutches of a real bad dude.

    George Lucas blew our minds by putting a futuristic spin on things and it is my assertion that he was heavily influenced by a crappy warehouse environment. When I, myself, am working in a crappy warehouse I see many things that I recognize from the Star Wars films.

    Starting with all the smooth polished floors, the similarities between the technology in the ship hangers and warehouse equipment: lasers, how my "tug" is like a speeder-bike, how you can put a cart on the (fork)lift and raise it two feet and it looks like it's floating as Luke's speeder does. If you've ever seen those robotic arms they use for welding, it would be easy to evolve that thought into a droid. The "trash compactor" scene could easily have been the influence of a warehouse environment. Where else, but a warehouse, could you possibly find a general populace made up of guys that look and sound like wookies or that has a "Star Wars"-level of people missing limbs? And who among us has never had a boss that bears a striking resemblance to Jabba the Hut?

    Can't you just imagine George Lucas and a coworker slacking off out behind a warehouse with George waving around one of those long flourescent light tubes and saying, "Ernie, watch as I bring balance to the universe with my Sabre of Light!"

    And then his friend, Ernie (who is missing his front teeth and his left hand), says, "But firth you'll have to vanquith me, the darth lord!"

    George says, "Very well. Prepare to be smitten as you've never been smitten before, Darth."

    And then Ernie says, "But, Lucath... I'm your father."

    And then George says, "Wait wait, I need to write this down."

    Maybe that is difficult to picture but that is only because the dialogue I wrote is twice as good as any Lucas ever did. But I think you get the idea. It practically writes itself if you think about it, just like "Back to the Future" was penned by some electronics student. C'mon, Flux Capacitor? Did he open a book on soldering and randomly point at words to come up with that one? And I'm sure "the fourth dimension" (time) was a daily topic in his "Math for Guys Who Like Drawing Lightning Bolts" class.

    So there you have it, the best deconstruction since that movie "Shakespeare In Love." I have no evidence of any of these connections. It's pure speculation but it still makes me feel better that my crappy job may have me on a path like that of Lucas.

    For educational purposes I tried to find a clear and concise definition of "Deconstruction" but I don't think one exists (so the word "deconstruction" is a perfect example of its own definition: basically, that no one can agree what it means). Here is one of the more straight-forward definitions I found on Google:

    Deconstruction is a complex concept that is based on the limitations of language to express one meaning for a word. Such considerations as the context, biases in the speaker, power (economic and/or political) change over time and thus meanings and interpretations change over time. Deconstructionists thus state the impossibility of a single signification, representation and/or reality that all will agree is true.

    Kind of like the way people read the Bible.

    If you ask me, using this as a method to analyze literature seems to take you away from the story and what the writer DOES successfully communicate to you just for the sake of knit-picking the differences between the social conditions of the writer and you, whoever-you-are.