Tuesday, February 27, 2007

We Play Out Our Last Scene

The other night we ate dinner at my inlaw's house. They had rented the movie "Akeelah and the Bee" so we watched it.

This was my summary of the movie: "This is exactly like The Matrix except it has Spelling instead of Kung Fu."

To which my mother-in-law responded: "If someone had only described it to me that way earlier I wouldn't have waited for it on DVD to watch it."

My wife's summary of the movie: "Hey, look! It's Booger. That's Booger. Remember Booger? It's Booger."

And upon seeing the physical condition of Lawrence Fishburn and Angela Bassett we decided a good alternate title for the movie would be "Buff and Buffer." My mother-in-law liked "Buffy and Buff and Buffer." My wife didn't say anything but she was probably thinking "Buffy and Buff and Buffer and Booger."

I don't know if we are fun to watch movies with or annoying.

Monday, February 26, 2007

4 I'd Pidgin

The other night at work, that movie-going 18-year-old named Jaren showed me a picture on his cell phone. It was a picture of the dashboard of his car.

He said, "Check out the mileage."

The mileage was 1337. I said, "You've had that car about two months, that's pretty low."

He said, "Yeah, but it says Leet."

I asked, "What does?"

He said, "The mileage says 'leet' in Leet. 1337. I thought it was funny."

I asked, "What is Leet?"

He said, "It's just a language you use on the internet. Like when you use numbers to spell words."

I said, "Like when you spell HELLO or BOOBLESS on a calculator?"

He said, "Kind of, but not really."

I said, "SHOULD I know what Leet is?"

He said, "Probably not. I think it just means I spend too much time playing online video games."

It's tough to keep on the edge, even if you just want to be a nerd. Besides, World of Warcraft can suck it. A true nerd would never say that.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

You So Crazy

When I watched the Superbowl I noticed there were a lot of commercials for "Coke" featuring an artistic silouette of a classic Coca-Cola bottle. I mostly noticed the commercial they did honoring Black History Month with a chronology of what Coke bottles looked like during key moments in Black History. (I notice they don't try to glorify the cheap plastic bottles they use nowadays)

What the makers of Coke did not know was that the day before the Superbowl, my kids and I watched the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy." The entire premise of the film is that an African bushman, who is completely unfimiliar with Western Culture, ends up in possession of a Coke bottle which his tribe finds useful at first but then starts all kinds of bad feelings within his family and very soon they start referring to the Coke bottle as "The Evil Thing." First he thanks the gods for the gift but asks them to take it back as it causes so much trouble for his family. When they don't take it away he begins a quest to walk to the end of the earth and throw the bottle off.

During that commercial with a chronology of Black History and Coke, I absolutely expected to see "1980: The Evil Thing Must Be Thrown From The Earth." So it was funny that during the entire commercial I watched that stylized bottle and just sat there thinking, "It's the Evil Thing." How did the publicists at Coke let that whole thing slip through? A movie about how your product is evil? Print it!

I know some people think "The Gods Must Be Crazy" is disrespectful towards Africans but I disagree and I think anything that brings world attention to the problems in Africa is good. I especially liked the summary of Western Living: How we make our world so UN-natural and complicated that our children must be condemned to 18 years of sitting in school just to learn how to survive in our society.

Another set of commercials that stands out to me are the UPS Whiteboard commercials. The very idea makes me laugh but mostly it makes me feel like I'm at work without being paid for it.

Have you ever wanted to be a part of or just plain missed being in a crappy, crappy business meeting? UPS has the solution. Let's forget for a moment that at EVERY business meeting in the history of the world, there has been someone, if not several people, who would rather stick their tongues in a meat grinder than sit through the final minutes of some windbag in a suit farting visible gas out of his mouth. Blah, blah, blah. What is up with your TPS reports, man? Didn't you get the memo?

And UPS isn't giving you the Power Point razzle dazzle as is customary these days. UPS is kicking it old school, with some know-it-all dude in front of a whiteboard like he is some kind of magician. Whoa! He erased a truck and drew a plane without breaking the rythme of his blah, blah, blah! Amazing!

He's going on and on about abstract things like efficiency and reliability and taking the weight off my shoulders so all I have to do is sit back and wait for my stuff to be delivered. When is going to get to the part about why this box my mother sent me is all smashed up like an accordian and has a big footprint on it?

Magic is in the airwaves.

I had to comb my worries and fix my thoughts

Yes, when life gets busy the blog suffers. That is the way of things.

I actually wrote a really long post last week but my wife vetoed a part of the story and I never quite finished it and it was just deemed unpresentable. It had all sorts of stuff about Kathy Ireland and furniture and some porn star and self esteem building (all completely unrelated) but I couldn't get it together and you should know better than to question me when I say it doesn't work. Sorry.

This isn't an excuse, it is more of an explanation. Cow Country tales and the other crap I do shall continue in the near future. I've been working a lot, had some home stress living with my sister, the bank messed up our checks which messed up some of our bills, I'm working on a short story about a girl who runs away to the Grand Canyon, I'm trying to help Ethan enter a story contest put on by The Reading Rainbow TV show with a tale about a Tyrannosaurus Rex who really enjoys playing with all of his friends but then eats them all without thinking about it (Of course the story would be about a dinosaur and I said "it should probably be about the dinosaur and his friends" and Ethan said "but I want him to eat the dinosaurs" and the story was born. I like the dark humor.). At someone's request, I'm also designing a card game for girls. Nerdy girls.

My father's aunt died last week. She is pretty much the matriarch of his side of the family so I'm going to California this weekend for the services. It's annoying. I don't know if I've mentioned it on my blog before but I feel like once you've lived by the ocean and then moved away, you start to live where a part of you is always asking, "So when will I see the ocean again?" Because you WILL see it again and the worst thought in the world is that maybe you won't. But my last trip and my next trip to the ocean are both going to be tied to the deaths of the elders in my family. It's a bummer that death seems to be the call that brings me back. I don't like the trend.

And at work, I think I have been shining too brightly. I hold a work philosophy of not sucking and not shining too brightly (because that just gets you "special" tasks for which you will not be paid extra), but all last week I was being tossed from special task to special task every day. I need to start dropping furniture off the shelves or something to lower their opinion of me before trouble really sets in.

When you have to ask for a weekend off to go to a memorial, you are reminded that it is a crap job. In the 8 months that I have worked there, I have NEVER asked for a Saturday off. And now, due to a death, I ask for one and the boss basically tells me it's my problem. Tells me he won't do anything for me but wants me to hang out and listen to him complain about his job just the same, and then an hour later he comes and asks me if I'd like ANOTHER special task and cruises off before I can say, "I'd love one". So I had to go wheeling and dealing with my coworkers and work out some trades where I get a nice weekend off and the suckers who traded me get the shaft. Luckily, the mofos like me.

I also have some passes to Snowbird I probably won't have time to use. If you would like a free pass to the Snowbird Mountain Ski Resort please send me an email (100 words or less) on why I should give you one and maybe you'll win.

Anyway, I thought this might give you an idea of why I haven't been posting much lately.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting out of your chair with style

My daughter: "Whoa, dad! I just did a really cool trick!"

Me: "Is it called 'falling'?"

My daughter: "Uh-huh. I fell really cool."

Clearing his throat and smiling with his hands on the bathroom sink

I gave my kids a bath today. Usually my wife does it. I was about to put them in the tub but I noticed crud building up on the sides. My wife usually cleans the bathroom, too. Don't get me wrong, I vacuum and run some dishes or a load of laundry (usually every week)and I do manly stuff like take out the garbage and shovel snow. Did I mention I built a shed?

Anyway, I wouldn't appreciate being tossed in a grimy tub if I was a kid so I tried to find some cleaning stuff to give it a scrub. All I could find was a bristly brush and some bleachy all-purpose spray. It did an okay job but I wasn't completely satisfied so I also repeated the process with some dish soap. How do you get the non-slip stuff clean without totally scrubbing it off?

I was thinking it was strange that people need to clean bathtubs at all. I know dirty people use the tub to hose off but it is constantly being flushed with soap and water. And what are feet aside from nature's scouring pads? How does it get dirty?

I haven't done any research or experimentation but these are my guesses:

1. Soap has its own crud-factor.
2. Leftover bath water has none of the qualities of "soap and water."

I just thought a tub should be easier to clean. But speaking of hygiene:

I have been lucky in life to be someone who has never had issues with Body Odor. Even when I do something strenuous and make a lot of sweat, I usually don't stink. But a few years back I started working long hours a physical job and I started to notice some BO (You still have to get your nose pretty close to smell it). The strange thing about this BO is that it seems to strike in only one armpit. I have a hard time understanding this so I decided to take a closer look.

Upon taking cheese scrapings from both of my armpits and careful observation under a microscope I found some interesting cultures of bacterium. The bacteria in my left (or stinky) armpit seemed to sustain themselves in shabby, disorganized groupings around burning garbage cans. The bacteria in my right (or mountain-fresh) armpit seemed to organize themselves in aesthetically pleasing groups with well-tended gardens and swimming pools.

In conclusion, I would like to advance NativeMinnow's theory that "poor people stink" and suggest that "poor people have poor bacteria and rich people have rich bacteria."

Monday, February 19, 2007

18 and Life To Go

My wife's aunt was having a birthday get-together tonight. We went and ate some dessert. I asked one of her daughters what she bought her mother as a gift. She said, "We gave her that pink skirt that she's wearing right now."

I had to leave because of a prior engagement. When we headed for the door the aunt came to hug us goodbye. I said, "Sorry we didn't bring you a gift."

She said, "Oh, please don't. I don't want you to buy me a gift."

I said, "Well, we did buy you a gift. It's a pink skirt exactly like the one you're wearing so now we have to return it."

She said, "Really?"

I said, "No. That was a joke."

She said, "Oh. Hahahahahahaha. That was funny."

I said, "Yes. Actually, that joke is my gift to you."

She said, "It was really funny."

I said, "Yeah. That's what I get everyone."

Have you ever tried re-gifting a lame joke, suckers? You can't.

I had a prior engagement because, the other night at work, this 18 year old kid came to me with the specific purpose of asking if I would like to come with him and his friends to see a movie this weekend.

When you are 30 there is a small part of you that thinks, "I can't see a movie with you. YOU'RE 18! I have a wife and kids." But this kid has the same schedule as me and managed to suggest seeing a movie at an opportune time in my week. So I ignored the voice that said I was too old to have play-dates like these and I just said, "Sure." How often does anyone invite me to do anything?

I told my wife about it and she laughed and thought it was a silly idea. I told her I planned on going and she thought I was crazy. "18 year olds, Emmett! Don't you remember what it's like to hang out with 18 year olds?" I do, my little sister is 18 and I hung out at Sundance with her. It was fun. Besides, this would put me right in my element to be loud and obnoxious, the way I am.

It was also funny because when the kid asked me to go, he approached me about an hour later and said, "I should probably tell you that one of my friends is kind of an asshole. He's into Heavy Metal and chains and shit."

I laughed and said, "I don't care. There is no shortage of assholes in my life. They're usually at least entertaining."

I met them at the theater. The kid had gone on and on about how excited he was to see the movie "The Pathfinder" and he told me that is what we would be seeing at precisely 9:20 this evening. When we got to the ticket booth we found out that movie isn't even in theaters yet. So we got tickets for "Hannible Rising" instead.

We had to wait an extra 40 minutes for that movie to start so we talked about Heavy Metal. Isn't Megadeth so totally awesome. I told them I thought Megadeth was awesome when I was in high school but that I have since moved on. Wait, wait, wait. "You USED to listen to Megadeth but you DON'T anymore?" It was obvious something was wrong with me.

Megadeth is pretty good... they just bring back cheesy memories.

When the movie started, the guys whipped out a bunch of bags of sunflower seeds and told me they had a tradition of spitting as many shells on the floor as they could by the time the movie ended. And they liked to throw seeds on eachother from the top row of the theater when their friends were walking down the ramp to the exit. Overall, not too annoying. And hey, free seeds.

The movie was pretty good but not as good as Silence of the Lambs. They did a good job of giving the movie a similar feeling though. I wasn't dissappointed.

Tomorrow we're all going out for Slurpees.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cow Country Addendum

I've been meaning to clarify a couple of things in regard to my most previous "Cow Country" entry.

I probably should have given more details about the drive back to the school with the cop. How he told us about all the crazy guns he'd shot. How I asked him if he had ever shot anyone (he hadn't). And what the worst part of his job was. He said, "The worst part of my job is that I have to do paperwork on EVERYTHING I do... and that's why I'm so pissed off at you guys right now."

When the principal asked us why we didn't get along with the other kids and I said "because we don't wear Wranglers" his initial response was to remove his shoe, place it on his desk and say, "Does that look like a shit kicker to you?"

I realize I made a crucial error in not naming the principal as he is such a key player in these stories. He once grew a beard and everyone called him Grizzly Adams and I considered using that name, but Grizzly Adams was a character wrongly accused and fighting to prove his innocence, which is completely out of character for the principal. So I've decided a more apt name would be Principal It-Rubs-The-Lotion-On-Its-Skin.

To usher this character more appropriately into the story, here is his theme music (if you have not already seen the film Silence of the Lambs or do not wish to see imagery from that film, you probably don't want to watch this:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Big Big Love

I know I'm getting behind on the blogging again. It's because I'm distracted during the day reading exciting articles about the importance of sharpening your lawnmower blade, the thickness of your lawn thatch and compost piles. The snow is gone and I'm looking forward to getting outside. The kids have already been riding their bikes.

I keep thinking I will write at night but, lately, the moment the sun is below the horizon and I stop moving I go right into a coma.

I figured while it is still sort of Valentines Day I will talk about how much my daughter cracks me up. I know my words cannot do her actions or inflections justice but here they come anyway.

First, she is 3 years old and obsessed with teenagers. It is still very important to her that she becomes a teenager WITH BIG FEET. The cool thing about teenagers is that they can do anything. She tells me more everyday. Dad, I think teenagers can eat in the living room. Teenagers can use a knife. Teenagers can get a real tattoo. Things like that.

My daughter and her 4-year-old cousin also play a game based on the lives of my younger teenaged sisters: "Okay, I'm Erika and you be Sarah..."

Sometimes I like to rattle her cage a little and tell her things like, "Teenagers stink. When you become a teenager that's when your body starts to stink and you have to wear deodorant."

When I say that, her eyes get wide and she gasps as if I just told her Santa Claus eats raw pony meat for dinner every night.

My daughter has talked to me about a serious bedtime issue before in regard to my goodnight hugs. Apparently, I have not complied so tonight she went over my head and spoke to my wife about it, "Mommy, can you ask daddy not to hug me so hard? Lastnight he crushed my leg into a triangle again." ("Okay, Livvy." "Thank you, Mommy.")

I'm not exactly sure what she means when she says I crush her leg "into a triangle" but she has mentioned it more than once. But the truth is... I don't think I can hug her any softer than I do.

I will hug her and love her and name her George.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

You're the one and the everyone, got a list of the things that you've done

I don't really want to but I feel like it would be omissive not to mention the shootings at Trolley Square last night, here is Salt Lake City.

I was at work when the shooting took place. The CNN coverage hasn't been that great, they only seem to throw the highlights at you as fast as possible. The local coverage has been better, they have people at the crime scene, people at the hospitals, and even people at the home of the shooter.

The witness stories are moving; some unsettling and some heroic. It would be hard to imagine yourself as one witness who saw a wounded person hiding in a car, bleeding from the head with an ear-wound that "looked like meatloaf." Or, of course, the off-duty police officer who shot the killer, who heard gunshots and left his family during dinner feeling a million times more frustrated than the average person who has to rush to work at a moments notice on his day off. Or even to be someone just hiding in a closet. Listening to it all. The last two times my little sister has come to Salt Lake to visit, we ate at Trolley Square.

It is hard to hear about the 16 year old boy who has just been moved from a "critical" to "serious" medical condition. And worse that when he comes out of it, he will need to deal with the shooting death of his father. But, if it was me, that is the way I would want it as opposed to the father living and son dying, but still a tragedy any way you slice it.

I liked hearing about how the shooter blasted two people in the parking lot before he entered the building and one of them got up with a chest full of buckshot and ran for help, "Call 911, There's a maniac!"

There is no justification for acting this way. This kid obviously didn't know his enemy but still felt like he had to lash out somehow. They said the 18-year-old killer lived with his family. His parents were Bosnian immigrants. Bosnia is part of that region of Europe that seems to redraw borders and rename places every couple of years, when governments aren't busy running genocidal campaigns or crumbling to civil war. What ever happened to those "Yugo" cars? If the boy was 18 then he was born right about the time the wars of a crumbling Yugoslavia were starting to flare up.

Obviously I don't know what kind of affect that would have on a kid but I imagine he had some idea of what was going on in the land of his family before him and it probably doesn't make you feel good. And then I imagine a kid of foreign descent in one of our dehumanizing schools and all of their wonderful cliques. His neighbor's said they believed he attended West High School. My wife actually taught a class of "bad" kids at that school a few years back. It's even possible that the killer is a former student of hers. And it wouldn't be the first time we saw her kids on the News.

But you can't completely blame school, because even 12 years out of high school, that kind of social environment still seems to exist everywhere I go. When I am working or when I'm in the lunch room, like people seem to cling to like people and exclude everyone else. There is one guy at work named Isaac. He is a skinny brown guy with super-googly eyes and coke-bottle glasses. He tries to act like a gangsta. He acts like he's comin' straight outta Compton but he's really from Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The Instant-Winner-In-Waiting asked me, "If you walked into a room and saw him lying on the floor looking at the ceiling... wouldn't you swear he was having a seizure or something?"

And that Captain-of-the-football-team guy just calls him Lazik, instead of Isaac. It's to do with they eyes.

And that big Shaq-tongon dude yelled at him one night, "Hey Nerd! Are picking up this cart or what?" He didn't know Isaac's name so he had to improvise.

If you don't start on the right foot in life, it seems to stick with you forever. I have always been cool and popular so I don't really know how it feels but I imagine it's a lifelong source of anguish being uncool and unpopular. So this is all typical speculation as to why a kid would do something like this but it is easy to imagine some outsider kid wanting to get back at the world just like those kids that shot up Columbine.

And those kids pose another problem. Because the Columbine kids got caught stealing computer equipment and forced into a psychiatric care program as punishment. They successfully complete that program and it is said that their day of killing is their retaliation for the punishment they received. Their plan had actually been bigger: to blow up the cafeteria, shoot stragglers and then get out on the city streets and shoot more people. They even had an outline of a plan to hijack a plane.

Overall, I think people care. We just aren't good at it. Today there was also a telephone threat of a school shooting down in Utah County. I'm guessing that when one creep pokes his head out, a bunch of others try to keep the crap rolling.

But this is a rare thing in Utah and not likely to happen again anytime soon. This is not my favorite place and these are not my favorite people, but it is still a good place and they are still good people.

I think people will go through a week or so of being scared to go outside, but we are probably much more likely of dying in a car accident or from carbon monoxide than being shot up while we're buying fancy smelling soap. Again, you can't let it scare you. Live your life.

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Funny Valentine

After years of living together, to the best of my abilities, here is a list of my wife's favorite things in their correct order:

1--- Candy
2--- Kids
Somewhere between 3 and 100--- Me

She has expressed serious concern regarding our marraige because, even though I like candy, I may not like candy ENOUGH for an amicable future together. When there is no chocolate in the house, she informs me of the "problem" with all of the urgency of the kitchen being on fire. If I don't respond by running to the car, sliding over the hood, and burning rubber out of the driveway to get to the store to obtain chocolate, she looks at me with disappointed stoicism and says, "You are not taking care of me."

Instead of telling you another self-incriminating story, I will just say that I KNOW BETTER than not to have flowers for her on Valentine's Day.

The other day, my wife gave me two candy "conversation hearts" that she chose just for me. They said, "HEY YOU" and "GET REAL." I would have preferred something at least as friendly as "EMAIL ME" or a vague "IM SURE."

She likes to make homemade Valentine cards and sugar cookies. She cried more than once because her sugar cookies did not taste as good as usual. I told her the kids just enjoy making the cookies. They don't taste as good but they are fine and I saved them all from the garbage by telling her I would eat them. I ate four that night (they are big).

She doesn't know what kind of a gift to give me for Hallmark's special day. I told her it would make my life a lot easier if she could develop a sex addiction. She'll probably get me a CD though.

The other day she wanted to buy little decorations to use on cards and to put on our windows. She said, "I want to go to the dollar store. Is it alright if I go to the dollar store?"

I said, "Yeah. Just don't spend more than a dollar."

When she came home she walked through the door looking as sad as I've ever seen her. There is no downer like striking out at the dollar store.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

After reading this blog--I feel like I deserve to know what keeps you going?

I always try to answer these serious questions. I think you are going to love it.

First, you will need to try a lot harder than that to hurt my word-spitting pride. The entire reason I wrote that post is because it makes me laugh when people try to come up with all these intricate connections that still point to the same things we already know.

Second, here are fast, easy, lame answers to your questions:

1. Only Oprah can tell us.
2. It's the Pandora's Box thing again; open the lid, out comes disease and hatred but also, Hope, flitting like a Lady Bug. Those Greeks knew everything.
3. I'm a miserable wretch.

When my little sister came to Utah for the film festival we were talking about the Indian reservation. I told her I would like to live there someday but not if I had to struggle to make ends meet. I told her I only want to live there again if I feel like I have some ability to make things better.

And really, I think of things that way wherever I am living. The improvements are just on a small scale. When we bought our first house we fixed a lot of things. The neighbors had lived there for decades and they told us all the time how they had never seen the house look so good. The house had either been empty or filled with strange people, fences were knocked down, cars were lit on fire. Then we came and people liked us. They liked seeing our awesome kids in the yard and the flowers we planted. I think we brought life to our block. Now we are gone, the house sits empty and those trashy kids that moved in next door are probably roadkill.

You have to look for a point in what I just said, but here is the real point:

It's the same message that Ethan wrote on his Magnadoodle a year ago: My Life is Myn. I don't know your beliefs. Perhaps you think you will be boning virgin after virgin in heaven but I don't have clear expectations on what is behind death's door. I am not waiting to live again in a different dimension. I am not putting off the things I want to do any longer than I must.

Somehow, I've been given life. It may be my only one. Just because things suck doesn't mean I'm going to bail out. Make the assholes leave. If you live your life and it all ends up shit, then it all ends up shit. You tried and it was worth a shot. But if you are too scared to stick it out or if you spend your whole life paralyzed with fear that you will never be a very good cog then that means that THEY won and you forfeited the only thing you had that was worth anything.

Pep talk is over. I've been awake all night.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The CIA and the IRS tell us where to shop and how to dress

This is my post on conspiracies. But there is no mind-blowing silver bullet in conspiracy theories because all of the worst conspiracies are right in plain sight and are no big deal to indifferent, regular people who just want to get along.

There is plenty of food in the world, yet people starve. Even in America, people who don't want to still freeze and starve to death every year. It makes no sense but who has time to worry about any stomach but their own?

It is hard to make a living, even when you do things right. There was an old man at my desk job who had a PhD and had been a professor at the West Minster school here in Salt Lake. He is a cool guy. He is fun to talk to and he has a lot of cool stories about doing brain experimentation on chickens. But he hated his co-workers in Academia. He said those professors were the most childish people he had ever met. So he quit and worked at the desk job and part-time at a bookstore. A substantial number of people at the desk job had degrees so it didn't make me feel too far behind in life when I was there.

It just seems that even when you have the credentials, it is still unlikely you will land a job you like with people you admire, respect or even find tolerable. I applied for a job recently and, according to job description, I was very qualified for several aspects of the work and it didn't really pay that much. But the company shows promise so I tried for it. The first interviewer seemed to love me. The second guy didn't show much emotion but I figured he was just quiet. I was honest and I think I gave good answers but I didn't try to fluff myself up. I didn't try to knock his socks off. And that is my best guess as to why they told me they didn't want me. Job hunting tip to myself: Every question should be answered with "Whatever you tell me to do is the RIGHT thing to do. Whatever you want me to think is the RIGHT thing to think. I AM THE COG. I AM A VERY GOOD COG." We are indentured servents, free to choose the man who holds the whip.

My wife was laughing because she checks the "want ads" for me. She chose a yellow highlighter to mark good prospects but found that nearly half the ads are highlighted in yellow by the printer. So she grabbed a red pen to circle the jobs instead and then noticed that "circled in red" is another feature you can purchase when you place your ad. How is THAT for a conspiracy? An orange highlighter is the way to go for marking stuff in the paper.

And the first page of job listings is half filled with ads for lame colleges and technical schools. It is funny logic, "I need money NOW so I'll look for a job... OR since I have no money I can go nuts getting loans, stressing out about classes and then HOPE that I will get some sort of degree or certificate that makes me special enough that I can make more money than fools in call centers by responding to this crap-college ad in the "help wanted" pages.

Call centers are funny. Their ads say this to me: LIKE TO TALK ON THE PHONE? or ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT MUSIC? How would like to spend the majority of your day getting yelled at by strangers about musical equipment you will never be able to afford (on our wages)? I love that. Sign me up.

College is the land of empty promises. Insurance is highway robbery. Healthcare is for the rich. Drugs are the answer, or so the television tells me. I don't use drugs but I think I would be more accepting of life if I did. Meaning, I would think of myself as a loser and would then expect to be treated as such.

America has been the bitch of the energy companies for almost 100 years. Oil, cars and highways. Public transportation systems are for socialists. We put the greediest, most self-serving people in our greatest offices and accept that "if it isn't this money-grubbing bastard it will just be a different one." That is also the go-getter attitude that leads to SUCCESS for the common man in this country. Yay. Our leaders cut the path to the riches. Sometimes they share it with their friends. We are just their groupies. We are just supposed to love them for it. Patriotism.

We all seem to accept that if we already have a bad system in place then we can't possibly change it. We also except that even though companies are slowly poisoning people, we can't make them stop because then they wouldn't continue to get rich and that would hurt the feelings of their CEOs. And those guys are known to write big checks to politicians. I like my friend Gordon's idea that, should the death penalty be kept legal (it's awesome when whether you live or die depends on how good a lawyer you can afford), white-collar crime should be punishable by death. See you in Hell, Enron.

The law is still the law. Survival of the fittest. There aren't any REAL secrets, just details. Life is bad enough around the world that decent people feel guilty for not suffering MORE than they already are as poo rains down from the sky.

Don't worry about me, I assume you are dumb but I still like you and I hope you will think the same of me.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Stone Throwing

It seems like I heard about a "moral" debate regarding a "breakthrough" HPV vaccine about a year ago and I thought it was so ridiculous that I figured the debate had been eradicated. But Texas is ontrack to have all school-aged girls vaccinated and now the debate is turning into a superbug.

The question seems to be: By vaccinating school-aged girls against genital warts (an STD) that commonly lead to cervical cancer are we telling them it is okay to have sex?

It's pretty much the same question as this: By vaccinating people against Polio are we telling them that it is okay to go to the park and eat dog turds (because that's a good way to get Polio if you haven't been vaccinated)?

And even further: When car manufacturers decide to build cars with a backseat, is that a thumbs up to premarital sex?

If you have a vaccine that can save lives, give it to people. To even debate the issue is to suggest that some small part of you believes that girls that have sex deserve to have terminal cancer. I know of a conservative, church-going-lady who was married in the mormon temple and a virgin on her wedding night who had HPV. Is that God's way of testing her or punishing her for some other short coming, just like He is doing with all of those other people who are in dying hospitals?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

If You Don't Get It Then Neither Do I

Standing in line at the grocery store-

Eleanor: "Emmett. Look behind us. Sluts. That girl's boobs are going to fall out of her shirt. Their clothes don't fit them right. They're cheap sluts."

Me: "I guess that's what happens when you buy your sexy clothes at Walmart. Don't be too hard on them though. Someday cheap sluts might save our marraige."

I know what you're thinking: Valentine's Day must be awfully close for there to be THIS MUCH romance in the air. If I could find a way to put the noises my wife wails out when I say things like that into print it would add a whole new dimension to my blog.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Girlie Music

My wife likes us to give gifts on Valentines Day. I usually just get her a CD or something. She likes most of my music but when it comes time for her to pick a CD it's usually something disappointing like The Bangles or Cyndi Lauper. Maybe next time I will get her Bananarama but I was thinking of something like these people for now. Any better ideas?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Chronicles of Cow Country High VII

Beanpolio was my neighbor to one side of my house and on the other side lived a younger kid named Rogi. Rogi’s big regret in life is that he is white and he played too many video games but he was a cool kid. Besides, if you got paid pennies per hour to play Super Techmo Bowl then my friends and I would still have been millionaires several times over.

Anyhow, we started serious work on our fort-of-doors before the school year ended and we enlisted our group of young protégés to assist us and share in the benefits of fort ownership. They were my younger brother Joel, Rogi, Geppetto’s younger brother Lil Lindbergh (who would later run off a gang of my classmates who were bent on putting his head in the toilet by cracking Eddie Munster in the nose with his mathbook and spilling his blood. Awesome!) and Sven (when his parents permitted him to leave the house). Beanpolio liked their help but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t light a pack of Black Cats or Lady Fingers and toss the firecrackers onto the younger kids as they slaved away for us.

Aside from the company, the best thing about these new friends was that Minnow and Beanpolio both had their driver’s licenses and they both seemed to drive to school a lot. Cars cover the 40 miles much faster than a school bus and you get to act stupid, like saying you hold a special record because you stuck your head out of the window and ate a muffin while driving 70 miles per hour. Sometimes Minnow would drive his family’s truck to school. It was a big truck that could crack a deer’s spine without flinching and the passenger-side door would randomly fly open even when you were driving. But the day that Minnow passed a big semi-truck on some windy mountain switchbacks and the wheels started to slip on the wet asphalt, that was the day that Beanpolio became emotionally scarred and I think that was the moment he started to insist on driving everywhere himself (insisting on gas money from us before we could offer and even when we knew his mother gave him gas money to cover the trips).

School was still hell but friends gave the day an uplifting “bird in the window of your prison cell” kind of feeling. We all liked to goof around and each of us was told to either “grow up” or “act our age” by the hour, rather than the day. But every 15 and 16 year old is stupid and it’s only made worse when you make a conscious effort NOT TO BE stupid and then fail. It’s bad for the self-esteem. It’s best just to have fun with it.

In the days before we realized how to get free sodas from the Coke machine, we would do stupid stuff like perform very amateur “a cappella” singing and pass a hat around for donations. Usually, we just got a hat full of “Shut up!” from the student body. I believe we had been told shut up by just about everyone one afternoon and were just riding out the final minutes before lunch ended. I told my friends, “Check this out.” And then I yelled, “HEY YOU, IN THE WRANGLERS!” At which point, nearly everyone present in the commons area (99% of them wearing Wrangler Jeans) turned to look at me. My friends and I found this to be hilarious. I mean, HILARIOUS.

And while we were laughing some girls approached us and got on our case. It got to the point where they were LOUDLY saying, “You don’t like us and we don’t like you either! This is our school and if you don’t like it you can leave!” And all the other clowns cheered and backed them up. We mumbled to ourselves for a moment. Maybe we should leave. Either Minnow or Beanpolio knew that Lucy was driving home early that day to go to a dentist appointment and they scrambled off to see if she could possibly give us a ride if we were to take the rest of the day off from school. It turns out that she could, so we made a big scene, “Fine. We are happy to leave. If we ever see this school again it will be too soon!” Something to that affect. And we left.

But Beanpolio chickened out at the last second. He said he wouldn’t come with us because he didn’t want to get into trouble. I’m sure we called him a wuss before Minnow, Geppetto and I hit the highway to start the walk home.

We were just about to the Chevron station where the highway began when we saw a kid called The-bear-of-little-brain. Geppetto said, “Hey Bear-of-little-brain! My sister Rose Red says that you’ve been hitting her on the bus again. You’d better stop before I have to kill you.”

The Bear said, “Huh?” And Geppetto repeated his statement. The Bear said, “ Yeah. Okay, Geppetto.” And then he moved past us toward the school. Then he looked back over his shoulder and said, “Hey, Geppetto. Fuck you.”

I’ve never been able to stand empty threats or promises, so I spun around on my heel and made like a field goal kicker attempting a 50 yarder and brought my foot up square under the seat of The Bear’s pants. My foot struck right at his tailbone and I wouldn’t be surprised if his feet lifted off the ground for a moment. The Bear-of-little-brain scowled at me and mumbled, “That hurt.” And then he hobbled back to class. I yelled after him, “Leave her alone.”

When we first got to the highway we were worried about being seen so we crouched down and moved through the sagebrush for a few miles instead. Soon, we decided that was annoying and we just started walking along the road. But not a few minutes later, a member of our local Bishopric was driving by and spotted the county’s Most-Outstanding-Male and Geppetto who he knew from Sunday services.

He just stopped and asked us how things were going and then he left. He wasn’t curious at all as to why we were on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere during school hours. So we kept on walking.

On Utah’s X96 Radio From Hell show, I’ve heard Kerry talk about “street porn.” He basically says that when you see a magazine sitting on the side of the road, the odds are excellent that it is a pornographic magazine and throughout his life he has referred to this stuff as “street porn.” While we were walking along the highway out of Manila we found such stuff. It was a magazine called “Black Booty.” You might be surprised to learn that the magazine did not feature black people nor their respective booties. This was a magazine full of melon-breasted women of all races who had boy pieces down below that resembled uncooked foot-long bratwursts. Those brats were huge but couldn’t stand on their own.

The magazine left us baffled. I can’t say that it makes you feel inadequate as a man to see a woman slinging around a floppy piece of breakfast meat. It still leaves me baffled to this day. I wonder about the person who produces those magazines. I imagine something like this:

“Dude, what are you going to do with all that money you inherited?”
“I don’t know. What do you think I should do with it?”
“I don’t know. What are you passionate about in life?”
“Well. If I had to choose ONE thing… ONE THING that’s never left the back of my mind that I’ve always meant to come back to later in life… it would have to be chicks with wangs.”
“Oooh. That’s good.”
“Yeah. The problem is, it’s tough to find girls like that.”
“Well then that’s what you need to do. Find those girls and bring them to the masses.”
“Yes, you’re right. I’ll find them and put them in a magazine. But what can I call it? I can’t just call the magazine Chicks with Wangs.”
“That’s no good. How about Black, because black is mysterious and intriguing. And then Booty, because people like booty. Black Booty.”
“Man, you’re a genius. How would you like to be Vice President of my magazine?”

And who is the target audience for this magazine? I imagine the target reader probably has a bumper sticker on their car that says something like, “Pre-op tranny and loving it!”

There are many things you can’t learn in school.

After we discovered the distracting magazine we only went another mile or so. We sat down on a pile of shale rock and waited for Lucifer to pick us up in her car. We also found that there were thousands of seashell fossils embedded in those rocks where we waited.

It wasn’t too much longer before Lucy picked us up. We started up the switchbacks before the most famous view of Flaming Gorge known to tourists and we only got a couple of miles before a county Sheriff’s truck was flashing its lights behind us.

Lucy summoned up the tears before the cop even made it to her window. Without provocation she started to plead, “Please! I didn’t do anything.”

The cop strolled up and said, “Relax. I’m not here for you. I’m here for the guys in the back of your car. Let’s go guys.”

We reluctantly got out and took our seats in the police truck. Let this be a lesson to all criminals who think they are clever like Butch Cassidy. It is not a good idea to hide out in the Flaming Gorge area. There are tons of cops with absolutely nothing better to do than hunt down truant students. They do drug busts and counterfeit money busts and things of that nature all the time. Flaming Gorge is not a good place to lay low when you are on the run.

But I am never one to waste an opportunity, so I started talking to the cop. I asked him how fast he let people drive over the speed limit before he pulled them over and I asked him about the crazy guns he gets to shoot as a cop. He liked talking about that. When we were almost back to Manila, I asked, “Would you be willing to let us stop at the gas station to get a drink before you take us to the school?”

He asked, “How far did you guys walk?”

I said, “To Sheepcreek.”

He said, “That’s pretty far. Okay.”

And he stopped at the gas station and let us buy some drinks. While we were buying drinks with the cop watching over us, we bumped into Beanpolio’s father. His father is a nice guy and he was excited to see us. It’s funny how no matter what situation you are in, when someone asks you how you are doing, the answer is always, “Fine.” Suddenly, we were all glad that Beanpolio hadn’t come with us, because then his father would have had more questions.

When the cop took us to the school he stayed with us in the principal’s office until we were done talking. I know that office well. There is a cricket paddle on the shelf that says, “Board of Education.” There was a hand grenade with a #1 tag attached to the pin and the plaque says, “Complaint department. Take a number.” And there was a little plaque with a spinner arrow on it and spaces that said, “Yes, no and Pass the Buck.” That one was on the principal’s desk and I’m willing to bet that he really used it.

The principal asked us, “What’s wrong. Why did you guys leave?”
We said, “We don’t seem to get along with the kids here. They told us to leave and we were happy to go.”
The principal said, “Why do you think you don’t get along?”
I said, “I guess it’s because we don’t wear Wranglers.”
The Principal said, “I don’t wear Wranglers and everyone likes me.”
(So literal)
I said, “They don’t LIKE you. You’re the principal. It’s different.”

Being as this was the first offense and that he had an audience (the cop), he let us off without even calling our parents. He told us to try harder to get along.

I tried and tried but I never got it right.