Thursday, January 31, 2008

Deep Into The Darkness Peering

I know a guy who likes to write and is working on a novel about an old man who works in an orchard until some buggy aliens come through the universe, destroying everything and everyone.

He said, "And it doesn't have a happy ending. Everyone dies."

I said, "Yeah. But I think you should focus on making it seems like there's hope throughout the story UNTIL you kill everyone off at the end so it has a stronger impact. You're focused on having everyone die but I think there's room for a lot more misery in this story than just that."

Because I like doing my part.

To make things better?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sweeping The Clouds Away

Today's book review is on "It's Not Easy Being Big".

It's a book about how you bump your head and you can't hide and your just kind of a big freak and how it's not easy being big. They also do the reverse about how "it's not easy being small" for Elmo. How he can't see over people, he can't jump across a stream, he can't reach stuff on the playground and so forth.

The moral of the story: Nobody, big or small, is safe from the frustrating annoyances that make life so disappointing. Deal with it or at least take pleasure knowing that everybody else has it as hard as you, too.

I like this book and recommend it to all.

This book review was brought to you by the letters "k" and "w" because it doesn't take a genius to figure out that they make more sense than "q" and "u." And by the number "π" (pi) for being even more confusing than "q" and "u."

Drill A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See

It's high time I paid homage to the great YouTube. Because it is such a convenient tool. Almost TOO convenient because now it gets to the point where you get upset if you can't find a clip of what you're looking for. You're all, Hey! I imagined it! Why isn't it on here?

Karate Monkey? Check.

A japanese telling of Hans C. Anderson's fable "The Wild Swans" where a girl is being burned for witchcraft because she's lived her life as a mute as she knits sweaters from stinging nettles to release her prince brothers from a spell where they have been turned into swans that I remember watching when I was 8 years old? Check. (This is the final scene, you'll have to search for the first part if you want to see it from the start)

The Plague Dogs? Made by the same people who made that "Watership Down" cartoon? Was this made for preschoolers or radical 60's activists? You make the call.

Those certain videos you only like to watch in the privacy of your own home because it would be embarrassing if people knew what you were up to?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We carried all the groceries in while hauling out the trash

My wife has been going through books fast lately. We bought her the book "Speak" about a teenaged girl who is raped and then has a rough time dealing with it but she finished it really fast. And then she insisted on seeing the movie they made of the book. Luckily, it's on YouTube.

I gave her one of my books to read. I've only read about 60 pages of it and it's practically brand new.

My wife took our kids to daycare at the school where she works and she accidentally left the book there. She thought, "No big deal, I'll just pick it up later in the day." So later in the afternoon she went down to retrieve the book.

She asked the ladies who worked in the daycare, "Have you seen my book around? I think I accidentally left it here."

One of the ladies tensed up. She got anxious and said to my wife, "Don't be mad at me. Please don't be mad at me."

My wife went through the possibilities. She may have taken the book to the "lost and found" in the school office. She may have taken the book to the school library. She may have even placed the book in the special area of the school where needy people can find things that people donate.

The lady admitted, "I saw the book and I thought I don't know what this is but it doesn't belong here... so I threw it in the trash."

The trash?

Yes, in the trash can?

In the TRASH can?


My wife wasn't upset that she had to dump out the contents of the garbage can and dig around for the book. She just couldn't believe that, with all of the available options, IN A SCHOOL the most logical course of action appeared to be to throw a brand new book into the garbage.

My daughter heard my wife tell me that story in a state of awe and she sprang into action. This morning, my 4 yr old daughter presented my wife with a "Cap'n Crunch" box that she decorated with paper and drawings and asked if she could give it to the teacher to use as a "lost and found" for the classroom. My wife told her she should probably find a better box.

You Want The Truth? You Can't Handle The Truth! Forget About It, It's Chinatown!

Valentine's Day is just about here and that means that it's time to talk about people getting dumber, being left in the dark and aliens.

Here's a PBS bit about how just about every kid in the country used to own a chemistry set (with ACTUAL chemicals) and how things have changed nowadays. Chemists have evolved from nerds to outright clowns:

The guy they interview, Bob Lazar, is credited by many to be the guy who brought the infamous Area 51 to public attention. He worked as a physicist at Area 51 doing research (reverse engineering?) on an alien space craft. It's pretty interesting how he describes the spaceship moving by creating a gravitational field ahead of itself. In this radio interview he also mentions how he and John Leer, of the family that created the Leer Jet, would sneak around and watch the alien crafts being tested. I've also heard a rumor that Bob Lazar has successfully modified the everyday cars that you and I drive to run on and CLEANLY PRODUCE THEIR OWN hydrogen.

But, then again, maybe even thinking for a second that any of this sounds reasonable just means we're all crazy nerds. Or Clowns.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Finally Get Down On The Head Of A Pin

Retarded in a cool way. Almost like music. You Tube is great.

Do You Know What I Blame This On The Breakdown Of?...Society.

Real fast.

I got a big gash in my cheek while I was playing basketball this week. It bled all over. I've been wearing a band-aid on my face. Everyone at work keeps calling me Scarface and Nelly.

We were loading trucks the other day. We sell all kinds of crazy crap and my boss suddenly pulled out a big shiny broadsword that said Excalibur on the hilt. The guys made plans to find another of the swords in the warehouse. I suggested that we should use the bumper cars to have jousts but somebody else insisted that all of history's greatest swordfights have taken places on staircases. I just said, "Well, it's all fun and games until someone gets gouged in the cheek.

Last weekend, Geppetto came to visit with his family. It turns out that there was a bunch of corporate crap that happened and he quit his job as plant manager. Now he's going into business for himself doing other stuff. We were supposed to meet him in the Sam's Club parking lot one morning after his family took care of some business.

My daughter said, "What's Sam's Club."

I said, "It's like Costco."

She said, "Oh. So it's BORING."

I said, "I guess... if you think buying 20,000 candy bars is BORING."

Moments later we found Geppetto loading about 20,000 candy bars in the back of his truck. I told him, "It looks like a big fat guy just bought a years supply of food."

The night before Geppetto had tried to take me to a Utah Jazz game versus the LA Clippers. Our seats were good but it turns out our tickets were bad and they kicked us out just before the end of the first quarter. Geppetto was trying to explain where the mistake must have been to the usher while I was climbing the stairs to leave. I heard someone shouting my name and looked over to see some people from Cow Country. Kevin, the River Guide, and his wife yelled a greeting. Kevin said, "What happened... did you guys steal someones seats?" Which is pretty much what we had done.

So Geppetto and I walked in the freezing cold to his hotel where our families were swimming.

The other night I went to lunch with some guys. Rafa was saying, "It sucks they won't let us work overtime right now. I need the money."

I said, "Me too."

The 18yr-old said, "That's your fault for having kids. You should have been smart and kept it in your pants."

Rafa said, "It will happen to you, one day."

The 18 yr-old said, "But I'll get smart and stop after one."

I said, "You can't just have one. Because then your kid thinks you're his permanent playground buddy. You have to have two so they can buddy up and take off."

The 18 yr-old said, "Bullshit. I never do ANYTHING with my brothers and sisters. I don't think anyone does."

I said, "You take your family for granted. Most people like their brothers and sisters." And Rafa and I gave several examples of fun things we've done with our siblings.

The 18 yr-old said, "No. I still don't agree."

Rafa turned to me and said, "What's the deal with white people? None of them like eachother."

It made me laugh more than it should have.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book Review: Twilight Series

My wife doesn't seem to read a lot of classics. She'll usually entertain herself by reading all the Dan Brown books or all the "Bourne Identity" books. Last fall, her mother referred her to the book "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer. My wife read the book and the two books following and is now biding her time until Meyer releases a new book in May.

The media is trying to push these books as "The-Next-Harry-Potter-type-series" now that Harry is finishing school. Not, that I know. I have no real association with Harry Potter. Anyway, I try to be a good husband so I started reading the Twilight books for the sake of being able to talk about them with my wife. I've read the first two.

The first thing I said to her was something to the effect of, "It's funny how Young Adult books are so optimistic and hopeful towards an open future. And then how Adult books are kind of the opposite like, and here is the crap that actually happens... here is how hope is pulverized and just having a NORMAL life becomes a luxury."

Thinking back to one of her more recent reads, "Running With Scissors," where the kid would wake up with strange organs in his mouth, she said, "Yeah, I think you and I should read the optimistic kinds of books."

Here it is in a nutshell: Twilight is good but it does require a steady drip of estrogen for optimum reading pleasure. My wife has not baked any estrogen-laced brownies lately so I was forced to read the books with a sense of scrutiny and a strong tendency towards tawdry mockery. Which you can rest assured, my wife loves.

There are some popular criticisms toward these books which I support. The writer pummels it into our heads that Bella, the main character, is as plain and ordinary as humans can possibly come. Did I say human? Did I forget to mention these are VAMPIRE books? What I imagine to be watered-down Anne Rice kind of stuff?

I watched an interview with Stephenie Meyer where she said she hates it when people ask her what her books are about: Romance, high school, vampires. It sounds silly, but that is the premise and, as entertaining as she may make the situation, she needs to accept that it's silly. What I think is even stranger is that OLD LADIES seem to love these books. My wife was reading the third book, "Eclipse," and I was halfway through a borrowed copy of "Twilight" when we decided to buy our own copy of "Twilight" from Costco. While we were in line at the register, some old lady behind us had to butt in and let us know, "That is such a good book! You are really going to like it!"

Did I also mention that Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon? That means she is practically royalty in Utah. She'll sell a lot of books here just based on that fact and I think that is how the book came to fall into my hands in the first place... despite the fact that she is an Arizona Mormon, which isn't even an Idaho Mormon. But you can only get the pure, concentrated mormons from Utah. But I'm not going to say, "This book is good... for a mormon." It's good all the way around. I think there are only hints at the influence in small details. I'll bring it up again in a minute.

The print is big and the writing is quick and simple. There are no underlying themes or deep thoughts to slow you down. Bella is not mormon but I am already familiar with what young mormon girls are prone to. I cheat and picture a more idealized version of the writer as the main character because I imagine that that is what most first-person writers do as the write the stuff. She talks about being very pale. My wife relates. She talks about being thin but soft. My wife relates.

Bella is plain and I don't understand why every guy who crosses her path falls madly in love with her. She is described as clumsy and an "accident magnet" on which I do not agree. She is dumb and makes bad decisions. She thinks she is smart... makes a point of showing off her knowledge of cell division... but every time she gets in a life threatening situation, it is mostly her own fault. If you have decided to lie to your vampire friends, the only people who can save you from another vampire who is bent on killing you, to go confront him yourself then you deserve to die. If you jump off a high cliff for fun, if not for spite, "only thinking about the fall and not what would happen when you got in the water" then you deserve to drown. I hadn't even finished the first book before I was convinced, "Okay, this girl needs to die." I still think that and it bums me out at how many hundreds of pages I have left to read because it's way too many pages to carry a book when the main character is dead.

So I don't really like Bellas thoughts. I usually like her dialogue. It doesn't make me laugh outloud but I think the writer is successful with her attempt at humor.

And then there is the vampire boy. The quick plot is that Bella moves to Washington and is not impressed until she meets vampire boy, Edward. It's a classic tale of love. She sees him and thinks he is good looking and becomes completely submissive, even willing to die for him before she really knows anything about him.

He's good looking, SO good looking. The writer cannot stop talking about how good looking he is. Bella is plain and when it turns out that Edward is also madly in love with her she can't believe it. I told my wife, "Maybe when she says he is ABSURDLY good-looking, she really means that he looks like Napolean Dynamite." My wife told me they are already working on making a movie of the book. I said, "If they make the main characters look like Napolean Dynamite and his girlfriend then I will never say a bad thing about these books again. That would rule."

But it turns out that Edward is not just unbelievably handsome, but also the nicest guy and superest boyfriend in the entire world. And that's when the dialogue makes you want to puke. I love you. No, I love you. No, I love you. And I think this is where the mormon thing comes into play. There are a lot of kissing scenes. Long kissing scenes but without open mouths. There is a lot of heavy petting... but only of their faces. It's the book that has teenaged girls wondering why THEY don't have cute boys sneaking in their windows on a nightly basis.

Even though the vampire can read minds and run as fast as a car with super-human strength I still think most guys would think Edward was a wuss. Because he is written to be what girls want. He is what girls dream about. He doesn't fart or burp or watch sports or play vidoe games or make overtly sexual suggestions or pick on people or any of the stuff that REAL guys tend to do. Even most vampires think he's a wuss because he doesn't feed on people. Because he's too nice and perfect to do that. He's actually somewhat of a religious fanatic as well. He thinks that souls are precious. He doesn't believe he has a soul but that's all the more reason to be good. Which isn't to say he wouldn't be quick to kill himself if he can't have the plainest girl in a small town.

In the second book, Edward goes away. I found it very relieving. I needed a break from the mushy, gushy stuff. But, of course, that meant that Bella's entire universe was falling apart.... OH! And we get to hear about it. Because she has no intention of getting over it. Because there are no cute boys left at school! And she may as well be dead!

On a personal level, the humor was good, I like Washington, she used the name "Emmett" for one of her ultra-buff handsome vampires, any book with native americans in them are a good thing to me, Bella sometimes reminded me of my wife except my wife is prettier and smarter and not clumsy and doesn't even whine so much. I got really worried when the main characters were talking about music: "The fifties had some good music, the eighties were tolerable and everything else is pretty much garbage." That doesn't sound like teenagers to me. I almost thought it was a mormon thing but then I thought, if this was of mormon influence the characters just would have gone on and on about how much they loved the band "Journey" or something. But Stephenie Meyer talks a lot about the music that helped her write the books and thanks bands like Muse, Marjorie Fair, Brand New and others. Not bands from the top of my list but pretty good and way better than I expected.

It is also strange how these innocent books can talk so casually about whimsically taking Nyquil to help you sleep and stealing cars like its better than riding the bus.

Anyway, the short of it is: I mostly read the books in a laughing-at-you sort of way but they would still be pretty good even if I didn't. There are a lot of things in them that bug me and that can probably only be appreciated with the help of ovaries but they are fast to read and somehow keep me curious.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Would You Stand Up And Walk Out On Me?

Time is up, so here is the answer to yesterday's Brain Buster Trivia Question. The body has been provided by Danica McKellar, better known as TV's "Winnie" from "The Wonder Years."

And since she would probably view yesterday's post with a sense of humiliation I would like to make it up to her by referring all of you to buy her book.

If I thought for a second that Jane Austen's dainty little skeleton would benefit from you buying a Jane Austen book then I would tell you to do get yourself one of those, too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Girl With A Mind Like A Diamond

Here is a fast money-making idea. It appeals to guys who like brainy girls in their skivvies. This is not the final product. It's just a prototype I whipped up to give you the basic idea.

So...? How do you like Jane Austen now, fellas? Are you getting a sense of her sensibilities?

And my super trivia question of the day is: What brainy girl acted as a body double for this photo?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do You Think Einstein Went Around Thinking We Were All A Bunch Of Dumbasses And That's Why He Built That Bomb?

There is a smiley guy at work and I've lost all faith in him because one day me and the fellas were talking about anger and he kept saying, "I'm a NICE GUY. I don't get mad. I'm a nice guy."

I know that he works two jobs to afford the payment on his brand new Nissan Z and I said, "What if somebody keyed your car?"

He said, "I wouldn't get mad. I'm a NICE GUY."

I said, "You're a liar."

Anyway, I was working with Zack-Morris-With-a-Lobotomy the other day. The Nice Guy knows that Zack is over-the-edge-religious so he came driving up on a bumper car and said, "Hey, Zack! Is innocence beauty?"

Zack took a guess, "Yes?"

I fired back, "Is ignorance bliss?"

The Nice Guy smiled at me and responded like the great So-crates, "Is it?"

I said, "I wouldn't know." And I drove away.

I fully expect to have stupid conversations while I'm at work, but lately it seems things have gone down a dark path. There's no reason to drag philosophy down with us.

The Insects Are Huge and The Poisons All Been Used

I was talking to that 18 yr old about that movie "Requiem For A Dream."

I said, "That movie is pretty rough and tough. When I got done watching it I told my wife if our kids ever get into drugs, I'm not going to talk to them about it... I'll just make them watch this movie because the movie gives a lot of horrible reasons not to get mixed up with drugs."

The 18 yr old said, "That won't work. You would start the movie and your druggie kid would be sitting there thinking I bet this movie would be twice as good... if I was high on crack!"

Sad. True. Funny?

What About Those Who Swing Both Ways...AC/DCs?

"Yeah, there are a lot of creepy people who work here but that guy who wears girls clothes and has his hair slicked down over his face is the worst one of all."

"Do you mean that guy with the barrette in his hair? Yeah, that guy is gross. And he's married to that red head girl in the office."

"I've known gay people before and I get along with them just fine, but this is the first time I've had someone look at me and I wonder: Is that guy wondering if I totally want to do him?"

Y'all Gon' Make Me Lose My Mind

Yesterday I woke up and my neck was killing me. It's residual pain from that car accident I was in a couple summers ago. I talked to my wife about it on the phone:

Me: "Do you want to hear something strange? Lastnight two guys at work got in a car accident. Someone ran a red light and totalled their car. It made me remember the accident I was in and I kept imagining them with whiplash and I got worried that just thinking about these things would set off the neck pain I still get. And then I woke up this morning and my neck hurts as bad as ever. Isn't that weird? Do you think psychology really has that kind of power over people? Where you can just THINK about something like neck pain and make it real? Because I thought maybe I could use willpower to pretend that my neck didn't hurt but I would go around trying to do things today and it hurt. The pain is real."

My Wife: "Are you mental?"

Me: "I guess."


Me: "I just remembered something. Yesterday I was standing around bored at work so I hung from the roof of my stockpicker and did a bunch of pull ups. I haven't done any pull ups in a long time and I think the unexpected excercise is what caused my neck to hurt."

My Wife: "(Something to the effect of DUH!)"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Things That Must Go

On one of the Salt Lake's better radio stations (X96) they do a weekly bit called "Things That Must Go" where the DJs read lists of things that people hate that are sent in by the listeners. I have a few things in mind for this list, though I probably won't actually send it in to the show. Here they are:

Pants With Drawstrings - Maybe they're okay for girls but not for guys. I wouldn't even want to offend gay people by calling them gay. They're just dumb and annoying. Especially when designers put them in pants that also have a zipper and button. All it does is create the potential that you will accidentally walk around with strings hanging out of your zipper, which everyone should automatically recognize as an invitation for one guy to make a joke about another guy being on his period. Pants with drawstrings surely must go.

Crappy Arnold Schwartzenegger Impersonations - Apparently, everyone in the world who can growl with an austrian accent thinks they can do a good Arnold Schwartzenegger impersonation. I hear people in public doing them, very bad radio commercials using them, endless talk shows doing them. I think we've reached the point where it's not funny anymore. Please leave the impersonations to the professionals.

Snot Rockets, aka The Farmer Blow - I can't say that I'm surprised by how many guys I see blowing snot rockets but I think they should stop. They act like it's a reasonable way to dispose of unwanted nasal matter but it's not. A snot rocket is basically blowing your nose without using a tissue and hoping that nothing gets on your face, clothes or hands. Gross. I think it would be generous of me to say that maybe one in a million boogers makes it out cleanly. A lot of my coworkers are fans of this method and for some reason they all think I won't have a problem touching things that they've handled with their booger paws. Yes, I mind.

It seems like I had more but that's all that's coming to mind for now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lest We All Forget

I thought I would do a Public Service Announcement to tell boneheaded guys and ditzy girls that Valentine's Day is precisely one month away. I normally wouldn't have noticed this detail for another 30 days, myself, but I noticed that all of the candy in our house is suddenly coming in the shape of a heart and when I saw all the pink displays at the grocery store, well... I put two and two together.

I guess by "Public Service Announcement" I really mean, I would like to make light of that day when we all make single people feel like bigtime lonely losers. As for me, I'm in love! I'm in love!and I don't care who knows it!

Plan accordingly.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

But If My Freetime's Gone, Would You Promise Me This?

A guy could get used to this whole only-working-one-job thing but I know that I will be starting my daytime job again pretty soon so I am trying to get back in the proper frame of mind. I was trying to remember parts of the job that made me laugh and figured I would relate some of them for you:

First, I will tell you about Carlino. He's sort of a mexican. There is a rumor that he had a mexican father but to look at the guy, you wouldn't think that he was and he doesn't speak spanish or anything. He was one of the grunts on the first crew I hired on with and he was kind of a wise guy. He liked to control conversations and take advantage of the fact that he wasn't as new an employee as I was. I think he felt like as long as he talked fast and made a lot of smart alec comments that that made him superior or something, so I would usually match wits with him and see if I could throw him off.

Like one day I was building or "fabricating" this dealy and he came over and was trying to pressure me. He said, "Come on, Emmett. Do it the right way. Don't mess up. Do it the right way." But it didn't phase me because I was pretty good at making those dealies and I just said, "What way is that? Carlino's way?" But he didn't laugh. He got an angry look on his face and he said, "You think you're pretty funny, don't you?" And I said, "I won't believe that was the first time you ever heard that. I've been trying really hard NOT to say it ever since I met you but then you came over and you were all do it the right way, Emmett, do it the right way so what else could I say? I don't feel like you left me any choice."

And another day he was building something and I walked by and he broke a piece and he said, "Look what you made me do, Emmett." And I said a la Erkel, "Did I do that? Did I make you lose your cool? Did I put the whammy on you...?"

And Carlino was already trying to talk loud and fast to prove that he was superior but then he stopped and said, "Did you put the wh-whammy on me? What!" and then he just started laughing. Which meant I beat him because I took away his ability to talk loud and fast.

I heard that Carlino was always late for work because his car was unreliable and he finally took it to a shop and they spent two weeks fixing it. The day he got his car back I went with him to get some hamburgers at lunch. He said, "Man, I'm so excited to drive my car again." He kept talking about it. When we got in the car he said, "Do you want to hear my music? I made this." And he played some drum and bass music on the stereo and he said, "That's some gangsta shit right there!"

And before we made it to the restaurant he was already saying, "Man, I hate this car. This car sucks." And I said, "Why don't you trade-in your Nissan and get an old Cadillac or a 6-4-Impala or something?" Carlino said, "Why?" And I said, "Isn't that what you guys like? Gangsta?" And he got mad and was all, "Are you stereotyping me?" And I said, "You were the one who said your stuff was gangsta. I just asked you a question."

When we were eating hamburgers he was telling me how great he was at making music on the computer. He said, "It's all in the software. That's Fruityloops. It's like $500 software. I can do anything with it."

I said, "Oh, so you bought it, huh? Or do you use the pirated stuff?"

A guilty smile flashed on his face for half a second and then he got angry again and said, "You don't need to worry about that."

One morning he said, "Emmett, how was your weekend? Did you get wasted?" I said, "No." He said, "I did. Are you going to stereotype me again?" I said, "Yes. You're an alcoholic. You have a serious problem and that's why you're late for work everyday."

He said, " I told you --- I HAD TO POOP!"

(His story from earlier that morning when I asked him why he was late: "I was walking to my car this morning and I was going to be here on time but then I realized I had to poop and I would rather use my own bathroom than come to work and have to use a port-a-jon, so I was late.")

I mocked him, "You had to poop. Like I haven't heard THAT ONE before. You alcoholics are ALL THE SAME. You all use the same stupid excuses!"

That always makes me laugh because then I start to imagine some drunk guy getting pulled over by the police and saying, "Officer, I had NO INTENTION of drinking and driving tonight. I was at a party and I had a designated driver and everything but then all of a sudden I realized... I HAD TO POOP. I was just trying to get home to poop and I'll tell that to the judge too and he'll understand."

One day I was worried that I had actually upset Carlino so I told him, "Hey, I was just kidding around with you. I don't think I'm better than you. You know a lot more about this stuff than I do and I'm here to learn so I appreciate anything you can teach me or any advice you have for me." Carlino looked at me and said, "Just be cooler, man. Why can't you be cooler?" Does that mean that he wanted me to grow a mullet? I don't know.

Lino and I were constantly at eachother like that but we seemed to get along pretty good.

One day I was working with this grumpy old man. I seriously think he had tourettes syndrome. Either that or one of his grade school teachers told him that every sentence begins with a capital and ends with the word "cocksucker." He also has an "mmm-hmmm" that rivals that of Billy Bob Thorton's "Slingblade" character. Anyhow, me and Slingblade were working in a remote section of the plant so we hitched a ride with some guys who worked under a different foreman than us.

The driver of the van said, "Which way should I go?" Another guy said, "It doesn't matter. Whichever way you go, Matt will yell at you for going the wrong way because everything he does is right and everything we do is wrong." And there was a lot of grumbling about Matt.

Slingblade said, "Are you guys having trouble with your foreman? Haven't any of you learned to tell him to f*** off?"

Dude 1 said, "Yes. We tell him that all the time. I told him that just yesterday."

I said, "Did he listen?"

Dude 1 said, "He might have. He does disappear for extended periods of time."

Dude 2 punched the driver and said, "Maybe that's why he's so touchy-feely with you. Matt likes to come back and wipe his hands on you."

The driver said, "Matt's really touchy-feely with everyone. It's creepy."

Dude 1 said, "You think that's bad? The other day I was by myself working and Matt comes over and grabs my channies (channel-lock pliers) and starts shoving them UP MY BUTT. Seriously... shoving them up my butt."

Dude 2 said, "Whoa! Are you saying that Matt grabbed your tool... and then tried to stick it in your own butt?"

Dude 1 said, "Yes. And I kept yelling at him to stop but he wouldn't."

Dude 2 said, "Wow! That is messed up. I don't even own videos where people do stuff like that."

Anyway, it feels good to grab that stuff out of my brain and fling it at you good people. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Now I'm Lucky If I Can Find An Hour A Week In Which To Get Funky

Much to my surprise, I've been doin' stuff lately. The holidays went by fast, I made time to snowboard, my son and I put together his new fly rod and we've been learning about tying flies, I've been reading books and even playing video games like Zelda, Brain Age and Rockband. Don't take it personally but it's easy to find reasons not to blog.

It was really nice to have my family home all of the time but now school has started up again and they have resumed their roles as the people who occassionally pop in and out of my life. Our youngest son is hilarious all the time but it's hard to give you an example in writing. My daughter endlessly amazes me. The other day she was watching "Dora, The Explorer" and she asked me, "Why does EVERYTHING in this show talk? Her backpack talks, the flowers talk, EVERYTHING TALKS!" I said, "The people who made the show probably thought kids would like it more if everything talked." My daughter turned to me as if I was naive and asked, "Do you think maybe everything talks because she doesn't have any REAL friends?" I started to laugh, partly because of what she said and partly because I constantly find myself thinking "I wish I had said that" when she makes such comments.

Ethan has the hardest time with school. His teacher is too strict. She regularly keeps him in from recess and prohibits him from doing crafts until he makes it through the daily pile of crappy worksheets. At parent teacher conferences we asked her not to deny him recess and art because of the worksheets. We said just send the unfinished stuff home and he can finish it with the fat pile of homework you send home every night. That's what we do but it still sounds as though she's keeping him in and denying him fun projects. It annoying. I'm sure that she thinks she's helping him build character and a sense of responsibility or something but she doesn't take the time to explain what she is doing. I told him any time he doesn't know what to do that he should ask the teacher. He says that she has a system in the class where she doesn't help kids with questions. She sends other kids in the class to help them. So here is a lesson for crony old teachers: Seven year olds aren't there to do your job and they don't learn responsibility by only doing sucky class assignments. They learn to hate school. Trust me, I know from experience. Teachers tried that on me all the time and I HATE SCHOOL. I hate it more than anyone I know. I hate school on behalf of my son. And I have a feeling that he is learning to hate school too and not from me.

Ethan said he was sick yesterday and my wife let him stay home. But I didn't let him watch TV or play video games. Instead I showed him how to tie an Arbor knot and a Surgeon's Knot when we put the fly line on his reel and then I made him sit with me and look through 1000 pages of Art History. I think the overall lesson in art history is that people are obsessed with war, Jesus and naked ladies and always will be.

I, on the otherhand, scored a 21 year-old-brain compared to the best 20 year-old-brain on that Brain Age game the first time I played it. I can also hold a conversation while I play Sudoku and still finish with a "Jet Speed" rating.

The more I play games like "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" the more it makes me just want to play the real drums and a real guitar. But I like these games. The music selection is right on in my opinion. I also think these games will encourage more people to get into playing real instruments because playing a lot of those songs is just as simple on the real guitar as it is in the video game, especially if you play 8 hours a day. Rock Band pisses me off because they penalize you for the playing the actual beat of the song on the drums as opposed to the overly simple beat they choose for you. I'm hoping that this video game craze may generate excitement for more music programs in schools. They could still have marching band for all the ugly people but they should also encourage the cool people to play music too by teaching rock music.

It doesn't make me proud that I've used this blog to publicly predict the US dollar weakening on Chinese whims or the crushing downfall of Britney Spears, but I am proud to say that I was into playing Rock Band way before Rock Band was cool:

Look, I'm even wearing our homemade band T-shirt: The Platypusses of Power Who Can Jump One Hundred Times Their Height. These pictures were taken by my mother who popped into my bedroom with her camera circa 1995.

The Platypusses are:
Me on guitar
Me's brother on drums
Geppetto on bass

These guys used to get mad at me for forcing them to play. Back then, Geppetto would always say things like, "I was going to come over to your house today but I didn't want you to make me play music so I didn't." but about a year ago he told me he was remembering those days and how they were fun and that he wished he had taken it more seriously.

I hope I can pass my musical exuberance onto my kids. I guess I have my subtle ways of learnin' my youngin's my ways. Here is how my daughter's closet has looked since the day we moved into our new house:

It's what every little girl should have in her play closet: Dress-ups, board games, puppets and a Behringer mixer.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Wheels are on the ground zoomin round and round

If you're a nice person then you shouldn't have to make an effort to be nice, right? For the most part, I think that I am nice but that doesn't mean that I don't have my moments of weakness. Like the other night when I was at work. They hire people with obvious handicaps to take care of the garbage and do janitorial work and one of these people was hobbling along towards me, just doing his job. And I almost starting laughing because it looked like a scene straight out of a monster movie. The zombie was coming to get me. And I put my face down in my elbow thinking that I'm only a horrible person if people catch me smiling at the stupid ideas that pop into my head.

Today, my daughter is sick. I've been sitting with her all morning. She got up and ran to the bathroom, she draped her arms over the side of the tub and she threw up. I kneeled behind her and pulled her hair out of the way. I rubbed my hand up and down her back. But I also checked out the pile of puke thinking, "So what did these guys have for dinner lastnight while I was away? I see greenbeans... does that mean chicken as well? Chicken, chicken, do I see any chicken?"

We have a winner!

I told Shrek those rats were a bad idea. You are what you eat I always say.

Sorry about the lack of posting. The thing is --- this whole internet thing is sooo 2007. The internet is OUT for 2008.

What's IN? you ask. Well it sure ain't Sodoku. My sources indicate that 2008 is all about importing/exporting. I would stay and chat about it but I'm in the middle of a scavenger hunt for poultry-only corndogs for immediate shipment to Korea.