Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where Have You Gone Gwen Stefani

Dear Gwen,
Please come back. You’re better than this. There’s no need to prostitute yourself. There’s plenty of hip hop whores as it is. I was willing to forgive your first indiscretion (it’s been hard to forget though). I pretended it never happened. But then you went and did this.

It’s like I don’t even know you anymore. What happened to my beautiful talented 1996 Gwen? You were a revelation to me. Your bright red lipstick and funky attitude made me swoon. Look at yourself now. It’s as if you’ve gone brain dead.

I’m bewildered by the new you. Imagine Gandhi becoming a terrorist, Whitney Houston laying off the crack, or Dick Cheney turning into a caring man. All preposterous scenarios. Just like this little hip hop foray of yours.

Maybe you just need to get away from it all. Get out of Hollywood and get back to the real Gwen. A little time away could do wonders. I’ve got a spare bedroom here in Texas. You’re welcome to it. My wife won’t mind. I promise. Anything to help you get back on track.

You’re too talented to throw it all away like this. I don’t want to give up on you, but I just can’t handle another misguided hip hop album. So please come back to your senses.

Desperately awaiting your reformation,


The above post is a blatant rip off of a concept often seen on the Shrff’s blog.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tennis Shoes and Bongos

Today I had to go downtown for an all day HR forum. This was your classic corporate get together highlighted by a couple of ridiculous moments.

As part of the day we had to attend a couple of seminars one of which was entitled “Organization Diagnostics”. Sounds riveting huh? As an example of diagnostics the instructor used a story about taking her horse to the vet at Texas A&M. She told us that she had more horses than sense and by the end of her story I determined she also had more money than sense. She had “rescued” the horse from the slaughterhouse and the horse wasn’t doing well. Imagine that. So she carts the thing down to Texas A&M to get a full examination of x-rays, blood work, etc. and learned from the vet that the horse had arthritis and bad hooves. As a result, she had to get an anti-inflammatory for the horse’s arthritis and here’s the kicker—special tennis shoes for the horse. Did I just hear that right? She’s got a horse that wears tennis shoes? At this point, I’m checked out because what can you learn from someone that keeps an old horse that wears tennis shoes? Rather than blowing a wad of cash on the vet, anti-inflammatories, and tennis shoes, I could have diagnosed and solved this problem much quicker and for a lot less.

The second ridiculous moment of the day happened after our classes were finished. Everyone was waiting outside the ballroom to go back in but the doors were shut and we weren’t allowed in. Suddenly the doors opened to a room full of bongo drums and a music group on stage beating away on their drums.

The following thoughts instantly flashed through my mind. WTH? This isn’t good. How can I get out of here without my boss knowing I skipped? What embarrassing things am I gonna be forced to do? Well, I realized there was no way to skip without getting caught so I was stuck.

The pony tailed twit leading this whole thing was the worst kind of obnoxious. He was like Tony Robbins on weed and was so into the whole thing it was making me sick. He was running around getting everyone to play their drums and then started talking all this new age mumbo jumbo about one beat, one rhythm, communicating through drumming, blah, blah, blah. I absolutely hate garbage like this.

There really is something to be said about having a respectable job--a job you’re proud to tell people about. Playing bongo drums with a bunch of corporate stiffs isn’t one of them. Picking up road kill, cleaning bathrooms, or flipping burgers, jobs generally ridiculed by society, are infinitely more respectable. At least you’re providing a necessary service.

Unfortunately the drumming activity, like the energizer bunny, just kept going, and going, and going. I was trying my hardest to not look totally disgusted with the whole thing but that’s a real stretch for me. I find stupidity insufferable, and for me, this was stupidity at the highest level. Finally it all came to an end and I avoided being duped into doing anything ridiculous. I can’t say the same for a lot of other people.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Last week I came across this message board post and spent a couple of hours reading about different people's reaction to the BYU win over Utah last November. I totally related to these guys, and the whole message thread made me smile. So here's how my experience went.

I was in Manila last year and didn't get to watch the game, but I got up at 4:00 am to listen on KSL. I was hoping for a crushing humiliating defeat of the Utes, and after the first quarter, that seemed like a real possibility. However, things took a turn for the worse in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and the game got very close. I was really fretting but still had confidence in the Cougs. By the 4th quarter though when Utah scored the go ahead touchdown with 1:20 remaining, I was physically ill. Things were bleak, and it appeared we would lose to the Pukes again. I just couldn't stomach the thought of having another year ruined by losing to the infernal Utes. I witnessed BYU's heartbreaking overtime loss to Utah in Lavell Edwards Stadium the year before, and it was more than I could take. Was I going to have to endure this another year? You often hear stories about an old couple where one of them dies and then the other dies in short order for no real reason other than what seems to be a broken heart. That's the path I was headed down. My heart just couldn't take another loss.

At this point I was dumbfounded. How could we let this happen again? We were clearly the better team. We were the better team last year too. What was wrong in the Universe? I did have an inkling of hope though because Utah left us 1:20 on the clock. With so little time, the odds are really against you, but I knew BYU's offense was capable of scoring in that amount of time. Listening to that last drive my stomach was in knots as I desperately hoped for a victory. We had to convert an agonizing 4th down, but somehow we managed to march down the field and get in a position to take two shots at the end zone before time would expire. On the first play, no one was open and Beck’s pass fell incomplete. We were down to one final play. The play began with me doubled over in my chair, pulling at my hair, breathing heavily, and begging for a victory when suddenly the announcer shrieked "Caught for the touchdown! Caught for the touchdown!” I immediately slumped to the floor overcome with joy and relief shouting "Yes! Yes! Yes!” After a few moments I picked myself up and started bouncing around our little apartment unable to contain my exuberance. Hallelujah! Things were right in the Universe again, and BYU claimed their rightful spot atop the Utes.

Thoroughly kicking the crap out of a team is nice, but devastating a team by snatching a victory away in the final seconds on their home field is so much sweeter. In the end, this was the most crushing defeat of all. Go Cougs!

If you’re a BYU fan having a bad day, watch this clip and I promise all will be well in your world again. I just watched it and tears of joy welled up in my eyes. No matter how many times I watch the clip and despite the fact I know the outcome, I can't help but throw my arms up in exuberance and shout "Touchdown! Touchdown!" I literally get giddy.

Here are some other great links:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ice Fishing

Well it's hotter than hell here in Texas with no relief in sight. Wishing for some kind of relief, I started thinking about ice fishing. Ice fishing is one of the great rewards of living in the North, and not being able to ice fish here in Texas is one of the reasons I won't be staying long. I'm really not a fan of hot weather and much prefer living in a cooler climate. Don't get me wrong. Summer is nice, but day after day of unrelenting heat is miserable. I'm always ready for summer to be over and for fall to start. And unlike most people, I anxiously await the onset of truly cold weather. I watch the weather like a hawk waiting for that first consistent stretch of single digit or sub zero lows which will put ice on the lakes. Also, ice fishing is best right after the ice forms so that makes it even more important know when the ice has formed.

I like at least 3 inches but really prefer 4 inches of ice. At first ice, I also like to let others go out first. No reason for me to be the guinea pig! Some guys will go out on 2 inches of ice; I'm not one of them. It's a cold bath if you go through. I broke through once as a little kid but only one leg went in the drink. My grandpa wasn’t too happy with me either because we had to cut our ice fishing short. In fact he made me sit there for like 15 minutes while he kept fishing. Once he realized I was freezing though, he decided to leave.

I went to Utah for Christmas this year and went ice fishing twice. I convinced my brother-in-law Kevin to fish Rockport with me, and it was a great time. The weather had gotten really warm so the edges of the ice were melted, and the ice had an inch or so of water on top of it. I'll be honest; it looked pretty scary. We managed to find a spot where the edges werent too melted and jumped onto the ice. From there it got even scarier because the ice was completely translucent. So we were gingerly shuffling our way across the ice and could see right through it. That'll really make you pucker your butt cheeks. I drilled some test holes though and found the ice to be 3 inches thick so we were good. It was still spooky though.

Ice fishing really isn't that cold of an activity if you dress right; unfortunately neither Kevin nor I were very prepared. It had been pretty warm so we didn't wear a lot of clothes. Big mistake. You should always over dress because you can take layers off, but you can't put them on. It wasn't bitterly cold; however, with no sunshine and the wind blowing, it felt pretty raw out there. As long as the wind doesn't blow, you're usually fine, but when the wind picks up, it can get nasty real quick. We were catching enough fish though to tough it out. We didn't catch a lot but were getting bites consistently enough that we stayed for a fair amount of time. You can't leave if the fish are biting no matter how cold you are! We managed to catch a few trout and some perch. I fried the perch up for Ned and me, and they were delicious.

Later in the week I went ice fishing at Strawberry with a guy (Kent) I met from a fishing message board in Utah. Sounds kinda weird, but I promise it's no big deal. Anyway, we left Salt Lake at 5:30 am and got back around 7:30 pm so it was a full day. Kent had more gear than anyone I've ever seen. He had propane heaters, collapsable ice shack, power auger, hand auger, GPS unit, tons of fishing poles, two fish finders, an underwater camera, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember. I got the pleasure of dragging all this stuff out to our first fishing spot a half mile from the truck. The GPS said half mile so I'm not exaggerating. There was a lot of snow on the ice and the sled was dragging through the snow rather than riding on top of it which made for slow going. By the time we got to our spot, I was sweating and pretty worn out. It was worth it though because we started catching nice cutthroats right away.

After a few hours, the fishing slowed and the wind picked up making things much colder and prompting Kent to decide to move to an island about a mile away. I wasn't looking forward to dragging everything over there, but I was his guest so off we went. I would go 50 to 100 feet tops and then have to stop to catch my breath. Kent was dragging stuff too, and I seriously thought he was going to die. He could go about half as far as me and then would be doubled over heaving. I kept thinking he was gonna have a heart attack at any moment. It’s a good thing he didn’t because I wasn’t giving mouth to mouth to some guy I just met.

We finally got to our new spot and set up the ice shack. That got us out of the wind and made things much warmer. We also started catching fish right away and kept on catching fish the rest of the day. It was one of the best days of ice fishing I've ever had. The coolest thing was using the fish finder. You could see the fish on the screen as soon as they swam under your hole and you could also see your jig on the screen. By moving your jig up to the fish, you would usually get a bite. Thankfully the trek back to the truck was much easier because the wind had blown the snow off the ice which made dragging the sled much easier.

My other 3 ice fishing trips happened in February when I went home for my grandma's funeral. I wish I could have gone home under better circumstances, but it was great to see my whole family and to go ice fishing with my dad. Ice fishing with my dad is pretty low tech. No fish finders, fancy reels, or ice shacks. He’s still using the same equipment he’s had for 30 years. That’s what I love about ice fishing though. It’s cheap, simple, and provides easy access to any lake. My dad and I went ice fishing at the little gravel pit just south of North Manchester. I like this gravel pit because it brings back good memories of fishing as a kid with my dad. Any time I drive by it, I tell Jocelyn that is where I used to fish with my dad, and she usually says something like “Yeah, I know. You tell me that every time we drive by here.” I doubt that there are any big fish in the gravel pit, but Dad and I did manage to catch a nice mess of bluegill and crappie which provided for a good fish fry before I left.

I really wish I could ice fish more, but I’ll have to wait until at least the end of the year. I’ll be in Indiana for Christmas so here’s to hoping that it’s freezing cold and all the lakes are frozen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Yesterday I declared to the entire world my nerdiness by blogging about Charlie Rose, but lest you think I only watch "boring" TV, I decided to blog about some of my guilty pleasure TV viewing. I'll give you just 3 for fear of revealing too much about myself.

1. Reno 911!--All I can say is it's absolutely hilarious. And quite crass. So I can't in good conscience recommend it to anyone. In general my viewing usually goes something like this. I watch for 10 minutes, and they push the envelope a couple of times. I think of changing the channel but don't because it's so funny. Then about 15-20 minutes in they completely cross the line, and I'm forced to find something else to watch. I really wish they would clean it up a little bit so I could watch it more often, but I'm probably in the minority when it comes to what their audience wants. I used to watch more often, but now I probably only watch once a month if that often. My all time favorite segment is where Lt. Dangle and Trudy are called to the library because someone pooped in the book deposit box. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV.

2. Viva La Bam--I also don't watch this show with any regularity but will occasionally tune in. In general this is a mildly funny show that is filled with incredible stupidity; however, this is the only show that has ever made me laugh so hard that I fell off the couch and completely lost control of myself. Fortunately not my bowels, but it was close. I couldn't breathe, I was crying, and I was in physical pain. And it's happened twice!
The first time was when they tricked one of the guys into taking his shirt off and hitting a piñata; however, once blindfolded, they substituted a bee hive for the piñata. The ensuing mayhem crippled me with laughter. The second time was when they dug a tunnel under the house and cut a hole into Don Vito's bedroom floor and surprised him the next day. Both of these scenarios are juvenile and ridiculous, but in the moment, it was as if they hit my natural frequency for laughter and I lost all control of myself.

3. Smallville--I'm putting Smallville in this list because I don't know a lot of other 29 year old guys that watch it. I only dabble in the other two shows listed previously, but I'm a true fanatic of Smallville. I've been watching Smallville since day one and can whole heartedly recommend it to anyone. In 2001 when Smallville started, the WB was an up and coming network. I was always afraid it would tank thus taking Smallville down with it. I constantly told the people I worked with to support the WB by watching Smallville thereby ensuring its continued existence. I don't pretend to have had any influence, but six seasons later everything seems to be fine, and Season 7 will be starting soon. (A true miracle. I never expected it to get past 3 or 4 seasons) Unfortunately, I missed all of Season 6 since I was in the Philippines so I have to rent it and get caught up. I'm waiting for Netflix or Blockbuster to stock it online so I can sign up for a free membership and then have a Season 6 marathon. If they don't stock it soon though, I’ll break down and buy it. If I had to recommend only one episode for viewing, without a doubt it would be Episode 100. So many things came to a climax; It's a real tour de force.

Quote of the Day: We need to focus on our simularities.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Charlie Rose

I’ve been a fan of Charlie Rose for quite awhile. I first began watching his show after my freshman year in college. I had a job in a factory working 2nd shift which meant I would get home late and be wide awake. I would usually watch TV until 1-2 am, and Charlie Rose was one of the only good things on at that hour. I had surfed past the program a few times but never stopped to watch; however, one night Charlie had a round table of boxing analysts, including Teddy Atlas, discussing Mike Tyson. Teddy had some great stories about Mike Tyson, and I was intrigued by a PBS show that would spend an hour talking about boxing and Mike Tyson. So I decided to watch more regularly and found that I really enjoyed Charlie Rose’s style and the broad range of topics covered. On any given night his guests might include authors, Generals, politicians, directors, artists, scientists, athletes, business men, curators, political analysts, actors/actresses, etc. The show is rarely antagonistic, unlike so many of the cable news shows, yet he still manages to ask tough, intriguing, and incisive questions. Now I’ll admit, I don’t always enjoy every show. When dealing with the arts, it can be rather elitist and pretentious. But overall, I really enjoy the show and find it very informing.

For a long time I didn’t watch Charlie Rose much because it comes on so late. Unlike Jocelyn, I like to go to bed before Midnight, and even if I was up that late, Jocelyn never wanted to watch Charlie Rose because she thinks it’s boring. However, now that we have a DVR, I’ve solved both of those problems. I record Charlie Rose every night and then watch it on my own time. And if I don’t like the program, it’s easy to delete.

Charlie’s recent coverage of the Iraq war has been tremendous. Infinitely better than anything you could get from the gas bags on cable like Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, or Sean Hannity. With Charlie Rose, the show is all about the guest and not Charlie. He invites experts, asks them intelligent questions, and let’s them speak their mind. As a viewer you get a myriad of different viewpoints, and then you're allowed to come to your own conclusions. For me, this is so much better than some pompous know it all telling you exactly how to think while shouting at his guests. We need more intelligent TV shows like Charlie Rose, and I hope he keeps it up for many years to come. Check him out; at a minimum, you’ll learn something, and most likely you’ll really enjoy it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Water Basketball

Yesterday we had an Elders Quorum activity at a guy’s house in our ward that has an awesome place with a gorgeous pool and patio. We all brought food and grilled brats, chicken, burgers, and hot dogs. I had a great time, and it was a nice way to get to know the guys in the ward better. The food was delicious, and in general we all made pigs of ourselves. At least I did, but what else would you expect. The best part of the whole evening though was playing water basketball.

My freshman year at BYU I played water basketball all the time with the guys from my dorm, and it’s my favorite sporting activity. For those who don’t know the rules of water basketball, that’s understandable, because there are none! Well, I guess there are a few rules. No punching, gouging, biting, or groin shots, but that’s about it. You play in the shallow end of the pool so you aren’t treading water, and the basket should be low enough that an average guy can dunk the ball. From there it’s just a matter of getting the ball in the hole however you can with guys grabbing, pushing, and dunking you. It’s the best.

One day at BYU a group of guys we didn’t know challenged us to a game of water basketball. We established up front that there were no rules to which they agreed. These guys were really cocky and thought they were tougher than us, but they didn’t realize what no rules meant. They were bigger than us so we knew we would have to be extra physical.

This game produced one of my best BYU memories. I can still see Justin Draeger draped over the back of one of the guys with his legs wrapped around him and kicking at the guy’s groin. The dude freaked out to which Justin replied, “We said no rules.” We all agreed however that Justin had gone a bit too far and that going forward all groin shots would be illegal. I think we agreed to it for fear of retribution! From that point on it was a tough physical game, but we showed them who was tougher and regulated on their anuses.

Yesterday’s game of water basketball was just as physical as any game in college, and we all had a great time. I got major cramps in my calves though and had to sit out awhile, but after a banana and some water, I was good to go again. At one point during the game, I wrapped up two guys and cleared them out so my teammate would be open for an easy dunk. However the other team claimed that was unfair and requested a “do over”. A “do over”? What is this the Ladies League? I didn’t protest though since we’re all friends.

Today at church one lady jokingly said, “I heard you beat my husband up last night.” Jocelyn later said to me, “Why did you do that? I’m sure you went way overboard.” Maybe a little bit but not really. Everyone was very physical, and we all enjoyed it. I’d love to play water basketball more often. It’s a great workout (my aching body is evidence of that) and doesn’t even feel like exercise since it’s so fun. If you’ve never played water basketball, you really should try it. You’ll love it.

Quote of the Day has been removed because the tyrannical dictator of my life has revoked my right of Freedom of Speech.