Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Bit of Humor

Sometimes I just think things that make me laugh. Today, I'm sharing some recent ones with you. If you get bored and quit reading, that's OK. Everyone else, read on. Please bear in mind that some facts have been stretched to fit. It's my artistic license, and officer, I was only doing like 80.

The picture at the first was just to peak your curiosity. Did it work?


Students have busy lives. But not too busy for some things. You wanna know one of my peeves? I get irked when someone gets a new roll of toilet paper and doesn’t put it on the dispenser. What’s the deal?
I guarantee you, there were a few moments where you just sat there staring at that empty cardboard tube.
You couldn’t change it? Really?
Maybe you just couldn’t figure it out. That springy roll holder shaft thing, yeah. It sort of boggles the mind. It’s long, then it’s short. It’s out, now it’s in. It's a mysterious object. It’s off-the-hook.
One time I found the new roll just sitting on the floor next to the toilet. This is not good. There’s a reason for the dispenser being mounted above the toilet ground-level. It’s similar to the reason for wearing a raincoat if you’re in the first six rows at Sea World.
It's also dangerous to place the roll on the back tank of the toiler. It makes me nervous for the same reason mothers don't let their toddlers get too close to the edge of a swimming pool.
You’re never too busy to change the roll out, folks. Even if you are up ‘til 3am tryin’ to figure out the little springy shaft, it will be well worth your time.


I think parents should really be more picky about who they have watch their kids. What happened to all the choosy moms? Are they all out shopping for peanut butter?
A lot of parents just call up the first little young woman on the ward list.
That’s terrible logic. That’s like the same logic used in a really bad last-minute group date idea:

“Hey, man. Wanna join us for this group date?”
“Well, I sort of need a date.”
“Oh, we got one for ya.”
“Oh, ok. That works. As long as she is a single female that is going on the group date, that pretty much satisfies my criteria.”

You could end up with anyone from any stretch of the spectrum, psycho to sane, homely to handsome. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not leave my options to random chance.

I think these potential babysitters should be screened somehow. Of course, the parents probably already know the girls in their ward, but they should take it to the next level. What kind of special talents or skills do these girls have? What will they bring to our organization? I would seriously ask my kids, “What do you guys want in a babysitter?”

“Sarah, I’m sorry but you can’t be our babysitter. Our kids want somebody who can do tricks on the trampoline. We’ve seen your performance, and it’s just not what they’re looking for. We'll call you if we change our minds, thanks."

I think it would be really cool if you could find a babysitter who talked entirely in movie quotes. Can you imagine that? This person could entertain the kids for hours. They’d be the ultimate babysitter, hands-down.

One of the kids keeps fighting with his siblings, the babysitter goes MATRIX Reloaded–Agent Smith:

“Why, Timmy, why? Why? Why do you do it? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you are fighting for something for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know?”
“Why, Timmy, why? Why do you persist?”
Timmy’s like, “Because I choose to.” And that would satisfy the babysitter and Timmy could go on fighting.

Ever since I had this idea for a movie-quote babysitter, I actually watch movies with this in mind. Any good lines in here I could use on some kids later? Next time you watch a movie, try it. It's great fun.


I have a sister who’s just 4 years younger than me. She’s so cool. We have really similar taste in a lot of ways, so we always really mesh well. But there’s one thing we disagree on: ENYA. She can’t stand ENYA!

I’m not lying. I promise. I saw a few heads jerk up when I said that, like “Honor code! He just told a lie!”

She can’t stand ENYA. I was like, why?

It’s ENYA! She’s like this immortal fair good thing, probably not even human anymore. She has transcended our realm with her transcendent sounds. It’s probably where she got her name. It’s no longer her human name, it is ENYA. I imagine the waiting room outside of heaven. They aren’t playing ENYA. She’s performing there, live. It’s ENYA eternally LIVE!

I mean, you might as well not like Santa Claus. He’s nothing short of pure goodness! I mean, how can you not like ENYA???

It’s an absurd notion. The thought makes reason stare …whatever that means. It’s in one of our hymns, right? Oh My Father. Have you ever sat there in church with nothing but a hymnbook to entertain you?

The thought makes reason stare. Have you ever tried to picture that scene?
The thought… …it makes reason… …stare.

Like, what, it gives reason a blonde moment? Reason is just starin’ out into space?

I guess. I’d like the Joseph Smith Translation of that one. That thought is makin’ me stare.

Anyway, ENYA. She’s good. The first time through the Fellowship of the Rings movie, I was just loving that they had ENYA sing in some of the Elvish scenes. It was perfect. And I was happy.

But then I watched it over and over. I’ve got a nerd-addiction to it, ok? After watchin’ it a few times, I was like, Peter Jackson, what’s Liv Tyler doing playing Arwen? Are you crazy? You’ve got ENYA’s voice, it should be ENYA kissing Aragorn up there. What the Hobbit are you thinking?

So for the past few years, I’ve done this thing for my family at Christmas. I make a mix CD of Christmas music. I have this huge collection of the coolest Christmas music. So I keep collecting it, and every year, I give ‘em all a little taste of the best stuff. Well, I made all these CDs and gave them to my family members. My sister immediately opened it and put it in her player. And a few songs down the road, I realize …there’s some ENYA on this. Oops. But fortunately, she said that after listening to it a few times, it was growing on her.

Thank goodness. There is hope for my sister. By small and simple means, great music can come to pass.

Maybe she just has some negative association when it comes to ENYA. Like maybe she had a really creepy teacher in high school who looked like her or sang their lectures in Elvish.

“It’s some form of Elvish! I can’t read it. There are few who can.”

I should be the movie-quoting babysitter.

I know a few things about negative associations with music. Here’s the deal: about 70% of classic rock sounds like garbage to me.

Not my fault! I mean, there are some phenomenal classic rock artists, and I love them. But they only make up about 30% of the whole genre. This is due to a negative association.

I would go with my dad to haul garbage to the city dump, and it was a dirty, nasty place. There was garbage everywhere, it smelled like garbage, and the workers looked like they were trying to blend in with their surroundings. Their clothes were like garbage camo.

The workers had salvaged some old ghetto radio from the garbage that had a static sound coming out of one speaker. They always had it tuned to the local classic rock station.

For that reason, I can’t hear Credence Clearwater Revival without thinking of disgusting garbage.

It’s not their fault, they just sound like trash.


I donate plasma. I do, I’m not afraid. I was. I used to be super-afraid. You could even say I was mega-afraid. Blood, needles, …they just didn’t make me smile. I couldn’t turn my frown upside-down when I got poked.

But after a long time, I talked myself into conquering that fear. It wasn’t easy, but after a few times of donating plasma, I realized it wasn’t bad at all. It just took some getting used to. Now I get 50 extra bucks a week for sitting and watching movies. It’s kind of like babysitting, without the children.

I have a friend who gave me the perfect analogy for when you’re getting a needle in the arm. He said, “Just don’t think of it as a needle. Needles are small and painful. This thing is more like a sharpened straw. It’s just like pokin’ your Capri Sun.”

Wow. I don’t know if I can ever look at Capri Sun the same way again. I’ll be trying to console the little juice box and gently patting him to try and calm him before I jab the straw in.

(Here's where artistic license is used. A little. I don't know how my Mom feels about my plasma donating, and she was really good about the whole pre-mission medical stuff. Love you Mom!)

But I’m pretty sure my Mom is scared for me donating twice a week all the time. Most parents are. She’s really good-natured about letting me do what I choose, now that I’m a big boy.

But here’s what I don’t get: she’s worried about me donating plasma, but she had no problem with them jabbing me with all sorts of crazy needles to get ready for my mission.

Oh my gosh. It was like, ok Steve, we’re going to make sure you are vaccinated for every disease known to man, and then test your blood a few times to make sure we put enough medicine in it. So many shots! The doctor was pretty much running out of needles. He had to have a nurse go grab another case in the middle of it all.
I was not happy. I was barely hangin’ in there, looking pretty pale.

The doctor looked up at my mom, like “Do you think we should let him have a break, you could come back another day to finish up?”

“Naw… keep goin’. He’s fine.”
“But ma’am, he’s sobbing like a little girl…”

And then when they were taking blood samples, honestly, it got a little creepy. The first vial was full and the doctor leaves with it and then he comes back with another empty vial and wants to fill it. I mean, wasn’t one enough? Here he is, licking his lips and filling another! Ok, it’s not a Big Gulp, Dr. Cullen! No re-fills! I kind of need that stuff. I know you think it tastes like Cherry Coke, but c’mon.”

For those of you who endured to the end, bravo. You've been a great audience.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I'm calling this post "Survival" because everything I've got in mind to write fits that label. Let's start.

I have a pair of Adidas running shoes that I've had for almost four years. They're really comfortable and still in pretty good shape. I've taken them running / hiking / walking all over the west. In the process, the breathable material that covers the toe of the shoe started to wear in some spots. Some little slits started to form.

I tried to ignore the sad truth, but when I walked in the cold Idaho outside to the gym, the holes let in every draft of cold air. And when the feet aren't warm, the whole body feels cold.

SO ...I resolved to find a way to fix the holes. I had duct tape and super glue and ideas were already brewing for patching methods. I made sure the shoes were dry, then used the duct tape to seal the holes from the inside. Next, I attempted to bind the holes shut with super glue on the outside. It was adventure. As soon as I applied the super glue, it started to steam ...or smoke. And I could feel it getting super hot in my hand. I had triggered a chemical reaction that wasn't slowing down. I just blew on it super fast to cool it down, fearing that if I didn't the whole operation would spontaneously burst into flames in my hand. The blowing worked. It staved off the heat enough to allow the glue to dry and end the reaction. I proceeded to patch all the holes. I'm happy to say, it worked. I've given the shoes a few weeks of testing (walking, running, and hiking) and they've held up with no sign of weakening. I'm a survivor, and so are my shoes.

The Dart was due for an oil change. I'd already pre-bought all the needed stuff to do it from Napa (I love Napa). Then I waited. I waited for a day that would be warm enough for me to get out and do dirty car work. That day came. It was Monday. I got too busy with other things to do the oil change. So yesterday the weather was pretty favorable, and I braved it. Little granules of snow were coming down, but it wasn't too frigid, so everything was good. I used an old shower curtain to lay on (and threw it away afterward). It took about 20 minutes. Our complex won't allow us to work on our vehicles in the parking lot, so I pulled out onto the street for the procedure. I've got new spark plugs to install, but realized I'll need a socket for that job that I don't have ...yet. The Dart and I? Yeah, we're survivors.

There's another survivor I want to mention. His name is Bear Grylls. In my book, he's got to be the coolest thing to happen to modern television. OK, I'm exaggerating, but he's pretty amazing. That's why I just couldn't believe my ears at the post office last week. Some kid was talking with his friend on his cell-phone. And he was dissing on Bear. I got to eavesdrop on his reasons for this ignorant stance, as he was speaking pretty loud.

This kid was a Survivor Man fan. No offense to any of you who are too, but I just don't understand why. The ONLY ONLY sole, singular, pathetic argument for Survivor Man being better than Bear Grylls is this: "Dude, Survivor Man's legit. I mean, you know he's really surviving on his own because he doesn't have a camera crew there to help him."

OK? And .........
I'm a little biased. I've only watched one episode of Survivor Man. To be honest, I wasn't impressed by the guy's tactics, his failures, and the annoyance of him having to man the camera. In the episode I saw, he was trying to start a fire. He eventually took one of his older video cameras and busted it open to get a magnifying glass from the lens to try and start a fire with. Really? C'mon man. And once he got the magnifying glass, he realized that where he had built his fire-pit was in a shaded area, and he needed sun. SO he tried starting a fire with it in a sunny spot that he could carry back to his fire-pit ...and failed.

I'll give him some credit ---he's managed to get out of some pretty tight situations. But so have a lot of ordinary everyday people. It doesn't mean they deserve a slot in Prime-time television. He's no Bear Grylls, and he never will be.
I don't care that Bear has a camera crew with him. All his tactics are real, useful, pretty impressive, and most often successful. And the way I see it, it's more of a challenge helping your camera man and yourself through all the situations you encounter.

Given all that, the main reason I choose Bear over that other dude is the entertainment factor. There's no comparison: Bear has the vibrant personality of a natural entertainer. Survivor Man is a bore. Maybe that's why I see Bear Grylls on TV all the time and Survivor Man ...well, never. Bear is a survivor. Don't hate on the Bear. With such a manly name, how could you?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's in a VIN?

The long VIN (vehicle identification number) that's associated with your car isn't just a jumble of random letters and numbers. The numbers and letters actually mean something. It was interesting to go through the VIN for the Dart and see what it all meant.

The first letter is the car make: L = Dart

The second letter is the car series: H = Dart Custom

The next two digits are the body style: 41 = 4-door sedan

The fifth digit is the engine: C = 105 hp (1973-74) 1 bbl. slant-6

The sixth digit is the year the car was manufactured: 4 = 1974

The seventh digit is the assembly plant where the car was produced: R = Windsor, Ontario, Canada

The rest of the digits are the sequential production number, starting at 100,001.

So to determine which number my car was in the long line of production, I would subtract 100,000 from 294,150. It was the 194,150th Dart Custom produced at that plant in Ontario.

This might be a bore to most people. But it was pretty fascinating to me to know the detailed history of my old cruiser.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's Been Fun

So I'm now in the two-hundreds. This makes 201 posts. I have to say, I'm really really glad I do this. Not only do my family and friends get to keep up with all my nonsense, but I am able to keep track of all the little details of life.

I've used some of my past blog entries to reference dates, to get pictures back after my jump-drives were stolen, to get entries to use in my public speaking class (like the entries of my before/after donating plasma for the first time).

There's something so intriguing about personal history. People can look at old photos for hours or get so wrapped up in reading an ancestor's journal (or somebody's blog) that they lose track of time and end up reading through the whole thing in one sitting.

A bit of my day: Today I went and held an exam review for the class I am a Teacher's Assistant for. They're awesome students. When we were discussing what time we wanted to have the review, I thought they'd want to wait 'til later (it being Saturday morning and all). The consensus was 9:00am, with 8:00am as a close second! That's almost unheard of for college students. Maybe they just wanted to get it over with and get on with their three-day weekend.

An atrocity: I heard something appalling the other day. A young guy I know was talking about how he's learning the song Free Fallin' on the guitar. That's not the appalling part, hold on. It's coming. Someone asked him, "Oh, Tom Petty?" His response was: "No, the new version by John Mayer. It's way better than the original."
I was floored. Does the younger generation scoff so easily at an immortal classic? I've heard the John Mayer version, and it kills me to hear him murder the song. Honestly. I'd probably be OK with it if it was another song, but you can't mess with perfection. Oh what sad times are these. Anyhow, as a tribute, I've added Free Fallin' -the real one, back to my playlist. And as a non-tribute, I have refused to add the John Mayer version.
I'm sorry, but I had to take a stand. The preservation of our country's musical integrity is on the line.

A highlight: I was at the plasma center again on Thursday afternoon. Their computer thinks I've lost weight. And I have. Their electronic scale showed that I'd lost a significant amount of weight, so it registered a re-check request. My finger-pricking female friend said "I'm gonna have to have you step back on the scale."


"It wants me to check you again because the number I entered is a lot less than usual. Have you lost weight?"

"Yeah, I have."

And then the computer needed a reason for the weight loss ...for the record, I guess.
"So, what's the cause of the weight loss, diet and exercise?"

"Yeah." I stated, quite pleased, flattered really.
That computer had noticed. And it'll only be a matter of time before others notice. Other people. Not computers.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I've got issues.
No, really. I can't go to the grocery store without walking by the cilantro and wanting to buy a bunch.
Every time I have to reason with myself that I don't need it for anything.
I love the stuff. I get excited over fresh produce.
Today, I gave in and went ahead and bought some cilantro ...and the rest of the ingredients needed for the Cafe Rio Tomatillo dressing.

When I grow up (which, in fact, should be happening pretty soon), I want to have fresh herbs to cook with all the time. (That's not a marijuana reference)
I think I may have to start a little window-box herb garden. It would save money ---and add some spice to my life.

So now you know.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brag and Tell

Because I don't have pictures, it's not show and tell.
OK, it's not really anything to brag about. But it's improvement.
I went to bed at 1:00am and got up at 8:15. And I plan on repeating that tonight.
I'm getting back into the swing of a better sleep schedule.
I guess I should report on the progress of my goal.
I'm talking about the "stick to a schedule" resolution from January.
I'm doing it! It's paying off too.
I just noticed that nearly the whole left column starts with "I".
I'm not vain, I promise.
I go work-out on the elliptical for an hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Then on Tuesday and Thursday I go to a free class called "Abs that Rock". The name is right, though I think they should start the beginners out with a class called "Abs that Roll". It's been a real jump-start to core strengthening -something I haven't really focused on seriously before.
For the most part, I'm doing great with the work-outs. But some of the stuff our fearless leader Jake wants us to do is all but impossible for me. I'll start out, do about 3 or 4, and then fall flat on the mat. I'm trying to get my muscles to do things they've never tried before. But with each class, I get better at it.
That's about it for the "bragging".
Now, let me tell you: I've been watching Overhaulin' lately and it's starting to drive me nuts. My old car is sitting parked in the lot just begging to be Overhauled. I'm getting the itch to do any sort of repair or anything on it; the problem is that a college budget won't cut it. I guess I could buy some sheets of sandpaper and just go at it, hand-sanding each inch lovingly, spending some real get-to-know-you time with the Dart, which is something I haven't done in years.
The cold weather is a deterrent too, but still. On a sunny day, I'll get out there and wash the windows or detail clean some parts. Pathetic, I know. Mr. Chip Foose, please rescue me!
Having a car Overhauled would be a dream, for sure. The only drawback to that would be that I wasn't in there working on the project with the crew. But if it were Chip Foose, I think I'd be OK with that.
I keep checking out restoration parts sites and drooling over pictures of restored Mopar Muscle cars. One day day.
I keep scheming about how I could raise money to get down to restoring the Old Lady. Maybe a blog devoted to her with her life story and a plea to donate to the cause. For those who donate, I could make a road-trip around the country to visit each significant donor to show them the final product.
I know some ladies who specialize in raising money. I might have to recruit.
Some folks may not see it, but she deserves a restoration, She's a special car.
Now you've been told.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ideas at Night

What's the opposite of writer's block?
That's what I had last night. As I was laying in bed, an idea for the start of a story was formulating in my mind. Not only that, sentences were coming together like magic -sentences that were too brilliant not to be written down.
There was only one thing to do: get up and write it all down.
So by the light of my cell-phone screen (so as not to wake my roommate), I found my notebook and a pen and headed out to the living room to jot down my ideas.
One hour and four pages later, I was able to climb back into bed content that I had secured the ideas and that they hadn't been lost to the fogginess of the sleepy mind.
I do love writing. Sometimes I forget that fact when I'm knee-deep in homework.
What was my story idea? I may share it once I've worked it over a few times and made it presentable.
That's all for now. Off to the gym!