Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Has it been that long?

27 years ago tonight, my parents and I were baptised in Columbia South Carolina. To celebrate this occasion and it being a Wednesday this year, I have random Mormon images.

Gunnar's future plans

A lot of Mitt toons out there

So, So true

Unbelievably True

My all time favorite for total awesomeness!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Start the Speculating Part whatever

Our Stake President is moving to Florida next month so we are getting a new one on January 25th. I am almost afraid to go to work as I might miss the phone call from the big boys out in Salt Lake. I wonder if it would be helpful if I sent a resume in :-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yeah, I Don't Think So

Like all nine year olds, Zeke experiences itching in interesting places sometimes. Being a very inquisitive boy, and because I got him a wonderful little book last year, Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty, he began researching his ailment.

Today at lunch he proudly announced he had made a successful diagnosis; and then showed us the entry on body lice also known as crabs. Yes, that crabs.

Try again grasshopper.

BTW - It is an awesome little book for any of your 8-12 year olds.

Story of Lisa

Inspired by the talk at church yesterday, I feel now would be a good time to share a story about Lisa from before we had the kids. We went to the wonderful Movies 8 in Provo with some friends. In those days Movies 8 was a dollar theater showing movies after general release but before they come out on VHS. Well we went to see Three Men and a Little Lady, which starred a few of the more well known male actors of the day. But one of the female supporting actors was the delightful Fiona Shaw, who most of you now know as Petunia Dursley. In this movie she played a befuddled school mistress who was shamelessly flirting with (and throwing herself at) Tom Selleck's character Peter (who was an architect). In the scene she sees Peter staring out a window at a building and tries to make flirty small talk and says the following:

Miss Elspeth Lomax: I'm sure that's nothing compared to some of your other marvelous erections!

You must remember this was an audience of 200 quiet and reserved BYU (i.e. Mormons) students all trying to make a good impression on their dates. So the little side joke almost slipped by, except one lone soul in the whole place busted out with uncontrolled laughter. After that everyone in the place started laughing, but I think they were laughing at her.

That is one of the reasons I love her. The ability to say situation be damned, I am going to laugh at a good penis joke when I hear it.

PS - I tried to find a video clip online so you could see it, but Googling "marvelous erections" IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The other event from history

The little Mormon Boy who almost could - born on December 28, 1990 as well.

18 years and counting

Twenty-one short years ago Lisa and I first met at BYU and she relentlessly begged me to go out with her. Three years and one mission later I finally gave in and we met up at the Chicago temple 18 years ago today. I do not want to wax poetic on how lucky she has been, but instead I want to address the question that most people ask; "What is your secret on being such a phenomanal power couple who are way more blissfully happy than we are?"

Well I will tell you it is not as hard as people think. After two years of struggling we spent the money and bought two separate, but equal duvets. That is the true inside secret to an enduring and happy marriage - each having your own blanket at night. Everything else like kids, money, and work will just take care of themselves.
Here is to 18 more.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

So the battle begins

Gunnar lied to us last night to meet up with a girl. At least we made it halfway through sophmore year - only 2.5 years to go!

FWIW: She is a very pretty girl.

You just slowly fade away.

Zeke was perusing his new Ink-something book for Christmas when he shared this bit of wisdom.

I see the author is finally saying the characters are dead (as in they died). In the first two she always said they were DECREASED.

He He

Take it or leave it

Insect Dreams: The half life of Gregor Samsa
Marc Estrin

What if Kafka’s Metamorphosis met Forrest Gump met a history text book; that is the basis of this book. Gregor is a salesman who became a cockroach and lived. The book follows his travels as he interacts with famous people and situations of the day (1914 to 1945), but I can sum it up pretty easily. Too many details, not enough story; and regardless what this Frederick Reuss on the cover says, it wasn’t that funny either.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bonnie & Eric consider this to be a challenge

How tired do you have to be...

So I finally make it to the restroom during my lunch break. I was at Target and luckily the bathroom was empty. I stepped up to the urinal and began the "process", but immediately ran into problems. It just wasn't working right, so I gave up and went to a full stall to sort it.

Now I get it - that morning I had put my underwear on BACKWARDS?!?!?!?

That was yet another lifetime first.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Gospel of Biff

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal
Christopher Moore

I really, really enjoyed this book. To be fair, most people I know would not be able to stomach an alternate telling of Christ’s life, especially by a main character that is so coarse and profane. If you can look beyond that and instead see the overlaying theme, a really poignant tale emerges.

What happened to Christ during those 30 years prior to beginning his ministry? That is the mystery the author tries to imagine. Jesus, referred to as Joshua throughout, recognizes from the beginning he is the Messiah, but at the same time realizes he does not know how to be the Messiah. Thus he with his best friend Levi, also known as Biff, at the age of thirteen decides the best course of action would be to track down the three wise men who visited him at his birth. The theory being they knew who he truly was, perhaps they could teach him. Thus began his 17 years of training from India to Tibet to China as he learns all about Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucius, and Taoism. It is through these disciplines he learns about himself, and what his Father wants to be shared with the world.

In the end you are left with the impression of a divine man, but a real man who learns to fulfill his true potential and change the world. Unfortunately most people who would gain from this book would be to caught up in the occasional profanity, the humorous slant, and the emystifying of Jesus (to some extent). Sort of like the Pharisees missing the whole point of the Gospel worried about the fact the Savior healed somebody on the Sabbath.

A good example of the ministry phase of the book is this retelling of the walking on water miracle from Matthew 14:25-32.

Even we were astounded by this new miracle, an we sat in the boat with our mouths hanging open as Joshua approached.
“What?” he said. “What? What? What?”
“Master, you’re walking on the water,” said Peter.
“I just ate,” Joshua said. “You can’t go into the water for an hour after you eat. You could get a cramp. What, none of you guys have mothers?”
“It’s a miracle,” shouted Peter.
“It’s no big deal,” Joshua said, dismissing the miracle with the wave of a hand. “It’s easy. Really, Peter, you should try it.”
Peter stood up in the boat tentatively.
“Really, try it.”
Peter started to take off his tunic.
“Keep that on,” said Joshua. “And your sandals too.”
“But Lord, this is a new tunic.”
“Then keep it dry, peter. Come to me. Step upon the water.”
Peter put one foot over the side and into the water.
“Trust your faith, Peter,” I (Biff) yelled. “If you doubt you won’t be able to do it.”
Then Peter stepped with both feet onto the surface of the water, and for a split second he stood there. And we were all amazed. “Hey I’m---“ Then he sank like a stone. He came up sputtering. We were all doubled over giggling, and even Joshua had sunk up to his ankles, he was laughing so hard.
“I can’t believe you fell for that,” said Joshua. He ran across the water and helped us pull Peter into the boat. “Peter, you’re as dumb as a box of rocks. But what amazing faith you have. I am going to build my church on this box of rocks.”

The above is a pretty good example of how the story is retold, funny and poignant at the same time. I highly recommend this book unless you have too large of a Pharisaical stick up your butt. In that case just go with the works of Jack Weyland for your fiction needs.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Turn Your Head and Cough

Since I am closing in on the big 40 I thought I should have a few health markers to determine if I am doing alright. I made a quick list of ten items that would be good indicators of my overall well being.

The first five are somewhat medical in nature.
1. Blood Pressure - my goal to be under 120/80 (Currently No)
2. Lipid Profile - I have this done annually thanks to my crappy genetics.
Goal HDL +40, LDL less 150, Triglycerides less 300 (currently No)
3. Body Fat Percent - Less than 25% (Currently a big no)
4. Waist measurement - 36 inches (currently 39)
5. Not as important as 3 & 4, but BMI of 24 (that would make me 200#'s)

The next 5 are more physical - Not currently meeting any of them
6. Bodyweight Squats - 50 under 2 minutes
7. Bodyweight Push-ups - 50 under 2 minutes
8. Bodyweight Pull-ups - 10 under 2 minutes
9. 3 Mile Run - less than 30 minutes
10. The photo test - photo in swimsuit

If I can meet most if not all of these by my fortieth this summer, well I think I will have a chance at getting even older. My physical will be this August, I hope you all will join me on my quest.


It's Wednesday

It is amazing how many of these type of light switch covers are out there. Three over, two down - Very Hot!
Translation Fail!
I guess it is true what they say about me and my truck.
Just outside of Hartford.

No One Can Resist ...

Love him or hate him, Alec Baldwin has done some of the most Laugh Out loud skits on Saturday Night Live.

And speaking of getting sick, this short clip makes me laugh until I cry everytime - and I have seen it probably 50 times.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The cold slippery fingers are grabbing at me.

Over the last few years I have had two Christmas's that have featured apocalyptic puking beyond belief. The type wherein you get dehydrated so bad you are delirious, and not in that good Prince way either.

Well nine days to Christmas and Gunnar was puking Saturday, and then we had Cenny up last night redecorating her bedsheets.

I feel it coming with all the paranoia of schizophrenic Coleman supporter. BAd things are in the air, and they are out to get me.

Ho Ho Ho!

Taking it from the man.

We did not get our mail delivered for four days because here in the the great white not-so north the post office has a policy. They will not deliver mail to a house that has not shoveled its pathway to the mailbox, i.e. the front walk. Now I agree with that policy for what it is, and given we make sure our sidewalks are shoveled regularly more-so than our front path, we can and do fall afoul of it.

What gets me is even when our walk is cleaned off the disingenuous bloody git still cuts across our yard, not even using the walk!! But whatever, I am not about to complain and possible screw up my mail service any more than it is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why I hate it here sometimes

The current temperature tight now is minus 6°F. That is the straight temperature not counting wind chill. According to the weather service we have had a 45°F swing in the last 24 hours. It is only going to get colder tomorrow!

I couldn't even talk poor Parker to get out of his bed to go outside. It is that freaking cold.

Luckily tonight we get to go out for a basketball game and choir & band concerts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Unintentionally funny, and so wrong

From chapter 23 of the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith. I was studying when I came upon the following quote:

"every hand to facilitate its erection"

Given that the Chapter quote at the beginning of the lesson was:

“A long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together.”

Look it up, prove me wrong. I will never grow up - I am having too much fun.

(juvenile he he he)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It was a good deal

We decided to use odd lot carpet tiles to do Gunnar's room. We got them off of Eric, and all I had to do was commit Gunnar to de-poop their yard after the winter; when the snow melts. How much poop could one little Great Dane produce over the winter? Anyways they had a whole group of red and gray striped ones that we were able to fashion into two large A's.
Now you might be assuming it is an Alcoholic Annonymous reference, or even referring to our High School, Awesome Austin - but you would be wrong. It is in honor of Gunnar's favorite member of the boy band O-Town - the adorable Ashley Angel.

Remodel Going Strong

So we got the room painted, the electricity hooked up and fixtures installed, the finish carpentry cut, painted, & installed, the carpet tiles, and today I got the Ikea closets done. Plus a door handle. I have to make the attic storage door, put the air conditioning pipes back in, and make his elevated bed/desk. Then I am done. Easy.

Window newly framed

The right half of the Ikea Unit

The access to the attic space

And since Gunnar is tall we put the light switch near the ceiling. Actually the lights are on 3 way switches and this will be right next to the elevated bed. This way he can turn his lights off and on while in bed. Without the bed it looks a little strange.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Christmas Picks

95% of the books I read come from my awesome library system (all the regional libraries are hooked up and I can check out a book from any one of them and they will deliver it to mine for free), but I tend to buy LDS books. This year for Christmas I am getting two and I just ordered them.

First is the new Penguin release of the Book of Mormon. It is the last Joseph Smith edited version in the original paragraphing without all the extraneous material. It is a great resource at a great price - everyone should own one.

The second one is the new guidebook to the Doctrine and Covenants,
Making Sense of the Doctrine & Covenants: A Guided Tour Through Modern Revelations by Steven Harper. It will give you a leg up on being the smart butt in the back row of Gospel Doctrine next year.

Fridays are now book days

To organize this blog a little bit Fridays will be the day I post my book reviews of what I have read over the past week, plus any other related book news I find of interest.

Right now my to read pile is at the absolutely lowest it has been for a while because I have finally decided to commit to read Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, & The System of the World). To understand what this means, you have to have read one of his books. He writes long and very dense novels, and each one of these 5 pound doorstops is about 1000 pages long. There is no rushing a Stephenson book, and I have been putting it off because it means for a month it will be all I read. Think of all the other books I will be missing!!

Before I get there I have a few other books to finish first. Currently I am reading Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, a irreverent look at those lost 33 years between Christ's birth until he began his ministry. Probably not recommended for any uptight people, but I am only on chapter 3 so far. Moore is a humor writer I try to keep up with and this is one of the few I have not read yet.

Next will be The Risk of Infidelity Index by a completely different Christopher Moore - Guess how I found it? Anyway I liked the bright cover, had good feelings for the name, and it is a crime novel - totally worth the risk.

Then I have Insect Dreams: The Half Life Of Gregor Samsa by Marc Estrin. I found this after reading the Sittenfeld book American Wife. I was researching how much of that book was true to life for Laura Bush when I came across a web-site that listed real people portrayed as fictional characters in a novel. This book has several, including people who have interested me enough in the past to read their biographies. That was enough for me to pick it up.

I have the non-fiction book The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow. It was in my library's new book section and I liked the title and the subject. In fact on Amazon you can buy it on a three book deal with two other great books I have read in the last few months.

Last and not least I have been listening to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz on CD as I have been working on Gunnar's room remodel. I liked the title and it met one of my criteria of reading more foreign authors. I am on the fourth CD so far.

The Cheating Culture

The Cheating Culture Add Image
David Callahan

The main focus of the book is that a winner take all society fosters a dishonest society. This book is full of example after example on how cheating is rife throughout our society, in sports, business, sports, education, law, and in the medical field. You come away with a depressed feeling about our world because you can see exactly what he is saying in the news, but more often than not you can probably recognize the same things a lot closer to home.

This book was extremely easy to read and very clear. No principle is put forth without using several examples, which I like. The weakness lies in his personal politics and his readiness to blame everything on the conservative movement. While he does make several good points, it is a shame that his biases undercut his overall message. Yes the unrestrained politics of the right have led to several moral problems in our society, but that is not to say the left get a free pass on the blame. It goes back to my problem with partisan politics as a whole.

One point he makes is that I could walk into a bank with a gun and rob it of say $1000. If caught I would be spending a lot of time in a very rough prison paying for my crime. Now if I was a higher-up in said bank I could bilk it out of 100 million dollars through fraud and spend less time in a easy prison. Then after a small fine (in relation to what I stole) I would still walk away with tens of millions. When people get life in prison for misdemeanors (due to the 3 strikes law), how is this fair? How does this promote a more honest and equitable society?

It is funny that his weakness in attributing all the bad to the conservatives, he touts the former Democratic Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, as one of the true heroes of our time. The author unfortunately through his biased blindness didn't see that bad people come from all political stripes.

Overall it was worth the read for the wonderful examples, but it had the opportunity to be a much better book if not for the political rant the author insisted on infusing in the later chapters. For example, President Bush stole the election through dishonest means (i.e. he cheated) and his brother got away with massive fraud (which he probably actually did), but yet not one mention of the Clintons, especially Senator Hillary Clinton's amazing investing skills or how President Clinton basically got away unscathed for all his doings in the White House. The double standard was extremely disappointing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

By The Way

Like the website where I found the header picture - I also hope that is a dude. If not, sorry for the accidental porn.

***Update - it was bothering me as well - so I took it down (see below)

Random Japanese YouTube Video of the Day

Usually I can guess what is going on, but I will have to wait for Steven to tell me. I mean really, what could they possible be advertising?!?!?!

Found via List of the Day

Random Images

This is actually so true!
Now if you wore cool shades and carried a collapsible white stick - it would be exactly the same.
Nothing more dangerous than a smart butt puppy
Whom ever did this is a genius!
If you don't know why this is funny, you might be a Mormon.

Props where props is due

My business trip consisted of 4 flights and on my first one I happened to be on the same plane as my Stake President and his wife. They were literally in row one, and I was in the back row of this 34 seat prop plane - which was full except for the back row which I had to myself. It was like being on the school bus, except it was really cramped (5 foot ceilings and the like). Anyways I could see right up the aisle and saw the male steward engaged in a conversation with the said SP, and then pocket a card that was offered to him.

Way to go Idaho!

I on the other hand consider it a greater missionary service not to puke on my seat mates, or make the rest of the cabin endure the accompanying odor.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


As most of you know I get motion sick - easily. As I have mentioned I cannot even play any good games on the Wii.

Today flying back from DC the pilot turned on the seat belt light and mentioned we would be having twenty minutes of MODERATE turbulence. I did not realize that there was a ranking system and previously I had only experienced LIGHT turbulence until today. About 15 minutes into it I began frantically searching my seat and the empty seat next to me for a puke bag - AND NEITHER SEAT HAD ONE! I was even tempted to wake up the odd Japanese guy in the next seat.
And why I am here - what up with the Japanese. He had on the germ mask and a sleeping blindfold. They are awesomely strange.

So I just broke out in a cold sweat and just toughed it out. Luckily the turbulence ended but here I am 9 hours later and I am still slightly nauseous.

**O My Goodness, What the Fetch!

The book I read on the flight back

Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman is another in the Tess Monaghan mystery series. Tess is a former Baltimore area reporter who becomes a private detective after losing her job. This is book 6 or 7 in the series which overall is excellent but this book was just okay for me. I enjoyed it immensely but I am invested in the characters, but the actual plot seemed a little weak in and of itself. Laura Lippman is an excellent writer that has also done a lot of stand alone novels that are worth looking up. Lippman is one of the women authors I started reading when I kept track of what I read and realized I was reading over 85% male authors (see also JD Robb, Tess Gerritsen, Lindsey Davis, Marian Keyes, among others).

Please track down book one, Baltimore Blues, at your library and read the whole series, it will be worth your time. Her web-site features plenty og blog-type information as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Washington DC

As Lisa mentioned I have been spending the last three days at our nations capitol at a GMA conference all about Food Labeling. Believe it or not it has been very interesting - consistent food labels and Nutrition Facts just don't happen on their own people!!
National Christmas Tree

Tonight was the first free time I really had so I managed to get down to the monument and the White House. The Bushes wanted to discuss my reading of the Sittenfeld book but I wasn't feeling well so I begged off. Seriously though, what up with security? I was walking by the fence when I decided to head back to the hotel and I had to go pass a check point that said people with passes only could go through. The odd thing was I was going out not in - how did I get in to begin with?? (it was an unmanned station so I do not think it was that much of a risk).

I have been staying at the Henley Park Hotel and I must say it is very nice, a lot nicer than the usual chain hotel I normally stay at. As a plus it is right next door to the Cato Institute, so I have been over to get my political wheels aligned, so to speak. Well I need to get to bed soon as I need to catch the Metro at 6:30am tomorrow to get to the airport.

Finally, can I just say how much I miss living in a city - I love it here!! Evrything is bigger and better, for example other cities may have car chases, here in DC we had a Semi Chase, and the postal worker who got stabbed in the chest - she dialed 911 herself, then passed out. Plus it is going to be in the 60's tomorrow - I wonder how warm home will be? All kidding aside - I really do love city living.

Sometimes our little Oreo doesn't know how lucky he is!

This new article from the LA Times expresses something I have heard about before - DOG RACISM. Black dogs are picked out at pounds and Humane Societies in much lower number than their light counterparts. I know Parker sometimes feels uncomfortable being the only black man among a bunch of crackers, the pepper to our salt, but he puts up with it because we saved him from the needle.