27 September 2007

Chuck Norris has two speeds. Walk, and Kill.

My little bro is a Marine in Iraq. I thought he was going over there to fix damaged electronics equipment but apparently his base has become a C-List celebrity hangout. Here's his last email:

"As you can see in the pictures I've sent, I work with Chuck Norris. We've been working together professionally for a while now, but only recently has our relationship developed to more of a friendship. I've been giving him a lot of advice lately on how to improve his Kick Start Program (his program for troubled teens). He feels that because of my experience in having a troubled youth, I can give first hand advice on how to deal with kids from "the streets." He also asked me to help train him for his next film. I'm putting him through a conditioning program to get him back in shape: his total gym that he's been using for years obviously hasn't done the trick. I'm throwing in a lot of martial arts training, too. The movie has nothing to do with karate, but we train anyway since he's not very good at karate. The movie is all about Chuck's character and the relationship he has with his son, who happens to be the coolest kid in the world. The title of the movie is, "The Dad of the Coolest Kid in the World." It works out well for him, since he gets to hang around with me, especially since the kid in the movie is based off of me. Through it all we've developed a real father-son-relationship. I hear Macaulay Culken is going to play my character."


Can't wait for that movie to come out. And congratulations, JEM. You are the first ever guest writer on my blog. P.S. Nice mustache. (And for more great Chuck Norris facts, go here.)

24 September 2007

Happy 10 Year Anniversary

No, I haven't been married to my lovely wife for 10 years. But today marks 10 years from when I entered the Missionary Training Center. (Thank you Cousin Laura for picking me up from the SLC airport and driving me to Provo). I was there for two months and it was a lot of work learning Italian but I enjoyed the cafeteria so much that I went back to be a MTC teacher 3 years later.
Here’s the rule list they gave us on our first day:
As you can see, it was quite a list. But, the letter of the law didn't rule out everything. Here's what I mean:




For some reason this seemed like a good idea at the time. We all know missionaries love getting mail and now we know they love getting in mail carts, too.






















This is what I think of your special parking spots right by the front door! Once I met Elder Eyring in the hallway and the only thing I could think of to say was, "I read your book!"









This is my Italian companion, Anziano Franceschini. He was crazy, as you can see by this picture. Here he is riding on the dirty dish conveyor belt in the cafeteria. The funny thing was the dish girls in the back stopped it so he could get on and then started it up again for him.










Well, what I remember about this picture is when we were having bad days in Italian class, we would put stuff on the dirty dish conveyor belt. I guess it made us feel better but I think it made the dish people feel worse because they got really mad and threw some silverware at us once.


















Lavell Edwards! Go Cougars! By chance, we ended up going to the temple every week with Lavell. The last week before we went to Italy we stopped him for a picture. This may be the only recorded photo in history where he is smiling.





My companion had to go to the BYU Health Center one day. While I was in the waiting room I noticed that a Health Center employee had grown some vegetables in his/her garden like a good Mormon and brought in a box of vegetables for people to take. I took the biggest zucchini I could find even though: A) I don't like zucchini B) I had no use for that thing in our dorm. I left it in the closet in our room when we went to Italy.





This is Potenza, my first city in Italy, not the MTC. Missionary work was tough in Italy so as you can see we taught anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, this guy wasn't too excited about baptism. Something about being afraid of water.










This is also Potenza. If you look real close, you will see that I am pointing at a Redskins sticker on someone's car. As you would expect, I was very excited to find a fellow Redskins fan 4,695 miles away from DC in a small town that is basically in the middle of nowhere.







This map will show you just how far away from civilization Potenza was. I guess this goes to show that the Redskins are the most popular NFL team in the whole world.




23 September 2007

Sex Ed at the Puyallup Fair

Yesterday Robin and Tom and I went to the local county fair to experience a little piece of Americana. We had some delicious fried food, stood in long lines with rednecks, won some free Advil by throwing bean bags through a hole in a board, browsed through the locals' crafty wares, and watched a demonstration of a kitchen knife cutting through a hammer (because if my knife can't cut through a hammer I don't want it). We also learned about the anatomy and reproductive cycles of a few friendly farm animals. Check it out:

Meet Eragon, an English Lop Best In Show!
And did you notice the sign? This means that in one year one rabbit could become a great-great-great-grandmother rabbit. Now that's the miracle of life.

I'm not sure what a ewe is, but here is a Future Farmers of America prize winner.
A closer look at the sign above. And human girls thought they had it bad.

Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool?
And thanks to this hand-drawn, color-coded, anatomically-correct diagram, now we know what's on the inside, too.
Thank you Future Farmers of America. If not for you, how would I have learned the birds and bees of domesticated farm animals?

19 September 2007

National Talk Like A Pirate Day!

You probably don't know this but my very first Holiday greeting email ever was for National Talk Like A Pirate Day back in 2003. I actually don't have that picture to post here because that was before I had my own computer and I was still saving files on a floppy disk. Who knows where it is. It was also before I had Photoshop, so it was pretty ghetto. If you were lucky enough to get that email, send it to me and I'll add it here.

Here are some fun facts about this peculiar yet wonderful holiday:
--It was invented in 1995 by John Baur ("Ol' Chumbucket") and Mark Summers ("Cap'n Slappy"), who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.
--It was first an inside joke between the founders but it gained exposure when Baur and Summers sent a letter about their invented holiday to syndicated columnist Dave Barry in 2002.
--September 19 was chosen because it was the birthday of Summers' ex-wife and consequently would be easy for him to remember.
--There is a list of the top ten pirate pick-up lines on the Official National Talk Like A Pirate Day website. You can read them here, although they're a little too racy for my blog. (The 2006 Holiday Greeting comes from that list.)

Past Holiday Greetings:
2006

Avast! Shiver me timbers, landlubbers!

16 September 2007

Scandalmakers



No, this isn’t the episode where Tobias portrays George Sr. hiding in the attic but this is an important Scandalmakers topic. These days it seems like most Americans routinely drop $4 at Starbucks a couple times a day for hot brown water served in a paper cup. Especially here in Seattle where Starbucks-office-runs are just as common as bathroom breaks.

So, I think most of you have seen the Starbucks logo:



I now bring your attention to this: (CAUTION: VERY GRAPHIC IMAGES DISPLAYED BELOW)



Behold, the original Starbucks logo located at the very first Starbucks at Pikes Place Market here in Seattle. How outrageous! This isn’t Amsterdam! If you are as offended as I am by this former logo, contact Starbucks here.

If enough of us make our voices heard, Starbucks will clean up its act and make its stores appropriate for children of all ages. Kids have the right to get addicted to coffee, too!

11 September 2007

September 11 (Never Forget)

I'd like to wish me a happy birthday. Yes, today is the day I came into this world 29 years ago (exactly 9 months to the day after my parents' wedding day). When people find out my birthday is September 11, sometimes they say something like, "Oh Christian, I'm sorry. Are you okay?" So I say something like, "Well, it was my birthday first." Anyway, I thought I'd make a little montage of birthday photos over the years. Unfortunately when you're a kid, you don't really have too much say as far as when your picture gets taken, so those years are a little spotty. But I think you'll enjoy these.

1979. Why can't I still wear cool one-piece outfits like this anymore?

1983. Why is my candle in half a cake? What a rip-off!

1984. Wow, have you ever seen kids more excited than this?
I'm so happy I've clapped my hands with joy. All for cupcakes!

1989. Wow, those are some mighty high sideburns I'm sporting. Once my little
brother kept trimming his sideburns like this but he kept going higher and higher
when he couldn't get them even. Eventually they were like 2" high.

1990. 7th Grade. That's my friend Russell Smith. He said he forgot to bring the $10 he was going to give me for my birthday. A likely story. (I never got the $10.)
1991. 8th Grade. Back then Champion t-shirts were cool. Not sure about the gold chains.

1999. This is 3 days after I got home from my mission. Nice
collar tan. And wow, that candle is big like Pepsi can.

2003. The big 2-5. I think what I'm holding is a poem about biscuits that my sister wrote.

2006. Last year we went to Chuck E. Cheese for my big day. The funny thing is there was another guy my age having his party there, too.

2007: Here's what my horoscope said today:
"Play your cards right and you could win the entire pot in the year to come. Next March some surprising changes or unexpected upsets could pull you in two different directions, but a beneficial opportunity will lead you to the right course just in the nick of time. Your personal appeal is highlighted and others will view you favorably next March and June so those are the best times to look for a new job, ask for favors, or take important steps such as purchasing a home or getting engaged."

Ooh la la. I'll let you know when I buy a house or get engaged.

09 September 2007

Bread and Water

Today we went to church. Have you ever wondered if those priests wash their hands before they break the bread? Sometimes I do. But today there were other things to worry about. When we took the water, Robin smooshed her little cup before putting it back in the tray. Unfortunately, there was still some water in the cup and it shot out into like 3 other cups. Did she quickly grab the 3 contaminated cups and put them in the discard pile? No, she let her backwash go on to the next 3 people. Those poor chaps were blindsided! And they were probably worrying about the bread!

06 September 2007

Real Lemons!

My favorite beverage is juice. Cranberry. Apple. Orange. Grape. All delicious. And I love a frosty glass of lemonade on a hot summer day as much as the next guy. Thanks to amazing marketing ploys, I usually buy name brands. I guess the higher prices and snazzy logos make me think that I’m drinking higher quality beverages.

That’s why I was surprised the other day when the Minute Maid carton felt the need to reassure me that its lemonade was “Made With Real Lemons.” Why was this ever in question? How else can you make lemonade? That's like Long John Silvers selling fish sticks "Made With Real Fish." Or Starbucks selling lattes "Made With Real Coffee." Or McDonald's selling Chicken McNuggets "Made With Real Chicken." (Actually that one is pretty necessary).
Thank you Minute Maid for letting me know that there are real lemons in your All Natural Premium Lemonade.

04 September 2007

Skin 'n Bones

If you have ever seen me in person (especially in a swim suit or leotard) you know that I am not the burliest of fellows. One of my favorite comments to receive is, "Wow Christian, you're so skinny. Don't you eat enough?" Sometimes I want to say to these commenters, "Gee Commenter, I've never noticed. Thank you for telling me. By the way, you're fat. You should try out for Super Size Me 2." But I never do. I'm too nice.

But now, thanks to this article, I can calmly respond, "Commenter, I have the adipose gene, more commonly known as the skinny gene. Scientists say that mice engineered to have efficient versions of the adipose gene were much sleeker than their normal counterparts. I'm surprised you didn't know that."

I recently borrowed a high-tech computer from NASA to see what I would look like if I didn't have this so-called skinny gene. Take a peek at the results:
Wow, that's pretty dramatic stuff. Thank you NASA. And thank you adipose!

03 September 2007

Labor Day!

Yes, it's Labor Day but do you know why it's Labor Day? Here are some fun facts for this wonderful and confusing holiday:

-Labor Day began in 1882 because the Central Labor Union wanted to create a day off for the "working man" (but now I think it's just another excuse for car dealers and furniture stores to have “special” sales).
-Labor Day always takes place on the first Monday in September and marks the symbolic end of summer. Have fun in school all you chumps out there.
-Labor Day weekend traditionally kicks off the first weekend of college football (to Robin's dismay).
-Congress officially made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894. I wonder if they had barbecues back in the day.
-It's harder to get excited about a holiday like Labor Day or a long weekend when you're not working.
-Remember, don’t wear white after Labor Day!

And here are my previous Labor Day e-mail greetings, which were maybe a little over-the-top and also followed a slightly different theme:

2005
2004