29 December 2008

National Bingo Month!

B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his name-o!

25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, it's that time of year again when people jack up their electric bills to look like morons. You know what I mean. How did Christmas turn into this:

I guess we'll never know for sure. Now this is more like it:

And here's a little ditty to bring you some Christmas cheer:

If you can't feel the Christmas spirit now, I don't know what's wrong with you.

22 December 2008

Critter Motel

A while ago I told you about the Cat House behind our building. The story goes like this: our landlord, Francie, decided to donate her dead pet's house to the commons area behind our building. I asked her why there was a cat house back there and she explained to me that it is a place for animals to stay in for the night as they are passing through. A sort of critter motel, if you will. I had never heard of such a thing, but I didn't question her. You just don't question Francie, or you will be stuck talking for another ten minutes. After all this time, I've never seen any animals stay in the Critter Motel. Is it possible the wild animals don't realize Francie built the Critter Motel for them?

Anyway, we have 12" of snow. We haven't driven anywhere for 6 days, the buses aren't running, and no one is going to work. And I've gone skiing down our street three days in a row. It's been a great way to spend my retirement. Here I am doing a little night skiing:

Yesterday I noticed Francie shoveling a path to the dumpsters in our parking lot. "How kind of her," I thought. "A little unnecessary, but very thoughtful."

Later I noticed that she also shoveled a pathway to the Critter Motel and cleared an opening by the front door. At least now the wild animals would know it's open for business should they need a place to stay for the night.

Last night I saw a very nice family of raccoons rummaging for food around the dumpsters. So I opened the window and let them know there was a vacancy in the Critter Motel.

All along I've been skeptical of Francie's Critter Motel but the crazy thing is, I think the raccoons actually stopped by the Critter Motel last night.

Francie, you were right all along. I'll never doubt the Critter Motel again.

18 December 2008

Snow Day!

Retirement + 5" of snow =

(Thanks to Warren Miller for this footage.)

My Buddy + skiing = scared.

Skiing + Denny Way = fun.

Walking + Denny Way = not fun.

My Buddy + snow angels = fun.

My Buddy + snow = cold.

15 December 2008

Dear Governor Blagojevich,

I hear you are in a lot of hot water. The news says you will probably be ousted as governor, you might go to jail, and your wife has a potty mouth. Good luck with all that. But I want to thank you. Thank you for showing us that someone with a last name that no one can pronounce and ends in "ICH" can make it in this world.


11 December 2008


Well, today is my last day here at Microsoft. I am now officially retiring! I look forward to staying in bed after Robin leaves for work, watching my soaps, and qualifying for the PGA Tour. But Microsoft, I will say that I'll miss this: all the free soda, juice, and chocolate milk you can drink! (And the paychecks.)

To show you how I reached the end of my career, here's some of my work history over the years.

Everything Yogurt, 1994-1995. I don't think this place even exists anymore. This was my first job besides mowing lawns and I worked there my entire Junior year of high school. I was amazing at pouring that yogurt into a cone. Even now when I eat at crappy buffet places with self-serve frozen yogurt, I wow the patrons around me. The job ended when I showed up for work one day during the summer before my Senior year and the doors were boarded up. Apparently there was a health code violation and they closed us down. This was no surprise to me (there was a huge family of roaches in the grease trap in the back and plus the yogurt was moldy sometimes.) But anyway, it taught me some great lessons on leadership (I was an assistant manager at age 16.)

The only picture I have of me working at EY is this one from my high
school yearbook. I love the caption they wrote: "Anyone who worked
learned that giving correct change is important." So true, so true.

Next was Best Buy, 1995-1996. My friend Ben and I worked here during my Senior year. Basically we were in charge of the music, movies, and video game section and the managers loved us. To put things in perspective, back then you could still buy cassette tapes, DVDs didn't exist, and the first Playstation wasn't out yet (but we had a sweet demo kiosk of the Super Nintendo.) This job was okay, but all my paychecks went to buying stuff with my employee discount. Ben and I worked in the warehouse a lot, especially when getting ready for New Release Tuesdays. We heard stories and learned words we never knew existed from those warehouse guys. One of my favorite Best Buy stories happened one night when Ben was in the warehouse waiting for me to return from stocking the shelves with CDs. He got up on a big shelf above the swinging warehouse entrance doors. He was going to drop an opened refrigerator box on me as I walked in to trap me inside, but the manager Steve walked in instead. He looked up and caught Ben red-handed. On a side note, apparently one of our co-workers is still there. Ben noticed him there over Thanksgiving.

Best Buy #297 in Reston, VA, 12 years after I worked there.

Mail Boxes Etc. was my next job, 1996-1997. I really hated this place. I dreaded going to work every day. Basically we weren't very busy and I only made $6-something an hour. And I wasn't even allowed to do crossword puzzles to pass the time. What a joke. Plus I had to wear a goofy uniform and stand on my feet the whole time. The assistant manager was this 50-year-old chain smoking hick named Rose. Her boyfriend didn't pay her enough attention so she started sending herself flowers and stuff from a "secret admirer" to make him jealous. So one day I sent a fax from the office computer with a love note from her "secret admirer." She flipped out and thought someone was stalking her. Sucker.

Here's a MBE I found in Teramo, Italy. I wonder if the employees
were allowed to do crossword puzzles when things were slow there.

Then after my mission to Italy I had a couple of jobs in college. My favorite was teaching Italian at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, 2000-2002. One of my favorite stories at the MTC happened when we would take walks around the campus during a break from class. We would usually pass 10 or 20 other classes doing the same thing, all learning different languages. The MTC is big on practicing your language wherever you go, so I'd have the class say, "Ciao brutti" and wave to the other classes as we walked by. We were saying, "Hello, uglies" but of course they thought we were just being friendly. They would smile and wave back every time. The other great part was eating in the cafeteria after class. $3 for all you can eat. What a deal.

I guess I was really tired this day.

One of our break walks. "Carry your King, minions!" Those
missionaries will do anything you tell them.

I don't know why I jumped in these leaves during a walk but the class loved it.

Here I am in action. As you can see, I was an
amazing teacher. But do I have a big head?

My other college job was serving at Tony Roma's Restaurant, 2000-2003. In case you don't know, it's a place for ribs. This was an okay job--I made good money and it was pretty fun, except for the times you got cussed out by drunk people (in Provo???) because you wouldn't bring them any more beer or when you got a table of "tithing tippers" (people who left only 10%). One of my favorites stories centered around an appetizer called "Potato Skins." As you can guess from its name, these were baked potatoes, scooped-out so all that remained were the skins, which were then stuffed with cheese, bacon, and chives. Well, one night this lady wanted some Potato Skins, only without the skins. I explained to her that without the skins, there would only be cheese, bacon, and chives but she just didn't understand. She must have gone to UVSC or the U. Some of our more famous patrons while I was there: Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder David A. Bednar, and a number of BYU football players.

Here is the very last table I served. I have no idea who they are but they were
excited to pose in this picture with me. You can also see me demonstrating one
of the first rules of serving: Always pour drinks over the floor, never over the table.

Bring on the golden parachute!

08 December 2008

Dear Congress,

I've heard you are thinking about bailing out the Big Three automakers with $25 $34 billion in aid. Here are eight reasons why you shouldn't:

1. Pontiac Aztek: The ugliest car in the history of cars. Whenever I see someone who owns this car, I stop them and ask why they decided to purchase it. The most common answer: the dealer paid me to take it off the lot.

2. Dodge Magnum: If I wanted a station wagon I would have bought one in the '80s.

3. Chevy Lumina: I remember hating this car when it came out in the '90s. Come to think of it, I still do.

4. Chevy HHR: Looks like a cheap knockoff of the PT Cruiser. But why would you want to copy a car like that?

5. Chrysler PT Cruiser: See what I mean?

6. Chevy Avalanche: Buy a car or buy a truck, but not this ugly piece of junk.

6. Ford Flex: Looks like a larger version of the Scion Xb. And that's not a good thing.

8. Subaru Baja: This is a Subaru but what if the Big Three try to copy it?

Is it any surprise that Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler are going under? Even Xzibit couldn't pimp these rides so I don't know why you think your billions of dollars would help. If you really want to use that bailout money and do some good in these tough economic times, how about 140 large to pay off my student loans?


03 December 2008


If you are following the recent story of troubled New York Giants wide receiver, Plaxico Burress, you probably have many questions:

Is the poor guy okay?
How did he accidentally shoot himself in his own leg?
Why did he need a gun to go clubbing?
Why was he packing heat without a concealed weapons permit?
How long will he be suspended?
Is his career over?
Will he go to jail?

But why isn't anyone asking this:

His name is Plaxico?

28 November 2008

Black Friday

Summary of the day:

Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV: $798
Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum: $28
Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera: $69
"The Incredible Hulk" DVD: $9
That shoppers cared so much about these sale prices on Black Friday they trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death when the store opened at 5am: Priceless Surprising?

Quote of the day:

"When [Wal-Mart employees] were saying [the customers] had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been in line since yesterday morning!'" [the witness] said. "They kept shopping."

Question of the day:

Why do people wait outside in the cold all night to buy a $9 DVD when they could be in their warm beds dreaming about eating leftover turkey and biscuits?

27 November 2008


Click here for more amazing Thanksgiving photos.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! As I sit back and contemplate all the blessings I have, here's what I'm most thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1. Biscuits
2. Biscuits with gravy
3. Biscuits with butter and honey
4. Biscuits with homemade jam
5. Biscuits with ice cream
6. Biscuits with maple syrup
7. Biscuits with eggs and bacon
8. Biscuit pizza
9. Biscuit root beer floats
10. Biscuit hoagies
11. Biscuit grilled cheese
12. Biscuit pot pie
13. Biscuit paninis
14. Biscuit pasta
15. Biscuit soup
16. Biscuits with NO mayo

24 November 2008

The Parable of the Naughty Horse

I recently read the wonderful book, Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say "No" to Drugs. I found it very educational and full of symbolism. But instead of me talking about it, you should read it for yourself:

If the author's subtle and profound writing doesn't convince you to not do drugs, maybe you should consider the fact that she's a co-inventor:

Also definitely worth reading: The Amazon.com Customer Reviews.

21 November 2008

National Beard Month!

Sources say it's National Beard Month. How about a little beard story to get things started off?

A married man was visiting his girlfriend when she requested that he shave his beard. "Oh James, I like your beard, but I would really love to see your handsome face."
James replied, "My wife loves this beard, I couldn't possibly do it, she would kill me!"
"Oh please?" the girlfriend asked again, in a sexy little voice...
"Oh really, I can't," he replies. "My wife loves this beard!"
The girlfriend asks once more, and he sighs and finally gives in. That night James crawls into bed with his wife while she was sleeping. The wife is awakened somewhat, feels his face, and replies, "Oh Michael, you shouldn't be here, my husband will be home soon!"

Yikes! I hope not everyone who has a beard has been in such a prickly situation.

So how do you celebrate National Beard Month? I don't know but I thought I'd register a beard with the National Beard Registry. I grew one during the entire month of October but unfortunately, they cropped out my pirate hat, those fetchers.

Maybe next year someone could buy me this shirt to wear during National Beard Month (size Medium.)

18 November 2008

Reading Rainbow

The other day I was reading a book to a young child while doing my weekly volunteer service time with at-risk youth.

It was a pretty straightforward book that shows kids how baby farms animals grow up to be big farm animals:

You get the idea. Until this:


14 November 2008

SAT Deja Vu

According to the College Board, "The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills you'll need for academic success in college. The SAT assesses how well you analyze and solve problems—skills you learned in school that you'll need in college. The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors."

So I decided to conduct an experiment. Would I score higher on the SAT after becoming fluent in another language, graduating from college, graduating from law school, and passing the bar exam, than I did before accomplishing all those things? The first time around back in 1995 I scored 1170--not great but somehow good enough to get into BYU. It must have been the fact that I was the captain of the football, basketball, and soccer teams in high school.

To prepare I tried to recreate my original experience as best I could so, like in high school, I didn't really study for it. I started saying, "Like," "Um," and other one syllable words more often when people asked me questions. I bought some flannel shirts at Salvation Army. I shaved so there was no sign of my facial hair except for some stray neck whiskers. I carried around a Discman wherever I went. And I would have had my friend's mom drive me to the test and stop at Burger King for lunch afterwards, but I think she still lives in Virginia.

Here I am before entering the school. Wish me luck!

Some of the other kids stared a little but once I started texting on my phone like crazy and talking about my Myspace page they weren't suspicious any more. Anyway, here's how I did:

So, I got 1320, a 150 point improvement! I guess the thousands of dollars I paid towards my college and graduate education and 13 extra years of life experience really did make a difference. Too bad you can't do those things before taking the SAT.

11 November 2008

Alvin and the Chipmunks

I have some questions about Alvin and the Chipmunks. And I don't mean that computer animated crap in the movie theaters last year. I mean the cartoon series that was on TV after school when I was a kid. Let's get to it:
  • Why were Alvin and his brothers so much bigger than wild chipmunks? And how could they talk like the human kids if they were chipmunks?

  • Were their voices going to always be squeaky? Or would they hit chipmunk puberty one day?

  • Can chipmunks be domesticated in real life? Would they let you dress them up in cute little extra long t-shirts?

  • Why did Alvin, Simon, and Theodore wear long t-shirts, and that's it? Did they wear the same long t-shirts day after day, or did they have a bunch of the exact same shirt? Why were Alvin's initials on his shirt? Did they realize the other kids at school dressed differently? If they were chipmunks, why did they wear any clothes at all?

  • How come Alvin always went after human girls? Didn't he know it would be impossible for different species to marry and procreate?

  • How did Dave have such a big house if he was a struggling musician? And why did the Chipmunks have to share a bedroom if the house was so big?

  • How did they learn to play musical instruments at such a young age? Are chipmunks normally musically adept?

  • Why was Alvin always scheming to make money if he was in such a famous and successful band? And why didn't Dave exploit the Chipmunks like most other child stars these days?

  • Did the Chipmunks know that Dave was a human and that they were chipmunks? Or did they think they were humans, like dogs do when they're with their masters?

  • How big were their chipmunk parents? What happened to their chipmunk parents? Was their mom forced to give them up for adoption because of an abusive relationship? If so, why did she choose a human adoption program over a chipmunk one? And how did she know Alvin, Simon, and Theodore would grow to be bigger than normal chipmunks and fit in with human society?

  • If you're not supposed to feed human food to wild animals like deer, why was it okay for the Chipmunks to eat pancakes and such?
Please, if you know the answer to any of the above questions, feel free to leave a comment. We may never know the answers to all of these questions, but until then, Dooh-dooh-do-do-do-do-dooh!

07 November 2008

Slow Dance Connection

This flier has been up in the kitchen at work for quite some time now. I am thinking about signing up Robin and me. If you are interested you better email me ASAP. I don't think those phone number tabs are going to last.

04 November 2008

Election Day!

Is it just me or is it hard to get excited about Election Day when you live in a non-swing state? My solution: spite votes. Let me explain. Basically, spite votes are anti-votes. Instead of voting for the candidate of your choice, you would vote against the candidate of your choice. You would essentially be eliminating the vote of another person. And to make it even better, you could specify which person's vote you want to eliminate and then they would get an email or text message saying,

"Dear Voter,

Thank you for voting in this year's election. We appreciate your participation in the voting process. Unfortunately, ______'s spite vote has eliminated your vote. Your vote no longer exists. This was performed out of spite.

The Election Committee"

Sounds pretty amazing to me. And I don't know about you but despite the 46 email forwards I've received telling me to not vote for B to the O, I'm not very impressed with either candidate. (My other favorite unsolicited online experience: when people put lame music like Jack Johnson on their blog that starts blasting the minute I enter their site.) Is this really the best you can offer us, America? So, this year I'm looking outside the two-party system to a couple of running mates I know I can trust. Here I am after fulfilling my patriotic duty today:

(RIP amazing Mario-stache)

And in case you're wondering why I'm voting for Mario and Luigi, here are ten great reasons:

1. Plumbers are used to cleaning up messes.

2. They're Italian so you know they have international experience.

3. They don't take crap from people who are bigger than them.

4. Even when things don't go according to plan, they don't give up.

5. They're very generous with their money--every time they get $100 they just give it right back and start over.

6. They can hold their breath for a really long time.

7. They can fly.

8. They can throw fire!

9. The older they get, the better they look.

10. If something were to mysteriously happen to Mario, Luigi could seamlessly step right in for him.

Find me another set of running mates who can do all of this! This might just be the change everyone is looking for. Mario and Luigi forever!