29 July 2008

Man On The Moon

NASA turns 50 today. Happy Birthday NASA. This month also happens to be the 39th anniversary of when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. You probably don't know this about me but I was there. I'd like to take this time to silence all those skeptics out there who don't believe we landed on the moon. If these photos don't win you over, I don't know what will:

Hide-and-go-seek was a hit with the astronauts. There just weren't too many places to hide.

On our breaks we drag-raced and played chicken. I usually won.

"Hey Buzz, how about another pina colada?" Because there is no atmosphere on the moon, NASA told us to wear extra sunscreen.

All in all I enjoyed my time on the moon. It wasn't the earth but it was pretty nice. I definitely recommend it to anyone who has a chance to stop by.

24 July 2008

Pioneer Day!

Happy Pioneer Day to all!

According to Wikipedia: (so you know it's true)
    Pioneer Day is a holiday celebrated on July 24 in Utah, with some celebrations in regions of surrounding states originally settled by Mormon pioneers. It commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, where the Latter-day Saints settled after being forced from Nauvoo, Illinois and other locations in the eastern United States. Parades, fireworks, rodeos, and other festivities help commemorate the event.
In 2000 I moved to Utah to go to BYU. I drove across the country in my friend's old Subaru, not unlike the pioneers before me. Only, when we got to State Street in Orem in the wee morning hours and drove past strip mall after strip mall I thought, "This is the place? You have to be kidding me." But Utah eventually grew on me and a few months later I experienced my first official Pioneer Day. Basically, it felt like a second 4th of July and everyone knows you can never have too many 4th of Julys.

I also remember a Pioneer Day ward activity in Virginia when I was about 11 or 12. There was a contest to build the smallest covered wagon. I got out my construction paper and scissors and got to work, just like the pioneers of old. My wagon was about 1" square and needless to say, the competition wasn't even close.

Past holiday greetings:

2004: Wow, pioneer girls were hot.

2005: I'm so keen-o on beefarino, what a delicious cuisine-o, fit for a king and queen-o.

2006: Top ten all-time holiday greeting.

2007: Top ten all-time worst holiday greeting.

21 July 2008

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Last month Robin went home for a week for a funeral and I was left to fend for myself. Even though I'm an amazing cook, the prospect of eating dinner all alone made me very depressed. I decided to do something about it so I sent an email to some of our friends at church describing my predicament:

Overall the response was overwhelming:

My heart really was touched. So many people cared! And since so many wanted to have me on Monday night and there was only one of me to go around, they got together and decided to have a barbecue in my honor. The food was great, the company even better, and I came through on my promises to entertain:

Most people don't know how good of a reader I am, but kids do.

Here I am baby whispering so this little guy would go to sleep.

Here is the reaction after one of my yarns. It's a typical response.

I think I told one of my jokes here. You can tell by how this young lady is covering her mouth.

Sadly, I couldn't stay all night. But don't worry, we can do it again anytime! Just wait for the email inviting myself over.

16 July 2008

Late Night Make Your Own Commercial Contest

If you normally watch TV at 12:30 at night or have a DVR you probably already know about Conan O'Brien's latest contest. If not, you can watch this video:

After seeing that first entry I thought, "Hey, I could do better than that. I've already produced a successful and critically-acclaimed music video." So I got to work in my studio and submitted my own commercial a few weeks ago. Well, on Monday night they showed the three finalists and mine wasn't one of them. Yeah, I can't believe it, either:

Combine such a high quality production and the tens of readers that check my blog every day, and now Conan's ratings can't go anywhere but up. Conan, you owe me one.

11 July 2008

Spite: Obey Your Thirst

I gave you a glimpse of a common, yet seldom addressed, part of life some time ago with my expose', Spite: An Essay. To further this glimpse, I thought you might enjoy a good example of some spite in daily life.

Well, a little while ago I decided I wanted to be a collector of vinyl records, new and old. So we got a turntable and I started looking for my favorite albums all over again, this time on vinyl. No, it doesn't really make sense to re-buy an album you already have on CD, but vinyl really is more fun to listen to than CDs. You'll just have to try it out to know what I mean. Or read this article in Rolling Stone.

Anyway, I've been looking for months for this Badly Drawn Boy album, About A Boy. It's a delightful movie and an even better soundtrack. And you just don't find this one on eBay too often. Then one day--BAM!!! Two were listed on eBay at the same time, both in perfect condition! One was 19.99 plus 4.50 shipping. The other was 12.99 plus 7.99 shipping. Both were steals so I put them in my Watch queue. I ended up winning the 19.99 album with the only bid and was happy about my purchase.

Then I noticed in my Watch queue that gregory_s_g had bid on the 12.99 album and the auction was about to end with him paying less than I did for mine. I also noticed that gregory_s_g had multiple bids for this item, even though no one else had placed a bid. This meant that he upped his original bid in case someone else came along and placed a last-second bid. He wanted to make sure he won the album. Sure, I was going to let him win the album; but I placed a few bids to up his total so that we paid the same price. I didn't want to go too high and end up with two of the same vinyls so I only raised the price from 12.99 to 15.49. But add 7.99 shipping and we paid just about the same amount. In the end I felt much better, gregory_s_g and I both got our Badly Drawn Boy vinyls, and spite came through again.

07 July 2008

Dear Canadians,

I enjoyed my stay this weekend in your beautiful country. Frankly, you're not so different from us Americans.

Your people speak English and are very friendly.

You drive the same cars that we do.

You eat the same fast food...

...and drink the same coffee as us.

Your grocery stores carry the same Coke...

...and chips as ours (but I didn't try that weird Ketchup flavor.)

I just have one question: What's the deal with your milk???



04 July 2008

Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July to all!

If you're looking for a little history of why we celebrate our independence from England on the 4th of July, you should probably go back to school. Or you could read this great article on Wikipedia.

And in case you were wondering where I was on the 4th the past 16 years, just scroll down.

2008--Victoria, BC
2007--Seattle, WA
2006--Seattle, WA
2005--Siena, Italy
2004--Leesburg, VA
2003--Waterford, VA
2002--Provo, Utah
2001--Provo, Utah
2000--Provo, Utah
1999--Olbia, Italy
1998--Mondragone, Italy
1997--State College, PA
1996--Herndon, VA
1995--Herndon, VA
1994--Herndon, VA
1993--Perry Hall, MD
1992--Nags Head, NC

Past holiday greetings:





01 July 2008

Pudding Pops

When I moved to Seattle in 2004 I discovered something amazing: Jell-O Pudding Pops were back! There they were, in my grocer's ice cream section, just waiting for me to buy them every week. What a delicious treat. I personally like the vanilla ones the best, but swirl is a close second. Nothing tops off a delicious meal or makes the perfect snack like the creamy, frosty goodness that is a Pudding Pop. Obviously Bill Cosby knew what he was talking about back in the '80s. So I enjoyed them for the past few years until one day they were gone, just like Social Security will be in 20 years. You can see for yourself on the Pudding Pop Store Locator:

I wrote to Ice Cream USA and they gave me the heave-ho. I talked to the clerks at two different Safeways and they didn't do anything about it. So I emailed Ice Cream USA again and here's what they said:

Then they sent me this letter in the mail a few days later:

Wow, free coupons for a delicious product that I can't buy. Your customer service department is amazing, parent company Unilever. Then I did some searching and found this:

A store in Maryland that still sold Pudding Pops! So I bought a plane ticket this weekend and hopped on over there. (Don't fly Air Tran if you can help it. It's like riding a Greyhound bus through the sky.)

Here I am at the Super Fresh in Maryland with my two free boxes of Jell-O Pudding Pops. People stared at me and wondered why I was taking a picture. I explained that I just flew in from Seattle to buy some Pudding Pops and then they understood.

Here I am enjoying a delicious Pudding Pop by the pool, just like in the old days. (Read this if you're curious to know how I got so ripped.)

It was definitely worth a cross-country flight to be reunited again, even if just for a weekend.