6.30.2008

Hopped the Bus

I expressed a desire two months ago to take the bus just across the Nevada border to Wendover for a night of adventure, and last weekend, the BRC followed through and took the trip. We met the bus in Ogden at 4:40 pm or so. Sadly, the bus was not this empty for long:

Shortly thereafter, I realized that I did not get the memo: you can drink on the bus (at least on the way there)! I guess there's another bus to Wendover that does not offer this perk. Passengers were climbing on board with six packs of Bud Light and plastic bags full of Old Milwaukee's Best. Here's me with my consolation bottle of water:

After 3 more pickups, we turned to the west on I-80. The crowd was younger that I expected, which is to say about 40-50 instead of 60-70. The seniors probably take the day buses. The trip came complete with an 85-year-old female chaperone who served drinks and led us in games, such as Bingo. MacKenzie and I were both successful in Bingo, winning a combined two of the five games. The prize for each game was $2, but we had to share our winnings with other passengers, so we got $1 each. This fact did not dampen our enthusiasm:
















Then it was on to the free buffet. It was merely OK, but I guess people choose buffets for quantity, not quality. There was a good dessert selection, though. Here's MacKenzie after she let her belt out a few notches:

The big question we asked ourselves on the way to the Wendover Nugget was, "What the heck are we going to do for six hours, until the bus heads home at 2 am?" So after lingering at the buffet for awhile, we walked around the casino to get the lay of the land, and figure out where to use our free alcoholic drink, free coffee drink, and free $5 coupons. We then went to the gift shop, which sold a variety of items, including snacks, giant bottles of alcohol, Nevada souvenirs, and this, which I guess you can give to a friend who suffers severe gambling losses:



We also visited the casino across the street. It was quite neon. Then I stuck my Bingo dollar in the slot machines, where it lasted a good hour. Woo-hoo!















We also sat in the sports book area, where we explored the vagaries of betting on sports and listened to the band, while occasionally being accosted by a drunk woman ordering us to go dance (we refused). Unfortunately, we forgot about the billiards bar, which was downstairs, and would have been a jolly good time.

After riding the bus back into Utah, we stopped at an Ogden Denny's at 5 am. As one might expect from that establishment in that city, it was trashy and awkward, as the waitresses loudly fought with each other. Our waitress was also unable to figure out how to enter my $5 coupon into the register, so the whole purpose of our dining there was defeated. The manager later offered me $10 off my next visit, but I don't believe that I will be using that discount, as I hope never to re-enter that particular restaurant.

After that, it was home to bed.

6.29.2008

Stay Away From Roller Coasters

When I saw the headline "Teen decapitated at theme park," I thought, "Oh no, not another one of these incidents. Maybe I should stay away from roller coasters (even though I don't really ride them that often at all)." The article listed this well-known incident:
In June, a girl's feet were cut off when a free-fall thrill ride malfunctioned at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
But if you read the article, this decapitation was nothing like the foot decapitation:

The 17-year-old park visitor was killed after scaling two 6-foot fences around the Batman roller coaster, said a statement issued by park spokeswoman Hela Sheth. He was struck by the coaster and killed, she said.
That definitely changes things. I have no reason to fear roller coasters, because I don't scale fences that surround them. Unfortunately, the large number of people that read nothing but the headline of this story will come away with the wrong impression. Maybe the headline should have been "Trespasser decapitated at theme park." Or "Moron decapitated at theme park."

6.28.2008

My obnoxious neighbors are moving, my obnoxious neighbors are moving...

That is the little ditty I have just invented but I'm not sure that it truly shows how happy I was this morning when I saw that U-haul pull up and those boxes being carted off. To elaborate on these neighbors, they are the same neighbors who
  • let their equally obnoxious dogs bark at all hours of the night and poop everywhere, with never even the pretense of picking up after them.
  • smoke right outside our windows, forcing us to shut them and loose the nice breeze or risk dying early of lung cancer.
  • have sex very loudly for periods of time that give me the distinct impression that they have never heard about this study.
Goodbye obnoxious neighbors. I sincerely hope you like your new place and that your new neighbors are sound sleepers.

6.26.2008

Feline of the Week

And this week it's Samantha! She is friendly and playful. She also can't really meow. Half the time she tries, no sound comes out at all. The other half of the time it is a weird croaky sound. It's cute though, just like her.
And since her coat is so cool, I couldn't end this post without a side shot.

6.25.2008

There's a reason the word Blond is in our title

I added a Favicon! You should too - it is super easy to do through this site. I've actually been been wanting to for a while but hadn't gotten around to it.

I love messing around with the design parts of blogs. Another easy but tres cool design change is sprucing up your block quotes. I am actually working on a new blog for some friends of ours and a while back was in the process of editing their block quote code. I am using the same style as we use on ours but changing the color. I really like the simplicity of it and told Craig so. I then added that I wish I used them more but found it annoying to have to type the code in each time. To which he replied
Why don't you just use the block quote button?

Oh...yeah... well I could I guess, if I just wanted to take the easy way all the time. And who even notices that button up there? I mean, it's not like it is obvious or anything...

6.24.2008

Ding, Ding, Ding...we have some winners.



Props to Lemming and Karen. Bug's life is certainly not my favorite Disney movie or even my favorite Disney/Pixar one, but I do love Heimlich.

The People on the Bus

As a regular rider of the local bus system (thanks, taxpayers, for the free ride), I see some of the same people quite frequently. As those who know me are aware, I have a knack for noticing resemblances between regular people and famous people (for example, MacKenzie's mom looks like Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Dick Cheney went to my old church). I have done this with several bus riders. Some examples are:
  • Hans Moleman

  • The Soup Nazi

  • My boss (not all resemblances I see are of famous people).
I have also developed a few monikers for people. Such as:
  • The large lady that smiles too much.
  • The old guy that alternately harasses kids or acts catatonic.
  • The middle-age guy with no apparent job that always complains about his bishop.
I wonder what these riders think of me. Do I look like someone? Am I a caricature? If so, it's either the guy that always reads, or the guy that listens to the radio with cheap, ugly headphones. I guess it could be worse.

6.23.2008

...I'm a beautiful butterfly!

First one to name the movie that quote is from gets...uh...the joy of knowing they got it right before anyone else?

Last week was VBS at our church and although Craig and I can't help during the day due to the nonsense that is life with a job, we do like to contribute through snacks. You probably don't remember but last year I wrote about how we made worm cupcakes. Without really meaning too, we kept with the bug theme (and non-healthy) again this year and made these butterfly cupcakes. I just can't resist a cute cupcake even if I know it might leave the poor teachers with 30 wired children, I know, I'm cruel but I can' t help it. And it did make more sense this time as the theme was "God's Big Backyard."

Here is the whole rabble of them (betcha didn't know a group of butterflies is called a rabble, did ya - it could also be called a swarm but that sounds scary).
Aren't they just darlin'?

6.22.2008

Annoying noises?

Earlier this afternoon, I was sitting here with doing my Beth Moore study on Believing God when a noise started up in the kitchen. I like it to be quiet when I am studying so under normal circumstances I would have been annoyed, but not this time. This time, I just had a good laugh with God and it's so exciting, I am sharing it with you.

Let me go back a bit, Today's lesson was about George Muller. This guy was awesome. I had read a biography about him back in grade school, but didn't remember until I started reading about him today. He started the Scripture Knowledge Institute and built 5 homes for the orphans he cared for - all the while NEVER requesting financial help. If he had a need, he prayed and asked God to fulfill it.

Apparently, Psalms 81:10 was one of his favorite verses so we were instructed to read it along with its surround verses:

Psalms 81:10-16*
10 For it was I, the Lord your God,

who rescued you from the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.

11 “But no, my people wouldn’t listen.
Israel did not want me around.
12 So I let them follow their own stubborn desires,
living according to their own ideas.
13 Oh, that my people would listen to me!
Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!
14 How quickly I would then subdue their enemies!
How soon my hands would be upon their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him;
they would be doomed forever.
16 But I would feed you with the finest wheat.
I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.

The bold parts are what stood out to me. You see, in my quest for health, my bread situation had been troubling me lately. I love Sara Lee Soft and Smooth bread but it had gotten really expensive so we switched to the cheap stuff from our local store. It was whole wheat, didn't have preservatives, tasted okay and was only $1 so it worked but it still had high fructose corn syrup and it was incredible tasty. But I didn't have the time to make it from scratch like I wanted so I resolved myself to making due and thanking God for providing a alternative to my old favorite. You may even remember a post I wrote on June 6th which talked about this bread.

But on June 7th (yep, that's the next day), something changed. Craig and I headed to the big 4 paws garage sale. We volunteered in the afternoon so it was pretty well picked over with the good stuff having been taken hours ago. But I did spot a bread machine over next to a big box of old magazines. The tag said $10. I though that was pretty good for a bread machine but Craig and I had already discussed how we weren't bringing anything home from the garage sale. We were there to sell stuff, not buy it. I also mentioned it to Craig who said we could buy it if I wanted but I said, no, we had an agreement. But still, I watched it, thinking that in the last 2 hours someone would surely want it. Nope, not even when we went down to the "anything you can fit in a bag for $1." So we started loading up the trucks and I thought that it was nice so it would probably be put in the truck with items going to the second garage sale later in the summer. Then the people in charge announced that they had finished searching for "good stuff" and the truck was full so everything else was to be loaded up and sent to the local thrift store. I looked at Craig and he snatched up my bread machine and donating it to us instead. So I got myself a great bread machine for FREE! Now I can make whole wheat bread, the way we like it, with just a touch of a button. Praise God! He provides for us, even in the little things, He provides. And isn't it amazing how He cares about all aspects of our life. We shouldn't be burdened down by any problem that we can give to God...and we can give all of our problems to God.

So when I read those scripture about God filling our mouths with good things, and feeding us with finest wheat [which I have to say I do believe is King Arthur :-) ] I just had to laugh. Oh, and that noise I was hearing...my bread machine. Well, my bread is done now so I think I will go have me a slice with some honey.




*Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permisions of Tyndale House Publications, Inc, Wheaton, Illinios 60189. All rights reserved.

The Play's the Thing

MacKenzie and I had the opportunity last week to head up to Bear Lake to see Loralee perform in "Thoroughly Modern Millie." It was a good time. The cast of the show is pretty small, so the bit players had to play several different roles. The backup stenographers even had to sell concessions, and actors doubled as stagehands. I suppose this helps keep costs down, and since Garden City is a small town, there probably isn't a large pool of potential players. But the smallness of the cast and venue creates an intimate performance.

In the show, Millie is a small-town girl from Kansas who's trying to make it in 1920's New York City. It's kind of like "Coyote Ugly", except Millie becomes a stenographer instead of a bar dancer, and wants to marry a rich guy instead of becoming a songwriter. On second thought, maybe it's really not that much like "Coyote Ugly" at all.

Loralee played Muzzy, an aging songstress that has a late-arriving but pivotal plot role. The scene where she poses as a young orphan new to the city got the loudest reaction of the night (in part because her fans packed the theater that night, but also because it's pretty funny). Here she is:

(Loralee, is that your kid?)

MacKenzie and I are pretty much Loralee groupies by this point. We've also seen her in "The King and I" and the local Christmas Cantata, which MacKenzie was also in. She's pretty good.

My favorite part of the play, though, was the Asians. Ms. Meers, the innkeeper, turns her "l's" into "r's" beautifully, and even switches the accent on and off as necessary. Some may call it offensive, but I laughed every time she answered the phone with "Hotel Priscirra." I also look forward to the Orympics this summer. Ms. Meers also had two Chinese workers, who spoke (and sang in) that language through most of the play (at least, they pretended to be doing so. I cannot confirm whether the provided translation was correct).

Overall, this is a great production, worthy of a trip to Garden City this summer. Go check it out.

6.21.2008

Feline of the Week

Oscar gets the spotlight this week. Often, when cats come into Four Paws custody, they are not well-taken care of. For long-haired cats, that means they weren't brushed, so their fur might be matted. It is necessary to shave off patches of matted fur. Thus, some cats have pretty bad haircuts when they go on display. That happened to Oscar. It will grow out, eventually.

6.20.2008

My hero wears combat boots

When I look at our stats, I am always amazed that anybody other than my mom reads this blog, but they do. I know I'm not a great writer and most of the time, this doesn't bother me at all. But sometimes I wish I had real writing talent so that I could say what I want to say and have it come out somewhat coherent. That is what is happening now, I am dealing with a lot right now, some of it isn't even bloggable but the things that I can write about, I can't write about. That is I can't think of how to say what I want to. See, even that doesn't make any sense. I meant to write this for Father's Day but couldn't think of just how to write down all I was thinking, so now I'm just gonna say it:

My dad leaves for a year-long tour in Iraq tomorrow. I'm worried. My brain can try to convince myself that the likelihood of him being seriously injured or killed is small but the truth is, he is going to war. My dad is going to war. Anyone who has said that knows that whether you are 3, 13 or 23...it's scary. War - even the thought sounds crazy. My dad, who told us silly stories about frogs winning jumping contests and sang songs about sailor dads with smiles as big as the sea. Who took me to my first concert even though it was to see a boy band in Asia amidst tons of screaming girls. Who danced with me at my wedding. How can he be fighting in a war? That is what people's grandfathers did years ago, what people in textbooks did, not people I know, not today.

But I don't wish he wasn't going. I don't really understand when people are saying they "support the troops but not the war." I reason I support the troops and the way I do so is by thinking what they are doing is important. If I didn't think that what they are doing is necessary, I would think it would be really stupid for someone to voluntarily leave their family and go risk their life. But I do think what my dad is doing is important. And I can't even say that I wish someone else was going in his place because I know my dad and even if someone else was doing his job, they wouldn't be doing it as well. So he will go, and we will be proud of him and in a year when he gets back we will celebrate and finally be able to stop worrying.




If you notice in my sideblog, there is a new button. I made it in honor of my dad. If you have a family member or a friend serving (or you just want to show your support!) and would like to use it, feel free. I would love to hear from you either through a comment or e-mail but it isn't necessary.

I Doubt This




6.19.2008

She's got guts

This girl is awesome! When some 18 year old tries to steal her lemonade stand money she chases him, corners him in a house, and calls the cops. But $17.50 is a lot of money for a 12 year old...heck, $17.50 is a lot of money to me.

I tried to imagine what I would have done if that happened to me. Probably nothing, maybe whined about it, but at twelve I know I wouldn't have had the nerve to chase the guy. I have a feeling this girl is going to make something out of her life.

6.18.2008

What doesn't work for me - the ends of vacations

Warning: There may be a tad bit of whining in this post, but I really am glad to be home.

I didn't have time to think up a works for me Wednesday this week, life has been crazy. For me, both the best and the worst part of going on a trip is returning. On the one hand, I like to be at home, to sleep in my own bed, to have my routine...it's comforting. On the flip side, the first few days, I always feel behind and out of my routine, the very thing I am craving, going insane trying to catch up on things that I let slip while I was away. I wish I could just go on a vacation without having to deal with the aftermath. Am I the only one who feels this way?

At work, I was in the middle of a big project that I had to hand off while I was away and then try and pick back up Monday. Ahh!

And at home, Craig did really well keeping up with the chores, he even planned the whole week's menu and went grocery shopping, but I still feel all discombobulated, especially since my schedule is already messy this week, with added activities and changing the time of other, normally consistent, events.

My lunch break is split between my Bible study and blogging so blogging had to give while I caught up with my study but now that I am caught up with God, I can spend more time with you guys. Which is good because I have some exciting things from before I left that I didn't have time to post about. Luckily for you, none of them are too time sensitive. Because even if they were, I would post them anyway.

6.17.2008

Local Attraction

You will often hear people make comments like, "I lived in Chicago for 10 years, and I never went to the Sears Tower," or "I lived in North Dakota for two years, and never went to see the World's Largest Buffalo." People often neglect local tourist attractions, believing that they can go to them anytime, and that they'll do so eventually. But many people move away never having visited local points of interest.

I am not one of those people. I make sure to take advantage of my location to see local places of interest. One such place I visited this weekend is the Hill Aerospace Museum, at Hill Air Force Base down in Roy, Utah. This museum is awesome (although you ladies may not agree - airplanes are manly).

The museum contains a plethora of planes, many of which you have heard of, such as the B-1, the C-130, and the F-16. My personal favorite was the SR-71, a high-altitude, high-speed photo reconnaissance plane. There's also a model of the Wright brothers' plane, the propellers on which actually functioned by pushing the plane, rather than pulling it like later propellers did. As such, the props were behind the pilot seat, rather than on the nose of the plane.

I also talked to the elderly volunteer that was patrolling the museum. He told me about the plane he flew in during his days in the military, and about a crash he was in in 1961 that was mentioned at one exhibit. There wasn't much of the plane left in the photo, but nobody was killed in the crash. He told me the mechanical reason for the crash, but I sure don't remember what it was. He was a loadmaster on the C-124 cargo jet, responsible for loading the cargo the right way. Improperly loaded gear can cause a plane to crash due to poor weight distribution. If you've ever rented a U-Haul, you know that they tell you to load 60% or so of the weight in the front of the truck. The same principle applies with cargo planes. In fact, its exactly the same.

I would definitely suggest that all local readers check out the Hill Aerospace Museum. Oh, and I forgot to mention...it's free!

6.16.2008

To Texas and back again

Wow, I haven't posted in almost a week. Sorry about that but last Wednesday I got up, went outside to walk the dog we were watching and saw snow on my car. Snow! In June! I thought "Man, I need to be in Texas today, they never have snow in June" and by 4:30 that afternoon I was walking out of the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport...okay, so maybe I have already planned to go to Texas two months prior but it was still sweet to go from snow to sun in less than 12 hours.

I had gotten a ticket to go to Dallas earlier this spring so that I could attend my friend M.B's wedding. Alas, she did not get married this weekend. She was in a car accident and although she is fine, her leg was broken and now is full of pins. Since her childhood pictures of her wedding day didn't include her wheeling herself down aisle, they pushed it back till July. As I already had my ticket and hadn't seen her for over a year, I flew down anyway and we hung out for four days. We watched movies and talked and talked and watched movies. It was great. Well, not for her, I am pretty sure she would have rather have gotten married, but she tried to be in good spirits and we both had a good laugh Saturday night during our late night slumber party chat when I apologized for not being the person she was planning on spending the night with that evening.

Oh, and I have to say, I miss Texas. It was so warm and toasty...okay, okay - it was hot and if I was living in Texas I would probably be complaining but because I didn't have to stay there, I appreciated it.

And the stores they have...we went to a huge Christian book store and I was just in heaven. So many books and bibles and studies to choose from. I didn't realize how much I missed having such easy access to Christian resources but I loved being able to actually look at them all and pick out exactly what I wanted do. That's so much nicer than buying something from Amazon based on the title and a couple reviews. (Sidenote: even if a book has 100+ reviews, I normally disagree with the consensus). I ended up getting another Beth Moore study so I am ready to go when I finished "Believing God."

But, as I said, we mostly hung out and talked. There are a few friends in life that you can always click with. Even if you only talk to each other every month (or even couple of months) and maybe send an email to every one in a while, when you do talk, whether it is in person or through some sort of technology, you just get each other. I only have a couple friends like that but M.B. is one of them. She really helped me get through the trials and tribulations of my last semester when I was dealing with all the changes that come with graduating and getting married and well, growing up. Now I am super super excited for her to be married and go through all that too! Especially since it means I have another good girl friend to talk to about stuff with. So hold on M.B, just a couple more weeks until you finally become a Mrs.

6.14.2008

Belgian Bud

The Belgian beer giant InBev has made a proposal to buy Anheuser-Busch, the iconic American brewer of Budweiser and other beers. InBev has big plans for AB:

As part of its proposal, InBev envisions making St. Louis, MO the headquarters for the North American region and the global home of the flagship Budweiser brand. In addition, InBev has proposed to name the combined company to evoke Anheuser-Busch's heritage, reflecting the strong history of Anheuser-Busch's key brands. Given the limited geographical overlap between the two businesses and the efficiency of Anheuser-Busch's brewery footprint in the United States, InBev would maintain all of Anheuser-Busch's U.S. breweries.

Also, Budweiser isn't doing too well, lately, although Bud Light does well:

Shipments of Budweiser in the U.S. have slumped 33%, to 24.6 million barrels last year from 36.9 million in 1998, according to industry newsletter Beer Marketer’s Insights. Shipments of Bud Light, the top-selling beer in the U.S., climbed 61% to 42 million over the same span.

InBev would attempt to expand Budweiser as a global brand, much like Coca-Cola, while keeping all of its US operations intact. It sounds like a win-win situation, doesn't it? However, this hasn't stopped US politicians of both parties from using this proposal as an opportunity for grandstanding:

Republican Gov. Matt Blunt said Wednesday he opposes the deal, and directed the Missouri Department of Economic Development to see if there was a way to stop it.

"I am strongly opposed to the sale of Anheuser-Busch, and today's offer to purchase the company is deeply troubling to me," Blunt said in a statement.
The local Senators had to get in on this, too:

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., sent a letter Thursday to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, asking him to closely scrutinize the acquisition.

"The proposed foreign acquisition of Anheuser-Busch is troubling to me because it potentially raises antitrust issues under existing law by putting a significant market share of the U.S. in the hands of fewer competitors," the letter said. [Editor's note - this makes no sense.]

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said she was "nervous" about the deal, and planned to send a letter to Anheuser-Busch's board of directors asking them not to allow the deal to move forward.

"On behalf of me and all my friends that like nothing better than a Bud Light every summer [Editor's note - yeah right], it makes us very upset," McCaskill said.

These politicians are preying on the populist and protectionist fears of average people, who are shocked at the idea of an American beer being owned by a foreign company. It seems pretty clear, however, that St. Louis will not suffer if this sale goes through. But is all too common, unfortunately, that when economic issues are concerned, politicians side with fear instead of facts. Of course, I realize that it is good politics to pander to Bud drinkers and employees in Missouri, but how about a little leadership?

Besides, what do I care? I like to drink Shiner.

6.13.2008

What Would You Say You Do Here?

An article in today's local paper touches on the kind of work that I do. While my company is not involved in this particular project, I have worked with most of the people in the article at one time or another, and I have done work similar to this. So if you wonder what exactly my job entails, read that story.

Feline of the Week

MacKenzie and I are involved with Four Paws, a local animal rescue group. One of our duties is to feed the cats, which live at Petsmart, once a week. These cats are available for adoption on Saturday mornings. What I'd like to do is start a feature on this blog in which I highlight one of the resident cats each week. We acquired our cat, Zeeba, from Petsmart, and it has definitely been a positive experience for us.

The first Feline of the Week is Abby. She is a calico tabby. I really like this cat color scheme.

According to the information posted on Abby's cage, she likes people, but not cats or dogs. However, this information is often based on scant interaction with the cat, so it may or may not be true. Abby likes to be held, and like all Four Paws cats, she is fixed and has her shots. Adoption fee for this, or any other cat, is $75. The cats are always on display, so you can check them out next time you're in the area.

6.12.2008

MADDness

Utah is known for having a hostile attitude towards alcohol, and for having arcane liquor laws. I like to highlight examples of these local phenomena when they pop up, to educate you, our fine readers (especially you non-Utahns).

A great example of the hostile attitude surfaced the other day at a state hearing. Utah is actually considering getting rid of the rule that requires drinkers to purchase a membership to enter an establishment that sells liquor (restaurants and beer-only bars are exempt from this). The hearing was held to gather public comment on the issue. Here's a statement from the Utah chapter of MADD from the hearing:
During a public hearing, MADD's Utah lobbyist told liquor regulators that the state needs to keep a record of everyone who enters a bar in case of a drunken-driving incident.

“We have a right to know where someone's been drinking,” Jaynie Brown told The Associated Press after the hearing.

It is chilling to think of the government keeping track of who drinks and when they do so, especially in Utah. One paragraph later, however, this article completely debunks the idea behind the above statement:

Private clubs are required to keep a record of its members. But contrary to Brown's statement, customers don't have to sign in each time. There's also no requirement to keep a record of a member's guests on any given night.

If you're going to make such an embarrassing statement, you should have your facts straight before you do. MADD's idea, I think, was that the membership requirement is a law-enforcement tool for prosecuting drunk drivers (it is commonly believed here, it seems, that everyone who drinks gets drunk and subsequently drives). I suspect, though, that a Breathalyzer test is evidence enough in most cases.

6.11.2008

Odd Contest

I've been hearing radio commercials for this contest for Aleve, the pain drug, and I thought nobody would enter it. Basically, they want you to write and sing a jingle about how much you love Aleve for pain relief. I thought, who would go to the trouble to do that? The prize they mentioned is that they may play your song in a commercial. Not worth the trouble, if you ask me.

However, it turns out the contest is easy to enter, and you can win $2,500. That's really not a lot by contest standards, but it's something. Also, you enter over the phone, and they provide background music. That's kind of neat. Plus, you only need to come up with 15 seconds worth of lyrics. So maybe I will enter. If you have any lyric ideas for me, leave them in the comments.

6.09.2008

Busted

As MacKenzie mentioned below, we have been doing a little housesitting. Along with taking care of the dog, our other duty is to keep the 18-year-old, Roberto (names have been changed), out of trouble. Well, at least keep him from causing any trouble in the house. Elsewhere, he's on his own.

Things went pretty well our first 3 days at the house. We didn't see Roberto much. He had a couple friends over once, but they left shortly after we arrived (we think he's been avoiding us). On Saturday night, we were sitting in the living room with the house to ourselves. Since things were calm, we decided to go to Borders at about 9 pm. We enjoy this activity because we like books, and, if you don't buy anything, it doesn't cost anything.

We were there for about two hours, then we headed back to the house, after a trip through the Burger King drive-thru to get a shake. When we arrived back at the house, there were two cars parked in front, and the basement lights were on. Roberto must have some visitors, we thought.

As we entered the house, someone in the basement called out, "Hello?" I replied, to which the person in the basement said, "Roberto?" I said no. He then said, "I'll be up in a second." At this point, we heard the unmistakable clank-clank of empty aluminum cans. MacKenzie and I gave each other a knowing look, and I headed downstairs to investigate.

When I got downstairs, there was one teenage boy I did not know, and there was a light on in the bathroom. He said, "Are you the guy who's taking care of the dogs?" I said that I was. He said, "Oh, we're just here watching the dog." I looked around, and did not see the dog. Then, another strange teenage boy emerged from the bathroom. As he opened the door, I saw a case of Miller High Life ("The Champagne of Beers") on the counter. As this kid sat down, I asked them were Roberto was. They said they didn't know, and boy #1 tried to call him. As he did this, I asked them, "So, are you guys still drinking?" Boy #2 said, "I'm sober." After a second of contemplation, I went to the bathroom to confiscate the beer. As I did this, I said hello to boy #3, who was hiding behind the bathroom door. Without another word, I took the beer and went upstairs to show MacKenzie my booty. Note that Roberto was nowhere to be found.

After a moment, the three boys came upstairs, and boys 2 and 3 left. In hindsight, I probably should have not let them drive away, or at least should have administered field sobriety tests. But I was kind of flustered by this unexpected development. Boy #1 told me that Roberto wasn't answering his phone. I told him not to worry about it, that we'd find him. He said, "If you see him, tell him Guy called." (Kids, if you get caught drinking, you shouldn't be volunteering your name.) Guy then left, too.

At this point, all I knew was that there were a few empty cans in the case I seized. I decided to go downstairs and look around, and I found more empty cans, and an empty 200 ml bottle of Everclear, in the bathroom shower. Along with the bottle, there were 12 cans consumed out of the 30-pack. This was done by 3-5 boys. At some point, I learned that Roberto had supposedly left with Kareem 30 minutes earlier. I don't know if that is true. I still haven't actually seen Roberto since this whole thing happened. I'm not even sure he was aware of this little soirée. The house was unlocked, so the kids could have just let themselves in. But his mother has been informed, so it's out of my hands.

In hindsight, there are a couple of things I would have done differently:
  • Tried to get a straight answer to where Roberto was, and how this whole party had started.
  • As mentioned above, not let them drive away without determining their fitness to drive. They could have defied me and left, but these kids had that deer-in-the-headlights busted look, so I think they would have listened to me. Plus, I'm intimidating.
Some might say I should have called the police or their parents, but I don't think I'd go that far. Since I have no idea who these kids are, getting the necessary information would have been difficult. Plus, our job was merely to watch the house. Roberto's mom knows what happened, so if she wishes to pursue things, she can. If it were my house, and my kids' friends, then things would be different.

So I'm just sitting here now, enjoying a free beer and telling you this story. How would you have handled this situation?

Someday...

So I haven't been writing too frequently but we've been busy. We are house and dogsitting for a friend from church right now. Well actually we are baby boy mansitting too but that is another story for another post.

But what it does mean is that we are spending most of our time across town, not having our computer nor internet. And the truth is, I really like it. We do spend some time at our house so our cat doesn't get too lonely and we do what we need online while we are there, but when we head over to the house for the night, it isn't around to suck up time. Even with the fancy cable that is there (as opposed to our really cheap cable that gives up the networks, pbs and the history channel only) I feel like I have so much more time in the evenings.

It isn't all good though since I am now growing discontent with my apartment. I love being in a house, especially those in nice family neighborhoods. We took the dog for a walk one evening and just strolled around. Other things I like about the house - the gorgeous backyard. It's huge with a nice plush lawn. We've played Frisbee, grilled and ate outside, and watched the birds actually eating out of the bird feeder. We have had a birdfeeder at our apartment for about 6 weeks now but not a single bird has eaten from it. :-(

I don't really mind living in an apartment, it is just that I haven't lived in the same place for more than a year since I started college and it gets old. With a dad in the military, I always thought when I grew up I would move around less than as a kid, but so far that hasn't been the case and well, I am tired of moving! I am ready to put down roots and decorate and buy furniture from someplace other than a garage sale without having to worry about it getting ruined. But someday we will have our own house, and what is fun about housesitting and moving around a lot is that you can try out different styles and see what you like and don't like and what you think you can convince your husband to agree with even though he says he doesn't like it (read: open floor plans). Someday...

6.06.2008

Good (and local) Eats

I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm not big into buying "organic." I don't think it's good enough to justify the expense. In fact, I don't necessarily think it is any better at all, either for the eater or the environment. I would venture to state that most of the time, buying organic is a feel-good step - you feel like your are eating healthier or saving the earth without really doing much other than emptying your wallet faster. [Also, one of my pet peeves is how some people are terrified of chemicals in their food as if all "chemicals" are cancer causing or toxic....ackk, there are -OH's in my beer, I'm going to die..." ]

But I do think we need to be good stewards of the earth and I'm all about nutritious food. Sidenote: I realize I have been talking about healthy food a lot lately but I get on kicks and right now, healthy food is my flavor of the month (no pun intended) ...you should just hope next month it isn't fungus [although mycology is fascinating].

One actually helpful way to do this is to eat local foods. Prices are normally reasonable if not cheaper, taste is great and it's often more nutritious. I still don't think you should take this to the extreme, I love bananas and am not ready to give them up, but I do buy locally when it is reasonable to do so. Here are some of the things we buy locally most of the time:

1. Cheese - We buy our cheese at a local factory. Not really any healthier than far-away cheese, but it is the cheapest in town and so much tastier. A couple weeks ago when we were without our car for the week, I had to buy cheese at our grocery store and it tasted like plastic. I have been so spoiled.

2. Bread - I used to love Sara Lee Soft and Smooth Whole Wheat but Sam's Club stopped carrying it and the price has jumped to $3 or more per loaf. But one week I noticed the loaves at the bakery. I had always assumed that they would be expensive but I can get a loaf there for $1-$1.50. And they don't have any preservatives. They are sweetened with the dreaded high fructose corn syrup so it isn't as healthy as homemade but it's still pretty good.

3. Eggs - One of Craig's co-workers has chickens so we buy fresh eggs from him. They used to be a $1 which was cheaper than the grocery store but even with a price increase to $2 per dozen, it is worth it. They taste so yummy. The first time I broke one open I was a little freaked out by the bright yellow-orange color but now that I'm used to it, I can't live without them. Except this summer I have to; Craig's co-worker is in the National Guard and is gone for the next 8 weeks. Back to grocery eggs :-( When we own a house, I would love to have my own chickens but I'm not sure I can convince Craig it would be fun.

4. Honey - We buy it at the local honey store where they have so many options, I love the mountain kind - it knocks the socks off of generic clover honey. They also have creamed honey which is great for toast. We have also gotten honey from the egg guy as he raises bees too.

5. Summer Fruits and Veggies - Last summer we got tons of squash and zucchinis from the generous gardeners at church whose plants got away from them. They were giving away so much every Sunday that we couldn't eat it fast enough. It was great - the benefits of gardening without the work. We also get berries, peaches, and corn at the gardeners' market.

What type of food do you try and get locally? And feel free to argue against me and my view of organics, I realize my love of chemicals is higher than the average persons.

Dakota Outlier

As a native of the upper Great Plains, I still pay attention to that area. As a North Dakotan, I am often mistakenly thought to be from South Dakota. People generally mix the two of them up. (Insulting, I know.)

Anyway, I'm surprised that Hillary Clinton won South Dakota in Tuesday's Democratic primary. I would classify South Dakota as a "lily-white state" - one with a minute number of minorities. A look at this map shows that other such states went to Obama. Examples include Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa.

The issue of Obama's church may have something to do with this. That wasn't really an issue when the other white states voted. Also, SD had a primary, rather than a caucus, which many of the above mentioned states had.

I would think it would be unsettling for Obama to lose a contest after the media has been calling him the winner for weeks now. But that isn't getting mentioned too much in the news.

6.05.2008

Gaining a Reputation

The area in which I live, Logan, Utah, generally makes national news for two things:
  • Making the occasional "Best Places to Live" list, and
  • Puritanical behavior/attitudes.
I have chronicled several examples of the latter in these pages:
  • Utah State banning the "You Suck" chant at basketball games.
  • A hockey player cited for lewdness for mooning the crowd.
  • Students playing root beer pong.
Today, there's a new example, involving student T-shirts for USU basketball games. This year's shirt was supposed to say "I'm proud of my A" - the 'A' standing for Aggies (ostensibly). Well, this double entendre didn't sit well with USU administrators, who forced a change.
Administrators at the school have asked that the shirts be redesigned to change the sentence, “I’m Proud of My A.” Tiffany Evans, director of USU’s Student Involvement and Leadership Center, explained that the slogan could refer to Aggies, alumni, athletics or the rear end.

“We don’t want anyone to say, ‘Um, I probably can’t wear that or I feel uncomfortable wearing that,’” Evans continued. “We want it to be unifying. We don’t want it to have to cross someone’s mind, ‘Oh, I like the shirt, but no.’”
Now, the shirts will say "I'm proud of the A." This fall, USU fans will be able to wear the shirt and cheer their Aggies without reservation. And I'm happy for them. More, including audio from ABC News, here.

6.04.2008

Some book reviews

I've been doing a bit of reading lately and after being inspired by Karen, I thought I would share my thoughts, complete with pictures of the books because "even though they say not to judge a book by it's cover, that is kinda what it's there for."*

First off, I've had a couple of issues with our local library and it is frustrating. It makes me just want to buy the books but that not only costs money but it means having to try and find places to put them when we already have too many books. The biggest problem came with this book, Nourishing Traditions. I put it on hold a looonnng time ago and waited and waited but nothing. So finally, I checked the website and it was available! Why wasn't it held for me? Oh well, onto the books -

Nourishing Traditions:
I tried not to hold it against N.T. that it took my almost 8 weeks to finally get it but maybe subconsciously I did. After hearing such great things about it's nutritional info, I didn't think it was worth the wait. It didn't seem very scientifically sound. Many of her arguments stemmed from the idea that if people ate it a long time ago, it must be good for you (as well as it's counterpart - if it is a recent invention, it must be unhealthy).

I don't really care what people 1000 years ago ate, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is better. And while I do believe much of our food is overly processed, I also think there is a reason Louis Pasteur is a well-esteemed scientist. But while I didn't agree with her thoughts on the organic food and raw milk portions, I could at least understand them. However, I lost all confidence in the science behind the book when she started talking about the benefits of raw meat and the importance of organs (as in eating animal organs; I do think my own organs are important).

Almost anything that I would have "learned" from this book I disagree with - maybe I am just not an open person? I was really hoping I would like this book because I want to find sources of good nutritional information but this wasn't it. NEXT.

Patricia Veryan's romantic novels - Good. Definitely in the "light read" category so don't use them to boost your GRE score, but good for right before bed. Rachel mentioned them being hard to find but apparently clean historical romance novels are popular in Utah because there are bunches at our library. Their only problem - the covers.Slightly trashy! I hate reading them on the bus and can't seem to find an appropriate way to explain to the old lady giving me dirty looks that it isn't really a Danielle Steele knockoff, s0 I just sit there red-faced. The library copies are mostly older style covers which aren't as bad but even so I would prefer my covers sans heaving bosoms.

The Red Tent:
Couldn't finish it. Multiple people recommended it, but the author's adding to/changing a Bible story got under my skin. I didn't have any problem with that in Redeeming Love since the "moral of the story" the same but I couldn't deal with it here. Maybe I should have kept trying but it was too much work trying not to be annoyed with her.

Code to Zero:
The library didn't have either of the two Ken Follett books my mom recommended so I got this CIA/rocket scientist story instead. [What can I say, the combination caught my attention:-) ] It was intense but I will admit that it wouldn't have been as scary if Craig had been home the night I started it (darn those business trips). One big fault - random and unnecessary sex scene. The scene felt like the author wanted the book to have sex and this was the only time, place, and couple it would have been possible to make it happen with. But I still like Ken Follett and now I really want to get my hands on The Pillars of the Earth. Maybe that will be on my next set of reviews.

*One of my favorite quotes from Ms. Rachel.