Monday, October 26, 2009

A Blog Explosion!

I just published 12 posts all at once! It's a blog explosion!

It's like my blog just got roundhouse kicked by Chuck Norris!

If my blog were a baby, it just got punched in the face!

Special thanks to Drew "Peacock" Thomas for punching this baby in the face!


Things That Must Go!

I always listen to X96 in the morning while I am driving to school. I love their segment "Things That Must Go." Inspired by this excellent radio segment, I present to you, in no particular order, my own personal list of things that must go:

1. Flipflops

Flipflops are great...IF YOU ARE GOING TO THE BEACH!
These annoyingly ubiquitous little sandals were once just a casual pool side accessory, now they are the all-occasion, all-weather, footwear of choice for twenty-somethings everywhere. You may remember(but probably not) the White House flip flop scandal of 2005 where the etiquette of flip flops in formal situations was addressed. A group of High School girls wore flip flops in conjunction with their dresses to meet the President of the United States at the White House!
If I knew I was going to meet the President, I would definitely not show up looking like I was ready for a day at the beach.
I am of the opinion that these little foam soles are too casual for pretty much every place you commonly see them. It irritates me that people wear these things to school, church, work, and on dates. I've even known some girls that have worn them with their wedding dress! Seriously what has happened to our sense of propriety? Get some real shoes people!

2. Cilantro

For some reason this disgusting little herb has been popping up in everything lately. I don't know if I am unusually sensitive to its flavor but, to me, it is overpowering and sickening. It seems to have a very sharp metallic copper flavor which is something I do not want to taste in my food. It's gotten so bad that I've had to make a mental list of places that put cilantro in their food so I can avoid them.

3. People who wear those Bluetooth headsets EVERYWHERE!

If ever there were a certain tell-all sign of douche-baggery, this would be it. I'm not opposed to these little gizmos in general, but I honestly struggle to think of a situation where using one doesn't make you look like a total "renob". I can pretty much a guarantee that if you see someone who is always wearing one of these, even when they aren't in the middle of a call, they are certainly a douche-bag of the highest degree. For more information on the subject please visit this link.

4. Guys in skinny jeans.

Ladies, do any of you honestly find this look attractive? I challenge anyone to find a guy who looks better in skinny jeans than in any other kind of trouser-based article of clothing! I'm confident that such a person doesn't exist. Every time I walk past some weird guy in skinny jeans I literally start to dry heave! I'm struggling to even write this post because I keep having weird convulsions while thinking about them! They just need to die quickly and go away for ever! If you are a wearer of skinny jeans, shame on you!

5. Vampires

In an earlier incarnation of this yet unpublished blog post I had a quite lengthy rant and rave session on the ridiculousness of the current popularity of vampires. I decided to ditch this tirade in favor of a single image which perfectly sums up my feelings on the subject.
(Disclaimer: The image is slightly crude, and possibly offensive, so view at your own discretion. Also, while the conciseness of the visual slam against vampires appeals to me, the insinuations made do not reflect my own personal feelings or method of expression. I did not create the image or its captions, I am merely posting the link.)


The week before Fall semester started, Andrew was home from working at the scout camp all summer, and I had just moved home. Since this would probably be the last time we would be at home together for a significant amount of time we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and go on a road trip. Destination...San Francisco! Here is photo documentation of the highlights of our trip, which were many. Enjoy!

The first day was pretty much just boring driving. Until we got to...Lake Tahoe!

The fresh mountain air was so exhilarating that we decided to go running. Actually I decided to go running and forced Andrew to come along. Here I am stretching as obnoxiously as possible.

We camped out overnight at Lake Tahoe. The best part about the campsite? THE BEAR BOX!
We really had fun camping. That night we hiked up to a smaller lake near our campsite and looked at the stars for probably an hour. The night sky was so vivid and clear, it was amazing! It's been a long time since I've done some good star gazing.

I was amazed at how beautiful and sandy the beaches were. This lake is HUGE!
I thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay in Lake Tahoe. I am really anxious to go back. The only things that would make it better would be riding bikes, and a hot babe to share it with. Oh yeah!

I was sad to leave Lake Tahoe, but we saw some great scenery on the way out. The lake is somewhere out in the distance.

Andrew and I both have a love of cars. Whenever we go on a trip we purposely plan our route to take us by as many good car locations as possible. Our first stop was at an auto brokerage warehouse just outside of San Francisco.

In San Francisco we went some Japanese garden place. It was pretty cool...I guess.

This is my kind of thrift store!
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the yellow dress is on a male mannequin. Nice!

While we were in San Francisco we stayed with our Uncle and his family. Our first full day in town he invited us to come visit him at his office where he was going to take us on a mystery adventure.

Yeah, he works here. He is the CIO of McKesson, the 13th largest company in the U.S. That's a pretty big deal apparently.
When we got to his building, we checked in at security, were issued temporary visitor passes, and then one of our Uncle's secretaries came to escort us to his office. It was all very official.

Here is the view from his office on the 37th floor.

What was the top secret adventure you ask? Well somehow with his connections he tracked down the company where they film the TV show Mythbusters, so we went there, had a tour of the place, and met everybody! It was pretty much amazing, especially since we are just a big family of geeks who love the kind of things they do on the show.
That's our Uncle Randy on the left. Our awesome cousin Avi is next to him. He does amazing things with robots and Nerf guns by the way.

The following day on our way out of San Francisco we did some touristy things, but first...we had to check out some more cars. While we were driving around in a somewhat dodgy area of San Francisco trying to find a particular car museum, we stumbled upon this place:
We had no idea it was any where near there. We literally turned around a corner and were like, "What the heck? There's Pixar!" Security looked pretty tight so we didn't try to go in the front gates. Instead we crossed the street and went here:
Nice right? They had an original Shelby Cobra. Original! I'll probably never see another one again. They are pretty darn rare.

We crossed a bridge:
We crossed another bridge:

We drove around on the crazy steep streets of San Fran:
We drove up to Coit Tower to take a look around and use the funky self cleaning bathroom thing.
We drove Lombard Street:

On our way out of the city we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge:
I really wanted to jog across it, but we were on a tight schedule. Text time I'm running across that dang bridge!

This is me all exciting about driving across the Golden Gate Bridge:

I got even more excited when we went here:

Where we saw these beauties:
and these:
and these:
and these:
Aren't they gorgeous! If I had to pick between an Aston Martin and a hot girlfriend, it would be the dilemma of the millennium! It would require at least several days worth of carefully weighing the pros and cons of each option. I mean this girl would have to be pretty dang hot to even be considered on the same ballot! I honestly have no idea what I would choose...but it would probably be the car. Hmmm...maybe that's why I don't have a girlfriend...

I particularly love the interior:
"I want that."
The Aston Martin sales associate was super cool too! His name is Andrew and he is from Scotland. He is pretty much as big of an Aston Martin geek as we are so he took us all over the place and talked cars with us for quite a while. It was pretty cool!
Finally we had to wipe the drool from our mouths and tear our sweaty bodies away from these beauties. Ok so our reaction to the cars wasn't quite that graphic, but who cares!

We drove for quite a while before we got to our next destination. On the plus side we got to go through some sweet tunnels!
"And then?...the tunnel..."

All these tunnels took us to Yosemite. I've decided that this is my new favorite national park!
Good old El Capitan'.

We made sure we spent some time in the Ansel Adams Gallery, where I purchased several nice prints as souvenirs.

Leaving Yosemite was interesting. We encountered some extreme changes in terrain in a very short amount of time. First it was stuff like this:
About ten minutes later it was stuff like this:
The gravel was really weird; it was so loose it felt like walking on sponge.

About five minutes later we were driving through this:
Poor fire damaged trees...

The last part of our exodus from Yosemite was the most fun as we encountered some very twisty roads with lots of dips. We were having so much fun on these roads we made a few videos.

This was before we got the really good dips. After driving through stuff like that for a while, we finally came to a sign that said "Dips Next 5 Miles." We thought what we had just gone through was pretty dippy, but we had no idea what was in store.

Ok, you can't really tell from the video, but these dips are HUGE! It was like riding a roller coaster! There were some dips with massive scrapes at the bottom. We set the cruise control at the posted speed limit, so we didn't get to crazy, and then we just enjoyed the ride.

Well, there you have it. This is our amazing road trip in a nutshell. I have tons more pictures so if you want to see more of them just ask. Perhaps I could do a follow-up entry some day.

A Major Achievement

I frequently have really weird or crazy ideas that I think would be really cool. One idea in particular has been on my mind every time I've driven from Logan to Brigham City over the last several years.
I have a theory that from a certain point in Sardine Canyon, you can drive all the way to Brigham City without touching the gas pedal. Every time I drove that canyon(and wasn't in a hurry,) I would test this theory. Unfortunately, traffic, or construction, or weather conditions would not permit a perfect test. Well, I am here to announce that several weeks ago, on a late night return trip from Logan, I was able to complete a perfect test of my theory.
If you are familiar with Sardine canyon, you know that about halfway through the canyon there is an area between two ridges with a very long, straight, sweeping stretch of road as the highway dips into a valley and comes back out again. Coincidentally this is also the stretch of road where I discovered that my parents Saab is limited to 136 mph. As you reach the crest of this hill, the remainder of the trip into Brigham City is mostly downhill. I say mostly because there are two major obstacles which must be overcome.
The first is the stretch of road that passes Mantua. The second is the large hill you must ascent before dropping into Brigham City. In previous attempts, these obstacles (and rapidly approaching traffic from the rear) forced me to chicken out and accelerate back to normal highway speeds...but not this time.
Here's the setting: My brother Andrew and I are returning home from Logan at about 1:30 in the morning. I observe that the conditions for my theory appear to be perfect.
As we are driving through the canyon I explain my theory and tell him that if traffic conditions stay ideal (as in no traffic,) then we are totally going for the perfect test!
He is a little bit puzzled by my crazy idea, but he agrees. As we crest the hill while going the posted speed limit, I take my feet completely off the pedals and put the car in neutral. At first everything is pretty standard and dull as we coast along slowly losing speed. Shortly thereafter the road steepens and we begin to pick up speed. From previous attempts I know that you get going the fastest on some of the twistiest parts of the highway. I start to get nervous and position my foot over the break pedal. While Andrew had previously been skeptical, he is beginning to get into the thrill of the adventure.
We coast into the first valley at nearly 80 mph! The road starts to level out past Mantua and we quickly lose speed. As we approach the final leg of the canyon our speed has dropped below 40 mph. We are still pretty sure we can make it past Mantua, but the obstacles seems more imposing now.
We successfully made it past Manuta to the bend in the road that signals the last downhill stretch of the canyon. Slowly we pick up speed, and reach a respectable 75 mph. The final hill is in sight!
The road bends uphill and our speed rapidly drops. 65...50...45...35...25. We are nearing the top of the hill, but our speed seems to be dropping too quickly. We get down below 20 mph almost to a crawl as we struggle to reach the top of the hill. Very slowly we inch along. We make the top of the hill and breath a joint sigh of relief as we start down the other side.
We made it! We proved that from that exact point in Sardine Canyon you can coast into Brigham. Now comes the fun part...seeing just how far we can make it before we come rolling to a stop. Before we get too excited I remember that there is one more obstacle we must pass...the traffic light at the bottom of the hill.
Because cars are usually going so quickly coming out of the canyon, there is actually a set of flashing lights about a quarter of a mile before the intersection. If the lights start to flash, you had better start slowing down because the traffic light will be turning red in a few seconds.
As we rolled down the hill gaining speed, our eyes were fixed on that set of lights, willing them to stay dark. We had picked up speed to about 65 mph and successfully passed the not-flashing lights. It appeared to be smooth sailing. Sure enough we coasted right through that intersection without another car in sight. We actually maintained our speed on the straight and level for a lot longer than I thought we would. It appeared that not only were we going to make it further into Brigham City than anticipated, but we were going to have to face a second traffic light obstacle.
We could see the light in the distance, and it was green, but as we got closer, it changed to Red.
I started to panic thinking that we had made it all this way and would have to brake for the very last intersection. Resisting the urge to brake for as long as I could, we continued onward towards the intersection.
We had a brief ethical discussion on whether or not we should run the red light for the purposes of science, seeing as how there were no other cars within sight. Fortunately, just before we reached the point of no return, in the darkness we could see the opposing lights turn to yellow and then to red. Our own lights turned to green just seconds before we went coasting through. It was a pretty close call and was majorly nerve wracking.
We had successfully made it through Brigham City and past the gas stations and now we were approaching the freeway entrance. We knew that the end of our legendary journey was nearing an end as the road began to turn uphill.
With our speed slowly dropping, we speculated on the possibility of reaching the south-bound freeway entrance and actually coasting onto the freeway. As the incline of the road increased, our speed had dropped below 30 mph, but still we kept rolling. We dropped below 20, and then below 10. Now going slower than five mph it was clear that we were not going to reach the south-bound freeway entrance. However, we were only a few car lengths from the north-bound freeway entrance! Inching forwards we finally came to a stop and began to roll backwards with the entire stretch of the north-bound on-ramp directly visible out of the passenger window.
Rejoicing in our powerless victory over those 10 solid miles of highway, we put the car back in gear for the first time in 10 minutes, and accelerated onto the freeway, satisfied with our major achievement.

I Need New Pants!

You may remember my previous entry, "Less of a Man," where I outlined my goals regarding weight loss. I figured it was time for an update. I think this picture says it all:
I reached my weight loss goal, and actually had to buy new pants, because my old ones were looking like potato sacks with my belt cinched up so tight. So far I am really happy with the results. I feel great and I am more confident in how I look. That being said, I'm still a little soft around the edges. I'm thinking that it might be time for a new set of goals. I think I will keep doing what I have been doing and see if I can't get down in the 150ish region. I'm calling my new course "the road to six pack abs." We'll see what happens.

Reflections on Leaving Logan

For the last several weeks I've been thinking about what it will mean to me to leave Logan. I've lived here for four years, and have come to think of it as my home. Not my second home, or my home away from home, but my actual home. Whenever I go back to Bountiful, I say that I am going to my parents house, rather than to my house.

Unfortunately, pretty much all the major circumstances in my life are pushing me out of Logan. First, I haven't enjoyed the engineering program, and this has been reflected in my grades. I am too far along to switch to a new major, but I can't continue at USU. If I want to finish my degree in a reasonable amount of time, my only option is to transfer to a different school.

Secondly, I haven't enjoyed my job as much as I used to, and I've felt the need for a change. There are practically no jobs available in Logan, so again it makes sense for me to give another town a try.

Lastly, but most importantly to me, I have had zero success in social pursuits while in Logan. I have made several close friends, but as far as dating goes, no girls have shown any interest in getting to know me. This lack of dating prospects has been a source of puzzlement to more than just myself. I've acquired a fan club of sorts, made up mostly of close friends, and the spouses of close friends. This fan club has served the purpose of reassuring me that I am one of the most awesome guys on the planet and that all girls who turn me down are stupid. While I have appreciated their efforts I can't help but feel that my options in Logan have become extremely limited. I think it is time to move on to greener pastures.

I've been thinking a lot about the experiences I have had here in Logan, and I thought it would be fun to write about some of the things which have been memorable for me.

Things I enjoy about living in Logan:

-When I go running and people shout out "Robby!" as they drive by. I think in general people like me, even though I've never really found a certain crowd to hang out with.
-Brent Carpenter. Probably the coolest and most recognizable person in Logan. I am really going to miss returning waves to Brent as he rides by on his bike.
-Riding bikes all over Logan in the summer time. Summers in Logan are awesome, and riding your bike all over town just makes it better.
-Rock climbing. Pretty much nothing but awesome climbs in Logan canyon.
-LBS. Best burgers in Logan, and home of the amazing Logan Club. The first time I took a bite of this amazing samich, I thought "I can now die a happy man."
-The Utah Theater. I'm bummed that they have been closed for renovations for over a year because this was my favorite place to go catch a classic movie on the big screen.
-All the fun plays and performances. Being a college town, Logan has a lot of really good performances available at a minimal cost.

-My friends. I lived in Logan for four years. I am really going to miss being in close proximity to so many good friends.

Low points:

-The semester I was rejected for dates 14 times in a row! Thank you Katie for being the girl to break this string of bad luck. I am especially grateful to Katie for giving me more of a chance than any other girl I ever took out while in Logan. We ended up going on three or four dates together.
-Never having a real relationship. Logan was brutal for me as far as dating goes. For some strange reason no girls were interested in me, despite me being awesome.
-Not succeeding in school.
-I never really felt like I fit in up there. I had a few close friends, but in general I never really found anyplace that welcomed me for who I was. It seems I was well liked, but I was always tagging along with people rather than being eagerly awaited at social gatherings. It seemed like everywhere I went there were already established groups of friends who always did everything together. I desperately wanted to be part of a group like this, but never was.
-The "Social Black Hole." This is a specific person who made life for me considerably more difficult. My natural inclination is to be more reserved in social settings until I get to know people. After I am comfortable with them, I can relax and be my normal goofy self, but it takes a little while. There is a guy I know who acts half his age, but for some reason, everywhere he goes, every single girl is drawn to him as if he were a black hole.

If he happened to be at the same party as you, you might as well leave, because any chance of getting any attention from someone was hopeless. I never found him to be particularly fun or interesting, and I don't think he was deserving of the attention he got. It seemed to me that everything he did was to get himself more attention. I rarely saw him do anything that wasn't self-serving.

One time in particular, I wanted to get to know a certain apartment of girls, so I invited them to come watch a movie with my roommates and I. When it came to the day of the movie, they asked if they could bring a friend, of course I told them that they could. It turned out that the friend was the social-black-hole. They all came late because they had to wait for social-black-hole to get done doing something before they could cross the street to my apartment. They also ended up leaving before the movie was even over because social-black-hole wanted to do something else. I wasn't invited to come with them either.

- The "Social Octopus." This guy wasn't as bad as the social black hole, but he still kind of bugged me. Basically he was oblivious to boundaries, and people's personal space, and was in general pretty obnoxious. One time I was watching a movie with some friends, and he came over, late of course, and did a good job causing as much disruption as possible in his arrival. He then sat down by me and crossed his wet shoe clad leg across his knee. The wet shoe kept rubbing all over my leg and got my pants all dirty. I would move over to avoid his shoe, but somehow he was still able to get me all wet despite the increased distance.

Another time I saw him go up to a girl, who happened to be engaged, and gave her a big bear hug, picking her up off the ground. This wouldn't have been so bad, but he didn't put her down right away. He held her off the ground for a solid minute and had a conversation with their bodies pressed together and their faces practically touching. If I had been that girl's fiance I would have gone up to him and told him to put her down immediately and never touch her like that again. I don't think he was being deliberately inappropriate, just unaware of certain boundaries.

-I Never got to go to Le Nonne. This is a small Italian restaurant built in an old house. It is very cozy and romantic, and I hear that is has the best Italian food in Utah. I always wanted to take a girl there, but it was kind of a special destination. I thought it was more suited to a fourth or fifth date when things are starting to get more serious. I never made it to this dating milestone with any girl while I was in Logan, so Le Nonne represents more than just a lost culinary experience for me.

Things that went well:

-I really enjoyed the various callings I had in my ward. I really think that I tried to do my best and make a difference. I am really grateful that I got to work so closely with the Bishopric and Relief Society the last two years. It was really a special experience getting to be so involved with the inner workings of the ward. I really hope that all of my efforts helped make the ward better. I will really miss serving in that ward.
-The few close friends that I made. It's interesting how leaving a place causes your closest friends to be revealed. There are a few people who I know will be close friends throughout life. I am grateful for them. There are people who I hope will keep in touch, but I don't know if they will.

What I am hopeful for:

-That the grass is greener on the other side. Logan was really rough, so I hope that I am in store for some good times ahead.
-That I will actually be able to meet a girl that will show some interest in me. I'm not desperate or anything, I'm just not very good at being single, and I would really appreciate some companionship.
-That people will be interested and want to get to know me. I think I'm a pretty rockin' dude, I hope that I will be able to meet some people who agree.
-That I will succeed in school. It will be really nice to have a degree on the wall and a real job to go to every day. Yes, I am looking forward to this.

The final thought I had for this entry comes from an episode of The Simpson's. In the episode where Homer gets a new job and moves his family to a planned community. An amusing dialogue takes place as they are leaving Springfield:

Homer: "So long Springfield, you've been good to us..."

Lisa: "No it hasn't, that's why we're leaving!"

Homer: "Oh yeah! So long stink-town!"

That's a pretty good summary of how I feel.

A "Little" Bit Flaky

So I have decided to expand the scope of this blog to include stories of failed romantic endeavors. I have had many such experiences, so this is a well of potential blog entries which will not be running dry any time soon.
For my first voyage into this plentiful realm I am going back three years to a time of confusion, frustration, and shattered dreams.
It was the first day of a new semester and I went to class full of hope and confidence that this year things would be different. I should probably clarify by saying that by "different" I mean successful in the girl department.
I walk into the class room, and find that it is already very full and only a few seats remain. I quickly scan the room and spot a vacant seat near the front, right behind a very cute girl. I take the seat eagerly.
After the class is over, I start packing up my things when, to my surprise, the very cute girl turns around and introduces herself. It was refreshing to meet someone so outgoing and friendly on the first day of class.
As we were leaving the classroom we actually began a conversation! When does this happen? If you are me, practically never.
It turned out that we were going the same direction for our next class, so we walked and talked the whole way there. Needless to say, things were off to a great start.
The next day of class I sat by her again, and once again after class we talked the whole way to our next class.
As I said before, I went into the new semester full of confidence, so before we went our separate ways, I mustered up some additional courage and asked her out. She seemed excited and pleased that I had invited her to have dinner with me, but unfortunately she was going to be out of town that weekend. She suggested we go the following weekend. Even more unfortunate was the fact that the following weekend I would be out of town myself. Despite not being able to set a date immediately, we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to keep in touch and make plans sometime in the near future.
After that first week we exchanged a few text messages, and continued our usual after-class-socializing. The third week of class I was looking forward to seeing her so we could finally make some plans. This is where things started to get weird. She wasn't in class all that week. She was also gone the following week. I tried to call her once, and I think I sent her a text message, but didn't get a response from either. When she finally returned, all was quickly forgiven when she explained that she had missed class to participate in some sort of beauty contest. Seeing that she was just as friendly as always, I am now thinking to myself how awesome it would be to date a girl that had won a beauty contest.
With renewed vigor, I resumed my attempts to take her on a date. Discouragingly, the trend of always being busy continued. At one point I even called her up to suggest a midweek dinner date since weekends were always so bad...she had to write a paper for one of her classes.
We are now well into the second month of the semester and her unusual behavior continues. She would frequently miss class, or come in late thus limiting our usual socializing. Whenever we did manage to chat, she was always friendly, flirty, and fun to talk to. Despite the appearance of being interested, she was always busy. Each time the topic of our long-awaited date came up, she would apologize for being so busy, promise me that she still wanted to go out sometime, and then give an excuse for why she couldn't that week. By now I am starting to feel like she is dragging me along on some sort of wild goose chase, but I am still determined.
Following an unusually lengthy absence in the third month of the semester, I noticed something different about her when she returned to class. She had a ring on her left hand. Let me say that again...A RING ON HER LEFT HAND! Throughout that entire class period I was trying to get a good look at the ring. It definitely looked like a costly ring, but not like a typical engagement ring. It lacked the traditional single diamond solitaire, and instead had lots of little diamonds all around the band. It was definitely nice enough to be an engagement ring, but I speculated that perhaps it was just a really nice birthday present from a family member. I admit that in my desperation I had turned to creating false hopes.
After class that day I decided it was time to be more direct. Before we went our separate ways, I asked her if she still wanted to make plans and go out, or if we should just forget about the idea. She assured me that she still wanted to go out, but she would have to let me know when she was free. I looked at her...I looked down at the ring...I looked back up at her and I then agreed to wait for her to let me know.
A few more weeks of diminished dialogue went by, when one day I came to class about 30 minutes late. This was the sort of class where the teacher would begin each day by asking if any of the student had any news to share with the class. Because had been late, I had missed any potentially important news. Throughout the remainder of the class period, it seemed as though attention and discussion was focused more than usual on the elusive girl sitting next to me. At one point the teacher even referred to her "big plans." My mind was running wild with speculation, but of course I already knew what was going on; I just hadn't actually heard it from her mouth yet. After class while I was walking her to her next class I kept trying to draw out a confession. I would ask loaded questions such as, "So, is there anything new and exciting going on in your life?"
"Do you have any big plans coming up?"
"Do you know where you will be next semester?"
With impressively vague agility she expertly dodged all of my leading questions.
After we parted ways, in my desperation I went right back to the building we had just come from and paid our teacher a visit in his office. Awkwardly I asked him if earlier I had missed an announcement from the girl in question. He confirmed my suspicions that she was engaged. Finally someone had actually given me a straight answer! I was simultaneously relieved, and enraged. I just couldn't believe that she had led me on for so long, and that even after her fate was finalized, she still hadn't come clean! That weekend I went out of town with a bus load of friends, and the 20 hour drive both ways gave me plenty of time to reflect. I decided that I had put up with this girl long enough and that I wasn't going to put forth any more effort on her behalf.
After that day I didn't attempt to talk to her again, and as a result, the day of her in-class announcement was the last time we spoke.
I've put up with a lot of rejection and strange excuses over the years, but this has got to be the worst of them all. I can deal with rejection, but leading someone on for so long is just deceitful and mean. Give it to me straight ladies! I can handle it!

I Hate You Jack London!

Have you ever read a book that made you so mad that you have actually thrown it across the room? Have you ever been tempted to just rip a book in half and throw it away forever? I've read some books that I didn't particularly like, but there has only been one that I have actually hated. This infamous book is The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Maybe it's just because I love dogs, or maybe it's because I'm a total wuss and hate violence and animal cruelty; whatever the reason, I hated every single page and sentence of this book. Start to finish I thought it was disgusting and vile. There was never anything redeeming in the story, it was just bad, followed by more bad. When I finished the last word of the last page, I closed the book, looked at it for a few seconds with fury in my eyes, then threw it against the wall as hard as I could. I couldn't actually bring myself to destroy it, but I was tempted many times. This was the first Jack London book I have read, and I'm not planning on reading any of his other works any time soon.

What Can You Do?

All over the world there are rude people, mean people, angry people, bad people. We run into them every day, but I hope that their influence is largely insignificant. Every once in a while something happens that makes you examine people, the world, and yourself.
Today I saw a woman of exceptional beauty. Seriously she was breathtaking. I don't say this flippantly, or with any disrespect. She was honestly and genuinely beautiful.
Shortly after noticing this woman, I was dismayed by the underwhelming example of the man she was with. He let loose a harsh string of verbal abuse. I feel sorry that this woman was forced to endure such treatment from her would-be companion. Instead of appearing hurt, she seemed to take it all in as if she were used to this sort of thing. I wondered what would keep her linked to such a colossal douche-bag.
Being a text book "nice guy" I was immediately overcome by a desire to console her and try to make her feel better about herself. This desire was also accompanied simultaneously by a more manly need to beat the guy to a pulp. I'm not a violent person, nor am I quick to anger, but I've never wanted to mangle someone so badly in all my life. He was a scrawny, perma-stoned, pathetic excuse for a man. I'm sure that with my decent level of physical fitness, and my three years of boxing club participation, I could have made quick work of it too.
Obviously it would not be appropriate for me to perform either task, so I ask the question, what can you do in such a situation?
I submit that when we encounter appalling examples of sub-human behavior, that we first commit to ourselves to never treat anyone in such a way; and if we find that we ever have thoughts bordering on this kind of meanness, that we do all that is possible to eradicate them.
Second, I think we should determine to raise our children knowing what it is to be loved and appreciated, so that they in turn will love and appreciate others.
I don't know if there is an immediate quick fix for this sort of thing, but I hope we will all do our part to protect our own families from this sort of thing. Everyone deserves to be with someone who loves them.

My List of Bad Ideas

The Formative Years

Adventures in Babysitting:
As children, my brothers and I went through a lot of babysitters. Due to incidents such as the following, most sitters wouldn't come back...

-The time we rolled our babysitter up in a length of carpet, dragged her down the hall, and rolled her down the stairs.
-When my best friend and I tied the babysitter up to the vacuum using the vacuum power cord. We wheeled her into the closet and left her there until my parents got home.
-Once upon a time, our babysitter revealed to us that she was allergic to aerosol sprays. We immediately grabbed every can of air-freshener we could find, and launched our own chemical-warfare campaign. It did not end well. As I recall, she ran from our house gasping.

-In one of our first home alone experiences my brothers and I made sort of a strange mess in the house. We had a bunch of those glow stick things tied to strings, and we had been outside throwing them at each other and seeing how high we could throw them. When we came inside we continued twirling them around and throwing them at each other. Unbeknown to us, several of them had cracked open when they hit the ground outside. When we turned out the lights in our house to go to bed, we found glow in the dark speckles and splash marks all over the walls, floor, and ceiling. We were freaking out! We tried to scrub them off, but there were a lot of them, and they didn't come off so easily. I think we noticed that after a while the glow had faded so they weren't as visible. We just hoped that they wouldn't be visible at all by the time our parents got home. I don't think they ever found out about that one.

Experiments Gone Wrong:
-When I was young, I thought it would be a funny prank to put an empty soda can in the fridge that appeared to not have been opened. I figured the easiest way to do this would be poke a hole in the bottom and drain out all the soda. I decided to do this by taking a nail and hammer to the bottom of the can. You can probably figure out what happened. I pound the nail into the can, and immediately a geyser of Dr. Pepper shoots out of the can and sprays all over the kitchen and ceiling. It was raining Dr. Pepper in our house! This one was hard to clean up. I think we were finding speckles of Dr. Pepper in strange corners of the kitchen for years to come.

-So one Halloween we were doing fun things with dry ice, and figured out that we could use the dry ice to carbonate all sorts of beverages. I figured that milk must be awesome carbonated. WRONG! The first effect of putting dry ice in milk was that it started bubbling continuously, like when you blow milk bubbles with a straw...only we couldn't stop it! That made a mess. After the dry ice melted and the bubbling ceased, the resulting carbonated milk was nasty! It tasted like metal. Gross!

-My brothers and I theorized that all cookies are better when they are warm and soft. To prove this hypothesis, we took an Oreo cookie and decided to warm/soften it in the microwave. We decided to start off at a pretty low cooking time, so we set the timer for 10 seconds. Everything seemed ok...until we opened the microwave door. Billows of thick black smoke poured out of the microwave! We were so baffled at how much smoke could come from one Oreo after only 10 seconds that we hesitated in following appropriate smoke clearing procedures. The fire alarms in our house went off, and the stench was intense. We opened doors and windows, and cleared out the smoke, but the smell lingered for weeks. I've been tempted many times since this incident to try and recreate the conditions to see if this works every time, but so far I haven't dared. I need to just haul a microwave outside with an extension cord and try it in a safe environment. Hmmm...that's a good idea!

From the Mission

-Here's a little tip: When a crazy/violent person stops you in the street and tells you that they were once in a mental hospital, it is never a good idea to guess the reason why they were in the mental hospital...

-When someone threatens to kill you unless you go away, you should probably do as they say rather than following them back up the walk and making threats of your own. Doing this will only result in him chasing you down the street and making your companion cry.

-When you meet someone crazy/violent, make sure you mark their house very clearly in your records, because accidentally knocking on their door a second time will most definitely not go well.

-If you feel ill and think you may need a bathroom, make that priority one! If you gamble on this one, you will probably lose. I may or may not have learned this unpleasant lesson as many as three time while on my mission...

The College Years

The year that Dave, Andrew, and I all lived together was a really fun year, but also a year full of bad ideas. Strangely, most of them are food related. Here are a few of the better ones.

-Dave and I believed at one time that two ingredients, namely Cholula hot sauce, and Devirl's all purpose seasoning, could make any food item better. To test the theory we added Cholula and Deverl's to the dough of some m&m cookies we were baking. The result was...not bad, but definitely not something I would eat voluntarily again.

-The time I decided to make a grilled chili cheese sandwich in a waffle maker. I didn't know how much molten chili and cheese could ooze out of one dang samich! It seriously went all over the place and totally gummed up the waffle maker. There was more chili/cheese on the counter than in my samich! It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

-My infamous bean dip. This experience yielded the famous quote, "A little too much beans, a little too much cheese, and a little too much cholula, makes a little too much heaven..." That was before I tasted the concoction. First of all, it didn't taste good. Second of all I was so stubborn that I insisted on eating way more of the stuff than I should have. Lets just say that the bowel repercussions were epic!

One Sunday afternoon, Dave, Myself, and Meagan(Dave's future wife) decided to make an amazing Sunday lunch. We went all out! We had eggs, bacon, snausage(yeah I said snausage), toast, juice, tons of stuff! Anyway, we were cooking so many things that we didn't have stove space or pan space to cook the bacon, so we decided that we could just broil it in the oven. We turned the oven on broil, which only used the upper heating coil, and put the bacon on a pan on the upper oven rack. This was where our mistake was. When we opened the oven to check the status of the bacon, flames erupted out of the oven! It freaked us out so bad! We quickly figured out that the sizzling grease from the bacon was hitting the heating element and bursting into flames. We had to get the bacon out of there! We opened the oven again, with similar results to the first time. We grabbed a towel and began to pull the pan out of the oven. As the grease sloshed around it caused even more flames. We seriously thought we were going to burn down the apartment. Luckily we got the bacon out with no serious fire damage, and the bacon was pretty good besides being a little on the crispy side.

-Lastly, and the only item not food related, there was the time my brother decided to download a free copy of Quicken from some dodgy website. The result was a massive virus which totally destroyed my laptop! At the time I didn't use my laptop very often so he neglected to tell me about the incident until a significant amount of time had passed, and I was wondering why my laptop wouldn't boot up. Yeah, that was a good one.

(This list of bad ideas is by no means comprehensive and is subject to expand rapidly and without warning.)

The Quote Wall

Most college apartments have something called a quote wall. Basically whenever someone in the apartment says something strange, inappropriate, or otherwise hilarious, it goes on the quote wall.
Last year I thought we had a pretty awesome apartment with some pretty funny moments, so I thought I would share a collection of our favorite quotes. Most of these are inside apartment jokes, but they are pretty funny nonetheless.

Most of the quotes come from these primary characters:

Robby - Um...this is me.
Andrew - This is my younger brother and former roommate.
Dave - My best friend and former roommate.
Meagan - Dave's former girlfriend/former fiance/current wife.
Erica - Our good friend and honorary roommate.
Suzanne - One of our favorite upstairs neighbor girls.

With that, here are the quotes in no particular order:

-Robby: "It's not stalking, it's social networking!"

-Dave: "I probably shouldn't eat spicy food on an empty stomach...I think it goes straight to my bum."

-Andrew: "Curse you Babylon 5! You've made us slaves with your intricate story lines and your mediocre mid-90s special effects!"

-Meagan: "Your wallet is boring...there's nothing even decent to steal in it..."

-Robby: "I eat gigabytes(pronounced jig-a-bites) like you for breakfast!"

-Suzanne: "You're mildly lame."

-Erica: "Whoa Dave! You have large appendages!"
Dave: "Why thank you."

-Robby: "I don't think the public is ready for this."

-Dave: "I can't stop it! It's growing everywhere!"

-Nick: "I just don't want my hair to smell like feet."

-Andrew: "The world must have been an ugly place before the bra was invented."

-Robby: "I just got back from a date with an attractive girl. I'm not this point."

-Brian: "The man told me to eat I eat souls."

-All: "Fourchachos!"

-Meagan: "Dave, are you alright over there?"
Dave: "I need to fart."

-Robby: "Hmm...I like variety."

-Suzanne: "I really need to get uglier friends."

-Andrew: "The question you should ask yourself Berto is not, 'are these shorts too tight,' but 'is my butt too big.'"

-Meagan: "Don't you dare! Girlfriends are not for shields!"

-Ben: "If you need to escape rape, you can punch them in the ovaries!"

-Robby: "A little too much cheese, a little too much beans, a little too much Cholula, makes a little too much heaven."

-Erica: "I feel like a skank."
Robby: "Why do you think we keep inviting you over?"

-Dave: "I'm going to bed."

-Robby: "If I were a girl I would be a lesbian for sure."

-Andrew: "You can still cuddle with your just need to balance your cuddle time."

-Meagan: "I'm glad to hear that all it takes is a hot elf and you turn gay."

-Robby: "You think this is weird? I saw naked babies on Facebook today!"

-Andrew: "It's not sexual if we're related."

-Kira: "Meagan is engaged?! To Who?"
Dave: "Some douche-bag..."

-Robby : "Did I ever tell you about the time I got shot by a rocket launcher while I was riding a razor scooter around the warehouse?"

-Andrew: "Buzz-off Ho bag!!"


Most people who know me know that I have a passion for paintball. It's pretty much the only sport I do, and I have been doing it for a long time. The weekend of April 25th I went on pretty much the best paintball trip I have ever been on!

It was the inaugural event for the new UWL(Ultimate Woodsball League) tournament series. Dumb name, awesome tournament! It was held at the world famous SC Village in southern California.We left Thursday afternoon and stayed overnight in Las Vegas. This was my first time going to Vegas in eight years. We were just passing through, so I didn't get to see any of the sights except in passing. I will have to go back sometime soon, there is a lot of energy in that city and I kind of like it.

Early Friday morning we made the rest of the drive to California. We were the first ones to arrive at SC Village, so we had a lot of time to walk the fields with just our team.
Walking the field is basically how you prepare to play a paintball tournament, and probably the most important preparation you can make. Tournaments are fast and aggressive, so if you don't know the ins and outs of the field you are playing on, you will probably lose. We learn the layout of the field, the locations of the flags and bases, good areas for cover, firing angles, running lanes, primary positions, secondary positions, and auxiliary positions. We practice running different routes to find the most efficient ways to reach our positions, we practice moving in our groups and getting each other into position. We basically spend as much time as possible going over the field and practicing as many game situations as we can. Often I am more exhausted from walking the field than I am from the actual tournament.

Usually when we go on these sorts of trips, the evening after we walk the fields we like to back to the hotel and relax in the pool. This typically leads to goofiness and all manner of hijinks. This trip was no different. To prevent future blackmail attempts I'm going to neglect posting the incriminating pictures of our pool party from this trip. Lets just say that it involved myself and some of my teammates in bikini briefs... Much fun was had by all, but that's all I'm going to say about it.

The next day the tournament began. We were the first game of the morning, and we played against the Psycho Clown Posse. We have played with the clowns many times over the years, and we always have a good experience with them. They are a group of unique, fun, honorable players. They play very well, and we can always count on them having flawless sportsmanship. These guys are awesome!

We had a bit of a wait before our next game so we got to just hang out and mingle with some of the other players. We just happened to be set up right next to Bob Long and his team! Bob Long is one of the biggest names in Paintball, but he is also a really relaxed, cool guy. We had a lot of fun talking with him.

We played a total of four games. We won the first Two, and lost the second two. We lost to Bob Long's team(they also won the whole event,) and we lost to a team called CA Ballers, which was made up of a bunch of pro players from various teams.
None of our games were blow-outs so we felt pretty good about that. It was a good feeling to be able to hold our own against these pro teams.

Both teams that beat us said that we played really well, were very aggressive, and gave them the most trouble of all the other teams they played against. It was very flattering to get such good compliments from actual pro players. It felt almost like we had hit the big time.
Personally I thought we played really well.

In between some of our games, we got to stand on the sidelines and watch the more experienced teams play. We learned a ton just by watching them! We also learned a lot of things from the games we lost. I am excited to start practicing all the new stuff we learned; I'm sure it will make us a much stronger team for the next tournament.

After all the games were over we got together with a few of the players from the other teams and played a couple of throw together rec games. It was a lot of fun to be playing rec ball with some of the world's best paintballers.

This was a great trip in all respects. Everyone played well, and we had a lot of fun, even when we lost. We met some pretty important people in the paintball world, and made some good team connections.
In addition to Bob Long, there was Matty Marshall, Todd Martinez, Nicky Cuba, Justin Schwartz, Roy Richards, Sonny Lopez, Kat Gong, and most the team LA Hitmen. If you don't follow professional paintball, you probably haven't heard of most of these people, but they are all pretty famous in the paintball community. It was really cool to be able to meet, hang out with, and play along side, such amazing players. We learned a lot just from watching these players in action. It was really a good experience, and probably the best event we have ever been to.