Spatula City

I'm pretty big on having the right tool for the right job whenever possible. And when cooking, one of the most essential tools is a spatula. But spatulas are almost always too thick, making them hard to slide under food, and the few that are thin enough are floppy and too weak to do the lifting required. We have one that is thin and strong, but it's metal and will scrape our non-stick pans. Is there no happy medium? Has anyone out there found the perfect spatula?

My Christmas Adventure

My Christmas adventure began at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I was actually working that day, and my wife called to tell me there was water dripping from the ceiling in our pantry. So I hurried home and soon discovered that the leak was coming down from the attic. My first impression was that our roof was leaking, but our landlord came and checked it out (thank goodness he went up into the attic instead of me this time) and our next-door neighbor had left his swamp cooler hooked up. The water line running through the attic had frozen and burst, so the water was running down between the walls.

The fact that he spends about 4 hours at home every month didn't help matters. But he left his garage unlocked, so we got the water shut off and started using a wet/dry vacuum to clean up the water. Our pantry has the original carpet put in 40 years ago, and had probably never been cleaned, so we were sucking up brown water. I tried to look at it as a good deep clean for the carpet.

Our neighbor’s sister was in the neighborhood and stopped to see why her brother’s garage was open. We told her what was happening, and she basically did nothing, saying he would be home in a few hours anyway. Then his ex-wife stopped by, and actually went in to his place. His ceiling was about to collapse, so they punched some holes in it to drain the water out. He was coming back from Elko, and apparently the pass was closed so he couldn’t even get home yet.

We vacuumed up what we could (it was an amazing shop vac we borrowed from my parents that actually sucked the water right out of the carpet), and watched it seep back over from our neighbor’s as soon as we vacuumed it up. We did this for a while until the seepage slowed, and went to Christmas Eve dinner at my parents’.

When we came back, one of our neighbor’s friends/employees was at his place starting to clean it up. We did a little more vacuuming and put a fan in there to try to help the carpet dry. By the afternoon on Christmas Day, it was dry and we were able to put all the stuff back in the pantry (it’s directly under the stairs, so it goes back 10 or 12 feet, and it was amazing to see how much stuff we had fit in there).

Despite the general sogginess of the holiday, we had a nice Christmas. My dad gave me and Sam the Dangerous Book for Boys, which is one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever gotten.

The situation is especially funny in light of our neighbor’s profession. Any guesses?

Trouser Time

I really don’t mind shopping, unlike most men. I like buying clothes for my wife, and I like shopping for myself. The one exception to this is buying pants. And the only reason for that is it’s impossible to find my size. I’m a slim guy, and all the pants I can find are at least 2 inches too big in the waist. I can’t decide if that’s because my size is popular and therefore sells out fast, or if it’s because obesity is the norm in today’s society (I prefer the latter theory, personally, because it’s funnier that way). Maybe I should start a “nice ’n average-sized” store or something.

Gift of the Moment

This was an early gift I received, and I must say it is beyond awesome. I stuck it on my dashboard, and it yells a variety of derogatory remarks at other drivers (and pedestrians), thus enabling me to save my voice.


Last night I dreamed that our whole galaxy was going to be destroyed by a "steam galaxy." For some reason, this was terrifying in the dream. I had access to some alternate universe or something, and I had 40 hours to transport people there to save them.

Before you ask, I'm sure my hordes of loyal blog readers were among those saved.

Tee Hee Dreams

Am I the only one who dreams about things that are totally hilarious at the time but aren’t as funny when you wake up? Last night I dreamed that I was sitting in some sort of auditorium, and some annoying guy I knew from school was sitting a couple rows in front of me. So I turned to a friend sitting next to me and said something like, “I’ll give you $5 if you beat him up. I’d offer you more, but he’s annoying enough that you shouldn’t need the extra incentive.”

Actually, I guess that’s still pretty funny.

Laziness Is Like... Something

I love those rare occasions where laziness pays off. After the last couple of snow storms, I never bothered to shovel the driveway. Even last night I thought “I need to shovel this” as I pulled into the driveway.

Early this morning a front started moving in, with serious winds. It whipped the snow around so much that even if I had shoveled, the driveway would be covered again. So I don’t feel too bad for not wasting my energy.

Today's Entertainment Recommendation

I can't remember what brought this to mind today, but I simply can't think of anything more exciting than a 40-year-old Disney musical about the political upheaval surrounding the impending statehood of North and South Dakota.

Stupid Question

What is it about snowy days that make you wish you could just sit at home drinking hot chocolate and reading under a warm blanket? Oh. I guess it's the fact that it's cold, wet, windy, and slippery outside.


Remember my map of what you were going to die from based on where you live? Well, somebody must have liked it, because they copied my idea. Except they complicated it by making multiple maps that are hard to understand, because it had to be published in an actual journal, and we all know that if you want a paper published in a journal, the odds of it being published increase as understandability decreases.

I thought I was in a decent mood today, but I guess not.

Party Timing

Today is my wife’s birthday. I would think it’s hard to have a birthday right before Christmas (it’s certainly hard for shopping purposes). I prefer to have things spread out over the course of the year so there’s always something to look forward to that isn’t too far away. My birthday is in August, when absolutely nothing else is going on.

What do you think is the best time of year for a birthday?

Most Apt Personalized License Plate


This is apt because the lady driving panicked whenever any car around her did anything like turn, slow down, or start moving.

This gives me an idea. What if people who had problems involving driving (lots of accidents, DUIs, etc.) had their follies made public on their license plates? You could easily avoid someone who had DUI x 3 on their car.

Moral Compass

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being “afraid to step on a blade of grass” and 10 being “I’m gonna kill everyone!”), how bad is it if I were to warm up my car in the morning for 10 minutes before coming to work?

Secret Wishes

Growing my hair out really long (before I lose it all), or coloring it blue

Becoming a chef

Having the practice time (and let’s face it, the aptitude) to become a rockin guitarist

Being the first person on Mars

Being half an inch taller

Running a marathon (although this could maybe happen within the next 2 years)

Giving a son the middle name “Danger”


I made this wallpaper the other day from a gallery of images of snowflake crystals. Enjoy!


Can I just take a moment to extol the virtues of eggnog? If ambrosia really exists, it’s in this nutmeg-laced, noggy goodness. I want to start a consumer campaign to lobby for the availability of commercially produced eggnog all year long. What world problems would be solved if we could all just sit down together and bask in the deliciousness? Well, none. But it’s a nice thought.

(I just did a search, and I actually did a nearly identical post last year. I guess I really feel strongly about this.)


This totally cracks me up for some reason.

You're the Tops

I decided today that you only really ever need two food toppings: whipped cream and bacon. (And cheese, of course, but that’s far too important to be considered a mere topping.) Think about it—virtually any food can be improved by adding either whipped cream or bacon to it.

The Power of Advertising

Once when I was on vacation with my family, I woke up early in the morning and, in the dim light of the motel room, was certain that I saw a disembodied jacket and pants coming towards me. I put my head under the covers and then took another look, but it was still coming. In a panic I woke my brother, and then it was gone.

I ascribe the nightmare to a commercial for VF Factory Outlet that had clothes moving without people in them. To this day I have not set foot in their store.


We were watching Wall-E with Sam, and when a spork appeared on the screen, he said “That’s a spork!” My wife and I looked at each other. We still have no idea where he learned that word.


[Note: I'm moving the advice project to its own blog; the email address will remain the same.]

Hooray, the First CYPS Question!

Here's today's question:

I am buying a car with a limited income. I had already test driven this great 94 toyota camry that actually had enough car seats for my 3 kids and drove great, was the same colors as our last kids so my autistic kids wouldn't freak...yeah. I put down $100 to have him save it for me until my funds are available on Sat. Anyway, I went ahead and ordered a carfax, and everything looks absolutely great...except the mileage. It appears that someone rolled back the miles to show 114,000 when it was really 188+. I called the guy selling the car, and he seemed to be as surprised as me. Anyway, after much discussion, he is going to provide me all the paperwork on any repairs on the car (i.e., the new engine), as proof that he is not trying to screw us over. He is also going to sign a warranty that if we have any major problems for the first 6 months that we own the car, he will pay to get them fixed because it has been so well maintained that he doesn't really see it having any problems. What are your opinions?

A little research on the blue book value indicates a difference of about $500 based on what you said about the mileage difference. I would go to and check the value again depending on the option package and other specs of this particular car. At any rate, you should not have to pay what he was asking. But before you even talk money, you should have it checked out by a mechanic, if you haven’t already. Given the mileage and the odometer situation, I doubt he could object. If the mechanic says it seems in decent shape, then go ahead and buy it, after you haggle with the guy some more about the price.

So what we should really do is make this more of a forum than a straight “I’ll tell you what to do” thing. After all, I have some of the most intelligent readers in the world (who may or may not be susceptible to flattery). So, after I post my advice, the rest of you can sound off as well. So what do you think?

So-Fa I Cant' Hear You

See, yesterday’s post is one of those examples of “What in the world was I thinking?” Those events usually strike late at night, often in regard to the opposite sex, so it’s weird that this one struck me in the middle of the day about something as banal as a blog.

Anyway, as I lay on the sofa bed last night with that bar in my back (no, my wife just had a bad cough, but thanks for your concern) I realized that the way to be the perfect host is to have an uncomfortable sofa bed. That way you can encourage visitors to stay with you, but there’s no way they’re going to stay too long. Be warned, though, that certain visitors, especially close relatives, may be able to exert the power of guilt to get you to give up your own bed and take the sofa for yourself.

Consider Your Problem Solved

A while back I mentioned the idea of setting up a booth where people could come and whine to me all they wanted. Then today I was dispensing some advice to a friend, and he suggested that if I enjoyed giving out advice I could try to solve people’s problems through the blog. So I propose an experiment. I’ll set up an email address specifically for people to send their problems to, and then I’ll advise them publicly (but anonymously for them) through the blog. It’s like Dear Abby, I guess, but updated to take advantage of the awesome power of the internet.

I still think the listening booth idea could work, but only in person. This way people actually get useful (I hope) advice for when they just can’t make a decision. They’re under no obligation to follow the advice, and I take no responsibility for their actions if they do. If it works, I could eventually move it to its own blog, but in order for that to happen, people actually have to try it.

So let’s give it a whirl. I set up the address for the questions. Tell all your friends, enemies, and total strangers to send me requests for advice. I accept any question, whether it be “Should I wear brown or blue socks today?” or “How can I find inner peace?”

(You can also send your own advice to me, such as “stop wasting my time with your idiotic ideas.”)

Barbados Slim

Sometime I need to ask a plumber this question: Why are showerheads installed with the assumption that the world is populated by munchkins, Oompa-Loompas, and hobbits?

I am of average height for a male at 5-foot-11, and the pipe coming out of the wall is at eye level for me. Then the pipe bends down, and the showerhead brings the height down even further. If I want to wash my hair by leaning back so I don’t get soap in my eyes, I need Olympic-caliber limbo skills. It really seems like a simple request.

Seen Just Now

A young, not-particularly-bright couple was walking down the street, hand in hand. The girl walked into a telephone pole. Her boyfriend was laughing at her as I drove by.
I can understand how one person walking alone might be lost in thought and walk into one, but between the two of them I would think one of them would have seen it.

Sore Drumsticks

So, as previously mentioned, we went down to southern Utah to spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s family. On Thursday morning, I ran the Toquerville Turkey Trot, which was my first ever registered race. I was a little nervous because it was a trail run. Here’s the view from the starting line:

Hmm, uphill in the mud. This could be fun.

Then we descended into a dry river bed.

Ow, my ankles!

Then there was my favorite part. I promise I did not tilt the camera to make this look steeper.

Not pictured: fun

Oh, and we had Thanksgiving dinner and all that.