Pine Fresh


This is less that two weeks' worth of pinecones our tree out back has shed. It seriously takes about as long to pick these up in order to mow the lawn as it takes to actually mow the lawn.

You're History

I don’t consider myself terribly knowledgeable about history, but I do enjoy reading about it. And when I had cable, I often watched the History Channel. My only objection was that they had a few too many shows on about World War II.

Then we didn’t have cable for 3 years, up until a month ago. In the few weeks that we’ve had it again, I’ve noticed a few subtle differences in the kind of programming the History Channel offers, compared to what was on 3 years ago. Whereas in the past I might have seen a show about the birth of democracy in ancient Greece, now there is a show about a “mysterious predator” killing livestock (is it aliens?), or people searching for a 200-foot-long octopus.

What happened to you, venerable History Channel?

A Grave Discovery

I don’t remember if I mentioned this, but our house is very near to a cemetery (and my great-grandparents are actually buried there). So we sometimes walk there in the evening, because it’s peaceful and relatively free of traffic.

We were walking there last night, and marveling at the huge number of flowers on the graves, when we stumbled upon this little scene:

Do they pre-dig graves, and then use filler coffins that they can just dig up when it’s time for the real deal? Are they just intended to help dig holes the right size? If so, why are they made of concrete? Is something fishy going on here? Does anyone know the purpose of these things?

Arachno-Freudian


I have no real fear of spiders. That doesn't mean I'm interested in allowing them to crawl all over me, but I don't have the same visceral reaction to them that many other people do. When I find them in the house, I generally either leave them alone or catch them in a container and put them outside.
The strange thing to me, though, is that I quite often have spiders in my dreams. Not in a "running away from the killer spider" kind of way, but in an "I'm in a basement room covered with spiderwebs and it's creepy but not quite terrifying" kind of way. Does this mean I'm secretly afraid of them, or is that how my mind keeps potential fear under control?
Now, how many of you jumped when you pulled up this page and saw that picture?

Thomas Time

This afternoon, courtesy of Sam's grandparents, we went to the "Day out with Thomas" event in Heber. There were all kinds of Thomas-related activities, the highlight of which was a 30-minute ride in passenger cars pulled by en engine that looks just like Thomas. What cracked me up was that the ride consisted of riding backwards for 15 minutes, stopping, and then riding forward for 15 minutes. It looks like they have 10 rides a day for 5 days, with several hundred passengers at a time paying $16 apiece. That's not a bad little racket they have going.

To be fair, the ticket price included a bunch of other things, including pictures with Sir Topham Hatt, some kind of petting zoo, and even temporary tattoos for some reason. And then, of course, there's a big store set up in the middle of the place where you can pay $20 for a little toy train.

Anyway, Sam had a good time, and it was nice to go do something fun together.

Let's Go to Montana in Our Montana

Last night when I came home I noticed a motor home parked in front of our neighbor's house. It reminded me of a fun game Katie and I play when we're on long trips. We like to see what ridiculous names these vehicles have. The one at our neighbors' was called Sea Breeze. Other examples include things such as Four Winds, Trail Boss, Cheyenne, Monaco Knight, and Jamboree.

Lame Duck

I went to a sports medicine doctor yesterday, fearing I had a stress fracture in my leg that would seriously jeopardize my marathon hopes this year. It turns out I don’t, but he gave me some exercises to strengthen my calf muscles to help prevent the possibility. So I did a ton of toe raises yesterday and then went running in the evening.

But I couldn’t help trying out a new running style I got recently from a book, which conserves energy but uses the lower leg muscles more. And, to make a long, boring story slightly shorter, I can barely walk this morning. I plan to walk around quacking, in the hope that people will simply mistake me for an unusually gangly duck.

People You Don't Want to Argue With

...because the consequences could be unpleasant.

Your dentist

Your barber

Your waiter

Your mechanic

The guy preparing your taxes

Your defense attorney

Anyone holding a loaded gun

Who else?

I Just Did the Dumbest Thing Ever

I thought I had posted about this before, but either the search function failed me or I am nuts. Of course, both could be true. Anyway, I am amused at how people will not only do something embarrassing, but they'll then further embarrass themselves by telling other people about it. I used to think women did this more than men, but I'm now rethinking that opinion.

Now, prepare to feel a whole lot better about yourself.

It was late Friday night, and I was exhausted. We were going to bed and had turned the lights out. It was pretty warm, so the ceiling fan was on to give us a little breeze. I had taken my glasses off, too, so I really couldn't see anything. (If you can't tell, I'm trying to make as many excuses as possible here.) But the little chains hanging from the fan were banging against the light. I decided to examine the situation to see if they could be tied up, or if I would need some tape. So I stood up on the bed.

Fortunately, the fan blade just missed my eye and instead hit the bridge of my nose. The scabs aren't too noticeable, at least if I wear a hat or walk around as though I'm bowing my head in continuous prayer.

[All right, here's a picture. Remember that at this point it's been healing for almost two days.]


Sym-pathetic

I've posted about sympathy cards before, and Nathan and I were talking the other day about some more creative things you could write in them. Here is part of our conversation:

me
: Maybe I’ll start writing “happy birthday” in sympathy cards...

nathan
: “Bummer, dude.”

nathan
: “It could have been you.”

me
: “Next time it will probably be you.”“Don’t grieve for the lost—your own clock is winding down, too.”


nathan
: “I give you permission to cry on someone’s shoulder, just not mine”

me
: “If you ever wanted to commit a crime, do it now while you’re emotionally distressed. The jury will be more lenient.”

nathan
: “I am sure you will see your loved one again, because the zombie apocalypse is just around the corner.”

me
: “Free!”“I’m so terribly sorry... but the inheritance will probably ease the pain a bit.”


nathan
: “I’ll bet your uncle left you something nice like a collection of paisley ties or some sturdy TV dinner trays. If you’re lucky, you might even get his 1978 Lincoln Continental with that sweet Corinthian leather trim!”

me
: “Sure, it’s bad for you. But think of the morticians who need work in these trying economic times!”“He’ll make a great new soylent product.”“Hmm, wasn’t he about the same size as you? You could get yourself a new suit if you play your cards right.”




nathan
: “You could make a killing on the black market. But you’ll have to act fast!”

Instant Karma

The other night Sam had a spray bottle and was spraying water on the floor. We told him multiple times to stop it, because it was making the floor slippery. He refused, tried to run away, and promptly slipped and fell on the floor.

I look forward to relating this story to future girlfriends.

Tweet

Most people have probably heard of a miner’s canary. It was a bird that died to warn miners of poisonous gas. I like to think there are common examples of this principle in our lives today.

At my college job as a cashier, I paid close attention to that one kid who was a total slacker. I figured that he would be the first one to get fired, so as long as I was a better employee than he was, I figured I was safe.

Driving is the same way. We all had that one friend in high school who thought he was in a police chase every time he got behind the wheel. As long as he hadn’t died, I figured my own driving was probably okay.

And then there’s the guy we all know who eats two big macs for lunch every day. When he dies and is buried in his piano crate, I’ll give up the fast food.

What other miner’s canaries are there?

Weekend Amnesia

Have you ever come in to work on Monday morning and been unable to recall what you were working on the previous Friday?

Finish Line

Well, I survived the Race for the Cure. It was one of the stranger experiences of my life. I worked my way as close to the starting line as I could, but it was still a good 5 minutes before I could even begin to run at all, because of the mass of people (I believe "horde" is the proper word). It was pretty fun, despite the horrid shirt I "got" to wear, and I found out that I do run faster in a crowd, because there's always someone else to catch.
According to the newspaper, there were about 18,000 people there. And some of the team names were downright naughty.
Angie, you're a gem for donating (and Lizzy, for trying). As for the rest of you who criticized me in that previous post...

Groaner

For some reason, this week I have been making the dumbest jokes imaginable, and I recently remembered one I have always been waiting to make but have not yet had the opportunity. I need to find some people arguing about Israel and Palestine, so I can say this:

“Now, now. Let’s not argue Semitics.” (You know, like "Let's not argue semantics." Eh, never mind.)

I Spy Something... Mildly Disturbing

On my way to work this morning I was stopped at a red light and noticed something about the car in front of me. There was a man driving and a woman in the passenger seat, and she was reaching over to feed him spoonfuls (spoonsful?) of something.

I understand that it's difficult to eat while you're driving. That's why you a) get your lazy keester out of bed early enough to get some breakfast (it takes only 3 seconds to microwave a pop-tart, according to Brian Regan), b) grab some food that you can actually eat in the car without creating a potential accident (again, a pop-tart would work), or c) wait until you get to work or wherever to get a bite to eat. At the very least, since they were stopped at a light, he should have taken the bowl or container and fed himself while they were stopped. I doubt his arms don't work, since he's, y'know, driving a car.

Today's Impulse Decision

On Saturday I watched an episode of Nova called Marathon Challenge. They took a bunch of volunteers of various athletic ability (mostly they were pretty sedentary) and trained them over the course of 40 weeks to run a marathon.

Running a marathon has been a long-term goal for me since I began running last year (no, not continuously). I didn't know how fast someone could work up to 26.2 miles from nothing. But if a bunch of technically obese people could do it in 40 weeks, I thought I might as well give it a shot this fall. So this morning I registered for the St. George Marathon on October 3.

I'll have to wait until next Monday to find out if I am randomly selected to be able to actually do it. Apparently, so many people want to register that they actually have to raffle off places.

If I am selected, I'll have 21 weeks to increase from my current longest run of 8 miles to the full distance. I think I can do it, if I don't have too many injuries between now and then. Wish me luck, I command you!