Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ah, cartoons!

I kind of wanted to post something cool tonight, but can't really think of anything. I think I'm going to go watch some episodes of Futurama instead. I borrowed the first season from a really hot girl, and had forgotten how funny that show was.

Anyone that has a problem with this lame post can "bite my shiny metal ass."

True Warrior

I'm not exactly sure at what age young boys start to grasp the concept of weapons, but based on what I've seen with my boys, it must be fairly young. I'm guessing it has something to do with watching too much television, and I'm not sure what exactly that says about me as a parent. I think it would be a lot cooler if it were due to some inborn mode of survival. As you can see by the look on my 3 year old's face (as he's about to attack me with a plastic sword), he definitely has a killer instinct. Who knows, maybe someday he'll rule the world.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Phone Conversation

I received a phone call from one of my high school friends today. Another friend of ours is getting married in 2 weeks, and he was wondering if I was going to be there, and if so if I would have time to go hang out. During the conversation we naturally began to talk about our friend who is getting married and started wondering what kinds of things we ought to get him for a gift (neither of us know if or where the couple is registered).

My friend: "Do you think he'd be offended if I just got him a gift certificate to Wal-Mart? Do they even have Wal-Marts that far north?"

Yeah dude. Wal-Mart's pretty much a regional thing.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bathroom Etiquette

I don't know what the deal is with people and bathrooms lately, but we need to set some ground rules here. I already told you about the redneck who took a swing at my friend while he was standing at the urinal. Last night I had another strange experience, but first let me tell you a little story.

A few years ago while I was working on my bachelor's degree I was using the restroom in the student center when out of nowhere this red-headed guy came up alongside me, looked over at me and said "you're Howie's brother aren't you." You see, I had gone over to my brother's house the week before for some sort of gathering (I don't remember the occasion), and this was the first time I had met some of his roommates, one of which was this red-headed guy who apparently had no social skills (an understatement if there ever was one I later found out). Now normally I wouldn't mind someone recognizing me and coming up to say hi, but not while I'm peeing. That's just wierd.

So back to last night. I was traveling to Vegas after dropping my kids off at their mom's house in Salt Lake after the holiday weekend. I got to the halfway point, which is a town called Beaver, and just so happens to be the town that I lived in from the time I was 6 until a month before my 17th birthday. Normally I don't like to stop there because I know a lot of people, but never have the time to stop and pay them all visits. In order to avoid hurting anyone's feelings if they happen to find out that I stopped in town, just not to see them, I prefer not to stop and see anyone. But this particular time, my bladder was not going to hold up until I could get to the next rest stop so I really had no choice. I exited the freeway and pulled into the Wendy's. I went inside and had to take care of first things first and went into the bathroom. I stepped up to the urinal and began to take care of business and noticed out of the corner of my eye that the person next to me kept looking over at me. I could tell that he was an employee by the color of his shirt, but I was bound and determined not to make eye contact while I was peeing. He finished a while before I did (like I said, I really needed to go), went and washed his hands, and began cleaning up the sink area of the bathroom. It seemed to me that he was just looking for things to do so that he could wait for me to finish. I know that sounds paranoid, but that's exactly what happened. I finished and turned around to wash my hands and heard "Well I'll be darned if it isn't [Native Minnow]!" Finally I looked at his face and saw that it was the father of one of my close friends from high school. I said hi, and we sat and talked for a few minutes. You know, the normal stuff like where I was living now, the fact that I was now divorced and had 3 kids, what his daughter was up to, etc.

I guess of the three bathroom experiences mentioned here, this was the most tolerable, but still, couldn't it have waited until I stepped out into the hall? To all of you people who know me but haven't seen me for a while, if you ever see me standing at a urinal, give me some space and allow me to finish, wait outside to say hi, and most of all do not take a swing at me.

There, now I feel better.

Where do you shop?

My rich uncle: "Those who say that money can't buy happiness just don't know where to shop."

See, I told you so.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Burned by my 11 year old

Something you have to understand about my family is that flatulence is almost as much of the Thanksgiving tradition as the turkey dinner. Tonight after we had all finished eating turkey, I passed some gas while sitting next to my niece. My brother thought that it was her, and so I tried to pass it off on her simply for embarrassment purposes.

Me: "Geez, how do you ever expect to find a boyfriend if you're always farting like that?"

My daughter in my niece's defense: "Well, how do you Dad?"

Me: "I'm not actually looking for a boyfriend, so I think I'm ok."

My daughter: "Well how do we know that?"


Happy Spanksgiving!

My friend said this the other day when we were working in the lab. It cracked me up. He was surprised that I had never heard it before and said that it was the day of year when we were all supposed to give spanks.

I don't know why, but that was the first thing in my head this morning when I woke up. I guess it's good that I have my kids right now. This way I'm justified if they start acting up today : )

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Money doesn't buy happiness?

You hear people say that all the time, but my take is that it sure can't hurt if you have it. At least I wouldn't think so. There are a lot of kids in my family, so we kind of grew up poor. We never went without the basic stuff, but Santa wasn't exactly dumping his sleigh at our house every Christmas either. It doesn't upset me, I'm happy having the brothers and sisters that I have and wouldn't trade my relationships with them for all the video game systems in the world.

It's funny though, because you hear rich people say all the time that money doesn't buy happiness, yet as one of my friends used to say "That can't be the case because you don't see rich people running around trying to give theirs away." I've always thought that was funny.

The thing that got me thinking about this is that I saw my rich uncle today. He is a pretty important person at a pretty important financial firm. He is in charge of how millions of dollars get allocated in the form of loans to states and cities to fund such projects as the renovation of freeway systems, airport expansions, etc. And he isn't afraid to let people know that. I only saw him for a few minutes today, but in that time he got in the fact that he was playing golf with some senators the other day discussing how to go about rebuilding New Orleans. It seems like every time I see him he's making some statement about how much money he pays in taxes. You know, just in case we had all forgotten that he is in fact rich. I've heard it enough times now that I get annoyed by it. I'm not alone, my parents and some of my siblings have expressed similar feelings. Not that it has the same effect on other members of my family though, it's almost funny to see how much people suck up to him just because he's rich. I even wonder if I do it sometimes (I'll have to ask someone if I ever come across that way).

My aunt once told me that she wished that she could go back to the time when they didn't have much money because that was the happiest they had ever been. I wonder if that's because once you have money, you try really hard to make sure that you keep it. Within the past year I received a settlement check from my former employer resulting from a work related injury which cost me some of the use of my back. I am extremely paranoid about wasting it. I was able to use some of it to finish paying off my car and my credit cards, and have put the rest in the bank. Some where I can get at it when I need to, and some where I can't touch it for the next few years. I'm hoping eventually to be able to use it as a down payment on a house once I'm actually ready to buy one.

Luckily for me I have chosen a career where I will never be considered rich. I'll never have to endure the misery of having a lot of money. In fact, I've remained in college all this time in order to prolong the "happiest time of my life" as much as possible. Ok, so maybe that's not the reason. It turns out that it actually takes a lot of time to finish a Ph D. I'm banking on the fact that loving what you do is more important than what you make. Come back in a few years and I'll let you know if that's the case.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Evidence is definitely mounting

My friend Mike pointed out yesterday that there is another piece of evidence that I am indeed a sexy man. In fact, he was surprised I left it off the original post (for those of you who don't know me, I assure you that this is a big joke-I don't really believe it).

A few years ago when I was working on my master's degree, I applied for a scholarship that would help me to pay for some of my research over the summer. It was a fairly small applicant pool as the only people who could apply were grad students from my university who had an interest in studying natural history. In fact, I may have been the only applicant, but I can only speculate on that. Nevertheless, I was lucky enough to be a recipient of the award, which was a $1000 check that would be presented to me at a nice luncheon. There was to be a little ceremony where my advisor got up and said something nice about me, then they would call me up, hand me the check and take a few pictures. The man who had set up the scholarship fund had passed away several years before, but his children had decided to keep the fund going in his name, and one of them was on hand (along with her husband) to present me with the award.

Unfortunately, during the presentation, there was not a lot of time for us to talk, but I wanted to make sure that I had expressed my gratitude before they left. My wife and I (we were still married at the time) went up to them afterward to talk a bit more. We thanked them again for providing the opportunity to get such an award, and they said they were very happy to be in a position where they could do it. The daughter then began saying things along the lines of how they had expected me to be smart, but had not expected me to be so good looking. It was rather embarassing, but I thanked her for the compliment. She continued to go on and on about it, even going so far as to say that she thought I was the most handsome recipient of that award that she had ever seen. It got to the point that her husband started looking at her sideways, my wife started looking around for an escape route, and we eventually went our separate ways.

Of course, this became a big joke in the lab, and I even went so far as to list it on my curriculum vitae as I was getting ready to apply for Ph D programs (of course I deleted that before sending any of them out).

I'm wondering how much more evidence I need before I can start referring to this as Native Minnow's Theory of his own sexiness. I somehow doubt that will stand the test of time.

Missed Opportunities?

Starting about six months ago I have been receiving anywhere between 5-15 emails a day from people who wish to share their fortunes with me. At least 5 of these have supposedly been from the widow of the late Yasser Arafat. You've probably all gotten these. The dollar amounts and reasons why this money must be redistributed vary, but the underlying theme is the same. They generally go something like this:

Dear Sir/Friend/Beloved,

I am the son/widow/lottery manager/bank manager/attorney for the president of an African country torn apart by civil war/diamond mine/oil company and am looking for a business partner to help protect my father's/husband's/some dead client's money (usually accompanied with a link to show the accident in which the client died) from the government/business partner who is trying to get their hands on it.

I am looking for a business partner so that I can transfer this money into your country. The sum is (varies) and I would be willing to split it with you 80/20 (this also varies) for your efforts. All you need to do is give me your name, phone number, fax number and a bank account number so that we can make this transfer. Please understand that this must be kept strictly confidential until after the money has been transferred. Also know that there will be an opportunity for us to business together again in the future.

Sincerely/Yours Faithfully/Yours in God,


Now I hate to be skeptical of these good people who are just looking to help me out by sharing their fortune with me in the name of doing what is right, but how can it be that there are at least five people a day who are willing to give me millions (or at the very least 100s of thousands of dollars)? Do people actually fall for this stuff and respond by sending out their names and bank account numbers? More importantly, who exactly is keeping this world list of emails updated? And how is it that this person (or people) knows which email addresses belong to people who can be trusted? And how can I get my name removed?

I just want to come out and say, Ms. Arafat, I am sorry to hear about your esophageal cancer, and that you have not lived your life according to your beliefs. I hope that you are able to make things right with your God, but I am not interested in laundering your money. You'll have to get someone else's email address off the 'world list.' We know that if they're on there, they can be trusted.

Of course, if I ever find out that all of these are real I am going to bang my head against the wall and cry about my lost fortune.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Another Piece

I told you the other day about the 'photo shoot' I had in my lab that resulted in my picture ending up in a University publication. My roommate brought me an envelope that went out with the College of Sciences news letter. It seems they want alumni to donate money to the college. What better way to convince people to send in their money than to post a pretty face on the back of the envelope? That's right, they used my picture. I really hope this doesn't cut into my 15 minutes of fame, because if it does, it will be the lamest 15 minutes of fame in the history of mankind.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I was at a BBQ last night, and somebody asked me for the link to my blog. I gave it to her, but that got us on the subject and someone else commented about my rant on evolution. Apparently I was incorrect in stating that the Flat Earth Society is located in Nevada. We couldn't figure out exactly where the main guy lives, but someone said that they thought he was from Oregon. I knew I should have done the research and gotten my facts straight before posting so I apologize for that. I'm still too lazy to find out more than what a quick Google search will tell you, so try that if you're interested.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I am a sexy man

A few months ago I was working alone in the lab one afternoon when there was a knock on the door. I answered it, and standing there was the chair of my department along with three other people that I didn't recognize. He introduced them to me as people from the public relations department here on campus, and told me that they were going around trying to get pictures of people in our department doing research. I was actually getting ready to leave the lab at that point, but I had to wait another five minutes or so for some stuff to cool enough to place into the cooler. Since I was the only one working in the lab at that point, I couldn't really pawn them off on someone else (plus it looks bad if your department chair asks you for a favor and you flat out say no) so I decided that I would oblige them in their quest. They asked me what I was working on right then, and if they could take pictures of me doing that. I told them I was waiting for a gel to cool and that was about it, so they asked me if I could fake something while they took a picture. I thought that would be a waste of time to just act like I was working, so I looked around to see if there was anything I could do rather quickly. That would allow them to get their pictures, yet also allow me to leave the lab shortly thereafter (I didn't want to try starting a DNA extraction or something that would take another hour or so). After glancing around, I saw a jar of fish on my lab bench that still needed to be assigned museum numbers. There were only 10 fish in the jar, so I knew that I could tag them in a matter of minutes, get something accomplished that actually needed to be done (rather than faking work), and they would get their picture.

Little did I know how much time and effort goes into a photo shoot. Even an impromptu one such as this ended up taking more than a half hour. First of all, there was the matter of setting up some kind of lighting. Then we had to rearrange a bunch of things in the lab so that they could get their pictures from the proper angles. It was about all I could do not to just crack up at how ridiculous the whole situation was. I felt like some kind of model. I would grab a fish to tag, and the photographer would call out things such as:

"Oh, hold that fish right there. Perfect."

"Drop that fish and pick it up again, except this time tilt your head a bit more to the left."

"Ok, now do that again, except this time try not to smile. We want you to look serious."

On and on it went. I swear they took about 50 pictures of me, then wrote down my name, the fact that I was a Ph D student, and a few other things about me. They told me that they might be including these pictures in a university publication at some point, but if they did they would come get me to sign a form giving them permission to do so. I never did hear back (or sign a form) but the picture above came out in the latest issue of the University's magazine. Now I'm a star.

A few weeks after the 'photo shoot' a friend of mine printed up my star chart. She knows a guy who is supposed to be really good at interpreting these things, and a group of us were going to meet with him and have him interpret ours. If you don't know, a star chart is supposed to tell you stuff about yourself based on the positions of heavenly bodies at the exact time of your birth (for the record, I don't believe in astrology, but it is kind of fun to read horoscopes and stuff like that). My star chart includes about two pages worth of things about me, my favorite of which is "you protray an earthy, physical sexiness that others find quite seductive."

These two lines of evidence may not be enough to prove that I am a sexy man (surely having your photo published in a magazine is a sign of sexiness), but the evidence is mounting.

Responding to comments on evolution

I just want to point one thing out in response to one of the comments on my rant about evolution, and that is that I never said that Science proves anything. The best we can do is fail to disprove something, which is exactly what has happened over the past 150 years or so with the theory of natural selection. That is why it frustrates me to no end when people say they don't believe in natural selection because it's "just a theory." In science, something does not reach Theory status until it has so much evidence backing it up that it is almost indisputable. Does that mean that the theory of natural selection can never be proven wrong? No. It might be someday, but I find that highly unlikely. But why is it that people only pick out the ones that they personally disagree with to make such statements as "it's only a theory?" I don't hear anyone talking about how Albert Einstein was evil because of his Theory of Relativity. Is that "just a theory" too? Just wondering.

By the way Ryan, I love the way you posted 4 different comments just so that people would think you were smart : ) I already know that's the case (even though I was the first one to get a master's degree), but nothing like a little self-imposed ego boost, eh?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Crude, but funny

Me, at the end of a phone conversation with my sister last night: "I should go, I still have to read two papers tonight. That's about 30 pages of science for my discussion group tomorrow."

Her: "Well have fun, don't have any wet dreams."

I didn't (in case you were wondering).

Sooo Boooored

I am proctoring a midterm exam for the class my advisor teaches. While I should be trying to make sure that nobody is cheating, I just found out that the classroom computer has internet access (there are only 3 people left, and they're very spread out so don't worry, they aren't getting away with anything).

I should clarify a little about my post the other day regarding rednecks. I should point out that I come from redneck roots as my dad kind of fits that bill. He is definitely a cowboy. In fact, I think he's secretly disappointed that none of his boys ended up as wrestlers, or rodeo stars or something like that. By all means I should have turned out that way as well, but I'm glad that I didn't. A friend of mine told me the other day that she thinks I might be a closet redneck because I'd still find it fun to go out into the desert and shoot stuff with guns (in fact, she invited me to go with her to Lake Havasu for her birthday in a couple of weeks and do just that). I want to take this time to point out that there is a HUGE difference between being a cowboy and being a redneck. Cowboys I can handle.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen . . . Your Future Doctors

Like most graduate students, I make my living as a teaching assistant. Right now I am teaching a few lab sections a week of an introductory biology lab. I enjoy what I do. Sometimes the material gets a little old after you've gone over it so many times, but I like interacting with the students, especially when I feel like I have done something to get them excited about studying biology. As you might imagine, many of the freshman students who are majoring in biology have high hopes of getting into medical or dental school. Some will actually make it, although I don't actually know what the percentages are.

Sometimes it can be frustrating though. Too many people have problems letting go of their preconceived notions. I don't remember how the subject came up, but at some point during one of my labs this week we got on the topic of evolution. One of my students, who happens to be a very religious guy, started to roll his eyes when I said something about it.

"What, don't you believe in evolution?" I asked.

"I believe in evolution to an extent. Do I believe we came from monkeys? No way."

"How about a common ancestor between us and them?" I needed to point this out since nobody who is a proponent of evolution has ever said that we come from monkeys, just that somewhere along the line a speciation event occurred and we have been diverging ever since.

"No, I think that's all a bunch of crap."

I'm paraphrasing now, but I let him know that the official stance of his religion (which also happens to be my religion) was that we are to be concerned about living our lives in a way which pleases God, to bring others to Christ, and to leave the science to the scientists (emphasis added).

What I should have mentioned was something along the lines of how he can expect to be a good doctor if he is willing to ignore evidence because it disagrees with his personal beliefs. I'm sorry, but people have been trying to disprove evolution for over 150 years. That's the nature of science. Anytime someone comes up with a new idea, other scientists try their hardest to disprove that idea. It is hard for me to understand how people who are in the field of biology can still have doubts about anything that has been under that much scrutiny in the scientific literature, and is still backed by all the evidence. I realize that this student is only a freshman, but it's still frustrating to me.

This is the thing that gets me: I think everyone will agree that bacteria eventually gain resistance to antibiotics, insects eventually gain resistance to pesticides. Is this not natural selection? You're telling me that organisms can't adapt to changing environments when they have yet to find a cure for AIDS because the virus is able to evolve too fast? I think that my student would even agree that in these scenarios, evolution is taking place, which brings me to my next gripe. How can you believe in evolution "to an extent?" Either it happens or it doesn't. It's the same process occuring whether it's on a small scale (such as bacteria gaining resistance to antibiotics), or on a large scale (such as one species experiencing disruptive selection eventually resulting in a speciation event).

Did the people who placed Galileo into lifelong imprisonment for heresty believe in heliocentrism to an extent? I can't imagine some Catholic bishop in the 1600's saying "I believe that Venus and Saturn, and maybe a few stars could orbit the sun, but not the earth. I think that's a bunch of crap." Of course not. The sun and everything else orbited the earth. End of story. Of course, it turns out they were wrong, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who still believes that the earth doesn't orbit the sun (although, there is a society somewhere in Nevada that still believes that the earth is flat and shaped like a disk, surrounded by what is known as 'the outer ice.' I believe their name is The Flat Earth Society. You could probably look them up if you're interested, but I'm too lazy to look up that information to give to you right now). So why are people so reluctant to believe that evolution is a possibility? Does it necessarily mean that if evolution occurs there is no God? I don't think so. I believe that if anyone could use evolution to create man, that God certainly could.

Just because a lot of scientists tend to be atheist or agnostic doesn't mean that we all are. I just don't believe that the Bible is literal in every sense. I don't believe that the earth was created in 6 days. I don't believe that the earth is only 6000 years old. I believe that dinosaurs actually existed and that the fossils we find are real and weren't placed here by the devil to lead people astray (you may laugh at that one, but my ex-mother-in-law actually told me that once).

I wonder about the direction our country is going in when we still have groups trying to have creationism (or nowadays Intelligent Design) taught in public schools as a viable alternative. Is it not a step backwards once you start ignoring all the evidence for something, just because you want to believe something else? What is my student going to do when he's a doctor and is presented with evidence that goes against one of his personal beliefs? Will he just ignore it and risk his patient's life? Is that part of the reason why so many doctors misdiagnose their patients? (I have another opinion on that one, but that will have to wait for another time as this is quite a bit longer than I intended and I still have work to do tonight).

I still have hope for this student. He's a smart guy, and will probably learn a lot more on the subject before he graduates. I was the same way when I started out (actually, I was just unsure what to believe). I'm sure he'll come around. I'm glad I did.

Buried Treasure

I have a bag of tootsie pops that was left over from Halloween in a drawer of a filing cabinet in my office. I have a sweet tooth. In fact, it may just be the most powerful sweet tooth known to man. I was just reaching into the bag to retrieve one of said tootsie pops, and instead got a miniature milky way bar. Oh lucky day! (It's the little things in life that keep me happy).

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Now I Remember

Yesterday was another friend's birthday. It wasn't just any birthday, it was his 21st birthday, and since we live in Vegas, he was eager to go to a bunch of places that have been off limits to him until now. We ended up going to and Irish pub in one of the casinos on the strip. I don't drink, but I do hang out in a lot of bars with my friends who do. I also don't normally go up on the strip (it gets old really fast when you can go up there any day), but since it was a birthday celebration wanted to show my support. I rode up there with another friend of mine, and we met the birthday boy (and a couple of other people) at the bar.

Since it was his birthday, my friend wanted to be the one to go up and get all the drinks as he was just itching to get carded so that he could finally show his ID and not be kicked out (that doesn't really have anything to do with the story, I just thought it was funny to watch).

Also, since it was his birthday, my friend was not drinking very slowly. I think he just wanted to get plastered since it was finally ok. After a few beers, and a few shots (Irish car bombs in case you're wondering), he needed to use the bathroom so left for a while. A few minutes later he came back and was just furious. Apparently, while he was standing there going to the bathroom, some redneck just randomly came up to him and took a swing at him. My friend was able to duck that and the next punch the guy threw and then shoved the guy into the door of one of the stalls. The redneck hurriedly left the bar before my friend could zip himself up (yes, it was out while redneck man tried to punch him) and follow him out of the bathroom.

I went to high school in probably one of the most rural parts of Utah. In fact, it was right on the border of Wyoming, and as you can imagine, most of the people in my high school were rednecks. I hated it, but I did have a few friends who were in a similar situation as me (i.e. not rednecks, but were all transplanted to this place around the same time) that helped make the situation better. We used to sit around and wonder how many other schools in the country had people practicing their roping skills on a little rocking horse in the hallway between classes, and how many other schools you could overhear deals for livestock feed rather than drugs. We were pretty miserable there, and we all grew to hate rednecks. I thought I had gotten over that, but last night showed that might not be the case (and yes, I'm well aware that you can't include an entire group of people under one stereotype and that there are probably some really nice rednecks out there - I just don't seem to come across them very often).

A Penguin I am Not!

While I would certainly go to great lengths to ensure the survival of my offspring (in the same way that a male penguin will carry an egg on its feet to keep it warm enough to hatch rather than have it fail to hatch because the egg has sat on the ice) I'm afraid that is where the similarities end. I have lived in Vegas for 3 years, and I think that I have finally become acclimated. I walked out the door this morning and immediately had to turn around and grab a fleece. The temperature was chilly (~45 degrees), but there was a time in my life when I would have just toughed it out knowing that it would warm up later. In fact, I have lived places where when we had a day in the mid to high 50's we would be heading outside in shorts, t-shirts and sandals. I don't know if I've gained more common sense over the years, or if I've just become a wimp, but I do know that I don't appear to have much of a cold tolerance anymore. I'm sure the penguins would be pointing at me and laughing (in that way in which only a penguin can laugh) if they could see me now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Buckle Up!!!

In addition to my daughter growing up too fast as I said in yesterday's post, my 3 year old appears to be on the same track. He called me to ask if I could take him to Grandma's, then informed me that he would be driving. Just thought I'd give anyone who happens to be reading this, and will be driving anywhere in UT this Thanksgiving, a heads up.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Faster and Furiouser

Last week some friends of mine had their first baby. Obviously they've been trying to prepare for this for the past 9 months, but nothing can really prepare you for that experience. Those with children know what I'm talking about, and those without only think they do. Anyway, the father is really excited, but naturally he's had a lot of questions, and since I'm about the only one of his friends that has kids, he's been emailing me a lot to see how things were for me. These emails back and forth with him have had me thinking a lot about my kids when they were young.

Today was another friend of mine's birthday. He wanted to keep it fairly low key as he had already done a lot of celebrating over the weekend. We decided to go somewhere to get some food and watch the Monday Night Football game (which my favorite team, the Eagles, lost by giving up two touchdowns in the final 4 minutes but I digress). I wasn't sure exactly what time we were going to be leaving work to go out, so I opened my IM account so that I could check with him to see. Imagine my surprise as I looked through my contact list to see who was online and lo and behold, my daughter had signed up for an account and was online. Talk about growing up too fast. She's 11 years old now, but has now taken one more step towards those dreaded teenage years. It's always a shock when something like that wakes me up to the fact that my kids are growing up, but I think this time was a little worse than normal because of the reminiscing I've been doing about when she was a baby.

I'm not complaining. In fact I'm quite excited about it. It's one more way for me to be in touch with my kids. They live in Salt Lake City while I'm here in Las Vegas. I sat and chatted with her for about a half hour. I made sure I went over the fact that she wasn't to be talking with just anyone online, and that she needed to have either myself or her mother approve any contacts that she added to her list. I try to be the responsible dad, even though it gets difficult when I live so far away and don't know what the kids are up to all the time (and that I'm not all that responsible myself).

I guess the point is (if there really is a point to all this) that no matter how much I wish my kids could just stay little and fun forever, they're going to grow up. My only hope is that it isn't so fast that I end up missing it.