Sunday, April 30, 2006

Don't get offended if I seem absent minded

Friday night I went to see Bloc Party play at the Hard Rock. I met one of my friends beforehand so that we could drive over together. I pulled into the parking lot where we were meeting just as she was heading to her car. As soon as I got out she said "You really need to get a new car. You're never going to get girls driving that thing." She has a point. At the very least I need to get some new hubcaps on the front tires since they've been missing for about a year.

We got there just a few minutes before the opening band (The Go! Team) came on stage. I had never heard them before, but they were pretty good live. I'm probably not going to run out and buy their album anytime soon (I have way too much other music that I want first) but if someone wants to burn me a copy I'd certainly take it. My friend and I had to laugh because one of the guitar players looked a LOT like one of the professors in our department. Who knew that she could jam like that? We pointed this out another friend that was there, and I think it ruined the show a little bit for him. He's taking a class from her right now, and doesn't have a high opinion of her to say the least.

By the time Bloc Party took the stage there was actually some energy in the room. A typical concert in Vegas (at least from my experience) has a slight buzz from the people who are there to see the show and are getting excited, and a more prominent buzz from those who are there to be seen and/or because it's something to do and spend the whole time talking on their cell phones. In fact, this show probably had the most energy I've seen at a concert in Vegas since I saw Pearl Jam play at the MGM Grand a few years ago.

One guy in front of us started stretching out before the band took the stage. We're not talking just raising your arms in the air to stretch, but actually pulling his legs up behind him to stretch out his legs, leaning from side to side with his arms outstretched, etc. He was going to do some dancing! We'll call him Mr. Stretchmeister. His ears must be better than mine, because I made a comment to my friend about how it was funny that he felt the need to stretch, and he heard me and said something back, but I couldn't hear what he said.

As soon as the band started playing people started going crazy, and got more so by the end of the show. Security was pretty tight, but they did have to wade into the crowd a few times to take care of the people in the front who were getting really out of hand. I wouldn't have wanted to mess with any of those guys. They were huge and looked mean, just as a security guard should. Just as expected, Mr. Stretchmeister was getting into it too. No security guards had to come take him away, but my friend did have to poke him in the back with her finger to get him to stop moving back into her. It's a good thing he was loose, otherwise he may have pulled a hamstring or something.

(It reminded me of the first concert I ever went to: Naughty by Nature in Salt Lake City back when Hip Hop Hooray was on the charts. We had actually gotten there early enough to be pretty close to the stage, but once the music started people started working their way up past us with the exception of a guy we called Pelvic Thrust Man who stayed behind my friend's younger brother for the duration of the night doing just that. Even when he'd try to move away, Pelvic Thrust Man would follow. I wonder if he was able to get himself off.)

During Bloc Party's encore performance people started throwing CDs up on the stage, hoping that the band would give them a listen. One person threw theirs and hit the lead singer right in the back of the head. He picked it up and announced that it was one CD that would not be listened to, but we think he was lying.

After the show we went back to the parking garage where it took us over 30 minutes to get out. It was fine though because we were just sitting in my friend's car listening to her ipod and honking the horn (in mockery of the people who were honking because they meant it - do people not realize that in a situation like that honking isn't getting them on their way any faster and that it just makes them look like pricks?). The last thing we listened to before I got out and went to my car was a Dane Cook skit talking about a new trick he had learned where he could launch a cashew into his mouth by catapulting it off his erection (and no, I didn't try it once I got home - I didn't have any cashews).

Saturday, April 29, 2006

When in . . . France?

A friend of mine is getting ready to graduate, and his parents were in town the other day for his dissertation defense. After he defended, everyone went out to celebrate. At one point his mom handed her empty wine glass to his dad to get it refilled.

She looked at me and said, "It's a French thing, a woman should never pour her own wine. Remember that the next time you're on a date. You'll really impress the girl."

Me: "First of all, I need to worry about actually getting a date, but thanks for the tip."

Her: "Come on. Look around at all the women here in Vegas, and you're saying you can't find one to go out with?"

My friend: "Oh, he's probably looked at all the women in Vegas, but that's about it."

Another friend: "That's the problem with a lot of the women in Vegas. They're good to look at, but forget about striking up a meaningful conversation or anything."

That may be stereotypical, but it was funny. The truth is, I probably could find someone to go out with if I was a bit more active in searching someone out. Maybe someday I actually will be, but that's not really my style. I normally like to get to know someone first, then if it develops into something more that's great. For now I'm just trying to stay content by doing my thing and hanging out with my friends. However, I may have to re-evaluate that strategy once they all graduate and move away.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Body movin'

I was walking across campus and I ran into a friend of mine. She didn't look as if she was in a good mood, and I commented on that. She said that she was feeling "very pre-menstrual."

We talked for a little while, then when we went our separate ways I told her to cheer up. "I will, just as soon as the old egg drops down and I get the blood flow started."

Perhaps that was a little too much information

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The burning metals of my mind

Sometimes I have dark thoughts. I've always thought that I was born with a criminal mind because I'm always thinking about how I can get away with things if I were to try them. I actually think that I'm smart enough that I could pull anything off once, but I'd feel too guilty about it afterwards and would probably end up turning myself in. Stupid conscience.

Anyway, as an example I had a dream last night about my ex-wife's brother. In the dream we all found out he was into organized crime. He'd performed a hit and had disposed of the body after cutting off it's head and hands so that it couldn't be identified if found (a la The Sopranos). Unfortunately for him in my dream, one of his bosses had told him to ditch the hands at a gas station, but he didn't bury them very well so they ended up being found, and while they didn't have a body to go along with it, he had somehow left his fingerprints on the hand so they were able to trace it back to him. He was very worried about his family and how they were going to get by while he was in jail. I found myself trying to come up with a way to help him beat the charges. I think we could have done it, but I woke up.

I like my ex-brother-in-law, but if that situation had come up in real life, he could go rot.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I watched the movie Tombstone yesterday. I hadn't seen it in quite some time, but I have to say it's one of my favorite westerns. I originally saw it when I was in high school and it was in the theater. A group of us went to the movie theater without really knowing what was playing. A few of us ended up going to see Tombstone while flieswithoutwings and shootingstar went to see Mrs. Doubtfire instead. After the movies were over we all met back up in the lobby, and we went on and on about how good the movie we had just seen was. We kept rubbing it in to flieswithoutwings that he'd gone to see such a lame movie just because his girlfriend wanted to. In fact, I think we rubbed that in for several months after the fact. It's funny that I still remember stuff like this.

I'd love to be as witty and cool under fire as Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holladay (but that's probably just because I'm a wimp and not very witty). I love the scene where one of the Cowboys is trying to intimidate him by twirling a gun around his finger, and gets fancier and fancier with it before he finally puts it into his holster, then Doc imitates the same thing with his recently emptied glass. Another one of my favorite lines is when there's about to be a gunfight in the street, and Doc comes out and draws his pistol. One of the cowboys sneers "You're so drunk, you're probably seeing two of me." Doc draws a second pistol and replies "In that case, I've got two guns. One for each of ya'." And of course, who could forget "I'll be your huckleberry."

Until I get some wit and toughness, I'll just have to keep living vicariously through the movies I watch. I'll have to make sure that there aren't any chick flicks in the future for me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Boys will be boys

I was hanging out with a group of friends the other night. I ended up staying out a bit later than I had planned, so eventually one of my friends and I decided to order some food. Just as it arrived another friend blew his nose into a napkin and looked into it to see what damage he had done.

Friend #1: "You couldn't have done that before I ate."

Friend #2: "I did. You hadn't taken a bite yet. Besides, you're still eating now, so what does it matter."

Friend #1: "It's gross. Even worse, you looked into the napkin afterwards. You probably look in the toilet after you go to the bathroom too, huh?"

Friend #2: "Oh and you don't? There's a certain manly feeling you get when you look down and see that it's big enough to have to flush twice."

Friend #3: "That reminds me of jail. It's called a courtesy flush."

You know that anybody who can start a sentence with 'that reminds me of jail' has lived an interesting life and is going to have some stories to tell.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Got a great car, yeah what's wrong with it today?

This morning I was watching a soccer game with my roommate when a commercial came on for the new VW Jetta. I commented that it was a good looking car, and he said "tell me about it, and it's got the same engine as my Audi. I found that out after I bought it. It would have probably saved me a substantial amount of money, but then again, everyone's driving a VW these days."

I have another friend who maintains that any guy who drives a VW is gay. This came up the other day while I was riding with him and we pulled up next to two guys in a VW Cabrio at a stoplight. While I don't necessarily agree with him on that (although a case could be made for guys who drive VW Bugs, Mazda Miatas and Mini Coopers), I have held to the notion that the Jetta is a 'hot chick car' for a long time. If you see one on the road and look at who is driving it, more often that not it'll be a good looking girl (note: this is based strictly on anecdotal evidence). When I told all this to my roommate, he agreed and was reassured in his choice of vehicle (ok, so I don't know about the reassurance part, but he did agree with me on the 'hot chick' part).

I wonder if this stereotype seems to be more prevalent than just within my circle of friends. I do know a few straight men who drive VWs. They have all been accused of being gay at some point, sometimes by people who don't even know what they drive. One of my old neighbors was one such example. He was in law school while I was working on my bachelor's degree. He drove a black Jetta, knew a lot about food and decorating, and even had a rather effeminite voice. People were always joking with him about that, asking "Are you sure you're not gay?" any time he commented about something in those areas. For the record, he wasn't.

(as an aside, his wife drove a Kia Sportage. It was a good car for a college student, especially one with a family (they had two kids). There were enough seatbelts, it was easy to load kids into, plus it had four wheel drive for driving in winter. However, just the fact that a vehicle like that has four wheel drive does not make it anything more than a Kia. Every time they were getting ready to go somewhere, she would call out "boys, go get in the Jeep." I never actually corrected her on this, but every time she did it I'd cringe, and a little part of me would die.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

You make me wanna . . .

. . . skin both my knees.
. . . stain my new shirt.
. . . sip Lysol from a cup, so clean it hurts.
. . . fold the map improperly.
. . . not turn the wipers on when rain starts to fall.
. . . smoke every cigarette that's ever been made.
. . . make the rules up as I go so noone can play.
. . . block out the moonlight, and turn off the sun.

. . . break something beautiful.

These are all lyrics taken from a Clem Snide song titled 'Something Beautiful.' Sadly enough, I can relate to them all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

When the last thing you see is the first thing you should

I was walking across campus with a friend when we saw two girls walking toward us. We couldn't see any distinguishing characters because they were about a block away from us, but I looked at my friend and said, "I bet the girl in the red is cuter than the girl in gray."

He replied, "I bet you're wrong. I think the girl in the gray is cuter."

As they started to get closer I began wondering if I'd made the wrong call. "On second thought, maybe you're right. Maybe the girl in gray is cuter. I guess we'll find out."

We finally got close enough to see them, and as they passed by us my friend turned to me and said "Or they could just be identical twins."

What are the odds of that?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Slow down, not so fast

Today I was going to the store with a friend to buy some maps (easy, it wasn't as exciting as it sounds). As we were walking to his vehicle, we came up behind a guy who was pushing a stroller and walking with a little girl. As we gained on him he turned around and asked "Do you guys work here?"

We said yes.

"You should put in a yield sign or something here. There are a lot of little kids that go to the elementary school over there, but cars come zipping through here all the time without paying attention."

(you know, because we look like we would have a say as to where yield signs should and should not be on campus)

He went on for a while about how nobody in this town ever pays attention to pedestrians (true, but I think it's probably true for just about any town in the west). Ironically, just as he was saying this we approached a crosswalk while a university police car came by. It didn't stop to let us cross.

He said, "See, even the police don't stop. But they're usually pretty good when it comes to writing parking tickets. Of course, that's where their paycheck comes from. There's probably a sale on donuts and coffee over there at Vons though, so he can't be bothered with slowing down."

We laughed.

He continued, "It's pretty sad that people don't pay any mind to pedestrians. Hell, I've been hit so many times. And I have a big van too. I could drive around town and run over people all day if I wanted to, I just prefer to walk."

I, for one, am thankful for that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

They're just pets

Today as I was walking to grab a bite to eat I saw a woman pulling a stroller out of the trunk of her car. Since I grew up in Utah, this is not an uncommon thing to see. What was uncommon, was that after she unfolded the stroller, she put her poodle in it and started pushing. It got me thinking about how ridiculous some people are when it comes to their pets. Here are a few more examples:

A few months ago I saw a woman I work with, and she did not look happy. I asked her if there was anything wrong and she told me that her cat had died a week prior. I can understand being attached to a pet that you've had around for a while, but it shouldn't affect your ability to function in your daily life. She burst into tears just telling me about it, and said "My friends all tell me to get over it, that it was just a cat, but cats are better than friends. People will always let you down, but not cats, they're always there for you." It was all I could do to keep from rolling my eyes and saying "Get over it, it was just a cat."

Another guy I know had a dog that should have been put down long before it actually died. He was 14 years old (the dog, not the guy) and had lost the use of his back legs. When he would take him out for walks, the dog would often fall over on its side and start peeing all over himself and anyone else who got in the way. At that point, it's more cruel to keep the dog alive than it is to have it put down, and not doing so is an act of selfishness. When his dog died he couldn't talk to anyone for about a week, even though he had to have seen it coming (we all did).

One girl I know just had to bring her dog in to the office every day because she couldn't just leave it at her apartment. Nevermind the fact that her apartment was approximately 50 steps away from the front door to the office. I use the past tense here only because she would still be doing it if it weren't for a campus wide ban on all animals that weren't aiding the handicapped or police. This ban actually led to a professor in my department cancelling all his classes one day because he couldn't leave his dog home alone for that long.

Now, I've never really had pets that I've become that attached to, partly because my oldest brother was allergic, and having a dog or cat in the house would trigger an asthma attack. We still had pets, they just had to stay outside so they never really became part of the family. But still, all things considered, they're animals, not kids. They don't need to be pushed in strollers. They'll be ok if you leave them alone for a day, if you're worried about it get a doggie door and leave out plenty of food and water, but don't skip work. When they die you can be sad, but not sad enough that you have to take time off work, or can't bring yourself to talk to anyone for a week or two. Some people need to get a grip.

Monday, April 17, 2006

One of these days . . .

I usually get together with a group of my friends to play basketball a couple of times a week. The locker rooms are fairly large, and have a couple of sets of double doors. To get to the men's locker room, one has to walk a fair distance down the main hallway.

The last set of doors to the women's locker room is just a little bit before the first door to the men's. I usually start thinking I'm there until I see the sign that says women. I make this mistake every third or fourth time we play. The first time, the only thing that stopped me from going into the wrong room was that a girl came out right as I was about to open the door. She was cute too, so I thought it was too bad I hadn't gotten there 10 minutes earlier.

Actually, I have little desire to enter a women's locker room. I know that 7th and 8th grade boys fantasize about that stuff all the time, but it's probably something better left as a fantasy. I'm pretty sure the girls aren't all in there lathering each other up with soap and motioning with their finger for any men that happen to stumble through to come on over and join the fun (wait, did I say too much?).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Where was Peter Cottontail?

I was on the phone with my daughter about how their Easter was going. She told me that she got a bunch of candy and a new shirt in her basket. I told her that the Easter Bunny didn't make it to my house so I wondered what happened.

She said "He's probably still mad at you because you killed one of his friends." She was referring to a time when we were visiting my parents and had gone with them to visit my grandparents. I was driving their car on the way back when a rabbit ran out in front of the car and I ran it over. I didn't feel too bad about it other than the fact that my kids thought it was gross (after all, it happens all the time).

A few months later I saw my parents' car was missing a big chunk of plastic from the bottom part of the front bumper. I asked my mom what had happened there, and she said it was from when I hit the rabbit. Then I felt bad.

Now I feel even worse, since the Easter Bunny is boycotting my house because of it.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Other Easter News

Parents, go to Eric Snider's blog to see why you may be in charge taking care of Easter yourselves.

The Spirit of Easter

It's almost Easter, and you know what that means. My thoughts have turned to all the candy that you can only get this time of year (Cadbury mini-eggs are my favorite). What you may not know about is the controversy surrounding Peeps research.

Scientists have performed a series of tests to investigate the tolerance of Peeps to such stressors as excess heat, cold, radiation and fear (among others).

As could be expected with research which has the potential to cause pain for the test subjects, there is fierce opposition.

I for one think that it is fine to continue with this research program. Peeps are capable of doing their own research on the subject, and if they didn't want it to continue, they would rise up and put an end to it themselves.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The semester of bribes

There's a sense of desperation coming from my students as the semester is coming to a close. Those who haven't been doing well are starting to sense the finality of the situation, and are hoping to be able to come up with extra points. The bad part for them is that the only way to do that is to get perfect scores from here on out because there are no extra credit opportunities.

The first bribe offer came a few weeks ago when a student of mine flashed me a wad of cash while he was taking a midterm. I didn't see exactly how much, but it was more than $100, and while he presented it as a joke, I think he would have given it to me if I had wanted to take it.

Then the other night while I was teaching I had the following conversation with a student:

Her: "Do you offer any chances for extra credit?"
Me: "No, sorry."
Her: "Why not?"
Me: "I don't have the authority to do that, it's up to the professor."
Her: "Well I think you should. I'll hook you up with my sister if you do."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I don't wanna know me better

The other night I was talking to a girl who I used to talk to quite a bit, but kind of lost touch with over the past couple of months. At one point she thought I was mad at her, and got off the phone shortly after. I called her back a little while later to make sure she knew that I wasn't mad. During the second conversation she told me that part of the reason why she hadn't been calling me lately was because the last few times we talked I sounded irritated. When I asked for an example she didn't give me one, but I can't remember ever being irritated with her.

A few months ago I was talking to a different friend of mine and she was making fun of me, and cracked some joke regarding a piece of paper she was holding. I laughed, and leaned over to look at the paper, but she thought I was pissed and said that I actually lunged at her. I told her that was ridiculous, but I don't think I really convinced her of that.

Now, I happen to know myself pretty well. In fact, I would argue that I know myself better than anybody else (after all, I have spent the last 30 years with myself). I think that I'm a fairly laid back person, and it really takes a lot to upset me (unless I don't like you). In fact, I can honestly say that there are only about 5 or 6 people in Vegas who have seen me pissed and I've lived here for nearly four years (and most of those times were when I was dealing with my ex-wife during our divorce).

Maybe I strike an imposing figure (doubtful), or maybe I just come across as a jerk even when I'm not being one (likely), but I don't understand why people misinterpret my emotions at times. I think it usually happens when there's something that would upset someone else, but doesn't upset me. Still, I don't like being misinterpreted.

The irony is that when I was married my wife would do the same thing. She'd tell me to stop getting mad, even though I wasn't, but the accusation would actually make me mad and we'd end up in a fight. Of course, she admitted later that it was usually because she was trying to manipulate me to get her way.

Yup. I think I'm better off single.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Arches Academy

I was driving to visit my kids over the weekend when the thermostat on my car went out. Luckily, I was only about 10 miles from my brother's house so I had a place to stay, and there was a mechanic who was able to replace it for me first thing in the morning and send me on my way.

Normally I skip breakfast, but my brother wanted to grab a bite while we were running around trying to find someone who could fix the car. We stopped for breakfast at McDonald's (of all places). As we were waiting in line to order our extremely healthy food, one of the guys taking orders started getting on my nerves. Every time he would finish taking an order he would look up and say "I can help who'sever next." This isn't the first time I've heard this called out, and it annoys me every time I hear it. It's called English people, learn to speak it (granted, it was McDonald's, but no, he wasn't an immigrant).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

With Easter Sunday fast approaching I thought I'd talk about something religious for a change. I don't know how many of you have seen this already (it's been all over the news) but an ancient text containing the Gospel of Judas has been translated. You can read up a little more on the page I've linked to (or do a google search), but the highlights are that Jesus supposedly taught Judas about mysteries of the universe, and that he supposedly asked Judas to be the one to betray him.

According to one scholar (whose name eludes me, and I'm too lazy to look up again), this makes sense with the passage in the King James version of the bible where Jesus turns to Judas and says "that thou doest, do quickly." Sounds like instructions to carry out some predetermined course of action, no?

I don't know exactly what this means to modern religions (if anything), but it is certainly an interesting view. We all know that there are two sides to every story, and in the case of the history contained in the Bible, there are twelve. Each of Jesus' disciples recorded their version of events, but only some of those made it into the widely accepted King James version. These were decided by church authorities who stood all the scrolls up on their ends, left them over night, and came back the next morning to see which were still standing (because that can only happen by divine intervention).

My guess is that this "new" manuscript won't have any effect on what people believe (just like the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary, which are still largely unknown), but it's certainly interesting to think about. And the timing couldn't have been better.

Friday, April 07, 2006

That's not teen spirit

I went to the store to buy my daughter a birthday present yesterday. In the interest of time (and lack of motivation) I went to one that was close to where I work, rather than waiting until I got home, so it was sort of in the middle of the ghetto. As such, it was a little more run down than what I'm accustomed to, and full of poor people.

Now, call me a snob if you wish, but I generally try to avoid places where there are a lot of poor people. It's not that I have a lot of money, but I do have pride, so I care about my appearance. I actually take the time out of my busy schedule to shower every day. For whatever reason, poor people don't seem to like to do that (not enough money for soap?), and as a result, places where poor people shop tend to have a 'poor people smell' to them. By that, I generally mean the smell of urine, bad breath and/or B.O. That's the reason I try to avoid such places.

As I walked into the store yesterday I got a good whiff of 'poor people smell' and found myself slightly annoyed that the item I was after was going to be clear at the back of the store. That meant I would have to endure the smell for at least that much longer than if my item had been at the front. Is it really too much to ask that a store automatically know what I'm after and rotate so that the item I'm after would always be just inside the door and next to the register by the time I come in from the parking lot? I know that if it did it for everyone that would be utter chaos, so they just need to do it for me. That would certainly suffice.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

An apple a day?

The other night I was talking to a friend. She had been sick all week, and was just starting to get over it. She made a comment about how I never seem to get sick, which is true. I rarely come down with anything worse than a cold (knock on wood). Rather, I seem to end up having to go to the doctor about weird stuff, or more serious issues. Here are a few examples:
  • Severed tendon in my index finger - a plastic surgeon was able to stitch it back together without too much scarring.
  • Lymphangitis - the location of this was what scared me, even though it ended up not being a big deal. (I'll let you use your imagination, you'll probably get it right).
  • Back surgery - to remove a lobe of a bulging disk that was compressing my sciatic nerve. I couldn't walk right for two months prior to the surgery, and it took nearly a year to recover.
  • High amounts of calcium oxalate in my urine - they never did figure out where that was coming from. Even after seeing two specialists, but it most likely led to the next one.
  • Kidney stones - at least that's what they think it was. It's the reason I had to go to the doctor a couple of weeks ago. All the tests came back negative, but the doctor thinks it's because I got lucky and passed a very small one that didn't hurt as bad as a normal one would. Still not something I'd like to go through again, regardless of what it was.

All things considered, I think I'd take a cold or a flu over any of that.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Don't mess with Texas

The other day we were eating lunch and got talking about games we used to play when we were kids. Remember how much fun it was to play red rover, capture the flag, kick the can, bloody murder, German flashlights, etc?

One of my friends (who happens to be from Texas) hadn't heard of some of these. Somebody asked him "What games did you play growing up then? Chain the black guy to a truck?" (obviously making fun of the racism that went on in Texas a few years ago, not condoning it).

There was another game that came up that had something to do with trees. He also hadn't heard of that one. He said "like we could have played that when we just had the one tree in town."

Someone else asked "Is that why they lynch people with trucks down there? There aren't enough trees to go around?"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lesson Learned?

I told you about the trip to Death Valley, and said that I learned a lot of stuff for my geology class along the way. There was another lesson I was taught, but am not quite so sure it will stick. I get it at least once a year, usually around this time. The lesson? Feet need sunblock too.

Trust me, this picture doesn't do the sunburn justice. It's painful just to bend my toes.

One other thing I learned: If anybody ever tells you that the light blue Gatorade frost turns your pee green - it doesn't. I tested it with no fewer than five bottles. There was definitely no green urine.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Lucky One

This weekend I went on a field trip to Death Valley. It paled in comparison to last year when the wildflowers were all over the place, but I got to see more of the park this time (and I certainly learned a lot of geology).

We rode out in two vans, and made stops at places in the park which had features we had talked about in class. I started the trip in the van that the TA was driving because I knew I'd get to ride shotgun, which is a big deal for someone as tall as me. It also happened to be the van with the most familiar faces in it (and by that, I mean people I have actually spoken with this semester). We got through most of the morning just fine, but then my professor started to get dizzy and asked me to drive (since I'm the only grad student in the class I'm the only one authorized to drive a university vehicle). He needed to stay in the 'lead' van to tell me where to go, so the guy who was riding shotgun in his van had to go back and take my place. We kept this arrangement for the rest of the day.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because the guy I traded places with happens to be really annoying. He's one of those guys who is constantly trying to impress people with how much he knows, even when it's obvious that he doesn't know what he's talking about. After he went to bed that night a few of the people in his van approached me.

"Are you going to ride in our van tomorrow? We need to get back to the original teams."
"Do you guys want me to ride in your van?"
"Yes. Please!"
"Ok, I'll tell him he has to trade me places again."
"Is that a promise? Can we get you to shake on that?"

The next morning I talked to the TA about riding with him again, and he said "Yes, hurry and get your ass in my van." Thus we got back to the 'original teams.'

About halfway through the day we all got out and started hiking up a hill so the professor could show us one of his points of interest. Some girls from the professor's van came up to me and said "You have to come back to our van. Please? We'll give you money." I didn't, but the pleading continued at every stop after that until we started heading home.

While I'd like to think it was because I was so cool, I know that any other person would have sufficed. I realize that I was the luckiest one on the trip, because of everyone in the class, I was the one who spent the least amount of time with Mr. Annoying simply because we were never in the same van.

It makes me wonder what exactly it takes for annoying people to start figuring out that they annoy everybody. I think this guy started to realize that something was up, but not enough to actually try to stop being annoying. Maybe it's just too much to ask of some people.