Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Come on children, you're acting like children, every generation thinks it's the end of the world

Sometimes parenting calls for teaching your kids important life skills, whether they're old enough to learn them or not. Sunday afternoon we drove out to the dry lake bed so I could teach Tortellini and Togers how to drive. The complicating factor? My car has a standard transmission. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that everyone should know how to operate a stick. Besides, they're both a lot older than I was the first time I drove a motorized vehicle with a clutch. I was eight. (Hi Mom. I bet you didn't know that, did you?)

I explained everything on the drive out, and demonstrated how to work the clutch and gear shift. Once we got there and they started driving there were a few times I thought my car was going to die out there in the desert. It didn't. And at least we had no traffic to worry about.

Tortellini went first. Her biggest problem was learning how to start out. She killed the car a few times, then just figured that she could get going easily if she peeled out rather than trying to take it slow. Periodically she'd forget to take her foot off the gas when pushing in the clutch, so the engine would rev until I pointed that out, but that was only for the first few minutes.



Togers asked to go second. Apparently that was because he wanted to learn from Tortellini's mistakes so as to avoid looking foolish. His plan seemed to work because he figured it out almost immediately. His biggest problem was recognizing when he was about to hit a bump and slowing down for it. That definitely made me glad we weren't out on the streets. My poor car's shocks.



And of course Mr M wanted to take a turn, so I let him sit on my lap and steer while I operated the pedals. I decided that as long as I have a say in things, that kid will never get his license. He asked if I could drive faster, so I did, then I saw a little look on his face, knew exactly what he was thinking and said, "Don't you dare turn that wheel hard while we're going this speed." He was disappointed, but asked if I could slow down enough for him to do it. That seemed to satisfy him.



By the end of the day, Tortellini and Togers seemed to get it all figured out:

video


Then we went home. The end.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

You're a superstar at the gay bar

Last night one of my gay friends texted me:

Him: Did you get it figured out babe?

Me: Figure what out? Are you drunk texting me again*?

Him: Ha ha. OMG [Minnow] yes.

Me: Thought so.

Him: Maybe I should call you babe more often. What do you think?

Me: Whatever floats your boat. At least someone would be calling me that.

Him: I've been calling you that in my dreams for a while. You should hook a brother up.

Me: Well you know right now I'm about to take some toenail polish** off. I'm halfway there.

Him: Well, if you need a bj you know who to call.

Me: Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few minutes later I got a text from another friend:

Him: Is something going on between you and [Gay Friend]?

Me: Just sexting.

Him: Ha. I'm in the car with him.

Me: I figured. I might have him all hot and ready for you.

Him: Thanks. Hopefully he rides bareback tonight.

Me: I heard he always does.

Him: He tricked me then.








*I don't know who my number is next to in his phone, but this is the third or fourth time he's texted me by mistake, and it's always regarding something about which I have no clue.

**They put on some kind of clear coat when my friend convinced me to go get a pedicure with her the other day. The shiny toenails have been driving me crazy ever since, but I just now got around to purchasing stuff to remove it with.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now I'm very big I'm a big important man and the only thing that's different is underneath my hat

My sister is visiting Flaming Gorge this weekend. Yesterday she updated her facebook status to say that she was about to walk to the store in town. I called her immediately upon reading that to see if she'd already gone. She said she was on her way right then, so I asked if she could look for a hat for me while she was there. I'd purchased my favorite hat at that store a few years ago, but lost it on my first trip to Joshua Tree (when I went to play ice cream man for a few days). My best guess is that it was accidentally kicked out of the vehicle in the parking lot at the music festival, but I never was able to find it, not even at the lost and found.

Losing the hat wasn't that big of a deal at the time because I figured I'd make it back to purchase a new one at some point. However, I haven't been able to visit Flaming Gorge in about two years. Now that I seem to keep applying for jobs that are further and further away, the likelihood that I'll make it back anytime soon is decreasing. I wish I had more time and money, but I don't.

My sister said she'd look around. Then she asked me to email a picture of me wearing the hat. That way she'd get it on her blackberry, and that would make it easier for her to see if she could find the right one.

I emailed her a picture. She found the hat and sent me a text with a picture of it just to make sure:



"Booyah - Who's your favorite sister?"

Looks like she is. The other three have to step it up a bit if they hope to take her crown away.

Friday, June 26, 2009

But inside inside you always feel the same even when you wake up

Last night I was talking to a friend about yesterday's post:

Me: She thinks it happened because she's been over-exerted from trying to do too much over the past few days, and not eating or drinking enough during that time.

Friend: The only time in my life when I'm over-exerting myself is when I'm taking a shit.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The clock never stops, never stops, never waits

I was supposed to meet a girl last night after work.

She didn't show up.

It's the first time I've been stood up by a girl. Sure, I've had people say "Maybe we could do something this weekend", and then not call to finalize any plans, but that's not quite the same.

It's a crappy feeling.

I waited for a little while, but when it became obvious that she wasn't going to show up I called and left a message telling her that I assumed she wasn't coming so I was going home, and that I hoped everything was okay.

This morning I still hadn't heard anything from her. As I left the house I told my roommate about it, and mentioned that I would never for the life of me understand women. After all, I'd seen her that afternoon*, and she seemed excited to meet up later.

She called me on my way to work. It turns out she'd fainted during her evening class. When she recovered she told everyone around her that she was fine and that she had somewhere to be, but thankfully nobody would let her drive. One of her classmates drove her to her mom's house, but she'd left her phone and laptop in her car so she couldn't contact me to let me know.

Once I heard that, I texted my roommate to tell let him know. I told him that I felt better knowing that she was okay, and that at least there was a good reason.

He wrote back, "Good. Is your faith in women restored?"

I answered, "Not necessarily."







*I didn't even have a chance to say or do anything to screw things up in between.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I kinda like the way you dot your Js

My Aunt, Delirious, learned how to analyze people's handwriting as a hobby. I've always been curious to know what my handwriting would say about me, but only recently got around to asking her to do it. I sent her a sample, and this is what she wrote back as her interpretation.

[Minnow],

As a practice of mine, I always tell people to remember that I am not an expert, and handwriting analysis is just a hobby of mine. I am only looking at one sample of your writing, so if I see one occurrence of something, I write what I see. But if I had more samples, I might find that was a fluke. So I will just write what I see, but take it with a grain of salt. :) I prefer to analyze cursive rather than printing, so that's where I'm spending the bulk of my efforts. Most men print, so it's difficult to get them to write cursive for me. :)

--First of all, your handwriting shows that you are a six year old child*. (Just kidding, had to throw that one in.) :)

--What I notice first about your handwriting is that you are very open to others, but I don't get the feeling that you need a lot of relationships. You do give time to your friendships, but I think you would be fine alone too.

--The next trait I notice is one that I share with you. You seem to be a selective learner. You will stretch to learn, but only if it's something that you are interested in**.

--You are someone who values tradition.

--You are able to organize your time well. You don't over-schedule yourself.

--You seem to be able to see projects through to completion***.

--Your cursive shows a slight tendency to have a negative attitude. It could also be interpreted as being a little depressed. I'll let you pick which one**** it is. ;)

--Your handwriting shows that you accept your mother's influence in your life more than your father's. It could be interpreted that he simply wasn't around when you were growing up. Either way, his influence is absent in your handwriting.

--You don't appear to be someone who is overly concerned with their looks. You seem pretty confident in that area.

--You seem pretty outgoing, not what I would consider an introvert by any means.

--You are someone who is detail oriented. It's not extreme, but you do pay attention to details.

--You are someone who is willing to take risks. Once again, it isn't showing up as extreme, but you aren't afraid to pursue something new.

--It appears that in public you tend to be private about your personal life. You are selective about who you will allow to get close, and maybe are afraid of getting hurt.

--You don't seem to have a sharp temper. You wouldn't fly off the handle at someone*****.

--Your writing shows that you aren't really a worldly person in the monetary sense. You don't seem overly concerned about wealth.

--Your energy level seems normal and consistent.

There was one more thing that I saw, but I don't know what it means. If I find out, I'll let you know. Basically overall, nothing weird shows up in your handwriting. You aren't a serial killer****** or anything like that . :)

Love, [Delirious]









*She requested that I write in cursive, so I did, but in the writing sample I sent her I joked that it was so sloppy (since I never write in cursive) that it would probably come back and say I was a six year old child.

**True dat.

***With the apparent exception being my dissertation.

****I pick both.

*****Except my kids. Or my ex-wife.

******Yet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

We could go and float around in our favorite swimming ground

My ex-wife called me on Saturday night to make plans for Father's Day. She told me that the kids wanted to come to my house and go swimming, and asked if that would be okay if they all came over for that. She volunteered to cook dinner at my house if she could come too. I said that'd be fine.

Tortellini called me yesterday afternoon to see if I could come get them, so I drove over to their house. My ex-wife still had a few things to put together for the meal she was going to fix at my place, so she said just to take the kids and go and she'd come over later. I did, and when we got to my house we went straight to the pool.

My ex-wife showed up a little while later. She sat down poolside and grabbed my phone to check the time. I asked her to check my phone for any text messages while she had it. It turned out I had missed one. From her.

Ex: There's just a message here from someone named [Ex's Name] that says 'I'll be there in a few, what's the gate code?'

Tortellini (sarcastically): Oooooohhhhh. You got a text from [Ex's Name]? Who's that? Huh, Dad?

Me: Oh, her? That's just some crazy bitch that won't stop calling me.

I truly am the world's greatest father.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fish on

Everyone in my family is familiar with this story, but since today is Father's Day it's worth telling again.

I was about five years old and we were living in Montana. One day my dad took all the kids out fishing. I remember it being cold, so my mom sat in the car with our baby sister while we fished. I kept messing around with my rod (that's not a metaphor), and my dad found it annoying. At some point, my dad had enough and told me that if I did it one more time then I was going to have to go sit in the car.

I did it one more time.

He told me to go sit in the car.

I looked at my siblings and said, "Ha ha ha you guys. I get to go sit in the car, and you have to stay here and fish!"

The moment has been captured in one of my mother's cartoons about the family:



You have to admit that it's pretty funny considering the way my life has turned out thus far. I guess some of those fishing lessons stuck.

Thanks Dad. I love you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The whole valley looks like someone's body, and all the people look like little scars

One more post about my trip to Idaho, and then I'll shut up about it. I swear.

I met the Evilutionary Biologist. Pretty cool guy, although I had no idea that he'd be so ultra-competitive when playing shuffleboard on a warped shuffleboard table. He and JC Marshall (who did a post-doc at Yale) beat me and my friend in every game we played. When I voiced frustration to JC Marshall about that he said, "That's what happens when you go up against two members of Skull & Bones."

"You're not in Skull & Bones though."

"I cannot confirm nor deny that."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

A mini Reese's peanut butter cup is probably not worth crashing your car into the Salmon River over, just because you are trying to unwrap that rather than focus on staying on the road.

video

However, that didn't stop me from trying.

You may be thinking that it's time for an intervention, but I'm not an addict. I can quit anytime I want.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Nothing illustrates a person's glaring lack of intellect more than saying "These species have been shown to show . . ." during their talk.

And yes, I really said that.

The moral of this story? I am an idiot.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

And of course, some pictures from the road:

We drove through a real gullywasher (several actually - I'm not used to standing water on the highway)


And passed a stretch of a historically important trail



We spent a little time in downtown Boise




Spent an afternoon checking out Palouse Falls


And the channeled scablands of eastern Washington


The Palouse



There were plenty of wildflowers



And other scenic views along the way





Go ahead and admit that you're a little jealous. It's okay.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fishing in the dark

At a restaurant in downtown Boise:

Me: How long does it take to get to Moscow from here?
Waitress: I'd say about five to seven hours. Why? Are you going to U of I to tear it up?
Me: Actually, that is where we're heading.
Waitress: Oh really? What for?
Friend: We're going to a conference.
Waitress: What kind of conference?
Friend: We're biologists, so we're going to conference for that.
Waitress: Oh, does that mean you guys study some kind of cool snails or something?
Friend: He studies fish and I study bats.
Waitress: Bass?
Friend: Bats.
Waitress: Bass.
Friend (moving his arms so as to simulate flight): Bats.
Waitress: Bass and fish are pretty much the same thing.
Friend: I'm a biologist. I know the difference.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm so smart, too bad I can't ever get anything figured out

I just got back from a conference in Moscow, Idaho. It was nice to get away, even if it was work related. I gave a talk, and listened to plenty of others. My brain is entirely full. Who am I kidding? My brain was full after listening to the first talk.

My friend and I arrived just before the registration desk closed the evening before talks began. In a weird coincidence, the very first person we saw at the conference was the one other guy from our university who was attending and who happened to be walking up to the registration desk at the same time. The next person I saw was a friend who was working on his Ph D when I was working on my MS, and one of the next was a guy who was a post-doc at the same time. Strange that I would travel a thousand miles away from home, to a conference where I didn't expect to know anybody, and have that happen.

Before we got to Moscow, my friend and I made a wager. He set the over/under on hot girls who would be at the conference at ten. I took the under on the condition that they had to be legitimately hot, not just biology hot*. I won. There were only six**. Six hot girls out of 1200 registered attendees. That's a mere 0.5%. And you wonder why I'm single.

My friend told me he'd give me $1000 if I'd end my talk by saying, "And with that, I'd be happy to take any questions . . . Ladies!" He wouldn't have paid up if I had, but even if he would have, it wouldn't have been worth committing career suicide over, so I didn't. Not that I would've been able to say it with a straight face anyway.







*Biology Hot - a girl who is average looking, but when compared to other female biologists stands out as unusually attractive.

**And one of those may have been a duplicate.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baby you need a break so let's just run away

I'm not sure how much I'll be posting over the next several days, so to keep you occupied in the meantime, here's another music mix for your listening pleasure.

Let's Just Run Away (click for free download):
1. Shhh - Donora
2. Asleep For Days - Blitzen Trapper
3. The Story I Heard - Blind Pilot
4. Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me - Cracker
5. Ragged Wood - Fleet Foxes
6. Two Hearts - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
7. Duck And Cover - Glen Phillips
8. Right Moves - Josh Ritter
9. All The Way Up To Heaven - Guster
10. Island Girl - Mr D
11. Help Me Suzanne - Rhett Miller
12. Here Come The Swells - Peter Bruntnell
13. Rollin' Home Alone - Jason Lytle

It's been a while since I've given you one anyway.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

While their tasks are aligning their minds are deciding

Do you like to doodle? Do you bore easily? If so, I've got the perfect activity* for you to try.

First you take a piece of paper (or in this case, a bar napkin), fold it in half, and draw something on the bottom half of it. Be careful not to let anyone else see what you're drawing.

Once you're finished with your half of the picture, keep it folded but mark the locations where parts of your drawing end so the person who draws the top half will know where to begin.

Then, hand the paper/napkin to one of your friends, and have them complete the picture without knowing what you drew on the bottom.

Here are the results from when I recently played this game with some of my friends:

Sumo Ballerina


Hard Luck Alien Duck


Charlie Brown Cheerleader Chick


Alien EggShell Halibut Man


Fortune Telling Mer-Bird


I don't even know what this is








*It's the perfect thing to do whether you're chilling out with friends at the bar, sitting with your family in church, or trying to avoid falling asleep in class.

Monday, June 08, 2009

I got a letter from the government the other day I opened and read it, it said they were suckers

I spent the day at the courthouse for the jury selection process. It turns out that when you don't respond* to a summons they get a little bent out of shape and put your name at the top of the list for the next time around. There was no putting it off this time.

So, like a good boy, I showed up at the courthouse early and went to the jury services room. I sat there, watched a video about the jury selection process**, and waited for my number to be called. The woman announced that it was a slow court day, so she read all of our numbers and said we were going to lunch. At 9:30. In the morning. And that we were to report back at 12:30.

Luckily I'd brought some work along with me, so I read a few research articles during the downtime***.

When it came time to report back, I did. We sat there for about another thirty minutes, then they called out a group of numbers, had us all line up, and walked us to the court room. My number was so low that I was sitting in the jury box. The defendant in the case was sitting directly in front of me. So were the district attorneys.

The attorneys read off a long list of potential witnesses, and the judge asked if any of the potential jurors knew anyone on that list. Then she asked if any of us knew the defendant, his attorneys, or the DA and his assistant. The assistant was cute, so I wish I would have had the sack to raise my hand and say, "No, but I'd like to know her." It probably wouldn't have gone over well.

I'm leaving town this week to present my research at some meetings, so I asked to be excused from service. Luckily, the judge accepted that as a valid excuse and let me go. It would've been an interesting trial to be a part of though. I felt like I was in a movie when the D.A. stood up and told us about the nature of the case. The defendant was charged with murder and robbery with a deadly weapon.

The moral of the story? When you're buying crack cocaine in a dark alleyway in North Las Vegas, don't flash a huge wad of cash to your dealer. It's a good way to get yourself shot in the head and your money stolen. Whether it was the defendant who did the shooting or not is up to the remaining members of the jury pool to decide*****.









*I thought I responded to my first jury summons, but I didn't read it carefully enough. I didn't realize that I had to call in twice. I only called in once to see if my number was on their list of those who needed to report. It wasn't, but that was because I didn't call the first time to respond. Oops! My bad. I wasn't trying to be in contempt of court.

**BORING!!!

***Kind of boring, but not as boring as the video.

****It felt like we were some sort of unholy cross between a herd of cattle and a Kindergarten class.

*****Since it is a young man's life on the line, I'm glad I don't have to be part of that decision making process.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Do you know the muffin man?

After I had just finished eating a cookie for dessert at lunch yesterday:

Friend: Eat that last muffin.

Me: I can't.

Friend: It's yours. Eat it.

Me: Can't.

Friend: You can't let it go to waste. Eat it.

Me: I can't. I'm too full. Besides, it'll ruin my chocolate chip cookie mouth.

Friend: That might be the gayest thing you've ever said.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

There's so much to live up to and I wish that somehow I could give it all to you

A girl I know called yesterday to see if my friend and I would come visit her at work if she bought us a round of drinks or an appetizer. We'd been promising to stop by since she started working there, so we figured last night was as good a time as any.

[Click to enlarge]


I'm sure these were a lot better than the one that girl from Colorado got a few years back.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I don't want to shake your father's hand and walk in the sand and act like a man

Yesterday I was talking to one of my friends on the phone. While he was saying something, I spat into the dirt next to the sidewalk.

My friend heard it and said, "I've been reading something called 'Guide To Being A Gentleman' and one of the things it says is that gentlemen do not spit."

"Yeah, but I'm not a gentleman."

"They don't curse either."

"Again . . ."

Monday, June 01, 2009

What gives this mess some grace unless it's kicks, man

Over the weekend my kids and I went on a short drive to the Colorado River.



At first we just hung out along the shore.



However, it was a hot day, so we all decided to go in and cool off. It worked. The water was freezing* cold. It was refreshing though.



Togers and I decided to go for a swim. We turned around when the current started pushing him downstream, and the water was too deep for him to touch the bottom.

After getting him back to shore, I decided to see how far out I could go. My kids said I swam about halfway across the river. I think it was closer to a third of the way. I stopped and turned around when I realized how strong the current really was.

I could hear Mr M yelling something to me from the shore, but I couldn't hear what. As I swam back, I could make out that he was calling for me to come back. When I got to the bank, he ran out and gave me a big hug.

Me: What's wrong? Did you think something was going to happen to me?

Mr M: Yeah.

Me: I wasn't going to drown. You know that, right?

Mr M: I know.

Me: So what did you think might happen?

Mr M: I thought a whole bunch of ducks were going to come peck out your eyes.



Lucky for me, they didn't. I'm sure they were contemplating it though, in their little duck minds. Fucking ducks.








*Ok, so maybe not freezing**

**But I'm a long way away from the guy who used to wet wade in fifty-five degree water on the Green River. It seems as though I've had to trade in my cold tolerance to be able to survive a summer in the Mojave desert.