Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Grinch

My son (the 9 year old) wanted a notebook for Christmas, but not just any notebook, a special kind of bungee notebook. He even asked Santa for one, plus he went to the store with my sister after Thanksgiving and pointed out the exact one that he wanted. It was such a simple present that of course I bought it for him. He was happy to get it, and even brought it with him to my parents' house.

I was just looking through Christmas pictures with my kids and my sister when he pointed it out in one of the photos. I explained to him how I knew it was the one he wanted because my sister had shown me at the store the next time we went (without the kids). He got a confused look on his face and said, "but Dad, Santa brought that to me."

"Oh crap!" I thought, but instead said "Yeah, maybe we should have a talk about that. You know that Santa's not real, right? It's just me and your mom that buy the stuff."

He didn't know. He even started crying. It made me feel like a heartless jerk. I explained to him about how it doesn't change anything for Christmas other than the fact that he no longer has to worry about being good all year in order to get presents, and that it would still be exciting to see his younger brother get excited about it. He was still a little upset, but is ok with it now, once I explained to him about how he doesn't want to be the nerd in his class who all the other kids make fun of because he still believes.

I still feel like the grinch who stole Christmas. I should have waited another year to tell him, it's just that I slipped up, got caught, and figured it was easier to tell the truth rather than come up with another explanation about how I'd gotten confused or something. I guess kids have to grow up sometime though.


My mom fixed lunch today and called us in when it was ready. My dad walked in and said, "Well this is interesting."

My 3 year old replied, "No, it's SOUP!"

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Stars Aligned

I've introduced my kids to the game of Scrabble (I figure it's probably better for their minds than the PS2). It's kind of a tradition in our family to play it whenever a few of us get together. My mom has an amazing vocabulary so is pretty difficult to beat. However, today I scored higher than her every time we played. I was even able to play all 7 of my letters in two consecutive games and got the 50 bonus points added on to my score for those each time (the words FLAMINGO and BOOSTING in case you're wondering). It's almost a shame that I wasn't working on anything productive. I probably could have come up with a cure for AIDS, or solved world hunger. Maybe even both.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Hungarian

To revisit an old theme, I'm presenting yet more evidence to support Native Minnow's theory of his own sexiness.

The first line of evidence is on A web site where students are able to go and post comments about professors they've had for college classes. Other students can then go read these comments to help them make a decision about what professors to try and take the classes from. While I'm not a professor, I have taught a couple of introductory classes, and a lot of labs. Apparently this site allows people to post comments about TA's so I have had some of my students post comments about me. It's a little flattering because I have a pretty high approval rating, but the best part is that they allow students to post a chili pepper next to a professor's name if they think that person is hot. I have a chili pepper next to my name, and one of the students ended their post with "plus he's kinda cute."

I do have to point out that it apparently isn't just females that find me sexy. I should have told this story much earlier, but it didn't occur to me until now so here goes:

About a year and a half ago I was leaving my office to go home and get something to eat. As I got to my car I had a guy approach me and ask me for a ride. I felt bad for the guy since it was about 115 degrees outside (Vegas in the summer time is not a fun place to be), so I went against my better judgement and told him that as long as he was going somewhere nearby that I could give him a lift. He got in the car and began to strike up some conversation as I drove away. I wasn't really thinking at first, but it occurred to me after a few blocks that he still hadn't told me where he was going, so I asked.

"Wherever you're going is fine."

This set off alarms in my head, but then I told myself I was overreacting and that I'd just seen too many Kids in the Hall skits where gay guys use that as a pick up line. I didn't really know where to go, but I did know that I wasn't taking this guy to my house, so I just kept driving while thinking about how to get out of the situation I had gotten myself into. Then we had the following exchange:

Him: "So [Native Minnow], what's your ethnicity?"
Me: "Uh, I'm white."
Him: "No, I mean where are your ancestors from?"
Me: "Mostly from Scotland and England. How about you (still trying to be nice)?"
Him: "Hungary. Get it? Hung?"

Now the fire alarms were going off in my head. I should have stopped the car right then and told him to get out, but I'm too nice for that so figured I needed to take him back to the place where I picked him up, but I had told him I was going for dinner, so felt like I needed to go get some food so that my story didn't change either. I decided I would stop by a fast food place, and there was a KFC nearby so I headed in that direction. I did start talking about my girlfriend (at the time we were still going out), my kids and my ex-wife, just to get it across to him that I wasn't gay. I stopped and got some food and headed back towards my office. At this point he started pulling out all the tricks that I can only assume would work on other gay males. He talked about how he liked living in Vegas except he didn't like having sweaty balls all the time (not sure how I was supposed to respond to that one, so I just kept driving). He asked if he could come back to my office with me, and whether or not I had internet there (which I could only assume was so we could look up gay porn). Then we had another interesting exchange:

Him: "So do you have any nicknames [Native Minnow]?"
Me: "Nope."
Him: "So what do people call you?"
Me: "Just [Native Minnow]."
Him: "Really? People don't come up and say 'What's up Big D?' Because you look like the Big D type."

*edit* My real name does start with a D.

Yikes! I couldn't get back to my office fast enough. Once we parked though, he acted like he was going to follow me there, so I decided to go share my food with a friend of mine who had been teaching labs all day. I walked in while she was giving a practical final, which confused her about why I would be interrupting something so important. I walked to the front of the room, showed her the bag of food and said, "I brought you some food in case you want it, but more importantly, there's a gay guy who is trying to pick up on me and I can't get rid of him." She told me that she suspected some of her students of cheating so said I could stay and watch them with her. I did that until he went away (he was waiting in the hall for a little while).

It's a really funny story to look back on now, but it certainly wasn't very funny at the time. I decided that would be the last time I was going to be nice to strangers. Nevertheless, still more evidence to the fact that I am indeed a sexy man.

Kids Trivia

My kids were playing a trivia game today. Here are two of the answers they gave that cracked me up.

What name was given to the 11 states that left the Union in 1860 and 1861?

My son: Mexico

Who was George Washington's First Lady?

My daughter: Mrs. Washington

Monday, December 26, 2005

Most Awkward Christmas Moment

Ever since my ex-wife and I split up we have tried to remain friends in order to do what is best for the kids. Since we both enjoy watching the looks on our kids' faces when they're opening presents, we've tried to have Christmas morning together even though things didn't work out between the two of us. That way neither of us has to miss out on anything, at least not when it comes to opening presents on Christmas morning. It was a bit odd this year though because this is the first year that my ex has actually been living with her boyfriend. I had a rather awkward moment when my ex opened up the present shown here (photo taken by her boyfriend, not me). Especially since it was given to her by MY MOM! In my mom's defense, she wasn't thinking about it as lingerie but rather as a nice set of pajamas that happened to be my ex's favorite color. Rest assured that if any of my kids get divorced, their ex-spouse will NOT get anything that could be used in the bedroom as a present from me. Even if it is their favorite color.

The Bright Side

I was thinking about some of the benefits of not being the custodial parent when Christmas comes around. See the list below (in no particular order):

  • I don't have to worry about getting a Christmas tree and setting it up so that it's straight (nearly impossible to do without magic powers).
  • It looks more impressive to the kids when I pull up and start unloading all the presents from the trunk of my car than it does if I'm living there and only bringing them in the house a few at a time.
  • I don't have to worry about where to hide the presents from Santa so the kids don't find them before Christmas.
  • No worrying about what old toys the kids need to get rid of to clear out space for the new ones.
  • I don't always have to get on the kids about trying to peek at their presents if I'm not there to see them do it.
  • I can take the kids to their grandparents' house for a week, and drop them off at home just in time for them to start whining and fighting with each other.
  • I can buy annoying toys, yet still not be annoyed by them.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Dear Santa,

I seem to have forgotten about how magical Christmas can feel to a kid. Especially to one that still believes in Santa Claus. I spent yesterday with my kids, and it was really cute to see how excited they were that it was Christmas Eve. Especially the two boys since they're the only ones that still believe in Santa (my 9 year old has been told, but he still wants to believe so we didn't press it this year).

We went to the store to pick up one last minute item that their Grandpa wasn't able to find for Grandma. Then I took them back to their house and we watched 'A Christmas Story.' We made cookies for Santa Claus and my 9 year old left this note:

Dear Santa,
I hope you like the cookies. We made them ourselves. You should also check out the statue by the plate. I hope you're not offended.

Then all my kids signed it.

The statue that he referred to was a little 18 inch Santa statue that dances and raps when you press a button in its hand. It really did get annoying after about the 100th time my 3 year old pressed the button to show it to me. It's easy to see how Santa could be offended, but the cutest thing was that he actually cared whether Santa would be offended. I thought about Christmas Eve when I was young and about how we would get so excited that we wouldn't be able to fall asleep. Now I find myself trying to hurry the kids to bed so that I can put the presents out. I still have fun watching my kids open everything up on Christmas morning, but it's definitely not the same feeling. The magic is definitely gone.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mayday, Mayday

I flew an airplane today. It was really cool. My brother-in-law is a pilot, and owns a flying service, and my sister just quit her job to go to work for him. I stayed at their house last night and went out to the airport to hang out for a while after I did some Christmas shopping earlier in the day. I only anticipated staying there for about an hour or so, but then we had the following exchange:

Him: "Do you want to go flying today?"
Me: "Of course I do."
Him: "Ok, you'll just have to wait until this plane comes back and I'll have one of my instructors take you up."
Me: "Ok, as long as you're sure."
Him: "It'll be fine."

So I hung around for about another hour, then he had one of his guys take me up. He walked me through the pre-flight check list and kind of showed me how stuff works (meaning I watched while he did everything). Then it was time to get in the plane. He started it up and explained to me how it was going to work, then we took off and I got to fly all around the valley. There's really not a whole lot to it, I think a three year old could manage it once the plane is in the air, but it was an amazing feeling looking down at the valley and all the little buildings and cars.

The pilot who had just returned with the plane was complaining about the autopilot not working properly, so he showed me how that worked and how to make the plane follow the GPS unit. Really cool stuff. We stayed in the air for about 45 minutes (15 minutes longer than the standard intro flight because my brother-in-law is cool like that) and then he walked me through the landing. It's surprisingly not that scary when you know there is someone else who can take over the controls at any moment (and he did).

It was a beautiful day. Apparently one of the few where there wasn't any inversion here in the valley so we could actually see for quite some distance. I'm totally hooked, now I want to get my pilot's license. There's just that little matter of coming up with the $6000 to do so.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hooray for me!!!

I got some GREAT news today. The manuscript from my masters work has finally been accepted for publication. It only took me 3 1/2 years after graduating to get to this point but hey, I'm not going to complain now, it's accepted! I guess that goes to show that you can take something that makes hardly any sense at all, revise it approximately 20 times, and turn it into something that the scientific community might possibly value. I certainly hope that's the case, but I won't know until I see if people are citing it in their own manuscripts. What a huge relief to have that off my mind though. Now I just have to move on to the next one (that also should have been published ~3 years ago). Wish me luck.

A Poem?

I don't know if you can really call this a poem, but thought I'd post it anyway as a testament to the fact that I am indeed nuts. I wrote it a few months ago, but haven't gotten the courage to post it until now. I hope none of you think I'm retarded, but here goes:

A freak farm accident, lost the skin off his arm.
Photos make me less queasy than thinking about Her kissing someone else.

Should it bother me?
What is wrong with me?
Am I really this crazy?

Short answer - YES!

Should I bring it up? Express the way I feel?
Ask why she talks to me still?
Am I imagining her interest, reading things into what she says,
or is it real?

Do I follow the advice I've gotten?
Leave that girl alone . . .
You're setting yourself up . . .
You need to quit!

Can I?
I don't know.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lazy Me

I am the epitome of what a grad student should NOT be. I haven't done anything productive in five days now. I know it's the holidays, but I've actually been going in to work, and still haven't been doing anything. This morning I went in late because I had to stop by my insurance agent's office and change my policy. Once I got to the office I spent the rest of the morning wasting time online and talking to the departmental secretaries. Then it was time for lunch, and I spent the afternoon trying to finish up my Christmas shopping. I'm not sure I was successful. I think I still need to buy my sons each one more gift. I need to write down a list of everything I've purchased to make sure that each of my kids gets the same amount of stuff. As far as work goes, I guess there's always tomorrow. And if I don't get anything done then, I may just leave to go on vacation a few days earlier than planned. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Last Minute Gift Idea

If you're looking for the perfect stocking stuffer, allow me to make a suggestion. This pink statue here is called 'Answer Me Jesus' and it works just like a magic eight ball. You ask it questions, then turn it over to see what your answer is, except the standard magic eight ball responses have been replaced with things such as "Let me ask my dad," "Yee of little faith (yes, the word ye is spelled wrong)," "Pray harder," and "I died for this?" You can get it at Urban Outfitters (and no, I don't get any commission from them). A friend of mine got it as a white elephant gift (even though it's pink?) and I can assure you that it provided us with hours of entertainment. (note: it's even funnier if you aren't afraid of sacrelege).

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Headin' to the Poor House

I believe that this is the latest in the season that I have ever had the majority of my holiday shopping left to do. I normally try to finish up early and have most of my stuff purchased by a week after Thanksgiving. Every year I tell myself that I'm going to start picking things up throughout the year so that I won't have to spend a ton of extra money in December, but never seem to get that done. So here I am sitting here with a ton of shopping to do, and very little money in my checking account. I suppose of the two things I miss about my old job, having the extra money to spend around Christmas time sure did come in handy (the other would be the health and dental insurance). This year I think I'm going to have to take some money out of savings and hope that my tax return is big enough to replace it. That's probably not the smartest attitude to have towards money, but I'd hate for my kids to have a crappy Christmas. I'm sure they would hate that too.

Abraham Simpson

"My story begins back in 19 dickity two. We had to say dickity back then because the Kaiser had stolen our word 20. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickity 6 miles."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Flying Post 9-11

I made it through airport security in record times both when I was leaving town this weekend and when I was flying back. Both times I arrived at the airport about an hour and twenty minutes before my flight, and both times I was sitting at the gate waiting to board within about ten minutes. I wish I knew how to time it better though, especially since on the way back that meant I could have spent another hour with my kids. Of course, I suppose it would work the opposite way if I were to push my luck and I'd end up missing my plane.

As I was undressing to go through the metal detector without setting off any alarms I couldn't help but think that it probably wasn't doing a whole lot to prevent another terrorist attack. In reality, I think that all of these things have been put into place so that everyone will think that the government is doing something. I think the response to Hurricane Katrina has shown otherwise. Don't you think that if there is going to be another major attack that they are going to go with something that we aren't expecting? I know that the levees that broke in New Orleans did so because of the hurricane, but something along those lines is exactly what I would expect the terrorists to try next. Imagine that the levees in New Orleans had been bombed instead, would the results have been any less drastic? I think the death toll would have been about the same, but somehow I think the government would have responded a lot quicker in that scenario.

Unfortunately, I don't know what the answers are, or where exactly the resources ought to be placed. There certainly aren't enough of them to go around to prepare for everything that could possibly be thrown our way. I'm hoping that we won't see another terrorist attack like the one on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but I'm guessing that Al-Qaida isn't going to stop trying to come up with new ways to get us. I'm just not sure that installing a few extra metal detectors is going to be enough to prevent them from being successful. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Monday, December 12, 2005

In a Bind

I don't know what the reason is, but lately I've been running across a lot of people that I haven't seen in a while. Part of that means that I've been getting asked about relationships and whether or not I'm in one. I realize that this is just part of catching up on things so it doesn't bother me. Who knows, maybe someday I'll be able to tell them about the lovely girl that I'm seeing, but that would require that I actually start seeing one.

It's not that there aren't girls out there who develop crushes on me, it's just that my standards are pretty high with regards to what I'll accept. I've been told to stop being so picky, but I don't see why I should if it means I'll end up with someone I believe to be subpar. Without going into the details here, I think that I may have enough restrictions to ensure that I will in fact be single for the remainder of my life. That's something I'm coming to terms with.

I was relaying this information to a friend of mine I bumped into yesterday. We haven't seen each other in a while, so the relationship topic came up.

She responded with the following words:

"You're kind of in a difficult situation when it comes to finding someone, aren't you? On one hand you don't want to date someone my age (she's a bit younger than me) who's young and doesn't know what the hell they want. But on the other hand, you don't want someone your own age because chances are there's something wrong with them. Otherwise they would have found someone by now. Chances are that they aren't going to be in that minority of people who have just had bad luck and never found the right person. Most of them are definitely going to have problems."

Thanks for the encouragement.

(to her credit, she does seem to think that I am in the minority of people my age who are normal and have just had bad luck. I don't agree with that, I think I'm crazy, but as a wise man once said to me "as long as you think you might be crazy, you're probably ok. Crazy people never think there's anything wrong with them.")

30 going on 60

I've often said that mentally I am much younger than my actual age, but physically much older. This is because I still think like a teenager, but have the body of an old man. This was verified this weekend when I threw out my back because I was coughing too hard. I haven't been able to walk very well for two days. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see my doctor about getting a pacemaker installed, and to find out where we're at on scheduling that hip replacement.

Religion on Campus

I was walking across campus with a couple of my friends today when we passed a woman who was handing out pamphlets. We didn't take one, but the bag hanging off her shoulder identified her as a member of the group Jews for Jesus.

My friend made the comment "I saw what they did to him the first time around. It's kind of hard to apologize for that isn't it?"

My other friend added "I don't get Christians. On one hand they're upset about Him being killed, but on the other hand they say it was necessary in order for everyone to be saved. Make up your f**king minds people."

I never said that my friends were politically correct.

More at Peace

I went to my ex-wife's family Christmas party yesterday. It was kind of crazy. There are ten kids in her family, and all but one of them is married with kids of their own. Needless to say, there were a lot of people around the house. It was a little wierd when I first walked in since I haven't seen many of these people since my ex and I split up, but I think they were happy to see me.

Their mom was resting when I first arrived so I spent the first hour catching up with everyone. It made me realize how out of touch my ex is with her family, because most of them had no idea that I was living in Vegas (3 1/2 years now), or working on a Ph D. One of them thought that I already was remarried and another thought I was about to get remarried (hell no). Somebody else acted surprised when I told them I had completed my masters degree (even though I only had a semester left when we split up). In their defense, it's entirely possible that they had been told all that information at some point and just forgotten because it's been so long.

I was a little bit surprised when their mom felt rested enough to visit with people because she sent someone downstairs and told them that she wanted to talk to me first. I went up and sat on her bed, gave her a hug and told her I was sorry to hear about her condition. She just smiled and told me that it would be ok. She asked me about what I was up to (school and teaching labs), how close I was to finishing my degree (hopefully 2 yrs), whether or not I was getting married (I really don't know where that one came from - someone must have been making some assumptions, of course I guess I can understand that if they all thought I was still involved with my old girlfriend), etc.

She also asked me what I thought about my ex's new boyfriend. I told her that I liked him a lot. He seems to be really good with the kids, and they seem to think very highly of him. My ex seems to be happy now, and he's not a loser like most of the other guys she's dated since we split up. I told her I was happy that my ex had found someone who seemed to be able to get along with her, but that I'm positive that I would still be better in the sack (ok, so I made that last part up - just seeing if you're still paying attention). I spent about 15 minutes talking to her, but didn't want to take up all her time as all her kids and grandkids were wanting to spend some time with her too. She told me that she loved me, and that she was really happy that my ex and I had been able to put all the bad stuff behind us and remain friends because that makes it easier for the kids. All in all it was a good chat, and she seems to be very at peace with what is going on.

She's very brave, and may have just been putting on a good face in order to make it easier on her family. If that's the case, it must be working because she managed to make me feel a lot better about it than I did before. Hopefully she'll make her family feel the same way.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Can't Sleep

I just want to go on the record as saying that I can't freakin' stand insomnia. This will be the second night in a row that I haven't been able to sleep. I think that having a cold is definitely playing a role, but I'm more stressed out about my ex's mom than anything else. I'm going to visit her later on today, but I don't know what to say or do. They are having a family Christmas party and she told my ex to invite me to it. It could be wierd, but I think I need to show my support to her family (and more importantly, my kids) at this time. I don't know what I'm going to say to her. I'll probably just have to let her know how sorry I am that all this is happening and leave it at that. I hate being powerless to do anything that could possibly help. I've never really been good at saying goodbye, and that's even when it isn't going to be permanent.

I think that times like this it's good that I have a religious upbringing though. I operate under the assumption that there is an afterlife, and that she's going to a better place. She's a good woman, and has definitely tried to live her life the right way. I believe that her family will have the opportunity to be together again, which I'm hoping will bring them all some level of comfort. I know they all could use some of that right now.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm the jerk on the plane

I flew to Salt Lake City from Vegas last night as I had wedding to go to today at Temple Square. I've been sick the past few days with a cough that's been getting progressively worse and moved down into my chest. However, I already paid for the ticket and it was non-refundable so I wasn't about to take a loss on it. Especially since I had already rescheduled the flight once before and had to pay a $50 fee to the airline because of it. Instead of being a nice guy, and staying home so as not to get everyone sick, I took a double dose of my cough suppressant and had a friend drop me off at the airport. Luckily this strategy paid off, and I was able to make it through the entire flight without any violent fits of coughing. I know I ran the risk of making the people I was sitting next to sick, but at least this way if they come down with it they won't be able to pinpoint me and curse my name, even if I was the jerk that gave it to them.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

So Sorry Carol

I got a horrible phone call today. My ex-wife called to tell me that her mother had gone to the hospital because her appendix burst, but while they were removing it they found that she had cancer in her stomach lining. It's very advanced. The doctors said there was nothing they could do to save her and will basically send her home to die. They told her that she probably only had a few weeks to live, and that chemotherapy would possibly prolong her life, but that she would suffer a lot more and it wouldn't be enough to help her beat the cancer so she's not even going to try it.

I don't know how to react. I haven't spoken to her in more than a year because I feel a little awkward talking to my ex-wife's family members. It's not that they hate me or anything like that, in fact I think most of them were upset at my ex when we split up, but I don't feel like it's my place to call them all the time and fill them in on what I've been up to. But the simple fact is, she was my mother-in-law for 8 years, and perhaps more importantly, my kids' grandma. I don't know how to prepare them for the fact that they are going to lose her, and soon. They're old enough to understand death, but I don't know how well equipped they are going to be to deal with this loss.

The thing that makes me the saddest is knowing that there have been a lot of missed opportunities for my kids to get close to their grandmother. For reasons that I don't intend to get into here, my ex-wife and her mother have not always been on the best of terms. As a result, they haven't spent a lot of time together even though they've been living in the same city for the past couple of years. It's been a sore point between me and my ex because I've felt that even though she and her mom have had their differences, that she shouldn't let those come in between her mom and our kids. She's almost always agreed with me on that, but still has rarely taken the kids over there to visit. Now it's too late for my kids to form some of the happy memories that they could have had. I hope that they don't hold it against us as they get older.

The one positive thing that I can get from all of this is that it's bringing their family back together. There are ten kids in that family, and some of them haven't spoken to each other for ten years or more. I think that they're all coming back to spend as much time with their mom as they can before she goes. I know that if she feels that her family is whole again then at least she will die happy. I certainly hope that's the case.

My ex told me today that she had been meaning to call her mom to tell her that all was forgiven. Now she wishes she had, because it would have seemed more sincere then. I'd encourage anyone reading this to make sure that your loved ones know that you love them. Life is too short to hold grudges. If there is someone dear in your life who you're harboring resentment towards, find it in your heart to forgive them, and let them know that you have, while you still have that chance. Not everyone gets a few weeks warning to set things straight.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

True Player

I ran into a former student of mine yesterday and we got on the subject of relationships. She's just broken up with her boyfriend so was feeling pretty down. I tried to give her some encouragement about how things will get better in time, she'll find someone new, etc. but I doubt it did much to cheer her up.

She asked me about how my relationships were going I told her that I didn't have any, but that there was a girl I'm interested in. I just don't know if there's much chance for it to go anywhere. She replied to this by calling me a player. Apparently in her opinion I haven't waited long enough to even be thinking about a new girlfriend. I'm not sure exactly what the right amount of time is, but I'm pretty sure that since it's been nearly 15 months since the last time I've even seen my ex-girlfriend, it's been plenty of time. If anyone has any tips on exactly what the appropriate amount of time to wait is, by all means clue me in.

After this girl called me a player I reminded her that in order to be a player, I would actually have to get women. Since that doesn't seem to be the case, I don't really think the word applies. I guess that like everything else there are people who are good at what they do, and people who aren't. It's possible that I am indeed a player, just not a very good one.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Another Birthday

I went to dinner with some of my friends again. One of them had a birthday. When we walked into the restaurant we must have walked through a portal into an alternate universe. How do I know this? Because we were seated at a table that was next to a fire, and all the guys were at just the right temperature, but all the girls were complaining about it being too hot.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Rockin' the Suburbs?

I really enjoy music. I just don't enjoy most of the music that you hear on the radio these days. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I'm pretty sure that most of the music out there sucks. That's not to say that there aren't good bands putting out music, it's just that it's hard to find them because they don't get much air time.

I envy rock stars. I spent a lot of time as a teenager dreaming about becoming a rock star. The money would certainly be nice, as would having women throw themselves at you (that would be really nice). But even without that, I think that it would be an amazing feeling to take the stage while a crowd of thousands of people starts screaming. I suppose the same would go for being a star athlete, but I've always known that I didn't have that kind of talent.

When I was in elementary school my mom had us join the chorus, and then would ask us to sing any time we were around other family members. I think there are still some tape recordings floating around my parents' house somewhere, and they would always tell us how good we sounded (I know it's good to try and build up your kids' self esteem, but I was definitely lied to in this case). After this kind of attention, I actually started to believe that I could carry a tune and used to come up with scenarios in which some record producer would be on vacation and overhear me singing as I stocked the cooler at work (or something like that). I just knew that I would be offered a record deal on the spot. It's pretty funny to think about now.

What I'm getting at is that I can understand why thousands of people would line up for tryouts to get their chance at being a pop star. But that doesn't make it right that American Idol is now getting ready to begin ANOTHER season. I hate that show. I hate almost all of the reality shows on t.v. now, but this one is especially bad. Maybe it's because I can just choose not to watch the others, but with this one, once a season is over I am forced to listen to another crappy set of songs playing on the radio FOR THE NEXT YEAR OR SO. I personally think that it should take more than just the talent to sing to make it as a star. I'm not as impressed when someone is just belting out the words that others have written for them as I am when someone, whose voice may not be the best, is singing something that they have had the talent to write themselves. I'd much rather listen to someone who is singing about something they wrote while drawing upon their own experiences and feelings than someone who is singing something written because a group of people in a boardroom sat around and tried to come up with something that would sell. I don't think I'm alone in having this attitude, but it seems like people who think like me on this are getting to be more and more of a minority.

I'm just really thankful for some of the internet radio stations, or for my friends which subscribe to satellite radio from SIRIUS. There is good music out there, and places like that make it easier to find. I'll definitely subscribe to one of those once I have a real job and can afford some of the 'finer' things in life. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Isn't that what he said?

My 3 year old son was playing with his toys yesterday. My other son asked him if he was having fun.

"I'm not having fun, I'm playing with my toys."

Thanks for clarifying that for us.

It's good that I'm a biologist

These are actual lyrics from a song I was just listening to in my car:

"blah blah blah blah blah blaaaah
blah blah blah blah blah blaaaah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blaaaaah"

It's not a bad song. In fact I like it. But it just shows why I'd never make a good musician. I would never think to sing something like that at the end of the song. I'd be lousy at trying to figure out exactly which parts of a song needed some oooooohs or sha la la's too.

That and the fact that I can't sing or play any musical instruments.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Lost Treasure

Same bag of Tootsie Pops yielded another buried treasure. Unfortunately, this time my friend saw it first and was able to grab it. I guess you can't win all the time : (

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Holiday Blues

I don't fully understand all the reasons why, but I seem to have to fight depression more around the holidays than I do at other times of the year. In the past I've been able to get around it by keeping extremely busy. Since I'm a student, finals week is usually enough of a stressor to keep me busy. On top of that I used to work for a shipping company where we would be completely swamped around Christmas time. Fortunately, the worst days didn't hit until after finals were over. This year I don't have any finals, nor do I have to work at that stupid job anymore (a major decrease in the amount of stress in my life I might add). The downside to that is that I probably have a little more free time where I can think about things. I try to keep myself busy to prevent that from happening, but I'm not always successful.

Another part of it is the fact that I don't really have that 'special someone' to spend my free time with. It definitely hits me more since my ex-wife and I split up. It's not that I'm sitting around longing for those days either. Truth is, I'm happier now than I was then. I'm most definitely less stressed out. But there is something to be said about having someone to talk to every day when you get home (and by that I mean other than my roommate or his dog). I'm not sure if it's my lifestyle as a student, or just the nature of Vegas as a city, but I don't really meet new people very often. There are plenty of girls that are nice to look at, but there's not a lot more to them than that. They certainly aren't the kind you would consider taking home to meet the family, even if you could strike up an intelligent conversation with them (no offense to this girl in the picture, I was just going for something representative of Vegas).

It's almost enough to make a guy walk into a place and scream out the Ryan Adams lyric "Does anybody wanna take me home?" (it sounds better when he sings it). You know, just in case there are any takers. It could take my mind off things.