Monday, July 31, 2006


Sometimes I have to wonder about our newspaper. This morning's front page had an article about Israel bombing Lebanon and killing hundreds of people--and above that was a town gathering together for a memorial of the town mascot... A CHICKEN! that had been killed by a pit bull at the beginning of the month. Actually, I guess it says more about Americans than about the newspaper that reports them.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Split seams

This morning I saw someone on the bus who had either gained a lot of weight since he bought his hat or else he REALLY liked a hat that was too small but was determined to make it work. The hat was fitted, so there wasn't any way to adjust it--other than ripping the seam out. I have to wonder if he cut it himself or if it was like ripping the crotch in you pants--one morning he went to put on his hat and heard a loud RIIIIP as he pulled it on.

Speaking of which, I remember one time my dad took my brother and me to some sporting event at an indoor arena. My brother put on a pair of bellbottom jeans that the outside seam was ripped all the way up to his knee. He didn't care, but my dad told him to go change his pants. Well, not to be bothered with having to take off those pants and finding another pair of pants that were clean, he did what anyone else would do in that situation... he "fixed" the pants by holding the seam together with toothpicks! This held up long enough to pass inspection by dad, and we all headed to the game. Well, when we were walking to our seats in the arena, we walked by an air conditioning vent and the force blew the toothpick-held seam wide open. He was like a little boy version of Marilyn Monroe, with flowing demin flapping in the wind. My dad just laughed and my brother could care less.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


How appropriate that Margaret was my 4,000th customer today at 3:49! That's how many hits Google gets in like 2 seconds!

Not the only Simpsons quoter

I'm constantly getting ribbed about making Simpsons quotes throughout every conversation I'm in (although I can't help it--they are so germane to modern American culture that their hijinks are relevant to any circumstance I could find myself in) Anyway, I was vindicated yesterday when I was reading the paper and in two different articles... in two different sections of the paper used Simpsons quotes in articles that weren't about the Simpsons. See, if the newspaper can legitimately use their quotes to further their story, then I certainly can.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pioneer Day

July 24th is a state holiday in Utah, but it passed with nary a comment here in Oregon. The Twenty-fourth of July is Pioneer Day--the day that Brigham Young and his entourage (and by entourage I mean entourage and not a veiled euphemism for all his wives--they came later after the Conflict Resolution Center was completed) first entered the Salt Lake Valley back in 1847. The entire state holds celebrations, reenactments, parades, floor-length calico dress fashion shows, and non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverage swilling in remembrance of the event. I remember the very first 24th of July I spent in Utah. I was only 8 and we were visiting my great-grandparents in a tiny farming town in central Utah. The town had just gotten paved roads and they were anxious to show them off with a grand parade--a parade in which my brothers and I were especially eager to participate. The night before the parade, my great-grandfather helped us make a covered wagon with a little red wagon, willow branches, and a bed sheet. The sign printed on it read "Three Crows bound for Idaho." We were so proud of that wagon and couldn't wait for the big day to show off... not only the cool covered wagon but also our fancy new school clothes that we'd bought in Salt Lake on the way down to Emery. It was the 70's, so obviously we'd picked out ringer t-shirts and extreme bellbottomed jeans. And since I was on the "husky" side, my shirt and jeans looked like they were painted on they were so tight. (Can you believe that jeans manufacturers didn't make husky fancy pants?) We just knew we'd wow all those small-town hicks with our fancy clothes and big city ways--and by big city, I mean a large town in Wyoming.

After a night of fitful sleep, haunted by dreams of crossing the plains in a tie-died covered wagon and disco ball hanging over the campfire, we rose and scarfed down our breakfast and rushed out to get the wagon out of the barn. To our horror, we found the white bedsheet COVERED with brown specks--flies had landed on the clean fabric during the night and left little gifts to let us know they'd been there. We were pretty grossed out--not enough to not want to be in the parade, mind you--but still! We made our way to the staging area--about a block away (which is easy, since every point in the town was only "a block away" from every other point). We got in line and noticed that the kids in front of us were dressed up as Indians on rocking horses with wheels attached! That was in the days that my brother and I had long hair--so I'm sure it looked ridiculous that the blonde kids were dressed in buckskin on horseback and the brown kids with long hair were dressed in 70's disco wear pulling a covered wagon. My little brother was supposed to ride in the wagon while my other brother and I pulled it. Well this didn't sit well with him--he screamed the entire length of the parade and made our trip as miserable as our pioneer ancestors' trip across Nebraska. At the time, we thought he just wanted to pull the wagon with us, but now, years later and knowing about his OCD and germaphobia, he was probably having an anxiety attack being surrounded by all those fly droppings.

After the parade, there was a town picnic and a greased pig contest--featuring a pig greased with MOTOR OIL!! My brother insisted on participating in that, and despite his flowing jeans, somehow caught the little piglet and wouldn't hear of leaving it with my great-grandparents. We ended up putting it in a crate and bringing it back with us to Wyoming in our van--a van that smelled like motor oil until the day we sold it. We ended up eating that pig when it was full-grown, and with all the motor oil it surely absorbed through its skin, the meat never did stick to any of our pans.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hot springs revenge

Years ago--like in the 90's--I would make the sinful and debauched hike up to the hot springs south of Provo on a quite regular basis. Little did I know that those visits would result in me falling victim to a curse that would completely destroy my adolescent sense of invincibility as well as my career as a foot model. Ahh, those were the days--going to Taco Time classes during the week and flying to Maine for L.L. Bean photo shoots on the weekends. All that came to a crashing halt when I discovered that I'd contracted an STD! Yes, I was the victim of a Sulphur-scented water Transmitted Disease...a toenail fungus! Infected from the murky waters of the hot springs. At first I was in denial, but as the STD became more and more obvious, my modelling contracts dried up. Soon I was left with the prospect that I would have this curse--bestowed by a wrathful god angered at my frequenting such a sin filled and despicable place (there WAS nudity there, after all!!)--for the rest of my life. My life went downhill--I stopped wearing sandals; I swam with my socks on; I couldn't even go to church barefoot anymore. It was a living hell! Imagine, then, my interest when I started seeing commercials for nail fungus drugs--you know, the ones with the little monster that looks like a cross between E.T. and George from Seinfeld. The heavens opened up and I thought--here is my ticket to regaining my foot model career and chance to go to the city pool without moon boots on. The first chance I got, I asked my doctor about it and she said that since it was considered cosmetic, my plan didn't cover it so I'd have to pay out-of-pocket. This amounted to $700 to $800 per treatment and it could sometimes take 3 to 4 treatments! Despite the cost, I was still a little intrigued by the prospect of a cure--until the doctor went on to tell me that I'd also have to come in every other week to get my liver tested, as the drug has the potential to cause liver damage! The money was one thing (I could recoup that with a couple shoe photo shoots, right?), but risking the organ that filters all my Diet Pepsi was going too far. I decided against the drug and was about to turn to witchcraft when as a last resort, I turned instead to that source of all knowledge--both true and fictional...the Internets! Of course! If anything had the potential solution to overcoming this heavy burden it would be some quack's website. Sure enough, I found LOTS of cures: soaking in cornmeal mush; applying Vick's Vap-o-Rub, rubbing the affected nails with wild boar bacon, preferably a boar slaughtered on Midsummer Night's Eve by a virgin using a silver-plated bread knife. I decided to try one of the cures listed. The cornmeal thing sounded weird, and even though I had a wild boar handy, I had NO idea where to find a virgin, so I decided to try to Vap-O-Rub. I've been faithfully applying it for a month now--unfortunately since nails don't grow that fast, it will take about 6 to 9 months to see if it works or if I've been duped. If I meet success with this treatment, I'll post a picture from the Nike sandal photo shoot on St. Croix I'm hoping to get. If it doesn't work, I'll have to start hunting up a virgin that would be willing to kill a wild boar next summer.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


We're on day three of the heat wave that is ravaging out landscaping. Saturday's forecast was for 106, but compliments of some early morning clouds, we only got up to 95 degrees but unfortunately the clouds produced a humidity of 78 degrees! That's more like something that should be in the South or a Volkswagen van without air conditioning. We've essentially been trapped in our house for the past few days. We ventured out to see a movie and to go get some food--since there was no way we wanted to cook in the house. If this global warming thing pans out, I think we'll have to cave in and buy central air or move to Norway.

Speaking of Venus-like heat, I remember when Margaret and I returned to Lewiston, Idaho after our honeymoon to Glacier Park. We got married in August, but up in northern Montana--in the mountains, nonetheless--it was nice and cool. We had sweaters on the whole time and sat around the fireplace in the lodge at night to take the chill off. Well, at the conclusion of our trip, returning to Lewiston to 110 degree heat to a house that we'd rented but had never actually been in before, without any ventilation, that had been sitting closed up in 100+ heat for days, we were in for a rude awakening! The house was stone block construction, which absorbed heat throughout the day and radiated it all night. You know the principle of a brick oven? We were the pizzas slowly roasting in it. It probably wouldn't have been such a shock, but having come from the chilliness of Glacier Park it felt like we were moving on to the surface of the sun. I still remember going up to Wal-Mart to get a fan. The two of us just stood in front of all the fans in the aisle as the reality of our situation washed over us--this is REAL! WHAT have we DONE? While in Montana it was easy to imagine that we were just having a vacation and that our lives would go back to college-age irresponsibility at the conclusion. The heat was really a metaphor for such a huge life change and here we were looking for a solution--at WAL-MART!!! It was probably more traumatic for Margaret, who had never been to a Wal-Mart before--and here she was, making first real married purchase and her new husband brings her to WAL-MART. Fortunately it all worked out--and my parents took pity on us and bought us an air conditioner shortly thereafter. But we still have that trusty fan we bought on that fateful night--and just like the two of us, it's still going strong. I don't know if that's a statement on Wal-Mart merchandise or on the metaphor of our lives--maybe it's a little of both.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The peanut butter solution

This should come as no surprise, but this morning I had a chocolate chip bagel with peanut butter for breakfast (along with Diet Coke--and I'm proud to report FEWER than 100 ounces of it!) Anyway, sometimes the peanut butter melts from the toasted bagel and if the hole is too big, the peanut butter will drip out of it. Well, that happened this morning--unbeknownst to me. Margaret and I enjoyed our Noah's Bagels experience and we got up to leave. As soon as we go outside, Margaret looked down and noticed that I had a big gob of peaut butter on the fly of my pants. I was able to get it off, but for some reason Margaret wasn't impressed when I said that I could just tell people, "Well, you see, my wife really likes peanut butter..." Geesh!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Crazy bus riders

This morning's bus ride was interesting, as usual. There was one of those aging hippies who the 60's were REALLY good to on board. He was covered with tattoos and had that glazed look in his eyes that can only say one thing: half of my neurons are fried from marijuana and half of what's left is in a haze from that stuff I got from Moonshadow at Woodstock. Anyway, he was rambling to no one in particular the whole way downtown. One poor girl became the focus of his attention and he wouldn't stop talking to her--much to her horror and dismay. When he told her, "your face just lights up when you smile," Margaret and I had to hide behind our newspaper to keep from laughing (and to avoid eye contact--I didn't want to know what happens to my face when I smile--or even when I cringe.

That reminds me of a bus ride my roommate took to Salt Lake from Provo when I was in college. A mountain man-looking guy got on the bus in Provo. He looked like a cross between Grizzly Adams and the dusty drunk that was in every old Western--for the sake of the story, I'll call him Sophocles. Well, Sophocles sits down across from a good-looking college student and starts chatting her up. He keeps making comments and dropping hints and the girl is totally trapped there on the bus. Finally, some other guy tells Sophocles that she isn't interested. I'm sure the girl was terribly relieved that this knight in shining armor was coming to her rescue. Well, upon being rebuked, Sophocles stares down the other guy, pulls back his jacket, and reveals a 12" bowie knife! The guy takes one look at that and gets up and moves to the front of the bus leaving the poor girl to fend for herself! So it turns out her knight in shining armor turned out to be more of a weasel.

I don't know how the story ends--I imagine that the girl found out Sophocles was a polygamist prophet and hooks up with him, becoming wife 17 and today has 13 children, all trying to survive in their sod-roofed shack in a hardscrabble compound in the desert. So there--it DOES have a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Surfing the heat wave

Checking the paper this morning, I glanced at the forecast and noticed, to my amazement, that Saturday's forecast is 106º!!! I've never seen a FORECAST that high--usually they're conservative in predicting daily highs. Hopefully they're just exaggerating and not being conservative with this. We only have air conditioning in one room of our house. (It's in the bedroom, but since it's a pretty high capacity air conditioner, if we leave it on all night, we often wake up FREEZING, only to step outside the bedroom and be roasted. Then, after breaking a sweat, go back into the walk-in cooler and get back under the quilt. It's crazy, but hey, it works for us.) Since we probably don't want to spend the weekend trapped in our bedroom with the air conditioner on full-blast, we'll have to think of other ways to cool off--like put our clothes in the freezer now in preparation or just go down to the river with no clothes.

Speaking of which, last year, Margaret and I were driving back to Portland along the Columbia River and there's a state park with a nude beach. Since we didn't have any swimsuits (we weren't planning on swimming when we left on the trip) we thought why not--we wouldn't see anyone we knew and it would give us a chance to cool off. We nervously pulled into the park and passed the clothed beach access and made our way to the other end of the park. The path that lead to the nude area had a large warning sign, cautioning the faint of heart that they might see naked people. Growing up innocent Mormons, we were pretty trepidacious about actually going through with it--public nudity ranking up there among mortal sins just under voting Democrat. We eventually goaded one another into it, despite our misgivings. We started down the beach path, wending our way through the willows. We walked and walked and WALKED, not sure when we'd get to the water. We finally made it to the river and, upon surveying the surroundings, noticed that there were only men around--we'd overshot the family area and stumbled onto the gay beach! Margaret said she didn't know about me, but that she was fine--none of the other beach-goers were giving her a second look. Despite her comfort with it, I proposed that we make our way back along the river to find the family area. In the end we didn't stay long--partly because it was so weird but more because there are parts of us that have NEVER seen sun and without sunblock we weren't willing to take any risks with sunburnt rear ends with a long drive still ahead of us.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Public transit adventures

It's few and far between the times that I haven't seen or heard something interesting, out of the ordinary, or outright odd riding the bus or train to work. This morning's items:

1. A Portland State University student carrying his metal Knight Rider lunchbox! Oh how I coveted those when I was in elementary school. Unfortunately BYU students were only allowed to carry plaid J. Crew brand lunch boxes, which were totally not the same.

2. Overhearing some cheesemakers in town for the world artisan cheese festival comparing notes, including this little gem: "There's a distinct flavor barrier, and you have to have a well-crafted cheese to be able to punch through it. Some cheeses can punch through that barrier, but it leaves them tired, resulting in a less-than-optimum cheese." I still have no idea what it means--although I do know that Tilamook cheddar is great and Kraft singles are coagulated orange vegetable oil. I just wish my aunt Bonna could be here for the cheese festival--then I'd have an excuse to go and maybe finally learn what the difference between Edam and Gouda really is!

Bypassing internal censorship

Growing up in a family that placed a high value on humor--even above scholastic achievement--I tend to find funny things in everyday situations. Normally pointing them out in little quips endears me to people at parties or gatherings, however every once in a while, my internal quip generator spits out something so quickly that it doesn't get sent through my internal censorship processor. On those occasions, all I can do is sit back and hope that people take it the right way--because I hate it when my jokes bomb! At a recent managers' meeting at my work, we were waiting for the stragglers to get there and so were discussing the World Cup. One of the managers said that he just didn't get it--how could someone play a game for two hours without scoring. As soon as he said that, my mouth started moving on its own accord and before all the words came out, I already was blushing at what I was about to say in a managers' meeting. I just blurted out, "Have you never been to a singles bar?" Fortunately everyone got a good laugh at it, but I was kind of taken aback that I'd said it at that particular venue. At church, maybe, but not at a managers' meeting!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bringing our bikes out of mothball

This weekend, I FINALLY decided to get our bikes in working condition--they'd been sitting propped up against the house for the past two years like Dust Bowl-era hobos. The seat of one of them looked like an Bloomin' Onion from Outback Steakhouse because we'd parked it within reach of Kitty's razor-sharp claws and she really went to town on it. Also, all four tires were completely flat. I pumped up the two on Margaret's bike with no ill effects, but when I pumped up my own tires, I hear a ripping sound and noticed that with every pump, the nylon belting that supports the tire was ripping in half and the tire bulging out. We risked a bike ride to the store (it was only 7 blocks, so I figured if I blew out a tire, I could still walk it). By the time I'd finished installing the new tires, it was lunch time, so on our inaugural bike ride, we ended up riding to Red Robin for lunch. The trip there was great, but with Red Robin's bottomless pops, I was pedaling REALLY fast toward the end of our trip home. It's surprising how urgent that feeling is when you're sitting directly on your bladder.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cola wars

Ever since I was a wee lad, I and those around me have called carbonated beverages "pop." As soon as I learned to make requests for what to put in my bottle, I always asked for "pop." (Which made it simple for me as a baby, since I only had to change a single vowel and, voíla! I could say what was likely in my diaper at any given time--so efficient!) I had never heard pop called anything else. The only time I ever heard reference to "soda" was as a shortened version of baking soda--and speaking from experience, you REALLY don't want to drink that stuff! I eventually learned that certain people "back East" called it "soda" but they were a strange lot and far away so you didn't need to worry about it. Imagine my surprise, then, when my future wife ordered a SODA at Outback Steakhouse! Here's me totally incredulous that this nice Utah girl was talkin' all high fallutin' like an East coast socialite and her aghast that this guy she was dating obviously just stepped off the tractor-drawn turnip cart from the Idaho sticks. Despite this point of friction, we still ended up getting married. It probably wouldn't have been an issue, but since we drink enough Diet Pepsi to have warranted our purchase of Pepsi stock in an attempt to make money off ourselves, the topic comes surprisingly often. I tend to try to interject "pop" in all our food orders whenever we're eating out, thinking that eventually Margaret will hear it enough times and turn from the dark side. So far no luck--she still just thinks I sound like a hick. Maybe I should start drinking it out of a quart Mason jar, just to spite her (hmm, not a bad idea--all our glasses only hold 12 ounces--I could eke out an additional 4 ounces drinking out of the jar!)

Anyway, here's an interesting map of a study done on this very topic. Every county in the US was sampled on whether they use the term "pop," "soda," "coke," or other. As it is plain to see, I grew up in a very blue state. In fact I was surprised that there were ANY soda counties in Idaho, but there is--Blaine County, although when I checked the numbers, they had 6 respondents with 1 saying "pop" and 4 saying "soda" (and 1 other). But that was Blaine County--where there are more horses and sheep than humans and the official drink is moonshine. Here's a link with all the facts and figures.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Childhood trauma

I was talking yesterday with a friend who just had a baby and he told me about his belief that there isn't a "right" way to raise a child. Every child seems to had his or her share of traumas, missteps, and accidents and in most cases, they turn out okay, if not just a little dysfunctional. That got me to thinking about my own formative humiliations and how they continue to haunt me today, yet here I am, still somewhat normal.

The first thing to come to mind when I thought of my past traumas was an incident that happened back in 1980. I was in the third grade and was the new kid at school, as my family had just returned to Idaho from Wyoming. Ah, those halcyon days of third grade, when the main worry was what was for lunch and how soon to recess. And recess was a big deal, particularly the playground equipment. The swings were quite coveted, and I remember rushing out at the recess bell, clawing my way past the others in a mad dash to get one of the three seats on the swing set. Given that I wasn't particularly fast, I didn't often make it, and so had to lurk waiting for one of the faster kids to get tired of or nauseous from swinging. Well, one day, rushing out, I saw that there were only two seats occupied on the swing set and I ran over, only to discover that the third swing was hanging from one chain. The black rubber seat had somehow gotten detached on one side and was just hanging there, listlessly mocking me. Well, I got a great idea in my third-grade mind: just sit on the seat and hold the detached side up with my hands. Of course! I sat down on the swing, clutching the seat to my side and trying to sit as close to the chained side as possible, because it wasn't exactly easy to hold that seat up, but I was DESPERATE to swing. After getting in position, I called for a push and someone gave me a push and I soon realized my folly. With only one chain for stabilization, instead of swinging back and forth, I started swinging AND spinning around. I toughed it out a swing or two, but soon, my little hands began to sweat and strain from trying to hold up the seat against the centrifugal force as strong as those NASA spinning machines used to train astronauts and I lost my grip. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't have been a big deal--I would have just fallen to the ground and that would have been that. Unfortunately, the Fates had other plans for me. In a highly unlikely coincidence, as I rolled off the unsupported seat, the S-hook that attached it to the chain caught one of my belt loops. Instead of falling to the ground, I swung upside down and continued to fall, only now with my pants staying up with the swing! My pants were down around my knees and compliments of the merciful gift of post-traumatic stress disorder, I can't remember if my underwear were with the pants around my knees or not. I could barely touch the ground--my fingers just barely skimming the worn patch beneath the swing--so I couldn't get myself free. I don't know how long I hung there--it felt like an eternity what with trying to get free with one hand and cover myself with the other. Finally a fifth grader came over and helped me out of my predicament, an act of kindness unrivaled by even Mother Theresa in my mind. When the movie based on my life comes out, that scene will have the fifth grader played by someone who looks like Jesus and is brightly backlit like they're coming out of heaven--THAT'S how grateful I was! After that, I was always pretty leery of the swings, and I would prefer to forget to whole ordeal, but the current fashion of boys walking around with their pants low and underwear sticking out is a constant reminder of the burning shame of that incident on the school playground.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fountain of Youth

Now that I'm thirty-five, I've been more and more conscious of getting older. My back sometimes goes out for days at a time, I've found a few gray hairs, and I just got my invitation to subscribe to the AARP magazine. Well, yesterday, I was talking with my grandmother about some pictures that I'd sent her, one of which was a picture of me with my nephew. Evidently when she saw the picture, she didn't know why I'd included a picture of some teenager with the photos. When my mom pointed out that it was me, she was flabbergasted. She said that with that cap on and how skrawny I was, I looked fifteen. My aunt asked me if that was reason enough to start eating more clam dip so I wouldn't look so skrawny and I told them, "No, it's reason enough for me to wear that hat more often!" Any article of clothing that can take twenty years off gets points from me. I wonder if I could wear it to the movies to get a discount?

Here's the picture for the internets to weigh in.

Speaking of deceiving pictures, I remember my photo I submitted to the Norwegian mission office. The lighting in the picture was bad, with a visible shadow cast behind me. Since I have black hair, the shadow made me look like I had a mullet--A MULLET!!! Great!--here I am trying to shake the rural Idaho, just-off-the-reservation look and I submit a photo (that will be my official image throughout my entire mission) of me with a mullet. I may as well have worn overalls and had a hayseed in my mouth. (A picture of me showing my hog at the county fair would have sufficed as well.) Fortunately the mission is a time to reinvent oneself and I made a concerted effort to make people forget about my mullet--now they remember me by my hatred of knocking on strangers' doors, ability to steer religious conversations into meaningless small talk, and penchant for making the missionaries who followed all the rules all the time feel embarrassed about it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This is a t-shirt design available at I'd love to wear this around the reservation and see what kind of reactions I'd get.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pewter merchant

The Pirates of the Caribbean movie party this weekend went great. I had on my pirate shirt, but didn’t have any leather pants to wear with it (they were at the cleaners after a crazy thing that happened at a night club a while back, but that’s another story). Anyway, I wore some cargo pants that were brown, which I figured looked leather-colored enough. Unfortunately when I got in line with the rest of our group, they said I looked more like a colonial pewter merchant than a pirate. Great—I try to look like Long John Silver and end up looking like Jonny Tremain! Also, since I didn’t want to walk around with the shirt on (afraid of being the victim of a pewter merchant hate-crime) I waited to put on the shirt when I got in line. Of course after I got all dressed, I discovered that I’d left my cell phone in the car and others in our group were going to call us when they got there, so I had to walk back to the mall parking lot to get it. I tried to cop a I’m-a-bloodthirsty-pirate-so-don’t-mess-with-me attitude but it probably came across as a I’m-a-complete-dandy-in-my-foofy-shirt attitude, which is why people probably avoided me.

Margaret got everyone hooks and eye patches, so we were quite the group going into the theatre. There was plenty of “arr’s” being passed around. I had to laugh at all the other pirate-related outfits that the other movie-goers had on. Right behind us in line was a gay couple, one of which had on a high school sports team-style t-shirt that said, “Butte Pirates.” I don’t know what actual residents of Butte would think of it, what with Brokeback Mountain and all, but the Portlanders were sure getting a kick out of it.

After the movie, which was great, we went to a British pub nearby. I was still in my puffy shirt, and was disappointed that it didn’t even attract any attention. No one was inspired to having a glass of rum, either—which I guess confirmed that I WAS dressed as a pious pewter merchant.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Minty medicine

Last weekend while we were in Idaho, Margaret got some mosquito bites that were driving her crazy with her trying not to scratch them. (I don't know what Idaho insects have against Margaret. One time we went camping with my family and she got a hobo spider bite that took almost two years to heal. I was glad that this time it was misquitoes and not killer bees.) Anyway, we got some anti-itch cream for her, and that helped her a lot. When we were driving back to Portland, as the temperature increased in the car, so did the itching of her mosquito bites. She asked me to get the cream out of my bag when we stopped, and all she said was that it was in a white tube. When we stopped, I grabbed the medicine and she carefully applied it to all her mosquito bites. After she had applied the cream to all her bites, she remarked that she didn't remember the cream smelling like mint. She then looked at the tube and realized that I'd grabbed her toothpaste by mistake and she'd put that all over her legs. It really didn't help with the itching (in fact it made it worse), but it did make the car smell minty fresh.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Tonight we're going to see Pirates of the Caribbean II with some friends and I'm vacillating on whether or not to wear a pirate shirt I have. I got the shirt for a friend's wedding, where I was a groomsman. The groom, his best (wo)man, and I all wore pirate shirts, sashes, and boots. (Although now that I think of it, it would have been cool to have the groom in an eye patch and when the veil gets lifted, the bride could have lifted the eye patch--dang! NOW I think of that!) It was fun and definitely different. Margaret and I had a traditional Salt Lake temple wedding, but every time we're in Las Vegas I think it would be cool to go to one of those Elvis wedding chapels and renew our vows. That would be a great juxtaposition to the solemn temple ceremony. Although I wonder what kinds of things we'd have to do to get an Elvis recommend? I can just imagine the interview now: "Have you been listening to Elvis when you wake up and before you go to bed? Do you wear your polyester jumpsuit with gold sequins? Are you living a life worthy of being called your spouse's "teddy bear?"

Next year will be our tenth anniversary; I'll have to ask Margaret if she wants a Vegas wedding chapel with Elvis officiating at the renewal of our vows or a nude ceremony in Hawaii overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (We have to hurry and get that one out of the way before we get too old and we don't even want to see OURSELVES naked anymore.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Senatorial visit

A few days back, I was at the gym and who should be there at the same time but one of Oregon's senators. (I won't say which one, since this story isn't too flattering and therefore subject to repercussions by the Department of Homeland Security). Anyway, I was getting dressed in the locker room when the senator came in and went into one of the bathroom stalls. When he came out, he was walking to the sinks when someone recognized him and said hello. The senator instinctively held out his hand to shake the other guy's hand--which he reluctantly shook. Afterward, the guy, whose locker was right next to mine, asked if I had seen what happened. He (and I) couldn't believe that he'd shake someone's hand after using the toilet--and it wasn't the urinal, either! I guess that confirms my dad's contention that politician's think their crap doesn't stink (or evidently cause an E. coli infestation).

Speaking of hygiene, I remember one of my apartments in Norway with a bathroom so small (imagine the broom closet in a Barbie dollhouse and you'll get the picture) that the sink hung over the toilet and the showerhead came out of the middle of the ceiling. The whole room was tiled, so it could all get wet--so you could conceivably use the toilet, brush your teeth, and take a shower ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I never did it, in fact the tought still makes me cringe. But I wouldn't be surprised that my insane, hyper-efficient companion (I won't use his real name, I'll just write that we called him "Salsa") did it so he could get even better missionary numbers to report.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where was PETA?

This weekend, while at my family's place in Idaho, we went up to a state park where the local community had a fireworks show on the lake shore. It was classic small-town fun--not too many people, but enough to make it enjoyable, you got a great excuse to sit around a mountain lake, and the weather was great. The show was supposed to start at 10:00, and at about 9:45, some fireworks pretty close to where we were sitting started going off. They weren't that big, but we figured, "hey, small town." We knew something was awry when a couple of the charges were angled too low and hit the water, exploding from the surface. I'm sure if there were any fish in that area, they were probably floating belly-up afterward.

Finally at around 10:00, the REAL fireworks started going off. We then realized that the ones next to us were some private individual's fireworks, which explained the drunken aim. The real show was actually pretty impressive. What made it go from cool to impressive, though, was the forested venue. In the quiet forest and across the lake surface, the sound of the explosions seemed a lot louder than you would expect. I swear, every deer, squirrel, duck, and raccoon in the area must have been terrified and ready to rampage. Fortunately we left before the animals attacked and got home to enjoy more of my mom's clam dip that she'd made for the occassion. After eating that all weekend, I saw even more fireworks when I stepped on the bathroom scales this morning.