Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good ol' America

Check out the results of this poll. Evidently people are more concerned that their elected official agrees with them over gay marriage than the frickin' ENVIRONMENT! Let me tell you which one has the potential to affect, let's see, THE ENTIRE PLANET! Jeesh!

Wait, does this survey bode well or ill for Senator Craig? So confusing...

You can read about the report here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nighttime Excitement

Despite the title, I'm not talking about anything lurid here... I'm talking about the complete lunar eclipse last night! (WARNING: Nerd alert!) I'd been wanting to see it, so I set my alarm clock to make sure I'd get a chance. It started at 2:54 in the morning, and all night, I'd wake myself up thinking it was time for the eclipse. Then, when I wasn't waking up, I was having crazy dreams about seeing the eclipse... one of which totally freaked me out, involving a security camera that was comprised of human eyes that watched me, rancid lychee fruits, and a bed with an integrated rolltop desk, trampoline, and hot tub. Needless to say, I was relieved when the eclipse finally started, as I was tired of the anticipation. It turned out to be very cool. I took some pictures, including this one. My camera isn't really designed for time exposures and the zoom isn't that great, so excuse the blurriness. If you look close, though, you can see the moon, a star that was nearby, and a family of raccoons that were on our lawn waiting to attack me when I took the picture (it's pretty dark, though, you might not be able to see the raccoons).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bookwoorm chefs

Here's a little product for all you avid readers who love to cook.... and those who would like nothing better to do than take a knife to a book... especially one as full of smut as a Shakespeare.


When I first discovered this whole 'blog' phenomenon back in the early years of the 21st century, one of the one's that caught my attention was Dooce. It's written by a Utah woman who used to be Mormon, moved to California, fell away from the church, got married, then moved back to Utah and is now a thorn in the side of all her Mormon family members. I highly recommend giving her a read now and then (it's at plus she writes WAY more often than I do on her blog, which makes sense, because, you know, she's getting PAID to do it. Anyway, today's post was about how to smuggle coffee to her mom's cabin when there were going to be a bunch of Mormon relatives there. They settled on those General Foods International Coffees as they looked enough like hot chocolate to not raise any flags with judgemental family members. My favorite part was this:

Also, it doesn’t look at all like coffee, which is a bonus because that means we don’t have to try and explain to my nieces and nephews why we would so voluntarily drink the Tears of Satan.

One of my sister’s six-year-old twin boys watched intently as Jon drank his first cup this morning. “Are you drinking hot chocolate?” he asked.

“Yes,” lied Jon. “Very delicious non-Mormon hot chocolate.”

Speaking of Tears of Satan, I was responsible for refreshments for a meeting once and that included ordering all the coffee. Well, not having ANY idea how much coffee to order, I just guessed. When we ran out of our day's order by 10 am, someone asked, "Who asked the MORMON to order the coffee?!? To him, even one drop is too much!" (But in my defense, we DID have enough Jell-O salad for several days of meetings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I LOVE working

Thank heavens I'm American. I would hate to live in one of those evil countries that had legally mandated paid vacations. Let's all take a moment (but remember to clock out first) to remember those poor souls in Europe, Japan, and our neighbor to the north that aren't blessed with the opportunity to work year-round with the spectre of losing their health care constantly looming over them.


I guess it's not a clearcut if you can still see a tree when you're done raping the forest. That was one of the provision's of Bush's new forest management plan. That and cell towers disguised as trees counted as real trees.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Thank heavens we're Mormon or Margaret would have been PISSED! (As it is, she already calls my iPhone Jezebel!)


Of course since this week's Powerball was nearing a quarter BILLION dollars, I bought a ticket and guess what? WE WON! I matched the Powerball number and will be picking up my $3 on my way home from work today. I think I'll take Margaret out to Taco Bell with our winnings!

Monday, August 20, 2007


Don't you hate it when you buy a package of frozen bread roll dough and then forget that you're thawing it out on the counter and end up leaving it out all night and then when you come downstairs in the morning for breakfast, you look over and see a gigantic thing on the counter and realize that the dough burst out of the plastic packaging and is trying to take over the house? Thank heavens we caught in it time... I shudder to imagine what would have happened if it had engulfed us in our sleep. We punished the dough by putting it in a 375º death chamber and then dropped it in gastric acid. It was the only way to neutralize its evil powers.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cruise options

On the cruise ship, many of the mundane tasks were done by, I'm assuming, house elves. Stuff was always mysteriously straightened up, fixed, or prepared. Every evening, they had been by to turn down our beds, fluff our pillows, leave a mint, and sculpt our new towels into increasingly elaborate shapes (the final night mine was folded into the shaped of Westminster Abbey!), the house elves would leave a schedule of things to do the following day. Well each day, one of the scheduled items was a "Friends of Dorothy Get-together." Now, from watching the movie "Clueless" about 600 times, Margaret and I were familiar with this euphemism for a gay person, but we thought it was such an odd title for the schedule. I guess it was to protect all the blue-haired ladies from going completely ballistic that such folk were on board and have them retreat to the ship's chapel to pray for their immortal souls rather than spend two times the cost of their cruise on bingo and booze. When we got back, I asked a mission friend if "Friends of Dorothy Get-together" meant what we thought it meant. He replied that, yes, it definitely did. And I trust him, as he's a Friend of Dorothy© himself.

Now don't get all shocked to hear that a Mormon return missionary is gay. I'm sure if you've been reading this blog for more than four or five days you'll have realized that the Norwegian mission was quite... close to excommunication liberal. Among the group I was there with, not only are there gays but there are people who have been in federal prison, voted for John Kerry, didn't get married in the temple, have consumed alcohol, have watched rated R movies, chronically drive over the posted speed limit, and the coup de grâce, are ACCOUNTANTS! This is so the opposite of the rural Brazilian returned missionaries who all became seminary teachers and have an average of 6.8 children.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A collection of Alaska photos

Here's a little overview of our Alaska cruise:

Our first stop was at Ketchikan. This town was built around salmon, literally! Salmon Creek runs through the old part of town and all the buildings were built out over the creek where the salmon were running. Even the brothels! (Although today they're just museums to the prostitution industry. We didn't pay to go inside... if I'm spending money at a brothel, I'm usually not looking for a tour of the place.)

Ketchikan has the largest collection of totem poles in the world, and so of course, we had to go gawk at them. There were all sorts of cool designs and figures, but this one caught my eye. What in the world is up with that square? Was there something there that was removed to protect our puritanical sensibilities? Maybe they moved it to the brothel museum.

Our next stop was in Juneau, where we went on a shore excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching tour. When we got to the glacier, the driver told us we could go directly to the visitors' center or take a little side path that takes you to see the glacier before heading into the visitors' center. We opted for the hike and not 50 feet from the trail head, spotted a bear cub in a tree, then a mother bear and two cubs in another tree! They were there to gorge on all the sockeye salmon that were spawning in the creek. Evidently there had been a big male that had come through recently, which is why they were up in the trees. We didn't think it was anything dangerous at all being so close to them... probably because I knew that if there had been bear trouble, we could have outrun most of the other people on our tour.

Here's Mendenhall Glacier. Photos don't give this justice. It was a sight to behold. And the blue of a glacier is indescribable. I'm just glad we got to see it before global warming adds it to the ocean depths. There were markers showing how much it has receded in the past 50 years. This picture was taken from the spot where the glacier's edge reached back in 1952!

The highlight of the cruise for me was cruising up the Tracy Arm fjord to the Seward Glacier. The mountains were so wild and rugged and tall and all the ice floating in the water was totally impressive. The whole time we were cruising up the fjord, I could help but think of Greig's "Hall of the Mountain King" because I could totally imagine that this is the place where trolls and giants lived. That or the Mines of Moria were in one of the mountains.

At the end of the fjord, two glaciers drop into the water. Seward Glacier and South Seward Glacier. It was amazing to see the giant jumble of blue ice tumbling into the water. It was also nerve-wracking at this point, when the ship spun 180º to leave the fjord. I'm sure the helmsman was biting his nails at that one.

Our next stop was Skagway. Here you can see our cruise ship "Norwegian Star" docked and in the background see yet ANOTHER glacier high up on the mountain. This town was totally wild west, although since the population increases ten-fold when the FOUR cruise ships come in several times a week, (seriously, the population is less than 900 people and there are over 3000 people on each ship!) Of course, with all those tourists, a ridiculous amount of stores were selling jewelry... and not cool Alaskan-designed jewelry but the exact same jewelry we saw in the cruise ports at the Bahamas and Florida.

We went on a tour of White Pass, where people hoping to strike it rich in the Klondike traipsed up from Skagway. Of course, what took them weeks of arduous climbing, risking their lives and sanity, we traveled in about an hour. This picture is the view down the valley from White Pass.

At the top of White Pass, which is in British Columbia, it gets so cold in the winter that the trees are all completely stunted. Here's a picture of me as a giant in the dwarf forest. Hey, I WAS the Mountain King!

Moe's Tavern is the oldest continuously operated bar in all of Alaska! It was so smoky inside that I didn't go in an see if it was Moe Sizlack bartending.

On the way back out of Skagway, the sun set behind the rugged mountains enclosing the fjord and I was able to get this picture. It can't capture the size and scope of the vista, so you'll just have to visit it yourself if you want to see it in all its glory. (And I'd recommend sooner rather than later, because those glaciers are getting any bigger!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Not just shuffleboard

I'm still reeling from the abrupt return to real life that I was dragged back into at 6:30 this morning. After a week of sleeping as late as I wanted, being plied with as much food as I could hold, seeing the most amazing scenery I could imagine, and having hardly no schedule but to be indulged, I wasn't too keen on going back to work.

We went into this cruise not really knowing what to expect. We had this niggling worry in the back of our heads that they are just an excuse for old people to play shuffleboard. In fact when we first got on board, we walked over the shuffleboard area... yikes! Well, once we got our bearings, we quickly found the buffet line, which was just the start of our 7-day food binge. I mean we were offered food at all hours and at all locations. I could be walking from one end of the ship to the other, and since it was a half-mile walk, would work up an appetite en route and be able to grab some pie, cheesecake, or at least a cookie for the trek. I hadn't eaten that much food since I was living in the dorms at college! (A time in my life when I was 50 lbs. heavier, might I add!) Some of the food was burgers or buffet foods, but there were also 10 restaurants on board that served pretty high-end stuff like duck, escargot, and lobster. We didn't discover the restaurants until day three--prior to that we'd just eaten at the buffet. After that, we just went crazy. To cap one of the evenings, there was a chocoholic's buffet at 11:00 at night that was only desserts! Nothing like eating 6,000 calories right before you stumble into bed to sleep off a food coma. Fortunately there was a gym on board, or I don't know how I could have managed to eat so much food. (Although I think I walked several miles a day just walking back and forth around that floating city.)

Now I just keep thinking about ways to go an another cruise... and this week's lottery is $181 million. If I won that, I'd be able to cruise until I died... which would only be 3 years, since I'd surely keel over with congestive heart failure or morbid obesity before too long.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Gold rush

We're off tomorrow for an adventure to the great white north. We wanted to see if we could strike it rich in the fabled Yukon gold fields... that and also see Alaska's glaciers before global warming reduces them to the size of ice cubes. We'll be like the old 49'ers, slogging our way on the Yukon Trail, hauling everything by mule, on an avaricious quest for gold, Gold, GOLD! What's that? Ooo, karaoke on the Ledo Deck? Umm, gotta go... check the hardtack is packed on the mules, yeah, that's it! Be back a week from Monday.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Scandal-ridden missionaries

Just as I finished up the last post about questionable missionary activities, I got an email from an old mission friend telling me about some elder that applied for unemployment while he was serving a mission. And he got it. Unfortunately the wheels of government, while slow, do turn eventually, and when they found out, they wanted all their money back! Actually, it was a pretty good idea, as there was no traceable employment or means of support for the missionaries in regards to tax records or anything. Talk about a way to supplement funds to... uh, spread the gospel... yeah, that's why he was doing it... I'm sure of it...


The other day when my sister was visiting Portland, we went to the movies and the Simpsons were there! They scrunched over a bit and let me sit down for a quick picture, but looking at the photo, I look completely sick to my stomach... or drunk. I had NO idea that Junior Mints are filled with bourbon!

Which reminds me of a train trip in Norway. Right before Christmas, I got transfered from one side of the country to the other, which meant a LONG train ride. I was riding with another elder and a sister missionary and so we sat together and played games, visited... well, essentially anything except talk religion to the other passengers. After a bit, I got out a box of chocolates that a member had given me as a Christmas present. I had a few, as did the other elder, but the sister missionary went to town on those chocolates like Ralphie's little brother Randy eating mashed potatoes in "A Christmas Story." Seriously, she ate almost half the box of them. After a bit, she started talking louder and louder and LOUDER, complaining about the rail car being too hot, etc. Upon investigation, I realized that the chocolates were all liqueur-filled. Now all you out there who have an intimate experience with the Drink of Satan© might think that that's an exaggeration, but to a Mormon missionary never having known the pleasures of hooch before, I think she had a VERY low tolerance. Ah, nothing like a train ride through the wilds of Scandinavia with a drunk missionary. Yes, THAT'S the kind of mission I was on.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Diet Solutions

I wonder why that oppresive government agency the FDA pulled this product. It's proven to work for literally THOUSANDS of years.

Shudder. Can you imagine WILLINGLY ingesting tape worms? (Although if it meant that I could eat as many peanut M&M's as I wanted....) Fortunately the fine print at the bottom states "No ill effects," (I guess having the occasional worm crawl out your butt doesn't count as an "ill effect") so go ahead and order yours today!