Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Turns out I'm not so into that

This weekend, we delivered some Halloween food to some friends of ours. While we were visiting, their daughter kept trying to get her dad and me to set up the race car track that was sitting in their living room. Every few minutes she would remind us that it was there and how fun it would be to set it up and play with it. Finally her pleas were heard and we went in to set up the track. It was a set he'd gotten when he was a kid and it was the classic electric racecar set... it even came with a Norwegian flag for the track! It took a bit of effort to get it all set up... something that their daughter relished helping with. She excitedly followed all our instructions, looking forward to getting it all put together so she could race the cars on it. After quite some doing, we finally got the set assembled and it was with trembling excitement that the daughter put her car on the track to race it. Well, it turns out that the set was really old school in that you had to adjust the speed around the corners and on the straightaways or else the car would go flying off the track... just like a REAL car. It wasn't like the modern ones that you can just pull the trigger all the way down and detachedly watch the car go round and round. Well, the daughter and her dad started racing and she couldn't help but want to make the car go as fast as she could, of course making it fly off the track at every corner. After putting the car back on the track for the twentieth time or so, she handed me the controller and I raced her dad for a few laps. Watching the action, though, just like having to put her car back on the track all the time evidently wasn't what she was so keen to do, as the next thing we hear the daughter say was, "Let's play something else."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Okay, who's the wise guy?

Imagine my surprise when I opened my work mailbox today and found, of all things, a DESERET BOOK CATALOG. Now, for all you who don't know what Deseret Book is, you can find a short tutorial from a December 2005 blog entry here. Needless to say, I can't believe they were able to track me down. I guess they know I'm behind on my Precious Moments Crystal Temple collection. I only have as far as the Vernal Temple and they now have another 74 figurines... I'm SO behind! Either that or someone I know was trying to drop me a hint at what they want for Christmas. Anyone out there want to fess up to it?

Hotbed of creativity

Okay, growing up in a small Idaho town whose claim to fame is that it was the territorial capital of Idaho before those bastards in Boise stole it from us doesn't really say "creative cauldron." I mean, we have BELT SANDER RACES for the love of god! Well, despite all the pressures at the contrary, some glittering flashes of creativity do erupt occasionally. One being myself, of course, but even more so is Bryan Fuller, the writer of three amazing tv shows, two of which (Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me) met an untimely demise due to their quirky nature and stupid network executives. Well, he's back with a new show about a guy who has the power to touch a dead body and it comes back to life, but if he touches them again, they're dead forever. I can't say this with enough conviction: WATCH "PUSHING DAISIES!" 1) It's great, 2) Any show that has the audacity to name the pie shop the main character runs the "Pie Hole" should be rewarded, and 3) We all should support well-written, quirky television writing that (and I can't overemphasize this point too much) IS NOT REALITY TV!!!!! But don't take my word for it. Below is a review in today's paper about Pushing Daisies:

In the spirit of saving the best for last, the time has come to throw down some serious love for ABC's completely bizarre, deeply enjoyable and unexpectedly moving "Pushing Daisies." There are precisely no reasons why a heavily stylized paranormal romantic dramedy whose episodes revolve around crime-solving should work. Except for that it does. Beautifully.

This tale of a pie-maker whose touch can restore life--with major caveats, including the second touch that kills permanently--and the woman he loves but can never touch seems far too precious and far too complicated. But it's not. The gruff private detective keeps things grounded, even as the narration (by "Harry Potter" audio book voice Jim Dale) gives it all a storybook glow.

Get into the show's rhythm and eventually its mind-bending mythology recedes, giving way to a larger story about the mysteries and joys of life, and the importance of engaging in them even when it's easier to slip through without touching anything or anyone.

You can live a whole life without ever making the leap. But a whole other life awaits on the other side. Four weeks in, "Pushing Daisies" is building its own sweet, colorful place there, too."

Just watch it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Proper nutrition

The other day, Margaret and I were eating at Outback Steakhouse. (We don't eat there as regularly as we did in college, where all the servers knew us and our order... and they knew to bring me my Diet Coke refill when my glass was 1/4 from being drained. Ahh, the good old days.) Anyway, after dinner, with both of us feeling particularly stuffed, I realized that I hadn't had any calcium in my diet that day. Fortunately Outback offers calcium on their menu... sweet, coconut-encrusted, hot fudge dripping calcium. No osteoporosis for me. No siree!

Which reminds me of one time on a camping trip, my mom had made an enormous breakfast. I don't know what it is about breakfast and camping, but something about breathing forest-filtered air all night must take a lot of energy, because I don't know anyone who doesn't wake up ravenous on a camping trip. Anyway, the usual camping breakfast is elevated to the equivalent of a Valhalla feast welcoming Viking warriors once my mom is through with it. Ham, eggs, bacon, potatoes, sausage, biscuits, steak cutlets, toast, pancakes, orange juice, milk, hot cocoa, and occasionally a quiche! Well, we had just finished breakfast and were cleaning up when my aunt opened the cooler and saw her yogurt, saying, "Oh yeah, my diet." And proceeded to eat that, too! It was then and there that I learned that eating a sweetened dairy product could undo a 3,500 calorie meal. Information that has served me well. (Which is why I recommend eating your pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving with LOTS of whipped cream!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Interesting meeting

This sign was posted at the building where I get my morning drug fix Diet Pepsi. Don't you hate it when you miss an important sign and think you're at your normally thrill-a-minute mortuary meeting and all they're talking about is condoms vs. the rhythm method?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Two sides of racial insensitivity

Well this weekend's event went off with only minor hitches. Not like in years past when we had problems setting up the tepee village in torrential rains, with the cavalry breathing down our necks, and settlers plying us with smallpox-infested blankets. Our previous woes made running out of staples to post the faux-rawhide signage downright insignificant. For the most part, the attendees treated all my presenters with respect and interest, but a couple of incidents reminded me that we can't change 500 years of history overnight. Here are two examples:

1) One of the presenters was dressed in full traditional tribal regalia. She had on a wing dress, beaded necklaces, mink fur-covered braids, hand woven cornhusk bag, and moccasins. She was talking to a woman and said something about Indian dancing. Upon hearing that, the woman she was talking to reached over and touched her elbow and in a I'm-the-enlightened-White-woman-and-you're-the-simple-savage tone, said, "Don't you mean 'Native American'." My presenter didn't even know how to respond. And when she told me the story, I had to admit, I would have been pretty dumbstruck, too.

and 2) Another presenter was a man doing flintknapping demonstrations, making arrowheads and knife blades with obsidian. He looks very classically Indian, with dark bronze skin and long black braids. Well someone walked up to him, raised her hand, and said, "How." He took it with humor and told me that he thought she was Romanian or something like that given her accent... but STILL!

I'll end with an incident that showed me we are making progress, though. Since the point of setting up the Indian village is to highlight the importance of salmon to tribal cultures in the Pacific Northwest, (and the agency I work does biological and other scientific research for the tribes), there was a tepee devoted to salmon science. We had microscopes, radio tags, preserved specimens, etc. After visiting that tepee, a little girl ran to her parents, yelling, "the Indians are so SMART!"

THAT'S the message I'd been hoping for. (Well, that and that Indians prefer the term "Indian" over "Native American," they hate it when people say "How" to them unless it's in an ironic or satirical tone.) FYI.

Monday, October 15, 2007



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Do I have to keep walking?

I read this this morning on a blog I follow:

"I'm so tired of life right now. If I die, I'm cool with it. Not that I'm suicidal or anything, because I'm not. I'm just okay with being done."

Raise your hand if you've never felt like that. Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bart Simpson

In case you ever wondered what I would look like as Bart Simpson, here's a picture of me at Target. Sorry about the sporadic posts. I hate it when work interferes with my blogging. The big event I'm working on is this coming weekend, so after that, I hope to be back to my smarmy self again.