Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sacra(ligious)ment Meeting

Alice and I were asked to give talks in Sacrament meeting last Sunday. We had both been very busy with our callings and other various holiday cheer related activities throughout the week. Only a few paltry notes and scriptures had been jotted down by the time Sunday Morning rolled around. We both scrambled to put something together between presidency meetings and Priesthood Executive Committee. At PEC, I was informed that a General Authority would be presiding over our Sacrament meeting. Elder Cardon, of the Africa West Area Presidency, would be visiting our ward while on vacation or something. When I told Alice this, she got very nervous. She started reviewing her talk to make sure there was no false doctrine in it. I was worried less about false doctrine, and more about inappropriate jokes in mine.

I was still typing away on my laptop in one of the empty classrooms two minutes before Sacrament meeting started. I rushed to the clerks office and luckily they were able to print my talk from my thumb drive. Talk about waiting until the last minute, literally. Ah, technology, I declare my appreciation for your facilitation of my ever increasing procrastination!

We both ended up giving nice talks and have not, as of this morning, been reprimanded or excommunicated for teaching false doctrine. As it turns out, not only did we have Elder Cardon on the stand with us, we had two other General Authorities in the congregation: Elder Sorensen, our current temple president, and Elder Russel. Both are emeritus members of the Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Russel was visiting from Florida for a wedding. President Sorensen is often in our Sacrament meetings as he lives within our ward boundaries. That's one of the perks of living a block from the temple.

We both made it through, and are now looking steadfastly forward to the time when we are on vacation in Virginia. We can't wait to see everyone at home!

P.S. This morning I accidentally tucked my sweater into my pants. Luckily, I caught my mistake before anyone in the lab saw me!

11 Helens agree.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday Gift Guide

With Christmas just around the corner, some of you may still be doing some last minute Christmas shopping. If you still need some ideas, here are a few goodies I found. Surely there is something here perfect for everyone on your Christmas list.

1. Psycho Shower Curtain - for those holidays that you can't spend with your mother-in-law but still want to have a friendly reminder. My mother-in-law is a saint and would never dream of stabbing me to death in the shower, but those on your list may not be so lucky.

2. Butt-Face soap - I've always thought the miracle of soap was that it was self-cleaning, so this may not be necessary. But some on your gift list may not have such a lax view on derriere detergents. This will help them keep track of where that soap has been. However, it won't help them if they drop it. Also available: Butt-Face towels.

3. Tattoo sleeves - This is for that person on your list that has always wanted to be hard core, but their Mom would never let them. A shirt that makes it look like you have tattoos, YEAH! All the anti-social benefits, none of the pain. Warning: wearers of tattoo sleeves may be severely beaten for being posers.

4. Tick Tock Timebomb clock - This is for the person on your list that has a life long dream of vacationing at Gitmo. Include a forged receipt from Target and watch hilarity ensue as they try to return it. Double good times.

5.Squishy Piggy Thingy - These squishy piggies come from the land of exquisitely useless objects, Japan. Unless you live in Japan, I don't think you can get them. You'll just have to be content with the video.

6. Wine glass holder necklace - This is for that person at your holiday party that always ends up so drunk off the sparkling cider that they need both hands free to hold onto the walls. It also doubles as a classy vomit container holder. (Currently, these are sold out. Apparently the douche bags are out in force this holiday season.)

7. Gold Money Toilet Seat - For the straight player and pimp on your list, this gift is sure to have them sittin' bricks, sittin' ON gold bricks, that is. Ain't no place better to show off your bling to the ladies than when they're...you know.

8. Reserve the world's highest tennis court - Those crazy rich Arabs are at it again. They have put a tennis court on the outside of their super-luxury hotel which sits on a man-made island. Perfect for the person on your list that loves both tennis and base jumping. Check the vid and stay to the end to see Agassi lobbing balls over the edge trying to hit people. I'm surprised it took him so long to try that. That would have been the first thing I did.

9. World's Hottest 'Sauce' - Technically, Blair's 16 Million Reserve is not a hot sauce. It is purified capsaicin crystals. Capsaicin is the stuff that makes hot sauce hot. So not only is this the world's hottest, there can never be any hotter. Apparently drunk people like to dare each other to eat hot things, so to buy this bottle you must agree to the terms and conditions, one of which is that you are not inebriated. Another is that you won't actually eat this stuff, only use it as a food additive. I think this stuff could kill you. That sounds like a challenge to me!

10. Revolver Hair Dryer - This is what I got my wife, Alice. She hates brushing and blow drying her hair in the morning. On more than one occasion I was worried that she might be suicidal in the bathroom, struggling with her locks. I have already had to replace two bathroom doors after breaking them down in panic. With this handy blow dryer that looks like a revolver, I can rest assured that when she goes to blow her brains out in frustration, she'll really be tricked into styling those gorgeous curls.

I found all of these awesome gifts on the interwebs, which gave me a good idea. Guys tend to procrastinate and not do their Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve. By then it is too late to buy anything online. So these businesses are missing 50% of the holiday shopping market. So my idea is to open a store for one day, Christmas Eve. I am going to buy one of everything on the interwebs and sell them to all the guys who come to the mall for last minute Christmas shopping. I already started buying things and I figured I would go alphabetically to make sure I didn't miss anything for sale online. I hope Alice likes the idea because Aardvarks.com does not except returns.

2 Helens agree.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Spendin' Cheese

Alice is now employed by both the best AND second best employers in San Diego. Yesterday, her boss at ProFlowers called Alice into her office. She told Alice that HR had been reviewing her performance and her responsibilities. Alice thought she was in trouble. But they really wanted to give her a raise! Alice didn't even have to ask for a raise, they simply handed it to her of their own accord. And it was a sizable raise, too. Nearly 20% of her salary. After reviewing her original position description and comparing that to what she is actually responsible for, they felt she deserved the raise. I've never heard of a company doing that before. That's why I say ProFlowers is the second best employer in San Diego.

So who's the best employer? On Sunday, Alice was called to be the Young Women's President in our ward. Is it coincidental that the day after Alice was set apart as YW President, she got a pay raise? I don't think so. The Lord may not open up the tithing coffers, but he certainly was not going to let Alice go unrewarded for her diligence and willingness to serve.

And now the entire youth program is under our control (I am the YM President)! All the pieces are in place and my plans for raising up an army of cyborg youth is almost complete. If only my supplier in China would hurry up with those do-it-yourself cybernetic implant kits, the world would already be half mine.

4 Helens agree.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pure eggnoggery goodness

What is it about that magical holiday concoction called eggnog that melts my brain into a similarly viscous, creamy puddle? It may be the recipe we use when we make it at home (one egg, one quart rum), but I doubt it. [Don't worry, Grandma. That was just a joke. We still keep the word of wisdom.] Even the store-bought variety with no alcohol turns me into a drooling infant, content and happy as long as I am able to suckle at the delicious teat of the holiday gods. Which begs raises the question, why do they not sell eggnog year round? Part of me is afraid of the answer. If they did sell it year round, would I be so enthralled by the sweet nectar? Or would it become banal like chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is good, but I don't go through withdrawal if I don't have it for a while. The same cannot be said for me with regards to eggnog, as can be witnessed every January when they pull my holiday beverage of choice off the shelves for another 10 months. Is part of the allure of the nog its exclusivity and rarity? I have a hunch that this may be the case. Our society is so inundated with affluence that the quest for ever more pleasurable experiences has rendered all but the most expensive and scarce products hardly worthy of a second glance. Do you remember the days when a Christmas orange was a rare and treasured present, brought from a far off land to the snowy winters of the north? I don't remember that. I have always been able to buy an orange pretty much whenever I wanted one. I can just drive around the block and pick up a whole crate for a few bucks. Big deal. Oranges, whoopee. When I eat an orange in December, I am certainly less happy than the child who received this winter gem in times of yore. But I am also less likely to die of scurvy.

'Merry Christmas, Timmy. I got you an orange so you won't die. Eat it slow, it's got to last you until March.'

In this day of on demand shopping and niche marketing made possible by the interwebs, you would think that somewhere there would be a dairy making eggnog all year round. But maybe I'll not go looking for that dairy. Perhaps eggnog tastes better when it only comes during Christmas.

A list of Corbin's favorite eggnogs, eggnog variations, and a few products that aren't on the market but should be, in no particular order:
1. Land'o'Lakes French Vanilla Eggnog
2. Hot Nog (microwave eggnog until hot, enjoy)
3. Chocolate eggnog
4. Orange Nog (add fresh squeezed juice, orange zest, or concentrate to eggnog or hot nog)
5. Eggnog waffles (replace milk with eggnog, or buy Williams-Sonoma mix)
6. Eggnog syrup (mix eggnog and sugar, simmer until reduced to syrup consistency)
7. Eggnog muffins (just discovered at Von's this morning)
8. Eggnog ice cream and milkshakes
9. Peppermint nog (I actually don't like this one, but some of you might want to try it: use a candy cane as a swizzle stick or sprinkle crushed candy cane on the nog)
10. Eggnog bath (trust me, your skin will never feel softer or more luxurious)
11. Eggnog toothpaste (I'm still looking for this one, but I'm sure I'd love it)
12. Eggnog gravy (basically eggnog syrup poured over mashed potatoes)
13. Eggnog gatorade (1. mix equal parts eggnog and gatorade, 2. sweat, 3. replenish bodily fluids with deliciousness)
14. Eggnog cheesecake
15. Eggnog deodorant
16. Eggnog flavored Doritos
17. Eggnog flavored pork rinds

13 Helens agree.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Orange is the new rose

This is a football post. For those of you not manly enough appreciate muscular men running around in tight pants trying to push each other over, you can skip this post. For the rest of you, please don your favorite chili-cheese stained t-shirt, plant yourself in your sofa butt-groove, and hold on to the remote as the Hokies take us all on a ride to a magical land where the football isn't the only leathery skin you'll find, Florida. (They also have a lot of sun tanned old people in Florida.)

On Saturdee, the beloved Virginia Tech Hokies trounced the odious Boston College Eagles to clench the ACC title. (That was my best sports column opening line impersonation. If you work for Sports Illustrated, please don't contact me. I love my job.) I watched this game with my textbook-addicted friend,Matt, and my crippled friend, Pete, so there were not many flying high-five chest slams, but it was still an exciting game. I long for the days of my youth when we were at Virginia Tech. We would sit in Lane Stadium and go wild as the Hokies walked all over whoever and I got terribly sun burned. Football got under your skin at Virginia Tech, like a bot fly larva. The best my current school (UCSD) can offer is water polo. There have been quite a few water polo deaths in recent years; however, officials still aren't sure if the drownings were caused by exhaustion or boredom.

For a picture of the Hokies' biggest fan, click here. (Warning: viewer discretion is advised.)

As ACC champions, we will be playing in the Orange Bowl against Kansas. Really? Kansas? What are they going to do, throw corn at us? I mean, come on! Couldn't they find a real team for us to play? Like a team of pirates or something? It is Florida, after all. I just expected more from a bowl named after America's favorite citrus. It's not as if we're playing in the Chick-fil-A bowl against the mid-day shift crew of the 43rd Street Chick-fil-A like we did last year. And we're not playing in the Siesta bowl where the half time show consists of a short nap under a sombrero. This is the ORANGE bowl, people. We all know orange is the new pink. And pink is just another name for rose. And the Rose Bowl used to be considered the championship bowl. So we're really in the national championship bowl, here. Let's find a team of ninjas that know how to chop block (they really put the 'chop' in chop block) so we can have an exciting game to watch. Or better yet, lets pit the team of pirates against the ninjas and settle the age old debate once and for all. Forget football, I'm ready for some blood splatter to cover up these chili-cheese stains.

P.S. In the comment section, please post who you would bet on in a pirate v. ninja match-up. Include likely vegas odds and reasoning behind your choice. The most creative response will be awarded a beautifully engraved shiruken, either in a decorative box or embedded in the spinal column, depending on who was predicted to win.

P.P.S. For those of you who are entirely bored with the PvN debate because you've been on the interwebs since, like, 2004 and have already read all about PvN and you made up your mind long, long ago, you may post on the much more esoteric topic of Monkey vs. Robot. Here's a little music video to get your debate juices flowing.

8 Helens agree.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The emperor's new birthday suit

I am very comfortable in my own skin. That being said, Alice usually wants me to be wearing something more when guests come over. Or when we go out in public where the people are predominately conservative Christians, like at church or the shooting range. Fortunately, I also like to dress up in a nice suit, which fits perfectly with the whole 'churchy' atmosphere of the local shooting range. There is only one problem: my overly large, thunder thighs. You might even call them womanly thighs. That is, if you want to be slapped silly by any woman within the sound of your voice. True, I have slimmed down a bit since I've been married and have even lost some of the junk from my trunk, but genetics are not so easily coerced. The fact is, my thighs are very well acquainted with one another. Unlike some people's thighs that very rarely meet, my thighs are so close together, they have often been classified as one megathigh. The friction created by my rubbing appendages has more than once started local underbrush on fire. With the recent fire dangers here in California, the Park Service even issued a special ban on my thighs for all preserve areas. I like to tell people that my ginormous thighs are from my high jump training. That only works until they see me asking Alice to get things down from the top cupboard shelf for me.

As you can imagine, I tend to wear out pants rather quickly. My latest pair of jeans lasted no more than 6 months before the first crotch hole appeared. Almost all my suits suffer similar maladies. Couple that with my marriage induced weight loss and I look rather silly at the shooting range, flailing around in a too-big-for-me suit with my legs perpetually crossed like I have to pee. Alice was moved upon to have compassion and she decided to buy me a new suit of clothes for Christmas.

The trouble is, buying a suit is an extremely personal experience. You have to get into the suit and move around in it. You must experience the suit. The man does not choose the suit, the suit chooses the man. It is truly magical. So my Christmas present will not be a surprise, but it will be just what I wanted. Here are a few pics I took of myself trying on suits in the local Macy's dressing room. They were having a big sale and I ended up buying two $500 suits for only $350 for both. When you save that kind of scratch, suit buying is elevated to a spiritual experience. I'm still looking for the suit with the kevlar reinforced crotch but I can settle for now. Hopefully these suits are at least made from fire retardant fabrics.

7 Helens agree.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving (at hyperspeed) - Part 1

Sorry for the paucity of posts. I'm especially sorry to you, Charlie. I know how much you depend on these posts to satiate your voracious editing/proof reading appetite. I have been stalling because I was working on a Thanksgiving movie and wanted that to be my next post. But I've been having a hard time finding the time to work on it. So I decided to post it in segments. Here's part one. It may be a little boring, but when it's done, it will be a full documentation of every second of our Thanksgiving 2007 activities. So it's more for our posterity and less for your enjoyment. Unless you are our posterity. Then it's both for you and for your enjoyment. Kind of like cake. And if you are our posterity and you're thinking of putting us in a nursing home, may I remind you of the brazilians of dollars we have hidden in a secret bank account of which you will never see a penny if you put us in a home. And so, without further ado, Part 1 of Thanksgiving at hyperspeed.

3 Helens agree.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Christmas...It's Christmas Time!

Since November 1st Alice has been in full Christmas swing. Actually, I succeeded in retarding her joyful oscillations for a few days, but she eventually broke free of my humbugish restraints. She has been begging to put up decorations since the beginning of the month and the Christmas music started shortly after that. On Sunday we finally pulled out the box of decorations and spruced up our little apartment with holiday cheer. (I wonder if the term 'spruce up' comes from using spruce tree branches in decorating for Christmas. I'll look that up on an etymology website and get back to you.) Mostly we put up some garland and a few strategically placed Christmas bows (even the glass head that wears my hats when I'm not got a bow tie). And the buttery smooth strains of Robert Goulet's Christmas float dreamily on the breeze (created by the ceiling fan). I have even pulled out our pirated copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas to delight and depress us sometime later this week. And of course, Alice is learning a few Christmas carols on the harp. You can't get much more angelic than Alice playing Christmas music on the harp! Snickerdoodles were dutifully baked and a pumpkin pie air freshener is busily wafting its sweet fragrance right along side Goulet's melodies on that artificial breeze. Our apartment is a veritable cornucopia of Christmas Cheer!

Only one thing is bugging me. It seems like there was something else we were supposed to do. Some other holiday coming up BEFORE Christmas or something. But for the life of me I can't remember what it is. Oh well. Happy Christmas!

[Etymology of 'spruce up': This phrase originated in the 1500's when Spruce was a synonym for Prussian (the Spruce tree was abundant in Prussia and so got the name 'Spruce'). There was an especially popular jerkin made from Prussian (or Spruce) leather that was thought to look very smart. Thus, 'to spruce' came to mean 'to make neat, smart looking, or trim'. The addition of 'up' on the end occurred later. So unfortunately, 'sprucing up' has nothing to do with Christmas, but jerkins are almost as fun.

jer·kin /ˈdʒɜrkɪn/ [jur-kin]
a close-fitting jacket or short coat, usually sleeveless, as one of leather worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.

That reminds me of a Demetri Martin joke which I have embedded below for your convenience.]

6 Helens agree.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You're as likely to get hit by an asteroid.

With the holiday season travel predicted to be at record highs, many of you may be planning on traveling by air. If you are not afraid of flying yourself, you may end up sitting next to a pale, hand-wringing, heart-palpitating traveler who is. According to one study, approximately one in every three Americans is either fearful or anxious about flying. You might want to reassure your frightened neighbor that, statistically, dying in a plane crash is less likely than some other methods of kicking the bucket. Of course, we have all heard the statistics about driving being much more dangerous than flying. But if we flew as often as we drive, I wonder if those statistics would invert.

However, I did find one statistic very interesting comparing airplane mortalities to another unlikely demise. Did you know that you are as statistically likely to die in a fiery plane crash as you are to be hit by an asteroid? That's right, if we are looking at pure numbers, your tombstone could just as likely read 'Killed by a giant chunk of space rock' as it could 'Perished in a flaming tangle of 747 after snakes hijacked his plane'. How could this be? Only a few dozen people at most have ever died from meteors while 100 people on average die in plane crashes every year. Well, if we assume that the rate of plane crash victims will continue at this pace for the next 10 million years, that gives a total of 1 billion dead. An asteroid-turned-meteor big enough to cause the catastrophic deaths of 1 billion people is predicted to happen about once every 10 million years. So, the number of dead at the end of the 10 million years is the same, thus the likelihood is equivalent.

So, when you find yourself sitting next to a cold sweating, white-knuckled passenger this holiday season, you can comfort them by saying 'At least you'll be with your family when the asteroid hits and obliterates this half of the globe'.

2 Helens agree.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've lost all will to blog.

Taralyn tagged me. I don't even know what the heck that means. And she forgot to say 'No tag backs' so at first I decided to tag her back and avoid this whole mess. Then I remembered that I hadn't posted anything in over a week. Partly because I've been busy, partly because there has been a dearth of both humorous and exaggeratable episodes in my life. I realized that if I didn't post something soon, I would be in danger of losing my only meaningful connection to other people's lifeless computers. So, in the absence of anything interesting to write about, I'll tell you seven things about myself.

1. The great dramatists of this century could learn a thing or two from me. Like how to roll their Rs to give emphasis and punctuation to a soliloquy. I am also a certified expert in how to wear tights so they neither pinch the boys nor ride the back range.

2. It's hard for me to find the right thing to say in a room full of mice. Also, I would never shake hands with a gardener. Also, my eyes are always cold. Also, my mother's uncle was a good man.

3. I once ate an entire bag of Doritos in one half of a sitting (I finished half way through my sitting spell). Not a big family size bag, a little individual serving size bag. But after I was done, I wished I had one of the big family size bags because I was still hungry. [Remember, Snack Strong because the Japanese are preparing for a Snacking Invasion, replete with painful SnackTactics, as evidenced by the genuine Doritos package to the right.]

4. I like to let my toenails grow out long. And I mean frito lay long. Alice, in her ever charming way of transmogrifying words, disgustedly calls them my 'talians. I always tell her that Italians are usually much hairier and better lovers than my toenails have proved to be in the past. Alice always retorts with 'That's debatable'. I'm never sure if the point of debate is the hirsute Italian stereotype or my toenails' clean-shaven prowess.

5. I have an addictive personality. That does not mean people become addicted to my personality and must have regular contact with me 'just to feel normal anymore'. It means that I become easily addicted to things. Past addictions include TV, MarioKart 64, Halo, poker (yes I know gambling is a sin, and I've since repented and never returned), surfing for surfboards online (genius integration of both kinds of surf in one phrase), downloading audiobooks, blogging, and my continuing and all-time favorite addiction, Alice. This week's secondary addiction is Volvos. Used Volvo 7 passenger wagons with the third row seat that faces backwards, to be more exact. So in conclusion, don't ever offer me heroine unless you're my mortal enemy out to destroy me. (Little does my mortal enemy know I'm about to commence a regimented program to slowly build up my tolerance to heroine over the next seven years. Wish me luck.)

[Charlie so graciously pointed out that I 'mispelled' heroin. I would thank him and correct the error if that were in fact the case. However, I was speaking about the mythical woman variety of the homonym, and not the beloved mind altering substance of crooner Lou Reed. I just can't say 'no' to buxom women central to their time period, thus the necessity to build up a tolerance. Thanks anyway, Charlie.]

6. I used to harbor great disdain for pop culture (i.e. popular music, fashion, and, of course, POGS), just so I could feel superior. I'm not proud of my one time snobbishness and I believe I have overcome this character flaw, although I still find most radio music nauseating. I've learned to like what I like, no matter how many other people like it. Sometimes even the Lone Wolf will walk alongside the sheep on his journey to the distant mountains. Dang it! There I go again feeling superior.

7. I've always wanted to undergo a painful operation of some kind without anesthesia, and then subsequently have my memory of the event wiped by either drugs or hypnosis. I've also wondered what it would be like to come down with lockjaw. Come to think of it, I've also always wanted to have a large boil somewhere easily accessible but not embarrassing, like my knee. Do these things point to a masochistic streak? I don't think so. I'm typically very wimpy. Just medically curious.

Bonus Fact: I once, by gentle persuasion and love unfeigned, convinced a shy Subway sandwich artist to place live gold fish on my veggie delight sandwich, after having her stab them with the mayonnaise knife to try and curtail some of the flipping and flopping. I then proceeded to eat half of said sandwich in front of the gawking customers and subordinate restaurateurs. I hope God doesn't use goldfish as character witnesses on judgment day.

That's it folks. All you ever wanted to know about me, and a whole lot you didn't. This post was not as cathartic as I had anticipated. In fact, it was down right depressing. I think I will take solace in a half gallon of double chocolate chunk ice cream and a box of Kleenex with Aloe when I get home. I am not completely heartless, therefore I will not perpetuate the pain and suffering by tagging anyone else.

11 Helens agree.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh my Vishnu!

Someone Else: "Did you hear about the reincarnation of Vishnu?"

Me: "Gesundheit."

The Same Someone Else: "Don't be a jerk."


If you keep abreast of international news, you likely have heard that the reincarnated Vishnu will have her extraneous appendages amputated soon. Some might view this as an excellent opportunity for modern medical science to give a young girl a chance at life she would not have had at nearly any other time in the history of civilization. I for one am worried that this might be a portent of larger evils. Namely, the complete disregard for mortalized deities and the handi-capabilities they are born with. We are so wholly obsessed with 'fixing' the half mortals that grace our earth with their presence that they are likely to stop showing up at all. If Buddha were living in America today, he would probably be a contestant on 'The Biggest Loser' and treated for hypothyroidism. In one brief moment the religion of 360M people would have been wiped out in order to increase Tuesday night ratings for ABNBCBS. If Ganesha were born in our day, he would probably be stuck in a sideshow act or probed and prodded by scientists until his early demise allowed his skeleton to be bought by an insane pop star. I am worried that if we are not careful, the Gods will grow thirsty.


After removing tongue from cheek, I am glad that this family has decided to give this young girl a chance to live. How terrible would it be for a religious tradition to prevent one of God's children from living a healthy, happy life. I am glad that the true gospel celebrates all life and esteems every living soul as infinitely valuable.

But this article reminded me of something else I once read about conjoined twins. Even if conjoined twins are healthy and can remain so while joined, pressure is often put on them to be surgically separated. Pressure by doctors, family, friends, society. They are all well-intentioned, I am sure, and the thinking goes that the conjoined twins will be happier if they are separated and able to live 'normal' lives. However, this is usually not the case. Conjoined twins often suffer from severe depression after separation and feel like a part of themselves was taken away or died. They miss the intense, deep connection they shared with their twin. They are not usually happier with their 'normal' lives. Should we as society pressure people into living 'normal' lives? And who can really judge who will be happier living within society's norms? Maybe conjoined twins actually lead happier and more fulfilling lives than us loners could ever dream of. And yet, I dearly hope my own children do not have to 'suffer' through any trial like that. I guess our own perceptions of what is best are deeply rooted in a place not easily reached by logic.

7 Helens agree.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ch. 43: How a fire taught Alice about geneaology and Big Corbin Zean won a suitable prize for carving the scariest jack-o-lantern he could think of

***This post is written in the style of Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck, a very funny book indeed. If only I were as talented a writer as Steinbeck, then this post would be truly humorous. And I would be famous.***

On October 21st, Alice and Big Corbin Zean smelled smoke as they left church. This was not the smoke from the hundreds of votive candles lit for the Virgin Mother. They were sure of this because there were no candles lit for the Virgin or any other saint in their church. They are not catholic. The smoke they smelled was carried on the wind along with little flakes of ash that would be the closest thing to snow San Diego would see that holiday season. Alice was reminded of home.

"It smells like a neighbor is burning their trash. I miss southwest Virginia. Can we have soup for dinner?"

Alice and Big Corbin Zean did not have soup for dinner that night, and the smoky air would soon bring other things to mind besides country living. The man on the radio told of a devastating wild fire sweeping across southern California, blown by the hot Santa Anna winds, at speeds up to 80 mph. The winter before, these same winds brought warm air from the desert and 80 degree December days to the temperate San Diego coast making the beach a plausible destination while the rest of the country froze. This time, the Santa Anna winds were bringing a little too much warmth.

Alice and Big Corbin Zean both went in to work the next morning, only to return home a few hours later due to air quality concerns. They stayed inside their apartment and breathed each other's exhalation for the rest of the day and all the following Tuesday. Big Corbin Zean had borrowed a projector from a friend for a lesson on Sunday and had cleverly 'forgotten' to return it.

"My friend surely would not want me to be outside in these dangerous times. And I have heard of smoke damaging televisions and computers. The smoke outside might damage the electronics inside the projector. It is for his own good that I keep this projector safe in my own house until the smoke has cleared."

And so Alice, Big Corbin Zean, and their cat, Señor Papel, Bishop of Artesia, watched movies on their bedroom wall while they anxiously awaited an evacuation call the man on the radio said might come at any moment. At one point, their apartment lay just two miles outside of the evacuation zone. And so Alice began preparations.

On deciding what was most important and worthy of saving from the potential fires, Alice learned that staying alive was her number one priority. Food storage, clothes, and emergency 72 hour kits were the first items piled in the middle of the living room floor. She also realized that those documents passed down from her ancestors and her own remembrances that would be important to her and her posterity came in a close second. Photo albums, home movies, journals, birth and marriage certificates were added to the pile. Big Corbin Zean and Señor Papel, Bishop of Artesia mostly sat on the couch and ate corn dogs.

As it turned out, Alice and Big Corbin Zean were not evacuated. But Alice learned an important lesson. She learned that the most precious things in life are your connections to those who have gone before and to those who are yet to come. And also staying alive long enough to give those who are yet to come a chance to do so.

Alice returned to work on Wednesday but Big Corbin Zean stayed home all week because his university campus was closed. And he had a cold.

The next week, Alice and Big Corbin Zean were invited to a pumpkin carving party and Big Corbin Zean carved the scariest thing he could think of. He carved a picture of a house burning down. Even though he cheated and looked at pictures of houses on the interwebs, the party goers voted Big Corbin Zean's pumpkin the best of the evening and awarded him a suitable prize. Big Corbin Zean gave his suitable prize to his sweetheart, Alice, and thought to himself how she would be the first thing he packed if he ever had to flee from the path of a raging wild fire.


Other Halloween pictures including a Mary Poppins, a tennis ball super-glued to Corbin's head, and pumpkin carving action shots.

Halloween 2007

14 Helens agree.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Alice is clairvoyant (and that's one reason I heart her)

This week campus was closed due to the wild fires so I was left with lots of free time. (I think we will post the week's events later so you can read all about our harrowing battle with the flames of death. But for now, you can get your fill from the 24 hour propaganda networks.) This afternoon I busied myself making this short video for Alice. When I went to pick her up from work I told her I had made a surprise for her on the 'puter. Her immediate response was "Is it an 'I heart Alice' movie?" What the heck?! Please stay out of my brain. That is personal property and you cannot enter without some kind of warrant.

She is no respecter of the law, personal space, or personal alpha waves. Although, it does make it easier to call her from across town when I am trapped inside a shark tank with bombs strapped to my ankles and my mobile is dead. Surprises are always difficult but at least she knows how much I love her even when I don't make cheesy videos to tell her.

P.S. I know hearting things was so 2002, but she is just so cute I can't help myself.

3 Helens agree.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Babylon the Great is Balling

Last weekend Alice and I caught a rare glimpse of Babylon. Let me tell you, the food in Babylon is exquisite, although their churros tend to be a little overcooked. You'd think the devil, with all his worldly power, would know how to make a good churro. But apparently, that is one secret the Mexicans aren't willing to share, even with the lord of the underworld. Then again, would it really be hell if they had tasty churros? But I digress...without having even started my subject.

Qualcomm, one of San Diego's largest employers and a Fortune 500 company, held their annual employee party, code named Quallapalooza, right down the street from our apartment at the La Jolla Hyatt. Alice and I, upon hearing the noise and seeing lasers shoot over the high brick walls, donned our evening wear and sauntered (well, I sauntered, Alice glided) past the security guards and into the height of decadence. [Tips on getting into parties without having to lie: 1. Follow a large crowd and try and get into the middle. 2. Don't look at anyone checking tickets/badges etc. in the eye. Just keep your eye on the prize and believe you can make it. 3. Look and act like you belong. I once got Alice into an OKGO student only concert because I was wearing a tie and my hat and they thought I was in one of the bands. I simply said "She's with me" and they let her through.]

Just inside the lobby, we were greeted by the most original and progressive musical artist of our day. I can only describe him as a neo-medieval steampunk glamrock cyber cellist. He even brought his own fan (seen in the lower left corner of the photo) to blow his luxurious blond locks around while he sent his audience on an auditory cybertrip to a land of dragons and robots.

But the surprises didn't stop there. In fact, there was far too much awesomeness to document all of it here. A brief list would include open bars; lasers; gambling; Johnny Cash cover band; at least three other bands on different stages inside and outside of the hotel; celebrity impersonators of Madonna, Bono, and Cher (first identified by Alice as a drag queen); a giant chocolate fountain; more types of food than I can remember; palm readers; caricaturists; prom style photographers; walking trees...the list goes on and on.

But the highlight of the evening were the ten foot diameter clear beach balls floating on the hotel swimming pool with bikini clad girls rolling around inside of them. That's right. Dancing girls inside giant balls floating on the water. If judged on this point alone, this party was the greatest party since the fireworks show at Sodom and Gomorrah. I will end the account here as there will be no topping the floating hamster girls.

P.S. You may be wondering why there is some strange man in our picture instead of Alice or me. That is because we forgot to bring our camera. Luckily for us, people like to share their pictures with the world. A quick google search found some random person's pictures of the very same event we were at. Just remember that the Interwebs sees all.

5 Helens agree.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Aged to distraction

Alice and I went to a nursing home and spent time with some old geezers. We got pictures of our two favorites. This old curmudgeon was more fun than a barrel of Geritol. And his decrepit wife knew how to rile him up until he was so agitated that he wet his depends.

OK. If it's not obvious, our long-toothed friends are actually none other than yours truly-s. Alice and I went to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and were virtually aged via the miracles of modern science. (Now if they could only go the other way, my dream of becoming immortal so I can finish all the seasons of Lost could come true). I think I aged quite well. Like a more ruggedly handsome Sean Connery, except for the vacant, senile eyes (but I've always had those). I think I'll buy Alice some moisturizer on the way home.

Here's a link to the rest of the photos we took there. Remember 'Judge not amateur photography lest your professional grade photography be judged'.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center - Oct 12 2007

4 Helens agree.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shock and Ah! How cute!

Alice says I sometimes say things just to shock people. Sometimes I think she is right. Other times I know she is. This is one of those latter times. But I'm going to go ahead with my attention whoring nonetheless.

Would eating your own boogers be considered breaking your fast?

This question was intensely debated by Joe, Brad and me through text messages yesterday. It being fast Sunday in our ward, food was on my mind and I thought I had found a clever loop hole. So I went to my trusted spiritual loutish advisory duo, Joe and Brad. Here's what they had to say:

Me: Does eating your own boogers break your fast?
Brad: Technically, I don't think so. Although I personally exclude them from my fasts. It all depends on how you phrase your opening prayer.
Joe: Only as much as swallowing your own spit.
Me: So that's a no, right?
Joe: Right. Just make sure you don't get caught. Then you would have other things to worry about.

So I got the green light from my brain trust. But I chickened out at the last minute. Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against digging for gold. In Portugal, where I served my mission, it was much less of a social taboo than it is here and I found it quite liberating. Although in public I'll usually just sneak a surface thumb scrape, not the full-bore index finger, just to make sure I don't have any danglies.

I just never got into the eating it part. Not even when I was little. But according to some doctors (OK, maybe just one), snacking on booger mcnuggets can be good for you. If I look exceptionally well fed and happy next fast Sunday, you'll know I no longer have a gag reflex.

7 Helens agree.