March 28, 2013

I thought this was blog worthy

I get mixed up by bear and bare. Mormons use the term often in the context of "bear/bare your testimony." People around my neck of the woods also like to talk about the right to "bear/bare arms." Which ever word I use, it feels wrong. Unless I'm talking about nekkid bears. Which I never am. (Well, except for right now.)

Put some clothes on. That ribbon hides nothing.

Bear arms or bare arms? (Don't even think about bare shoulders, though. Bear shoulders are ok to think about, but there's probably at least one topic more deserving of your attention.) Bear testimony? (Jim Halpert will testify that black bears are best.) Or bare testimony? Obviously we are talking about verbs, not nouns. To define "to bear" you need to know if you plan to use it with or without an object.

(Tangental rant about kids today: I used to run a weekly creative writing group at work. Anyone could come, there'd be some silly prompt or word game. One time, we played mad libs. Five people showed up. Only two people (including me) knew what nouns, adjectives, and verbs were. Not to mention crazy things like prepositions. These people were college students. They had graduated high school only about a year ago and did not know about nouns. These people are out there. Walking around, existing in society. Completely unaware that they are verbing all over the place.)

Back to bears. (Finally.) You know. I'm still distracted by that grammar memory. Imagine a 20-year-old asking you, "What's a noun?" It's a hard thing to recover from. Things like nouns and verbs are common knowledge, right? It's not just because I was an English major, or because I spent the last seven years quality testing early children's readings software, right? I need some reassurance. Then I can worry about bears.

Here, watch a video about apostrophes. I really hope you already know this, but... just in case. (Also, this is one of my favorite songs. It helps cheer me up. That pig is so heroic.)

March 26, 2013

How to sound smart in an online comment

Consider this a crash corse on how to be right on the Internet. These examples all came from an article on, posted today.

When you want to pluralize a word, use those fancy floating commas. Then you don't have to worry about all those "change y to i" rules. There are literally tons of them.


Avoid periods. Even in writing, a pause is just an invitation for someone else to butt-in with their wrong opinion. (Bonus points for adding awkward and irrelevant personal information about yourself to the run-on sentence plus if the person reading it is reading it out loud they'll probably eventually pass out from lack of breath even though there's no knowing if they agree with you or not there's at least a slightly better chance that they can disagree with you if they are passed on the floor next to the corpse of that guy I murdered the other day which reminds me I need to buy bleach.)

Another example I really hope you like it if you don't I'll probably eat my weight in cheese or something man I feel like pizza.

Use a lot of letters. Not letters like "parts of a word," just letters. Try to make them seem Latin, if possible, or imply that they are some kind of acronym. Drop a period in here and there. And don't be afraid to use the same random group of letters twice!


Don't be afraid of air quotes. You don't even have to use them correctly. Just using them proves you "know" what you're talking about and the other guy doesn't.


No punctuation makes you look smarter than a semi-colon. This guy knows what I'm talking about. I'd ask him more about it, but he's at work, digging up jewels.


Don't bother with the shift key unless you REALLY mean it.


When you are wrong, make stuff up. (Also, be sure to the other guy that HE is wrong.) Once you post it on the Internet, it's basically true anyway.

I'm allergic to umbrellas.

Who the hell is Pam?

My spam email is being MEAN to me. First, it calls me a weirdo. It tries to spin it as a compliment--"you're better than those lame normals"--but come on. Of all the words to use? Weirdo?! You could have said "sparkling jewels," "reclusive geniuses," or maybe "diamonds in the rough." (But not anything involving "special." Everyone knows "special" is code for stupid, just like "sweet spirit" is code for butt-ass ugly.)

I'd normally have been ok, who doesn't get called a weirdo a few times a day? (Right?!?) But the next spam email cruelly teases me by advertising a "Magicstick" for "power on the go." Now, I know I've been a muggle my whole life, but I'm fairly certain that's the result of some kind of curse placed on my at birth due to the awesome potential of my magic ability. (Don't you dare call me special.) I'm sure if I could just GET a wand, the curse would be broken and I'd be the highest sorcerer in the land. Or something. Don't worry, I'll give you all cushy jobs on my council as I rule the world.

I open the email, even though I'm a little wary that "Magicstick" is referring to something probably not suitable for children. If you are reading this out loud to your children (which I'm sure at least some of you are), you may now have to explain to them what it means. Or else they might just go look it up in the dictionary.

Behold the totally G-rated Magicstick:

Ok, so that does look kind of cool. But there is NO WAY I'm defeating any dark wizards with a portable charger, no matter how cute the colors. Unless maybe, the dark wizard can't exercise his power without listening to the pulsing beats of Ace of Base, and happen to catch him at the moment where his battery dies, and in exchange for my Magicstick, he agrees to surrender and turn himself into Azkaban. But let's get real. That's extremely unlikely.

Speaking of real, here is my real wand. I so far only have a picture of it, but if any of you find it, let me know. You can try and use it if you want, but it chose me. So don't be surprised if the spell backfires, turns you inside out, and then explodes you.

March 14, 2013

I wish I wore more hats

My favorite part of Go Dog, Go. (Which I think I read to Jake and Caitlin about a thousand times.)

March 5, 2013

Under construction

I'm fixing tags on old blogs and blogger is showing them as being published today. So ignore the updates for a bit. I promise, I don't think it's Easter today.

Easter Sunday

For me, Easter morning had only one motivation: do NOT be the last one to find your Easter basket. My parents didn't do the more traditional Easter Egg Hunt with candy and plastic eggs scattered everywhere, waiting for the most resourceful or determined kid to find them all. My parents had five kids and knew the sacred value of fairness. Our Easter candy was divided equally into baskets, labeled, and then hidden. Also, they were hidden inside the house. No one in my family goes outside before 10 am. What are we, farmers?

Easter morning was like a mini-Christmas; Mom and Dad would make us wait in our rooms until we were called out. We all came out at once, and quietly but furiously began scouring the house for the Easter basket with our name on it. If we saw someone else's basket, we'd pretend we didn't see anything and discreetly move on. Every year, one of us would be the last to find it, and it would take FOREVER. And usually, everybody else had already seen where your basket was hidden. There was no greater shame.

I remember two specific instances where one final Easter basket taunted one of my siblings. (Also taunting: me and the other siblings.) The first was Jill's. We were all pretty young. In fact, I think it was just me and Jill and Carly. Jill was doomed from the start: my dad had hidden her basket while my mom had hidden mine and Carly's. My mom's basket hiding philosophy was something like "wouldn't it be funny to walk down stairs and see your basket hanging from the ceiling fan?" (I think my mom invented lulz.) My dad's basket hiding philosophy was more along the lines of "let's pretend I just murdered someone with this Easter basket and the cops were on their way over with a search warrant." Jill is still traumatized to this day over how long it took her to find that basket. (It was in the shower.)

Specific instance number two was a little cruel, now that I think about it. My brother, Jake, was afraid of the vacuum for many years of his life. He called it the "um" and would stay clear of the carpet until the vacuuming was finished. (Adorable!) I think you can see where this is going. Of course, the rest of us had found his basket, but for some reason, Jake had avoided opening the coat closet with the vacuum inside, his Easter basket perched on top. (Guess who hid it: mom or dad?) As we watched him wander around, looking in the oven, the shower (ever since Jill's fun year, that was one of the first places we looked), peering into the washing machine, we started to feel bad. So, to help him out, we all started humming "uuuummmm....." After he decided we weren't crazy, he realized what we were doing, and very quickly found his Easter basket.

December 6

cut-out paper snow
flakes on the window where we
watch the winter storm

(I saw a tv show where a woman wrote a haiku everyday to her daughter. It was cute, and I thought I could write a haiku once a day. Most will be crappy, but maybe once in a while I'll get a decent one. We'll see how that goes...)

Why I Don't Like Water Slides

When I was 12, the youth in my ward went on a "super activity" to Seven Peaks Waterpark. My friend talked me into going on what, as a neurotic 12-year-old, looked like a scary water slide. You sat in a pitch black tube and slide down the slide. For those of you unfamiliar with water slides, the concept is pretty basic: you start at the top, ride down, yell "whee!" into the dark void and land in the pool of water at the bottom. I was told that this was supposed to be fun. At Seven Peaks, you can rent a 1-rider tube, a 2-rider tube, or a 3-rider tube. One person in a tube goes down the slide slower than three people in a tube. (For those of you unfamiliar with gravity.) Expanding on this basic premise, it would seem obvious that one 12-year-old 80 pound little girl in a tube would go down much slower than three 30-year-old 250 pound dudes in a multi-rider tube. Knowing about gravity was clearly not a requirement for water slide technicians at Seven Peaks. (At least this was the case in 1994. My incident may have resulted in a recalibration of the water slide technician training.)

Now the water slide technicians job was to stand at the top of slide and tell you when to go down. Ideally, he or she is trying to space all the riders out somewhat evenly, so as not to clog the slide, but to keep the line moving. So he says "go!" to my friend, she goes, and I situate myself, nervously awaiting instruction to go. I hear her screaming echoed back up through the empty darkness of the tunnel. The clearly disinterested tech waves his hand at me. I look at him, unsure what to do. Annoyed, he yells "go!" So I go. I'm sliding down, trying to convince myself this is fun, tightly gripping the tube handles and not making any sounds at all. Soon, I hear the loud whooping that can only come from three 30-year-old developmentally arrested "dudes." I was no physics prodigy, but I could tell that the sound was coming up behind me much faster than I was moving. I held on tighter and closed my eyes. What else could I do? At about the middle of the slide, the dude-mobile ran right over me like I was a just a speed bump. There was a surprised "woah!" and I think one guy said "did we run into someone?" But the concern was quickly dismissed as the whooping and hollering continued, quickly fading as they sped through the rest of the slide. My tube had toppled upside down, and since I refused to let go of the handles, I was skidding down face first, on my stomach, with the tube perched uselessly on my rear end. Not surprisingly to those who know me well, I was mostly preoccupied with the mortifying thought that I would come out of the slide looking stupid. So I desperately tried to get the tube back under me, but only ended up losing my grip on it. The tube rushed down with me, and I scraped down the last quarter of the slide alone.

I try to think of the poor lifeguard that monitors the wading pool where the slide ends. Three dudes shoot out and tell him, "I think we ran over something?" And then a riderless tube shoots out. Soon after, a tiny 12-year-old girl tumbles out head first, visibly bleeding from her thigh. He heroically ran towards me, helped me stand up, and checked out the massive scrape on my leg. Though I was slightly in pain, and a little traumatized, more than anything, I felt shame and humiliation. I failed at the water slide. If I were being graded on water slides, I would have surely earned an F. I convinced the lifeguard I was fine, and ran away as fast as I could. I swore my friend to secrecy. And I spent the rest of day in the shallow end of the wave pool where I belonged, inspecting my enormous thundercloud shaped bruise, glaring at the waterslides, and feeling like a failure.

from June 5, 1993

If anyone actually reads this blog, you'll have noticed I deleted a few posts. I'm working on reorganizing. I want to start using this blog as a place to take some of my journal entries and (hopefully) rework them into mini-essays.

Let's start with one of my oldest journal entries:

June 5, 1993

Today, while Carly was riding her bike, she fell off and really got hurt.
Besides that, nothing really happened that was fun.

Until Next Time!

from August 2, 2003

There was a storm today. It only lasted three minutes or so, but still. There hasn't been a storm in Utah for a while. I came outside at about 9:30 at night and the storm has already moved away but it's still windy and the clouds are dark and heavy. The sun just finished setting and the sky is clinging to the last bit of left over sunlight.

Just to look at it - the light and the sky - is overwhelming.

I love lights in the sky. There are about three big searchlights coming from somewhere in the valley, but the sky seems too thick to hold them. Jake was shining a floodlight up into the sky, watching the light disappear into the dark clouds. I remember doing that with my flashlight at girls camp in the mountains or at Grammy's old house in Idaho. I'd shine the light straight up, illuminating tall tree tops or barely brushing on the side of the mountain. It always made me feel a little scared, but I liked it. It was that same overwhelming feeling, when for a moment, the sky is so much bigger than I ever seemed to notice.

March 4, 2013

Cool Story, or He Decided Not To Eat His Pasta

~Based on a true story. Names changed.~

Bill and Tim had agreed to meet for lunch. Bill arrived to the break room, with his carefully calorie portioned lunch in a neat Tupperware container. Tim was late, so Bill began to eat. Tim and Bill both worked as assistants to the company's top sales team. Danielle, the top earner of the team, had been exceptionally demanding that day. Bill had finished his lunch and was walking out of the lunch room just as Tim walked in. Bill was already exhausted from dealing with Danielle's most recent request, but knew Bill's feelings would be hurt if he didn't stay and eat lunch with him. Besides, Tim was in charge of billing and had allowed Bill to eat while "on the clock." If Erica, the sales team lead, knew about it, she wouldn't be very happy. But, Tim reasoned, they were both vastly underpaid for their work, so they deserved a free lunch. Bill agreed, he knew for a fact that Andrea supported her entire family on her salary while Bill was barely able to make rent and take care of his cats, but it did create an awkward social obligation.

Bill forced small talk and was amiable. Tim talked about how he wasn't eating carbs, which is why his sloppy joe "sandwich" was just a pile of saucy meat. Bill was feeling a little snarky when Tim started explaining that while he brought a pasta salad for lunch, he had decided not to eat it.

"Cool story," Bill said to Tim.
Tim was confused, as usual. "What?"
"I said, 'cool story.'"
"But I said, 'I brought a pasta salad but I don't want to eat it.'"
"I know," Bill said, "and I replied, 'Cool story.'"
"But..." Tim appeared to be distressed, "But that isn't really a cool story."
"Yes," Bill sighed. "That's the joke."

Tim didn't think it was funny at all, but smiled anyway. He didn't want to look dumb.