Thursday, November 02, 2006

Gone Fishing

Presenting MunnsCo™ brand Dolphin. It's delicious on a cracker, in a mayonnaise sandwich, or just straight out of the can.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


It's my two-year blogiversary today. To celebrate I'm going to download 730 viruses off the internet, one for each day I've been a blogger. Then I'm going to attach those viruses to spam-mail and send them to 730 of my closest friends. If they get mad, I'll be all like: "Chill, man, it's my blogiversary" and then we'll hug or something.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I'm back from Hawaii and it was the most horrible week of my life.

Also, I'm a liar.

Hawaii was incredible. Expect a few posts on the subject, which will come when photos from the various parties in attendance have been developed and/or collected.

In the meantime, I would like to report a death. My camera, which has served me faithfully for 14 months or so (still in the prime of its life!) was brutally murdered by some rogue splashes of sea water. I loved my camera and, as to be expected, am deeply saddened by this event. Which is why I'm currently in talks with my lawyers about the possibility of filing a wrongful death suit against the ocean. I think I'll be able to at least get something -- considering the ocean covers two thirds of the earth and all; an entity that vast and prominent has got to be loaded.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


This isn't supposed to be a vacation blog. But in the interest of avoiding posts about angry jihadists, office chatter, or nonexistent relationships, for the moment, that's what it is. If I had written an extensive account of my recent trip to California, the following would be excerpts:

Spent a couple days being reminded why people pay insanely high prices to live in San Diego. The man on the corner energetically flipping the sign for the tiny condos behind him (starting at 400 grand), didn't leave me completely agape this time. The visit was perfect: the weather, the beach, the cavorting seals. With most my college friends married and popping out babies, it was nice to spend the time with Mark and Cassie, the final holdouts. Of course they're both ticking time bombs.

At my aunt's house near Sacramento, my sister and I walked with my maternal grandmother through the large yard, stopping to hear grandma’s opinion on every twig and rock. Her brain tumor, although dormant, seems to not only have wiped her short-term memory, but also left her persistently curious about yard waste. We spent several minutes perched over a pile of stones while she monologued about their ideal shape and size, suggesting that my uncle should really give up a few for her garden. She's forgotten she doesn't garden anymore.

My grandfather, in his 90s, has had better luck with his health. He is lucid, soft spoken, and content, spending the days napping, reading, and surfing the web. While we were chatting, my grandmother crept up behind him and begin scraping his bald head with some kind of dried plant she must have found in the yard.

"Want to see what I pricked you with?" she asked, holding up her find for him to examine. He stared dully at her hand then turned back to me.

"I'm enjoying my retirement," he said.

The meat of the trip was with my other grandparents at their cabin on Lake McClure. While one set has slowed their lives down, my paternal grandparents don't yet seem to realize they're in their eighties. This was most comically illustrated when my grandfather tried to leap the railings of the cabin deck (he made it over, barely), or when, halfway up a ladder, I had to insist that he let me be the one to climb into the water tank to clean out the sand. When I’m in my eighties, I plan on catatonically staring at Jeopardy and doing lots of drooling. Definitely none of this leaping decks and climbing ladders business.

I can't describe how good it was to be with them: parents, grandparents, sister, brother-in-law, nieces. We spent a lot of time sitting out on the deck overlooking the lake, talking, or "philosophizing," as my grandmother puts it. For a few days it felt as if time had slowed down; as if this lone cabin on an empty hill had detached itself from the world across the lake.

We weren't completely alone, though. There were the wild burros. Invisible, out in the oak trees, they made the most ungodly noises at night. In my mind, they were molty, haggard beasts; or at the very least had a description that measured up to the horrible sounds they made. But when we spotted them on a hill, as my brother-in-law and I were paddling by in a makeshift raft, I found them to be deceptively normal. Handsome, even. Still, if they were talking donkeys, and we had somehow found ourselves in casual conversation, I would tactfully slip in a suggestion for throat surgery.

The elaborate plan to record my grandparents’ commentary on some old home movies didn’t go over so well. Technical difficulties. But watching them as newlyweds living in Hawaii, right across from Pearl Harbor, was just good. Also, it seems my father laughed a lot as a baby. He still laughs a lot.

It made me happy.

Thursday I’m leaving for the land of my dad’s birth. A week in Hawaii. I know I said this isn’t supposed to be a vacation blog but it is what it is.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bryce Canyon

Some photos from a recent trip to Bryce canyon with my French friend, Pierre. Let me tell you: Bryce is amazing. Pierre compared the towering stone "hoodoos" of the Canyon to the "ancient ruins of some impossible cathedral." I thought they looked like the bloody stalagmites of a colossal, upside-down cave. In any case, they just looked otherworldly, as if nothing on Earth could cook up such eerie formations. Of course the recipe is simple: lots of rushing water, wind, maybe some ice--and millions of years. Erosion, you artistic genius, you.

But more on that later. I'm off to California for a week. Bye now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Perusing the produce section of my local grocery store last week, I came upon the most curious fruit. “Grapple,” the label read. “Looks like an apple, tastes like a grape!”

My first thought was: “Those crazy scientists! What will they think of next?” It was a natural assumption: if an apple claims to taste like a grape, then there must be some kind of genetic interference, right?

The grapples came in a 4-pack, smelled very strongly of grape flavor, and were ridiculously expensive. I bought them, of course. Who am I to turn down a genetic abomination?

Naturally, it was all lies. For one thing, they don’t taste like grapes. They taste like apples! Sure, they smell like grape jolly ranchers, but all grape flavor is lost once you bite past the skin. My next thought was: “Scientists, you are failures! Go back to scientist school!”

Then I read the packaging.
“Ingredients: Fuji apples, Artificial Grape Flavor.”

So there was no genetic manipulation after all. Just plain apples soaked in grape flavor. I quickly flashed through an emotional spectrum, starting with denial, then incredulity, depression, and finally, violent rage.

My mother always taught me that you can solve any problem by writing an angry letter. So I went on the official Grapple website to give them a piece of my mind. But, on the way, I was distracted by a Grapple message board. Yes, there’s a message board for Grapple.

Here are some highlights:

“Oh my gosh!!!! these are grate! I love them, and most people think that I’m macking up some kind of fruit. But i sugesst that every one should try them!!!!!!”

“grapples taste like wet tar”

“I haven’t been able to walk for 15 years now. Just two bites of this grapple made me spring to my feet in ecstasy! I no longer need to eat anything else ever again!”

By the time I finished reading the board, my rage had simmered into amusement. Sure, maybe Grapple is an overpriced joke. And sure, I could easily make my own Grapples with plain apples and grape soda. But if anyone stands to win here, it’s fat children. After all, Grapples smell like candy. We can trick the little bastards into eating healthy. That’s good parenting.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Antelope Island in April

Some shots from a recent biking trip to Antelope Island. The Great Salt Lake may smell like a noxious fly-ridden bog at times, but there are other times, especially in the Spring, when it's quite a wonderful place to visit.

Monday, April 17, 2006

26 Years Ago, I Was Birphed

Today is my Oldness Day, as K and Nardac so aptly put it--marking my rapid decline into middle age. There's a vast, craterous gulf between age 25 and 26, and I have crossed it.

I awoke this morning to a blizzard. Thanks a lot, God. As if you didn't already ravage me with the effects of time and aging, you can't help but rub it in with sub-freezing temperatures? And after weeks of wonderful Spring weather. Just for that I'll be sending even more greenhouse gases to your precious ozone layer.

Seriously, we keep hearing about this Global Warming thing but it's taking FOREVER.

At least I have some exciting activities to look forward to today. Like standing in line at the DMV, having just realized that my driver's license expires. In the good news department, I'm going to be celebrating my newfound elderliness with delicious Indian food in Salt Lake tonight. I just gotta remember not to order anything that will irritate my dentures.

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

History Day Shenanigans

Last week some coworkers and I were asked to judge a regional History Day competition. History Day is like a Science Fair without the science part. The rules are the same: foam-board displays, pasted-on facts, and glaringly obvious parental involvement. I got assigned to the Elementary school kids, who were pretty easy to locate on account of their tiny, tiny bodies. My job was to walk around with a clipboard, listen to their presentations, and evaluate their worth as human beings. During it all, I frequently daydreamed of driving groups of 10-year-olds to tears with loud, ridiculous declarations ("Could this BE any more pedestrian?!")

Yeah, I didn't do that.

In fact, I was a sucker judge. These kids were too cute for their own good. Most of them were polished, informed, and articulate. Some even wore costumes. How can you grade two girls dressed as Harriet Tubman harshly? Also, the grading system made it difficult to give a realistic score. The three categories were SUPERIOR, EXCELLENT, and GOOD. Frankly, some of the entries I saw were CRAP, but that wasn't a category.

After I had scored all the kiddies, I had to rank them into first, second, and third place. This was probably the most difficult part. My thought process went something like this: "Group-A has a well documented, annotated bibliography. That's good. On the other hand, Group-B is the clear winner in adorableness."

Somehow I got through it.

On the way home, my coworker, Michelle, and I decided to take a small detour into the canyon. We were expected back at the office to finish off the workday, but it was too damned sunny and wonderful outside. So we went wading in a river. Turns out that the water, despite the deceptively pleasant weather, was cold enough to kill a penguin. I suppose unmelted snow near the riverbank should have tipped us off.

Already in the beginning stages of hypothermia, our next great idea was to continue through the canyon to a nearby ski resort. Together we rehearsed the excuse we would offer our boss:

"We tried to get back to the office, honest!" we would say. "But the car suddenly took a wrong turn. And our mothers always taught us that when you're lost, you should always head North. Or in this case, East, towards the mountains. We were as shocked as you are when we found ourselves in skis. Believe us, we have no recollection of ever putting them on. The only logical thing to do at that point was ski home. And for some reason, no matter how hard we skied, we kept ending up back at the resort. It was horrible! I mean, haven't we gone through enough? In fact, why don't you stop badgering us and fetch some hot chocolate?"

Well I still have a job, so sufficed to say, we abandoned that plan. It's too bad though. It would have been awesome.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hello Again

I just realized that for the entire month of March, I posted exactly ONE time. That's just sad. If I owned a magical cloning machine, I would totally make a clone of myself, just so I could beat that clone up. Serves him right.

So the good news is, there's nowhere to go but up. Even if I only post once more in the month of April, that's double my March offerings. I'm a guaranteed success. In other news, I changed some burnt-out light bulbs in my house yesterday. I'm like the greatest person that ever lived.

It's all about keeping expectations low.

In conclusion, I wish I had a pet lamb. I would build a cage for it to frolic and play (see photo). Then, in due time, I would eat it. That is my dream.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Oh, Clipart

Sometimes when browsing the internet for stock images, I come across things that alarm and disturb me. For example, (a bloated mass of deranged drawings, endlessly being pumped out of some kind of work-house asylum) offered me the following:

I can't begin to explain what's wrong with this drawing. First of all, it is offensive to blenders. I refuse to believe that a device capable of delivering such delicious fruity beverages would have a second job as a murder chamber. That's so racist.

Secondly, it's offensive to gnomes. The tiny person inside the blender is clearly some kind of miniature forest creature. Leave the gnomes alone!

And lastly, this image is offensive to large women in yellow dresses. I'm so sick of that ridiculous stereotype. Not all yellow-dressed women use blenders as an implement of torture. What, do you think they spend all day in the kitchen? No. They've got successful, fulfilling careers, and surely can afford a decent pair of nipple clamps.

But maybe we should talk about the larger issue here. Judging by the expression on their face, the woman and her gnome-husband are really hurting inside. Was there a marital dispute? A death in the family? A problem with their tiny, elven children? Whatever the case, this couple needs to learn that one can't just make every problem go away by placing one's spouse in a blender. Sure, it seems like a clear-cut solution, but there are too many negative consequences. Like all the post-blend clean-up. Also, the smell.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Two Weekends of Ski

You’d think after 5 years of living in Utah, I’d have caught on. But some of us are slow learners. Not long ago, my favorite thing to do with snow was shake my fist at it angrily, yelling obscenities. Things have changed. We’re buddies now, the snow and I.

Two days of cross country certainly has helped our relationship. A few friends and I trekked up into the Uinta mountains, along the border of Wyoming and Utah. We spent most the day pushing ourselves and some equipment sleds along a powdery trail until we reached a cabin tucked into the trees. The snow was deeper than I’ve ever seen it. We had to dig a trail up to the front door, and then another trail, several feet deep, to the outhouse. Let me tell you, if there’s one thing I admire about my gender, it’s the ability to pee standing up. Sorry girls. Mother Nature hates you.

With the help of the stove, we got the cabin from 10 below to 65 Fahrenheit. There’s nothing cozier than a cabin in the woods. I slept great, and the trek back, with shafts of morning spilling through the foliage, was just surreal.

Two days later, I tried downhill. My good friend Jean was visiting from California and had also never skied before. We learned quickly that downhill skiing, like most things, has a learning curve. At first, all I could think was, “I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die.” Then, as I figured out how to slow down, I grew a bit less fearful. “This is fun,” I thought, as I flew down the hill. “But surely it can only end in death.”

It wasn’t until the following weekend, when I was back at the same resort for night skiing with some college roommates, that I started to really get the hang of it. And now I’m hooked. In fact, Jean is flying back in a couple weeks and we’re going to give it another go. Plenty of time for all my bruises to heal.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fish of My Life

I haven't had much luck with fish. Specifically, pet fish, of the Siamese (or Beta) variety. Known for their ability to survive in cramped spaces with minimal attention and care, they are the ideal pet for lazy people.

Yet two Betas have died on me recently. The first fish, who I had aptly named "Fish," froze to death while I was on vacation in California. A few months later, the second fish, which I named "Fish II," starved to death while I was on vacation in California. Ironically, I had installed an automatic feeder for Fish I, but neglected to leave on a heater. Fish II had plenty of heat, but I just forgot to feed it. If Fish I and Fish II were merged into one super fish, they would have been just fine. So I guess we can only conclude that it serves them both right.

Sure, if we're going to play the blame game, then fine, maybe I didn't exactly take care of them properly. I've decided my problems of neglect stem from me not being home enough. So, after moving into my newly constructed office space, I bought a new fish for work. My computer has been programmed to remind me twice daily to feed the new fish. And he lives in an office environment that is always warm.

But one thing still bothered me. Perhaps naming a fish after its own species was bad luck. Both Fish I and Fish II had kicked the bucket, after all. This time, I felt it appropriate to give my new fish a proper name. And that name is Murderkill.

So welcome, Murderkill, to your new life. You will receive exactly 8 pellets of food per day, in exchange for which you will float around in your glass vase and look interesting. Failing to comply with said rule will result in an immediate reduction in the amount of delicious pellets you receive. I hope we're clear on this. Do your job or it's a one way trip to a toilet bowl near you, mister. We both know that I don't mess around.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sweet Spam

I received the following email today:
Hi ,
I am Stephani, Remember me?
New Super Web Sites Opened.You Know?
Every Thing Here And Every Thing Super.
This is Not Dream!!! This is Real!!

This is Not Spam Mail.This is Reminder! Thanks.

Here was my reply:

Dearest Stephani,

Of course I remember you. How could I forget? How long has it been? Five, six years? It seems like forever. But you know what I like about you, Stephani? (besides the bad English and the awkward spelling of your name) -- you're always thinking about other people. Just this morning I was thinking to myself: how can I get my hands on more "New Super Web Sites"? And then I get your wonderful email. You're a dream come true, Stephani. A prayer answered. You make Mother Theresa look like a bloated, rum-loving skank.

But there's one thing that hurts me, Stephanie. That you would think for one second that I would consider your sweet, poetic email to be spam. Of course I know you'd never send me spam. Of course I know that this is merely a "Reminder!" After all these years, you still worry what I think of you? Don’t you remember our quiet cottage in Salem? Don't you remember our three beautiful children?

Is this about Molly? Listen, I know all about how you abandoned her in the woods that one day you went crazy. Honestly Stephani, you can’t beat yourself up about that. I don't know anyone who doesn't consider two out of three non-abandoned children a glaring success. Arthur and Danny are both healthy and happy, functional adults -- living within the nurturing walls of the Nevada State Prison.

You’re wrong about one thing, you know -- that "This is Not Dream!!!” Of course this is a dream. Life with you has always been a dream. And I never want to wake up. Forget about the website, as wonderful as it sounds. I want "Every Thing Here And Every Thing Super" for the rest of my life. Come back to me, darling.

Ever devoted,

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Bears hibernate for the winter, why can't I? It's only natural. For one thing, I have a lot in common with bears. We're both mammals, right? We're both cuddly. We both enjoy delicious salmon. And who am I to turn down a good mauling now and then?

So I think to myself: why not hibernate? And so I have, both metaphorically and literally. It's not that I don't want to leave at times--but there's something to be said about remaining comfortably lethargic. Indoors is warm. Outdoors is cold. Easy decision.

I'm missing out, of course. For one thing, no one ever told me how fun snow shoeing is. Sure, it certainly doesn't SOUND fun--trotting around in icy mush with tennis rackets attached to your feet. But it's deceptive like that. Even the uphill, stuck-in-deep-snow, wheezing for breath, even that is exhilarating. When the day is just right, and the cold is just the right amount of cold, and there's just enough sun shining, and just enough white landscape--it's all just enough to make you regret the warmth and the comfort. It makes you want to emerge more often--stretch--take a look around. What's the sense of loving the outdoors all but 4 months of the year?

I thought this on Saturday after arriving home exhausted, chunks of snow still stuck to the bottom of my boots. By Monday, I'd forgotten about it. I had the day off and was determined to waste it, to claim the right of deserved relaxation. A few hours I spent attempting a Nocturne. The rest, shopping for an easy chair. I visited 6 different stores. It's amazing the great efforts I will go to in order to more comfortably do nothing.

This is the pace of winter. I have projects to poke at. I have started pottery again. I go out on the weekends, and some nights. But I never feel like myself until things finally start to melt. Until I can go to work with the sun up, and come home with it still in the sky. As if I have no more control than those patient tree buds. Or those cuddly, smelly bears.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

If you weren't aware, they added an extra second to the clock this New Years -- to satisfy scientists' anal demands that the sun/earth revolution thing be completely accurate. So the question is: what did you do with your extra second of time?

I made the most of mine. Traveled the southern hemisphere. Got lost in the Amazon for at least half of that second. Left my job and became a farmer. Wrote a screenplay, weepy and poignant. Eloped and had two kids -- who were subsequently killed in a car accident. Mourned, and came to terms with things. Watched my fingernails grow...

Hope all your extra seconds were just as enlightening. If not, don't worry too much about it. You've got 31,556,926 more seconds to play with in 2006. Best get started.