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.