Monday, June 30, 2008

The UTA Debacle

Today I tried to be eco-friendly and wallet-wise by beginning to take the bus to BYU for class on Mondays and Wednesdays; but, it wasn't in the cards. I arrived at Sego Lilly Drive, parked my car and ran over to the 817 bus. I hadn't ridden public transit since riding MARTA from the airport to my hotel in Atlanta, but I was pretty excited to read my book and chillax on the way to school. I even talked the bus driver into letting me ride for free because I hadn't yet picked up my bus pass from BYU.

After about a minute of waiting on the bus at the station, the power was cut and the bus driver said that some fluid was leaking from the bus and we would all have to find another way to Provo. "As many of you as will fit can go on the 811–sorry!" she said. I stood up and told the passengers that I could take four with me to BYU, and four accepted. I'm just grateful that there wasn't a quiz in class on the reading I was going to finish during the bus ride.

Transit breakdowns are the worst, though. I remember the subway breaking down two or three times on my mission. Once it was about a quarter kilometer (probably about 20 feet) from the station and the driver announced over the loudspeaker that there was a fire at the next station, so we would have to wait. The girl sitting across the subway car from us said that she remembered watching a movie once where a subway broke down and they announced that there was a fire at the next subway station, but that there was nothing to worry about and then lava came through the subway tunnel and everyone died. It was a perfect segway into the plan of salvation.

We also had to deal with a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) strike on one of the hottest days of June in 2006. We taught a lot of people, but walked several miles in the stifling heat that day going to different appointments. Also, in my naivety, I received some chemical burns from being out in the sun with lime oil residue on my hands because I had decided to make Brazilian limeade. It was an unfortunate incident filled whatever filled those blisters.

The most classic transit letdown however involved Johnny, when he missed his bus from the Timpanogas transit center at the University Mall. He thumbed a ride to UVSC and barely caught his bus, which subsequently broke down on the freeway. He had to wait about an hour and a half for it to get fixed.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Turd Time's the Charm!

I didn't start noticing it until after I met up with my brother, Joe, for lunch at his work and overheard Chandler talking with him about how their office parking spots were directly under a drop zone for bird turd. Joseph had just washed his car earlier that day and by lunchtime there was already excrement cemented on the hood of his Cadillac. It wasn't until later that I noticed that my Nissan had also fallen victim to the pigeon pooparazzi in the parking lot. There were two gigantic jobbies on the hood and roof of my car. Crap. But, I guess on the bright side, I was able to get two birds with one car.

My car was due for a wash anyway, so this morning I took it to the car wash away the double deuce. Later in the day I went to drop off something for my brother and hadn't been away from my car but ten minutes and my hood was again claimed in a raid. When it happens three times in one week, I cry fowl! It's funny how it works, though. In my own experience, birds usually either strike immediately after a carwash or on the day that you lose your bus pass in Toronto and even after scrubbing it with a damp napkin it won't really come out of your jacket, and you can't go home and change because it will take too long to walk home and you can't take the bus home because you lost your bus pass and your companion just keeps laughing at you. Don't worry, I'm not bitter. Speaking of bird droppings, did you hear that the Pope got the bird flu? Apparently he got it from one of his Cardinals. Oh yeah, and what did the pigeon say to the statue? Pardon me, do you happen to have any gray poop on you?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Parannoyed

That's the double feeling I get every summer when it's warm enough for mosquitos to get back in the swing of things and start sucking at life. Mosquitos bite. Once I see one, I start feeling tiny little mosquito legs all over my body and have been known to smack myself in the head or flail my arms about in a paranoia panic. I'm trying to think of the worst places they've ended up. I know I've smashed one in my ear before (which sounds like popping a zit, by the way) and it seems like they've gotten my forehead, my forearms, and my forefingers. The worst was the time that I went camping right after I had washed my hair with a fragrant Herbal Essences shampoo and a whole swarm of them mauled me. Actually, the worst time was last July in Smiths Falls out on Brother McKeever's boat when we were fishing on the marshy lake in his backyard. It was all fun and games until the sun went down and we glided right into a hovering sphere of bugs. Gnat cool. I was already doused in deet, but it didn't matter, they loved me like a fat kid loves cake. It felt like they were in my nose, in my ears, on my neck, on my arms, and on my head crawling through my hair. Gross!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wuss Eyes and Wuss Nose

I'd like to think that it's genetic and that I have no choice, but to be honest, I'm not really sure. All I know is that my instincts stink when it comes to looking tough. I noticed it today when I was on the elevator. As I was pulling a piece of paper out of my right pocket, my pen clung to the paper and I felt it coming out of my pocket with the paper. I closed my eyes tightly, anticipating a clang against the marble floor when it dropped; but, somehow, in a gravity-defying balancing act, it remained nigh my thigh. It was then that I realized that, not only was my eye squint in vain, but it was completely uncalled for, because in the world of loud noises, a pen drop wouldn't even hold its own decibel place. Then I thought back to close-quarter concerts I had attended in the past, and the times I had jammed with my cousin's band, and how my eyelids were caught in the snare of the drum, and how they would blink like a strobe light to the beat. Let's just say, if I were a President, I'd be A. Blinkin.

Then, there's my nose. I can't remember the last time that I jumped into a pool without holding my nose. Probably because it has never happened. I instinctively squeeze my schnoz whenever I jump into the pool, even if it's just from the side of the pool. Just ask Johnny and Tommy–they ridiculed me for it during the 2003 Pool Olympics in Phoenix, AZ (Hey, what are you guys doing with that pool vacuum?). So, I've got that going for me, which is nice, along with a body coveted for its tan and tone, so there's really no reason for me to be embarrassed at the pool. Even if my niece called me Mayonnaise Man while we were swimming. It must be because I go well with a sandwich, because I'm obviously tan. Wow, tangent. Anyway, meanwhile, back at the ranch–but don't confuse the proverbial ranch with Ranch dressing just because mayo is a main ingredient, because I don't have enough freckles for you to make a legitimate case anyway–where were we? Ah, yes, plugging my nose. Yeah, I tried not plugging my nose a few times, but my wuss reflex kicked in and I had to hand it to myself just before the plunge.

Do some of you have the same problem, or am I an anomaly?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Balderdash

I played Balderdash this past Saturday with a few friends. I never realized how much I loved that game until I played it again. For those of you who have never played the game, one draws a card and reads one of five options:
  1. A movie title
  2. An unusual vocab word
  3. A name
  4. An acronym
  5. A notable date in history
The group then takes time to write down what the movie is about based on the title, what the vocab word means, who the person is, what the acronym stands for, or why the date is notable. A person then reads all of the submissions and also the real description on the back of the card. I'm sure if you were playing by the rules you would all try to guess the right description, and hope your own submission was good enough to fool someone else. But, when I played last Saturday we were just playing for the laughs.

Anyway, during round two, the movie title, "Babes in Baghdad" was chosen. Naturally, my description was, "A movie about an American General that falls in love with Saddam Hussein's daughter, because she was Saddam sexy."

Needless to say, I always love a game that gets the creative juices flowing. That game was right up my alley. I also love a game called Sniglets, which is the reverse, where a definition is given and you have to come up with a word. Word.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

8:08

I have a weird obsession with the time 8:08. I remember as a child typing words into my calculator–all you had to do was turn your calculator upside down and you could type in words like shoeless, hello, and all the other words that we all remember but I won't blog about. I remember figuring out that I could type "Bobby" into the calculator, yea, even with the calculator right-side up, which made me feel pretty special. But, this fascination with seeing Bob or Bobby in digital format escalated when I first heard Maggie say, "It's 7:11, make a wish!" I soon realized, that, like 7:11, 8:08, or "Bob time," if you will, is a regular occurrence during the day. Saying 'regular occurrence' actually just made me think of Metamucil or milk of magnesia, when all I really wanted to convey is that it's 8:08 twice a day, no matter what. So, I've since replaced lucky 7:11, with lucky 8:08. It is not uncommon to hear me say, "It's 8:08, make a wish!" I think the reason why I'm so proud of 8:08 is that no one else can claim their name in the time, unless the person is named Boo or Sob or something.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bachelor Parties in Utah

This past Friday night my friends and I had a bachelor party for Sam Harman, who gets married this Thursday. It was really fun. A few friends went up to Midway earlier in the day and got in a round of 18 holes and then met up with the rest of us at Dave Smith's parents' new home up in Midway. For dinner we had some Bobby-qued steaks, chicken and some good fruit and sides. Afterwards, we watched Sam's slideshow–it's a tradition amongst my friends to make a slideshow for the guy getting hitched. We had some fun inside jokes in there and had a few laughs. Then we went over to the Homestead and went swimming for a little bit. Around ten o'clock, we went back to Dave's house, cleaned up, and were headed home by 10:30. It was at that point that one of my friends made the astute observation, "You realize that anywhere else outside of Utah we would just barely be getting the party started at 10:30, right?" We all agreed; but we were tired, so we went home and slept.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

NASCARolina

As mentioned in my plane post, I just got back from North Carolina. It was amazing. I was going to be attending a summer leadership program with Ernst & Young the first week of June and the firm flew me out a few days early so I could spend some time with the Christensen's. It was surprised to see how funny Maddie is now, how crafty Eloise is, how much Sarah Jane looks like me, and how big Bea has gotten. They were so much fun to be with. We went swimming, played some fun games, ate the best cheesecake I've ever consumed, and even went to see Lowe's Motor Speedway. Charlotte is right in the heart of NASCAR country and will host the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Anyway, Flori & Rob took me, Seth, and the girls to take a tour of the racetrack. It would've been a sight to see that stadium full. Apparently sit seats around 180,000. I've never seen that many mullets before. The tour was conducted in a large fifteen passenger Chevy van. Jim would've felt at ease in the vehicle, seeing that he took his driving test in one and all. Anyway, the van took us for a lap on the track at 75 mph, where we felt, as the guide said, "the full-tilt force of the 24-degree banking." So, in layman's terms, it means the road is tilted at 24-degrees. If you thought that full-tilt force 24-degree banking was a game of intense financial banking pinball, you were so wrong. But, anyway, when we were driving on a tilt it felt as though the van might tip over; but luckily we were riding the track clockwise and my head was on the passenger side for anchor management. I took a picture next to the race car car in the Winner's Circle as well. I've always felt at ease when I'm around a race car, seeing that we're both palindromes and all. We all had a blast there, but when the driver started rattling off names of famous drivers that had raced there, we realized that we couldn't fully appreciate it for the cultural Mecca that it is. "Stevie Whatsit and Jimmy Whosit both raced here in last year's Something 600 fighting for the Can't Remember Cup," and I couldn't help but think of the Winston Cup, and then about Uncle Winston and wondered what he was up to.

I loved staying with the Christensen's, though. It was funny to see a streak of Maddie's sarcasm while I was out there. It gave me some insight into what I must've been like growing up. Bea is at a fun age, too. She has been walking around like crazy and even lugs around heavy objects with her sometimes. She's a cutie.

Ernst & Young Summer Leadership Program
The leadership program was good, too. Ernst & Young put me in a nice hotel in a posh part of Charlotte that was about 20 minutes away from the office. They wanted to put all of us in the downtown Marriott, but there were no rooms available because there was an international square dancing competition going on. Hey, accountants are square! The E&Y office is really nice, though. It's in the Bank of America Tower and has a great view of the city. Though, I will say that the security was a little too intense for my liking. I guess when you're guarding financial data for the biggest bank in America high-level security is justified.

One of my favorite parts about the office visit was one of the forums we had. They invited four professionals who had left E&Y to go take a job at a corporation to come and let us ask them questions. Two of them ended up coming back to the firm and two were still working different jobs. It was neat to be able to ask them questions, because it's always in the back of your mind that maybe you'll leave public accounting after a couple of years to pursue other options, but you feel scared to bring it up around the recruiters. They showed me that it's a common occurrence and that the more open you are with the firm, the more they can help you to get where you want to be. It was cool.

I made some good friends at the conference and was able to get a good feel for the Charlotte office. The people were great and I love the city. It's definitely somewhere I could see myself living. It was crazy to see how to much the church is growing out there, too. The Christensen's ward just split, and I think it had just split right before they moved, too. So, I'll have to see how I like Charlotte compared to Chicago and Salt Lake City, when I see other offices later in the summer.

This is your captain speaking...

I just got back from visiting North Carolina. On the plane ride out there I thought I was going to die. For a few solid minutes, we had the worst turbulence I had ever experienced. I was getting a little bit nervous that one of the wings would pop off of the side of the plane and that the weight of my head would send the plane into a death spiral; but after a couple of minutes, it seemed to stop. Then the plane had a few more hard hits and then the plane dropped suddenly and the people that weren't buckled in bumped their heads on the ceiling and everything went flying off of everyone's tables. There was a laptop that landed in the aisle and a puppy that came out of its cage that scurried a few rows away and jumped up into someone's arms, shaking. One lady was screaming, which didn't help, and the little kids behind me were talking about how cool it was, and wanted to do it again. Me? I was so scared. After all of my internal organs had found their places again within my torso, the stress of the situation finally caught up with me. A couple of tears came out, but it didn't feel like I'd been crying, it was weird. I took off my headphones and pulled out my scriptures. I came to the realization that if the plane did go down, I didn't want my last memories of life to be of watching, "Mad Money," the in-flight movie starring Queen Latifa. It was interesting to read Alma 5 when you think you might really die. Suddenly questions like, "Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?" became a lot more personal. Thankfully, a few prayers and a few hours later, we landed safely in Charlotte.