Thursday, March 31, 2011

Random Day!

I do not know a whole lot of internet slang or acronyms. I’ve looked up what meme is at least five times. The acronym that always tricks me is “lmao.” I always think it’s a capital I and then try to figure out what it could mean. Itching my ass off. Icing my ass off. Imitating my ass off.
Then I think, why would the I be capitalized while the rest are lowercase. Oh yeah, a lowercase l is the same as an uppercase I.
Email from my wife this morning (slightly edited):
Morning, Jutah!

Fyi, my paycheck did go in last night.  So you can pull out your spending money whenever you want.  That Whataburger should have been part of your spending money, buddy. ;)

I’m a stalker….

Love you.
(I went to Whataburger at 8:30, and this email came at 8:54, before I returned.)
I finally got my boots yesterday, and I couldn’t be prouder. Now all I need is some cut off jean shorts, a paisley kerchief to tie around my neck, and a mai tai with an umbrella, and I’ll be ready to go!
My wife and I have had pasta for almost every meal for last 2 weeks. She’s Italian and I feel like she’s really perpetuating stereotypes here. Well, what about perpetuating the stereotypes of my heritage? I’m… er… American. We need more American food in our diet. For example, did you know the first Americans ate fried chicken, hot dogs, and Freebirds. It’s history – look it up.
Before I go to bed every night, literally as I am about to go into shut down mode, I have this vision of myself hitting a homerun. This is odd because I never played baseball in my life. Furthermore, I throw like a Carl Lewis. Look it up on youtube.
That’s all for today. I hope everyone has a nice weekend. My wife is going out of town and I can feel the paranoia building.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ms. Light, Can You Hear me?

Yesterday, I drank an absurd amount of Crystal Light because we didn’t have any Coke Zero – the beverage that makes up 99.9% of my daily fluid intake. When we ran out of the Zero, I didn’t want to go all the way to the store, so it was either water or flavored water – not really a debate. I made a 2 liter jug of Crystal Light fruit punch and then proceeded to drink it for the next 4 hours as I half-ass drafted fantasy baseball teams and whole-ass watched cartoons. So, (read this in a Jerry Seinfeld voice) what’s the deal with the dye in Crystal Light? What are the people there thinking? Why do we need a dissolving powder drink that contains commercial, textile factory grade dye? Seriously, I could use Crystal Light fruit punch to fix the underarm stains on my red t-shirts. When I woke up this morning, my tongue was still red from drinking Crystal Light the day before, and I swear I brushed my teeth thoroughly the night before – I even went through the alphabet twice!

There has to be a reason for this. Why in the world would Crystal Light want her company to accidentally dye our stuff? Doesn’t she know that more dying agent is more expensive than less dying agent? Maybe Ms. Light wants to leave her mark on all of her drinkers. Maybe it’s a marketing campaign. “Oh, your tongue is red. What were you drinking? Crystal light? Is it good?” Boom! New customer.

Also, most of the Crystal Light flavors are way too strong and sweet. I can hear Wilford Brimley in my head warning me of the dangers of diabetes.

Crystal Light, won’t you just make a flavor that doesn’t taste like anything and is clear?

Thank you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm Watching You

Before I start, here's one of the bands we're going to see at Lone Star Jam in Austin next month. It's some nice reading music. If you don't like country, don't start it. 

Amongst the several  weird idiosyncrasies I possess, staring seems to be the one that gets me in the most hot water – or at least what I perceive to be hot water. I doubt the subjects of my staring really care or even notice, but I get anxious because I think, oh, I hope they didn’t notice me staring for 5 seconds too long. For example, the other day I caught myself looking at a student in the hallway, who is neither in my class nor do I know (other than in passing), thinking to myself, she got a new haircut. Then the next thought is, Oh God, how long was I looking at her hair? Did she notice me staring at her hair? Look away. No, not at the other kid! The ground. The ground, you moron!

The worst time to be a starer like me is in the gym. There aren’t even any attractive women (or any women for that matter in my gym), so I could at least think, well, I’m staring at women. My gym is the opposite of Curves gym – they should call it Straights all male gym (hmmm… something about that sounds weird). Anyways, I watch men work out constantly. I’ve caught myself counting another man’s exercise reps out loud before. I could really creep some people out. “Hey bud, I was counting your push-ups using the reflections off the mirrors. Yeah, that’s how I knew how many you did even though I wasn’t facing you. Great form, man. Just damn fantastic.”

To make matters worse, I have a strange habit where I use my bottom lip to push my top lip up to my nose, like I’m getting ready to plant a huge kiss on someone.  I think this habit formed from being paranoid about my breath in middle school and doing it in an attempt to smell my own breath. I don’t think I do it for that reason anymore, but I still do it without thinking and realizing I’m doing it. Well, I do this in the gym more than I would anywhere else. I guess there is something about the sweat on my nose and upper lip that makes me do it. Who knows? I DO know that staring intensely and making kissy faces at other men as they work out is somewhat unsettling. I wonder how many times someone at my gym has referred to me as that big, gay dude.

Fortunately, I will say that my mind has been trained to look forward in the gym locker room – I have far too many images of old man junk burned into my subconscious from the college locker room. So, yeah, that’s a win for me.

P.S. If you have time, watch Waiting for Superman. It’s about the crisis in our public school systems. The movie is inspiring, appalling, motivating, and hopeful all at the same time. Good stuff.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Open Letter to Scurriers

An Open Letter to Scurriers-

I see you walking out of the grocery store. I’m traveling at a daunting 2 mph pace and waiting to pounce at any moment as I approach from over 100 yards away from you. My slightly saggy front bumper indicates that I hit something; maybe I hit a flat-topped, middle aged lady pushing her shopping cart somewhere between the HEB exit and her car, or maybe I was backing out of my driveway and cut my wheel to fast making my low profile bumper scrape against the curb. No one knows. Ultimately, you only have one option so that I might spare your life. You must wait for me to stop and give you my benevolent approval. I will waive my hand in a broad sweeping motion signifying I have decided to let you pass.  The only payment I want in return is for you to walk nervously across the street in front of me as you imitate a panicky squirrel, checking across your shoulder four or five times to see if I changed my mind and decided to run you over. Mwahahahaha!

Scurriers, you are right to be nervous. This world is full of monsters, and one day, one of us will run you over. It’s not a matter of if but when.


The man who feels embarrassed because you hurry across the street so nervously – like you fear for your life. I mean, come on. Do you really think I’m just going to gun my car all of the sudden? Geez.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Called The Perfect Storm

I’ve noticed this weird phenomenon over the years, and I wonder if it’s a common human experience. Do terms from crappy movies (or even movie titles) get used to describe things in your life? One I’ve noticed myself using quite often is The Perfect Storm.  If you’ve never seen the movie, don’t bother. It’s not a bad movie; it’s just not a good or seemingly memorable movie. I remember the actors (George Clooney, Diane Lane, Mark Walhberg, and I think John Candy had a cameo) and the scene where the weather man (the bad guy from Billy Madison) was using Doppler (I guess) to show these three storms coming together. He utters to phrase, “We call it the perfect storm.”

 (Go to 1:22 for the stirring line!)

My point is that I use this phrase on a daily basis. I didn’t activate my debit card, and the perfect storm of problems occurred as a result. I used it yesterday to describe my shitty dietary habits. I had a greasy bar hamburger Thursday night, Popeye’s chicken for lunch and dinner the next day, and a Freebirds burrito the next day: it was the perfect storm of fatness and a not-so-certain stomach.

Another term that I use is cave troll (from Lord of the Rings. Oh and nerds, sit down. I’m sure they exist in D&D and things like that, too). Anyone who is big and dopey is a cave troll. There is an ex-pro basketball player named Popeye Jones (Hey, I used Popeye twice in one post!) who looks exactly like a cave troll. 

 (He might look more like an Orc, but I'm not here to argue semantics)

When I say it, I don’t even think of LOTR. It mean something else to me now. I’m aware that’s this is ultra-nerdy – mainly because I don’t think I’m even referencing the movie anymore. I know what a cave troll is, and you’re a cave troll!

Some of these terms from movies have obvious roles in real life. For example, if you play golf, the movie Tin Cup will invariable come up when playing a round. The most famous scene in the movie is where Kevin Costner’s character uses all of the balls in his bag to make a certain shot because he knows he can do it. I do this all the time when I play because I KNOW I can hit the ball in bounds and not on the street next to the course into oncoming traffic. I tin cupped it!

Before you think of a comment or an example, your movie has to be crappy/lame. LOTR fans I’m with you; they are great movies, but they’re nerdy. Making a LOTR reference is nerdy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keep Your Facebook, I'll Keep My Mixed CDs

I’m continually amazed by and possibly jealous of the cool gadgets kids have these days. I’ve noticed myself uttering the phrase when I was a kid… all too often these days; I’m making myself feel old. For example, I was telling my students the other day about gasoline prices and how, even as recently as 1998, they used to be less than a dollar. The look in their eyes was asking me if my 1912 Stutz Bearcat got more than 3 tobacco tins of petro per 100 paces back then.  This feeling of being an anachronistic character from The Great Gatsby occurs on a daily basis. One of the lame background characters, too – not Gatsby.

The students I teach right now were born around 1992-1993 – I was 13 when they were born. There have been some many crazy technological advances since then that I DO probably seem like a toothless, turn-of-the-century prospector to them. I could go on and on about all of the changes that have happened since I was their age, but there is one change that makes me happy to have not gone through. I am SO happy that Facebook and MySpace didn’t exist when I was in high school – and college for that matter. Well, MySpace did but I wasn’t computer savvy enough to use it.

I imagine that I would have posted the dumbest, most embarrassing comments. I think about all of the just idiotic things I said to girls over the phone because I wasn’t face to face with them. I can’t imagine what I would have done or said if I didn’t even have to SAY these things. I bet young, impulsive high school boys are getting in trouble on a daily basis for leaving long love notes on girls’ walls, and then are being ridiculed when all of their friends see these asinine comments. I’m not even talking about cyber-bullying – I’m talking about cyber-dumb-ass-ery for everyone for all eternity to see.

I imagine there is quite a bit more of this happening in college. Boys aren’t any smarter then. Tell me that this scenario isn’t plausible: College boy goes out with his buddies to a local college bar. He drinks a few drinks and meets a girl. He is charming and she is interested. Girls leaves. Boy stays out with his buddies. Inebriated boy gets home and posts that he found his future wife on her wall (“Jsst wantedd tooo said heyy to me future wife. Holllla at cha boy!”). Girl makes a point to never cross paths with this pathetic, over-eager misspeller ever again. Next weekend: same thing, different girl (“Babby, you’re a firrwrrks! Yoo compete me1 Holllla at cha boy!”).  

This has to be happening every night, all over the world, right?

I’m happy that I was able to avoid this hornet’s nest. My wife just gets mixed CDs filled with Bone Thugs and Harmony and Lou Bega (his b-sides, not even Mambo No. 5) when I want to let her know I truly love her.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Delicate Balance of Marriage

The recipe for a good marriage includes a division of labor. This division might not be an agreed upon, spoken deal, but if both agree then things work smoothly. For example, I cook dinner, fold and hang up our clothes, and do the yard work. I also lift heavy things and open difficult jars. My wife has the hardest job in our family unit: the finances. She does a fantastic job of putting money away for savings and allocating the proper amounts for groceries, bills, birthday presents, etc.

The main problem with her controlling the finances is that she knows my every move. This conversation happens at least once a week.

Wife: What did you have for lunch today?

Me: Uh, you know. The usual.

Wife: How was that Whataburger?

Me: Uh, what?

Wife: You went to Whataburger for lunch today, right?

Me (looking over my shoulder for spies or possible floating cameras a la the Mojoverse for X-Men): Uh, how did you know that?

The Mojoverse!

Wife: I saw it on the computer.

Me: Uh, your computer sees me?

Wife: The bank account.

Me: Ah.

I imagine how you could see the problem with this. I can’t be sneaky. She knows my every move. New shorts. She knows. Fast food. She knows. Gummy bears. She knows. This is also affects me for non-selfish reasons. We just had our anniversary, and I wanted to buy her some flowers. There is no sneaky way to do this without outright lying. I could say I needed $60 for new compression shorts, but she would have told me I am wasting my money because I already have three pairs. I’m not crafty enough to think of anything else. Any other excuse would just sound completely made up. “Uh, I need $60 to buy… some… banjo…uh… strings.” Just doesn’t work.

Ultimately, I had to tell her that I need money to buy flowers for her. I guess that kind of takes the romance away for the whole situation, but at least I picked out the flowers and had them arranged myself. Half romance is better than no romance. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Random Notes V

Hey! I’m back. I don’t know where I went, but apparently, it wasn’t blogging. My normal routine is to post Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and I have failed miserably lately. I’m going to try to get back on track, and I think I’m going to have a bit of success because I’m on Spring Break. I’m going to post some random stuff today. Here is some music to play as you read:

This is an homage to a colleague and friend who is leaving the teaching profession and moving on to greener pastures. One of the best bits of wisdom he passed my way was this: one’s level of intelligence is directly correlated to one’s natural walking speed. If he or she walks fast, he or she generally has places to be and people to see. They need to get here to accomplish this goal and walk there to accomplish that goal. People who walk slowly have no goals and nothing to accomplish. They might get there late or they might not even get there at all – they don’t really care and neither does anyone else.

I feel like this rule makes complete sense and is almost always dead on (excluding the handicapped and elderly). If you have a kid that walks slowly, you need to yell out to him or her, “Hey! Pick up your speedy, dopey!”


“Yes, I’ll tie your shoe – just come here!”

“Your fly is down, too!”

“You shirt is sticking out of your open fly!”

Things like that.

I want to buy boots – cowboy boots. I feel totally stupid for wanting boots but I do. My brother-in-law grew up on a real farm with crops, tractors, cows, and even hay. I jokingly asked him about it at the Hayes Carll concert last weekend and he scoffed (well, he doesn’t scoff; he just kind of agreed with me) at all of the posers wearing boots. I cried a little in my mind. Regardless, I am resolute. I will get boots! I feel like while I am totally a poser – I don’t farm, rustle cows, or even work with my hands – I am from Texas. That’s good enough, right? I have a stereotype to fulfill.

I’ll just wear them around strangers.

Here’s what I’m thinking about purchasing:

Things I really, really, really dislike:

Ok, Lady Gaga, time’s up. I know you think you have more time, but no, sweetie, you gotta get off the stage – same for you Glee. It was a good run but you’re getting to be just annoying and not interesting. We get it you're different. Actually, you were different – now both of you are the norm. We are no longer shocked.

Teen Mom and Pregnant and 16, you are both horrible. I can’t fathom how people like you. You’re just horrible, did I already say that? I get squeamish when I see commercials for you.

Charlie Sheen, I feel sorry for you. You’re a mess and are self-destructing. You need to step to the side. I’m looking at the people who quote him. I’ve heard winner a million times this week. People, don’t quote him. I know it’s tough. You’re the same people who incessantly quoted Dave Chappelle as Lil Jon’s “Yeaaaaaaaaah,” Borat’s “Very nice,” and Jim Carrey’s, “Allllllllrighty, then.” I know it’s tough to have your own personality but give it a try; I think you’ll find that people like you for you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Hardest Button to Button

I don’t know if this is a problem for other men, but it takes me way too long to get dressed for work in the morning. I get to school in gym shorts, a t-shirt, and running shoes because I coach athletics first period. The head coach and I (I am the assistant coach) get into our office at the same time and usually start getting dressed. We generally both wear similar clothes to work – dress shoes, slacks, and a button up shirt. I’ve noticed over the three years we’ve worked together that he gets dressed in about half the time it takes me. I’ve narrowed my two major getting-ready problems to this: shirt buttoning and shirt tucking.

It’s terribly shameful to admit but I have trouble buttoning up my shirt. I might as well just have nubs instead of actual fingers. I would be just as successful using the back of my hands to button up my shirt. I have no dexterity in my fingers, and it’s sad that I’m just realizing this. In college, all of my friends learned how to play the guitar and could at least play some easy songs (Look up Come as You Are by Nirvana – I bet a 5 year old could be taught to play it. ANY five year old. Seriously, all of my friends can play it). I could only play the beginning of Hot Crossed Buns. I could never play anything because my sausage fingers couldn’t move around fast enough. In fact, it’s taking me forever to even write these words you’re reading. It goes: write, write, write, backspace, backspace. Well, every button on my shirt takes triple the time a normal person would take, and my nemesis, I mean the Mondays to my Garfield, are the tiny, little collar buttons. They are even smaller and more impossible. I have to be in a relaxed, good mood to try to button those babies because I will explode into a ball of rage so… round… bouncy… and angry. Well, ball of rage doesn’t really make sense to me, but I’ll be so super frustrated that I might mutter, “Geez, Louise.” Needless to say, I’m looking into snap button cowboy shirts.  I live in Texas, so I don’t think anyone will notice.

The other problem is tucking in my shirt. I apparently just don’t know the secret to doing this right. I look at other men with their shirts tucked and I just don’t get it. What are they doing? It’s too embarrassing to ask and too erotic to watch. Here is how I tuck my shirt in: I start on my right side and tuck in, clockwise, going around my waist. By the time I make it around, the other side has slipped right out. I’ve tried to do it all at once, but that ends up being a mess. There is just no way for me to do this.

How much do you think it would cost to get a tailor to hem all of my shirts so they look like they’re tucked in? Man, that would be awesome. I could be free and easy. No more being pinned down by my shirts.

My life has been a constant battle with my clothes and I’m consistently losing. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bar Soap vs. Body Wash II

It seems that there are quite a few opponents of my preference to bar soap and detest my slandering of body wash. Over the past couple of days, I have scoured the internet and made quite a few phone calls to get down to bottom of this body wash phenomenon and its damage on our society’s male population. I read on the website Advertising Age that body wash sales finally toppled bar soap sales in 2008. The website also cites Old Spice in 2003 as the first predominately male oriented brand to produce body wash in the United States. This seems to all make sense, but I figured there had to more than what this website reported. I made some telephone calls and contacted a man at Proctor and Gamble named Ed Shirley who was there from the beginning of the body wash campaign. He knew the answers to all of my questions.  

Shirley admitted the main reason the product researchers came up with this liquid wash was because the CEO of P&G’s son lacked the mental capacity to spin a perfectly good bar of soap between his hands to make suds. He also lacked the coordination to actually rub the bar against his body. He would rub the bar against his body where it would instantly squirt out, landing on the already slippery porcelain tub. His parents were greatly concerned for their son’s safety. After much thought and breaking all preconceived notions of sexuality and gender roles, they allowed their son to use women’s body wash. Inspiration hit Shirley when he realized there were other parents of dimwitted, klutzes out there that would purchase this safety product. Originally, it was only sold on the American Red Cross website but, eventually, made its way to supermarkets.

I also contacted the man in charge of product development for Axe in the United Kingdom, Richard Lipisky. While Axe began mainly as a body spray producer, they quickly jumped into the already over-crowded, bloated body wash market. Lipisky quickly admitted, without much prodding, that Axe body wash was created for Europeans who rarely showered. “We hoped that Europeans, who already look at showering as a novelty, would enjoy this novelty, however ridiculous body wash might be,” Lipisky said with an eye roll. After finding huge success in Europe selling Axe in gag shops, marketers for the company decided to roll the dice in America. Using commercials meant to be nothing short of idiotic, Axe hoped Americans would follow Europeans and use Axe body wash as a gag gift for white elephant Christmases and bachelor parties. Lipisky and his bosses at Axe were pleasantly surprised that American high school boys didn’t quite get the joke and used the ridiculously smelling product for real hygienic purposes.

Whether it is for dimwits or people unaware of the novelty, ultimately, body wash is here to stay. I’ll admit defeat because I know I’m in the minority in this debate, but I will never give in and my children will never play with children who use body wash.

 For any reading this thinking of a witty comment to leave because you’re annoyed with my insults, please just stop. Ask yourself, can I take a joke? If the answer is no, then you’re probably reading the wrong blog. There are some great, serious blogs out there about cooking and housekeeping to anarchy and socialism: pick one. If you get the joke, I congratulate you for being a reasonable, normal person.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bar Soap vs. Body Wash

There is a point in every couple’s relationship where a decision must be made: bar soap or body wash. This question is more than meets the eye because, while not spoken out loud, we know it’s really: man’s bar soap or woman’s body wash. The path that a couple takes depends on who makes the better argument for their choice in body cleansing.

Body wash is inferior. First, when I use body wash, I use half of the bottle. I squirt a bunch on my arm, smear it around trying to work up some bubbles, and vainly try to wash it off. I repeat this process all over my body until the bottle is half full (at least I’m positive about it). The body wash never really gets off my skin. I just get out of the water with a nice film of soap still on my body.

You’re probably thinking, well use a luffa, dumbass. This brings me to me second point. I refuse to use any type of hygienic body product that requires a special tool. A wash cloth is not a tool because I already have one. I’d have to purposely go to a luffa store and buy one. Furthermore, one doesn’t NEED to use a wash cloth with bar soap; however, Dave Chappelle and the big, fat cat wash cloth lobbyists would have you believe otherwise.

Third, bar soap makes bubbles. Bubbles let one know they’re being cleaned. Did I get my back? There are bubbles, so yeah.

Fourth, body wash is only for girls. They don’t make manly body wash. It might have a manly label, but it’s not manly. Bar soap has Irish Spring. Ireland makes me think of bare knuckle fighting, Irish whiskey, and derby hats: all manly. Hmmm… perhaps all of my knowledge of Ireland comes from Far and Away

Fifth, my bar soap can be used for hand soap, too. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of the washing world.

Here are my wife’s counterpoints: “I don’t care. You’ve made your point. Stop standing on the couch.”


**Update: I've finally started updating my work out page if anyone is interested.