Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not all Dogs are created equal

I love dogs. I also have ZERO interest in ever owning a dog again. My biggest problem with dogs is that they poop and pee on my lawn and they poop and pee on my neighbors' lawns and it would feel strange to apologize, whip out a plastic bag, pick it up and put it in my pocket as I walk back home with my dog. Over my life, I have had some great dogs--A standard poodle (Winnie the Pooh), a gentile Rottweiler (Annie) and an amazing Doberman Pinscher (Peppermint Patty). But, for now and probably forever, we won't be getting a dog. But, if we decided to get a dog, here are some options.

This is Wendy, the Hulk Dog--Seriously, can you imagine this dog just sitting your entryway. Burglar breaks in only to see a dog that looks like it belongs in a cartoon. If I were the burglar, I would turn myself in immediately, beg for forgiveness and then cry myself to sleep every night just remembering this dog. This is an otherwise rather healthy dog, but born with a health defect (though her life may be shortened a bit due to this gene) which made her 'double muscled.'

Now, if I am not going to get a tough menacing dog, then I go for the dog that will make you remember him ALWAYS. Here is the list of possibilities: These are dogs 1 and 2:

As adorable as those two dogs are, there are many other beautiful dogs. These are dogs 3 and 4.

Now, I just now need to go shopping and find me a dog like these. FWIW, each of these dogs were entered into an 'ugliest dog in the world' competition. Each of these dogs is loved by owners who are also aware of their 'unique' appearance.

Feel free to comment on which is your favorite. For me, nothing says 'adorable' like Dog #1.

Monday, February 25, 2008

February Reviews: 2 Books

I am now going to combine all my reviews for each month on the last Monday of each month. This will make it easier for me. I had reviews earlier this month for several other books, but here are two reviews for the past 2 weeks and to finish out the reviews for the month.

On the Run by Iris Johansen (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: The story focuses on a former CIA agent and how she is now in hiding and being protected by the CIA. Her world crashes around her as the bad guys find her. Her only hope is a former colleague and lover.

Rate of Interest: 20.0 pages per day (400 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: The first 100 pages are pretty good. Really, I don't have much more good things to say about it. The action is intense if not ludicrous.

Worst Thing about the Book: Where to begin? Seriously. Do I talk about the 8-year old daughter who comes off sounding like she is 25 years old the entire book? I mean, yes, they said she was gifted all the time to try and cover how crazy it was, but it was just silly. Or could it be how the woman lead of the book is a 'horse whisperer'? You hear how a horse has not been tamed by 50 different people, yet when she walks in, she talks to the horse for a couple of hours and the horse now does whatever she wants. Ridiculous. Or, could it be the really, really cartoonish bad guy? He threatens the daughter, he threatens the woman, he threatens the man, he threatens the animals. I kept waiting for him to threaten the trees or the dirt. The main tough guy who is the good guy is pretty silly. They talk about how tough he is, but in reality, he sounds like a metrosexual. All we hear is that he is the toughest man alive but the book is littered with him whining and near tears throughout it. Seriously, it is pretty brutal at times. I wanted to hug the guy by the end of it.

Overall: Worst book that I have read so far this year. Painful. It is too bad because the author is quite good and has had a lot of success. The plot keeps moving along so you keep reading all the while shaking your head about how dumb it all really is.

The Husband by Dean Koontz (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: A guy who owns his landscape company gets a chilling phone call that his wife has been kidnapped. They will give her back only if he gives them $2 million. Problem is, he makes only around $40K a year. They kill others around him and he is forced to decide who is friends are and who he can trust to get her back within those couple of days.

Rate of Interest: 60.0 pages per day (416 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: Koontz knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat. It is intense and often disturbing and you see how far someone is willing to go to save his wife. The bad guys are really bad and the race to saving his wife will keep you reading.

Worst Thing about the Book: There are times when you see some of the implausibility and there are several parts of the book that are not looked into more and that hurts the overall book.

Overall: This is true escapism. Even thru some of the unbelievable sections of the book, it keeps you interested and wanting to see if he can get to his wife and to see if his wife can survive her kidnappers.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Spongebob and the Classics

Spongebob rocks. Seriously. This is one of the few shows that I can watch with my boys and actually probably have a better time watching it than they do. Well, if animation cartoons is not for you, the actors behind the voices of the different characters in Spongebob's world have used their voices for several movie classics. You soon realize that these classics become not so classic with different voices that make up the Spongebob universe.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A 2-year old boy + a marker + newly painted walls = Bad news

So, Brodi and I are hanging out in the kitchen and talking to Carter and we see Beckham come slowly walking into the kitchen area. I would like to say that we could tell that he had been up to no good by the look in his eyes or by his attitude or by something that only a parent would know...but alas, the reason we knew he was up to no good was that his hands were colored blue, dark blue and he had a marker in his hand. We knew something was up...good deduction on our part, wasn't it? A 2-year old boy with a marker and ink all over his hands can lead a parent to say 'what has he been doing?' We quickly found out around the corner by the front door.

These walls were painted, oh, about 64 days ago. I was not pleased but I kept my emotions in check. Beckham did not. Let me tell you, Beckham is a pretty quiet, happy go lucky little guy but when he knows that he did something wrong, he can wail with the best of them.

So, after I pointed out to him the error of his ways, Beckham wiped away the tears and got to work. By some miracle (Brodi and I have been living right, so we were obviously blessed), the ink wiped away rather well.

And now, the wall is good as new. I cried out of joy as I looked at the wall. Beckham on the other hand will not be using markers for a while.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Class Pictures

We got Carter and Beckham's school pictures the other day. First, here is Carter's class picture from a year ago...this was about the time that we should have given the poor boy a haircut. As you can see, his curls are inside other curls which are inside more curls. Carter has taken to saying: 'Girls dig curls' and it comes out 'gurrs dig currs.' I am wondering if we should let him grow it so that it is shoulder length. Seriously, how manly can it get than long flowing locks? Poison, Def Leppard and others made a career out of letting the hair flow. Some people think it may have been their music, nah, it was the locks of hair.

This is his latest school picture. Carter likes to have his picture taken and for the most part, all of his pictures are very nice. As you can see, the curls are still going strong. After baths, we sometimes will brush it down so that it is straight. It lasts for about 5 minutes until it curls up again.

Beckham, on the other hand, has few curls. It will curl up in the back and some curls will pop up on the sides. But overall, he has the straight wispy hair. This is his first school picture and as you can see, he did well.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The secret to AMAZING abs has been uncovered

So, if you are ever up in the middle of the night just hanging out, infomercials are a great chance to find the latest and greatest products. I have found it. For years, I have been interested in finding a product that is fun and gives me great abs. It would be nice if I found something that I could use at the office, not work hard at it at all, yet still have Chuck Norris abs. The Hawaiian chair is the solution.

You can tell just by watching that clip at how easy it is to move your bottom in circles yet still type on the computer and take notes. Awesome. Now, I will just scrounge up the $350 in quarters that are lost somewhere in our seat cushions to buy one.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Reviews: 2 Books

I read through a couple of books this past week. On the left of this blog, toward the bottom, I am keeping a running list of the books that have been read so far this year and I put them in order from top to bottom of my favorites to my least favorites (Judd asked for a list). Anyway, here are the two reviews for the week:

Hiroshima by John Hersey (historical nonfiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: This book is about the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It focues on 6 different individuals from the day the bomb went off to the year after and then it fast forwards to 30-40 years later and how the bomb affected their life, their families and their city.

Rate of Interest: 32.0 pages per day (160 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: Just learning the history about the devastation and the absolute resolve of these individuals on picking up the pieces and trying to put their lives back together again. The stories are often heartbreaking though the courage they showed and the support they gave to others in the community is pretty terrific.

Worst Thing about the Book: I wanted more examples and more stories of other people. This focused on the 6 individuals, but I would have been very interested in reading of more people and how they got through. Of note though--this book was actually a series of newspaper articles back in the late 1940s, so it took up enormous space and it is understandable that the scope was not even wider.

Overall: It is a pretty terrific book. You read how, just a day or two after the bomb, there were only 2 doctors per 10,000 patients (the majority of the doctors in the city had died). You read how the city was literally on fire even in places that were miles away from the actual detonation of the bomb. You read of how the doctor community there and abroad knew so very little of the effects of the bomb and the radiation. It wouldn't hurt to read up a little bit on the bombing before you read this book as the book really does only focus on the individuals and it rarely branches out from it.


Flint's Law by Paul Eddy (Spy thriller fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words:

Rate of Interest: 17.6 pages per day (352 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: The double-crossing and international spy aspects were interesting. It was also interesting to see two friendlies (US and Britain) have feuds and issues with each other.

Worst Thing about the Book: Confusing. There are so many players, so many storylines, so much backstabbing that you begin to lose track and often begin to not care about the main character, Flint, or her support. It left me wanting to hurry and finish the book, not so much because I enjoyed it, but so that I could begin another book.

Overall: Not my favorite. The plot is interesting enough but the story bounces around with too many characters and too many things happening with little background on it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

7 Random things that you may not have ever wanted to know about Brodi

Brodi was tagged by her friend, Kristi, and I am taking over for her and posting these 7 random facts about her, some of which many of you already know and some of which, you probably did not want to know.:

Kitchens are not made for cooking: She does not like to cook. As she says 'Why cook when someone else will do it for you and all you have to do is go and pick it up and the kitchen stays clean.' Though to be honest, she is a good cook...she just has little interest in doing it.

Diet Coke is Nature's Man-made Way of Saying I love you: Brodi loves her diet coke. Loves it. It is easy for me to get on her bad side; have no cold Diet Cokes on hand. I could have an entire 12 pack in the fridge but if it is gone by night time and there is none left, there is trouble. That is why we are serious about getting a Diet Coke fountain drink machine in our house. We also have become a safety net for the neighborhood...if you are out of Diet Coke, head on over to our house.

Give me travel or Give me Death: She absolutely loves to travel and during her life, she has visited and vacationed in 18 countries (USA, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Israel, Jordan and Egypt). Since being married, she has lived in 2 countries (US and England) as well as 4 states (Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Virginia). To say that she gets anxious to move around and see new things is an understatement. and Lover: She has had many, many careers and has been fabulous in each one. In fact, in our 10 years of marriage, she has had 7 different jobs to go along with being a mom--graduate student at LSE, Public relations coordinator for IHC, Television reporter and anchor in Idaho, ABC morning producer in Salt Lake City, Associate producer for KSL in Salt Lake City, worked for a nonprofit and finally, a realtor and a writer.

Read till she Drops: She is not obsessed about reading but once she picks up a book, she can't put it down until its finished even if that means that she finally turns out the light at 4am.

Not everyone's Taste and happy about it: She has a quirky and wide range appreciation of different television shows and movies. Favorites of hers include tv shows Veronica Mars, Entourage, Arrested Development and Dexter...and movies like Juno, Serenity, Godfather and Aliens. Brodi is a movie savant, she knows just about anything you would ever like to know or not like to know about a movie (plots, characters, actors, etc.) even when she has not seen the movie. One thing she will not do though is recommend a movie to anyone. She stopped giving out 'the thumbs up' to movies when she told my sister that 'Gladiator' is terrific and not very violent. 3 minutes into the movie, Brodi leaned over to my sister and said 'I'm so sorry, I guess its pretty violent.' 25 severed heads later, Brodi realized that she should not talk up a movie too much.

Cars are Family too: She loves her cars. She has had three cars since we have been married. A Nissan Sentra (for 2years, --she had driven this car in college as well), a toyota corolla (had it for 6 years and put 80K miles on it and she named it 'Cotton') and our current car an Acura MDX (had it for over 2 years and she has named it 'Smoky.'). My cars, she could care less about.

These are just a few random things about Brodi. To be honest, I could have gone on for hours. She is different, quirky, beautiful and fabulous and I love being a part of her life.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday Thinkings

The family went to Riverdance last night. How much of a metrosexual am I in that I enjoyed it? I don't know how their ankles do all of that toe tapping. Lets just say that Brodi is in for a special evening when I whip out my leather pants and bust out some of my latest dancing moves.

There are few shows as funny on television as 'The Soup.' Usually inappropriate but usually very funny. It is basically a guy, Joel McHale, that makes fun of everything happening on television.

2 Things that I love? Our kitchen sink and Garbage Day


1. I am seriously addicted to our copper kitchen sink. I often just sit there and stare at it and put water in it and see the water go around and around. Its also kinda fun to watch it change colors too. Yes, I realize that I am pathetic.

2. Tuesday is Garbage Day--Brodi laughs at it, but I love Tuesday mornings because the garbage guy comes and picks up our trash and our recycling. Our recycling is just a bunch of Diet Coke cans and bottles. Nothing better than seeing all of our junk hauled away each week. The only thing that can beat garbage pickup is heading out to the dump. There is something strangely relaxing and satisfying about spending an hour at the dump with the seagulls and the smell.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday Reviews: 2 Books

Here are two book reviews for this past week:

The Afghan by Fredrick Forsythe (fiction thriller):

Story Summary in about 30 words: This story focuses on a captured Afghan who was a 'warrior' in the fight against the West. The US and British governments have a former special ops soldier who takes the place of the Afghan, situates himself among AlQaeada and works to spoil an evil plot of destruction to the West.

Rate of Interest: 23.5 pages per day (352 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: I liked the back story given. Forsythe goes into AlQaeda and discusses the organization and delves further into islamist extremism. I think for many people, it can often fell a bit tedious but I enjoyed having so much background to help supplement the plot.

Worst Thing about the Book: There are too many coincidences. To make the story work, there are several just too crazy and off the wall coincidences that never could have happened and it leaves the story lacking which is too bad because some of those incidents could have been omitted and the story would have been fine.

Overall: It was a pretty good read. Slow at times, too many implausible situations though drag it down though and therefore not recommended unless you have little else to read. The ending was decent though slightly unsatisfying.

One Man's Influence; A Guide to Leadership by Roger K. Morgan (business nonfiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: This is a business book about what Roger Morgan learned from his boss, Bart Schillaci (former President of The Retail Products Group), had taught him over the years before Schillaci died of cancer. It goes over several lessons he learned such as 'Go with your Gut' and 'Do what you say you're going to do.' Generally speaking, rather basic stuff but it is told well and is woven in with many personal stories.

Rate of Interest: 29.4 pages per day (147 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: There is little groundbreaking stuff in this book, but it is interesting as he focuses on his friend and boss and of how all the little things that someone does can make a huge difference in being a better boss, better manager and a better person.

Worst Thing about the Book: There were some interesting tidbits but it often became a bit frustrating because Morgan doesn't go in deeper. It is as if it is a cliffnotes version of a longer book. I wish he gave more information.

Overall: Pretty good easy read. This is not supposed to be a hard business book. It is a book out of friendship and a tribute to Schillaci. I liked it. I only read a few minutes a day, but you could pound this out in 2 hours. Difficult to find though.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dennis: Cancer Fighting SuperStar

Brodi's dad, Dennis, is recovering from surgery yesterday. For those that have not been following his ordeal, you can check it out here:

He has been battling pancreatic cancer since Halloween of this year. Chemotherapy, radiation and finally the 8 hour long Whipple Surgery has hopefully taken care of that stinkin' tumor. He is recovering nicely now and he will undergo another round of chemotherapy in about a month.

He is as good of a guy as there is around. He is a huge Ute fan, a great pediatrician, a terrific dad and a fabulous father in law and grandpa. Even though he is down to under 115 pounds, he is as tough as nails and fighting this cancer with all he has. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.