Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If you know what this word means, you are very smart...but if you say it outloud, you sound very dumb

My friend Charlie from back in DC, sent me the word of the day:

Gimcrack [Jim-crak]
1. A showy but useless or worthless object; a gewgaw
i.e. I am not too impressed by all of your gimcrack in your house.

I love how they give us a definition and then give us a word that is supposed to help us understand what the word is--a gewgaw? A gewgaw? I am supposed to know what that word is that supposed to help me? Yep, count me among those that have never heard of either word.

Seriously though, how awesome are both of those words? If you want to impress all of your friends, drop a few gewgaws and gimcracks in the conversation and use these words interchangeably. It will blow their minds.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend contemplations...and not very deep ones at that

I am coaching the 5-year old boys and girls again this Spring (including my boy Carter) and it is quite an impressive team. We still do not keep score, but our team is 1-2-2 so far this year. Though the last game we lost, I think, 7-1 and it wasn't that close. My kids decided that if the ball was not in motion, they would stop and just stare at it. One of my boys asked what the score was and I told him that we don't keep score and in my mind, I was very thankful for that. It is nice to see the kids actually run around a bit...last year, there seemed to be a lot of interest in sitting on the grass and picking dandelions. This year, they are a bit more into it.

Johnny Bravo and Spongebob Squarepants are very funny kids shows. I have to admit though it is a bit embarrassing when Brodi comes in and asks what I am watching and the kids are outside playing and I have to answer 'Johnny Bravo.'

Satan was given one thing to cause us trouble on earth and that one thing is a pyracantha bush. Seriously, they are prickly, grow out of control and just cause trouble in a yard. Brodi began to tackle the project and feeling guilty, I joined in...we then spent a couple of hours cutting down these abominable bushes and loading them into my truck. I have now made so many good friends at the dump, due to the remodeling and other things, that I am inclined to send them all Christmas cards this coming winter.

I love Costco. What other place can you buy 48 rolls of toilet paper, 60 individual packages of string cheese, a tub of peanut butter and enough hot wings to be able to share with all my neighbors for 3 months?

The Jazz rock but they know how to keep things interesting. That game Saturday was excruciating with big leads disappearing, missed free throws and some nice final minute shots by the Rockets. The Jazz somehow escaped with a win and it was shocking that they did. Brodi and I have been on the edge of our seats for all 4 games so far in the playoffs. With more games like this, I don't doubt that I will have an ulcer by the end of May. On another note, it is nice to have a wife that loves watching basketball--we haven't left our seat for any of these Jazz games as well as enjoying other playoff games. This is a fun time of year.

All else is well...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Upcoming concerts--its an impressive list if you are tone deaf or feeling nostalgic or both

Let me just say, there are some good concerts that have come through Utah over the years, everything from U2 to the Rolling Stones to Everclear to Live to John Denver (I don't care what any of you John Denver haters say). But looking over the upcoming concerts this year, well, it sends a few chills down my spine.

Def Leppard (USANA theater, September 7). I remember actually having their CD of ballads. Brings a tear to my eye. That tear is quickly wiped away though by just looking at their outfits in this picture. Shockingly brutal, but no doubt you ladies found that very sexy with the short shorts and the long flowing locks of rockin' hair. I remember my buddy Spencer and I would drive around in my Tercel back in high school with KBER 101 blazing over the cheap car speakers and rocking out to the Leppard, the Crue, Ozzy and the whole gang.

Journey (USANA theater, June 30). I do not believe that there is a better music video ever made. How manly must someone be to be able to make this video? This is an absolutely incredible video (Press play on the video, then pause it and let the player fully load for a minute or two and then press play and sit back and enjoy). Watching this video, I think it is also safe to say that men and women are both glad that those female hair styles and outfits are a thing of the past. Though my sisters worked these hair-dos in a famous Johnson sister family portrait that for some reason, my mom and dad still have prominently featured in their hallway. It is a constant reminder for them just how awesome the 80s were.

Cyndi Lauper (Usana theater, July 4). What better way to spend the 4th of July than celebrating the wonder that is the Lauper. I guess Boy George couldn't attend so they went after her. Truly a great way to spend a day celebrating the birth of our nation with great songs like 'Girls Just wanna have fun' and 'True Colors' which actually, isn't half bad. But I gotta hand it to her, she looks better now than she did 20 years ago.

Motley Crue (Usana theater, July 29). For their hair alone, this is a must concert. I remember living in Blackfoot, Idaho and the Crue came up to have a concert at the State Fair. Brodi worked for the NBC affiliate there as a reporter and helped cover the story. Seriously, there was more coverage on this band than there was on a presidential election. There were morality standards discussed, the police were on site to make sure that the Crue didn't sing naked or sing dirty lyrics. I am not sure if SE Idaho has ever been the same.

Stone Temple Pilots (E Center, June 11) and Nine Inch Nails (E Center, September 3). Both are performing and both want their 1990s back. Seriously, I had no idea that either bad was still around. With that said, Brodi gets a chance to rock out again to NIN as it reminds her of her youth and her rebelness.

Celine Dion (Delta Center, November 21). I probably need to be careful what I say, but I have included this video to show that I have every reason to stay 100 miles away from this concert. I have little doubt in my mind that AC/DC, when they heard this version of their famous song sung by her and Anastacia, cried themselves to sleep. I can think of very few less awkward things than those two singing this song. Call me crazy but I can do less of Celine doing her pelvic thrusts and her air guitar. It all just makes me very, very sad.

If these concerts are not of interest, John Mayer (of Jessica Simpson fame), the Police (it will cost you a mortgage payment, but they are in town), Jack Johnson (I can only think of Curious George whenever I hear his name mentioned), the Dave Matthews Band (seriously, are they still performing?), Kanye West (thats actually pretty cool because he can sing and he always says something inappropriate), The Cure (that is another pretty cool concert and nice to see them still around) and 311 (not much to say about them).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Looking for a home with a urinal, lots of stairs and a bathroom for little people? I found it!

Brodi and I love seeing homes. It gives us ideas on our own place and it is kind of fun to see some of the funky things people have done with their homes. Well, we found Funkiness personified yesterday. We were looking at a home in the Harvard/Yale neighborhood. It was an intriguing house that is rather large for that area sitting at around 3600 square feet.

But what was interesting was that it appeared that the owners wanted to make it bigger but had zero idea on how to do it. The unique funky aspects?

**4 total staircases, 3 of which went to 3 different bedrooms on the 2nd floor. As I always say, you can never have enough stairs.
**Low ceilings on the top floor so that if you didn't want to duck, you had to stand in the middle of the room.
**Built in cabinets at angles in the walls, so if you opened up a drawer it would open out and upwards.
**A urinal (seriously, how cool is that?) and a bidet, both next to each other which is nice to know that you are your wife can hang out together.
**A master bathroom that had no doors on it so if you were using the toilet or taking a shower, you could just stare at your bed. How romantic is that?
**A drinking fountain...not much to say about that, but totally awesome!
**A miniature bathroom. The door was under 4' high, and the room had a mini toilet and a mini sink. Our boy Carter could fit in it now, but in a year, no longer.
**A study with built in book cases but only room for a desk about 1' by 1'

Anyway, Brodi and I love our older homes because there are so many crazy things that are done in these older houses. It is always entertaining.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring: Funky temp changes and a walk down cherry blossom lane

This is some funky weather. Pretty amazing that we can go from 78 degrees on Monday to low 30s on Tuesday with snow/rain showers. Now it is getting nice again and then next week, back down to cool temperatures. I am just itching to put on my short shorts and go around the neighborhood shirtless.

When we lived back in DC, we loved the Spring. You generally had nice 70s degree type weather. Humidity was obviously higher than in Utah, but it was bearable (Summer was often not bearable...nothing more fun than taking the Metro standing next to smelly sweaty men...and then showing up at work already dripping sweat and its only 8:30am). I have seen more than my share of 55 year old men wearing sweat stained business shirts to last me a lifetime.

One of the best things of Spring back in DC is the cherry blossoms. We made sure that every year, we spent time wandering around. It is beautiful. Looking back at these pictures just reminded me again of what a cute kid Carter is...a nice round head with no hair. Back then, people couldn't get enough of rubbing his head (now they can't get enough of petting his curls).

Brodi would come downtown to pick me up and we would leave my work and walk over to the Mall and go jogging (pushing Carter in the stroller). It was pretty cool to be able to see the Capital, Washington Monument, etc. Those were Good times, good times.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some truly terrible Diet Drinks

There are some bad drinks out there. Some real bad diet drinks. I have put four that deserve a special award for simple awfulness. This is also in response to my earlier post of the best diet drinks on the market:

I have limited this to soda drinks. There are some bad 'diet' drinks out there like some of the crystal light flavors but this is just for the regular diet drinks. If you have not had your breakfast/lunch/dinner yet, you may want to skip these four drinks because it will undoubtedly cause your stomach to churn just a bit.

Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper: Seriously, did some guy at the soda plant just start thinking: 'OK, I love Diet Dr. Pepper. I also really enjoy cherries. And who is kidding who? Everyone loves Chocolate. Lets bring them all together and we have liquid gold on our hands.' Let me put it this way: I love spaghetti, Twix candy bars and turkey. But I aint going to put those bad boys in a blender and drink it down. Who knows, as I continue to drink this, I may fall in love. But its hard to fall in love with something that makes my lips and teeth red/brown from drinking the stuff as well as the continual urge to stop the dry heaves. It is a limited edition drink meaning that if good taste prevails by the general public, we will never see this drink again.

Diet Coke Plus:: This is a poor attempt at a company to package Diet Coke and try to make it healthy. It adds a few 'healthy' things such as niacin, zinc and magnesium and a few others. This drink has some kind of smooth awkward taste as it tumbles down your throat. I was actually excited to try this...I made it thru a half of a can. Since I had a full 12 pack (11.5 of them left), I tried to pawn it off to family and friends. They either ran for cover to get away from it or they tried it to their disgust. Lets just say that I had 8 of them still left after begging people to take them off my hands. They sat for a few months in my truck, well past their expiration date. I was tempted to try it thinking that it only could have gotten better (hopefully thru fermentation) with age, but I didn't have the guts to try it and they all ended up in the garbage where it is probably contaminating some landfill out west.

Coke Blak: Now, I have a disclaimer right off the bat. I have yet to drink this. This is marketed as combining two of your favorite things--coke and coffee. I can not think of one good reason why this would be a good combination. I can't convince myself to even put down 50 cents for this abomination. But I have to give it kudos for giving it the name of 'Coke Blak' without the 'C'...I am not sure what it means, but it does add to the coolness factor.

Diet Coke with Lemon: For years I have tried to find a drink that tasted like paint thinner. And then diet coke with lemon came along and my needs were met. Fresh nice lemons in a diet coke are fabulous...fake lemon taste in a diet coke is brutally bad. What is shocking is that some of my co-workers actually like the stuff. There are two reasons why they like it: They have zero taste buds, or they have never had a lemon in their life and they think that lemons should taste like that. Whatever reason they have, they are dead wrong. Yuck.

So there you have have been warned.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Streets of Terror, Tears of despair

There are few places in Salt Lake City where you can drive and be safe. I got a call from Brodi yesterday telling me about her flat tire. Sure enough, she had a flat...flat as a crepe (she has been making a bunch of crepes with her very impressive crepe machine she bought). It had a metal piece of something sticking in it (about an inch long on the outside sticking all the way thru on the inside. Unfixable. But hey, whats $180 to get a new tire? I mean the tires were getting old anyway...12 months old, so I am happy to shell out some more money for a brand new one.

My truck has a nice windshield crack due to the bobsled horror show that is I-80 right now. Seriously, half of the time now, I just close my eyes while I drive that 5 mile stretch, crying and screaming and praying to just make it through. Rocks pelting the windows, dodging 57 ton Semi trucks, 16 year old boys texting as they drive, and others just swerving all over the road. When you are trying to keep up with the flow of traffic and hitting speeds of 55 miles an hour and you have about 2 inches of clearance on both sides of your lane, it gets your heart beating. Add to that the occasional muffler (which I saw this morning driving to work) lying in the road, well, lets just say, its shocking that an ambulance helicopter is not hovering over that stretch of road to be there for any accident that is bound to happen soon.

I am happy though that the Utah Department of Transportation has issued this stern advisory to those driving huge semi trucks: "Large trucks are encouraged to use I-215 as a detour." Man, if that doesn't work to keep them off that stretch of road, I don't know what will. Maybe the next advisory will be something even tougher like 'Strongly encourage' or 'really really want you to take another route' or 'we beg you with all of our heart.' Thanks UDOT. Its also comforting to know that in only a short 18 months, this project will be completed.

Add to that, the countless potholes along 33rd and 39th South, as well as throughout Sugarhouse and the Avenues, and well, its a wonder that I drive anymore. But hey, I enjoy spending over $100 a week in gas, so I keep on keeping on. End of rant.

Spring looks like its coming.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Miserable little boy

So, Beckham has had a rough week. At just over 2 years of age, he has decided he no longer wants naps. So, around 1pm, he starts getting tired. By 5pm, he is bumping into walls because he is so tired. But, he will not go down. Now we come to find out that he has a bad case of the allergies (thanks to his lovely mother and his handsome father who have passed this trait on). He also has some very itchy skin right now due to his excema. That all leads to being very uncomfortable. And let me tell you, this has led him to look very sickly.

He goes to sleep normally around 7pm...well, last night, he decided he was way too uncomfortable to go to sleep. Finally, around 9:30, he climbed on the couch with me and watched the NCAA championship game with me just feeling miserable. Hopefully, we can cure his itching and get this boy some rest.

The next day, this tired little boy finally crashed and fell asleep on the floor. Its about time he fell asleep during the day.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekend thoughts

If you aren't watching 'Battlestar Galactica', then I just don't know what to say. Truly a terrific show. You can enjoy it if you are a SciFi geek or if you are just a regular person. It is a great show...too bad its on the SciFi channel which not everybody has...but you are in luck, the first three seasons are all available on DVD. Go watch and have a frakkin' good time.

If you are looking for a way to get your kid to eat vegetables, just tell them that if they eat their vegetables, they will get big and strong. Problem with Carter now is that after each bite of food now, he yells at me to come and feel his muscles (and then he flexes). So, eating vegetables can take a long, long time, but at least he eats good and healthy food all the time now. Salads? He takes so much of it now that I wonder if there is enough for everyone else.

I remember back in High School thinking about how expensive the gas was when it hit 99 cents a gallon during the first Iraqi war. Yeah, depressing. I feel bad that my kids college education is now gone because I have had to use it for gas money, but at least I can drive around town.

We just had our taxes done. Seriously, I do not enjoy this time of year. I hope that this picture doesn't get me audited.

We were having lunch with Brodi's family this weekend and I made a comment that eating all of this food is making me fat. My niece, Necie, quickly exclaimed 'You are not fat!' Yep, Necie just moved into first place on the list of my favorite nieces.

Why is it impossible to turn a book back in to the library on time? I don't think I have turned one in on time in 5 years. I hope that my 'donations' are being put to good use.

Friday, April 4, 2008


My older brother Josh was 4.5 years older than me. We battled. A lot. He always made sure that he kept me in line. But, after his mission, we got along pretty well. He came to all my HS basketball games, he helped me whenever I needed it in college. And, after he married Sally, he became an even better older brother. My two older brothers Josh and Christian have been a terrific help to me over the years.

Now, Carter and Beckham are good brothers to each other. Even though there is a 3 year age gap, they play together pretty well as the two pictures above illustrate. However, there are several things that they do to each other to draw their attention or to simply make the other crazy.
Beckham does the following to Carter and it drives him crazy:
  • Stands behind him and grabs one of his curls and slowly stretches it out.
  • If Carter is playing his little electronic game, he comes over and closes it.

Carter does the following to Beckham and it drives him crazy:
  • Gets under a blanket and when Becks comes over, he pulls the blanket over both of them.
  • He chases him and then he often grabs hold of Becks' shirt so he can't keep on running
Though they know how to push each others' buttons, they are also quick to share with each other, help each other go down the slide, share food, share drinks, laugh at shows together, run around with each other, jump on the trampoline together (though Becks spends more than his share of time on his back as Carter jumps around), play with their trains together, kick the ball around together and help us out on other things.

But overall, the boys get along and we are lucky for that. We'll see how long it lasts.