Thursday, October 30, 2008

He was Behind the Couch the Whole Time

I went to Catholic school for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Mrs. Groth was our music teacher, and I played recorder in her class and learned to sing. I mostly have good memories of her.

Only one memory stands out as a bad one. Around Halloween, she thought it would be a good idea to teach us this song:

Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones with the skin all gone...
Oooo. Ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo
Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?

It was scary. I was afraid of skeletons and that tune (which was actually very catchy) would get caught in my head. I would expect to see a skeleton around every corner. Watching Jason and the Argonauts didn't help much either.

I think I went as a skeleton that year.

This is the best version of the song that I could find.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Features for Irresponsible Creatures

Tom Malloy once pointed out to me that Microsoft often identifies its bugs as "features".

While I was in Alaska, I drove a 15-passenger van which was sometimes completely full of Australians. Forget about the Australians for a minute though, because I want to talk about the van.

We had about a month with no nighttime, and yet I was still supposed to turn on the headlights whenever I drove. If I forgot, someone from the Alaska Department of Transportation would tell me to turn them on over the CB Radio (sometimes not very politely).

Anyway, I got into a good habit of nearly always turning the headlights on as soon as I started the van, which of course led to a new problem: remembering to turn them off. I killed the van's battery several times, and sometimes the Australians had to stand around and silently reflect on my incompetence while I jump-started the van. (I got really good at jump-starting.)

At home I never have this problem. I drive a Subaru, which will turn its own headlights off if you remove the key from the ignition. This is a great system that prevents a lot of forgetful people like me from getting stranded. The only possible drawback is that you are out of luck on all of those occasions when you need your headlights on and your keys in your hand.

But how often does that happen? Why can't you just leave your keys in the ignition? I'm convinced that we Americans demand the option of being idiots and hurting ourselves. That's why the nifty Subaru feature has never caught on with the other car companies. If I want to strand myself with a dead battery, then by gum, you better let me do it! Even if I don't do it on purpose!

Yeah, maybe its kind of insulting when a heap of belts, fans, pistons, etc. assumes that it knows better than you. But sometimes it does. I like the headlight feature, and I'm humble enough to admit it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

So far, today has been one of those days where I ride a bike for 15 miles and then eat half of an apple pie in one sitting, and then a half pound of roast beef. It was terrible. And fantastic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It would be cool, that's all.

Yesterday I wanted to make fun of some people. That was before last night when I had a dream. A bunch of us were hanging out on top of a mountain, hiking, sleeping, eating, and taking pictures when we heard about how this spaceship was going to come and solve all of our problems.

Being skeptics, we got a kick out of it and thought we would go to the beachfront property where this would occur just for the atmosphere and, probably, so we could feel superior to those who honestly believed in it.

After a few hours, the appointed time started approaching and some of the believers were getting antsy. I was surprised to notice a bit of anxiety in myself too, and then noticed the clouds were doing really strange things. Things I had never seen clouds do before. My friends around me starting laughing and heckling the believers but all I could do was stare at the clouds and tug at the shirt of my friend next to me to try to get him to look.

Then I noticed a figure gliding toward us on the calm ocean at inhuman speed. It looked like a child with a white face and I felt my blood turn cold. Afraid of what this thing would do I hid behind a rock while one of the believers stood fearlessly on the beach with outstretched arms. The figure landed on the shore and embraced the believer, and I was sure that it was hoax until I looked back at the clouds, which were now changing colors. A massive cube skidded onto our shore and it was clear that it was no hoax; childlike beings with white faces emerged and raised their hands and smiled, to tell us they were here now, and everything would be ok, and no hard feelings for not believing, we still love you and we forgive you.

The clock on that website happens to be 43 seconds (I guess they're on Pacific Time) before the arrival of that spaceship and it makes me sad that the "spaceship of light" won't really come. I think I want it to come almost as much as the believers, if only because of the joy I felt in my dream when I saw the figures step out the cube for the first time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hey! There's so much more!

Because of some computer problems in Alaska, I couldn't upload all of the photos that I wanted to. And Nobody will read Sam McGee is Dead anymore ever since I posted that heart-wrenchingly sentimental final entry. So here ya go:

Friday, October 10, 2008

We Get Letters

A letter printed in BYU's Daily Universe this week.

My wife and I took a trip down to St. George this weekend and we had an opportunity to talk with a great uncle who lived in Austria during World War II. He remembered he was six years old when he heard Hitler speak for the first time. He told us he had a very distinct feeling of how evil Hitler was. The conversation switched to politics later on and he told us that he had the exact same feeling when he heard Obama speak for the first time. There's the common saying that those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it. I'm not a hard-core Republican or anything like that, but since he received the same revelation for these two people, shouldn't we be doing something?

Christian Anderson
St. George

To which I replied:

Every newspaper gets ridiculous letters, but most have the sense not to print them. I'm referring, of course, to Christian Anderson's Oct.10 letter comparing Obama to Hitler, citing his great uncle's "revelation".
Anderson says "shouldn't we be doing something?" Well, if you're not already doing something to support your candidate, you're probably too late. Obama is probably going to win, and when he is elected and turns out to be a great president, or even a mediocre one, Anderson will be embarrassed to have his name attached to his great uncle's ramblings in The Daily Universe's online archives. Or by "doing something", does he mean we ought to stop our leaders from invading other countries and causing deaths? Because again, too late.
By Anderson's same reasoning, all of you coeds ought to have done something when that RM had a revelation that you were foreordained to marry him after just one or two dates. Hopefully that something was to ignore the revelation of a crazy person.
I know plenty of "hardcore Republicans" that are insightful enough to recognize Obama for what he is: A bright, sincere, loyal candidate with a lifelong record of true patriotism and effective public service. I even know some who are voting for him. His faithful marriage to his wife and commitment to his family are attributes to which we ought to aspire.
As someone who believes in personal revelation, might I offer an alternative explanation for this "revelation"? Obama and Hitler are both gifted public speakers. Anderson's uncle probably remembers a man speaking powerfully and a crowd responding. Through the years, that memory has become associated with evil, and now every time he hears a good speaker rallying a crowd, he thinks "Er erinnert mich an Hitler!"
Here's something else that will blow Anderson's mind: Obama's name sound's like Osama!
Maybe Anderson is right. We should "be doing something". And that something is keeping our crazy relatives indoors, away from the internet, and out of the newspaper.

TR Brooks
Salt Lake City