Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's In The Name

If you’re going to call it a Fat Boy, It better be a Fat Boy!

I speak of ice cream sandwiches of course. Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches are like ice cream sandwiches on steroids! They are about three times as thick as any other ice cream sandwich and are the equivalent to eating a bowl of ice cream with two cookies. They come in all kinds of flavors including seasonal flavors such as Egg Nog at Christmas time.

Fat Boys are the type of dessert that makes skinny people whine about how fattening they look and start searching for someone with which they can share it. For you real life Fat Boys out there, be warned. Even if you down the first one easily because it’s so good: don’t get cocky! The second one will get you. A Fat Boy Ice Cream sandwich is a Fat Boy and must be respected.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream has a similar name as one of their flavors: Chubby Hubby. Peanut butter, pretzels, and caramel all help this ice cream to live up to its name and inflict terror on people who weigh less than two swallows carrying a coconut. If you are faint of heart, you cannot handle this special food from the gods. Turn around and return to your Neapolitan. Chubby Hubby is a Fat Boy and must be respected.

So when I saw a hamburger joint advertising “Home of the Fat Boy”, my curiosity was peaked. A Fat Boy Hamburger! Now that sounded interesting! Being a Fat Boy myself, I had to see if this burger really lived up to the name. I was sorely disappointed. This was nothing but a home made quarter-pounder…with lettuce! Lettuce! Fat Boys don’t do fillers! This Fat Boy is not a Fat Boy and no respect is required.

So what makes a Fat Boy a Fat Boy? A Fat Boy must have size: size that awes at the first sight. A Fat Boy must bring joy to the soul, a feeling of being completely satisfied, and nothing left to be desired. A Fat Boy must not have fluff. No filler, just pure meat and potatoes. A Fat Boy is made of the things that all people desire, but most will not admit. A Fat Boy represents the best things in life, built up to an incomprehensible quantity; to border on waste, but a Fat Boy never would.

Say what you will about us Fat Boys. Deep down, we are what everyone truly wants. Some of us are just deeper than others and we must be respected.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What Are They Trying To Say?

On the T.V. Game Show Jeopardy last night, there were three categories of "answers": "Star Wars, Star Trek, or Lord of the Rings", "Living at Home with Mom and Dad", and "Get a Life". Do you think there was any relationship between these topics implied?

I like Star Wars and Star Trek. I am also married, I do not live with my parents, and do not buy action figures (at least not for myself); therefore, I do not ask out of guilt. It just seemed like a good question to me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

George Burns Said...

"You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there."

Monday, August 28, 2006

School's Back In Session

School's back in session today for my kids. The backpacks are all laid out nicely in the living room, the kids all went to bed early, and the cat even went outside for the night. Summer is ending quickly and life will now return to the tempo of weekdays and weekends for everybody. Of course for those of us with a job, nothing really changes.

We trudge through summer like any other season. The biggest difference is that for half of the year we get to drive to and from work in the daylight. As fall approaches and blends into winter this will turn to darkness and we will wonder if the sun really shines at all. It's dark when we leave for work and darkening when we return home.

Remember back when, back when we were all in school and actually did have the whole summer off? Playing everyday, bedtime optional, and fun, fun, fun all day long. I miss those days. The only pay off is today.

Oh how I hated the first day of school! The new clothes were the worse. Today I am wearing all my well worn and familiar clothes. No stiff collars and weird store smell on my new shirt. No brand new jeans that are so perfectly blue they look like some sort of beacon and so stiff, they rub against you all during the day making sore spots on your hips and "otherwheres" and make it a chore to sit down, especially Indian style. Of course there is also the bright white shoes that scream, "Hey! Look at me!" and feel 6 inches too long, causing you to trip on anything that is not perfectly flat.

Oh no! I hated the first day of school! The new kids all looked strange, the old ones looked goofy in their new clothes, everybody smelt different, talked different, and all the friend groups tended to re-shuffle. Once in class the teacher would try to establish his or her dominance to keep all of us freaks in line, and homework would begin. This of course meant that once home, not only would I be sore from all the clothes rubbing, tired from having to get up earlier than I had for the last three months, not able to watch my regular T.V., but I would be watching the end of the summer days from the kitchen table as I tried to learn the stuff I thought the teacher was supposed to teach us!

Yeah, I'll take the job world. Where we might have to work through the summer, but we don't have to go back to school!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Psalms 100: 1-5

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C*E- Executing

The difference between wanting to do and doing is so small yet so large. Wanting, planning, and even waiting for the best possible moment is the place where many would-be success stories stall and die an agonizing death. It's at this point that many regrets are formed and nurtured for years and sometimes for life.

The element of executing a plan is of all the other elements of success the one that really separates the winners from the losers, those who will stand on success and those who will only dream of it. As I look back on the successes I have experienced, there is almost always one point I can reflect upon where my action made the difference. One moment where I acted in a way different than I would have naturally.

I love being on stage. I love putting on a show. I am very comfortable in front of groups and being the center of attention for the time the spot light is on me. Once the light goes off and the event is over, I am actually quite shy. I keep to myself and remain quiet. I am uncomfortable talking to people I don't know, I don't like talking about myself to others, and I would rather listen to a conversation than to ever be thought of as the one who always has to talk.

The times of my greatest success have always been preceded by a time when I have had to overcome these feeling of shyness and executed a plan. I have had to overcome great fear to talk to an editor about writing an article. I have had to overcome the fear of rejection when writing or pitching a proposal for a presentation to a business. I have had to overcome the fear of someone asking "who the hell does this guy think he is" when volunteering my services to a function or group. I have had to overcome many fears to actually have the courage to write something someone else might read or even edit- even to the point of my daily blog. Every morning I worry about what someone might think, but I do it nonetheless.

Despite my true inner confidence, my preparation, my willingness to push myself to perform well, it is the doing part at the beginning that makes the difference. Every successful thing I have done required my courage and willingness to take that one extra step, that venture into an uncomfortable zone, and do the one thing that would allow me to do all the other things I had prepared and waited to do.

"How many flowers have failed to bloom, not because they were never watered, not because they received too little or too much sunlight, not because the soil or seed was bad, but because no one ever decided to plant them?"

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bad Day

I know I've had bad days before. Days when I just would rather had stayed in bed than to have ever got up. In all of those bad days, however, no one has ever demoted me from "human" to "organism". The planet Pluto is being considered to be demoted from "Planet" to "dwarf planet" at a conference of people who have such authority.

How does one become able to determine and assume that authority, I wonder? I don't know but that's not really where I wanted to go with this so let's get back on track.

Poor Pluto. It has enjoyed being the planetary favorite of all young kids- mostly due to its shared name with the dog from Disney- but a favorite nonetheless. Even I got geeked up some time ago when a probe was sent to Pluto, which is still on it's way. Pluto is the outpost, the last stop. Our outer edge. Beyond Pluto is the even greater unknown. If Pluto looses it status, will it loose these qualifications? Will the edge now be the other kid favorite, Uranus. Would we just pretend that Pluto doesn't exist or count anymore?

I think this is the most unsettling for me. I feel like we're retracting. It's like deciding Nevada isn't a state anymore because it jut doesn't add up to all the other "real" states, so we'll call Utah or maybe even Colorado the last state before reaching our greatest unknown, California. If Wyoming was discovered today, would it be a state? We just don't recoil like this. It's un-American.

I understand the reasons. If we call Pluto a planet there are several other objects we would have to call planets as well to be fair. It makes sense to me, but can't Pluto get the benefit of a Grandfather clause? The benefit of being discovered in a time that we didn't know better? Make it a planet with an asterisk. I just feel that the demotion like this could really hurt Pluto's feelings. The planet that was, and then wasn't. I thought we all loved "the little engine that could" story. What if it was determined that the little engine couldn't because someone decided that the little engine was too small to be an engine and we were to call it a "mechanical device". Would no one care? Could we just dismiss it that easy?

I know. Pluto is an inanimate object and does not have any feelings to be hurt. But correct me if I am wrong, but I don' t think the objects that might qualify the same as Pluto but not receive the planet staus have feelings either. Are we afraid that they might sue for discrimination?

Why not let some scientists roll their eyes every time someone declares that there are 9 planets in our Solar System. Let some smart ass go on and on on some blog somewhere about how there are really 12 or 16 planets if we allow Pluto to continue to be a planet. Let the kids keep Pluto, that small frozen piece of rock way, way out there. Let Pluto be our edge, or border, our last outpost!

Despite the ones who know better. Despite the irregular elliptical orbit. Despite the size. Despite all the arguments against this poor planet- I say let Pluto keep it's planetary status. All new comers must be subjected to the newer standard but Pluto...what? The vote is already final? Pluto is already stripped of any possibility of being a planet...already?

Oh well. Next subject.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mall Rats

Granger Elementary had one major flaw in it's 50 year history: it allowed itself to be located next to an ambitious city's only mall. I am sure that the school was there first, but somewhere in the course of time, the property dedicated to education became "otherwise" valuable.

West Valley City, Utah wants a better mall. A cool mall, a "got-to-be-there" mall. In order to do this they need big names in retail to bring in lots of no name customers. The bigger the name, the more customers. Costco, one of only a handful of stores to which I actually like going, was to be the first of these big names. Costco is to be the first major addition to the new and improved Valley Fair Mall. They needed the kids' space and they got it.

The school, amidst protests from concerned parents, was torn down and is currently being cleared away. Once done, construction will immediately start on the new Costco and thus the first phase to breathe life into a really bad mall will begin. Now to be fair, a new school, a better school, will be built to replace the old one in another location and according to all involved, a better location. Costco is flipping part of the bill as is West Valley City.

The new Costco is said to be open by Christmas. Wow! That seems rather ambitious and quite remarkable. West Valley City will be seeing revenue as early as this winter and Costco will benefit from the Seasonal shopping.

The new school? Not quite so fast. The new school project is projected to be an 18 month project. The school district has the money, but I was unable to find out the start date. In the meantime the students will move into the abandoned Woodrow Wilson Elementary, which is 81 years old, and await the completion of their new and improved school.

I really like the Mall project but I have to admit: It all looks funny to me. It just seems like the proper thing to do was to build the new school first, move the kids in, tear down the old school, and then start building Costco. Maybe I'm just old fashion. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm just out of my mind but I think it's hard to sell kids on "stay in school", when we obviously would rather have a store.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Things They've Seen

Last Sunday, my family and I spent the afternoon with my grandparents. It just seems like life gets so busy that there is never time to do things like visit anymore and we decided to make it happen and we took the two hour trip south to Centerfield, Utah.

My Grandparents are in their mid-eighties and are doing well for that age. Age is causing them to lack some of the physical abilities they once had, but their minds are still sharp and it is so pleasant and entertaining to sit down with them and just talk. They are interested in what we have been doing and watching their great grandchildren play on the floor in front of us. At one point of the conversation, we started discussing the "how is was then and how it is now".

Normally this is where the "uphill both ways to school in 20' of snow, 11 months out of the year" stories are told, but not on this day. Daily living was physically harder then, no doubt about that, but the conversation was more of them reminiscing and sharing stories I had never heard. It was stories of daily chores, riding horses to the store, selling cream, cooking potatoes, things people said back then and how they said it, and other such tales. It was memories laced with fond feelings and good intentions.

I couldn't help but think what a difference they have experienced. My grandparents have probably seen the biggest change any other generation will ever see. Yes, I will see bigger, stronger, faster things; life will continue to evolve. They, however, have gone from eating the things they grew from the dirt they plowed, riding, using and eating the animals they raised, and scratching their lives out of only the things they could produce to today's society of everything available, all of the time. I find it hard to think any change will equal the magnitude of change they have witnessed.

I don't know if they were the "Greatest Generation", but it certainly is not hard to understand why my grandparents and all of those who share their time frame in history seem to have such a unique, clear, and seemingly wise perspective on life.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Acts 17:11

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C- Committing

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog."

Dwight D. Eisenhower- speech to the Republican National Committee, January 31, 1958

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Psalms 25:7

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD

Saturday, August 12, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C- Challenging

Although I think I could be happy to be rich by hitting the lottery, I don't think I or anyone else could claim any challenge to it. The closest one could get is the claim that they diligently "paid their dues", played every draw and got lucky and won.

Getting lucky, at least in this sense, is not challenging. It's just getting lucky. It's not anything from which you can claim personal victory. You can spend a lot of money and have a lot of fun and may never work again for the rest of your life, but no one, including yourself, is going to be impressed with your mastery of life.

In fact, most lottery winners do get jobs again. Most spend everything they won and end up broke again. Why? The process wasn't anything from which to learn. The win was cheap and the money- although spendable and able to buy anything one wants- wasn't worth anything. You picked some numbers and they came up. It's hard to call that successful.

"Most people rust out due to lack of challenge. Few people rust out due to overuse." Unknown

Set your sights high. Make it hard. Make it worth something. Your success is now dependent on you, not a cheesy host and his assistant reading balls with numbers on them. Your success is dependent on you breaking your balls to succeed! It has to be your sweat. It has to be your toil. It has to be your tears in order for it to be your victory. It'll mean something. It'll be satisfying. It'll have value.

If you want , you can still play the lottery. Just imagine aiming for personal goals way up in the stratosphere, working towards them, struggling and fighting for them and then, Pow! You're infused with mucho dinero to go for it 100%!

It could happen.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Pay Off

When the call comes in to visit my wife's grandmother, the trade-off for me is the opportunity to watch some baseball. More precisely, a lot of baseball. Over the last four days, I have been able to watch four Oakland A's games with many other games in between. At home this is not possible. One might say it's my pay-off for visiting the In-Laws. In a related way, there have been two other "pay-offs".

During Monday night's game, the camera switched several times to one of the Oakland Players working on his swing in the dug out. The player was Milton Bradley. Bradley is a switch hitter and he was, while in the dug out, practicing his swing both right handed and left. The other players gave him the space, but he is the only one I saw doing it. There seemed to be something that he was specifically working on and he was intent on mastering it.

Late in the game, the game was a tight 6-4 in favor of the A's. Milton Bradley got up to the plate and on the first pitch offered, the game became a three run game. He hit the ball left handed up and over the left field wall. In baseball, late in the game as it was, the difference between a two-run game and a three-run game is enormous. The A's held on to win it 7-4.

Nothing was really said about the dugout practice session, maybe it happens all the time. The thing I noticed was the determination to "get it right" and to be ready for the moment. It paid off. That was Pay-off #2.

Pay off #3- After watching four consecutive baseball games of my favorite team and for all my time and effort, I have a blog entry!

Now if can figure out how to write that off my taxes...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Finding The "Human" In Human Resources

The other day I needed to get a hold of someone in the Human Resources Department. It had to do with documentation and I really needed some assistance to complete it properly. I learned that the person with whom I needed to speak was on Maternity Leave, which seems to me to be a good reason to be on leave.

I called the person filling in for her. She was on vacation, which may or may not be as good a reason to be on leave but seemed understandable. It is August. Her message , however, said to contact another person, which I did...or let's say tried.

His message said that he was in and if the caller had left a message the day before, he would be getting back to that person later in the day and to be patient. Being busy, may also be a good reason, but it wasn't as good as the other two reasons- at least not to me. All was not lost because his message also gave another number to call- he called it the HR Hotline- and that I could call if I needed immediate assistance, which I felt I did.

I called the hotline. No answer.

I called again. No answer.

I called again. Someone answered, then hung up.

I called once more. No answer.

If the purpose of the hotline is to give people immediate assistance no matter the status of the people needed, it failed. If the purpose is one of education, it worked. I stopped calling and just figured it out myself.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Numbers 6:23-27

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U- Understanding

I know that there are people who teach that to achieve, all you need to do is envision it. "Fake it until you make it" is another opinion. It's a nice thought.

I don't know how anyone can imagine anything unless you know about it; have some understanding on what it is that you wish to accomplish. You have to have some "learning" about it. And "fake it"? You better know what you are supposed to be faking or you can end up looking pretty stupid.

Learn what it is that you want to accomplish. Read about others who have gone before you. Explore what it will do to your life style. Explore what others have done to accomplish what (or as close to what) you want to accomplish.

A couple of things will happen:
You might find that your dream is not as dreamy as you thought and you may want to alter you goal or it might be even more than you imagined and help you push harder, and
2) You will now what to emulate as success and not just "fake it".

Learning about your goals is a valuable element of success because it not only helps you understand your goals it may even help you accomplish them, relish them, and truly appreciate them.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Spice of Nevada

We are, as a family, spending some days in Nevada to visit my wife's family. This trip take us out to Carson City, the state's capital. And although Carson City is a city, it also has a feel of being very rural and also very Nevada. And I mean that in the best possible way.

We had some rain last night and we experienced rain as we came across I-80 from Salt Lake. Some do not like the rain, especially when driving, but there is one great benefit: the smell of sage in the air. It is enhanced when the rain and wind mix it up. As we re-fueled in Elko and again this evening as it rained, the air is full of the smell of sage.

Maybe it's because I lived in Nevada and spent a lot of time playing in her playgrounds- the desert, maybe it's because when I am exposed to it now, our family is on some kind of vacation, or maybe it just simply smells good. In any case the scent of the sage on the wind is always invited by me and is always a pleasant occasion. It seems to always say, "welcome back friend" and makes me feel at home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mel Brooks Said...

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die."