5.31.2006

will forever be laughing

Occasionally, somebody says or does something so completely ridiculous and logic defying that you don't know how to react. One of my fellow trainers had one of those events in her class yesterday.

Disclaimer: the subject of this post is a good guy. He is friendly, easy to get along with, artistic, conversational, and he breeds tarantulas. Please don't get me wrong, this post is not a complaint or a soapbox to preach against American idiocy. I am writing for the value of humor. I have been laughing about this for the past five hours, perhaps you will also find this funny.

The story begins yesterday when Peter Parker (not his real name but a thinly veiled pop culture reference) called in sick. His wife is also a coworker and his trainer asked his wife whether or not Peter Parker would be in. His wife explained that Peter's spider had died over the weekend and he wasn't feeling well enough to come in to work. Yes, I said spider. I wasn't kidding when I said he breeds tarantulas.

That in itself is mildly funny, but the real kicker comes after class when everyone had gone home for the day. His trainer sat down at her desk and checked the daily log created from our sick line to see his reason for not coming in. Apparently, when Peter Parker called the sick line, he requested FMLA to care for a sick child.

First problem, you can't get FMLA until after a year with an employer. Second, a dead spider does not count as a sick child.

Again, I'm not trying to abuse Peter Parker's character, but highlighting the humor in life. I do empathize for him. When Psuchen dies I will be very sad, but I will go to work the next day. I will probably be depressed the next day, but I will go. As much as you may love and care for an animal, when all is said and done, it is just a pet.

FMLA... HA! I so needed something to laugh at today.

5.23.2006

from here to the other side of the world AKA what I really want for Christmas

Small update.

This coming December, I have the opportunity to travel to Nepal for two weeks, returning home Christmas Eve. This would be a great chance for me to complete two of my greatest desires: I have always wanted to serve on a foreign missions trip & I've always wanted to go to Nepal.

However, to go there are some daunting obstacles to overcome. The first and most obvious is money. The trip is not a free ride. In fact costs a big chunk of change (roughly $2500). Then there are all of the little things that would need to be taken care of prior to going: obtaining a passport, all of the medical shots, training and preparation. I would also need to get into better shape. The villages there are at high altitudes and the most common mode of transportation are chevrolegs. Well... I need to lose a few pounds anyways, right?

The need there is equally daunting. Most people don't realize that Nepal is one of the poorest countries on earth. Because of their sociological and religious history, most Nepali don't understand the concept of hygiene or sanitation. Nepal is also the only nation with Hindu as their official religion.

Please keep me in your prayers. I am excited for the opportunity to go somewhere as beautiful as Nepal for what could be an amazing experience. Pray that God opens up the doors and enables me to go.

I will be posting further info both here and on MySpace.

5.19.2006

dance like you've never danced before

As a wedding DJ, I think I've seen it all. There are a million cheezy dances that no one would ever admit they enjoy unless they are at a wedding reception.

Bunny Hop, Hokey-Pokey, Chicken Dance, Macarena, YMCA, Electric Slide, Cotton-Eyed Joe... All songs that no sane person would listen to in their own home or for personal enjoyment. But no wedding party would be complete with out it.

It is amazing the songs people request at weddings.

If you have a spare 6 minutes, check out this video. It's the "Evolution of Dance."
During my time DJing for weddings, I've played everyone of those songs (except "Can't Touch This"). I've also seen most of those dance moves from various wedding guests, but never any like this guy.



"Dance, Dance
We're falling apart to half time
Dance, Dance
And these are the lives you'd love to lead"
Dance Dance by Fall Out Boy

"Let's dance for fear your grace should fall"
Let's Dance by David Bowie

"I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance"
The Dance by Garth Brooks

"The rhythms, the reason, the rhyme
of the danse pulses within everything
And the universe wheels and whirls like
a dervish in perfect seven-step time"
The Danse by Caedmon's Call

"I cant dance, I cant talk
Only thing about me is the way I walk"
I Can't Dance by Genesis

5.17.2006

Pop Quiz

What does this first group of people have in common?

Edward Jenner
Dennis Hopper
Trent Reznor
Bill Paxton
Sugar Ray Leonard
Bob Saget
Craig Ferguson
Andrea Corr
Odd Hassel
Cool Papa Bell
Brigit Nilsson
Taj Mahal
Enya

How about this second group? What do they have in common?

Benji Madden
Joel Madden
Norah Jones
Bjørn-Arild Berthelsen
Ivan Miljković
Aaliyah
Pink
Mya
The Game
Rob Bourdon
Mena Suvari
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Heath Ledger
Claire Danes
Kate Hudson
Rosario Dawson
Graeme McDowell
Bam Margera
Adam Brody

If you think you know the answers, post a comment. If you have no idea post a comment anyways. I'd love to hear from all three of my loyal readers... oh wait, I have four now.

5.16.2006

the name game

My friend Sarah was lamenting in a recent post on her blog (see my links) about the strange and torturous ways parents name their children. Bekah and I were very considerate of our children's egos when thinking of what to name our kids. Our first question was "could this name be twisted and ridiculed by a 5th grader?" We came to the conclusion that 96% of possible baby names could indeed be a source of teasing by mean spirited 5th graders we asked a second question... "How could they make fun of this name or that name? What is the least amount of damage we could do?"

Unfortunately, not all parents are as considerate. For example: read Sarah's recent post. Or, this article I found on MSN a few months ago.



The name game
Unique baby names are the power accessory of the newly born rich and famous

There's a new pout in Angelina Jolie's household -- and it's not Brad Pitt's. Jolie welcomed an adopted Ethiopian daughter named Zahara Marley Jolie. The name evokes romance, desert sands and reggae and starts with the exotic letter Z. For the well-heeled and the well-known, creating a splashy and inventive baby name is not just a birthright but a tradition. Witness the recent crop of baby names to adorn celebrity offspring: Pirate (Korn frontman Jonathan Davis' son), Moxie Crimefighter (the daughter of Penn and Teller magician Penn Jillette) and Lola (Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards' newborn). They're in good company: Chris Rock, Madonna, Carnie Wilson and Jennie Garth also call their little girls Lola, whether it's on the birth certificate or not (in Madonna's case, Lola is a nickname for Lourdes). Even veteran Live 8 musician-activist Bob Geldof has a full house, flowering with daughters Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Pixie, and their half-sister Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.


So Traditional and Retro, They're Hip Again

If you don't fancy calling your tyke Orlando or Bloom, don't despair. This trend toward sensible names is actually quite popular. Yes, Julia Roberts hit the mother lode with twins Hazel Patricia and Phinnaeas Walter, but she's not alone. Many celebrities have stuck to sensible, even normal names, fit for a regular Joe. Look at what Jon Stewart named his little guy: Nathan. Former teen heartthrob and NYPD star Mark-Paul Gosselaar welcomed a boy, Michael Charles.

Who's Done It: Plenty of people have, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick and their son, James Wilkie, Mary-Louise Parker and Billy Crudup and their son, William Atticus.

The Latest Twist: Use a nickname properly; ideally the shorter and friendlier the better. That's what worked for Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards' daughter, Sam J., and one of news anchor Soledad O'Brien's twins, Charlie.

Blast from the Past: Tom Hanks' son, Chester, and Tracey Ullman's daughter, Mabel. Janet Leigh's daughter is a screamer: Jamie Lee Curtis.


Twin Sets

Julia's picks brings us to our next category: twins.

Who's Done It: Some parents like their twins' names to match -- and some don't. Geena Davis stuck to the letter 'K' for sons, Kian and Kaiis, while actress Peri Gilpin placed a common 'A' in back for daughters, Stella and Ava.

The Latest Twist: If matching monikers don't work for you, you can take a cue from Marcia Gay Harden, who picked the intrepid Hudson for one twin, and the striking Julitta for the other.

Blast from the Past: Jane Pauley and Jane Seymour aren't twins, although they sound like they could be. In 1983, Jane Pauley named her duo Ross and Rachel, while Jane Seymour named hers Johnny and Kris, after friends Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeves.


Keep It Simple

Primitive vowel sounds pack major ooh-la-la and mimic baby's first words. What's the upside? Your future kindergartener will thank you for picking a name that's easy to say, spell and write. In addition to all the Lolas, other bisyllabic babes include Heidi Klum's picture-perfect Leni, Courtney Cox-Arquette's chic Coco and Passion of Christ star Monica Bellucci's tempting Deva.

Who's Done It: Both John Travolta and Ben Stiller elected Ella for the leading ladies in their lives. Celebrity moms Heather Locklear and Reese Witherspoon took the A train with Ava, and Kate Winslet named her daughter Mia.

The Latest Twist: Other letters to consider include 'O' (as in Oona and Oscar) and 'Z' (for Zahra, Chris Rock's second daughter and Zen Scott, Corey Feldman's son).

Blast from the Past: Steven Tyler rocked with daughters, Liv and Mia, and son, Taj.


Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Names

Rocco, Romeo, Roman. Latin names conquer like no other, especially when your son is named Aurelius (Elle MacPherson's emperor) or Magnus (Will Ferrell's tiny elf).

Who's Done It: Rocco may be Madonna's boy-toy but both Jon Bon Jovi and Victoria Beckham fell in love with Romeo for their sons.

The Latest Twist: Remember, you don't have to be in Rome to do as Cate Blanchett, Debra Messing, and Harvey Keitel have done -- just go ahead and name your son Roman.

Blast from the Past: Dean Martin crooned Dino for his son.


Get Back to Nature

Flowers, trees, and fruits are blossoming on celebrity lips, thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's daughter, Apple Blythe, and Claudia Schiffer's daughter, Clementine. Naked chef Jamie Oliver cooked up Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo for his daughters.

Who's Done It: The big boy of OutKast's Big Boi is Bamboo. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith welcomed Willow, Jude Law and Sadie Frost handpicked Iris, and Forest Whitaker dove deep for Ocean.

The Latest Twist: Animals are finding themselves at the head of pack with Erykah Badu's daughter Puma, and Scary Spice Melanie Brown's Phoenix Chi. Colors are also boldly going where no Crayola has gone before. U2's The Edge has a Blue Angel, and Sylvester Stallone has a daughter named Scarlet.

Blast from the Past: John Mellencamp named his son, Speck Wildhorse. Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon's daughters, Amber Rose, Saffron Sahara, and Tallulah Pine sound tame by comparison.


Translation Not Lost

Foreign names can be a way to add worldly allure to an otherwise average Steve, Joe, or Sophie. Don't care for Ernest? Then how about Ernesto? David and Victoria Beckham named their latest kicker, Cruz, and Mira Sorvino found grace with Mattea Angel. Both Liv Tyler and Sherry Stringfield picked Milo for their sons.

Who's Done It: Kelly Ripa opted for Joaquin for her third child, and Crossing Jordan star Jill Hennessy explored new territory with Marco.

The Latest Twist: You can also borrow words from other languages. Catherine Zeta-Jones chose Carys, from the Welsh word for "love." Rob Thomas feels right at home with firstborn, Maison.

Blast from the Past: Jon Voight's daughter, Angelina Jolie, became a future Tomb Raider.


The Reilly Factor

Last names can come first in the name game, as Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn found with daughters Finley Faith and Avery Grace. Soledad O'Brien's other twin is named Jackson and NYPD Blue's Charlotte Ross found Maxwell arresting.

Who's Done It: Patricia Arquette heralded Harlow Jane and actress Thandie Newton picked the unusual Ripley.

The Latest Twist: Celtic names like Finnigan, Delaney, and Sullivan all sound cool riding in front and work for both sexes. Maybe that's why Holly Marie Combs (Piper from Charmed) also found Finley enchanting for her son.

Blast from the Past: Sean Penn named his son Hopper (after Dennis), and Lisa Marie Presley has daughter, Riley.


Pageturners

There's nothing like a good book, author, or character for finding inspiration. Some parents even turn to the dictionary. Dixie Chick Natalie Maines embraced Beckett Finn, while Brendan Fraser held out for Holden, the beloved hero of Catcher in the Rye.

Who's Done It: Law & Order SVU star Christopher Meloni's Dante, Australian-born actress Rachel Griffiths' Banjo (named after the Down Under poet).

The Latest Twist: Some parents even turn to the dictionary for common words and terms. Erykah Badu picked lucky number, Seven, and former deejay turned actress Shannyn Sossamon tuned into Audio Science. Actor Rob Morrow looks forward to the day after with Tu Morrow.

Blast from the Past: Demi Moore was inspired by British author, Rumer Godden, and the character of Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird, for two of her daughters. Her own name was rumored to come from a beauty magazine.


Occupied by a Name?

Like the form says, state your name and occupation, or borrow somebody else's. Davis and Jillette may have caused waves with Pirate and Moxie Crimefighter but they are not alone. Kate Hudson liked Ryder, Jason Lee flew solo with Pilot Inspektor, and Reese Witherspoon found her calling in Deacon. With names like these, can little Actors, Dancers, Teachers and Drivers be far behind?

Who's Done It: Christie Brinkley searched far and wide for daughter, Sailor, and Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez launched sons, Racer, Rebel, and Rocket.

The Latest Twist: Take a cue from Jason Lee and change a letter so the spelling isn't perfekt.

Blast from the Past: Most people have heard about Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Ahmet Rodan, but did you know Frank Zappa has a daughter named Diva Muffin?


Gucci, Gucci, Goo

Pick an object. Any object. And don't forget to check the label. Popular brands that have found their way onto birth certificates in recent years include Lexus, Canon, and Porsche. Sports fans can root for Espn at little league ballgames.

Who's Done It: Toni Braxton tried on Denim for her first son, Nelly has a daughter, Chanel, and Slash has an heir named Cash.

Blast from the Past: Long before these ordinary words found themselves turned into monikers, there were John Travolta and Kelly Preston's son, Jett, and tennis legend Arthur Ashe's daughter, Camera.

The Latest Twist: Just make sure to have positive associations and memories to go along with whatever word or object you choose.

Here's looking at you, iPod.

And you thought your parents were weird.

5.05.2006

Why didn't I think of this?

I'm just waiting for the day when Christian is old enough to help me play a prank at Best Lie... I uh... I mean Best Buy.

Inside the doors of every Best Buy there are little gates that count every person that walks into the store. The general idea is to take that number and divide it by the number of transactions to get a number called "conversion." Conversion is one of the many statistics the corporate people at Best Lie... sorry, Best Buy uses to measure how well a store is doing.

It is not an exact science for several reasons. Some customers separate their purchases into separate transactions, possibly to help keep finances in order; i.e. business supplies and personal amenities. Employees also walk through those gates when they go outside to smoke or run somewhere for lunch. If employees do not go elsewhere for lunch, they often buy sodas and snacks from the front register. While this helps out their conversion it also lowers one of the other metrics they have to meet, average transaction.

Average transaction is determined by adding up to total of all of the days receipts then dividing that by the number of transactions made during the day. The larger the purchases made during the day the higher the average transaction. Best L... Buy drives up this number by selling you crap that you don't need. Management teaches their employees to lie and deceive to get those "add ons" into every large sale.

For example: the Sunday add has a cheap worthless little E-Machines package for $399.99 (after rebates). It seems like a good deal, you get the computer tower, monitor, and a printer for one low price. But the goal of every employee (or at least that employee's supervisor) is to take that sale and add in at least three of the following products: a service plan (there are separate plans for the CPU, monitor, and printer... ideally you get all three), backup battery or power supply (the bigger the better, a simple power strip won't do), blank CD's for the CD-R, extra ink (the ones included with the printer are only half full), regular paper (preferably bright white... it's the most expensive), photo paper (because the printer is a color printer), a USB cord not included with the printer (and the one with gold tips cause it's better!), internet services (why get a computer if you can't use the internet), extra virus protection, and new software like games to keep you entertained (and Microsoft Office would be a great suggestion for an additional $399.99). By the time they're done with you, you're spending close to $1,800 if not more. Then they suggest great deals on digital cameras. Once at the registers they hit you up for magazine and other subscription services (or d-subs). If the sales person was not successful in selling the service plans, some managers require that person to page a manager to the front to further push the service plan. This method of sales has angered many customers and employees. Just check out this website. (ed. note: the Best Buy Sux website has been shut down (presumably by Best Buy) and replaced with Best Buy advertising. If it was still in operation, you would have found countless stories from jilted customers and disgruntled former and current employees)

If the store is above target for average transaction but short of their conversion goal, management encourages employees to make small purchases. But if they are under goal for average transaction, small employee purchases are discouraged. Obviously, the cost of a soda and a bag of Skittles is drastically lower than that of a High Definition plasma television and could significantly lower the average transaction.

Anyways, back to conversion. One other thing that prevents this statistic from being truly accurate is customers who exit and reenter the store. They're returning shopping carts or left their credit card in their car or whatever. It is this concept that I want to exploit with the help Christian. Although, I've got to wait till he's taller.

First, we'll enter the store, counted as two people. Then, while shopping, I'll whisper to him "run through those gates." And as he runs out the door, I'll go chase him down like any good father would, also passing through the gate. We will then go back into the store, passing through the gates now counted as six people. Once inside the store I will fake scold him so not to raise suspicion of the LP person standing by the door. I'll say something like "Christian, I am only pretending to scold you. Even though I look stern, you are not in trouble. But I want you to look sheepish so that that nice people in the blue shirts think you are in trouble. Do you understand?" He'll nod his head and I'll say "Good. Now go run through the gates again." We will repeat this process many times and will eventually buy nothing. If we do by something it will be a CD or DVD and only if it is on sale.

As much fun as I imagine that activity will be, it pales in comparison to this prank.

I so wish I was there.

And for more Best Buy reading enjoyment that is totally off the subject, check out this site.

5.03.2006

best song you've never heard

Panjabi MC "Mundian To Bach Ke (Beware of the Boys)" remix featuring Jay-Z


If you've never listened to Bhangra or heard anyone rapping in Punjabi, this song will throw you for a loop. Rapping in what?! you ask.

Punjabi is a language spoken by 104 million people worldwide from the Punjab region in northern India/Eastern Pakistan, where Rajinder Rai (AKA Panjabi MC) was born.

Panjabi MC now lives in the UK and he seemlesly blends the music of his heritage and culture with modern styles popular in England.

The remix of "Mundian To Bach Ke (Beware of the Boys)" was produced by the Neptunes. The song's foundation is a sample of the Knight Rider theme song. Yet it keeps the lively instrumentation of Bhangra; dhol drums and tumbi (the tumbi was also used for the main riff in Missy's "Get Ur Freak On").

With the accompaniment and Panjabi MC's vocals, you feel as if you are walking the streets of Dheli, well... with out the heat, humidity, and overcrowding. I have no idea what Panjabi is saying, but it is absolutely beautiful. Jay's lyrics are his typical swagger, comparing himself to a "black Brad Pitt" and how he is "infinitely good."

Overall, the song is well produced, fun, and unique. I just can not get sick of hearing it.