Me: Thanks Christian. (my heart warms)
Christian: Yeah, you're smarter than me!
Four year olds can be observant. They can overstate the obvious. And they also know how to keep your ego in check.
With fat Tuesday over, today is the first day of lent. What did I give up this year? Soda. So please I beg you - PLEASE DO NOT let me drink soda. (Which might be a bit of a challenge considering there's going to be free pizza and pop at blogfest on Saturday... grumble grumble.)
The last time I gave up soda for lent was 7 years ago while Bekah and I were dating (while I gave up soda, she swore off caffeine). Our late night snacks at Shari's were always difficult. We'd sit and envy each other while eating our crisscut fries - I could drink coffee, but she could drink 7Up and Root Beer. I had given up soda for lent once two years earlier and that didn't turn out well.
And 28 minutes. What's significant about that? That's how long it takes me to walk to work. Who cares? Well, I do... but only because the trip took me 45-50 minutes when I first started walking last fall. Two miles... under 20 minutes. The other upside of walking is less moobs. If you don't know what moobs are, you'll have to ask Bekah.
I normally don't do these kinds of things... (or at least not on this blog), but after reading and laughing at Jon's list, Bekah sat down with me and made me try it. She used her name first; unfortunately, her name only had one funny result - repeated numerously - "Rebekah needs to break out the work-out dates with Sven."
All that being said... here's my list.
nic needs to move to a warmer place (Um... no. Try colder.)
nic needs a symbol too (This was my first thought when Prince turned himself into a symbol.)
nic needs no magic, just his... um... (there was more to this search result, but it's not fit for print on this blog. Those of you with dirty minds can google it on your own time.)
nic needs your help: Calling all Manchester Women
nic needs to assign names
Nic needs a NOS (Mmmm... NOS)
nic needs to pre-order Great Powers (But... Great Powers comes with Great Responsibilities. I'm not so sure I'm ready to pre-order that.)
nic needs to bash Kerry Complaint Comet (I know John Kerry's a stiff... but Complaint Comet?)
nic needs separate drivers (I'll make sure to pay the taxes on them)
nic needs a special driver (As if separate drivers weren't enough, one of them needs to be special?)
nic needs to be more OPEN (My wife agrees with this statement.)
nic needs to be compatible
nic needs a banner (I had a banner once)
nic needs to be replaced with just a few clicks (Actually, I could be replaced with one click... the back arrow in your browser.)
nic needs Valentines for tomorrow's school party (This brings back some bad first grade memories that might be the root of my deep seeded abhorrence of Valentine's Day.)
nic needs to be faster. nic needs to execute tasks better. More than anything else, nic needs to be easier to use (These three statements were all apart of the same search result.)
nic needs to have state and local responder expertise (I do?)
nic needs your number because his phone book deleted itself (please don't give me your numbers)
nic needs to respond to email Letters (It's true, I'm a horrible correspondent.)
nic needs the cash to increase her wardrobe (Awkward)
nic needs to go in either pci slot1 or slot2 (More awkward.)
nic needs an IP on the host (Not as dirty as it sounds)
nic needs to hit up the gym... (I really should go to the gym more, but the true beauty of this search result is in the full sentence: "nic needs to hit up the gym his face is handsome but he has a ten yr old body.")
nic needs old_tulip instead of tulip (Actually, I need neither.)
nic needs to be enabled (How true.)
nic needs more sleep (I do, but it won't happen. Not with five kids in the house)
nic needs reseating (But, I like my chair.)
nic needs to be preferred (How does Google know these things?)
nic needs a physical address (Got One)
nic needs patching (For my eye... Yarrrr!)
nic needs to have some lines (Of?)
nic needs a good film (I haven't seen a good film in a while. Any recommendations?)
nic needs us to add bricks (Huh?)
nic needs A Bear Suit Like That Woman Needed A Punch To the Face (What ?!?)
nic needs ndiswrapper (I'm not sure if that's English.)
nic needs to be modified (Plastic surgery?)
nic needs to be shut down (Am I human?)
nic needs to be set down on the bench (This game isn't very good for the self-esteem.)
nic needs to be reset to default values (I have default values?)
nic needs both the manufactures diskette and a loop back connector (One of many tech references)
nic needs the NVIDIA Network Bus Enumerator (Only if it makes my computer go faster.)
nic needs to schedule a DMA operation (I don't know how to do that.)
nic needs to access the elds of a descriptor (This is either another tech reference, or the plot line to my sister-in-laws new fantasy novel/.)
nic needs to collect and distribute a variety of information (And that's why I blog.)
None of my last nine posts have had any comments. Do the comments matter? Not really. I know people read this blog... but for some reason, I crave confirmation that people appreciate (or enjoy) what they read. Comments do that. Kinda.
Deep down, I'm like Melvin Smiley in The Big Hit, I can't stand the thought of anyone not liking me.
Will more comments validate my craving to be appriciated? No. Not really. Will having more friends on MySpace or facebook than my wife validate my craving to feel liked? Never. Is there any possiblity that my cravings will be fullfilled? Of course.
There's a good answer to that last question, and Prodigal Jon (of Stuff Christians Like) answered that question better (and with more Back to the Future references) than I ever could. Please read his post Wondering if we're worth anything. It's good stuff.
Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.
1. I’ve participated in this meme before… almost two years ago. Only then, it was seven random facts instead of 25. If you’ve not read my last list of random things… you really should. You can find it HERE.
2. I really don’t like kids. Wait, let me rephrase that – I really don’t like other people’s kids. Actually, I don’t like most kids under the age of 10. I love my kids. My niece and nephew are cool. There are a few other people’s kids I enjoy (and in some cases tolerate). But, in normal circumstances I don’t like kids.
3. When Bekah and I first met, she was far more outgoing than I. We’ve since swapped roles. I’ve become more extroverted and she’s become more introverted.
4. I have an analytical personality. I never thought of myself as being analytical until I took an employment profile quiz. I thought I’d be more amiable, or expressive. After taking the quiz, I was a bit confused and read the analytical personality description to Bekah - expecting her to agree with me. She concurred with the quiz results.
5. I believe there is a Biblical calling to moderation in many areas of our lives. In the way we parent our children – we should not hesitate to discipline, but we should not be too harsh. In our finances – we should not strive to be wealthy, but we should not force ourselves into poverty. There are many other areas where we should not take extremes. There is one area, however, where moderation is unacceptable: love – our love for God, and our love for others.
6. Grey is my favorite color. If you tell me that grey is not a color, I will agree with you – it is a shade. But it’s still my favorite color.
7. I’m reading Celebration of Discipline. So far, I’m both encouraged and challenged by the book. The chapters on meditation, prayer, fasting, and study all had applicable tools that I feel like I will have no problem using. The chapter on simplicity is a little harder. I am not a simple creature. I suck at simplicity.
8. I’m beginning to study ancient mythology. I think part of what made the fictional writing of C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien so accessible was their fascination and understanding of mythology.
9. I think I have too many interests – writing, playing guitar, video games, photography, architecture, cooking, multimedia production, theater, etc. This may be why I’m good at a lot of things, but not great at anything.
10. I don’t know how to relax. You would think that would make me a driven individual, but you would be wrong. My inability to relax is often a source of discontent and unease.
11. I find more personal satisfaction in helping other people be successful than I do in my own successes.
12. I know we must live by faith, but faith without action is dead. I know this, but I’m not sure I’ll ever understand how to balance faith and action.
13. If I’m around people with an accent long enough, I’ll pick up their accent. It’s a bad habit.
14. Winter is my favorite season. I despise summer. If I could live anywhere in the world (and my wife would let me), I’d live somewhere just like Coeur d’Alene… only colder.
15. The kid inside me still dreams of opening a recording studio someday.
16. I am easily distracted by shiny objects.
17. I like scary movies. Blair Witch Project was not scary. Nauseating… yes. Scary… no.
18. I’m not a fan of romantic comedies. I do however have a great plot line for a romantic comedy (that I may write someday) about a girl who caught a bouquet at a wedding and will do anything to get married before her best friend.
19. I wish I could travel more. I want to take my kids to see America’s great landmarks, cities, and parks; to visit our foreign neighbors to the north and south; to tour Europe and Africa; to trek the Alps and the Andes...
20. I have this weird desire to teach my four year old geography. I don’t know why.
21. Someday, I would love to take a road trip with my wife and drive the entire length of U.S. Route 101.
22. I believe that modern consumerism is a soulless ideal devoid of independent thought. It has created within our society a herd mentality. It has stripped us of our identity. And it has blinded us to our own greed - a greed that is the root of our nation's current economic crisis.
23. Steven Colbert's I am America (and so can You) is on my bookshelf next to the Complete Works of Josephus.
24. I tell people the reason I don't spell "nic" with a "k" is because there is no "k" in "Nicholas." The real reason is laziness. When learning to write my name in preschool, my full name was too long. Like many other kids named Nicholas, I shortened it. However, even the common "Nick" was too long for me. Ergo - "nic." (I tend not to capitalize it for self image purposes, I don't think I'm important enough to be capitalized. nic is me. NIC is a college)
25. I am a living paradox. I hate not being clean shaven, but I hate to shave. I hate house work, but I hate living in a dirty house. This drives my wife batty.
There ya'll go. Facts about me. Again, if you post you're own 25 facts, leave me a comment - either here on my blog, or on facebook - I'd love to read them.
As I looked at this blog's traffic, I noticed a unique view from blogged.com - listing blogs that blogged about Mountain Dew. It was this gem that made the list of "Blogs about: Mountain Dew."
Not that that is anything special, or odd. I've been linked to from weirder places.
The odd part of blogged.com's link here is the list of related tags. The "if you like this post you may also like..." stuff. It appears (according to blogged.com) that if you enjoyed the post about my unstable symbiosis with Mountain Dew, you may also be interested in the following topics:
Aaron Gillespie, Ace Troubleshooter, Black Poor, song All For One, and song Be the One.
Like I said... odd.
* RIYL = Recommended If You Like
} A certain member of our family looks like a genetic crossbreed of Chris Farley and Johnny Depp.* No one believes me... until they see his picture. * (I credit my super-cool brother-in-law for coming up with that description)
} I was employed at Old Navy in Boise/Meridian for over three years. For a couple of months, I was in charge of the baby department. One day I was putting away a handful of baby clothes before taking my lunch break when a parent asked me a couple of questions. I answered and looked down at their stroller; inside the stroller was the ugliest baby I've ever seen. The parent continued their shopping, and I quickly ducked into the adjoining break room. Jen, a coworker, was just finishing her break.
"Jen," I said, "you gotta check this kid out. It's the ugliest baby ever!"
She told me all babies are cute, and that I was mean for even suggesting any baby was ugly. She walked out the break room door, but reappeared a few seconds later... laughing."
"Oh my gosh, Nic," she said. "You're right... that kid is really ugly."
} After spending over ten years in various customer service positions, I am amazed at how little consumers think for themselves. I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but some things never lose their ability to cause awe and wonder.
} My walk to work this morning reminded me of the stereotypical when-I-was-your-age stories. It was two miles in the snow - uphill.
} Speaking of walking to work... I've mentioned before that I listen to music while walking to keep me happy, moving, and motivated. However, it's tricky to find music with tempos that matches my stride. To slow of a tempo and my pace slows. To fast of a tempo and I feel like I'm out of step with the music. This morning, I discovered two songs with perfect tempos - beat matching step for step... Got the Life & Sleep Now in the Fire.
1 package of spaghetti
1 pound spicy Italian sausage
1 8oz package of Kraft shredded cheddar jack cheese with jalapenos
1 jar of Prego Italian Sausage & Garlic meat sauce
1 small onion (chopped or diced)
Crushed red pepper
In a large pot, boil water and cook spaghetti noodles.
Brown sausage in a large skillet. Add onions and pepper for flavor while browning sausage. Once sausage is cooked, pour the Prego into the skillet with the sausage. Stir and simmer.
Drain pasta and serve. Top the pasta and sauce with the jalapeno cheddar jack cheese.
For the last few weeks, my boss has been challenging us to inspire our employees to greatness. How can we inspire those that work for us to be great? This urging to accomplish bigger and better things is a lofty goal that drives many people today.
In the early churches, Paul was trying to inspire the Corinthians to greatness when he wrote about love.
There are many great things that can be done. Paul lists them off - we can speak in many different languages; we can see the future; we can possess amazing faith, knowledge, and understanding; we can give and give till there is nothing left for us to give. These are all great things, but Paul makes one thing clear; without love, all great things are utterly meaningless.
We discussed this inspiration for greatness during a recent staff meeting. We gave the usual ideas of pep talks and encouraging words. But, one of my coworkers said had a different perspective. She said, "Greatness is not the end result. It is a process. It is a means to an end."
Any one who has parented a child understands this concept. When a child is learning to walk you praise every step, but as they grow older there is no greatness in walking; there are new things to learn and explorer. As a child grows, parents must find new things to praise their child in greatness.
Everyone who has been a manager or a supervisor understands this concept. Successfully logging into a computer system might be great for a new employee, but logging in everyday loses its greatness after a few days. What is great for a new employee is common for a tenured employee. Supervisors must find new great things for each individual employee. Anything that is done well could be done better.
Paul understood this concept when writing to the Corinthians. He understood this process to greatness is incomplete, and that we should always aspire to do greater things. 'We know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.' (1 Cor 13:9-12)
Love is our measure of greatness. Paul has shown us the most excellent way. As we aspire to greatness, we should also inspire others to greatness. Of all great things - faith, hope, and love - the greatest we can ever attain is love.
It is all about love.
The juice and cookies are still there today. And I still don’t know who the snacks belong to – no one’s claimed them. They look temptingly delicious. Hmmm.
Throughout my high school years, I was the stage manager for every theatrical production done at MPHS. I made a home for myself backstage. This area (and the adjoining band & choir rooms) hold many fond memories for me: improv acoustic jams in the choir room during rehearsals for Into the Woods, Sam teaching me my first few guitar chords, hanging out in the prop room with Mike Sarah and Stephanie, the rooftop access in the prop room (and Jon’s mysterious possession of a key that unlocked the rooftop access), and the many philosophical discussions with… well… with just about everyone involved in the drama club. MPHS’s backstage space also holds some painful memories, like the time Eric showed up in K’s office panicked and holding a handful of drug money.
And the hallways backstage are the home of one of my most embarrassing moments.
During evening dress rehearsals, and Friday night/Saturday night productions the entire performing arts building was ours. The cast members would arrive in costume or get dressed wherever they pleased. The lighting in the prop room was too dark to be used for a green room, so we used the choir room. Last minute preparations, hair & makeup, people pacing and reciting their lines… all of that was reserved for the choir room. For the most part the bathrooms were used as bathrooms. Those bathrooms were only intended for one person at a time, and on normal nights, that wasn’t an issue.
Student matinees were a different story. This show was held during school hours. Cast members were in class for the first part of the day and therefore couldn’t show up in costume. Classes were in session before and during the show, so the choir room was off limits. Cast members were then restricted to K’s office, the prop room and the bathrooms to get dressed. As for makeup… couldn’t do it backstage – too dark. Some tried to use the prop room, but the lighting there wasn’t good enough for most people. That left the bathrooms. The single occupant bathrooms turned into beehives of thrown elbows & clothing, makeup, hairspray, and cast members fighting over tiny mirrors. There was one further complication during our spring production of Neil Simon’s Rumors – the water fountain between the two bathrooms didn’t work. Not a problem during evening shows – inconvenient during the student matinee.
My friend Mike was one of the first cast members dressed and ready for the show. He was playing the part of a police officer – a small part not seen until the end of the first act. He finished getting dressed and applied his stage make up early to maximize his free time before the show started. As stage manager, my role (before the show) was to make sure the set was clean and props were prepared. A central plot point in Rumors involves the characters becoming gloriously drunk before the police show up in response to overheard gunshots. Since serving hard liquor to a bunch of high school students performing on stage would be both stupid and illegal, Mike helped me mix various sodas, teas, and juices to make non-alcoholic brews that looked like liquor. When we finished both bathrooms were still occupied by a gaggle of cast members. The guys were having an easier time getting dressed and ready. The costumes required for Rumors was formal wear - the guys were all done (dressed and makeup applied) long before the girls. By the time Mike and I finished making our mixed drinks, the guys were hanging out backstage and the girls had taken control of both bathrooms.
The choir room had a class in session, so the space available to wait for show time was limited. Some of the guys were pacing between the stage and the prop room. Some of the stage hands were bringing the non-alcoholic concoctions Mike and I created onto the stage. But Mike and I tried our best to relax. We sat on a bench in the hall outside the choir room, talked (about what I don’t remember), and waited for everyone to finish their pre-show preparations. We both had to use the bathroom (for the bathroom’s intended purpose), so we were also waiting on the girls to finish their makeup.
One of the choir students, Josh, stepped out of the choir room to fill up his water bottle. He tried the water fountain with out success. The boys bathroom was locked and the girls inside wouldn’t answer. So, Josh knocked on the girls room door. The door cracked open and the four or five girls inside asked Josh what he needed. He asked if they could fill up his water bottle, handed it to the girls, and returned to the choir room. We heard some muffled shouting, and then some laughter. Then, Angie stepped out of the bathroom, full water bottle in hand. Mike and I were the only two people in the hallway.
“Here,” said Angie. “Give this to Josh when he comes back.”
She handed us the bottle. Mike took it and put it down somewhere where Josh would see it. Several minutes later, the bell dismissing classes rang. Dozens of choir students filtered through the hall en route to their next class. Josh was not one of them; he must have used the exit on the other side of the choir room. He never returned to retrieve his water bottle.
There is one more thing I should mention about MPHS’ backstage areas. It could get exceedingly hot. And there was no air conditioning in those short hallways. Not only were Mike and I bored and waiting to use the restrooms, we were parched. Did I mention the water fountain didn’t work? Once it became clear that Josh had forgotten about his water bottle, we began eying it with increasing thirst. We caved. Mike opened the bottle and chugged half of it. He handed it to me and I finished it off. The water was cold and refreshing.
A few minutes before everyone needed to take their places, the girls vacated the bathrooms - hair up, makeup flawless, and dressed in their formal best. Angie and Sarah immediately noticed the empty water bottles.
“OH MY GOSH!!!”
“DID JOSH DRINK HIS WATER?”
Mike and I were puzzled. Why would they care. We shook our heads no.
“Who drank it?”
Mike and I looked at each other, still perplexed. “We did.”
Angie and Sarah’s eyes widened with amazement. Our brows furrowed in bewilderment. “That,” they said, “was toilet water.”
They could have warned us.
Now, I never thought of myself as lovely... so what is The Lovely Award? Lucky for me, Miriam included a description and instructions. It is an award for "blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to three bloggers who must choose three more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
While I'm not known for my charm (although I have my moments), I do like friends. And I don't mind the attention.* Here are three blogs/bloggers that I think fit this "lovely" description.
The Wayward Episcopalian. Nathan (AKA Transplanted Texan) is a student at Dartmouth with a passion for politics. I wouldn't normally consider politics to be charming, but Nathan's perspective is refreshing and filled with youthful optimism. But beyond political musings, Nathan also explorers his faith, post-Katrina recovery efforts, and his fanship of Bruce Springsteen.
Dekkenga. Seth & Rebekah are some old friends of ours from the year we spent in Sioux Falls. They're working on adopting a child from Liberia and they're blogging about it. Not only are they one of the most lovely couples I've ever met, they are amazingly quirky, and wonderfully creative people.
synaptic disunion. This is toadman's blog. Whatever mental image you've created for the name "toadman" is probably close to accurate. His writing is equal parts snark and charm. He's witty, articulate, and embodies a certain intelligent sarcasm that I appreciate. Beyond that, he's a good dad. And his recent open letters to Rick Warren and President Obama are (imho) simply inspiring.
* Speaking of attention... you really should read Miriam's reason for giving me The Lovely Award.
Pour milk and flour into sepperate bowls. Start with 1 cup each, you can replentish if needed. Soak bacon in the bowl of milk, then completly cake the milk-drentched bacon with flour. Fry the milk-drenched/flour-coated bacon in skillet till stiff & crispy.
Warning: This will make a HUGE mess in your kitchen. Cook breaded bacon only if you don't mind cleaning the resulting catastrophy.
Additional warning: DO NOT drink the remaining contents of the milk bowl. It will taste nasty and might make you sick. Nor should you feed it to children or small animals.
Answer Price Sheet
Answers…………. $0.50 each
Sarcastic answers…………. $0.55 each
Sarcastic answers requiring thought………….$0.75 each
Sarcastic answers requiring a lot of thought………….$1.00 each
Correct Answers………….$2.00 each
Stupid looks are free
I need to get one of those signs.
My parents are consistent enough to be counted on, but not so regular that they maintain an element of surprise. They’ll usually send me a bag of candy corn around Halloween (and by “around” I mean between the last week of September and Thanksgiving). I’ve occasionally received red, green, and white colored cadies for Christmas. And once, they sent me some for my birthday in May. But it’s not always candy. Several years ago, they sent me a candy corn scented candle (that was before I met Bekah), and this past Christmas they gave me a pack of candy corn shaped playing cards.
Cupid Corn (Yes, it’s really called “Cupid Corn”). Apparently the makers of candy corn won’t stop until they have a version for every holiday. I can’t wait to see what color combination they come up with for Arbor Day.
Pittsburg Steelers = poor sportsmanship
I know the Steelers took home the trophy, but I’m not sure either team deserved to win.
As for my three favorite commercials:
3. The 12 days of Christmas styled Career Builder’s “if you cry constantly, it may be time”
2. The Bud Lite office meeting with the guy thrown out the window
1. Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head
And that reminds me of a common meal while growing up: pig fat & chicken embrios... AKA, bacon & eggs.
Or sausage & eggs. Or biscuts, hashbrowns, and gravy. Or potatoes and scrambled eggs. We ate it quite frequently - especially the potatoes and eggs. In fact, we ate it so much that I couldn't eat eggs for a long time after I moved out on my own. Even today I avoid ordering eggs at restaraunts.
Nowadays, Bekah and I don't often induge in breakfast for dinner. But it is cheap, quick, and easy. Maybe if I always thougt of breakfast foods in such brutally honest descriptions as pig fat & chicken embrios, I would eat less of it. Hooray for cereal.