save the tree octopus

In my English class last week, I warned my students to be on guard for bogus or unreliable research sources. Just for fun, I showed them sites that warn against the dangers of Di-hydrogen Monoxide (water), tout the new drug Havidol ("when more is not enough"), and—most importantly—call on readers to save the Northwest Tree Octopus.

What are the odds? On that day, in that class, with fewer than 20 students present, one girl was wearing her "Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus" T-shirt. I want one.

Soy is making me gay

We stopped drinking cow milk because it gave Kathy tummy-aches. We stopped drinking soy milk because it was making me gay. We now drink rice milk, which is whitish like milk, but tastes like the water leftover when you boil spaghetti.

Soy was making me gay because it contains lots of estrogen-like hormones. I also developed an icky, itchy, rapid-growing scar on my chest, called a keloid scar, that also contains a lot of estrogen. I decided the estrogen in soy, other than making me gay, was also making my scars grow and hurt.

But I can't escape soy, it's in everything. Look at your food labels. Soybean oil, soy lecithin, soy makeyougayogens.

I have nothing against gay people, mind you, but my wife would if I became one.

Evidence that soy is making me gay:

  • My wife picked out some curtains, I thought they were lovely.
  • We went to a wedding yesterday, and I checked out the groom's butt, and then told other people to check it out, and said, "That's a nice butt."
  • I thought The Dark Knight was too violent.
  • I cried when I watched Anne of Green Gables.
  • I don't like sports.
  • I don't like red meat.
  • I wink at people, (could be evidence of creepiness, not necessarily gayness).

Other than avoiding soy, I'm also averting gayness by dressing like a bum, and being slovenly in general. Depending on how messy the house gets, my wife might not mind the change.

ever pee your pants?

We got talking the other night about pee-your-pants moments. Unfortunately, I have more to talk about than Christopher; we thought we'd post the best ones here.

Kathy: In first grade, bathroom passes had to be bought with Funny Money, our reward for good behavior throughout the day. But badly-behaved children still have functional bladders. So, when one of the so-called bad kids in my class had to pee, I gave him my funny money. The next day, when I had to go to the bathroom, I was broke. My teacher wouldn't let me go, so I wet my pants. That teacher sure got an earful from my mom.

Christopher: I was nine or ten. My best friend Clay's older brother worked at Blockbuster Video. Clay and I were playing the new Kirby Golf game on the Super Nintendo at Blockbuster, when it hit me that I really needed to go. But I wanted to finish the level on the game. So I waited, and waited. The level was longer than I anticipated.

When the level finally ended I ran to the back of the store, but the door to the bathroom was locked. Blockbuster keeps their bathrooms locked for emergencies like this, so I had to run to the front of the store to get a worker to bring the key and unlock it. I ran to the front, but because I was a ten year old kid with no money I was low on the priority level of people they gave attention to. I waited in line, dancing in agony, until I got to the front. I asked someone to unlock the door.

I walked back with the employee who had the key. She walked, and I jumped up and down, wanting to run. She unlocked the door and I ran in, slamming the bathroom door behind me. Success.

I stood before the toilet, and as I unzipped my pants I felt it coming. I couldn't get my zipper down in time. The warm, terrible flood soaked me. I stood over the laughing toilet horrified. I thought quickly, and grabbed the pile of paper towels off of a table next to the sink and tossed them into the toilet's clear water. Then I added some toilet paper for good measure, and flushed.

I sprinkled some tap water all over my shirt and pants for good measure, and when I felt ready, I walked out and informed the worker that their toilet had exploded, all over me.

I said I tried to stop the explosion with all of the paper towels, and had gotten soaked in the process. I don't know if anyone believed me, but it was better than the truth.

Clay and I walked to his house a couple blocks away, and he let me wear a pair of his pants. Clay was twice as skinny as me, so I had to walk like a wedgied cowboy. I decided it was time to go home, so I walked a mile and a half like that. The pee still clung to my unwashed skin under the borrowed tight cowboy pants.

I don't even remember who won that round of Kirby Golf.

K: Do have any humiliating pee-your-pants moments? We'd love to hear them.

C: You know you have them. If you have the courage to share them, I'm sure we could fill an entire blog.

Go Speed Racer (Racer X=my hero)

Kathy and I went with some friends to see Speed Racer at the dollar theater. We went with low expectations, and only wanted to see it because Matthew Fox, a.k.a. 'Jack' from LOST is in it. We were not disappointed.

Stephen Colbert was right, watching it was equivalent to being tossed around a clothes dryer with a strobe-light. It was cartoony, and catered to children, but so enjoyable.

For the kids, Speed Racer had a goofy little brother whose best friend was a monkey. The villians were easily discernable from the bad guys buy their ugliness and their own creepy background music. But all this child-pandering notwithstanding, the movie was really enjoyable.

Jack played the mysterious Racer X. He kicked some butt. One of my favorite scenes involved him fighting a ninja in his pajamas. Another was when a race car was upside-down in the air above his car, and he jumped his car just under that car, and punched the driver in the face just for the heck of it. That was awesome. Jack, or Racer X, should have his own spin off show where he beats people up. They don't even need to be bad guys, just people who could do with a beating.

Go with really low expectations like we did, and the payoff will be great.

we'll pay you 50 cents

Christopher and I frequent libraries the way some people might frequent bars. It's a sort of addiction.

We don't check anything out—we want books for keeps. And we can keep the books we buy. Every library has its own system: some have rotating shelves with a steady, but limited supply of books, while others sell entire roomfuls of discarded books every quarter. We keep the dates of the big sales on our calendar.

On our most recent library excursion, we stumbled on this find. Yes—two pristine copies of Billy Collins poetry for only 50 cents.

While I feel bad that Billy probably didn't profit monetarily from the transaction, I'm still delighted that we supported our local library that way before someone else beat us to it.

Do we have room in our little apartment for more books? No. Do we care? Absolutely not. And if you're considering getting rid of any books
you own, we're happy to take those off your hands, too, for fifty cents apiece.

Elephant in the Room

I had a friend who went out East to sell security systems with her husband a few years ago. Out East she got pregnant. She called three doctors, all three refused to see her. She said she felt like Mary in the Bible, no room in the inn.

Now the same thing has happened to my cousins. They are out selling in Texas for the summer. The wife got pregnant, they called over a dozen doctors, but none of them would help her. They plan on going to Fetal Photo to see if their baby is okay.

Something is wrong with our health care system if doctors are too worried about profit to help a pregnant lady and her baby.

double takes

If you never stop and take a look around, you might miss something.

It's easy to do. Just imagine that your bedroom is the only room in the house with a/c, so you're lying in bed, typing away at next week's lesson plans. You're trying to figure out how to convince yet another classroom of freshmen that writing actually matters (they still don't believe you). While you're imagining how to keep them engaged for two-and-a-half hours, you open up Photo Booth on your laptop.

And you're glad you did, because otherwise, you never would have noticed that you were in your own little sort of Rothko painting. See? If you hadn't stopped and looked around, you might have missed it.

The Revolution

I'm reading Ron Paul's "The Revolution." It is an incredible book. The man looks a little crazy on TV, but he has some great ideas.

I'm definitely voting Obama, but I think every American should read The Revolution.

Body Switchers

Kath said she'd like to switch her body for a new one while the old is fixed. Just like when your car is in the shop, they usually pay for you to use a rental car.

i'm moving to lithuania

Anyone who knows me well understands that I am not a fan of doctors. One of them told my mom that her chronic auto-immune disease was her body's way of aging and she should just buy a hot tub and forget about the pain. I've been exhausted since I was 17; and according to the doctors I've visited, I've just been stressed out—for the last nine years.

But last week, I visited a doc who was startled by my medical history. The report for an MRI done in 2006 read this way: "MRI is normal except for a small cyst on the pituitary." She looked confused and said, "If there is a cyst on your pituitary, the MRI is not normal." No kidding. I wanted to hug her.

She listened, explained tests we'd run, and gave options to help me not feel like sludge every morning. Come to find out, she studied in Lithuania before coming to the US. That's right: the best doctor I've ever had got her degree in the former Soviet bloc. I'm finally a fan.

My wife is a nerd

We brought home Kathy's 7th grade spelling bee championship trophy from her parents' house.

I lost on the word "February" in 3rd grade. Arrgh that first 'r' is silent, at least in Utah.

She told me that three years after winning that the 2nd place winner told her he had finally dropped his grudge against her, but he still remembered the words he lost by, she didn't. The losers remember. February, you jerk.

I married her because she was a nerd, just like me. After we got married I found a box she had stored away completely full of star wars memorabilia. So nerdy, so cool.

Nerdiness is part of her soul. This week she had a nightmare and woke up screaming. I held her and asked me to repeat her nightmare to me, not so much to comfort her as to sate my morbid curiosity. The details were frightening for sure. Our 4am room started to look like a morgue. But the kicker, the end of the dream that startled her awake in screams: Voldemort.

Voldemort was the bad guy of her dreams. I chortled, a silly, 4am, uncontrollable laugh. I found it is difficult to comfort someone when you're laughing at them.