Thursday, December 23, 2010

On White Elephants

Most people love white elephant parties, but some people don't understand them. I think this is because the white elephant of the past and the white elephant of the present are different things. Everyone hears stories of the best gift ever that had the whole party laughing hysterically, so most people try to bring a gift that will produce the same effect. All too often these attempts are made by people who don't have a sense of humor. Or not a good sense of humor, at least.

I went to a party this year where someone brought a "Shave with me Barbie," which was a barbie doll in a package with hair glued to her legs and armpits and a pink razor. It was junk, but it was funny. This was an acceptable white elephant gift--because it was funny. And it got stolen twice.

Someone else brought a six pack of Henry Weinhard's root beer. Not a funny gift, but it was acceptable because it was desriable. And it got stolen twice.

Then another person brought a half used package of Pepto-Bismol. When it was opened, he and his wife were obliviously laughing in the corner while everyone else let out a collective "hmmmphsooooollllaaaammmmmeeeeemmmmmmhhhhmjhjasfd." This was not an acceptable gift because it WAS NOT FUNNY and WAS NOT DESIRABLE.

Last year I went to the ever-anticipated "Yankee Swap" party with my married friends. This is one of the few times each year that we all get together (because what married person wants to hang out with single guys?), and we bring awesome gifts. Because some of the guests have terrible gift track records, we don't even call it a white elephant anymore (even though it still kind of is). To the "Yankee Swap" you are supposed to bring the type of stuff that you want but never buy (like stuff on QVC, etc.) Some of the best gifts of years past have been: a Sega Genesis, some strands of our friend Jackson's chest hair*, and the deed to a square inch of land somewhere in Texas.

Even with "Yankee Swap" replacing the old "white elephant" title for at least two years now, some of the guests still fail to grasp the concept. Last year I brought a sweatshirt that said "That's what she said" on it and, Fearing that it would be not well received, I offered the recipient an alternate--they could take the sweatshirt or "mystery," which was movie tickets. Retail value of both gifts was around $20--which is toward the high end for this particular party. The person that ended up with the sweatshirt picked "mystery"--took the movie tickets and left me with a sweatshirt I could never bring myself to wear**.

When it was my turn, I decided to open a new gift (instead of stealing), and I got a cat book. An old, used cat book with pictures and descriptions of all the different varieties of domestic cats. Even if I liked cats, I still wouldn't have wanted it. It was received with a collective "ohhhhhhhdudethatsuckshmmmmmffffffffwhobroughtthatstupidgift?" from the crowd. After it was all over one of the marrieds came up to me and offered to trade me a lava lamp for the sweatshirt, which I did. Then, later that night at a different party, I gave the lava lamp and the cat book to a girl who I'd never met as a thanks for letting us come to her house. It was a total wash.

If you are still planning on going to a white elephant party this year, remember that if you don't have a sense of humor*** just bring something cool. I'd rather get one bottle of root beer that is worth $1 than a cat book or some half-used OTC's. It's not funny, it's just dumb and cheap. And not fair because you may end up leaving with Sonic the Hedgehog or owning land in the Lone Star State.

* Jackson's chest hair was in a small, clear box that could be hung from a Christmas tree. It worked because everyone admires Jackson for being the most manly human being alive. And I think it came with a gift certificate to a real restaurant or something like that.

**Not that I didn't like the sweatshirt--it was really funny, but I couldn't bring myself to wear it in public.

***Are you wondering if you have a sense of humor or not? I'll give you some tips for how you can tell. If you bring a "funny" gift to your white elephant party this year, pay attention to the reaction of the crowd when your gift is opened. Is anybody laughing? Do you hear things like "that is a great gift" or "classic"? Or is it kind of quiet and mumbley? Now, look at the face of the person who received the gift. Are they disappointed? Do they try (unsuccessfully) to pawn it off to someone else? If you get the mumbley, quiet, disappointed kind of reaction then you have no sense of humor. Give up and just bring cool stuff from now on or you may not be invited back in the future.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Super taster?

In physiology a few weeks ago we learned about "super tasters". The professor handed out a bag with a few jelly beans, some Mike and Ikes, and a strange little white paper. He told us that it was special paper that only "super tasters" would be able to taste and that it would be so strong (repulsive) to them that they wouldn't be able to keep it in their mouths. Apparently some people have special taste buds or more taste buds or something and these people tend to be wine-tasters or food critics. While I don't enjoy eating nasty stuff, I couldn't wait to find out that I was a super taster--how else do you explain my love of all things food/ice cream/candy?* Today I ate some of those little Reece's peanut butter cups--after eating a couple of them I decided that it took too long to unwrap each one individually, so this is what I did:

Then I ate them all in about ten seconds. I know. But I bet you've thought about doing it too--if not, you're definitely not a super taster.

Anyway, the time came and we all tried the paper. Needless to say, I was more than a little disappointed when all the people around me were freaking out about the bitter awful taste of the paper and I only thought it was mildly gross. I felt like Ping in "The Empty Pot". Maybe everyone was faking it and I would go up to my professor after class and say "but Dr. Michel**, I have loved food all my life, more than most of the people around me and I don't drink coffee or anything hot so I know I don't burn my tongue on a regular basis." Then he would smile and say "I have found the new emperor of the class. All the papers I gave you were just sticky notes cut up into pieces. Everyone was faking it. You were the only one who was honest." Then I would cancel finals week.

So, since that time I've had to come to grips with the fact that I'm just a regular taster who has some weird love of food, ice cream, and candy (and a complex with the word 'weird'--I always spell it 'wierd' first then have to correct myself).

* Those are my three main food groups. I know, one of my main food groups is 'food,' but ice cream and candy need to be separate from everything else.

** My professor goes by Mike Michel, even though his first name is not really Mike. It's actually William C. I don't get it either.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Of the 28 Thanksgivings I've celebrated, this year was the best. First of all, there was no school. I love school, but at the rate we cover material a break every now and then is badly needed (Thanksgiving was the first day-off since Labor Day). Then, I got to go skiing at Alta with dad. The "blizzard" we had on Tuesday was the biggest letdown since the Utah-TCU game but somehow there was still way more snow than I expected. After I got back from skiing I could have called it a day and been perfectly happy--but it got better.

Dinner was so amazing it deserves it's own paragraph. Probably it's own book*, but all I have is a blog. Anyone who knows my mom knows that she loves to throw a party and that, when she does, she pulls out all the stops. This year we didn't have any cousins with us, so she did everything herself. She wrote out a schedule to make sure each dish would be done on time. It started Wednesday night with blanching almonds, putting the turkey in a brine, and doing something in the oven (I'm not really sure what). Then on Thursday, while dad and I were off making tracks in the powder, she and Gracie (my sister) started cooking, making everything from scratch. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed onions (a family favorite--trust me, these things are better than they sound), cranberry sauce, gravy, rolls, and four different kinds of pie (banana cream, chocolate cream, pumpkin chiffon, and pumpkin). The banana cream and chocolate cream pies used homemade pudding with real vanilla (from vanilla beans) and chocolate, respectively. Nothing from a box. What kind of mother does all that for her family? Needless to say, she was exhausted, but it was the best food I've ever eaten. Then Christmas music and Beatles Rockband. I dare you to try and have a better day than that.

*When I was a kid I was into the "Redwall" books. They were about mice and rabbits and stuff that could talk and lived in castles and had medieval battles. I remember reading in one of the books about a feast that took half the novel to describe (at least it felt like half the novel). I don't remember too many details, but I'd be willing to bet our Thanksgiving feast was way more epic.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter 7, part I

Before you read this, you should know that I've only read the first Harry Potter book. I know that this means that I don't know everything because they leave stuff out of the movies.

I went to see the first half of the final movie last night. It was good, but I realized what it is about Harry Potter (well, the movies, anyway) that I haven't liked all these years. Harry never does anything in the movies. He either reacts to what happens to him or he follows Hermione and Ron around while stuff falls into their laps. As far as I can remember, in all the movies he never does anything special, smart, brave, or heroic (with the exception of maybe Quidditch, which isn't even that important). He's not really an exceptional wizard, not very coordinated, and he never did anything to earn any sort of reputation at all. And he never has any sort of control of the precarious situations he's always finding himself in. I'm looking for something awesome to happen in the end although I'm starting to suspect that his wand is going to magically wave itself and Voldemort will die.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I had to write a paper this week for class. Knowing that this is my one chance to score higher than the kids who never forget stuff (the gunners) I was actually kind of excited (I even wondered if they'd give me extra credit if I submitted it in English and Spanish). Anyway, I had to write about an article I read on how the brain can make stuff up. The example they give of how this works and why it would be important is if you were watching a dog running behind a picket fence, your brain would fill in the parts of the dog that you can't actually see so that you perceive a complete picture of the dog. It goes on to discuss a girl who feels an itch on her head that is not actually there. It torments her so much that she scratches all the way through her scalp and her skull to her brain.
I got thinking about whether or not my brain does stuff like this and I thought of one example that gets me every time. Now, I'm going to post a picture and I want you to think about what this candy tastes like:

If you're anything like me just looking at these little guys makes you sweat under your eyes, pucker up, and salivate. Not the kind of salivating you do when you see a steak come off the barbecue, but the kind you do when something is so sour that you can't wait to bite into it to get to the sweet core. Can you taste the sourness in your mouth? I really kind of feel like the little guy on the package when I eat one--it makes me wonder why I used to spend money buying these things as a kid. I actually wrote about Warheads in my paper--hopefully my professor will know what I was talking about because, if not, I could be outscored by the gunners one more time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A sad truth

I heard once that in order to keep people reading a blog, you have to post something at least once a week. While I hope that google reader will save my blog from oblivion, I still feel like I should make an effort to write more. The tragedy is that not much happens to me these days. Week to week there are lectures and tests, with the occasional weekend here and there. As exciting as that is, I feel like a few general observations I've made over the last several weeks might be more interesting to read:

- Anytime before Thanksgiving is way to early to have a Christmas tree.
- Halloween decorations in the front yard are fun but dummies hanging from trees may not be very kid-friendly.
- The Utes are overrated and the Jazz are underrated. (I've been saying this for a while).
- Negativity is contagious. Several of my classmates tend to be negative about school--it kind of wrecks the whole experience.
- 27 is a great age. If you haven't tried it yet, you should.
- I read that retail therapy doesn't really work. This may be true about long term happiness, but if they're talking about short-term life improvement then I beg to differ*.
- Every narcissist has a soft spot. (A story for another time).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

People without kids...

...need nieces and nephews.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Living at home

Living at home with parents (and sister) has some serious benefits. This fall I've had a bottomless supply of peaches, pears, cupcakes, rice crispy treats, and honeycrisp apples. If you don't know about the honeycrisp variety it's probably because they're too expensive for most people your age to buy. Living at home I also get to share stuff and borrow stuff like ties (dad has an amazing collection), cars (although only occasionally), and toothbrushes. Wait, toothbrushes?

A couple of times a week I brush my teeth upstairs, usually only if my sister, Gracie, is in the bathroom we share downstairs. Yesterday I finished brushing my teeth up there and I heard her run upstairs and ask me, "did you just use my toothbrush?" (I should mention at this point that there is only one toothbrush in the upstairs bathroom and it's mine). "Your toothbrush?" I asked as the clean feeling of recently brushed teeth was beginning to be replaced by grossness. "That's my toothbrush, I put it there when I came back from St. George four months ago!" she said. The grossness instantly spread from my mouth to my entire body. I wanted wash my mouth out with bleach. I quickly renounced ownership of the toothbrush and is was immediately placed in the dishwasher. On the list of things that should never be shared, toothbrushes are somewhere near the top. We had a good laugh and then Gracie started singing "the old family toothbrush."

"First it was mother's, then it was father's, then it was brother's, and now it is mine."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Charts and graphs

I've always found that my brain tries to associate what I'm learning at school with real life. For example, the other day as I was walking to my car I saw a spot on the sidewalk and thought, "that looks like a simple squamous epithelium." For this reason I become less and less sociable the longer I'm in school.

One of the things they've got me studying right now is statistics. We try to figure out different types of studies and how the are expressed as graphs. This means that my brain is starting to put ideas into graph form spontaneously. Here's a graph of my social abilities (y-axis) compared to years of medical school (x-axis):


During the last couple of years I've made some friends who went to BYU. One of the best parts about these friends is that I get to hear all of the bad date stories from when they were at school down there. It seems like they have more stories than anyone else (it's almost like the Y invented bad dates, which may not be far from the truth). So here is a graph of number of bad dates (y-axis) compared to years at the Y (x-axis):


Here's how much I want a fall break compared to weeks of school:


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's not OK... leave the 'g' off the end of a gerund. Runnin is not a sport, doin fine is not fine, and chillin isn't cool. Even if you include an apostrophe. I don't really care how you say it--but in writing keep it classy, don't abandon your 'g's.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In another life...

...I would be a writer. Once I wanted to write a Quixotesque screenplay about a guy who spends all his time watching reality TV until he becomes crazy and thinks he's in a reality TV show. It would be to raise awareness of how dumb that stuff really is.*

Today I want to write a George Orwell type novel. I don't think I really like Orwell's writing, but the idea I have would definitely be something he would have done. Here's what would happen: twenty years or so in the future a company will invent something called an iBrain. You can carry it in your hand and it remembers everything for you. Faces, names, conversations, pictures, everything. Within a matter of years everyone has one, from small kids to adults. Over the next hundred years or so people forget how to remember things. They only know how to find them on their devices. There would have to be a main character who either becomes aware and chooses or is forced into the strenuous process of reversing his/her mental atrophy. I'm not sure yet if I would let this person actually achieve mental independence or if he/she would die trying. The purpose of this one would be to get everyone to stop letting their tech gear to get in the way of living their lives. At the football game yesterday there were tons of people texting during the entire game. It wasn't the most interesting game ever, but still. I think it's healthy to turn off the phone every now and again. Does this make me a hippie? Or was I just born ten years too late? I think I would have loved Van Halen in their heyday.

* Turns out that the original "Don Quixote" was written to make fun of the "novelas cabellerescas" (knight novels) that were as ridiculous as they were popular in Spain during the 17th century. Cervantes wanted everyone to see how dumb the current trend was, so he wrote a novel to make fun of novels. Thanks to some modern playwrights, we've taken the story and made it about idealism and free thinking.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


A recurring theme at church today seemed to be: “why do bad things happen to good people?” A valid question, especially when one considers oneself to be a “good person” (which most people seem to do), however, I wish people wouldn’t get hung up on it so much. I propose that in this age-old conundrum there are two superfluous adjectives: bad and good. Remove them and you’re left with “why do things happen to people?” I feel like this is a more appropriate question to ask, and it’s way easier to answer too. It’s tough to say if something that happens to me is good or bad. Some of the biggest crises in my life at the time seemed like very bad things but in hindsight they taught me some of the best lessons I’ve ever learned (and actually increased my happiness in the long run).

Why do things happen to people? The answer is pretty simple: because that’s why we’re here. God wants things to happen to us and so do we. We wanted things to happen to us before we were born, which is why we chose to come to earth in the first place. Chose to come and were stoked about it. Sometimes things are brutal and sometimes they’re awesome, but do we really have to classify them as good or bad? After all, they’re just things. There are a billion different analogies that are all related to life being like a ‘refiner’s fire’ that burns out impurities and helps us become stronger. It’s a good analogy but maybe at some point we could stop trying to compare it to something and look at the situation as it actually is. Things happen to people. All sorts of things. Some things we want to last forever and others we wish had never happened, but if we can see that they all happen to teach our immortal souls to be more like our Heavenly Father then they don’t seem quite as earth-shattering.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I geeked out my classmates.

Medical students are an interesting group of nerdy overachievers. We are the people who wrecked the curve in your science generals and destroyed it in your 'Family Economic Issues' upper division FCS class. Type A grade grubbers who think jokes like "a sodium ion and a chloride ion got into a fight and got arrested for a salt," are funny. The good news is we generally understand each other pretty well. Yesterday, in histology, I started up a lively conversation of "if you could be any type of cell, which would you be?" (I would be an astrocyte or a macrophage, by the way). A few minutes into the conversation someone expressed surprise that we were talking about our favorite cells. I must have been tired because I heard myself (I couldn't stop) tell them about the time I made a diagram of a cell using my Café Rio salad on a date. It got kind of quiet. "You what?" asked the engineering major from the Y. "Ooooooo," said the obsessive video gamer, "that's pretty bad." "Wait, do you have a girlfriend?" asked all the girls in unison. "I know," I said, "but in my defense, she asked me to do it and she did go out with me again." I hope I saved face, but I'm afraid the secret's out--I'm the biggest nerd in the whole class only not smart.

Monday, August 30, 2010

working out the kinks...

I had my first exam today. I was hoping it would feel kind of like this:It ended up feeling more like this:

There's always next week.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Before I start class next week, the School of Medicine asked me to complete a couple of personality assessment tests to figure out how I'm going to work. I just got some results:

The first one makes sense to me--I think it basically means I use my head and not my heart when making decisions. That's probably true for me in most areas, helpful in work, can be bad in dating. I like the results on the second one--I avoid conflict as a way to solve problems. I like that they told me this and then went on to explain how it could be a good thing--"well, you're a pretty bad problem solver, but at least you don't get into arguments over small stuff..." Right. It also tells me I like short meetings (true) and that I see conflicts as distractions from the final goal (probably).

Next they gave me a list of preferred careers (mind you that my dad took one of these when he was in high school and it told him that he should be a mailman...) and the top areas are Architecture and Engineering; Life, Physical, and Social Sciences; Business and Finance; and Legal. Is it just me or does that not narrow it down at all? It feels like a vague horoscope or a fortune cookie that doesn't have a real fortune (you have a strong personality). Good thing I've already made up my mind on what I'm going into.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What’s happened to my blog?

It’s funny, when I started this thing it felt like I would never run out of stuff to write about. I had all these stories and opinions that were dying to spill out onto the internet for people to read. I’m not sure, but I think that it may be a winter/summer thing because as we moved into Spring and now Summer the well kind of dried up. I’ve been so busy this summer that I haven’t had time or energy to worry too much about the blog. And I am hesitant to make a travel log because I just don’t think it would be all that interesting to anyone buy me. That being said, I’ll give a general overview of what this summer has been like:


Barring a foot injury that has kept me from running over the last several weeks (it’s pushed me into swimming, actually), this has been the best summer of all time. Fortunately, the injury hasn’t kept me from waterskiing, sailing, biking, or barbequing. With the imminent end of my life of carefree fun at hand, I’ve made a serious effort to do as much as I possibly can over the last several months. It’s gotten to the point where the bishop’s wife asks me, “What was it this week?” every Sunday at church.

Part of what has made this summer great was the running. During the winter, I had my doubts about whether or not a marathon in April was a good idea because my training schedule kept me from skiing. I’ve discovered, however, that starting off the summer in marathon shape has made everything else more fun. I could pick up at any time and take off on a long run, hike, or bike ride without worrying about how long or difficult it would be. I’ll definitely do another marathon someday.

This aforementioned ‘death of the fun life’ is dramatically worded, but in a way it’s accurate. I won’t have time to do a lot of the things I enjoy doing. However, I have every intention of logging in some great running time as soon as my foot heals—running is likely to be the only thing that will keep me sane. Also, let it be known that I am nervous for school and I get more and more nervous as it gets closer. I hope I can hack it. And this is not a false modesty or anything like that. It’s been over a year since I last took a test or memorized anything. Hopefully the transition to school-mode won’t take too long.

Everyone I talk to who is in medical school has a different opinion about it. There are those who love it and those who hate it. It’s discouraging/intimidating when I talk to a second or third year student who tells me to go into dentistry. I usually try to end the conversation as quickly as possible and never speak to these people again. If you are toward the end of doing something hard, don’t ever look back at the people who are starting and tell them to quit because it’s hard. Even if you hate it.

Anyway, I digress. The point is: this has been the best summer of all time, even though I haven’t written much about it here. I hope your summer has been sweet too.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Every blog I've ever looked at has some article (post) titled "neglected," complete with an apology, an excuse, and a resolve to do better. I make no apologies, no excuses, and no resolves; but I would like to acknowledge that this blog has been neglected. And to state that I hope that the neglect isn't permanent and that doesn't just fade off into the millions of abandoned blogs on the world wide web. I may be slow and uninspired, but I'm no quitter.

Friday, June 25, 2010

White Rim Trail--Canyonlands National Park


I like making up words. Especially if the meaning of the new word can be easily deduced. Here’s one of my favorite Daveisms:

1. being able to have fun on a boat, used specifically in describing a girl
a. willing to be the first one to jump in, no matter how cold the water
b. wanting to try waterskiing/wakeboarding even if she hasn’t ever attempted it before
c. being not whiney in nature
d. enjoying the company of other people on a boat
e. appreciating of the setting of the lake/mountains/canyons where boating takes place

I guess I didn’t make up the word—it has a real definition that has to do with water that can be navigated by a boat, but I’m pretty sure I invented the definition I mentioned above. Boatable is on my list of requirements that make a girl datable. And I feel like it’s not asking too much because it’s not about being a good skier or wakeboarder so much as it is attitude. It doesn’t matter if a girl was raised on a lake or if she’s never set foot on a boat before. In fact, there are few things that are more attractive than a girl who wipes out 10 times trying to get up on a water ski for the first time and wants to keep trying.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I never know how to respond when people ask, ‘Are you a runner?’ Historically I’ve always said, ‘ummmm, I don’t know…’ To me, the line is blurry between when I can go from running to being a runner. Last week, someone asked me if I was a runner and, for the first time ever, I felt okay about saying ‘yes.’

Part of the reason I was never sure about whether or not I should consider myself a runner is because I’ve been injury prone. If it wasn’t shin splints it was plantar fasciitis, if not a broken leg then achilles tendonitis. I’ve had just about everything under the sun when it comes to my feet and running. And I’ve tried orthotics, wide shoes, motion control, and several different shoe brands, all of which led me to the conclusion that I just had bad feet. With all these setbacks, it was tough to ever be consistent. Aside from the injuries, I felt like although I always ran I never really enjoyed it. The feeling after a good run is amazing—everyone loves it, but I never enjoyed the actual run. Then I read “Born to Run” and everything changed. First, I changed my method from a heel-to-toe approach to landing on the balls of my feet and using my calves to absorb the shock. I began to run lighter on my feet, with my weight forward. It felt like flying. Over the course of two weeks I doubled my mileage and increased my speed. And I started loving it. I must have looked like a total nut-job (probably still do) running around with a huge smile on my face. Two weeks later I was signed up for the Salt Lake Marathon, and I was stoked. My mileage went up and up and it became more difficult but no less fun. And now that the marathon is over, I still love it. I feel like a Saturday isn’t complete if it doesn’t include a run of at least 9 miles. And I can carry on a conversation (or a monologue) about running and how much I love it for at least an hour. Now when people ask if I’m a runner I say ‘yes.’ And I feel ok about it. Not because I think that I’m any good at it, but because it’s what I like to do.

I love it when people are surprised to find out that I never listen to music when I run. I like explaining how the rhythm of my feet and my breathing and my pulse are enough to listen to. And how I feel bad for the people who use an iPod because they are missing out on part of the experience. I enjoy trying to explain how it feels to finish with five miles and feel so good that you want to do another ten. When I was on vacation in St. George a few weeks ago, my favorite activity (behind spending time with my family, of course) was an 11-mile run behind the bluff by myself one morning. I even took a picture:

If any of this post is interesting to you, pick up “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougle. If I’ve bored you to tears with all this I’m sorry. What can I say—I’m a runner.

By the way, isn't St. George the best?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wasatch back!

I got invited this week to run the Wasatch Back this year. It reminded me of this clip of my friend, Wags, running it last year.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sometimes I wonder...

Do Mexicans think “Nacho Libre” is funny?

What does it mean to “move your hips like, yeah?”

When Hollywood runs out of remakes and sequels will they start remaking sequels?

Speaking of sequels, when/why did they stop making ‘Land Before Time’ movies?

What’s with grown-ups wanting to be on the facebook?

When/how/why did Steve Martin become unfunny?

When not at work, what does the world’s fastest hot dog eater do?

Twitter? Seriously?


Saturday, April 24, 2010

A couple of photos

Just to prove that the following post actually did happen...


First of all, I think we overuse the word “marathon.” I’ve been on marathon dates (high school dances), on marathon rides (the white rim trail), and to marathon meetings (sigma chi meetings). None of them even come close in the amount of pain/joy/fun/exhaustion/emotion/accomplishment of training for and running an actual marathon.

The goal was to finish in 3:30:00 or faster.

The starting line was extremely crowded because it consisted of all the participants from the marathon and the half-marathon. I’m not sure how many people ran the half (a little over a thousand ran the full), but it seemed like twice as many at least. I started towards the back so I could spend the first several miles passing people instead of getting passed. This was sort of a good idea, I think, although I’m not sure that the psychological benefits outweighed the hassle of weaving through all the slowpokes. The first three miles were full of chatter; there was energy and it was fun. Somewhere around sugarhouse park the noise stopped and the only sounds were people breathing and feet on the pavement. It kind of felt like being in a stampede. Coming out of the park I was a little behind my pace, so I sped up to catch my goal. At this point I was running around 7:45 miles, which was a little faster than I had trained for.

At this pace I was passing most people around me pretty quickly. I went to pass some dude with a blue long-sleeved shirt tied around his waste when he sped up to stay with me. I sized him up—a little smaller than me, running with headphones, using a Garmin, looked like a BYU guy—I had to beat him. Or at least not let him get ahead of me. My pace increased to closer to 7:30 (I was measuring my time by the mile markers and my watch). This stranger that I wanted to punch in the face kept with me all the way until mile 13 at which point he turned on the afterburners and left me behind. Five miles earlier this would have made me crazy, but at this point I was happy to let him take a 7:15 pace on his own. Just after mile 13 came the ugliest part of the race (as far a scenery goes)—Van Winkle for a couple of miles. Somewhere after that dude sped up I slowed my pace back down to between 7:45 and 8:00—set to finish just under my goal.

A few miles later I was surprised to see the BYU kid. As I passed him he gave me the runner’s nod. Boom. It was about this same time that I saw a spectator sporting a shirt that said “BYU, d-unit.” I was laughing for a couple of miles about that. I wanted to ask him what “d” usually stands for in his neck of the woods but decided to just keep running.

When I reached mile 20 I was tired of 500 East (the race goes along 500 East from 4500 South to 1300 South—the second ugliest part of the course). At this point I realized in my head that I was running farther than I had ever gone before. I don’t know if this psyched me out or what, but somewhere between mile 21 and 22, things changed. Maybe I hadn’t drunk enough water or maybe the cold I had all week was finally catching up to me, but I hit the metaphorical wall. My legs cramped up and everything started to hurt. My pace slowed down drastically. My goal changed from finish under 3:30:00 to finish.

When I came into Liberty park, Grace and my parents were there waiting for me. As soon as Gracie saw me she starting shouting and cheering. Now, I’m not a very emotional person. I don’t remember when the last time was I cried (I think it was when I got home from my mission five years ago), but at this point I came as close to bursting into tears as I have in a long time. It was weird. Gracie said, “dude, I’m running with you for the last three miles.” More emotion. A couple of tears. All I can do to keep from sobbing. So bizarre. Fortunately, nobody saw. Unfortunately, I’m writing about it on my blog so everyone will know anyway.

The worst part of the whole race was in the last mile. From Liberty Park the course goes down to State Street and heads up to South Temple. I never noticed how steep State is from 2nd South to South Temple. It was really nice of the race planners to include it in mile 26. Anyway, I crossed the finish line at The Gateway with a final time of 3:42:49. Then, emotional but not crying, I swore to myself I would never do another one of these things again. Not because I was short of my goal, but because of the insane amount of pain I had undergone in just the last four miles.

Endorphins are crazy things. Now, one week later, I am already looking into which I can sign up for, the Logan or Utah Valley Marathon. Mainly because I keep thinking about how it would be if I had finished as fast as I started. I want to make that 3:30:00 goal so bad, I might just do it. We’ll see.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Bowling is a humiliating activity for me. It’s humiliating because it’s such a dumb concept (hit the pins with the ball) that can be so difficult. My issues lie in the fact that I think I could score higher by throwing a baseball or a football at the pins than I do with my bowling ball. Yes, I own a bowling ball. I inherited it from my brother who inherited it from his wife’s grandfather. It’s name is Rich. It’s embarrassing to role up to the alley with Rich in a pleather carrying case and then bowl under 100. But to me it’s better than using the nasty old balls they provide for everyone to share.

On the flip side, I’d prefer to be unusually bad than ridiculously good at it. I have friends who actually use the hand dryer and have two differently weighted bowling balls—one for the first attempt and one for the second. They usually score somewhere around 200—this is akin to riding a unicycle across campus between classes. I don’t mind losing to these people.

I’d like to get to a point in life where I can bowl between 100 and 150 every time. Good enough to suggest that I’m slightly coordinated but not so good that I would have to include bowling in a list of pastimes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Marathon week: the plan

Much to my dismay, I woke up with a cold Monday. The timing is bad, but it could be worse. I outlined a plan for my body that should make it so I can run Saturday.

Monday: Lots of sinus pressure and a stuffy nose, a lack of energy, and some aches.

Tuesday: A slightly runny nose. More stuffy than runny. Occasional chills. Sore throat.

Wednesday: Start runny nose. Slightly sore throat. Not able to “pop” ears all day. Run three miles in the evening.

Thursday: Less stuffy, not able to taste anything, but generally feeling good. Sweetness.

Friday: Feel great. Taste buds are back. Breathing clear. No aches or tiredness. Run two miles and wish you could do another 24.2.

Saturday: Well rested, well fed, and healthy. Ready to kill the marathon.

I’m stoked for this, partly to get it over with and partly for the experience itself. It will be fun next week to go out for a run without planning beforehand how far and fast I need to go. Look here for a run down of the whole thing sometime this weekend.

the "blogger brawl"

Right now on they are doing a blogging contest for “single mormons” all about dating. The reason I know about it is because a friend of mine is participating in the competition (vote for M’kynzi). I guess the winner gets a full time “blogging” position with the Mormon times (I think it would be difficult to dedicate an entire blog to just dating). Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been following the competition—I guess I got hooked while trying to help my friend win—and I’ve come to some conclusions:

1. Most of these people are highly dramatic. They are hypersensitive and emotional. This may just be them trying to be funny, but it kind of feels like a bunch of Dave Barry imitators having a party. I used to think Dave Barry was funny too—when I was 12. To illustrate my point, I’ve included some excerpts (hey Rebekah, is this copyright infringement?):

“And who can forget the occasional visit back home where some random ward member asks the following three questions: 1) ‘How is school?’ 2) ‘What do you plan to do with that?’ and 3) ‘Are you dating anyone?’

“In anticipation of this much-dreaded conversation during my most recent visit home, I strongly considered creating a fake relationship to avoid all the other questions that would follow after replying that I was single. It just seemed easier to make a fake relationship.”

Dude, is it really that bad? Do you really fear the “much-dreaded” conversation so much that you want to lie to get out of it? If you don’t make such a big deal out of it, it won’t be such a big deal.

2. Many of them are freaking out about stereotypes that surround mormon singles which only serves to perpetuate them.

“Well, I just turned 27 this past month, which in Utah County years (kind of like dog years), is about 56. When people ask me how old I am, I'm actually obligated while here in Utah to tell them my age in Utah County years. I say I'm 54 though (I feel like I can shave off a couple of years because of my baby face).”

Bro, don’t say stuff like that and it will no longer be true.

3. Some of them are just trying too hard:

“I'm at a severe disadvantage when it comes to dating: I can't read peoples' minds. I'm convinced that lots of people can read minds, and everyone who is able to do so has already succeeded at getting married. Based on my experiences, I'll be fighting odds right up until the day I develop this skill. It's just too hard to pick up the signals.

“An old roommate of mine once told me, ‘When a guy likes a girl, he takes the seat right next to her. When a girl likes a guy, she sits one seat over and two rows back from him.’ That's the first problem. People use different tactics to express interest in each other. What does a touch on the elbow mean? What about a fist-bump?”

That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. Sit where you want, say hi how you want, and stop reading into every little detail. And quit looking at being single as “failure to get married.”

Needless to say, I’m no longer hooked on the competition; I’m bored with it. I’ll vote for my friend (one of the few competitors who isn’t complaining or being dramatic) but I can’t stand to read this stuff anymore. If this represents the way most single mormon people are then we need to mellow off a little (free candy for anyone who can tell me the movie reference there).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Yesterday I moved out of my parents house. Even though it is a temporary move, I already feel more grown-up. I went grocery shopping and, for the first time ever, bought generic brand stuff because it was cheaper. It's very strange.

Before moving out, I wanted to figure out the furniture situation so I made a diagram and drove to Ikea. I have to admit that before making this trip I was a bit of a furniture snob, which is weird because I didn't actually own any furniture. I have always had the impression that Ikea is the WalMart of the furniture world and, consequently, not worthy of my business. However, after buying and assembling my first stuff from Ikea I have to admit that I'm a fan. It reminds me of the Dan Aykroyd skit from SNL years ago for Mel's Char Palace.

Although I was afraid that the room would be much smaller in reality than it was on paper, it turned out fine. Here is the diagram and the finished product:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The order of things


Even when it snows on the last day of March, it's still better than February.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things that happen every year.

(Excluding obvious things like your birthday, the 4th of July, etc.)

My mom and I debate about whether March is better than February (I say March is better because it starts to warm up, she thinks it is the worst because it makes you think it’s going to warm up and then it snows and February is short).

A pay raise.

I start listening to Bob Marley when the weather gets warm.

My mom and three sisters make heart shaped sugar cookies at least once between February 7th and 14th.

We open the cabin on Memorial Day. (Happiest day of the year)

We close the cabin when the temperatures drop below freezing. (Saddest day of the year)

I get worse at golf.

The Jazz make it to the playoffs and then break my heart.

Croquet happens.

Facebook miraculously manages to get dumber.

I go on about half as many trips as I plan on.

The office gets less funny.

At some point I want to buy a convertible, usually a Jeep because it would be cheaper than an Audi.

More sequels come out.

Barbeques happen.

I get talked into going country-swing dancing with some friends only to re-discover how much I hate it.

College football begins and improves the quality of my life.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Yesterday I got a response from Wrigley’s about my awesome recommendation for improving the packaging of Starburst Jellybeans. While my reason for writing them a letter was not entirely because I thought I might get something free in response, I was still very disappointed with what they sent me: no free jellybeans, no free puppy, not even an original letter—I got a form letter. With a fake signature. Do they honestly get so many questions/comments by mail that they can’t write a quick, original letter in response? I wish I were angry enough to boycott. Maybe I’ll just switch over to lifesaver jellybeans for a while.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Keeping a blog

I’ve been putting stuff on this blog for three or four months now and I’ve come to some conclusions about the experience.

1. It is fun. I like writing stuff down: telling stories, writing opinions, or saying whatever. I don’t know that I’m necessarily any good at it, but I enjoy it.

2. It is a nice creative outlet. Like playing the guitar or drawing, creative writing gets some of the creative juices flowing.

3. I’m not comfortable with the verb “to blog”. This may be because I still associate it with scrap booking, which is largely a woman’s world, I feel. Consequently, I prefer to think of it as writing stuff and putting it on the internet for people to read—with some pictures to help illustrate.

4. Comments are good. From friends, family, or random strangers, I like it when people tell me what they think. Comments make me want to write more.

5. It makes me see life as more of an adventure. I’m always looking for stories I can tell about things that happen to me. Even the unpleasant experiences usually make for good stories, even if I don’t get around to putting them up here. This is nice.

6. Because I keep a blog, I feel better about reading other people’s blogs. Whereas before it would have been kind of creepy, now I’m part of the community, so it’s cool. I like reading other people’s blogs because I get to see all sorts of writing about all sorts of stuff.

7. I’m glad I haven’t limited my blog to one topic. From what I’ve seen, some people have blogs dedicated to movie reviews, restaurants, cakes, or whatever. I like reading said blogs, but I’m glad that I don’t have any restrictions for my writing.

8. I hope it’s not boring. For some odd reason, I really don’t want to lose readers. I’m guessing that everyone who keeps a blog feels the same way.

9. I’ve discovered that I’m a few years behind the curve, as usual. Turns out blogging has been popular for a long time. Just like ankle socks and iPods, it took me a few years to come around.

10. The 2004 version of Word doesn’t have the word “blog” in its spell check. I’m with Microsoft (for once); I think we should come up with a new word for it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I was born in Dallas, a long time ago. We moved to Salt Lake when I was one and, aside from layovers, I had never been back to my homeland until I went to Houston this last weekend to see my brother and his family. But Houston isn’t really Texas. It’s in Texas, but it’s not full of cowboy hats and steakhouses like I’ve always imagined Texas to be. I expected to at least hear some Texas accents and see some cowboy boots. All I saw was really nice neighborhoods and lots of traffic. Nobody said howdy or y’all. Nobody sang “the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas”. In short, there was a general lack of cowboyness. My brother reassured me that you didn’t have to drive far to find the Texas I was looking for, but it wouldn’t be in the city.

We didn’t have time to leave the city limits, but I did see a hint of the Texas of my dreams at the Houston Rodeo. On our way in, the people checking our tickets were wearing cowboy hats and said “all y’all,” which made me pretty excited. The livestock show was first, highlights include: the booth with $2,000 cowboy boots, the tractors, and the birthing center (you read it right, the birthing center). The first two need no explanation, but the third was new to me. It’s basically a bunch of pregnant animals (cows, sheep, and pigs) in cages labeled with due dates. I found it entertaining but probably only because we weren’t “lucky” enough to actually see a heifer give birth. Even though I am going to be a doctor someday, I feel like watching an animal having babies in this setting would be scarring—especially for a little kid (and there were kids everywhere).

The rodeo was the best I’ve ever seen. I especially loved the “mutton riding,” which is five-year-olds holding on for dear life to the back of running sheep. After the rodeo, Tim McGraw played. While I’m not much of a country lover, I was impressed with this guy. During the first few songs he walked around the whole dirt arena and shook hands with the entire front row. I didn’t know very many songs, but I knew “live like you were dying” (maybe the most overplayed country song of all time behind “standing outside the fire”) and that was enough for me.

Other highlights of the trip include:

- Moving my brother and sister-in-law to a new house for 14 hours on Saturday.
- Running on a rainy Monday morning (you can run forever and never get tired in Houston).
- The Chocolate Bar where they sell chocolate things you never even thought possible (see pictures below).
- Hanging out with S, C, A, and R.
- My niece saying, “I’m going down the elevator at Nordstrom’s” while we were playing. She is my brother’s daughter.
- My nephew crashing his toy cars into everything.
- Izze soda (how I never heard of this stuff before is beyond me).

So, although Houston isn’t really very Texasy, it is still a rad city to visit in the Spring (not so much in the Summer, I hear). And while you’re there all y’all might just run into some real old-fashioned Texans.

The Rodeo

Tim McGraw

A small portion of what we moved.

The Chocolate Bar. That is chocolate covered CAP'N Crunch and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Just ignore that 'sugar free' sign--it's the only one in the entire store.

The Chocolate Bar--we need one of these in Salt Lake.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I will send this first thing Monday

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to open a bag of Starburst jellybeans? The following is a letter I will send to the Wrigley candy company first thing tomorrow in an effort to make a change. Names (except my own) have been removed to protect identity.

Dear Wrigley Company;

I am writing on behalf of myself, David Warner, and [my friend] regarding your Starburst Jellybeans product. We both love said product and regard it as one of the best varieties of candy available. We are writing because we have observed that the packaging of Starburst Jellybeans is difficult to open—requiring a good deal of force which often causes an opening larger than desired or even a jellybean explosion. This is especially problematic for those who have dogs (like [my friend]). Scissors might be suggested as a good solution to this problem (and they are, when available); however, one of the best situations to eat Starburst Jellybeans is on a long drive during which scissors are typically unavailable. To this day my car has one of your jellybeans stuck between the seat and the consol from a road trip jellybean explosion several years ago. We would like to suggest, as a solution to this problem, that each package come with a small perforation at one end to facilitate spill-free opening. Following is a diagram to illustrate our idea:

Thank you for considering out suggestion; we hope it is helpful. And thank you for making such delicious candies!


David Warner and [friend]

Blog readers: is perforation the right word?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Currently I am


this musical duo

The dude in the background playing instruments is a little weird, but I'm pretty sure I could listen to this girl sing all day and be entertained.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Things that must go

Things that must go:

1. The word “doppelganger”.
2. The concept of a celebrity doppelganger. Nobody cares what famous hot person you think you look like.
3. The Facebook.
4. Red traffic lights.
5. Lobbying in politics.
6. “One million percent yes”. This makes no sense and is a ridiculous thing to say.
7. Smog.
8. The name Jimmer. He may be great at basketball, but he needs to get this changed as soon as possible.
9. Dudes who ONLY talk about girls. It gets so annoying after a while.

For fear of sounding negative (I know some of you were thinking it), here is a short list (it could go on for a while) of things that must never go:

1. Skiing.
2. Winter days that feel like Spring.
3. iTunes.
4. The Red Iguana.
5. Settebello.
6. Night hikes.
7. St. George.
8. Local bands.
9. 4th gear (I love shifting into fourth gear for some odd reason).
10. Nertz.
11. Rachel McAdams.
12. My niece, Savannah, asking, “Where’s Davey?” every time she calls my house.
13. Jerry Kaplan.
14. Cousins.
15. Digital cameras.
16. Running.
17. My parents playing Beatles Rockband with me.
18. Acoustic guitars.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hiking at Alta

I need to learn how to take pictures--these are the only two I got:

As we were coming back down from Sunnyside a big bunch of sledders passed us. I wanted to tell them that it's all fun and games until someone destroys their leg, but decided to let them figure it out for themselves.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Be nice to someone else...

Something I struggle with is accepting advice from people who I don’t feel like should be giving it. I should be willing to take any criticism I can get—and actually consider whether or not it’s any good regardless of the source. This is especially true in dating. I don’t feel like anybody should be giving me advice or offering me help (which is obviously not true). Take the following conversation I had a church last week with an acquaintance:

Him: “So, you dating anyone right now?”

Me (immediately peeved): “Nope.”

Him: “There are a lot of pretty girls in this ward.”

Me (cringing): “Yup.”

Him: “Sometimes it can be kind of intimidating to approach some of them, if you ever want me to, like, introduce you to some of them just let me know.”

Me (trying to act nice and end the conversation ASAP): “Ummmm. Yeah, sure. Okay.”

I wanted to remind him that he was also single and that he should probably just worry about approaching girls for himself and not for me, but I figured I’d better not. I guess what it boils down to is that acquaintances should never offer advice or set-ups. Or help with dating. Or with talking to girls. And now that I come to it, as far as set-ups go, they should probably only be done by family and very close friends.

This reminds me of my best set up ever (and by best I mean worst, but makes for the best story). A mission friend set me up with his fiancée’s roommate down in Orem. Right from the start I could tell that she either judged me before I actually spoke to her or she had some other dude that she thought was better than me because I was only getting one-word answers, no laughs, and the occasional condescending smile. That’s not to say that I didn’t judge her too—she looked like Madonna with a unibrow—and she wasn’t cute enough to be as mean as she was being*. I guess she felt guilty because twenty minutes into the date she offered to pay, to which I responded, “You’re used to Orem guys, huh? Where I come from we don’t let girls pay.” I realize how absurd my comment was—as if Salt Lake and Orem were different countries—but at that point she hit a nerve and I had to get back at her. In hindsight I should have shut my mouth and let her pay. It wasn’t worth the $8 it took to show her that she wasn’t better than me and to insult her people. And my pride would have recovered eventually anyway, it always does.

*The word should probably be hot, not cute, because cute girls are never mean by definition. And it's not that hot girls are justified in being mean--nobody has an excuse. The point is that I expect hot girls to be mean and condescnding. They aren't always, but often.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Remember that experiment at work I was so excited about on Friday? Well, it turns out I couldn't get it to repeat; and n=1 doesn't count. As I wallow in defeat and self-pity, the quote that hangs on a wall near my bench keeps coming to mind:

"As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life--so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls."

-M. Cartmill

Cheers, M. Cartmill, whoever you are.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Today is a monumental day. After three months of trying the same experiment over and over again at work (unsuccessfully), I finally got it to work! I got some of these:

to turn some of this:
into this:
Party on.

What's in your lungs?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cheers, Peter Jackson

I decided to read “The Fellowship of the Ring” about a week ago. Even though I already know that fantasy fiction is not my favorite genre of book I thought I should probably read at least one of the series because they are considered to be classic. I am now just over halfway through the book and am only sort of enjoying it. Tolkien is a great writer—but he’s killing me with details. Did you know that it takes Frodo and the other three hobbits half of the book just to get out of the Shire? In the movie it takes like ten minutes. And then there are all these names of people and places that pop up without any explanation. Look at this excerpt from the Council of Elrond:

“Only to the North did these tidings come, and only to a few. Small wonder it is that you have not heard them, Boromir. Form the ruin of the Gladden Fields, where Isildur perished, three men only came ever back over the mountains after long wandering. One of these was Ohtar, the esquire of Isildur, who bore the shards of the sword of Elendil; and he brought them to Valandil, the heir of Isildur, who being but a child had remained here in Rivendell. But Narsil was broken and its light extinguished, and it has not yet been forged again.”

One or two names I don’t recognize is do-able, but this mess just made me want to quit. It’s no wonder the biggest fans of these books tend to be (and there are exceptions, Gracie) real freaks—you need a PhD in Middle-earth history to understand a lot of this stuff. So kudos to Peter Jackson and whoever wrote the screenplay for the films. While they’re not my favorites, so far I enjoyed them better than the books—which almost never happens.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Where have you gone, Weezer?

One of my favorite childhood groups is dead to me. It’s not that I hate new Weezer music—it’s all right, but it’s different. I still listen to the old CD’s and I love them just as much as the first time, the new ones are like the background on my computer—cool for about a week. I never used to criticize bands for “selling out” because I realize that they are in a business, and in order to eat they have to sell music. That’s fine. For groups like the Goo Goo Dolls or Muse it actually makes their music better. But Weezer went from being a real expression of the teenage/college experience (specifically that of our generation) to being cheap flashes in the pop-chart pan. Look at these lyrics from their first album:

“You walk up to her, ask her to dance,
she says ‘hey baby I just might take a chance’.
You say it’s a good thing, that you float in the air,
That way there’s no way I will crush your pretty toenails into a thousand pieces”

So it’s not Shakespeare, but it’s creative and at least it’s not these from their latest album:

“Monday to Sunday I hit up the clubs,
and everybody knows me when I pull up.
I got a real big posse with me, yeah, I’m deep.
And if you’re looking for me I’m in VIP.”

Did the same person write both songs? Maybe. How about another example, from their second album, Pinkerton:

“I wish I could get my head out of this one,
‘cause I think we’d make a good team.
And you could keep my fingernails clean.
But that’s just a stupid dream that I won’t realize,
‘cause I can’t even look in your eyes without shakin’
and I ain’t fakin’, I’ll bring home the turkey if you bring home the bacon”

Again, not terribly beautiful, but at least it’s honest. How about these from the latest CD:

“Satin tights, boots of white…
used to mean a little, now means a lot,
oh, my goodness me, the girl got hot.”

So to my beloved Weezer of the 90’s I say rest in peace. Wherever you are, I hope you’re happy. Please come back someday when you don’t need any more money.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird

Over the last couple of years several people recommended that I read To Kill a Mockingbird again. Not having read it since high school I didn't remember much about it except that I thought it was good, not great. Now, after having re-read it, it turns out it's one of my favorite books. I have a tendency to discuss books I'm reading with people (family, friends, co-workers, or anybody I randomly meet) and everyone seems to feel the same way--it's a favorite book. One of my friends at work almost started to cry as she told me about how much she loved reading it. If it has been more than a five years since you last read To Kill a Mockingbird I'd strongly suggest reading it again.