Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas is Awesome

It's been a fabulous December.  The Christmas season gets super crazy with work parties and church parties and family parties and endless other festivities.  Of course, I love all of it, so I'm not complaining.  Mostly, I'm just trying to sell you on my excuses for not having written in a long time.

I love everything about Christmas.  There are too many awesome things to talk about all of them.  But, I'll just share a few of my favorites.

It all starts the day after Thanksgiving.  Most of the world loses anything that even resembles sanity.  They crowd into stores, claw each other's faces off and sometimes they save a few dollars.  I, on the other hand, do all of my shopping online.  That means I get to spend time with my good friend, the internet.  I also like to brag to others about how I got it all done in a few hours online, this gives me the satisfaction of being smug and superior.  Who doesn't enjoy that?

After waiting a few days, the packages begin to arrive.  Boxes and boxes of joy come to my house.  I love to get it all under the tree as fast as possible.
There is an important reason that the presents need to get under the tree quickly.  Once they are under the tree, it is important to feel them, shake them, weigh them and do whatever else is necessary to study them and speculate what might be inside.  (But opening them is strictly forbidden.  Don't break the rules, you cheater.)

This game is probably my favorite part about Christmas.  But I learned the hard way a few years ago that when I win the game by properly guessing my gifts, it makes my wife sad.  So, I keep my guesses to myself, and then I can just keep score in my head when I open them.

Then, of course comes Christmas morning.  I get super excited, both to open presents and to watch other people open their presents.  It's kind of the best thing ever.  One important part of the present opening process is that Robyn takes the bows off of the presents and puts them in her hair.

This year, my in-laws surprised me with a pretty awesome present that I didn't even ask for:

I also surprised Robyn by giving her her childhood in a DVD:

There are always good times while opening presents.  Sometimes it's important to build a present fort on top of my sister.

All in all, I love Christmas.  I love family.  I love presents.  I love pie.  We were even blessed with a white Christmas this year.  What more could a guy ask for?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Hobbit Obsession

Today is an important day in history.  Today is the day that I see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for the first time.  (I know it comes out tomorrow, but that's for normal people.)

A month or so ago, when it was announced that Disney had purchased the rights to Star Wars, and they were making 3 more movies, naturally I shouted for joy.  Robyn asked me if that meant that I would be obsessing about Star Wars for the next few years.  I assured her that I was an equal opportunity obsesser and that I would not neglect obsessing about The Hobbit.

So, today, I am keeping that promise.  I promise to think about nothing but The Hobbit until the movie is over.  I will also continue obsessing about the next 2 movies until I have seen all 3.

Also, I would like to write my review of the movie before I see it.

I loved it.  It was the best 3 hours of my life.

The End.

P.S. My favorite character is Smaug.  But I don't think he'll be in this movie, since  the second one is the Desolation of Smaug.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The saga of the Novembeard

At the beginning of last month, I told you about the Novembald to Novembeard project.  In that post, I promised I would update you, so you could see how the beard went.

Well, they say a picture is worth 1,000 words.  What I have for you is a time lapse video that contains 30 pictures chronicling the growth of my beard throughout the month.  That means this video is worth 30,000 words.  That's like reading half a novel.  You should be proud of yourself, you're such a good little reader.

 Also, I have 2,000 more words for you.  When I shaved the beard I felt it was important to have some fun stages on the way.  I spent the entire day as an Amish person.
It was quite amusing.  We went to the store and the checkout girl was giving me a funny look, trying to figure out if I was for real.  So, naturally, I said, "I'm really excited about this canned food we're buying.  I've never had canned food before, what with being Amish and all."

That's when Robyn got really embarrassed and told the girl I wasn't really Amish.  Lame.

Then that evening I shaved it just a little more.
I call this one, "Brother Brigham".
But now I'm all shaved and I'm just regular.  I hope you enjoyed my 32,000+ words of goodness.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sasquatch VS The Mighty Screamer

We spent Thanksgiving in the San Francisco Bay area at my sister-in-law's house.  That's the happy part of the story.  The sad part of the story is that the only flight we could get home left at 6 AM Sunday morning.  The really sad part of the story is that means we had to wake up at 3:45 AM to get to the airport on time.  The tragic part of the story is that the world's mightiest screaming child was in the row behind us on the airplane.

Do you ever get that feeling like you're in the presence of greatness?  That's the feeling I had as I heard this child scream.  If screaming were an Olympic sport, this kid would be putting Michael Phelps to shame.

His volume was incredible.  Normally, sounds get pretty muffled on a plane, but this child's voice rose above any other white noise that tried to muffle him.

His stamina was unimaginable.  After 30 consecutive minutes of screaming, he was still going strong.  I can get some good volume, but I would have tired long before the 30 minute mark.

But what really put him over the top were his high pitched shrieks.  These were definitely at the professional level.  I was unaware that human vocal cords could reach such a pitch.

Of course, if you thought that the Olympic screamer was the only celebrity on the plane, you thought wrong. Screamer (as I affectionately call him) was in the seat behind me.  But a few rows behind him sat Sasquatch. Now, I didn't actually see Sasquatch, but I heard him, and had to conclude that's who he was.

You see, as Screamer was giving his free performance (which everyone on the plane was grateful for), he would always lead up to his highest shrieks with a bit of a crescendo.  The chorus of his song went like this, "Mommy! Mommy!" then his volume and pitch would rise together. Right as he would reach his highest pitch and loudest volume simultaneously, there was another individual who would also feel driven to song.  This individual (identified as Sasquatch by the quality of his voice) would shout, "Yeaaaaaaugh".  His talent was not as great as Screamer's, but it definitely portrayed strong emotion.

After a few of the Screamer's cries for mom followed by great crescendos and accompanied by the Sasquatch growl, I began to be concerned that Sasquatch perhaps wasn't enjoying the talents of this young prodigy quite as much as everyone else.  In fact, I commented to Robyn that Sasquatch was going to kill the child (and probably eat him).  Robyn didn't like me discussing the death of the child sitting behind us out loud.  Apparently, I broke some rule of etiquette.

Finally, the drama came to a close.  An individual who I will call Big Sister, finally had a brilliant idea, "Sit Next to him!".  The individual I will call Mom, heeded this brilliance (since it hadn't yet occurred to her in the last 30 minutes to try that), and then Screamer became a whole new character who I will call Happy Lad.  I assume dad must have been sitting next to him before that, but I don't really know since I couldn't see them.

I learned a few lessons.

First, if a child yells, "Mommy! Mommy!" for 30 consecutive minutes (with brief pauses for high pitched screams) it's possible the child wants his mommy.

Second, when you buy a plane ticket, they should specify wear the screaming child will sit.

Third, Sasquatch eats children.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Importance of Penguins

Today we were teaching our Sunbeams about the importance of the Scriptures in our lives.

Robyn had a clever little lesson planned.  We brought an assortment of different kinds of books and placed them on the table.  The kids were super curious, and they wanted to know what all the books were for.

Robyn brought her scriptures all wrapped up like a present.  She told the kids that there was something very precious inside.  She let each of the kids take turns helping unwrap it.

Finally, it was revealed that there were scriptures inside the present.  We told them how the scriptures could help guide is in our lives, and how they are very special.

Robyn set the scriptures on the table with all of the other books, and then asked the thought question, "So which of all these books is most important?"

One kid, excitedly exclaimed, "The animal one!"

This was the "animal book" on the table.

I mean, one book has the words of eternal life, the other has pictures of penguins.  The choice is clear.

We have really touched their lives.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tracting with Obama

Last night I had a really strange dream.  I dreamt (The editor is giving me a red line under 'dreamt', but I just googled it and it is considered correct, so deal with it.)(The editor also put a red line under 'googled'.  Oh well, moving on.) that I was a missionary again.  That is not particularly strange, it has been ten years since I was a missionary and I have at least 2 or 3 missionary dreams every year.

The strange part is that in the dream President Obama was my Mission President.  One can only assume that he joined the Church before becoming my Mission President.  However, he certainly didn't seem all that knowledgeable about the gospel.  Upon my arrival in the mission home, he wanted to go tracting (going door to door to share our gospel message) with me.  (My real Mission President never went tracting with me, but he would have been much better at it than Obama.)  At each door, he would tell me to knock and do the talking.  After the person answered, I would give my door approach: "Hi, I'm Elder Stockett and this is President Obama.  We'd like to share a message with you about Jesus Christ."  Then, President Obama would always follow up my door approach with, "I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message."

At first, I thought he was super clever.  What a brilliant thing to say, since we've all heard that line way too many times in commercials.  (When I woke up, I realized that I was the clever one since it was my dream.  Booyah!)  After a while it annoyed me.  I was like, "why don't you take a turn teaching once in a while?"

Despite his lack of teaching skills, I was still excited that I went tracting with the President of the United States.  I remember thinking that I really wanted to post of facebook that I was tracting with the POTUS.  But then I remembered that missionaries can't get on facebook.  I wrote a letter home that just said, "I'm tracting with the President of the US."  That's a missionary's version of a facebook status.

After that, the dream got even weirder, and one of the houses we knocked on turned into a restaurant where Mitt Romney was eating, but he was wearing a funny wig.  I'm sure wig wearing Romney would have been a better companion since he actually served a mission in France.  But, missionaries don't get to pick companions.

Okay, all you dream interpreters, what does this dream mean?  Personally, I think it means I've seen way too many political commercials recently.  But, it could also mean I ate something funny before I went to bed.  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your right of suffrage

Today is election day.  I know we're all sick of this election season.  Both of the major candidates have inundated us with ads filled with political spin.  I'm kind of a political nerd, and I'm sick of it.  I can't even imagine what normal people feel like.

But I'm not here to talk about either candidate.  I'm here to talk about the sacred privilege that many of us take for granted.

We're all familiar with the story of how the American Revolution came to be.  One of the most well known phrases from that era is, "Taxation without representation is tyranny".  Colonists were angry, not about the taxes themselves, but about the lack of representation.  Put simply, they were angry that they didn't get to vote.

The 56 men who signed the declaration of independence all suffered greatly.  Many died, others lost their wealth, their friends, their children and their wives.  They believed in a simple dream of freedom.  An important part of that freedom was the right to choose representatives who will safeguard your beliefs, your ideals and your vision of liberty.

Later, after the Civil War, there was a movement to help black men gain the right to vote, to have their voices heard within government.  And still later, women had to fight their own fight to gain this right of suffrage.

In each of these cases, individuals had to fight.  Some had to give their lives, others had to fight the battle of words in the arena of ideas.  In all cases, the individuals were passionate about one simple principle.  They simply wanted to vote for their representatives.
Today, we have the opportunity to choose our representatives, both at the local level and the national level.  We get to choose the President of our nation, as well as our representative in Congress (and other representatives as well, depending where you live.)

Unfortunately, many people do not value this right that was so highly prized by previous generations.  Please remember the battles that were fought so that you could have this right.  Remember that every election affects you.  You will pay the taxes that are imposed by your government.  You will have to live by the laws that are passed.  You will have to live within the culture that is created.

Please study the issues.  Please go out and vote today, even if your vote cancels out mine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Novembald to Novembeard

Sometimes I have really brilliant ideas.  Sometimes my wife thinks my ideas are awkward.

So you may have heard different people talk about "No shave November", or "Mustache Movember" or various other ways to denote the growth of facial hair in November.  I prefer to call it the Novembeard.  But, I decided to add a little twist.  In addition to growing a Novembeard, I felt it was important to open the month as a Novembald. (Robyn gets credit for the term, "Novembald", she is very wise.)

This is what I looked like yesterday.
Behold the Novembald
Being Novembald has already created trials in my life.  This morning, in the shower, at the point where I normally shampoo my hair, I stood there perplexed for at least 5 minutes.  It was like my brain was unable to  move on to the next step without executing the current one.

The Novembald won't continue for the whole month.  I'm going to let my head hair (at least the part that still grows) grow out along with my facial hair.  I promise to show you the changes at the end of the month.

I also promise, I will look awesome.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Things Trick or Treaters Say

There's something special about Trick-or-Treating.  I remember when I got old enough to go without my parents.  I'm pretty sure that my friends and I covered the entire city of Orem.  It was always so sad when people would start going to bed.  Didn't they know that my pillow case still had room?

Now that I'm oldie moldie, I enjoy being on the other side of the equation.  However, tonight, I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even dress up.
Robyn is Mrs. Frizzle.  I decided I was a concerned citizen, because I voted early today.

Despite my lack of Halloween spirit in the dressing up department, I made up for it in the giving out candy department.  I made sure to get the good candies so the kids would think it was worth it to climb all the stairs to our porch.

The children repaid me by saying amusing things.  I tweeted some of the funny things they said, but for those who don't follow me on twitter, I have gathered them here for your amusement:

  • "Happy New Year! Wait! Oh! Aaah!" 
  • "White Kit Kat? I've never seen those before! You're the best!" 
  • "You have a lot of stairs"
  • (Heard from inside, before the doorbell rang.) "Hurry up! I'm gonna trick or treat without you!" 
  • (After pondering over the options in the bowl, and finally making a selection) "These aren't too bad." 
  • (From a child dressed as President Obama) "Don't vote for me!"
  • (From one of the kids in our Sunbeam class) "That's my teacher!"
  • (From another kid in our Sunbeam class) "I seen you before."

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Open Questions, Awkward Answers

Sometimes when teaching children, one method I've seen employed is what I term the, "guess the mind of the teacher" method.  This is where you ask an open ended question, but you have a "correct" answer in mind that you are trying to get the children to guess.  There's not necessarily anything wrong with this method.  However, I've noticed that sometimes an open ended question leads to a myriad of answers that you did not foresee.

For example, today we were in Sharing Time (this is where all of the Primary children of various ages get together to sing songs and have a lesson).  The woman who was giving the lesson put up a bunch of different pictures.
These are two of the pictures she put up.  (The top is Adam and Eve from the Bible, the bottom is Lehi and his family from the Book of Mormon.)
She asked the children what the different pictures had in common.  She was looking for something about prophets.  But, I'm pretty sure the answers she got were not quite what she was looking for:

  • "There are people in them."
  • "They are on the ground."
  • "The people have faces."
  • "The people are nice."

She might not have gotten what she was looking for, but it was far less awkward than a lesson we had a while back.  In this particular lesson, our Bishop had come in to teach the children.  He was teaching about how men get the priesthood and all members are able to receive blessings through the priesthood.  However, his open ended question was perhaps not as well thought out as it should have been.

He asked the children, "What is something that only boys have?  It starts with a P."  There were some kids who raised their hands as fast as they could, because they knew they had the answer to this one.  It turns out, there is a part of the male anatomy that starts with a P.  These children proudly declared it when called upon.

The Bishop did a good job of just moving on, but the awkwardness was palpable.

So, when asking open ended questions to small children, you may want to think about what all the possible answers are.

On second thought, don't.  It's funnier that way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fourth Anniversary

Robyn and I just had our fourth anniversary.  Four years doesn't seem like a very long time, but somehow I can't really remember what life was like without her.

We wanted to take some kind of short trip for our anniversary.  Robyn got two days off for fall break, so we didn't have tons of time.  We decided that the time we did have should be spent relaxing and not travelling.  Thus, we decided to go to the far off land of Midway.  (The little town on the other side of the mountains from us, not the little island halfway between Hawaii and Japan.)

We drove through the Alpine Loop, on the way there.  It is a little area that connects two canyons and takes you to some excellent vantage points to oversee the many colors of the trees as they change for autumn.
Many of the trees had already dropped their leaves, but I love the golden color sprinkled throughout.
Also, you should note that Robyn's classic pose remains the same, even though it is autumn.
On the way we saw this sign.  I like to take pictures like this, so that you can all know of the dangers we faced.

We didn't get through the entire loop, however.  We saw a sign that directed us to Midway.  So, we took a "shortcut".  It did turn out to be less miles, but I don't think we saved any time.  It turns out that you can go a lot faster on paved roads.  I kept worrying that the road would end at some private property or something, and we'd have to go all the way back and around.  But we did successfully get there, even though it was a bumpy ride.

We stayed in an awesome little resort called The Zermatt.  The Swiss style allowed us to pretend we were in Switzerland. (Which is our second favorite place on Earth behind Hawaii.)  Upon arriving, the first thing I noticed was that this accordion playing bear must have had debts with Jabba the Hutt.

We got up to our room, and it was super nice.  There was a fancy bed with billions of pillows.  (You should know of my love for pillows.  Some places are severely lacking, but this place was not.)  It even had a nice balcony type deck that we could go outside and enjoy the view.  Of course, the moment we went out on to our little deck, Robyn noticed this bug:
"That bug is ruining my relaxation!" - Robyn
I took her back inside, where she was safe from being touched by nature.

During our stay at the resort, our primary job was to relax.  But we did a few other things while we were there.

We played wizard's chess.

 finishing off the king after a checkmate

We went on some walks around the area.
We had to brave all sorts of dangers.
We went to the Crater, which is an underground hot spring that you can swim/float in.

We look super precious
This child kept looking down from the hole above us.  I kept waving at him and Robyn kept being embarrassed that I was waving.

We also got massages.  This is not pictured because A)We didn't bring our cameras to the spa and B)The massages involved nudity, which would be awkward.

But most importantly, we ate lots of good food.  This is not pictured because Robyn would be embarrassed to have me admit how many pictures I took of food over our short little vacation.

It was a short, but very relaxing trip.  Happy Anniversary my love! (If you are not my love, you don't have to read that last sentence.  But you are welcome to, if you like.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

De Liebster Award

My little bro, Justin nominated me for the De Liebster award. (See his nomination here.)  It's not really an award, but it's one of those blogging games where you answer questions posed by the other person.  Apparently, it means "dearest" in German.  That is because I am dear to the Germans.  (Even though, I generally prefer the Austrian way of doing things over the German way.)

Here are the basic rules to the game.
  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the questions the nominator asked, and create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post. Go to their page and tell them.
  4. No tag-backs.

(But rules are made to be broken, right?)

Eleven Things About Myself
1.  I like to read, a lot.  I have always loved science fiction, but over the last few years I've tried to branch out into a number of different genres.

2.  I love bacon with all of my heart and soul.

3.  I have an amazing wife.  I love her even more than bacon.

4.  I once camped out for 5 days to get tickets for Star Wars Episode 1.  That was during my senior year of high school.  I skipped school except for one day that I had a test.  I had an alarm clock in my tent so that I could wake up on time.

5.  I am a Mormon.  I know it.  I live it.  I love it.

6.  I served as a missionary for my church for 2 years.  Star Wars Episode 2 came out while I was on my mission.  When all the people were lined up and camping out, I wanted to go contact them.  My companion was much too frightened.  He said he didn't want to talk to the Star Wars crazies.  I told him I had done that before my mission.  His response:  "I know, that's my point."  Thanks for the love.

7.  My amazon wish list is always up to date.  I am always accepting presents.

8.  I love the mountains.  I love the cool air, and I love to be close to nature.

9.  When I was little, I was apparently too loud.  My Dad told me to stop yelling.  However, he assured me that I could yell as much as I want when I'm in the mountains.  My grandparents live in a little town nestled in the canyon.  The next time we were at their house, it seemed to me we were in the mountains.  But I asked my grandma, "Are we in the mountains?"  I just needed to make sure.  However, my grandma was a bit perplexed when my volume suddenly went way up.  I'm not sure if she was in full support of my Dad's opinion on the issue.

10.  I love the ocean.  I love how it teams with life.  I love how I can float, relax, have fun, snorkel, or swim.  It's hard to decide whether I like mountains or ocean better.

11.  I'm obsessed with numbers.  I spend most of sacrament meeting manipulating the hymn numbers in my head.  I have to figure out what numbers they are divisible by, what I would need to add or subtract to make them into palindromes and other strange manipulations.  Also, it's important that my food be microwaved at an amount of time that is divisible by 3.

1. Favorite mystical/mythical animal?
I'm gonna have to go with Cthulhu.  He is a being dreamed up by H.P. Lovecraft.  His face is like an octopus, with giant leathery wings.  He calls out to unsuspecting victims who are eventually driven mad.

Plus, he's the cutest toy I own.  (My wife gets annoyed that I always take him on vacation with us.  Who would want to be without Cthulhu?)

P.S. I don't know if Cthulhu counts as mythical.  If not, I'll go with dragons.  (Clearly)

2. Favorite place
Hawaii. More specifically, the north shore of Oahu.  More specifically, Shark's Cove. (But Sunset Beach is a close second.)

3. Most random childhood memory
I just picked the first one I though of.

 When my sister Jen was going into 4th grade, she had heard terrible things about her new teacher, Mrs. Bennett. Naturally, the first thing she realized was that nothing could be worse than having to attend fourth grade with such a terrifying teacher.

The plan? We decided to break her leg. She employed me to jump up and down on her leg over and over. Unfortunately (or fortunately, in hind sight) I was not mighty in stature like I am today, and did not successfully break her leg. She had to face the great terror that is Mrs. Bennett, and she became her favorite teacher.

4. What is something about yourself that you're proud of?
I was pretty proud of myself when I was published in the Ensign. (The professional publication of my church)

5. What is something awesome about yourself that I may not know?
I wrote the software for the LDS church that parses through all the talks in the Ensign that are posted online.  This software detects scripture references in the talk and turns them into links to that scripture.  So, every time you click on a link to a scripture on, that is me.  You're welcome.

6. Favorite number.
42. That was obvious. Although I'm also partial to palindromes and numbers divisible by 9.

7. What are your feelings on the matter of cheese?
Do you really have to ask?  When I was in Paris, I couldn't decipher the menus at all.  But it didn't matter, I just looked for anything that had "fromage" (cheese in French) and I knew it would be good.

8. Favorite book or series, if not possible favorite genre.
My favorite novel is Dune by Frank Herbert.  Although, the rest of the series is not nearly as good as the first book.

9. A quote you love?
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

It has been attributed to Nelson Mandela, it has also been attributed to Marianne Williamson.  I don't know who the true source is, but it's an excellent quote.

10. Someone you look up to in history
I would probably say George Washington.  It's amazing how there were so many instances in his life where he should have died, but somehow he survived.  I firmly believe he was protected by God, to help found the United States.  In fact, an Indian chief who had fought against him in the French and Indian war, later told him, "a power mightier far than we shielded you. Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you. "

Even more amazing is that the people loved him so much, he could have been King.  But he wanted true freedom much more than power.

11. Someone you admire in present day?
I'm not trying to make this post political, but the person that first came to mind was Mitt Romney.  I've been studying his life as I've been trying to decided how to vote.  Regardless of how you feel about his politics, he has lead an amazing life.

He had an employee whose daughter had gone to New York and disappeared.  Mitt Romney flew everyone in that company to New York, at his own expense, to help find this girl.  He also closed down several of his other companies in the New York area to put together a team of people.  They found the girl in a basement with a drug overdose.  They were able to save her life, but she would have died if they had waited any longer.

Another time he went into a VA hospital.  He asked the administrator what their greatest need was.  The administrator said that they just couldn't afford milk.  For the next several years, they received milk for free.  Paid for by an anonymous donor.  Eventually the milkman fessed up that it was Mitt Romney.

There are a number of other stories about his generosity and service of others.  Learning about him has made me want to be a better person.

What about the other rules of the game?  Tagging others and giving them questions?
I don't want to tag anyone.  Justin has already nominated everyone in my family who writes regularly.  But if any of you dear readers would like to take the ball and run with it, I officialy nominate you for the De Liebster Award.  And for my questions, I would like to officially reuse Justin's questions that I just answered.  They were good ones, don't you think?  (Like I said, rules are made to be broken.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Texting Klingons

I already shared this on facebook, but I felt the rest of you needed to see this awesomess.

You see, I was with Dave, one of my coworkers, at the gym.  But Robyn texted me to let me know she had swung by my work.  Naturally,  I let her know that we were on our way.

As we were driving back, Dave and I were having a pretty serious conversation.  That's when Robyn texted me her response: "Klingon."

What?  I was so confused I started giggling.  What does that even mean?

Of course, when she let me know that she was just trying to text "kk", the explanation was even more amusing than the confusion.

The phone just knows that Klingons are awesome.

From now on, "Klingon" will be the response to any text I receive.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I have an iPhone 5

I now own an iPhone 5.  It's been with me a little over a week.  It has brought me great joy and happiness.  The thing I find most surprising is that I've been able to live 31 years without owning an iPhone 5.  But, luckily, I survived, and I no longer have to rough it in a world where I lack an iPhone 5.  (I'm still roughing it in a world where I don't own Google glasses, and I haven't seen The Hobbit Movie, but those are issues that I'm still trying to deal with.)

I got up at 3 AM the morning it went on sale for preorder.  It went on sale at 1 AM, but by 3 when I ordered it, it was already on back order.  I only got it a week after everyone else, so I didn't die.

Now I know what you're thinking, "Jeff, you already had an iPhone.  What is your deal?  Why do you need to get up at 3 for a new one?  Also, how do you feel about The Hobbit movie being a trilogy?"

Well, thanks for asking about The Hobbit.  I'm a little concerned that there isn't enough material for 3 movies, but I trust Peter Jackson to make it awesome.  As for the iPhone, there are a few important things you need to know.

1. My iPhone 4 didn't have Siri.  Siri is one of my new loves.  (She falls right behind Robyn and bacon.)
2. I can sell my old iPhone for about what it cost to buy a new iPhone (since they are cheaper when you renew a contract.)  So why would I not upgrade?
3. My wife has an iPhone 4s.  I feel sad when her phone is fancier than mine.  This issue is now remedied.
4. Look how happy I look with my new phone.

If you want to know how that happiness came to be, here is my experience opening the box.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Brocation

My BFF Jared W happens to have access to a house at Bear Lake, owned by his parents.  We've been trying to do a trip up there with some friends for a while.  He arranged to do it this past weekend.  He wanted to get started Thursday night, but Robyn had to do back to school night with her second grade class.

So Jared and I decided to head up there on Thursday night, just the two of us.  Sometimes the guys just need to hang out.  Sometimes we think we're clever when we call it a brocation.  (I would have also accepted mancation, guycation, or vacation that males go on together.)

It was very therapeutic.  We drove up Thursday night and had all day Friday to just hang out.  Here are some of the important highlights.

First and foremost, we did a lot of chilling on tubes in the middle of the lake.  This is very important.  It's like normal hanging out, only instead of sitting on a couch, you're sitting on a tube.  And instead of the couch being in a house, the tube is in a lake.

After we hung out for a while we decided that the only thing cooler than hanging out in the middle of a lake was reading in the middle of a lake. (Naturally)  Of course we had brought our books out with us for just such an occasion.

Of course, the whole thing was made possible by our good friend, the buoy.  The wind kept trying to take us back to shore so we tied our tubes to the buoy.  That allowed us to relax far from land for as long as we wanted.  Naturally, it was important to show the buoy how much we appreciated it.
I know it looks like I have a weird eye patch, but it's just some water on the camera lense.

Later, we were closer to the shore and found a really strange fish that seemed to be going in circles as it tried to feed off the lake bottom.  I wondered if it was dumb enough to be caught with bare hands.
This is how I fish
It totally was dumb enough!  Here is some video with my new fish friend.

The brocation was amazing.  But a vacation wouldn't be complete without the womenfolk.  Friday night we were joined by our significant others.  (And a few other friends as well)

Reunited and it feels so good.
Jared and Audrey are precious even when they look like disembodied heads.

Of course we didn't have any boats or anything, but I still took my wife tubing, as seen below in this video.  I would have gone faster but we were in a no wake zone.

All in all, it was a fabulous little trip.  I think the brocation might just have to become an annual tradition.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where is His Face?

I have to share a story that has an overabundance of cuteness.  I don't know if I'll be able to portray the cuteness properly.  Hopefully it's not one of those, "you had to be there" scenarios.

As I've mentioned before, we work with the Sunbeam class at our church.  That is the 3 and 4 year olds.  We always meet first in "sharing time" with the whole primary, before we break off into our individual classes.  We have 4 little boys in our class, and several of them try to be the first ones to get to sharing time, so that they can get the very coveted seat next to me.  (The girls all want to sit next to Robyn, although one of the girls always needs to hold my hand when we walk to class.)

There is one particular boy who cries when his mom drops him off, but he is appeased as long as he gets to sit next to me.  He is the cutest little kid, and we have one particular conversation that we have repeated a number of times.

Before I explain the repeated conversation, I have to show you my favorite tie.

My favorite tie depicts Captain Moroni holding the Title of Liberty.

I wear this tie fairly often, and this little boy always asks me about it.  He always takes my tie in his hand, and examines it very closely.  He always looks extremely concerned, and after a few minutes of thought, he asks, "Where is his face?"  

I always try to explain that the picture is too small to see a face.  He usually follows up with, "I can't see his eyes."  I usually try to say something about how his eyes are even smaller than his face.  He usually accepts this after a few minutes.

Perhaps next time I'll bring this in.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Dreaming of Otis

Some of my favorite moments in life are when my wife says funny things while she is sleeping. It only happens once every couple months, so it's always a special treat.

 The other night, I was laying in bed and I heard Robyn mumbling something about a baby. I couldn't quite understand what she was saying. I asked her what she said, and she responded, "I was talking about Otis, our son."

 I thought this was hilarious. "She thinks we have a son." I giggled to myself, "she thinks we would name him Otis."
This was the picture I had in my head, of what she must be dreaming about.

I remember thinking, "This is gonna be awesome to write about on my blog."

And then I woke up.  That's right.  The whole thing never happened.  It was a dream.
This is a more accurate picture of the truth
I had to hang my head in sadness.  It was my brain that invented Otis.  But at least I was still able to share Otis with all of you.

P.S. If there ever was a dream that needed analyzing, this is it.  So do share your theories.

Friday, August 24, 2012

More people of Google

It's always fun to see what Google searches bring people to my blog.  Sometimes I wonder if they find what they're looking for.  I've done it before.  But I like to respond to some of the google searches.

So, without further ado, the google searches are in bold.  My responses are everything else.

fat guy in white pants
I assume you were brought here by this story, in which my mission companion had to push in my gut while I tried to zip up the white pants in the Bismarck temple.  Worry not.  I'm still fat, but I have my own white pants that fit me just fine.

"road to hana" flowchart
I had to google this to try and guess what you might have been looking for.  As far as I can tell, there are no flowcharts about the road to Hana on the internet.  The good news is, because I love you, dear reader, I have made a flowchart to help you solve your problem of not being in Hana.

coworker took my wifes clothes
I can't say I've ever had that problem.  Although my wife's clothes did blow off once.  Perhaps you should ask your coworker if they would return your wife's clothes.  I'm sure it's all a misunderstanding.

caught in my wife's clothes
I can't say I've ever had that problem, either.  Although we have switched faces, so being caught in my wife's body might be worse.

What a terrible atrocity

man getting eaten by a pig
What's wrong with you?
If you know the url to my blog, you don't have to google it, you can just type it in the address bar.

question mark on woman
Again, due to the exceptional service you've all gotten used to, I have created this image for you.  My wife has been question marked as well as the woman in the background.  In addition, the man in the background has been exclamation pointed.  That is service.

thoughts on striped shirts
I have nothing against them, but I usually wear shirts with one color, or with an amusing graphic.  The amusing graphic is usually related to something geeky, or to bacon.

trash cans disappearing tucson
The conspiracy is more widespread than I thought.  Perhaps the people in tucson have some answers for why my trash can is disappearing.

zen bamboo
You need to hike the Pipiwai trail on Maui.  You go through the bamboo forest, and it is amazing.  The trail is just past Hana.  Refer to the flowchart above to get to Hana.

Thanks for googling.  Keep searching for me and I'll keep responding

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Arm Folding Evangelist

As I've said before, Robyn and I work with the 3 and 4 years olds at our church.  There is one particular girl who is super cute and super imaginative.  It is particularly difficult to help this girl stay quiet.  She is never defiant, she just imagines she is some place more awesome than sitting in her chair in Primary.

For example, one moment we are all sitting there quietly and then she suddenly remembers that she is a ballerina.
This is what she thinks she looks like

This is the reality.  
You'll notice the reality looks pretty similar to the fantasy, she's spinning.  She has a dress.  It's all basically the same, except that it has me chasing after her trying to stop the performance.  At one point I picked her up to place her back on her chair.  She pointed her feet and arched her back.  I'm pretty sure I just became her dancing partner and we were doing some sort of fancy lift.

So, after a few fancy lifts, I decided I should negotiate.  I explained to her that once we get to class (at this point we were in sharing time, with all of the other Primary classes) we have blocks available to play.  But only kids who are reverent get to play with the blocks.

Instantly, the ballerina was no more.  She sat down on her chair, folded her arms and gave me the "I'm so innocent" smile.  I gave her a thumbs up and she beamed with pride.  

Then she looked at the boy sitting next to her.  He was sitting quietly, but his arms weren't folded.  She had to put a stop to this great tragedy.  She quickly got out of her chair and joined him on his chair.  He looked at her with great dismay.  But she began evangelizing him.  She exhorted him to fold his arms so he could receive the promised reward of blocks in the next class.

How do you help the evangelist understand that the boy who always sits quietly is doing just fine?  We did another fancy lift and got her back to her chair.  She was relatively quiet the rest of the time.  

She received the great reward of blocks in class, and even got to play with a puppet.  She lived happily ever after, at least until her dad came to pick her up.  The idea that she had to go home brought tears to her eyes.  That's how fun Primary is.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Spiderman Conundrum

It would seem my life is filled with mystery.  I still haven't figured out who loves my garbage.  And, while that mystery kind of creeps me out, this one has its own element of creepiness.

So here's the story.  I mow my line every Saturday.  I'm addicted to the ooohs and aaaahs my wife gives me when she sees the freshly cut grass.  (I've never done any sort of drugs, so I have to seek highs in other ways).

Every week before I mow the lawn I do a quick walk through and pick up any random garbage that has blown into the yard, or any items we may have left on the grass.  This week I found a particularly unique item.  See below:

I should note that while the above picture features Spider man on my kitchen table, he was not actually found on my kitchen table.  But that would greatly increase the creepiness.

So you're thinking to yourself, "What's so creepy about Spiderman?  Is it his radioactive blood?  Is it that he catches thieves just like flies?"

Those are excellent guesses, and if you were in my primary class at church I would totally find a way to spin it so that your guesses could be correct.  However, this isn't primary and you're not 3 years old.  So I'll just tell you straight, your guesses are wrong.

Think about how Spiderman arrived in the yard.  I can't think of an explanation for his arrival that isn't creepy.  Here's the scenario I've come up with.

Scene 1:  Two children are playing with their toys.
Child 1:  Look at my cool Spiderman toy, he's got radioactive blood.
Child 2:  That is really cool!  Especially since you're only 4 and you said "radioactive".
Child 1:   I know, right?
Child 2:  You know what we should do?  We should play with your Spiderman toy in the Stockett's backyard.
Child 1:  Why?
Child 2:  Because mysteriously lurking on other people's property is fun.  Plus they only have a fence on 2 sides of their yard so it should be easy to sneek around back.
Child 1:  That sounds like an incredible plan.

Scene 2: In my backyard
Child 1:  Look at my toy now.  He does whatever a spider can.
Child 2:  Quite phenomenal if I do say so myself.
Child 1:  Oh no!  The Stocketts are coming home.  Let's get out of here.
Child 2:  What about Spiderman?  Aren't you bringing him?
Child 1:  There's no time.  He'll have to save himself.

So, that's pretty much the only possible explanation for the appearance of Spiderman.  If your children are creepily playing with action figures in my backyard, tell them I appreciate the donation.  It's much better than stealing my garbage.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Money's Worth

A few months ago, we bought Robyn an iPad.  She convinced me it was needful so that she could use it for her teaching.  The first thing she did when we got home was play Bejeweled Blitz.  At first I was distraught that we had paid a whole bunch of money so that Robyn could play Bejeweled on a larger screen than her phone.

But then I discovered Photo Booth.  Over the last couple months, I think we've gotten our money's worth.
I think this is a good look for me.

My niece has a very strong chin.

My other niece's battle cry.

If you think my nephew is precious now, you should see him with a regularly shaped head.

We are a precious couple.

That is true love.
So if you don't feel like you're getting your money's worth out of your iPad.  You have two options.  You can give it to me.  (I'll make sure to get your money's worth.)  Or you could just bust out some Photo Booth.
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