Thursday, March 27, 2014

Your Favorite Posts of 2013

Last year I came up with an idea to look over my analytics and see which blog posts had the most views in the previous year.  I shared those stats with you in the Your Favorite Posts of 2012 entry.  At the time I pointed out that I was probably the only one who really cared about the numbers.  Well, it turns out I was right because that post was my least viewed post for the entire year with 49 views.  At least my sister, my wife and my mom all commented and said they liked it.  It's good to know that those who love me enjoy even my unpopular points.

Despite the fact that you guys were relatively uninterested last year, I enjoyed it so I'm doing it again.  Here are the most viewed posts of 2013.  (And, just like last year, I waited until March to tally the numbers so that any late comers to the game would have time to gather more views.  But since the loser was written in March, time was clearly not the biggest factor.)

So without further ado, here are your favorites:

1. A Morning Stroll With a Moose 873 views
This was a worthy choice for first place.  It was one of my favorite experiences of 2013, and it was totally unexpected.  Hanging out with a mommy and baby moose is the coolest thing ever!  Bonus:  The mommy didn't kill me.

2. Fat Guy in a Little Coat 854 views
What is more fun than a picture of a fat guy in his tiny coat?  Last year was the year of huge weight loss, and there are several posts like this where I look at old pictures and realize how far I've come.

3. Help us Start our Family  749 views
This is where we announced we were trying to adopt.  Friends, as well as strangers shared it on Facebook and we really felt loved.  We still need your help, so feel free to share the above blog post or our adoption profile directly with individuals who may be thinking about placing a child, or indirectly with your friends through social media.

4. Marriage Isn't Hard  652 views
I wrote this on Valentine's Day.  It was just some thoughts in response to what I had heard people say about marriage.  I was pleasantly surprised at the big response it got on Facebook.

5. Salt Lake ComiCon 2013 593 views
Who doesn't enjoy watching someone else geek out?  I have good news.  I bought tickets this year so there will be plenty more geeking out.

6. The Epic Monitronics Battle 506 views
I don't think these views were from my normal readers.  I think there are plenty of people battling against the tyranny of Monitronics.  Google lead them to me.  I hope I helped them fight their battles.

7. The Skinniest My Wife Has Ever Seen Me 467 views
As I mentioned above, last year was the year of weight loss.  This was pretty early on in the process, when I had lost enough weight that I was skinnier than when my wife met me.  Of course, this morning I was 227.2 which is about 43 pounds lighter than when I wrote this blog post.  But it was a big milestone at the time.
That was totally a good segway into this picture of the scale this morning, am I right?  Probably not, but I was proud of this, so I wanted to share it.

8. Victoria, British Columbia 446 views
Victoria was a beautiful city.  It was the last port on our Alaskan cruise last year.  I was a little surprised that this came above the posts about Alaska, not because I liked this city less than the Alaska ports but simply because I thought Alaska was a more popular destination.  I would enjoy taking a trip and spending several days exploring Victoria, Vancouver, and the surrounding area.

9. The Baby Food Challenge  440 views
Eating baby food is gross.  True story.

10. I Was Fat in Hawaii 396 views
Like #2 above, this was another one where I looked at old photos and realized how far I had come.

I hope you enjoyed last year's top ten.  If there's a post you think should make it next year, you vote by viewing and sharing, so make it so.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dinosaurs and Chocolate

Throughout history, there have been 2 things that all civilizations have agreed are pretty much the best things ever.   Those two things are dinosaurs and chocolate.  Science has been unclear on which of the two is actually more awesome.  (Other than, OBVIOUSLY DINOSAURS!  I mean, they're giant lizards, for crying out loud!)

Truthfully, the best things ever would clearly be dinosaurs and bacon.  But if I said that, it wouldn't be a very good segway into the story I'm about to tell you where I went to a museum that had exhibits about dinosaurs and chocolate, so just bear with me on this one, okee dokee?  It did include me eating chocolate covered bacon, so there's no denying it was the best day ever.

Robyn and I went to the Natural History Museum of Utah on Saturday with my brother and his wife.  We all know that natural history includes a number of branches of history.  But my brain automatically translates the words "natural history museum" into "dinosaur museum".  So clearly I was there for the dinosaurs.  But there is a temporary exhibit about chocolate as well.

First, let's talk dinosaurs.

I've been a dinosaur nerd since I was like 3 years old.  The only reason I even consented to attend Kindergarten was because my mom said that if I went to school I would be able to read the dinosaur book by myself.  (Side note: I was very angry at the end of my first day when they didn't even try to teach me how to read the dinosaur book.  But the good news is that I have read many dinosaur books since then.)

Despite my nerdiness about dinosaurs, it turns out there was an awesome dinosaur that was native to Utah that I didn't even know about.  How embarrassing is that?

Let me introduce you to diabloceratops.
Diabloceratops was the cool kid of the ceratops community.  What he lacked in a third horn on his face, he made up for with two extra horns coming out of the top of his bony frill.

Diabloceratops was super popular with the ladies.  He was captain of the football team and most importantly, he was native to Utah.  (Note: the part about being native to Utah is true.  The rest of this paragraph is purely speculative.)

This is what diabloceratops looked like when he was getting ready to build a nest in my backyard.
You know diabloceratops was cool, because of his name.  Think about it.  Triceratops got his name because he has 3 horns.  Big deal.  Diabloceratops was so tough and intimidating, they named him after the devil.

Plus, he was pretty cool because he agreed to pose for this picture with me.
Diabloceratops and I were both disappointed that we were photobombed by other lesser ceratops individuals.
Diabloceratops may have been the biggest new thing I learned about in the prehistoric exhibit, but here are a few other snapshots of some fun experiences.

Zack and I were discussing how much of a deterrent the stegosaurus ridged back would be against predators.  Robyn snapped a pic of our nerdiness.

It turns out alligators have been around for 76 million years.  But they were even more ginormous back then.

Bears have been around a long time too.  But back then they walked around like zombies, and so did Zack and I.

In case you were wondering, tyrannosaurs had bigger feet than Robyn.  Do you think tyrannosaurs liked shoes as much as she does?
After seeing the dinosaur exhibit, we did learn some other things about Utah history.  But it clearly wasn't as awesome as learning about dinosaurs.  So I only have one picture to share with you in that section.

Zack and I are pottery masters
They had different pots that were all broken up.  It was supposed to simulate what you would find if you dug them up.  You got to put them back together like a puzzle.  The guy before us wasn't able to figure it out, but we dominated it because that's how we roll.

The last exhibit was the chocolate exhibit.  There were two parts.  There was the exhibit itself, which gave some history about chocolate.   Then they had also invited local chocolate makers to set up booths and give out samples of their chocolate.  I can't remember who gave me chocolate covered bacon, but it was surprisingly delicious.  The other best thing was fudge from The Chocolate Covered Wagon.  (You probably don't care, but I'm writing it down so that I can come back and remember where I need to buy that fudge when my heart begins to yearn for it.)

Without further ado, let's talk about the chocolate exhibit.
The most important thing I learned was that the Mayans were the first people to ruin chocolate.  That's not quite how the exhibit worded it, but it's the truth.  They made a spicy chocolate drink by mixing the cacao beans with chili peppers.  Isn't that an abomination?  Can you believe that people were concerned a few years ago that the Mayan calendar ending must mean the end of the world?  These people couldn't even make hot chocolate properly and we're concerned that they knew when the world would end?

We got to see what a chocolate tree looks like.  Look at those ginormous cacao pods.
Zack was very precious with this European lady.  Europeans were the first to figure out how to make chocolate taste good by mixing it with sugar.  I'd like to say that's why Zack was so enamored with her, but I think he was just trying to be funny because he was bored with the history of chocolate.
This was my favorite part of the chocolate exhibit.  It didn't have anything historical to teach us, but it made me imagine how awesome it would be if we could get a giant box of chocolates.  Are you with me?

Friday, March 21, 2014

That Time I Accidentally Mooned all the Men in the Temple

Losing weight is hard.  I'm not talking about the exercise you have to do every day, or the fact that you have to watch what you eat.  Those are hard, but they've been a part of my life for over a year now.  I'm used to them, and I've learned pretty well when I need to be hardcore about it and when I need to let myself splurge.

No, what I'm talking about is a danger much more sinister.  Losing weight puts you in a position where you have 2 choices, neither of which is something any sane person would want to go through.  You see, when you lose weight your body shape tends to be in constant flux.  Clothes that fit you a few months ago will suddenly no longer fit.

These are the 2 choices you are presented with that I mentioned above:

The first is a true terror.  Something I try to never ever do.  Go shopping for clothes.  Are you with me?  What person would ever choose to do this?  If you have a constant, unchanging size, this is a pretty simple process.  You go online, find something with the correct number on it, buy it and receive a box a few days later.  It's painless and simple.  (This process only works for males.  From what I hear, sizes are relatively meaningless in the female world.)

But if you don't really know your size or what fits, because it has changed since a month ago, this is a horrible experience.  You have to wander around the store for a while, looking at prices and thinking about how you have perfectly good clothes at home, and this money should go toward buying something awesome.  Then you have to select something that you can stomach spending money on.  Then you have to go into a dressing room guarded by a clothes folding sentinel, feel really awkward taking off your clothes in a store, put on the item you picked, realize it doesn't fit and then repeat the process until you either find something that you're willing to live with, or you claw your own eyes out in frustration.  (The two outcomes have about an equal chance of happening.)

As terrible as the first option is, it turns out that delaying the first option leads to the inevitable second option.  The first option may be terrible, but at least you can choose when it happens and you can prepare for it.  The second option comes when you least expect it.  Of course, the second option is to participate in public nudity.  I've already told you about the time the wind blew my clothes off.  That was a relatively painless form of public nudity.  I was outside, so it was technically public, but no one was outside with me.  Anyone that saw me was just peeking out a window and we don't have to look each other in the eye and ever acknowledge that it happened.

This one was a little more public.

I'll start at the beginning.  I went to the temple with some family members.  I always wear a suit to the temple, and then I change into my white clothes in the dressing room.  I ran into my good friend Cameron, who works at the temple, as I was walking in.  We chatted for a few moments.  He mentioned that my suit is beginning to look ginormous on me.  (My suit is one of the items I haven't replaced.  I get cranky about spending 10 bucks on a pair of shorts.  Do you think I want to spend $300 on a suit?)  I casually mentioned that I was a little worried about my white pants.  The last time I had been to the temple was a month earlier, and I had noticed that my pants were starting to get really loose.  I had meant to get a belt before it got to be a problem, but had not yet done so.

"You know you can rent clothes, right?  I'll even give you the money if you're worried about that."

I should have listened to Cameron, that wise old sage.  I wasn't worried about the money.  It's like 75 cents.  I just figured I had only lost a pound since last month.  It shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Fast forward to the actual temple session.  There are portions of the ceremony where you need to stand up.  During one of these times, I felt a little breezy in the back.  I reached back to pull up my pants, thinking they were riding a little low, and that's when I realized the terrible truth.  It was my underwear that was riding a little low.  My pants were no longer a part of the picture.  Luckily, during this part of the ceremony, I was surrounded by men.  Not that men want to see my backside any more than women, but it seems slightly less embarrassing.

The title of this post is a little misleading.  I didn't actually moon anyone, because I still had under garments covering the essential pieces (though they were definitely riding low, and I won't claim that nothing was revealed) but my pants were definitely not contributing to keeping anything covered.

I totally looked like those punk kids who can't keep their clothes on.  That would be embarrassing anytime, but the temple makes it a special kind of embarrassing.
There is one shining light that makes this whole thing bearable.  I've been a little discouraged that I've only lost like 2 pounds over the past few months.  But, at least this shows that the change in my body shape is still fairly dramatic.

P.S. I bought a white belt on Amazon the moment I got home.  I didn't even have to go to a store.  Crisis averted.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pi Day 2014

As you know, Robyn and I celebrate pi day every year.  What's that you say?  You don't know about pi day?  That's terribly embarrassing.  Do you know what pi is?   You don't?!?!?!? Do you at least know what pie is?  Okay, good.  If you didn't know what that was, I was just going to have to ask you to leave.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  It is approximately 3.14.  March 14th (3/14) is pi day.  How do you think we celebrate pi day?  With pie, of course.

This year was a very successful event.  We had lots of delicious pie and I ate way more than  I should.  I was rewarded this morning with the scale explaining that today is a fat day.

Here are a few highlights of our pi day extravaganza.

This is just a small portion of all the pies we had.  The bottom left was the first place winner.
Robyn put this cute mobile on our door.  She's fancy like that.
One of the most important parts of our pi day celebration is the judging of the pies.  We always bring in culinary experts to judge the taste of the pies.  These experts are people who use words like "earthy" or "nutty".  You know, words that normal people can't define in relation to food.  This year's expert judges were my friend Dave and my friend Melissa.  I didn't actually hear them use any fancy food words, but they were probably thinking them.

Robyn and I provide prizes for the winners that are selected by the judges.

Mike came in third place with a delicious sugar free apple pie and was rewarded with autographed pictures of Robyn and I.  Lest you think this is a lame prize, remember that these are pictures from a year ago when we were fatter.  We'll never be that fat again, so those are only going up in value.

Dann came in second with a bacon pie.  It was a recipe he made up that was similar to quiche.  It was pretty fantastic.  He was rewarded with a tiny pie tin for making cute little baby pies.

And the big winner was....  (drum roll)
Megan got first place with her caramel apple pie.  She got a $15 Amazon gift card.  Can you figure out why it's funny?  The picture has pie and pi because she won first pies.  (That was Robyn's doing.  She's clever.)
It was an excellent evening, eating way more than I should and catching up with old friends.  If you weren't there, don't worry, I used my fancy new GoPro to make a time lapse of all the goings on in our kitchen during the event.  So it's just like you were there.

I know you totally feel like you were there, but next year you should come, because no matter how realistic the video may seem, it can't really portray how delicious the pie tasted.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two Weeks with a GoPro

I have a new toy.  If you haven't figured out that I like gadgets, you probably better just keep that to yourself, because it should be very obvious, and if anyone finds out you'll be really embarrassed.

So now that we're on the same page about my love for gadgets I can tell you about my new toy.

So the deal is, I wanted a camera to take diving with me.  (Since I'm now scuba certified.)  I have a waterproof camera, but it only goes to 30 feet.  Clearly, I'm going to be diving deeper than that.

I did some research and found that there are some really super fancy schmancy dive cameras out there for gobs and gobs of money.  But I also found that I could get a GoPro for $300, and it can go as deep as 100 feet.  So there are nicer cameras that are better for diving, but none of them for as cheap as the GoPro.

So I made the purchase.  But it turns out that the GoPro has lots of super fun features in addition to being able to go deep underwater.  I haven't had a chance to take it diving yet, but I've made sure to try out some of the features.

I tried out the time lapse feature.  I wanted to get a sunset, but there were too many clouds.  It turned out the clouds were pretty cool too.

I bought the chest mount so that I could wear it.  It's an awesome fashion accessory.

Since I've become a biker, I decided to wear it out biking.  However, it turns out that at first I had the mount connected incorrectly so it was kind of pointed downward.  I thought it looked like it was pointed down, but at first  I thought maybe it was supposed to because the wide angle lense would compensate for it.  FYI, if it looks like it's taping your legs, then it is taping your legs.  I got excellent video like this with my first try:

"I hope it's not taking video of the ground.  It kind of seems like it is."

Good news: I tried the bike riding again and was able to wear it correctly.  Most of the video consists of me breathing really hard, but it is fun to look back and see exactly what I saw as a biker.

Of course, another important feature of the GoPro is that it has an iPhone app that allows you to see what the camera is seeing through your phone. This clearly means that my niece and nephew take awkward extreme closeups of noses and tongues.

The remote control app also works really well while wearing it.  I wore the chest mount and had my finger on the button on the phone.  Then I pushed it when Robyn started laughing.  I was able to capture this preciousness.

The moral of the story is, the GoPro is super fantastically cool.  You should get one.  I'll let you know how good it is for diving eventually, but until then I'll be geeking out about all the other features.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Getting Sick is Gross

Have you ever had a cold?  It's kind of like the flu, only you usually just have a stuffy nose and maybe a few sneezes.  Most of the time if you have a cold, you go about your normal business as if nothing is wrong.

But there's something wrong with our society, if we don't think that a cold is a big deal.  Because somehow we've forgotten an eternal truth.  GETTING A COLD IS REALLY GROSS!

I had a cold for a couple days last week.  It was terribly gross.

I want you to imagine if you always had a cold.  Imagine you were in a job interview.

Potential Employer:  I like your resume, and you've answered all my questions like some sort of a guru.  Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself?

You with a cold:  I have mucus that periodically leaks out of my face.

Potential Employer: That's gross.

You with a cold:  You don't know the half of it.  Periodically, I take a deep breath and then I use all that hair to have an explosion IN MY FACE.  The soul purpose of this explosion is to launch gross stuff in the air.  This gross stuff consists only of face mucus if you're lucky.  If you're unlucky it will contain a contagion that will cause you to leak mucus from your face as well.  Some people call this a sneeze.  I call it the grossest thing you can imagine.

Potential Employer:  Please leave the premises and never return.

As you can see, the potential employer's response is the only logical one.  How are we okay with people around us leaking mucus FROM THEIR FACES?

I don't have any larger point to make.  It just occurred to me that this is really gross, and our society seems way too okay with it.  There's no call to action here.  I just feel better having voiced my concern about how gross we all are when we get colds.

P.S.  I usually like to attach a picture to all my posts.  This post has no picture.  There was no picture  I could possibly imagine that would be both relevant to this post and also would not cause me to vomit.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spammers Want to Meet Me

Spammers are awesome.  Sometimes I read my junk mail just to see what kind of awesome things I'll receive.  I had to share this gem with you
Hello.  I would like to meet you. Do you mind? I really want to meet and get acquainted with an interesting the man with whom I want to form good and saturated relationship. Write me if you do not mind my Email . We could you better learn about each other.I'll wait for your letter with impatience,have a nice day!

If there's one thing I know to be true, it's that I'm an interesting the man.  People often say that I'm the man, but they forget to mention that I'm an interesting the man.
I'm the second most interesting the man, right behind this guy.

I do like good relationships, but my wife can attest to the fact that I like my relationships unsaturated.    (Actually, she probably can't, since neither of us actually know what that means.)

I didn't write this individual back, they only said to write if I don't mind their email.  Unfortunately, I do mind.  So if you are an interesting the man, feel free to drop this individual a line.  Hopefully, you'll get a chance to you better learn about each other.  If you're lucky you might get to download a virus as well.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm Totally a Biker

Most of you are probably aware that exercise has become a much more important part of my life over the past year.  I spend the majority of my mornings on the treadmill before I go to work.

For the last little while, Robyn and I have been talking about what we could do to get some variety into our exercise routine.  We decided that a good strategy would be to become bikers.

We consulted a few friends on what kind of bikes we should get, and finally made our way to the bike shop.  Despite being armed with the information our friends had given us as well as what the internet had to say, we let the salesman at the bike shop know that we were newbs when it came to biking.  He thought that was hilarious.

Note to salesmen everywhere:  If you think I am funny, I will rightly assume that you are knowledgeable and wise.  I'll totally trust your judgement on anything you tell me from that point on.

We rode around the parking lot on a few different bikes.  While I was test driving the bikes, I made sure to look sophisticated and intelligent so that everyone would think that I was a knowledgeable biker looking for the perfect fit.  Mostly I was feeling to see which bike hurt my bum the least.

We each selected a bike and took them home to their new home in our basement.

Aren't they so cute?
We have too much junk in our garage, but eventually the garage will be their home when we clear space for it.

Naturally, I had to hop on my bike right away and give it a go.  Also, one of the first things I did while riding was take a selfie.
Fun fact: Taking a selfie while riding a bike is harder than it looks.  Therefore, achievement unlocked!

I rode around our neighborhood and quickly discovered a problem.  The fact that we live at the top of a hill makes the beginning of the ride super awesome, and the end of the ride super sad.  On my maiden voyage, I was only able to make it 90% of the way back to the top before I got off and walked.

I tried again this morning. This time I made it all the way to our driveway!  It was only my second try!  (Achievement unlocked!)  My legs were burning and I could barely stand, but I totally did it.  However, I did have to send this text to Robyn:
But don't worry.  I kept my promise this evening.  My new goal:  ride all the way to the top of the hill and still have strength to carry the bike downstairs.
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