Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Many of the people that I've spoken to seem to have only moved once or twice in their lifetime. After reflecting for the whole of two seconds about it, I decided to compile a list of...

The 10 Hardest Parts About Moving

10. Not knowing where the good neighborhood starts and ends

That might sound racist or trivial, but it's a good thing to keep in mind. I'm pretty keen on walking, and while my stature might be intimidating to some people, it's good to know what places might not be the best to walk through.

9. Making your house awesome

For me, the first few weeks in a new house are the scariest; the bedrooms and hallways are devoid of furniture and objects of decoration. Right now, we're using a generic folding table to eat dinner on, and spare bed sheets as curtains. Wooo! Go design-on-a-dime!

8. Finding the "perfect" place for internet connection with a laptop

This has been one of the hardest things to deal with. The only working internet router outlet in the apartment (that works) is behind a bunk bed, so the router is beneath the bed resting on the ground. Maybe it's just superstition, but it seems that unless the door is open to that bedroom, there are fewer than three plaster walls in the way, and the temperature is exactly 73.2 degrees, the internet connectivity is extremely poor.

7. Trying to find where the grocery store is

After living in the same city for four years, I began to simply find myself at the grocery store by walking and letting my feet do the steering.

After driving around for half an hour (we don't believe in GPS or Google Maps on the go), we determined the closest grocery location. Mission accomplished!

6. Dealing with house imperfections

I generally try to be an optimist, but some issues with a new home are easy to notice and hard to ignore. First thing I found out about my apartment is that the bathroom switches are switched around. Naturally, when I walk into a restroom, I swipe the switch closest to the door in order to turn on the light. This is not the case. For reasons unknown, the fan and the light switches in the restrooms were switched, resulting in blaring ventilation noises during midnight trips to the toilet.

5. Figuring out the shower

This is an issue that I know I'm not alone on. We may not know some of the world's greatest mysteries, like how stonehenge was constructed or how headphone cables get tangled in our pockets. But the mystery that is the most pressing in many cases is how to operate a shower. Get it wrong, and you will be frozen and/or boiled alive. Even once you think you've figured it out, there is still the possibility that something could go terribly awry.

4. Packing/Unpacking

I don't have anything against being organized. I really don't. I just hate the whole process of cramming crap into cardboard, just to tear it all out of the boxes a few hours later. Finding places to store my stuff in an unknown area is difficult for me to do, since I get overwhelmed easily.

Side note: packing should be made into an Olympic sport, just so that I can show you just how much I hate it.

3. Understanding the roads

In Nampa, if somebody told me to take a left off of 12th right after Walmart to get to Skyview, I would've felt the soaring confidence of a person playing Mario Kart who just overlapped everybody twice on rainbow road.

Here, getting street directions or finding my way around town is as confusing as translating terrorist threats spoken in Yiddish, whilst doing trigonometry in the back of a moving capuchin-transport vehicle.

2. Getting to know other people

I am not a social butterfly (that's why I have a blog). I'm more like a social opossum, scurrying around, hiding in the shadows, and playing dead if people get too close to me.

As such, it has proven difficult for me to find my "niche," a group of people with the same strange character attributes as myself.

1. Letting go of people from last place

This one is kind of a misnomer. I don't mean forgetting about friends from other cities, I simply mean adjusting to not being able to have them around or going about my normal habit of messing around and getting up to general Tomfoolery.

What do you think is the hardest part of moving? I'd like to hear your opinions.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Four by Four

The other day I was brainstorming for ideas, and one in particular stuck out to me.

I give it to you now.

The day was my sixteenth birthday. As a gift, my parents had me excused from school and my dad took me out to several places, as per my request. 

First stop was the DMV. I had already scored an 88% on the driving test about two months prior, and I was just now barely getting around to getting my learners permit. I pugnaciously pouted my way past the picture portion of the process (heh heh, alliteration), and received eligibility to drive as a reward.

Next up was GuitarCenter. One of my strings had inexplicably snapped a few days before, and I was anxious to get back to jamming out. Whilst there, I admired all of the different styles and designs of guitars, and picked up a capo.

Afterwards we went to a library of sorts. It had plenty of books, but of sheet music instead of stories. I found one chock full of popular movie songs.

Finally, the fateful stop.

We went to In-N-Out Burger.

While my dad and I were driving around, he told me of a legend he heard of on the internet. There was, allegedly, a mythical sandwich at In-N-Out that was a quadruple cheese burger. According to tales floating around, this monster burger was as big as a newborn's head, and even more tasty. My teenage stomach rumbled, as my metabolism yearned for a challenge.

As we pulled up to the restaurant, in my mind I heard old-fashioned western music playing. This was to be the quintessential teenager vs. food stand-off, and it was to be epic.

We patiently stood in line, waiting for our turn to order our servings. My dad ordered the double double, and I leaned over the count and whispered: "I'd like a four by four, please."

The cashier's eyes got wide. 

"The what?"

With slightly more confidence in my voice, I said a little louder: "I would like to order a four by four."

Before my order, there had been music playing over the radio, and the background noise of customers conversing could be heard. After the words rolled off my tongue, the whole of the restaurant went silent. The music went dead, the noisy ceiling fans were quiet, and a screaming baby clamped it's mouth shut.

The cashier, labelled Stanley by his name tag, shrunk back, and gave me the opportunity to back out of my request.

"Are you sure you want one of those?"

Undaunted by the circumstances, I responded in the affirmative.

After a breath of hesitation, he replied, "As you wish."

He printed out our order and brought it back to the kitchen. As my dad and I took our seats, several faces of workers looked out the kitchen windows, wondering in concerned awe who on Earth would order the Goliath of burgers. Their wandering eyes fell upon my lanky 6' 2" mass, and they quickly cowered back, getting to work on the mammoth task before them.

As we waited, a man came up to the counter and asked Stanley sheepishly, "What's a 'four by four'?"

I half expected Stanley to say "Satan spawn," due to the actions the restaurant staff held in response to it, but he quickly replied, "A burger with four patties and four slices of cheese, and weighs about two pounds."

The newcomer customer did a double take between me and Stanley, and incredulously said, "In the name of all that is holy! Give me something half that size, and I might finish it!"

I was skeptical, as my dad and I patiently waited. Surely these reactions are just exaggerated... right?

I don't believe in internet rumors. Mostly never. But when our food arrived, I thought there was a mistake. We ordered a total of two sandwiches, not five.

But it was correct. My dad picked up his double double, and I simply sat and stared at the baby-head sized burger sitting before me. 

The largest wrapping In-N-Out has is for the double double, so my meal was crammed into the comparatively tiny wrapping. It spilled out of the paper, looking like grease was sprayed onto it but it looked so. Freaking. Delicious.

I pigged out, I won't lie. But despite my quickened pace, my dad was sitting for a solid five minutes before I finished.

I've felt the emotion of guilt many times in my life, but this was probably one of the moments where I felt the guiltiest.

I felt as if the devil himself was scratching away at the inside of my stomach. My stomach was distended, with a couple pounds of weight pushing it from the inside out. I was beginning to understand the emotions shared by the workers of the restaurant. 

As I crammed the final scrap of food into my mouth, I felt far from satisfied. At the start of my quest, I believed this was to be the crowning meal of my teenage life. Far from it. I made a vow that day that I would never eat a meal that is bigger than both of my fists put together (fun fact: that means I will not eat your brain, should I ever become a zombie).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Evil Musical Chairs

No matter which school I attend, it seems that there is some issue that bothers me above all else.

In Nampa, it was the fact that our school was the designated "ghetto" school of the area. I really didn't have too much of a problem with it, but I definitely felt the discrimination whilst attending transfer classes in other school buildings.

At West High in Salt Lake, the whole school was an issue. One out of every five teachers graduated from college with a degree in hatred, and the other four got drunk and wandered into the hallways, inexplicably finding themselves at the front of a room full of impressionable young people. Of course I exaggerate, as I was lucky enough to get the only good teachers programmed into my schedule (yes, programmed), but the army of complaints posed by peers were more than enough to back up my made-up statistics.

On top of the evil/drunk teachers, the school had a crime rate higher than in D.C. If you leave any materials unattended and it's still there upon your return, make sure you say a prayer of gratitude.

At my new school, half an hour away, people still poke fun at the juvenile delinquent center that was West High School. One teacher in particular has asked me on several occasions just how long it took me to get through the metal detectors, and how many stabbings there were a week.

Finally, let us not forget the horrendous tile laying.

The newest addition to my list of problems with schools has arisen here at my undisclosed location. In between the short passing periods, they play cheerful polka music, in some maniacal effort to rush you to your next class before you get caught wandering the halls as a tardy student. I'm sure in the bowels of the buildings there are hidden administrators, laughing maliciously at the screens of security camera footage, with pupils making a mad dash to the evil music, which taunts them with the reminder that there is a marathon distance between their current location and the next class.

In all reality, the sheer number of good qualities of this school outnumber the bad, but this single fact gives me hesitation; the leaders of our educational institute turn our very real and pressing concern of punctuality into a twisted event similar to that of the Hunger Games. There is no winner; there are only non-losers. Any alliances and friendships you have made are foregone as you desperately perform acrobatics to navigate the hallway traffic. Only the ruthless and stout of heart have a reserved seat in the limited hallway of champions.

It's either play the game, or be played.

I am publicly announcing your villainy, school board.

Your move.

Monday, November 18, 2013


As I've gone through life, moving from state to state, meeting more and more individuals, I've come across some interesting personalities, characteristics, hobbies, and habits.

One person that I met in the state of Arizona was actually born with the name Anthony Stark, but naturally, goes by Tony. This fact immediately earned my respect, despite the fact that he bore no resemblance whatsoever to the coolest Marvel super hero.

Another individual I had the privilege of befriending had three younger siblings, all with different hair colors. These younger siblings' hair were natural, and were the epitome of their respective colors; blond, black, and red. The person I got to meet, however, had none of these hair colors. Rather, she had a combination of all three, which is difficult to imagine but was in all actuality the awesomest hair color ever.

I've met people who can play the guitar with their toes, and others who play the flute through their nose. Some people I've met collect hot wheels cars; some collect stray cats. I've met debaters, dancers, athletes, musicians, programmers, artists, and some people so reclusive that I've known them for three years and never found out anything besides their first name.

Out of all these varied and awesome people, I've come across the weirdest and wildest habits and hobbies and flaws and fears. However, through the hundreds upon hundreds of people I have shook hands with, gotten to know, and learned about, I have never met another person with the same problem that I have.

I cannot sneeze in public.

It's not a matter of choice; that uncomfortable sensation that precedes a sneeze is all too familiar, and something that I wish to rid myself of very quickly, regardless of who I'm with. But over the course of the past few months, I have not been able to sneeze in front of anybody (except my immediate family members).

I feel that awful tingly feeling in my nose, and silently pray that it will simply come and go, leaving me to whatever task is at hand. When in front of people it seems that those wishes go unanswered.

Let me give you an example.

I was on the third floor of the City Library in Salt Lake City, in the math and science section of the volumes. I had already read many of the novels and texts there, but I was desperately searching for some new mathematical material to devour.

Then it hit me.

With the starkness of Iron Man himself (insert knee slap here), I could feel the pain that should be followed by a sneeze. That relief would be the thunder to the lightning sensation in my face, and was much more joyfully anticipated than what I knew would be coming.

My body physically rejected the vocalization that accompanies the noise, and leaves the rest. It's a sound that is difficult to describe, but imagine the stereotypical sneeze noise (ach-hoo) and take away the "ach" part. Essentially, I make this extremely loud owl mating call, which draws as much weird looks as that sentence just got from you.


Why am I telling you this?

If you've read any more than a single post on my blog, you'll have come to the conclusion that I am indeed an oddball. I say strange things, type strange things, do strange things... in some sense of the phrase, I am a strange thing.

But I once read a quote that was something along the lines of, "Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own." Essentially, I find it hard to believe that I'm the only person to have an issue making normal sneezing noises. There's always first time for everything though, so I'm open to new insights.

I know this blog doesn't get read by an enormous amount of people, but for those who do read this, I'd appreciate input on this troubling issue.

Until next time.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Life Hacks Around My House

As I've gone through life, I've realized that there are certain habits, facts, and tricks that I've picked up on that I use around the home. I give them to you now, should you ever decide to become a homeless ninja living in my cupboards.

1. The Popping

My mom has bad knees, and this fact is pretty self evident whenever she goes up or down the stairs. Her movements can easily be detected before hand by listening for the popcorn-popping sound (sadly, her appearance is rarely accompanied by the popcorn scent). If you don't want her to see you doing something (or to see you in the first place), simply listen for the noise and hide.

2. The Hair

For reasons difficult to understand, it seems that every morning when I go through the house getting ready for the day, one of my parents is sleeping on the couch. They have a good marriage, and so I don't think it's because of disputes. Maybe the bed isn't comfortable, or maybe the couch is just stuffed with heavenly hair.

Either way, there is a sure fire way to figure out who's on the couch without turning on very many lights. Look at the head. My dad has male pattern baldness, so his head is like a pale glowing peach, resting randomly on the sofa. My mom, however, does not have male pattern baldness, so it's pretty safe to assume that if the sleeper has a glowing scalp, it is not my mother.

3. The Noises

More specifically, the sleeping noises. In my family, four of the six people snore. When I say snore, I mean give birth through the nostrils to a family of rabid dinosaurs with gastronomical issues. If you walk through my home at night and don't hear one of my brothers, my sister, and both my parents making terrible farting-hibernating bear noises, then odds are they are not sound asleep. Proceed with caution with your nighttime escapade.

4. The Drunkenness 

If my mom was alive a few hundred years ago, she'd probably be accused of having lycanthropy. It seems that most every night, without fail, once 10:00 PM rolls around, my mom immediately transforms into a beast that cannot be communicated with, since she's stuck in a permanent state of giggling stupor. I've never seen someone who was drunk (I think), but I'm assuming how she reacts to everything is extremely similar. She doesn't actually ingest anything though, so no secret amount of alcohol was involved.

One time we were sitting on the couch, me totally into Doctor Who, and my mom dozing off. As soon as she finally nodded off, the clock just barely struck ten. As if we were in some kind of horror movie, she slowly sat up with a Joker-ish grin on her face, and simply began to laugh at my face.

What makes her episodes so much more funny to everyone who watched her be crazy is that she has no memory of the night before. She'll sometimes have whole conversations on the phone in her drunk state, and have no recollection of the event when questioned the following morning.

5. The Walking

I cannot in good conscience sit here and criticize my family when I have my own habits that I've had to learn about. Me and my sister, reportedly, are chronic sleep walkers.

The symptoms during the act are pretty similar; scrunched up eyes, moaning, saying random phrases, not finishing sentences, and scratching of arms. However, it seems that only I have ever actually done anything strange while I'm up at night.

I've walked out of the fifth-story hotel room, into the elevator, out the front doors, and into the car that my parents had forgotten to lock. Around 2 AM, I awoke in the back seat, and tried to get back into the locked hotel. It just so happened that the maid who had met my family earlier while coming in to clean our room was vacuuming the entrance, and because she recognized me, she let me in through the locked doors.

There you have it! Weird, unnecessary facts that you know about my family. Congratulations. Do something worth-while with them, like plan a robbery. Just let me know.

Good day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why I Don't Ski

After spending just about four months in Salt Lake City, my family has once again relocated. Since we're still in Utah, I'm still being asked Utah-esque questions. Although it's unlikely that the people in my area will find my blog, I figured I might as well answer the two most prominent questions in public.

1. Who's your team? Utes or BYU?


I don't follow sports. Football, basketball, cricket, origami, I don't watch it. Sorry to disappoint.

2. Do you ski or snowboard?

Again, neither.

This question incites a much larger span of negative reactions.  Apparently it is held in public opinion that if you live within 45 minutes of a ski resort, you have to do one or the other. On top of this, since apparently skiers and snowboarders have a Capulet-Montague relationship, being on the fence about the matter is the eighth deadly sin.

Luckily for me, I have an appropriate explanation for my situation.

It all started in the fifth grade.

I attended an elementary school in Salt Lake, and as part of the fifth grade tradition, we were preparing for the "Fifth Grader Ski Trip." This particular field trip was held in high reverence; it was only mentioned in hushed tones, and though we were young, we concentrated solely on the topic at hand when it was brought up.

In preparation, we held several "classes," educating us about the proper skiing rules, techniques, etiquette, equipment, safety guidelines, and so forth. We would practice endlessly putting on and taking off the boots, review the correct ski position to brake, and most importantly to our badly paid teacher, where to meet at the end of our excursion.

After my parents and I triple checked the check-list of necessary materials for the trip, I was taken to school. My teacher must have had the same mindset as my parents, because she counted every single one of my classmates three times. Finally, we all loaded onto the fancy shuttle bus (the kind with cushioned chairs, seat belts, drop-down TVs in the ceiling, and for us children of tiny bladders, a restroom) and went off to the ski resort.

Upon arrival, our teacher split us up into different groups, based on previous experience. Us first-timers, about ten of us total, went with our instructor Rob.

Rob was a man, but as I look back, he was probably having his monthly, which isn't even possible. I will put it lightly; he appeared to hate children to the same degree as the Native Americans towards the invading Europeans, though the Native Americans were much more justified in their feelings of resentment. 

Keep in mind that my group had never been skiing before.

The first task that Rob asked of our little group of ten-year-olds was to run over the snow bank without our boots on, grab our boots and skis, and then put them on in under thirty seconds.

After accomplishing this, he required us to ski down the bunny slope.

Without poles.


On one foot.

You may think I exaggerate, but those were the exact requests. Everybody failed miserably, and in response, he expressed his anger in the form of doing all of those in front of our eyes, while yelling at our feeble minds about our inability to accomplish simple tasks. 

Afterwards, he assumed that we were prepared to tackle the giant slope. 

We rode the ski lift for about seven minutes, which seemed to be the highest it could go. All of my classmates got off of the lift flawlessly, sliding on their skis without losing their balance. As soon as my foot touched the ground I fell. I hadn't even been standing on the ground before the thought hit me that my back would be experiencing pain very shortly.

Naturally, I had by then learned that Rob was a jerk, but I hadn't expected him to blatantly laugh at me as I sat there rubbing my back side. He yelled above the sound of concerned passer-bys, "Hurry up! You're falling behind!"

As I cautiously stood, my face burned red as I felt the gazes of onlookers. At least it couldn't get worse.

That was when I hit the ground again.

And again.

And again.

By this time I had given up on life and was contemplating death as I stared up into the falling snow. That monster Rob and the rest of my class were already halfway down the hill by the time I sat up. The cold and frozen tears on my face must have caused me to hallucinate, because I started yelling, "Just go on without me! I'm sure I'll win this race soon!" towards the grey, bleak, dismal void that was Rob's soul.

After an hour of slowly shuffling, falling, getting up again, and starting the process all over, I made it to the bottom of the slope where my teacher was frantically searching the restrooms for the one unaccounted-for child.

I refused to share the reason behind my iced-tear streaked face to my classmates, but I think they figured it out.

After getting home and relaying the whole story to my parents, they angrily called the resort. They sent me a package of free merchandise, a heart-felt apologetic form letter, and an empty written promise from Rob that it would never happen again.