Thursday, January 29, 2009

Weeping Over Dog Movies

Do you ever lay in bed sometimes and you get a random song stuck in your head? And honestly it keeps you up until the early hours of the morning and you are so bugged that you can’t get it out of your mind, and you get so angry that you have to get out of bed sing the whole song through to finally be done with it?

That happened to me last night and I didn’t get to sleep until 12:30 am. The song that was stuck in my head was “Dumb Dog” from the hit musical production of “Annie”. “Annie”, really? How did that song get in there? I don’t think I have even seen "Annie" for several years, OK, I watched it last week, but still, it isn’t even one of the songs that I like from that movie but it was just lodged in my brain.

The lyrics that kept going over and over in my head were these, (if you know the words feel free to see along)

Ain't got a scrap for you.
Need you?
Don't give me a rap for you.

That’s funny because I used to think Annie was singing, “Don’t give a crap for you” instead of “Don’t give me a rap for you” which I don’t know what that means, but as a kid I thought that Annie was so street, saying swears like that. I thought she was so hardcore.

And then my mind drifted to movies with dogs in it. Do you know that every time a dog passes away in a movie a part of me dies inside? I don’t know why, but I lose it when dogs die in movies.

Here are four movies that I usually have to watch alone because I usually start crying and have to rock and weep until the movie is over.

1-Ol’ Yeller- When Travis has to pull out the shot gun and shoot Yeller, it is so sad. I think this is hard for me see because our black lab, whose name was coincidentally Annie, was shot by a farmer in Heber. Sure, she was chasing sheep and killing them, but it was for sport not for an actual meal. Come on farmer John, lighten’ up.

2-Where the Red Fern Grows- When Old Dan dies as a result of protecting Billy from the cougar. And then Little Ann (which is another weird homage to “Annie”) dies because she misses Old Dan. Come on, that is good stuff.

3-I Am Legend- Remember that part when his German Shepard gets the “crazies” as a result of protecting Will Smith from being attacked by the hairless crazy dogs? And then when he gets him back home he realizes that his dog has the “crazies” and he has to kill him (Shout out to Ol’ Yeller, Halla.) So he pulls his dog on his lap, and the camera just focuses on Will Smith’s face as he is strangling his dog, and he is just a broken man. Which in turn broke me and I think all my brothers sitting in the theatre.

4-My Dog Skip- This movie didn’t get a lot of play time in the theatres, but it messed me up for days. It is about this kid who I think is a little disabled or backwards or something, and his parents buy him a dog who becomes his best friend. It is the last scene that breaks me up.

He goes away to college and his dog just lies on his bed until he dies. If you haven’t seen this movie don’t, because it is too much. While I am typing I am getting a little weepy myself, so, if you do watch it make sure that you are emotionally strong, because if you aren’t you will be a mess and embarrass yourself in front of whoever is watching it with you.

People keep telling me to go see "Marly and Me" but friends, as you can tell, I don’t think I am ready for that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

At the Target, Target-cabanana

So yesterday I went over to the local Target to buy some exercise bands, as my old one snapped and popped me in the face, mid bicep curl. (Darn that Tony Horton, from the Power 90X infomercial, he gave me a crappy band.)

So as I was walking to the exercise aisle I heard the faint sound of singing. I thought, “How odd since I’m not even near the media section.”

But then I wondered if it might be one of those kiosks where you can push a button and hear samples from the albums being displayed. And since I was missing the coveted mix album “Slow Jams of the 70’s” from my slow jam mix collection, I should stop by and see if they had that awesome mix in their inventory.

Well, as I rounded the corner what did a see? Just a lone man, in front of the votive candles singing, in full voice mind you, Billy Joel’s “She’s Got A Way”.

Yes, I was a little shocked at what I saw and thought this singing man would be a little embarrassed as well and stop singing. Well, he didn’t stop; he turned, gave me a smile, and just kept right on a singing.

I don’t know if you, like I, am alarmed with the recent surge in public singing. Why do people feel like it is ok to just open up and sing full voice in public? The funny thing is this is the second time that this has happened in the last month.

I have mixed emotions about public singing at weird locations. I can’t decide if I admire them for being so brave and not caring what other people think about them, or if they need to check themselves, as they are riding the border of complete insanity (I guarantee there is a lot of public singing going on in those asylums. Shine on you crazy diamonds!)

I think that at the core of the issue, what really bothers me is that I want to get in on the action, but I am a little too embarrassed to do it.

In reality if I had my way, I would strap on a Casio keyboard and walk the aisles of every department store singing Barry Manilow’s greatest hits (I do a mean version of “Cococapana”. You who have seen me karaoke know of what I speak.) But, alas, my social filter will not allow such activities. I am too self conscious, which I know will sadden all the local shoppers as they could greatly benefit from my Manilow song interpretations.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Free Food

Are you like me? I can't say no to free food. No matter how stuffed I am or how much I hate the food item being offered, as long as it is free I will eat it.

I have been known to set up camp right next to the sweet sample people at Costco just to get as many free samples as possible. (Hint: If you bring a baseball cap and a change of clothes to the store, the sample ladies will never be the wiser that you are the same person that passed by 15 minutes earlier.)

Let me just say here, before I share my little experience, that I dislike fish a lot. I can't stand the smell, and it is one of those foods that I know I need to eat because it is good for me but the taste is just too much for me.

Largely the reason that I have never traveled to an asian county is because of the smell that I will experience when I get off the plane. Fishy, just really, really fishy. I know that I would be dry heaving the entire time. And let's be honest, that is not good for polictical relations between China and ourselves.

So my co-worker came to work yesterday with a three pound platter of sushi from Costco, that's right I said three pounds. Now I have tried sushi back when it was popular a few years ago and tried to force myself to like it, because you know me, I will do anything as long as it makes me popular.

So my co-worker said that she bought it for her sons but they weren't going to eat it, and it was going to go to waste so she was trying to find someone who would eat it.

Free Food? How could I pass up this offer?

We sat in the break room and I picked up one, and gagged and said, "That is digusting! Hand me another one."

This time I tried to sheild the fish taste with a smidge of wasabi (For those who have never tried wasabi you will find that it is so strong that it will burn the hair right out of your nose.) "What the...? That is terrible!

Let me try that little one with lobster claw sticking out of it."

And so it went, until I had comsumed, that's right, the entire three pounds of sushi.

The rest of the night I suffered from "fish burps" and a little irritable bowel from all that wasabi and soy sauce. I think I am even sweating fish oil, which makes the girls go wild.

Do I regret my decision after a 3 lbs of bowel obstruction? Oh, heck no! I saved some serious cash and didn't have to make lunch or dinner. That is fantastic!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MLK Hike

For those of you who have ever come to Salt Lake in January, you know that we have a tendency to get a nasty inversion. The cold air gets trapped in the valley along with all the pollution and it gets really depressing. It can stay this way for weeks until a storm or wind can come to blow it all out.

If you are smart and have lived in Utah long enough, you know that the trick is to go up in altitude and then the inversion can’t follow you. Once you get out of the valley the sky turns to a bright blue and the sun comes out and it makes you want to go enjoy the snow in your swim suit. . . or birthday suit, whichever you are more comfortable with. Your call.

On Monday, to celebrate Martin Luther King Day I went for a little hike up Millcreek Canyon. It was a beautiful day but still too cold to break out my shorts and tank top. (In the winter I always wear summer clothes underneath my winter wear just in case it gets super hot all of a sudden. By the way, all my winter wear has buttons up the sides so you can easily tear it away like the folks in the NBA in a matter of seconds…wha-la, you are ready to enjoy the sun. It’s call layering people.)

So while I was hiking I wasn’t wearing snow shoes so it was a little bit tricky. Every once in a while my foot would go through the snow, and then I would have to schimmy it out, and continue walking. I was working up a sweat and realized I may not have been in the best shape to go snow hiking. My last mile I clawed my way up the summit panting and came close to throwing up two CLIFF bars I had eaten along the way.

“Whoelse does this on a holiday?” I asked myself. “While everyone else is out going to movies and eating their weight in Martin Luther King shaped pastries, I am up here in nature strengthening my inner-self and getting down to the core of who I am.”

I’m the king of the world”, I shouted, barely able to stand up right. (Let me pause here to give a shout out to little Leo DiCap for blessing us with that phrase whenever we do something that merits shouting. We can always lean on “I’m the king of the world”. When everyone is screaming something in celebration and you are not sure what to say, his little phrase is a good one to have on stock. I have used it the last four New Years Eves, and it continues to be a hit.)

So guess who can ruin physically exhausting moments like these? People who are in really good shape and are over zealous when it comes to working out. Guess who shows up right behind me? That’s right, some overzealous runners who ran all the way up the snowy trail.

What took me five hours has conveniently taken them fifteen minutes. And they were wearing their summer wear, running shorts and all. And to make things worse, while I am gasping for breath and feeling very achy, they were all chipper and chatty.

In this moment I did what any rational minded person would have done in my situation…I pushed them into the snow and then marched back down the trail.

I hate people like that. They are such buzz kills.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blog Stalking

Do you ever wonder how good of friends you need to be before you feel ok to read someone’s blog? Is there some sort of standard in place that can validate me looking at blogs from people that I have known, but not super well. I mean, they are not strangers, but they really are more like acquaintances. Ya know, I have talked to them, but it is not like we are “Kindred Spirits”, as Anne of GG would say.

Even though they will never know that I am looking at their blog, I feel a little like a voyeur. I am looking and seeing all these pictures and personal feelings about their cats, and how much they love monster trucks, but I am unsure if I should be privy to that information when we are only friends because I knew who they were in high school.

Sometimes, I feel like I should leave a comment,
“Hey it’s me, Rob. Yes, Rob from school about 15 years ago. I said “hi” to you once after Chemistry. I just wanted you to know that I am reading your blog. Is that OK? I know I only knew you for a few years but I wasn’t sure if you would feel comfortable having me know all this stuff about you. I didn’t know if you wanted to be friends with me after I may or may not have read your blog, and that I may or may not have really enjoyed it and wanted to continue reading it. Just let me know where I stand, so I can or cannot continue reading. Warmest regards, Rob.”

Some of you, right now, reading this blog may feel the same why as I have just described. As you are reading you may want to rush out of the room screaming because you feel like you have been caught red handed reading my blog, when I have only met you at a party or bobsledding in Park City. If this is the case, don’t be afraid curious little friend, I just want you to know that I am probably reading your blog without you knowing it as well. It all balances out in the end.

My resolution is to at least to leave a comment on the people’s blog I am blog-stalking. That way I can have a clean conscience about doing it. Although, I did do that once and the next day it was restricted as a “Private Blog”, true story.

But, ya know, being more truthful runs the risk of rejection. But better have the truth out in the open, I always say, then to live in doubt of friendship. I think Socrates said a version of that…or something.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The New Years

So perhaps, you, like I, hope each New Years will be the New Years celebration to beat all New Years Celebrations. You have this huge expectation that pretty much includes: fireworks, falling in love, kissing strange people at midnight, and dancing until the early hours of the morning.

New Years Eve-Eve you frantically try to find some activity that will make your New Years dreams come true, but no matter what you do it always ends up lame and you feel such a let down. You assume the rest of the world is having an amazing experience at some party but you just didn’t get the invitation.

I can count on my two fingers how many great New Years I have had in my lifetime, that’s right, two. So now I have learned to set very low expectations for my New Year celebrations, which in the past years have consisted of having a pint of egg nog and turning in around 9:30 pm.

This year I went to Island Park for New Years with some friends and it was an awesome experience. I don’t know how many of you have had the pleasure of being in Island Park but it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, especially in the winter.

We have started a tradition that at midnight we toast the world, and then we get in our swim suits, jump into the snow and then get in the hot tub. When it is that cold it really jump starts your New Year.

Then we would wake up and go cross country skiing, which I have determined to be the best way to enjoy the snow. To really see the beauty of winter you must strap on a pair of skis and head where the snow has never been touched by man.

Then we would head back to our cabin for some “Crazy Karaoke”. I do not know karate but I do know Karaoke, and I am not afraid to use it.

Friends, I have learned from this little trip that New Years can be fun. With good friends, good snow, and a good hot tub near by,any New Years party can fulfill all your unmet expectations.

Remember that time, when the photographer said "OK" everyone do a crazy pose and you think everyone is, and you get your pictures back and the three people on the left are looking totally normal, and it makes everyone else look out of control. What's that all about? Man, loosen up!

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Favorite Song

Some times after a stressful day, I like to suit up into my UnderArmor muscle shirt, strap on my sweat bands, and IPOD, and head to the gym.

Now, just the mere sight of me walking into the gym causes those with lesser muscle power to flee from the weights area, and scurry to step aerobics. The intimidation factor is just so great!

I don’t like to toot my own horn but, friends, I am huge. Many of you who have seen me as of late, will know of what I speak. And those who haven’t…well I say it’s OK to sneak a peek because it is quite impressive. When you think of perfect bodies names like Stallone, Schwarzenegger come to mind. Arnold? Sylvester?...idiots compared to the unadulterated muscle power or Robierto.

While I am doing my squats and working on my lats, I do a lot of grunting and growls with every lift. It is scary, but people, how else am I to get rid of all that rage and excess gas? As a result of the anger and power of my lifting many have asked what kind of music I listen to whalst I am working out. In fact, many have ask, “Rob is that some sort Slayer/Mega-Death Work Out Mix that you are listening to?”

Oooohhh sweet na├»ve friends. “I will never tell”, I respond “for it gives me my power and stamina that allows me to do a 500 lbs bench press.” (Those who have seen my pecs know this is true.)

So here, as all of us are starting our work out schedules for the New Year, I have decided to reveal the song that makes working out enjoyable, and that will push you to new heights of physical fitness.

Get ready it will change your life. Ready? Don’t let the source of the music dissuade you, for it is rockin’! Here it is.

Oh, I love it so much. It makes me so happy and especially when it is so cold, it makes me think warm thoughts of summer.

Good luck with your work out friends. And,…your welcome.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Civic

I love my car. She holds a sentimental place for me as she is the first car that I have purchased on my own back in 2002, so she means a lot to me. She has gotten me to and from work safely lo, these seven years. But lately she has not be treating me as well I would like her to. As of late she has become a little high maintenance.

Last night I took her to the Jiffy Lube for just a oil change and thought I would spend about $35.00. Well,I ended up spending about $131.00. I ended up getting her light replaced, all her fluids filled up (they were all so low that they couldn't even detect anything inside of her), and to top it all off we had to get her tires rotated.

Now I know she is getting advanced in years. And I know that she can't hold her fluids like she used to. Her joints are just steel on steel, there is no padding left, so every time I hit a bump, man, I feel it. She makes a funny grinding sound so everyone gives us strange looks as we are coming down the street. The neighbors all know when Rob is home because they can hear him coming a mile away.

I love my car like a sister, but tell me friends, how long can I keep spending money on this ol' girl before I can but her out of her me misery?

I keep thinking about the movie "Old Yeller". Remember how much we all loved Old Yeller? Ah, he was such a good dog, a little mischievous at times, yes, but at his core, just good people, ya know. But even in the end, as much as they loved that dog, Travis had to be a man, and shot Ole' Yeller dead. (I still can't talk about it without getting teary.)

Now my Civic may not get the "delirium", but so help me if she pees away her oil, coolant one more time I may have to get my shot gun out and...oh who am I kidding? I can't kill my car. I love her too much. Don't make me do it Travis. (sob) don't make me kill my car, ugh, (sigh) ugh.

I got control again, thanks for bearing with me.

I want a new car but I just don't want to abandon what my Civic and I have together. I know you think I am exaggerating, and I am in a way, but I have a hard time parting with things that I have spent a lot of time with. I seem to project human emotions on my vehicles, like if I give her away she will be lonely or cold without me to protect her.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Maybe you have wondered as I have, whatever happened to Charo? That hispanic lady, guitar in tow, with those skimpy, sparkly culottes. Man, that chick had a good thing going for a while. All I know is that after my Saturday night bath as a child if it was a “clean” episode my parents would let me watch the “Love Boat”. (Now that I am older it is surprising how much hula-who was going on when Capt. Stubing wasn’t looking. Ya, know what I'm saying?)

Did you ever notice, as I did, that it always seemed like Charo was a guest star on "The Love Boat". Why is that? A lot of people don’t know this but she appeared on the “The Love Boat” over eight times. Eight times, people! And I bet if I asked you why she was considered a “star” coming on that boat, lo those eight times, chances are you wouldn’t know. In all honesty I don’t think I really know.

Ya, she played the guitar, and she did that thing called the “cuchi cuchi” but the question remains why was she so famous. Any ideas?

And now she is at the height of her career doing commercials with Gieco and T-mobile here in the states. Man, that chick has gotten all the breaks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Karaoke Beast

I believe that as part of our need to eat, sleep, love, and procreate, there is a need we all have to sing. When I say sing, I don’t just mean singing a nice little ballad, but a full on dance number or big hair rock song. That desire is suppressed very deep in some people and not so deep in others, but in every soul it is there.

I say this because this weekend as part of my New Years trip, some friends and I joined in some “crazy karaoke”. Now, I, myself have no problem getting up in front of a group and doing my favorite karaoke song, “We Got the Beat” by the Go-Gos, with choreography mind you. (It really is quite spectacular; I finish with a back flip right into the splits. I can’t walk for an entire week after the deed is done, but it is well worth it.)

Some people just aren’t as quick to jump up and perform. But it only takes one or two people to sing like fools and then all those quiet backwards people who don’t say much, but you know the wheels of craziness are churning in their heads, arise and let out their inner-rock star.

Beware friends; because once you get those crazies up singing, they won’t sit down no matter how awkward it is for everyone else to watch. I just say, “Shine on you crazy diamond. Fulfill that need that has been too long suppressed.” But eventually we usually have to drag them off the stage. (Hint: A little chloroform in a rag will do wonders for you. Wonders)

This weekend we had one of our friends who was a little resistant to doing the whole karaoke thing, but he relented and decided to sing “Who Let the Dogs Out” in the style of a lounge singer. We think he thought a lounge singer was a show girl because he kept doing some nasty things with chairs and a large pine pole that seemed to be holding up our cabin.

At first we all gave him some charity laughs but then all of a sudden it got a little uncomfortable when he started with the pelvic thrusting and incessant winking.

You can imagine our relief when the song ended. But he was undeterred and just went right into the next song and started with the winking and pelvic thrusting again. We quickly just cut the power and said the karaoke machine was broken and it could never be repaired again. Ever.

I tell ya friends, once that instinctual karaoke beast has been released it is hard to get him back into his cage were he belongs. That beast can be powerful. But we as a people must learn to harness that power, and only use it for good. Singing:good. Pelvic thrusting and winking: not so good.