Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Line

Do you every become a fan of a TV show or movie and worry that you are getting dangerously close to crossing over the line into terminal fanaticism?

That is how I feel about the TV show LOST. I know I shouldn’t love it as much as a do, but heaven help me, I do. And sometimes I worry that I may be slowly crossing a line over into one of those weird fans that normal people start distancing themselves from.

But luckily for me, I have seen that line and I know what it means to “cross over” into absolute fanaticism. I would like to illustrate with a story, if I may…

Picture it, Provo Utah, a month before StarWars: The Phantom Menace was to open. My roommate and I were obsessed with all things StarWars. Any magazine article that even mentioned “StarsWars” we had to buy it. Any food item that was pressed into StarWars characters we had to eat it. I think we watched the StarsWars movie trailer over a thousand times. But how could we help it? We had waited our whole lives for George Lucas to come clean on his promise to make the prequels to our favorite movies (Let me pause hear to say how disappointed we were after we actually saw the prequels). How could we not be excited?

So one day my roommate came home and said that we should go camp outside the movie theater for a month so we could be the first people in Utah to see Episode I. I was a little reluctant at first, but we filled my backpack with StarWars fruit snacks, and granola bars (why we thought this would sustain us for a month I will never know) grabbed our sleeping bags and headed to the movie theater.

As we pulled into the movie theatre our excitement was quickly silenced by what we saw immediately ahead of us. What we saw friends, and prepare yourselves for this, was a “StarWars Shanty Town”. That’s right, tarps and tents filled with StarWars fans that we would be spending the month with.

Here are some the highlights of what we saw: two young padawan learners who were having an intense lightsaber battle with plastic swords, a grown man putting on Darth Maul make-up, and my personal favorite, the man reading a StarWars comic in a Queen Amadala blow up chair.

We sat in silence for a minute, looked at the mess before us, and then I said, “Sooooooo, you, ah…wanna head home?”

Yeeeaahhhh” my roommate said slowly, “Leeetttt’ssss head home.

So my friends, that story always serves as a powerful reminder to me as to what it means to, “cross the line” in regards to crazy fanaticism.

I bring this up because I may, or may not have created a LOST “smoke monster” costume out of a grey leotard, cotton balls and a mobile fog machine.

Have I crossed the line? It’s hard to say.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The IPAD Encounter

Yesterday during stake conference I saw my first Apple IPAD sighting. I must say it was quite impressive. I don’t think anyone around this good brother holding his IPAD got anything out of stake conference because all eyes were on this amazingly large gadget.

Now there are definitely going to be some draw backs to bringing your IPAD to church. The first, and obvious one, is that no one is going to be paying attention to any lesson or speaker because everyone will watching you diddling on your Ipad. They could announce the second coming over the pulpit and no one would even know because everyone around you would be so enthralled with the amazing functionality and bright colors of your high-tech machinery.

Secondly, remember how back in the day when you would bring you IPHONE to church and instead of using it to follow along in the lesson, you could check sport scores and play solitaire during priesthood? And so long as you nodded your head ponderously and looked heavenward every so often, no one was the wiser.

Well, with this new IPAD those days are long since over. You might as well be playing solitaire on a billboard than be playing it on your IPAD, because friends we can all see exactly what you are doing 50 feet away.

So the first time we see you check scores, play solitaire, or watch a movie during church, I am afraid I am going to have to confiscate your IPAD.

As Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Promise me good brother; you will only use your IPAD for good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Electric Slide

My job has been really stressful lately. Yesterday, I was almost to the point of shutting my door and sobbing gently to myself. But I resisted and called my co-workers together and said it was time for the “Super Fantastic, 4:10 Express Dance Party”.

So I put on my I-Pod and what song did it land on? The Electric Slide. Remember the Electric Slide from High School? The song that brought all those people that absolutely had no rhythm, and really shouldn’t have been dancing in the first place, out on the dance floor for at least one dance that any person could look semi-cool doing.

So three of my co-workers congregated in the middle of our office (my other co-workers were too afraid to fly their freak flag that day. Don’t question it, just do it!) and did the dance of joy, or as others call it, the Electric Slide.

Then mid way through our dance my boss walked in. We were nervous …but we stayed to true to the dance and kept right on a slidin’.

He asked, “What are you guys doing?”

“Ah, yeah doy, we are doing the Electric Slide. What does it look like” I said

“I can see that but why?”

And without thinking I said, “’Cause it’s Electric! Boogie-woogie-woogie-woogie!

He didn’t laugh…but deep down and I think he appreciated my candor because he joined us on the last verse.

Friends, never underestimate the power of random dance numbers at work. It brings people together and reduces stress in a way that is fun and cost effective. And really, that’s what it’s all about.

Which reminds me, next week we are going to do the Hockie-Pockie.

If you are in the greater Salt Lake area around 4:10 on Thursday, you just might want to stop on by. Boogie-woogie-woogie-woogie!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Long Good Bye

Do you ever email or instant message someone and you want to wrap up the conversation but it goes a little something like this?

Them: Thank you so much, good to chat with you.

Me: You are very welcome. Good to talk to you as well. (At this point you go on with your work because you think you are done with your little communiqué.)

Them: I sure appreciate all your efforts.

Me: Don’t mention it. (OK we are done with all the pleasantries. Right?)

Them: Well I feel like you need to know that you are a valued member of our team. Thanks again.

Me: You are welcome. Have a nice day.

Them: You to. Have a wonderful day.

Me: Thank you, you do the same

Them: Thank you so much. Talk to you later.

Me: Ok.

Them: Ok. Thanks so much, good to chat with you…

And so it goes with all the cyclical pleasantries, of saying “thank you” and “don’t mention it” like eighty times and frankly it is a little grating after a while.

Let’s be honest, this is why I can’t instant message people, because I am never sure when we are actually done with the conversation. It always goes on and on with “good to talk to you”, and “always a pleasure” and “we’ll have to get together really soon”. And you are not sure if you should click out, because you know you are done with this little conversation you are having, but you are not sure how to really send a clear message that yes, in fact, you are done talking with this person

I think I am going to start ending all my conversations with how they do it on Star Trek, with me saying “end communication”.

I think Captain Picard implemented this because he must have had similar problems while instant messaging the Klingons.

Man those Klingons never shut up with the good byes! Am I right?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quiet Dignity

When I was on my mission, my companions and I would get a little raucous and loud. But how could I not be raucous? I was hilarious.

After a time of raucous laughter, my Mission President would sidle up to me, put his arm on my shoulder, and whisper, “Quiet dignity Elder. Quiet dignity

That seemed to quiet me right down. I knew that as a missionary I should be more “dignified” because of what I was doing.

This weekend I had occasion to go to General Conference and I was reminded of the importance of the principle of “Quiet Dignity”.

Now I don’t know if you are aware but outside the Conference Center there are people out protesting the Church and some of its doctrines. I was prepared for that.

What I wasn’t prepared for, were some of the members of my church doing counter protesting in some pretty ridiculous ways. Let me call out few of the things that I saw and you be the judge how “Quiet Dignified” they were.

Group #1- As I entered the Conference Center grounds, there was a group of about nine people holding posters that said, “Free Hugs”. Now I don’t like to stereotype people but I could see a group of freshman from BYU thinking this would be a great idea. I am graduate of that great school, and love it with all my heart, but friends, two words, Quiet Dignity!

Group #2- I saw sign, that’s right, a sign, not a poster but a full on 12 foot vinyl sign that said the following: “Hi my name is Satan. These street protesters are my missionaries.” Really?

Two words friends: Quiet Dignity

I was a little embarrassed for my fellow brothers and sisters, because are they really helping our cause or are they making the rest of us look ridiculous?

As I walked out of conference and walked by a group that was just singing hymns, I was heard to say, “Friends thank you for keeping it quiet and dignified. Thank you for adding to the spirit instead of drawing attention to yourselves. Keep it real!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Wrong Name

Do you ever assume that you are better friends with someone than they think you are? I have this “friend” who lives in my neighborhood, we work for the same company, and we belong to the same church, so you would think we could consider each other friends, maybe not “best-ies” but friends nevertheless.

So yesterday I saw my friend at work and I walked up to him and said, “Hey friend (the name has been changed to protect me), How is it going?”

His response, “Hey Dave, It’s good to see you.”

I thought, "Dave? Really? Dave?"

Now let me pause here to remind you the name of my blog, The Days and Nights of Robierto. No, my first name isn’t Davy, it’s Robbie, Mr. Abney if you're nasty.

So as we made small talk, he kept referring to me as “Dave”. I can understand him making the same mistake once but over and over again? I didn’t know if I should have correct him, because I know he knows my name, he used it last week at church for pity’s sake.

I was so bugged, that I couldn’t even focus on our conversation. I kept wondering what is the right social protocol here, and where is he pulling the name “Dave” from?

Looking at me you can tell I am definitely not a “Dave”, I am a “Rob”…or possibly a “Rigoberto” but definitely not a “Dave”.

I probably should have corrected him, huh. But that is the sort of things you do with strangers, or people you dated once, and then it ended badly and you run into them at the mall, not someone you consider a “friend”.

He did tell me he just got back from the eye doctor and his eyes were dilated. Maybe he did think I was this mysterious “Dave”.

That would explain why he asked me about my wife “Franchesca”.