Saturday, January 30, 2010

Don't Make this any Tougher than it Needs to be.

I've been pretty disciplined about hitting the gym these last few months. I've overcome all sorts of obstacles that used to keep me from working out regularly. Sometimes it's too cold to want to leave the house, other times the weather is too perfect to go inside to work out. I've gotten past these and plenty of other thoughts I've conjured up that used to keep me away from exercise. But now I'm developing a whole new set of reasons that threaten to derail my progress, and it all has to do with the other people at the gym.

I don't know if anyone has ever come up with a set of guidelines regarding how a courteous person should use a public workout space, but I'm going to give you a few I thought of.

Wear clean clothes
And take a shower, if necessary. I know you're working out, and you're about to sweat, but the people around you are going to need to breathe heavily once they get immersed in their routine. If the gym is crowded and you regularly have empty machines next to you, ask a close friend who will be honest with you. If you work out at the Montana Athletic Club in Bigfork, have a gray ponytail and mustache and wear jean-shorts, you are the worst'am.

Wear longer shorts

I know some people look good in really short shorts, but if you are a man, you don't. Some of the women look pretty good, I'll admit, but I'm willing to make a blanket statement in hopes I don't see some of the things I've accidentally seen. Maybe the hip abduction machine should have a rule that you have to wear long pants to use it, but for now, just think of the rest of us.

Don't use the rowing machine
That's dumb.

Use the disinfectant spray
I'm no germaphobe, but when the old sweaty guy (who is wearing long underwear because he thinks they're workout pants) leaves his calling card on every machine he even walks by, I start to get a little paranoid about swine flu and whatever else is floating around. And don't just use the sweaty towel around your neck to wipe the machine down after you're done. I know it's a hassle, but people are pretty gross, and I don't like wiping down every machine before and after I use it. And by the way (mustache and jean-shorts lady), just using the hand-sanitizer doesn't help anybody.

Don't talk to me
If I take my earphones out of my ears, I'm willing to carry on a brief conversation. If I don't, that means I don't want to spend my entire day at the gym. I'm sorry your social life consists of nothing more than your five-hour workouts. Mine doesn't.

Don't watch the Weather Channel
There is no reason to watch that channel for more than a minute. If you do, I promise you're the only one. Click over to catch "Local on the 8's", then click back. If someone is already watching that TV, learn to like what they're watching.

Keep checking yourself out in the mirror
I think that's funny.

I'm sure I'll think of a few more things that are threatening to kick me off the wagon, so maybe I'll write more another time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Uncle Dave Sounds Pretty Good.

My brother and his wife found out early this morning that they had cleared all the hurdles to become proud adoptive parents of an Ethiopian baby. I'm so happy for them, because this has been a long and trying process for both of them.

So now the reality that one of the whitest families in one of the whitest states in America is bringing home a baby that's...not very white. As if that's not ironic enough, from the pictures I've seen, little baby Eli appears to have straighter hair than anybody in my family. Go figure. He's a cute kid, and he's healthy, and he looks like the kind of kid who's really going to like hanging out with his uncle Dave.

I'll post more, and include pictures when I can, but for now it's a big congratulations for John Mark and Amanda!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hmmm, maybe I do need a casket and 100 pounds of pretzels...

I went to Costco after work today, and as usual, I had to fight off the urge to spend $1,000. I love Costco, and have found few who disagree with me. Sure, I'd rather shop locally and avoid the big-box stores, but for Costco, I have been known to abandon all principles. Some battles will never be won.

Costco has a funny way of making me think I need something. If I'm sitting at my house or in my office, I can think of only a few things I need that I don't already have. But as soon as I get behind the oversized grocery cart and show my card to the gatekeeper of joy, my needs suddenly change. So I wonder how many people's needs change as soon as they see that Costco now sells caskets. Who says, "that's a pretty good deal on that casket. Even if I don't die soon, that could be pretty cool at my Halloween party."?

I'm a seasoned enough Costco shopper by now that I know not to buy things I won't use, it's just having the ability to realize that some quantities are just unrealistic. I bought Zip-Lock bags in 1999 and am nearly halfway through the package. And I have to be careful not to buy something I know nothing about. I recently bought a package of deodorant that I later found out I didn't like. If anyone needs 72 sticks of Degree for Men, I'll cut you a deal. I actually think I bought so many that it came with company stock.

But I think it goes without saying that most people's favorite part of going to Costco is the free samples. Some people even walk in the exit and sneak through the checkout lanes to go and just eat samples. Those are the people who wait anxiously by the table with their kids for the lady to take more Bagel Bites out of the microwave. I don't like to slow down too much, because I don't want to feel obligated to hear the whole sales pitch. Because nobody can say no once they hear, "these are breakfast egg rolls with bacon, sausage, cheese, eggs, and Cheerios. No trans-fats and they're excellent when dipped in ranch dressing. 124 servings per package, and they're ready in 20 seconds in the microwave." Now that she has skillfully appealed to my gluttonous side (while tricking me into thinking they're healthy by saying there are no trans-fats), my impatient side, and my sense of adventure, it takes everything I have to walk away.

And even if I am able to decline her amazing offer, I don't want to disappoint her. I always act interested. "Where are those again?" And after she tells me, I act like I'm going to get some out of the freezer. As soon as she looks away, I run for my life. I just have to be careful I don't see her again before leaving the store.

Of course, there's so much more to love about Costco, but I only have so much time, and you've probably already quit reading. Things like self-checkout that conveniently announces to the entire store what you've bought; a hot dog the size of an actual dog and a soda for $1.50; and the best cotton socks ever made. Could I be the only one who loves Costco this much?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Bubble Wrap Day. How are you celebrating?

Maybe there were some people who have been counting down the days, weeks and months to today. Maybe they could barely sleep last night. Maybe they even got a little gift for that special someone in their life to commemorate this momentous occasion. Unless you've been living under a rock for your entire life, you know that today is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

If you are going to any length whatsoever to celebrate today as a holiday (except to publicly condemn the existence of such an idea), you and I cannot be friends. I don't care if you do work at the UPS store or regularly wrap fragile and priceless antiques, you shouldn't be celebrating today as a holiday.

You probably think I'm just using my little forum to preach hatred to bubble wrap. Quite the contrary; I love bubble wrap and its many uses, but I don't think there should be a holiday for it. I also love corn dogs, but won't be celebrating Corn Dog Day on March 20th.

Why do we insist on making up these ridiculous holidays? Do we not have enough happiness in our lives without them? If your life is so mundane that you need to make up a holiday to celebrate frogs (May 29), toilets (November 19) or waffles (August 24), you might want to consider getting a puppy.

I just feel bad for all the real holidays.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Come on, Co-Co, don't go-go!

I'll miss Conan O'Brien. I know not everybody agrees with me, but as you know, I'm never wrong on this blog.

I don't blame Jay Leno for this little debacle--he took what looked like a better opportunity, knowing his loyal fans were getting too old to stay up much later than the end of their 6 p.m. bingo game. It's not Jay Leno's fault he's not very funny, but he is pretty smart.

NBC screwed this up, just like they're methodically screwing everything else up these days (except for The Office, Community, and 30 Rock). They tried to put a nightly show on Prime Time, and showed that the majority of American's don't like change. I can remember when Johnny Carson retired and Leno took over. I don't know what the ratings were, but I do know that most people thought Leno was horrible. Eventually we all warmed up to him, even though we were all laughing at him, not with him. I know some people thought he was funny, but then again, there are still plenty of people who think it's funny to say "Git 'er done", so I take it with a grain of salt.

The Tonight Show's ratings dropped not long after Conan took over, and Leno's ratings never were good with his new show. That just proves nobody cares that much about Leno, they just want their old routine back. So NBC had to get rid of Leno's prime time show, because all the local affiliates were threatening to put other programming on in that time slot. I'm sure they were all wondering how they could get something more interesting that Leno's show, like Antiques Roadshow or a Snuggie infomercial. NBC had the option to buy Leno out of his contract and just tell him to walk, or buy out Conan and move Leno back to his old show. The buyout clause in Conan's contract was $32.5 million and they paid it without hesitation, because the same clause in Leno's contract was for $150 million. So don't tell me Leno is better because he got the better job--he just had the better contract.

Occasionally I would watch Leno so I could see "Headlines" and "Jay-walking", but I wouldn't sit through his miserable monologue any longer than I had to. I still think Letterman is funny, but I'm a little annoyed by his arrogance after his little scandal, so I don't care to watch. Why, by the way, doesn't anybody care that he was screwing around on his wife with interns, but Tiger Woods is Public Enemy #1? Not that Tiger didn't screw up, but why do we treat Letterman (or Charlie Sheen) any different? I digress, sorry (get used to it). So you have to think Fox knows there are more people like me out there (God help us all), and will give Conan a show on their network. Competition is good for everybody.

Eventually, Leno's fans will all die, because that's what old people do. Then, NBC will devote that time slot to the Jonas Brothers reunion tour or something brilliant like that. And we'll all reminisce about the good old days of Seinfeld, The Office, and Tom Brokaw on the news, and tell our grandkids that people used to actually watch that channel. But then we'll die. It's all part of nature's plan.

Friday, January 22, 2010

And the Crowd Goes Wild

I haven't blogged in several years.

Maybe it's because I have nothing noteworthy to say, or maybe it's because I realize nobody really wants to know what's going on in my head. But I realized I just don't care what anyone thinks, or if they're reading at all. I fully expect any and all traffic on this blog to be people who are desperately searching for a picture of me naked.

Perhaps my frustration with past attempts at blogging comes from the fact that I don't have any one thing I'll want to write about all the time. If I am simply a Jack of All Trades, but a Master of none, the Louvre is simply a museum. But while the Louvre is world-class in its excellence, I am world-class in my mediocrity.

And that's just fine with me.

So allow me to apologize in advance for this blog's randomness and inconsistency, which will surely cause more people to shake their head in bewilderment than an episode of "Jersey Shore". Expect the unexpected. On any given day, you might read about food, sports, politics, religion, cartoons, the environment, music, dating in a small town, movies, beer, business, or why I can relate to every cast member of The Office. You just never know.

Among all the inconsistencies, I will remain steadfast in a few things. I will almost always try to make you laugh, I will almost always try to make fun of someone or something, and I will never be wrong. If you disagree, talk about it in your blog.

Buckle up, and let's have fun with this.