Friday, May 23, 2008

Peanut City

So I made a rare trip down to the vending machine today. It’s a relatively new one; it has probably only been there for a year or so. Some of you may recall the rocky relationship I had with the last vending machine. Anyway, I decided to get a Snickers bar.

When I pulled the bar out of the chute, I noticed that on the back of the package it had the word PEANUTOPOLIS printed in large blue letters just like how SNICKERS is printed on the front. It didn’t strike me as significant – just some sort of advertising gimmick.
When I started eating the candy bar a few minutes later, I noticed some writing on the inside of the package. I pulled the rest of the bar out to read it:

Peanutopolis \pE-nut-รค-pu-lis\ (noun). A state of mind making you feel very strong and powerful, almost mayor-like.

It induced nausea. I can’t even begin to analyze the badness of it because it is so bad. I understand that I am likely missing something because I haven't seen any advertisements that might explain this otherwise inexplicable drivel. But still, does it have to be this bad? I am considering a Snickers boycott. I guess they won’t care much because I have never been a consistent Snickers consumer. But I’ve got to believe this made other people besides me feel sickened, a little icky, and violated.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A few of my favorite things...

Having been turned down in the past few days from not one, but two jobs that sounded fun, I was very qualified for, were high paying and were in prime locations (seattle, salt lake), I'm taking a cue from Julie Andrews.


Yesterday, we convinced her that a birdie came and took her binkie away. She went up to the window and started calling to the birds to please bring her binkie back. Hours later after we returned home from costco, she grabbed my hand, opened the front door and in her cute little 2.5 year old voice says "Come on dad, lets go find that bird!"

She still calls me daddy, but now sometimes will call me dad, or even Nick.

When she's grumpy and wants something from us, we make her smile, laugh and say please. Its hilarious to watch an obviously distraught 2.5 year old force out a deep throated laugh with a big frown on her face. We usually just get two 'Ha's'.

One night last month, I heard her moaning and crying in her bed. I went in, and she had kicked off her blankie and lost her binkie. I put the blankie back on her and put the binkie in her mouth. She looked up, pulled the binkie out, and said happily with a big smile: "The sun went to bed! The sun's behind the mountain!". Then she laid back down and went to sleep without another word.


She expanded my gardening budget this year, in spite of our ability to pay for it.

Did you see that dress-up suitcase? I was jealous of Lucy.

In spite of being sick, sitting down to watch our 4th or 5th version of Elizabeth (the first). Even kept her eyes open during one of the executions (the beheading- far less gruesome than the disemboweling)


Last year I planned the garden as if I was going to sell it midseason. This year, even though we may still sell midseason, I planted it all for myself. I discovered that I really like my canned salsa and canned jalapenos (en escabeche!), so I went overboard on tomatos and peppers. I've got green, red, yellow and purple bell peppers this year, 4 times as many onions as usual, and the herbs have finally become well established. Everything is now ditch-irrigated- last year everything that was watered by a ditch produced 3-4 times as much as my other stuff. Pictures to follow soon.

Calculus class.

Last Friday I got to sub for the class next door to my calculus class that shares a folding wall. They just took their AP test, and therefore are partying the rest of the year. We kept the folding door open the whole day, and I was showered with cookies, doughnuts, pepsi... the teacher even went to chilis for lunch and brought me back some cheesecake. We played ping-pong, blackjack, and other fun filled activities, as my class stared on in confused wonder (some joined in the games). The teacher even gave me a big hug at the end of the day. I told her to call me in if she needed some vacation time before school is out.


Having read Cabeza's blog a few minutes ago, I see we share a common goal this summer: I've decided to improve my guitar skills (beyond the 5 chords that I know). I've decided to practice a least a few minutes everyday to harden up my fingertips, learn how to strum and pick better, and learn enough chords to be able to play most songs. I started a few days ago, and Lucy loves to come out on the grass with me in the shadows of late evening and strum the guitar and sing with me while I finger the chords. So far together we can sing and play Edelweiss, You Are My Sunshine, and Give Said the Little Stream. Her singing is a little... pitchy, as Simon would say, but my playing isn't exactly stellar so it all balances out.

Being in shape.

I love being in shape. I'm not in amazing shape now, but I've been running almost every day for awhile. Last Saturday I ran our Stake's 5k. I placed 5th overall, and first in my age group (22-29). 3 of the kids ahead of me are all in track and cross country (one is on some kind of national running team), so I don't feel bad at all that they beat me. I came in at 19:41, which is only 2 minutes slower than my high school time. Go me! Next stop: washboard abs.


Have I mentioned how much I love steak? Smiths has a sale on ribeye every few months, and I stock up. An argentine friend reintroduced me recently to tri-tip- I had it before while visiting a girlfriend's house in california (YEARS ago! Seriously, Jenny...), but I had this weird tongue inflammation during that trip (it wasn't contagious. really.) and didn't really appreciate the tri-tip they grilled for me. I had it again a few weeks ago and loved it. Its not as fatty and melt-in-your-mouth-tender as ribeye, but its still pretty tender, and very flavorful. And cheap. Smiths also sells these pieces of bread that are just like south american "pan de cada dia" (everyday bread). I forgot the real name of it, but its basically a much smaller, not as fluffier version of french bread that southern South Americans (argentina, uruguay, chile) eat with just about every meal. I bought some for a barbeque a few weeks ago and was in heaven.


As I was looking for a way to spend my graduation present from various family members, I discovered Ross. They buy all the surplus and previous-season clothing from brand-name clothing and shoe stores and sell at drastically reduced prices. I finally bought new non-dress clothes and shoes for the first time in.... well, since that one shopping spree that my brother Joe took me on when I got home from my mission in 2000. I guess thats 8 years. (everything since then has been from DI, ebay, or this other trendy thrift store by our house.)

Bingham High

I'm filling in for a math teacher here for the rest of the school year since she just had her baby a few weeks early. I have now subbed for about 90% of all the math classes here (in a school of about 2500) (and all the choirs), which officially makes me a celebrity. Its the school where I had my own classes to teach for about 2 months last october-december so I actually know kids' names as I walk through the hallway. I was replaced by two female teachers who apparently are not well liked (not in the Willie Loman sense) by their classes, so everytime they see me in the hallway they beg me to come back. My walks down the hallways are filled with high fives and shouts of "Its Mr. Webb!" and as I pass them I overhear myself being talked about to friends in a mostly positive manner. Its also interesting when I get that reaction from teenagers in the mall, the grocery store, and the temple. Go me! Again!

Eliot, and her Mom and Dad.

As knows anyone who has heard Lucy pray, she is in love with a little girl three doors down named Eliot. Her parents are our age, and we all have youth callings together. Its become a regular pastime to go on a walk to Eliot's house (or they to our house), and chill in their backyard talking and playing with the girls. They now have a firepit that we light up in the evenings when we come over, and we hang out until well past the kids' bedtimes. I love summer.


One of my favorite things in late spring/early summer is when the Kudzu vines in our yard put out their leaves. They have climbed up to our 2nd story bedroom windows, nearly covering them. During the daytime the sun filters through the leaves and bathes the bedroom in an almost forest-like green. At night during the full moon (which I usually have to shut the blinds for since the light keeps me awake), the light is similarly shaded by the leaves and it feels like I am sleeping in Galadriel's woods in Lord of the Rings (it helps that Arwen sleeps next to me). Our big back patio is also partly bordered by the vines, and in the summer we stay out at night playing games back there, eating fresh salsa- either with friends, or just together talking about Lucy, and life.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Before and After

I'm a sucker for before and after shows—the ones where the house is completely remodeled, or the person loses 100 pounds—basically I automatically get sucked into anything like that on tv.

Good thing we don't get any reception, or that's all I'd watch. Anyways, here's my own before and after project that I worked on this week for all of you who are like me and get a kick out of this kind of thing (I really just wanted to say kick ...).

Step 1. Purchase old suitcase at DI for $5 (I forgot to take the before picture, which kind of makes the whole before and after idea a bit more conceptually difficult, but here's a photo of a similar suitcase—but the one I bought was more beat up and the lining was ripped and stained, but the shape and color are about the same).

Step 2. Rip out lining

Step 3. Wonder how to fix that ...

Step 4. Go buy spray paint and new fabric

Step 5. Line the suitcase with batting scraps, cover with fabric, and paint the outside

Step 6. Add ribbons to the handle

Step 7. Fill with dress up clothes and call in Lu

Ta-da! Thanks for watching :)


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

S v J

A friend just spoke with me about sanctification and justification. I feel like these terms are often used somewhat interchangeably, and I don't feel like I have a clear idea concerning what each means and how they relate to each other. How do you define them or understand them? If you had to explain them to a friend who wanted to know "how they worked," what would you say?


Friday, May 02, 2008


Nick walked today—making that PhD thing totally official now. Hooray! (top secret video footage below the jump)