Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weird, wild stuff

One word, two syllab…
Bless you.
Like locust plagues of Biblical prophesy, this area has been overrun so much the otherwise unseen particles are now taking over the world…or at least the parking lots. Over the past week or so, it's been at ridiculous levels. It is literally piling up around here. Let me break it down for you.
The amount of pollen in the air is measured by a tool creatively named a ‘Pollen Count’. The PC calculated by the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter. A moderate count is 31-60; High is 61-120; anything over 120 is considered extremely high. With those parameters in mind, the high we have going on here makes Cheech and Chong look like card-carrying members of the anti-drug lobby.
On Monday in the ATL, the pollen count hit 5,499. Math’s never been my strong suit, so you might want to crunch the numbers yourself; but according my calculations, this is about 43.835 times what the count can be to still fall in the ‘high’ and 91.65 times the moderate range. Meanwhile…

Vehicles everywhere are covered yellow.
I drive into work and yellow pollen kicks up like I’m driving down a dirt road back home.
People are outside wearing surgical masks.
If you’re outside long enough, you can feel it when you breathe.
Warnings are issued to stay indoors as much as possible.
People are missing work because they can’t breathe or see if they leave the house.
Car washes across town are cleaning house; it’s gotten so ridiculous that if you keep your stub and it’s been 48 hours or less, they’ll give you a free carwash. Craziness.

But what gets me is the metrics of the pollen count. I don’t understand how the chart can be so skewed. I mean, this happens every year (not to this degree, but counts still are up to 2000 or more) and moderate is still considered 31-60. Something just seems a little off to me when the count of anything is over 90x the moderate amount. It doesn't make Hillary winning "Dancing With The Stars" or the presidency. Can you imagine this in the world of sports? Some guy’s batting a moderate .260; then some schmo is batting 22.500. That’s just crazy talk. Or with food? A RDA of 2,000 calories as moderate would be 180,000; the 65 grams of fat would be 5,800. I've met someone like that before…oh yeah, Archie’s first girlfriend. (Playin' bro...just playin'.)
Anyway, just wanted to give you non-southern dwellers to get an idea of this pollen thing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Oprah's DEAD!

Disclaimer: For the record, I bear no malice towards Oprah. I don’t watch her show and while I don’t agree with some of her social views, I respect that she’s self-made and think she’s contributed to the betterment of society and helped a lot of people with her wealth.

I had this dream last night where I was a passenger on an airplane and somehow it came under attack. I don’t know how it happened or anything, it’s just being hijacked and everyone is in a lot of danger and there’s widespread panic.
Well, a couple of other people and I rush the cockpit in an effort to take it back from the hijackers before anything bad can happen. There’s gunfire and stuff and pretty soon I’m alone at the cockpit. I kick open the door and Oprah’s flying the plane. I’m amazed and think she’s saved the day. I say something like:
“Oprah, how’d you beat off the terrorists by yourself?”
And Oprah says, “It wasn’t that hard. You can go back to your seat and I’ll take it from here.”
I believe her because I figure she must have her own plane and, hey – she’s Oprah! But as I’m leaving I see the pilot on the ground and he’s been shot in the head; but there aren’t any bad guys around and I start to get suspicious. So I turn around to confront Oprah and she’s pointing a gun at me!
“Back off,” Oprah says. She’s the leader of the hijackers!
I tell her I can’t do that and we get in a tussle. I get the gun away from her and she sends the airplane into a dive, straight for the ground. So I grab her around the neck and start choking her until she goes limp.
I’ve killed Oprah!
Anyway, there’s all this beeping noise from all the navigation instruments in the cockpit and so I push Oprah’s body out of the seat and I start to fly the plane. It’s in a tailspin and getting really close to the ground, so all I can do is slow it down. We end up crash-landing in some field and most people survive and walk away. And I’m left trying to explain to the authorities why Oprah's dead. They believe me - that I had to do it - but a lot of people were still upset I’d killed her. I keep telling them I didn’t have a choice, that if I didn’t do it we’d have all died.
The last part of my dream I remember is I’m walking down the road past a gas station ( I think it was a Shell), distraught I had to kill someone and I look up and there’s Will Smith. And he asks:
“How’s it going?”
And I say, “Not too good.”
“Why not?”
“I killed Oprah.”
Then Will got mad.
“But I had to. She was going to kill everyone on the plane. I didn’t want to. She didn’t give me a choice.”
But Will still was all up in arms about it, so I just walked away as he yelled at me.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shout Out: The 1st Sister-in-Law

In the spirit of sibling appreciation (and the fact she left a wonderful comment on the previous post), I’d be slipshod to not give a shout-out to the first sister-in-law I’ve ever had – the Lindsinator. Why do we call her that, I'm sure you're asking. Well, it stems back to when Lindsay was sent from the future to the year 2003 to stop the Potato Gun Debaucle of Birchwood-E...Okay, I just made that nickname up on the fly and it is pretty much stupid; nevertheless, it doesn’t change the great love I have in my heart for Linds.
I first saw Lindsay coming up on 5 years ago in the household cleaning product isle at Wal-Mart in Rexburg, Idaho when she was an 18 year-old freshman at the ‘I’. Nathan had met her at the university bookstore earlier that day ( a job he'd landed for the express purpose of meeting girls; his logic: all the ladies have to swing by the bookstore) and it was a little awkward to pass a couple giggling girls (not her and Nathan…Lindsay and her friend Janae) twice in the store, but when in Rome…
It's hard to believe that was the genesis of an amazing exodous, starting in Idaho would lead to us become kindred seamlessly after her and Nathan persevered through the wilderness of courtship to reach the promised land of marriage. Biblical references aside, Linds and I have had some good times over the past 5 years. If you’ll indulge me:

  • Being in the group with her and Nathan on their first date

  • Countless subsequent double-dates

  • The potato gun incident of ‘03

  • Several visits to Provo, including over Valentines Day ‘04

  • A long and arduous trek to Colorado to chill with Nathan and me as groomsmen

  • Hanging out en route to my Arizona summer

  • Chillin’ in Nashville

  • The trip to the ATL resulting in my subsequent marriage to Paula

Perhaps the most memorable are my two ventures with Nathan to visit her in her native land of Canadia. The first was in the summer of 03. Nathan told her he loved her and subsequently slipped through the dock into the frigid glacial lake. (I’ve got the picture to prove it.) I made the same trip with the same brother a year and a half later to “the true North, strong and free” to be there when they were married for time and all eternity.

So, Lindsay Michelle, here’s to you – to being my first new sister, to laughing at my antics, to having a good cry over that lug you call your husband, to hooking us up at Outback all summer in Tennessee, to having an infectious attitude that makes us all smile every time we see you.

Monday, March 19, 2007


There comes a time in every man’s life when he realizes that there’s gotta be something more; that as good as life is, there is one little thing missing which would otherwise complete the circle. I had such an epiphany a month or two ago and it ate at me until I could bear it no more. I had to confess the lustful intentions of my heart to my sweet wife.
I broached the subject one day as Paula and I were driving in the car.

ME: “Hey babe, um…there’s something I need to tell you. It’s been weighing pretty heavily on my mind for the past week or two.”
HER: “What is it?”
“Well…I don’t know how to say it. I’m a little nervous about how you’ll react. I don’t want to upset you, but I can’s stop thinking about it.
Nervous tone: “What? Is everything okay?”
Deep inhale, slow and measured exhaling: “I don’t know. Basically, I guess I need to just come out and say it…even though this might be difficult for you to hear.”
No talking, just a nervous look
“I want an Xbox 360.”
Rolling of the eyes.

Well, after several excruciating weeks of deliberation, saving, planning and brooding, I became the proud new owner of an Xbox 360 Premium system w/ 20GB hard drive, two wireless controllers, a sweet game and a two year service warranty. I’m not going to reveal the final cost, but suffice it to say, I only went over my budgeted amount by $25. And considering that’s the difference the warranty cost I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
I’m super excited but not to the degree Paula is. She’s ecstatic about it. It’s ridiculous. I can hardly keep her off the thing; when I’m trying to get her to do things around the house she just keeps saying ‘In a minute. I’ve just got to get to the next checkpoint.’ And I tell her that if she doesn’t prioritize, we’re getting rid of it. Seriously…she’s addicted.
I made a point to buy an extra controller because as fun as it is to play, it’s more fun to game with someone else; Will and I are anxiously engaged in saving the world from being overrun being a demon horde right now. Don’t worry – we got it under control. You may rest well knowing that Marcus and Dominic aren’t going to rest until the world is safe.
But it hasn’t taken me away from being a good husband – check it out:
On Saturday, I helped baby sit Everett, did three loads of laundry, emptied the dishwasher, went grocery shopping and made dinner. So don’t think I’m slacking; if anything it’s made me a better husband. Because not only do I protect my wife and unborn child from the demon horde, but I also make sure all my chores are done (and a little more to buy me some points) so there’s no reason not so be able to fire up the white box of joy.
Then I call Will and say: “Save the world at 9?”
Replies Will: “Game on.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Celebrate Good Times...(Now you're singing, aren't you.)

(This is a two-part post. Please hold you applause until the end of each act.)

First, a belated Happy Birthday to Russell, the youngest of the Roberts Clan. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give the guy a shout-out for the world to see…or at least the United States. Rest assured, I wished him a birthday on his birthday and was the first to do so, I might add. (Not that I’m to most thoughtful of his siblings, just the only one who lives on the East Coast and am up and at ‘em before the rest of the crew.)
Russell started kindergarten the same year I started college, so our paths have gone in decidedly different directions. I haven’t lived at home for coming up on 9 years, through all that time I’ve only been homesick once. As a new missionary, I saw a little boy at church one Sunday that reminded me of my littlest brother and for about three hours I was in a bad funk. I guess that’s a tribute of sorts.
Russ is a cut above any other 14 year-old I’ve ever met. He’s extremely thoughtful, very witty, polite and well spoken – not how you’d expect a teenager to act. His last birthday was overshadowed by the wedding and there wasn’t an ounce of complaint. I’ve maintained that a filtering process has happened with us kids, that each one gets better as the dross is let behind. I suppose that doesn’t speak very well of me, but it gives you an idea about my sibs and how good a kid Rusky is. (The nickname wasn’t because we think he’s a Russian, it’s because it rhymes with ‘Husky’.)
So Happy Birthday, little brother!


Next up is that Paula and I celebrated our first anniversary this weekend and it was pretty low-key. You can read her comments about our first year of marriage on her blog and I appreciate her sentiments, although there were a couple of things I can’t help but take exception to.
First of all – the dress couldn’t help but be stepped on. It was enormous, especially in proportion to my wife; seriously, check out the girth of this thing. People kept teasing me about not standing close to my wife, but if I did I stepped on her dress…paradox.
I don’t know what all the ‘ups and downs’ talk is about. Downs? Please. Try and name one.
Having our apartment broken into and our possessions taken?
My ex-girlfriend almost becoming our sister-in-law?
The Le Sabre (may it rest in peace) being totaled by some schmucks and having to buy a new car?
Fighting down a $22,000 hospital bill?
Finding out we’re pregnant in the ER with the caveat of it being Ectopic?
Well…I don’t know. I guess I’m a ‘glass-half-full’ kind of guy.
What I do agree with is that it has flown by and that both excites and scares me. It’s exciting because I’m confident the best is yet to come, that this year has set a firm foundation for the rest of our lives. It scares me because it reminds how fleeting life is and how important it is to cherish every moment, or more importantly make moments worth cherishing – New York for Christmas; Burt’s Pumpkin Patch; The Fray; Sunny China delivery four times in less than two weeks; knowing we’ll be parents soon; Wicked, Les Miserables, Phantom – with someone who doesn’t holds you back but builds you up.
I'd like to sum up how I feel about my wife, but I'm sort of caught in a pickle because I want everyone to be able to understand how much she means to me; guys don't always get or appreciate the sentimental tributes and gals sometimes to don't appreciate too much teasing when trying to present a compliment. But I think I've stumbled onto a way to adequately describe what a great companion Paula is to me and how lucky I am to have herthat everyone can appreciate. Here is goes...
GUYS: She’s the Scottie to my MJ, the Jerry Rice to my Steve Young, the Stockton to my Malone, the John Beck to my Johnny Harline, the Halo to my Xbox, the Rock to my Roll, the extra cheese to my pizza, the Spade to my Farley, the Pinky to my Brain.
GALS: She’s the Bacall to my Bogart, the Beauty to my Beast, the Beesly to my Halpert the Hepburn to my Peppard, the double-fudge to my chocolate, the Jimmy to my Choo, the Dolce to my Gabbana.

Happy Anniversary, Paula.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Attractions of Logantown, Cubiclia , ING

I'd like to welcome you all to a little place just off the beaten path, near the corner of 9-5 and just past the Corporate Crossroads. Some call it a cubicle. I call it my Home-Away-From-Home-Monday-Thru-Friday-Except-For-Federal-Holidays, or H.A.F.H.M.T.F.E.F.F.H. for short. But you can call it Logantown ('s too local, so no).
As many of you will never get a chance to get your passport stamped and visit here, there are a few local attactions in Cubiclia I'd like to share with you. (Pictures pending the battery in the camera being charged. This happens everytime I go somewhere exciting! ARGHH!!)

The Picture. Standing resolutely at my 1 o’clock is a simple aide memoire of our commitment, love, and devotion; I look upon it with fondness daily – a black and white picture of Paula and me from our wedding day. A simple glance often unleashes a tide of memory from that special day: how stunning she looked; how lucky I felt; the joy of sharing the day with friends and family; forgetting the ring; I should have had a hair cut; it wasn’t cheap; evidently I am...crap. It also reminds me to not forget my ring sitting next to my laptop; I hate how it clicks on my keyboard.

The Remnant. Sitting on the shelf at my 5 o’clock rests a piece of history, rescued from the sinewy grasp of yesteryear. In times such as these, it is paramount that we remember what made this nation great and what made us proud to be Americans, where at least we knew we were free. It is a memento of prominence, accomplishment and success; additionally, it reminds us that our past, our present and our future are all part of that great whole that some of us call aeternus, or in layman terms…eternity. What, you ask, rests in blissful serenity at my cinco? It is known in the Greek as “kommati apo dikos mou palios aftokinito porta”, better known to us as “piece of my old car door.”

The Toy. Immediately to my right (3 o’clock high) is a cryptic device which has led to the downfall of many great men; it is the modern day Gordian Knot; it is…the Rubik’s Cube. Invented by Hungarian Erno Rubik in 1974, the Cube hit the market in 1980 and has gone on to record great feats: It is attributed with the downfall of communism in the mid 1980’s; it is the most sold toy in the history of the world; it has single-handedly been responsible for the ostracizing more men from women than acne and cracking voices combined.

The Inspiration. (Keeping with the “o’clock” theme) At my 12 is a picture of excellence, of a man that embodies success and emboldens the timid. He teaches us about excellence. What makes a work environment excellent? Well, there are many things, I believe, that do such of thing of that nature. And one would be humor. Additionally, we learn the virtues of racial harmony, that diversity is the cornerstone of progress; from his lips we gain a truer appreciation of equality as he taught through the words of President Abraham Lincoln: “If you are a racist, I will attack you with the North.”
Who is this mystery man of wisdom, this enigma of greatness? Only Michael Gary Scott, that bold and intrepid leader who directs his troops into the depths of disaster time and time again, only to return in glorious triumph from the brink to teach us the aspirations all leaders should embrace: a friend first, a boss second, and probably and entertainer third. Pearls of great price, words of infinite wisdom…