Friday, May 25, 2007

What the....

I just saw something that made me shake my head.

I was checking my gmail account just moment ago; anyone who has gmail might have realized that they advertised based on the subject lines of your emails. So when I get emails about church stuff, there is advertising for LDS paraphernalia; when I get something from Vanguard or ING Direct, I get investment get the idea.
Anyway, I don't have anything new so I'm about to close out when I notice a link at the top of the page to some random website. I do a double take.
(My entire inbox is there so you can see the subject lines. It makes this even more ridiculous.)

Wow. Just one of those things you don't expect and wish you never saw - like the girl who went snowboarding with us to Kelly Canyon one night and on the way back, there's Zach's bare backside sticking out the window of the other car in our caravan.
But, just like an awful train wreck or Zach's pasty white behind, one can't help but look. I don't know how some people come up with these ideas, much less make a profit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Memoirs of a Dragon

Before getting going here, I think it’s important to give some kudos to my little (and only) sister Rachell. Yesterday was a big day for her: she turned 18, so now she can vote; she participated in commencement ceremonies at my (now our) alma mater, Rocky Mountain High School; she was the (or maybe ‘a’ because I think there was more than one) valedictorian of her class, pulling off the 4.0 GPA. So props on a day big enough for an exclamation point! Let me know if the 2007 BMW I bought you doesn’t show up. EBay can be tricky sometimes.

The other day I received an email from my buddy and former roommate Jeff. In this email was a picture that took me to a time when a group of ten men overcame impossible odds and a biased officiating crew to join the immortal ranks of BYU-Idaho Intramural Flag Football Champions. (Queue flashback…)
I was but a young lad at the tender age of 23 in the Fall of 2003. Jeff, in his desperation to win an intramural championship and the coveted t-shirt trophy, was putting together teams in everything from flag football to bocce ball. Never having been interested in competitive bocce (I’m more of a recreational bocce aficionado), I signed up with his flag-football posse. Based on Jeff’s dream, we were aptly called “One Last Shot”.
The way the season started out, we should have been “One Crappy Team”.
After four games we had the pathetic 1-3 record and were getting roasted like chesnuts over an open fire. With the season half over, we clung to life support to make the playoffs, much less take the Crown. Murmuring swelled within the ranks. Mutiny seemed imminent. Thor, overseer of BYU-Idaho Intramural Athletics, smiled upon us with a fortuitously timed trip our leader/QB took to New Orleans. In the wake of his absence, three things transpired which altered the course of BYU-Idaho Intramural Flag Football history forever…or at least in 2003.
First, we started calling ourselves The Dragons – inspired by this dumb yet somehow hilarious StrongBad email – for how could we change our stars if we didn’t change our name? Plus it was shorter.
Second, one Tim Robbins of Billings, Montana, took the reigns as quarterback in Jeff’s absence and led us to a pair of resounding victories on the windy plains of battle to get our record up to .500.
Third, I devoted myself to tapping into the supreme authority; a conduit of knowledge so advanced in the ways of 7-on-7 football it had no rival: NFL Blitz 2000. I put aside all trivial pursuits – dating, showering, class, homework – and devoted myself to learning from this master teacher. In time I knew all the plays and was destroying Archie to the point he threw his controller and broke our lampshade in frustration.
A new name, a new quarterback and a new playbook, The Dragons were retooled and reenergized; the march towards destiny (aka, the playoffs) was underway. Destroying any who dared oppose us, we were titans of unstoppable power that feared no one. Quickly we rose through the ranks of our peers – if they could truly be called such - in our quest for glory.
Yet, as all legends before and those who strive for greatness since, we were faced with hardship. Tim had an elk hunting trip scheduled with his father prior to our season and as such, he would not be around for the semifinal game or the championship. Drawing from the well of belief deep within, we mustered together the strength to persevere. With Jake Curtis at the helm, we marched into battle.
Down in the semifinal game, I came up with an interception in the waning moments to give us a chance. That hairline fracture of hope was all we needed as with no time left, Jake plunged his lumbering 6’5” frame over the goal line for the victory.
In the championship game, we faced not only the brutally cold Rexburg winter, but the diabolical and scheming Intramural Staff. None had ever defeated this fiendish group in a championship game before, their ties with the officials running deep and true. For most of the game we languished in a sea of biased calls and heart wrenching miscues. But once again, the heart of champions fought on until, once again, Jake rumbled through snow and wind and sleet and hail and flesh-eating zombies for the final score without anytime remaining.
Now, these many years later, I raise my glass of ginger ale high and salute you, Dragons, for your courage, valor and commitment to each other. May our children and our children’s children, and our children’s children’s children and other people ever remember that it was we - when odds overwhelmed and critics crowed and idiots idiotted – that we overcame.
Then we celebrated at the Nordic the next week by eating lunch together, wearing our championship t-shirts and revelling in our victory.

BACK (L-R): Jeff Sucher, Steve ?, ?, Mike Taylor, some freshman, Jake Curtis, Logan Roberts

FRONT (L-R): Nate Watson, Ben Johnson


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Six years

Yesterday was an anniversary date I’d be remiss not to mention.
On Wednesday, May 16th, 2001 I flew out of Atlanta in four button suit, white shirt, tie and black name tag; I landed in Denver, Colorado and caught a connecting flight into Cody, Wyoming. I landed a little after 12 pm. My parents and siblings were all there with the exception of Nathan, who was anxiously engaged in the cause in Philadelphia; my grandparents were also there; my high school friends Bryan Tipton, Nick Wilson and Travis Marchant finished out the number. It was the first time I’d seen any of them in two years, five days.
For two years I’d dedicated everything I had and was to something much greater than myself; as sweet as it was to see familiar faces it had been much more difficult to leave. It wasn’t until four days after the most incredible experience of my life (to that point) ended that I allowed myself to think about what I’d just left behind. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Now, on Wednesday, May 16th, 2007, I continue to reap the rewards of those 24 months of an occasionally flawed but loyal time of service to my God. Incredible as it seems, words fail me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Piercing My Soul (and filling it with iron)

Consistency has never been my forte and this blog is just another perfect example: no post for three weeks and then 2 posts in 3 days. What do you do?
Anyway, my good wife has opened a discussion on her blog concerning the piercing of our infant daughter’s ears at the tender age of 3 months or so. (It’s 3 months because that’s as early as any reputable place will do it.) In less than 24 hours the buzz has exploded and she has 8 comments the last I saw.
Not to digress or switch tracks, but that’s more than I’ve ever had on any post of mine. Interesting.
It’s true. Paula and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum on this. I don’t come from a ‘culture’ of piercing; Rachell got her ears pierced sometime in high school and my mom around the same time – when Rachell was in high school. And Paula’s polling of the students at MHS trying to build an argument for the cause didn’t leave me brimming with confidence. The overwhelming majority of those polled aren’t going to graduate, much less contribute anything to society except 25-to-Life.
Without attacking the supporters of early infant mutilation…er, ear piercing…I’d like to lay out my position. It’s important to note I held all these views long before I married the wonderful woman in my life known as Paula. Also, doesn’t my wife look incredible at 6 months? What a babe.

First, I want my child (XX or XY) to be as innocent and untouched by the world as long as possible. Maybe it’s na├»ve. Maybe it's old-fashioned. So be it. But all too soon I’m going to wonder why my little girl is asking about things that’ll make me blush and I'll be passing her on to her mother. Let me keep her pure and unscathed until she's embarrassed to hug me in public. Next, I can’t help shake the feeling that earrings early are like the gateway drug of jewelry to looking like a hooker. I know it’s unreasonable because my wife isn’t a hooker, nor is her sister and probably five or six other girls out there who had their ears pierced early on; but it’s just there in the back of my mind. I mean, Isaiah 3:16-24.
Also, shouldn’t she have a choice whether or not she wants to have a pair of holes punched in her ears? USA!! AGENCY!! USA!! AGENCY!! Who are we to make this decision for her?
Furthermore, I’ve seen several comments on Paula’s post about it being such a great idea as something to distinguish the sex of the baby. Come on. So for 2 of her 70+ year life, some fools who can’t register pink/purple=GIRL are going to mess up the sex of the kid. Big deal. It’s not like their putting holes in her ears.
Concurrently, I don’t buy the ‘culture’ thing. Not because I don’t love my wife or her heritage, but because I’ve always been opposed to the assertion of people doing things because it’s ‘culture’. For clarification, I’m not against culture; I’m against making important decisions with that as the underlying logic. If I was Polynesian and tattooing our first born son was part of the culture, should I do it?
(Speaking purely philosophically, should culture really be the underlying reason we do something? Forget ear piercing. I’m talking about anything. If that’s the case, such practices should be reexamined because it’s not a sound premise for action.)
Finally, I’m just stubborn and old-fashioned.

Regardless of these sarcastic (but amazingly true) comments, our daughter will have her ears pierced before she can control her own bowel movements. Why? If I feel so strongly about this, how can yield? Admittedly, it’s not like Paula wants to tattoo-her face with the word ‘Culture’ in pink across her face. And I am a wonderful husband.
But it's much simpler.
Quid pro Quo.
Our daughter isn’t going to be given a middle name. Some scared, anonymous commenter alluded to this in a comment on Paula’s post. “Who cares about piercing her ears just give the girl a freaking middle name!!!” this person said.
I immediately dismissed this person’s comment as a moron because they used three exclamation points. Evidently they have a double-digit IQ. (My administration has always been clear on the excessive usage of this punctuation mark. If you are one of my friends, Anonymous, you should have put your name. Then I’d only have called you a moron in my mind.)
Like I said, she’s not going to be given a middle name; she’s going to inherit one. She’s going to have a middle name for about virtually all of her adult life – and that middle name is going to be ROBERTS.
This has nothing to do with culture.
It has everything to do with family. There aren’t very many women in the Roberts family – my mom and sister, to be exact – and in my opinion Rachell has first dibs on my mom’s name or a grandmother’s name as she is the only girl in the family. I don’t want my daughter to drop our family name when she gets married because it is a name that has been honored and protected and defended by her progenitors; her children and her grandchildren should know of their ancestors and this is a way to preserve that.
Hence, the exchange is early piercing for prolonging Roberts through the generations. Because I love my posterity, I'm stepping back from this. That is a price I am willing to pay. In the words of Papa Burgundy, "When in Rome..."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys (as they should be)

Well, I’m back. It’s been three weeks. What do you do?
Friday night we went to the ESPNZone in Buckhead to celebrate Todd’s birthday. He’s 25…to be young again….
Anyway, it was fun. The most enjoyable part for me was hanging out and playin’ with the guys. It all started as Greg (aka Dr. Pyne) and I were looking over the overpriced menus. Greg and I are tight. It’s always good to visit/chill with Greg because we are similar in many ways – intelligent, well spoken, good humored and ruggedly good looking – plus he reminds me of Jack from the greatest TV show ever, “Lost”. And who wouldn’t want to pal around with Jack Shepard? Seriously. Even though he’s been acting a little off since his stint with the others; but he sure looks like he’s back in old Jack mode now, especially after last week’s awesome episode. And Juliette? Arrgghh...I can't figure out if she's really come clean or if she's still plotting against the Losties and still with the Others. I’m stoked for these last two episodes…so yeah, Greg and I get along just fine.
Like I said, we were looking over the grub and he pointed out the “Triple Double” burger – two 8oz slabs of hot beef, each topped with some delicious American cheese. The conversation went something like…
GREG: Did you see this one? (Points to the Triple Double)
ME: Yeah, I did.
GREG: That’s a big burger. (I sense he’s about to dare me)
ME: Yeah it is.
GREG: I don’t think you can eat it.
ME: Care to make it interesting?
The wager was the cost of the meal: If I could throw down the burger, he’d pay the $13.99 (told you it was overpriced) for my meal; if I couldn’t hack it, I’d spot him the same price worth of arcade games upstairs following the meal. Let’s just say there is such a thing as a free lunch. Thanks, Greg.
Anyway, we all went upstairs and played some pretty intense games. The pictures are of two particularly challenging forms of recreation.
One is called Rapid River and you have to do all this paddling as this machine throws you all over the place and makes you want to upchuck all 16oz of not-hot-anymore, masticated bovine. Man, it was awful. But I managed to finish it in time to make the bonus round, so total worth it.

(Here I am raging on the Rapid River. I almost died. Greg's in the background, cheering me on.)
These next two shots are of the Horse Derby Racing game. Paula said she was sure we were going to break that thing, it was rocking so hard. I think I finished 3rd out of 4 races; pretty sure mark won. It was brutal. In this picture you can see my can is definitely the largest of the group. It makes me think I shouldn’t do anymore 1 pound challenges.

It was a great night. There’s just something about hanging out with the guys every once and a while that’s good for a man’s soul. There’s this guy in our ward (married for a few years) who says that when you get married, that’s it. Just learn to say “Yes, dear” and tuck your tail between your legs and you’re done. Whatever. I’m SO grateful that I married a woman who is totally down with me chillin’ with the guys. That’s not only pitiful but tragic. The guys need to be able to get together and do manly things – laugh, swap one-liners from classic movies, compete with each other, rough-house, swap manly stories and in the morning, I make waffles. This is what men need – because guys like Greg and the Nerf, Arch and Zach, Ben and Will and I…we’re men, men who built the Eiffel Tower out of brawn…and steel. That’s what kind of men we are.
A final note, you’ll notice I put my brother Ben in the mix up there. Growing up, Ben was lumped with Forrest as ‘the little boys” while Nathan and I were ‘the big boys’. Well, this last weekend Ben performed an incredible feat of strength. During the week at work, the wood chipper wasn’t working and so he was working on it when some numbskull cranked the teeth (manually) and caught Ben’s hand in there. It was all jacked up. So what does Ben do? Not much except go and compete in a 63 mile bicycling race and finish 1st. Freak. The boy is a freak – in a good way – and is hands down the toughest guy I know. And the only Roberts (male or female) who could pull off wearing spandex. Props to you little (and evidently tougher) brother. Props to you.