Models of Consistency

Oh, too true…

Welcome to the

Dogs are very consistent creatures. We say what we mean and we mean what we say (whether it’s “arf” or “bark” or “woof”). People, on the other hand, often say one thing and do another. Or they will criticize us dogs for something that they do too! The difference is, they get away with it! Here, I’ll show you what I mean… http://www.gocomics.com/drabble/2010/06/20

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How NOT to impress your future wife…

Amanda and I at Disney for our second anniversary...
Amanda and I at Disney for our second anniversary…

I consider myself truly blessed to have Amanda as my wife. She’s a constant companion, a loving mate, and she challenges me to excel in areas that I may otherwise let my feet drag. However, before we we even dating, there was an incident that could very well have wrecked any chance that I had with the love of my life.

It was a group trip to the beach we were on, going out to spend the day at Seaside with friends. We were only just starting to get to know each other at this point, and I had the idea in my head that I wanted to get to know this girl, but I tended to be “myself” – which is to say the awkward, and occasionally stupid version of myself where I try to make myself seem cleverer than i really am – in my attempts to get to know her better.

The issues began that day when the group decided to get on the Tilt-a-whirl, and me being the mathematical genius that I am, I counted four in the group getting on the tilt-a-whirl, and a maximum of four people could be loaded into each car. I came to the conclusion that, by also getting into line, they would have to split the four up, and by being in line behind Amanda, it was incredibly likely that we would be in the same car.

Many stupid things have been done because of a beautiful woman – I wouldn’t exactly rank it up there with starting the Trojan wars over Helen of Troy, but it has to be a close second. You see, while my math was sound, and I did indeed wind up setting next to the beautiful girl I would wind up marrying, I have an innate hatred for spinning rides. I get motion sick, and this realization didn’t cross my mind until the nausea began to set in. I half-heartedly screamed, not because I was actually scared of the ride, but because years earlier in junior high, I had heard a rumor that if you scream while on a ride, you can’t physically throw up. The entire duration of the ride, I pleaded with God, “please don’t let me throw up on this girl, she’ll never speak to me again, I’m sure…”

Well, I stumbled off of the ride – at this point Amanda had to have thought I was crazy, and it only got worse when she observed me moving up ahead of the group, waiting for everyone to pass, then going ahead of the group again; what I never revealed to her until years later was that, in fact, this ritual was me moving towards a garbage can in case I had to puke, then, after everyone had passed me, I would move up the street to the next one.

Well, this by itself would probably have at least given pause to most women, however from there I committed an even greater sin.

I was the only guy in the group, and one of the girls had brought along a campfire grill to roast burgers and hot dogs on, and the discussion took place as to who should grill.

“I vote for Andrew, since he’s the guy.” Amanda said.

“Uhhh.. I’d rather not.” I still wasn’t feeling well, but was stupidly trying to conceal this fact while drinking coke out of a glass bottle to try and settle my stomach.

“Why not?”

“I’ve not used this grill before.” This was only the beginning of an idiotic excuse. “It’s like David, he couldn’t go to battle with armor he hadn’t tested.”

Yes, you read that sentence correctly. In addition to giving the excuse that I hadn’t used the grill, I then proceeded to try using scripture to back my position up.

Men, I took a huge gamble with that. Let me tell you, if you’re trying to impress a woman, and she votes that you do the cooking on a grill you’ve never used in your life, use the blasted grill. I don’t care if you’ve never used one like it before, you are a man – we don’t use instruction manuals as a genetic rule. If your cooking turns out terrible, then blame the grill. But for the love of all that is good, true, honorable, and of a good report, do NOT try to get out of it by quoting scripture. Beyond looking like a wuss, you’re also reading your own meaning into the scriptures – that’s called eisegesis, and it’s never a good idea. I’m fairly certain there are warnings about adding meaning to the scriptures at the end of Revelation.

Thankfully, my wife still took a risk on me – and somewhat ironically, her gift to my for my 30th birthday was a grill that I hadn’t used before.

Can I tell you something?

I never got to cooking on a grill so fast in my life. 🙂

Have you ever done something silly that, by all accounts, should’ve caused your future mate to run swiftly in the opposite direction, but they stuck with you anyway?

Have a great weekend!

Throwback Thursday – Insights from the cartoon world….

The idea came to me that, since I haven’t written in my old blog for years, some of you might not have read some of my classic posts, so in order to slack off revisit my blogging history, I’ll use Thursday’s posts to bring back some of my old favorites.

I think life should be more like TV. I think all of life’s problems ought to be solved in 30 minutes with simple homilies, don’t you? I think weight and oral hygiene ought to be our biggest concerns. I think we should all have powerful, high-paying jobs, and everyone should drive fancy sports cars. All our desires should be instantly gratified. Women should always wear tight clothing, and men should carry powerful handguns. Life overall should be more glamorous, thrill-packed, and filled with applause, don’t you think?… Then again, if real life was like that, what would we watch on television? –Calvin, Calvin & Hobbes

Growing up I loved Calvin and Hobbes. Bar none, it was my favorite comic in the newspaper. I to this day still remember the words in the last frame of the last comic in the series; “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!” (Impressive, since the final comic was published almost over 15 years ago).

What did I like about it? I think it was part that Calvin had an imagination. I was an imiaginative kid, and I always loved the strips where Calvin was having a daydream, like Spaceman Spiff or Stupendous Man. I grew up like that, using my imagination (video games weren’t huge in my life at this point, I didn’t get my first system, a super nintendo, until 7th grade, and my first computer until my sophomore year of high school). I’d hang out with friends (or, sometimes, by myself) imagining all sorts of adventures to keep myself occupied and/or amused.

Calvin was also incredibly smart. I don’t think I was aware of it at the time, but I think the 11th grade vocabulary I had in third grade was mostly due to Calvin’s waxing philosophical in some of the strips. He’s the only first grader I know who can use the words “vicariously” and “mediocre” in a complete sentence.

Mostly, I remember Sunday mornings before church, getting up and having my dad read the comics to me and my sister, with us on either arm of his chair, and every sunday Calvin and Hobbes was there, in all its half-page glory.

Just something I found amusing for the day, call it reliving my childhood. =)

Posted on March 18th, 2009

Men playing with fire…

IMG_0881 For my birthday, my wife got me about the manliest gift of manliest gifts – a gas grill.

“Gas grill” doesn’t do this marvel of stainless steel and cast iron descriptive justice. Allow me to channel my inner Tim Allen for a moment. What we have here is a 48,000 BTU cooking box capable of well over 600 degrees cooking temperature, a 12,000 BTU side searer, a side burner for your baked beans, stainless steel propane enclosure, with a set of cast iron grill plates perfect for your favorite steak, and a warming rack to keep your hot dogs warm. (Insert male grunting here)

I’ve owned three grills in my life – The first, a hand me down with three burners, which I had to clean the cobwebs out of before I could use it. The second, a small camp grill that I picked up for 20.00 at Fred Meyer. This is by far the nicest I’ve had, my wife did a fantastic job picking it out.

The day after she gave it to me, I made burgers on it. The Monday following, it was steak. If I could have figured out how to make every meal starting Friday on the grill, I would have.

What is it about cooking over fire that makes it so great? Do you have a favorite food that you only like when grilled to perfection? Leave a comment and let me know!

The furry sidekick

The tiny dachshund  in our lives...
The tiny dachshund in our lives…

It doesn’t take long to realize that my wife and I have a fairly cute dog. I wouldn’t say I’m arrogant about it, but he might very well be the cutest dog on the planet, and while I’m sure every dog owner has said that about their dog at one time or another, I think my dog trumps all.

I mean, just look at his face. Those floppy ears, which yes, are as fluffy and soft as they look in this picture. I could probably spend an entire day scratching him behind the ears, if I could get him to sit still for that long.

Mahler is an atypical dachshund – Of a breed that historically dislikes children, he loves children. He’s more athletic than a lot of his breed, not as pudgy as the other dachshunds in the neighborhood. He also seems to think he’s a cat at times, trying to climb all over things. I nearly had a heart attack the time he climbed up a neighbor as she was petting him.

Mahler was a celebration of sorts. You see, when my wife and I got married, we both had substantial debt, and we set a goal to get out of debt, as Dave Ramsey would say, with gazelle-like intensity. Our reward for getting out of that debt would be our first dog.

After accomplishing our goal, the process began of hunting for the perfect furry friend to bring home. Before we were out of debt, one breeder had just the dog we were wanting, a longhair black and tan dappled miniature dachshund. When we finally got serious about getting a dog, though, he was purchased by someone else, so our hunt continued.

We found Mahler’s breeder on the Internet, and decided to go out and visit. They had another adorable longhair dapple that caught my wife’s eye, but about a week prior to our visit to the breeder, that one also sold, breaking my wife’s heart and making us wonder if we would ever find the perfect dog. As we looked at the website, I saw a recently born pup that looked like he may or may not have similar markings to the ones my wife had previously fallen in love with. So I said “That one looks like he has potential.”

“Maybe…” my wife said. I could tell she was still disappointed over the most recent sale of a dog she’d liked.

It was about two days prior to our visit to the breeder. I was in the bedroom, when I heard my wife’s voice from the living room.

“Awwwwwwww….”

I came out to see what the fuss was over.

“The breeder posted pictures.”

“Potential got cuter, didn’t he?”

“Yeah…”

What had been a small, gerbil-looking blob of brown and black in the newborn photos had since morphed into a floppy-eared, big eyed bundle of cute in the five weeks since his birth.

At the breeder’s house, when we pulled into the driveway she had a small pen out with about six miniature dachshunds, mostly Black and Tan short hairs and one longhaired cream.

“Was there any particular type you were looking for?”

“We’ve been trying to find a dapple,” my wife responded. The breeder shot us a knowing look.

“I’ll be right back.”

While we petted the friendly twelve month olds that were happily wrestling in their pen, the breeder returned with a Black and Tan and a chocolate and tan dapple, five week old brothers of the litter we’d seen before we came. She handed the Black and Tan to my wife, and the chocolate and tan to me.

I named mine “Motor-butt” because, from the moment she handed him to me, the little pup’s tail was wagging like it had no off switch, swish-swish, swish-swish, back and forth the entire time he was in my arms. he was high energy, with blue eyes that matched the sky that sunny June afternoon.

In my wife’s arms, the Black and Tan dapple seemed a little more hesitant, slightly more docile and reserved. We traded, and Motor-butt continued to wag happily, while the little Black and Tan, barely the length of my forearm, stretched out and began to lick the palm of my hand with his tiny bubblegum-hued tongue. While the piercing eyes of Motor-butt captured me from the instant I saw him, this little guy won me over instantly with a few licks of the tongue. When the breeder stepped away for a moment to give us a minute, my wife’s eyes met mine, and I asked “What do you think?”

“You want him, don’t you?”

“Yeah…” It hadn’t taken me long to realize I was holding what would soon be our pup, Mahler. Fourth of July weekend, we picked him up and brought him home, and what started out as a docile, two and a half pound ball of fur, barely the length of my arm has grown into our 10 pound, hyperactive miniature dachshund.

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What do you like most about your pet? Are you a cat person, dog person? Let me know in comments!

Return of the blog…

It’s been several years since I’ve blogged seriously. I had been at it for a great deal of time, and then I sort of stopped. Dropped off the face of the planet, as it were. What happened? A few things of note.

For one, I got married. Kind of a big deal. In the two and a half years since getting married, my wife and I, by the grace of God, got out of debt, got a dog, and moved closer to church. I work hard as an insurance underwriter, my wife a QA specialist.

There is also the whole “returning to school” thing. After a long hiatus from the halls of academia, I decided that I needed to finish what I started an get a degree. I’m currently on track to enter George Fox university’s adult degree program, taking core credits at PCC and preparing to take a Personal and Professional Assessment class in July that will hopefully allow me to get my junior year out of the way with essays to speed the process along (I didn’t exactly realize how time consuming 30 credits was until I started taking classes part time – it would’ve been a lot easier when I was young, carefree, and jobless to do this part, but honestly, I don’t believe I would have gotten nearly as much out of it.)

With everything going on, what is it that prompted me to start blogging again?

A couple of things. One, oddly enough, was the deletion of my previous blog by my good friend, Eric. He consulted me before deleting it, and I didn’t have a problem with it. Honestly, I hadn’t written there in three years and didn’t feel overly motivated to do so, and I felt bad bogging down his server while my old blog collected dust. But the deletion of it sparked something, too. The realization that I hadn’t really been writing at all started to gnaw at me. It’s something I’ve always loved to do, but its felt like in the last several years, I haven’t been doing it as much. I’ve become distracted by other things, sometimes not all of them important things (I could probably do without two to three hours of vegetating in front of the TV on week nights and actually do something)

Another thing that served as the catalyst was listening to Jon Acuff’s “Quitter” audiobook. In listening to it, courtesy of a free download at Noisetrade, I realized that one of my passions has always been writing, but I haven’t been practicing it at all. I have several brands in the fire with things that I’m writing in hopes of publishing one day, but the problem I keep running into is that I really don’t have anything to do between times to really develop my craft. Sometimes I hit a block, and I can’t move beyond where I’m at with my short stories, but I don’t have much of an outlet outside of that. So I stall out, I don’t get anything done for several months at a time, and then wind up coming back to it after I’ve long forgotten what it was I’m working on. Getting back into blogging will allow me the ability to practice more without feeling like it has to be related to exactly what I’m ultimately working on. It’ll be related, allow me to get some thoughts out and get feedback from my dear readers, but the connection to what I’m doing on my short stories may not be overtly evident.

I cannot promise that I’ll be pulitzer-worthy in my ramblings. I can’t even promise that I’ll always have something interesting to say. But I do promise to share a small part of myself with you, the readers, and hopefully be able to do so in a manner that you’ll find generally interesting enough to keep reading.

Is there something that you do as a hobby that you wish you did as a job? What do you dream you had the freedom to do instead of grinding out at a 9-5?

In advance, thank you for your time. Feedback’s always welcome!

~Andrew