The Twilight Rap Video

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Question: What kind of music do you get when you mix the Mormony goodness of the Jets, Weird Al's nerdy humor, Vanilla Ice's street cred and a 21-year-old Casio synthesizer?

Answer: The NMH's Twilight Gangsta Ballad.

The idea of composing a Weird Al-ish Twilight rap has been uncontrollably festering in my head ever since I wrote the Part III of the Breaking Dawn spoof and included some old-school gangsta rap lyrics for our bling-blingin' Jacob. As with most of the cockamamie ideas that I can't get out of my head, I decided to indulge the thought and write a Twilight rap song. The majority lyrics came to me over the span of a couple of hours while sitting through a long, long, long, long conference call at work. The lyrics were the easy part. I had to put a little more effort into finding pictures to match the lyrics and then Photoshopping them in order to get a cheap laugh out of people. I've got a few favorite parts that I've listed in the poll on the right, so please vote for your favorite part of the video after you watch it.

Go get yourself iced. Put in your grill. Bust a cap or two. Then sit down and enjoy the Twilight Gangsta Ballad:



Peace.

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***MY COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR COMMENTS***
Updated: 9/1/2008

Just to clarify, I enjoyed reading the entire Twilight series although I did not like the end to Breaking Dawn. I don't want to give the impression that I'm just callously bashing the whole series because I would have preferred a dramatic fight scene at the end. Would I do it all over again knowing that I would be relatively disappointed with the conclusion? Absolutely. Would I ever learn to tolerate the name Renesmee? Never.

Just in case any of you care, here are my favorite screen shots in order:
1) Oprah holding the "Bacon We Can Believe In!"
2) The Bambi photo labeling Owl as "Tastes Good", Bambi as "Delicious", Flower as "Gross", and Thumper as "Appetizer".
3) Edward the Otter Pop.
4) Sarah, Plain Dorky.
5) Hillary's eye daggers being shot at Barak Obama.

Anonymous (The mean one, not the other ones) - Ouch! As far as me being too old to rap is concerned, I'm nine years younger than Dr. Dre, three years younger than Snoop Dogg, and two years younger than Eminem. Nobody seems to be forcing any of them into Whispering Pines Senior Living Center just yet. I've been writing and recording cheesy raps lyrics like this since I was an 8-year-old singer/writer for my first band, "The Def Dogs". The cheesy, nerdy, white guy raps continued through high school (The Fatheads) and college (Justus), so it's just part of who I am. I like MST3K. I get a kick out of songs like Weird Al's "White and Nerdy". These are the types of things I find funny. It's just how my brain works.

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So You Know You Can't Dance!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When you think of the all-time great dance partners, who comes to mind? Before Friday I would have given you a Top-5 that looked like this (you can vote in the poll on the right as well):

1. Will and Katee from So You Think You Can Dance?
2. Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers.
3. Napoleon Dynamite and Deb with her "puffy sleeves."
4. Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley on SNL.
5. Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat in the "Opposites Attract" video.

But the dancing universe was turned upside down on Friday, 8/22/2008, when the Normal Mormon Family hosted its first annual "So You Know You Can't Dance" party. We had four couples come over to our place and asked them to prepare a short dance routine in the spirit of the "So You Think You Can Dance?" television show. Each couple had a chance to strut their stuff and then be voted on to win candy-themed prizes like a box of Hot Tamales for the "hottest" dance of the evening. (I would have liked to have given away the Idaho Spud award for the most "Mormon-ish" dance, but they don't sell Idaho Spuds in North Carolina. Go figure.)

Throughout the course of the evening we were treated to dance routines that incorporated moves from the river dance, an ultra-cool number that used a baseball bat as a prop, and not one but two Napoleon Dynamite auditorium dance solos. When people started busting out the Napoleon solo, I was dying to be able to give out the Idaho Spud! Next year I'm going to ask somebody from out west to FedEx me a box of those delicious chocolate-covered potatoes. Mmmmm....Idaho Spud.... Anyway, our friends were phenomenal. It takes guts to put yourself out there like that. We have a great group of 20-to-30 somethings in our ward and had a very entertaining night together.

It was a blast choreographing and practicing the routine that the NMW and I busted out. I am just going to say this up front - I am not a dancer. In fact, my girlfriend in high school dumped me once because I refused to be her partner in a school dance recital. That's not quite as bad as when I broke up with my 9th grade girlfriend because I though she was avoiding me, only to later find out that she had gone to Disneyland with her family for the week. Ah, young love. Anyway, the NMW and I put together a minute-and-a-half number to C+C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now!" After several nights of rehearsing and accidentally smacking each other in the face, the final product rocked the house. It included:

Some lifts:

Some spins:

A leap:

And some break dancing, Electric Boogaloo-style:

We then ended the evening with the girls playing Sing Star on the PS2 while most of the guys went outside to play dunk ball on an 8 1/2 foot rim, followed by a few games of Lightening. We had a great time and lots of laughs on Friday. If you want to invite some friends over to your place and get a little jiggy, I highly recommend the "So You Know You Can't Dance" party.

Most of you have probably hosted or been to fun "couples" parties like this before and I thought this would be a good topic for discussion. Please post some comments to share other party themes or ideas that we could throw in the future. Hopefully some of you will have some low-impact party ideas that don't result in sore backs, pulled hammies, and/or broken coccyxs. But hey, sometimes you have to push the limits if you want to become legends.

Just ask Paula and MC Skat Kat.


***MY COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR COMMENTS***
Last Updated: 8/26/2008

-Carolyn: You asked what we did with the kids during the party. This was one of those parties where we just invited the kids to boogie down with us. Most of the couples we invited also have small kids (with two still in utero!) so we started at 6:30 p.m. and just let the kids play along with us. While it can be lame at times to have to break up fights between your seven and four year kids in the middle of a party, at least you're not paying a babysitter and glancing at your watch every fifteen minutes and thinking, "Okay, we're paying the Mia Maid from our ward six dollars an hour to watch our kids. That means if we stay another thirty minutes, we'll have to pay Missie Lou three more dollars. Is it worth it?" I was glad we let the kids hang out with us because our 4-year-old daughter danced an impromptu, spontaneous number to "If I Had A Million Dollars." It was really cute - and painful - watching her roll all over the hardwood floor.

-Brockett's and Katie McDermott: You both mentioned that you are from Preston, ID, where Napoleon Dynamite was filmed. Well guess what? One of the people who came to our dance-a-thon is also from Preston! He and his wife even danced the Napoleon auditorium solo. I'll ask him if he knows either of you. And I'm seriously taking you up on the Idaho Spud offer next year.

The whole "I'm from Preston!" claim has me a little suspicious. When I was a kid, all of the "cool" people said they were from 90210 or that they lived on Jump Street, even though they were really from Kearns, Magna or Parowan. After all, it made for a sweet pickup line at Stake Dances to tell a cute girl that you were from Beverly Hills...or at least that's what I was told. Ahem.

Nowadays all of the cool kids claim to be from Preston so that they can live off of Napoleon's reflected glory. Within the past three days I have now heard three people tell me they are from Preston. Since I am pretty sure that Preston's total population is 2 people, somebody has to be lying. I bet a lot of people from Cornish, Oxford, and Swanlake are stretching the truth a little bit and have been claiming Preston as their home ever since Napoleon hit it big. Am I alone in this? Or has anybody else suspected Preston liars lurking in our midst as well?

I visited Preston's official website to see how many people live there and the actual population is 4,791. The website (http://www.prestonidaho.org/stats.htm) is exactly as you would picture a small town homepage to be - complete with photos of Uncle Rico's van in the header! Check it out.

Breaking Down My Breaking Dawn Predictions

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Many of you know that I work in Human Resources and if I ever lose my job I would like to write rap lyrics for LL Cool J. Well, add another would-be career to the list - predicting how Stephenie Meyer novels will turn out. I have finished Breaking Dawn and made notes of a number of passages that are eerily similar to my spoof. Since a number of you enjoyed my Breaking Dawn spoof, I thought it would be fun to finish everything up with a recap to see how well my predictions turned out. Below you will see the actual page numbers and direct quotes from Breaking Dawn that coincided with my spoof. After the quotes I have written my own thoughts, which are in italics.

But before getting to the post, I just needed to say a word or two about Edward. I am constantly amazed at how many adoring female fans the guy has out there. While I gave a few mock suggestions about how guys can be more like Edward in an old post, I just wanted to let everybody know about HusbandHero.com which actually gives some very practical, creative ways for men to keep some Edward-like romance and spontaneity in their relationships. HusbandHero is the newest sponsor of my blog, so check them out today. It really is a good site for guys who struggle to come up with ideas to show their wives that even though we are not 17-year-old wealthy vampires that we still may have some redeeming qualities.

Okay, so now back to how my spoof and the real Breaking Dawn were as intertwined as Edward and Bella:

The Existence of Pluckie: The Undead Murderous Free-Range Chicken
Page 96: During their honeymoon, Bella and Edward have the following conversation: "'I'll never get this all out of my hair!" I pointed to my head, where it looked like a chicken was nesting. I started picking at the feathers. "You would be worried about your hair," he mumbled but he came to stand behind me, pulling out the feathers much more quickly. "'How did you keep from laughing at this? I look ridiculous." He didn't answer, he just kept plucking. - HOLY COW! In my spoof I predicted that Bella would be "...covered in...chicken feathers." I am convinced that Pluckie was part of the real Breaking Dawn, but Stephenie Meyer's editors made her lose the character in the final version of the book. She even uses the word, "plucking", which is a subtle shout-out to our favorite murderous undead free-range chicken.
Page 114: Edward was with a Brazilian man and woman. Bella says, "Before I could react, Edward motioned for them to follow him toward the chicken coop, and they were gone. When he reappeared, he was alone." ANOTHER HOLY COW! I am absolutely positive - POSITIVE - that Edward took the Brazilians to Pluckie's chicken coop so that Pluckie could kill them for learning Edward's secret! There is no other logical explanation for Edward to return alone after taking the two Brazilians to the chicken coop. All hail Pluckie! Anybody else buy this conspiracy theory?
Page 120: Bella is eating chicken, and says - "I took another experimental bite; I chewed twice. Uhg-definitely bad. I jumped up to spit it into the sink. Suddenly, the chicken-and oil smell was revolting." - It doesn't take a genius to conclude that Bella is actually eating Pluckie in this scene. While I predicted that Pluckie would attempt to kill Edward and Bella at their wedding, Stephenie Meyer apparently wanted Pluckie to try to kill them with salmonella and/or botulism on their honeymoon. Even from beyond the grave Pluckie is trying to exact his revenge. Go, Pluckie, go!

J-Black, The Arrogant, Self-Absorbed Playa Hater
In my spoof I predicted that Jacob would become a self-absorbed, arrogant, cocky NBA basketball player to try to win Bella's affection since the whole "I'm just a swell guy who really likes you" routine didn't work.
Page 59-60: Bella asks herself, "Was it possible that he was still growing? He had to be closer to seven feet than to six." - I wrote that Jacob, "has also continued his abnormal growth spurt by adding another several inches to his height and now stands an impressive 6 foot 11." Just one more inch and he will be "Six foot twelve", just like Kevin Garnett.
Page 58: Jacob says to Bella, "Yeah - the party can start. The best man finally made it." If NBA players know anything, it's how to make themselves the center of attention at a party. Just ask Latrell Spreewell.
Page 157: Leah says that Jacob is, "So self-absorbed all the time." - I predicted that Jacob would become, "a self-absorbed, shallow high school athlete." Bingo! Ten points!
Page 196: Jacob considers impregnating a married woman. - In reality, I think that learning to sire children outside of wedlock is a mandatory skill for all incoming NBA rookies. Jacob is off to a good start here.
Page 332: Jacob is trolling for chicks at the park and is checking out every girl that walked by. He then says, "Sometimes I thought they looked kind of interested, but maybe that was just my ego running wild." - Hmmmm...a tall guy with a huge ego who thinks that every girl wants him? Definitely a star high school athlete.
Page 255: Jacob tells Leah to get her, "Head in the game." - Those of you who have seen High School Musical know that the song, "Get'cha Head in the Game" is all about high school hoops. Jacob was obviously showing his love for basketball with what he said to Leah. (On a side note - That music video is a perfect representation of every high school basketball practice I ever went to. We danced, bounced balls to a rhythm, and ran our plays based upon the order of the lyrics of a song.)
Page 321: Jacob tells Alice, "Hey, shortie. What's going on upstairs?" - My version of the gangstafied Jacob calls Bella his "shortie" four times. If I know anything, it's how to speak like I have street cred.

Charlie - The Nincompoop Father:
In my version, Charlie is an unfit parent who takes his parenting tips from Homer Simpson. He is such a bad cook that he tried to boil hot dogs using toilet water and a hair dryer. Stephenie Meyer's take on Charlie is as follows:
Page 20: Charlie says, "I look like an idiot." - Hey, Charlie, sometimes looks can be deceiving. But in your case, they're not.
Page 56: Bella says to Charlie, "I feel just horrible, leaving you to cook for yourself - it's practically criminal negligence." - According to the Washington State Legislature, it is not unlawful to cook hot dogs using toilet water and a blow drier. Charlie will also be happy to know that under Washington law he can eat horse meat, if he so desires.
Page 188: Bella gives Jacob a snide, witty insult, "Good one," Jacob says. Bella then grinned at Jacob and said,"I can't take credit-I got it off a rerun of The Simpsons." - Of course Bella is intimately familiar with The Simpsons since it is Charlie's only source for parenting advice and is constantly playing on their TV.
Page 511: Charlie finds out that Jacob is a werewolf, Renesmee is his granddaughter, and that Bella and Edward are not mortal. Charlie's response to this bombshell? Instead of discussing these hugely important matters, Charlie sits down with Emmett to watch a Florida Gators football game. - Straight from the Al Bundy and Homer Simpson fatherhood techniques. I can just imagine Charlie watching the game with one hand down his pants and yelling "D'oh!" when the other team scores.

Bella - The Ragin' Liberal:
I wrote that Bella is an idealistic, environmentally-conscious, Obama-supportin' liberal. In Breaking Dawn we learn the following:
Page 27: Bella says, "...but I didn't want to give them any fuel." - Instead of petroleum-based fuel, Bella probably would have preferred biodiesel, solar or wind energy. And don't even get her started on drilling in ANWAR or the outer continental shelf...
Page 41: Bella tells Alice, "I see you got to reuse your graduation decorations." - Bella is happy to see Alice protecting the environment through recycling. Never mind the claims that recycling may actually reduce tree populations and increases costs to consumers and taxpayers.

"Mawwiage. Mawwiage Is What Bwings Us Together Today":
In my spoof I predicted that the wedding between Edward and Bella would initially end in tragedy as Bella nearly hyperventilates, gets lost in Edward's eyes, and then falls and breaks her ankle. When the wedding is performed a second time, I wrote that Bella would only be able to whisper her, "I do".
Page 43: Alice says, "Deep breaths, Bella, and try to lower your heart rate." - I wrote that Bella's "heart would be racing." Ding, ding, ding! Ten points!
Page 48: Bella says to Charlie as he escorts her down the aisle, "Don't let me fall, Dad." - In my version Charlie let's Bella fall, so at least it was on Bella's mind in the real version of Breaking Dawn.
Page 48: Bella says, "All I really saw was Edward's face; it filled my vision and overwhelmed my mind. His eyes were a buttery, burning gold..." - Here is what I wrote would happen, "Bella’s eyes immediately lock on to Edward’s burning, liquid, amber eyes as he gazes down at her from the groom’s spot at the front of the room." Ding. Ding. Ding! Almost a word-for-word description. Ten more points for me! In your face, predictable storytelling!
Page 49: When Bella finally manages to say, "I do" she describes her voice as, "a nearly unintelligible whisper." - Here was my version of the climactic "I do" scene - "Bella, barely breathing, whispers, 'Hurry....Carlisle.' Carlisle rushes through the vows and both Bella and Edward muster an 'I do.'" Ding. Ding. Ding! Another nearly word-for-word prediction. When it comes to the foreseeing the wedding scene, just call me Alice. I totally saw the future before it happened! (Although I will punch you if you call me "Alice" to my face, especially while golfing and my drive fails to pass the women's tee box.)

Jacob's Highly Irregular Imprinting Decisions
In my spoof I guessed that Jacob would imprint a little differently from the other werewolves. I predicted that he would imprint on the Minnesota Timberwolves' mascot. What really happens in Breaking Dawn is even more disturbing than what I wrote would happen.
Page 189: Jacob says to Bella, "Do you really think that just because I might someday imprint on some stranger it would make this right?" - Jacob, you could only wish that the strangeness of your imprinting was limited to an NBA mascot as I predicted. What Stephenie Meyer has you do in the real book is just...ewww...gross.
Page 334: Jacob tells himself, "C'mon, Jake - imprint already...I wasn't going to be able to fall in love like a normal person." - Hey, Jacob, normal people have been involved in mascot marriages before. Haven't you ever heard of Joe the Moose from North Dakota. Show some respect!

Miscellaneous Crud:
There were a few random passages from Breaking Dawn that coincided with my spoof or with my previous Twilight posts. While they do not fit nicely into any category, they are still worth bringing up:
Page 533: "Alice kept searching for the future, but the things she found were unrelated to what she was looking for. A new trend in the stock market, a possible visit of reconciliation from Irina..." - Ha! I knew it. Alice is guilty of insider trading! Somebody call Rock Hardcastle with the SEC! As with Pluckie, I am fully convinced that Stephenie Meyer wanted to introduce Rock Hardcastle into Breaking Dawn but had to cut him out when the first draft of her novel was 12,495 pages.
Page 327: The name Renesmee. - Ugh. Where do I even start with how horrible this name is? Somebody tell Corky from "Life Goes On" that he no longer has the worst fictional name in the history of mankind. The name Renesmee violates almost every one of my Baby Naming Rules. Horrible. Just Horrible. Hey Bella, why not just name the baby ReneeAliceRosalieEsmeeRodhamClintonBaderGinsberg and pay homage to all of the great women in your life!
Page 278: Jacob catches a whiff of "Bacon and cinnamon, all mixed up with the vampire smell." - Sounds like the Cullen home smells similar to what I thought Paula Abdul's blood would smell like, which is, "a noxious mixture of collagen, formaldehyde and Jack Daniels..."
Page 302: Edward tells Bella, "That's why you haven't seen Jasper and Emmett around." - Interesting. I didn't mention Jasper or Emmett at all in my spoof. In fact, they were such useless characters that I forgot they were "married" to Alice and Rosalie. Stephenie Meyer doesn't mention them until page 302, and then only parenthetically. Looks like we can both spot characters who add nothing to a story.
Page 55: Bella says that following the wedding, "We took turns shoving cake in each other's faces; Edward manfully swallowed his portion as I watched in disbelief." - In my The Truth About Edward post, I argued that Edward, as a man, actually likes food. Many of the Twihards out there called me crazy. Well, there's the proof! Edward is ruled by his stomach just like the rest of us slightly overweight male slobs.
Page 508: Edward tells a horrible, blatant lie right to Charlie's face. Bella admiringly says, "Edward was so good at this (lying). His voice was even, with just the right amount of innocence." - Again, in my Edward post, I contended that Edward was nothing more than a skilled con artist who had deceived a very gullible Bella. It looks like I was right again! Too bad for Bella that she didn't realize this until after she became the dude's undead bride.

Since I had so much fun writing the Breaking Dawn spoof, I am now considering doing the same when "Midnight Sun" is released. After all, if I could get so many story lines right when told from Bella's point of view, just wait for how close it will be when it's told from a guy's perspective.

Somebody call LL Cool J.

I think I feel a Midnight Sun rap coming on...

The Men-richment Program

Saturday, August 16, 2008

[Editor's Note: The whole "men don't socialize" theme that emerged in my last post deserves a follow-up. With the help of some of the comments from my previous post, I thought of a way for LDS men to get together a few times each year. Guys, after you read this, please submit some comments with potential activities/topics that you would find interesting. Ladies, please also comment on both the "skills" and "skillz" that would be helpful for your hubbies to learn. You'll understand the differentiation between the two in just a bit.]

The Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment program (a.k.a. "Don't You Dare Call It Homemaking") of the LDS church is outstanding. It provides the adult female members of the church an opportunity to get together four times a year to learn important skills, grow as individuals, apply the gospel, and strengthen their friendships. While one of the four annual activities is traditionally centered on celebrating the birthday of the Relief Society, the other three meetings look something like this:

February: Appreciating the Creation
Activity: Build a bird feeder

May: Fostering Self-Reliance
Activity: Plant a garden

August: Protecting Your Family
Activity: Make a scarecrow to frighten away the magpies that were attracted by the bird feeder you made in February and are now eating the garden you planted in May.

While the activities and lessons are truly beneficial, the social aspect of Enrichment is also one of the more important functions of the program. But do LDS women really need another formal opportunity to socialize with each other? In my last post I commented about the abundance of women-only book clubs, candle parties, girls nights out, scrap-a-thons, walking groups, etc. Women are very social creatures and would undoubtedly make the opportunities to get together happen, with or without structured church programs. Developing formal programs to encourage women to become better acquainted is like Ned Flanders offering C. Montgomery Burns a $10 bill. Does Mr. Burns really need it? Of course not. But will Mr. Burns take the money? Absitively posolutely, neighborino!

When you really think about it, maybe there should be more Enrichment-type activities for the men of the church. It could even have a really catchy name:

MENRICHMENT!

The differences in the way some men and some women approach home and visiting illustrates why socially-focused male programs might be needed. When it comes to visiting teaching, The Normal Mormon Wife has told me on more than one occasion, "We went visiting teaching today and after the lesson ended we just ended up talking with Marsha for two hours! I couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock. But then we just kept talking for another half an hour! We had such a blast getting to know each other better. I can't wait to go back next month!"

While visiting teaching visits can can last longer than William Hung's singing career, some men ask questions like, "If I go home teaching at 11:45 p.m. on July 31st and the lesson lasts until 12:15 a.m. on August 1st, could that count as my visit for both July and August?"

The Menrichment program would teach fewer Martha Stewart "skills" and more Napoleon Dynamite "skillz". It sounds like some wards have these types of programs, as explained by Jon-Michael in his comment to my last post: "In my old stake, they put on a Super Saturday for guys every March. Classes included, plumbing, drywall repair, (and) computer repair...among other things. It would end outside in the parking lot with a massive barbecue of hot dogs, hamburgers and male bonding." Cool. Very, very cool. Sure, you could go to a Home Depot Saturday instructional course or watch "This Old House" to learn some of this stuff, but it is the male-bonding-with-church-members facet that makes Menrichment so intriguing.

While bonding with my fellow male church members would be fan-diddily-tastic, I would still want to learn some practical, useful, cool stuff. If I designed the program just for me, it would offer insights into these confusing life lessons that I have not yet learned:

-How to unclog a drain after Liquid Drano fails to do its job.

-On a weed whacker, how to thread the stupid replacement string through the stupid "bump feeder" so that the stupid thing stupid works. Stupid!

-Effective techniques to prevent your heart from stopping and your head from exploding when the A/C repairman says, "Your entire air conditioning unit is shot. You need a new one. They cost between $5,000 and $10,000". (I'm still throwing up in my mouth right now and having night tremors after hearing that exact phrase earlier this summer.)

-How to balance a sleeping infant in your arms while freeing up your hands to type on the computer or hold a PS2 controller.

-Three semi-intelligent phrases that I could utter while looking under the hood of a broken down car. You know, something like, "It looks like it could have been the overhead gasket...wait...nope the gasket still looks sealed. It was probably just vapor lock." I don't care if I even know what I'm talking about. I am just tired of looking under a hood and only being able to say, "Hmmph!" (On a side note, I took Auto Mechanics 101 at Ricks College my freshman year to at least learn some basic, useful auto information. On the very first day of class my teacher showed up and said, "I've been teaching kids how to fix cars for thirty-seven years. I'm retiring at the end of the semester and this is the last class I'm ever teaching. So you know what? I'm teaching you guys the gospel instead!" I guess he really wanted to be in the Religious Ed. department, but could never shake his "grease monkey" reputation. To this day I don't know what the catalytic converter does. I want my $312 plus "garage fees" back!)

Now I'm not attempting to start some underground movement here to try to get Menrichment into the Handbook of Instructions, but some of these things could definitely be done at an Elder's Quorum or High Priests level. So, ladies and gentlemen, if Menrichment were to exist, what topics would you have it cover?

Please share your comments. It would be fan-diddily-tastic to here them.

Join the NMH Fantasy Football League (Plus Madden Thoughts)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

(Guys - I'll get right to the point just in case your boss walks into your cubicle before you can read this whole post. I'm starting a Normal Mormon Husbands fantasy football league. I have really enjoyed getting to know some of you complete strangers through your comments on my blog, so I thought we could have some fun with a fantasy league. Email me by Wednesday 8/20 at nmhusband[at]hotmail[dot]com if you are interested. It will be a free Yahoo! league and we will have an online live draft on 8/29 or 8/30. If you can't make the draft, you can rank the players in advance and the computer will draft based on your rankings. Let me know if you want to play and which night you prefer for the draft.)

Tonight the Normal Mormon Wife went to her monthly Girls Night Out at a delicious restaurant. She apparently needed a few nights off to recover from her monthly Book Club meeting, which was four nights ago. I don't bring this up to complain about being left at home with the kids while she enjoys herself. The NMW works hard enough taking care of the kids every day that I'm glad she is able to get out and have some fun with her friends a few nights a month. Plus, I was able to flip between the Olympics, Wipe Out and Jail tonight while she was gone, so I had a pretty productive evening in her absence.

The reason that I bring this up is because most 30-something Mormon men have very little guys-only social interaction. The closest thing I have in my life to book club is meeting with the same four men every Wednesday night and Sunday morning for a fun little event we call "Bishopric". While I couldn't ask to serve in the church with a better group of guys, let's face it, Bishopric meetings simply do not provide the same social appeal as discussing "The Hiding Place" or stuffing our faces with cheesecake.

So in response to the fun our wives have with book clubs, candle parties, girls nights out, and visiting teaching, I'm starting a Normal Mormon Husbands fantasy football league. The details are in the first paragraph. Let me know if you are interested.

Also, I would be remiss to talk about football tonight and not celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Madden video game franchise as Madden '09 was released today. Outside of my immediate family, I have probably spent more time listening to John Madden's voice than any other in the world. That's what happens when you are 33 years old and still have an insurmountable compulsion to squeeze in a few games on your Madden 2008 franchise every week. Call me a nerd if you wish, but I don't think I will ever outgrow playing Madden. I thoroughly enjoy the franchise mode and playing the role of GM, coach, and player. I love seeing how much money I can make by drafting rookies with 99 speed ratings, signing them to 7 year contracts, and then developing them into All-Pros. I love moving my franchises to Salt Lake City and renaming my team "The Stormin' Mormons" and slapping a pioneer logo on the helmet. I spend a couple of hours doing rookie scouting and making my picks after every season. I am a complete sports stats dork and have a great time breaking every single single-season record in passing, rushing, receiving, touchdowns, sacks, and Steve Smith sucker punches to his teammates unsuspecting faces.

I buy a new copy of Madden for my PS2 every year but usually wait until the game is a few months old and drops from $50 to $30. While I was not waiting in line to buy it first thing this morning, I am intrigued with the AI upgrades the '09 version is supposed to feature. First, there is an IQ rating that goes up and down based upon your performance in every game. I've heard the game is even smart enough to drop your IQ rating if you watch a movie featuring Paulie Shore or Carrot Top.

But the most promising feature that I've read about is the computer's ability to adjust to your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you pass a lot, the AI defense will make it harder for you to complete passes. This is going to be a refreshing challenge for me since I can go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl on All-Madden every year by running the same three passing plays and one rushing play that I have in my audibles.

Madden, I salute you.

Gentlemen, I look forward to waxing you in fantasy.

Good day.

Alternate Light Saber Uses

Sunday, August 10, 2008

As the father of a seven-year-old son, Star Wars is a very important part of my life. We have Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars II for the Play Station. A number of Star Wars action figures, posters, underwear (his, not mine) and Lego sets can be found strewn about the house. One of my favorite Star Wars toys that belongs to my son are his collapsible light sabers. If you have never seen one before, the shaft is made up of several increasingly smaller sections that allow kids (and some adults) to whip the saber out with the flick of the wrist. The collapsing mechanism also makes for some cool death scenes when you drive your light saber into the back, chest, head, or face of the person you are dueling because it appears that the saber has gone straight into your adversary's chest or face cavity. Not that we condone violence or anything, but I have delivered some Shakespeare-esque death scenes after being stabbed through the heart by my son. While we have dueled with the light sabers for several years now I had never bothered to read the warning label that is printed right on the handle (circled in red on the picture). It says:

If you cannot read the warning, it says, "DO NOT poke or jab with Light saber. Section are made to stick together in the extended position and will not easily collapse if jabbed into an object, individual, or animal." What? Are you kidding me? Did the maker of this light saber actually ever watch the Star Wars movies? I'm pretty sure Luke Skywaker's original name was "Jabbie McGee" and Darth was "Poke Vader" given the amount of jabbing/poking they did with their light sabers. If you don't believe me, just ask Obi Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul, or the Taun-taun that became Han Solo's impromptu tent as he froze to death on Hoth. Telling kids not to poke or jab at people with a toy light saber is like telling Ben Affleck to stop making bad movies - it just ain't gonna happen.

As a family that strictly adheres to all product liability warnings, my son and I will have to put an end to our epic light saber battles. Instead of using them to pummel the crud out of each other, we have developed a few alternative uses for them:

A silver, trendy door stop

A spare antenna bunny ear:

A shower loofah extender for those pesky hard-to-reach places (Yes, I use a loofah. No, I'm not a she-male):

A dual exhaust pipe to make your car look cool:

As the body of a "passenger" to allow you to drive the in the carpool lane:
Since my son and I will no longer be able to settle our Star Wars disputes by dueling to the death with light sabers, we will have to instead debate our differences on the floor of the Galactic Senate. My son has just introduced legislation to increase his payment for his chores and extend his bed time. I had better go get my rebuttal ready. It's going to be a long, exciting night of settling things Star Wars style - by a good, old-fashioned political debate!

Anyway, do any of you have some other suggestions about what we can do with our light sabers now that our fighting days are over? If you're feeling really creative and happen to have a light saber at home, you can email me your photos and I'll post a couple of them. Please email them to nmhusband [at] hotmail [dot] com.

But as you sit down to type the email, please read the warning that goes along with your keyboard. It probably says something to the effect that you can permanently damage your fingers by typing on it. And be careful with the chair you're sitting in - it can cause back problems. The monitor you're looking at? Gamma ray poisoning.

In fact, it may be safer for you to just go to bed right now. Just be sure to read the warning on the mattress before you do.

***MY COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR COMMENTS***

-Andymann: You mentioned that your rugrats have Legos StarWars I & II and you just got them Lego Indiana Jones as well. We are living very similar lives. My son got Lego Indiana Jones for his birthday in July and plays it everyday. He only gets a very limited amount of TV/internet/video game time every day, but he's been spending most of it on Indy. One of his other new obsessions is Webkinz, which allowed him to buy a little stuffed animal and then register it online. He can play with his "virtual stuffed animal" (which is a lot more fun that the real thing, by the way), play games, and earn points to buy stuff for his virtual pet. Are there any other Webkinz fans out there?

-Col. Smeag: Great idea of filling the light saber up with Gatorade and then freezing it to make a ginormous Popsicle. I'm assuming the shaft is extended when you fill it up, thus ending creating a three-foot-long treat/weapon. It could easily be the most delicious and dangerous candy since the long Jolly Rancher bars that you could suck down into a razor-sharp point and then repeatedly slice your tongue open with it. Ahhh, memories. Just imagine the lame one-liners you could use on somebody after hitting them upside the head with a huge frozen light saber Popsicle. (In my best Schwarzenegger voice): "You've beeeeeeen cold cocked!", "Now dats vut I call brain freeze!", "I just popped your sicle!" or "So much fer global vooorming!" Oh, wait, I think Arnold said all of those cheesy lines when he played Mr. Freeze in Batman.

Vote Now: The Most Famous Un-Famous Person Around!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thanks to all of you who submitted your 15 minutes of fame stories. If you have not yet read all of the submissions, you may want to do so now before you vote in the poll to the right. After serious consideration, discussion, and coin flipping, there were five people who clearly emerged as the most famous of all of us un-famous people. Behold, your finalists!

The Finalists:

Natalie: You stepped in for a pregnant Mia Hamm in a Steven Covey video?! Wow. I'm just glad they didn't ask you to step in for Brandi Chastain and recreate the dramatic World Cup celebration. That would have been awkward. But when it all comes down to it, Coolest Soccer Player in the United States + World Renowned Mormon Businessman = You're In the Finals!

Andymann: Nothing like getting the Church's good name out there by having two sweaty, hungry teen-agers salivating at the front door of an Idaho Hardee's. Since Moscow, ID is about 93% LDS I bet the headline in the newspaper read, "Elders Hungry for Burgers...And Referrals." But hey, any time you are cool in a singles ward and get free food, you gotta be somebody important.

Gerg Woodsher: If you weren't my friend, I would think you were lying. Seriously. Church News. Extra in Spiderman. In the Guinness Book of Records. Professional Mascot. Creative Artist behind Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. (Okay, I made the last one up, but you get the point.)

Janan: We normally only watch church videos on Sundays, so we have seen "The Lamb of God" more times than almost any other DVD we own. Also, Los Hermanos is one of my all-time favorite restaurants, so you get bonus points for that one. One of my most embarrassing moments ever actually happened at Los Hermanos. My intramural football team at the Y won the league championship (which still ranks as the most impressive accomplishment of my entire life) and my team plus our wives/girlfriends went to Los Hermanos to celebrate. I ordered a Spicy Pork chimichanga, and everybody teased me for the rest of the night. Actually, the teasing continued for several years. Sure, the spicy pork tasted good, but it was not worth the emotional scars I still carry with me today. Am I the only person who like spicy pork? Hello? Anybody got my back here?

My Beautiful Normal Mormon Wife: If anybody else has been seen on the highest-rated television show in the nation, please raise your hand. Sure, she was only visible for half a second, but there were 33.6 million people watching when it happened. So unless you've played in the Super Bowl, the NMW probably has you beat.

Honorable Mention:
Ted: The "Now residing in a van down the the river" comment was classic. Nicely done, Ted, nicely done. That phrase was huge during the time I went into the Missionary Training Center to learn Spanish. I still remember breaking out my English-Spanish dictionary and piecing together the sentence, "Yo vivo en un furgon circa del rio!" It always got laughs in the MTC. Good times.

Cpt. Naykid: You were *this close* to being a finalist for being the #2 percussionist in Florida and being a drum line captain. Unfortunately for you the whole drum line thing wasn't cool until 2002 when the movie came out. And even then it was only cool for nine days. You peaked a few years ahead of your time, kind of like if Nirvana would have released Nevermind in 1986 only to play second fiddle to Huey Lewis & The News or the Miami Vice soundtrack. BTW - who actually did the rankings for "best high school percussionist?" Percussionists Illustrated? Better Homes, Gardens & Drums? Your parents? I'm so intrigued. Please elaborate.

Tiki Warrior: Jeffrey Dahmer? Ewww. I mean, ewwww.

Emily: Very impressive overall resume. If Bill O'Reilly would have called you a "pinhead", you totally would have been in the finals.

My Little Sister: I love ya, little sis, I really do. I don't know how you tolerated your two older brothers when you were a cute seven-year-old girl and we spent most of our days seeing who could talk like Beavis the best. Oh, the regrets. Your whole "Save the Animals" campaign was truly impressive, in retrospect. I still can't believe that the reporter ambushed you with that "so why are you wearing leather shoes?" question. Heck, I don't think Obama has been asked that tough of a question yet. I'm also relieved to see that you've channeled your energies as an adult into your education, marriage, and motherhood instead of secretly blowing up Animal Testing clinics. (Either you gave it up or you haven't been caught yet, I'm still not sure.)

Jeff: I am so glad you brought up my two-man high school band with Christian, The Fatheads. We had a few smash hit songs, including "Blue Haired Old Ladies", "12-year-old Gangsta" and "The Rooster of Love." For those of you who have never heard The Fatheads album (which is probably everybody except me, Christian, and Jeff), here are some of the lyrics. My apologies in advance to all wanna-be gangsters and the elderly:

12-year-old Gangsta (Rap Song): Hey, hey gangsta boy / Yo, yo, twelve year old / Hey, yo twelve year old gangsta boy, I wanna have a word with you / Don't you know that you're skinny? / Don't you know that you're white? / Don't you know you're from Utah? / Don't you know you can't fight? / Twelveyearoldgangsta, twelveyearoldgangsta, twelveyearoldgangsta boy (we then scratch a record for a while.)

Blue Haired Old Ladies: Blue haired old ladies / Drive too slow / They smell like a medicine cabinet / They live with cats/ (chorus): Blue haired old ladies, should stay home making doilies, don't bother me with your complaints, just stay home and knit a sweater / When I see blue haired old ladies / I see liver spots / I see a rocking chair / And I see a rocker / (chorus)

Again, if LL Cool J isn't looking for somebody to write lyrics for him, maybe I should get back together with Christian and have a Fatheads reunion tour.

Enough random stuff for one day. Go ahead and place your vote for the most famous un-famous person who was bored enough one day to post a comment.

***MY COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR COMMENTS***

Congratulations, Natalie. You are officially the most famous un-famous person who visits my blog! The vote was not even close. Just like Mia Hamm in her heyday, you dominated the competition. Unlike Mia, however, you were woman enough to pull it out without any stand-ins or stunt doubles. Major props, Natalie.

15 Minutes of Fame

Monday, August 04, 2008

Get the stopwatch going. My fifteen minutes of fame have officially begun. While I am going to share my little moment in the spotlight with you, I thought it would be enjoyable to read about your random moments of stardom. So please post a comment or two sharing the times when you were a minor celebrity for a few brief shining moments. I'll hold a vote later this week to see who the most famous person is who reads this blog. Who knows - maybe your fifteen minutes of fame will be winning this prestigious award.

Most of us at one point or another have appeared on the local news, been quoted in the paper, were part of the audience of a taping of The Price is Right, or ended up on "America's Dumbest Criminals". We then buy forty copies of the newspaper that featured us or we pop the tab from the VHS tape that documents our brief moment of fame in order to preserve the evidence through the Millennium. We want our stardom to live on forever so that in 2051 we can tell our grandkids, "See. Your gran-pappy was once interviewed by the Channel 8 weekend weather girl about how hot it got one day. Let me put my teeth back in and I'll tell you all about it."

The NMW had better get the scrapbook ready for the grandkids because Sheena McFarland of the Salt Lake Tribune gave a quick shout out to my blog in her column about the Breaking Dawn release last Friday (read it here). Sheena and I even spoke for a few minutes over the phone. I felt so official when she put me "on the record" and was grateful that she honored my request to not disclose my name. I needed anonymity in order to prevent the Guatemalan authorities from pounding down my door. It's a long story. (Come on, I'm just kidding. But if anybody asks if you have ever heard of Fernando Omar de la Cruz Quizpes Pachecho, just play dumb for my sake, okay?)

Most of my previous "fifteen minutes of fame" moments happened while I was playing high school basketball from 1991-1993, so I was a little rusty with Sheena. I gave her one or two quotes that made her chuckle and I thought they might appear in the paper, but they didn't. During high school my younger brother was a junior when I was a senior and we were the two leading scorers on our varsity team. There were a lot of "basketball brothers" stories in our high school and local papers and our names were usually mentioned in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune game summary write ups. Here are a few of my other random celebrity moments:

-I was in a few episodes of "Romper Room" when I was like five or six years old. My run on the show was brief after the producers kicked me off due to a number of "creative differences" I had with Mr. Do Bee.

-One of my ward members made a low-budget movie called "The Rabbit" and need to cast, "an annoying, rambunctious, prepubescent rascal" and called me immediately. He was my Deacon's Quorum Advisor at the time and told me to, "just be myself" when the cameras started rolling.

-While serving as a missionary for the LDS church in Northern Chile I was escorted at gunpoint by a Chilean military guard for accidentally tracting in army housing. The guard shoved an M-16 in my back and led my companion and me to see the General of the regiment where we had accidentally ventured. I was honestly thinking that an international incident was about to unfold and Tom Brokaw would be somberly reporting, "Two American missionaries have been taken hostage by the Chilean military..." Fortunately the General just screamed at us for a few minutes and told us to get lost.

While my fifteen minutes of fame moments have been on the decrease since the 1990's, my Normal Mormon Wife has been quite the local celeb over the past few years. She tried out for American Idol in 2005 and while she was not selected to sing in front of the judges, you could see her face in one of the quick audience shots. We ended taping that episode and re-watched it a dozen times by hitting "play-pause-play-pause-play-pause" as the camera ventured into her area. We then took a photo of the TV screen and emailed it off to all of our family and friends. The NMW also entered a Clay Aiken sound alike contest at the mall, took third place, and won some gift certificates. The local news cameras and newspapers were on hand and she was featured on the late-night news and had her picture in the paper the next day. Thank goodness TMZ had not yet burst on the scene when the NMW hit celebrity status or the paparazzi would have been unbearable. I might have even had to pull a Bjork on somebody.

By the time you have read this post, my fifteen minutes of fame will have dwindled down to about eight. Please post your brushes with greatness so that I can bask in your reflected glow once my remaining eight minutes are gone.

Whoops, make that seven....