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Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Black Band of Death

Every time I’m about to share my opinion on some controversial topic, I write a couple lines, then I think ,”Ahh, this sucks.” Then I erase the lines into oblivion and my opinion is never seen again. Which is a good thing, I think. Because having an opinion on some big issue means I have to get really serious and act like my opinion is going to change the world or something. Although we all know if this bloog was as popular as it SHOULD BE, then there would be dozens of moron commenters all arguing some point that has nothing to do with my opinion, and there would probably be several racist tirades and ad hominem attacks. And we don’t want that, do we?
DO WE?!?!
Here’s one opinion that counts. 
Fresh green beans? Or canned green beans? I prefer fresh! Mmmm! I love having an opinion about something that I have control over, like these green beans that are going in my mouth. 
Just kidding, I’m not really eating anything right now. Or am I?
By the way, one time in journalism in high school, we had this blurb in the school newspaper called “Crossfire,” where two writers would argue opposing sides about an issue. One time, we made the issue “Crossfire: Good or bad?” And so two writers took their sides, one arguing that the arguing column was good, and one arguing that the arguing column was bad. I think it was a joke, but I don’t really remember now. The point of this story is… I forgot. But the important thing is you all showed up!
Well, I guess this is all for tonight. By the way, has anyone ever been driving at sunrise or sunset, and tried to imagine that it was the opposite time of day? As in, the sun is setting, you’re driving west towards it at 7 PM, but you imagine that it’s 7 AM and the sun is rising on the opposite side? IT WILL TRIP YOU OUT. Welp, see ya.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Old Farm



My name’s Trent. People call me “Cornelius Van Der Merve IV” for short. But you can just call me Chuck. This is a story of the wild summer of 1992, one that will be forever enshrined in my memory. My older sister, Handsoap, and my little brother, Flip Flap, were also witnesses to the strange events surrounding this crazy summer. 

First of all, you’re probably wondering… why the names Handsoap and Flip Flap? Aren’t those a little primitive for kids these days? Didn’t those names die out hundreds of years ago? Well, it all started 12 years ago, when my parents used to feed Handsoap big heaping bowls of soap when she was a baby. And that’s how she got her name. Flip Flap has an even more bizarre origin. When he was born, the first words out of his mouth were “FLIP FLAP!” in a weird disgruntled-old-man voice. He only said it the one time, and it was never heard again. And Trent? Well, that one’s pretty obvious. Am I right? 

Well, you must be wondering what was so crazy about the summer of 92. Well you know what? Just be patient okay? You’re always wondering things. Just stop wondering for two seconds and listen, okay? I’ve about had it with you. In fact, I’ve just about had it up to here. Do you understand? Are we clear? If not, we can just stop the story here, and no one ever gets to know what happened to Trent, Handsoap, and Flip Flap. Would you like that? No? Then sit down and keep your little gropey hands to yourself. 

Well, it all started one morning in June when our Dad, in a drunken rage, kicked the door down to our room and told us to pack our bags. Yeah, can you believe that? I’m 10 years old and I still have to share a room with my annoying siblings! Not only a room, but a bed! We each have our own assigned spot in the bed, with me in the middle and Handsoap and Flip Flap hanging precariously on their assigned edges. “Aw Dad, do we have to?” Handsoap whined from her edge. “Handsoap dear,” Dad said. “We must do all things, all things, required of us if we hope to obtain that glory and reward we so desperately yearn for, that glory and reward that comes only from the gates of paradise.” Dad could wax wise if he wanted to, extending his hands and gazing heavenward as he did so. “Uh, what?” Flip Flap asked. “JUST PACK YOUR BAGS AND GET MOVING YOU SNIVELING BRATS!” he yelled. “Oh, right,” Flip Flap said. 

I remember the breakfast that morning like it was yesterday. We all sat down to big platters of steaming hoagie buns and a plum. “So, do we put the plum on the hoagie bun, or…?” I asked. “My son,” Dad began, grasping my arm and smiling. “It mattereth not! Eat up, for thy father commandeth it!” “Aw thanks dad!” I say, and he gets a twinkie in his eye. Yes, you read that right. Not a twinkle. A twinkie. That’s what he eats for breakfast every morning, and it just so happened that at that precise moment, twinkie cream squirted in his eye. Bad news! 

"RAARRGGHH!!!” Dad exploded, thrashing all about, clutching at his eye. The table was upended, all our steaming hoagie buns and plums plummeting to the floor. “Don’t struggle honey, you’ll only spread the cream around!” my mom said, attempting to reassure him. But he was a man possessed. My siblings and I sat in silence as Dad crashed around the kitchen for another minute, before crumpling to the floor and falling asleep.

“Well that sure takes the… twinkie?” said Flip Flap, and we all laughed riotously. He’s a typical eight-year-old. 


Two hours later, we were on the road. We didn’t even know where we were going yet. I suppose Mom and Dad knew, but they definitely weren’t telling us. Until they decided to tell us.

“You’re going to your grandparents’ farm,” Mom said. 

“Borrrring!” yelled Flip Flap. 

“Oh, it’ll be fun!” said Mom. “You kids haven’t seen your grandparents in months! Aren’t you excited?”

“What a glorious time it shall be!” cried Dad, at the wheel. “Joy shall fill your hearts!”

“Yeah, whatever,” said Handsoap, who was on her i-phone pad pod playing on Instachat or Facegram or listening to some stupid band. 

And then he opened the back window of the van, causing the cabin to depressurize, so we were all sucked out the window, right onto the front lawn of Grammy and Grampy’s house. So it all worked out just perfectly. The van traveled further into the distance until it was simply a speck of dark cacao chocolate on the horizon, then vanished. The three of us sat in silence on the lawn, pondering this turn of events, when Grammy and Grampy burst out the front door. “KIDS!” they shouted. It was a joyous reunion of sorts. Grammy rained kisses upon me. Grampy rained firm handshakes upon me. Things were just raining all over the place. 

Once inside, we were treated to Grammy’s world-famous lemonade, which was pretty nasty and way too sweet. Flip Flap mentioned this to her face and got slapped, which he probably deserved. He just laughed when he got slapped though, which was fairly creepy to see if you had been there in person. Like he enjoyed it or something. Weirdo. 


Next on the agenda was the guided tour of the farm. First stop: looking at some cows. “Here, we have our horse, Sally,” said Grampy, motioning to one of the cows. 

“That’s a cow,” said Handsoap.

“You kids these days, thinkin’ you’ve got it all figured out!” Grampy responded, shaking his head. “And no respect for your elders!” Then he raised his cane and tried to whack her with it, but she did this crazy quick backward dodge thing that I had never seen her do before. Then he went for her again, this time a horizontal stroke, but she ducked just in time. Grampy, though, would not give up. He thrusted straight on, but she dove out of the way and grabbed a pipe lying on the ground. In the meantime, Flip Flap and I just sat there and watched, intrigued. Next, Grampy went for a vertical slash, but his stroke was met with her own in a vicious blade lock, his cane and her pipe. They stared at each other menacingly as sparks flew from their blades.

“You wield that pipe well,” said Grampy.

“You’re not so bad yourself!” said Handsoap, then thrust with all her might, throwing Grampy backwards.  But then he did this crazy triple backflip thing in the air, and landed perfectly on his feet. 
“Whoa,” I whispered. 

Then Grampy resumed his usual hobble with his cane, and everything was back to normal. Or was it?
Next on the guided tour was a visit to the old rope swing by the old pond. 

“Ah, my favorite rope swing!” said Grampy. “I used to swing here when I was your age, young man!” he said, poking his old crooked finger into my chest. Then he looked off into the distance, solemnly. “That was… until they came.”

“Who?” asked Handsoap.

“Wal-Mart,” said Grampy, pointing next to the rope swing. Indeed, there sat Wal- Mart, just three feet away, where a pond clearly should’ve been. Any soul brave enough to jump on the rope swing would have instantly smashed their face into Wal-Mart. 

A tear rolled down Grampy’s cheek. 

“Mr. Walton himself came to our house one day when I just 15,” said Grampy. “I remember him talking to my old dad on the front porch.”

“What’d he say, Grampy?” asked Flip Flap.

“He said, ‘Mr. Grampyson, that pond there is prime real estate. If you let me build there, I’ll make it worth your while. How does five million dollars sound?’”

“Whoa,” I whispered.

I noticed that Flip Flap’s eyes changed. Where there were normal eyes before, now they had changed to piles of cash, like in all those cartoons. 

“My old dad looked him right in the eye and said, ‘That old pond’s been in my family for five generations! You can take your five million dollars, and shove it!’ Then Mr. Walton said, ‘How does six million dollars sound?’ My old dad looked him right in the eye and said, “Deal!’ And that’s how it happened!”

“Wow, great story Grampy!” said Handsoap. 

But something did not sit right with me. If Mr. Walton had paid Mr. Grampyson six million big ones…

“So what happened to the money?” I asked Grampy. 

Grampy put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a nice firm squeeze. “Cornelius Van Der Merve IV,” he said. “My old dad took that money, and he bought himself a nice tractor with it.”

“A tractor?” I asked. “Six million dollars? Unlikely!” And I scoffed.

“What about… a flying tractor?” said Grampy, and his eye twinkled. 

“Whoa,” I whispered. Last time. I promise.

“Why would anyone need a flying tractor?” asked Flip Flap. Good question.

“That’s a stupid question,” said Grampy. “Now go on home and eat your supper!”

And thus we did.

Supper consisted of some sort of food… look, why does it even matter anyway, huh? Who cares? We eat pumpkin, we eat roast beef, we eat plums, we eat hog pudding, what difference does it make? Just get off my back. 


That night, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about the flying tractor. Did Grampy still have the flying tractor? I had my answer within minutes, as Grampy appeared at the window, seated in his tractor, levitating 20 feet off the ground.


I opened the window and leaned my head out. Sure enough. It was just flying around, all willy-nilly. On the side of the tractor was a picture of Queen Hillary Cilnton, wearing a tiara while smiling and waving. 

“HOP IN!” said Grampy. “WE’LL TAKE IT FOR A SPIN!” 

I climbed through the window, then hopped into the Queen Hillary Clinton next to Grampy.

“HOLD ON TIGHT!” yelled Grampy, and he cranked the throttle. 

“WOOEEE!” he called, and we blasted off into the night.


And it came to pass that Grampy and Chuck a.k.a Cornelius Van Der Merve IV a.k.a Trent were not seen again. There were some who said they were dead, that the Queen Hillary Clinton probably crashed into the upper slopes of the Himalayas, killing all on board. Still others said there was no evidence of that, saying that the Queen Hillary Clinton had become the first tractor to attain the speed of light and that it was, at this time, zipping through the cosmos on a vast intergalactic journey, discovering new worlds and civilizations never before known by mankind. There were reports through the years of people who claimed to have seen the Queen Hillary Clinton sailing through the sky, with Grampy Grampyson aboard yelling “WOOEEE” and Cornelius Van Der Merve IV yelling “I THINK I’M GONNA BE SICK” or just vomiting everywhere.

And so the legends went, through the years and across the generations of time immemorial. 
                       THE END 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pooping in the Dark

Do you like the title of this blog?

Do you ever do it?

DO YOU?!?!?!

There's nothing to be ashamed of.

For herpetology today, we took a trip out to Pine Valley (a.k.a The Valley of Pines), in order to catch lizards and various other organisms. Two hours of walking around produced no lizards. However, it produced a mushroom, and some butterflies, and various rodents, and nice fresh pine smell, and the relaxing sound of running water. Here's some delightful pictures.

A lake. Of Water.

A mushroom. Of love.

Ponderosa Pines

A hole in a rock. With grass growing in it. 
In other news, I'm sitting at the Holland building waiting for class to start, and I'm very tired. I slept like a non-sleeping thing last night. I don't know why.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Inside Voices

How about a good ol fashioned recap of recent days? No mysterious call backs to August 26ths of years past. No bizarre poetry. Not this time. I witnessed the Solar Eclipse of Doom this past Monday the 21st, which was pretty amazing, to say the least. Not very often one gets to see THE TOTALITY. There was much travel time involved, mostly coming back, but it's all good and worth it. Although I missed a couple of college classes and I'm still trying to catch up, but hey... it's the first week. We'll all get through this together. Won't we?

Speaking of college, I am taking various classes. Senior Seminar (basically research and oral presentation), Herpetology (basically research and presentation about reptiles and amphibians), Astronomy (basically just awesome), and Plant Biology (basically some plants and sweet field trips), with a few labs thrown in. These will hopefully be my last two semesters to grasp my bachelor's degree with my cold dead hands. I survived Biostatistics last semester with a B. I can survive anything (except Calculus). Then... I don't know what happens when it's over. Probably go back to working full time at Coral Desert until I get a plan figured out for getting out of physical therapy. Because that's what I really want to do.

Rivers Green is 4. He is pretty dang cute. He's also autistic. Sometimes, I think, what will he be like in the future? 5 years? 10 years? When he's 30? Where will he be? Will he be independent? Will he have to live with us his whole life? Will he be able to function in society? What other hidden talents does this kid have besides super-perception? Will he be a super-hero? Will he be a math genius? Will he cure cancer? Occasionally, I get frustrated and depressed about the situation. I see pictures and read posts of friends and family who pop out one baby after the other, kids who all seem to be quite normal, and wonder... why not us? Why do we have to deal with this? I hate that I think this, because I really do love Rivers and all of his little quirks. But... I don't know. I guess I just have to wallow in pity every once in awhile and look at other people with their children who communicate with them and who are potty trained and can feed themselves.

Emily Green is almost 29. There has never been a bigger sweetie on the face of the planet of Jupiter, mainly because there haven't been any sweeties on the face of the planet of Jupiter. Also, there has never been a bigger sweetie on the face of the planet Earth. Hence her nickname SWEETS. Or "The Sweets." Or "The Sweetsers." Sometimes, I just call her "The Sweets." Like, "Hi, The Sweets!" Or, "Hey, The Sweets, get me a beer!" She is extremely talented and hard working. It seems like every month, she is learning some new hobby that she immediately excels at, drawing an "ooh" and an "ah" from everybody who sees her work. Plus she is fantastic at her Opera House job, where all the customers adore her (including St. George's finest celebrities like Bruce Bennett, Mayor Pike, and Local Celebrity Sheldon Demke).

I am 30. I work at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, part time. I've become fairly numb to my job, which consists mainly of patients whining to me all day. I've gotten to where I really just don't care much anymore. I put on a nice smiling face. I say "Yeah" and "Uh-huh" and "That's too bad" and nod my head while making little grimaces on my face when they relate their medical history to me, as though that will get them to understand that I am trying to feel their pain or something. [This next part is a clarification in case people misunderstand me]. I actually don't really hate my job. I have days that are obviously worse than others, like if I have to work with a mob boss who yells at me or an old lady that threatens to kill me. I really like the people I work with, more than I have at any other job. I would hate having to leave here to find another job, I really would. Would you like to know why? Because it takes me forever to warm up to people and become close with co-workers. And I feel fairly tight with most of my co-workers. It would be far worse to have to come to a job where I felt uncomfortable around co-workers and had to work with crazy people who yell at me. 

Sorry, maybe this was a somewhat depressing blog. Do people still blog? Or am I behind on the current trends, like I have been since I was just a wee lad?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Spleen

With only five days left until the "Eclipse of the Century," Holden continues to wonder if he should make the trip up to Idaho to witness it. Is it worth it? Is it worth driving 16 hours to witness an event that will take roughly 2 minutes, an event that will also happen here on a SLIGHTLY LESS grand scale, seeing as how the sun will only be about 70-80% eclipsed here compared to 100% in Idaho? Should he do it? Will he do it? Does it even matter? Does anyone actually care what Holden will do?

I sit here, transfixed, upon my computer screen, and ponder upon the great mysteries of the universe, such as... why did Mrs. Hafen, a substitute teacher in my 2nd grade class, write my name down on the blackboard "naughty" list when I did absolutely nothing to deserve it? Nothing. Nothing at all. Did not even say a word. Or the great mystery of why I have to change so many poopy diapers at work, when this responsibility is clearly not mine. Or the great mystery of what those last two blogs mean. What, you thought there was some sort of super secret hidden meaning? No. There's not. I was seriously just writing down crap that popped in my head. That's all it is. "Crap That Popped In My Head." That's the name of my next album. Which I guess would be my first album. What were we discussing? Oh. Mysteries. How about the mystery of whether or not I really danced with Shari Richey at an after-school dance in 9th grade? I don't think I danced with her. Pretty sure I didn't. Although I told people I did, because I thought that would make me look cool. Right? Isn't that what made you cool in junior high? Then I formed a false memory, wherein I actually did dance with her. For the longest time, I thought I actually had danced with her. Then I read my journal, where I wrote about it after the dance, and the truth was revealed. But was it really the truth? Does it even matter? Does anyone actually care if Holden did or didn't dance with Shari Richey? And if he didn't, why did he pick Shari Richey as the person that he "danced" with? Why not, say, Sammi Parr? Huh? WHY NOT?

Would you like to hear about any other mysteries? There are plenty, for sure. Here's another one. Or two. Or three. Or a billion. Whatever happened to my bike that disappeared in 3rd grade? Who has it? Where is it? Whatever happened to my wedding ring that disappeared two months ago? Whatever happened to my toy rifle I received for my birthday when I turned 4? Whatever happened to my family's copy of the video game "Super Mario All-Stars?" or the video game "Super Mario 3?" How come every kid I hung out with in elementary school is now gay? Am I gay? Why does everybody on online comment threads think that their opinion is going to change the world in some way? Why does everybody on online comment threads think that somebody cares about their opinion? How come we can land a man on the moon but we can't land a man on the moon, plant a large explosive device, and then explode the device so that the moon's orbit is shifted downward so that the eclipse actually happens in, say, southern Utah instead of Idaho? And you know what, that wouldn't even work, because we'd have to make the sun move down too. So don't even think about exploding things on the moon unless you've got a plan to explode things on the sun as well. Why does our favorite music spark emotion in us? Why do I cough up a lung when I stick a Q-Tip in my right ear? Why is the lemonade served at kids lemonade stands always the worst? Is it actually the worst? Or is it actually the best, and I'm the worst? "The worst at what?" you ask. At tasting lemonade, of course.

Now go take a potty break. And remember these wise words from an old man, long dead and covered with maggots - "Maggots. Aren't they great?"

They sure are, old man!

Bungling the Carpet Bombs That Fall Upon my Dead Horse Ancestors

Get a job.
Get a car.
Get a spaceship.
Get a girlfriend.
Get a gun.
Get some patio furniture.
Get more patio furniture.
Get out.
Get in.
Get loud.
Get not as loud.
Get a spoon and feast on this dying bird.
Get the dying bird and kiss it back to life.
Now it's time for a potty break.
Potty break! Potty break! Potty break!
Good luck.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hepatitis As a Means to Achieve Victory For Our Comrades in Siberia

All we are is little pin-pricks.
Little crumbs.
Little dust mites.
Little baby taco shells.
Little miniature basketballs, so miniature even the smallest of younglings can wield them and throw down a vicious windmill jam.
Little bugs that hide out in the rocks and the dead leaves and come out at night to skitter around and to eat dinner.
Little soups and little breads for little mouths.
I'm going to take my little things and I'm leaving. And I'm not going to come back for awhile. But when I do come back, you'll see me coming from afar off. I'll be making a lot of noise and I'll be kicking up a little dust trail so you can't miss me. And then when I get back, I'll be covered in dust and you can lick it off me if you want. And then we shall feast on the fatted calf and the fatted Subway sandwich and the fatted fish taco from Del Taco. Then we shall slumber, slumber, slumber, forever in our little beds with little smiles on our faces. Because... we have gone to battle and we have won the day. And no one else will get the day. It's our day. And no one will ever take it from you. Good night.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Area Man Shows Resilience In Using Last Remaining Sauce-Free Finger To Scroll Through Facebook Feed

PADUCAH, KY -- Area man Peter Gifford, currently devouring a Jim's BBQ pulled pork sandwich smothered in barbecue sauce while scrolling through Facebook on his phone, reportedly showed admirable resilience after four of his five fingers became covered in barbecue sauce.

One by one, starting from his thumbs, each of his fingers became coated in sauce, each one essentially becoming incapacitated and unable to perform the functions required to scroll down a social media feed without covering the phone in sauce. However, Gifford was determined to see his Facebook feed scrolling through to the end. 

"One finger left," said Gifford, who looked at his left pinkie with a determined look, before returning to his phone scrolling. 

Gifford then attempted to tap a link with his pinkie, missing several times. "I would have just given up right then and wiped my hands," reported an onlooker at the next table. "But this guy, he never gave up. If only we all had that kind of tenacity, that kind of drive to succeed." Gifford then reportedly succeeded at tapping the link.

Also made difficult was Gifford's method of eating, which had to be adapted to avoid getting sauce on his pinkie. He reportedly held his sandwich with his left pinkie held away from the sandwich. "This guy was a lesson in adapting to what life throws at you," said Katie Miller, shift supervisor working behind the counter at Jim's BBQ. "It was very inspiring for everyone."

At press time, Gifford had accidentally gotten sauce all over his phone when he tried to do a pinch-zoom. He reportedly put his head down in shame and sat in silence for several minutes, like one who had failed his loved ones and lost their trust forever.

The Adventures of Henry H. Pottermore As He Attends School at Hogdeath School of Witchcraft and Wizardry




    Henry H. Pottermore... the boy who loved! And all loved him! At last, he was on his way to school. But this was no ordinary school. Oh no. This was Hogdeath School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! The most famous school in town! For you see, Henry H. Pottermore was a wizard of sorts. How did he become a wizard, you ask? Well, it's a very long story. And a very boring one too. So that's all that will be said about it. But it came to pass in the year 199999 AD that Henry H. Pottermore, beloved of all who loved, was aboard a high speed train, headed straight for Hogdeath. Headed straight for the front door. This train was not stopping. And it was going like, 300 miles an hour. The children aboard the train screamed.
     Henry H. Pottermore, one of those very children, screamed as loud as he could. He shattered the window of his compartment with his bare hand and screamed out the window. "HEEEEELP!!!" he cried, as blood dripped from his now severed hand. It was chaos. The train bore down on Hogdeath, now only a few miles off. "HEEEEELP!" he cried again, but it was in vain, for the only creatures to hear his cries were a few sheep, grazing amidst the fields of gold.
     "Wait Henry," said his hot witch girlfriend Hortense. "Didn't you used to be a high-speed train operator?"
     Suddenly, Henry H. Pottermore remembered his training.
     "Henry, you can stop this train!" Hortense said, staring deep into his cold dead eyes. "You can stop it!"
     Henry's friend Rob Schadenfreude nodded in agreement. "Only you can stop it Henry!"
     Henry H. Pottermore took courage at this. He had a job to do. One that would save lives.
     Just then, the train slammed into Hogdeath, crashing through the lobby, with the screeching metal and the screaming children and the exploding everything and killer debris flying everywhere.
     "What a mess," said Headmaster Donny Trump as the train eventually came to a rest in a giant pile of twisted metal wreckage. There would be few survivors, he guessed, and he would be right.
     "5000 POINTS FROM SNUGGLEBUM!" cried Headmistress Madonna, in her typical scolding manner. Fortunately, Henry H. Pottermore, Rob Schadenfreude, and Hortense all survived with just third degree burns and post-traumatic stress disorder. "Aw, come on Headmistress!" whined Rob.
     "Enough Mr. Schadenfreude!" she said. "I don't know who re-arranged the train tracks to lead right into Hogdeath, but I've been here long enough to know the pranks of the Schadenfreude boys! And detention for all of you!" And she walked off in her snooty headmistressy manner.
     "I hate her," said Henry H. Pottermore. "I'm gonna kill her."
     "Henry H. Pottermore!" said Hortense. "You want us to lose the house cup?"
     "I'm going to wingardium leviosa her head and put it in the house cup."
     "Yeah!" cheered Rob, and he high-fived Henry.
      Just then, Henry's arch-nemesis Chuck McChucklin walked on the scene, with his two bodyguards, Agents Snow and Laughlin. No, they were actual bodyguards. No one knew why he had bodyguards. They were dressed in fine suits and wore sunglasses. They also had guns.
    "Well well well, if it isn't Mr. Henry H. Pottermore," he said, with that typical evil sneer in which evil kids sneer at things. "Been crashing high-speed bullet trains through the Hogdeath lobby again, I see?
     "Shut up McChucklin," said Rob.
     "Well well well," said McChucklin, turning toward Rob. "If it isn't Mr. Rob Schadenfreude. Been... being an... idiot lately?"
     "Shut up McChucklin," said Hortense.
     "Well well well," said McChucklin. "If it isn't Mrs. Hortense... what's your last name?"
     "We get it McChucklin," said Henry. "It is us. It's all of us."
     Just then, Rob lunged for McChucklin, the bloodlust in his eyes. "I'LL KILL YOU JERK!" he cried, and threw a punch to McChucklin's face, before Agents Snow and Laughlin managed to pull him off and hit him with a stun gun.
    "700 POINTS FROM CHUCKLEFLUB!" shouted Headmistress Madonna, striding back onto the scene. Henry H. Pottermore was pretty sure there was no such house, but he held his tongue.
     "I have never, in all my days, beheld such tomfoolery!" she cried. "You are all hereby banned from playing Squimmitch! Forever! A total kickban on Squimmitch!"
     Henry H. Pottermore felt his stomach drop. "No," he said, in total disbelief. "No, you can't do that. No way. Not Squimmitch."
     "Don't make it worse Pottermore," said McChucklin, sneering. "You were always the worst at Squimmitch anyway." He really was. Pottermore was only in his second year at Hogdeath and had already been labeled the worst Squimmitch player ever to Squimmitch a Squimmitch ball. Would you like to understand how Squimmitch works?

Squimmitch: A sport that is popular with the children at Hogdeath. The premise is, you have a bunch of kids on riding lawnmowers in a room with a big ceiling fan. One person on each team holds up a tall stick with a basket on top. Players on each team attempt to toss the "Squimmitch" ball (similar to a golf ball) into the ceiling fan and have the fan knock the ball into that team's basket. A couple players on each team are given spiked baseball bats and are allowed to beat the players on the opposite team. The game ends when a team has scored 100 points from knocking the ball into the basket, or when one team has been beaten to death by the other team.

Pottermore's job was to hold up the basket. A daunting task for sure, because, by George Custer, you never knew where that Squimmitch ball was gonna fly when it hit the fan. Usually the Squimmitch ball just hit him in the face. He would then hold the basket in front of his face, hoping this would alleviate the problem, but then the ball would just fly down and smack him in the crotch. They called it a "crotch-smacker" and the opposing team would get 50 points.
     That night, after the wreckage had been cleared and the bodies of the dead wingardium leviosa’d into a mass grave, the children retired to their beds. Pottermore had a dream that night. A dream of love. A dream of passion. A dream of murder, betrayal, and deceit. A dream of fire and fury the likes of which the world had never known. A dream where Hortense was there and he was about to kiss her, but then she like, turned into his mom for some reason, and then he was in this elevator that was going up and down over and over again, and then Chuck McChucklin was there, and he like, brought him dinner in the elevator but it was really hard to eat because of all the constant up/down motions, and McChucklin was like, “I’ve got to get me one of these elevators,” and Pottermore was like, “Get outta my elevator!” And then all of a sudden, the elevator door opened, and there stood his dear Uncle Bob, saying to him,”What have I told you about eating your supper on this elevator?” And Pottermore begged for forgiveness, and Uncle Bob gave it to him because he was a great uncle. And then suddenly, he was in the Squimmitch room zooming around on his John Deere 5000 mower, with one hand wielding his basket stick and the other hand steering the wheel. Then without warning, the basket caught on the fan, and then his arm was ripped from its socket, and the fan flung it across the room, and all the children laughed at him, including McChucklin, who, as the name implies, enjoys a good chuckle at the expense of others, especially Pottermore, and then suddenly, he was...
     “AAAAHHHH!” screamed Pottermore as he sat up in the bed, wiping sweat from his brow. What a nightmare. He had had this dream several times, but he was still unsure of what to make of it. But it confirmed to him what he had really feared all along. That he really was the worst at Squimmitch.

     Classes began bright and early the next day! The children awoke to a fine breakfast of puddings! Just puddings, as far as the eye could see! White pudding, black pudding, yellow pudding, blood pudding, green pudding, pudding with bacon in it, pudding with more pudding in it, pudding inside bowls, pudding inside glasses, pudding all over the floor, pudding floating around in the air, pudding pudding pudding! Henry H. Pottermore gazed upon the scene with the utmost delight! How magical! How wonderful! Henry spotted his friend Larry, a very fat child, across the room, screaming as pudding poured out his nose and ears. How wondrous!
     Suddenly, Chuck McChucklin approached, Agents Snow and Laughlin in tow.
     “Well well well,” he started, the usual sneering routine. “If it isn’t Mr. Henry H. Pottermore. At it again, I see?”
     “At what again?” asked Henry.
     “You know. Just… standing there. Looking around at things. Looking at pudding. You always were a pudding looker, Pottermore.”
     That last statement was the last straw for Rob Schadenfreude.
    “I’LL KILL YOU YOU PIECE OF GARBAGE!” he yelled, and lunged for McChucklin’s throat, but Agents Snow and Laughlin restrained him. McChucklin laughed.
    “See you in class, losers,” he said, and wandered off.
    “He just tries to egg you on, Rob,” said Hortense, caressing him very seductively. “You can’t let him get to you like that.”
    “He just… he just makes me so mad,” said Rob.
    Once they had had their fill of pudding, they walked to their first class, which was called PE, or Physical Education. Yes, just like PE classes of old! What, you think these gifted children should be deprived of the magical experience of PE? Well I never!
     The professor, a very pale cold man named Horrocks, was the worst teacher Henry had ever had at Hogdeath. He was, in the words of Rob Schadenfreude, “the biggest jerk that ever jerked.”
     “Hello children,” he muttered after they were all seated. “Welcome to Physical Education. To become a powerful wizard and battle the forces of pure evil, it is imperative that you keep yourself in tip-top shape. Unlike Larry over here, who is just so fat.” He pointed at Larry, Henry’s fat friend, who began to cry. “What’s wrong Larry?” Horrocks asked. “Too much pudding this morning?” Many of the children laughed. They were terrible terrible people. And this school taught them to be that way.
     “Leave him alone!” yelled Henry from the back of the class.
     “Well well well,” said Horrocks, slowly advancing towards Henry. “Henry H. Pottermore. The boy who loved. Loved what, Pottermore? His mommy?” The children giggled.
     “Uh yes, I do love her, is there something wrong with that?” he asked, confused.
     “Oh, little Pottermore loves his mommy! Little mommy’s boy Pottermore!” Horrocks cooed.
     “AVADA KEDAVRA!” yelled Henry, raising his wand, and shot Horrocks with the killing curse, right in the groin. Horrocks flew backwards and slammed into a wall. Then his body hit the floor, unmoving. And… he was dead? Yeah. Wow. Did Henry just… wow.
     The other children stared at Henry in stunned silence.
     “You… you just murdered him,” said Hortense. “You just murdered a professor.”
     “Well,” Henry said. “I didn’t think that would really work. I don’t know how…”
     “Henry,” said Rob. “That was… insane. I mean, look at him. He’s dead.”
     Sure enough, Horrocks lay on the floor, dead as a dead person.
    Just seconds later, Headmistress Madonna burst into the room. “What has happened here?” she yelled. “Why is Professor Horrocks dead on the floor? Pottermore? Is this your doing?”
    He slunk low in his seat, then, with his hand over his mouth, subtly pointed his finger at Rob.
    “ONE THOUSAND POINTS FROM SNUGGLEBUM!” she cried. “Both of you come with me!” And she grabbed Rob and Henry by the scruffs of their necks and hauled them out.
    “Explain yourselves!” she said, once they were in the hall.
     “Well,” said Rob. “Henry just murdered him.”
     “It was an accident!” cried Henry.
     “No accident,” said Rob. “He performed the killing curse.”
     “I didn’t know it would do that!”
     “Do what? Kill?” said Rob, rolling his eyes.
     “Enough of this!” she said. “Pottermore, how did you even learn the killing curse? Only dark wizards fiddle around with powerful magic like that!”
     “Well,” he said. “Pretty easy. I just found it on the internets.”
     “And pray, Henry H. Pottermore, what did the internets tell you?” she asked.
     “The internets said, raise your wand and say AVADA KEDAVRA. It’s not like it’s hard or anything. Just raise your wand and say crap.”
      “Don’t forget the little flick of the wand,” said Rob.
      “Yeah, the wand flick or whatever,” said Henry.
      Headmistress Madonna nodded. “Hmmm. Well I guess that’s true,” she said. “But you’re going to be getting some pretty severe detention for this, Pottermore. In fact, murdering a professor is usually grounds for life in detention.”
      “Life in detention…? Gee whiz,” said Henry.
      “Unfortunately, we can’t have police involved with this or there’d be a full-on investigation into all the other terrible things that happen here. And then no more Hogdeath. And why deprive the world’s gifted wizards and witches of an experience at Hogdeath?”
      “Makes sense,” said Rob. “Right Henry?”
      “Yeah, I guess,” he said, and he looked pretty dejected at having to spend life in detention. But he really did deserve it. He just murdered a professor.
     “Well then, come with me Pottermore,” said Headmistress Madonna. “Back to class with you, Schadenfreude. Tut tut!” And she slapped the handcuffs on Pottermore.
      Suddenly, there was McChucklin. Just out of the blue. How did he do that?
      “Well well well,” said McChucklin. “If it isn’t Mr. Henry H. Pottermore. Been murdering professors again, I see? Well, you’ll have a good time in detention. I’ll even come visit you once in awhile.”
      “That’d be nice,” said Pottermore. “I actually would really appreciate that.”
      “No problem,” said McChucklin. “You see, I’m really not a bad guy.”
      “I know,” said Pottermore. “Everyone thinks you’re my arch-nemesis, but you’re actually really friendly.” And they did a little bro hug.
And thus Henry H. Pottermore was led into the dungeons to live out the rest of his life in detention.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Delusions of Grandeur!

      I think Jared from my Dixie Nutrition 2006 days was a figment of my imagination. Dost thou remember? Scary bodybuilder guy? I've concluded that my mind created him as some sort of symbol of fear of my upcoming mission to Tennessee. There are holes with the theory. Like how he was always having yelling matches with Marge's daughter Janelle. But... was it just me yelling at her? Was it my "dark self?" JARED. If that's all true, maybe I can bring him back. But there's two problems with that. #1: Jared is scary and can probably bench press your house. #2: I don't remember #2. JARED. Have you heard enough about Jared? Okay I'm done. JARED <--- been="" have="" in="" jare-ed.="" jared.="" just="" like...="" not="" one="" p="" pronounced="" syllable.="" you="">      What is life all about anyway? REALLY? What is it all about? To me, it is... bizarre. Really, it's lots of things. It is beautiful. It is ugly. To some, it's tragedy. To me, it's mostly just bizarre. That's my word to describe it. It can be bizarre in terrible ways, for sure, like, why would anybody have the desire to strap bombs to themselves and go blow up a bunch of people they don't even know. Or it can be bizarre in less terrible ways, like, for example, me having an epiphany this morning while scrubbing dishes that Jared possibly wasn't real. Or that one guy here in town who broke into a business, cleaned the building, then wrote a bunch of riddles on a white board, apparently due to suffering from some sort of weird schizophrenic delusions. Apparently, all the "less terrible" things I think of involve delusions. I don't really know where I'm going with all this, so I will just leave you with these wise words of wisdom: Never trust that which is incapable of being trusted. Robert E. Lee. Or was it John D. Lee? I forget. JOHN D. LEE, MURDERED SOME FOLKS, DIED AT THE AGE OF ONE HUNDRED AND THREE. Is that how the little song goes?
      That's all for now.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

HurlGuts McJones Rides Again

Ah, summertime is upon us, that blessed time of year when our blessed northern hemisphere is blessedly tilted towards the blessed sun, raising our daytime temperatures to a blessed 110 degrees or something stupid like that so all the flesh melts off our faces, leaving us faceless for time and all eternity, until our flesh grows back with some heavy duty skin grafts. Yes, that's right. 

Would you like to know what else is happening right now? Well, Emily went to do her little nails. Rivers sleepeth. I can't think of anything else interesting. Oh wait, here's something.


I ate a tuna sandwich in the hospital's new tuna sandwich eating room. Yes, you're seeing that right. There's hexagons everywhere. Hexagons on the floor. Hexagons on the ceiling. Hexagons inside OTHER hexagons. SO MANY HEXAGONS! What do you think of that? Huh?! What do you think of the hexagonal tuna sandwich eating room?

Well, that about wraps it up in a big shroud of sizzling tinfoil. Until next time, keep your suspenders on. What is getting suspended exactly with suspenders? Your body? Your pants? Oh heaven help us understand the suspenders before it grows too late.

Monday, June 26, 2017

8 April 22nds

April 22nd, 1998 - Wednesday

I'm not quite 11 years old. I'm in 4th grade with Mr. Devin... no, that's wrong. Mr. Kevin Dunkley. Pug the Cat had some baby kittens today. We certainly don't know who the father is. We never know. Tomorrow, I'm going to come home from school and find dead kitties in the box, and I'm going to cry. And Sheridan is going to stay up all night keeping watch to make sure whatever killed them doesn't come back and kill the survivors. But something will kill them anyway.

April 22nd, 1999 - Thursday

I don't actually remember anything from this day, other than... I'm not quite 12 years old. I'm in 5th grade with Mrs. Simpkins. Right now, I'm off track from school, which means I'm in the midst of a 2-week break. My classmates don't really like me. I play with Doug Schmutz sometimes who's pretty loyal. The only thing I write in my journal from this day is,  "I wish I could go to school today." I WISH I COULD GO TO SCHOOL TODAY. That makes no sense. Probably just so I can see Brandy Sargent. Her dad is a cop. Obviously, with a name like SARGENT.

April 22nd, 2005 - Friday

I'm not quite 18 years old. It's 11th grade. I tried to run for Senior Class President and failed miserably. I don't even know why I ran. I didn't take any of it seriously. It was all just a big joke to me. This all came to a head in the Exec Council interview when I realized, hey. I have no idea what I'm doing. Bret Voran won. As she should've. Isaac and I finished our costume waver job. Emmett joined our family last week.

April 22nd, 2006 - Saturday 

I'm not quite 19 years old. About to graduate. It's Senior Ball today with Stacy Bracklehiney. It turns out to be pretty boring and uneventful. The dance is crowded, hot, awkward because I hate dancing, hate yelling at my date while we're dancing because it's so loud and we can't hear each other. I think there are eclairs or cream puffs or something to eat for refreshments. A day date consists of going around the neighborhood trading things for better things. Eating burgers. Playing at Kerrah Kelly's house. At one point, I'm sitting by the pool with Stacy, Steve, Eric... maybe Heidi as well? And it's fun. I'm content. Somebody jumps in the water with their clothes on. Steve maybe? Eric? And we all have a good laugh. And I'm content in that little group, while most everybody else hangs out in the house. And I'm content after the dance, as I drive Stacy, Isaac, and Lacey home, although Stacy and I never know what to say to each other. Because I'm content in a little group, not in a room with hundreds of people dancing and yelling. Because I'm an introvert. But at the time this is actually happening, I don't know that. And I wish I did. Also, Eric and I are friends today. He's an introvert too.

April 22nd, 2007 - Sunday

I'm not quite 20 years old. Things have changed. I'm on a mission. Today is special, the day I get to baptize my first baptizee. Her name is Erin Donnely, and she is a very smart very talented high school student who asks REALLY good questions, so good that I don't know how to answer them, so I usually just defer to Elder Walker. We've obviously rushed this baptism. Right? I mean, we're just trying to get her baptized before I get transferred. Is she even ready? Does she actually believe? Well it doesn't matter because WE'RE BAPTIZING HER, DANGIT. I guess we'll just live with whatever happens down the road. But it's okay because ERIN'S GETTIN BAPTIZED!!

April 22nd, 2008 - Tuesday

I'm not quite 21 years old. I'm in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. We're teaching a hot babe named Britney. We just met her husband today. We thought maybe he was going to murder us for talking to his hot wife, but he was nice. They won't go anywhere but we'll keep trying to teach them. Mostly because Britney's a babe. Just kidding. Kidding that we're teaching them because she's a babe. Not kidding about her being a babe.

April 22nd, 2015 - Wednesday

I want to go to Toquerville on Saturday to a star party. But it won't happen due to crappy weather. Rivers sick and in the ER yesterday. Emily and I will both be sick tomorrow, hurling our guts out. I have a dying depressed patient at work who can't tell the difference between dreaming and reality. Oh HAPPY DAYS! Oh, I forgot... I'm not quite 28 years old.

April 22nd, 2017 - Saturday

Ah, there, we made it. If I recall correctly, we went to Dixie Nutrition because I was jonesing carrot juice. Sharon McPherson... Webb? She was there. She's worked there for like, a billion years. I worked there almost that long. Like, 2 years total. Pretty close. Then we splash padded. The end.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Take These Broken Spleens

I made a list.

These are all things (mostly music) that remind me, in some way, of my mission, or of the months directly preceding or following.

Pre-Mission (mainly summer 2006)

Anything from Radiohead's Kid A album
Anything from Radiohead's The Bends album
(more specifically, songs from those albums remind me of driving to/from work at Dixie Nutrition during the summer of 2006).

Getting closer to mission (weeks and days before- "The Presence of Impending Doom")

"How to Save a Life" by The Fray
"Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche
Anything from Jeff Buckley's Grace album
Anything from Death Cab for Cutie's Plans album (especially Brothers on a Hotel Bed)

On my way to the MTC (October 18th, 2006)

Mormon Tabernacle Choir songs - "Homeward Bound" "Suo-Gan" & "All Through the Night"

First area )Hendersonville, TN)

"Nashville Tribute to the Prophet" album
"Float" album by Bell and Cardiff
"Garden Walls" by Mindy Gledhill
The smell of golden honey flavor handsoap (which I believe we had in the bathroom)
The cologne that Elder Call wore (don't remember what it's called... but I know it when I smell it).
"Believe" by Josh Groban (first Christmas out)
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Bing Crosby (first Christmas out)

Murfreesboro, TN

"I Feel My Savior's Love" by Jessie Clark Funk

Shelbyville, TN

Enya songs from A Day Without Rain album

Bowling Green, KY

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music

Lawrenceburg, TN

Music from Colby Horton mix, including a lovely rendition of "Amazing Grace."
Music from Mindy Gledhill albums- "Sum of All Grace" & "Falling and Flying"
"Now We Are Free" from Gladiator soundtrack
"I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" by Mormon Tabernacle Choir (generally when driving to Pulaski, TN)

Post Mission Days

Music from Super Mario Galaxy
Music from Cave Story

What made all these "musics" and other things stick? Would I, at any other time in my life, have found the song "Silent Lucidity" to be that memorable when I heard it? Or would it just have been another tune that I I quickly forgot? What was it about having this impending anxiety of a coming mission that caused these things to stick in my brain? And not just stick in my brain, but to be actual instant reminders of a time and a place, and the exact emotions I felt at the time? Why does Josh Groban's "Believe" stick in my mind so much and remind me of my first Christmastime out? Why does the smell of golden honey handsoap instantly transport me back to my first apartment? There's nothing special about golden honey handsoap, is there? Because the smell carries the emotions. The song carries the emotions. What emotions? In the beginning, fear. Loneliness. Homesickness (especially during the first Christmas). Anxiety about what lay ahead. All these emotions magnified to an especially intense degree. Later on, music that drew me inward and gave me reason to reflect on the mission of Christ and the vast humbling opportunity of sharing the gospel and having stewardship over an area. Music that, in post-mission days, brings to mind the weird feeling of returning to society and engaging in all the childish garbage that was withheld from me on the mission, like vidiot games.

Well, that's all. This probably hasn't been too exciting, so I'm sorry.