Monday, May 11, 2009

I moved the blog to wordpress.



You can get to it here: shortandbanal.wordpress.com

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Well, school's out for the year. I finished everything on Wednesday and I still have those momentary flashes of guilt when I find myself enjoying life. You know those moments, when that little voice that tells me whenever I'm doing something wrong--Kaaryn--says "shouldn't you be working right now instead of having fun?"

Anyway, my next big task is the LSAT. I posted a while ago and declared my intentions to apply to law school. In that post I said that I would blog about my preparations for applying. I meant it. Allow me to begin with a bit of a confession. I am a little nervous about this. I have become somewhat accustomed to succeeded in matters academic. And thus I have gained what some might call a touch of ego (not an unhealthy Kobe Bryant/ Jenna Maroney cosmic narcissism, more of a Clubber Lang aversion to failure without the toughness or blackness). Therefore, I find myself tempted to hold back in case I come short of my stated goals. However, my friend Teresa recently went through a very serious medical ordeal and blogged about it with honesty and candor. Somewhat inspired by her ability to blog, I figure to just go for it and give a full account of how things go for me.

So I will say this, I take the LSAT on Monday, June 8. My minimum goal to score is 170, about the 98th percentile. My goal for an optimal score is 175, about the 99.7th percentile. Why not aim high? One can purchase all of the LSAT tests of yesteryear. I have about 25 actual tests to take. I've taken full tests before. But to do so, I had to take them throughout the day, portion here and there. I once managed to score a 176, but that was not in one sitting. So I started my studying by retreating to the Crowley public library and taking a full, timed test. I was disappointed and scored a 164. That's not really that good. And what really burns me up is that I didn't do that well on the reading portion.

When I practiced previously, I was able to get the whole of the reading portion correct. This time, I sucked. This has disappointed me somewhat. But I have a month to work on it. It is also clear that I need to work on the deductive reasoning portion.

Anyway, I'll quit boring everyone with this. I'll think of something fun to post soon. And I'll keep everyone updated on the studying and what not.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It is a little known secret that I like to tell jokes. So when I took a creative writing class this semester that required me to write poetry it was only natural that I should use the opportunity to tell a joke or two. I am not a huge fan of poetry and do not consider myself a poet. So I came up with some ways to stretch the genre of the "prose poem" a bit. Here is my latest. Fear not, those of you who dislike poetry. I think you will find this rather un-poetic.


A Discourse on Depantsing


Of all the sophmoric pranks, the depantsing is funniest. Perhaps this is because nobody gets hurt. There is no mess to clean up. Nothing gets broken, except, of course, the occasional torn belt loop or stretched waist band. However, the depantsing is fully capable of delivering a crushing blow to one's dignity.

At first glance, the depantsing is simple. Sneak up to someone, and force their pants down. But there is much to it. One sneaks up the victim, arms outstretched at the shoulders, hands open, like Frankenstein's monster but with a devious grin. And then, just like that! A swift and forceful tug. The pants come down. The victim thrusts his hips away from the perpetrator, his back bending backward, contorting his body into the shape of a “C” and shouting something profane. This is the depantsing.

But the crafty depantser cannot stop planning here. He must plan for contingencies. Suppose the underwear comes down. This places his face dangerously close to naked butt cheeks and skin could graze (and a savvy victim might realize the potential for swift and decisive reprisal by just these means). Then there is the possibility of insufficient droppage. For a depantsing to be official, one must remove the pants beneath the level of underwear (it is fully understood among the lowbrow community that a victim wearing boxers will present more of a challenge to the perpetrator, however allowances are made for degree of difficulty). Plu there is always the possibility of a reactionary punch, not to mention to unspoken law that demands that such a punch be accepted as just. And finally, the ironic reality that the depanster is himself quite vulnerable to a depantsing of his own.

But one item must be made clear before discussion can continue. Let us no more debase this prank by referring to it as “pansting.” What an impoverished word this is! Pantsing is just the opposite of depantsing. Pantsing is precisely what the victim wants! He, all of us, want to be pantsed, which is to say to keep our pants over those things we believe they should be over. No, no, ours is the business of depantsing. Therefore, the proper order of this prank, as it pertains to the position of one's pants, is this: pantsing, depantsing, repantsing. Any other word will simply not do.

What exactly is it about the depantsing that makes for humor? It is a matter, not only of flouting conventions, but of forcing another to flout them. Pants, you see, are expected to reside about the waist area (with some exceptions for different cultures and use of the bathroom). Pants are not found about the knees or the ankles except in those brief moments of transition when one goes from clothed to naked. It would draw a fair amount of attention should one choose to stop their pants in any other place but the waist, for we, as a culture, have very specific expectations about the appropriate placement of the top of one's pants. The depantser uses these expectations against his victim. The victim's pants are taken from the appropriate, waist-high, level, and pulled down to a level more conducive to humor and ridicule.

The depantsing is a very homoerotic prank. However, the fear of homoeroticism is overcome by the knowledge that the male buttocks is offensive to the sight, and even bared intentionally as a prank of its own known colloquially as “mooning.” Thus, a depantsing that includes removal of any underwear, known to athletes and frat boys as the “full trau,” can be considered to have victimized, not just the person whose pants were adjusted to the humorous, culturally disapproved levels, but also anyone who witnesses the sight of man's naked buttocks. This is why the depantsing remains a strictly male prank. Any possibility of defining the act as sexual assault is lost with the general disgust that comes about when butt cheeks surface.

Thus the victim is placed into a rather awkward circumstance, finding his pants at a level wont to draw attention. He must react. The most common method is to quickly move away from the perpetrator and restore his pants to the level of their previous repose (the perpetrator will have given the victim space for reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph). Some will strike at the perpetrator out of anger with one hand, while using the other to hike up their pants at an awkward angle. This rarely works, since the victim must bend at the waist in order to reach his pants, rendering him incapable of delivering a sufficient blow to his attacker. Furthermore, the one hand he allows for pants-restoration will be insufficient for a proper and swift recovery of his dignity. Therefore, the one-handed strike is rarely attempted in a full-trau situation. There is but one way to defeat the depantser once it has become too late. For the depantsing requires at the very least a modicum of dignity in the victim. There must be something about the victim that makes him say to himself, “Self, I have noticed, although I've never heard it said explicitly, that pants should be fastened about a certain level, the waist level, and, by gosh, I aim to comply with this!” Without this, there is no joke. Therefore the man who defeats the depantsing is he who, having found his pants involuntarily strapped around his ankles, leaves them there for a time and asks of everyone around just what the big deal is.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday. Palmer household. Night.

Tonight, Kaaryn went to her book club. Salem protested. The door you see is the door to the garage.


video


Don't worry. She recovered just minutes later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today Matt is 27! For his birthday this year, I decided that I would collect stories about Matt from family and friends, and put them all together into one book. Now this was no easy task, but my nagging skills came in handy (Matt tells me I have improved). I was able to get it together while Matt was teaching seminary at 5am. He read the stories and I heard much laughing.


Thank you everyone for your stories! If I missed anyone or you still have a story, email them to me at kaarynpalmer@gmail.com and I will put them in. We want to keep adding so it is never too late.

There are 2 stories which I want to include on our blog. The first is from Matt's brother, Nolan, who I had to threaten with love songs (because I thought it would shame him into it) and Stewie Foust, who is a friend of Matt, and his story has much less poop than the first.

WARNING! This story contains funny jokes about poop. If you are eating dinner you might want to wait (I am talking to you Saleem!)

From Nolan:

Kaaryn asked us to write down our favorite “Matt stories,” so I figured since it’s a gift to you I might as well write it as if I was talking to you. Before I begin with the story I will make a request that you don’t think of correcting my grammar or punctuation. I write criminal reports, not novels, so please don’t give me grief. Unless you want a punch in the face and if so please advise.

My story is about the time when you came to work with me at Capitol for those two magical weeks. Fortunately for you that was all, but for me the nightmare continued on for several months. We had previously discussed that you would come to my house in the morning and leave your car there so we could drive to work together. You wanted to carpool because it was more logically sound to use one car instead of two but I think you were using you economic and ecologic sensitivity as a front to cover your cheapness. There I said it, you’re cheap and everyone knows it. I wish I was but look who I married.

When you arrived in the morning the first thing you said to me was “I have to poop so bad.” I offered you the use of my toilet so you could take care of the poop that was so bad it required an announcement but you refused and said you could wait until we got to work. You continued to mention the poop several times before we actually left my house and I figured that if the poop was this bad it was probably fully cooked and would come flying out of there but you insisted that we leave for work.

Once we hit the road and started driving westbound on the 202 north freeway we began to chit-chat about random topics but you would occasionally interrupt the conversation to let me know that there was still poop in you that was begging for air. At that point we had made a commitment to get to work on time and we both agreed you could still make it there without accident. I believe that if we would have been in some cheesy, predictable, Hollywood summer blockbuster it would have been the moment when they zoom out to show my car driving on the freeway from a bird’s eye view with some ominous orchestra work playing in the background. As if the audience couldn’t figure out from the dialogue that you were going to straight-up mess those drawers to the point of no return.

As we passed under the 101 overpass you suddenly thrust your hips into the air and yelled “Nolan, pull over. I don’t care where.” I argued that I was unfamiliar with the area and wasn’t sure where I should pull over and you desperately replied in a high pitched squeaky voice “Anywhere!” The first exit I had available was at Scottsdale Rd in Tempe (ironically where I now work.) I exited northbound and pulled into a Jack in the Box parking lot on Scottsdale Rd and Curry Rd. I kid you not as soon as the car was going less than ten miles per hour you jumped out and took off running towards the entrance to the restaurant. In all you haste you neglected to see that no lights were on in the restaurant and a group of homeless men were sleeping at the front door. But either way that didn’t stop you from grabbing onto the front door handle and pulling on it with you whole body in desperation. The question I have is if you were able to break that door open would you still be able to concentrate enough to poop knowing you had just committed a crime? Or was the poop so cooked that there was no concentration required?

After you had come to the realization that you were not going to get you then turned, ran in front of my car, got on your tippy toes and yelled “I’m pooping my pants!” You yelled it out several times, enough to wake up the homeless sleeping in front of the restaurant. I imagine the bums were thinking to themselves “This is the best dope I’ve ever had. I need to find that dealer, kiss him and pay whatever he wants to get some more.” It’s not everyday that you find a white guy in business casual attire yelling out that he defecated himself at four in the morning. I think it was a first for everyone involved.

Once you finished the announcement you got back into my car, hips still thrust forward out of consideration for my upholstery (which I appreciated,) and we headed northbound on Scottsdale until we could find an open gas station. A Shell station was the first we found and you ran inside trying to find a bathroom. Unfortunately they kept the bathroom locked, forcing you to go to the front desk and frantically explain you needed the key. You should have seen that! You were wildly waiving your arms and your sense of urgency caused the attendant to panic so he couldn’t focus and find the key. Eventually he gave it to you and you ran back into the bathroom. At that point I was glad you had gone out of sight because I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. I was to the point where I was dry-heaving and getting dangerously close to vomiting if I didn’t stop soon.

Five minutes later you returned, undies in hand, defeated by the poop you said you could handle. Personally I believe that poop heard you inside your intestines and took it as an insult to his size and strength, deciding at that moment you would pay for your lack of faith. If my memory serves me well you didn’t go home to change after the poop but instead decided to fly Han Solo, a gutsy move that could have ended in disaster. So there you are a good “Matt story.” Don’t spend it all in one place.

From Stewie:

Matt is a very gifted writer. Anyone who knows him well is aware of this fact. While I was on my mission, I received many well-written and humorous letters from Matt that were a welcome escape from some of the stress and pressure of missionary work. The only problem with Matt's letters is that he would tend to neglect including the important stuff. Of all the information he could have sent, his letters would include things like a story about kids that dress as James Dean and rob elderly women. My favorite letter was one in which Matt said "Oh by the way, did I tell you I got married" (I wasn't even aware he was seeing anyone) "anyway, here are 100 random thoughts I've been writing for the last few months." Though highly entertaining, Matt's letters were chock-full of irrelevant information. But in the end isn't that the information that is truly relevant? The answer is no.

Happy birthday Matt! You are a great friend and we only wish there were more of you to go around.

Yours always,

Stewie

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter picture bonanza!

I know I've been neglectful of late. I make no apologies. It's crunch-time for school, so I'll get right down to business. (Teaser: I'm working up some humor for a soon-to-be post. Check back.)

Today we had an Easter egg hunt for church. Salem was able to do this for the first time. We took pictures and video. Enjoy.

There is a learning curve on egg hunting.
video

I am afraid how all of this might translate in the backyard. The dogs have been known to leave prizes, if you know what I mean.


Some video. Notice how she clings to Kaaryn's pants like those eggs are dangling over a cliff.
video

"I can't wait to eat that bunny!"


Check out the hairdo.


"This egg tastes like crap."



Salem and her friend Katie making up after the customary pre egg hunt punch for strategic advantage.


Looks cute. . . but that's not candy.



This event was held at a lake that is less than half an hour from our place. Here is another panoramic picture courtesy of Windows Live Photo Gallery. Click on it to enlarge.




Bonus double post!

Just when you thought (hoped) it was over, I surprise you with a double post. I'm afraid that is about how exciting things get around here.

Anyway, Kaaryn has been terribly excited. She got a new chandelier for our dining room. I guess it's supposed to be pretty fancy. It's handmade in the US of A. These sell for $650 in the store. She got it new in box on craig'slist for $130.


Here's the old one.



The new one. To be honest, I really don't see a $650 improvement. I barely see $200.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Every now and then I read a book that I really like. It just so happens that that just so happened. We were assigned the book No Other Life by Gary Young for a writing class I'm taking right now. This book is actually made up of three books that Young published separately, but the whole thing is less than 180 pages long.



This is a book of what is called prose poetry. Prose poetry is more or less what is sounds like: very short bits of prose, no lines or rhyming or anything like that. Think of a prose poem as a tiny short story that does not attempt to move through time, but rather adds depth to a particular image or situation.

This book is very, very dark. But I like how the character is able to reconcile himself with the violent and dangerous world he inhabits. Here are some samples:

This is my favorite poem from the work. It's a good example of how the character finds joy in a fallen world. This is all of page 175:

"Our life is one catastrophe after another. Disaster dogs us. I'm the luckiest man alive, and you know what that means. Earthquakes, landslides, falling trees. Wind and rain and rising waters. What the hell, we survive. The coyotes are screaming on the other side of the field; it's a strange music. The stars are out. It's lovely here, and like the world, I marry you every day."

Here's another of my favorites. This is everything on page 16:

"The baby fusses. I read a book to quiet him, and he calms. His fingers open, show a lifeline, heartline, and all the fates lurking in his flesh. He's asleep when I finish, and one hand closes in a fist around my thumb. Somewhere he learned even dreams must be tethered to the earth."

One more of my favorites. Page 140:

"When your children ask, will you always love me, say you will love them forever, and tell them what forever means. You can explain the heavens if they ask, and tell them, your bodies are made from the dust of shattered stars. But when they ask you, will I ever die, then lie to them. They're still young, and it might frighten them if you said, no."

These are somewhat more uplifting than much of the book. But this is the kind of redemption the book offers amid all of the heavy things it ponders. As it would happen, this book is available free from Google Books. Just follow this link if you're interested:

http://books.google.com/books?id=OK4_6bLRB8wC&dq=no+other+life+gary+young&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=RtLgNfA7E-&sig=K-qfhHgjHuk74iVabvz55T_9AU4&hl=en&ei=x-bPSaOSOunrnQe0_ZzgCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result#PPP1,M1

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I just recently downloaded Window Live Photo Gallery. Available free here: http://download.live.com/photogallery

It has a feature that will create a panoramic photo by stitching several photos together. Here is a panoramic view of our living room. This is actually five pictures stitched spanning close to 180 degrees of our room. Click on it for a big version. I really like this software.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I know I promised to keep updating our spring break projects. Well, you were a fool to trust me! But I am now getting caught up. We finished the floor, picture below.

Shane, Jace, and Jalan all came and helped with the floor. Shane brought Salem an Easter bunny. This bunny sings a song and dances and hops about, as you'll see in the video. You'll also see that Salem inherited her Grandma Jamie's courage. We'll get more pictures up soon.


video

Here is the finished floor. It came with a free baby.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring break project #1. Muuuuuuulch!

We don't have too many projects planned for spring break. And, technically, this isn't even the first one. I had to replace two planks in the fence that Mojo busted out (we don't call him Big Mo for nothing).



The area in front of our house has been overrun by weeds for some time. It has five or six rose bushes that produce many roses, and of which I am very fond. Today, we dug up all of the weeds and grass and put down some red mulch. Check it out.



I like the way the mulch looks. But, I have to admit, it tasted like crap.