Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Note on Rose Hills

The WilkeWorld family has one less member this week as Grandma Lila Mae Evans Hamren Laird passed away on February 21, 2006. Her service was held yesterday at the Rose Hills Cemetary in Whittier, California.

A few words that I feel like stating at this time. My Grandmother was a very unique and exceptional woman. She was uncompromising when it came to her conviction, and she was relentless with her enthusiasm for almost everything that she ever did. She will be missed but not easily forgotten. Her legacy is one of love, devotion, and energy that we, her family, will remember forever.

We miss you, Grandma.

On a related note, the Teenager got a monkey pillow from Grandma Lila (before her passing) and she named it Mister MacGregor. She was appropriately delighted.

What will be your legacy?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Note on Menudo

I love little Touchdown with all of my heart, but sometimes she baffles me to n0 end.

For two days now she has been carrying around on her thumb a small sequine that fell off her sister's purse. Apparently the sequine is named Menudo and it is her best friend. She took it to bed with her and to the bath and tried to feed it something for dinner. She is so taken with this little sequine that I am scared to vacuum him up.

Baby Indy is fascinated with it as well. After all, his sister talks to it and carries it around as if it was a puppy. Yesterday, I found Touchdown eyeing a little piece of string. Her next best friend? Who knows? I can't wait for the fight between the sequine and the piece of string.

What ever happened to dolls? Somehow I got stuck with Grandpa Nut, Perry the homeless man, and a sequine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Note on Sheer Luck

Before my wife and I were married, she invested in a few companies. The investments have been both good and bad. One of the investments was a small little biofuel company called Green Star Products Inc. (GSPI.PK). Well, over the last several weeks the company jumped in value almost doubling its NAV due to a few contracts with the states of California and New York. We were pretty excited about its impressive rise to prominence and were contemplating purchasing a lot more shares.

Well, today their biofuel processing plant burned to the ground. So much for that whole idea. A lone tear now falls to the keyboard as I write.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Note on Book Loving

Anita at Fighting Inertia and Its All About the Book has tagged me with a meme and, like her, I am not a fan of memes but I have thought about doing this meme for a while as I've seen it on other sites. So why not do it now?

The Top Five Novels I've Ever Read
(in no particular order)

1. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner--I just read this one and really enjoyed it. It won a Pulitzer in the early 70's when it came out and the fact that Stegner is from the West and writes of Western things impressed me greatly. I would recommend anyone that wants to know the real Western experience to give this book a try.

2. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo--This is a cliched pick as it is a very successful musical, but I read this unedited (1200 pages) when I was severely depressed in the mid-nineties and it filled me with hope and charity. Hugo's real strength lies in his ability to build suspense, even when he alternates his chapters between action and historical analysis.

3. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad--I had to bring a dictionary along with me on this one as Conrad is a tough read, but I still remember this vividly even though its been a good 20 years since I read it. I still love the line, "The horror, the horror, the horror."

4. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway--I admit it. I love Hemingway. This is still my favorite although I've read The Sun Also Rises and Farewell to Arms. Again, I am drawn to the author with the Western flair.

5. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I read both of these in an English Literature class in college and loved them both. I am not sure that Emma isn't my favorite of Austen's and Tess isn't my favorite of Hardy's but I will stick with these two simply because these two are the most endearing and clever.

The Last Book I Read

The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket--hey, it was pretty entertaining if not completely ridiculous.

The Last Book I Bought

I am not a buyer of books but rather a library junkie, but the last one I bought was The Complete Works of Josephus. Exciting, huh?

Three Books I Want to Read but Haven't Got Around to Yet

1. Baudolino by Umberto Eco--I started it but got sidetracked.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee--Never read it and wanted to for the longest time.

3. Yo El Supremo by Augusto Roa Bastos--It's about Paraguay.

Five Books that Have Special Meaning to Me

1. The Book of Mormon--Yeah, big deal. So a Mormon guy says The Book of Mormon is special to him. Well, yes, it is. This book forms the basis of my religious ideology, which is incredibly special to me, and for that I include it here. For those of you who have never read it, it is the story of a group of Jewish settlers that landed in the Americas in 600 B.C.

2. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole--It was just so funny and so entertaining. I was forever changed when I read that book and discovered real literary comedy. I want to have that kind of timing in my prose.

3. Conquest by Hugh Thomas--Never have I been so taken with a book of history. It is the story of Montezuma and Cortes and done so well that I can't even describe how impressed I was when I first read it.

4. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum--Give me a break, how cool is this book? My first real page turner and I still think of Ludlum as the master, even more so than LeCarre.

5. Hondo by Louis L'Amour--The first book I think I ever read. As a youngster, this book framed my experience of youth. I lived in the west amidst cowboys, just like Hondo. Or so I thought.

Well, that's it. I am sure I forgot some book that I'll wish I had remembered for this list, but I'm pretty happy with it. It does represent my literary tastes.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A List on Yearly Blogging

I can't believe it. I let my Blogiversary pass without even a mention. That's right folks. I have been blogging for over a year now. WilkeWorld is a little one-year-old smashing chocolate cake with chocolate frosting all over its face. Yippee!!!

I present here a list of what I've learned about the blogosphere in the past year. Thank you all for your support.

1. If you don't comment they won't come. The "I'll pat you on the back if you'll pat me on the back" thing is alive and well in the blogosphere. A big thank you to all of you who show up here despite my bad manners on occasion.

2. There is a lot of interesting anagrams at work in the blogosphere that I was never aware of as a casual observer. LOL. SAHM. SAHD. IMHO. LMAO. LOTFLMAO. EOM.

3. Getting tagged the first thirty times was cool, but then it just got oppressive.

4. Stats were at one time very exciting. I remember my first comment was from an anonymous source and I just about wet my pants I was so excited. Now, they are amusing but not particular exciting (the stats that is).

5. I can blog for a complete year. Indigo has ridiculed me for be a slacker and not posting every day over the last year but the fact that I am still blogging is remarkable for me. Other than my marriage, I doubt I've stuck with anything for a full year.

6. The blogosphere is full of some really amazing people. I don't think you all realize just how much I enjoy going to your sites and reading about your lives, your failures, your triumphs and the inane and crazy things you do on a day to day basis. You are a second family of sorts.

7. I am a computer illiterate. Thanks to Cybervassal, I have this wonderful template that I enjoy immensely, but I can't seem to figure how to do much of anything else. I am getting there, but I understand my limitations.

8. The Wife still supports my blogging addiction.

9. The Wizard still tolerates it.

10. The Sea Cow still rules.

Thanks everyone for a great year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A List of Musical Garbage

In a total effort to clue everyone in to my absolute nerdiness as a product of the eighties, I present here the top ten '80's groups that I am embarrassed to say I listened to as a teen.

1. Ratt--I was in fact a little intrigued by this group and found myself thinking at one point that the little rat-tail they all sported was pretty cool, but ultimately I thought better of the whole thing.
2. Dokken--Not as inspired as Ratt, but they also weren't as crass, so that had to mean something.
3. Howard Jones--I don't think this was nearly as bad as the first two, but I go back and see the videos and I realize just how over the edge we all went.
4. Hall and Oates--I don't know why I think they were nerdy, but I do. Their songs were pretty good in a pop sort of way, but again I just think if that came on the radio now I would switch the channel. I don't know why.
5. Mister Mister--I loved these guys tremendously and still do to a certain extent. I must be a total nerd, but I don't even care. Mister Mister is still cool.
6. Lou Bega--I know he's in the nineties, but I can't believe I bought his album. Uggghhhh!
7. Loverboy--I wasn't even working and I sang "Working for the Weekend" like it was my anthem. They were also the very first band I saw live. Long live pop rock.
8. Yaz--Upstairs at Eric's is still one of my favorite CD's. I have never listened to the words of any of the songs yet, but I still think the band was cool.
9. The Hooters--I hear them now and I still like them. Why are they even on this list? I still love them.
10. The Cult--I really am a product of the eighties.

Hope this brings back memories for you all.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Note on Milk Shakes

The Teenager just made a chocolate milkshake for me with ICE!! Lots of ICE!! I didn't want to tell her that you don't put ice in it because she was so excited to make it for me, but it is really bad and I'm going to have to choke it down so she doesn't feel bad.

A Memory of the Civic Center

I don't know if I have properly explained that the Wizard (my father) was a tremendously talented basketball player in his day. He was the two time All-Church Tournament MVP (for those not familiar with the tournament, it featured teams from every Mormon denomination in the country back in the sixties) When I was three months old, I was featured on the front page of the Deseret News in my father's arms as he accepted the MVP trophy.

Well, to say the least, the Wizard was a basketball playing phenom (he even tried out for an ABA team). So for the better part of my childhood, I was dragged to basketball games all over the mountainous West, but I was dragged most often to the Rupert Civic Center.

The Civic Center was little but a basketball court and a dusty unused stage with a couple of volleyball standards and a podium. I remember this because my brother and I would consistently play behind the stage curtains inventing games and playing hide and seek during the games. We were there for hours at a time so we had to be inventive. We especially enjoyed trekking underneath the rickety wooden bleachers that they would pull out from the wall.

We always had a basketball ready in case a team called timeout or the quarter ended so we could sprint onto the court and hoist up our own jumpers. As I approached the age of 9 or 10, the city started a youth league at this very same Civic Center. I was ecstatic to be playing in the same place as my father. He and my mother were faithful supporters (I never saw them trekking underneath the bleachers) and every once in a while my Grandpa Kay would even show up to cheer me on.

In the middle of the winter like it is now, I often remember driving 15 miles on Camp Road in our wood-paneled station wagon as snow drifted and blew all over the roads just to get to the Civic Center for a game. Good times....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Note from the Crazy Bin

This weekend I had the chance to go to the Provo/Orem area and watch the teenager swim at State and when I was there I came across this little gem of a story.

To check it out, press here.

Sometimes you just got to forgive and forget.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A Note on State

As many of you already know, the Teenager has been involved in competitive swimming over the last year and a half. Well, about two weeks ago she participated in the High School Regionals and set two personal bests. Her time in the 200 Individual Medley actually qualified her for State, so this weekend we loaded up the minivan and made the four hour trip to Provo to watch the Teenager compete at the Utah 3A State Swimming Competition.

She did great. While she didn't improve her time from Regionals, she came very close to it and wound up 22nd in the entire state in the 200 Individual Medley. She was a tad disappointed in her result, but considering the level of competition and her relative newness to the sport, I was totally impressed and immensely proud of her. Congratulations, Teenager on a very successful first year of high school swimming.

I asked her if she enjoyed her experience at State and if she wanted to do it again. She enthusiastically replied that it was one of the funnest things she has ever done. I think she's hooked.

Now on to my experience at State.

I am a Swim Dad (read Swim Freak). I religiously kept every single time for every kid in every event on the heat sheets. I lost my voice. I know nothing about swimming, but I commented on every event like I was a cross between Howard Cosell and Rowdy Gaines. I would like to say for the record that I was not the most fanatical swim parent however. One hefty Dad and his equally hefty wife wore bright orange t-shirts (not the school's colors) just so their kid could spot them in the crowd.

Usually I am not one to gush over athletic accomplishments, but these kids were astounding. Two state records fell and two other kids came within an eyelash of setting several others. I have never been around so many athletic nerds. The girls are buff and the boys are just gangly and lerpy. It is quite a sight to behold. Add to that the youthful flirtation of a bunch of hormonal teens in swimsuits and you have quite a sight indeed.

I can't wait for next year.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Note on Balzac

"He shot himself where?" screamed the Wife at 6:00 A.M. exactly one year ago to this day.

There is nothing like the shock of being awakened by a phone call announcing that your father-in-law has accidently shot himself and is now being taken by ambulance to the hospital near your home for emergency surgery. We were shocked, concerned, saddened and then ultimately amused when when we found out that he was going to be fine.

"Amused?" you ask. Well, it goes something like this.

At 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 31st, 2005, the father-in-law was attempting to retrieve a baseball cap from high atop a drawer in his garage when he accidentally snagged a pistol off said shelf. He tried valiently to catch the pistol before it fell to the ground, but, alas, could not. As the pistol landed on the cement floor of the garage it discharged and shot a tiny bullet straight through his...ahem....scrotum. Yep, that sacred and well protected area all men are so cautious about.

The injury warranted immediate medical attention, but due to the precarious positioning of the entry wound and subsequent exit wound and then re-entry wound, the Father-in-Law wasn't about to subject himself to medical prodding and poking. So....they waited until he almost died before rushing him to the hospital.

Now, in the hospital, the attendees have to report any gunshot wounds to the police authorities, so not only was the Mother-in-Law worried about her husband, but she was busy defending herself to the police (a la Lorena Bobbitt). It was a complete circus.

When we arrived on the scene, he was mildly sedated and they were preparing to remove the bullet from his abdomen where it eventually came to rest after puncturing his small intestine. The Mother-in-Law commenced to tell me how she tried looking for the bullet in the "affected area" but couldn't find anything (a description I shall, regretfully, never forget). As they hauled him off, the wife was in tears as was the Mother-in-Law. It was a peculiar nightmare indeed.

Now, a year later, the pistol sits framed on a shelf in their living room. The Father-in-Law is fine. He still gets teased on occasion from his golfing buddies (they tell him they'll bring the balls), but he is resilient and usually fires right back.

An interesting Anniversary celebration we will have today, but a thankful one.