Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Janelle (who works at The Scooter Lounge) got married recently and just returned from her honeymoon. In honor of this momentous occasion, I think a review of the good old birds and bees is appropriate.

Around the time I was in fourth or fifth grade, some kid showed up at school with a great recess-time joke. He would take a screw out of his pocket ask other kids, "Wanna screw?"

Of course this led to some playground speculation about "screwing." The general consensus was that sex functioned much like a nut and a bolt.

When my mom got wind that this matter was being discussed, she decided it was time for her to "educate" us about this important topic.

One day she took my older brother and I out to the garage, leaving our friends and younger siblings out, and sat us down on some old boxes. Her lecture began innocently enough. She started with the whole, "when a husband and wife love eachother very much. . ." routine, but soon steered us into uncharted waters and a bermuda triangle of information overload.
She even told us about "sick men who like to kidnap little boys" and the things they do to their "bottoms." in the process, of course, she enlightened us on the mechanics of homosexual man-love.

I remember sitting in church a few days later and realizing with horrified disgust that all of the moms and dads around me did those vile things to eachother. I also had to quit my piano lessons because I felt creeped out when my piano teacher would sit next to me on the piano bench. Sometimes her leg would touch mine and really give me the heebie jeebies. I don't know if it was what my mom intended, but her lecture made me morbidly curious and somewhat obsessed with sex. It was like a train wreck. I couldn't look away from it, but I desperately wanted to.

A few years later on a weekend visit to my dad's house, Dad invited me to go get some big gulps, just the two of us. As soon as we sat down in his 15 passenger van, he turned to me and in his thick peruvian accent he said, "Son, be careful gwith jour penis."

He didn't elaborate much, he just made it sound as though I might accidentally lose my virginity the way I might accidentally fall down an uncovered manhole while walking down the street.

Between his advice and my mom's, it's a wonder I ever left the house.

So Janelle, this one goes out to you and Jeff as you enter a new phase of life. Be careful with your nuts and bolts, scheming perverts are everywhere. Also, let your kids learn about sex the old-fashioned way-- from TV. It's much safer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Things at the lounge are going smoothly. We have a new product line coming in soon. I am excited about it, but I'll keep it close to the vest for the moment. Let me say this: 200cc, liquid cooled, four-valve, ceramic coated cylinder. It's going to be good!

What else is happening? We are extremely busy with repairs still. We have a 1959 Lambretta TV175 that is coming out of the paint booth in a day or so and reassembly will begin soon. This project is particularly exciting because we are doing the restoration for the original owner. He has a long history with this scooter including that he rode it on his first date with his wife. It is going to be really fun to present it to him in restored condition-- just like when he opened first opened the crate at the age of 14.

Funny stories? Lemme think a minute.

Nope. . . nothing.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This is another story about the Galaxie 500. I'm talking about my car, not the band. The band is well worth a listen though.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again: I have never been good at making friends. Most of my friends found me, not the other way around. In Peter's case, I was found in an introductory level linguistics class at BYU.

The professor was a really cool guy. Really. His name was Royal Skousen. I liked him. He had lots of interesting anecdotes and a good sense of humor. Once I commented on how I had seen him at Barnes and Noble the night before. He wryly said he was picking up a copy of "Linguistics for Dummies." I mentioned that I had noticed they had a book called "Sex for Dummies," and without missing a beat he said, "I hope it comes in a plastic sleeve." Ah, Royal. . . I hope they didn't fire you for that remark. It was one of the highlights of my long, fruitless college edumacation.

One day after class Peter hit on me. That's what it felt like anyway. Actually his parents had sent him a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and he was putting it into practice. I think he said something like, "I've noticed you make very insightful comments in class, would you like to get together sometime to study?"

I gave him my phone number and we started hanging out together.

One night Peter and I went to a party at Eugene Englands house. Dr. England was an English professor that BYU basically forced into retirement for his liberal views. The party was his farewell, and it was thrown by the Student Review, an off-campus newspaper with which Peter and I were involved. The Review itself died shortly thereafter, and Dr. England didn't last much longer than that. He went on to teach at UVSC before passing away unexpectedly. He had the most interesting home which he and his family had built using salvaged materials. It was a welcoming place, and a shelter. (Though I never got to know Dr. England very well, I did become well aquainted with a friend of his daughters, who was living there at the time, and I spent a fair amount of time there that Summer.) Probably the most impressive feature of the England home was the stained glass rendering of Joseph Smith's first vision. It was beautiful.

After the party, Peter and I found ourselves cruising around in the Galaxie. I was excited because I had just met the aforementioned girl. She had shown up at the party and played the dulcimer. I had never seen such an instrument, and I was immediately taken with the music as well as with the long-brown-haired musician with big brown eyes. She was striking.

As we drove up University Avenue with the windows down, a car jam-packed with eight boys who couldn't have been more than 19 years old pulled up alongside. All of them started yelling and screaming and gesturing the most horrible obscenities at us. We stopped at a light and they continued to abuse us. I calmly asked them what the problem was, but I couldn't make out a coherent reply, just more obscenities. When the light turned green I asked them to pull over up ahead. I was curious as to what I had done to upset them, and still being under the spell of the dulcimer player, I didn't imagine there was any danger.

I pulled over and got out of the car. Six of the boys got out and surrounded me. Again I asked what the problem was. The only reply I got that I understood was one of them spitting in my face. I immediately sent him reeling toward a fence with a right, and once I had him against the fence continued pummeling him as best I could with five others hitting me. One of them kicked me in the stomach and I must have gone down because they all split. I made my way back to my car, where Peter was still sitting, and I stopped halfway to my door to ask again what I had done to upset them. The biggest of them got back out of the car and ripped off his own shirt as he approached me. Alone I could have taken him, but I noticed the others starting to get out of the car too, so I just stood there while Tubby slugged me twice in the side of the head. As they drove away I memorized their license plate.

It took the police detective two months to call me back with any news. He said he had located the owner of the vehicle and was trying to get the names of the others involved. That was the last I ever heard from him. Don't believe what you see on CSI. They can't just look up license plates. It seems they have to actually go out and examine every car to find the one with the right plate on it. How else could it take TWO MONTHS? Meanwhile I was irrationally scared every time I saw a burgundy Honda Accord. I still don't understand what made them do that to me.

The apathy of the police was the first thing about the whole experience that was appalling. The second was the fact that Peter had stayed in the car the whole time. He said that Tubby had opened the door and knocked his glasses off his face, and he had spent the duration of the altercation looking for them like Velma from Scooby Doo. I wouldn't know. I was too busy getting my trash kicked.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I'm thinking of buying a scalpel on eBay. I've been looking around the web for do-it-yourself medical equipment, and I think eBay is the place for scalpels. (I have found some other interesting sites , but eBay seems to be the place for scalpels.
Here's why I need one:

Not very many people know this, but I'm an amateur surgeon. Ingrown toenails? No problem. Warts? Piece of cake. I can handle most anything.

Wait, it gets better.

I have lipomas. A lipoma is a small benign tumor composed of fatty tissue. I first noticed them in my forearms when I was a teen. The doctor removed them with a simple enough procedure. He made a small incision, removed the tumor, snipped it free of any connective tissue, and sutured the skin closed. Done.

The problem was, the tumors grew back. I also found more of them.

Fast-forward ten years. I was working for Vespa Utah, a company gracious enough to provide its employees with absolutely no insurance coverage whatsoever. One of my lipomas had gotten pretty large, about the size of a big grape. It was positioned on my arm so that whenever I sat to eat, it rested on the edge of the table. Though not painful, it was a nuisance I desperately wanted to be rid of.

One day, shortly after quitting my wonderful job, I found myself home alone. I was feeling a peculiar combination of depressed and adventurous, so I found a razor blade and set to work.

I shaved the area, cleaned it with alcohol, made an incision, and pulled out the tumor. I placed the tumor on a clean washcloth, then I soaked some q-tips in alcohol and cleaned the inside of the wound. Using a needle and thread, I had just finished the first couple of stitches when there came a knock on the door. It was my mother-in-law. She already thought I was crazy, the last thing I needed was for her to see me operating on myself.

I panicked. I folded the washcloth over the tumor, hid the alcohol and razor blade, and stuck the needle and thread, still connected to my arm, up my sleeve.

I don't remember what my mother-in-law wanted, but for some reason she came into the kitchen and in the process picked up the washcloth and wiped her face. The tumor fell onto the floor and I quickly picked it up as if nothing had happened. I don't think she knew what was going on. After she left I finished the sewing.

My wife was pretty impressed when I told her what I had done. She even helped me to remove an even larger lipoma from my thigh. But there was one on my butt about the size of a golf ball that she didn't want me to attempt to remove by myself. And since it was in a difficult position to remove alone, I decided to wait until we got on some insurance. This was a pain to do because the tumor was in my right butt cheek and I keep my wallet in my right back pocket, so every time I sat down I could feel it.

Finally the day arrived. The doctor wanted to put me under for the operation. I insisted he didn't. I knew it was an easy procedure and I didn't see the need. But I still had to go to the hospital for the surgery, and gown up and everything.

Now, a couple of years later, I still have a gnarly purple scar on my butt. You can even see the scars from when the family doctor removed lipomas from my arms when I was a teen. However, there is almost no scarring from the surgeries I did myself. They healed up fine, and so far no tumors have come back on those sites.

The moral of the story is, of course: If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The scientific method is a pile of crap. We all learned it in grammar school. It's that whole load about making observations, forming hypotheses, testing hypotheses, analyzing data, blah, blah, blah.

Right now you're probably saying to yourselves, "Dave's wrong, the scientific method works, and it is the best way yet discovered for winnowing truth from error!"

Prepare to be shown the facts.

Fact 1. Scientists are wankers. Did you ever meet a "cool" scientist? Me neither. Science is composed of lamewads, gaywads, dorkwads, and Bill Nye who is actually kind-of cool. The scientific method doesn't work for these guys either. How many stupid ideas persist simply because nobody has proven them wrong yet? Almost all of them. It took mankind like 3 billion years to prove the earth was round. Way to go scientific method!

Fact 2. I didn't win the 6th grade science fair. This is in spite of the indisputable reality that my entry rocked the very foundations of Edgemont Elementary School.

Here's what happened: I was really into robotics back then. I wanted to buy a toy robot called Omnibot 2000. It could, like, bring you a glass of water or something. The problem was that Omnibot sold for over 300 bucks. To give you an idea, back then a candy bar sold for thirty cents. My allowance in a month was good for about 2 candy bars. The sum-total of all of the allowance I got my whole life would not have bought Omnibot. Instead I got Verbot. Verbot was Omnibots retarded little brother. He was voice-controlled. About one percent of the time he would do what he was told. The rest of the time he just stood there staring blankly. And he needed new batteries every five minutes. It sucked.

So I did what I always did with my toys. I took him apart. I also took apart some remote controlled cars, a tape deck, a doorbell, and a radio shack electronic experiment set. Then, armed with all the knowledge I could glean from the World Book Encyclopedia, I set out to make my own Omnibot. I had big plans. It was going to have a built-in tape deck, a hand to pick up a glass of water, a face with light-up eyes, radio control, and rechargeable batteries.

In the process of doing my research, I came across some other interesting ideas. For one, a robot should be autonomous. A robot is not a glorified remote control car, a real robot should be able to do cool stuff on it's own, like bring you a glass of water. (This is why I think the show "Robot Wars" is a crock and I hope they all blow up in their nerdy creators faces.)

I read about early robots that used paper-tape instruction sets. I read about computer programs that were self-evolving. And somewhere I came across an explanation of how sattelites orient themselves in outer space.

(Before you start getting all sceptical, you have to know that when I was twelve, I was about four times smarter than I am now. It was before I started killing off all my brain cells with untreated sleep apnea and a decade of BYU education.)

So I put the tape deck and the grabber arm on the backburner and decided my robot would be able to orient itself like a sattelite in space. If turned on in a dark room, it would run in circles. Then if you shone a flashlight at it, it would move toward the light. It was slightly more autonomous than some lame remote controlled car, but only slightly.

I don't remember what the other kids made, except that one was something to do with leaving an egg in vinegar for two weeks to demonstrate osmosis, a word they consistently misspelled on their display materials. And I remember that somebody else made a demonstration of erosion, which I think he recycled a couple of years later to get a merit badge. I'm sure somebody also made a vinegar and baking soda volcano.

But I didn't care what the other kids did, because I was guaranteed to win. I knew I would win, the same way I knew the earth was round. I mean, I didn't think for one minute that anybody would come up with anything as compelling as my robot that I made all by myself without my mom's help that could follow a flashlight around. What could be cooler than that?

Apparently erosion was cooler.

The judges felt that I hadn't adequately followed the steps of the scientific method. Also I think they thought I must have had help from my mom. Obviously they didn't know my mom.

On the way home from school that day, feeling dejected and hopeless, carrying a huge box of robot parts, a kid came up and asked, "How do you activate it?"

"You turn it on!" I sneered.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

I had never kissed a girl until I was 16. Of course, this is only true if you don't count the kindergarten make-outs, which I don't because that would be creepy.

I was a junior. She was a senior in my creative writing class. It began with me trying to tutor her in math, which was absolutely hopeless. It ended much, much worse.

I won't tell her name, but lets call her Zeebo.

Zeebo was a strange kid-- not altogether stranger than I was, but where I was strange in a Boo Radley sort-of way, she was strange like a venus fly trap. She was an aberration. And she was mercenary toward me. She once kissed all of my friends just to tear me up. She often made as if to kiss me and then forcefully blew into my mouth. She was twisted and lovely to me.

But kissing! Kissing became my obsession. I had tunnel vision for kissing her. I lived for it. It was this strange and new all-consuming conflagration.

Now, from the comfortable perspective of a thirty-something parent I know that there is nothing uglier than two pimply teenagers tongue-wrestling. I find it totally distasteful in a strictly clinical sense. But even today as I try to write about this in a humorous way I am struggling with the emotions I feel. The best way I have found to describe it is that I felt for her things that were much too powerful for my fragile emotional fortitude. I was not capable of coping with the torrent of emotion I felt for her. I once read a poem that said it better than I ever could.

Through my life there trembles without plaint,
without a sigh a deep dark melancholy.
the pure and snowy blossoming of my dreams
is the consecration of my stillest days.

But oftentimes the great question crosses
my path. I become small and go
coldly past as though along some lake
whose flood I have not hardihood to measure.

And then a sorrow sinks upon me, dusky
as the gray of lusterless summer nights
through which a star glimmers - now and then - :

My hands then gropingly reach out for love,
because I want so much to pray sounds
that my hot mouth cannot find.

- Franz Kappus

In many ways that poem still describes me.

But this is supposed to be funny, so enough gloom already.

Zeebo and I were both victims. Victims of eachother and ourselves I might add. It's important that I say that because what follows is going to make her look really bad, and I am no saint either.

Zeebo had the worst personal hygiene I have ever known. Once we were sitting in my car and out of the corner of my eye I saw something that horrified me.

"Did you just do what I think you did?"

"I don't know what you're talking about" She coyly replied.

"You just ate a booger!"

"I did not!"

"I saw you," I said. "I saw you put your finger in your nose, dig something out, and then I saw your finger dart to your mouth as if to bite your fingernail. But you weren't biting your fingernail were you? You were eating a booger!"

"I was not! That's totally gross."

This went on until her emphatic denials caused me to question my own observation. For all I remember we might have gone to the park and made out for a couple of hours. Then, as we walked past the county courthouse, she said, "there is something about me that nobody knows except my mom."

"You pick your nose and eat it?"


"You have a vestigial tail?"

"I don't even know what that is."

"You're adopted?"


"You have a dangerous communicable disease?"


This went on for like 43 hours. I exhaused every possible strange or disgusting guess I could come up with. She answered no to all eight-hundred of them. Then she said, "It's something you already guessed."

"I knew it! You eat your boogers!"


Another 800 guesses ensued.

Then finally she admitted it. She ate her boogers. And I made out with her all the time.

Not really so different from the kindergarten make-outs after all.

She was disgusting. But I loved her anyway.

Oh Zeebo, I wish we had always never met!

Friday, September 01, 2006

In high school I became friends with a lot of cool but strange people. My sister called me a wierdo magnet. One friend I had my senior year was a guy whose family was from the Phillipines. His mom and dad told me repeated stories of tremendous wealth in their homeland, stolen by political opponents. Apparently they were just kicking it in Provo while they waited for a regime change back home so they could go back to their palace.

Anyway, this guy, lets call him Honcho for no particular reason, (His real name rhymes with mine) had some peculiar talents which may or may not have stemmed from being born something like 35 weeks early. He was so premature that he made the cover of The National Enquirer. I'm serious. I've seen the magazine in his scrapbook. He was born in Provo in 1975 at the UVRMC hospital while his Phillipine royalty parents studied at BYU.

One of his talents was that he could play any song on the piano, having heard it only once. He had never had a piano lesson in his life, and couldn't read music, but he could improvise anything.

I had lots of fun testing his skill with obscure songs from my CD collection. He played everything I threw at him. Of course I started with crap like The Phantom of the Opera, then moved on to better stuff like U2. I thought for sure I would get him with The Cocteau Twins, but it didn't phase him. I couldn't believe his ability.

So I did what anybody would have done in this situation. I entered our high schools battle of the bands contest. With Honcho as my ace in the hole, how could I go wrong?

Honcho was really into synth pop and John Hughes films, so naturally we looked at covering bands like The Thompson Twins and The Psychedelic Furs. Eventually we settled on a New Order tune called Every Little Counts. It's lyric pretty much summarizes my high school experience-- four years of hoping to be accepted by people I couldn't stand. It has lines like "Eventhough you're stupid I still follow you," and "I think you are a pig, you should be in a zoo."

I wish I could say that I stood up at the mike and sang my heart out, musically giving the finger to all the jocks in the front row. I wish I could say that Honcho had played the keys off of the synthesizer like that homo in Erasure. I wish I could say I won the contest and the affections of the quarterbacks girlfriend. Hell, I wish I had skied the K-12 on one ski while being chased by a deranged paperboy.

Here's what actually happened: The student body president Sunny Jim Caldwell put us on stage as the opening act, but he started us ten minutes before the show was supposed to start. In spite of the fact that most people hadn't even arrived yet, I was too shy to sing clearly into the mike. Not even the effers in the front row heard me call them stupid. I had forgotten to sequence the ending of the song into the synth, so Honcho improvised with a couple of chords, and then I walked offstage in my too-small David Early mechanics shirt from goodwill and my too-tight H.I.S. jeans I bought at Shopko with my head hung like Charlie Brown. My long bangs were hanging in my eyes. That was it. My moment in the sun.

I just realized something though. I didn't suck. I was just so far ahead of my time that the world wasn't ready to recieve the awesomeness that was Honcho and Dave.

I think I inadvertently started Emo.

So when you see a bunch of guys wearing girls pants and makeup, and a bunch of girls who look like they could beat the crap out of them standing outside some venue waiting to see a band with a name like Death Hearse of Joy, you should probably blame me. It's my fault.