18 December 2008

Do You Know How to Park?

(While very much against my blog policies, I have decided to re-post again, as when I arrived at work today, I found that the problem outlined below was at the level of national disaster. Enjoy!)

Imagine, if you will, a common parking spot. Envision yourself pulling your car into that spot and parking perfectly between those yellow or white lines, as we all know you can.

Now you step out of the car. Look around and notice, how much space is there between you and the car next to you? [pause]

How many inches do you think it would be? Maybe 18" or 24"? That's probably your average. Typical parking spaces measure between 8' and 8.5', leaving about a foot and a half to two between parked cars. People can generally (except for a few 'special' individuals) handle those standards. We've parked under such specifications for many years, we should do it on an instinctual level such as fitting food in our mouths.

Snow, the
refore, must be some form of psychotropic substance.

Have you ever noticed when it snows that suddenly 8 out of ten people couldn't park straight or with reasonable distances to save their lives? What's the change? A little white stuff? I hate to be cynical, but I have created an artist's rendition of what I believe parking lots look like when it snows. As a people we probably lose half the spots in the lot because someone has over estimated their distance, missed the middle line, or otherwise botched up the simple grid that I would hope they could imagine in their mind. It really is amazing.

I know that while driving in inclement weather, your following distance should double or triple, but while parking the same rule does not apply. I would call all citizens of the free world to maintain their parking distances, rain, shine or snow. Sure it may be a good excuse to leave an extra five feet between you and the next car, but think of the people who are running late. Where will they park?

16 December 2008

Snow: Friend or Foe, You Decide

(This is a re-post from last December, however I feel just as passionate about this subject at this very moment as I did then.)

In the last few days, Provo has been invaded by millions upon millions of little weapons created to quickly forward the natural selection process. Who sent this micro-warfare to reap havoc you ask? If you are looking to blame some radical, extremist group like the Democratic Party, you are mistaken. No, this wasn't the work of any ordinary person. She is so much more. Two words: Motha' Nature. You didn't think she was behind all of the chaos did you? Well think again. These millions of weapons I am referring to are tiny flakes of snow (bet you didn't see that coming). Yes, snow. Sure some people think it's pretty, b
ut have you ever seen a "SoCal" driver or pedestrian try to negotiate roads, sidewalks and stairs during these precarious invasions? Nature herself is targeting and picking off certain segments of our population, one "fluffy," "pretty" snow storm at a time. It's genocide. Nothing more, nothing less. Imagine if it snowed more regularly in Texas. In that land of the bigger, those flakes could be used by she who will not be named as ninja stars (see artist's concept at left). No need to worry about yellow snow, no, now children in Texas as they are preparing to go out to school will have to avoid crimson red snow (not to mention the bodies of the victims). Some will tell you that snow is innocent fun. That it comes and collects on our trees (just coincidentally breaking their limbs) and on our cars (making us crash because we can't see) and on our paths (increasing senior citizen hip replacements by two fold) making the place look beautiful before vanishing as it melts (and floods our farmlands). I for one am not so sure. So I submit this important decision to you, my loyal readers. Is snow our friend or is it our foe? If it is our friend, I suggest you heavily pad and armor yourself and go out and play. If foe, then contact your legislators and demand that action be taken. I would rather see war against Motha' Nature in the form of heightened greenhouse gas production and massive deforestation before one more snide and malevolent flake hits my roof.

10 December 2008

Clone Wars

So apparently I have a clone. He apparently is full-grown and apparently only recently came into existence. Apparently. The other night I was Googling myself (yes, vain I know). It seems like a ridiculous thing to do, but every few months I like to see what's out there. Usually it's mostly the same stuff with a few little additions. This time I found an unwelcome addition to my hits. When I looked under a people directory, I was surprised to find that there is a Chris Giovarelli living at 533 Hazel Ave. in Vineland, New Jersey.

It appears I have been living in New Jersey all this time without knowing it. That or I have a cloned twin. That or that or I have a stalker who wants to be me. All of the above (3that), or perhaps someone is trying to steal my identity . . . I tend to think it's the clone one.

Just to be safe, I decided to call my credit card company to report the issue. The lady I spoke with was very helpful, until I explained how I had become suspicious.

Credit Card Lady: Wait, so you Googled yourself?
Me: Yes
Credit Card Lady: Isn't that kind of weird?
Me: Please don't judge.
Credit Card Lady: So, you found someone with your name on Google who lives in New Jersey?
Me: Yes
Credit Card Lady: Did you think that maybe there is just someone in New Jersey with your name?

While I can't fault her logic, I am the only Chris Giovarelli this country has ever seen. If not, what do I have? I am nothing (dramatic pause as I throw myself on the sofa with a lost look of anguish and despair)! NOTHING! Actually, I do know for a fact that I am the only Chris Giovarelli, because with a name like Giovarelli, frankly most of the immigrants were happy to change it to Jones or Smith when they landed. "Did you say your name was Julio Brendizi Giovarelli? How about we just call your Jebidiah Smith?" "Okay." I can count on one hand the Giovarelli families in this country (all related, of course). Aside from simple egotistic arguments (the best there are really), Chris Giovarelli 2 (As I lovingly refer to my clone these days) only came into existence since the last time I Googled myself (which I am sad to admit wasn't that long ago). He couldn't be that fresh off. So, the Credit Card Lady put a flag on my credit and assured me that to this point nothing had been done to ruin my credit except for the things I had done myself (phew). I hung up, but decided I hadn't done everything I could. What if I did have a clone in New Jersey? What if he had no idea he was a 2 and not a 1? A junior, so to speak, and not a senior? He would be so confused when he tried to get a loan to buy a car (he wouldn't know he was actually Chris Giovarelli 2) and suddenly SWAT cars and helicopters surrounded the Audi dealership (good taste C-2!) and took him away. I realized I really needed to call him. He had to be warned. It was my duty to straighten him out. After all, he would do the same for me.

Me: ring ring ring
Unknown voice in New Jersey: Yeah?
Me: Hi, may I speak with Chris two--er--Chris Giovarelli?
Unknown voice in New Jersey: Who?
Me: Chris Giovarelli
Unknown voice in New Jersey that is probably Chris 2: How did you get this number?
Me: Chris? This is Chris from Provo, Utah. I think you might be my long lost clone. People say you're just stealing my identity, but I am sure that's not the case. You (breath) are (breath) my (breath) brother!
Unknown voice that I am pretty sure was Chris 2 in New Jersey: click

His phone must have died, because when I called back with my same number so he'd know it was me, it went right to voice mail. In fact, the next day when I called, the number had been disconnected. I hope Chris 2 didn't decide he needed to come and visit me, and didn't have a car, and when he went to get a loan to buy one he got trucked off the jail. Imagine the horror of being a clone and being in jail?

I hope things work out for my clone. I can't seem to find anything else on him, but if he gets out of jail and tries to get back on his feet by requesting a credit card, I have been told I will be notified. That way, I can know where he is and then I can go and find him. Oh and if by chance he isn't my clone and everyone else is right, well then let's just say he'll wish he had changed his name to Jebidiah Smith when he had the chance.

03 August 2008

It's More Than Skin Deep

We often say that men and women are different in a wide variety of ways. I know better than most. For the interest of time and sanity I won't list all the ways in which this is true, however I will focus on one of which we may not be widely aware. Did you ever watch those advertisements for Sure woman's deodorant? They would say "made for a man, pH balanced for a woman." I always wondered what the heck they meant. Sure she cries more than I do (although admittedly I do tear up in movies a lot), and I do like to crash Hot Wheels more than she does, but are women's and men's bodily make-ups all that different?

In straightforward terms (and therefore male terms), yes.

For those of you out there who want a more detailed description, I'll give it to you. There are many thoughts and conventions about how a man's epidermis differs from a woman's. Women and men will often find skin care products that are for him or her, but many will discount these more expensive products for a generic, unisex product (or if you are like me, you just don't care and don't use anything). There are some key reasons why using a unisex product may not be the best idea.

According to various sources, there are six major differences between man-skin and wo-man- skin. Here they are:

  • Men's oil glands are smaller than women's. This is where the skin absorbs many of the products placed on it (and dirt for that matter).
  • While women and men 50 and over have similar levels of oil in their skin, men actually tend to have more oily skin. This higher level is thanks to testosterone production.
  • Women's skin is thinner, making to more susceptible to damage from UV rays and to signs of aging.
  • Believe it or not, men's skin is more fragile than women's, and shaving doesn't help!
  • Due to drops in estrogen after menopause and faster reductions in collagen, women's skin tends to age faster than men's.
  • Women may have up to twice as many nerve fibers as men. So women are more sensitive on the inside and the outside!
So next time you see some peeling, reddening, rashing, or loss of limb, make sure to consider your options. If you're a man, there may be more reasons than just the fruity/minty/both smells to not apply your wife/girlfriend's product. If you're a woman, you wouldn't ask your guy friends for skin products anyway, so just do what you do. Either way, I wish you happy skin maintenance! Enjoy it while it lasts, because one day, not matter what you do, it's going to look like a prune or a leather couch, or both!

02 August 2008

Apostrophe Catastrophes

The misuse of apostrophes in the English-speaking world is shameful. My most recent and memorable exposure was in a presentation made by college seniors. The PowerPoint's title slide said something to the effect of: The reason's for discrimination. I'm not sure what those poor, soon-to-be college grads were thinking, but I don't believe they meant to contract the word reason with is, nor show reason's ownership over for. The bottom line is that they didn't know what they were doing, but they figured an apostrophe should go in there somewhere. In the nature of good humor and necessary correction, let's see if we can't set them straight.

In the English language, there are two main reasons for the insertion of a single apostrophe, and if you know these two, you pretty much will always know when (and more importantly when not) to use an apostrophe.
  1. An apostrophe is inserted to combine (or contract) two words. Popular examples include: it's (it + is), can't (can + not), we're (we + are), etc. Note that it's is the contraction form of the word it, not the possessive form (which is outlined below).
  2. An apostrophe is also inserted to suggest possession. Examples include: Day's end (as in this end belongs to the day) or Bill's (as in it belongs to Bill). Note that in cases where a name ends in an s already, the possessive s is dropped and only an apostrophe is added, as in Chris' book.
In no other case should apostrophes really be used in common language. If you want to denote where letters in a word have been cut off, as in good ol' guy or port o' call, you would use an apostrophe also, but let's be honest, who really does that?

So all of you who have read this post have no excuse for improperly using apostrophes ever again. Its an important topic, as apostrophes are fairly prevalent. In fact, this blog entry has 19 uses of apostrophes. Coming in at just over 300 words, that's (there's 19 and 20!) a good number and a good reason to know how to use them.

Oh and by the way, there's (21) one that is used incorrectly, can you find it?

29 July 2008

My Fluorescent Reconciliation

For those of you in the blogosphere who know me, you will be keenly aware of my abhorrence of fluorescent lighting. I am an ambient kind of guy. I like nothing more than a room full of well placed incandescent 60 watt bulbs to relax my eyes and soothe my soul (okay, admittedly, that was a little much).

From my earliest recollection, I have associated the harsh, radiated
light from fluorescent tubes as the Lucifer to my well-lit path to happiness. The very Son of the Morning or Lightbearer, armed with a high intensity, luminescent staff and eyes that burn like low-heat-emitting fluorescent bulbs of the starkest lab, classroom or dead-end office. Indeed these tubes of harsh light have been an ever-present reminder of the price we pay for energy efficiency and long lasting lighting.

While this hate affair has been going on for many years, it wasn't until recently that I stopped to recognize that I have been in multiple offices that seem warmly lit, but yet bask under fluorescent tubes. I immediately began to research the topic and comenced by Googling the term "I hate fluorescent lighting." The results yielded 118,000 results (incidentally "I hate Lucifer" resulted in a little less than three times that number--while "I hate George W Bush" came in at a whopping 10 times that number. Come on folks, of all these issues, fluorescent lighting is the only one that doesn't have any end in sight.). Being the bright, analytical person that I am, I did the obvious thing and clicked on the first hit listed and believed everything it said.

The site contained an article by a man named Eric Strandberg, LC (I think LC stands for lighting consultant. Apparently they have some sort of a certification program). After reading the article I learned some very important points to consider:
  • Modern-day fluorescent lighting is available at the same Kelvin warmth as incandescent bulbs (3000K), rendering near identical ambiance.
  • Rather than the old style magnetic lighting, modern-day fluorescent lighting is has electronic mechanism inside which eliminate buzzing and flickering.
  • Modern-day fluorescent lighting is available in various sizes and fixtures allowing for both accent and overall lighting.
Some of these facts came as a complete surprise and in an all-too-timely fashion. According to my trusty internet sources, by 2011 or 2012 it will be nearly impossible to find incandescent bulbs, due to new energy-saving legislation recently passed by congress.

To be fair, I wouldn't say I am converted to fluorescents, but you could say we have become reconciled. So for those of you out there with my previous misconceptions about fluorescents, open you eyes, you may be surprised at what modern-day fluorescents have to offer you.

07 April 2008

An Open Letter to Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

What's with the Dissociative Identity Disorder flare up recently? One minute it's sunny and the flowers are blooming, the next, it's pounding snow and wind and the flowers are dead. I know you've been doing this for a long time (incidentally, maybe it's time to consider retirement), but could you maybe work a little on your consistency?

Last time I checked, the East coast is already in the middle of spring and so is the United Counties of California--did you forget the Mountain West? D
id the Utah lobbyists not treat you so well this year? No big dinners or shows? It's not our fault that most of the good restaurants are on the coasts and that there are few Broadway shows to choose from.

Sure we are number six of 50 states on the top of the TRI Index (Toxic Release Inventory), but Alaska beats us by almost 375 millio
n pounds of toxins, and they like snow. Couldn't you send it to them? I realize that maybe you are just trying to point out to all the environmentalists that while glaciers are melting in Antarctica we've had a record breaking winter of snow in Utah, but couldn't you prove that pesky "global warming" theory wrong somewhere else? The thing is, I am graduating in two short weeks, and frankly Provo isn't looking too hot right now for the festivities. I mean when the mountains aren't snow covered, they are brown and dead looking. The plum trees on my street haven't even begun to bud, and frankly I think perhaps their buds have frozen right off and they are going to go straight to leaves.

In order to rectify this situation (which I am sure you want to do), I've decided to do a search, and humbly submit another location where I think your inconsistent weather phenomenons might be nice. The way I see it, Provo has about 100,000 people, living in a valley, by a lake. I just need to find the same thing and you could just switch the weather, right?

[pause for Google search]

Ah ha! The city of Spring Valley, California, population 100,000. Just outside of San Diego. They've got mountains and even a lake! The name says it all Mother Nature, they are begging for snow! They have to deal with spring all year long. That must get old. Currently it is 60 degrees Fahrenheit and mostly sunny there, let's just switch that with our 41 degrees, clouds and snow flurries mixed with rain. The city is at 32 degrees North latitude and 117 degrees West longitude. I can't wait for the spring weather to come!

And by the way, not that I am one for threats, but if I don't get my spring weather soon, I have about twenty bottles of hair spray and I know how to use them. There's plenty more where that came from (really, it's on sale at Smith's). I don't want to, but I am ready to release all sorts of greenhouse gases into the air if I don't get my way. So Mother Nature, I think it is in both of our best interests if we get some sun and flowers here in Provo, don't you?

Respectfully submitted,

Chris
Provo, Utah


P.S. I have your sickly son, Jack Frost, and I just might be crazy enough to use my roommate's hair dryer on him.

15 February 2008

Got Chips?

. . . On your shoulder that is. This entertaining American expression actually dates back to the early 1800s. According to several sources, when two young men of the 19th century were determined to fight, one would place a chip of wood on his shoulder, provoking the other to knock it off. The idiom has developed into a reference for someone who has something about themselves that makes them defensive or feel disadvantaged somehow.

Personally, I think chips on one's shoulder (heretofore 'chips') are pretty silly. I was reading an individual's blog this evening and was slightly annoy
ed by her outlook. She is of Asian descent, is married to a Caucasian, and lives here in Utah. With a population that could be adequately described as 'whiter than skim milk,' she apparently has had multiple experiences with people whom she describes as "incredibly ignorant and sheltered." The quick of the story, was that a person working the check-out counter at a local store inquired if this woman and her husband were married (She suggests that the employee could have just looked at their wedding rings, and made a connection). The employee then asked of and where the man served his church service mission. He replied that he had served in Japan. At that point the employee inquired if he had per chance met his wife in Japan. BOOM! How dare the employee make such an implication!? To suggest that perhaps an Asian-American woman married to a Caucasian man could possibly be the result of anything other than a happenstance meeting on the streets of an American city much more ethnically advanced than Provo is apparently an assault on this woman's entire essence d'ĂȘtre [Okay, everybody take a deep breath.].

Now back to my point. The reason I share the aforementioned episode is simply to point out how common chips are in our lives. She apparently has one about being Asian and the social stigmas that may surround being married to a Caucasian. I am sure I have many. But they do not lead to happiness or anything constructive, and we should strive to get rid of them at all cost.

Think of people you know who have chips and how they act. And how we act around them. It's not pretty. The world is an unfair place, but the sooner we come to accept that and be happy to know that everything will eventually work out, the better adjusted I believe we will all be. I suggest that we all take a moment and think about the chips we have. They may be because we have something, or because we don't. They may be because we are good at something, or because we are not. They come from every side of any scale or spectrum you can imagine, but they are all bad.

The young Christian who feels it is her responsibility to instill her view of the world on others is just as threatening to agency and accountability as the two-time parolee who feels like the system has wronged him and he deserves something for nothing. In reality, chips are just a false and fragmented self image. They are the projection of who we want to be, but aren't or can't be.

In the end, true self images are the healthiest. When we know who we are, and are comfortable with those truths, we will find ourselves with the most happiness and the greatest acceptance in our individual niches.

Or in other words, the truth will set us free.

12 February 2008

Fabulous Las Vegas

I was in Las Vegas this past weekend for a conference, and can I just reaffirm that 'fabulous' has its rightful place in front of Las Vegas. I was amazed at the decadence that is displayed there. Chinese New Year is the season of the moment, and each casino/hotel was decked to the nines with decorations celebrating the year of the rat. Probably my favorite part of the strip are the dancing fountains at Bellagio. What an amazing display of human ingenuity.

Say what you will about the filth of the place, and I don't necessarily disagree, but don't let that distract from the beauty of the locale. In few places so
new will you see equal time and talent put into the design and execution of such magnificent edifices. While surely a worldly, materialism is the religion of the strip, Las Vegas is still very much a blossom in the desert. While the human body is repeatedly made into an object for lust through strip shows and provocative dancing, it is equally displayed as an object of supreme architecture and ability through Cirque du Soleil and similar shows. Human-made water falls, forests and mountains lead the eye to a concept of the awesomeness of the natural world, while towering buildings and artistic execution remind us of our race's creative flair. Las Vegas is not for the puritan soul, but neither does it require an avariciousness that so many of us characterize as a part of this shinning metropolis. video

18 January 2008

Do You Know How to Park?

Imagine, if you will, a common parking spot. Envision yourself pulling your car into that spot and parking perfectly between those yellow or white lines, as we all know you can.

Now you step out of the car. Look around and notice, how much space is there between you and the car next to you? [pause]

How many inches do you think it would be? Maybe 18" or 24"? That's probably your average. Typical parking spaces measure between 8' and 8.5', leaving about a foot and a half to two between parked cars. People can generally (except for a few 'special' individuals) handle those standards. We've parked under such specifications for many years, we should do it on an instinctual level such as fitting food in our mouths.

Snow, the
refore, must be some form of psychotropic substance.

Have you ever noticed when it snows that suddenly 8 out of ten people couldn't park straight or with reasonable distances to save their lives? What's the change? A little white stuff? I hate to be cynical, but I have created an artist's rendition of what I believe parking lots look like when it snows. As a people we probably lose half the spots in the lot because someone has over estimated their distance, missed the middle line, or otherwise botched up the simple grid that I would hope they could imagine in their mind. It really is amazing.

I know that while driving in inclement weather, your following distance should double or triple, but while parking the same rule does not apply. I would call all citizens of the free world to maintain their parking distances, rain, shine or snow. Sure it may be a good excuse to leave an extra five feet between you and the next car, but think of the people who are running late. Where will they park?

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