The FREE Sarcastion Mark

I know some people who are sarcastic. I know a few of them. I might be one of them. But when I use it in writing, I definitely avoid “labeling” it by tossing in an LOL at the end. Perhaps one day I will start a web campaign against LOLs. But that is for another blog entry (or a past one or two or three… nope, just two).

Back to sarcasm.

After graduating from high school, I remember having a discussion with some of my buddies about being sarcastic in emails, which would be our new form of communication (and IMs) as we moved to different cities, different universities. The answer seemed simple enough: a sarcastion mark.

We instituted this new punctuation in our communication, even in our written letters (it was back in 1999 so people still used the mail, shocker).

But eventually, it died away.

I’m not sure why. Perhaps we over used it? Eventually you just realized that an email from Shannon, Sabrina, Lindsey, Erin, Karen or Alison would be spattered with sarcasm. Probably.

Whatever the reason, it came up in conversation with the guys here at work today, labeling your sarcasm in IM conversations. I know there’s been “debates” about it in regards to tagging it in HTML. Yes, geeky, sarcastic debates.

What I didn’t know, until Google informed me today, was that some company back in 2010 attempted to create a sarcasm punctuation mark and SELL it to you to download for $1.99. They called it the SarcMark. Right there was their first mistake. Stupid name. Has ANYBODY even heard of this? Clearly, it has not caught on.

Back to me and MY clever, sarcastic friends. Here in all its glory is OUR Sarcastion Mark. I like our name much better. Sarcastion Mark.

Oh look, it’s already on your keyboard*, you don’t have to download a new font or anything. Begin using it today, for FREE! Wow, how nice are we? Yes, you can thank us for our forward thinking back in the Y2K-scare days. We knew this would be needed by the WORLD one day.

Tell me, do you like our “invention”? Huh? Huh?

(On a totally unrelated note, I had some fun with the banner of this blog on lunch today. If you haven’t noticed already—I’d bet not—there are several different images that might load up each time you open this blog or a page on it. See if you can get each one to load. And they’re all drawn by little ol’ me. Nice.)

(And one more unrelated note, there’s now a feed of articles as they’re updated on Chef Guapo’s blog just to your right. See it in the right sidebar? Cool.)

*In case you didn’t notice, that’s the tilde and the exclamation, which are right next to each other up there above your left pinky. Reach for it, reach for it. Shift and got it. Nice work.

Baby Birds Don’t Blink

Last week, my Mom helped me carry my bags from my Independence Day trip up to my front door. She was already at my door and I was just stepping from the top of the stairs on to my patio when I saw an eye staring me down. It startled me. If I was a jumpy person, I would have jumped or gasped or do something women do when they get scared. Instead, I held my breath. Eventually my mom turned back and I pointed while saying, “Didn’t you see the baby bird?”

There was a baby robin sitting in one of my potted plants. It was perched right on the edge of the plant and it just stared at me as I lugged my bag up the stairs. Once I saw it, I froze in place, worried I’d scare it and it would fall. It looked still too young to fly.

What do you do in that situation?

Well, eventually, I asked Google and learned that you can feed them canned cat food and water in an eye dropper. Canned cat food is gross, though. I didn’t have that on hand. And I don’t have any eye droppers hanging around my place just waiting for a baby bird to show up either.

My mom helped me put some bird seed (which I did have on hand, surprise) into a paper cup that she cut down to just the base and I put water into a small dish. We put those two things into the potted plant and the baby robin didn’t move while we did. It just stared at us, opening its mouth a few times and almost making a chirp noise once or twice.

Mom went home and I went inside to unpack a few of my bags.

I went back out after midnight to check on the bird.

Still there. So I put my hand out. It’s a myth, you know, that birds will abandon their babies if they smell of humans. I know that robins have a poor sense of smell. So I carefully put my hand around the baby robin to check and see if it was warm.

And then I went to bed.

In the morning, the baby was gone. There was some bird poop left behind and the bird seed and water looked to be the same amounts. I hope that bird flew away.

What do you think? If you’d seen that bird on your front porch would you have felt sad for it? Would you have wanted to take care of it? Would you have gone to the Wal-Mart at midnight to buy stinky, wet cat food and an eye dropper?

I thought briefly of the time we found a bunch of baby quails in a window well when I was in elementary school. Sabrina and I held ours cupped in our little hands, clutched to our chests, while we hid in the old garage in my neighbor’s yard. We didn’t want our babies to go to the aviary with all of the other ones. Eventually, though, they found us. I just wanted my own baby bird. I’d definitely give it up once it became an adult. Who wants a full grown quail hanging around?

Dear November, Oh How I Love Thee

I am quite certain I’ve never had a better week in my life than I did last week—from winning soccer games, to good things happening at work, to a hot date, to lots of delicious food with family, to not getting enough sleep, to seeing some good friends from high school, to being DONE with loads of laundry. Makes it easy to be thankful, which was rather appropriate for the holiday.

Over on my good friend, Katie’s blog, she made a nice little list of some of her recent thoughts. I like lists. I like to read them. I like to write them. So here you have a list from me filled with random thoughts and things that made me smile this weekend:

  1. I’m counting down the DAYS until you can call me Master Larrie. I will be finished with school for good. I’m very certain I don’t care for a Ph.D. That sounds exhausting to me.
  2. Remember how I REFUSE to use the painfully overused and abused acronym, LOL? So today I typed it in an IM conversation with a coworker. She responded with, “WHAT?!” I would never really, intentionally use it, so obviously, it was a facetious use. I told her, “it’s like a mormon swearing.” And THAT, my internet friends, is how dorky humor is in the IT department.
  3. Took my niece to New Moon this weekend. Just so you know, I’m not on Team Edward or Team Jacob. Since those men/boys don’t exist. But my niece liked Jacob much more than the skinny, moody, pale vampire.
  4. My leg muscles are killing me from a gym workout. If there was a fire in the building at work, I’d probably die because I wouldn’t be able to physically walk down the six flights of stairs to safety. Oh wait, YES I COULD BECAUSE WE HAVE THESE!
  5. I really like brushing my teeth at work. I also really like visits to the dentist and if I could convince my insurance to pay for it, I’d go once a month.
  6. Number six is one of my favorite numbers. When I was little, I really liked 2, 4, and 6, but eventually swapped 6 out for 8 because they’re part of an infinite series based on the power of two. I used to skip stairs so I only stepped on 2, 4, or 8 stairs in the flight. I’m not OCD.
  7. Last night, after dinner at my parents, we went around the circle and shared something new that we had learned in the last year. I love my Grumma’s comment. She was happy that my younger brother, James, taught her how to text.
  8. My little niece Kate doesn’t usually give out lots of hugs like her older siblings do. But last night as I was saying goodbye to the kids, she put her arms up to me so I picked her up, she put her head on my shoulder and squeezed me, then she gave me a wet kiss. The best.
  9. This is Max Hall’s last season. Hooray. Although that means that next year, Kirk and I can’t text our complaints about him. (And yes, I am a cougar fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of Hall.)
  10. Does anybody know what the definition of crazy cat lady is? Just for debate needs, I could use a good reference.
  11. My sisters-in-law wrote me some letters on Thanksgiving. They like me. How cool is that? I have fabulous in-laws. You’re jealous.
  12. I like bubble baths.
  13. This will be my first winter with 4WD. Nice.
  14. I’d happily trade sleep for the company I had Friday night anytime.
  15. Saturday was excessively busy, but it felt great to start the day off seeing Sabrina, Shannon and their little families. Plus, we won our soccer game against the girl who scores the most in the league. We won by a lot, too. Go my team.
  16. I taught the Relief Society lesson. That means I don’t have to do it again for another four months.
  17. Did you even make it to the end of this list? You deserve a prize then.

Episode 53: Lazy People Use Elevators

I walked in to the building in the morning, swiped my badge through the time clock and walked over to the elevator to push the up button. Another IT coworker walked up behind me to wait and I didn’t really know him so I just smiled and nodded a hello. He almost smiled back. IT people are shy. Don’t force them.

The elevator opened and I walked in, IT coworker following behind me and then a woman came quickly around the corner and jumped on with us.

Okay, welcome to the elevator, I thought.

It’s been a long time since I’d been on an elevator THIS crowded. And yes, in my company, three people is a crowded elevator. It’s not because the elevator’s small. We could probably fit 12 people in this one. It’s because of the signs our onsite gym posted outside of all the stairwells and elevators about how many calories you burn by NOT being lazy.

Our company culture frowns a bit on using the elevator too much.

But first thing in the morning, I just don’t feel like climbing up to the third floor. I know, right? THREE FLOORS!

Back to the elevator.

So now we’re on the elevator: it’s me by the elevator buttons, IT coworker standing quietly in the back, and the woman standing just inside the door. I scan my employee badge and hit the button for the third floor. There are only three options in that elevator: 1, 2 or 3. After I pushed three, I stepped back some, knowing that IT coworker was also going to the third floor with me.

What about the woman?

She looked somewhat familiar, but I’ve worked here for nearly five years; I should know many of my coworkers regardless of their department. I just wasn’t sure if the woman worked on the third floor.

She didn’t say anything to me or lean forward to hit the only other option in order to stop at the second floor so we all rode to the third floor together.

The door opens.

What is normal elevator etiquette at this point?

Oh right. You get OFF.

Not the woman.

Even though she stood at the door, she didn’t get off.

So we had to WALK AROUND HERE.

As IT coworker and I walked off of the elevator, we turned around and looked back at the woman. She walked over to the buttons, scanned her employee badge and pushed the button for the SECOND FLOOR.

Who does that?

Who rides up to the third floor and then rides back down to the second?

This lead me to wonder about elevator etiquette and I’ve come up with a few simple rules:

Rule #1: Don’t Be Lazy – Seriously, if you’re only going one floor, try taking the stairs. Obviously, if you have an injury or you’re pushing around a cart filled with PC hardware, you’re allowed to take the elevator for one flight. But when all you have is your little purse, take the stairs.

Rule #2: Don’t Push the Button Again – So I’ve pushed the button to go up on the elevator and somebody comes up behind me. The button is all lit up telling us, “Hey she already pushed me so the elevator will be coming soon.” But guess what the new arrival does? He pushes the button, too. What did you think? That my button push was inferior and the elevator only responds to your touch? Apparently, you don’t think I do an adequate job of button pushing. Next time, take the stairs.

Rule #3: Just Ask – Don’t be like the woman and wait for all of us to get off at our floor, which is PAST the floor you wanted to stop at, then go over and push your floor button. Seriously. Just ask the person who pushed the button for floor three to push it for floor two, even though that means that you’re using all that electricity to travel one flight.

Rule #4: Wait to Board – I’m on the elevator and it arrives at my floor, the door starts to open and I prepare to exit, but suddenly: I can’t because six people from HR are all waiting on the other side to rush on. While waiting for the elevator, stand AWAY from the door. Don’t expect that the elevator is only arriving at the floor because YOU asked for it. That makes you look like a liberal. You are not entitled to that elevator so step back and wait for people to get off first before you board.

Rule #5: Be a Gentleman – I always appreciate the men who ride the elevator with me and politely extend their hand when the door opens in a gesture that I exit or board first. Thank you.

Rule #6: Face the Door – This is the rule that I like to break. People look at you funny when you do.

Rule #7: Hang Up – Nobody wants to ride on an elevator with somebody who’s on the phone. Finish your call before boarding. Even more obnoxious: conversing using your Bluetooth headphone on the elevator. People riding with you keep thinking that you’re talking to them. That’s almost as bad as using your phone in a public restroom. If you do this, people should intentionally make farting noises.

Rule #8: Emergency Stop – We don’t have these at my office, but if we did, we still wouldn’t use them as frequently as they do on Grey’s Anatomy. Does anybody ever REALLY push that button?

Rule #9: Don’t Jump – Unless you want to get stuck in an elevator. Just ask Sabrina and Kim about that one.

Rules #10: Escape Hatch – I think I’d like to add to my bucket list: “Be stuck in an elevator for a long enough time that you decide it’s necessary to climb up an escape hatch.” That would be cool. I’d totally blog about that.

Day 4: Is there anybody out there… like me?*

Today’s “Build a Better Blog” task required me to analyze a top blog in my niche.

My niche?

Is there any other blog in the world in my niche?

I was stumped.

So instead, I started scanning through my friends’ blogs. I heart my friends. I heart their blogs. These are some of them (in random order):

Mama’s Boys – Linds and I became friends our senior year of high school, but we went to school together since kindergarten. It’s sad that we missed out on all of those years of friendship we could have had, but we made up for it, possibly all in one weekend that involved squirt guns, walkie-talkies, cell phones, undercover gang patrol cops, and an accident.

Phabulous Phippens – Mine and Karen’s friendship came and went because she came and went moving to and from Utah and always back to the same school from elementary through high school. This included a short stint in a musical, getting in trouble with the typing teacher, and attempting to sing in choir first thing in the morning. When I have kids, I’ll expect to call her frequently for advice.

Shanny’s Life – Shannon and I also went to school together since kindergarten and became almost friends in high school, but REALLY became friends as roommates our freshman year in college. That happened because I leaned over in Calculus, senior year, and said, “Hey, I need a roommate and you’re going to BYU. What’s your social security number?” (I also follow her husband, Clark’s blog, Bethletard. It’s a good one.)

The M’s – Sabrina shares her blog with her husband-how cute are they? And again, she’s a friend who I went to school with since kindergarten, but didn’t really become buds until senior year. Are we noticing a theme yet? However, we do have some moments of connection prior to that, including hiding in a garage with baby quail (sometime in 3rd grade, perhaps), and having Calculus study sessions in my basement where we rewarded ourselves with playing some type of wrestling game on the N64 after.

my little adventures… – Meghan, Meghan, bo Beghan experienced the Larrie friendship curve. This is where it takes some time before she realizes my quirks are actually endearing and then decides that we should spend Valentine’s Day eating Thai food with our Korean friend and then bake mountains of chocolate chip cookies while listening to Outkast. Can you believe they allowed such unruly behavior at BYU? Thankfully, the friendship curve doesn’t seem to be a bell curve; no sloping down yet.

Scattered Starlight – English majors UNITE! Somehow, Katie and I never got to know each other during our tenure as English majors at BYU, but we became friends afterwards, thanks to my sister-in-law, her best friend, Genny. Now we get to connect in a myriad of ways, from reading each others’ blogs to twittering back and forth or posting on each others’ Facebook walls. Yep, we’re TIGHT.

v1.2 – “Kaakun” was in a BYU ward. I have no idea how we became friends because there are many, many holes in my memory from that year of school. However, I do remember him and Rachel playing the “state game,” his commentary during mine and my roommates’ ice skating finals, and drawing on his apartment window in the middle of the night. Since then, there have been Vegas weddings, broken beds, and vomiting at Crown Burger. Sweet, sweet memories.

Family blogs: life of laina – I’m so happy my brother married Laina, for many reasons, one of which is that she blogs and it’s consistent, unlike her husband, Thane, who recently started up again on his blog, My Separate from Wife’s Blog. Nobody else in my family really blogs so I adopted my sister-in-law, Tracy’s family: Aimee, internal conversations & ramblings of aimee heffernan; Scott, Vote of Die Blog; and Ryan, The Idealistic Investor.

Tiffanie – I am a fan of our story. We met briefly during the ’99-’00 school year when she visited my roommate from Kansas. Then, I ended up in that same roommate’s wedding party where her best friend from Kansas, Tiff, did not. Seemed odd and so I was hesitant to talk to Tiff because I was the bad guy in this situation. Then, many moons later, she moved to Salt Lake and we ended up in the same singles ward. I went up to her and said, “Are you from Olathe, Kansas?” Who’s heard of Olathe and who can pronounce it right? Me. That’s who. Oh-lay-thah.

Two of my roommates who weren’t actually roommates: Nichole-The Audrey show, and Leslie-The Collyafaces. We lived next door, but both apartments got along so well, we would have knocked down the wall that separated us if we could. Now, I just stalk them via their blogs where they post pics of their adorable little girls.

A Day in the Life of Clancy – I knew Clancy when I was younger, but she was always the big sister. Instead, I spent all of my time running around with her little sister, Lacy-climbing cherry trees, rollerblading down Harrison (from 1300 E to 1100 E), doing art projects and playing Nintendo. However, today, Clancy and I go rollerblading down Harrison. Wait. No, we don’t because she doesn’t even live in Utah. Instead, we just stalk each others’ blogs and hit up the jokes on FB chat. It’s a beautiful relationship.

Norton News – Amy and I rocked the basketball court (and sometimes the bench) in high school. I miss her motivational speeches tailored just to me and my emotional rollercoaster ride that was high school sports. Then, she motivated me through a summer of door-to-door sales by sending lengthy emails. Now, she’s got an adorable little family, house, life, etc. It’s fabulous.

View from the Bushes – Every time I read the title of his blog, I think of a peeping tom. However, Ross is not… as far as I know. He’s the former coworker who I initially judged by appearance (longer hair, scraggily beard) and then got over that and realized he was an English major turned geek with the sharpest wit in the department. He moved on to bigger, better things than our web dude at work and now I have to stalk him via his blog. And we have Facebook. Too bad I only got one date with his brother-he would have been a catch.

My sister blogs. Oh wait, no, no she doesn’t, otherwise I would have included it in the family section above. But once, her roommate tried to set up a blog for the two of them: Merphanie. That lasted long. The other roommate, Kasi keeps up the blogging on her own site: Kismet of Kas. Also, I follow Martha’s blog, MOSTLY MARTHA. I’m pretty sure we’re both Mrs.-Lake-trained writers.

I know-this list is getting very long. I skipped over some people because they haven’t blog very recently. (Or because I don’t want them to know that I read their blogs regularly, mwahaha.) The rest of the blogs that I follow are written by people that I do not know… AT ALL.

Here’s a quick list of SOME of those: almost literary, Normal Mormon Husbands, The Art of Over-Thinking, Why Mormon Girls Stay Single, Lifehacker, Mashable!, Seth’s Blog, etc.

Okay, I’m tired of adding hyperlinks so you’ll just have to guess what all the other blogs are that I follow. What blogs do you follow?

*When I started typing this subject line, I was singing in my head, Pink Floyd’s Is There Anybody Out There? There’s not much to sing, though. Basically, while writing the remainder of this awesome blog post, I was repeating over and over in my head, “Hello, hello, hello” fading out.

It’s All About Your Roots

What does it say about me that often, the highlights of my life, have to do with spending time with my family? Does that make me a dorky home body? Am I “too cool” for singles school? Are my priorities boring or are they just right?

I vote for just right.

You would too if you were in my family.

This got me to thinking about some of my friends’ families and I realized, a lot of what draws me to friends is their families. (Cool people CLEARLY come from cool families.)

Growing up, I spent tons of time with Krista, Erin and Lacy.
Krista had a sister that taught clogging (in their garage where Krista and I had created a BYU club in the back corner*) and then her brother, Griff, lived with us for a while. He also helped me to bring a huge cooler-full of water balloons to a friends’ luau and fall over laughing behind the bush where we were launching them over the roof.
Erin’s dad, we called the Rabbi, because he was always wearing a fedora. As an adult, I’ve played soccer with Erin and two of her brothers-in-law. Clearly, her sisters have good taste to marry these men.
Lacy’s family practically deserves its own blog entry from the “thumb exercises” we did and wouldn’t let her little brother play with us, to the story of the dog bite, climbing cherry trees, the truck with the brick under the brake pedal, chickens in Idaho, and the rekindled friendship with Clancy.

By my senior year of high school, I realized that just down the street lived a new favorite person. I still can’t believe that I went to school with Lindsey since kindergarten and we didn’t become friends until 12th grade. Oh the memories we could have had. We tried to make up for it, though, by packing our senior year full of adventures, from scaring her mom by using the hide-a-key to come in the back door late at night, to backing up alleys during car chases after her little brother showed us the escape route, a car accident that led to a court appearance, and our sadie hawkins video. Priceless. Oh yeah, and her mom is my friend on facebook, her brother, Ben, played the roll of pretend boyfriend in my singles ward to stop the advances of a “special” boy in the ward, and her littlest brother, G, is a friend of my brother.
Other gems my senior year included all of the “unspeakables” including the small percentage of Smiths I have met. There’s just so many, Karen, but so far, I love ’em all.

When I went to BYU, my Ute family was disappointed. I therefore adopted a new family in the Becksteads and was excessively blessed. Who knew Idaho could raise such an amazing family? Wow. Friends for-ev-ah.

These days, I don’t meet my friends’ families as much since we no longer live with our parents and often live in a different state or even countries. Luckily, I have met some and the story is the same: cool people come from cool families. Monica’s amazing family came to my house to host her moving-to-California party and from eating bratwurst to playing muff, it was a practically perfect night**. I haven’t met all of Meghan‘s family, but her parents are amazing, especially her mom’s crepes, and her Grandma adopted me for a while when she lived in Salt Lake. Lucky me!

The list could go on and on, but then the only people who would keep reading are those that are looking for a mention of themselves. Sorry… you just didn’t make the cut THIS TIME.

As for me, though, I’m probably the coolest person in Utah because of the family that I come from. Seriously, internet, if you were with me, Abe (5yrs) and Jane (3yrs) while we were doing Paula Abdul’s Cardio Dance DVD, you would ABSOLUTELY agree.

*In order to gain entry into our club, you had to name at least TWO former BYU athletes who were currently playing professionally. Isn’t that how YOU would define your admittance into a club created in fourth grade?

**It wasn’t allowed to actually be perfect because of the meaning of the party: Moni was moving away. Sigh.