Saturday, August 22, 2009


Shellie T.

This is the Sister from the Great White Northwest. She came down in July for the Manti festivities and then proceeded on to Cedar City a week later, with Joanne, to take in the Shakespearean Festival. She got a little drunk and heckled the actors from the stage. Joanne was kind of embarassed but eventually got into it. What did Mother and Daughter shout from the audience in their inebriated state?

a. Nice tights! Looks like you got a roll of dimes in there!
b. Wow, I just love how you are emoting all over the place.
c. You ever see Dead Ophelia? She ruled and you suck!
d. My husband knows more about this stuff than you can even imagine! Amateur!!

ANSWER: No one knows what was said but they were escorted from the premises so I'm going with a.

Grant, Monet, Wolf and Wyatt

Larry just finished Leadville 2009 and he is celebrating with his family. He is also wearing a medal. What does this medal have inscribed on it?

a. Good job Wolf, please come back next year and buy more stuff to help our struggling Leadville economy.
b. Good job Chrome Knees, we knew you'd be back for more suffering.
c. Here's your damn medal, now get the hell out of our sleepy town so we can have some peace.
d. You made it under 12 hours.

ANSWER: All of the above. They can fit a lot of writing on those small medals.

Chloe and Monet

Monet is wearing a custom shirt to help cheer on her Grandpa and Uncle. She wore it reluctantly because what she really wanted written on the back was:

a. I have to come back here every year for how long? You've got to be kidding me.
b. Colorado sucks.
c. Go Lance!! Contador is an idiot!!
d. I went to Leadville and all I got was bad formula, a poopy diaper and crazy people waking up at 4:30am to ride their stupid bikes.

ANSWER: d. Monet is very bitter over the feud between Lance and Alberto. She wants revenge and she will have her revenge next year--Radio Shack 2010 baby!!

Riley in a bad way

What is going through Riley's head right now?

a. Wow, that Egg McMuffin was really a dumb decision.
b. Maybe I don't have to do everything that my father suggests. Maybe I can resist the Puppet Master. I have to try, don't I?
c. Who am I and what do I stand for?
d. Um, I need a PortaPotty, stat!!

ANSWER: Mostly d. However, a through c could also apply. He had a tough day in Leadville but finished. Good job nephew.

The Costanza Suite

This little contraption was built by Uncle Voo for the Tiny Terrors and was also conveniently nicknamed the Costanza Suite, so I could have a place to lay my weary head after six hours of mtn. bike torture courtesy of the Puppet Master. What other names could this hut be called?

a. The Dan I-broke-a-deck-chair Ross Punishment Center
b. The itinerant home of Gator, Bobo, Oil Can, Newbee and Spike
c. The Marconi Mansion, whenever he gets up there again
d. The Joanne and Joyce "Share a Secret" Sleepaway

ANSWER: All of the above. If I'm not sleeping in it and if the Tiny Terrors aren't sleeping in it, it's up for grabs.

Kate Ross

This is Kate and she is currently pursuing an advanced degree. What does she plan to do with this degree once it is obtained?

a. Take over the world.
b. Manage Isabel's singing career.
c. Hang it on the wall of her classroom and walk over to it occasionally, and in the voice of Gollum, repeat over and over, "My precious! My precious...".
d. Become a Principal and use her mighty powers for good.

ANSWER: d. But with a little bit of c thrown in.

Lane, Maddie, AJ

These three youngsters are seen here spending some quality time in Zion with their family. Just prior to this photo, what was going on with their vacation?

a. Robyn and Andy told the kids to go play in the pool because they needed adult "nap time".
b. Joyce brought wine out to the pool, spilled it, caused a scene and eventually fell into the hot tub.
c. Aunt Kristeen was seen over in the corner of the pool area with a rolled up dollar bill and some white powder around her nose. When AJ asked her about it, she said, "The powdered donuts here in Zion are awesome! I just can't get enough!"
d. Lane took a strategic dump in the kiddie pool.

ANSWER: c. Of course, Kristeen can't remember any of this happening.

Brett, Jack, Sarah, Jackie and Curt

What is Curt thinking about in this picture?

a. Was it the blue pill or the red pill? Can't remember which is the upper or the downer...
b. I wonder if Neil Young would like me?
c. I hate small, mini, single bucket, tractor-type loaders.
d. Why am I slicing my 3 wood? Why, Golf Gods, why?

ANSWER: All of the above. The Philospher Genius as a lot going on in his noggin.

Newbee, Voo, assorted fish

These guys were having a serious discussion while they caught these fish. What were they talking about?

a. Newbee was asking Voo if he liked him.
b. Voo was telling Newbee the difference between German tanks and Polish tanks and Newbee was trying to stay awake.
c. Newbee kept yelling, "Roid Sox! Roid Sox!" just to piss Voo off.
d. They were talking trash about Oil Can's waders and how gay they looked.

ANSWER: a. Newbee needs a lot of friend validation.

Teen Teen, Polly and Joyce

This photo was taken in a rare moment when all three of these women were in a good mood. After this picture, they started to fight. What kinds of names did they call each other?

a. Joyce said to Polly, "I can't believe you came from me you Georgia O'Keefe wannabe!"
b. Polly said to Joyce, "Thanks for being there Joan Crawford!"
c. Kristeen said, crying and wiping her nose and sniffing a lot, "Can't we all just get along?"
d. Polly said to Kristeen, "Grow a pair Leaf Eater! And put on some big girl panties while you're at it!"

ANSWER: Unsure. They all have a lot of issues to work out.

Voo and Wolf

Voo is bored and Wolf is happy. Enough said.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Holy crap I'm happy!

Annie just got something from Randy and then they snapped this photo. What did she receive?

a. She just got news that the bar was serving 2 for 1 drinks.
b. Randy just told her he had a vasectomy.
c. He gave her a huge diamond ring.
d. He told her they were going to move to Fiji and train dolphins (editors note: don't do this kids, it only ends in tears and divorce).

ANSWER: C. Go see the ring Randy gave Annie for their Anniversary on their blog. It's huge.

Wyatt and Lyndsey

Lyndsey has been going to school over the past year and is now working in a certain medical field. What is she currently doing and how does this affect Wyatt?

a. She is a dental assistant and this in no way affects Wyatt's life of working 10 hours a week, sleeping in, going to rock shows, moving apartments every four weeks and mooching off of Riley.
b. She is a brain surgeon and has been practicing on Wyatt. If you talk to him you probably can't tell the difference.
c. She is now a massage therapist and Wyatt is getting free massages, another perk of having the Life of Jimmy.
d. She is a nail technician and this has affected Wyatt's life negatively because she is always prying his hands off of his beers to give him manicures.

ANSWER: a. Good job Lyndsey on moving into the dentistry field! Go talk to our cousin Brett for some good drug tips.

Becky, Monet, Jackie and Jack

The two ladies above are new Grandmas. When asked if they would like to have another baby and be a Mom again, what did they say?

a. Get that thing away from me before I cut it off!!
b. Drugs are gooooooooood!
c. Over my dead ovaries!!
d. Go to hell Costanza, we're enjoying our time as Grandmothers.

ANSWER: all of the above.

Hayley, Grant, Annie

This is Milo at a recent family function. He mostly resembles:

a. A returning missionary at his homecoming party.
b. A new missionary at his farewell party.
c. A Jehovah's Witness with two new recruits.
d. A Scientologist with mind controlling powers.

ANSWER: a. He looks wise enough to have been on a mission but just naive enough to have no clue what the world holds for him.

Dan Ross and Karl Tucker

These two guys are in the middle of an intense discussion. What are they talking about?

a. Karl is telling Dan to "Just go play."
b. Dan is trying to follow Karl as he name drops half of Utah County and expects Dan to know who the Assistant Principal's brother in law of Provo High is.
c. Karl is making sure Dan knows how serious it is when Dan grabs Karl's oxygen tube, bends it and cuts off the oxygen supply "just for fun".
d. Dan just asked Karl for directions to the bathroom in Hayley and Grant's house and Karl sees it as a perfect teaching moment.

ANSWER: Who the hell knows what these dudes were yammering about.

Gabe and Anthony

Gabe and Anthony have a new brother named Matteo. What does this name mean in Italian?

a. Pass the linguini dammit!
b. I'm somehow related to Marconi and pissed about it.
c. Roman God of Thunder
d. My relatives in Sicily made mats for a living.

ANSWER: Who the hell knows what Matteo means? He's a good baby and happy to be a part of the extended family.

Gabe practicing.

Gabe was completely infatuated with rollerblading in June. What is his level of interest in this activity now (August 20)?

a. He is practicing daily and will soon begin training for the 2018 Summer Olympics.
b. He uses his blades as a mode of transportation to get ice from the 7-11 for Costanza's adult beverages.
c. He deftly rotates this activity with his other summer activities: biking, boarding, golfing and swimming.
d. He wore them twice and has no further interest in this sport.

ANSWER: d. That one was too easy.

Mystery finger.

The above finger belongs to someone in Jil's family who also just messed up her knee while running. Who is it and what will most likely be her next accident?

a. This is Gina and she will next sprain her wrist pouring herself a glass of wine.
b. This is Irene and she will sprain her middle finger of her other hand as she gives Evans Gate House the finger while she leaves to pursue another job (way to go Irene!).
c. This is Kris and she will chip her tooth trying to open a beer without an opener.
d. This is McKenna and she will develop narcolepsy in school this year.

ANSWER: It's Kris and we hope she feels better soon! Oh, and use an opener.

Ice Cream Man

This is Costanza holding a lucious ice cream from Baskin Robbins. What does he also wish he was holding?

a. Jil's hand because she is the light of his life.
b. His Mommy's hand because she is the light of his life.
c. One of his siblings hands' because they are the lights of his life.
d. A Jack and Coke because it does the trick every time.

ANSWER: d. That was also too easy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Canada Wrap Up: Yee-Hah, I'm going home!!!

Wow, I really don't think I've been this excited to get back from a trip as this one. I mean, I barely got any sleep last night because I was so pumped to fly out of Canada, away from my insane and inane roommate and just be back in good ol' SLC for a while. I won't go so far as to say I hated the guy I had to work and hang out with, but I will say that he is not making my Halloween party list.

Below are some of the various things he did to constantly annoy and bug me:
  • Farted all the time.
  • Burped all the time.
  • Made loud noises and yelled at random moments just to see my reaction.
  • Bossed me around until I told him to kiss my ass.
  • When driving, he would press on the gas, then the brake, then the gas just to get a rise out of me and just to generally be a complete idiot.
  • Staying up until 1am every night, on his computer, which in turn kept me up until 1am.
  • Did not tell me when he wanted to leave in the morning until I was in the middle of breakfast and then he said we had to go.
  • Did goofy dances when he listened to his iPod that made me uncomfortable.
  • Went to the bathroom with the door open.
  • Left towels all over the bathroom floor.
There are a bunch of other things he did that I could go on about but suffice it to say, he sucked. However, believe it or not, he is good at sales and our team did really well.

That's enough about that jackass.

Canada: my impressions of this country are twofold.
1. The people are very sheep-like. Since they've been in a country that has told them what to do for so long, they do exactly what you tell them to do. It's pretty cool. They are also very surprised when you try to make friendly small talk. They look like someone just nudged them awake in the middle of a movie. They are surprised and then eventually delighted that you decided to speak to them. Very strange folk but very nice.
2. No national identity. I mean, name some Canadian food. Name a good Canadian band (except Neil Young, he is technically a solo artist and his band mates came from either the U.S. or U.K. Oh, and Rush, because I still like them even though they are the geekiest band ever). Name a good Canadian movie. The only one I can think of is Strange Brew with Bob and Doug Mackenzie. Name a national figure from Canada (except again, Mike Weir and maybe Wanye Gretzky, but that's not very many). I couldn't get a handle on what gives Canada its uniqueness. From what I could see, it wants to continue to be the U.S's baby brother. Oh well.

Lastly, I had some breakfast at Oasis Cafe this morning on the way home from the airport and the coffee was exceptional. As it should be.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 4 in the Great White North

First of all, thank you Japan, thank you Thailand: we've had sushi and Thai cuisine the past two nights and both meals were excellent. And, good coffee today so Canada is not as lame today as it was yesterday. However, it is rainy and wintry cold outside which does not bode well for the weekend. We had planned to drive the 120 miles to Banff on Sat. afternoon but if the weather is bad, it is a matinee in Canada. Which sounds incredibly sad.

I am on my mission again, that is for sure. I live with my sales manager/companion all day, every day; we eat together, sleep in the same room, drive in the same car, work the same room and basically never leave each other's side. If I am getting on his nerves like he is getting on mine, this relationship may blossom into a full blown hate-affair by the time our plane leaves Sunday morning.

Anyway, this trip is getting really old really fast and I can't wait to get back home. Will I miss Canada? No. I will not miss anything about this country. It is lame and turning me into a sour angry person.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Canada Day 3: Calgary

We are now in Calgary which is a relief but still no relief from the flies. They are everywhere. The food has not gotten any better today and the coffee is still poor. However, our hotel is much nicer and since I'll be staying here for the next five days, that is good news.

The crowd at our lunch event today was unusual to say the least. Let me sum it up with this: how many Jewish Cowgirls do you know? I know one now and her name, her Jewish name, is Sarhah. She wore a huge cowboy hat and a large Jewish star pendant to the workshop today. However, she left early so I didn't get to experience the full weirdness that her persona promised. Instead I got the weirdness of Owen and his mother who kept talking to us even 30 minutes after the workshop ended. About strange Canadian stamps that you can purchase on the post office. That was awkward.

Not too sure yet about this experience here in Canada. I wake up depressed and go to bed depressed but the days seem ok. Every day is another dollar in the bank which is the cut and dried, cold hard fact.

We are going to sushi tonight and we'll see if that is any better on the food front. In the meantime, it's off to shake hands with more Canadians. They are nice folk and very proper. Still trying to find out how best to connect with them.

I've heard Canadian weed is good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

O Canada! Day 2: Flies in my enchiladas

Alright Great White North country, what the hell is up with all the freakin' flies??? Seriously, I have been waving my hands in front of my face for 48 straight hours. I look like an idiot walking around with my hand flapping back and forth past my nose and head to get rid of the flies. I go to the convenience store across the street from the hotel and there are flies buzzing around. We walk into our climate controlled ballroom to set up our workshop and there is a fly cruising about (and that would be the Canada 'about' which is pronounced, "uh-boot"). I walk into the hotel room and flies appear. We just finished lunch at a Mexican restaurant and I spent half of the time trying to shoo away a fly. And just right now, in the lobby of our hotel, a fly landed on my keyboard.

Now, this little fly predicament paired up with the bad food is making Costanza very unhappy and grumpy. So grumpy in fact that as my companion, er, sales buddy and I drove from Medicine Hat, Alberta to Lethbridge, Alberta (about a 90 min. drive), I sat in the front seat and hardly said a work because I was totally pissed off about the lame coffee. I even tried another place on our way as we stopped for gas and the coffee was horrible. And the radio stations are crappy and the only song I remember them playing this morning on five different stations was a Nirvana song.

Canada, in other words, is making me into a super high maintenance, whiny little turd. To top it all off, I feel like I've just been dumped right back into my mission in South Africa. We even had a conference call at 8am today, just like we used to do back in the mission field. And I live with another guy practically 24/7 and that is also working on my last nerve, even though he is really a pretty cool guy. Not sure what he thinks of me but I can only guess.

As for the people here in Canada, very nice and accomodating. Not the most outgoing folk but that's ok. I'm not feeling too friendly.

But that could change in an instant with just a perfectly blended French roast. Oh Canada Coffee Gods, please bless Costanza in this time of dire need.

Day 2---out!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Canada Day 1: It's like America but different

I am traveling in Canada this week with my new job and we just finished our first workshop. All of 10 people showed up but four purchased our software which I am told is a pretty good sales ratio for our product. The Canadian people are very nice and very attentive to our every need (no, I have not visited a Canadian massage parlor, I'm just referring to the hotel folk and the restaurant folk).

What is weird about Canada is everything looks exactly the same as any other place in the States but all the names are different. Instead of a TJ Maxx, they have a Zellers. Instead of a Big O, they have a Canadian Tire. Instead of bacon, they have um, let me see, oh yeah: Canadian Bacon! However, the food here sucks. The water sucks. And, because the water sucks, the coffee sucks. So three strikes against our Northern friends so far on the dietary side.

The landscape is flat. Since we are in the Alberta province, on the south side, it is freakin' flat out here. I mean Nebraska-flat. I have been on the Banff side which is beautiful and mountainous. This scenery is like Wizard of Oz with no wizard, no Toto, no awesome Tin Man and plenty of windy, windswept flatland.

Not too great.

I am traveling with my Sales Manager who is a very cool guy. We have to share a room and when he saw all of Costanza's beauty products, courtesy of my wife the Master Esthetician, he thought I was super, duper gay or at least a flaming metrosexual. But, he calmed down once he got to know me. Now, he wants to know what my skin care regimen is so he can look super fine, like yours truly.

I also asked him his pet peeves and he said, with no hesitation, "Don't touch me." I said ok. And he then augmented this with, "I mean, don't put your hand on my shoulder, on my back, on my arm or try to get my attention in some way that involves touching. I'm not homophobic, just don't like to be touched."

So friends, here I am in Canada, with crappy food and water, touching myself!!!
More later.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Horrible Listening Skills

I am just finishing five days of sales training and orientation for this new job I have and one thing has become abundantly clear: most people have no idea how to listen. I sat with five different people over the past two weeks and just kind of monitored their level of listening and attentiveness and it was shocking. I know I have my moments of ill communication; those times when I just zone out or don't feel like paying attention when someone is talking to me. But over the years I've come to understand that being a really good listener is one of the most valuable traits you can ever acquire. And, knowing when to be quiet and not speak. That is also a very valuable skill and it's different than the listening skill.

Let's just analyze one of the guys I worked with this week: Tommie. Tommie is a super nice guy, very friendly and really, really naive. He hasn't traveled much, hasn't lost anything or anyone significant in his life and thinks life is just extra neat and wonderful. He is about 25 and a recent graduate from a local university. The second day I trained with Tommie, we had a few minutes to talk before the training began and we started small talking. This is not my favorite activity but Tommie is, as I stated, a very engaging and cool dude so I was up for it. He also had his cell phone in his right hand, which he kept glancing at periodically. This is kind of how it went:

P: So, you graduated in...
T: Broadcasting.
P: But you didn't want to go into that field?
T: Hold on. (Looks at cell phone, types in something, closes phone, looks at me). Wow, that training was kind of crazy yesterday. Lots of information.
P: Yeah, but it seems pretty straightforward. I think you'll like the software training next week.
T: Cool! I'm excited!
P: (I don't say anything for a minute because it's kind of his turn to ask me something. I'm pretty comfortable in complete silence with strangers which makes people think I'm weird. Actually, they are the ones who are weird. But, I digress. So, I sit).
T: Um, so, where do you go next week?
P: They are sending me to Calgary, Canada.
T: Nice! Hold on. (Looks at phone, types something, looks back at me).
P: Yesterday after we left, I think I saw you on the freeway. Were you in a silver PT Cruiser?
T: No.
P: Oh, cause it had some advertising for window washing and they guy looked exactly like you. Did you make pretty good money washing windows for the last, what did you say? Six years?
T: Yeah, it was good money but you had to be careful when the sun got too hot. It screwed up the windows. But, my partner, he paid me pretty well.
P: Hard labor, nothing like it right?
T: (Looking at his phone). What?
P: Nothing. (I now stand up and grab this huge coffee table book that's in front of us in the lobby called "Timpanogos".) My buddy, Willie Holdman, did all the photos for this book. We went to high school together. Very talented guy.
T: (Now looking out the window, gazing at...something...or nothing). Oh.
P: (Now I'm just kind of done with this whole trying to talk to him deal. And, I now begin to think that either a) I'm the worst conversationalist in the world or b) he could care less or c) he has no listening skills whatsoever.) Anyway...
T: Yeah...

Thankfully our training starts and we get to role play. Role playing is my favorite part of sales training because you get to be someone different. Just like Halloween, where you can take on some different persona for the night, in sales role play, you can be a meth addict with a trust fund, a software developer with poor people skills or a jerky mortgage broker. It's awesome. So Tommie and I get to role play. And I show no mercy to this guy. I am the jerky mortgage broker and, based on our previous interactions, I am going to hit him in his soft underbelly: I am going to make him listen or LOSE. Dahl, our instructor, watches us for 10 minutes and then stops us. He gives Tommie feedback. This is what he says:

"Did you hear what Phil was saying? Because you took the conversation in a whole different direction than where it should have gone. (Tommie is totally blushing right now, very embarassed). He didn't say he was starting a new business, he was saying he was thinking about various businesses to start with an online store being one of them. If you would have caught that major piece of information, you could have led him to a decision to work with us. As it is now, you've lost the sale."

OH SNAP! Take that Tommie!!!

See kids, you need to listen and pay attention and talk less. Don't be like our boy Tommie and wind up on the barbed end of a sales tirade from Costanza. That's not how to be a winner.