Monday, December 29, 2008

It's a Christmas Miracle

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

My Christmas was magnificent. Thank you for asking. In fact, the greatest gift that I received wasn't given to me until late last night, just before I hopped on the plane home…but first things first. On Christmas Eve, I took a shuttle van (that showed up this time) to the airport and along the way talked with a few people heading to the Midwest (two to Milwaukee & one to Chicago). We talked about the holidays, winter weather, the industries we worked in, good times really. The flight was fairly uneventful. It was delayed an hour coming out of Oakland so that just meant that I got to watch a little basketball in the bar and drink a few Heinekens before the flight. No big whoop. I showed up at the SLC Airport about 9 PM, met up with my dad and we hung out a bit watching TV and catching up before I decided to call it a night because I had been up since about six that day…and if I didn't go to sleep, then Santa wouldn't stop by. Slept on a twin size bed in the den…like a baby.
Christmas morning, we woke up around eight shortly before my brother & his family showed up. The nieces and nephew were cute as hell, we passed around presents, my stepmom cooked a great breakfast and good times were had by all. Here are some pictures…
My dad's Tannenbaum
Brother Love & Daddy
Kairi opening my present to her
After that, we headed north to my mom's get-together. I would also like to mention at this point…that the city of Ogden needs to get their sh*t together and start plowing their roads. It's only been a problem really recently (about three years?) but there'll be about six inches of ice on MAJOR roads in the city…about three days after the latest snowfall. It's ridiculous…and dangerous. Cars were off the roads all the way up to my mom's house in the mountains…and we were driving a fully-loaded minivan to get there…and the roads weren't clear…until we left the city of Ogden and were in the mountains. Man up, Ogden. Get it taken care of. Anyway, here are some pictures from my brother's house...and then my mom's house
My brother's tree
Kelaudri, Kairi, mom & Vinny
Up at my mom's house
My Baby - The muscle car that I spent years restoring and
was told would be safe inside of a shed about ten yards
west of its current position, not in an igloo
Love ya mom!!!
My mom's tree...and key lime walls
Guess who the baby was...
The girl closest to the baby looks like she just
caught a whiff of a dirty daiper...
My stash
Here's my tally of gifts:

  • Gift Cards to Best Buy (used for Dark Knight on Blu-Ray), Target and Wal-Mart (future groceries?)

  • "How to Talk to Anyone" by Leil Lowndes - Yes, a book from my stepmom. It's actually pretty good though so far. Some stuff I knew already…but other points are interesting…and I'll have to test them

  • Dress Socks & Boxers…as predicted by tradition - Love ya mom, "Yay, socks & underwear!!!"

  • Tie & Dress shirts - Cuz a pimp needs to look his best

  • Leather Wallet - May be used when/if my other falls apart

  • Gloves - One size fits all? My ass!!!

  • Ornament for my tree - Total is now up to 21

  • Remote Control Organizer - Needed with my entertainment setup

  • Crock Pot & Cookbook for it - Bringing my total of crock pots to four…and cookbooks to three. That's right, more crock pots than cookbooks

  • Various goodies from my aunt - She gives me great recipes for desserts…that I share with the ladies…ladies…

  • Monogrammed hand towels & candle - Nothing like wiping my hands with my embroidered initials

  • Poo Poo Panda - It's a jelly bean dispenser that has a panda pooping brown jelly beans

  • iPod Dock with wireless speakers - Gonna see if there's a way to hook that up to my surround sound too

  • And the Greatest Gift of All…is coming up

That night, we had a lovely dinner (thanks mom) and stayed up at my mom's. My aunt Pat & Alicia were there too. Then my brother & I decided to get our drink on. He had picked up a 24-pack of Bud Light longnecks (Utah beer though, so doable) and he & I split it while playing board games like Harry Potter Clue and Trouble (a favorite when I was a kid). We kind of turned it into a drinking game…but it sort of became "Okay, if you roll the dice…and it's NOT doubles, chug a beer." It didn't get rowdy or anything because it was just us…and we were really just hydrated from how watered down Utah beer is…but good times were had. I slept on the air mattress that night in front of their fireplace…but I underestimated how hot that thing gets (and I think my brother turned up the thermostat) so around 6 AM, when I woke up sweating and thinking that the air mattress was about to melt, I went up and slept on the couch upstairs. It was okay though…because that meant that I was going to be woken up by my niece Kairi. "Mo'nin Unko 'Teve." Open my eyes to see her cute gap-toothed smile, "Mornin' sweetie."

That morning, I hung out with my mom and helped her with breakfast, played with the kids and their new toys and it was just awesome. Eventually, my brother & sister-in-law woke up and we headed into town (she had to work), my brother & I hit the Best Buy & Wal-Mart with our gift cards (he bought a few games) and good times were had by all. I also watched a few movies like "Death Race" (Running Man with cars), "Role Models" (funny) and "Pineapple Express" (okay funny) but I won't bore you with details on those just yet. Maybe another entry. Spent the night at my brother's and slept on his couch (so of course I woke up feeling sick).

Saturday morning, my cell phone kept going off with my text message ringtone ("Slow Jamz" with Kanye, Twista & Jamie Foxx) so I figured that it must be something important to bug me at 8:30 AM on a Saturday. Alas it was my aunt Pat asking if I was able to hang out with her & my cousin Alicia because she just got Guitar Hero World Tour and wanted to play and only got to see me a few hours. That's the thing with these quick trips back home. There were so many people that I wanted to see…and busy schedules…and ice all over the roads…that I only got to see most of them…and only for a few hours here and there. So yeah, I had to say no because I already had plans…though I know it would have made their day…but I already spent a few hours with them the night before. It's a messed-up situation…and even IF they didn't try to run a guilt trip, it happens naturally for me. There were a few occasions of that this weekend…but still, it was my choice. Besides, she woke me up on a Saturday morning. The nerve.

That night, I made it back to my old job for a few to see some of the coworkers including Cat & Casanova…then headed out to get some sushi & sake then to a party with JL Clyde & the Mad Scientist. Here is photographic evidence of this occasion…

JL Clyde & the Mad Scientist...who appears to be very tired

Joey's tree, a skeleton & "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians"

The night ended a little earlier than expected…but still a lot of fun. It's good to see the old gang and hang out for a while. Then came Sunday…and the Greatest Christmas Gift of All Time was given to me. Who gave it to me? GOD!!! (Who apparently hates the Cowboys). It started Sunday morning, when I awoke in a surprisingly good mood (must have been some awesome dreams) and started watching the pregame show for football. The scenario was laid out…for a Christmas Miracle. First off, either the Vikings or Bears had to lose. The Vikings were playing the team with the best record in the NFC & defending Super Bowl Champion, NY Giants…but the Giants were resting their starters for the playoffs already with nothing to play for really…so the Vikings pulled out a victory. Dang, now the Houston Texans had to beat the Chicago Bears. It was a close game…but in the end, the Texans pulled out the victory. Awesome. Now, the lowly Raiders had to beat their fellow pillagers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

An interesting story (that I kind of made up about this game) involves the former head coach of the Raiders Lane Kiffin (who was fired by crazy crotchety owner Al Davis for really no reason) and the Buccaneers defensive coordinator…and his father, Monte Kiffin. Well, Lane was hired shortly after as the coach for the University of Tennessee…and his dad will be joining him when the season's over. Now, I made up this little story about how they were gathered around the tree opening presents and then there's a box that says "To: Dad From: Lane" probably with wrapping paper with little footballs on it. Dad, a little teary eyed, says, "Thank you son. What is it?" "Open it up, pop." Bits of shiny paper are ripped off and lo and behold…it's a book…with a Raiders logo on it. "What? What is this?" "I couldn't think of anything else to get you…so I got you my copy of the Raiders playbook from when those c*cksuckers fired me. I know you guys have a big game against them on Sunday." Now, dad is in full blown crocodile tears. "Thank you son. It's perfect. I love you." Manly embrace, queue touchy moment music. Fast forward a few days to the Buccaneers losing to the Raiders and Monte gets a call on his cell phone, "Hey it's me, Lane. I was on a recruiting trip and saw on Sportscenter that you guys lost. What happened?" "Who the f**k is Michael Bush?" "I…who? I think we had a guy on the practice squad when I was there named Bush. Why?" "That sum'bich ran all over us." So yeah…now the matchup between the future world champion Philadelphia Eagles and the cast of the Longest Yard known as the Dallas Cowboys actually meant something. The winners were going to the playoffs…and the losers would head back to Dallas…er, back home. Sorry, spoiler alert.

My dad & I were REALLY excited with this turn of events (by the way, his team lost to the Bengals ensuring a top 3 draft pick that he thinks will be Tim Tebow, that's why he was stoked. Too bad Tebow will really be around in the 3rd round…and I made a wage for five bucks that says so) so I thought it'd work out to spend more time with my dad AND watch the game. It started out a pretty good game. In the early second quarter, the Eagles led 10-3 and I was keeping fellow hottie Eagles fan Bone Junior updated on the score…and then the Greatest Gift of All, the Christmas Miracle of 2008 happened…all over the Cowboys' asses. Romo was getting hit & fumbling, passes were flying into the bleachers, TO was yapping on the sidelines, coach Wade Phillips looked lost, Brian Dawkins was leading the crowd in cheers, McNabb was dancing and before you knew it, in the 3rd quarter, the Eagles were up 41-3 and I was like a kid on Christmas…just waiting for TO to cry during the post-game conference. Too bad that was over an hour away. Apparently, the updates sent shivers of pleasure up Bone Junior's spine as well…which was also sweet. Yes, the Greatest Gift of 2008, courtesy of the Big Guy…was the Philadelphia Eagles making it to the Playoffs against all odds. Not only that, there first game next week is against the Vikings…so very winnable…and the next round would then be against the Giants, who they've already beaten this year…and then some other team…and then the Super Bowl against the Colts. Oh yes, you've heard it here first ladies & gentlemen. The Eagles will make it all the way to the Super Bowl…and will play the Indianapolis Colts, who will be carrying a 12-game winning streak into that game. Set your TiVo's (that means Joaquin for you, Bone Junior) and get ready. It's gonna be awesome!!!

This at the Denver Int'l Airport

It never ceases to confuse me...

So yeah, after that, I watched a little of the Broncos / Chargers game to find out who was going to lose to the Colts in the playoffs next week…and then headed for the airport. Read a few pages of my new book "How to Talk to Anyone" and long story short, I got to bed around 2 AM, then back up this morning around 6:30. Work was work. Tonight, I'm posting this post…and basically paying all the bills and getting ready for my trip to Vegas tomorrow night for New Year's Eve. It's gonna be fun. Anyway, probably half of you have stopped reading because I rambled on about football…but whatever, I was rambling about the Greatest Gift of All…besides Love I guess…but still, pretty damn awesome. Years from now, you may see me star in my own movie entitled "It's a Christmas Miracle, Mookie Love!!!" about this past weekend…and it'll rock…and be rated PG-13 for brief nudity, the Kiffins' dirty language and intense mystery…like this weekend's mystery that popped up while we were playing board games and my sister-in-law was taking too long in the bathroom - "Who peed in the litter box?"

I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with Smee. Merry Christmas Everybody…and a Happy New Year!!!

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