Thursday, May 16, 2013

10 Cities I've been to

Travel.  Thanks to technology, we have the ability to visit many places both strange and fantastic.  I have visited a few myself.  I have never been to any countries in the Asian theater, and not many places in South America.  So, the cities I cite in this list will be from the United States or Europe.  These are my favorite cities based on anecdotal experience not on the city having any actual merit.  I just had a good time.  This blog entry is definitely more about me than about my thoughts, so if you didn't want to get that close, just move on.  I won't hold it against you.

10.  Vancouver - We visited Vancouver (home of the Olympics and neighbor to Seatlle) but were going to drive home to Utah from there.  The city itself was very scenic and nice.  The weather was cool and drizzly but we were drawing to the close of a great vacation.  We rented an SUV to drive home (that we had reserved online) and were surprised to find it a really good deal.  When we got home, we were informed that we shouldn't have even taken the car across the border, I told them we had made no attempt to hide our destination and had taken the rental on honest pretenses.  They never charged us at all for the car.  Something tells me that having record of it being in Utah when it should have been in Vancouver would have been more trouble than just forgetting it ever happened.

9. Cinque Terra - 5 tiny coastal cities in Italy.  Cinque Terra is amazingly scenic and very walkable (if you are fairly healthy)  They also have a train that runs between all of the cities if you aren't as adventurous.  The main walk is a lovers' walk where the tradition is that you buy a lock and lock it to a piece of fence or railing somewhere along the trail and it will proclaim your undying love.  Really these little cities are very scenic and fun.  I think they go through and clear out the locks from time to time.  Otherwise there would be just too many.

8. Las Vegas - I like gambling, I've said in many of my blog entries.  Naturally Vegas would be one of the cities I would list.  But my favorite Vegas memory has nothing to do with gambling but rather Pikachu.  As we were passing through Vegas on the way to San Diego my young boys were very enchanted with the world of Pokemon, and they had just started selling small action figures.  Well anyone who knows Pokemon knows that having a Pokemon without a Pokeball is similar to having a bucket of paint without a brush.  We spent the day in Vegas going from toy store to toy store looking for the right Pokemon that comes with a Pokeball.  We even entrusted a young urchin with some money to play a game in an arcade that would promise a fabled Pokeball.  After losing a few times we took our action elsewhere.  We ended up with some Pokemon, in fact, a lot of them, but I still remember the trip.

7. Little Rock - In my youth I lived in Little Rock Arkansas.  Arkansas is now famous for being the Walmart headquarters.  At the time it wasn't famous for much except southern drawls and an open pit diamond mine that was free to the public.  I lived there for roughly 4 years, but I still remember it fondly.  Life moves slower there and people are as friendly there as anywhere I have ever been.

6. Barcelona - Definitely a jewel in Spain.  Barcelona is another Olympic city that has a lot of things to see.  It helps if you speak Spanish and helps even more if you speak Catalan, but they are very nice to tourists.  The city has the famous Gaudi Cathedral, but has many other very breath taking sights.  I think of it as the San Francisco of Spain.  Well worth looking into I promise.

5.  Mesquite - On I-15 before you get to Las Vegas, there is a border town that services St. George Utah's Gambling needs called Mesquite.  It is a dry small little town that doesn't really have a lot going for it.  4 casinos and a few bars, but for us, it had a motor lodge that we stayed in because it was cheap and available.  It was an employee's apartment complex for one of the casino's and they would put people up there if the hotel was full.  We would stay there several times when we traveled to California.  It wasn't terrific, but it was better than we expected.  We called it our 'cabin'.

4.  Carlsbad - Home to the famous Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad was a stop on a vacation that had taken several memorable turns that had left us stranded in Houston Texas.  There were no flights getting home and prospects were looking thin we rented the cheapest car they had and started a long and dusty drive back to Salt Lake City.  This drive took us close to Carlsbad as well as Roswell.  I would never have visited these cities if it weren't for our other misfortunes and it has since become one of our most memorable trips.

3.  Hameenlinna - This is the home city to my mother who was born and raised in Finland.  I have visited family there several times and it will always hold a special place in my heart.  It's not particularly scenic or tourist worthy, but it DOES have a castle and a posh resort not to mention memories of very short winter days and very long summer nights.

2.  The Hague - I called this city the City of the Dutch Gods.  I spent a year and a half in Holland serving a mission for my religion.  I started and finished this mission in The Hague.  Home of the International court and Madurodam (a miniature city)  This city will always be where I changed a lot of my views of the world.  It was a much bigger and yet smaller place thanks to this city.

1. San Diego - One of my favorite cities.  Nearly perfect temperature all the time, San Diego has a terrific zoo and a great public park.  It has the Gaslight District and is home to Comic-Con.  I have been there for many reasons and all of them were enjoyable.  I remember several days on the beach and other days driving to other attractions.  One stop we made several times was to the Science museum in Balboa park.  The kids really liked it and I did as well.  They had a Star Trek exhibit where we took a picture of ourselves on an actual Star Trek Set.  It was way cool.  It's a city worth visiting if you've never had the pleasure.

Very much a blog about me, there are certainly not all the cities I find remarkable, just some of them.  These are the opposite cities as you would find in my blog citing cities suitable for witness protection.  Almost didn't make it.  See you later! (15 days later).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10 replacements for swear words

Swearing is an interesting phenomenon.  When you grow up, there is a point in your life that you feel somehow just a little bit older after your first swear.  That swear didn't just spill off of your tongue like it does now, it came out with trepidation like a timid squirrel looking for a nut.  You thought about it and instead of your stand by pseudo-swear, you blasted out with your first honest to goodness real swear.  It felt liberating and yet somehow a little bit wrong.  You wondered if anyone that mattered heard you.  You know.  A sibling, Mom, Dad, Neighbors, God, anyone that might disapprove of your recent baby-step into adulthood. This blog is about the words you said before you started shooting off live rounds.

10.  Gosh - Some think this comes from a different exclamation 'Land o Goshen!'  A Biblical reference.  Most seem to think of it as a replacement for taking Gods name or designation in vain.  Another Biblical reference.  It's a sin to take God's name in vain, but nobody said anything about his nickname right?

9. Darn - Often used in conjunction with Gosh, Darn is probably one of the most used pseudo swears there is.  Swearing is a matter of degree and frequency if someone never swears or produces anything in an exclamatory way, ANY word used in such a fashion can be assumed to be a swear.  Growing up, when my mom said 'Darn it!'  everyone knew she meant it!

8. Son of a Gun - This swear from Old England lends us its use comes in exchange of a harsher term that insults both the individual and the individual's mother.  The actual origin is very interesting and worth a look.

7. Consairn it - Prospector talk. Consairn it was likely developed for television
and movies back in an age when tv and movies reflected how we hoped to see ourselves instead of who we are, or the lowest common denominator of who we are.  Another great prospector swear (heard only by their trusty mule) was Dad Gum.

6. Golly Gee - Favorite of 'the Beave' Golly Gee can be separated or put together for extra emphasis or used separately in separate circumstance.  Golly used alone indicates amazement or disbelief.  Gee is used to express amazement or sadness. Used together it is usually a word of dismay ex: 'I'm Grounded?!  Golly Gee'

5. Crap - A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  This pseudo-swear is mostly used to describe someones posessions. For some reason the harsh counterpart to this word ends up being one of the first real swears that might usher us into feeling older than we probably are.

4. Fiddle dee dee - Scarlett O'hare used this one not as a swear, but more a dismissive term.  It doesn't really have much play today and yet, if you tried to use it, I'm sure that you would be laughed at.  Probably louder if you were male.

3. Fetch -  Awww Fetch.  Oddly enough I've only heard this used by the more pious folks wishing to voice their disdain of a situation.  Not unlike darn, fetch seems to have had its start in the early 80's and moved into near obscurity by the year 2000.  If you know someone that uses that term regularly, they probably went to BYU.

2. Racksa Fricksen Ricka Sicken Rack- Most of the other entries are easily recognized, this one may be a bit harder.  That's because it's a translation from what I think I heard as a kid watching cartoons.  When the road runner thwarted Wile E. Coyote, He would wander off muttering something akin to that under his breath.  Translation?  none.  This swear comes straight out of the mind of Mel Blanc.  I still say it from time to time.

1. Fudge - The mother of all swear words, except it isn't fudge.  If you've seen A Christmas Story, you need no more explanation.  If you haven't.  I recommend it.

Eventually I will have written about everything.  Some days I feel like I'm pretty close.  Come back in 15 days or so and see if I can pull something else out of my...brain.