10 Items I'm Plugging Because I Want to Be Their Spokesperson

Dr. Seuss Goes to War comic strip Nazi Hitler WWII Stalingrad Theodore Geisel political cartoon
Maybe I like Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) because he started as a political
cartoonist during WWII.  His book, Goes to War, is a great history read.
My house if full of stuff.  I have too many things. There's whosits and whatsits galore, thingamabobs and whacha -macallits scattered all over the floor, unopened clamshell electronic dohickeys, and unnecessary Disney collectible Mickeys. Oh, I also have the entire collection of Dr. Seuss books, even though sadly I seem to enjoy reading them more than my daughters do.

Having said that, I need to declutter the house. I get attached to items and I don't even know why. Many disappear into dark corners of the house and are rarely used, and are not disposable, or salable, no matter the profit. I am a true materialistic American. And I don't mean to be.

Realistically, if my house burnt down, there's only about ten items I would consider saving.  But as important as my guitars, computer, and family photos are, those are obvious choices that most people would risk at least a first degree burn for, and I won't bore you with their ordinarary-ness.

Here's a list of ten items I wouldn't get burned for, but am really enjoying the heck out of. Call me a material girl, because well, I'm living in a material world.

Spenco Shoe insoles Polysorb package10.  Spenco shoe insoles.  I stand for hours in my line of work, and I almost forget, daily, how this is going to affect my feet when I get home. I've tried Dr. Scholl's inserts multiple times in the past, and they help a little, but one day I found these Spencos on clearance at Fred Meyer (love me some Freddie's 50% clearance). They barely fit in my shoes, and only fit in my Nike athletic shoes, but now that's all I wear. Comfort all day. Is it unprofessional to wear tennis shoes to work everyday? Absolutely. Do I care? Not anymore.

K'NEX Beatles Yellow Submarine figures Like Legos minifigs9. K'NEX: Beatles Yellow Submarine set. I don't like imitation Legos, and my favorite Beatles album is solidly Abbey Road, but this compromise set of plastic figures fulfills so many nerdy aspects of my life; plus I didn't even need to drop acid to have them come to fruition.  I bought the set for my buddy who loves all things Submarine, and while it's my sixth favorite album, it is iconic of the Beatles, so I had to have it. Sorry, Justin, I just ruined your birthday present, but I was so jealous looking at your gift, that I went back and bought one for me.  If only Yoko was in the set, it truly could be the Plastic Ono Band.

Steve Martin the Television Stuff DVD set 1977-1982 Comedy is not Pretty Wild and Crazy guys8. Steve Martin: The Television Stuff Special DVD set. In 1984, my family recorded a television special called Comedy is Not Pretty, by Martin, as it ran on NBC.  It only aired twice in it's history, yet because of that VHS copy, my brother and I must have viewed it 50 times (until the tape was garbled up).  The Cold War era jokes, and Martin's Wild and Crazy Guy haven't aged that well, but still, it was comedy gold to us boys. One of the skits is how to be a ladies man while dining out; to a waiter, "Tell you what, bring me a pig-on-a-stick, and bring the lady something for a dollar and a half"...and "They come to me a little girl, but they leave...a man."  Mr. Martin, some of my sense of humor, I owe to you.  Over six hours of impossible to find material from the early 80s.

7.  Martin Acoustic SP guitar strings. Every guitarist is in love with their gear, so I can already hear the detractors, "blasphemy you corporate rock whore!"  But for me, no string lasts as long, plays as bright, and is as economical as these guys. Just listen to how these sixth month old strings make my silly swamp blues song Gator Got Me Gurl almost sound melodic.

Ian McEwan Sweet Tooth Dear Life Alice Munro Star Wars Origami Darth Vadar and Son6.  High brow and nerdy books: My family never knows what to buy me for Christmas, and so this year, they conspired to get me a bunch of new books I have eyed, but not bought.  Books are expensive, so most of the time, I try to find used books. I'm loyal to a good author, so I usually buy their entire cannon. My intellectual novel collection includes J.D. Salinger, Sherman Alexie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Ian McEwan and Nick Hornby, and in the entertainment crowd, Michael Crichton, Peter Benchley, and David Benioff.  This Christmas loot (photographed) was the perfect assortment of thinking and geeking out literature. Thanks family.

Weird Ginger root plant animal shape
I like to grind up Ginger and pretend
it's some exotic animal going into
the blender.  (I'm kidding, I really
pretend it's malignant cancer cells).
5. Drinks.  While many people might be thinking of alcohol, and I do enjoy a Hefeweizen or a white Russian on occasion, I prefer to drink liquids without spirits. My wife just got me a juicer, and I already had a carbonator machine, so now, I can make pretty much anything. What I have realized is that bananas suck.  They destroy everything;  even a third of a banana will overpower five oranges and a whole pineapple.  So I'm kicking you out of my life for good bananas. The miracle liquid on the other hand, is Ginger Ale. Alone, it is fantastic (if you live in the Eugene area, you should try it on tap at North Bank McMenamins), and it mixes well with anything fruity, creamy, or intoxicant. Fresh Ginger, however, will burn your lips for hours. Moderation in all things.

Rojos Restaurant style salsa secret Aardvark Habanero hot sauce bacon
The perfect plate.  Salsa, hot sauce, and bacon
4.  Rojo's Medium Restaurant Style Salsa, and Secret Aardvark habanero hot sauce.  I, unlike many of my hipster generation, have no dragon blood in me. I don't like ghost peppers, and prefer to not throw lava on my tongue as a show of manhood. However, I do like a certain degree of spice. I'm not sure why it's so hard to find a good store bought salsa, but this variation of Rojo's is available at most locations near me, and is a suitable replacement for authentic salsa. The Aardvark sauce, on the other hand, is my go to sauce. Hot, but not intense. Flavorful, as an enhancement to anything from cheese quesadillas to chili, it is my tongue's lover. (That was a creepy image, but I'm going to leave it because I am that passionate about the sauce).

3.  Gungor: the band. I'm at that age (33) where music, movies, and television are no longer aimed at my demographic. I desperately don't want to be that guy who clings to all things related to his generation (mid-1990s). Thankfully, I don't have any Nirvana shirts, and only have one their albums on my ipod (although there is a stockpile of Pearl Jam on there). Anyways, when I find new music by relevant artists playing good music, I support them wholeheartedly. The word soulful is overused. These guys and gals are full of soul. Listen at least from 2:20 -

Craftsman 19.2 volt lithium battery C3 drill driver 2.  Craftsman 19.2 Volt Lithium Drill:  Many of you know I worked at Sears for years, and I picked up a Ni-Cd kit years ago with a drill/ circular saw/ reciprocating saw, and it was fine.  But two years ago my wife added a smaller drill with the lithium battery to the kit.  They all work together.  The old kit is now amazing.  That battery will go months without being recharged and is almost as strong as a corded tool.  I can cut through multiple sheets of plywood with the saw with no loss of power.  I'm so in love with lithium, that I've started abusing it as a drug.  Just kidding, but it did make me go back and listen to the song by the same name by Nirvana (oh crap, I am that guy living in the past).

The Brick Bible:New Testament A New Spin on the story of Jesus getting baptized by John the baptist Lego scenes from the bible
I love John the Baptist's eyes.  He was a wild man, after all.  
1.  The Brick Bible, The New Testament, A New Spin on the Story of Jesus: That's right. A visual Lego Bible. Surprisingly reverent (although completely literal), the Brick Bible is the entire New Testament in Lego figure scenes. Sadly, I have not read the Bible cover to cover, but this new visual resource has inspired me to look up a few scriptures to see how I would've interpreted them. It is funny and interesting, and definitely creative. Even my daughters get interested and ask questions. I'm not fond of promoting images over words, but honestly, this book got me excited about reading the Bible for once.

Narrowly missing: America's Best Pellets (nothing heats my house better); Game of Thrones on HBO (too long to wait between seasons); The Smurfs' Village iPad game (gets boring after level 30). A&W and Henry Weinhard's Root Beer (too unoriginal).


  1. That is some truly random stuff my man. You have a true affinity for Legos, yes?

    I feel as if I'm mixing out on life, I've experienced none of your 10 things. None I say. Sure, I've had drinks, but I've juiced nothing in my life and don't drink Ginger Ale. It appears as if my life is a sham.

    I did try the song you included. It sounded too coffeehousey to me. Sorry, just not my thing.

  2. Well, I for one---LOVE that Song by Gungor. Oh, and yes, also the gator gurl gobble blues. I think I'll have to try the foot inserts and buy a juicer.

  3. The Legos thing, is mostly because I didn't have them as a child. It stunted my creativity. I could've been someone, I couldn't been an engineer, but instead I'm a nobody, just a blogger.

    I understand the music thing. If I heard only that song I'd agree. I grew up on rock, and now I'm mellowing out. I can still get the Led out at times, but my old roommates were all into the death metal, black metal, hardcore screamo junk; If I can honestly hear notes, and individual instruments anymore I'm happy. I used to hate anything that sounded "hipster," until I realized I don't have to socialize with the band and talk about organic food. I just like good music, and bands that can bring it, live...it doesn't really need a category for me anymore.

  4. I freaking love your song associated with item#7, because nobody wants to talk about the scary truth of alligator-related deaths, especially in Oregon. I have a special place in my heart for them, however, as I am a Florida Gator. And I love silly songs, so now I probably have a blogger crush on you. Sorry.

    Also, I have a friend in Eugene, OR so you guys probably know each other and hang out all the time. Her name's Katy and she's an artist. Tell her I said hi. The end.

    1. Yeah Oregonians are more afraid of dying by cougars and bears (and I'm not talking about BYU or Cal. grads), than by gators, but statistics show that Gators are really the dangerous species. Now that I have a Gator girl reading, I'll try not to bash Tim Tebow too much(actually it is a little unfair how much he gets torched on by fans).

      And my mother is a local artist, so when I go to her gallery shows I will randomly ask people if they are named Katie. (They usually serve wine at those functions, so it won't be that awkward). Plus, I already know like seven Katies, there can't be that many more in this area.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Haha, I'm so getting a kick out of you inviting us to call you a material girl. *immature snicker*
      Anyway, that K'Nex Beatles Yellow Submarine thing is AMAZING, although I too prefer Abbey Road. That is tied with the White Album for my favorite. Also, I use Martin Strings by force of habit and because they last forever, but you may have swayed me to try something new...and that Bible Lego set? Genius.
      So I loved this post! It gets me thinking of all the items I would sponsor, like Diet Dr. Pepper (the only soda I drink), National Geographic, my crepe pan...oh man, I could go on forever!

    3. I actually play with Martin SP strings! I can't believe I wrote Gibson (I don't like anything Gibson makes)...Thanks for catching that. I don't know if that's Freudian, or just a regression of my brain.

      Somewhere my mother is mad at me for making a reference to Madonna. She was bad news growing up.

  5. Being out of teaching for a year, I had totally forgotten about the pain in my feet until recently! I went out and bought some black Sketchers tennis shoes that I feel could almost pass off as professional. I'm gonna wear them for the first time teaching at Kindergarten tomorrow. I still care (a little), so I'm going to feel completely self-conscious all day, but at least my feet are gonna feel good! Seriously. I think teachers should get some leeway on what "professional dress" is.

    1. Well, if you want to be considered for a job, dressing nice (unfortunately) does a lot for you. I find that with each district, I look at what the principles and teachers are wearing and wear something in-between the worst and best. I personally never care for the districts where the administration are wearing suits, and they talk about teaching methodology at lunch...blah.

      Sketchers are fine (IMO). Flip flops, on the other hand, probably too casual.

  6. I love lists. I could write my top tens all day every day forever. And they would be different each time. Probably like yours. I still remember when I was in 4th grade, we had to bring a grocery bag full of items we would take if we went on the oregon trail. I brought a LOT of stuff... and everyone made fun of me for bringing my leopard print candle. They couldn't see the forest for the trees... Meaning, I WASN'T BRINGING IT FOR SYLE, I WAS BRINGING IT FOR FIRE AND... HEAT. It just happened to be stylish.

    1. You would own a leopard print candle, and not realize it is completely trashy. Okay, maybe not trashy, but strange for a fourth grader to own. And I agree, your lists would be interesting and more random than mine.

  7. Love your random list and Gungor's song, but mostly I'm impressed with your Gator song. Although, I shouldn't be surprised at your talent.

    1. I wrote that Gator song years ago with a roommate named Daniel Wilkinson (1999?), I haven't written anything of merit since all my angst ran out. Now the only thing I can write musically is comedy songs.