Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have thought back on some of my halloween costumes in past years. They have included the following:
Spooky the Bat--Just to remove any doubt that it was supposed to be a scary costume, we wrote"spooky" on my hat. I'm absolutely positive it was convincing.

Ladybug--certainly what comes to mind when asked "What is the one costume that sends shivers down the spine?"

Karate Kid
Trash Man
White-Trash man
Bulletin Board
And, not to be outdone this year, a smurf. Due to popular demand, I have decided to post some pics to pay tribute to my gnomish friends. While most kids stared at me in obvious confusion, there were a couple notable comments through the night:

"Oh look, it's the blue man"--To which I thought "If I was the blue man, why would I make and wear a ridiculous pointy hat made out of felt?...And if there was some indigenous people with blue skin I would be about pissed off right now".

"Oh look, it's a smurf"--To which I thought "I am certainly glad to have dozens and dozens of people state the obvious...it makes that amnesia thing...what was I talking about again?"

In this picture, I am emerging from the forest to escape the evil grasp of Gargamel. The smurf website, which is certainly a delight, says that Gargamel is "a nasty, sneaky and hypocritical wizard that lives in a horrible cottage in the heart to the forest. He hates Smurfs and does everything within his power to capture them. Luckily for them, he also happens to very stupid, so they have always been able to escape. But be careful, he has sworn revenge." Revenge, though, he will not get, as at approximately 9:46 Halloween night the smurfness that was me washed down the shower drain.

When I am not running from Gargamelish villains, I have been jumping off of rocks (I dare any of you to challenge me to a cannonball battle) and paying tribute to my non-blue hued heroes (namely veterans).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Here's just some incoherent thoughts. All 2 of my fans are clamoring for a post, so I must feed the masses somehow...

Thought #1: I hate facebook. And yet, like an old girlfriend, I just keep going back to it thinking to myself "This time might be different..." Each time I go back, I realize that it is yet another waste of time.

Thought #2: A funny irony happened the other day. Immediately after studying about heart attacks, I saw two students successively a) use the elevator to go up 2 (yes, a mere 2) flights of stairs and b) push the automatic door open button that is supposed to be reserved for people on wheelchairs. Ummm, does that strike anyone else as really really really dumb? No wonder people often don't trust doctors.

Thought #3: I can't stand politics anymore. This coming from a political science major (ha ha, I like how they have to try to boost their academic status by calling it a "science". Everyone knows that it is not.). The same old punchlines..."We need a new style of Washington so we can't bring about real change..."blah blah blah and "His tax policy will lead us into a socialist mess". Who are these guys fooling?

Thought #4: I love waterfalls. Here is the newest one I discovered, about 30 minutes from my house. That annoying TLC song kept coming into my mind. What does it even mean? Don't go chasing waterfalls stick to the rivers and the lakes you're used to. Huh?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bus rides

So, this is my home for the next four years at the University of Hawaii Medical School. As you can see, it may prove to be a little tough to study...

Meanwhile, it takes me an hour and change on the bus to get to school, which I seriously don't mind if just for the stories to tell. What other bus in the nation cleverly calls itself "The Bus" (you know, in case there was any doubt as to its identity)? And what better advertising slogan than the one it proudly proclaims: "No hassle, no fuss...catch The Bus." They hooked me in with that one. In the month that I have called "The Bus" my friend, there are a few things that I have noticed:
1) No matter how hard I try to strategically place myself, I always end up sitting next to the smelliest, grungiest person on board. And the few times that I manage to play my cards correctly, I sit next to the person with the most potent perfume on. What is wrong with me? Any suggestions to prevent this? Why do I attract the stink people?
2) The weirdest thing seen: A white rastafarian guy crouching (not sitting, mind you) with his feet on the seat sucking on his hair braids which must be harboring lice, scabies, and grilled chilled sandwiches.
3) The weirdest and most disgusting conversation overheard (captive audience thing, you know): A teenage couple talking about their intimate life together without the use of birth control.
4) There are lots of tittah moms who use the bus. Just think of an overweight, grouchy 300 pound woman with a constant scowl, well-rounded cankles, and rotten teeth. Now imagine her thunderous man-like voice and untempered anger...scary. Even scarier...hearing her try to speak a complete sentence.
5) Why do all the thugs have to sit in the back? Even when there are empty seats up front and none in the back, they seem to just pile back there.
6) I swear all bus drivers know each other. Every bus driver feels compelled to wave to a fellow passing bus driver...its the bus driver comraderie. They don't wave to anyone else, much less acknowledge you when you come aboard (their work is done for them by an electronic voice: "Aloha. Welcome aboard The Bus").

I am sure there will be more to come...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Long Draught is Ending

So, I've decided to write again. I just paid my dues to my father's land, Finland, for five weeks. We have a cabin on an island on a lake that requires a 5 minute boat ride just to get to. Adventures were plentiful and included killing six snakes with my barehands (if by barehands you mean shovels and if by "my" killing you mean yelling for help and having someone else do it). Using the restroom was especially adventurous, in between sitting on a john with a bucket two feet below my derrier and batting off blood-thirsty mosquitoes. How do they instantly know when you are a target? They don't bother me when I walk or move around, but the minute that I try to use the Krapper, they come out in swarms. The best thing about the outhouse is having to look at what you did the next time you use the latrine...

I also came across a curious looking potato (no, we are not talking about the outhouse stuff anymore). I don't feel like any explanation is needed...

Leisure hours (that means, essentially, when we weren't busy mangling snakes with shovels or taking pictures of boob potatoes) included fishing of all varieties whether it be nets, lures, or bobs. On July 4th, while true patriots show their love for country by eating nutritious things like fatty hot dogs, blowing things up made in China, and complaining to their fellow patriots about how ridiculous it is that gas is $4 per gallon (and less than half the cost of Europe's) and about how ridiculous it is that we keep buying things from China (oblivious, of course, that it includes those $40 lame firework bundles from grocery stores), we went fishing. And 54 fish later, we all felt a little more American by not eating the bounty we had just caught, but by grilling up some hamburgers.

Fishing wasn't all, of course. There was kayaking on an open lake that I virtually had to myself, and endless hours of sauna time. Finland, to those of you who don't know, is where the sauna first began, as "sauna" is actually a Finnish word. For some weird reason, the custom is to eat makkara, akin to a polish sausage, while enjoying the sauna. Eating something hot and sweaty while I myself am hot and sweaty just doesn't sit well with me.

Then there's this weird festival on Summer Solstice. Pagan in its roots (unlike those pure-motive holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and especially Halloween), it commemorates the longest day of the year. Instead of blowing up stuff made up in China, though, we gather twigs and fallen branches and make what is called a kokko. Starting off environmentally-friendly (my favorite catch-phrase of the day which can conveniently be used to castigate those people with whom we do not associate: "Kids, we don't play Playstation 8 like your friends next door. That's just not environmentally friendly" and so forth), the kokko becomes Al Gore's worst nightmare (that is, if you choose to turn a blind eye to his $30,000/yr electric bill for his home). It is then doused in gasoline imported from our Middle East friends and torched into flames while floating on a platform on the lake. My last name, Kokkonen, simply means the son of the person responsible for making the heap of wood that is to be lit in flames.
One day, after so many days of wilderness, the longing for civilization, crowds, and Western culture (you just can't resist it, can you? Can you?) in all its glory compelled us to drive three hours to Helsinki, Finland's capital. Here we visited a church built of rocks and built into an existing rockbed. Free admission, 1 euro to use the restroom. The line for the bathroom was longer than the line for the church. And people submitted to the charge calmly (whilst in America one was heard screaming "you mean I have to pay a whole quarter for this 32 oz. cup of water!" in an incredulous tone). We also saw a fortress called Suomenlinna, once strategic, now just a dwelling place for hobbits (left picture). My brother, utterly insolent and disgusted at the thought of paying to use the restroom (I may or may not be embellishing his sentiments at the time), thought it more civil to urinate like a hobo on some trash cans in an alleyway (since, you know, that's what hobo's do--urinate on trash cans in alleyways).

Through relaxing in Europe, I decided that I couldn't completely feel comfortable as a European. The urge to actually work (a silly word in a country that shuts down in July--including a domestic airline company--and leads the world with 45 paid holidays per year) set in. I decided to help refinish our canoe. That, and digging a 50 meter trench measuring a foot wide and 2 feet deep for sheer kicks and giggles, were my projects. Actually, that urge to consume and be a part of Western culture was just too overpowering. Instead of living in a cabin with no electricity, we decided to bring electricity to us. Digging the trench was the first step to getting it. And, unfortunately, that meant I had to work in order for it to come. Gasp.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

State Fair 2007

Once again I have decided to make myself feel important and convince myself that people are genuinely interested in my life by adding another post...

Nothing brings out the best in people more than a state fair. And nothing defines a state fair more than a multitude of mullets. This was a day that will live in infamy; for not only did I see every type of mullet imaginable--from the skullet to the female mullet (abbreviated to femullet (pronounced fe-mew-lay))--but I also witnessed Terkules the mammoth turkey strut his stuff in the world-renowned Utah State Fair Turkey Stampede.
And so, now, drumroll please...I present the mullet gallery.

This was the prize possession. Sexy golden locks draped this woman's shoulder, in addition to frumpy poof bangs. With the sunset's soft kiss, this woman's femullet (once again, fe-mew-lay) quickly turned this lass into a bronze babe.

Although not quite as exciting, this man's mullet is run-of-the-mill, the classic cap accentuating the mullet's adorning of the neck

Medium sized beauty reminiscent of a stallion's tail...no more words needed
The quintessential biker mullet that any mullet gallery of any importance will have. Girls, think of that mane billowing in the wind, as you ride off in the sunset on the back of his Harley...wow, that wasn't cliche or anything.

The double mullet...a match made straight from heaven. I can't decide which mullet is prettier but those locks are almost seductive.

Although difficult to see, this man had the trashiest of all mullets. With a buzzed head and a mega mane, this dude exemplifies the skullet spirit.

Mullets, though, were only a small part of the State Fair Bonanza. For one, there was Harold, the cow whose fate was made by the product of his own making--butter. Somehow, Harold was transmogrified into a dairy delight. And, boy, was he ever a delight.

Then there was the rodeo. Some brilliant individual thought that it was a good idea--and somehow, as depicted in the following picture, equated patriotism with rodeos--to have a paraglider enter the rodeo grounds as we sang the star-spangled banner. Personally, I can't think of a more patriotic thing to do, a better way to venerate those who brought us freedom, a more introspective method of revering those who have gone before us, a more appropriate way of teaching our youth to carry on the mantle of liberty...than to watch a paraglider bring a flag into a rodeo grounds and then to watch cowboys get bucked around by gyrating beasts. Evidently, so did others.

Nothing, though, got the crowd so involved more than the chance to set a guinness world record. You know, the book that champions people to see how many muskrats they can eat without contracting a disease or the record for lint balls collected from a single dryer in one day. On this day, however, it was the first time in the history of mankind that someone jumped through a loop of fire while driving a bathtub. We're talking about an epic event folks...the invention of the wheel, the printing press, going through fire in a bathtub--all these events mark the pinnacles of human achievement and creativity.

The bliss did not end there. For Turkules, the mightiest turkey in the land--or at least the fair grounds--still had clout to impose. For in the Wild West Turkey Stampede only one turkey could have the vigor, fortitude, and size necessary to bully the ring. That Turkey was Turkules--in all of his growth hormone glory.

And then there were the earless goats. Nobody would have accused them of cutting their ears off until they come right out and say "We didn't cut them off," (see picture, right) especially as they marker through the line after it.

What a priceless day of trashy delight. Turkules, Harold, earless goats, mullet-titudes of mullets, spooning pigs--what else could one want to see in a single day?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Leading llamas

As with most things (cell phones, iPods, puberty, etc), I'm joining the blog craze late. Usually I'd rather be doing things than sitting in front of a computer writing about doing things. But this way I can pretend that I am important and I can fool myself into thinking that people care about what I am doing in my life. So, here, I am officially launching my blogging experiment.

"Llama fest" 2007 was held in Spanish Fork, UT at a Hare Krishna temple. At first, I supposed that they had some kind of spiritual tale involving the beasts and I was really intrigued to discover their significance. It turns out they just like llamas. And who would blame them? I was approached by this old woman (a.k.a Llama Lady) who had this keen ability to sense expert llama leaders. It was in her blood. She asked me to lead a llama through an obstacle course. And, being the seasoned llama leader that I am, I graciously accepted. Upon trying to select which of the myriad of llamas to choose from, I had an instant connection with this llama, which I named Margaret. Unfortunately, it was a boy llama. Like I said, it was an instant connection. I changed his (her?) name to Frederick. He was an interesting llama--very unruly and didn't like to be kept on a short leash (I should've known by this detail alone that it was a boy). For some reason Frederick sniffed the anuses of the other llamas when they stood in front of him.

Nonetheless, Frederick was a trooper. He climbed up stairs, lept over a pond, and even walked through hoops. His most feated accomplishment (or was it mine as his leader?), though, was climbing into and out of a van (since, you know, wild llamas have frequent encounters with open vans and stuff. They must absolutely know how to deal with such situations). So, in the end, Frederick and I earned 3rd place out of 15 on the obstacle course. It was the greatest day of my l......llama leading life.
Amazingly, though, I learned a couple things from llama leading. Other less-abled llamas refused to finish the obstacle course. No amount of coercion, bribery, or bum sniffing from Frederick could get them to keep moving. When the animal quit, it quit. I, too, just need to quit when I get tired, discouraged, or don't want to put forth any more exertion...As the honorable Homer J. Simpson once said, "It is better to watch stuff than to do stuff". Some llamas took that to heart.

No, but seriously now, I felt for these llama-leaders whose llamas would not be led. They could nothing more (except for picking a llama like Frederick). Here's the other, perhaps just-as-significant realization from this experience: How many times am I like the llama, refusing to move ahead and overcome obstacles even though there are people along the way trying to show me which way I should go? Do I give up on things too easily because of its difficulty, because I am too tired, or because I am too busy doing extraneous things (like, for Frederick, sniffing bums and eating leaves off of the Llama Lady's trees and having her scold me for the indiscretion)? Do I impede my own progress? Cheeky, but I was thinking about this all the while stepping into llama excrement. Frederick didn't sniff that, though...