Monday, May 9, 2016

Everything I Know About Love...

I strongly considered just posting the title and then leaving a blank entry. Not only would that have been hilarious to the swarms of crazed fans and readers of this blog, it would have also been a fairly accurate summary of everything I know about love.

I’ve tried to learn about love. I really have. People who know me well, might disagree, because I don’t date all that frequently. But what they don’t know is how many hours I spend researching by watching chick flicks, romantic comedies, and high school teen dramas. I have seen every episode of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ and I recently, as a research effort, attempted to watch ‘One Tree Hill.’

Side Note: I made it through the first season, and I was admittedly learning TONS about love. But it just seemed a bit unrealistic to me. Not the love. No that was real. Maybe too real. I mean, I can’t tell you how many emancipated minors there were at my high school who got married shortly into their junior year. That’s some serious, real love between mature 16 year olds no doubt. And I do think it’s pretty believable that two kids who are actually estranged half-brothers would end up playing a one-on-one streetball game to determine which one of them can stay on the school's basketball team, because they just can’t both be on it. They hate eachother so much. And then later are able to overcome their hatred of each other to win the state basketball championship as a team. Something similar actually happened to me when I was in high school, but it wasn’t basketball related. It had to do with the woodwind section of the symphonic band. And it wasn’t my half-brother, it was just another kid. But he did accuse me of cheating in the 6th grade geography bee so there were some strong feelings on both sides. But anyway, all of that stuff was totally believable. What I couldn’t get on board with were all of the comas. I think every main character at some point is in a coma at least once during the first season, which takes place in less than one calendar year! The main character, Lucas, I’m pretty sure is in a coma in every other episode. Think of the lasting brain damage he would have! Not to mention the outrageous hospital bills that Lucas and his mother, who just owns a small diner and is definitely paying her own insurance (although this is pre-ObamaCare, so it may not have been that bad), will be paying off for the foreseeable future. Sorry Lucas! There goes your college fund to pay for hospital bills. And you can forget about that basketball scholarship, because no one is taking a chance on a kid who is constantly slipping in and out of comas. And your coach just retired because he has cancer and I think is planning to be in an extended coma as well. So yeah it was just a little too unbelievable for me. And this is coming from a guy who made it through all of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ with no issues.

So I’ve done all of this research and I feel like if the world operated like a movie or a show, I would be married. But unfortunately love in the real life world absolutely does NOT operate like the movies or  television shows (although sometimes the shows don’t operate like shows either. I mean, in a perfect world wouldn’t Dawson have ended up with Joey Potter? I mean it’s called Dawson’s Creek. And yet Pacey gets the girl in the end. Not that I’m complaining. Pacey is clearly the better man. Also, they both have stupid names).

Here’s an analogy to just give you an insight into my experience with love so far:
Some of you may have heard me explain this before. But just imagine a rat or a mouse...or some other type of small rodent. Just visualize any small animal that could be experimented on in a scientific lab I guess...actually let’s stick with a rat.. We’ve probably all heard that rats can be placed in a maze with a reward (maybe cheese?) at the end of it. And then the rat can be conditioned to find the most direct path to the cheese every time it is placed in the maze. It’s simple. You just give the rat a little shock each time it goes in the wrong direction. Eventually the rat learns which direction to go in order to not get shocked and get the reward. Well, imagine with now another maze. And in this maze the rat is also promised a reward if it gets through. BUT the difference is that whoever is supposed to be in charge of shocking the rat when it goes in the wrong direction is just shocking the rat every time it goes in ANY direction. So what happens to the rat? Does it just keep attempting to navigate the maze? Probably not if it feels it has tried every path and is only going to get shocked no matter which way it goes. So what does it do? Nothing. It sits at the entrance to the maze trying not to move so it can avoid painful shocks. It has been told of the cheese at the end of the maze, but it hasn’t ever seen it or even sniffed iit. It’s just a rumor of cheese and a shock for any attempt to find it. Maybe if the rat just works on himself a little he can avoid getting shocked? Or maybe he needs to find and love himself before he can find the cheese? Or maybe if he tries some grand gesture to get through the maze and just approaches the maze with more confidence? Or maybe if he learns how to play certain games he can trick the maze into letting him get that cheese? Or maybe he needs to lower his expectations of the cheese and be willing to settle for some cheese he doesn’t really want, but can accept because he needs to eat something, right? Or maybe he just needs to be himself, and to be honest about how much he wants the cheese, and then the cheese will find him?

Nope. Still gets shocked each time he takes a step.

Ok I know what you are thinking. This sounds like some deep-seated and slightly morbid psychological issue that I have, and I should get professional help. Well, if that’s what you’re thinking, you’re not wrong. I recognize the issue. And I’m getting the form of this book given to me by my concerned Grandpa!!!

Thanks Grandpa. This is sure to be as effective in helping me understand love as the KissStix you gave me several years ago (This is true. He gave them to me to get me motivated to take (and get) some action in the dating arena. KissStix are flavored lip balm. You wear one flavor, and someone else wears the other and then you put them together to make a delicious flavor combination. I used them a little differently, putting one flavor on my top lip and the other on my bottom lip. Still got the delicious flavor combo, without having to put my mouth on another human’s mouth. #winning)

Chapsitck side note: I’m a simple man. And I currently have only one goal I’m working towards. That goal is to use a chapstick from start to finish, in it’s entirety. Like, get all the way to the bottom of the chapstick. I don’t know what’s at the bottom of a chapstick because I’ve never been able to do this without losing it first, washing it in the washing machine, or melting it on accident by leaving it in my car. I’m actually not even sure if it’s possible to use an entire chapstick. If anyone reading this has ever accomplished this seemingly impossible feat, please comment below with tips/strategy. Thanks.

In all seriousness though I want to really say something here. I am not sure if I have too many personal obstacles in my life (mainly the problem is my brain that ruins everything for me by thinking about stuff all the time) to experience love for myself. But I DO know that it exists. I’ve seen it. And I’m not talking about movies or TV shows. I’m talking the real deal.

My grandparents have been married for over 60 years, happily. And for at least 50 of those years, my Grandmother suffered painfully with rheumatoid arthritis, which slowly destroyed her joints, and her body. It took her ability to walk about 10 years ago and contributed to several other health issues along the way. She passed away just a few weeks ago after enduring well a life of pain and physical hardship. She may have complained privately or to others, but she never mentioned it once to me in 33 years.  And, in my opinion, her condition didn’t beat her. She left us when she was good and ready.
And equally as impressive as my Grandma’s will to live and endure, is the fact that my wonderful Grandpa has devoted his life for those 50 years to caring for her, day in and day out. Well into his 80’s he continued to wait on her, seeing to her every need. Feeding her and cleaning her and lifting her in and out of chairs and beds by himself. I’ve witnessed many a tender moment in their home when my Grandpa, without hesitation, will stop what he’s doing to scratch an itch that she just can’t reach, or rub her aching head. Whether he will admit it or not, he is indeed the most selfless man I’ve ever known.

Their love story will not be made into a movie or television show. Because it simply can’t be. Love and devotion like that can only be conveyed over a lifetime.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa, for teaching me everything I will ever need to know about love.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The 24 Levels of Texting Purgatory

Hello! Sponsors have been demanding more content, so here’s some more extremely embarrassing and personal information about me! I really need someone to stop me from doing things…so many things.

Anyway, I think I’ve brought this up previously, but occasionally in my life, I’ve experienced something strange. Usually I’m able to fight off the strange feelings and go on living my life as usual. You know, pretty much doing what ever I feel like doing. But sometimes, a person will come along (usually/always a female person), and for some stupid biological reason, I think that I would like to spend some of my time (the time that I normally spend on myself doing whatever I want to) trying to hang out with/spend money on said person. No matter what I do to fight it, sometimes the feeling overcomes me. My heart takes over my brain, and I’m forced to act. I believe this is what most people call ‘dating.’ I don’t know what I call it. Torture maybe? I don't know.

My go to move is to send the person a text message, inviting them to spend some amount of time with me doing some sort of activity. I know, I know! You all think that a true gentleman should call a lady if he wants the pleasure of her company (which is a ridiculous cultural stipulation by the way that, girls, for some reason decided is the proper way to ask someone out. You realize there was a way people asked out women before phones too!?! They had to talk in person because there wasn't a better way! And before that the dude just had to ask the girls dad if he could go out with his daughter! And before that the dude just had to make the dad an offer of like chickens, or cows and the dad decided whether the offer was good enough, and they didn't even date they just went straight to marriage! And before that people couldn't talk because there were no languages yet, and the dude would just hit the woman he wanted with a club, knock her out and drag her back to his cave! So don't tell me that calling on the phone is the only way to ask someone out properly! How long have phones even been around? 10-15 years at most? C'mon. Alexander Graham Bell would have texted his future wife too if the technology had existed, and I believe that guy knew a little something about the telephone. But I digress). In a perfect world, I’d be that perfect man who is a chiseled 195, and has a full head of hair, and has some mysterious job (no one knows exactly what I do, but I make tons of money), AND I can just pick up the phone willy-nilly and dial the ladies and chat them up all day with hilarious jokes and anecdotes! But, unfortunately, we all live in THIS world not the perfect one. And most of the time all real world, 235 lb, bald, sandwich shop manager Karl can muster is a text. And you all should be darn proud that I do that much every once in a while!!!!

So back to the text…usually I shoot something out that says something like this, ‘Hey, girl! So are we going out Friday night or what?’ And then, impressed by my text savvy and confidence, she’ll reply instantly with, ‘Absolutely! Pick me up at 7?’ and it’s just that easy (side note: it’s never that easy). But in some rare cases, believe it or not, when you send out a text invitation, people don’t always respond like you would like them to. Sometimes they don’t have time, or desire to spend time doing an activity with you. And sometimes, they don’t respond very quickly (if at all). If you can believe it, I’ve sent out messages that didn’t get responded for up to 24 full hours! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through this on occasion. I call it Karl’s 24 levels (hours) of texting purgatory. Here’s a general picture of what goes on in the 24 hours when waiting for a girl to respond to a text. (Another side note: I feel like I should say something here to all you people judging me for sending texts and not calling, and thinking to yourselves ‘See, you’d never have this problem if you’d just call.’ I don’t buy it! Let’s be honest. No one really answers their phone anymore, so you’re stuck leaving a message and then you’re playing the waiting game anyway! And I’ve heard girls playing messages back that guys have left for them and making fun of them. I don’t want to be that guy. Yeah, we sound like idiots when we leave you a message because we are super nervous. Sorry).

Hour 1: Euphoria. Still on an adrenaline high from actually working up the nerve to contact a member of the opposite sex. I do a few push-ups and then look at myself in the mirror with my shirt off and say ‘you da man’ to myself over and over while flexing. Song I’m listening to on repeat: ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk

Hour 2: This is totally normal. Yeah, I know that everyone in the universe has their phone with them and on at all times and checks it every 5 seconds. But there’s a chance she’s the one person in the world who only checks her phone every couple of hours, right? She might not have seen it yet. I’m still feelin good. Song I’m listening to: ‘Love Never Felt So Good’ MJ and JT

Hour 3: Ok. I’m sweating a bit now. She’s probably in a movie or something though. So no big deal. Plus, she’s going to get out of that movie she’s probably in, and it was probably a romantic comedy, or a super hero movie, and she’s going to think to herself, ‘I need a hero in my life, and that hero is Karl Kowallis, and what do you know I have a text from him! I’ll just go ahead and reply this very second’! Song I’m listening to: ‘Holding out for a Hero’ by Bonnie Tyler

Hour 4: You know what? People lose their phones everyday. Or break them. Or forget them at home. Or they get robbed. This is what happened. Her phone is broken. Or she was robbed. Or a robber broke her phone. Or the robber has the phone and doesn’t know how to reply to my message. As soon as she can she will reply. I’m just going to take a bath and listen to some love songs and wait it out. Song: ‘Glory of Love’ Chicago

Hour 5: Maybe she didn’t pay her cell phone bill? Is there a way I can pay it for her? I’ll wire the money right now. Just reply!!! I need to hear from you. Please? ‘Missing You’ John Waites

Hour 6: I’m legitimately worried. Something must have happened to her. She’s been in some type of accident! I should probably check on her. Yes, definitely I should drive to her house right now to see if she’s ok. Would that be weird? Yes, yes it would. But what if she needs me!?!?! I can save her! I’m going. I’m totally going to go over there. ‘Hysteria’ Muse

Hour 7: I didn’t go. She’s probably fine. Let me read and re-read the message I sent and break down every word a hundred times. It’s wrong! It’s all wrong! I was trying too hard to be funny and it came off not funny at all! Just creepy! I should have used more emoticons! How is she going to know what emotional state I’m in after each sentence if I don’t include a picture of a face expressing that emotion!? This is a disaster. ‘Retrace’ Anberlin

Hour 8: You know what? I used too many emoticons and now she thinks I’m gay… Song: 'Call me Maybe?' Carly Rae Jepson

Hour 9: I need to sleep. But I can’t! My mind is racing! Why hasn’t she replied…Why?! Why!? Why ?! WHY?…….I better fill up my humidifier.

Hours 10-12:  Tossing and turning in bed...I've turned off all music and have turned on several white noise machines due to my misophonia. Can't stop thinking about the girl...and the text...and donuts.

Hours 13-15: I still can't sleep. I'm numb. I just need to feel something! So I throw on a romantic comedy. Probably something with a young Meg Ryan.

Hour 16-18: I finally get some fitful sleep. Usually I have the recurring nightmare that I'm back in college and somehow I've neglected to go to one of my classes THE ENTIRE SEMESTER! The final is today and I know nothing. Also I didn't wear any pants to school. What does it all mean?

Hour 19: Still nothing!? I know she’s alive because I was doing some internet stalking and I saw that she just posted something on Facebook. Unless…someone kidnapped her, stole her identity and is now in control of her account. It’s OK. When the police find her she will reply… ‘Time and Confusion’ Anberlin

Hour 20: Don’t you know that I just want to love you and take care of you!?!!?!?! I literally just want to spend money on you and all you have to do is eat dinner in the same room with me and it will be free for you! I won’t even make you say anything! I won’t say anything either (this might actually be true). We can just go somewhere. I’ll pay for you to eat food. Neither of us will talk or make eye contact. And then I’ll take you home! I’ll do whatever you want!!!   'There is music playing but I can't hear it over my weeping' Karl Kowallis

Hour 21: I’m panicking! She hates me. She literally despises me and is disgusted by my existence. She is out with some other guy right now and is showing him pictures of me and they are laughing at me. Is it the extra cartilage on my left ear!? Well is it!?! What is so funny!!!??? I want to die…or kill someone. One or the other.   'Shoot to Thrill' AC/DC (live album)

Hour 22: I need to rethink my whole life. My whole life is a lie. I’m making some changes! You think you can just ignore me?! Try ignoring me when I get in ridiculous shape and start dating models and celebrities! Then you’ll be sorry! Diet starts, now! From now on my life is dedicated to making you regret not responding to my text message by making myself irresistible in every way!!! Then we’ll see who ignores who! Yes. Yes, then we’ll see. BWAAHAHAHAHAAHHHAHAHAH!!!!!   Rocky Soundtrack

Hour 23: No. No. No! You do not get to do this. You have to say something. At this point I don’t even care what you say. Just say SOMETHING. I don’t even care if it makes any sense. Just send me complete gibberish. A bunch of letters, numbers and punctuation in no particular order. I doesn't matter. I don’t care if you tell me that you wish I was never born. Anything. Anything at all! I can’t live like this!!! Just acknowledge me!!!!!!

Hour 24: I will never love again. I’m coming to terms with this. I may as well eat my feelings. I’m ordering a pizza…and wings…and those cinnamon bread sticks that you dip in frosting. You know who never let’s me down, pizza. And Batman.   The Dark Knight Soundtrack

Then eventually she replies…And I’m in love again, and I don’t care who knows it!!!

Then I reply back...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Help! I'm in serious danger of failing to keep my New Year's Resolution

            You ever just have one of those days? You know the ones I’m talking about…those days when you look in the mirror and just have to say to yourself, ‘Dang, I am one attractive man!’ Well I had one of those days yesterday. I was seriously looking good. Skin, unblemished. My beard, flawless. On top of that my head hair to beard hair ratio was in perfect balance. That is rare for me. AND, despite having two bowls of ice cream the previous night, I was still able to suck in my stomach just enough to make it look flat(ish). It was pretty sweet. Unfortunately, it was wasted because I was stuck behind a grill making cheesesteaks for the next 12 hours. Bummer.

            Anyway, that has nothing to do with the rest of this post…

            But, yes, I need help. I only made two New Year’s Resolutions this year. One was to double the amount of dates I went on this year than I did last year. CHECK! I’ve actually gone on 3 dates this year so I, in fact, TRIPLED my total from last year. And I have a couple months to spare even! So, yeah, good for me!

            The second one requires some background. My family, first of all, is awesome. I love them. We do a lot of fun things together. But mainly, when we get together, we like to eat delicious food. If ever an opportunity arises to eat delicious food, well then by golly, we take it. Over about the last 10 years a lot of my extended family has also been migrating to Utah, which has been great, because it just creates more opportunities for us to eat delicious food together (side note: In addition to liking delicious food, we also strongly dislike food that tastes disgusting).

            One of the opportunities we take each and every week to eat delicious food together is at Sunday dinner. It’s very important to me, which you know if you’ve ever tried to get me to miss Sunday family dinner. Everyone comes. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, Indian blood-brothers, illegitimate children, you name it. It’s fantastic. And sometimes, if one of my cousins or siblings is dating someone, they will bring their significant other to Sunday dinner. Then sometimes that significant other just never stops coming to Sunday dinner and slowly, over time, we just have to accept them as part of the family (I’m looking at you Beau and Aaron).
            Pretty much everyone in my family at one time or another, even if they aren’t married, has brought someone to Sunday dinner. Except for me. In over ten years I have invited/brought exactly zero ‘outsiders’ to dinner. My older sister? She’s easily brought several thousand people to dinner over the years. Maybe more. Me? Not a one. Why? I can’t really answer that.

            BUT last January I boldly proclaimed to my whole family that this was it. This was the year that Karl Kowallis was finally going to bring a girl over for Sunday dinner. Not that I would get married or engaged or even get into a serious relationship. Just that I would bring a girl over for dinner. And although I’ve done everything in my power to make this goal happen, alas, it has not! (fact: I’ve literally done nothing to make this happen).

            Anyway. I felt pretty confident earlier this year that I would make it happen. But the weeks went by. And then months. And still nothing. I was beginning to be hopeful that everyone had forgotten my bold proclamation, until just recently when my Grandfather, my own flesh and blood, the man who taught me how to cheat playing cards, called me out in front of my family! I was sure he had forgotten, because he can never seem to remember his wifi password (Grandpa, I’m pretty sure it starts with neogondo). But this, he remembers.

            So that’s why I need your help! It’s crunch time. And I’m at risk of becoming the laughing stock of family dinner! This cannot happen. So I’m enlisting all of you, my thousands upon thousands of avid blog followers (actually 43 not so avid followers), to help me find someone to bring to dinner.

            This is going to be tricky, because I can’t just bring anyone to dinner. It has to be the right person…so if you are interested or know someone who is interested in coming to Karl’s Sunday Family dinner sometime before the end of the year, let me know and I’ll put them through a rigorous interview process and a series of different tests to see if they can cut it. Having trouble finding people that want to join me for dinner at my parents house? Here are the top 3 reasons to come:

  1. I can guarantee there is always really good food. We are all food snobs.
  2. My Grandpa always makes homemade ice cream (I know for a fact it’s going to be pistachio this week, but he’s also open to requests)
  3. There’s a high probability that this baby will be there in a hot tub filled with cheerios:

She belongs to my cousin Rachel…

And if that’s not enough to convince you, then you should also know that there is a 100% chance that a high level Geology conversation will break out at some point. 

Let's make this happen people. My reputation depends on it!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

          Well it’s Father’s Day. Happy 1 more year not being a father to me!!! JK (Dad that stands for Just Kidding). But this post isn’t going to be all about me. It’s going to be about my father. Dad, if your reading this, first, congratulations on still being alive…and on still being able to see well enough to read (that’s just a little joke about your age). I was going to get you something cool or useful, and then I remembered that you have way more money than me, and if you want something cool or useful you usually just go buy it. So, then I thought that I should try to get you something thoughtful. But then I couldn’t think of anything…except socks. And how many socks does one person really need. I’ve literally (not literally. I’m exaggerating for effect) stolen 3000 pairs of socks from you over my lifetime (that’s just under 100 pairs a year…average). And yet, your sock drawer is magically completely full at all times (actually, I believe you’ve transitioned to a sock sack now. Just a giant sack/basket thingy in your closet chalk full to the brim, overflowing even, with socks…and don’t ask why I’ve been in your closet recently). And the thing that baffles me is that you continue to ask us to buy you more socks at Birthdays or Christmas, etc. Well I’m putting a stop to this nonsense. Instead of socks…or any gift whatsoever, I’m writing this blog for you. And you’ll notice that I’ve included some helpful hints to help you understand what’s going on with this blog (a blog is…I have no idea what a blog is. But you’re currently reading one).

Most of you who know me know my Dad, and you’re already aware that he possesses quite a few great qualities. You probably already know that he’s incredibly smart. He’s so smart that people have to call him Dr. Kowallis, instead of just Mr. or Brother. Every Sunday, when we have family dinner, he and my Grandpa (also a doctor) inevitably get into some conversation that I’m much to stupid to participate in. And he was always able to help me with my homework, even if he was so smart that he would try to teach me easier ways to do math problems than how I learned to do them in school or how the book was saying to do them, and I would ask him to please just show me how to do math like all the other kids my age were doing math and not at a PhD level (this was a great source of stress for me in my younger days).

          You probably also know that he is good, and kind and dependable. He always fulfils his church duties and callings without hesitation. This included dragging me off to do home teaching (for those people unfamiliar with home teaching, this is a practice in the LDS church where the men are called upon to visit different families and see how they are doing…even if the families don’t want you to visit them) every month without fail, serving as a Bishop, and now in the temple, as well as many others too numerous to list.

          You also probably know that he loves his wife and kids and he loves gardening and taking care of his yard.

But I want to fill you in on just a few (of the many) things about my Dad that you may not already know.

First, my Dad, on top of being a brilliant scientist, is actually extremely artistic, and a talented writer. Here’s a link to his blog:
You can clearly see that the talent I have, if any, for writing, came straight from him. As for the art, he was always just as helpful with other projects I had in school as he was with math. Actually more so. He basically did my projects for me in most cases. The one’s that come to mind are my prize winning Valentine’s box in 3rd grade (you can read more about that here), and I remember one time having to make a covered wagon for school (WHY?!?!), and he somehow, with only household materials, built me the most amazing covered wagon replica you’ve ever seen. Like, it could have been in a museum. He sewed, actually sewed, the canvass wagon covering, and even made tiny little bags of sugar and flour to go inside of it. I wish I could have instagramed it. But, yeah I got A’s on most of my projects. And he also writes and illustrates children’s books in his spare time (this is true)!

(Side Note: my poor, poor, future children. I will neither be able to help them with their math nor any of their artistic projects).

My dad could survive a zombie apocalypse, for real. If some catastrophe actually happened, I would go straight to him. You could honestly send him out into the woods with nothing but the clothes on his back, and I’m confident he could survive. He can identify pretty much any plant and tell you whether or not it’s edible. And, due to many years working at scout camps (and this is back when scouts actually learned stuff) and camping, hunting and fishing with his own dad, he has an array of other skills that would blow your mind. If you’ve ever watched the show ‘Survivor Man’ that’s kind of how I picture my Dad, only not insane. Sadly these skills have not passed on to me either.

He’s also constantly working on something. Most of his free time is spent doing family history work. He teaches a family history class at BYU, is in charge of Family History in his stake, works at the temple at least once a week, and is constantly doing genealogy work from home as well. Even when we sit down to watch a sporting event or a TV show he will usually have his laptop with him to work on something. Or, mainly when watching sports with me, he will watch for 5 or 10 minutes, and then go back in his office to work and have me call him out if the game gets close or if something exciting happens. He’s passionate about genealogy work.

But without going into too much detail, my Dad had some amount of money set aside that he specifically wanted to use to travel around and find out more about our ancestors. Well, unlucky for him, God blessed him with an idiot son (me) who bought a car right off his mission, and then totaled it just a few months later…and didn’t have insurance…and was going to be stuck making payments for the rest of his life. And my Dad, probably against his better judgment, but out of compassion, sacrificed what he wanted, something much more important than a car, to pay his son’s debt.

I think though, that the most important skill my Dad has shown me (yet to be seen if this gets passed down to me), is how to properly treat his wife. My Dad has always worked full time, and has always had a job to support our family. But I’ve never known him to be the type of husband that comes home from work, kicks of his shoes, and relaxes in front of the TV. My Dad cooks (actually spectacularly well), and a lot of the time he would either cook dinner for the family, or would at least help my mother prepare it. And even when he wasn’t helping cook, I have NEVER known him to not clean up and do the dishes. Unless he was sick or had some other extenuating circumstance, I honestly (honestly) can’t remember a single day that my Dad didn’t do the dishes. I know it seems like a small thing, but for some reason, to me, it may be the most impactful example he’s set for me.

I could go on. But my guess is very few people, including maybe my Dad, have even made it this far, so I’m going to try to wrap this up.

I guess, Dad, there are just a couple things I want you to know about me as well.

Just in case you and Mom have any doubts, I am still attracted to and interested in women. I like women. In fact, just the other day I was with a woman. One that I really like! Oh, she’s not interested at all. But at least I was interacting with a female. One day yet I might still give you a grandchild. So don’t give up on me.

Also (you know I’m not great with feelings…and sharing them and stuff…but here goes) I am truly grateful for everything you’ve done for me in my life. I don’t say it often (or ever), but I think you have been a great father. I’m sorry that it seems like you might have done a bad job with me, but any mistakes I’ve made are probably a direct result of my stubbornness and doing the exact opposite of what you told me to do. Someday I’ll make you proud, even though it will have to be as something other than a geologist I’m afraid.

I love you Dad! You are my hero!

And I know this isn't a great gift so yes I will help you chop down those Aspen trees…

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Truth About Nice Guys

So I just read this article that I saw on Facebook. I have no idea where it came from or who even posted it. But, as a self-proclaimed ‘nice-guy,’ I was intrigued by the title. So I read it. And, well, it inspired me to write this blog. Here’s the link if you want to read it. An Open Letter To The Girl Who Let The Nice Guy Go

If you don’t want to read it let me summarize for you: Nice guys finish last and girls are missing out on all of these nice guys to date jerks and they’re really going to regret it later in life and blah blah blah, etc. We’ve all heard it before, right?

And reading this, my initial reaction was to pat myself on the back for being such a ‘nice guy’ and nod in agreement as I think about all of the girls that have passed on me and how much they are all gonna regret it so, so bad!!! 

The problem is that this just isn’t true. I’m sorry to disappoint all of the ‘nice guys’ out there, but it’s not. And this ‘Open Letter to the Girl Who Let the Nice Guy Go’ is fun to read when you’re are a single dude, like myself, who struggles to get the girl he wants (or sometimes even talk to her), and wants to pass the blame off on something or someone else. But it’s not true, and it’s just an attempt to make girls feel guilty about something they shouldn’t feel guilty for at all.

I think the truth is, fellow ‘nice guys,’ sometimes girls just aren’t interested in us, and most of the time it has nothing to do with our level of niceness. Sometimes we just aren’t what they are looking for. And if the only quality you’re bringing to the table is being a nice person, I can’t really blame the girl for losing interest (or never having any to begin with). 

Before I get too much further into this, let me just admit, that although I am putting myself into the ‘nice guy’ category, I am fully aware that there are plenty of girls (well, at least a handful) that would probably tell you that I’m actually a massive jerk. And some of them might be right. But most of them probably think I’m a jerk simply because I wasn’t interested in them. Not because of any actual jerky behaviors. And I think this is the problem with the whole ‘nice guys finish last’ argument. Sometimes, for whatever reason, people just aren’t interested in each other. And guess what? It’s their right to decide that, not yours. 

So rather than sitting/laying around complaining about all of those who have exercised their right to not be interested in us…and eating junk food…and listening to love songs or whatever, I suggest we get up and work on becoming the person that has more to offer than niceness.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m one to talk. I recognize that I have the relationship skills of, like, a 14-year-old boy. And, actually, (because it is my tradition here on this blog to share only the absolute most embarrassing parts of my life with you), as I’m sitting here writing this, I’m also listening to a recently created iTunes playlist which I’ve entitled ‘Pure Angst.’ It contains 75 of the greatest, most angsty songs of all time, sure to make you feel all kinds of emotions, ranging from ultimate hope to crushing despair! …….Ok, yeah, I am more like a 14-year-old girl actually, aren’t I?

Regardless, I feel like other than niceness, there are a few qualities that women are looking for. Like confidence, sensitivity, a good sense of humor, physical attractiveness, intelligence, righteousness, cleanliness, ambition, and last (but certainly not least) the ability to financially support them. And those are just the ones I can think of right now.

(Suggestion: Mentally prepare yourselves for the next paragraph…it’s super cheesy)

I fully intend to date and marry the girl of my dreams someday. I think we all do. But I realize to make that happen, I’m probably going to have to be the man of hers. I know I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it…

Oh, and to the girl of my dreams, whoever you are, when I finally get there you better come find me ASAP, because I’m going to be beating the ladies off with a stick!!! Or maybe some type of softer object…like a soft Nerf bat or something, because I don’t want any of the ladies getting injured…I’m just too nice I guess.

In conclusion: I think what we need right now to sum this all up is a gem from the ‘Pure Angst’ playlist. Try not to cry. And since I don’t know how to post just an audio file, you get a photo montage of the band Coldplay as well as the sing-a-long lyrics. You’re welcome.

        And I feel like a 14-year-old girl again…so yeah. Um…SPORTS!!! GUNS!!! OTHER MANLY STUFF!!! I DON’T HAVE OR NEED EMOTIONS!!! Ok I feel better.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weddings and Why I'm Never Getting Married...Probably

        Greetings. I would just like to pre-empt this post with a ‘You’re Welcome,’ because I have a feeling it’s going to be good (or just really embarrassing). You can thank me later, but I’m not going to say it again.

So in the last couple of months I’ve attended two more weddings of good friends of mine. Weddings just keep happening all over the place and there’s nothing I can do to stop them! I’ve mentioned before that weddings used to do almost nothing for me. I was happy for my friends, but didn’t really give them a second thought. But as time continues to pass, my feelings about weddings have slowly been changing. Both of these last two weddings have really kind of bummed me out. And it’s not because I’m not happy for my friends. I am! I really couldn’t be happier for them. And it’s not about me being jealous or heartbroken or anything. Let me explain…

My two friends (we won’t use their real names to protect them, so let’s call them Neil and Jared), Neil and Jared, are both really great people. They are both a little bit older and wiser than I am. They both have a lot more ‘experience’ with women than I do (the last sentence is in no way pertinent to this discussion, just thought I’d mention it). And they both absolutely deserve to be married to other great people (which they now are).

        I also want to personally thank Neil for sending me this via email on the eve of his wedding…

What? This was the only thing in the email. No message, no explanation. Just this. Thank you, Neil. Very inspirational.

Anyway, the thing is, I kind of pictured these guys as, like, the absolute last holdouts on marriage. In my mind I was always like ‘Yeah, I’m not married, but neither are these two guys and they are WAAYYYYY older than me. These guys will be around forever.’ Well, not anymore Karl, not anymore.

So yeah, it’s not like I’m sitting around eating ice cream and wishing upon a star for my one true love to find me (although, has anyone tried that and does it work?). It’s more of a growing feeling of anxiety that’s hanging over me now. That pretty soon, I really will be the last one left. So it’s kinda weird, like, I'm not in emotional pain because I need love so badly or something, but I’m just panicking about being the last one unmarried. I keep envisioning me and all my friends and acquaintances, and all of us are hobos just trying to jump onto this moving train (anyone know the difference between a hobo and just a plain old bum or homeless person? I don’t either, but I feel like I always picture hobos with knapsacks and they are always trying to jump on moving trains). One by one everyone is getting on the train, except me. I’m sprinting along side and I’m just not quite fast enough to hop on. And then the train is gone. And I’m left to do whatever hobos do, only my hobo buddies aren't there anymore. And now I’m super bored...and scared because no one’s got my back if I run up against some other group of hobos, or homeless, or bums. Make sense? Maybe a better analogy is that we’re all at recess and they are picking teams for kickball, and I’m the last one left that hasn’t been picked, but the teams are already even, so they just start playing without me. And then every recess is like that FOREVER. Or like we are all bananas, and there’s monkeys selecting us one by one and eating us…well you get the idea. (Side note: I usually picture bums as unshaven and usually drunk…….and plain homeless people I picture just standing around with cardboard signs (anyone know where homeless people are getting all their cardboard…and sharpies? I feel like this is an untapped market…unless they are just getting them out of the garbage (but why would people be throwing out usable sharpies?))).

Anyway, I’m not sure what the solution is. Because there’s one thing I’m 99% positive will not happen at this point...and that’s me getting married. I know that a lot of you don’t believe me. But in a moment of clarity today, somewhere in between Neil’s wedding and reception, I realized that it’s just not happening for me. Wanna know why? Don’t answer that. I’m going to tell you either way.

Exhibit A:

This is actually the room I live in RIGHT NOW. I have not edited this photo, or the room prior to taking this picture. I was literally just typing, got up and took the picture, and came back and started typing again (I also apologize for it being a bit blurry. I ONLY have an iPhone 4. Don’t even have Siri. Some life I have).

        Thank goodness for you, that you can’t see much detail. Yes I realize I’m 31 and I live in the room of a 14 year old, only with no cool posters. I promise that what looks like a mess to you, is actually a complex organization system that only I can understand. You see there are different areas of the floor that have different types of clothes, and then they are also layered based on a number of different factors. Cleanliness, color, etc…I won’t go into detail. So…yeah. And the weird thing is that I sometimes do clean my room, and I hate it. Makes me feel anxious. I can't relax unless it looks like this.

Exhibit B:

I feel like this is very telling as well, and again nothing moved or edited for this photo, and taken only seconds after the other pic.

A few things here. First, yes that’s a stack of 900 page fantasy novels. All of which I’ve read…in the last year. There are more strewn about the room. And I loved them. And I talk about them almost everyday at work because an older gentleman named Jerry (he has his own cheesesteak named after him) comes in almost every day and he has also read them and he also loves them. So we talk about fantasy and eat cheesesteaks. It’s a good life. But I can’t marry Jerry. He’s too old…and already married. So I’m once again the slow hobo, alone with my knapsack. A knapsack full of fantasy novels.
Back to the pic…you’ll notice that next to the stack of fantasy novels, that’s where I keep all my most important documents. What you’re looking at there, my W-2’s, the actual deed to my car, my social security card, and a full punch card good for a free hot cocoa or frappe from the Cocoa Bean. That’s my filing system right there. A pile on a TV stand in my mess of a room (there used to be a TV on the TV stand, but I took it to work so I could watch basketball and cook cheesesteaks at the same time! It really is a good life…just one that no woman wants to be a part of).
Last but not least, you’ll notice a used home-1-hour-teeth-whitening kit. Yes Karl, that’s the missing link! It’s been 31 years and now all your problems are over because you have slightly whiter teeth. The women will surely flock to you. If only you would have thought of this sooner you could have been married 10 years ago! (PS IT’S A SCAM! Used it a couple of weeks ago and it just made my teeth really sensitive for like 2 days).
        Oh and there's the medicated foot powder...which I don't actually use on my feet...

That’s just a glimpse into how I live my life…trust me, you might think you want to know more but YOU DON’T.

Next problem, I’m getting less and less attractive every single day. (Warning, this is about to get graphic. You may want to stop reading now if you’re planning on eating or drinking anything soon).

        I have developed the ability to grow hair on (or in) any part of my body, EXCEPT for the one place I want to have hair…you know…like on my head. I could go into more detail…but I don’t want to.

        And getting less and less attractive is only compounding my already well-documented lack of dating skills. It’s ridiculous actually how bad I am. And here’s my main issue. Whether I go out with a girl who is absolutely amazing in everyway, or whether I go out with a girl who is absolutely terrible in everyway, the result for me is the same: I’m miserable. If I go out with a terrible girl, I think it’s obvious why I’m miserable. It’s because she’s terrible and I do not like her one bit. If I go out with the amazing girl there’s a different reason I’m miserable. When I’m around one of these types of girls, no matter how I try to fight against it, my brain stops functioning at a normal level. I swear my IQ instantly drops like 100 points. And gone are the social skills. Gone. Gone. Gone! And that’s the problem. Inevitably the girl will not like me, and I can’t even blame her! She’s basically just had a date with a high-functioning gorilla. You see how this is a lose-lose for me?

And so I don’t date…and apparently if you don’t date, it’s hard to get married. Hence the reason I’m never getting married. On the bright side I’ll have tons of time read.

       Man this post is dumb. I wish there was someone to stop me from posting it. This could be really embarrassing and end any chance of a romance blossoming between me and Mallory Everton...or any other female ever...SOMEONE HELP!

Thanks a lot 'Neil'

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Birthday to me!

          Hello everyone. It’s me Karl. And today is my 31st birthday. Sorry it’s been a while since I posted anything. I know that most of you wait on pins and needles for me to write something on this blog, and every few months you’re rewarded with a profound, life-changing message. So I apologize for not writing something sooner. But after my last few posts I was having a review session with my editor (my mom) and, although she says she enjoyed them and thought they were funny, as my mother, she doesn’t always want to read about what a loser I am. And even though I tried to tell her that that doesn’t leave me with much to write about, she made me promise to write something positive about my self.
            So, because it’s my birthday, and when it’s your birthday no one can say anything negative about you (not even…yourself?), and because I love my mom, the following will be my attempt to highlight the good things that the general populous needs to know about Karl Kowallis, in a very real, very honest, and non-sarcastic way.

            First off, I’m super good looking (jk that’s the last of the sarcasm). In all honesty though, if you put a gun to my head and made me rate my looks on a scale of 1-10, I’d have to give myself at least a 6, maybe a soft 7 a good day. If we’re assuming that a 5 is the average human on the planet (which we are), then I’m above average, according to myself. Think about it. I don’t have really any deformities or anything (although I recently cut off part of my finger at work), so that already puts me ahead of quite a few people. And I’ve had orthodontia, so that puts me ahead of another whole bunch of people who don’t even have access to toothbrushes, let alone teeth straightening procedures.

            My absolute best physical features: beautiful blue eyes (even I tend to lose myself in them if I’m not careful around mirrors), and rippling calf muscles (see pic below)

           I feel like those two qualities offset some of my ‘less flattering’ physical traits. Add that to the fact that I can grow some pretty decent facial hair and boom! 6 out of 10 seems pretty fair right?

            If that doesn’t convince you then get this: There have been multiple (meaning more than one) actual human women in my lifetime that have been interested in me (meaning romantically interested) based almost solely on my looks! And at least one of them was a full-on stalker. It’s true. Google it (Don’t. You won’t actually find anything).

            And, underneath all those good looks is one heck of a personality. Yeah, I may be a little shy when first meeting people, but once I open up I’m the life of the party! I can pretty much talk about anything to anybody. This is because I enjoy a variety of different things that you might not think would normally go together. For example, I’m obsessed with sports, but I can also read! Complete opposite of what you would think, right? But that unique quality allows me to carry on conversations with people who love sports and people who can read. This is a very useful skill. Another example: I’m single, in my 30’s, I live in Utah, AND I still go to church. Also unexpected, right? Seriously though, ask me about anything and I’ll probably have something interesting to say about it, and if I don’t I will literally just fabricate something to make you think that I know about it (my Grandpa especially loves it when I do this).

            Another thing you should know about me is that I love to entertain others! There have been times in my life that my friends would just follow me around with a camera to see what entertaining/stupid/funny thing I would do next. I once repeatedly threw myself down the side of a mountain, yelling ‘as you wish!,’ because I was being filmed and my friends wanted me to do something entertaining (this later became part of a birthday video I made for a girl I really liked…believe it or not, although she liked the video, it failed to convince her to date me). There are also a series of videos (mainly just me doing anything I could think of to make my friends laugh) from my trips to Lake Powell, that, although entertaining, will hopefully never be shown to anybody who hasn’t already seen them. (seriously, these videos could be my downfall if I ever run for public office or something).

            Also, I’ve accomplished a quite a few things in my years on this earth. Just to name a few:

-Once ate a 24 inch sub in less than 10 minutes
-4th place in 3rd grade Halloween costume contest
-High school graduate
-1st place in Los Hermanos Mexican Restaurant costume contest 2007
-2nd place in 6th grade geography bee (curse you Chris Wilson!!)
-2nd place in Los Hermanos Mexican Restaurant costume contest 2013 (curse you Popularity of Zombies! Really? The best costume goes to someone who just covered himself in fake blood? C’mon man!)
-Eagle Scout
-Scored 140 on a recent facebook I.Q. test
-Cut my own hair
-Slew the ‘Math Monster’ in 4th grade
-Won a weight loss contest and a bunch of money from my friends (here's a link)
-Beat Josh Black in an arm wrestle

            And I could go on! But I won’t.
            By now, I realize that after reading about all of my good qualities, the main reaction people will have to this is ‘Man, how is this dude still single!?!’ Well, I’ll tell you how. It’s not because I don’t have plenty of suitors. It’s because I’m TOO good of a boyfriend that things don’t work out for me. Let me explain.

            First of all, I have actually never ‘technically’ been broken up with. Sure, there are those girls (Mallory Everton) who haven’t given me a chance, but those who have were not disappointed…at least until I broke up with them.

            But also, when I begin to woo someone (yes woo), I can’t help but go all out. I once took a college stats class, which I had no need for, just because there was a girl I liked in the class. I also studied harder for that stats class (ps I hate math and specifically chose my major(s) to avoid taking any math) than any other class I ever took, just so that in the rare case this girl had a question, I could answer it. I got an A in the class. So did she (and then she married another guy who was in the same class).
            And this type of behavior continues once I begin dating someone. I basically bend over backwards catering to their every need. Unfortunately, this leads to self-neglectment (not a word) on my part, and that self-neglectment leads me to be unhappy, which leads me to break up with people. Seriously, I once dated a girl who would only eat at Mimi’s Café, and would only order the chicken strips. I don’t like Mimi’s Café, and their chicken strips are not very good, but I just kept going there anyway! Talk about sacrifice! (In her defense, she was adorable). But after a while there’s only so many times you can go to Mimi’s, you know? Of course, with this particular girl there were some red flags that I should have noticed earlier…like, I took her to get frozen yogurt one time and she tasted it, told me she didn’t like it, and made me take her to Cold Stone instead…and she beat me at bowling.

            Anyway, I hope this helps you understand me a little better, and how awesome I am…Happy Birthday to me!