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.