The Malcolm Files

After a long day at work, the lovely Yarei greets me with her usual spunk and energy that she has accumulated from a full day of Elias watching. Today, she was very eager to share with me about what she read in the Bible.

“Louie! You gotta read this verse I read! It connects to what you shared about life group last niiiiighht!”

(During our group Bible study I had told Yarei how God impressed on me how he loves me with an ‘everlasting love’).

“Let’s hear it!” I said, eagerly.

“Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.”

“Whoa…you were just reading and you came across this verse?” I asked

“Mmmhmm… just part of my daily reading.” She said, with a big ol’ grin.

“Cool… just goes to prove we’re not alone in this world of ours.” I pondered out loud, staring at the imaginary horizon.

Suddenly, Yarei started singing the theme to “The Twilight Zone.”

“The truth is out there.” I whispered, continuing with her newfound theme.

“What’s the name of that show? The mystery one with the aliens” she digressed… “Wait a minute…” she hummed a little more of The Twilight Zone… “I know… THE MALCOLM FILES!”

“Yarei…that’s not the name of the show.” I cautioned.

“Yeah it is.. it’s the MALCOLM FILES!” She said with an eerie, mystery tone, and then hummed a little more Twilight Zone.

“You’re confusing two…actually 3, VERY different things, Yarei.”

“Malcolm Files… that was a good show.” she reminisced.

“Yeah… if it was about an African American Muslim minister who fought for alien rights in 60s.”

Robin Hood: Prince of Quotes

Just concluded “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves: World Series of Quotes” championship with Yarei. It was a VHS classic in her home growing up, and favorite quotable movie of mine…so we decided to challenge each other’s Locksley Lines. As a structured planner, I wanted to come up with some guidelines to accompany this battle of wits and quotes. Yarei, on the other hand, preferred to go with the usual 2nd grade playground rule of “NEW RULE!!”
I proposed we limit it to quoting the lines right before or while they are being said, and whoever does it first gets a point. At first Yarei agreed, then decided to add on any random fact that she knew about the movie as point worthy (i.e. it’s going to zoom into his brother’s face…oooo told you!).
After intense dueling, quoting, and random facting, the score was a close tie. However, my years of quoting the movie along with Peter served me well and in the fourth quarter (or right before the hanging scene) I fired off blow after blow including “you 10:30… you 10:45…bring a friend” and the classic Sheriff of Nottingham’s line: “That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!”
You fought valiantly, miLady…but the 14 to 26 score betrays your need to develop your skills.

Biceps tattoos

During a last minute Publix run I spied a fellow with biceps as big as both my thighs put together. If a human wouldn’t have been attached to them, I would’ve thought they were two rogue pieces of Flintstone ham that had escaped extinction. He had barbed wire tattoos circling both ham hocks, and I couldn’t help but wonder… did he have the wire installed before the Flintstoning, when he had “lunchable-sized” ham rolls like the rest of us, in hopes of one day having Flintstone ham? You know, as an act of faith that tells the world “I may not deserve barbed wire tattoos around my biceps now… but just you wait!”
Or perhaps he waited until he reached Flintstone status and THEN, as a punctuation point to a long sentence of meat, he added the little security feature tattoo.

You don’t ask a man like that those questions, so, just like the Tootsie Pop “how many licks?” question… the world may never know.

Battle Toads, Part 2

Yesterday Yarei and I went to GameStop for my annual pre-owned, deeply discounted video game purchase, compliments of the gift card exchange that my brochacho John (aka Juanita) and I do for our birthdays.
I walked in with a specific game in mind and was waiting in line with Yarei. I guess she got bored with the waiting so she ventured off to explore a world that is unknown (and somewhat uninteresting) to her. In her ever-so-optimistic and sociable way she approached a salesman and asked:
“What game would you recommend to the wife of someone who’s into games?”
“Hmm..” he pondered this unusual question from this atypical video game consumer.
Overhearing this conversation from the line, I knew something noteworthy would come from it. You see, Yarei is so comfortable around people that she can engage right into an awkward conversation and make it sound as if she’s affirming your bad haircut.
“What types of games do you like?” he pried, using his best salesman tactics.
“Well… growing up I used to love playing Battle Toads. You know, on the Sega Genesis. ” She said with extra emphasis on ‘Sega Genesis’ to show she knows gamer lingo.

“Are you serious?” he asked, taken aback.
“Absolutely! I love Battle Toads! On the Sega Genesis. ” she exclaimed with great pride.

“Any time someone does a prank call they always ask if we have Battle Toads.” he said suspiciously and apparently unimpressed by her gaming prowess.

Yarei moved her gaze downward, shifted her eyes left, then right… and scooted backward silently.
It was time for an intervention…. “Yarei… a word please.”

Battle Toads, Part 1

In a constant effort to get my lovely bride, Yarei, to join me in the world of video games, we tried a racing/shooting game yesterday. I was the driver of an “otherwordly” vehicle in a wasteland race and Yarei was manning a gun on a distant hill and she was supposed to protect me from enemy fire as I race around. Well… 10 deaths and 5 frustrations later, we decided this wasn’t going to work. I appreciated her effort, but I wasn’t about to give up:

“What type of game would you like to play?”


“I’ve told you… that game no longer exists. You can’t play it on xbox 360.”

“I don’t care. I want to play battle toads. You know… the special ninja version.”

“Let’s take a step back. What type of genre of games do you like? Action, puzzle, etc”

“umm…let’s see. The kind with fighting toads.”

“Pass me the rumikub.”

A Christmas Story Dare

As we lurched through the mall parking purgatory on December 23, we agonized as we crawled to the finish line of our final shopping destination after a full day at the mall safari. What would normally take less than five minutes was slowly amounting to 25.
Then a shot of randomness pierced the mundane parking lot stop and go. The exit line we were in snaked slowly past Dick’s Sporting Goods, where we had currently come to a stop. As we waited, bored and tired, a man in his 50s emerged from the store carrying none other than a Daisy BB gun, very similar to the Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle from A Christmas Story.
Without thinking, I said “Hey Yarei… I dare you to say to that guy ‘Hey kid!! You’ll shoot ya eye out!!” I laughed at my witty dare. “I bet you won’t do it. I’ll bet you….”

Hmmmmmmmmm…the electric window in the back seat was going down.

“YAREI! What are you doing!” I turned back and yelled. But it was too late.

“Hey KID!!!” She yelled out the window of our non-moving car, “YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!!” She smiled at the dare she just nailed. The man seemed to not hear her very obvious yell. I ducked as if working on my car radio.

“Blast… he didn’t hear me.” She mumbled, yet still determined. Taking a deep breath, she stuck her head out the window and bellowed, “HEY KID!! YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!!”

The man briefly stopped, looked over his shoulder and squinted in our direction. We were both hoping he would have pumped the gun and released a victory shot in the air, or something. But, all he did was give us a confused smirk and walked on to his car.

After acknowledging her domination of the dare, we exchanged hearty laughs and I was left wondering what else I could dare her to do in our current state of immobile boredom.

But, break time was over, and it was time to move forward another 2 feet

Of Marriage and Ping Pong

Yarei and I have a somewhat competitive spirit.  Actually… on a scale of 1 to Ridiculous, Yarei’s competitiveness would rank on the ridiculous side (although as a wife she ranks in the upper levels of amazing).  I tend to hide my competitive nature with a nonchalant mask of indifference while raging inside like a Pamplona bull at the idea of losing.  Yarei just uses denial: she does not lose…not matter what the score shows.

This past Thanksgiving we enjoyed some healthy marital competition in the ping-pong arena.  This was our second encounter, the first of which I dealt her a severe beating.  However, in her mind, it was as if that had never happened and she actually had the upper hand, simply because she was: Yarei.

When hunting, it’s always more challenging to know the prey is somewhat of a challenge, even if they are a bit disoriented, so I enjoyed this air of confidence she had about her.  And so the game began.


The first match was a swift win by me.  Neither of us are masters, so it would have been a rather boring game to watch, with missed hits, bad serves and trash talk that amounted to nothing… but to the gladiators in the arena, much was at stake.

“Best outta 3” Yarei said, bouncing from left to right foot, ignoring the quick ending to our 21 point match.

“ok… but you realize I probably broke the ping-pong record of some small Eastern European country with the speed of that last beating, right?”

Silence… her face like a stone statue.


Although she fought valiantly, round 2 went to me again.

“This is garbage.” she said, matter of factly.  She then proceeded to turn her back to me and began some type of breathing exercise.  She waved her hands up and down with each breath like an attack swan.  I could only assume she was centering what ping-pong pride she had left into a new challenge.

After selecting a new paddle, she finally turned around and calmly, through gritted teeth, stated, “best outta five.”


“Are you sure about this? Aren’t you just extending the inevitable?”


“Silence, croan.  Volley for serve.” she seethed, cracking her neck left then right.  If she could have, she probably would’ve spit on the ground to add to the non-verbal threats.


The next battle took a different turn.  Yarei was ahead by 4 points, which she announced with a viking-like yell at the end of each point.  Her short-lived upswing was quickly ended  by swift backhands and blistering corner serves, compliments of me.  Now down by 4 points, Yarei turned to more unscrupulous methods.  Each time she made a lame serve into the net or missed an easy lob shot I sent her way, she would yell, “That’s GARBAGE! DO OVER!” bobbing left and right.  I was unaware “do over!” extended beyond 3rd grade playground games, but I complied with the challenge.


This new, arbitrary “DO OVER!” rule gave Yarei some extra time to try to catch up, but in the end, it was all for nothing. I had beaten her 3 games in a row and the battle was over.


“So how does it feel to be a loser?” I asked, smugly.


“I’m not a loser, Louie” she dismissed me, examining her paddle as sniper examines his gun after a kill shot.


“Oh really? What do you call the 3 beatings I just gave you?”


“I’m not a loser.  I’m a winner who just happened to lose three times.” she answered with a mocking tone.


“No, that’s called losing.  It’s what happened to you.”


“You’re just lucky I didn’t have my lucky pink head band.  That would’ve changed everything.”

Jump Around

As we are concluding our weekly Costco “shopping and free samples” bonanza, Yarei and I are maneuvering the packing of groceries and bebes. This usually involves trying not to put the watermelon in the baby seat and the bebe in the trunk. Since we were in a hurry, I passed bebe off to Yarei while I parked the cart in the docking bay. As I wheeled it off, I yelled to Yarei, who had completed food duty and was moving on to bebe, “PACK HIM UP, PACK HIM IN!”
Much to my surprise, she finished the lyric with a confident, “LET ME BEGIN!”
I wanted to milk this situation, so I said, “Good job! What song is that from?”
You know, that one that says “let me begin” she responded while staring out the window, impressed at her coolness.
“Yes… that’s the lyric you got right. But what song is that from?”

“The one that goes oooooeeeeeeeeee!!!!” she continued the strange noise with a variety of other syllables.

“What was that?” I asked.

“That’s the song. Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin oooooeeeeeeeeee!” she sounded it out, with extra umph on the eeee.

“Please stop”

“Oooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeee” she sounded, defiantly.

“That’s not the name of any song.”


“game over. you lose.”