Sunday, May 07, 2006

Degrees of awesomeness

Of all the things I never seem to be able to successfully coin, phrases must be somewhere near the top of the list. My buddy Jeff doesn’t have the same problem. He recently coined one that I can’t seem to stop using.

“It’s Awesome degrees outside right now,” he said to me and my wife Kara last weekend, as we stood in his new front yard on a beautiful Spring day. The yard has actually been there for quite some time, but it is new in the sense that it has only recently come under Jeff’s ownership.

“Awesome degrees?” I asked.

“It’s when room temperature happens outside,” he explained. “When you wouldn’t change the temperature a single degree in either direction even if you could, it’s Awesome degrees outside.”

And with that, Jeff joined Lord Kelvin, Anton von Celsius and Jim Fahrenheit as the founder of his own temperature scale. Jeff’s makes a lot more sense than the Fahrenheit one, too, which is based entirely on the boiling point of some old king’s feet.

Earlier that day, I’d left a message on Jeff’s cell phone to warn him that we were going to be in the neighborhood and might be stopping by. After he got the message, he ran outside, put on big gray manly-looking work gloves and started digging holes in the front yard, just so he could pretend that that’s the kind of thing he does on a Saturday afternoon, instead of watching the Wiggles.

“Message? Oh, no, I didn’t get it. I just always hang out in the yard, digging holes and grunting and what not,” he insisted.

He bought that house because, like the old adage says, apartments may give you enough free time to watch Law & Order reruns and conquer video games on your PlayStation2, but they can’t give you the satisfaction of back-breaking manual labor on a Saturday afternoon. If that’s not an adage, it should be.

After we left Jeff’s new house, which he is fixing up to a high degree of awesomeness, Kara and I took a stroll around some of the nearby neighborhoods. I got the greatest home improvement idea from one of the houses on our walk. A wooden sign hanging from a pole in the front yard proclaimed the house to be the abode of “The Richard Millers.”

“That sign rocks!” I said. “We should get one like that.”

“Yeah, we should,” Kara agreed. “The Kara Todds. That sounds nice.” So maybe the sign idea can wait for a while.

During our wanderings, we popped into a little Thai restaurant that we’d never been to before. I ordered the “spicy basil chicken,” and the waitress asked if I’d like it medium, hot or very hot.

“Umm, I’ll try it hot,” I said.

You’ll learn the hard way in life that “spicy” can mean many different things. If you go to Wendy’s, for instance, and they ask you if you’d like to make your chicken sandwich spicy, it’s pretty safe to say okay. Those things are about as spicy as a Golden Girls rerun. At the Thai place, though, if you’re going to ask for spicy, you’d better have a high threshold for pain. Also, if you’re ever going to open up a Thai bar, you should call it Thai One On.

After I took my first bite, Kara asked, “How is it?”

“Oh, it’s not even that…” I said, but then the spice started making my brain give off those things that runners get all the time. What are those things called again? Oh, yes, screams of pain. There may have been some endorphins in there, too. My face felt like it was on the nose cone of the shuttle at re-entry. Which was, I would estimate, about +300 degrees Awesome.

If you send an email to, one of the Kara Todds will get back to you shortly.


  1. ooh I am 1st and it has been months since I came by. Life takes over.........Awesome degrees, I like it.

  2. Hey Jodes! Great to hear from you again. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I spent a week staying with 2 guy friends in another country recently, and when I got back and my boyfriend suggested he cook a certain meal (yes, he's the cook -- it's safer that way!), I replied without missing a beat, "That sounds awesome!!!!" And with as much enthusiasm as if he'd told me that they were giving out free drinks at our favorite bar.

    I was promptly told that I had been hanging around guys for too long. :)

  4. Funny you should mention it, but it is "awesome degrees" here in Maine--for once!

    And, don't diss on The Wiggles...come on, you have to admit they are better than Barney (i.e. the Antichrist)and everyone knows that Anthony is soooo cute! LOL If your friend is interested, my girls still have their Wiggles dolls (including--gasp!--Capt. Feathersword)

    *will slink back under her chair and pray that Playhouse Disney gets turned off soon in my house!*

  5. Most awesome funny post, Dude!! My daughter used to look at the thermometer and yell.... "it's degrees out!" I guess she learned that from me looking at it and shreaking "It's 10 degrees or it's -5 degreees!"

  6. Perhaps my favorite comparison of all time: "Those things are about as spicy as a Golden Girls rerun."

    And I'm pleading with you to hold off on the sign. Why don't you guys start with return address stickers first and see how they sit with you.

  7. It was awesome degrees in Dublin today. First time in recent memory. Of course, recent memory might be better if recent beer consumption was less frequent. Nonetheless, it was a stunning day and I was glad of an appropriate description ;)

  8. Dudes -- y'all are funny. And awesome, of course.

  9. Jokes on you, I have a copyright on Awesome Degrees(tm), and you'll all be hearing from my lawyers.

    But seriously, another quality column.

  10. hot stuff. like the holes bit.

    interesting seeing the wheelchair accessible icon for word verification, (though I think it should be a little kid with a crayon) the problem usually is that you can't read them to re-enter them.

  11. ...loved the Golden Girls comparison. Kinda gay but still loved it.

  12. there's only one thing as painful as spicy food going in and that's spicy food comin... well i'll stop there.

    i hope you did well in the aftermath.