Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snow Fort!

I decided yesterday, as I looked out the window and saw the snow melting, that Tyler and I needed to build a snow fort. With a backyard as big as ours is and ample quantities of perfect packing snow, it's hard to pass up such an opportunity.

We got to work rolling large snowballs and stacking them in a circle. After we had completed the base, we began building the roof from the outside in. I'd never tried this technique and actually feared that the roof would lack structural stability as we built it and that it would collapse before it was complete. The technique, however, actually worked really well, and after a few hours of shoveling, packing, and sculpting, our pretty little snow fort was born.

We posed for the obligatory pictures and actually considered for a moment the possibility of sleeping in our newly built shelter. It was warm enough in there - and large enough, too - that with a tarp underneath and a nice sleeping bag, the night would have passed without too much discomfort. Thoughts of the heavy roof entombing us in the night, though, deterred any further contemplation on the subject.

Snow forts are just fun to build. Even if they turn out to have no true utilitarian value.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Every once in awhile there comes along a movie that will, no matter your defenses, make you cry. Even the most stoic, hardened, steel-hearted person in the world would feel, at some point in the movie, a swelling in the throat - one that says, "I know you're bad @$$, man. But this stuff is touching."

For me, a man comfortable with his sensitive side (take note, single ladies) there were at least four or five times throughout the movie where that lump inevitably rose in the back of my throat. There were two occasions in which my eyes misted a little. And there was one occasion in the end of the movie where the tears, despite my nearly super-human effort to dam them, flowed freely.

Some said, in reviews I had read before the movie, that the film was too long, but I thought the pace was actually very well timed. Some scenes could have lasted a few minutes less, and the movie may have been 20 minutes shorter had that been the case, but the quality of the art direction, engages you immediately and serves to capture your complete attention and pull you into the film in a way that only a really good movie does.

One of the more entertaining virtues of the film is in watching Benjamin Button age in reverse throughout the movie. The CGI was noticeable on only a few occasions and even then was very slightly distracting. And as Benjamin grows younger (even younger than the current Brad Pitt is) the makeup and/or CGI effects are flawless! He really looks like a teenage Brad Pitt. It's almost creepy!

All in all, the movie was one of the top three for me this year, with "The Dark Knight" and "Wall.E" rounding out the list. It's an extraordinary film and so different from anything you've ever seen. It might be compared to Forrest Gump, in that it's a life story of a character that leads a very unique life, but the comparison doesn't do this movie justice. Go see it and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and Kate Blanchett is hot. That's all.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope you were able to spend the day with your friends and family!

I've had a great Christmas! We had a huge Christmas breakfast this morning, opened presents, and then I watched some of "A Christmas Story" and "Ben Hur", and spent the rest of the day lounging in my pajamas. With all the fudge, cookies, eggnog, lemon cake, and chocolate I've eaten it's a wonder my pancreas hasn't cried mercy and shut down on me.

The only downside to the entire day is that my brother, Steve, and his wife, Ashlyn, are in Hawaii for the holiday. It's always sad to have part of your family gone for Christmas. The upside to their absence, though, is that I have another few days to figure out what I'm getting them for Christmas. Haha!

May all your Christmases be white...


Friday, December 19, 2008

I should do these kinds of things...

...but I usually only help create them.

My sister had a great idea for a Christmas card this year, so she enlisted in my photoshop / photography skills and together we made this:

(click to enlarge)

To get the photobooth effect, we went into the bathroom where a plethora of large bulbs provides a steady, diffused glow, and draped a blanket over the door. I sat on the sink and zoomed in tight to get that snuggly / cramped feeling you get in a photobooth. It worked out great!

The background was a collaboration of creative ideas of ours.

Next on the list was a card I helped my mom create:
Something more simple than the other card. I took this picture of the shed last year just after dusk, and knew instantly that it would become the next year's Christmas card photo.

I've never thought to make my own Christmas card, though. Maybe next year I'll break tradition and make one of my own.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Ugly Sweater Party

On Friday of this past weekend my sister, Shannon, hosted a wonderful little ugly sweater party. We ate food, played Christmas games, ate some more food, and lounged around in sweaters that would make the spirit of Christmas truly gag.

Some people have ugly sweaters in their closets that they can pop out on a moment's notice for these parties. I, however, had to improvise. So, I went over to DI and, knowing that there were no more ugly Christmas sweaters left, opted for a green sweater midrif (no lie, that thing barely reached my belly button) and a brown-ish sweater with a very low (we're talking "prostitute" low) neck line.

No more than seventeen careful snips of the scissors later, this magnificent beauty was born...

Such dignity and class!

This guy also had a sweater/vest combo. He and I easily had the worst sweaters there.

Oh what fun...


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rub a Bum Bum

When we were kids - I was probably nine or so - we were driving home one Christmas Eve from a night of partying, presents and food, and this song came on...

Now as you listen to this, let yourself believe that the guy is saying "rub a bum bum" and later "rub a bum bum on my drum". OH MAN! As kids, THIS IS WHAT WE HEARD and we were hysterical with laughter! I still remember being tickled pink that this guy was singing about rubbing his butt. *sigh* Good times.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Welcome to December!

Oh, man, I love this month!

I love the snow, the colors, the sights and sounds. I love the palpable excitement you see in kids, the glow of the lights on the tree, the familiar music. I love the spirit of giving, the emphasis on the Savior, the deep sense of peace you feel on Christmas morning.

And while Christmas has become ridiculously commercialized, I do love the crowds, the bustle, the fuss, and the messy traffic.

And most of all, I love spending time with my family, eating enormous meals and mountains of foods that give cardiologists nightmares, and seeing that look in somebody's eyes when you've given them a gift they love - be it a necklace made with macaroni or a new Lexus (damn you, rich people).

To commemorate the Christmas season, I've changed the look of the blog a little bit. I hope you like it!


Monday, December 1, 2008


I was perusing the internet today and saw this ad:

Ya know what the first thing I noticed was? Well, besides the sweet decor on the wall in the background, the first thing I saw was the scar on her left elbow.

Why is it in there? You know that could have very easily been removed from the picture, but for some reason it was chosen to stay, or perhaps simply overlooked. I like to think that the girl in the yellow shirt is a strong, confident person in real life. And that she insisted that the scar remain because it makes her unique - setting her apart from the masses of "perfect" models out there.

The scar compliments her intense stare to create a sense of rugged bravado that you don't often see in t-shirt models. It says, "You mess with me and you'll end up like the bear that gave me this scar..." And you never learn what happened to the bear, but you don't have to. She's wearing an awesome tee. She's got a scar. And she's Indian. You don't mess with that.

Model on, young bear wrestler. Model on.


Just TRY to comprehend this...

I did some math after watching this - to try to get a more tangible grasp of this concept - and came up with this:

Put a quarter on your desk. That is the Earth.

At that scale, the size of that last star is roughly 123 miles wide.

I love astronomy. It never fails to make your brain hurt.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

What song will you hear when you die?

Imagine that moment when you pass from this life into the next. I know, I know... it's not a thing you think about everyday, but sooner or later we're all going to die.

So - like I said before - imagine you've just moved on. You're at that point where you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and little glowy things float around you and things are beginning to get very beautiful and very peaceful. What music do you hear playing?

Now, I don't know if you will really hear any music playing (doctrine on that is still pending) but if your life were a movie, and you'd just died, what music would accompany that part of the film? It's a fun question to think about. Would you choose something soft... with strings? Something spacey? Maybe a famous song from an opera or musical. Would it be a sad sounding song? Happy sounding? I'm interested in your responses.

Here is mine:


Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Good Lesson to Learn

BYU lost tonight. It wasn't even close. On the coat-tails of Max Hall's five interceptions and one fumble, the Utes rode into their second BCS busting season. That's okay, though. I'm at peace with the loss. In my opinion, the team played wonderfully except for one poor guy that will forever be known as the scapegoat of this game. Max Hall will have a hard time, I think, getting over this one. It was a complete meltdown - something the likes of which you rarely see in any sport. I feel bad for the guy.

I'm good, though. I've decided that when life hands me a win, I will enjoy it to the last drop. I will savor the great times. Likewise, when life hands me a loss, I will remember that there is no sadness, no disappointment, no broken heart in that moment unless I allow that moment to be sad, disappointing, or heartbreaking. In doing this, I empower myself to enjoy the good things in life, and brush off the bad.

There's always next year. And with a bowl win the Cougars will go 11-2 for the year, which is a very good season. : )


Friday, November 21, 2008

There is no doubt...

I know the Utes are seven point favorites for the game tomorrow. I also know that the cougars haven't played exceptionally well away from home. And I know that many think the Utah defense is too much for my boys in blue.

Some part of me, though, truly believes that BYU can pull this thing off tomorrow. With that said, we've decked out the house with our lights and banners, in the hope that by some crazy, unknown law of the universe, this might increase our chances for victory.

May the Cougars emerge tomorrow night, from this most bitter and intense of rivalries, with a victory.



Monday, November 17, 2008

Picture Time

Ooooh, yeah. It's Monday, and you know what that means - it's picture time. And that gives you just one more reason to look forward to Mondays. You never know what you're going to get. It could be pictures of animals. It could be pictures of a homeless man. It could be pictures of you, as I spy on you and post this from my laptop in my car outside your house and/or apartment and/or shanty.

Actually I don't own a laptop, so you don't need to worry about me posting from my car while I watch you.

. . .

Oh, and I'm not a peeping tom, either.

But seriously, Mondays are about to get a whole lot cooler, what with all the picture taking and such. Be sure to eat carrots and other wholesome foods rich in Vitamin A throughout the week, but especially on Saturday and Sunday because then, on Monday, your eyes will be in tip-top shape to take in the wonders of the world as they are seen through the lens of my camera.

Tonights first wonder of the world:

That's right. Gas at $1.85. I celebrated by buying a gallon, pouring it into a five-gallon drum, and lighting it. Then I drove a sand buggy around the flame, whooping and hollering like a savage. Why did I do this, you ask? I don't know. I saw it in a movie once. "The Road Warrior". Check it out.

Tonight's second wonder of the world:

Dad and I ingeniously attached a large, blue "Y" to the top of the house so that the denizens of Sandy understand unequivocally that we are BYU fans. This is important. I'm not sure why, but it is.

And this is a close up of that same "Y". We've attached it to the furnace exhaust which is hardly warm. The Y will soon be accompanied by two large five-gallon drums of gasoline, burning like war pyres into the cold November night. In fact, with gas this cheap, I'll probably be bathing in it for the next few weeks.

Lastly, I leave you with this picture of a pair of scissors. It's a textural delight!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tonight's Advice

1) Always wear gloves when raking, no matter how well you think your hands might stand up to the rigors of yard work. That fleshy part between your thumb and forefinger is very likely to get blistered if you deny the protection of a glove.

2) Be especially mindful of a sunset when it is overcast or partly cloudy outside, as such weather conditions are likely to bring a more dramatic ending to the day. See the picture below for an example of this.

3) If there are flowers in the house, shoot them. With your camera.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mormons and Jews and Their Dead, Oh My.

If you keep up with world news, you've heard of the ordeal between the LDS church and the Jewish people and the issue of baptizing the victims of the Holocaust. If you haven't heard about it, the argument lies in the fact that the Jews don't like that the Mormons are baptizing their dead people and destroying the "Jewishness" of their ancestors.

Which makes me wonder if the Jews really understand what happens when we do the ordinance of baptizing for the dead. Just because the ordinance is performed doesn't mean that great-great-grandma Mabel is going to accept the ordinance and become a Mormon. If you tell me that in her life on Earth she was the most strict, devout Jew you'd ever known, I don't doubt that she is, right now in the spirit world, the most strict, devout Jew you've ever known. Will she accept the gospel when it is preached to her? Who knows. But to be fair, the members of the Mormon church do temple work - which involves baptisms for the dead - to give her an opportunity.

Why would you get mad at another church for performing an ordinance that can, if anything, only help your dead relatives?

If the Methodist church started doing baptisms for all of my dead, Mormon ancestors, would I mind?

No. Honestly, I wouldn't care at all.

You might ask "How can you not be offended that they may be turning your ancestors to their church?"

The answer is simple: I, and those of my faith, believe that only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds the authority to perform such ordinances. Any other church doing the same thing is doing so in the absence of authority. It would have no value on the other side. It's water under the bridge.

This leads me to believe that these Jews, who are angered by our practice of baptizing for the dead, must believe that we have authority from God to do so. Which I will take as a compliment. :) Why else would it matter to them what we do? You don't hear the leaders of the Baptist church coming forward to complain about this. Why? Because they think we're just a bunch of peculiar people with large families and no beer in the fridge. They let us go on with our practices and ordinances with a measure of respect, and probably figure we're going to hell anyway, so our so called "authority" has no meaning. That's okay with me. Let every man worship as he sees fit.

Here's the thing, though: In the Millenium, baptisms for the dead will be performed for every single person that has lived on this earth that didn't have the opportunity to receive the gospel in their lifetime. This includes the victims of the Holocaust. The work will be done, now or later, which is why the Mormon church is glad to refrain from doing the work for those people at this time. Why cause a ruckus? Let things work themselves out in their own, due time.


P.S. I have nothing against the Jews for this at all. Like I said before, I take this entire action as a compliment, because they obviously respect our church or they wouldn't care what we did in behalf of the dead. I just wanted to express some ideas that came to mind.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More fun with Word Verification

"Hey, can you hold dis apple foriment. I has to chase a cat. I'll be right back."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Colbert is Hilarious

Oh man... this is funny. If you've never seen these fake interviews before, you've gotta check out Steve Colbert's site at www.colbertnation.com



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let it snow! Let it snow!

Today the generous heavens dropped seven, count 'em, SEVEN inches of 100 percent pure, Columbia-grade, high quality SNOW! Oh, man, it looks good! So I took some pictures...

May this winter be full of raging snow storms, epic snowball fights, and snowflakes the size of small birds.


Monday, November 3, 2008

That Dinosaur is Sneaky!

So I was on my way up to Sandy from Provo earlier this evening, when my car cried out in hunger. When my tank gets below 1/8th full, it "dings" four times. In car language, this translates to "I need more gas!" or "Feed me, I'm hungry!" or anything else that has four words in it. (The car language is very loosely translated)

Anyway, I happened to be right near the Sinclair gas station right there at the corner of University Parkway and UVU, so I pulled in. The price for regular unleaded was $2.57 - not entirely a good deal, considering I've seen some places with gas in the 2.40's and lower, but I was there and it was convenient.

Well, when I started pumping the gas, I looked at the gauge, which read $2.62 / gallon. Five cents is nothing to get in a huff over, especially when with a full tank of gas it only amounts to about 60 cents difference. When I finished filling up, though, I thought I'd let the gas station people (as they like to be called) know about the discrepancy.

I walked in and notified them of the error, with absolutely NO malice, cynicism, sarcasm, or hate in my voice - just being casual. The kid behind the counter - a gaunt, lanky kid in his early 20's - turns to me with obvious attitude in his voice and says, "Sir, I don't know if you saw when you came walking in here, but there's a sign out there that says if you pay cash you get five cents off. Otherwise it's the normal price."

"Oh, okay." I nodded. "Thanks for the clarification. I didn't see the sign."

He continued with his attitude, looking at me, mouth open, head cocked to the side, "Maybe next time you should just pay cash and you won't have to worry about it."

"Yeah. I'll do that." I left the store puzzled at his insistence on being such an ass. I wasn't about to make his day worse, though. Sometimes, you just gotta let people be jerks, ya know? Maybe he had a real bad day. Maybe his girlfriend just dumped him and his house burned down. Maybe his dog came down with a really awful farting sickness and he's just really sick of the smell. You never know.

One thing, though, stands for sure: I am not a fan of Sinclair's shady price posting.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's Time to Get Your November On!

I've come to the conclusion that Halloween serves more of a purpose than most people think. Think about it: Bears load up on nuts, berries, roots, and tasty rabbits before entering their winter hibernation, right? Well, Hallows Eve serves the same purpose for kids! It's name actually derives from it being the last day children are "Hollow", or without fat. They roam the streets in search of their final meal to fatten up for the winter! Once the pagan holiday has passed, children sit merrily in their dens as they gorge themselves on any number of sugar-filled, fat-brimmed goodies.

When winter comes, and that snow starts falling, they're prepared! They've maximized their height/mass ratio so that, when sledding, they hurdle down the mountain at optimum speed. Rolling in the snow becomes much more effortless as their bodies take on a uniquely round shape when squeezed into their favorite winter clothes. And parents are forced into the menial task of removing snow when they realize that their children are unable to make any headway on the driveway as snow piles up faster behind them than they are able to remove it! The children, of course, have planned for this all along.

You just watch, people. You'll see them all rounding up nicely and soon they'll be beating you down the mountain!

On another note, I made a new header for November. You've probably already noticed it. Lemme know if you like it.

Oh, and I made some home made grape juice this weekend! Our neighbors out back grow grapes on the fence, but never harvest them. I usually wouldn't harvest them either; but since we, as a nation, are in a bit of an economic pickle right now I'd feel guilty watching them rot on the vine. If the "Grapes of Wrath" are here, we might as well eat em!

Making the juice consisted of four easy steps:
1) Wash the grapes. See thousands of little spiders flee from their tiny webs as you do so. Second guess the juice idea.
2) Mash the grapes into a slimy, unappetizing mass of goo. Second guess the juice idea.
3) Add water to the goop and boil. Ignore the thoughts of boiling spiders in your grape juice.
4) Strain the result. Notice how juice-like the final product really is. Nod in approval at your creation.

And this is how it turned out:

More like Kearn's nectar than grape juice. But it tastes really good, has a "healthy" kick to it, and thus far has caused no internal distress.

In fact, there are purple grapes back there as well. I'm tempted to make another batch.


Saturday, November 1, 2008


I was filling out a word-verification field to post on somebody's blog and saw this:

"Baby, I always has you in mah memariz..."


Thursday, October 30, 2008

I got the AXE!

If you read that, and thought about body wash, body spray, or anything else that promises to increase your chances with the ladies, I hate to disappoint. This blog isn't about smelling good (although I do use AXE brand body wash because it smells oh so good.) Nor does this blog pertain to anything related to a weapon of war, or halloween, or any of that. Let's start at the beginning...

So today I'm at work, my fingers dashing around the keyboard like brokers on wallstreet, just working up a storm. It was a good day, money-wise, because the projects I completed were high-dollar accounts. The day was winding down and my boss walks by informing everyone that we have a meeting at 4:45 - just fifteen minutes before work would end for the day.

"What a weird time for a meeting," I thought.

I figured it was going to be one of those all-too-familiar HR meetings where they go over the logistics of treating your cubicle-neighbor with respect, or perhaps the one where they ask you what a "hostile work environment" means to you. I thought they were going to chastise us for bieng too loud, flinging playing cards around like ninja-stars, or throwing paper airplanes as far as we could over the endless rows of cubicles (extra points when you hear an "Ouch!") These were all typical pastimes of the flash team. They could have disciplined us for any number of things.

But instead, they just layed us all off.

Now, in your mind, after reading the previous paragraph, you might be tempted to think that perhaps we were fired for being a bunch of goofballs. I assure you this is not the case - we were no more crazy than the other departments. We were, however, much more fun. Anyway, the reason for which we were layed off is because apparently the company wants to go to all outsourced flash developers. Ya know what, though? I can't blame them. I was making damn good money doing damn good work. And now, they have the priviledge of paying crappy money for crappy work. Why pay good for the good stuff when you can buy crap at half the price? In these tough times, I guess the company had to make a change.

So, I'm not really sad about all of this. I'm a little angry that they didn't give us more heads up. If I were to quit I'd respectfully give two weeks notice. Is it too much to expect the company to reciprocate my generosity? I mean, I'm not in dire straits or anything. In fact, I'm well prepared (financially speaking) for such an occurrance, and I have some really amazing freelancing plans for the very near future. I look forward to being able to get my portfolio website off the ground and develop some personal goals that I've had for quite some time.

The two weeks notice, though, would have been nice for my coworker, "D", who lives paycheck to paycheck and has child support to pay on top of that. Another coworker, "G-Man", has a wife and a little boy to feed. "Master Shak" was just involved in a major car accident and will lose his insurance after the end of the month (tomorrow). You can see that life will be messy for them as they look for a new job and try to figure out how to make ends meet. Throw a poor economy on the pile and you've got a geniune quagmire of worry.

I am quite mad, though, that I won't get to dress up as the joker for work tomorrow. *sigh* I really talked it up, too. People were excited, ya know?

Oh well. The tale of Barry the flash developer who worked at a web design company in an old bowling alley with no windows now comes to a close. (Yeah, entirely devoid of natural light. Some would hiss when they walked out into the sun. *shudder*)

Good night. : )


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Before and After

I saw an ad tonight on a local newspaper's website in which the woman in this picture...

...magically transformed into this picture.

What struck me was not that the results were so dramatic. After all, it does say right on the ad that the results are not typical and that the imagery is simulated. That's fine.

What startled me so much was the amount of fake-baking and hair-dying this 80+ year old woman had obviously endured to create such a ghastly combination of dried leather and haystack hair. In fact, it almost looks like the old lady had the tan sprayed onto her face leaving two very distinct stripes down the middle of her cheek. She certainly doesn't look happy, does she? She looks worried. "Oh, dear... the grandkids said this fake tanning thing was nice, but it sure does sting. I think they sprayed my glass eye!" (Notice her darker, more obtrusive, glass eye on the right side of her face. I'd bet money she lost that thing in an epic bar fight.)

It's always interesting, and often comical, to me to see how a picture of a young woman is transformed into a wrinkly geriatric via the magic of photoshop. Why this particular artist felt like he had to give the old lady a tan is beyond my comprehension. Wouldn't she look older with more pale, translucent skin? Oh, and why remove every trace of wrinkles on the after picture? Said lack of even the natural wrinkles makes this woman's face look puffy - as if her face is a balloon that is just a tad bit overfilled.

Oh, the exaggerated joys of advertising.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Too Nice?

I recently read that women sometimes dump a guy because he's "too nice." What? Too nice? Really? Because I justify breaking up with somebody if they're too mean, too weird, too grumpy, too crazy, too stuck-up, too boring, and too inclined to place "and that's a fact!" at the end of every sentence. Really, I'm fine with that. Because those are obvious flaws that get in the way from enjoying yourself with somebody.

But does being "too nice" get in the way of that? Aren't we taught to be nice? Is it bad to go out of your way to hold the door for somebody now? Or offer a ride when they need one? Call an ambulance when they're bleeding profusely? I don't know. Maybe the more desirable guy smiles and watches her bleed. Maybe he's a little nice, so he tosses her a phone. "Here, babe, call an ambulance. You're bleeding. Oh, and call a dry cleaner as well. You bled on me." Wow. He's a keeper.

When you go out, the more desirable guy refuses to open the door for her. He's a little nice, so he kindly warns her not to get his car dirty. "Babe, I noticed your shoes are dirty. You need to take them off before you get in. I only warn you 'cause I don't wanna have to beat you later." What a charmer!


Okay, so I'm likely going overboard. I know there are people who feel the need to have a bit of a game in the relationship. The game grows stale when your significant other caters to every whim, desire, and thought you have. It's just not fun to have somebody admiring you endlessly. (Not that I know that from experience, but I can imagine it would get tiresome, fast.)

In my humble opinion, though, I don't think you have to sacrifice kindness to keep the game interesting. Straight up breaking up with somebody because they're "too nice" seems asinine. Seriously, folks, there are so many worse traits a significant other could have.


I'd like to invite any women out there (and men, for that matter) to give me your thoughts on this. Is there some strange, evasive creature in the mind of a woman that does, in fact, tire of kindness? I'm all ears...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Costume One: The Joker

I always have the hardest time deciding what to be for Halloween. Come September, I get these grand, overblown ideas that I know, deep down, will never happen. Things like a man with a creature crawling out of his chest, a giant robot, something that flies, etc.

So on the day of a party I'm supposed to dress up for, I end up throwing open a few boxes of Halloween supplies from years past and seeing what I can make. "Let's see here, if I take that skull head, and that indian wig, and the princess dress here, and put them all on... Oh No! Oh! I can't look at myself! ...that's just disturbing."

Luckily, last night I found the make-up kit before I found the other pieces of dismembered costumes from the past. And, after careful deliberation, I decided that the best costume option with a heavy reliance on make-up would be the Joker. (That almost sounds like an Oscar Category, doesn't it? "And now, for the award in best costume theatrics with heavy reliance on make-up, here are the nominees...)

Anyway, I threw open the internet and searched for pictures of Heath Ledger's Joker, in all his ghastly, ghoulish form. Ten minutes later I emerged from the bathroom looking like this:

It turned out really nice. :) I bought some wonderful (overpriced) hair colorant that worked wonders to give me that nice, green look. My favorite part of the whole process, though, was messing it all up - smearing it here and there, streaking the black down my face - to create that truly manic look. If I do it again, though, I'll probably use some liquid latex to get the scarred look. "Ya wanna know how I got these scars?" Also, I'll be looking for a green vest and purple, paisley shirt to complete the ensemble.


A happier picture:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Such a beautiful day. :)

My family and I were at Coronado Beach in San Diego on Friday afternoon. We had visited an aquarium earlier that day and, inspired by the variety of sea life we saw there, decided that some time at the beach would be appropriate and fun. Coronado Beach is ranked 5th on the list of the best beaches in the United States. That list includes Hawaii. So I was extremely excited to get out there and enjoy the waves!

When we got there, the weather was gorgeous. Temperatures floated in the high 80's and the blue sky was dotted here and there with fluffy white clouds. I stripped down to my swimsuit as fast as I could and practically ran out to the water, which was cold, but not so cold that you can't stand it. After a few minutes, I was used to the temperature and began body surfing. I remember looking down into the water to clear seaweed from my feet and spotting, for only a moment, what looked to be a stingray. I thought nothing of it, however, figuring that it was just a cloud of sand embellished by my imagination.

(By the way, if you've never tried body surfing, it's SO much fun! You simply get out to where the water is about chest-level deep, and when you see a wave beginning to form, you swim as fast as you can toward the shore. By the time the wave has reached you, it should be cresting, and as long as you're swimming fast enough, you'll catch the wave and actually surf it for a little while. You do need to keep swimming as this happens or you just end up getting rolled into the wave, which isn't as fun as riding one all the way to the beach.)

Anyway, Tyler and I were out there body surfing for a good 40 minutes or so, just having the time of our life! We had caught some pretty great waves and were waiting for another to come when I stepped back on the sand and suddenly felt a very painful, odd sensation. It was like somebody had shoved a nail an inch or two into my heel and squirted something in there. I knew instantly that I had not simply stepped on something sharp, but that something had stung me.

Now before I go on, let me tell you that I am no stranger to injuries on the beach. A few years back, while on a vacation with my family to Cancun, I swam backward into a jellyfish and received a nice maze of tentacle-shaped welts on my upper arm and shoulder. It stung quite a bit - like a bee sting over your entire arm. On another trip to the beach with the family I was swimming around and happened to kick a hellishly jagged crop of rock, effectively cheese-grating the tops of my left toes. That stung as well.

This most recent sting, however, was in a league of it's own. I ran up to the beach in EXCRUCIATING pain. My entire foot was on fire and the wound was bleeding pretty heavily. I hobbled my way over to the towels and asked Mom for some water to wash it off. She handed me a bottle and I rinsed the sand and blood away to find a small, quarter-inch puncture wound from which a rich, winding river of blood poured easily down my foot. Dad walked out to one of the resort hotels on the beach to ask for a band aid, but apparently, when he mentioned that I had a puncture wound on the bottom of my foot, the people knew instantly that it was a stingray attack and called the lifeguard to come out to where we were.

As you can see, it was bleeding pretty badly. This is after the first washing.

The lifeguard arrived in his jeep and only had to glance at my wound to confirm the truth - I had been stung by a stingray. It obviously wasn't a planned attack, but merely the result of me stepping on the poor creature. I couldn't help but wonder at that time if I had, in fact, seen a stingray earlier in the day, and if, perhaps, it was that exact ray that I stepped on!

Well, the lifeguard wrapped my foot in some gauze to keep sand out, and instructed me to get back to the hotel room asap and submerge my foot in hot water (at least 110 degrees). The ride home was very painful. I honestly can't begin to tell you how much it hurt. Maybe take a bee sting and multiply that by ... like... 200. It's a sharp, deep, stabbing pain accompanied by a horrible burning sensation. Yeah. That's really the best description I can give.

Anyway, when we got back to the room I put my foot into a bucket of hot water and within 20 minutes the pain had subsided to a very reasonable level. After that, my foot only ached a little, and by the next day the pain was practically gone. On occasion, my foot spontaneously bleeds (which is weird) but I'll be fine.

Something like this won't keep me out of the water, but let's hope it's the end of my maritime injuries.

Seriously. So freaking painful.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Kittens

A few months or so ago, my brother in law, Andrew, rescued a little kitten from under a car in the mechanic's shop where he works. Apparently, the tiny thing was perched up on the axle of the car, shivering from fright, and covered in grease. Who knows how long it traveled up there! I can't imagine the horrific journey the poor thing had, but nonetheless, this kitten had no home. Andrew and Shannon already have two grown cats of their own, and they decided that adding a new kitten to the group would be too stressful. So, with some deliberation, it was decided that the kitten would be brought here to stay till they decided what to do with it.

After a few weeks, it became obvious that the kitten would stay. We had all become quite enamored with this new, playful little creature.

However, it became apparent that the creature would forever mercilessly attack our hands without another little creature to keep it company.

So, we got another kitten.

And let me tell you, folks. Kittens are SO much better in pairs for two reasons: they keep each other company, leaving you to enjoy their lovable, cuddly side, without the downside of the crazy, pent-up-energy that a lonely kitten has after a day of sitting alone at home. It's like living in an episode of "Nature" where the bears are always cuddly, and less like "When Good Bears go Bad: 3!"

Anyway, we now have two happy little kittens with us. Shannon has been begging me to take pictures... and I've finally crumbled to the pressure. I figure since they're at the vet now (getting spayed and de-clawed) it's a better time than any to put up some pics.

By the way, I HATE HATE HATE the harsh light that the pop-up flash on my camera offers. You'll notice that the pictures were taken in a tidy little window of natural, wonderful sunlight. Keeping playful animals in that window of light, though, proved very difficult. Nonetheless, I think I shot some keepers.

This is ... well, we don't really have a name for her. We call her "Little".
She's the newest addition. The kitten Andrew rescued is...

...right here. Her name is "Beans."
I'm not sure why we chose that name, but we like it.

Little girl likes to sniff stuff. Most cats do.

Beans likes to stare intently at things...
probably wondering if it's edible and/or something that should be chased.

"Owww!" Actually, little girl wasn't hurt or anything, but it looks like a pretty good slap.

"Whoa, timeout." "I think Barry's camera has a fun looking dangly strap."

Love the paws. (This one used a flash)



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barry, Through the Decades

You ever wonder what you might look like if you spent your wonderful high-school years in another decade? How might the styles, fashions, and fads of that era affect the way you look? Well, thanks to the folks over at yearbookyourself.com, you no longer have to wonder. You can KNOW!

So check me out. In all my timeless glory.

Hmm... 1952 isn't doing much for me. I look like I need a good beating.
Maybe I become a greaser later and redeem myself?

Nope. It's 1960, and I'm still as much a nerd as ever. But baby, I'm makin MONEY! ...workin with the boys down at the nuclear physics lab. Perhaps that money will lead to some sweet fashion in a later decade.

Mmmm, yeah!! 1974 is gonna' be CRAZY!

The 70's were a time of transition, so by 1976 I had ditched the bowtie for a dreamy turtleneck.
"I know you love me, baby. Don't touch my hair."

1986. Brutal. Were the 80's good to anyone?

Hope you enjoyed this. :)


Thursday, October 9, 2008

I ♥ Rap

Those who know me well know that I love rap.

I enjoy the seamless fusion of lyrics and rhythm that good rap exemplifies - the way a great producer can flawlessly mesh every syllable of a word with the parts of the bass line, snare, and instrumentals. Artists like Tupac, Ludacris, Kanye West, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Eminem, Diddy (back when he was Puff Daddy), Coolio, and Jay-Z are some of my favorites and, as such, hold a place in my music folder. Their rap speaks of experience from every season of life, from gang wars in the hoods of LA, to the joy of watching a child grow, to the pain of watching a friend die, to the easy smiles of a backyard party. The rap I own comes in all flavors of languages, too. I've got Mexican rap, American rap, and even a French rap song called "La Belle et le Bad Boy" which tells the story of a beautiful girl who falls in love with a rebellious boy. While they dream of a good life, the crime-laden context in which they find themselves overcomes that dream. It's a tragic love story.

One of my favorite songs ever, "Life Goes On", by Tupac, is a song about mourning. Throughout the song Tupac recalls good times with his friend, Kato, for whom the song is written. The recollections of good memories, however, are interspersed with lyrics that speak of true pain:

"But now your buried,
rest nigga,
cause I ain't worried.
Eyes blurred,
sayin' goodbye at the cemetary.
Tho' memories fade,
I got your name tatted on my arm,
so we both ball till' my dying days.
Before I say goodbye,
Kato, we're meant to rest in peace,
Thug till I die."

While I love rap, I understand that sometimes it's hard to take the messages presented seriously, considering the context. Many people shy away from such songs (including hip-hop) because of themes of murder, lasciviousness, and deceit - all very bad things. Obviously there are some songs I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. I think, though, that there are things to be appreciated in other songs. I try to listen to the edited versions, because I don't particularly like hearing the four letter words.

If you like rap, let me know. If you don't like it, let me know why! And, if you have any favorite songs, let me know about them as well. I'm always looking to expand my library.


One of my favorites

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One Lonely Picture

On Friday night I drove up to Logan to watch my beloved Cougars take on the lowly Aggies of Utah State. I say lowly because they're likely the second worst team in all of college football. Anyway, as I drove up, I took a picture of the wispy, autumn sky. I figured it was the first of many wonderful, football-filled pictures that would be taken during the night. However, when I arrived at the stadium I was confronted by a sign that stated coldly and simply: "No professional cameras. Cameras with interchangeable lenses or with multiple parts are not permitted inside Romney Stadium."

Now, let it be known that I had just walked many miles to the stadium from where I parked and was NOT about to walk back to put my camera in my car. I pretended not to notice the sign and walked up to the girl who was taking tickets. I spoke first. "Hey, am I okay to bring this in here?" Wait, what? Did I actually just ask her that? She obviously had not noticed my camera hanging around my neck. And didn't I want to sneak it by anyway? What in the blue hell had convinced me to ask her if my camera was okay? I was kicking myself!

"Oh. Yeah. I'm sorry, but umm... no, you can't bring professional cameras into the stadium."

I smiled for a moment, flattered that she had called my camera professional.

"Oh, thank you, but this camera is really only an entry level digital SLR." She stared at me blankly. Hell, I might as well have been speaking Japanese to this girl. She was nice enough. Not very good looking, though. And seemed a bit slow. Not mentally challenged slow, just not a very bright girl.

To her credit, I could tell that she didn't want this confrontation. I got the feeling that had I not said anything about the camera, she would have let me pass through unhindered, even if she HAD noticed that I had one of them professional lookin thangs on my neck.

I looked around at the stadium. Not really looking for something to say or an excuse to bring the camera in, but more of the brutal, internal beating I was giving myself for bringing the damn thing up in the first place.

"Look. I parked so far from here. I walked for miles. With a handcart. I don't want to go back to my car. Do you have a place where I can put my camera till the end of the game?" I didn't really mention a handcart.

"Umm.. no. We don't umm... have a place for your camera."

I nodded, considering the fact that I had just driven a hundred and some-odd miles to see the game, arriving near the end of the second quarter, only to find that my kind (people with nice cameras) was not welcome.

"Umm... if you promise not to take any pictures, you can bring your camera inside."

I nodded. "Okay. I can do that." I dismantled my camera and put it all away in the bag while I thought about how I'd get by her, find my place in the crowd and then start shooting away. I thought of how fun it would be to know that I was the rogue photographer in the crowd, shooting without any regard to the stadium's silly rules.

I made my way to my seat and sat down. I glanced at my camera bag, ready to shoot, but hesitated. I had promised her not to take any pictures. Was my integrity worth some pictures? Was this even a question of integrity? I had not promised a dying man that I'd take his heirloom watch to his son. I was not on a battlefield listening to said man's final sputterings of life. I mean, come ON! If you fall through on a situation like that you can just wave goodbye to your integrity. You do something like that and you're a full-fledged, genuine ASS!

I had simply promised not to take pictures.

Battlefield or not, though, I decided not to take the pictures. So, for all of my troubles (and a two-hour long drive) I have one, lonely picture. The Cougars did win, though.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008


In celebration of the month of October, I've changed my header to reflect a more eerie atmosphere. Doesn't it make you want to run to the nearest abandoned house and sit there till you're sure you feel the presence of ghosts? Of course it does.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's BACK!!!!

The Office premieres tomorrow!

Dwight chats it up with a successful midget banker on the "Night Out" episode of season four.
One of the phrases spoken to said banker: "Do you have powers?"

I just thought I'd share that with you all.

It comes on at 8:00pm (Mountain Time) on NBC.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I can't believe this. I laughed so hard at it and yet I feel so bad for these people. Their minds are SO warped!

Come on, now. Environmentalists are one thing...

... but tree mourners?

Favorite line of the whole thing is the primal scream the hippie girl lets out at the very end. (he he he...wow)


Monday, September 15, 2008

...ooh, glowy....

I recently rediscovered some glow in the dark silly putty that I was given last Christmas, so I decided to charge it up and get creative! Ahh, the benefits of having a camera with the option for long exposures...

Pretty. :) Almost a magma-like quality to it.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 Years Ago, Today.

I'm sure most bloggers today are posting about their experiences on September 11, 2001. And while you may have already read dozens of other personal accounts of what happened on that day, I suggest you read mine for a fresh perspective on the events. I was on my mission when it happened, and thus experienced the entire thing with a sense of disconnected torture. I could call no family or friends, nor did I have the day off. It was just another day of missionary work. Sort of.

I remember waking up that morning, showering in our little concrete bathroom and going through the rounds of personal and companionship study/prayer. It was nice, clear day. My companion headed out of the apartment and over to the local tienda to get some pan dulce for breakfast. We walked in and the little grey-haired lady was watching her humble 13 inch tv. Most mornings were host to the sounds of a telenovela (soap opera) or one of Mexico's gosh awful morning shows, but this morning she was watching the news.

There was a great deal of smoke coming out of the ground. I remember thinking that Popcateptl, Mexico's most active and dangerous volcano, had erupted again, as it had done so a few months before. But then, as the camera zoomed out, I saw the Pentagon. I just stood there on the polished floor of this little tienda in the middle of Mexico, gazing blankly at the Pentagon as it burned. In that fleeting moment my mind couldn't comprehend the entirety of what was happening.

We left the tienda to eat breakfast at the apartment and then headed out to our first appointment. Her name was Marta, I think. Or Maria. Anyway, the first words out of her mouth were, "Your country is under attack." Whoa! What!? "Come see."

We went into her nicely decorated home and watched tv with her. It was CNN. In English. (Thank you, Heavenly Father!) Hearing the news in the sweet, familiar phonetics of English was a blessing, as it connected me, in a way, to those who I loved and thought of that I could not call or communicate with. We watched the first tower smoldering against the baby-blue New York skyline. We saw the second plane smash, full-fury, into the second tower and just sat there in awe at the chaos that was taking place across the border. It was really scary. Was this the beginning of more for the rest of the United States? Was LA going to be hit? Chicago? Denver? Salt Lake?

After an hour or so of watching TV with our investigator, we put the news aside and taught our discussion.

We ate lunch, like usual, with a family in our ward (sidenote: the dad was a candy salesman by day and a professional Mexican wrestler by night!) We watched the towers continue to burn and then gasped as they fell like vanquished titans, into their billowing, ashen graves. It was so awful, knowing that in that instant so many lost their lives. And yet there was a strange disconnect to the whole thing, as if it were all a farce, like some replay of war of the worlds in modern times. Call it shock or divine protection, but I wasn't quite sure if it was all real or not. It's hard to explain.

Life as a missionary went on like usual after that. We'd get the occasional comment from people about how sorry they were for the tragedy, and, on occasion, some ass would tell us why the US deserved what it got. The Mexican people were generally very understanding, though, of the whole thing.

So that's my story.

Where were you when the towers fell? If you've written about it in your blog, please post a URL. Thanks.