Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Joining the Army for a Cheap Vacation

Last night I dreamed a dream.

I was standing before an enormous theme park with friends and family. Inside, one could see roller coasters stretch so high and far that the structures resembled a city of the future, sprawling over miles and miles of lush, green plains. The smell of cotton candy and fried corn dogs lingered in the air, mixing with the sound of gleeful screams to form an intoxicating invitation to enjoy the park. Every ride was painted red and white and moved in shapes so magnificent and contrived that I wondered how it could be physically possible for them to move like they did. The line to enter was very long, and as we stood there my Dad was trying to find a way to get a deal on the park entrance. This was when he spotted the booth.

To the left of the entrance line was a small, square, PVC and canvas tent. The front of the tent was open and a table was set up inside with a young man in uniform. My dad went up to the guy and started talking, then motioned for me to come over. I could tell by the opportunistic look in Dad's eyes that something interesting was about to go down.

"Hey! Barry! We can get into the park for half price if you join the Army!"

I nodded politely, pretending to actually consider the possibility. Under the facade, though, I was dumbfounded. Did Dad remember that we were at war? He wanted me to join the Army for a mere discount on park entrance!?

The next part of the dream is fuzzy. I only remember that Dad was very insistent on me joining the Army and I finally joined and we got into the park. When we entered the park I was issued my gear and gun right then and there, so I had to walk around the park with this HUGE duffel bag in my arms and an M4 slung over my shoulder. I wasn't at all happy with my decision, but figured I'd make the most of it and started wondering if I'd die when I was shipped out on my tour. We got on our first ride - the biggest rollercoaster in the park - but because of my gear my seatbelt wouldn't latch.

And then, to my great relief, I woke up.


Halloween Project: Complete!

I posted a few days ago about the project I took on for my brother and his wife - both huge Halloween enthusiasts. The goal was to turn a mediocre painting they found in the trash into a scene worthy of Halloween decoration.

I've finished it and it's no masterpiece, but it was fun to do. You can tell from the pictures below that the final product is much more gloomy and slightly creepier than before.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Halloween Project

My little brother and his wife are getting their house all decked out for Halloween and found this painting in the trash when they were looking for heads*

This is the painting. They added the guy hanging from the tree, the headstones, and some crap on the roof of the building, but they felt that their artistic prowess couldn't give this what they envisioned, so they enlisted in my help.

Stay tuned for how it turns out.


*And by heads I mean hair-school heads. Always a wonderful addition to your gruesome Halloween decor...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Disneyland, a Little Girl, and a Dangerous Walkway

I've decided to share my dreams with you all more often than I do now (which is pretty much never.) When I say "dreams" I don't mean hopes and visions for the future. I'm talkin' about crazy, strange randomness that happens in my brain when I'm sleeping.

The primary goal of this dream disclosure is, of course, entertainment. However, I'm not closed to the idea of feedback - thoughts as to what my dreams mean and such. If you can make sense of the madness, by all means speak. :)

Let's talk about last night's dream, then...

I'm at Disneyland with my family - parents, brothers and sisters and their spouses, and a little girl. It's late in the day - that time when the sun has fallen behind the mountains - but the sky retains the brilliance of the moments before when the sun was out. Disneyland isn't Disneyland. It's like a mix between Disneyland, Hogle Zoo, and the west desert of Utah. I look down at the little girl who holds my hand and walks tired next to me. She's probably about two years old. I ask my parents, who walk ahead of us, who she is and they look back at me like I'm a moron but don't respond. I realize, then, that I'm wearing one of those strap-your-child-to-your-back contraptions and carrying a diaper bag to boot, giving me the vague impression that she might be my daughter. Usually this thought would freak me out. I've got a little girl who could be my daughter next to me and I have no idea who she is nor who the mother could be. For some reason, though, I'm not fretting, but instead I accept the situation and continue on as if all is normal.

We get outside the park to one of those motorized walkways. Colorful signs indicate that this walkway would take us out to our parking spot, so we climb aboard. Things are good for awhile, as the walkway moves along at a reasonably slow pace. My family is talking about the day and laughing about this and that - their voices muffled by the similar conversations of people around us. Its really nice. I look ahead of us and see that the walkway climbs steeply in the distance, like a roller coaster. I notice, too, that the walkway is going faster. I look around, trying to hide my panic, hoping that somebody sees what I do, but my family and everyone else on the damned thing seems completely oblivious to the fact that we're now hurdling through the desert at an insane speed. With little time to act, I decide to strap the little girl into the article on my back for safety and just barely get her in when we hit the incline.

Momentum carries us almost all the way to the top of what is probably a fifty foot rise, but the slickness of the walkway becomes very apparent here and I start sliding back down toward people. I drop the diaper bag, watching the wind carry it away from us to where it crashes violently into the windshield of a car below. Bending down, I dig my fingers into the walkway, which was made of felt and leather, all grey, and desperately try to cling on as we rise over the incline.

As we come over the top I see that the walkway splits into multiple directions below, twisting and passing each other like a California freeway. My parents and family are already well ahead of us, having taken one of the off-shoot walkways. The descent is horrifyingly long and steep, and as we begin to fall I pull the little girl around from my back and hold her tightly in my arms. In an instant, the path my parents took whizzes by us - nothing more than a blur - and I see them in the distance raising their hands as if to say "where are you going!?" I have no time to respond, though, because in a flash we're well down the chute and out into the middle of the desert. I begin to panic; not because of how far away we are from everybody, but because I can see the walkway suddenly end ahead. I look behind me and see nobody. I wonder how in the hell everyone else got off - my mind as blurred as the landscape that shoots by us - and then feel the walkway disappear beneath us.

There is a moment of peaceful weightlessness. The cool desert air rushes against my face. The only sound is the wind. And then we begin to fall. I look ahead and below us, observing the abandoned gas station that we're about to hit and scarcely have time to think of the ramifications of such an impact before the collision happens.

The next thing I know, I'm sitting in the middle of a dirt road. The gas station is on my left and is on fire - part of the building collapsed and broken. On my right, in the road, there is a car turned over, badly contorted and on fire. People have stopped to help the people in that car and an ambulance whines in the distance as it makes it's way toward us.

I stand up and realize that there is no sign of the little girl. I walk into the gas station and see nothing. I walk outside and ask the people if they've seen the little girl and they reply in the negative, then tell me I need to sit down and wait for the ambulance. I shake my head and start walking down the desert road, intent on getting home. The people shout at me and ask where I'm going, but realize that I'm not listening and continue tending to the accident victims. I pull out my iPhone to make a call, marveling at the fact that it is unscathed, but I realize that I have no signal out there and put it away. I keep wondering about the little girl - where she went, if she's still alive, how she disappeared - when a young man, Latino, dressed like a gang member, walks up to me and tries to talk to me. I'm afraid he's seen my phone and is about to mug me. I don't remember what he says, but I brush him off and he returns to a small hill adjacent to the road, where he and his friends warm themselves over a fire in a barrel. I walk off into the desert...

And then I wake up.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Book of Love

If you love the show "Scrubs" you'll love this. Even if you've never seen it or you just think it's okay, you'll love this. It's the finale to the last episode and, in true "Scrubs" fashion, does an excellent job of making you laugh while simultaneously pulling at your heart. In the part when he walks by the people he remembers, there is a plethora of inside jokes that would probably be amazing if you'd watched the show religiously, so I didn't get most of them. Nevertheless, the ending is worth it all.

I really liked it. The song is amazing. Enjoy. :)

(You MUST watch till the end!)


Monday, September 21, 2009

Double Feature!

That's right! It's two blog posts in the time it takes to read ONE blog post! Now that's value!

First off are pictures from a hike Mike, Linda, and I did a couple of Friday's ago. Why I never got around to posting them in the blog, I'll never know. (By the way, I love saying "hike Mike" ... don't you?)

We started our hike up a chute of rock that looked promising at first but eventually turned into some pretty scary climbing. What you see Mike and Linda climbing, here, was the easy part.

Scattered along the way were remnants of mining and/or quarrying that was done in the area.

I had forgotten to bring any water (stupid mistake) and realized halfway up the mountain that I was dangerously dehydrated. I'm not sure if you can see it in this picture, but I was extremely woozy at this point, often losing my balance as I climbed up the mountain. Luckily, Linda brought water and after a moment of rest and rehydration I was back to normal and able to safely get down the mountain.

We all took pictures at that rock. This is Mike.

And this is Linda. As you can see, they both chose the contemplative "look-over-the-valley" look, while I chose the "good hell, I'm dehydrated" look. :)

This past weekend we got a big group together and went out to the sand dunes.

My brother, Steve, and his wife, Ashlyn, came along. Aren't they a cute couple?

The storminess that afternoon caused cloud formations and coloring that you only see once every three or four months, so while I drove I coached Steve on what to shoot and how to shoot it while he sat next to me. :)

Every once in awhile I see a picture that I want to paint. This is one of them.

This was one of only a few pictures I got out at the dunes. Next time I promise to get more pictures of the dunes themselves. :)

I leave you with the image of perfectly roasted little smokies. They were delicious.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

i Have One!

Ladies and gentlemen...

Friends of the fooze...

I... a proud new owner...

...of an iPHONE!!!!

(Yea, and the angels wept, the dolphins flipped with glee, and the children ne'er spoke ill of their parents again...)

Can I get an AMEN!!


My days with sprint and their customer service from hell... ARE OVER!

The days of owning a phone with the computational capacity of a 1970's calculator ... ARE OVER!

The frustration of fitting only 50 songs into my mp3 player... ARE OVER!

Now begins the age of reason. A time of illumination. An era of app purchases and app development.

But first... phone must charge.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Rear Ended!

Some clueless looking gal in daddy's BMW rear ended me today.

I was turning right onto State Street from University Parkway, up near the University Mall and as I was about to turn right, I noticed that the lane you normally turn into there had a bunch of barricades, construction, and the like. Not a big deal, though. I stopped for a moment to wait for traffic to clear the next lane over, and just as it cleared ... BAM!

I guess she thought I'd already gone or something? Which is amazing to me, considering my car isn't small or hard to see. I drive a large, champagne colored boat - a car that was easily twice the size of hers! Besides, isn't the first car you see usually the one RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU? It's not even like I had started to go and then slammed on my brakes. I'd been stopped there for a good 30 seconds! This is why I refer to her as "clueless." It was a very avoidable collision.

Luckily it was only a bump. I didn't even stop because I knew no damage had been done. A few seconds later, she cruised by me on State Street and I turned to shrug my shoulders - a reasonable yet calm attempt to display my displeasure - but she was completely oblivious to me.

She was on her cell phone.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

In with the new, N-Out with the old...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the In-N-Out that is coming in nicely a few miles from my parent's house. I can't wait to order from the menu, sink my teeth into a double double, and look out on the mountains of Salt Lake Valley. I have a theory as to why In-N-Out decided, so suddenly, to bring their stores to Utah - even after years of denying us our delicious double double's and hot, fresh-cut fries.

The answer, my friends, lies in one word: Chadder's

Chadder's is a restaurant that looks and tastes very much like an In-N-Out. In fact, the similarities were so uncanny when the first store opened in American Fork in 2007, that In-N-Out threatened legal action - asking them to change their ways or be shut down. They must have made the necessary changes because they're still in business today - expanding into Provo and West Valley City.

In-N-Out, though, got smart. They likely saw that their product was very much in high demand in Utah (hoards of vacationing Mormons don't lie) and realized that valuable market share was about to be cooked up and bagged by an impostor. How do you combat an impostor? You give the people the real thing. And that's what they're doing now.

Good for them. And good for us!




Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Michael Bay Eating a Bowl of Cereal

If you dislike Michael Bay's movies for the same reasons I do, you'll love this.

Hahaha! It's so perfect!


P.S. It's not that I hate Michael Bay or his movies. It's just that he has a knack for over-dramatizing EVERYTHING!

Monday, September 7, 2009

More Weekends like This!

Oh, man... what a great weekend! It began with a late night of Guitar Hero 5 at Justin's place (sorry, no pictures), rumbled on with the spectacular win by BYU over Oklahoma, and finished last night with a great end-of-summer party and celebration for Shannon's birthday with family.

A checkered tablecloth, tons of great food, and the late afternoon sun through the trees in the backyard. Nothing compliments the flavor of a perfectly cooked burger like the taste of the cool, late-summer air in your face and the smell of a freshly cut lawn under foot.

I try to smile with a mouthful of burger as Shan catches us off guard. On my left is my brother in law, Andrew, and on my right his brother, Nate.

Steve and Ashlyn are certainly happy. They've just moved in to their first home!

Late summer barbecues aren't complete without a football. Here, the boys struggle for the ball in a game of fly's up. (From left to right: My brother, Tyler. My cousin, Ryan. My cousin, Chad. My brother, Steve.)

Shan blows the candles out as we celebrate her birthday. It was a delicious cake.

My parent's home is decorated in full cougar regalia. I had the honor of scrambling up the roof to "light the Y".

May you all enjoy these last days of summer!


Saturday, September 5, 2009


14-13. Final score!!!!!

BYU did what most said would be impossible and beat the Sooners of Oklahoma, ranked #3 in the nation!

Photo courtesy of the Deseret News - Scott Winterton

It was a bit painful at times (especially for this guy) due to sloppy turnovers, missed opportunities, and penalties, but that is most often the case for the first game of the year - when a team experiences the jitters of finally playing. Nonetheless, it was an incredible game to watch. I look forward to the rest of the season!

Go Cougars!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Today my wonderful, creative sister, Shannon, is celebrating her birthday!

Head over to Design Gal and wish her a happy birthday with a comment!