Favorites For 2008

A quick list off the top of my head of highlights for the year 2008.

11. Playing on a soccer team comprised with a lot of my best friends from growing up. (James, Chad, Scott, Tony)
10. Trip to Disneyland with James, Dede, Tiff, Ryan, Christian, and Max. Seems like it was so long ago. Anyways, it was so dang fun. I forgot what a cool place it is.
9. Almost seeing Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, and their kid exiting Space Mountain. It was consolation that everyone who was with me got to see them, and I think I saw the back of his Harrison's head just before he went out the door.
8. Serving in scouts and Deacon's Quorum has been fun, challenging, and interesting. Some highlights and some frustrations.
7. Watching RSL games at Rio Tinto Stadium was so incredible. The place is beautiful, and the atmosphere is great. If you haven't been you need to go in 2009.
6. Jumping into James and Tony's arms when Yura Movsysian scored in the last minute vs. Colorado to put RSL into the playoffs.
5. The Dark Knight. Intense, disturbing, philosophical, and in the end somewhat uplifting. I love a movie that keeps you thinking long after the credits have rolled. It is extremely rare in an action movie where the action is clearly secondary to the themes, stellar performances, and character and plot development. Not for kids.
4. Some new bands I got into this year: Arcade Fire, Band of Annuals, Dustin Kensrue, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, The Gaslight Anthem, and Spoon. I know most have been around for a while, but these are bands that I started to listen to and enjoy this year. I highly recommend all of them.
3. Summer trip up to the Northwest with Natalie and her family. We even made it up into Victoria for a day. It was a good time.
2. Roofing my Dad's garage with the dudes. I'm not sure about the place in the list, but it was actually a really fun experience to do some manual labor along side my Dad, brothers, and nephews. We were sure we would be done in 45 minutes or so. 6 hours later, we all had a lot more respect for roofers. It was worth it to see how delighted Dad was with his new roof.
1. Welcoming my Abby into the world. She has lit up our home with her smiles and her sweet spirit, and has brought Natalie and I that much closer together.


Christmas Card

So, we didn't actually get around to printing and mailing one, but if you are reading my blog you deserve a Chistmas card from the Crowley family.



Does anyone else have a standard microwave time for warming up food? I almost always set it to One minute and forty seconds. It works out pretty well for me.

I started mixing a teaspoon of Pero into my cup of Stephens Cinnamon Hot Chocolate. Dang, that is a a good combo.

I try to bring leftovers to work for lunch as much as I can. Today it is Pizza from Carino's. It felt a little soggy, so we'll see how it goes.

I really love Christmas time. I love the music. I love seeing family and friends more often than usual. I love giving and receiving thoughtful gifts.

We haven't been singing carols in our ward in Sacrament meeting. What the heck? It's a borderline travesty.

My carol singing experiments went pretty well, but I think I will change some things for next year.

My indoor soccer league has given our team byes every other week for the last two months. It's like there's some plot to keep us out of shape, out of sync, and out of touch with the ball. Needless to say, this session has not gone too well for us.


Ode to My Better Half

Natalie turned 26 years old this morning. I was asleep when it happened. In fact, we all were. The lights were all off and Abby was asleep in her crib. I have decided that to commemorate this momentous occasion, I will give her an ode:

Good Natalie,

O Natalie, thou child of the festive season
How I love thee and thy gentle ways.
Beauty and pure love flow from thee as
The garden hose used to water thy beloved begonias.
Thou art loved more soundly and deeply
Than any Gilmore or Gossip Girl could imagine.

I am the Dwight to thy Michael Scott,
The Buddy to thy Jovie.
Thou art the Ketchup to my fries,
The talk button on my cell phone,
And the sustain in my guitar.
Life is easier, more functional,
and more enjoyable with thee.

From the depths of the Wendy's
to the tolerability of Convergys,
My life improved as I moved closer to thee.
Once, twice, thrice was the charm,
I dared to persist, persisted to dare.
The maid with the blue ribbon
Consented to hang out with me.


Hang the Holly

A Christmas song I wrote last year.


If I Die Trying

When we were in Boise for Thanksgiving, we had arranged for a portrait of all the grandkids on Natalie's side. We went to Target's photo place because our sister in law had had some good luck with them in the past. Well, we went on black Friday, and it was kind of a mad house. When we got the kids all dressed up and arranged some of them just couldn't handle the immense pressure of being cute on demand. It turned into quite a cryfest, and the photographer was less than amused. After about 5 minutes, she pretty much kicked us out of the studio. We circled the wagons (shopping carts) outside the portrait studio, and took a deep breath as we tried to decide what the next course of action would be. As we were discussing and reminiscing the mini-nightmare we had just encountered, somebody noticed that the two grandchildren who had been the most upset in the studio were now happy as larks standing up in the shopping cart as we talked. Somebody suggested going to the Christmas isle and attempting our own portrait with the kids in the shopping cart. We all chuckled and then made a bee-line for the holiday isle. We were determined to get a good photo of the kids from our trip to Target. We knew the staff would probably not be too into what we were doing so we posted a couple of lookouts, tried to avoid eye contact with fellow Target patrons, and snapped a few photos. This is the result.


The Darndest Things

I'm a Deacons adviser in our ward. This is a conversation that took place yesterday between me and one of the boys, we will call him Rupert.

Rupert: "What's with the sideburns?"

me: (very maturely) "What's with your sideburns?"

Rupert: "Well mine are up here," he said pointing to where his left sideburn drops a quarter inch below the point his ear and his head connect. "And yours are way down here," he explained pointing much further down the side of his chubby face, "you look like a bald elvis."


Abby Pics

Some photos to tide Abby's fans over until after the holiday.

The Departed

I wrote this song for my teenage nieces and nephews. It's a time in life when there are so many emotions and forces pulling at you from every direction. It can be great and it can be terrible, and it's usually some of both.


Psyched Out of My Mind About

Okay, I don't think it's really to that extent, but I love to use that expression (from the movie ELF). There are some bands that I've been really enjoying lately and I will list them now. I think what I like about each of them is that the music has a timeless quality to it.

1. The Gaslight Anthem - Have I already mentioned these guys? I don't think I have on this blog. A band from New Jersey who does Bruce Springstein proud, their new album The ‘59 Sound is absolutely worth a listen. Their songs seem to mostly revolve around the ups and downs of growing up. There is an engaging quality to them as they avoid cliché and over dramatization. I was lucky enough to be able to see them open for Rise Against, Thrice, and Alkaline Trio and they did not disappoint.

2. Dusty Rhodes and the River Band - I can't quite put my finger on why I like these guys so much. There is a great deal of variability in their sound as they employ what seems to be multitude of instruments and four band members rotate on lead vocal duty. If I had to explain their sound, it would be gypsy swamp rock. A band that I would definitely pay to see live, although I haven't yet had the pleasure of doing. Lots of talent + good songs = muy bueno.

Song I've been obsessed with:

Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Show or Tom Gabel of Against Me!, both versions are fantastic) I will include a live clip of Tom Gablel performing it. Apparently the chorus of the song was an unfinished Bob Dylan tune. OCMS added verses and fleshed out the song a couple of years ago, and they certainly did a bang up job. Not an easy task, finishing the song of a legend. My favorite is the guy in the audience who yells out "oh no way, no way!" when he hears Tom play the first couple chords.


A New Christmas Tradition?

I've toyed around with this idea for a while, and I think it would be a really fun thing to try. If it worked out, it could turn into a new Christmas tradition. A couple of years ago during Christmas time, my mother in law Cathy and Natalie and I spent a couple of hours playing and singing Christmas songs together. Cathy and I both had the old Reader's Digest Christmas Songbook, and we just flipped through and chose our favorites and played and sung song after song. After that night, I thought that it would be really fun to do the same thing on a slightly larger scale (with more instruments and more voices). It would be fun to have instruments such as a violin, cello, piano, guitars, bass, keyboard, percussion, harmonica, mandolin, harp (wink, nudge Christine). Anyway you get the idea.

It would be a casual get together, basically a Christmas party with a few friends where at some point we do this sing along/play along musical experiment. I envision almost all acoustic instruments so the setup would be pretty minimal. Maybe just an electric bass and keyboards plugged in. We would print copies of the music so you could just show up and play. The one requirement for attending would be that you either sing or play so that there is no audience, only performers. (We will have shakers and tambourines and possibly hand clapping/snapping for non singers/non players who want to participate).

Well, that is my crazy idea. Please leave a comment if you would be interested in participating. Let me know what instrument(s) you would play (including voice). Also, I will throw out a few dates, if possible list which date would work best. Possible dates: Friday December 5th, Sunday December 7th, Saturday December 13th. If none of these work you could certainly suggest another date, I'm just trying to get the ball rolling and see what kind of interest there would be.


Makes Me Want To Cry

For those of you who are RSL fans, the images above may be too disturbing to handle. New York came to Rio Tinto Stadium and got the counter attack goal they were looking for. Olave's mistake turned a harmless pass to the slow and lurpy John Wolnyac on the sideline into one of two New York scoring chances for the entire match. They capitalized on the chance through their other slow and lurpy player, Dave Vanden Berg. From there (30th minute) on out, New York lost all interest in attacking or even possessing the ball. As soon as they would win the ball, they would give it the old rec league "boot." They hunkered down and defended the goal box like it was Fort Knox. Somehow this anti-soccer approach ended up working for them as chance after chance for RSL came agonizingly close, but none found the back of the net. Three, count them, three shots clanked off the post. I was completely exhausted after the game, I can't imagine having played in it. It is one thing to lose to a better team who outplayed you, it is a much tougher pill to swallow when the team that ends your season plays rec ball and fakes injury after injury to waste time.

That being said, I will never forget that night. The atmosphere was unbelievable, and the pace of the game was staggering. Kreis has put together a core of players who will be perennial challengers for MLS Cup. I'm excited to see what this group can do next year.


For Now You're Gone

I wrote this song with a lot of musical inspiration from Johnny Cash and Tiger Army. When it came time to write lyrics, I struggled at first. Being a middle class Mormon kid from the suburbs, I had a hard time coming up with country lyrics. I eventually came to the conclusion that the Mormon settlers of the west had some pretty interesting experiences, and I wrote the lyrics based on the stories of the Mormon Battalion soldiers leaving their wives and children to serve a government that refused to protect their basic freedoms. (Click on the title of the post to listen to the song.)

If you are having trouble playing the song: Right click the title of the post. Select "Save As" and save the file on your computer. Then open the file with your preferred media player.



I've written and recorded some acoustic songs over the last few months, and I decided that now is the time to share them with the world. Once a week, I will post a new song until they are all gone (hopefully this will motivate me to finish the last couple.)

This first song is obviously about my baby girl. I wrote it a couple of weeks before she was born. It's pretty straightforward I think. (Click on the title of this post to listen to the song.)



Update In Picture Form

I've been getting a lot of requests for pictures of Abby, so here goes:

A preview of what you might see on Halloween.

As we were attempting this shot, I realized we had become Angela from The Office. Not good. After further inspection, I realized that this photo will be a valuable parenting tool when Abby starts asking where babies come from.

Mom and Dad smile for the camera, Abby is clearly focusing on the players warming up.

Abby in her beautiful blessing dress.


Best Halloween Band?

I just created a poll on Postfontaine's blog asking readers to weigh in on who the best Halloween band ever is. I know I have some readers who would be interested in participating in this type of thing. Click here to see the candidates and cast a vote or two.



1. disappointing; unpleasant.
ex. "I've been wating over a year for my favorite band to come back and play a concert, but they had to cancel due to a freak auto accident."


Urban Lounge Poster

(click for larger version)


You Might Have Seen this on ESPN2

The stadium is spectacular, the crowd was energetic, the players were a little nervous, and we made our national television debut during ESPN2's broadcast. It was a great night, but unfortunately New York sat back and played for the tie and RSL was unable to break through for the winner.


It Almost Doesn't Seem Real

No pun intended. I honestly can't believe that tomorrow night I will be sitting in a 20,000 seat soccer stadium in Sandy watching a professional match. With all of the political unrest over stadium funding, a lot of people lost perspective on the whole thing. Whether you are a fan of soccer or not, the stadium is a great addition to the community. It will help boost the economy in Sandy and across the valley, and it will be used to host numerous other events that the whole state can be exited about including concerts and high school, college, and international sporting events. I can't wait.


As My Friend And Brother

Well, this post has been a long time in the planning (I can't say "making" because I'm just starting it now. ) Last year for my birthday, I received one of the best presents I have ever received. It was a heartfelt and thoughtful blog post from one of my best friends, Jeremy Wilkins. He wished me a happy birthday and briefly chronicled our years of friendship. It was a really nice gesture, and I don't know if I ever really told him how much I appreciated it. At that time, I decided to return the favor with a similar post on his birthday. I actually did remember throughout the year and sometimes I would start to think about what I would write. In hindsight, I should have written it and saved a draft ready to post on his birthday. In the mean time, our little Abby joined us ten days before her due date and four days before Jeremy's birthday. I had lots of people tell me that my life would be turned upside down when she arrived, but it doesn't really sink in until it actually happens. It's not so much that you don't do the same major things, it's that the spare time in between (optimum blogging time) gets completely consumed by your new addition.

I guess that's the long way of making an excuse for not following through with my original plan. Well, as Jeremy pointed out, our relationship began in high school. I can't remember how it got set up (I think it might have been Curt and James trying to set up me and Lindsay), but I was asked to join Lindsay Smith and some friends for "Lazer U2" at Hansen Planetarium. Jeremy was there, and he was pretty cold toward me because he had dated Lindsay and still had some feelings for her. I remember him commenting how much he hated U2, and that made me wonder why he would want to come along to "Lazer U2." I'm pretty sure he wanted to punch me in the face that night. Needless to say I was a little nervous when I heard that he would be at Curt's cabin for the trip we would be going on that summer.

That cabin trip was amazing, and to top it off Jeremy and I had quite a bit in common. I came home from that trip with some new friends and a much better idea of who I would be hanging out at school with my Junior year (I had been hanging out with James and a bunch of people who had just graduated.) That year was full of attending every HHS sporting event possible: girls volleyball, girls soccer, swimming, drill team, girls basketball, boys basketball, and football to name a few. All these trips were instigated by Jeremy, and his support was always due to his extreme loyalty to his friends who were on the various teams and his dedication to make his Senior year of high school one to remember. This loyalty and ultimate fan-ness has never worn off. It is rare for any kid, let a lone a punk rock kid with pink hair, to be so completely devoted to his school and any event going on there.

As far as my soccer games, he was co-founder of the BBQ VIP's, a supporters group for the soccer team who would BBQ at all home games and expertly heckle the opposition at home and away games. I don't think he missed a game in two years.

After he graduated, we continued to hang out until he left for his mission. This included a lot of down hill skating, extreme walking, camping, and just generally being awesome and ghetto.

He was one of two friends who I regularly kept in touch with during our mission years, and I still remember seeing him and James and my parents at the airport as I rode down the escalator. As soon as I was released, he made me go outside with him, Brady, and Landon to listed to a couple of tracks from A.F.I.'s new album. It was pretty gnarly after listening to strictly church music for two years.

I went straight from my mission to the "Summer of Hell" in Nevada selling scripture DVD's with Jeremy, James, Ryan, and Lindsay. I don't know how many times he came to pick me up in his parents green minivan when my car broke down that summer, but it was a lot. I also don't know how many times I saw him pull out his phone and use the calculator application to try to figure out how much he would have to sell per day for the rest of the summer to break even. There are so many great and horrible stories from those months. Jeremy hit some serious lows, but his loyalty to James overcame everything else and kept him out there.

We went straight from that adventure to the "crap house." I remember when Jeremy's parents were there to help him move in, his mom asked me, "do you think (the previous tenants) were cooking drugs in here?" I wasn't quite sure how to answer that. That was definitely one of the most fun years of my life. He and James encouraged me to put together a band to play at a Halloween party. That resulted in the most fun show I've ever played, as well as the formation of a band that would be a big part of my life for the next 18 months or so. He didn't miss a show, and somewhere in the world there exists roughly one billion photos of us playing (99.9% of which were taken by Jeremy). Other highlights were my nephews' visit, halo, pop-a-shot, Dr. Mario, trying to date girls, freezing in our rooms, $2 tuesday rollerskating, and of course Amish Country Football Club games with one side of the stands full of our friends. I also hit a low point in my life that year when I was completely broke and working for almost minimum wage at Wendy's. It was a lot of really hard work, and when paychecks arrived they were severely depressing. During this time, James and Jeremy were a big support to me.

He continued to be a best friend through my college years, including after he got married. He was determined to continue to be a good friend to us all and not drop off of the face of the earth. He succeeded, and in the process our entire group of friends got to know Hallie better and became close friends with her as well. He was and continues to be a great example to me of maintaining balance in life. His marriage, friendships, church callings, job, and hobbies all recieve the right amount of attention and care. I'm glad that he and Hallie will be having a baby any day now. They have been such stellar friends to Natalie and I. We are excited that we get to enter this new chapter in our lives at roughly the same time.

This is starting to sound like an obituary, so I'll close this extremely long post with one final somewhat mushy thought. If you were to scroll through the numbers in my cellular telephone device, you would not find his number. I almost put it in as soon as I got it, but then I realized if it was in there, I would forget it. Jeremy is the kind of friend that if I was stranded and my phone was damaged or lost, I could find a phone and call and he would do every thing humanly possible to help me. So happy extremely belated birthday, and thanks for being that kind of friend. Here's to another epic decade of friendship.


September In Photos and Moving Pictures

(click for large version)

Sorry about my mid-movie sneeze.


When You've Hit Rock Bottom

For the past 16 months, I've worked in downtown Salt Lake City just a few blocks from the homeless shelter. Needless to say, I see a lot of homeless people, and I've noticed an interesting trend among many of these down on their luck folks. While they may have lost their jobs, homes, cars, families, and friends, they hold dearly to one thing: right of way. As pedestrians traversing the busy downtown streets, on multiple occasions I have seen homeless men exercise this right to its fullest and most liberal extent. Sure, the light is red. Sure, there are 1,500 pound vehicles driving 40 mph both directions through a green light. Sure enough, one lesson from drivers ed stuck for these stalwart and determined souls, the pedestrian always has the right of way.


Front and Back



First of all, thanks to everyone who made County Cup 2008 a resounding success. We hope that these events become a summer tradition for us all. The weather was beautiful, the goals were flowing, and the food was delicious.

For me, the goal of the tornament was Scott's full-field chip over everyone right into the back of the net at the end of the first half in the final match. In the end, Scott, Garrett, and Jeff were outlasted by Chad, Shane, and Austin. Yes, Chad took another back yard cup and a tournament MVP to boot.

Lacey took some great photos at the Cup. Check them out here.

Abby Has a Question...


11 Things I love about Natalie

(I hope this post isn't too mushy for my general readership. I just feel like I need to show some appreciation to my better half. )

1. Her blue eyes.
They are the most incredibly lively and beautiful eyes I've ever seen.

2. Her profile. For some reason, she doesn't like her profile. It is so pretty. (I'm not talking about myspace or facebook. I'm talking about her face from the side.)

3. Her sense of humor. Sometimes she says something really sarcastic and hilarious and true that really makes me laugh.

4. Her demeanor. One of the first things that attracted me to Natalie was that she was comfortable and confident with herself and others.

5. Her reliability. She is so reliable about certain things that I allow myself to slack. I need to work on that.

6. She is so good with Abby.

7. She is an anchor for me.
When I am worried, angry, or struggling with something, she helps me see the bigger picture. She is supportive and caring.

8. She has become a soccer fan. Either she is a good actor and the truth will come out years from now, or she really does enjoy watching RSL and USMNT games with me.

9. She also has a sweet tooth, and makes delicious desserts, snacks, and meals.

10. She is a good critic. She always gives me an honest assessment of my creative work, even when I don't welcome it like I should. It is always useful and valuable information.

11. She is a real trooper. Throughout the pregnancy and continuing through labor and delivery, Natalie never really complained much. She just continued steadily on, finding humor and light moments to ease the pain and discomfort.


Washington Oregon Trip (July 08)

World's Largest Spruce Tree

Prickly Flower (Butchart Gardens)

Another Flower (Butchart Gardens)

Cool Little Flowers (Butchart Gardens)

Our niece, Meah.

Fountain (Butchart Gardens)

(Butchart Gardens)

(Butchart Gardens)

American Gothic (sort of)

Our darling neice, Kiera.


I Build Robots...

out of household appliances.


Back by Popular Demand

Well, so far so good 11 days into fatherhood. I was not prepared for how completely I would love her from the start. She is so great. Like her mom and dad, she likes a good back rub. She likes to raise her hands above her head. She sucks on the back of her left hand when she's hungry. She loves to nap laying on mom or dad's chest (mom has more padding in that region.) I can't believe she can even sleep on my bony torso. Well, it's late. I've got some other posts in mind, but it is late so I'll leave you with some pictures.

What can you say about this?

She has a flair for the dramatic.

Abby's first bath at home.

Our first family portrait (timer)



(click the photo for larger version)



Right Place Right Time

Last Wednesday, Natalie and I were at a combined Young Men's and Young Womens activity at a member's house in the ward when the Brian Warburton (our Executive Secretary) came running down the street to where we were at. He told Natalie that our neighbors the Nelsons had called looking for us. He told us that a sprinkler head had broken and the water was flooding into our basement. I ran to the car and drove home.

The Nelsons were sitting on our porch when I pulled up, and I could not see any sprinklers on or any geysers springing up from the lawn. Tim told me how he had gone outside to mow the lawn, and he saw water spewing from a broken head 4 feet in the air and down into our window well. Obviously nobody was home and he had no way to access the garage to shut off the sprinklers. This is where most people would throw up their hands and say, "oh well, I tried."

My good neighbors then started going around to other neighbors to try to find a key that would shut off the main line going to the sprinklers. They found one at the Nixon's house. Tim then proceeded to locate the small shaft in our front lawn and turned off the water with the Nixon's key. With the water stopped, brother and sister Nelson proceeded to bail out the water from our window well until it had receded past the flooding point.

Within an hour, our young men's president Mike Hebertson showed up and offered to help fix the sprinkler. He surveyed the damage with me, went home, returned with the necessary parts, and proceeded to show me how to fix the problem so it would not happen again. Ten minutes later, my sprinkler was working like a charm. When I went down to survey the damage, I was surprised to find that only a little water had made its way in. Nothing was damaged or smelly.

Lesson learned: if you can't be good, be lucky. If you can't be lucky, make sure you live next to really nice neighbors.


Memory Street

That thing where you share funny, touching, embarrassing, or other stories about me. You can share stories about Natalie as well. That way, she might read my blog... I'm not bitter.


Facial Fur

After over a week of camping, I have the beginnings of a pretty respectable beard. I might try to push my luck with Natalie, but it will most likely not last much longer. Enjoy it while it lasts.


More Glossy Flyers


If My Life Were An Eighties Movie...

I would be in a sweet montage set to a Bruce Springsteen song about the working man. It would show me hefting furniture boxes into my van, struggling to assemble various baby furniture, reading directions, sanding and refinishing furniture, helping Natalie reupholster the glider rocker, painting canvasses, and hanging blinds and curtains. I 'm waiting for the part where I hang the last picture on the wall, step back, put my arm around Natalie, and look tired as the camera pans around the completed baby nursery. The song does a fade out at this point.


Meet The Locals: Mellow Edition

It's time for another edition of meet the locals. Featured today are some bands that are low in aggression, high in talent. I really like a band that knows how to rock, but there are times that a slightly softer voice really hits the spot. With that in mind here are two locals who don't disappoint.

The Devil Whale
visit the devil whale's myspace page
Singer Brinton Jones' voice is slightly reminiscent of Coldplay's Chris Martin. If you are not a fan of Coldplay, don't let that dissuade you from listening to this fine acoustic indie/folk act. It is rare that such polished songwriting and sound comes from a local artist. Be sure to listen to: Butter for Burns, If This House Fails, and Conscience A Friend Who Lies.

visit mushman's myspace page
If this description were to be condensed into a single phrase it would read: The Shins of Salt Lake. Don't get the wrong idea, Mushman are not a cheap rip off of The Shins. However, it's difficult not to draw the comparison while listening to the witty lyrics set to infectious, eclectic melodies. Be sure to listen to: Spaceman and Eddie's Balloon.


Tagged... I'm It.

Jeremy and Amanda tagged me quite a while ago with this one, so it is about time I respond.

Three Joys
1. Scoring goals in soccer. I'm like a little kid when it happens, and I have to try to restrain my emotions to keep from looking really ridiculous. (This also applies when RSL scores goals while I'm watching.)
2. Writing and playing music with band mates. There is something really rewarding about bringing ideas, talents, and specialties together in a creative, organic endeavor.
3. Teaching the gospel. I wouldn't say I'm a natural, but every once in a while a lesson goes really well, and it is great to have a part in it.

Three Fears
1. Clowns.
2. Selfishness/Pride.
3. Complacency.

Three goals
1. Be a great dad.
2. Continue to get together often with friends even after the baby comes.
3. Enjoy my job and exceed expectations.

Three current obsessions/collections
1. Real Salt Lake.
2. Self-improvement
3. Nesting mode

Three random surprising facts about me
1. I've had a couple warts on my left hand for years. I finally got them treated by a doctor yesterday.
2. My favorite store is D.I. You never quite know what you're going to come across
3. After I play soccer, my mind systematically reviews all the plays I was involved in. It can be very annoying when I'm trying to fall asleep.


Rude Awakening (Never Cry Wolf)

This story starts a couple months ago, during a visit from my in-laws. We were getting into our car, when our across the street neighbor stopped by to tell us that their house had been broken into that morning. She told us that she was working in her basement office when she heard somebody coming through the window. She screamed at the top of her lungs and scared the intruders off, who got into their car and proceeded to another house in our neighborhood where they were foiled again in their attempts to break in. The intruders were identified as a male and female in their early twenties driving an old silver compact. Our neighbor's story certainly frightened us, especially the boldness and recklessness of the assailants.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, Natalie and I are fast asleep at 5:59 am. We are awakened by a loud, frantic rapping on our front door. Nine boisterous, distinct knocks rhythmically placed within a two second window of time. I shot up fast enough to have to sit back down on the bed and let the blood flow back to my head as Natalie gasped, "go see who it is!" Being in my underwear, I decided to run across the hall and try to get a look at the porch from the window in the nursery. The rushed nature of the knocking led me to expect to see one of two things at my door, a distressed neighbor seeking shelter and assistance, or an officer of the law hot on the heels of a criminal.

I saw nothing but a quiet street bathed in the early morning sun. I quickly went back to my room and threw on some clothes so I could check the perimeter of the house. Everything was in order and there were no signs of a break in, but that didn't stop my heart from beating a thousand times per second. Standing in the backyard, I realized I should go back to check on my wife and unborn daughter. I rushed up the stairs and found Natalie where I had left her, in bed with the sheets pulled up to her chin. She told me how the baby had been kicking like crazy, obviously sensing the tension in her mother.

A couple weeks earlier my Dad had been cleaning out the garage and discovered a .22 rifle that he had given me for my 16th birthday. He sent me home with it after a visit one night. Not knowing what to do with it, I hid it in the top of our walk-in closet. Seeing my wife in distress reminded me of the weapon at my disposal and the fact that I hadn't yet checked the basement. I grabbed the empty rifle and headed down the stairs. An intruder wouldn't know the gun was empty and at least I would have something to club him with if it came to it. I thoroughly checked the basement, and found nothing. As I walked through the rest of the house again I noticed out the window some teenagers walking down the street on their way to school. I hypothesized that it could have been one of my scouts "doorbell ditching." We eventually went back to sleep just in time to wake up for work. We were a little shaken by the mysterious knock, but we continued on with our day.

Fast forward a couple weeks. It happens again. The same time. The same frantic knock. The same rush to the window, this time a good five seconds faster. The same property-wide search. Still no sign of an intruder. We lay in bed and go over the details in the mystery.

Fast forward a couple weeks. 5:59 am. It happens, and this time we lay in bed with our thinking caps on. Jaded and wiser. It is the same time, same EXACT noise. What have all of these instances had in common?

...Automatic sprinkers...

Each instance had coincided with the instigation of our automatic sprinkling system. The loud knocking noise was made by the water pipes in our house. We chuckled at our selves as we felt the adrenaline levels return to normal, and we drifted off to sleep.

5:59 am. This morning. It happens again. My head lifts off the pillow for half a second. Within 10 seconds I am back to sleep. For those of you who have endured this story and are still with me, now is a good time for a mental "note to self."



Beautiful West Jordan Home For Sale

No, we're not moving, but my sister and her wonderful family are moving to a state far, far away. If they could put their house on a truck and drive it to Pennsylvania, they would. They have really loved this house. It has been perfect for their family. If you or anyone you know is looking for a near new 4 bedroom home in the quiet suburbs of West Jordan, look no further. Click here for the listing page and further details.


Driving Off Into The Sunset

As most of my faithful readers know, my beautiful wife Natalie is from Boise, Idaho. All of her immediate family reside in that beautiful city which means that we often make the 5 hour trip to the Northwest. It is generally a chance to listen to good music at loud volumes, share work stories, and eat junk food. Sometimes the driving part of the trip is just not very fun. Here are some things I've learned from our trip this past weekend and from previous trips:

1. Play let's make a deal. It is a good idea to try to make a deal about how much each party will be driving before beginning the journey. This allows one to mentally prepare himself for the task at hand. I assumed that my wife, although pregnant, would take the brunt of the driving duties as I had been sick the whole week and still felt rotten when the journey began. We made it to Tremonton where we stopped for some food. Walking back to the car she stopped on the passenger side of the car and gave me the "your turn" look. She told me that her eyes were "wigging out." The remaining four hours of the trip would be piloted by yours truly.

2. Due to Boise's geographical location in relation to Salt Lake, a trip begun in the summer during the early evening hours will result in three to four hours of driving directly into the blazing setting sun. Dark sunglasses, visor extenders, and patience are a must. (I don't have visor extenders, so I use my hand.) By the time we reached Boise, my eyes had long since "wigged out."

3. It is important to find out when we NEED to be there. Sometimes Natalie is so anxious to see her family that we take unnecessary traveling risks. This January, we had planned to go to the McCall winter carnival with her family for the weekend. We packed our things and left work early on Thursday evening despite ominous forecasts. We ended up driving through one of the biggest storms of this past winter. It was huge. Basically a whiteout from North Ogden all the way until we reached Boise. It was by far the scariest, iciest, and worst driving experience of my life. Anytime I drove over 35 mph, the car would lose traction and start fishtailing. We passed semi after semi that had slid off the road. Eight hours later, with my mind, eyes, nerves, and patience shot, we arrived safely at Natalie's parent's house. I slept in, had breakfast, and wandered around the empty house only to find that Natalie's parents had to work that day. They wouldn't be off until later in the afternoon. I had just risked our very lives driving through the night on ice through a 4oo mile blizzard, so we could wait all day for her parents to get off work so we could leave for the carnival. Not a happy camper. I vowed then and there not to return for the McCall winter carnival. Out of spite? No, out of logic.

End note: I deeply love Natalie and her family. I love the time we spend in Boise, This post is merely a look at the interesting adventures we have while making the long journey to and from the gem state.


New Old Loves

I enjoy discovering new bands. I read somewhere recently that since the digital revolution, it has become easier to find bands to like and harder to find bands to love. I found this assessment to be spot on. There are a lot of really good, talented bands out there, but a great band is still a rare find to be treasured. While searching for the next band to fall in love with, I have found that you don't always need to look to the future. Sometimes there exist bands that you knew about but never gave them a proper listening to. With that in mind, I give you three bands/artists to discover if you haven't yet.

1. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Okay, so maybe this one is a bit obvious. I might as well have listed the Beatles, right. Yes, they were certainly not obscure and continue to by massively inflential, but it is for good reason. I had heard their hits on the radio and on multiple movies, but until recently I haven't delved very deep into their catalog. John Fogerty possesses one of the best voices in rock and roll history. There is rawness and passion coupled with vulerability and soul. Steeped in American roots music, they put together some of the greatest songs of their generation. Some of my favorite tracks include: Lodi, Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Hey Tonight, Long as I Can See the Light, The Midnight Special, Cotton Fields, Fortunate Son.

2. Van Morrison - This guy, like John Fogerty, possesses a supremely expressive and soulful voice. He also knows how to write a great song, one that creates a mood and can take you to a specific time and place. We've all heard the great Brown Eyed Girl, but if that one song marks the limits of your Morrison catalog, you've got to dig deeper. I first heard Into The Mystic on the 80's classic film, Dream A Little Dream, and ever since it has been one of my favorite songs of all time. Most of my Morrison favorites come from the earlier portions of his career. Some other Van Morrison gems include: Wild Night, And It Stoned Me, Gloria, Jackie Wilson Said.

3. Generation X - I listened to the music of the punk revival constantly in my middle school and high school days. Bands like Strung Out, Bad Religion, Lagwagon, AFI, Face To Face, The Vandals, NOFX, 30 Foot Fall, No Use For A Name, etc. filled my brainwaves through those years. It wasn't until college that I really started to listen to original "old school punk." The Misfits were my mainstay in this category but there was also The Clash and The Ramones. The Descendents were and remain one of my favorites and I consider them to be a band that bridges the gap between the old school and the revival. Unfortunately one of the last old school bands I started listening to is Generation X. This of course was Billy Idol's band before he went solo and sprang onto MTV. Like The Clash, Generation X did not limit their sound to what people around them thought punk should be. This resulted in some really great rock and roll where the song quality is just as important as the attitude. Need proof? Try these tracks on for size: English Dream, Ready Steady Go, King Rocker, Your Generation, Wild Youth, One Hundred Punks, Kiss Me Deadly, and the original Dancing With Myself.

What are your favorite old bands/artists?


Glossy Flyers

Every once in a while I get to design these pocket-size full color glossy flyers. Here's the latest I've been working on, front and back.



A week ago last Sunday, a number of us friends were sitting on Brad and Maeve's grass after having attended Miles' baby blessing. We were eating delicious food and telling funny stories from the past. The topic of City Cup came up, and James and I began to tell everyone about the 1 on 1 soccer tournaments we used to hold in our parent's backyard. These memories and stories created the desire in me to resurrect this beloved past time. With James leaving this week, we knew we would have to act quickly and we set the date for the coming weekend. Natalie and I spent the evenings last week in our yard preparing to host the first City Cup tournament in over 10 years. It was actually a lot of fun, and Natalie was such a trooper (bending over to tend to flowers and weeds when you are seven months pregnant is not the most comfortable proposition.)

Saturday arrived and despite the somewhat scary forecasts, the weather turned out perfect. It was beautiful and sunny but not too hot. I was amazed at the turnout as friends and family traveled long distances to attend and participate. I think 80 percent of those who played asked me when the next City Cup will happen, and Blake said he would drive down from Logan on a weekly basis to participate. It was extremely fun, but I think we will have to limit it somewhat so that it doesn't become too commonplace. Perhaps we can do another one in August. Thankfully, Lacey took a lot of pictures and Heber figured out the polaroid, so the event was well documented. I would like to write more but time constrains, I will leave you with some classic photos and moments from Saturday's festivities.

10. I thought the competition was at the perfect level. It was spirited but never heated.

9. I loved when Jer, Austin, Jessica, and Tyler decided to get in on the action. They created some of the most memorable moments of the day.

8. The crowd involvement and encouragement was so much fun. It was really exciting to score a goal because you would get such a great reaction from the crowd.

7. The food was delicious and plentiful.

6. In the first round of the tournament, we played Austin, Jeremy Wilkins, and Heber. I was standing right in front of Jeremy when he tried a flying jump kick that ended up just skimming the top of his thigh. Classic.

5. The effort was fantastic. I remember watching Jeff sliding from a full sprint across the grass to try to save a loose ball from going out of bounds.

4. Jeremiah's long range pass in the semi's that turned out to be an amazing goal.

3. My nephew McKay racing down the field, running onto Tony's pass, hitting a shot that bounced off the post and out, and holding his head in his hands like it was a World Cup game.

2. A loose ball flies out of play and knocks two half full cups of ice water right into Natalie's face. The look on her face was priceless.

1. The story of the day: Brent Bedke overcomes hardships, sickness, disappointment, and defeat to become tournament MVP and City Cup champion. In the early 2 on 2 warm up rounds, Brent exerted himself a little too much a little too soon after having devoured a large hamburger. The result: some tense moments of "is he going to throw up," followed by a couple of good dry heaves, and four or five crowd pleasing spews. It was so funny, but as his teammate at the time I didn't know what to do but to pat him on the back and ask if he was alright. On to the tournament. Brent's team (team 4 I believe) loses in the first round. Because we were short one team in the semi's, all of the opening round losers played rock paper scissors for the last coveted semifinal spot. Andy pulled through for Brent's team, and Chad filled in the vacant spot when Connor had to leave. Chad's presence on the team made all the difference as he held up possession, dictated the pace of the game, provided crucial goals, and kept his team organized on defense. Their semifinal match vs. Scott, Reitz, and Jer Post was epic, an end to end battle that went to sudden death overtime. One minute and thirty seconds into overtime Brent's team took a shot that was easily blocked by both Scott and Jer. The ball ended up exactly between the two who each thought the other would clear the ball from danger. It was Brent who stepped up and toe poked the ball between the two and into the net in what Jer described as "a sucker punch." Brent the barfer and his team were in the finals facing James, Blake, and me, the "cheaters." (People thought the teams were rigged. They weren't. Get over it. We didn't even win.) The final was a tense, closely contested match. I scored halfway through the first half on a beautiful through ball from Blake, but the yellows answered back quickly and the teams entered halftime deadlocked at 1-1. The game was won on a cheeky shot by Chad from a restart on the sideline as the ball curled into the empty net. The reds pushed for the tying goal, but were continually denied by the compact and organized yellow defense. The victory was professional, well deserved, and somewhat fitting. In previous City Cups, it seemed to always be James vs. Chad in the final, with Chad emerging the victor. 10 years later, not too much has changed.


Firsts and Lasts

As the fateful day draws ever closer, I can't help but feel some anxiousness and apprehension about the coming addition to our family. I'm starting to have thoughts like "why haven't we traveled more? I've never been to D.C., Boston, New York, Mexico, Canada, The Carribeean, or Europe."

It's not that I'm not excited to be a Dad and all that goes with it, it's just that from the moment she's born I know that my life is not my life anymore. I actually see it as a positive, part of what was so special about my mission was that I was completely outwardly focused for those two years. The transition to focusing on my own life was the hardest thing about returning. Marriage has made me more outwardly focused, but Natalie and I are both very independent. Having a new completely dependent human in the home will change everything for both of us. The time has already flown by, and I'm sure the baby will be here before we know it. Here are some quick lists of things to get done before the baby arrives. Your suggestions will be most appreciated.

Things I must get done before the baby comes:
1. Help Natalie put the nursery together.
2. Do some art for the nursery.
3. Be supportive when we have to buy everything brand new even when friends and family offer their very nice, slightly used non-clothes baby stuff.
4. Organize and host City Cup 2008 soccer tournament and BBQ (This Saturday at 2:00, check)

Things I hope to get done before the baby comes:
1. Set up a painting studio in the basement.
2. Find some people to play rock and roll music with.
3. Write some more songs (Natalie has requested a lullaby).
4. Learn how to take care of a baby.
5. Buy a piano and learn how to play it.

Things I will regret having not done before the baby comes:
1. That's where you guys come in.
2. Whether you've been there or not, let us know what we should do with our last couple months.


Meet the Locals

As a part of my job, sometimes it is my responsibility to find local bands to open for some of our shows. I'm trying to get to know more of what the local scene has to offer, and so far I've come across some really great stuff. I think it would be a shame if I didn't encourage others to check it out. With that in mind, I've decided to make this "Meet the Locals" a semi-regular feature on my blog. Hopefully it will give me more incentive to reach out and find more local talent while providing new entertainment options for my eight dedicated readers. Today I will feature three bands from three genres, but I can't promise three every time in the future. For most of these bands, the only way to hear their music is to visit their myspace page. I realize that shows like "To Catch a Predator" have given myspace a bad name, but it is pretty cool that one website hosts profiles and 3 to 7 songs from 98.66% of bands in the world. If you want to hear what a band sounds like, typing www.myspace.com/bandname will usually answer your question in a matter of seconds.

Band Of Annuals
band of annuals myspace
One of the more talented bands to come out of Salt lake, it is nice to see that they are enjoying some level of success. As stated in previous posts, I've been really into alt country lately. If you need a good sampling of fantastic alt country, look no further than Band Of Annuals.

Alaska And Me
alaska and me myspace
I think these guys are half in Utah and half in Arizona most of the time from what I can tell, but I will claim them. The Format have apparently called it quits. If you are looking for a new indie pop band to fill the void, you can't go wrong with these guys.

The Playdead Movement
the playdead movement myspace
I will always love a soft spot in my heart for punk rock, but I think my taste for new bands is getting more astute. These guys have a street sound, and like their idols (Rancid, Operation Ivy, The Clash) they have figured out that good song writing is just as important as nailing your muttered vocals. They put on as good a show as I've ever seen from locals, and will be performing at the Rancid show in September.


I hang with Robots

Sometimes my time at work is spent animating robots that are programmed to advertise upcoming shows. These times are precious and cherished, and when they are over I just wish they would return.

Apparently animated gifs don't work in blogger. If you really want to see it in action, visit the postfontaine myspace page.


Relax... It's Priceless

My friend Brad helped me gain appreciation for awesomely bad local advertisements when we were roommates in college. I just wanted to write a quick thought about a couple of classics, one new and one old.

If you've recently driven southbound on I-15 between 7800 and 12300 South, you've probably seen a billboard for Sandy City which states, "Relax, you're in the 34th safest city in America." That's right, 34th. I'm not a writer and I've never taken a specific marketing class, but I am pretty sure that somewhere in your marketing education you learn that 34th just does not sound good. Can you imagine a water cooler conversation like this...

"Hey Joe, how are your (insert sports team name) doing?"

"Fantastic! With the win last night, they moved up to 34th!"

There are a lot of cities in America, so 34th probably isn't that bad. I just can't imagine that somewhere along the line during all the planning process for the billboard that someone didn't suggest saying, "Relax, you're in one of the safest cities in America."

The second instance is found in a classic radio jingle. It is promoting a local copy machine middle-man company, Les Olson Company. For those of you who were able to catch this year's Super Bowl on T.V. in Utah, you were treated to the entire song including a music video with the jingle's star. It was as if the Les Olson people saw the Toby Keith wannabe singing his song for Big-O Tires, and said "now that's a commercial." It was truly something to behold, and it got me laughing way more than all of the multi-million dollar comedy duds of the day. The best part of the jingle is the part right before the chorus. She sings with all the feeling and emotion of an E.F.Y. soft-rock star, "Where good service isn't expensive, it's priceless."

I can see what they are getting at, but it's all wrong. To me the phrase suggests that Les Olson Company is a place where good service is a rare commodity. It isn't expensive (something that is available but costly.) It is priceless (something that is so rare, you can't associate a monitary value to it.) So it is a place where good service is incredibly rare.

I know they are all around, what are some other awesomely bad slogans?


Sometimes There's No Official Ad

Sometimes when we do a show for a "smaller" band there is not an official poster or "admat" as we call it in the business. That leaves it up to me to make one up. It's always a fun proposition, but I'm always a bit rushed for time. Here's one I put together today. It's for a Japanese hard rock/psychedelic band called Boris.


Off With The Lights!

The blog was looking a little plain, so I put this header together. It's kind of big, but I like myself, a lot. So, It works. A lot.

I was reading my nephews blog about how his dad, my brother, had offered him money to bring his blood-glucose levels down. (My nephew has Diabetes.) It got me thinking about an early experience I had with temporal incentives...*

From my earliest days, I was impressed with the knowledge that money doesn't grow on trees. Finances in our home were a little tight (not surprising with eight kids in the family), but we always had food on the table and a roof over our heads. Despite our relatively thin resources, we enjoyed all of the modern middle-class amenities including a NES system complete with Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. Brand New. When it was still the new thing. That was one christmas present that completely blew me away. I mean, those things are something like $100.

In my early childhood, $100 was a ridiculous amount of money. Lavish. It was precisely $100 that was the subject of a memorable lecture given by my father, Mr. Leon, to us children. He explained to us numerous instances during the past few months where he had entered a room where the lights and t.v. were on and no one was to be found. He then reminded us that he had asked us repeatedly to turn off the lights and t.v. when we leave a room. "Turn OFF the lights! Turn OFF the television!" T.V. is not a right, it is a privilege. Pretty standard stuff. I think half of us were sleeping.

Then, he brought down the house. He started by telling us how much he had been paying for electricity. It was a lot, way over $100. Alarms started going off in my head, I had no idea we were spending a fortune every month just to have the lights and t.v. turn on when we flipped the switches. While I was still reeling from this astonishing information, Dad acknowledged that his continual pleas for our compliance would not be enough in these extreme circumstances. He said he would make a deal with us kids. He said that if we brought down next month's electric bill below $100, we would all go out to eat... to the Sizzler! I may have lost consciousness for a second. My head was spinning in a mixture of euphoria, anticipation, and responsibility.

For those of you of the younger generation, in suburbia in the mid to late 1980's it didn't get much better than Sizzler. It wasn't much different than heaven. I had heard a lot about it. I had never actually been, but everything I heard sounded amazing. The Crowley's did not go out to eat. In addition to the aforementioned financial issues we faced, there was the problem of seating a family of our size, keeping the youngsters from punching each other, tipping the annoyed waitress, etc.

Needless to say, the declaration was monumental and unprecedented. It coincided with a wave of optimism and determination to change. Dad reassured us that the goal was certainly within reach and that it was up to all of us to monitor and take responsibility.

The new opportunity loomed over my every action. "Turn OFF the lights! Turn OFF the television!" I heard his voice like Pavlov's bell every time I left a room. I found myself touring the house hunting for wasted electricity, and snuffing it out every time it reared its ugly head.

As I remember, it took us two months to bring the bill down, but we did it. The wait was almost unbearable, but the day finally arrived. Accomplishment, pride, reward, valor, and an all you can eat salad bar: all for the price of a few flipped switches.

What's your parental incentive story?

*I invite my siblings who were a little older at the time to clarify or correct details of this story.


Not Much Jazzy About Utah

So, I can't say I'm a big Jazz fun, but I do enjoy watching the occasional game. The team name still kills me. If you had a National survey of which states had the most ties to Jazz music or reminded you most of Jazz music, where would Utah rank?

Let me climb off of my soapbox for a minute to talk about last night's playoff loss to the Rockets. It was a late game, but it kept me up and kept me on the edge of my seat to the very end. Both teams fought hard, and it could have easily gone either way. That's what makes the playoffs great, the players actually play really hard. During the regular season, it seems like everyone is on cruise control. I just have 3 thoughts to share. I was only able to catch the fourth quarter, so they all relate to that.

1. There were 3 or 4 really horrible foul calls against us within a 30 second span at the beginning of the 4th quarter that put us in the penalty with about 9 minutes to go. The free throws added up and contributed to our losing the contest. The call against Harpring was especially puzzling due to the fact that Battier pushed off and then threw his forearm into Harpring's face.

2. Deron Williams last second shot should have been a pass. He made a great drive down the lane and drew two Rocket defenders with him. This left Carlos Boozer wide open on the other side of the basket. It would have been tough to get him the ball from where Williams was, but we've all seen him do things like that. Fake a shot then scoop it underneath to Boozer for an easy dunk. Instead, he went for a fade away layup that was blocked. He at least could have attacked the basket and drawn a foul with a chance to win on free throws. That being said, he played a great game, and hind sight is always 20-20.

3. Can we not find a better color commentator than Ron Boone? He's had 15 years or so to get acclimated to his job, and I think it's clear he's not improving. Everything that came out of his mouth was either extremely obvious or completely wrong. "The Jazz need a stop here," Boone says as the Rockets bring the ball upcourt with a 4 point lead and 38 seconds on the clock. Ya think? Ron, your job is to tell us how the Jazz should tactically go about getting the stop that everybody knows we need. After the Jazz lose, "This gives the Rockets home court advantage." No it doesn't. The Jazz won two games in Houston, meaning that if the Jazz win their remaining two home games, they win the series. Houston will have to win another game in Utah as well as both their games at home to win the series. So, let's review - who has home court advantage for the remainder of the series? Surely there's a former player or coach that we can convince to take part in our broadcasts that can add some real insight, isn't there?



I looked at my knees the other day for the first time in a long time. Let's just say 18 years of soccer have left the skin on my knees nothing more than a mass of scar tissue. As ugly as my knees are, I can honestly say I don't regret a single scar.