28.12.09

What to do?

You're freezing at work. You've just cooked a Marie Calendar's pot pie for 5 min 39 seconds in the ole zapper. You're enjoying this warm meal, especially the golden brown, flaky crust. 60% through, you chomp down on a carrot slice that is still quite cold in the center. What to do? The microwave is up stairs. You've been up and down the stairs at least 10 times today because your space heater keeps tripping the breaker. Power through it buddy, power through.

22.12.09

HTF - Available for Purchase

I debated back and forth whether it was worth it at this stage of the game. I finally just bit the bullet and put it out there. You can purchase downloads of the songs online at cdbaby.com just in time for the holiday season.

14.12.09

Herod the Fink

Jason and I now have tangible, professionally printed CD's in our hands. It has been so much fun to pull this project together. Our only regret is that we didn't start sooner. I was hoping to build a website, but haven't had time yet. I have built a myspace page where you can listen to some of the songs online. There's a video of Jason laying downthe drum track to "I'm Trying" which is pretty fun to watch. Check it out here. If you are interested in obtaining a CD, let me know via email and we can work something out.

We are already talking about next year's Christmas album. We agree that it would be fun to have a general theme running through all the songs. At this point we are very open to suggestions, so if you have some holiday inspiration or themes share them in the comments. Yes, James, we do want to make "Para Bilar on Christmas" a reality, we just ran out of time this year.

10.12.09

Car Questions?

For those of you who have known me for a while, you know that my Dad is a mechanical genius, car wizard, and owns Transmission Exchange. I've been working on a website for his company and I had an idea to tie in an interactive blog. The idea is that you leave a specific car related question as a comment on the blog, and he will quickly post an answer for you. We will post the questions and answers, and over time the blog could become a nice little reference especially for people who are afraid to call an talk to a mechanic over the phone. It could end up being something like the radio program "Car Talk," but on the interweb and without as many zingers. It will be a low pressure way for people to get excellent advice and answers from one of the truly stand up guys in the business.

If you are interested in helping get this idea off the ground, visit the blog here and ask a question or two.

8.12.09

Some of Abby's Latest Words

Abby has been saying a few words for a while, but lately her vocabulary and speech are developing very quickly. Here are a few words and phrases we have heard quite clearly from her.

What is this? (has ss his)
Thank You (shan oou)
Amen (men men)
Milk (me-ill)
Duck
Socks (ssokss)
Shoe

There's a few more that I can't think of right now. The point is, she is growing up so quickly it's kind of frightening.

3.12.09

Worth Checking Out

I came across this blog today and I had to share it. I've only ready two entries so far, but they were both fantastic. Apparently they dig up old letters from interesting people and situations. They post scanned originals along side the transcription. The first I read was from a 20 year old David Bowie responding to his first fan letter from America (a 14 year old girl from New Mexico). Read it here. The second is a letter from Kurt Vonnegut to his family after he was freed as a prisoner of war in WWII. If you've read his novel Slaughterhouse Five, you will be amazed at how much personal experience was poured into the book. Read the letter here.

25.11.09

Why Do I Care So Much?



photo by RSL BOZ


"Why do I care so much?" My buddy Scott asked this question a couple of weeks ago when a group of us were gathered together to watch the MLS Easter Conference Championship match between Real Salt Lake (RSL) and the Chicago Fire. The match went 120 minutes with no score, but it was anything from boring as both teams created multiple chances only to be denied by stellar goalkeeping from both sides. Overtime had just wrapped up, and we were headed for a penalty kick shootout to determine the winner. Scott's question was so perfect for the moment. Our nerves were shot, and now the game would be decided in a cruel pressure cooker that is a shootout. Why do we care? We don't know the players. We are adults with adult responsibilities and families. We shouldn't care this much about a game, right?

I don't know the answer but I think that it has to do something with this: There is something pure and intangible in sports. There is something truly inspiring about watching individuals accomplish together something that would be impossible alone. While we don't know the players personally, we as fans have come to know in great detail their individual strengths and weaknesses on the field. We have come to know something of their character by the way they conduct themselves and by the way they cope with set backs and adversity. There are a plethora of sports cliches, but there really is something special about seeing a player sacrifice his ego for the good of the team.

As we watched Ned Grabavoy convert the decisive penalty in Chigago to send RSL to the MLS Cup Final in Seattle, I couldn't help but think about the strength of his mentality. He had lost his starting position a couple months ago due to two successive sub par performances and had seen little playing time since. I've been there as a youth player, and I'm sure even at the professional level it is not easy to deal with. Yet when he was called on by his coach to step on the field and make the difference, he did it.

We made plans and took the long drive up to Seattle for the final. The atmosphere was electric, and the game was incredible. Once again RSL's depth and mental fortitude would be tested as All Star play-maker Javi Morales went down with an injury 15 minutes into the match and All Star midfielder Will Johnson had to be subbed off at half after being sick all night with the flu. Clint Mathis and Ned Grabavoy stepped in and made the difference in the match. They provided a calming influence on the pitch that had been lacking. They controlled possession, made timely tackles, and combined with the forwards to create several dangerous chances. They raised the level of play of the entire midfield from slightly below average before they entered the match to absolutely stellar upon their arrival.

Regulation ended in a 1-1 draw and overtime carried the same score to the end. We once again faced the daunting penalty shootout. Los Angeles was lucky to be there as RSL had pressed hard for the winner dominating play throughout the second half and overtime. I was doubtful because in my experience the team who is holding on for dear life trying to salvage the tie and force a shootout (in this case Los Angeles) usually ends up winning.

So why do I care so much? Because every player on the team has a story like Ned's. Because caring makes life exciting. Because of the moment of utter exhilaration that comes when Robbie Russell slots home the winning penalty to give your team the championship. Because it's fun to hug your friends and high five perfect strangers.

20.11.09

Sneak Peek - It's Christmas Again

I've been posting track listings and writing a little about the songs. So far, there hasn't been a whole lot to get excited about except claims I've made that the production sounds great.

We have one song completely finished and mastered. I thought I'd share it now as a sneak peak of what you can expect from this Christmas EP project. The song is about the two sides of Christmas - the stress, worries, and hectic schedule, and the excitement, joy, and anticipation. Hope you like it. Listen to it here.

*update* I originally posted a very rough version of I've got a friend by accident. The correction is made and you can follow the link to listen to the final version of It's Christmas Again.

16.11.09

Updated Tracklisting

Herod the Fink's self titled Christmas EP is heading towards completion and things are starting to solidify. There may be an additional song on the final version, but this is how it stands now.

01. It's Christmas Again (original)
02. The First Noel
03. What Child is This?
04. By Night (original)
05. I've Got a Friend (original)

11.11.09

Studio Update

Day one of Herod the Fink recording couldn't have gone better. We got tracks laid down for 5 songs. The two originals are almost complete. A little tinkering and some re-recording of some vocals and they should be good to go. Jason has them sounding incredible. I've never heard my own voice (or any of my playing) in such incredible clarity, it left me feeling really exposed especially at first.

5.11.09

Halloween 09









At the Park, Grandmas



Mt. Timpanogos with the Scouts



We were a little unprepared for the snow, hence the hoodies rather than coats. This was at the beginning of October. We made it to the top, but did not summit due to cloud cover and windy, icy conditions.

3.11.09

Herod the Fink

I want to have a name for this Christmas project, and I think I have it - Herod the Fink. The inspiration comes from some of my oldest, fondest Christmas memories.

We used to go as a family up the street to Brad and LaRue's (family friends / fellow 5th ward members) for Christmas Eve. We would read the Christmas story and consume delicious holiday treats. Brad had created a miniature city of Bethlehem complete with the manger scene, sheep, shepherds, pigs, chickens, palm trees, peasants, a synagoge with hebrew scriptures, etc. It is a hand-made labor of love. There are lots of hidden gems in the scene including references to many of the Savior's parables. Brad's sense of humor was also evident in various parts, most notably in some scratched graffiti on one of the city walls which read "Herod is a Fink."

2.11.09

Preliminary Tracklisting

01. By Night (original)
02. What Child is This?
03.
The First Noel
04. Away in a Manger
05. It's Christmas Again (original)
06. Silent Night

This is far from set in stone, but as of right now these are the songs we plan to record starting on Saturday.

28.10.09

Now That You're Settled

My parents recently moved homes after a 30 year stay at the Sandy home I grew up in. Needless to say it was a long and labor intensive process for all involved, but they ended up with a perfect house with the space they need in order to facilitate family gatherings. (There are eight of us kids, all married with children.) It has been fun to see their excitement at their new digs, and to spend time with them there.

After a couple of weeks of settling in and unpacking, there was an announcement made in my parents ward that the missionaries in the area need a home to stay in. They were told that it has been requested that the missionaries stay in a member's home. To their everlasting credit, my parents decided that their new home fit the requirements that the mission had detailed and offered their home to the missionaries.

I'm not sure what makes a rational couple invite two 19-21 year old boys into their basement just weeks after purchasing and settling into their new home. I'm left to question their sanity, but I'm also humbled by their dedication to the gospel and the church.

20.10.09

Movie Club - Funny Scene



It doesn't matter how many times I see this scene (or movie), I still laugh out loud. What are your favorite scenes? Post yours on your blog and put a link in the comments. Ready go.

16.10.09

Favorite Christmas Songs

It might seem a bit early, but I'm already starting to think about Christmas music. (I've started talking to a friend about maybe recording some songs for friends and family this year.) I figured I'd open it up to you guys as to what your favorite Christmas songs are. I can't make any promises, but I'm hoping that there is some overlap with what I've been thinking as well as some fresh ideas.

9.10.09

Everything Right Now

I posted this comment on RSL's blog today. It took me a few minutes to write, so I thought I'd put it up here too.

There is a really strange attitude in American soccer fans and RSL fans especially. No matter what happens, there is something to complain about. I think it comes down to what has become a very American attitude - wanting everything right now, without paying the price.

The same people who sell out huge football stadiums all across the U.S. for meaningless pre-season friendlies of European super clubs turn their backs on their home town MLS clubs. They want to have the quality of top European teams, but don't want to do anything to support the domestic league. The English top flight was pretty average in the world for a lot of years. It has risen to the top because of their growing consistent, passionate fan bases who sell out their games, buy tons of merch, and consume lots of beer and chips. The teams have become woven into the fabric of their communities and culture. This takes time.

MLS is set up to be a very even league. Only 2 or 3 teams per year ever really separate themselves from the pack. Most of us thought RSL would be one of those teams this year, and it didn't happen. It's a bummer, but being bitter about it gets to be annoying. For the fans who sit behind me at every game, RSL has never committed a foul. Conversely, RSL is fouled every time they lose the ball. Every referee is out to get RSL. Here's my theory: soccer is a hard process. It is hard to score. It is hard to win. It is hard to perform consistently over an entire season. That is what makes it great.

I don't think that every fan should be an eternal optimist, but calling for the coach or GM's head after every loss or tie gets pretty old. I suffered with all of you through Ellinger's tenure, hoping each game that we could get lucky and score a goal and win a game every once in a while. I had a pretty good idea that we weren't going to do much with Ellinger at the helm, but I still lent my support to the team.

Through it all, I feel like I've matured a bit as a fan. I care a lot about the team, but I've learned to take it for what it ultimately is: entertainment. Home games when the team is clicking and the crowd is into it are great theater and away games are gripping reality tv.

6.10.09

Impromptu Photoshoot at Dusk




A couple of weeks ago I was outside with Abby and Natalie. The light was so perfect and they looked so cute, I grabbed the camera and started snapping away. These were my 3 favorite.

5.10.09

Weekend

Bueno: Driving through the gorgeous canyon to Logan.
Bueno: Playing a really fun show in Logan Friday night.
Bueno: Finally getting Mony Mony right, and the crowd dancing like crazy.
Bueno: Seeing good friends again. Seeing good friends' kids. Staying with good friends.
Bueno: Breakfast at Angies (where the locals eat) with good friends.
No es Bueno: Accidentally ordering my eggs 'sunny side up.'
No es Bueno: Natalie following suit and accidentally ordering her eggs the same way.
No es Bueno: Sunny side up sounds fun, but can be dangerous.
Bueno: conference.
No es Bueno: stomach ache.
No es Bueno: getting worse.
No es Bueno: Driving home with stomach ache.
No es Bueno: Nausea. Pulling off freeway in Kaysville. Dryheaves.
No es Bueno: Missing Priesthood session with Dad and brothers.
No es Bueno: Throwing up in front of wife, brothers, and nephew.
No es Bueno: Missing post preisthood Wii tennis tournament with Dad and brothers.
Bueno: Sunday conference, no church, chance to recover.

29.9.09

I'll Never Understand

why some ladies feel it necessary to declare to the world their self centered or mean spirited nature via license plate holders.

25.9.09

Things That Make Me Feel Manly

  • Grilling meat
  • Chopping wood
  • Fixing the vacuum cleaner
  • Making loud rock and roll music
  • Putting in a strong tackle
  • Bleeding from soccer wounds
  • P.E.C. Meeting
  • Praying with the family
  • Bearing testimony
  • Doing yard work
  • Lopping off tree limbs
  • Moving heavy furniture
  • Making two dashboard lights turn back off in one trip to the gas station
  • Carrying Abby on my shoulders

How about you? What makes you feel manly or womanly?

24.9.09

18.9.09

Some People Say

Some people say electric cars are the transportation of the future.

Others say zero emissions are a falsehood because you are in essence plugging your electric car into a coal burning power plant.

I say I'm holding out for a garbage-burning, flying Delorean.

10.9.09

Worse Than Texting and Driving?

Despite all that is said about the dangers and stupidity of texting and driving, I still see it happen on a regular basis. It's pretty disturbing, but this morning on my way to work I saw something even more stupid and dangerous. A woman in a black car passes me at approximately 75 mph. I glance over and see her shoveling a spoonful of cold cereal into her mouth!

I'll admit it, I have been known on occasion to eat food while I drive, but seriously cold cereal? I'm not sure what had control of the wheel because her left hand was holding the bowl up to her greedy face, and her right hand was busy with the spoon. She must have had a third hand, because I noticed her fiddle with the radio and then her hair as she pulled further away from me and swerved in and out of the HOV lane.

It got me thinking, has anybody seen anybody doing anything more stupid while driving? Chime in, I'm curious.

4.9.09

U.S.A. Rodriguez

I came across these hilarious videos today and had to share. They feature U.S.A. Rodriguez, goal celebration coach and numerous MLS stars. Kids: some of these celebrations would earn you a yellow card, but some would probably be worth it.





These are my favorite 2, there are 8 total. All are worth watching.

1.9.09

My Life According to Billy Joel

I saw this on a friend's facebook, and I thought I'd give it a try.

My Life According to Billy Joel


RULES: Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Re-post as "My Life According to (BAND NAME)"

1. Are you a male or female?
Angry Young Man

2. Describe yourself:
The Entertainer

3. How do you feel:
(I'm in a) New York State of Mind

4. Describe where you currently live:
Half a Mile Away

5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Vienna

6. Your favorite form of transportation:
Close to the Borderline

7. Your best friend:
She's Always a Woman To Me, (James - second place)

8. Your favorite color is:
Sometimes a Fantasy

9. What's the weather like:
Falling of the Rain

10. Favorite time of day:
Through the Long Night

11. If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
Big Man on Mulberry Street

12. What is life to you:
A Matter of Trust

13. Your current relationship:
Uptown Girl

14. Looking for:
Big Shot

15. Wouldn't mind:
Baby Grand

16. Your fear:
Pressure

17. What is the best advice you have to give:
If I only had the words (to tell you)

18. If you could change your name, you would change it to:
Captain Jack

19. Thought for the Day:
Ain't no Crime

20. How I would like to die:
Sleeping With the Television On

21. My motto:
Say Goodbye to Hollywood

31.8.09

Butterflies

What is it about sharing something creative with somebody that immediately instigates uneasiness until some there is some kind of reaction from the viewer/listener?

24.8.09

Big Gesture, Quick Fix, Stepping on Toes

I'm not a political person. Not at all. I don't affiliate myself with either party, and the extremes of both sides are troubling to me. This post is not intended to be a political statement, but rather a look at what seem to be flaws in the governments attempts to "right the ship" of our economy. Particularly, I want to address the very popular Cash for Clunkers program. On the surface, it seems like a win/win type of situation. The federal government gives added incentive to consumers to trade in old vehicles and purchase new, fuel efficient vehicles. People get themselves into new cars at great discounts, the auto industry gets a boost, and America consumes less fuel as a result. Sounds great right? Most people think so.

Have you talked to an auto repair worker lately? Oh, them. The people who you begrudgingly hand money over to when your car breaks down. The program which has auto manufacturers and dealers jumping for joy is also dealing a deadly blow to auto repair shops across the country who were already hit hard by the economy. How? The Cash for Clunkers program has very strict stipulations in regard to what is to be done with the "clunker" customers trade in for the new car. Regardless of it's condition, the used car must be disabled and sold for scrap or at auction. Even if everything works perfectly, the dealership has to put the engine out of commission and take the vehicle of the road permanently.

This means that about 750,000 vehicles have been pulled out of the system and replaced by new cars. The natural progression of cars needing maintenance, minor repairs, and major repairs has been severely altered. The effect for auto repair shops will be felt for months and perhaps years.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that when the government steps in to alter the environment in the economy, it will in most instances hurt one industry as much as it helps another. So, how does government decide who is going to be the beneficiary of everyone's hard earned tax dollars? Lobbyists? Experts? Advisers?

I have an idea for the government. Let the capitalist economy function as it is supposed to. Fair competition seems to be the hallmark of a good economy. If a company gets so large that it's failure would mean a national financial collapse, it is too large. The government's job at that point would be to split the giant company into smaller competing companies. If one of these new companies makes bad decisions and goes under, so be it. They have failed, and the employees move on to a company who is still competing.

The idea of government using taxpayer money to continually bail out a company who has failed, but is "too large to fail" is absurd. Big gestures and quick fixes are what got us into this mess. Even if it means that everybody cuts back and suffers to some degree, it is better that capitalism runs it's course.

18.8.09

365 Days of Abby

Abby turned 1 last Friday. I made this movie for her, and I'm just getting around to posting it now.


video

12.8.09

Wearing the Wrong Color

I almost sent my baby girl out into the world today wearing a green dress that Natalie had set out for her. Luckily, I discovered my mistake and changed Abby into a red white and blue floral print shirt that she wore on the 4th of July. The U.S. plays Mexico today in a World Cup qualifier in Mexico City at the daunting Azteca Stadium. They need all the support they can get, and Abby was happy to oblige.

4.8.09

Pop Art

I've had fun working on this poster. Of course, a tip of the hat goes to Mr. Andy Warhol.

3.8.09

Ouch

After 2 years of not water skiing, Saturday's trip followed by a lot of loading and unloading equipment, followed by playing a two hour set, followed by more loading and unloading equipment, followed by a fast, has left us with a very sore Jesse on Monday morning. It was a fantastic day, so the pain is all worth it. I just seem to be getting more and more reminders that I'm closer to 30 than I would like to admit.

31.7.09

Looking for Insurance Insurance

I think I need insurance for my health insurance. I need to pay a third party to step in and help out in case the rates for my individual policy keep climbing to exorbitant levels despite me being in perfect helth. Oh, and also for the fact that should something disastrous happen, my current provider could drop me like a bad habit because I'm not on a group plan.

When I questioned the representative why my rates keep going up despite my good health and lack of claims, she informed me that they have to compensate for "all the claims being made." Wait, I thought this was my individual insurance. If I don't get the benefits of a group plan, why do I need to be a part of the draw backs?

She went on to explain that they are a "not for profit" organization. Interesting, I think we may have found the root of the problem. Are we not in a capitalist society? Maybe if they were trying to "make a profit" their services would make sense and they would treat customers with respect.

28.7.09

US Soccer Tickets

The U.S. will be playing El Salvador in a World Cup 2010 Qualifying match at Rio Tinto Stadium on September 5th. If you are interested in getting good seats before they go on sale to the public, comment or email me before Thursday. It is a truly amazing sports experience. The passion, speed of play, and technical ability displayed in these games is second to none.

22.7.09

Confronting Superficiality with Superficiality

First off, I'm pleasantly surprised with the response from my first philosophy post. It spurred some very interesting discussion and insight. Who knew weeds would stir up such varied and interesting thoughts? I hope the discussion continues, and I hope to post some more ideas over the next little while.

I came across an ad the other day for a new reality series by FOX called More to Love. Apparently, it is basically "The Bachelor" with the exciting twist that everyone on the show (including the bachelor and all the contestents) is substantially overweight. The advertisement kept using the phrase "real women" as it showed generic show clips of talking heads, romantic moments, drama, etc.

It really bothered me, and it took me a minute to figure out why. I don't have anything against people who are overweight, but there was something fundamentally wrong with the message. They were attempting to confront superficiality while being completely superficial. For a show that's trying to play the "beauty lies within" card, why would the first requirement of any contestant be body type? Because someone eats too much and doesn't exercise enough, they are a more genuine and "real" person than someone who takes good care of their body? What does that say about me? I am underweight according to doctor's height and weight charts, does that mean I am an exceptionally fake person? (Don't answer.)

FOX, you got this dead wrong. The show may turn out to be a hit (it probably will), but it is clearly sending the wrong message. I wonder if the producers at FOX are really that naive to miss the huge flaws in the show's concept. I tend to think there is a target audience they are feeding with the kind of things they want to hear. Despite their pretensions, I don't think the producers really care what they are conveying as long as people watch. What do you think? Am I wrong here? Am I overly sensitive as an underweight person?

14.7.09

Argument for the Exsistence of God: Part 1

I posted the other day about wanting to explore some philosophical/metaphysical ideas. Then, I realized that I don't have any time to research to support my writing so I thought I would take a more simplified and sometimes comical approach to the subjects. In the time since, I have come up with a pretty strong and simple argument for the existence of God.

First, I'll start with a definition of Evil. Evil describes someone or something that is morally reprehensible, completely selfish, causing harm or destruction.

To find a perfect, tangible example of evil, one must only walk out his or her front door. Somewhere nearby there exists a weed. A plant whose entire existence is self serving, destructive, and reprehensible. Anyone with any experience gardening would have a hard time arguing in behalf of any redeeming qualities of weeds.

From here it is easy. We have tangible and irrefutable evidence of the existence of evil. Evil can not exist without good, just as darkness cannot exist without light. Else what is darkness? The ultimate goal of evil things is to administer pain and misery to our existence. Good seeks
to uplift and bring joy to our existence.

Here's where the discussion kicks in. Is it enough at this point in the argument to say that God exists? We've established tangible physical evidence that evil exists, therefore can we deduce that tangible physical good must exist? Does this argument require an "earthy" example of something that is completely good in opposition to the complete evil that weeds represent, or can we argue that God is the tangible, ultimate good?

30.6.09

RSL Gig

My cover band will be playing a free show on the East lawn in front of Rio Tinto Stadium on State Street in Sandy this Friday, July 3rd from 6:15-7-40. Come check it out if you so desire. Remember your dancing shoes and clapping hands.

29.6.09

My Thoughts on the US Loss

Bob Bradley has discovered a truly great starting 11 during the Confederations Cup. There was just too much drop off in talented, in form players on the tournament roster. Having said that, barring a ton of injuries, the US should be in a lot better shape depth wise next summer. There are a lot of midfielders who have a full year to round themselves into form.

For me, three factors did the Americans in. Michael Bradley's absence (due to a red card suspension), the immediate second-half goal from Brazil, and good old fashioned fatigue.

If Michael Bradley was holding down the midfield, making timely tackles, and sparking quick counter attacks, the game plays out differently in the second half. That coupled with the magical Failhaber for Altidore sub with Dempsey moving up top could have proved all-important.

For obvious reasons, the Brazil goal directly after second half kickoff was their most important. Demerit had good positioning in the play and made a good, agressive challenge. A combination of skill and luck saw Fabiano's fantastic turn and shot slip just between Demerits legs and out of Howard's reach into the back of the net.

The US just didn't have enough in the tank in the second 45 to keep the kind of pressure on the Brazilian midfield that they were able to put on Spain. As a result, Brazil was relentless in their attacking either flank.

If the US had been able to avoid one or two of these things, they stood a good chance. Having to deal with all three was too much.

In the end, they lost on one of the best headers I have ever seen. The power and precision of Lucios finish was second to none.

26.6.09

Saturday Night

I heard about this deal for $7 tickets to the RSL vs Toronto FC match at Rio Tinto on Saturday.

Follow this link and use the promo code "kall700" to obtain the $7 ticket. Every seat in the stadium is a good one, so you can't really go wrong with this.

24.6.09

2-0

2-0 is a beautiful scoreline for any U.S. Men's National Soccer Team fan, and it just got that much more pretty. You see, the U.S. has made it a habit in recent years of beating arch rival Mexico by that particular scoreline. Today, the U.S. knocked Spain out of the tournament in the semifinal of the Confederations Cup in South Africa by the same score. Stunning. Inspiring. Beautiful. Highlights below.

No Thanks

I was reading my friends/band mates blog about a pretty awkward grocery store experience, and was reminded of a somewhat similar experience I had last year.

Despite my occupation, I rarely make it out to concerts any more. Last year, my company put on a concert for a band that my good friend Jeremy represented as a booking agent. Jeremy and I made plans to meet up at the show and check it out. As we were watching the opening band play I noticed a girl glancing over somewhat frequently, and I figured maybe she thought she knew me. I looked over and determined that I had never met her before. As the bands set ended Jeremy was talking to a coworker, and I noticed the girl heading toward me from my left periphery with a determined stride. Without fully stopping she said, "I'm going to get a drink," motioning to the bar area at the other side of the club, "do you want one?"

I was caught a little off guard. My train of thought went something like this:
>"she's really determined in her stride"
> "I am kind of thirsty."
> "drink" means "alcoholic beverage"
> she's asking me "for a drink."
> this is the non-Mormon way of getting to know other singles.
>"I'm not single."
> "this is the first time I've ever been offered alcohol."
> "That's kind of weird, you would think it would have happened first in High School or College."
> "Answer her, dummy, she's determined in her stride."

She was behind me now, having slowed down to wait for my answer. I turned to face her while the aforementioned train of thought was traveling down the rails of my mind. I'm not sure how long it was from first thought to the "answer her dummy" part, but there were probably some consecutive seconds of awkwardness accompanied by a very dignified "uuuuuuuuuuuuuh." Finally I blurted out, "no, thanks."

"Oh." she said as she continued her determined stride tot the other side of the club.
"I..." I meant to explain that I'm a happily married LDS man who was flattered by her invitation but clearly unable to oblige, but she was long gone.

I don't really know what the point of this story is, but it's funny to look back on. I was like a little peek into a completely different social world, and it was pretty awkward. Let me just say, I don't envy the singles who are trying to work the club scene. Having said that, how could a bar or club be any less awkward than a "linger longer" at a student ward or a cookie and punch social in a Young Single Adult ward?

Conclusion? Being single is full of awkward moments, and it's best to just embrace them. One day you'll look back and have a good laugh.

17.6.09

Fast Food Guilty Pleasure

For my first post after the "I exist" philosophical introduction yesterday, I have chosen the very deep topic of fast food. (For our purposes, I will define fast food as food obtained at an eating establishment where you are not waited on.) I've recently come to the conclusion that everybody has a few fast food favorites. Natalie has a soft spot for soft serve chocolate ice cream. My boss loves Quiznos toasted subs. Here are my guilty pleasure fast foods:

1. Taco Time - Crisp Bean Burrito. So simple and delicious and deep fried.

2. Moochies - Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. I just ate here for the first time yesterday, but I can already say it is a fast food favorite of mine. Having just recently sampled one of these remarkable sandwiches at the famous "Jims" in Philadelphia, I can say these are authentic. Apparently the owners moved out here from Philly.

3. Arbys - Curly Fries. I'm a fan of the roast beef sandwiches, but the curly fries really make it worth while.

4. Burger King - Grilled Chicken Combo. I've never been a fan of Burger King, but a couple of years ago Natalie coaxed me into giving it another shot. I tried the grilled chicken and I've been pretty into it ever since. This meal is only once in a while (usually on a road trip). I mentioned the meal because the fries are usually quite good for a drive through.

5. Little Ceasars - Hot 'n' Ready. Pizza snobs will roll their eyes at this one. If you just appreciate it for what it is, you will not be disappointed. As a bonus, this is the fastest of all the fast food, hands down.

I actually feel a little embarrassed now. What are your fast food guilty pleasures?

16.6.09

I Exist

For some reason, this concept has been on my mind a lot lately. The miracle of existence. I exist. However improbable or unlikely, I am an intelligent, self-aware, living, and breathing organism capable of reason, logic, understanding, and change.

I've come to the conclusion that this most basic and universal truth carries with it a great responsibility, to discover the reason for the miracle for existence. I've decided to use this blog as an outlet to explore these concepts and ideas, and I hope it will spur some interesting discussion.

Some ideas I plan to explore are these:

I exist

Matter exists

Universal laws exist

Moral laws exist

Time exists

God exists

Obviously, these are quite in-depth and sometimes heavy topics, but I don't think they receive a lot of attention or thought. I don't consider myself an expert on any of these subjects, but I do find it interesting to think about, reason, and discuss. Feel free to chime in with any other topics that you think would be fun to look at.

7.6.09

Post Number 100: Doo-Wop on a Train

video

We were able to capture some video of one of my very favorite moments from our trip. We had just sat down on our seats in the subway when this group of guys started singing. I've always loved doo-wop music, and had considered it a dead genere, but for a few minutes on a train in New York it was alive and well. Abby's reaction was priceless, and the singers just loved her. This is a memory I will keep with me for a very long time.

3.6.09

Best Vacation Ever

Here is our Pennsylvania/Delaware/New York trip in reverse chronological order. Imagine you're traveling backwards in time with us through all of the sights and shenanigans. Did I mention it was the best vacation ever?

Delicious Italian dinner in Little Italy. Loved that neighborhood.


Lady Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry. (I felt so close to Billy at this point.)


The Big Apple from the Ferry.


Whirlwind bike tour of Central Park. Safety First.


I need to spend some more time in Central Park sometime. Beautiful.


Kayaking in the Hudson. The odd guy on the left in the goggles is telling me that I'm holding my paddle wrong.



The lobby of our super cool botique hotel we got for a screaming deal on hotwire.com.


Abby in Times Square.


Traffic was blocked off, and there were hundreds of lawn chairs in the street. I loved it.


Abby's cousins Christian and Max were great with her all week.


MoMA. Picasso. Heaven.


MoMA. Van Gogh. Jaw on floor.


Cute girls. Sister Tiff. Daughter Abby.


Independence Hall. Birthplace of our nation. 


Abby is getting heavy. She is still cute. Star Wars nerds will be reminded of the very similar Chewbacca/C-3PO arrangement in Empire  Strikes Back.


We discovered a time portal on the bench. 


Philly's Game. Irish Night. Free green hats. Sweet.


Intercourse, PA.


Birthplace of Amish Country Football Club.


Amish man and horse-driven plow. 


Hans the friendly Amish giant.


Tiff and Ryan. Best hosts/tour guides/jokesters ever. 


The worst piece of art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the only one I got a picture of. The museum is incredible. I think I liked it even a little more than MoMA. You will remember Rocky running up the steps to the building. Hence the statue. Coincidentally, I'm dressed kind of "Rocky-ish."

View of Philly from the museum steps.


Max taking down the land shark that was terrorizing the neighborhood.


This is in Tiff and Ryan's neighborhood. Seriously. 


Pool time.


Abby's new swimsuit.

Say Goodbye To Hollywood

I've always loved this song by the great Billy Joel, especially the lyrics. I've also always loved singing with my sister Tiffany, so when we visited her I made sure to bring some equipment and do a little recording. This was the result. (Click on the title of this post to listen to the song.)

22.5.09

The Champs