Apr 30, 2010

List-Mania: U2 Songs

Day 181

About a month or two ago I put together a List-Mania entry listing my favorite Queen songs and that was a lot of fun so I thought I would take a stab at my second favorite band, U2.
I started to listen to U2 around the same time everyone else did when they released the Joshua Tree. But I have to admit that I was not totally into the album. It was good and it had some good songs but it didn't make an impact on me. I bought Rattle and Hum and liked it quite a bit but at that time I wouldn't call U2 one of my favorite bands.

It wasn't until Actung Baby was released that I paid attention. I do admit that when I heard thier first single The Fly, I didn't like it at all. In fact I remember commenting that whoever this band was they were horrible. But then the more I heard the song, the more I loved it and finally I bought the album and LOVED it.

But Zooropa is what really won me over as a fan. That album is my all-time favorite U2 album. And from that point on, I was a major fan and picked up every album since.

So here are my Top 5 U2 songs. I love these songs not for the videos.

5) Electrical Storm (William Orbit Mix)

Everytime this song pops up on my iTunes/iPod, I stop and listen. One of the few songs that I cannot do anything else but listen. Such a beautiful and haunting song.

4) The Wanderer (U2 and Johnny Cash)

This song was the last one on the Zooropa album and really summed up what I love about U2. I can't imagine anyone but Johnny Cash singing this. This showed me how diversive U2's work is. Such a fitting end to a great album. Johnny Cash is such a perfect fit for this song, it is like he lived this song himself.

3) Discotheque

Pop was another album that I didn't like at first but it certainly grew on me. But it didn't take me long at all to love this song. The thumping bass and drums along with one of the catchiest guitar riffs really drive me. I can listen to this song anytime and it makes me want to boogie.

2) Dirty Day (Bitter Kiss)

The 2nd song from the album Zooropa. I prefer this mix to the original even though I love that one just the same. I don't know why this song gets me but there is something about the beat and radio frequency-like main chord (I just can't describe it) combined with the lyrics.

1) With or Without You

I own a bass guitar but I don't play it very often but this is one of the songs that I made myself learn. Even though I didn't like the Joshua Tree as much as the other albums, this song was definitely my favorite.

There are a ton of other U2 songs that I think are fantastic but these are the ones that get the most play on my iPod.

Apr 29, 2010

Tornado!

Day 180

It is well documented that I have a love/hate relationship with tornadoes. On one hand I am absolutely enthralled by them. How can something so destructive be so hypnotic and almost beautiful? To me they are one of the most fascinating things of nature and I would love to see one live on a tornado tour. I would love to study them.

But on the other hand I am deathly afraid of them. Seriously. I cannot see pictures or videos of them when I am alone. I dream of them often (at least I know how to deal with them) and even talking about them by myself at the computer is freaking me out a little. I really think I have a deep-seeded primal fear of them.

But yet they are so neat.

I don't think I would have such a fear/fascination with them if I didn't experience them firsthand. When I lived in Edmonton years ago, Edmonton was struck by killer tornadoes and not that far off from my home. And I remember that day like it happened only a few years ago. On July 31, 1987 (known as Black Friday) Edmonton was hit by a series of tornadoes which claimed 27 lives and injured more than 300. It happened right in the middle of the afternoon around 3:30.

For the last couple of nights we were treated to these amazing and large lightning storms. I remember I would sit in my sister's room and look out the window and watch the lightning travel all throughout the clouds lighting the sky in the night. We didn't suspect a thing.

The next day my mom and I went out shopping. We went and got my haircut and we stopped at the local comic store to pick up some new books. In fact, I remember exactly what I got.


It all comes down to comic books for me right? But this was one of the issues I picked up before the tornado hit.

During my haircut a huge rainstorm hit and dumped a ton of water and it became intensely stormy. We headed home and it was really coming down. My sister was at work and my dad was out at work too. So my mom asked me if I wanted to come with her to her job or stay home. I didn't want to go out in the weather but I didn't want to be home alone and just then my dad came home. I was so glad to see him. So my mom went off to work and I stayed home with my dad. I went downstairs to play some hockey and read my new comics and we saw that our basement had water coming into it. So my dad mopped it up and we decided to go upstairs and turn on the TV to see what the weather was doing.

We turned on the TV and we saw this large tornado on the screen. My dad and I looked at each other in awe and my dad wondered aloud "I wonder where that is?" Then the newscaster said it was a tornado in Leduc. I turned to my dad with my eyes probably bugging out of my head. Leduc was a city just south of Edmonton. Then the newscaster told everyone that Edmonton was under a tornado warning.

I jumped from my chair and I grabbed my hamster and my sister's rabbit and headed downstairs in a flash. I ran back upstairs and grabbed my comics. If I was going to be stuck downstairs I might as well have something to do. My dad stayed upstairs and eventually came downstairs to finish cleaning up the rain water. Luckily the rain had stopped but the wind had really picked up. Dad then told me that he was going to go outside to check things out. I didn't want him too but I ventured upstairs with him. I watched my dad look around at the sky from my sister's bedroom window. I didn't like watching so I went into my bedroom and got my stereo boom box so I could take that downstairs with me. As I was fidgeting with the power cord (it was stuck between the wall and my desk) my dad came rushing into the house yelling.

"IT'S COMING! IT'S COMING!"

This book contains all the information and a ton of picture of the Edmonton tornado. I rarely crack open that book to look at the pictures.

I yanked my stereo cord away from the wall (dumping my whole art desk down) and pushed past my dad and leaped down the stairs and hid under the stairs FREAKING out! Dad did not follow me down. I didn't even hear him coming down the stairs and I started to panic. I yelled for my dad and he didn't come down the stairs. So I grasped my knees and waited for "it" to come.

Finally my dad came down the stairs nonchalantly, like he was out on a stroll. I yelled for my dad telling him to take cover. And my dad calmly says to me: "Do you hear it? It is raining again." I was confused; I thought the tornado was coming. But my dad meant that the rain was coming again. If I wasn't so paralyzed in fear I would have killed him.

The storm began to weaken and we ventured upstairs again to watch the news. I called my mom at work and told her about the tornado and she thought I was only kidding until some guy came in and told her the same thing. She closed down the office and came home. My mom recounted her harrowing trip to her job. She said it got pitch black and she saw things twirl around in the air around her car and the car ahead of her. She felt the car rock with the wind and suddenly it left as quickly as it came. We think she drove through the tornado or the remnants of the tornado. We traced her path and it put her right in the path of the tornado. I am so glad that I didn't go with her. I would have died!

That night we watched the news and we went out to the movies. Jennifer and mom saw Dragnet and my dad and I saw the new Bond movie, The Living Daylights.

I will never forget that day. The next day we went and toured the areas of damage and it was so amazing that the wind could be so powerful and we were lucky that the tornado didn't strike closer to our home.

Apr 28, 2010

April Day(s) of Reckoning II

Day 179

Part of me likes doing these columns because I really don't have to think much about what to blog that day. On the other hand, I hate doing these columns because I have been BUSTED!

Remember last time I said that I wouldn't guarantee anything because the time before I got caught with my pants down (not literally) and guaranteed I would do something?

Well, I did it again. Joe Namath would be so disappointed in me. I won't let you down Joe!

WRITING:

Yes, I am still working on the novel. Yeah, I still have that stupid small chapter beckoning for me to finish it. UGH! As soon as I am done with this blog and a few pages for my ScriptFrenzy project I will work on this next. Seriously. I know you don't believe me.
My ScriptFrenzy project is so close to be completed and I am having a hoot with it. I can crank out ten pages at a time and then I take a few days off to recharge and then I crank out another batch of pages. Script writing was so intimidating before but now it is a lot of fun. One thing I do appreciate is comic book writers that do team books. Keeping track of a large cast of characters is pretty difficult.


I just 7 more pages and I am finished with a 100 pages! A few today and few tomorrow and I am done. And I have a fun geeky epilogue to end with that I am excited to do.  I will definitely do this again next April.

READING:
Nothing. Since I am ahead on books, I have not read anything. This obviously will change soon. I think I will give my fellow blogger Chelsea's books a try.

EXERCISE AND EATING RIGHT:

Much better than the last time. All of my Easter crap is gone so now I can refocus on my treat consumption. I have been exercising more too. When it is nice out I walk to the Logan Temple and walk around that block a couple of times and I run on the steep up hills. When I come home I try to run the last block or so. I just hope the weather stays good so I can go out.

And that is about all for my goals. So not bad but not totally good. So now I need to close my Mindsweeper game and get some writing done!

Apr 27, 2010

The Dew Off

Day 178

I gave my fellow blogger Andrea a mission a week ago and like an awesome soldier she is, she and her husband came through. As you know, I am a big soda drinker with Mountain Dew being my favorite. Recently Mountain Dew came out with 3 new flavors but Cache Valley has yet to get the flavors. So I asked Andrea and Steve to find me some of the new Dew. Smith's had a great sale and she was able to pick up the new flavors along with Mountain Dew LiveWire (another Mountain Dew flavor not available in Logan). So I was one happy camper! So we met at Red Robin in Layton for dinner and to drop off the goods. And a big thanks to Steve for introducing me to that wrap!

Last night for a family activity we decided (well, I was in charge) to have a Mountain Dew Taste-Off. I had all the other flavors at my house except for the two game flavors that are still available. But I didn't like those all that much anyway. So we each tasted one of the seven Dews and ranked them.

Here are the flavors we tested:



Logan can't keep his Dew. All the caffiene and carbination made him burp.


Kristy and Logan couldn't decide without testing them again and again and again.


Ranking these Dews is like ranking my children. I love them all so much!

But after a few rounds we made our decisions. It might had to do with our tummies feeling a little sick and bloated. But here are the results!

Logan's Winners:
1st Distortion (lime)
2nd Whiteout (citrus)
3rd Code Red (cherry)
4th Voltage (raspberry)
5th LiveWire (orange)
6th Typhoon (tropical)
7th Classic
Kristy's Winners:

1st Voltage (raspberry)
2nd Typhoon (tropical)
3rd Distortion (lime)
4th LiveWire (orange)
5th Code Red (cherry)
6th Whiteout (citrus)
7th Classic
Matt Winners:

1st LiveWire (orange)
- I could drink a ton of this stuff. Good thing it is not readily available here.
2nd Classic
- You just can't go wrong with the Classic hard stuff. None of that Diet crap either.
3rd Voltage (raspberry)
- It tastes just like raspberry lemonade only with a kicker.
4th Typhoon (tropical)
I used to love the Tropical Punch Gatorade and this tastes just like it.
5th Whiteout (citrus)
It is like Fresca and Mountain Dew.
6th Distortion (lime)
I was so disappointed in this. I was hoping for more sweet like Lime Crush but got that hard lime flavor that the Lime Coke used to have.
7th Code Red (cherry)
I still like this and will drink it once in awhile but it gives me major heartburn.

Logan and I were almost exact opposites. My bottom 3 were in his top 3. After we finished I could swear that you can hear all the Dew swishing around in my gut. Logan was so full, I don't think has drank that much soda in one sitting. Suddenly he yells out "I'm going to get some out!" At first I couldn't understand what he was saying but then I saw that he was heading to the bathroom. Kid can't handle his Dew!

Voltage (raspberry) was the family favorite while the vote for the least favorite Dew was the Classic. Kids just don't have any respect for the classics.

This might have cured me of my Mountain Dew addiction. Drinking a Dew right not does not sound so good.

Apr 26, 2010

Confessions of a Comic Book Geek

Day 177

**WARNING**   **GEEKY POST**  **WARNING**

You know you have a comic collecting problem obession when you see a number and you can remember a certain comic book with the same number. And the number 177 is memorable for me.

Issue #177 is the first issue of the Uncanny X-Men that I own and I have every single issue from that issue on. I officially started to collect the Uncanny X-Men with #200 but I soon went back and bought back issues all the way down to #177. I do have a copy of every issue in some form whether it is in a trade paperback or hardcover collection all the way down to Uncanny X-Men #94.

I am sure that to some that doesn't sound impressive. But let's take a look at the current issue that just came out a few weeks ago.


That means I have 345 straight issues of the Uncanny X-Men. And yes, to answer your question about how geeky I am, I can probably tell you what is on the cover for each one.

Apr 25, 2010

Sunday Confessional: No Sunday Blogging

Day 176

I just barely fixed my stupid computer.

I had a ton of things I wanted to do this morning before church. I had e-mails to send out, I still have some scripting that I need to catch up on and I wanted to get this blog out before it was too late. I still have dinner, a visit to some neighbors and a Jazz game to complete tonight.

Sundays are hard for me to get my blogging done and I think I am going to change this.
After I am done with my complete 356 day blogging journey, I am going to continue doing it. But I am going to retire Sunday blogging. I will continue to do daily blogging except on Sundays.

On days like these, where computer crap happens, I cannot wait until future days like these, where I don't have to worry about blogging.

Think of today of like a preview of what is to come and we will see you tomorrow.

Apr 24, 2010

Soccer Days

Day 175

Hopefully Spring/Summer is really here and not fooling itself. I know that calendar-wise, Spring should already be here and since Logan has started soccer, it should officially be here. But then on the first day of practice, it snowed. And then a few days later at his game, I got sunburned. Welcome to the crazy spring weather of Utah. Hot one moment and freezing the next!

Last year Logan played soccer and he had a good time but I don't think he really learned anything except that he should kick the soccer ball and not touch it with his hands. He also learned that the goals switch sides at the half and that he wears different colors for home and away games but I think that is really all he learned. Kindergarten soccer is like watching a cloud of mosquitoes following each other.

This year has already been a little different. We have had only one practice and Logan went to his 4th game this afternoon. And he is playing with a bunch of kids from the 2nd grade that know what they are doing and I think Logan gets a little lost. The first game his coach asked him what position he wanted to play, defender or forward and Logan had no idea what he was talking about. Usually after his coach gives him a position or some instructions, I bring Logan over to give him some further explaination. But he is getting it. The coach must like him because he plays most of the games and rarely sits out.

Logan is using his two hands to talk to each other while the game is going on. I hope they are at least talking about the game.

The other thing I have noticed about Logan this year is that he doesn't hang around his parents when he is not playing. He will come between quarters so he could drink some water but that is it. He would rather hang around his coach and teammates. And he has manned up a bit too. In the first game he took a nasty blow to the face. Another kid kicked it right into his face, I mean it really cracked him hard. At first he just grabbed his face but continued to run on. Kristy and I yelled at him to keep going, we didn't want to make a big deal about it. And he ran for about 2 seconds before he started to cry a bit. But he didn't run to us, he ran to his coach and then came over to us. But he was only with us for about 2 seconds too. Once he had a drink and realized he was going to live, he ran to join his teammates and got right back in the game.  The next game he got kicked right in the gut and he lost his breath but he went to his coach who swatted him on the back to make him breathe. I went over there and in about two seconds he was better and ready to get back in the game. I guess when the game is on the line, he really can take it like a man!

I think Logan gets the duties of defender and forward mixed up. But he did have a good clear out while being defender.

He has a real good team this year and Logan is quite excited to be winning all the time. His team is 4-0. Logan just needs to learn to be a little more aggressive and go after the ball more. But I expect that he will get more used to it as time goes on. I can tell already that all the ball players including Logan have learned quite a bit in this short amount of time.

The kids like to cheer at the end of the game because they know a treat is coming up.

Apr 23, 2010

List-Mania: Cool Teachers!

Day 174

So far most of my columns that I write about school have usually been about how I hated it or some of the funny things that happened or about how I didn't get along with authority figures. And so far my List-Mania columns have been devoted to more fun things that I enjoy in life but this time both columns (to be combined into one) will be much different. Looking back I have found teachers that I have had that had a positive impact on me and today, I am honoring them. They are not listed in any particular order.



Ms. Archer (Sifton Elementary School)
I was fortunate to have Ms. Archer for 2 years straight. I had her in Sifton for grades 5 and 6. Not only did I think she was an excellent teacher but I felt that she cared more for me than just making sure I got good grades. Towards the end of the 5th grade I began to hang out with this other kid in my class and he was not the nicest kid. He would threaten other kids and bully some of them and threaten beatings and I wanted to be like this kid. Ms. Archer noticed this too and saw that I was changing and not for the good. So she made the decision to move my desk away from him and back to some of my other friends. And she asked me to stay after school for a couple of minutes. She told me after school that I was not being true to myself and that I should stop trying to be like this kid. She then told me that I was not being nice and I would lose people's respect and friendship. At the time those words hurt since I liked Ms. Archer a lot but walking home and thinking about it, I knew she made sense. So I eventually stopped hanging around this kid and went back to my normal circle of friends. What she did had nothing to do with school work, nothing at all to do with my grades. But she cared enough about me to take the time to set me straight. Something I will never forget.

Mrs. Baugh/Letham (North Cache Middle School/Sky View High School)
After Killarney I moved to the United States and I had to start the 8th grade in a new school and a new country. I tried to fit in but unfortunately the U.S. also had its share of bullies. But this grade was much better than Killarney and I made some good friends but more importantly I had some good teachers. My favorite was Ms. Baugh, my English teacher. I had no problems in reading plays and characters in class which made me one of her favorites. But it was the writing assignments that I really liked and she knew I liked. One assignment that I had was to write about an invention. I thought about some sort of sorting vacuum cleaner and eventually the story morphed into something completely different. Something that I was really proud of. I handed it in and a few days later she wanted to speak to me privately. She handed me back my story and explained the assignment and I realized that I screwed up. My story was completely different from the assignment. I felt like such an idiot but she told me it was the best story she had read in years. Then she told me not to worry about the assignment, I wrote a story that I should be proud of and that she would reward me extra credit for going all out on a story. She asked if she could keep a copy of the story so she could read it to her 6th graders as an example of how to write creatively. I was honored. Later on I became her assistant my senior year and she still remembered my story and encouraged me to try to get it published. I still have that story and I have worked on it occasionally and I think it would make a great children's book. Ms. Baugh (later it became Mrs. Letham) really knew how to push me creatively and taught me to embrace it instead of shy away from it.

Mrs. Burningham (Sky View High School)
I had Mrs. Burningham for two classes my senior year in high school (it was her first year teaching at Sky View) and they were my favorite classes. I had her for Painting and also for AP Art and AP Art is where I learned the most. At this point I wanted to be a comic book artist and she really helped me understand that I need to know and learn all forms of art so I can be a complete comic book artist. But she really knew me as a person and understood when I was not feeling art. Every once in awhile I would just sit and talk quietly with my friends or do some reading and she never bugged me about getting my projects done. She knew it was more important to recharge batteries and she trusted me enough that I would get my stuff done.

Ms. Spicer (Killarney Junior High School)

I didn't have too many bright spots when I attended Killarney Junior High but she was one of them. She was a great teacher that tried her hardest to not only teach but also to help us form our own opinions. She appreciated what each student had to say and she went out of her way to make all of us comfortable so we would give our opinion. I was mostly a quiet student but in her class I felt like I could talk and add to the discussion. She cared about her students as well, I remember a couple of times where she could see that I was struggling and she would talk to me personally. There were many times that I was threatened to get beat up and she would always allow me to come to her class after school so I could escape. She made such an impression that she was a character in my first novel. She of course was a teacher that helped one of students choose a better life.


Mr. Churchill (Sky View High School)
I know a lot of people didn't like him but I really did. I had him for a variety of classes from Driver's Ed to Sociology to Weight Training. He demanded a lot from you in class and made sure you succeeded. I remember in Weight Training he gave me a goal of how much weight I could bench and he kept trying to add more weight and demand more from me. I eventually ended up going over my goal by 16 pounds because he kept driving me. What I respected about him the most was that he told it like it was. He himself was never disrespectful but when he was (or any of us) were disrespected he really would hit you over the head. One time in weight training some kid put in a tape (Guns and Roses Use Your Illusion II) for use to listen to when we were lifting. Now Mr. Churchill was not a fan of profanity and when a song came on that was loaded with it he stopped lifting and ran and got the tape and broke it in half and threw it outside. He did warn us in advance that he doesn't tolerate that sort of stuff. And he did exactly what he said he would do.

There were other teachers I had throughout my life that made an impact on me too but these teachers stood out the most. I appreciate that they took the time to be an example to me and taught me more than what was expected in the classroom.

Apr 22, 2010

An Evening With Queen

Day 173


After 173 days it is getting hard to remember what I have blogged about. I am sure that I have mentioned before that Queen is my all-time favorite band before but I am too lazy to check. One day I will blog about how I discovered them but for this column I am going to cover the time I was able to see them in concert.

I saw them a few years ago in Las Vegas and let me say, it was the best concert I have been to. Vegas is a special place for Queen since that is the place where they debuted their musical We Will Rock You.

With the unfortunate passing of Freddie Mercury back in 1991 I thought that I had missed the boat in seeing Queen in person. But I was lucky that they formed a partnership with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company fame to tour the US and also release an album together. I didn't even know that they were touring at the time and I was surfing the net and found that they were touring and better yet, they were coming to Las Vegas!


Now let me say this. Paul Rodgers can never replace Freddie Mercury. No one can replace Freddie Mercury. But I thought Paul did a good job meshing well with Queen's music. I am not a Rodgers hater at all, I appreciate the stuff that he brought to the table. I got Return of the Champions Live CD by Queen and Paul Rodgers and I will admit that I was surprised by his vocals. He didn't try to imitate Freddie, he took Queen's songs and put his own style on them.

I looked them up to see if they were touring and was so excited that they were coming shortly in concert to Vegas. I got two tickets (for me and my wife) and we made plans to stay the weekend in Vegas. Kristy and I left Logan here with Lynn, Jennifer and Mom and we took off Thursday morning. The drive was horrible, it was snowing so bad all through Salt Lake and Provo, the roads were full of ice and snow but once we got past Provo, the weather improved and it got warm. We got to Vegas in pretty good time and we stayed at the Tropicana hotel.


The hotel was right across the street from the MGM (where Queen was playing) and right off the strip. Friday we went out and ate at the ESPN Zone for lunch and went shopping. We went the M&M store and bought some stuff for Logan and then we rested and then went the concert.


I was pretty excited. We first got in line so I can buy a Queen t-shirt and the lines somehow blurred together and we got to the merchandise booth at the same time as this fat lady and her daughter. I had no problem letting them go first and thought that would be the right thing to do when suddenly she looks at me and yells out "We were here first! Not you!" I thought about letting her have it but I smiled nicely and let her go first. Geez, what an extremely rude lady.

I bought a real cool "retro" brown Queen shirt and then we ran off to find our seats. There was no opening act. Then the lights dimmed and the concert began. It started with this cool remix of It’s a Beautiful Day and then the members of Queen came out and rocked it!


LAS VEGAS - Fri 07/04/06 SET LIST

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY
REACHING OUT
TIE YOUR MOTHER DOWN
FAT BOTTOMED GIRLS
CAN'T GET ENOUGH
TAKE LOVE
CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE
LOVE OF MY LIFE
HAMMER TO FALL
FEEL LIKE MAKING LOVE
I'M IN LOVE WITH MY CAR
LAST HORIZON
BAD COMPANY
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
DRAGON ATTACK
THESE ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES
RADIO GA GA
UNDER PRESSURE
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
WE WILL ROCK YOU
ALL RIGHT NOW
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

It was SO worth the money and the drive to see them. During the song These are the Days of Our Lives they flashed images of Freddie on the large screen to the cheers of the crowd. I think I was the only HUGE Queen fan sitting on our row. I knew all the typical Queen concert things to do and yelled and sang them out.

I was hoping they would sing I Want It All but I was extremely glad for the inclusion of Under Pressure. When Brian May introduced that song he said that we should all be familiar with that song because they stole it from some "white boy". I was not a huge fan of the song Dragon Attack until I heard it live. The bass line was so awesome live. It vibrated your whole body. Now that song is one of my favorites.

Like I said before, Queen just isn't Queen without Freddie but I thought Paul did a fantastic job. And it was fun to hear some of his Bad Company songs live as well. When they exited off stage I tried to get everyone clapping the beat to We Will Rock You but it didn't catch on until another section started it. And then they came back and finished the show. Sure I am biased but I think this was the best concert I have been too.

The next day we went shopping and browsed the sights of Las Vegas. We also went and walked around the LDS temple in Las Vegas too. The next day we returned home to Mom and Logan. The trip was nice and relaxing and was extremely happy that I was able to see my favorite band of all-time and share that with Kristy. I would do it again in a flash.


Pun FULLY intended! FLASH! AHHHHAHHHHH! SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE!

Apr 21, 2010

Never Say Never Again!

Day 172

Tomorrow will mark the end of the longest part of the off-season for the NFL. Tomorrow night is the NFL Draft and soon after training camp starts and before you know it, the NFL Preseason is here and suddenly it is the start of a new season.

Luckily for me the off-season has been pretty exciting being a New York Jets fan. We have had some pretty big trades and signings and the Jets will be part of HBO's Hard Knocks series. The NFL also released the schedule last night and the Jets have the most Prime Time games. I know I say it every year but THIS COULD BE THE YEAR!

But then the Jets announced something that I thought I never would hear. Much bigger than Brett Favre signing with the team which was HUGE for me since I am a big Brett fan. Anything is possible in the world of the NFL but I still couldn't believe the Jets headline of yesterday.

It made me throw up a little in my mouth. Actually it made me throw up a lot in my mouth.

JASON TAYLOR HAS SIGNED TO PLAY WITH THE NEW YORK JETS.


THIS GUY?

I respect Taylor's abilities but I cannot stand him. I hate Jason Taylor, he is one the few players that I can say that I absolutely cannot stand. Not only did he play for our most hated rivals, the Miami Dolphins but he has also said things about my team that makes me want to wish nothing but harm on him. This is the guy that said "Jets fans take the 'c-l' out of class."  He has also said "A bunch of them chanting their dumb-ass chant and all that other stuff, being the ignorant fans they are."  I do feel like I still have the last laugh because of the Monday Night Miracle where he was talking so much trash and then cried like a baby when his team lost.

And now he is a New York Jet.

I don't know whether to boo him or not.

All I can is Never Say Never Again! Anything can happen in the NFL.

On a side note, I will boo Ben Roethlisberger. He is LUCKY that the NFL only suspended him for 6 games. He is LUCKY that there was not enough physical evidence that they could not convict him. I used to have respect for him and appreciated his talent but now he is tainted and it will take a lot of work for him to build that respect back. I do applaud the NFL for suspending him.

Apr 20, 2010

Please Help! I have Minesweeper Addiction

Day 170

Hello. My name is Matt and I have a Minesweeper problem.

I cannot stop playing that stupid game. Even when I defeat a board, I have to go back and start again. And the problem has steadily become worse.

Now when I should be writing or blogging, I am instead playing Minesweeper.  Today is a perfect example. I should be writing my script and putting up a blog but instead I am playing with my addiction.


I have defeated every board from Beginner to Expert.  My best time in Expert is 195 seconds. And I almost beat that time yesterday. It came down to guessing with only 3 mines left and I guessed wrong. Frustrated, I closed the game and tried to get into writing but a few minutes later I was playing it again.

Can someone help me with this? I really need to stop playing this game.

Did you know that they are making a movie based on this game? Take a look at the trailer! (Unfortunately I cannot get it to resize on the blog so you are going to have to check the link) Minesweeper Trailer

I love that trailer. Only those that are obsessed with that game really get the trailer.

Anyway, I better get back to writing, playing Minesweeper.

ERNIE UPDATE: Sunday while writing about Ernie the Cat, I introduced him to Logan and they hit it off tremendously. Looks like Ernie is back! Logan and I are absolutely thrilled!

Apr 19, 2010

Star Wars Kid

Day 169

Being born in 1974 means that you are automatically a Star Wars fan. My dad took me to see the movie after him and Jennifer went to see it. And I have been a fan ever since.

I grew up in the golden era of toys. I had tons of Star War toys growing up. I had a couple of favorite Star Wars toys that I played with ALL the time. One of my favorite toys was the Death Star playset. It was huge! It had three floors and the famous garbage disposal. I would love to rebuild it after crashing it down.


Another one of my favorite toys was the AT-AT. The best of this toy was that you can put your hand inside and manipulate the head. And I also had a smaller metal version of the Snow Speeder so I could reanact the Hoth battle.
For a kid that almost had every Star Wars toy I could be a little difficult to shop for. My Aunt Margo wanted to get me something special but she didn't know what Star Wars toys I had a the time so she gave me this:
And I still use them. In fact, sipping soda out of that Empire Strikes Back mug is one of my favorite past times. I never put those dishes in the dishwasher, they need to be hand washed so they are not damaged. I never drink anything hot out of it either. And no one, I mean NO ONE is allowed to drink out of that mug but me.

Ahhh... memories.

Apr 18, 2010

Sunday Confessional: My Hidden Talent

Day 168

I have a hidden talent that only a few people know about. I could make quite a bit of money using this talent if the situation would ever present itself. But sadly it hasn't.

Take a look at this picture and see if you see something out of the ordinary.

Nothing?

I took this picture the moment Kristy and I returned from the hospital with Logan after his birth.

There is something to this picture that has to do with my hidden talent.

Now do you see it?

Yes, that is a stuffed cat posing in the picture with Kristy and Logan.

That is Ernie the Cat.

You see before Logan was born Kristy had a bunch of stuffed cats that she accumulated from birthdays and other holidays.

And I used to make these cats talk much to Kristy's chagrin.

One of the things that I would love to do is voice work for animation/cartoons or do some voiceover work for the media. I don't want to be tooting my horn here but I think I can do quite a variety of voices ranging from old men to Muppet Baby-like voices. I think it would be so much fun to do voice work! Ernie's voice is my favorite one to do.

Kristy would come home from work and Ernie (or one of the other cats) would greet her. And he would talk to her while she was grading homework or watching television. He was a fun cat to have around the house but was eventually replaced. But not by another cat, he was replaced by Logan. Except that Logan has been known to be a cat from time to time.


Now Ernie sits on a shelf in our computer room and has seldomly been seen and rarely heard from. Every once in awhile Ernie will make an appearance and talk but he is old now and bitter. Ernie totally doesn't look to happy to be sitting with his replacement.

Maybe Ernie has just grown up. Or perhaps we have all grown up. While I am saddened that Ernie has been sent to sit on a shelf, I am very happy with his replacement.

And Kristy is thrilled. You might not be able to tell it from this picture here but she really is thrilled.


She has never liked Ernie as much as the other cats. Probably because Ernie was a lot like me.

Apr 17, 2010

Pic of the Week: The Good Ol' Days

Day 167

I kinda feel bad for kids growing up these days.

While kids today have stuff that I never thought or dreamed of having I do think that I had it better.

Back in the good ol' days it was easier to get away with stuff. Much easier. There was no internet so my parents couldn't log on and check my grades. It was far easier to catch Deficiency Notices in the mail since e-mail was not invented yet. And there were no cell phones so if I skipped school, the school would have to call home. And luckily for me, my mom was at work and not at home. And even when the answering machine came along it was way easy to just delete the message.

Which brings me to this picture:

What does this have to do with getting away with stuff? My dad used to like to take pictures of us and I was not in the mood to smile. So Jennifer whispered something to me to make me laugh. And do you know what she said?

Remember when we farted on the phone?

When Jennifer would babysit me we would have loads of fun. We would watch TV and play games and play the record player full blast and pretend that we were rock stars. Sometimes we would dress up and play, sometimes we would play outside, sometimes we would try to freak out our neighbor's daughter and sometimes we would fart on the phone.

While I think Caller ID is one of the greatest things invented I do miss those days when you could crank call people and get away with it. Nowadays you can't do this without being caught and then probably sued. We didn't do this all the time, in fact I can only remember doing it twice. One time by ourselves and one time with Jennifer's friend Mindy. We would call up a random person or someone we didn't like and then attempt to fart on the phone. But we would end up laughing so hard that we could only (and barely) make farty or burp noises on the phone. And we never got caught.

Until one time we called a restaurant called "Chicken on the Way" and we cranked them a few times since they would always answer the phone. And then they called us back and they scared us straight. But my cranking days didn't end there.

One of my favorite ways to ask a girl to one of the high school dances (you had to ask creatively) was to ask them to take a survey from Utah State University. I would ask these stupid questions and then eventually I would ask some personal questions (like if they ever used deodorant on their feet) and then finally I would say:

"It looks like you pass with flying colors. Now I have one more important question to ask you. Would you like to attend the Christmas Dance with Matt Platis? Please answer him in your own way and I will make sure he has a copy of all your answers."


And then I would hang up the phone. These days I wouldn't be able to get away with that.

My friend Damond LOVED to play pranks on people through the phone. I would come over and would call some buddies or when he was cheerleader, the other girl cheerleaders and then give them a hard time on the phone. I would pretend I was some cousin of one of the cheerleaders (obviously not the one I was calling) and then try to ask them out on a date. But I would either act completely stupid or completely cocky. We would laugh and laugh and Damond would tell me how they reacted the next day during cheerleading practice. Damond was the perfect guy to do this with since he knew those girls so way and there was NO WAY they would think it was him.

I would now like to formally apologize to those cheerleaders. Damond put me up to it!

Like I said, there is no way we could do that today.

Apr 16, 2010

List-Mania: Graphic Novel Recommendations

Day 166

It shouldn't come to a surprise but I love comics. Now most people think that comics are merely superhero stuff and that is partly true. Most comic books do deal with superhero themes but that only scratches the surface of what comics really offer. There is something for everyone and this column is devoted to my Top 5 Favorite Graphic Novels.

Now you might be asking yourself what is the difference between a comic and a graphic novel? There really isn't much of a difference except one big one. A Graphic Novel is a comic book but it is a larger comic book that most times collects a bunch of individual comics and puts them into a nice complete volume. So these can be read in one sitting. You don't have to buy multiple comic books, just one big volume. And these are my favorites.

Only one of them is a superhero book. You will find that much of these books dabble in history, science fiction, fantasy and plain real-life drama.

I have included a link directly to Amazon so you find more information and reviews as well and if you want to buy it. I have also included the synopsis/review of each title and why of course I love them.

5) MAUS
By Art Spiegelman
Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance. Don't let the cartoonish nature of the art fool you. The author draws the Jews are mice and the Germans as cats but trust me, about six pages in you won't even notice. If you are interested in history like I am you will be enthralled by this book. Uplifting, sad and harsh, this book really hammers home what the Jews faced during World War II.

4) BONE
By Jeff Smith
The complete 1300-page epic adventure from start to finish in one deluxe trade paperback. Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, spending a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies. Their many adventures include crossing the local people in The Great Cow Race, and meeting a giant mountain lion called RockJaw: Master of the Eastern Border. They learn about sacrifice and hardship in The Ghost Circles and finally discover their own true natures in the climatic journey to The Crown of Horns. This black and white fantasy adventure has it all. But what I enjoy most out of this sprawling story is the characters and the humor. Combine that with Smith's animation-like art which adds an amazing atmosphere and you have a book that anyone would enjoy. The Great Cow Race will guarantee you for some laughs. Ask Kristy, this is one of the two comics she has read.


3) BLANKETS
By Craig Thompson
The realism in Blankets reigns supreme in both the story arc and in the humanity of its characters. Thompson himself is the protagonist, and this is his tale of growing up, falling in love (and realizing the physical and moral complications that can imply), discovering the texture and limits of his faith, and arriving at a point from which he can look back at those experiences. The snowy Midwest, peopled by overweight parents, hairy youths, and lovingly depicted younger siblings-including a respectfully and realistically treated minor character with Down syndrome-is energetically realized in Thompson's expressive lines and inking. Much of the story occurs when Craig and his brother Phil are young boys and includes images of such boyish pranks as peeing on one another. Older high school students who have reached an age when nostalgia is possible will warm to Thompson's own wistfulness. This is a big graphic novel, in concept and successful execution. I bought this book and read it all the way through it in one sitting. There were experiences in this book that I have felt in my life. Confusion about religion and God, being somewhat of an outcast in school, lost loves and lots more. The author offers his soul here and does not hide anything. Because of that, reading this book opens the floodgates of my own memories of youth.

2) WATCHMEN
By Alan Moore (Author) and Dave Gibbons (Illustrator)
WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN? Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's monumental WATCHMEN is one of the most influential comic series of all time.
If you liked the movie, you HAVE to read the book! If you hated the movie you might as well skip this book even though you should check it out. This book really delves into what this world would have been like if superheroes existed. It can be beautiful at times but then it can be extremely brutal as well. The ending (I won't ruin it for you here) is one of the best endings to any comic book. And one that is different than the movie and much more meaningful and impactful.

1) V FOR VENDETTA
By Alan Moore (Author) and David Lloyd (Illustrator)
The date is November 5th, 1997. War has ravaged England, entire races have been eradicated, the entire British populace is under constant surveillance, and the absolute power is absolutely corrupt. On this historic day, a man with a strong resemblance to Guy Fawkes (in action and dress) blows up Parliament. The bomber, a masked character named V, saves a girl named Eve from a violent crime and takes her under his wing. Moore's dystopian, fascist version of England, ruled by one central leader and his sects (named after parts of the body, such as Finger, Nose, and Voice), is systematically dismantled by the enigmatic V. Readers must ultimately decide if V is a mad anarchist/terrorist or a freedom-fighting avenger for good.
If you liked the movie you will LOVE this book. If you didn't like the movie you should read this book anyway. It is much different than the movie and is much more of an emotional read. This will make you think about how you view your freedom and it should make you cherish what you have. An engrossing read, one that will captivate you. There is action, humor, revenge and romance. If I had to take a book to a deserted island, this would make the list!

Most of these books are available at any book store and I am sure you could find copies of it at your local library. Do yourself a favor and try one of them out and you'll see why I love this medium so much.

Apr 15, 2010

School Daze: Grade 3

Day 165! Only 200 more to go!

I must have blocked out most of the 3rd grade since I had a teacher I was not very fond of. Not only was she a yeller but she was also mean. She would make you feel like a turd. But at times I think I deserved it.



Third grade was still a heck of a lot better than my Killarney and North Cache days that is for sure. It is here I met one of my best friends, Alvin Tam. He is the second kid from the left on the second row. I have fond memories of going to his grandmother's home (she only spoke Chinese) and eating these pink chips and playing in their backyard. We would break open rocks with other rocks and pretend we were searching for precious stones. We would also build snow forts and pretend that the AT-AT's were coming to blow up our secret base. And if you don't know what an AT-AT you live in a very sad world. Or you are pretty old.

If you cannot tell who I am in this picture, I am the one on the back row, first one from the left. The one with the goofy look on his face.

I do remember one instance where Mrs. Glenn really let me have it and I deserved it. It was during Art and we were supposed to draw Garfield (he was really big back then) and we got to pick out and share with another person a Garfield strip. When she showed one that I wanted she picked me and also a kid named Sun Park. I stuck out my tongue in disapproval to my friends and Mrs. Glenn caught it and she really let me have it. She said I was cruel and that everyone should treat me like I treated Sun. She didn't give me the Garfield strip and made me sit by myself. She then stuck out her tongue at me in front of the class and said something to the effect of "No one should draw with Matthew!" and I was crushed. My feelings were so hurt. But she nailed it, that is exactly how Sun must have felt. Lesson learned Mrs. Glenn.

I did make it up to him and Mrs. Glenn later in the year. That year I was part of the Christmas Choir. Mrs. Miller (the music teacher) thought I should join since I liked singing so much and there was a girl in the 6th grade that I had such a crush on. I once gave her a present, it was a jewelry box filled with coins, Bottlecap candies and a gold necklace which I am not sure how I ended up with. I might have got it from my sister. Anyway, I was happy to join the choir. During one of our rehearsals I was placed in the front row of the choir and was asked if I minded if Sun would stand by me. Now Sun had a problem with his legs, I am not sure what it was but he could not stand for a long time. He would need someone he could grab or hang on to so he could regain his balance. Ashamed for how I treated him earlier and wanting to make it up to him and Mrs. Glenn I told them I had no problem standing and helping Sun if needed. I loved singing in that choir!

In our class we had three girls named Tammy. Tammy R. (which every boy had a crush on at one time; she is the girl in red on the front row), Tammy M. (who sat right next to her, 3rd from the left) and Tammy S. (she is the girl with glasses on the front row). I don't think I know any other girls named Tammy. Tammy R. and Tammy S. moved away and I later became good friends with Tammy M. But that comes later on in the Sixth Grade.

Logan recently got a Spider-Man journal that has one of those cheap locks on it and it reminded me that I had a journal like that too. But mine was Garfield (told you he was big back then) and I started writing it during the 3rd Grade. One thing I noticed is that I liked a girl named Carmen and then suddenly I hated her.

That was my first entry. I love that I put my mom's words in quotations.

Anyway, back to Carmen. She came into the 3rd grade sometime after school started and I thought she was cute. She thought I was cute and we became friends. I cannot believe some of the stuff I am willing to admit here but I remember one time we were watching a film strip and I rolled up my sleeves on my shirt so she could see my muscles. *sigh* Puppy Love!

But then she wanted to take the relationship to the next level. During recess her and her friends would chase me and catch me and corner me against a fence or against the brick wall. And they would wait until the bell would ring and then kiss me! And that was too much. Which led to this funny journal entry:

In case you cannot read my handwriting: I HATE CARMEN. SHE IS A *BEEP*, SHE THINKS SHE IS HOT STUFF AND I HAD ENOUGH OF HER SHE IS DUMB YES SHE IS. I HATE HER SHE DRIVES ME UP THE WALL ALL THE WAY TO THE MOON. NOW I'M GOING TO MARS.

And this last journal entry I will share with you really made me laugh. I apologize in advance Jennifer!

I was commenting about another cute girl when I wrote this: CARMEN THE DUMBEST IN THE WORLD (I am sure I meant dumbest girl, who's dumb now right?) IS DUMBER THAN JENNIFER.

My grades were consistent and I was a pretty good student. Kristy should be proud that I raised my PE grades to a B! And I was awarded with a Silver Fitness Award!


It is hard to see what my teacher commented on my report card because of some water damage but she did note that I should have brought a helmet to our ice skating activity. I didn't really know how to ice skate and I cracked my head on the ice. It doesn't surprise me at all that Mrs. Glenn would make sure to make a note of that later on in my report card. It was not like my parents didn't know when I came home! It's like she had to take that final jab before I moved on to the 4th grade!

3rd grade was the worst one at Sifton but it was still a lot of fun. But the last 3 years at Sifton were the best!

Apr 14, 2010

April Day(s) of Reckoning

Day 164

It feels like forever since I did one of these columns. And that may or may not be a good thing. Doing these columns certainly makes me take stock and see if I had improved any. Having to post them in such a public arena really makes me want to complete these goals.

And when it comes to New Year's Resolutions and goals, do not guarantee anything or you will look pretty silly later on. I guaranteed last time that I would have officially completed the novel. I have one month (I hope) before my coupon expires to get my book published and I really need to push it now. But I guarantee nothing. Except for the fact that I will finish off my little chapter.

I need to guarantee more like the way Broadway Joe Namath guarantees.

WRITING:

I am still working on the novel. Wait, let me rephrase that. I am going to work on finishing my novel. Which means I need to get ahead on my ScriptFrenzy project and on this blog. If I can double up some blog entries and get a few pages cranked out on my script, I can finish the novel.

My ScriptFrenzy project is progressing and is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. The Scripped.com software is pretty awesome and makes scripting a lot more easier than I thought it would be. So far I am up to 41 pages out of the goal of 100 by the end of the month. Some days I can only do a few pages but some days are better than others and I can put out 10 pages or so. I will definitely do this again next April.

The blog is still going strong even though the last few weeks have been hard. I just don't know what to blog about anymore and I have to admit that I am getting lazier about writing too. Some stuff I want to blog about just takes forever to type! But I really shouldn't complain, this has been a lot of fun.

READING:

I finished this book a few days ago and it had to be one of the best autobiographies about professional wrestling I have ever read. It was engaging, funny, sad and motivational. Bret was one of the most famous and successful wrestler but then even his career was marred with heartache and unbelievable trials, in and out of the ring. Two of his brothers passed away tragically when they were young, close family members bickered and now they are no longer close, the injuries sustained by his friends and of course the famous Montreal Screwjob where in front of a national audience and in his homeland of Canada was lied to and he lost his World title by his own boss. But even in all the tribulation he still kept his head high and worked through a stroke. The amount of pain and loss this man faced makes me look at my own life. I could go on and on about this.

I am not sure what to read next. I still have Veeps to finish off but I am ahead in my book reading schedule. I have read 4 books this year already so I could take the rest of the month off.

Exercise and Eating Right
Ugh, I don't want to talk about this. With Easter I have pigged out on junk food like nothing else. So I have not been eating all that great. And this last week I barely exercised because I have not been feeling well. But I did exercise today and yesterday so I am getting back in the groove.

Lately for exercising I have been running up to the Logan Temple and walking around the block. It is great because it has quite an uphill (which I run every time) and it is beautiful to look at. I went walking around and running up the uphill portion when I noticed my neighbor running around it also. And boy did she run it, she must have lapped me a couple of times! So now the goal by the end of summer is to be able to run around it without tasting blood and feeling the spectre of death come upon me!

I have not done any drawing lately but I might pull out the drawing pad and do some doodling. Chances are I will be plotting my script instead since that goal needs to be done by the end of the month.

Apr 13, 2010

Damond and the BB Gun

Day 163

I am very thankful that I had such a good friend when I moved to the United States. Moving was not an easy thing for me, I was in a strange country and I had cows as neighbors. Actual cows! This was something that a city boy like me had to get used to.

I was picked on quite a bit in the 8th grade which made that grade absolutely hell but I did have some very good friends that helped me through it.

One of those friends was my neighbor Damond. We hung out through all of high school and he was partly responsible for making me who I am today. He and his family were a good influence on me. But that is not to say that we didn't get into mischief because that would be a bold-faced lie. And it is not like we really got into a lot of trouble because for the most part we were good.

I remember one time we were out in the Honda trails (these bike trails up above our houses in the mountains) shooting our BB guns and we got bored and came home. As we were biking home we noticed these pigeons in the middle of the road in front of Damond's house. We got off our bikes and we pumped up our BB guns to shoot the birds. We shot and missed and the birds flew away and our neighbor from across the street came out livid.

"Those better not be BB guns!" She screamed at us. Apparently these were pet birds that were being raised by these neighbors. Who the heck raises pigeons? When I heard her yell that out I thought she said "Those better be BB guns!" Why? I assumed it was because if they were real guns we would have killed those dumb birds.

So I yelled back to her "Don't worry! They ARE BB guns!"

Damond turned and looked at me like I was the biggest moron on the planet. She started to yell at us even more so we took off back up towards my house. Surprisingly she didn't know it was us so we lucked out. Maybe she thought we were too good of boys to do such a horrible thing. The joke is on her! Hey, I was only telling her the truth!

I mean really, pigeons? Rats with wings? Look how mean they are!

Apr 12, 2010

Where Do You Stand?

Day 162

I hate it when I sit down to blog and all I do is stare at the screen with a blank look on my face. I hate it when I have a blog topic that I want to write about but it ends up being a long blog and then I lose interest so I quit. Now I am back to square one again. Just staring...

Today is definitely one of those days. I have been trying to blog for the last hour or so. And the only thing that is coming to mind are urinals.

DISCLAIMER: POTTY TALK


Let me explain myself. A couple of years ago I was listening to a radio program in the morning as I was taking Kristy to work. The host whose name was Tom had just installed a urinal in his garage and the rest of the crew made fun of him because of it. Then a couple of nights ago Kristy and I were watching the Marriage Ref and found a guy that wanted to install a urinal in his home. And everybody made fun of him for it.

I don't need anything fancy. This Kohler Bardon style works just fine.


Let me tell you, in my dream home we would definitely have a urinal in our garage. I think it is a wonderful idea. It would be private so no one would see you pee unless they were standing behind you. And it would be cleaned regularly. If I was outside playing or doing some yard work and I had to take a leak, why come into the house when I could use the urinal in the garage? Little boys would love to use it too considering they hold on till the very last minute to pee. Do you want them running into the house, tracking in dirt and mud to go to the bathroom when they could just pee in the garage? If I am working on the car do I need to wash up to use the bathroom? NO! Just use the urinal in the back!

Now I would have just a simple urinal. None of those trough-style urinals which I find creepy. Only one person could and should use it at a time. And nothing like this one!

So urinals... ...where do you stand?

Apr 11, 2010

Sunday Confessional: Hot Chocolate

Day 161

I love hot chocolate but not in how you think I would love hot chocolate.

I like to eat hot chocolate plain like a Pixie Stick. Right out of the carton or right out of the packet, I will eat it plain.

My mom used to get mad at me when she would find a hot chocolate wrapper that I had forgotten to throw out to cover my tracks. I don't eat as much as I used to but I have been known to sneak a spoonful once in awhile.

Surprisingly with all the yummy flavors that Stephen's Hot Chocolate puts out it is amazing that I don't eat more of it.

The new Cherry Chocolate is awesome but I will always go back for a cup (or spoonful) of Irish Creme.

Apr 10, 2010

List-Mania: The NES

Day 160

I think I grew up at the right time in life. Especially when it comes to video games. I was around to witness the birth of the Atari 2600 (you can see my blog about that here. Gaming went away and when I was entering middle school it made a HUGE comeback with the Nintendo Entertainment System and I begged and begged to get one and I finally got one for my birthday.

Looking back, I think I played this game system more than I should have and my grades are proof of that. But I have fond memories of playing the Nintendo late in the night. I used to love to trade games with my friends and my cousin Josh or rent them from the local Maverick and Video Store. I also remember getting together with a bunch of kids in our neighborhood and getting all our systems and televisions together and playing all night. A precursor to my Madden Fests.

I sold my Nintendo years ago on eBay (and made quite a profit!) to a guy attending BYU. At times I regret it since that game system was so much fun to play. But the couple of hundred I made was something I needed more at the time.

So here are my favorite NES games.

5) ZELDA II: THE ADVENTURE OF LINK
Seeing those old golden cartridges really makes me nostalgic. I played this game for hours trying to find all those Magic and Heart containers. I don't think I would have defeated this game without looking through those gamer magazines. I still hate those Blue Knights.






4) GOLGO 13
I hated this game at first but when I began to figure out the controls it became one of my favorites. You played agent Golgo 13, an assassin and you went around killing people and figuring out who the DREK empire is. It was quite the mature game for its time since it contained blood, sex and smoking, something not seen in games. The sequel had far better graphics but this game had the better story. Just replace DREK with NAZI and you were fighting Nazis.

3) BIONIC COMMANDO
Speaking of Nazis, you got to fight them here too even though they were not named Nazis. I used to play the arcade game version at L.D.'s Cafe in Richmond and I couldn't wait to try this one out for the NES. It was way different but much, much better. You would travel from map to map communicating with your allies and eavesdropping on your enemies. And swinging on a bionic arm like Spider-Man. This was one of the few games that didn't offer a "jump" button. You would have to swing around instead. A lot more fun.

2) SUPER MARIO BROS 2
People claim that Super Mario 3 is the better game but I felt this one was the best. The graphics and game play were superior to the first one and the fact that you could play 4 different characters certainly made this game more charming. And the main enemies were cool and the ending cannot be beat. I got so good at this that I rarely lost one life.



1) TECMO SUPER BOWL
Before there was Madden, there was this nifty NFL game. The best part of this game aside from 8 different plays (used to be only 4) was that you can choose any NFL team. The rosters were complete, you had injuries, you had awesome cut scenes of huge plays and they kept track of the stats all through the season. This game was the best. Some players were absolutely unstoppable when it came to running and there was that one play that you could use that you could complete every time. No matter what the defensive call was made. This was the NES and NFL at its best.

But there were a ton of stinkers available too.

When I saw the advertisements for a new X-Men game I was ecstatic. I saved up the $40 to buy it and it was a huge stinker. The cast of characters was awesome but the game play was so lame. You had to fight these main bad guys (you didn't even have to fight them, you could just run past them) and the graphics were so awful that you couldn't even tell who was who. Such a HUGE disappointment. But I did defeat the game.