May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Day 212

Memorial Day Weekend has always been one of my favorite weekends. The sun is shining, the trees and flowers are budding and in general the weather cooperates.

But Memorial Day also holds some special meaning to me. It is a day to reflect, celebrate and remember those that have served my country and have protected my freedoms. Every day I am thankful that I live in this country and I am appreciative for those that are serving and have served my family. We all wouldn't be here if it wasn't for their sacrifice.


It is also a day to remember those dear family members that have passed away. There are so many that I dare not list them (I don't want to forget listing one) but I am thankful for their sacrifice and what they have done for me and my family. I miss you and think of you often and I look forward to being reunited someday.

Memorial Day also holds a special meaning to me since it means we have our bi-annual Anhder Family Reunion. It will be great to catch up with my wonderful extended family and I appreciate my Uncle Kurt for putting us all up all these many years. I will blog more in depth about the Anhder Family Reunion tomorrow.


On behalf of my family and I, we appreciate and value all of the people serving in the Armed Forces. Thank you for giving and securing us our freedom. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that currently serve. And out thoughts and prayers are with those in mourning. 

May 30, 2010

The Mugging

Day 211

I have been debating whether or not to include stories and experiences from my LDS mission here on the blog. About a year ago I went through my mission journals and compiled all my experiences and made them into a book and scanned in all my pictures. This is my official Mission Journal and I am quite proud of this accomplishment.

But I have been going back and forth on if I should publish some of those stories here on the blog. On one hand, I have so many of them that I could easily fill the remaining 154 days with mission stories. On the other hand, am I being fair? I have already written my mission journal and isn't this cheating in a way? But then some of you readers may not have heard these stories and more than likely wouldn't have a chance (or would want to) read about my mission.

After a couple of weeks to think about it, I have decided to only share a few stories from my mission. If you are interested in reading my full 2-year account send me an e-mail and I will hook you up with it.

The experience that I am going to share is probably my most requested story to tell. It was the time that I mugged in Jamaica, Queens. Now I am going to warn you about my mission writings. I tell it like it is. If my companion is acting like an idiot, I say so in my journal. I wrote down exactly what I was thinking and feeling at the time. This is right out of my journal. To give you some background, I was serving in Jamaica, Queens. I was going on my second month with Elder Hardy and my fifth month in this area. Elder Hardy was a Canadian like myself and very humble too. He would not hurt a fly and was always concerned about how I was doing.

APRIL 4th 1994

I will always remember this day. The day started out all innocently enough. That morning we taught a discussion to this guy who called us prophets. Then we visited Judy and she still wants to be baptized, she just feels like this is moving quickly. We resolved any concerns she had and she is still as strong as she was before. That was the good part of the day, the rest of it quickly went downhill.

Elder Hardy and I during our best times.

Elder Hardy and I were heading home on our bikes and and there was a group of teenagers (about 10-12 of them) crossing the street. They were yelling at us to stop but we passed right by. Elder Hardy passed by first and I came up behind. One of the boys ran up to me and shoved me off my bike while I was riding. I crashed on the road and rolled a few times. They were all laughing at me and I turned to them and said “It isn’t funny picking on a church boy.” I put my bike upright and tried to get on but the bike seemed heavy. I looked down and saw another guy holding onto my back tire preventing me from taking off. He yelled “Gimme your bike!” and I yelled back “NO!” He said it once again louder, “GIMME YOUR BIKE!” and I screamed like a frightened old lady “NO!” I finally yanked it out of his grasp and as I was getting on, I saw something on my right. I turned my head and a big black teen came over and punched me right in the face! My head flew back all bloody and I let go of the bike and they all took off laughing.

I got up and watched them run off. By this time, Elder Hardy finally realized and watched what had happened (he was about 1-2 blocks away at the time) and he speedily rushed to my side. Only he didn’t stop. He muttered “Wait here a second” and flew off to the guys. There were only 2 guys, one on my bike and one running with the guy on my bike, the others scattered like cockroaches. Elder Hardy was a tall guy and his legs were pumping and he was also on a small decline. The kid running with the bike saw that he was coming and thought that he would be an easy target as well. He walked cockily over to Hardy and Hardy just ran him over!

Seriously. HE RAN HIM OVER!

All I saw was that poor guy’s legs fly straight up in the air! Hardy then almost lost control of his bike because of the collision and the kid on my bike jumped off and ran after Hardy. Hardy escaped and right when I was about to go get my bike, some other guy came and picked it up and ran with it. One of the neighborhood ladies saw what had happened and she came and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t hurt, I was just angry. She cleaned me up and said something like “I cannot believe Rodney would do that”. I asked what his name was and she didn’t want to tell me anything. I don’t blame her, she has to live in this neighborhood and I wouldn’t want to become involved if I was her either. I found out where one of the kids lived and that was good enough for me.

I bought a Mongoose Alta bike. We wrapped it with electricians tape so it looked more junky and unappealing to thieves. Guess that didn't work as well as I thought it would.

Elder Hardy still had not returned so I thought it would be best to start walking home on Jamaica Avenue. Jamaica Avenue is a busy road so I thought it would be the safest place. I thanked the lady and I started to walk over when Elder Hardy finally caught up with me. His bike was a mess. Both of his tires had large dents in them (probably from the kid's head) and his handle bars were bent forward from where he hit that kid in the waist. I asked him what in the world he was thinking when he took off after the gang. He said he was so angry and all he could think of was getting my bike back. He said he closed his eyes and kept going when he saw that one kid coming up. When he hit him he said it felt like running over a speed bump. This made me laugh, Elder Hardy didn’t think it was so funny. He felt so bad about hitting another person and I think it made him feel worse when I applauded him for doing it.

We walked home, I was angry and Hardy was shaken. We called President Child and he was glad that we were okay. He said to call the police and also recommended that we don’t share this with our parents. I called the police and they sent a car over.

I told them what had happened and that I have a name and address and we went over to crime scene. By this time, it was getting dark out. I ran into one of the girls that helped me out and spoke to her. I again thanked her for helping me and I reassured her that I was not going to mention her to the cops. I didn’t want to make life hard for her, it was only a bike and I was going to be alright. The cops searched the area for clues and then we went to the kid’s house. When we got there, there was already three other cop cars there knocking and beating on the doors. Unfortunately no one was home. The cops apologized and gave us a ride home. There really is nothing more they can do and it was just a bike, they have bigger fish to fry. I thanked them for their help and we walked inside.

Elder Williams and Geisting (another missionary companionship we lived with) laughed and laughed when I told them what happened. Hardy truly felt bad about it all and it was too easy and fun to make him feel even worse by saying stuff like, “Hey Hardy! I bet that kid will never pick on a tall white guy again! He is probably still at the hospital moaning!” Deep down, I hoped he was. What really burns me is not only did I lose my bike, I basically lost almost $400 which I paid for at the beginning of my mission. 

It was not the last time that I was mugged but it was the last time that I was assaulted on my mission. It took me a long time to finally forgive those kids. In looking back, I can say that at least I have quite a story to share with people. And I never told my family until I came home from my mission.

May 29, 2010

Date Night 2010

Day 210

Kristy and I rarely go on dates. This was probably our first date of the year. It is not like we can't find babysitters because we have lots of family and we have some girls in the neighborhood that would be happy to watch/play with Logan. We just don't go on dates.

Last night we actually went out on a date. Sure, it was just dinner and a movie but that is usually a lot more than what we usually do for dates. My mom came over and watched Logan while Kristy and I went and caught the cheaper 5:00 Iron Man 2 showing.

The Black Widow was so freaking awesome!

Kristy and I really enjoyed the first Iron Man (which sadly enough may have been the last movie we saw together on a date) and we really liked this second installment. Being a comic book fan, I totally geeked out in a couple of moments. Seeing War Machine shoot down all those robots, the Black Widow taking out all those guys, Nick Fury meeting with Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative, the ending after the credits that really get me excited for the next Marvel movie.


After we got out of the movie we couldn't decide where to eat and we wound up at the Coppermill. I keep forgetting what a great place that is to eat. I have never been disappointed going there. I ordered the Chicken Theodore, which is a fried breaded chicken breast, topped with crab meat, asparagus and smothered in cheese and hollandaise sauce. I LOVE hollandaise sauce. I got the rice pilaf with it. It also came with a salad bar and that was awesome. Kristy and I were good too, we only ate half of our food and saved the rest for later. Of course we were pretty full already from the salad bar. After that we walked over to the Bluebird restaurant and picked up some chocolates for dessert and then came home.

It was a nice evening and hopefully we will go out soon. It will be interesting to see how long it takes us to go out again. Will I be done with the 365 blog? I only have five months left!

May 28, 2010

List-Mania: More Graphic Novel Recommendations

Day 209

Last month I blogged about my favorite graphic novels and recommended them to you guys. These were the books that I would want to have if I was stranded on a desert island and in looking back I definitely got the list right. But if I was really on a deserted island I would miss these books quite a bit.

So here are more graphic novel recommendations. 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.

I tried to choose a variety of different books this time instead of just my favorites. Hopefully there is something here for every one.



SCOTT PILGRIM: Precious Little Life
Vol. 1
By: Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim is 23 years old, lives in a cold, unnamed Canadian town, plays bass in a band called Sex Bob-Omb and has a very cute 17-year-old Chinese-Canadian girlfriend, Knives Chau. His "precious little life" is amiably unstructured, and he drifts, happily unemployed, between band practice and time spent with Knives. But then he starts having dreams about Ramona Flowers, a mysterious, equally cute and perfectly legal hipster chick on Rollerblades who delivers books for Amazon.com. Ramona is anything but simple, and O'Malley's tale of adorable slackers in love is transformed into a wildly magically manga–kung fu fantasy adventure. We meet the first of Ramona's seven evil ex-boyfriends, Matthew Patel, who challenges Scott and his band to a supernatural martial arts duel right out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  It's an alt-lit, rock 'n' roll graphic novel with wonderful manga-influenced drawing and a comically mystical plot that manages to capture both the genuine intimacies and serial dishonesties of young love.

If you want something completely different and very unique, I recommend picking up this first volume of Scott Pilgrim. It is funny, cute and exciting. Real life mixed with Nintendo. Michael Cera (of Arrested Development fame) is set to star as Scott Pilgrim in coming soon to theatres and I cannot wait. And the final Scott Pilgrim book (in a series of 6) is coming out in just a few short months.


ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: ULTIMATE COLLECTION
Book 1
By: Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

High school, puberty, first dances - there are many pitfalls to being young. Compound these with intense personal tragedy and superhuman powers, and you can start to visualize the world of Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man. Following the murder of his uncle and the Green Goblin's assault on his high school, Peter finds himself on the brink of manhood: getting a job at the Daily Bugle to help support his widowed aunt and taking on extracurricular activities - such as bringing down the Kingpin, the head of organized crime in New York City!

If you enjoyed the Spider-Man movies, I cannot possibly recommend these books any higher. While there are big differences between the movie and this version, it is still Spider-Man at heart. You don't need to worry about being lost reading this, it starts right at the beginning. Bendis really delivers a powerful and believable story and Bagley's art is perfect for new readers. Once you start, I promise you will be addicted and luckily there are about 20 volumes so far. Seriously, it is probably the best Spider-Man stories I have ever read.


HELLBOY: SEED OF DESTRUCTION
VOL. 1
By: Mike Mignola


Hellboy is one of the most celebrated comics series in recent years. The ultimate artists' artist and a great storyteller whose work is in turns haunting, hilarious, and spellbinding, Mike Mignola has won numerous awards in the comics industry and beyond. When strangeness threatens to engulf the world, a strange man will come to save it. Sent to investigate a mystery with supernatural overtones, Hellboy discovers the secrets of his own origins, and his link to the Nazi occultists who promised Hitler a final solution in the form of a demonic avatar.

Hellboy and Hellboy 2 are some of my favorite movies and Hellboy is definitely one of my favorite comic books. If you like mystery, action and horror, this series of books (10 volumes) are definitely up your alley. If you like strange monsters, Lovecraft, fables and urban legends, this book is definitely for you. Mignola takes real fables and sends Hellboy out to figure them out. And the Hellboy character is just perfect, even though he is a demon, he is certainly human. Just writing about him makes me want to go read them.

STAR WARS LEGACY:  BROKEN
VOL 1
By: John Ostrander and Jan Duursema

The Jedi Temple is attacked, an Emperor is betrayed, and the Sith are born anew! A lot can happen in a hundred years, but that's just the beginning of the story! Not since Luke Skywalker first stepped aboard the Millennium Falcon has the galaxy seemed like such a vast, exciting, dangerous place! Readers will meet a host of new characters, see fleets of new spaceships, and visit scores of exotic locations - some new and some familiar. This is a perfect jumping-on point for any reader - an epic beginning to an untold chapter of the greatest adventure in the universe!

What kind of geek would I be if I didn't recommend a Star Wars title to read? I read these in comic book form and I absolutely love this series sanctioned by Lucas himself. The story idea is wonderful, it is set over 125 years after the events in Return of the Jedi. It features a descendant of Luke Skywalker who was trained as a Jedi but has abandoned the order. The series begins with an attack on the Jedi Temple and the overthrow of the Galactic Empire by a newly created Sith order. If you like Star Wars you will love this series. And there are more volumes published.


Y: THE LAST MAN: UNMANNED
VOL 1
By: Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

A mysterious plague has killed every man on earth except Yorick Brown, who was somehow spared. The sole Y-chromosomed survivor is an amiable, headstrong young man, the son of a U.S. congresswoman and, as it happens, an amateur escape artist. He tries to escape to Australia to find his girlfriend but finds that being the last man on Earth to be a much greater problem.

This series is not for the weak-hearted. Terrible things have happened and terribly things will continue to happen as Yorick tries to travel to Australia to find his girlfriend Beth. During his travels he will encounter various groups of women that have different beliefs and have different views on what they should do with Yorick. But during his travels he learns a lot more about himself. This is a fantastic science fiction story that really addresses a lot of what the world would be like if all the men died. But like I said before, this book is for Mature Readers Only. There is cursing and adult situations.

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.

May 27, 2010

The Moose

Day 208

I used to own a bow back before I served my LDS mission and I would participate in a league. Every Saturday I would meet my dad and his friend and we would shoot the bow. I learned to be pretty good at shooting and even won a trophy for 2nd place in my age division.

Just ignore my hideous hair. If I had hair like that now I would get a better haircut.

But the bow was not just for recreational shooting it was meant to hunt. Every other Saturday or so we would go up to a special place up in the mountains to shoot our bows. Only this time there would be various animal dummies at different distances. That was a lot of fun, drinking Dew and hiking around the mountains looking for fake animals to shoot.

And then finally we all went hunting. I have been hunting a couple of times before but that was with a gun. This time I would be going with a bow and by myself. My dad and his friend would take a different mountain to hike and we would each have our own watering hole.

Now let me tell you, my experience with hunting deer with a gun was a completely different experience than with my bow. Instead of freezing my butt off, I was nice and toasty (since the bow deer hunt is earlier) and you do not have to fight other hunters. I was the only guy on that mountain. Just me and the animals. And there were a lot more animals than I thought there would be.

We set me up with a ground stand about twenty yards from the watering hole. I had a clear shot to it. I sat in front of a tree and was decked out in full camo. You have to be extremely quiet and still and patient when bow hunting. So I would sit and watch. But it was peaceful and you can really be alone with your thoughts.

What I found to be real interesting was watching the animals take turns to go to the watering hole. I noticed first that the smaller animals (mice, squirrels) would go first and then the larger animals would take their turn. So I knew eventually that a buck (male deer) could be heading my way. You would think that you might get bored waiting and waiting (you would be up there waiting for hours) but you don't. I remember that I was entertained by a pair of mice that would run around my hiking boots. One would try to pull my laces while the other run chased it. I also had a squirrel that would run along the branch right behind me.

Then a deer came into the watering hole. I was elated. I got myself ready and watched the deer come in. But it was just a doe (a deer! a female deer!) and it brought with it two little baby deer. I could take a doe but it had fawns so I just watched them take turns drinking. The mom watched first as her little ones drank and then cautiously she bowed her head and drank while her kids played. It was a lot of fun watching the kids play. They ran all over the place and at one point was only a few feet in front of me. While the mom was drinking one of the baby deer ran into the other and crashed into it sending it into a bush making a loud sound. It frightened the mom and she instinctively called for her kids which in turn scared them. I thought it was pretty funny that they were all scared especially since it was one of her kids that made the noise that scared them.

They eventually left and I looked up on the mountain and saw a large black thing walking. I thought it was a cow because there were some cows around from a rancher. But it was not a cow at all. It was something much larger and far more scary than a cow. And it wasn't a bear either.

It was a MOOSE!

He looked like this fella. Not one of the largest racks on a moose but still one big enough to serve me dinner on.

So here I am just minding my own business when I suddenly heard this huge crashing noise coming from the right! This moose just came crashing through like it owned the watering hole. It didn't care what was in its way at all. This was perhaps the largest animal I have ever seen and I was getting a personal view. It had a pretty large rack and it positioned itself right in front of me, only ten to twenty yards away from me. It leaned down and slurped up the water like a noisy vacuum. My heart was beating so fast. I was amazed and at the same time quite intimidated by this animal.

And then it stopped drinking and used its huge honker of nose to sniff the air. And then it turned and looked right at me! It knew I was there, he couldn't see me but he knew I was there. It sniffed a few more times and I was beginning to feel a little worried. And then it went back to drinking and I felt better. I was beginning to relax just a little when it stopped drinking and looked right at me again. But this time he took a couple of steps in my direction. I could feel my heart beat and my blood boil. It walked closer to me and was sniffing me out.

I wish it was only Bullwinkle. I would have had a hoot talking with him.

I had to make a decision and I had to make it quick. The moose knew I was there and was determined to figure me out. It took another couple of steps closer. I am sure the moose was wondering just what the heck I was. It was so close that I could have taken my arrow and smacked it on the nose. And that thought did cross my mind which was then followed up by me imagining the moose trampling me to pieces. So I slowly took my arrow and wiggled the small suckling beside me. I definitely got its attention and it backed off a little bit. I continued to strike the tree until he was back at the watering hole.

I was thinking that I was safe but that feeling didn't last long at all. It again came towards me but this time it seemed a little more brave. It was not being cautious anymore, it wanted to figure me out. So I decided to go all out. I knocked my arrow in my bow and jumped to my feet and called out to the moose making a huge racket as I did. I must have called that moose every dirty, filthy name in the book and I was ready to shoot it if I had too. And luckily, I didn't. It stayed for a few minutes backing down but it still kept his eyes on me. Finally it took off up the mountain. I must have spooked it good and I knew that it was that black thing I spotted coming down the mountain earlier.

It was time for me leave anyway and I honestly didn't want to be there anymore too. As I was packing my stuff up something came up behind me. It was a large Elk and it snorted at me too. I was outta there! I ran down to the truck to meet my dad and his friend.

I would go up to the same watering hole the next week. I'll blog about what happened then later.

So get this. I am at my dad's writing this and we were remembering and he told me that he was visited by a mom moose and a couple of calves at that same watering hole. But then he told me another story that I have never heard. He and his friend went up there and my dad was at the same watering hole. Only this time he was not hunting so he had no weapons and no camo. And he was sitting there when he saw something that looked like a fox come in only it was larger. It was a mountain lion! He watched it circle the watering hole and take a drink and my dad felt the same way I did. Amazed and scared. And then the cougar decided to take a siesta. It plopped down and rested while my dad watched. And it was getting dark. Luckily it got up and left and my dad scrambled down the mountain.

May 26, 2010

The Shake Date

Day 207

This ranks as one of my favorite things to do on a date. And the first time I did this was the most memorable and only for the ingredients chosen.

My friends and I would get some dates and we would visit the local supermarket and have each of our dates pick out one item that they would be willing to eat or at least try. All the guys would be in on it and we would have the final say in what items our dates chose. We would set up some rules like nothing raw, no condiments and nothing really expensive either.

We sent out the girls and it was fun watching them and seeing what they would pick out. One of the girl's picked out Sugar Cookie Dough. While that is raw, we heartily accepted it. My friend Lared's date chose spaghetti sauce and my date choose sardines.I don't know what was running through these girl's minds but they all said that they would be willing to eat all three. They must have thought that we were going to cook them all up together or something. Boy, were they wrong!

We took them to Charlie's (a local ice cream shop) and gave the girl's that worked there our ingredients and had them make a shake out of each item. Lared and I knew the girls that worked there pretty well so they had no problems in making them into shakes. Our dates were quite surprised that they were made into shakes and that they were going to eat them. Now they all promised that they would try them and to give our dates credit they did eat the shakes. We tried each shake so one couple was not stuck with one particular flavor.

Obviously the cookie dough shake was the best but surprisingly the spaghetti sauce one was the worst. It totally took the taste of the spaghetti sauce and it was like eating real cold spaghetti sauce plain. And the chunks in the sauce (which became frozen) were horrible to consume. The sardine shake was not fantastic but it was not that bad. You just had to be smart while eating it. All you had to do was to avoid the chunks of sardine and eat the ice cream. But the chunks were pretty horrible.

Lared announced that we should "man up" and finish all the shakes. The cookie dough one was the first to be taken and I didn't want to be stuck with the spaghetti one so I grabbed the sardine one. Lared and I looked at each other and took a deep breath and downed the shakes. Mine was really not all that bad until I got to the bottom. I looked down the cup while shoveling the ice cream down and saw yellow sardine oil and I about lost it. But I finished it anyway much to the laughter of everyone else. Lared couldn't even finish his shake.

And it shouldn't come to any surprise that I didn't kiss my date at the end. I am sure I had some major sardine breath. But these were the types of dates that Lared and I planned. We would always try to do something a little different and memorable. We did this date at least twice more after this one but sardines and spaghetti sauce will never be chosen again.

**BLOG UPDATE**

I am on Day 2 of my Chocolate Milk Diet. Yesterday I drank a cup before I went to work and then when I came home I drank another one and headed out for my run around the temple. Surprisingly, I did feel like I had more energy than usual. And I ran a little longer than normal and felt pretty good too. And I was surprised that downing my third 8 ounce glass of chocolate milk right after my workout was not that bad.

Today was another story. I did the same thing only I ran a couple of blocks longer than usual. Instead of walking home, I ran most of the way home which is quite the difference and I still have some energy. And the chocolate milk went down nice and easy. I am looking forward to seeing how much I improve in the next 2 weeks.

May 25, 2010

The Chocolate Milk Diet

Day 206

I am trying something new starting today. Well, I am trying two new things today. I am working an earlier shift and I am starting a new diet called The Chocolate Milk Diet.

Seriously. The Chocolate Milk Diet.


Does it sound too good to be true? Yes, in a way it does. The key thing is that you still need to eat healthy and you still need to exercise but if you add Chocolate Milk to it, you may get some amazing results. I would settle for less-than-amazing results. If I only lost a few pounds, I would be extremely happy.

So why does the Chocolate Milk Diet work? There are 4 things that make it work and I will briefly go over them here.

1) Calcium
A recent study has found that calcium actually impedes your body's ability to absorb fat. Chocolate Milk is an excellent source of calcium and your body absorbs it easier when it comes from milk.

2) Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body get calcium from your food. If you don't have enough Vitamin D, your body may not be absorbing all the calcium that enters your system. Chocolate Milk is usually fortified with Vitamin D.

3) Endurance
Chocolate Milk surprisingly (well it surprised me) contains electrolytes that keep you hydrated, more than water. It will give you a much-needed boost for your workout.

4) Protein
You need muscle to burn calories and fat and the more muscle you have the more calories/fat you will burn off. Chocolate Milk is an excellent source of protein.


So how do you get started? The experts recommend consuming 3 glasses of Chocolate Milk a day. They recommend drinking 1% Chocolate Milk. You wake up in the morning and drink your first eight-ounce serving of chocolate milk. Then a second before you exercise you down your next glass and then right after your workout you drink your last glass. If it's your day off, just pattern them for morning, afternoon, and night.

I recommend that you read the full article about the diet here. It shows the science behind the reasons and goes in more depth than I did.

I am pretty excited to give this a try. When I get off work I am heading home and drinking my second glass and then going out for a run and then come home and drink my last glass. I am planning on giving this a whirl for the next two weeks. We'll see how it goes.

May 24, 2010

Weekend Update

Day 205

I feel like I am still a little hungover from the weekend. I didn't sleep all that much and I had a huge head-busting headache. Must be all the driving, NOT sleeping in my own bed, almost five hours of Lost and the late nights.

But it was all worth it.

Saturday my family and I drove down to Salt Lake to visit family. We left about 3 in the afternoon and headed down. Traffic was good and we made good time. We originally were going to head to a birthday party for Kristy's cousins kid. But we looked at the clock and we were making real good time, I must have had a lead foot coming down. We knew Kristy's mom was waiting for us so we decided to do the dreaded drop-in and stop by Steven and Andrea's house. I hate popping over unexpectedly to people's homes especially since I absolutely hate it when it is done to me. But this was a special circumstance, we needed to use a phone to call mom and Steven's was the closest home. So we dropped in and woke them all up from a family nap. Oops, sorry guys.

But it was a nice visit. They were nice enough to let us in so we could call mom and we had a nice chat. Addy wasn't much of a fan with us visiting. She cried when she saw us (twice!) and finally came in to watch some TV while we chatted. Only she put her hand over her face so she couldn't see us. It was pretty cute.

Then we took off to the birthday party. And it was nice to catch up with Kristy's family. Mom and Dad were already there. Kristy's extended family is great. I chatted with Aunt Cindy for about twenty minutes and I was amazed about how much she remembered stuff about me. She asked about me and my dad's business and how my parents were doing. It was a nice visit with family and we took off down to mom's to pick up some stuff before we headed over to Renae and Gregg's house. Thanks guys for letting my family stay over.

We played games with them and Steven and Andrea's family that night and I must say that I kicked some major butt. I guess I am a fountain of useless knowledge.

Here is Ty in his cute little blessing outfit that Kristy's mom made for him. I love the little cumberbun.

The next day we awoke early to go to Ty's baby blessing. For those that do now know, in the LDS faith we have the opportunity to bless our infants. We take the baby in our arms and we bless the baby and officially name the baby. After the blessing we retreated back to Renae's home and had a nice brunch with family. And we spend the afternoon in the beautiful sunshine chatting with family and playing with the kids.

Addy was not sad to see us today. She even let me play with her without hiding her face.

I am not as old as I look. I can still slam a little Loganball.

After a quick stop back at mom's we raced home to be back so we could watch Lost. We were all very tired so Kristy went upstairs to take a quick nap and I blogged. After I blogged, I was going to take a nap on the couch and Logan was lying on the couch looking so sad. So I asked him if he would read to me and he quickly got a Dr. Seuss book and read me asleep. He finished and instead of getting another book he he said he would rather snuggle and then promptly fell asleep. He claimed that he was not tired but obviously he was lying.

Kristy snuck a picture of us sleeping. Logan didn't even twitch when the flash went off.

We woke up and ate some cereal for dinner and then Kristy and I put him to bed early and prepared to watch Lost.

And it was bittersweet and absolutely what I wanted in an ending. Something uplifting and open to interpretation. I'll have to blog about it later.

May 23, 2010

Lost Countdown

Day 204

We just got back from Salt Lake and I am really tired. While the rest of the family is taking a quick nap I thought I would get my blog out of the way.

I'll blog more about this weekend more in depth tomorrow but right now all my thoughts are focused on one thing.


I cannot wait until it starts and will be so sad when it ends.

I promise to have a better blog tomorrow. But right now I need to grab a quick nap so I will be awake and alert by 8:00.

T-MINUS 4 HOURS!

May 22, 2010

Bottlecaps: What Would You Do?

Day 203
My stomach hurts and I didn't sleep all that much last night and I think I know the culprit.

BOTTLECAPS!
I ate a whole box of Bottlecaps last night while watching some TV. I have always loved this candy and every once in awhile I get a craving for them. So my plans for last night was to plow through a box since Kristy was gone for the evening and Logan was in bed. So I sat down and watched one of my new favorite TV shows. I was watching Primetime: What Would You Do? The show is about setting up everyday scenarios and then capturing people's reactions on camera. They have actors portray some difficult situations to see if the people around (who are not in on it) would be willing to stand up and act or mind their own business, John QuiƱones reports on their split-second and often surprising decision-making process.



The show gives me hope that there are people that are willing to stand up and do something. These people are incredibly brave and I admire all of them that do something. I don't know how I would act in some of these situations but after watching this show I will think twice and hopefully act. You can see more situations and read up on them here.

So maybe the world is not filled with people who tailgate others.

May 21, 2010

From the Soap Box: Jerks who Tailgate

Day 202

Last night I was driving over to my dad's to work and it was around 11:00 at night. For the last 3 miles I was tailed by some inconsiderate jerk who tailgated me right to my dad's house.

I already knew who it was since I have been tailgated a few times heading to my dad's. And sure enough it was this lousy neighbor that was tailing me once again.


Every time I got to a stop sign he would at first keep his distance when he had to stop but then he had to catch up and ride my butt the rest of the time. It was not like I was driving my car like an old lady. I was going just above the speed limit but that was not good enough for this dork. He could have passed me easily, there is a long stretch of road that he could have but he decided it would be best to make sure that he could see my bumper. I don't care if there isn't any other cars on the road or that it was 11:00 at night. I will obey the law and get to my destination safely. If you want to speed, be my guest, you can go ahead and pass me.

As I turned into my dad's street I rolled my eyes because I knew it was that stupid neighbor up the street and I knew he would be RIGHT behind me as I pulled over. I quickly veered out of the way and as he passed by I showed him a sign of displeasure. I know, I know, very mature right? But that is my cross to bear. As he passed by he gunned his car and drove to the house on the corner about half a block up. He screeched into his driveway as I got out of my car.


As I was walking up the walk to my dad's house I noticed that he was walking toward me. He must have seen me "wave" as he passed by. I opened the screen door and looked over and he was definitely heading over. I was about to knock on the door but instead I turned to the guy and waited for the guy to get closer. He saw that I was just waiting for him and he stopped and walked back to his car. I stayed and watched him go into his house before I went inside.

Maybe I just don't understand the mentality of those that like to tailgate others. Are they just trying to keep me safe by driving real close to make sure I am paying attention. Do they get a thrill in doing it? Do they really think that shredding 13 seconds off of their commute will really impact their life? I mean that is an extra 6 and a half minutes saved a month!

I cannot stand tailgaters. I am positive that these are the same people that beat their pets and talk during movies. The same people that drive like they own the road, the same people that don't pick up their dog crap and just leave it on your lawn. The same inconsiderate and uninformed people that bandwagon sports team and political stances. The same people that throw their cigarette butts out their car window and the same people that call Family Guy the funniest show on TV  (OK, now I am just being cruel here). They are the same people that think their farts don't stink.

Well, guess what? Your farts DO stink.


And just for your information. I have insurance and a crappy car. So if you want to hit me from behind when I slam on my brakes because you are tailgating, go for it!

May 20, 2010

Star Wars Kids

Day 201

When I lived in Canada my family and I were all alone. We didn't have any extended family around us. In fact we didn't have any other family members in the whole country.

So we would take extended vacations down in Utah that would last a couple of weeks. We would try to squeeze in as much family as we could during our small space of time and one of my favorite thing to do was to visit my Case cousins in Orem.

I have a lot of fond memories of their house in Orem. It has the coolest balcony (that was huge!) and they had a nice backyard. When we got older we could walk down to the 7-11 to get slurpees and buy comics.

One day we were down visiting we were putting together a Star Wars puzzle (based on the poster below) and of course Jeremy, Josh and I were beside ourselves. I mean this is Star Wars we are talking about!


And my poor sister had to bear the brunt of our obvious Star Wars love. Jennifer also loved Star Wars but she was older and therefore more mature about it. You can tell from the following picture that she was slightly annoyed. I love the look of my sister in this picture.


All I remember about this is that we were all searching for Princess Leia's gun. And we would pick each piece up and tell Jennifer what it was and then put it down randomly. I think the gun was only just one or two pieces.


I am pretty sure that Jeremy, Josh and I eventually got bored and ran outside to play Star Wars much to my sister's relief. She was a good sport though and was not averse to playing Star Wars herself.

May 19, 2010

Day 200!

Day 200

I am a little bummed. I should be celebrating my 200th Blog post but instead I am bummed out.

On the 14th and 28th day of each month I account for my goals and if you haven't noticed it is the 19th today and I still have not posted my Day(s) of Reckoning for May yet. And that is why I am bummed.

So now that it is close to the halfway point of this year I thought it would be good to see where I am at in relation to my goals. 

WRITING

1) Finish and publish my novel "The Vessel"


Not good. I have completed the novel but I am nowhere near being able to get it published. And to make matters even worse, that special code that NaNoWrMo provided to get my novel published has expired. So even if I was done I still failed at completing this goal and that is why I am feeling a little bummed.

But there is still a silver lining. I wrote a book. A complete book from start to finish and it was over 65,000 words. How many people have done that? It was still a great experience and I appreciate all those that helped me with this. I will still finish it up and get it ready to publish.

2) Plot my novel for next November's NaNoWrMo

I have not even started with this yet but I do have some story ideas. I think the one I would like to work on is tentatively called "Blood Mine" and it deals with vampires during the old west. And it is not nice or romantic. It plays more on themes of religion and horror. Nice mix right? Right now this takes priority for my writing goal.
3) Try ScriptFrenzy


CONQUERED! I participated in this and wrote a comic book script titled "Alpha Flight: Dark Reign" and I am pretty happy with it.

4) Update my Banshee Blog

I have updated it but not monthly. But I still have updated it. I do plan on doing some updates.

READING


1) Read a novel once a month

WINNER! So far at least. I should be finishing up my 5th novel this month and I am actually starting my 6th one instead. I have read "Beat the Reaper", "Crooked Little Vein", "Veeps", "Bret Hart: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling" and "Comic Creators on Spider-Man" and I am starting "Shogun".

ART
1) Work on Queen art for blog

Nothing. I have done some art but nothing for my other blog. We'll see how the rest of the year goes.

EATING RIGHT/EXERCISE


1) Exercise daily except for weekends
2) Watch what I eat

I have been exercising a lot more than I did before I made this goal. And I think I look slimmer and a lot more tone. I have only missed a handful of days so success! Eating right I am still struggling with but I am a lot more careful with what I eat and how much I eat. So I still have some work but I think I am heading in the right direction.

OTHER GOALS
1) Practice my bass guitar
2) Learn Greek

I have not played my bass in awhile but last weekend I got the bug to do something musically creative. My cousin is in a band and I was on his Facebook page and listening to the music and it really motivated me to try my hand and do something musically. So I will practice my bass and maybe try to write some songs and I will probably join my church choir since I like to sing.

I still would like to learn Greek and I am proud to say that I know what "CTR" is in Greek. I wear a Greek CTR (Choose the Right) ring on my pinkie to remind me how I should live my life but I never knew what the Greek alphabet was. Now I know, it is Delta, Tau, Sigma. So I am learning Greek!

I guess I shouldn't be too bummed. I completed more than I thought I did and I still have 6 months to get the rest done.

May 18, 2010

The Bee of Death

Day 199

Bugs don't bug me all that much. I have a lot more sympathy for bugs now than I used to. When I first moved to Utah I was surprised by the amount of insects are around. It is not like we didn't have bugs in Canada since we certainly did but we just didn't have the amount we have here. And I used to kill every single spider and every single bug that came into my house. Now I am a little more tamer, I usually let the smaller spiders live so they can get rid of all the other bugs. All other invading bugs I will usually scoop up and just throw them out of the house.


But if I see an Aragog spider (a nickname for a very large spider named after the King spider in Harry Potter) than I will kill it. I cannot sleep/walk around knowing something that looks big enough to eat me hang around the house. Wasps fall under a different category, I will kill each of those jerks inside or outside the house.


But back in the day I used to be scared of any bug. Even bees.

One time my dad was teaching my sister how to drive. She was driving our Aries and my dad was in the front with her. I was in the back seat hanging out. We were driving along just fine this nice summer day until something came in through the window. It was the Bee of Death. Or at least that is what I thought it was. As soon as I saw that it was a bee I panicked.

I immediately screamed and announced "A BEE!" as I about leaped into the front seat.

That was not good news. Jennifer was as afraid of bees as I was and I think my dad was too. At least he seemed the calmer of us. Jennifer leaned forward (while still driving) and seemed to meld with the steering wheel (like the Terminator in Terminator 2) screaming out "WHERE IS IT?" I was much too busy kicking my dad in the back of the head with my foot as I screamed "THERE'S A BEE!" while jumping over the seat. Jennifer was still driving at this point too even with all the chaos. My dad was yelling for us to calm down and pull over but it was hard to hear over all the screaming.

I have to give my sister some credit here as we didn't crash or run over any pedestrian. We parked at a 7-11 and bolted out of the car as soon as she parked it. We must have looked pretty foolish to anyone watching. Dad caught it in a slurpee cup and chucked it out of the car and drove us home.

I remember this experience like it happened just yesterday and I laugh when I think of it. It was just a poor bee. It was not like it was a wasp or hornet. I'm glad that my dad didn't kill it. He must have been influenced by Elron McKenzie.

Elron McKenzie gave a great sermon about the importance of NOT killing bugs. I have found a clip of it and I think you should listen and heed its message. You can ignore the first part with the music, that is not part of the sermon. And you can ignore the video that comes with it too, it is the message of Elron that is important and that starts at 00:27.

May 17, 2010

School Daze: Grade 4

Day 198

Ah 4th grade... ...one of my favorite grades and that is because I had a guy teacher. Guy teachers were not the norm at Sifton and I was lucky that I got a guy teacher this time in Mr. Swan.


I (2nd guy from right to left on the 2nd row) made some real good friends in this class. I was happy that I was in the same class as my best friend Alvin Tam (fourth guy going left to right on the 2nd row). I remember he was a super good artist and was very creative and we hit it off. I used to go to his grandma's house after school and play. I originally was not supposed to be in this class but something happened to my other class and I was sent a few days into the school year into Mr. Swan's class.

They added a desk to the row near the door and I sat in front of Carrie Huber. I had a pretty big crush on her throughout the year and I made every effort to make her laugh. Sometimes it worked and sometimes I went a little too far.

Even Mr. Swan agreed. Sometimes I tried to hard to be funny.

Mr. Swan was awesome. His class was a lot of fun. Reading and writing was his biggest drive and would constantly hone us in reading and writing. I remember he used to make us take Dictation and would really try to trick us. He would also read to us after lunch almost every day. And I totally remember some of the books he read to us during the year. He read "Island of the Blue Dolphins" and "The Secret of Shark Reef" to us and they instantly made an impact on me. It was in his class that I learned to love to read and to write stories.

As you can see he really drove us to read. A lot of my love for reading came from this man.

Mr. Swan was always proud of my creative writing abilities even though my hand writing was not that great. He told me that he looked forward to my stories since they were always so exciting and creative. That meant a lot to me. I wrote an Indiana Jones story called "Indiana Jones and the Lost Caverns" and even though it pretty much ripped off Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mr. Swan was impressed by my writing. I got my paper back and this was all that was on it was the word "Wow!!"

As you can see not only did Mr. Swan love my story but I had some kissing in it.

I loved learning about new things but I did struggle in one subject more than others. Surprisingly it was Art. I love Art and would take A.P. Art later on in high school but I was not a fan of construction paper-type of art. I wanted to draw, I wanted to paint, I didn't want to make cut-out snowflakes. I didn't mind doing the clay projects but everything else didn't interest me at all. I didn't know that my teacher picked up on this.

I wonder if I just sat at my desk looking blankly at the wall.

This year I also was awarded a Gold Fitness Award. The year before I got the Silver and I was so happy that I improved.


I later found out when I joined the Ukulele club that Mr. Swan could play the bass. He would bring in his huge bass and plunk along with us. He would twirl it and get fancy too. He was such a cool teacher and I remember wanting to be like him and teach also. I used to have a school desk and I would play school and I would pretend to be him.

Mr. Swan will always be one of my favorite teachers and I am thankful that he motivated me to try my hardest and get me to read.

May 16, 2010

Sunday Confessional: The Little Mermaid

Day 197

I love the Little Mermaid.


There, I said it.

I don't know why this Disney film affected me the way it did but I absolutely love this movie, I love the story and I love the music. It ranks as one of my all-time favorite movies.

I remember the first time I saw it even. It was at high school towards the end of the school year. It was in Mr. Merkley's class. It was at the end of the year and we had taken our final tests so we had nothing to do. So he put on this Disney film that I had absolutely no interest in. I planned on falling asleep but instead I was enthralled by this movie. There was just something special about it.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. You only like the Little Mermaid because of her sea shells. Before you call Chris Hansen from Dateline on me, let me debunk this little rumor.


I do admit that Ariel is cute but that is all. And the reason I think she is cute is a legit one. She was based on Alyssa Milano (who was around the same age as I was at the time) and I had a mad crush on her. Maybe that is what made me pay attention.

I bought the soundtrack along with a bootleg video while serving my LDS mission in New York. We were allowed to watch and listen to these types of music. I also remember singing the Little Mermaid loudly while walking down the street in downtown Manhattan without anyone batting an eyelash.

Kristy knows of my secret too. In fact she bought me a Little Mermaid book and candy when she went to Disneyland with her track team a few years ago.



I remember a few years ago I was working at Dutro during the afternoon shift. They were re-releasing the Little Mermaid in the theatres again and the local radio station had a contest so you could win free tickets to a couple of showings. I was sad that I missed it in the theatres the first go around so I had to win tickets. I told Andy (a friend of mine at work) to call in along with me and a few other buddies to help me win tickets. Sadly, I didn't get through and neither did my friends.

Then I heard them announce the winner on the radio and I heard my name! I did win! Andy came over to me and said he was disappointed. He was the one that got through and won me the tickets. He said that when they told him that he was the winner he put on a high voice and made me sound like a complete idiot. He told the DJ that he luved the Little Mermaid and that he (being me) would act it out all the time and that this was a dream come true! Usually the DJ's will put the announcement on the air but this time they didn't. Andy was so disappointed that I didn't sound like a fool on air!

I still listen to the Little Mermaid pretty often and I have the Broadway version as well. While I enjoy the original the most, I would love to see the Broadway version. And I am excited that next summer they are coming to Salt Lake.

May 15, 2010

Black and White Days

Day 196

This weekend was Richmond's annual Black and White Days. And it is a weekend that I look forward to ever since I moved to Richmond years and years ago. We just got back from the parade.

Let me first give you a little history of what Black and White Days are and why it has a special meaning to me.

The very first Holstein (cows for those that don't know) show in Richmond was held in 1912. Local dairymen drove their best Holsteins into town and they were judged by a panel judges and they picked out the best cattle. A short break in 1913-14 was due to a national emergency caused by hoof-and-mouth disease. By 1915, though, the disease had been stopped and the show resumed. Since then, the show has continued uninterrupted.  As the cattle show and sale continued to grow, other events were added to the celebration. Carnival rides, food vendors, footraces, and a parade were incorporated. The Saturday evening horse pull now caps the week-long event.

Every year the parade would go right past my house and I have only missed a few parades in the last 22 years. In fact, I think I only missed a couple when I was living in New York. And the parade itself is not what made it fun. It was fun seeing neighbors and family. And as the years have passed on, seeing those old neighbors and family members make it much more special. Sometimes that might be the only time I get to see them.

The parade usually attracts a lot of older cars. Our neighbor's, the Derr's always have a car to show.

One year my Uncle Kurt was in charge of putting the parade together. He asked for my help and I assisted him in painting lines and numbers at the beginning of the parade route so every float and participant knew where to line up. I had a date that evening and she was in the parade. She was one of Smithfield's (another town close by) Royalty. I saw which spot she was supposed to be in so I painted her a special message.

Uncle Kurt and I chatting at the parade with my sister in the forefront.

And this is why Black and White Days was awesome when I younger. My friend Damond and I would always get dates for that day. We would pick them up and bring them to my house so they could watch the parade and then we would have dinner (BBQ) either at my house or at Damond's house. And then we would go watch the Horse Pulls that evening. Now you may be asking what the heck Horse Pulls are and they are exactly what they sound like. Farmers would bring their strongest horses and they would have a competition to see whose horses were the strongest. They would pull these huge concrete barrels and they would have to pull them a certain distance. Damond and I would take our dates to see this competition. We would bring a blanket to sit on and we would pick a set of horses and see if they would win. Now this may sound boring but Damond and I had ulterior motives for taking a date to the Horse Pulls. The Horse Pulls themselves were actually quite intense. These horses were so big and strong. And they would get pretty psyched to pull weight and sometimes the horses would just go so you had to be careful if they came your way. It seemed interesting to me that these horses themselves were competitive.

But the best part for going to the Horse Pulls was being with a girl on a date. Damond and I would take a girl that we really thought was special. The Horse Pulls went right into the evening and sometimes really late in the evening and it would get a little cool when the sun went down. So we would get a couple of blankets and sit with our date under the blankets. And just maybe you might be able to snuggle a bit with your date.

Yes, THAT is the only reason to go to the Horse Pulls at night. I took a date almost every year and some were better than others. Afterwards, we would head back to my house or to Damond's and have some ice cream and play some games. Some of my favorite dates were these ones.

Our parade even has a representative from the Galactic Empire. I didn't know if I should salute or not.

Here is Logan sharing some candy with his cousin Jessica

After I was married, I still came back to Black and White Days, especially for the parade. And now Kristy's sister comes too. And since we all have small children it is even better. It is so fun to watch the cute little kids go after candy. I trained Logan early on to smile cutely and wave at the girls so he could get some candy.

Like I said, some cute kids.

The month of May is one of my favorite months since we have Black and White Days and usually an Anhder Reunion. It is good to see family and visit with them. I have a great family.

May 14, 2010

List-Mania: Totally Awesome 80's Songs

Day 195

I grew up as a child in the best decade ever being the 80's. It was then that I formed my own personality and my own tastes. Even before I entered the 80's decade I loved music and was raised on a plethora of different styles of music and I have my parents to thank for that.

The first tape (yes, a cassette tape, I was modern for my age) was the self-titled Honeymoon Suite tape and I remember playing that tape over and over again.

The '80s had it all. Whatever style of music you liked, there was something for you. Listening to 80's music is therapeutic to me too. It takes me back to my childhood and those good times. I even have TimeLife's full Sounds of the Eighties collection. All 30 of them!

It is hard to pick which songs of the '80s were my favorites so I decided to let my iPod decide it. I looked into my Cheesy 80's playlist and sorted them by how many times I have played them. I didn't include any Queen or U2 since I already covered them in a separate List-Mania. I am sure that I am missing some songs but I think generally my iPod nailed it.

These songs ARE the 80's to me.

5) In Your Room -The Bangles

I admit that I liked the Bangles a lot because I was crushing on Susanna Hoffs. Time hasn't changed a thing. I still dig Susanna Hoffs and listen to the Bangles a ton. She also has a project with Matthew Sweet called Under the Covers where they cover old 60's and 70's songs. Excellent stuff. This is my favorite song of theirs, just a catchy, cheesy pop song. Which is exactly what the 80's were.



4) U Got the Look - Prince

My sister was more into Prince than I was but I admit these was something intriguing to his music. This song he teams with Sheena Easton is perfect dance/rock song.



3) Overkill - Men at Work

I love Men at Work. I remember driving to the United States from Canada for summer vacation and w would listen to Business as Usual until the tape wore out. They had such a unique sound, something I have never heard again. This song came from their second album "Cargo" and it was a departure from their normally happy pop music. If you like this song you should check out Colin Hay's acoustic version. Much more haunting and intimate.



2) Summer Rain - Belinda Carlisle

I am sensing another trend here. Three of my top 5 songs have some girl that I crushed on. Belinda Carlisle really nails this song. This song strikes a chord for those people out there who have had to say good-bye to someone they love never to see them again. It is just a beautiful song, I love it when pop/rock songs incorporate strings.



1) One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head

Does this surprise anyone? Decades before I was part of the musical Chess I loved this song. It was something unique and nothing like anything else playing. I had no idea at the time that it was part of a concept album that later turned into a musical. After my LDS mission I began to listen to a lot of musical stuff and I picked this one up and I am glad I did.

HONORABLE MENTION:
New Girl Now - Honeymoon Suite

I loved this song and I still do. Sure it is cheesy but that doesn't change anything. I still love it.

May 13, 2010

The Lake Alice Adventure

Day 194

By now you should know that I am not much of a camper but I will venture into the wilderness every once in awhile. This time it was back when I was in 9th-10th grade and we went out as a Scout Troop to Lake Alice in Wyoming.

Now I was not much of a Scout either. I would rarely attend meetings but I thought this week sounded pretty fun so I decided to go. Most of the guys in my church ward were going and it did sound like a lot of fun.

The trip to Lake Alice seemed to take forever and we were all rowdy. I felt bad for Tavis's dad who volunteered to drive and come with. We must have drove him nuts. He was especially cranky when it came to all the road work. We would be driving maybe 2 miles an hour as they paved a new road. The heat was already unbearable but add fresh asphalt to the mix and we were getting all cranky.

But we finally got to Lake Alice and it was nice and cool. It was a real beautiful area. It was about a 2 mile hike to get to the lake so we had to carry our canoes the whole way. We left the canoes up there so we didn't have to drag them up to the lake everyday. Lake Alice was created by a massive landslide resulting in a lake that is three miles long and over 200 feet deep. Rumor has it that Lake Alice got its name from a little girl named Alice that drowned in the lake.

The first night didn't help my attitude about camping. It rained that night and day and unfortunately Damond and I put up our tent right in the middle of a depression so our tent and stuff was fully flooded. It took almost the whole night to get my pillow dry as I sat by the campfire. But as time went on I began to enjoy my time at Lake Alice.

One of the things we did was we made a homemade zip line. It worked really well and went down a rocky embankment down about thirty feet. We used a branch/log to hold on to while we zipped down until Dusty broke it. It wasn't his fault really, the rope burned through the wood and made it weak and he crashed down onto the rocks making a horrible wet thumping noise. His back was really scraped up.

But the thing I remember the most about this trip was the bear. Or the moose. Maybe it was just a deer. Or maybe it was Sasquatch or the Wendigo. We don't know what the heck that thing was.


We were up at the lake doing some fishing and it became quite dark. The leaders were back at camp and all of us scouts were up at the lake. It got so dark that we could barely see the shoreline as we canoed in. Suddenly up by the shore we saw this large black shadow moving toward the lake. And it stopped right where we come up onto shore! We couldn't tell what it was, the only thing we knew was that it was HUGE. We paddled closer and we shined our flashlights at it and then we caught its eyes. These yellow eyes that stared back at us. And each yellow eye was far apart from the other so this creature must have been huge. Tavis began to paddle closer saying "It's just a deer, it's just a deer!" and then he would suddenly change his mind and paddle right back out yelling, "That's a bear! That's gotta be a bear!" He repeated this a couple of more times. "Okay, I think it is a baby moose." And he would paddle in closer. And sure enough we would get closer and he would paddle back quickly, "That's a freaking bear!" Damond started to throw his fish guts at it which didn't make sense to me. He wanted to scare the creature away and if it was a bear, why would you throw fish at it, essentially feeding it?

Finally it left and we paddled to the shore and quickly got our stuff together. Tyler took the fish and said he would carry them for us and lead us down the trial. He would throw the fish at the bear (if we came across one) and we would then run. The rest of us scouts armed ourselves with paddles. And we ran almost the whole way home. I don't think I have ever gone 2 miles more quickly than I did that night. And we sang songs, anything to to be loud and get our minds off of being eaten by some horrible creature of the night. We got back to camp safely and the first thing our leaders asked us was why we carried the paddles back to camp.

By the time we came home I think everyone was tired of everyone else. Spending a week together was more than some could handle and our leaders were really happy to come home. I think they got tired of our endless chatter and pranks and doing stupid stuff. One of our leaders was getting frustrated with our trailer of canoes, he kept trying to line them up and was about to lose it. He couldn't tell from his rear view mirror if he was backing up correctly so he decided to roll down his window and look out himself. Tyler knew he was going to do this so he rolled down his window (he was sitting right behind him) and stuck his head out just as our leader looked back. Tyler scared the crap out of him and our leader was so mad. I don't think we dared talk or laugh for at least an hour after.