Jun 30, 2010

School Daze: The Bully

Day 242

I was bullied in school quite a bit, especially grades 7-9. Those grades were absolutely hell for me and part of me doesn't even want to cover those years in this blog. When grade 10 rolled around I was surrounded by good friends and most of those bullies that bullied me had either matured a bit or moved on to other things.

Remember what happened to this bully?

In the 11th grade I managed to fight off my last bully for good. For some unknown reason this stupid kid with his stupid permed hair started to pick on me. I did my best to ignore him but he just kept on going. I remember during the winter he would always tackle me and throw me in the snow. This constantly went on and I just learned to deal with it. It was humiliating that I was in the 11th grade and I was being bullied by this preppy sophomore. So I decided to fight back.

This unfortunately worked both ways. He liked that I would fight back, it made him more sneaky in catching me off guard. But when I got the better of him all it did was make him mad and the incidents felt like they doubled.

So I took the initiative. I was walking through the Student Center and I spotted him walking towards the steel doors to get inside. I knew that if he saw me I would get harassed so I decided to get him before he got me. I ran to the steel doors and timed opening them perfectly. He was about to grab the handles and open the door when I tossed the door open hard.

I hit him square in the face with the door. The force knocked him to the floor and he immediately grasped his nose which was spitting out gobs of blood. He got up angrily and looked like he was going to tackle me when my friend came from behind me laughing and said "You want Matt to give you more than that?" I stood my ground and stared him down silently. He backed off and went to the bathroom.

I have to admit that I feared for my life for the rest of the day but I never saw or heard him. And I never had to deal with him again. I had a couple of classes with him and he was still a bit of a jerkhole but he never touched me again.

Sometimes you just have to take a stand. Like Marty's dad did to Biff in Back to the Future.

Jun 29, 2010

Book Review: The Final Season

Day 241

I finally read Bill Parcells biography on his final season with the New York Jets. Being a fan of Bill Parcells and the Jets I have always wanted to read this book. I have read a few chapters here and there while at a library or at a bookstore but I have never read it from cover to cover.

To say that I enjoyed the book is an understatement. But unfortunately it also brought back bad memories. The year before had been one of the best seasons. The Jets were in the AFC Championship only to lose to the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Denver Broncos. But this season the Jets loaded up and were heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl.

But then tragedy hit. Quarterback Vinny Testeverde was lost for the season. And that was just the beginning of one of the most challenging and difficult seasons the New York Jets had to go through. They lost a respected owner and the team was selling. Injuries mounted and Coach Parcells questioned himself.

Through all the adversity, the Jets did manage to get to 8-8 which is exceptional since they started the season 2-6.

All through the book Coach Parcells is incredibly honest. There are many example of him calling out players for work ethic, admitting he made mistakes and critiquing those around him. But he also takes what he gives out. He was willing to do anything to help the Jets organization and often swallowed his pride to do so.

One of the strangest things to come out of the Jets was when Parcells retired. He was ready to retire but before he did he made sure that the New York Jets organization was taken care of. His then Defensive Coordinator, Bill Belichick was supposed to take over as Head Coach of the New York Jets as soon as Parcells stepped down. Belichick even accepted a million dollar bonus to stay with the Jets for another year while he waited for Parcells to step down but instead he took the owner's money and then stabbed him in the back. When Parcells stepped down, Belichick had a press conference where he announced his resignation. Parcell and the Jets had a contract with him and if he decided to quit, he would not be allowed to coach for the remainder of the contract, which was another 3 years.  Parcells was unhappy with Bill for sure but he swallowed his pride and reached out to his old owner and football team (the New England Patriots wanted Belichick as their coach) and they came to an agreement. Parcells could have told the Jets brass to hold off and Belichick would have been stuck but Parcells did it for the betterment of the NFL.

I guess if Parcells can forgive Belichick and move on, I can too.

Okay, that was my last poke at Belichick

Like him or hate him, you have to admire and respect Parcells. And after reading this book, I have gained even more respect for the man. He knows what he wants and doesn't keep it a secret. Not only does this go over the whole season in terms of wins and losses, you also get his opinion on the state of the NFL. You also get to see how coaching affects him personally.

I you love football, you will love this book. If you are a fan of the New York Jets, this is a must-read.

Now I am off to finish my Tom Petty book.

Jun 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Matt!

Day 240

Happy Birthday to me!

Yup, it is my birthday and I am already feeling much better than yesterday and the day before. Eventually I will blog about what happened but right now I would rather dwell on the positive and kick the negative to the curb.

I would like to give a special shout-out to all those that called, e-mailed, Facebooked and contacted me wishing me a happy birthday. I appreciate it all. I have a fantastic set of family and friends.

My Aunt Margo always sends a homemade card with her artwork.

My day started like it has for the last couple of days. I have woken up all hot and muggy, not my favorite thing to wake up too. And it is not hot flashes like some might think, I just am not friends with the heat like I am with the cold. I was happy for the cool morning and I took off to go work at my Dad's. My dad wished me a Happy Birthday and gave me one of the greatest birthday cards you can get. He went to the store and was looking all over for a perfect card and just couldn't find one. Then he found one but was taken back by how much it cost. It was around $4 and my dad thought that money would be better spent. So he bought me these two HUGE boxes of Junior Mints (larger than the ones you get at the movies) and put a note in between. He said he would rather have four dollars worth of Junior Mints than a four dollar card! I am finding out that my dad and I are a lot alike. We ate some cinnamon rolls and I was only there for a few hours. He gave me a few hours off for my birthday!

I came home and promptly went out for a run. It was already getting warm but I wanted to take advantage of the coolness of the morning. So I went out thinking I would have a terrible time running. I was already very tired (I didn't sleep all that good because of the heat) and I have not been out since last Thursday. Surprisingly, my run went very well and I lasted a lot longer than I thought I would.

My mom came over later in the evening to watch Logan (he wanted to spend time with Grandma Platis instead of going out to eat as a family) and she got me a wonderful gift. An autobiography on Larry H. Miller, a prominent Utah businessman and former owner of the Utah Jazz. We managed to convince Logan to go out to eat and we all went to the Beehive Grill. We came home and Kristy and I went out birthday shopping. I couldn't decide what to get but I did manage to come home with a box of Otter Pops. Man, I have been craving those like nothing else. We ate cake and ice cream and Kristy and Logan got me a neat birthday gift. Something I never thought I would be happy to get and something I am sure Kristy never thought she would get me.

Yay! New shoes!

I got a new pair of running shoes! And they look killer and feel so light. I cannot wait to try them out. I am sure Kristy is on cloud nine, finally after a decade of trying, she has got me running. I still don't like it all that much but I see the benefit.

Now you can see how big of box those Junior Mints are!

I also got a nice unexpected message from a friend of mine from long, long ago. A couple of days ago I blogged about my 5th grade and I mentioned another blog I wrote about a certain experience that I regret. This person sent me a message telling me not to worry about. She didn't remember the incident at all. It was nice to have that burden lifted.

So all in all I had a nice day. Again, I appreciate the kind words and birthday wishes.

Jun 27, 2010

Worst Post Ever!

Day 239

I had a terrible unfortunate thing happen to me yesterday that has really put a damper on me. I thought about blogging about it but I am just not in the mood to do it. I am not in the mood to do anything, in fact that is just what I am in the mood to do.


Nothing at all.

Nothing at all!

Yes, the Simpson are that much a part of my life. Only true fans will get the picture above.

 I can even hear Comic Book Guy's voice in the background saying "Worst Post Ever!"

He looks like how I feel.

Jun 26, 2010

Random Ramblings

Day 238

I just finished watching the USA lose its World Cup game. I thought that they played pretty well, I just wish they played the way they did in the 2nd half the whole game. That 1st half really did us in. So far my first experience watching the World Cup has been a fun one. More than likely I will watch it again when that time comes around. For the time being I see myself being more of a casual fan than a hardcore one.

It has been quite warm the last couple of days. I am not a fan of the heat and I particularly hate the first hot days of summer. My body is not used to the heat and I think I am going to die. I almost set up my air conditioner last night but like usual, my laziness won out. And now I am regretting it.

My birthday is in a few days.... HINT HINT

I cannot wait for the new NFL season. It just can't come soon enough for this Jets fan. Usually every year I will pick up the new Madden game but more than likely I will have to skip it for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is pretty expensive and I don't think I can afford to plunk down 50 bucks. Secondly, I was a bit disappointed in the Wii version. It had some neat aspects to it but it is definitely for the casual fan, something that I am not. I would love, love to have the PS3 and have that version but if I cannot afford 50 bucks I definitely cannot afford to pick up a PS3. They do have the new Madden for the PS2 that I am tempted to pick up but it only features a roster update and no new features. Still, I think it will be a better game than the Wii version.

Speaking of the NFL, I am looking forward to doing some blog columns here making my season predictions and then doing weekly columns with my picks for the game. I used to write NFL yearbooks previewing the seasons but I have not done that for years. Doing an NFL blog should be fun (at least for me maybe not my readers) because I get to write about one of my favorite things and it will also take up one column a week.

Speaking of Wii games. I have to admit that I am excited to get my hands on the Harry Potter Lego game. I just love those Lego games. I would love to see a Lego Spider-Man or a Superman one. They are so dang addicting.

Today I went and picked up my first Bountiful Basket and I hope this first experience will not sour me on the whole experience. I got an e-mail last night telling me that they have changed the pickup and location times so I called my sister-in-law to warn her. Then I get a phone call this morning asking me where Kristy is. Apparently the times and locations have not changed. So stinking confusing. I had to run to Hyrum to pick up my stash and I feel very lucky they kept my baskets. I am looking forward to eating them, I got some tomatoes and avocados and no one in my family likes them!

Last night Logan and I had another Guy's Night Out for the second week in a row. Kristy was gone once again with the Young Woman overnight. Logan and I went down to see my brother-in-law Eric to play some games and then we came home. We stopped by to get some burgers and then I had some errands to run in the evening. We didn't have time for a Star Wars movie, we only had time for a few Simpsons episodes.

I finally found a book I really want to read!

Logan and I also went to the library yesterday and I found a couple of books that I am excited to read. I picked up an autobiography on Tom Petty and also one on Bill Parcell's last season as the New York Jets coach. So I guess I cannot complain that I am bored. I have a ton of reading to do.

I am really enjoying this new album, Mojo, from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. A lot more bluesy than his other work. I wish he was coming to Utah.

Well, I cannot think of anything else to talk about. Guess that means I am done.

Jun 25, 2010

List-Mania: Tom Petty Songs

Day 237

I was not sure what to blog about until I turned on my iTunes. I just recently got Tom Petty's new album Mojo (which is fantastic!) and thought I should continue my List-Mania tradition of posting my favorite bands and what my favorite songs of theirs are. A few months ago I put together a couple of List-Mania columns listing my favorite Queen and U2 songs and today in honor of the new album, I am listing my favorite Tom Petty songs.

I have always known Tom Petty and have been familiar with most of his music throughout my life but it wasn't until the release of Full Moon Fever that I really became a fan of his. The first song I heard of his was his duet with Stevie Nicks and I kinda dug that song. I next saw his freaky video for Don’t Come Around Here No More, (which was a play on Alice in Wonderland and the memorable ending with them all eating cake which was Alice). I liked the song but never totally got into Petty until I heard the song I Won’t Back Down. I bought that album (Full Moon Fever) and picked up his next album and also his collaborations with the Traveling Wilburys.

Since then I have picked up every single album that he has come out with faithfully. I was quite excited to hear that he was coming on tour and he made a stop in Salt Lake City to support his The Last DJ album.
I prefer his solo stuff but his collaborations with the Heartbreakers, The Traveling Wilbury's and Mudcrutch cannot be ignored. He proves you do not have to have a great voice to be a great musician.
5) Walls

There are two versions of this song and I really like this one because it is more upbeat. Originally, Lindsay Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac) offered his voice to this song but I could not find it anywhere. This live version works just as well. The lyrics of this song really strikes me especially the part even walls fall down. Good words to live by.
4) Don't Come Around Here No More

Tom Petty sure can do some creepy videos. This was the first song that Tom made that got my attention. I love the lyrics, there are times that I wish I could say this to people. I also love to play this song on my bass. When I think of the Mad Hatter, I think of Tom Petty and I just love how sinister he gets the longer this video goes. I just got an autobiography on Tom Petty and I hope he explains this video and song.
3) Wildflowers

This is not the official video, this song was not released as a single. Everything about this song is just gorgeous. The melody, the lyrics and the fine guitar work.
2) I Won't Back Down

The song that started it all. My mom introduced me to the Traveling Wilbury's and I loved them. C'mon, who wouldn't love a supergroup with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison? They guested (along with Ringo Starr) on this song. I love the message and I love the guitars on this.
1) Last Dance With Mary Jane

I still love this song even though the video is so creepy. The guitar riff and the harmonica blend so perfectly and gives this song a hardened edge even though the song is kinda tender.
I am never disappointed in Tom Petty and his music. It is uplifting and at times just plain out rocks.

Jun 24, 2010

School Daze: Grade 5

Day 236

Grade Five was probably one of my favorite grades of all my school years. Surprisingly I don't have that many memories of the fifth grade probably because it melds right into my sixth grade since I had the same wonderful teacher in Ms. Archer.

I don't think we had a class picture this year or at least I didn't get one. We only had a yearbook which is now very beaten up.

CONFESSION TIME: I had to alter these pictures with Photoshop because I ranked each one of my classmates with either a star, check mark or an "X". I don't want to offend anyone here.

What made this class so special was that it had one row of 6th graders and the rest was 5th graders. I really wanted to be a sixth grader and be like these guys. I thought they were so cool. It added a unique atmosphere to the class. What I enjoyed the most about having the sixth graders in my class is that I had a major crush on one of them. All I can remember about her is that she wore this awesome "Men at Work" t-shirt that I thought she looked so darn good in. Unfortunately that also led to one of my biggest regrets. I tried way too hard to get her to like me.

One of the things that I remember strangely enough is that Ms. Archer had a huge row of books above the cubbyholes. So if we didn't have a book to read during reading time we could get one of those. Towards the end of the 5th grade we would write and hide notes in one of the books on that shelf for other classmates. This was how we found out who likes who and how much. The problem with this system is that you would just watch to see who placed what note in what book. But it was way too much fun to stop and think about it.

Ms. Archer turned out to be my favorite teacher through Sifton. What I liked about her was that she was very patient, funny and was deeply concerned about her students. I have shared this story here on the blog but I think I will share it again. I felt that Ms. Archer cared more about me as a person than by 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 but for some stupid reason 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. After 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 with my grades but she was so concerned about me. What she did that day will stay with me for as long as I live.

I don't think it tastes like soap at all. More like Sen-Sens.

One thing that I remember about Ms. Archer is that the smell of Thrills gum made her sick. I love this gum and would chew it often after lunch but would always spit it out when I got back to class. One time I chewed it on purpose to make her sick and all it really did was make her mad. And she caught me and made me do a special essay.

One of the things she would do to make us quiet was institute the Traveling Essay. Whoever would speak last or make a noise last would get the essay. Fortunately I never got the Traveling Essay, unfortunately I didn't need to get the Traveling Essay since I got essays assigned to me on my own.

Now I know where Logan gets it from. I didn't know I was such a talker but so far all of my teachers have agreed. At least I was polite about it. It is really surprising that I never got that Traveling Essay.

We had a new principal of the school named Mr. Chester. And we didn't like him at all. He issued a rule that stated that all students were not allowed to pick up snow during recess. Of course we ignored this rule, how could you not ignore this rule when you had to go out for recess during the winter? We didn't throw snowballs at other kids but one time we were throwing snow outside. We were just seeing how far we could throw. One of our classmates saw us do this and she turned us in and he yelled at us like nothing else. His face got all red and looked like it was ready to explode. I thought for sure I was going to get the strap. He was such a jerk.

We were at the library one time and our Librarian was instructing us on what reference materials were. Ms. Archer told us what an almanac was and asked us to think of something we could look up. Michele (a nice girl but one we all thought was a bit off) asked Ms. Archer if she could look up sex. Ms. Archer didn't bat an eyelash. She opened the book and said she would see if there was anything new about sex we could find out. I remember looking over at Alvin and giggling about it. As if we knew what sex was anyway.

Our school had an indoor Floor Hockey League. We would have games before and after school and we would have a mix of 5th and 6th graders. We were named after the newest hockey team in the NHL, the New Jersey Devils. I really admired our Team Captain (I cannot remember his name, for some reason I want to call him Rusty) and we had a decent team but we were not loaded with talent like the Blackhawks were. I didn't think we could beat the Blackhawks but we did. And after a month or so, our team was in the school championship. The school decided to have the game at the end of the day and all the students were invited to attend. I was the only one in our class that was on one of the two teams fighting for the school championship. Ms. Archer was so cool enough that about an hour or so before the game she allowed us to make signs for the game to support me.

We won the game and I even scored a goal! We crushed our opponent 4-1. I usually played as a defender but my Team Captain wanted me to play Left Wing and so I did and that is when I scored the goal.

Every year in elementary school we would participate in the Canada Fitness Program and we would be awarded for how well we did. This year I was awarded the Platinum Canadian Fitness Award. The highest award you can get. The hardest part was the Endurance Run which we were all forced to do. Looking back that was probably what made me a fan of running. Still, I am glad that Canada made its students exercise.

One of the things that I really liked about Ms. Archer's class was creative writing. She usually had us write our own stories. One of my favorite stories to write was called "Teacher for a Day".  We would write what it would be like for us to substitute our own class. We could write serious or funny stuff, really whatever we wanted to write. She encouraged us to be as creative as we wanted to be. Writing was one of my favorite things to do in her class.

I was fortunate enough to have Ms. Archer again the next year. Which is why I am having a tough time remembering what happened in what year. I cannot remember if it was this year or the next that I joined the Ukulele club. I have a feeling it was this year since Mrs. Miller taught it and I had a different music teacher the next year. Hmmmm... I guess I will blog about that next time.

Jun 23, 2010

Matt at Work: Dutro Days

Day 235

After I joined the musical Chess, I needed to get a new job. Practices were Tuesday and Thursday nights and those were my big days working for Action and MotorCargo trucks. And I had Friday nights off so I would only be working two days a week and my boss was not a fan of that. So I had to find a new job and luckily I got one pretty quickly thanks to my dad.

I really like their camping stoves.

He was working at a place called Dutro making and shipping Camp Chef gas stoves. There were a couple of things that made this job fantastic, at least in the beginning. I had great hours, from 2 in the afternoon until 8 in the evening and I only worked Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. Until my schedule changed once the musical actually started. The pay was not as great as it was working as a lumper but at least I had a job. One of the great things is that I got to see my dad a work for a couple of hours. I also got to work with a bunch of guys that were mine own age and they were really nice guys.

The job was basically a lot of grunt and assembly work. We would assemble stoves and box them and get them ready to ship. It was a lot of line assembly work but at least it varied from night to night. Some nights were easy and some nights were hard work. But still it was a lot of fun because of the people I was working with. No one knew that I was Paul's son when I was hired except for my boss Phil and Shane my supervisor. I would ask all the workers there what they thought of Paul and I was proud to hear that they all liked him and wished he ran more of the day-to-day stuff of the plant. I was glad to hear that my dad was an excellent boss and worker.

It was at this point that I was also going to school at Utah State University and where I met my soon-to-be wife. And I would marry her while I was at this job. It was good for school since I used the opportunity I had working with the mayor of Franklin to interview him for the paper. The summers were pretty good too working there. It was ten hour days but it was good to make some decent money during the summer.

But like all good things, this came to an end and it spiraled rather quickly when they hired a new guy to run the lines. But more on that later.

But first lets talk about the good things. It was a lot of fun working with my dad. I rarely saw him as it were and it was nice to see him daily. We would chat for a couple of minutes before I was off working. Sometimes I would help the day shift but most times I would either help the UPS shipping department or be stuck on my own working until more of the night shift came in. My direct supervisor Shane was a great guy to work with and I would later become his neighbor when I got married and lived in the trailer court on campus. The night crew was a lot of fun to work with. We would be always laughing and playing jokes on each other. One of the things we had to do while assembling stoves was to test the gas tubes that connect the propane to the stove itself. I usually would leave the tubes a little loose so gas would escape. When someone would turn on the gas and test it with a lighter... KABOOM! No one would really get hurt, it was just a minor explosion.

One time Legrand and I had made these thick plastic balls made out of plastic wrap (the stuff you wrap pallets of product with) and we would try to knock each other out with them. One day I was really taking it to my friend Legrand I was hitting him left and right. But eventually he got his revenge. He waited until my arms were full of papers before he let loose a fireball at me. I saw it coming and I scrambled to drop my load of papers on the desk. I turned quickly to catch the ball and it hit my fingers stubbing them. Or at least I thought it just stubbed my fingers. I shook my hand because of the pain and when I looked down at my hand I wondered why my ring finger was bent and pointing the other way. My boss Shane came over (as Legrand was laughing his butt off) and saw the same thing and his face went white. My finger was dislocated! I made Legrand pop it back into place and I went back to work. We both about passed out when he put my finger back in place. It made a sickening squishy sound as it slid into place.

But like I said before, the job was too good to last. Unfortunately they hired a new line supervisor named Lamie (not his real name of course) who had all these grand ideas about how he would run the place. And management at Dutro swallowed the whole bait in one gulp. Both day and night shifts were running just fine. The problem was the other side of Dutro where we wouldn't get parts made in a timely manner. If we had product made we could easily ship out thousands of stoves.

My old time card.

Rumors of Lamie coming in and dismantling the crews and how we did things took its toll on all of us. We knew what he thought of the night crew. He didn't like us because we were smart and we didn't need any management. We were very cost effective, they could pay us cheap since we were college students and we were only part time. We also worked really hard and we put out great numbers. But all Lamie saw was a way to save some quick bucks and make him look effective. All of us saw right through all of his bull. Legrand called it right away when Lamie was first hired. Lamie would walk around and act like he owned the place. Legrand and I were talking about him one day while assembling some SS50's and Legrand made a comment that he "would never follow some dumbarse wearing a Steelers coat and sunglasses all the time". We looked behind us and Lamie was standing right there. Legrand just smiled at him and said hello. We didn't care, we knew our time was coming.

Lamie did everything he could to try to con us. He would constantly tell us that we were valuable but then we would overhear him say to Phil and my dad that he would love to get rid of us all. I shouldn't admit this but some people easily got into his files and found evidence of this all. We also found a list of workers that would get raises and those that wouldn't and why. I found out that I was given a pretty decent raise only because I was Paul's son. But not the reason you think why. Under my name the reason they gave me a raise was to make me an ally and make my dad somewhat of an ally. My dad seriously disliked what Lamie thought was best and fought against it. Lamie lost the respect of everyone on the night crew when we found this memo. And of course we told the morning crew as well.

About a month or so went by and it was summer once again. We were all on the day shift during the summer when the company decided to have a meeting about what the future of Dutro was going to be. And we all knew what was going to happen. The night crew was going to be let go. Lamie wanted everyone that was against him out of the company. That was everyone on the night crew along with my dad. In fact, my dad was not even invited to this meeting. They sat us down and told us that it was more effective to let the night crew go. And we all balked and rolled our eyes. Lamie gave some reasons why and told us that we would all have jobs elsewhere in the company and finally I had had enough. I laughed at them and asked them exactly how they figured it would be more cost effective to let us go. They didn't know what to say, all they could say was I wouldn't understand. That made me even more angry. I got up and told them all that I knew exactly what they were doing and that Lamie was a liar and I walked off.

Lamie muttered something as I walked past and I immediately turned around and got into his face. He wouldn't look at me in the face. I asked him to repeat himself and he wouldn't. He said he was not talking to me. "If you were not talking to me how come you are afraid to tell me what you said?" He then said he was not afraid of me and I asked him why he was backing down. It was pretty tense. The funny thing is that Baugh pulled me away physically and told me it was not worth it and told me we should go talk to dad. For the whole time I worked there, Baugh had never said one word to me. He was a bit of a loner and rarely spoke to anyone but because he respected my dad, he pulled me away from Lamie.

He walked me to the back entrance where my dad was. I was still angry but I was finding it funny that Baugh was pulling me away. He told my dad that I was quite brave and was quite angry at Lamie and pulled me away before I used more bad language. That made my dad and I laugh.

I never turned in my Dutro timecard. I still keep this in my wallet to remind me to not be like Lamie.

The next few weeks were very tense with all of us but I still had a job to do and I was going to do what they hired me for. That was until Lamie made another couple of stupid mistakes. He hired some new people that he had worked with before and brought them in to eventually replace us. We rarely would work with these new people but it was only a matter of time before we got to know them. I became friends with one of them and she told me that both Phil and Lamie had told her and the new people to stay away from a bunch of us. We asked who and they pointed out every worker that was on the night crew. And those other jobs Lamie promised we would have? We talked to the guy in charge of the other side of the plant and he told us he had no idea what Lamie was talking about. I knew Lamie was a liar! Any respect that we had for management was quickly zapped.

Eventually I quit and moved on to my next job. But that is for another column.

Karma does come around. It was not long before Dutro saw the error of their ways and Lamie was eventually a goner. It's too bad that he ruined a good job for all of us, It was good while it lasted.

Jun 22, 2010

The Last Days of June

Day 234

It feels like forever since I did one of these columns. And that may or may not be a good thing. It actually is not a good thing since I have been a slacker. I thought about doing away with these columns completely but then I wouldn't have anything to blog about today. So I guess some good will come out of today's blog.

So how am I doing?


I have not done ANY writing at all. My dad went through my novel a few weeks ago and had some tweaks but I have not even looked at it. Like I said, I am such a slacker. I do have some thoughts about what next to do with my Alpha Flight comic script that I wrote for April's ScriptFrenzy competition. I might do some breakdowns and practice my scriptwriting. November is coming up and will get here quicker than I think so my goal for this next month is to start plotting my novel for NaNoWrMo.


Ugh, not good. I really wish I would have said that I would read more comic books than try reading a novel/book once a month. I have really slacked off in this goal and really need to kick it into high gear. What I have learned is that I do like reading fiction. And I think it is because I already read a lot of fiction already. The books that I have gobbled down are non-fiction books and so my next book will be that. No more fiction! 

So my next book will be "Sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs : a low culture manifesto" by  Chuck Klosterman. The guy that I blogged about here and here. Those really strange questions I answered a few weeks ago? The synopsis of the book I found really intriguing.

The first book in history to examine breakfast cereal, reality television, tribute bands, Internet porn, serial killers, and the Dixie Chicks. Countless writers and artists have spoken for a generation, but no one has done it quite like Chuck Klosterman -- with an exhaustive knowledge of popular culture and a seemingly effortless ability to spin brilliant prose out of unlikely subject matter. Whether deconstructing Saved by the Bell episodes or the artistic legacy of Billy Joel, the symbolic importance of The Empire Strikes Back or the Celtics/Lakers rivalry of the 1980s, Chuck will make you think, he'll make you laugh, and he'll drive you insane -- usually all at once.
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is ostensibly about movies, sports, television, music, books, video games, and kittens...but, really, it's about us. All of us. As Klosterman realizes late at night, in the moment before he falls asleep, "In and of itself, nothing really matters. What matters is that nothing is ever 'in and of itself.'"
Yeah, that books sounds like it is right up my alley.

Exercise and Eating Right

I did the Chocolate Milk Diet for a couple of weeks and I will say that it gave me more energy and I felt like I was healthier. I don't think that it made me lose any weight but that was probably due to the fact that I am not watching what I am eating that closely. I am back on the exercise train this week and I hope it continues. This by far has been the longest I have exercised regularly. I just need to watch what I eat.

Instead of doing this column every two weeks, I think I will do it monthly. Here's to a good month!

Jun 21, 2010

Happy Belated Father's Day

Day 233

That is the major disadvantage of writing blogs in advance. You schedule things without looking at the calendar. I didn't even think about putting up a Father's Day blog since I was busy adding pictures to my Girl's Camp blog instead. And it didn't even dawn on me until later on.


I have been very blessed to have a great father in my life. You can read all about him here. It is great to have a dad that not only I work with but I can also share my life with. And eat KFC Double Down sandwiches with. And watch interesting movies and chow down on Junior Mints with. Happy Father's Day Dad! You are the best!

I had a great weekend, I was truly spoiled by Logan and Kristy. Saturday afternoon they came in to my room while I was reading and they gave me a card. On the card they had an agenda of what they wanted to do for me for Father's Day.

We went to Old Navy and I got to pick out some new shorts and some shirts. It seems like I can always find something for dirt cheap that I like at Old Navy. Then we walked over to Borders and Logan got me my annual Anthlon football magazine. Every year, for the last 10 years I have got this awesome magazine for either my birthday or Father's Day.

I wish I could choose which cover to get. I am tired of Denver every year for the last ten years. Give me some variety.

Then I got to choose where I wanted to go out and eat. But before we went, Logan wanted to surprise me by stopping by Alvey's and picking up some chocolates. Then we hit Coasta Vida and I got an awesome salad. We came home and scarfed our food and I read my football magazine.

Yesterday I was also treated to some ice cream and my favorite dinner. Like I said, I got majorly spoiled by my fam.

On Kristy's blog, she interviewed Logan about me and I am stealing that material for my blog today.

Q: Why is your dad the best?

Logan: He is strong.
(It must be my professional wrestling skills that make him think I am so strong. I am sure he will change his mind in a couple of years when he finds out the truth)

Q: What does your dad do for you that you like the best?

Logan: He helps me.
(Only when he allows me to help him)

Q: What do you think your dad does while you are at school?

Logan: Stay home and read comics and sleep and drink Mountain Dew.
(Yeah, that is pretty much the truth. I cannot deny that)

Q: What is your dad's favorite thing to say?

Logan: LOGAN!!!!
(He is so full of himself ;) )

Q: What is your dad's favorite thing to do?

Logan: Uh, to eat, mom.
(I do like to eat. I think he sees me eat more than anything)

Q: What is your dad's favorite thing to eat?

Logan: Mountain Dew.
(Yeah, that is about right)

Q: What do you think dad does when you go to bed?

Logan: He eats ice cream.
(He knows Kristy and I eat ice cream since he always finds the evidence)

Q: What scares your dad?

Logan: I don't really know, so....
(I am sure he would have said tornadoes)

Q: Does your dad ever get mad? How do you know if he is mad?

Logan: Yes. When he goes, "Stop it, you!"
(I am so glad he didn't say something to the effect of my eyebrows becoming horizontal)

Q: What does your dad do to you that makes you mad?

Logan: When he says that I can't do something. Or when he scares the crap out of me.
(I totally scared the crap out of Kristy and Logan twice while they were putting this together. No wonder he said that)

Q: What makes your dad laugh?

Logan: Funniest Home Videos.
(This is true. My favorite videos are the pranks, cats and people falling on their face)

Jun 20, 2010

Surviving Girl's Camp

Day 232

Let's just say this. If I had to do it again, I would do it in a flash with only a few minor differences. I would stay the whole time and I would make sure that I drink lots of water.

Speaking of water, I learned from Taylor that you can tell how much water you drink by how much skin you can pull from your kneecap. She told me that I don't drink enough water. I guess I have a lot of skin around my kneecap. See? I did learn something at Girl's Camp! I should have seen the signs.

I had a great time at Girl's Camp and so did Logan. Logan really should have loved all the extra attention he got. His newly buzzcut was constantly stroked by one of the girls with them telling him that he was so handsome. I would say that he was a chip off the 'ol block but he is a cut above what I brought to the table. At least he got his eye color from me.

We arrived at the cabin and quickly set it up because it was about to storm and it really rained hard. Manuel and I quickly set up some tarps to offer some protection from the rain. Then the rain stopped and we ate lunch and went out for a long hike.

It was sunny for most of our hike.

Except in the beginning where we thought the lightning might kill us before the rain drowns us.

Logan and I were not the only guys at Girl's Camp. Manuel was there also to help set up camp but we also had Anthony.

Kara, Taylor and I teased Logan as he was about to use Anthony that he should remember to flush. After Logan came out, Taylor asked Logan if he flushed and Logan just ignored her and went up the hill. After a few steps Logan turned to me and called the girls crazyheads.

It rained hard again and then disappeared as quickly as it appeared. After the hike we got back to the cabin and before dinner the girls had an activity, they gave each other pedicures.

So I guess I was not that far off with the whole makeup and painting nails. Logan and I didn't get one. They didn't offer and we didn't ask!

We ate dinner in the rain and finally the rain stopped and all the girls came out to make smores and roast Starbursts. Yup, you heard me right, Starbursts. I have never tried this and being a major candy addict, I had to try it. And I have to admit they were awesome. Crunchy on the outside and creamy in the middle. We also sang a bunch of absolutely silly (but fun) songs my personal favorite being the Beaver Song.

You can't tell from this picture but it is pouring out!

I wonder who was the person who thought of roasting Starbursts and what were they thinking?

Silly dancing and singing? Check. Blackmail pictures? Check.

This was the first time I had heard any of these songs.

Logan and I doing "Beaver Time!"

That night Logan and I slept in the front room of the cabin. Manuel was out in his camper, the girls were all outside sleeping in tents and the Young Woman Leaders were in the back room. Everyone was cold but me. I think I got majorly dehydrated. Just as everyone was settling in a major thunderstorm swept through and knocked one of the girl's tents down. They came in to the cabin and Manuel said they could stay in his camper. So where did Manuel sleep? He drove home! I didn't know that was an option. I don't think I slept much that night. I got so hot that I would kick off my sleeping bag and then minutes later I would be freezing my rear off and I would snuggle in my sleeping bag. I did that all night.

I woke up early (I don't think I actually fell asleep) and got my gear all ready to go. I wanted to be awake and ready before any of the girls came into the cabin. I walked some of our gear to our car and by the time I got back most of the girls were up. We ate some fantastic crepes and then packed up and headed to Bear Lake. It was sooooo cold, at least it was for the first little bit and eventually it warmed up. We went to a private beach that only allowed one or two vehicles so we met at a Bear Lake Pizza joint and we all climbed in Manuel's camper and drove in.

I was the last one to get in, I wanted to make sure all the girls got in and had someplace to sit/stand. I shut the door and when I slammed the door it broke into two doors. It didn't actually break but I had no idea how to get the door shut. Manuel started to go and the girls screamed that the door was not shut so I sat by the door to hold it in place. As I looked back at the girls I felt like we were fugitives or smugglers.

Riding in the camper. Hoping to make it across the border into the private beach.

Logan looks like he has had enough of all the girls especially all cramped in the camper.

That's me in the hat holding the door tightly closed so we wouldn't lose any girls.

We played at the beach and I took a nice nap on the grass in the sun. We then ate pizza (the biggest pizzas I have ever seen, they were 28 inches!) and we headed back to camp. At this point I was feeling really sick. I stupidly forgot my asthma medication at home and I was already having difficulty breathing. I got to remember that I am also very sensitive to the heat and I easily get Heat Exhaustion. I thought I was going to barf all the way back to camp. I had planned on staying till that evening but instead Logan and I left when we got back to camp. Kristy drove us home and got a ride back up with another lady going to camp. A couple of Crystal Lights and Mountain Dews along with my asthma inhaler and I was feeling a bit better. But I was sad that I had to leave the girls.

I was really impressed with these girls. They were so kind, funny, helpful and a joy to be around. But I was amazed at how these girls carried themselves. It is hard to put into words and describe what I think and feel about these wonderful girls. But I want to share an experience that I had at Girl's Camp, one that made the whole experience worth it.

The older girls prepared a theme for camp and it was about Helaman and the Stripling Warriors. For those that are not familiar with this story let me give you the Cliff Notes version. There were these people called the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. They made a promise to God that "they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood". A few years later they were attacked by the Lamanites. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies were considering breaking their oath to defend themselves when two thousand of their sons (who had been too young at the time to have made the promise) volunteered to fight. Though every soldier was wounded at one time or another, there were no fatalities among the warriors. Helaman, their commander and the young men themselves, attributed this to the upbringing provided by their mothers and the great faith they exhibited.

So now you have some background on who these Stripling Warriors are. The older girls at the camp said that it was not only their mothers that taught the Stripling Warriors but also the other women in their lives. It was their girlfriends, their best friends and their little sisters that helped them and inspired them.

Yes, costumes were all part of this presentation.

Kristy and some of the other leaders singing that awesome song they wrote.

The youngest girls are called Beehives. They were so excited to be the little sisters of the Stripling Warriors.

They introduced these concepts to the other younger girls and they also took one of my favorite church songs (We’ll Bring the World His Truth) and re-wrote the lyrics. And I have to admit that I was touched. It reminded me of what I should be doing and who I am doing it for.

I would be happy and proud to have any of these awesome young women to be my little sister.

Thanks to all the girls and the inspired leaders for making Logan and I feel welcome. We had a good time.

Jun 19, 2010

List-Mania: Facebook Follies

Day 231

A little more than a year ago my sister told me that she joined Facebook and recommended that I join as well. She had found a bunch of friends from Canada and said she had a lot of fun reconnecting.

I am a sucker for nostalgia so I hopped aboard the Facebook train and honestly I have not regretted it. It is fun to hear from people from my past and see what they are doing now. I know some people have huge problems on Facebook with a lot of bickering going down. I know people who have suddenly deleted their account because of something that happened on Facebook.

I laugh at those people because it is their own fault.

I love Facebook and I am usually on at least once a day. But I like it because I am interested in reconnecting with friends that I had before. And that leads right into my List-Mania: Facebook Follies. Things that I personally find funny or wrong about Facebook.

"If I was your friend before Facebook I'll be your friend on Facebook"

This is what I enjoy the most about Facebook. I like to reconnect with those friends that I have lost contact for some reason or another. But I will not let everyone in the door. If I was a friend of yours before Facebook existed, chances are I will be your friend on Facebook. But this is not a popularity contest, just because I knew you in high school doesn't mean we were friends. If I thought you were a kind of jerkhole in high school chances are I will just laugh at your friend request and hit Ignore.

"Facebook is NOT a way to say all is forgiven"

This is to the guy that back stabbed my friends and I but then wants to be Facebook friends. Get a life jerkhole! If I was your real friend you would have never stabbed in the back in the first place. Facebook is not a way to casually apologize for all the stupid and harmful things you have done. Now don't get me wrong here. I am friends on Facebook with former bosses and girls I had dated but I am NOT friends with those relationships that ended horribly. Having a former girlfriend 'friend request' me that ended the relationship horribly is like her sending me a wedding invitation to her new hubby. Not going to fall for it. If you really want to be my friend you better send me more than a simple 'friend request'.

"Just because I am friends with you doesn't mean I want to play with you"

Please don't take offense at this but I am not one that plays all those Facebook games like Mafia or Farmville. I just am not that type of guy and honestly I don't want to get hooked. So please forgive me but for every new game I am invited to I just end up blocking the wall post. I want to hear how are doing and not what you are killing or hunting or farming etc. Go ahead and still send invites if you want just don't be offended when they are ignored.

"Updating your status gets old when all you do is complain"

Sometimes you need to vent and Facebook is a great place to let loose. But only in moderation. I complained about my allergies the other day but that was it. Wouldn't it bug you (if you were a friend of mine) if I said that every day? It would get on your nerves. So quit being such a Negative Nelly, your life must not be that bad if you can log into Facebook everyday to air your grievances. Change it up a bit, don't be such a downer!

"Silent De-Friending"

I really think Facebook should change this. If you are going to defriend me, I would like to know why. I am not a fan of being defriended ninja-like. Am I being a jerkhole without knowing it? Did I "like" something I shouldn't and you quit Facebook? Even if I got a message saying so-and-so deleted their account that would make me feel a bit better. I don't want to be the cause of you quitting Facebook. This should be a place where you can have fun reconnecting and the joys of remembering the past. If you have defriended me because I said something let me know. I would do the same for you.

"Just because they are family doesn't mean they are friends"

This is a warning to all new Facebook users. If you have problems with your family it may not be a good idea to have them as friends. Luckily for me, I don't have this problem at all. I am glad that I have family on Facebook. I have family all over the US that I am friends with and it is fun to get to know them better because of Facebook. But I have witnessed family breakdowns all because of Facebook. So be careful when being friends with family. You get what you asked for! It can go both ways.

I love Facebook and I am happy that I have reconnected with those that I have. It is a great place to see what old friends are up to. I highly recommend joining if you already haven't. It is time to get on the bandwagon.

Jun 18, 2010

Guy's Night Out

Day 230

I survived Girl's Camp.


I will have a full report Sunday about how it all went. It is safe to say that I had a nice time and I think Logan had a nice time as well.

Today Logan and I are kicking back and taking it easy. We decided to clean the house tomorrow morning before Kristy comes home instead of doing it today. Our plans so far today have been playing Lego Star Wars, watching the World Cup, going out to eat (Logan wants to hit McDonalds) and walking the river trail to see if we can find some snakes. Then we will come home and watch a movie, more than likely it will be Star Wars.

Jun 17, 2010

Huckleberry Eats

Day 229

Logan and Kristy filled me in on all the details of their fun trip to Glacier National Park and they got me a surprise souvenir.

They know me so well that they got me a bottle of Huckleberry Creme Soda made right in Missoula. They also got me a Huckleberry Chocolate Bar and some Huckleberry Fudge. I am guessing huckleberries are all the rage up their in Montana.

The soda was fantastic. It had a very sweet flavor and was very mellow. The fudge was great too but I thought that chocolate was too strong. Eating and drinking all this huckleberry stuff made me curious so I was looking up some information about the huckleberry and this quote on Wikimedia made me laugh.

"Huckleberries are enjoyed by many mammals, including grizzly bears and humans."

Good thing Logan is a mammal. He might not have enjoyed the fudge.

Jun 16, 2010

This Is It

Day 228

This may be the last blog. I am off to Girl's Camp in a few hours and I may not make it back.

For those that don't know, our church every year has all the young girls (12-18) go on a camp with some leaders (like Kristy) for a couple of days. They need a couple of fellas up there in case something goes wrong and since Kristy was going I thought I would volunteer Logan and I. There at Girl's Camp the girls... they... uh... I think they...

I have NO idea what to expect being at Girl's Camp.

Now I have been at Scout Camp and I sure this will be a completely different experience. I am used to fist fights, lots of belching and farting and general laziness with a ton of eating. And burning stuff and trying to burn others.

Is this going to happen to Logan and I? Are we going to be forced to wear a dress and wear makeup?

Am I to expect finger nail polishes, pillow fights, gossiping and talking about boys? Seriously, I have no idea what goes on up there. At least I will have Logan to back me up and we have already made a pact. I will watch his back as long as he watches mine.

We are not going very far at all, just up the canyon. I hear that the girls have some talks planned and I know we are going on a hike later that day and then play around and hopefully eat smores. The next day we are going to Bear Lake and play on the beach. But aside from that I have no clue what else is going to happen. But I did hear a rumor that pedicures are going to take place some time.

So if you don't hear from me tomorrow, I am somewhere up in Logan Canyon apparently biting off more than I can chew. Any assistance will be appreciated.

Jun 15, 2010

Dumb Pheasant Road

Day 227

You learn something new every day. Last week as I was helping a lady move I learned something that I didn't know.

If you plan on raising turkeys, make sure that you raise them with chickens. A friend of mine told me that and that intrigued me. I had to know why so I asked him. Apparently, turkeys bred in captivity are so stupid that they need chickens around them to teach them how to eat and drink. Turkeys in the wild, while still stupid, can survive but tame turkeys are just that stupid. He then told me of stories of how turkeys have died and I was surprised about how dumb they really are.

That shouldn't have surprised me all that much. I know some wild birds are not that smart at all. It reminded me of a time my friend Lared and I were driving to his house. Lared lives in North Logan and at the time it was pretty sparse. Not a lot of neighbors and houses, just a lot of open fields. As we were driving we looked over to the right and saw this big beautiful pheasant take flight. It was awesome, it crossed over the car just a foot above us and soared across the street.

Right into the brown door of this house. 

Yes, it crashed head first into a large brown front door of the only house across the street.

At first it was like something out a nature show. You could almost hear the beautiful classical music playing in the background as this colorful and majestic bird made its way across the road. Then you could hear the record player scratch itself and stop as that dumb bird hit a house. How the heck did it not see the house? It was the only house on the street! And why did it hit in right in the front door? It was not like the door was open either. It was a solid brown oak door and it hit the door hard. It collapsed on the porch on its back and shook its legs to get upright. Lared and I looked at each other and laughed.

From that point on we named the road, Dumb Pheasant Road.