Jul 31, 2010

It's Alive!

Day 273

Last Thursday my dad, Logan and Kristy and I walked up the canyon and did a little hiking. While playing in the river our camera accidentally fell into the river. My dad scooped it up quickly but it looked like our little camera had been sent to a watery grave.

Part of me is sad since I lost those pictures of us at the river and our memory card might be kaput too. But on the other hand I have wanted a new camera for a long time and now I have the perfect excuse to go look for one. I have been looking online for a new camera and I think I have found an affordable one that works with our old printer dock. I think I am more sad about the memory card than I am for the wet camera. I wondered if the camera would at least read the memory card and perhaps I might be able to salvage the pictures.

So I put the batteries back in and turned the camera back on.


Our camera still works and more importantly our memory card still works! Now I don't have to buy a camera even though I am still thinking of it.

My sister is right. My dad can skip any rock. I am sure he could skip that cinder block we found there too. We skipped rocks for a few minutes and then ate our yummy Quizno's lunch before we ventured into the river.

Most of the rocks I skipped just went right up into the bank.

Logan tried to skip some rocks. I tried to teach him but he is at that age where he already knows everything. I guess that age will last until I die right?

The water was nice and cold. It was strange feeling having cold feet and a hot head. That large rock at the top of the picture? That is where our camera decided to go skinny dipping.

It was a nice afternoon. After we played in the river we went into the small museum and looked at all the fossils and animals. For some reason dad's glasses really spooked the snake they had in there. We hiked a little further up the canyon and then eventually headed back. Then dad suggested we take a trip to Utah State University to get some Aggie Ice Cream. How could we say no to Aggie Ice Cream? And I am proud to say that I only had one scoop. We should do this more often, especially the ice cream part.

Jul 30, 2010

Pic of the Week: Comic Book Logan

Day 272

I have not done a Pic of the Week blog post in months. Unfortunately my camera fell into the river and has passed on. Part of me is happy since it gives us an excuse to buy a better camera but it leaves us in a lurch since we have no camera at the moment and probably won't get one until later this week.

I was looking through all of our pictures looking for a topic to blog about and found a bunch of Logan reading my comic books and thought they would be fun to blog about.

I have to be a cool dad. How many dads out there have thousands of comics in their house? The older Logan gets the more of my comics he gets to read. And I have a ton load he can start off with. When I wrote for a comic book blog a few years back, I used Logan in some of my pics.

Logan is an Alan Davis fan in waiting. Why not start him with some of the best comics out there?

The comic Secret Wars II will go down as one of the WORST comic story lines. Logan is shocked that I paid $50 for this hardcover collecting the entire series. If he only knew that it retails for $100. And yes, it is not a great story but it came out when I first started reading comics so it has a heavy nostalgic factor.

One of my favorite characters, one of my favorite writers and my favorite artist. So this must be my most favorite hardcover right? Logan agrees, it is awesome!

My comic book friends make fun of me because I almost have a complete run of Quasar. A very cheesy superhero. But sometimes the cheese is the best part, you know, like on a pizza. Logan is totally mocking me in this pic.

There are two things wrong with this picture. One, I would never let Logan drink a full can of Mountain Dew Livewire. And 2nd, I wouldn't let him read Watchmen. At least not until he is much older. He totally faked this picture looking like he was really enthralled by the book. It is one of the best graphic novels but not one for looking to read comics like Superman.

Logan is such a sport. Here he is posing with my favorite comic book character and X-Man (and will be in the new X-Men movie) Banshee. I was so excited for a Banshee action figure but was so disappointed in how stupid he looks.

Jul 29, 2010

Upon Further Review: NFC South

Day 271

It has been reported that the first pick in the draft, Sam Bradford, will sign a deal that is expected to be between $45 million and $50 million, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter last week. Last year, the Detroit Lions gave No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford a six-year deal that included $41.7 million in guaranteed money.

Does that sound insane to anyone? You are giving a player that has NO NFL experience that much money regardless of how he performs? So essentially this player can do the bare minimum and still make enough money so he doesn't have to do anything else. As long as he behaves and shows up to practices and games he will be paid that asinine amount. How can a coach motivate his players? I don't know what kind of player I would be if I was paid that much money. I can say that if I had the body and skill set I would love to play professional football. But I also want to make sure that I am financially secure, I want to be able to take care of my family and live comfortably for the rest of my life. How would knowing that I have the money affect my play? Would I be more careful? Would I care more about playing or care less?

Now I have no problem giving out a lot of money guaranteed to a player that has proven his worth. Players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady deserve guaranteed money since they have already proven their worth.

I would love it if the NFL adopted what the NBA does for its rookies. In the NBA, 1st-round draft choices are assigned salaries according to their draft position. The first overall pick receives more than the second pick, the second more than the third, and so on. Each contract is for two years, with a team option for the third and fourth seasons (the previous CBA provided for three year contracts with an option for the fourth season), with built-in raises every year to compensate for increases in the average salary. And they are capped so there is no extreme amount of money being thrown around.

I hope that Sam Bradford is worth the amount of money that the Rams hope he is. But I have a hard time betting on it. No offense to Bradford, he is very talented and looks like he could be a big player in the NFL (even though he is also coming off a shoulder injury). Just like the Raiders thought with Jamarcus Russel and his $31.5 million in guaranteed money.

How would you feel if you were a great Pro Bowl player and some rookie comes in and will make more money than you ever will and he hasn't even played one down? Disheartening. Something has got to give.


1) New Orleans Saints

What I Like:
They are the defending SuperBowl Champs! And that same SuperBowl team is pretty much intact for this season which means the Saints will go deep into the playoffs. Even if the Saints lost some key players as long as they have HC Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees they will be contenders. They have one of the best home fields in the NFL and will still be riding the SuperBowl high of last year.

What I Don't Like:
One of the hardest things to do in the NFL is to be a repeat champion. This year the Saints cannot sneak up on anyone, they have the biggest bullseye painted clearly on their backs. Everyone will be gunning for them. I also wonder how long the Saints can ride on the magic of last season. They are bound to come down to Earth eventually. This season will be a lot more difficult for the Saints but I still cannot imagine them not repeating as NFC South Division Champions.

2) Atlanta Falcons

What I Like:
Look out Saints! The Falcons will be breathing down your necks. While the Falcons failed to make the post-season last year they still have one of the better teams in the league. This year the team will be healthy and if they can keep healthy (unlike last year) they could easily be challenging for the division title. They added CB Duante Robinson which will help the defense considerably. Offensively they have the firepower to keep up with the Saints.

What I Don't Like:
The Defensive line is another year older and is the team's weakest spot. But they are still very solid but I don't think they will be able to produce like in years past. The Falcons do not have much that I don't like. I don't know if their defense can make enough plays against their rivals the Saints to keep their offense off the field.

3) Carolina Panthers

What I Like:
The Panthers running game is one that frightens every divisional opponent. Even when the opponent is going to run, they still will be hard pressed to stop tandem running backs, Jonathon Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Defensively, the Panthers should be able to stop the pass but will have difficulty stopping the run. If some of the young players step up the Panthers will be in good shape.

What I Don't Like:
The winds of change are blowing in Carolina. Mainstays QB Jake Delhomme and DE Julius Peppers are gone leaving the Panthers without some valuable leadership on both sides of the ball. New QB Matt Moore does look like he has the talent and big arm to make plays but will be on a short leash with rookie Jimmy Clauson on his back. With the lack of explosive talent in the passing game (except for WR Steve Smith who will be blanketed by double teams) opponents will make the Panthers one dimensional by loading the box with extra defenders to stop the run.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(sorry Buc fans...  I couldn't find a recent logo that was compatible with the rest)

What I Like:
The worst is over Buc fans, it can only get better in Tampa Bay. The team is filled with youth and the organization has done an excellent job of rebuilding this franchise. I also think that QB Josh Freeman has a tremendous upside and will see huge improvements this year.

What I Don't Like:
While the worst may be over, the rebuilding will continue and the Bucs will have some growing pains and some big holes to fill before they can challenge the rest of the NFC South for the division. Patience is the big key here, it will take some patience and some years before the Bucs catch up. If you lack patience, you may not want to watch the Bucs play.

NEXT WEEK:  The trip down south continues as I look at the AFC South division which just might be the most competitive. And since I will be looking at the Indianapolis Colts, I will make a remark or two at the NFL's new schedule change concerning "phoning it in" at the end of the season.

If you have questions, concerns or just want to set me straight on my picks feel free to comment. I will try to defend myself later on in a separate blog.

Jul 28, 2010

School Daze: Grade Six

Day 270

I loved the sixth grade, not as much as I loved my fifth grade but still it was one of my favorite school years. I had a great set of friends that I would hang out with and I had my favorite teacher, Ms. Archer, for my second year in a row. Unfortunately this would be my last joyous school year until my sophomore year in high school. I get my fifth and sixth grade mixed up since I had the same teacher and I cannot remember when I got my ukulele. I think it was during my fifth grade but I cannot be sure. I will have to cover my uke days in a separate blog.

The last year of those good times. I am on the last row, 2nd from the right. Next to me is Neil. Alvin is the third from the left on the back row. Tammy is right below me in the white shirt and Eulilia was the second person from the left on the 2nd row. Alison, the girl I was cruel too is the fourth from the left on the front row.

Sixth grade impacted me quite a bit. There was stuff that I learned and did in the sixth grade that altered my life forever.

I had a new music teacher this year that was completely different from any other music teacher that I had before. Her name was Ms. Oskin and she was so kind and gentle but also very passionate about music. I remember listening to her intently since she had such a unique accent. I remember her class fondly, she would take each of us aside and teach us how to match notes with the piano. She told me many times that I had a natural talent in music, that I could easily follow music by ear. She also introduced me to the Beatles. We sang a couple of Beatles songs in class and she really showed why we should appreciate their music. It made me a fan and I was happy that my sister Jennifer had a tape of their greatest hits.

In the sixth grade I also flexed my writing muscles more and took my creative writing a lot more serious. We had various assignments but my favorite was "Teacher for a Day". We would write a story about us subbing our classroom for a day. I was already familiar with how it worked since I did one the year before. But this time I really wanted to knock this one out of the park. I worked hard on my story and Ms. Archer was very proud of my effort. She said it was one of the best stories she had read and was much better than last year's. It was the sixth grade where I really got the writing bug.

Ms. Archer was not afraid to tell me when I was too negative or a little out of hand. She mentions this for each of the three terms. I certainly don't see myself as being outspoken.

I also created my first comic book in the sixth grade. It was based on a DC character called Red Tornado, in fact it was a pure ripoff of the Red Tornado. I developed two six-panel pages and did an old-fashioned Flash Gordon-type ending. Ms. Archer liked them so much that she kept them so she could show them as examples to her new students the next year. Looking back, I wish I had kept them but I was very proud that she wanted to keep them. That character I created still exists although everything about him has changed except for his costume.
The Liberator!

One of the biggest influences on my life happened when I met Neil White. I had already been reading GI Joe and Transformers comic books but Neil introduced me to the X-Men and the larger Marvel Universe. Ms. Archer allowed us to read comics while it was reading time and we often would trade comics. Neil gave me a ton of comics to read including the Amazing Spider-Man, Uncanny X-Men and many others. And I was hooked for life. I still read these books.

My first issue of Uncanny X-Men. I had no clue what was going on but I knew I liked it. I quickly bought up a bunch of back issues all the way back to #177.

This is Uncanny X-Men #525. So that means I have 348 issues in a row of this series.

So if you want to blame anyone for my comic addiction obsession, blame Neil.

I read (Ms Archer would read to us) one of my favorite books during this year called the White Mountains. We enjoyed that book so much that we read the entire Tripod Trilogy in class. When I moved to the States years later I found these books sold as a set in Waldenbooks and I was so excited to sit down and read them again and it took me right back to the sixth grade. I really should dig those out again.

This was also the last year that I participated in the Canadian Fitness Program. I disliked the running portion so I purposefully sat out which didn't make Ms. Archer happy. I still was awarded the Bronze so at least I had the whole set.

I was also very oblivious to girls. Sure I had my usual crushes but I had no idea that girls would like me. One girl had a tremendous crush on me and I didn't like her back. I was very cruel to her and if my son Logan did this to a girl, I would smack the living crap out of him for doing so. I feel bad about it now but back then I was just trying to save my life.

Ms. Archer didn't like me chatting so much with Brad and Neil so she moved me in front of Tammy which was right in front of Ms. Archer's desk. She was another girl that had a crush on me and I of course, had no clue. We would talk all the time during class and we became good friends. Alvin and Eulalia joined us and we called our group Snausages. Don't ask why. We were really good friends and we did a ton of stuff together during recess. Tammy and I shared Soap Candies and oftentimes during reading time we would find dirty words in the dictionary and share them and giggle. Tammy and I each had a pet rubber mouse that lived in our desks.

Ms. Archer knew that Tammy liked me. When I got permission to move my desk back near Neil and Brad she told me in confidence that Tammy liked me quite a bit. I played stupid (which was not hard since I really was when it came to the female species) and ignored her. Why would Tammy ruin a friendship by liking me?

And sure enough I got this note a few days later.

The reason the note is crinkled is because I immediately crumpled it up and threw it away. But then part of my was intrigued. So I got it out of the trash can, ran home after school and called my best friend Alvin and told him everything. Even though the note in plain English told me not to tell Alvin. I guess I didn't read it that closely. I kept the note because this was the first time that a girl I liked admitted that she liked me too. There may have been other girls that liked me that I liked but they wouldn't admit it. As you can see, I never answered and I never went on that date. Looking back, I should've just gone. Tammy was a hoot to be around but I guess I was not ready. So not only am I a little stupid, I am also a little chicken when it comes to girls.

Jul 27, 2010

Matt at Work: The Walmart Weeks

Day 269

After I "quit" my job at Dutro I had to quickly find another job. I was newly married and had a trailer payment to make.

So I got a job at Walmart. Yes, I actually worked for the evil empire.

Kristy was working at Walmart at the time and told me that they were hiring so I put my application in and was pretty much hired on the spot. My hiring was controversial. I was hired into the Toys Department (right before Christmas) and I was fine with that. But not everyone was happy that I took the Toys job. There was one lady, I think her name was Jane that worked in Housewares that was VERY unhappy that the job was given to me and not to her.

During my training, which by the way consisted of me watching these long videos (eight hours worth) of how to provide good customer service (which is obvious) and answering quizzes at the end, Jane would come in and visit me and try to sell her job so she could have mine. I had the choice between Toys and her department but when I met my new boss in Toys, he begged me to come to his department. Personally, I would rather work in Toys so I took that job. Jane was obviously not happy with me and seemed like she was stalking me. Even when I was working in the floor she would come over into my department and tell me what I should be doing.

After a week of working on the floor, my cool supervisor asked if I would work the midnight to 8:00 AM shift. They were re hauling the whole Toys department and he needed a crew to work overnight to get it all setup and it was for the whole week. I jumped at the chance, I would rather work late at night with no customers and to be away from Jane. That week was a lot of fun, I worked with a neat crew and it seemed like we played more than we worked. I remember one night we got a shipment of Hot Wheels and much to my surprise I had 2-3 customers come in and watch me open the boxes so they could see the new cars. At 3 in the morning!

Go Walmart! Kill Mom and Pop!

I had worked retail before when I worked at ShopKo but Walmart was a completely different world. I learned that there is no overstock at Walmart. Everything that was shipped in went right to the floor. I also learned that there was no security at Walmart. So when you hear those announcements that go "Please direct cameras to section 12" is just a bunch of baloney. They have no security cameras and we were told to let people get away with shoplifting. If you see it happening you had to get a manager and that was like trying to find a 4-leaf clover. Only managers could confront shoplifters. And what is up with that freaky Walmart chant? I luckily never had to do it since I worked late hours. It was also a rule to ask customers if they needed help if they were closer than 10 feet away, no matter what you were doing.

I only worked at Walmart for about three weeks. I got a job at Convergys that paid a lot more money. When I quit Walmart they were very unhappy with me. I had two exit interviews and during my last one, the manager told me that I would NEVER be hired at any Walmart. I had burned the Walmart Bridge.

What I really needed to burn was my working clothes. Walmart has a strange scent to it and it would stick to my clothes. I try not to shop at Walmart but when I do and I get a whiff of that smell, it totally takes me back to the short time I was a Walmart Associate.

Jul 26, 2010


Day 268

Nuff said

Jul 25, 2010


Day 267

Kristy left this evening to go to a fireside with some of the Young Woman in our church group leaving Logan and I home by ourselves.

Normally we eat treats and play Mario Kart but tonight we played Tanks with his marbles. My dad taught me this game and actually taught Logan how to play too. All you need for Tanks is a bunch of marbles and one larger marble (like a Boulder). We couldn't find a larger marble so we used a golf ball.  You take a bunch of marbles and set them up in groups of four.

A view from my side of the battlefield looking at Logan's.

You set up your army of tanks on one side of the room and your opponent sets his up on the other side. You use three for the legs and a marble on top for the head. You can set up as many tanks as you want. We usually do between seven and ten. Then you secretly choose a captain without letting your opponent know.

My Captain. He's special because of his head.

An helicopter view of my team. And yes, I was making helicopter sounds.

Then the battle begins! You take turns rolling the larger marble at your opponent's tanks until there is one team standing. If you kill the Captain, you get a bonus roll. If you accidently knock down your own guy during gameplay, he is dead. If he falls down because you didn't set him up good enough, he is dead. You can knock more than one down at a time. If a tank falls because it was hit by a tank's "body parts" he is dead. And of course, you can make up any other rules you want.

Here is Logan taking a shot. You can barely see the golf ball at the lower left.

Logan is a little over-dramatic. I just killed his last-standing tank. Knocked the head clean off!


It is quite a simple game but one that I could play for hours. Logan is quickly picking up the game though and will soon challenge his old man.

Jul 24, 2010

Random Ramblings

Day 266

Lately my blog has been under attack in the Comments section by porn. So if you see any writing like the following (I am afraid to try to translate it) DON'T click on the link.

呈婷呈婷呈婷呈婷 said...

On one hand I have to admit that I am a little flattered. I guess my blog has become so popular that now the porn industry wants to ride my coat tails. 

Once a week I will review my past week on the blog. I do that to catch mistakes and to get some ideas. I was looking at my Lime blog and noticed that no one voted in my poll. But then I noticed that my poll was not even working. I don't really want to go peek at the source code to try and fix it. Let's just say that Lime won. And speaking of lime, my family and I went to StoneCold Creamery to get some ice cream and tried a tasty new concoction called Key to My Heart.

It was Key Lime Ice Cream (with small lime candy bits like green lifesavers), mixed with frozen raspberries, pieces of graham crackers and topped with whip cream. Being a lime fan, I had to try this out and it was refreshing and fantastic. I would totally get this again.

Last Tuesday I went and saw Inception with my dad and brother. Lately it seems like most of the movies I have seen have some terrible actresses but this movie had two actresses that were fantastic. The movie was absolutely entertaining. The writing, directing and acting was fantastic. I also like the vague ending and I liked that the movie didn't have to dumb it down for me. Some of my friends that have seen it have debated whether or not it was an accurate portrayal of dreams. Personally, I don't care how accurate the dreaming was. The movie did what it was supposed to do. It entertained. I don't think there was supposed to be a meaning to it, it was supposed to entertain. I do have to admit that it has certainly made me think. What would it be like to be in some one's dream? Would I be like Mal? Could I go back to reality?

 I also have to admit that I am beginning to really like Leonardo DiCaprio. I couldn't stand him in Titanic but he has been winning me over with this show and The Departed. And I probably should admit that I really like Ellen Page.

She was one of the very few bright spots playing Shadowcat in X-Men: The Last Stand and I really liked her in Juno and I thought she was great in this.
I probably need to see this film again. I also enjoyed the soundtrack as well and have been listening to it since I saw the film.

Last Monday I got a call from my niece Breanna. They were taking her mom to the emergency room and they wanted me to meet them there. So I ran up there and met the kids. Eric had taken Raylene into the emergency room and I was going to take the kids, Breanna and Yellie. I noticed that Eric's car was still parked in the emergency lane and I hoped it wasn't. I asked Bre if that was their car and unfortunately it was. That car is a stick and I don't know how to drive a stick. I went in to the emergency room and asked the attendant to get the keys to the car so I could move the car. I thought I could at least get the car into first gear and drive it into the parking lot which was not far away at all. I got the car keys and I tried to start the car and it wouldn't start. I was probably doing something wrong, I have never started a car that is a stick much less drive one. I tried unsuccessfully and finally had to give up. I got out the car and thought that I should just snag Eric but I didn't want to disturb him as he was trying to calm and hold down Raylene.

I got out of the car as this guy was coming out. I said, "Excuse me. Can you help me out with something? I don't know how to drive a stick and I need to move this car out of the way. Can you drive a stick?"
The man looked back at me surprised. I am sure he has never been asked this before in his whole life. He looked at me dangling the car key to him and looked back at the car and replied, "How the hell did you get it up here?" I quickly explained that it was not my car but it was my brother-in-law's. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders and grabbed the car key. So I hopped in and thanked him probably a thousand times as he drove the car into the parking lot. I told him that I have always wanted to learn to drive a stick and he laughed and said now I have the perfect excuse.

Maybe I will have to put that down for next year's New Year's Resolutions. Speaking of New Year's Resolutions, I still have my bass guitar out and I have been playing pretty regularly. I have added a few new songs that I can play now without looking. And I have a couple of Traveling Wilbury songs that I can sing while playing the bass. You know how difficult it is to sing and play the bass at the same time? I keep wanting to sing right along with what I am playing on the bass. But I am having a good time and my fingers are no longer sore. I also did something that I have always wanted to do but I have always justified my way out of it. I finally joined my church choir and will have my first presentation tomorrow. I don't know why I am nervous. It is not like I am singing by myself. In fact I used to sing solos and duets in church all the time when I was younger.

Jul 23, 2010

List-Mania: Writing Comic Books

Day 265!

That means I only have one hundred days to go! So I am going to celebrate by being all geeky!

I was trying to think of a subject for today's List-Mania, something other than my usual favorite something. I didn't want to do something cliche for List-Mania like favorite fruits or my top favorite colors. I also get bored writing them. I can make the list but explaining why I like them bores the crap out of me and I usually leave the column half done.

The topic for this column will probably only interest me but it will help flex my writing abilities. For this column I am choosing my Top 5 comic books that I would want to write and why I would want to write them. These are my dream projects.

5) Cloak and Dagger

The Concept: Cloak and Dagger met in New York City as runaways. The two teens were soon forcibly delivered to a criminal chemist who was developing a new synthetic heroin. Cloak and Dagger were injected with the drugs as a test for the new drug and they gained superpowers.

Why Would I Write It: Cloak and Dagger first appeared as vigilantes but eventually they were turned more into superheroes and later was involved as mutants in the X-Men. I would remove them from this and return them to the street where they belong. Dagger's abilities would be the thing I would focus on. Dagger can generate and throw "light daggers" which stun targets by forcing them to confront the darkness in their own souls. Her light can also cure drug addictions in some people, as a side affect of that painfully enlightening experience. Additionally, her light can alleviate Cloak's thirst for light and warmth. What if she could cure more than just addictions? What if she could cure disease? Everyone would be after her and that is what I would tackle. I would also play up the supernatural feel to the book and they would venture into the dark corners of the Marvel Universe.

4) Cyberforce

The Concept: Cyberforce is a team of mutants who had all at one point been captured by Cyberdata, an enormous corporation with ambitions of world-takeover. Cyberdata used their elaborate technology to enhance the mutant powers with cybernetic implants. Eventually the members of Cyberforce escaped Cyberdata and Cyberdata is no more.

Why Would I Write It: What attracts me to this team is the fusion of mutant abilities with hardcore cybernetics and technology. Instead of making them typical superheroes I would really concentrate on the science fiction behind this concept. My first storyline would involve one of the characters, Ballistic, searching for her missing sister Velocity and the rest of the Cyberforce squad. It seems like they have vanished from the face of the Earth. There is no record of them even existing, it was like a computer hard drive that was wiped clean. For some reason I also think it is cool that the females outnumber the males on this team.

3) Spider-Man

I don't think I should draw the comic though. This drawing of mine comes from 1984-85.

The Concept: Everyone knows the story of nerdy Peter Parker being bitten by a radioactive spider and gaining super abilities. What comic book writer wouldn't want a chance to write the best superhero in the world?

Why Would I Write It: Who wouldn't want to write Spidey? While I would mix my stories with classic villains, I would also create some new baddies for Spidey. What I really admire about Spider-Man is his sense of responsibility and core beliefs. Peter tries his hardest to be a good person even when things are going bad. And I would throw everything at him including the kitchen sink. After I had plotted a storyline I would read it again and wonder what would be the worst thing to happen to Peter and then I would write it in.

2) Alpha Flight

This has to be one of the best and simpliest costume designs.

The Concept: Alpha Flight is Canada's premier superhero team.

Why Would I Write It: How could I turn away the job of writing Canada's own superteam? Alpha Flight has been treated like a joke at Marvel and I would want to change that. In fact, I already have. For my first ScriptFrenzy project I wrote Alpha Flight: Dark Reign. I have lots and lots of ideas for the various members of Alpha Flight. Did you know that Wolverine was supposed to lead this team instead he bolted and joined the X-Men? Personally, I see a lot of potential for this team and more than likely I would try to get them tied into the Avengers franchise. After writing my script I did find it difficult in writing a large cast of characters and it made me appreciate those writers that do.

1) The Powergate Project

The Herald makes his first appearance.

The Concept: In the search for an alternative energy source, a terrible accident binds three strangers together and leads them to even stranger discoveries.

Why Would I Write It: I would love the chance to write about the adventures of Dr. Mercury, Professor Taylis, Brock, Alecia, Nick and all those guys from Legacy and the Guild.

Wait... ...you never heard of these guys?

My friend Joel did all the conceptual art for our comic.

That's good because this has been my special comic project for the last ten years or so. My friend and artist Joel and I developed this cast of characters while we were in college. It was more of a Fantastic Four homage but definitely metamorphosed into something completely different. The first time I participated in NaNoWrMo I decided to write my comic book in novel form from the beginning. I will eventually go back to this and complete it and may revisit next November. I have hundreds of pages of plots and scripts. One day I will complete this massive story.

Posting this has really put me in the mood to do some writing.

Jul 22, 2010

Upon Further Review: AFC West

Day 264

Most people that know me know that I am not a fan of the Denver Broncos. But I will not let that influence my opinions here. What you read here is what I think will happen in the AFC West and not what I want to have happen for these teams.

And you know why I don't care for the Broncos? Because they are being shoved down my throat. Everyone here in Utah is a default Denver fan and when they won the two SuperBowls it made matters even worse. You know the Cardinals are just as close but they get no love here in Utah. It is all Broncoville. And all I get to see on TV are Bronco games. I really wish I could afford NFL Sunday Ticket just so I don't have to watch Broncos games. Now I don't mind watching the Broncos face off with fellow AFC West opponents. Usually those games are fun because each team hates each other.

I have no problem with real Bronco fans. Those of course are those that live in Colorado or are from Colorado. I even don't mind those fans that have been fans since the Orange Crush. (I would love to see those uniforms make a comeback) But I don't like fans that bandwagon and choose this team because of geography because they don't know better.

Don't get me wrong. I respect the Broncos. I liked Mike Shanahan, I liked Terrell Davis, John Elway, Steve Atwater, Rod Smith, Shannon Sharpe and other players. The only Denver player I hated was Romanowski.

Okay... rant aside. Let's get on with my picks for the AFC West. The division maybe a bit weak but it should be fun to watch these teams battle for the divisional crown. All of the teams are have some sort of a chance in vying for the division.


1) San Diego Chargers

What I Like:
Phillip Rivers. Say what you want about the guy but you have to admit that he is talented. This is clearly his team now and without LaDainian to lean on he will put up some big numbers. This is the Chargers title to lose. If this is the Chargers that ended the season last year, they should take the title. If the Chargers start slow again, it will be a lot tougher to catch up. This is no longer a 2-team division and every divisional game will mean something.

What I Don't Like:
 The team is another year older and losing 4 straight times in the playoffs could take their toll even more. I still think the Chargers are in good shape to take the division but picking them to go deep in the playoffs is another matter. The two areas that concern me the most are the defensive back and running back positions. The defensive backs could be good but they have not played up to their potential. The Chargers did trade up in the draft to snag a new running back to replace LaDainian in Ryan Mathews but starting a rookie is risky. It can pay off like the Chargers know but it could bite them in the end. Sproles is a good backup but is not a running back that can play every down.

2) Oakland Raiders

What I Like:
I know, I know. I picked the Raiders to come in 2nd place. I am going to catch a lot of crap from my family for this one. But you have to realize that they are not in a tough division and they do have some unrealized talent. I really like the trade bringing QB Jason Campbell to Oakland and they are better than you think. This year the Raiders defense will help the team win games and Campbell immediately improves the offense. You know what their secret weapon will be? Surprise. The Raiders have not had a winning season since they went to the SuperBowl years and years ago and the rest of the NFL thinks of them as doormats. Not this year. They will surprise opponents and steal some wins. Maybe not a lot of wins but enough to go perhaps 8-8 and come in second.

What I Don't Like:
While the Raiders have a decent running game, I am concerned about the offense. Or the lack of offense. I could place the blame on former QB Jamarcus Russell but I don't think he was the only problem. The offense suffers in the receiving game and really need a wideout that can catch and help elevate the running game. I also worry that this team will cave quickly if they don't taste success quickly enough.

3) Denver Broncos

What I Like:
It seems like the Broncos are taking a few steps backward before they surge forward. I do like Head Coach Josh McDaniels and that he has already put his mark on this team. It is a gutsy move (which is what I like) that can either pay off in spades or cost him his job in the future. Luckily the Broncos play in a division that is really up for grabs and they will play hard for McDaniels. The team is younger than last year and hopefully McDaniels can harness that youth and get them pointed in the right direction. I also respect that the Broncos were willing to ship headache Brandon Marshall away. They will miss his offensive output but it might be a relief in the locker room without him.

What I Don't Like:
The Broncos are heavily relying on their drafts and Kyle Orton. Orton did prove that he is a capable QB we all know he is just cog in a machine until they get Tebow on the field. The players from last year's draft did nothing last year and they will need to step it up heavily this year for the Broncos to be competitive. RB Knowshon Moreno has shown glimpse of what he could be but he will really have to step up especially since the Broncos allowed WR Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler to skip town. I don't like what I see in the Denver offense and their defense has some holes to fill. If young players can step up, the Broncos can compete for the division but that is a mighty big if.

4) Kansas City Chiefs

What I Like:
While I do pick the Chiefs to be last in their division I do think that they are finally rebounding from three consecutive losing seasons. I am a big fan of Head Coach Todd Haley and I really believe the Chiefs have got something going. I like that they brought in and reunited Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis as coordinators and jettisoned troubled RB Larry Johnson. They still have plenty holes to fill but I think they have done a great job addressing some of the major needs. The Chiefs may have one of the best running games with Thomas Jones and sophomore Jamaal Charles and that may help the Chiefs weak passing game. An 8-8 season wouldn't be that surprising and they will make life difficult in this division.

What I Don't Like:
As I just mentioned, the Chiefs do not frighten anyone with their passing game. QB Matt Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe have a lot to prove and they will need to do it this season. If the Chiefs fall behind and with a mediocre defense that is certainly possible the Chiefs may be forced to pass more. And that may not be so pretty.

This is one of the NFL's weakest divisions but with three of the four teams on the same level it will be very competitive. It is very feasible to win this division with 8-9 wins and every team has a pretty decent shot.

NEXT WEEK: The column goes south as I take a look at the NFC South division and I will also complain about rookies and their insane contracts.

Jul 21, 2010

Tuesday Night Mario Kart Championships

Day 263

A few days ago my sister Jennifer came over with a big bag of Canadian candy she got me for my birthday. I have been really good and have not eaten them all already. Even though I have been severely tempted to do so.

Kristy has been off treats for the last couple of weeks. She is only allowing herself one day a week where she can treat herself with some treats. I don't want to eat these chocolate bars in front of her so I have not been eating that many treats either and that is a good thing. But on Tuesday nights that is a different story. Every Tuesday night it is just Logan and I. Kristy is involved with the Young Women in our church and is gone from six in the evening to Logan's bedtime.

So what does this have to do with Mario Kart?

We decided to do a little racing playing the wonderfully addictive Mario Kart game. We are on the same team and we choose 4-5 races and see which team scores the most points. Logan is much better at this game than he was a few years ago. Instead of just driving around and looking at everything he actually uses strategy and races to win.

Logan hates Rainbow Road but will try to conquer it for some chocolate.

Every time we won a series of races in Mario Kart we would treat ourselves with a piece of a Cadbury Caramik candy bar. That way I get my treat fix and I don't eat the whole candy bar myself and I also get to eat a treat without Kristy being around. We have done this for the last two weeks and will continue to do it.


At least until the treats run out.

Jul 20, 2010

The Tonya Papers: Solar Smiles

Day 262

A few days ago I had an experience which instantly took me back many, many years ago before I was married and beginning to attend college. It took me back to the time when my friend Lared and I co-authored the Tonya Papers.

This experience made me seek out that old book of wisdom and I thought it would be fun to share this on the blog. Let me give you a little bit of history of what the Tonya Papers are and how they came to be. After high school and before serving my LDS mission I hung out with some great friends and one of my best friends at the time was Lared. We did everything together. We made it a point before our missions to have as much fun as we could and to date/hang out with the womenfolk as much as we could. We then would record our observations and our experiences down and that is what the Tonya Papers were. We were also like Seinfeld, we had a name for everything and everybody.

A rare glimpse into a section of the Tonya Papers

We named the Tonya Papers after a girl named Tonya. (Surprise! Surprise!) Damond introduced us to her and her roommates and we hung out with them almost exclusively until either we left on our missions or they left after school was out at Utah State. Lared liked Tonya and we thought she liked him too but we could never figure it out. It was very confusing to us and Lared wanted to figure it all out. So Lared and I would get together and talk about it all and write stuff down. And thus the Tonya Papers were born.

Yes, one of those girls is THE Tonya. But I am not going to point her out. How young does Lared and I look in this pic? In case you didn't know, we are the bottom two guys from the left starting with me.

One of the things we that we discovered and wrote about was what we called Solar Smiles. A Solar Smile was a smile that basically melts you. At the time and under normal situations, Solar Smiles typically came from cute single ladies but they can come from any girl, as long as it warms you soul. Lared and I recorded the following incident:

Lared caught a huge Solar Smile today while walking through the Institute. His legs became jelly, his heart began to beat faster and he melted to the core. I witnessed the smile myself and even though the smile was not directed or intended for me I caught the effect leaving me with a bad case of goosebumps. Nothing like receiving a Solar Smile to make your day much more brighter and warmer.
Lared and I were quite the poets and romantics back in the day. At least we thought we were. Looking back at this I am both happy that I kept such a record and I am also a little embarrassed since we were quite cheesy. Anyway, Lared and I would meet together often and talk about any Solar Smiles we had received since the last time we spoke.

My wife Kristy has a great Solar Smile. That was one of the biggest things that attracted me to her.

Solar Smiles still happen even though they do not occur as often as they did during my single college days for obvious reasons. But a few days ago I was outside and I looked over and saw one of our neighbors out walking. She noticed me but didn't say anything, she simply smiled and waved. Her smile made me feel good and brightened my day.   I look forward to the next one.

Wow. What a cheesy post!