Aug 31, 2010

From the Soapbox: Shaving Sucks

Day 304
"I have a sad story to tell you
It may hurt your feelings a bit
Last night when I walked into my bathroom
I stepped in a big pile of ...shhhhh . . . aving cream,
be nice and clean. . . .
Shave ev'ry day and you'll always look keen."
I love that old song.

I remember back in my early twenties when I shaved once a week. Oh, I wish I could relive those days because I hate shaving and I could shave almost everyday now.

That is why most of the time I am sporting some sort of goatee or facial hair because shaving my chin and neck is the absolute worst. I can never get a smooth shave on my chin and I can never get a smooth shave on my neck. No matter what the blade, I always get razor burn on my neck because my beard thinks it would be a good idea to grow out sideways. Maybe my beard is under a magnetic pull of some kind.

But the funny thing is that I do find it therapeutic to shave. Whenever I have a stressful day, I like to shave. You would think that would be the last thing you should do, holding a sharp blade to your throat after a stressful day but for some strange and sick reason, I like it.

Yeah, I still think I would get a shave from Johnny Depp.

If only I could get a good shave. One of these days I am going to get a professional shave at a barber shop, where they use those Sweeney Todd-like blades and they put the hot towel on your face. Perhaps a little splash of Bay Rum too.

I would be tempted to sing some Sweeney Todd if I got a shave like.

Aug 30, 2010

Random Ramblings

Day 303

I hate it when I sit to blog and all I do is just stare at the computer screen. I have no idea what to blog about today so I guess I should just ramble on...

I am giddy. It is official, I bought the tickets today. On October 4th I am going to the Rob Zombie/Alice Cooper concert and I am really looking forward to it. Speaking of Rob Zombie, I noticed that no one commented on my Rob Zombie blog. Did I scare all of you away with my strange taste in music?

This morning my dad called in sick to work so I am working by myself. This did give me the opportunity to go out and run whenever I want and I really needed to take advantage of the weather. It is only supposed to get to about 67 degrees out. So around noon I went for my run around the temple. I am glad I went when I did. About an hour after I came home it started pouring out. And for the first time in months, I am wearing jeans. Not shorts, but full length jeans.

I had a real good day yesterday at church. We had some excellent speakers and I got the opportunity to teach the 12-14 year olds. These are the same girls that I spent Girl's Camp with so I knew what I was getting into. Sure enough, the girl's called me by my nickname of Dr. Pepper. I told them that they really shouldn't call me that in church and I think that made them feel bad, that is until I told them that they should call me Brother Dr. Pepper. The lesson went great, I am very impressed with the youth, I wish I was that strong at that age. I asked one of the girls to say the closing prayer and she gave such a sincere prayer that really touched me. She also told me that I was a great teacher and gave a great lesson. I also had a good time at choir practice. A former member of the ward was there and it looks like he will be coming back to our ward. It was great to see him and I am glad he is back.

And of course, you cannot have a blog without pictures.

These are my dad's old, old glasses. Logan totally reminds me of Elton John.

Aug 29, 2010

Mission Memoirs: The Subway Ride Home

Day 302*

I still find it difficult to imagine that the World Trade Centers are gone. I was fortunate enough to visit the World Trade Centers before they were cowardly destroyed. I remember that day like it was just yesterday.

Dec 22nd 1993

Manhattan Day! Every three months we are allowed on a P-Day to go out of our mission and go to Manhattan and spend the day. This was my first one and I unfortunately was sick as a dog! But I could not let such a great opportunity pass me by so I forced myself to get my laundry and shopping down so we could run to Manhattan.

It is such a cool place to be! We first went to the World Trade Centers and we spent most of the morning there. It is cool and you are so high in the air. The wind was blowing strong so we did not get the chance to go to the roof and be outside. But it was amazing being up so high and seeing the city below. At the top floor we met Santa Clause and even though I was feeling so horrible, I had to sit on his lap. 

I am not completely sure but I believe that is Queens on the other side of the river.

That is upper Manhatten. You can kinda see the Empire State Building.

Ugh.. I can tell that I don't look so hot.

Elder Moyes in front of the World Trade Centers.

Merry Christmas '93!

Looking down...

I started to feel even worse than before so we stopped in at the Roy Rogers and had lunch. I felt a little bette so we explored the Village in search of this store called Discorama. We finally found it and we bought a couple of very cheap CDs but I could barely keep my head up, I was feeling so sick. We left the store and explored more and we had to stop in the McDonalds so Moyes could use the bathroom. While I was waiting he was nice enough to buy me a Sprite. The Sprite helped a little but as soon as we left McDonalds, I found the first wastebasket and dry-heaved for about ten minutes straight. Moyes must have sensed that I was really sick so we decided to go home.

The subway ride home was awful. We must have waited for what seemed eternity. We finally got on the train and we headed home. It was the middle of rush hour and the train was packed. Usually people will fight for a seat and we as missionaries would give up our seats (if we had them) for other people to sit. This time I was in the mood to fight for a seat. When one opened I quickly jumped for it and sank down feeling terrible. Moyes watched where I was and made sure that I was all right. I was feeling so sick that I was finding it difficult to stay awake. After a couple of stops I must have decided to stop fighting the sleep and I was gone. 

I guess I was really out of it because when I awoke my face was pretty much perched on top of this older ladies's chest who was sitting next to me! It startled me so bad that I jumped up and immediately apologized to her. Moyes was laughing his head off sitting across from me. The lady looked at me and said that I looked very sick and she did not want to disturb me when it looked like I was comfy! I am glad that there are real nice people out there! I do not know what I would have done if I were in her place. I was so embarrassed! We got home and I fell asleep right away.

Even today, many years after that happened, I still blush!

For those that live in the Salt Lake Valley or are familiar with Salt Lake City, this is what it would be like if the World Trade Centers existed in downtown SLC.

One day I will have to blog about 9/11. But not today. I am just thankful that no one I knew was hurt and I am also thankful that I was able to see the World Trade Centers twice. Once on my LDS Mission and the other when I went back to New York City with my friend Joel. I'll have to blog about that later too.

*thanks Andrea for making sure I get my days straight... That's two I owe you  junior!**

**Anyone get that reference? The saying is actually "That's two you owe me junior."

Aug 28, 2010

A 4-Wheeling We Will Go...

Day 301

This morning we all got up early to go pick up our Bountiful Basket full of fresh veggies and fruit (mmm... champagne grapes) and then headed over to my sister's house to go 4-wheeling with them.

Now I have been 4-wheeling before. The only experience that I have had on vehicles like that was when I tried (and failed miserably) to ride my neighbor's Mountaineer. If I recall that correctly, I ran straight into their wheelbarrow and struck it (knocking the wheel clean off) and then I rode it up a tree before I hopped off to safety.

So I was a little leery in taking the 4-wheeler out. But then if my sister could drive one, I could also.

Kristy and I had a lot of fun. We drove up Logan Canyon and went to Franklin Basin and started the trek there. We went about 7-8 miles (taking about an hour) going up the mountain and it was beautiful. The weather was fantastic, it was not hot or cold, it was just perfect. I drove the whole way up and I will admit that there were some areas that were a little tricky to go up. I kept thinking that I was driving a car and that I was going to bottom out any moment. After the first few miles, it was easy city.

Jennifer and Justin rode ahead of us and Jennifer looked back and suddenly asked "You okay? Are you pissed?" I guess I had a real concerned look on my face. I was not angry at all, I was just trying to concentrate on driving up those huge rocks and bumps. We finally got to the top of the mountain and we got out and hiked a little. Then we came down the mountain. And that is when the hail hit.

What the hail?

Yeah, hail. It rained and hailed on us and it was cold! And we were soaked. Kristy did her best to try to cover us but it all came down so quickly that it didn't take long at all to drench us. After a few minutes it let up and then Kristy and I pulled over and I let her take the wheel.

I think I like going downhill better than uphill. Maybe it was because I was not concerned about the rocks and bumps since I was racing down the mountain because I was so cold! But then the sun came out and we all dried off quickly. Kristy did a great job driving down the mountain and we made it down in half the time it took to go up.

We got back to the truck and then headed back to Jennifer's place. And then we finished the afternoon off by eating some tasty food from Coasta Vida! So all in all, we had a very enjoyable day and I would definitely go 4-wheeling again.

Aug 27, 2010

List-Mania: Rob Zombie Songs

Day 300!

Do I look like someone who listens to Rob Zombie?

I am a big Rob Zombie fan. In fact, I kinda wish I was Rob Zombie. He gets to do every thing that I would love to do. He writes and sings in a rock band, he writes and directs movies and he writes comic books too.

But what I really appreciate and like about his music is that it is different and unique. His songs are dark and often times a bit disturbing. They are all tinged with horror and things that are creepy and campy. It is hard to explain what his music is all about, you just have to sample it yourself.

Now I will warn you. This music is not for everyone. I am pretty sure that most of you that read my blog will hate this type of music. It is not for the weak hearted but you have to admit he is pretty creative. When I am in a major writing slump I watch some of his videos and it reignites my creative drive. When I am feeling down I listen to him for a kickstart.

I am in the final stages of negotiations to attend this concert October 4th! Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper on the same stage? Will curiosity kill the cat again?

5) More Human Than Human

I had heard this song before my sister introduced me to Rob Zombie. I loved this video when it was on MTV and is one of my favorite running songs.

4) Feel So Numb

Again another fun running song. I am learning this one on the bass.

3) Burn

This is one of his newest songs from his latest album. I admit that I have to stop typing and air guitar during those awesome guitar licks.

2) Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy)

This is one of Kristy's favorites too. I especially like this video and all the "Clockwork Orange" references. I have developed a character of the scene where he is sitting down with that cane.

1) Dragula

This is the song that my sister introduced me too and I loved it right from the start. You know what Dragula is don't you? That is what Grandpa Munster drove in the TV show. I could watch this video all the time. The images of the kids laughing and the nuclear explosion plastered on top is just awesome.

I am looking forward to seeing him in concert. It should be a memorable experience.

Aug 26, 2010

Upon Further Review: AFC North

Day 299

Revis Island: Population Zero.

Last year the NFL made the decision to schedule the Pro Bowl between SuperBowl Sunday and Conference Weekend. And the NFL will do the same this year but I hope that it doesn't become a trend.

I can see the reasoning in scheduling this game in perhaps the most hyped weekend in all of football but aside from that fact, I think the NFL is making a mistake. The only thing I agree with is that the weekend between the playoffs and SuperBowl is boring and a let down for fans and the NFL should make it special. Putting the Pro Bowl on that weekend is a step in the right direction but I don't think it should be the Pro Bowl.

I felt bad last year for the players that worked so hard during the season and earned a Pro Bowl award and couldn't make it to the festivities because of the SuperBowl. Sure, in my shoes I would rather prepare to play in the SuperBowl but in years past players that were fortunate to make it to both could play in both. And what about all those players that made it and were not SuperBowl bound? They played in Florida, which while nice and warm in January/February is not Hawaii. And as a fan, I would rather play in Hawaii and the Pro Bowl.

The Pro Bowl game itself is a shred of what the NFL is. You cannot blitz in the Pro Bowl, you cannot really play football like normal. So the game itself is not that special. So if it is not a real game than it should not be treated like a real game and placed during the season. Do it after and have some other special events or have some crazy rules in the game to make it interesting. But more importantly, do it in Hawaii and do it after the SuperBowl.


1) Baltimore Ravens

What I Like:
Who would have thought that the Ravens might have a better offense than they do a defense? During the offseason the Ravens addressed one of their major weaknesses by getting QB Joe Flacco some great targets to throw to. WR Anquan Boldin brings his toughness to Baltimore in a marriage made in heaven. He may not have blazing speed but the man can catch and will provide Flacco with another pair of great hands in addition to veteran Derrick Mason. The Ravens also brought in speedy WR Donte Stallworth whom may be one of the best sleeper wide outs. Add this formidable receiving corp to one of the best running corps in the league led by RB Ray Rice and you have a scary offense. The defense does have some holes in it but will still be a difficult defense for opposing offenses to deal with.

What I Don't Like:
There is not much to dislike about the Ravens but I do worry about their secondary. It has been a rough preseason so far for the Ravens at this position with injuries and inconsistencies. They may not have enough talent to keep up with the rest of the defensive unit. Opposing offenses that have a strong passing game will be able to pass on this secondary.

2) Cincinnati Bengals

What I Like:
History is against the Bengals. In the last decade they have not put together back-to-back winning seasons but that all changes this year. I don't see them repeating as champs but I do see them competing for the division title. The Bengals defense showed what they were made of last year and all I see is them improving. The Bengals running game should improve as well with the additions of wide receivers Antonio Bryant and Terrell Owens. Now QB Carson Palmer has more targets to pass too and that will take some pressure off the Bengals great running game. RC Cedric Benson will have more fresher legs by the end of the year.

What I Don't Like:
They have the toughest schedule of the AFC North and every rival will look to enact revenge on them for being swept. They also laid a tremendous offensive egg last year by being beaten by the Jets two weeks in a row. They didn't end the season on a positive note. I am a little leery about the pairing of Ochocinco and T.O. together, that could cause some problems but as long as the Bengals are winning that won't be a problem. If they face a little adversity during the season it will be interesting to see how they react.

3) Pittsburgh Steelers

What I Like:
No matter what, the Steelers will be competitive. Head Coach Mike Tomlin will not allow his players to slack off. Defensively the Steelers have more than enough talent to keep them in games. Even though WR Hines Ward is getting older, he is still a threat posting some huge numbers just last season.

What I Don't Like:
Roethlisberger. Seriously, the guy has some major issues. I really shouldn't let my personal feelings about him affect what I think of the Steelers but he is the leader of this team and he needs to grow up. And I know I am not the only one that thinks that. He has to win a lot of his teammates over this season. I am concerned with the Steeler offense. I am not sure RB Rashard Mendenhall can handle a full load over the season and the Steelers will definitely miss WR Santonio Holmes production and ability to stretch the field. But I am concerned more at the QB position. The Steelers will be fine without Roethlisberger but what if the backup QB wins games convincingly? Can Ben handle coming in after 4-6 games out? Can he handle staying on the sidelines?

4) Cleveland Browns

What I Like:
Cleveland ended the season last year on the right track by winning their last four games. Unfortunately that is about all that is to be liked about the Browns. They do not have an offensive star, RB Jerome Harrison looks like he could be a star but may not be a feature back. The only playmaker the Browns have is Joshua Cribbs and the Browns will have to find unique ways of getting him the ball. If new QB Jake Delhomme stops all the turnovers, the Browns will at least have a decent QB. But that may be an uphill battle.

What I Don't Like:
This year will prove to be interesting for the Browns organization. New General Manager Mike Holmgren surprisingly kept HC Eric Mangini for another year but it will be a huge surprise if he keeps him around. We all know Cleveland is rebuilding (still) and you have to wonder how long it will be before Holmgren brings one of his boys to coach the team. If the Browns lose (and more than likely they will) the players will either became extremely loyal to Mangini or phone the rest of the season in as they wait for a new coach. The Browns should play hard but they just don't have enough talent to keep up with the rest of the AFC North.

NEXT WEEK: I conclude my trip around the league with a look at the old Norris Division, the NFC North. And of course, I have to talk about Brett Favre.

Aug 25, 2010

Matt at Work: Sprint PCS and Convergys

Day 298

I quit Walmart because of three major things. The horrible hours, the horrible customer service and the horrible pay.

I remember my last day at Walmart. I walked in and told my manager and he totally understood. But then I had to tell his manager and he was not as forgiving. He told me that I would NEVER work at Walmart again and that I was not loyal and I should not use Walmart as a reference. Like I would mention that I worked at Walmart for a little more than 2 weeks anyway. I told him that I never plan on working at Walmart for the rest of my life. I even try not to shop at Walmart these days.

My sister Jennifer was working in the Billing Department for Sprint PCS, a cell phone company. She was really employed by Matrix Marketing who was handling all of Sprint's customer service. I applied and with her help I was hired. The guy that interviewed me knew my sister and most of the interview was mostly just chewing the fat about random stuff. I was hired and out into a training class.

I had to bike down from Utah State University (I was still in school) and then work (train) eight hours at Matrix Marketing. I was in a large class and I had a real nice trainer. In looking around I found that two other people from Walmart was in this class. No wonder Walmart was so mad that I left. I had a great class and made some fast friends (especially those that worked at Walmart) and soon I had a small group that I hung out with. If it wasn't for Rachel and Shelby, I would have loathed those three long weeks of training. I was hired into customer service so essentially I was on the front lines and could handle anything. I picked things up rather quickly and was told by my trainer that I was the best in the class and could be on the floor (meaning I could officially start taking calls) after just a week or so of training.

Finally I graduated and was sent to the wolves. My first supervisor was named Cole and he was awesome, probably one of the best bosses I have ever had. My team was filled was some real cool people, a lot of them my age doing the college thing. I met one of my good friends Blake there and we hung out all the time. I worked some horrible hours working from 2-11 PM but it was good money and not a bad job at all.

After a couple of months I had the opportunity to change my hours. I worked from 6-9 PM and that was much easier for me going to school. It was less money but that didn't matter at the time. I got a new supervisor Mark who was an older gentlemen and a real nice guy and I had a new team. I also got to work with Blake (he had the same hours) and I met another friend Jeremy and we did a ton of things together.

It was around this time that I also met one of my sister's friends who was a supervisor in Billing named Aaron. I liked him and his friends (liked his friends more than him) and he really saved me a couple of times. Working for Convergys (they had changed from Matrix Marketing to Convergys) was hard because they were not flexible and they demanded that we work a lot of overtime. And this was mandatory overtime, if you didn't sign up you would be in trouble. I couldn't work a ton of overtime since I was a student and I would try to squeeze in a few hours but it was difficult. If you needed to take some time off you had to find someone to take your shift and Convergys offered no way to assist that. You were on your own. Because Aaron was dating my sister he got me out of a lot of tight squeezes. One time I was at my dad's for Thanksgiving and I had to work that night. He called in to one of his connections and suddenly I was erased from the records so I didn't have to work.

Whenever I think of Tauntauns, I think of Aaron.

Another time my boss Mark came to me and said that he needed to meet with me personally about my attendance. He warned me that I was going to be written up. I understood, he felt bad but he had to do what he had to do. Aaron came over to say "hi" and I told him what had happened. He said he would check into it. An hour later my boss Mark came over and he said, "I knew I had to write you up about your attendance but when I checked the computer to pull your records I could only find one time you were gone. I guess I was looking at the wrong person, I don't need to write you up."  Aaron then came over after Mark left and said that he got rid of most of my absences.

My crew (Jeremy, Blake and I) got real good at finding ways around working. It was not like we were horrible workers. We did great jobs and often did more than what was expected. But we found ways to work less. We would always have "exceptions" which was a term for being off the phones. We would restart our computers claiming that there were issues just so we could take fifteen minutes and chat and make sure we were sitting together. During these exceptions sometimes we would run out to grab something to eat. We would also bug the Quality Department so we could have some reviews. We didn't need them but it was time off the phones. Our Quality Assessor (we called her Dr. Love) was awesome. She would take at least an hour when we bugged her to do some quality calls.

We also made friends with Jenn. She was the main scheduler and she ran parts of the floor. Somehow my overtime was always taken care of. I would still come in and work for an hour or so for overtime but she would take care of the rest. It was demanded that I work 8 hours of overtime a week. I would only work 1-2 hours even though in the records it was shown that I worked my full allotment. I don't know why she did that for me, I never asked for her to do it but it was appreciated.

The job itself was fun. I like helping people and I especially liked helping customers activate new accounts. I had some people really yell at me but I took it in stride. Most of the times I would just laugh (sometimes on mute) and do my best to satisfy the customer. We were allowed to give out free minutes and credits and I took full advantage of it. I was never a problem worker, Convergys and Sprint trusted me. By the end of my time at Sprint/Convergys I probably gave out at least $2,000 in credits. Sometimes I would do it to make the customer to shut up but mostly I did it because I could.

My last boss was a new employee named Amber. I quickly became her right-hand man. She would take me off the phones to help out our team and do other things. What she liked about me was that I told the truth and was not afraid to tell the truth to people whether to her or to our customers.


One time I had an altercation with the She-Nazi. At Convergys they had a set of people called "Mission Control". They were essentially Nazis. They would march down the aisles looking for people that were not obeying the rules. One time I was on a long call. This customer had a lot of issues that needed to be dealt with. We had a goal in customer service to resolve calls within a certain amount of time. I was beyond this time and this fat smelly Nazi comes strolling down my row and starts to harass me while I was on the phone. He wanted answers! I finally asked the client if I could briefly place them on hold so I can talk to this fat guy who was yelling in my ear. The customer laughed because they could hear him too. He was not pleased and neither was I.  Anyway, that was not the She-Nazi story.

There was this lady (I think it was a lady, she looked like she could bench press me and then eat me later) and we were having computer problems. She came over to us and asked us to let her know if we were having issues. She was working on a computer when mine froze up so I raised my hand and told her I was having problems. She didn't respond, I wanted to make sure she heard me since I was afraid of her deep inside (she looked like a wrestler from the WWE) and so I mentioned it again and she turned and let me have it; cussing like a sailor. I was not happy so I got up and told her that ladies shouldn't speak in such tones and then told her she lacked respect. Another supervisor overheard this and got the main boss Buck to come over and talk to me. He thought I was being subordinate and was the cause of the problem. I was not going to back down from him either and I told him exactly what happened.

He believed me and the told me that he was proud that I stood up to her. He then asked how he could fix the issue and I really didn't want anything. But then after quickly thinking about it I decided that I wanted an apology. He said he was sorry but I interrupted him and said I wanted the apology from her. He gave me this blank stare (I am sure he was playing through that whole thing in his mind) and he went off. Then he came back about fifteen minutes later and the She-Nazi was with him. She apologized through gritted teeth. My supervisor tried to hold in his laughter.

Even if I don't agree with something, even if we don't see eye-to-eye, if you show me respect, I will work hard for you.

Convergys was not a bad job. But my time there ended when Kristy took her first teaching job and we were moving. But my Convergys experience continued. I got a job working for Kraft through Convergys and it was a totally different working experience.

Aug 24, 2010

Hang in There!

Day 297

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a cat hater. I love cats, honestly, I do.

Must be a Tuesday...

Remember that 70's poster featuring that cat hanging on that rope with the slogan "Hang in there baby!"

I think it was this poster, honestly I cannot remember the exact poster, I just remember the saying.

On days like this I feel like this is the more appropriate picture.

I shouldn't laugh at this one.

But I am.

But only on a lousy Tuesday.

Ugh... it is only 9:46 in the morning. I still have most of Tuesday to go!

Aug 23, 2010

From the Soapbox: Water Puddles

Day 296

In Canada, it is a sign of disrespect if you are welcomed into a home and you don't take of your shoes. I love this unspoken rule and wish this was a rule here.

I cannot stand it when people come into my home and don't take off their shoes. I am more sympathetic and understanding during the summer months but I absolutely hate it when it happens during the winter months.

Aside from the fact that it tracks in dirt and dirties the carpet nothing makes me want (and usually succeeds) to curse a blue streak than by stepping in a cold puddle of melted snow and ice in my socks.


Every time I enter into someones home I always offer to take my shoes off and I would at least like that consideration offered in return. You would think that was at least common sense in the winter months. I live inside a house so I can keep what is outside outside.
There is a mat by the door on purpose. Please make use of it.

Aug 22, 2010

Sunday Confessional: My "2-Year" Mission

Day 295

The month of August will always be linked to when I served my LDS mission to New York City.

I left for my mission on August 25th 1993. That means it will be 17 years since I left for my mission which mean it will be 15 years since I have been home. That is hard to believe. It seems like it has only been a few years since I have been back.

They say that these 2 years are the best 2 years of your life. I don't think they were. They may be the most memorable but I have had happier years. But then I didn't serve a full two years.

I came home August 16th, 1995. A little more than a week earlier than my full two years. Sure, I could have extended my mission out another month but somehow I don't think my Mission President would have approved that. We didn't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things but I'll blog about that sometime later.

On July 2nd, 1993 I received my mission call in the mail.
“WOW! My mission call finally came! I had a ten minute break from work (Pepperidge Farms) so I came home and called my mom and opened my call. After I told her where I was going, I called probably my best friend Damond. It was a little disappointing that I wasn’t going foreign but New York New York South is going to kick butt! I’m really excited!”

I was leaving on August 25th and that was just next month, I couldn’t believe it. I had also called my dad and asked him where he thought I was going. He said as long as it wasn't a big city like Los Angeles or New York he would be happy for me. Too funny.

I had actually prophesied that I would be in New York so it should not have come as a surprise. During my Freshmen year in Seminary (for those that don't know what Seminary is, it is basically church classes you could take every day like you would at a public school) I was posed the question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" I wrote down "New York City." And sure enough, five years later I was in New York City. I thought I still had this piece of paper but I cannot find it anywhere for the life of me.

Anyway, I enjoyed my 2-year mission even through all the difficult times where I truly thought I was on my own. I'll save those maybe for another time.

Aug 21, 2010

Friday Night Simpsons

Day 294

By now you know that the Platis household loves the Simpsons. When we put Logan to bed Kristy went out to grab some snacks and I grabbed one of our Simpson DVD sets so we could watch a few episodes together.

Yeah, this is what our dates usually constitute of.

Kristy and I are constantly quoting the Simpsons. We didn't know to what to extent we quote the Simpsons but we got a general idea last night.

We grabbed a random season, took out a random disc and watched three random episodes. And sure enough there was something in each episode that we have been known to quote often.

We watched "Twenty-Two Short Films About Springfield" and found a bunch of common quotes.
Chalmers: Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? A this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your kitchen?          
Wiggum: Quarter Pounder with cheese? Well, I can picture the cheese, but, uh, do they have Krusty partially gelatinated non-dairy gum-based beverages?
Lou: Mm-hm. They call 'em, "shakes."
Eddie: Huh, shakes. You don't know what you're gettin'.
And we have been known to sing and reenact this one out loud from time to time.

Cletus: Hey, what's going on on this side?
I use that last one quite a bit. After Kristy and I watched this episode we laughed that we quoted it so often. And then we watched the next episode, "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish".
Abe: What're you cackling at, fatty? Too much pie, that's your problem!
Fernando Vidal: Ahh. Delmonte.

Are we that pathetic that we have that many quotes out of two episodes or was it merely coincidence? We watched a final Simpsons episode, "Summer of 4 Ft. 2" and we thought for sure we wouldn't have a quote from it. Were we in for a surprise.

Lisa: Meh. Maybe you're just getting stronger.
Homer: Well, I have been eating more.
Holy cow! Kristy and I totally say that one a lot. So are we Simpson fans or what?*

*"or what?" can mean pathetic

Aug 20, 2010

Random Ramblings

Day 293

I know what you are thinking.  TWO Random Ramblings in one week?

I just have a lot to say and some of them I wanted to say last Monday but I didn't want the blog to run to long.

Wednesday was Logan's first day back at school. He is now in the 2nd Grade! No longer is my kid a new child in school, now he is a vet in school. He likes his new teacher (which is good considering she is very professional and takes schoolwork VERY seriously) and he likes his fellow schoolmates.

This is Logan in the morning. He looks a little apprehensive doesn't he?

He looks much better after school.

Yeah, he is back to normal alright.

So I did something this morning that I didn't think I would ever do. I have to admit that I was motivated by my fellow blogger and cousin Jaimee and her first 5K race. I even went as far as making a goal to run a 5K this year or the next.

But curiosity got the better of me. Maybe the better saying would be curiosity killed the cat since I am dead tired.

I ran a test 5K run today. I went to the the Logan River trail where it is nice and shaded and is 2 miles long and I marked off where 3.1 miles would be, plugged in my iPod with some running music and hit the trail. I wasn't impressed with my time (29:23) but hey, it was my first "race" and I am still alive although I feel like those cats. We'll see when I do a real race.

By now you know that my favorite football team is the New York Jets. Last year they hired a brash and outspoken coach in Rex Ryan and I know he can rub people the wrong way. But I love the guy. The Jets are in the new season of HBO's Hard Knocks. The show is a reality sports documentary television series produced by NFL Films and HBO. The series follows the Jets through training camp and provides an in-depth perspective of the team's preparation for the upcoming season. As the viewer you get to watch all the team's inside jokes and pranks, players' family matters, and position battles. The series especially focuses on rookies' adjustments to the NFL, usually with the team's highest draft selection and an undrafted or journeyman player that looks to make the team.

I am hooked. Not only because it is the Jets but because of how candid the series is and what it is really like to be on a professional football team. I will warn you, it is pretty colorful in terms of language. Rex Ryan tells it like it is. If you like football I highly recommend checking it out. HBO has a censored version of the first episode streaming off of their website. You do have to register with HBO first but I used some fake info so I can watch the episode for free. I have only watched the first episode and after I finish this blog I am going to check out the 2nd one.

Aug 19, 2010

Upon Further Review: NFC East

Day 292

Still no Revis....

The NFC East should prove to be one of the more physical divisions in football. Personally, I think the NFC East is one of the best divisions in football. Each team hates each other in this division, more than in any other division. And more champions come from this division than in any other. This season will be no different.

When I think of this division this season, I think of the big trade of QB Donavan McNabb going from the Eagles and landing with the Redskins. And when I think of Donavon McNabb I have to snicker a little. I like McNabb, I like him a lot and I think he got the raw deal in Philly. But I have to laugh at him when he didn't know the NFL's overtime rules. He didn't know that a regular season game could end in a tie. You would think he would know, I think anyone that watches football or plays Madden would know that.

The rules of overtime are very clear and simple, it is Sudden Death.
The sudden death system of determining the winner shall prevail when score is tied at the end of the regulation playing time of all NFL games. The team scoring first during overtime play shall be the winner and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by Referee for a palpably unfair act.
At the end of regulation time the Referee will immediately toss coin at center of field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.

Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods or until there is a score*. There is a two-minute intermission between subsequent periods. The teams change goals at the start of each period. Each team has three time outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

*Exception: In preseason and regular season games there shall be a maximum of 15 minutes of sudden death with two time outs instead of three. General provisions that apply for the fourth quarter will prevail. Try not attempted if touchdown scored. If there is no score in the 15 minutes, the game shall end in a tie.
There was some talk during the off season of changing this rule especially for the playoffs. One idea that was passed around was that the NFL should adopt a more college-like system where each team has a chance for possession. Some in the NFL feel that the current system is not fair. Some teams have lost in overtime without even touching the ball on offense. So if you win the coin toss you have a much better chance of winning the game in overtime.

I say thee Nay!

Fewer than half the teams that win the toss win on the first possession, about 40% historically. So I don't think a change needs to be made.

The biggest reason why I don't think a change should be made is because the defensive side of the ball is just as important as the offensive side. If I was a coach in this NFL and I lost a coin toss than I need to put my faith and trust into my defense and stop the other team from scoring. I do that for the full four quarters of the game, why wouldn't I do it in overtime? I trust my defense enough to make a play just as I would trust my offense to make a play and win the game. If my defense can't stop even a nosebleed in overtime then my team doesn't deserve another chance to win it. Man up! Life isn't fair, you take the hand that you are dealt with. So you lost the coin toss, that means NOTHING. Just go and stop the other team from scoring. That is what your defense should be doing anyway!


1) Dallas Cowboys

What I Like:
This team is loaded on talent on both sides of the ball. QB Tony Romo was a much smarter QB last season and giving him an awesome new weapon in rookie WR Dez Bryant could really give the Cowboys a huge boost offensively. They have depth at the running back position and an excellent offensive line that will open up a ton of holes for each running back taking the pressure off of Romo to win it all in the passing game. There is a lot to like about this team.

What I Don't Like:
The Cowboys do not have many holes but opposing teams could take advantage on the Cowboy's safeties. That is if opposing teams have time to throw that way since the Cowboys corners and linebackers are among the best in the NFC. The only thing that concerns me about the Cowboys is the pressure. The SuperBowl will be held in Dallas this year and the Cowboys could make history by winning the big one right at home. You know owner Jerry Jones is putting the pressure on his team to win it all. It might be too much for this team. Other than that, this team will go deep in the playoffs.

2) Washington Redskins

What I Like:
I don't know which pick-up is more exciting. New Head Coach Mike Shanahan or rival QB Donavon McNabb. Both of the instantly improve this team and makes them a contender for the NFC East title. McNabb has an excellent receiving corp and if he picks up the offense will be able to put up big points. Shanahan will also put his stamp on the team and will command a presence in the locker room. He will get the player's attention and respect and will play their heart out for him. This is one of the NFC's most improved team.

What I Don't Like:
I don't like seeing McNabb in red but that is merely just an opinion. I am not a huge fan of the Redskin's running game. RB Clinton Portis is getting older and is coming off a concussion, RB Larry Johnson has the most potential but could prove to be a headache and RB Willie Parker is not as fast as he used to be and I don't think his running style is best suited for how the Redskins want to play ball. This will also be the first year of HC Mike Shanahan and it might take some time for the team to get used to how he runs things. This team will challenge for the NFC East title but will fall just short.

3) New York Giants

What I Like:
The team is essentially the same team that won the SuperBowl just two years ago. Last year the team was unfortunately hit by a rash of injuries especially on the defensive side. The Giants have an excellent passing and running game that will take make opposing teams off-balance. The Giants should have their defense players all back from injury and the front four will scare opposing offenses. I do like the addition of Safety Antrel Rolle and he improves the secondary.

What I Don't Like:
Can those players bounce back from those injuries is a big question. I am also not convinced that the Giants offense will be dominant. The offensive line is getting older and may have difficulty against their NFC East rivals. The linebacking corp is the weakest portion of their defense and teams could easily take advantage with a short passing game which will negate pressuring the QB. They also gave up more than 40 points in each of their last 4 games. Not a good way to end the season last year and that might carry over.

4) Philadelphia Eagles

What I Like:
 I still think that the Eagles will be very competitive and I can easily see them taking 2nd or 3rd place in this tough division. Most of the team that made the playoffs last year are still there and should provide a stable environment for the new main cogs in the offense in QB Kevin Kolb and RB LeSean McCoy. I am also a believer in Kolb, this may not be his year but I believe that he eventually will be a good replacement for Donavon McNabb. The defense while unproven could turn out to be one of the biggest surprises in this division.

What I Don't Like:
The Eagles are unproven especially with the two most important positions on the offense. Kolb does have a good receiving corp but without a guaranteed running game the offense will face some difficulty. I also am concerned with the team's leadership, with so many vets gone from the team who will pick up the slack? Unfortunately the Eagles are in a rebuilding phase but the good thing about that is it might not take that long to be back on top.

NEXT WEEK:  We are down to the last division in the NFL! We go north to the Frozen Tundra to visit some old friends that were just in a retirement home and we visit where T.O. calls home in the NFC and AFC North divisions. Since it was NFC this week, I will give props to the AFC North next week and I will talk about the recent change for the Pro Bowl.

Aug 18, 2010

Keep on Truckin'

Day 292

A few days ago I blogged about the Breinholt Family Reunion 2010 and I totally forgot to share one of the photos taken on our way back.

We took I-15 home and when I got on the highway I wanted to pass the super-slow-poke in front of me. So I whizzed past him and got into the lane left of him and saw this:

I have to admit that it startled me to see the front of a semi looking right at me. It would have frightened me more of it was the truck from Stephen King's horrible movie Maximum Overdrive.

No wonder I hate the Green Goblin.

Aug 17, 2010

School Daze: Grade Seven

Day 290

This had to be the worst school year I had while growing up. I was spoiled when I attended Sifton Elementary school. I had great friends and great teachers which was missing for the most part when I went to Junior High.

During the sixth grade we were visited by the three main Junior High schools recruiting sixth graders to attend there respective schools. I had a choice between Killarney, Balwin and Steele Heights. And I made the unfortunate decision to attend Killarney. This has to go down as one of the worst decisions I have ever made in life. I honestly don't know why I chose Killarney. None of my friends decided to go there and my sister went there and hated it. So I have no clue why I decided to go there.

Their mascot was a Leprechaun. It really should have been Lucifer.

Killarney was not fun at all. While there were a few bright spots, they were rare and didn't last very long. I have already blogged about some of the experiences I had.

I didn't know anyone in my class except for this girl that was in my class the year before and we were not friends. I hate to say this now that I am older but we didn't like her because she smelled and dressed in rags. I should have been nicer to her but honestly it was a relief when she was picked on since they were picking on her and not me. I didn't make any fast friends but I was fortunate to help this new guy with his homework. Rob turned into one of the cool guys and because I helped him with his homework I was not picked on as much.

There was Shelley. She was friends with some of the cool people (Rob's girlfriend) that ran our school and she liked me. I didn't really like her in return but I did like the meager protection my relationship with her offered. It protected me from quite a few altercations.

There was also the time when I was framed and almost killed for trying to be accepted. Most of the days I spent at Killarney I was in fear. Waiting for something bad to happen and typically something would. I was bullied most of the times and I didn't get along with many of my teachers. My grades suffered big time and I was failing most of my subjects. I just was not happy.

I did have a few good teachers, Miss Spicer and Mrs. Evans were always there to lend a hand and smile at me. If it wasn't for those teachers I would have probably died. But at least I wouldn't fear hell since I was already attending Killarney.

That is me on the left in my favorite Van Halen jersey. That was my only picture in the yearbook. I missed school pictures that year.

One of the few bright spots at Killarney was riding the bus to school. I would catch the bus and I would sit by this girl named Debbie. She was a couple of years older than I was but she remembered me from Sifton. So every time I would get on the bus she would move her school bag so I could sit down. If the bus was really crowded she would let me sit on her lap. Yeah, I took my small victories when I could!

My mom knew that I was not having a great time at Killarney. My mom worked at the Diet Center (which was across the street and down the block from my school) and I used to stop by every once in awhile to visit during my lunch hour. I remember fondly one day she told me not to go back to school. I didn't go back that afternoon and we went out and got lunch and mom took me to some comic book shops. Mom could always tell when I needed a break.

I even remember what comics I got when I went out with mom. This one was my favorite. It gave sneak peaks of upcoming titles.

Killarney had a Science Fair which I told my parents about the night before. We stood up way into the wee hours of the morning making a project. I chose the planet Mars and we made a very cool paper mache planet while my dad built a stand and poster boards. I got an A on the project. Good thing my family was there to help me.
I will say that Killareny was a place where I had some "firsts". Killarney is where I had my first major fist fight. It was at the Clairview Bus Station. This kid named Tyler was really picking on me and I had enough. I swung and punched him in the back of his head knocking him on his knees. He got up and quickly turned to me and went insane. He knocked me down and grabbed the back of my head and pounded it into the concrete multiple times. A couple of adults pulled him off of me and I caught the bus as normal. I was so full of adrenaline that I didn't notice the blood and cuts on my head. One kid saw that I was bleeding and asked what happened and I told him. This kid (who I didn't know) was friends with Rob and he gathered a few guys and they beat the crap out of Tyler. They really did a number on him. Looking back I feel bad that he really took a beating but that was life in the 7th grade. Better him than me, you do what you have to do to survive.

Killarney was also the first place where I was offered drugs. Across the street was a Mac's (like a 7-11 store) and we used to go over there during lunch. It was there I was offered hash. I politely said "no" and he asked if there was anything else I would like to try. I said "no" and moved on. Most of the kids in my class smoked and I tried my first cigarette. Funny thing about that is I didn't know you breathed in the smoke into your lungs. I did not inhale. I just drew the smoke into my mouth and blew it out.

Killarney was also the first time that I kissed a girl. It was on the last day of school and I kissed her on the cheek. Her name was Lori and she moved in halfway through the year. She was very cute and she made friends with cool kids and she liked me. So once again I got more protection but this time I had someone I liked on my arm. So at least my last month of the seventh grade was mostly peaceful. I pulled my grades up enough to pass the seventh grade.

But then I got some bittersweet news. The sweet news was that was my last year at Killarney. The bad news was that I was moving to another country!

Aug 16, 2010

Random Ramblings

Day 289

I am happy that the weather has cooled down the last week or so. I went running today and it was not as hot as it looked. There was a gentle breeze which cooled me down and the wind was at my back. Luckily the wind was not kicking up so it didn't affect my asthma.

Speaking of running, I want to give a shout out to fellow blogger and cousin Jaimee for running and conquering her first 5K! I am very impressed, she used the Couch to 5K program and stuck with it and accomplished her goal in style. You can read about her Run for Glory by clicking on the linky.

Speaking of 5K races, I have decided that I will take the plunge and run a 5K.

What was that? Didja hear that?

That was the sound of Kristy hitting the floor.

So yeah, I am going to do it. Probably not this year (unless I can find one in October) but I will the next. This will keep me motivated through the winter to keep myself in shape. Hey Jaimee, we should run one together! We'll do one in Utah and then one in Colorado.

I go out running with my iPod (I don't care what people say, I would die from boredom if I didn't have it while running!) and I was listening to some Offspring and I found another track that I forgot to blog about. It really captures the essence of them. Take a listen, I think you will enjoy it.

One of the reasons I need to keep running is because Kristy keeps making these delicious desserts. Look at this bad boy!

Packed with tasty calories.

While we were at the reunion we were chatting about...  ...I don't know how we got onto the topic but I told the story of the time I really embarrassed myself in one of my Political Science classes at Utah State University. It was about halfway through the semester and my professor pulled me aside and said that I really need to participate in class. She told me that I should add to our daily news conversations. We would take the first 15 minutes of class and pick a news item and talk about it and it usually ended in laughter. So I thought maybe I could make a funny since everyone else was doing it. Cloning at the time was a hot topic and one student brought up how clones would be beneficial to society.

My class had a few conservative students that were really against cloning of any kind and things were getting a bit heated so I thought I would say something which I thought would relieve the tension. I raised my hand and my professor proudly called on me. I said something like this:
"I believe that producing clones would be extremely beneficial to our society. Aside from the medical and science breakthroughs, it would be a boon to the entertainment industry, especially the movie industry."
Good use of Clones in entertainment.

I got every one's attention since I was using my announcer voice so it sounded like I was serious.

Bad use of Clones in entertainment. See below for more info.
"Clones could be used as stunt people without having to worry about securing and protecting them. Hollywood could really let things fly, imagine how real movies would look if we used clones instead of trick photography using stunt men and special CGI effects. It would definitely make war and horror movies feel and look real."
*sounds of crickets*

Yeah, no one laughed. No one said a word. I was humiliated. And I am sure I disgusted a few of my fellow students who thought I was being real. I never participated again, that is until I made an off-color remark about how ratings in the WNBA could improve. 

Shirts and skins.

Again I was treated to complete silence, I could hear crickets in the distance. But everyone knew deep down inside that I was right. They just didn't want to admit it.

Speaking of clones, I am reading Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Sage Epic. I just finished volume 2 and I have already preordered Volume 3. I think there will be six or seven volumes in total. And let me tell you, I am a bit surprised.

For those that are not geeks, don't know, the infamous Clone Saga will go down in history as one of the WORST Spider-Man stories and with good reason. Basically, the Spider-Man that most of us grew up reading was revealed to be a clone and "our" Spider-Man was shipped off and replaced. What made this story even more outrageous is that sales were so good of this controversial storyline that Marvel's Marketing Department demanded that this storyline be stretched out as much as possible. The original Clone Saga was only supposed to take six months (about six issues total of each Spider-Man comic) but the creators made it last YEARS. Fans reacted and quickly stopped reading the book since it was going nowhere and for what they did to Spider-Man. It was an interesting concept but the story escaped and spun out of control. Spider-Man's sales plummeted and have barely recovered almost fifteen years later. And Marvel has never spoken about it again. They didn't reference it anyway.

Until now.

I have to admit that the first two gigantic books have been entertaining. Some good art along with some really underrated writing. But I heard it just gets worse from here. It is like a train wreck, I just have to look and be a witness. Call me a sicko if you want but I just have to read this whole horrible story.