Sunday, June 29, 2008


On Friday night I saw Wall·E. I don't need to tell you that it's Pixar's latest in their brilliant portfolio of mind-blowing movies, because you've already seen the ads, the trailers, and the cross-merchandising. All I want you to take from this blog is that you MUST see this movie.

As you most likely know by now, the movie follows the events of a small robot, Wall·E, whose function is to compact trash into tidy little cubes. He does this without fail - doing his part to clean up the Earth, which sits in the apocalyptic wake of post-mass-consumerism and is entirely covered with filth. His adventure begins, though, when he meets EVE - a more advanced, girl robot - and falls in love.

I was sure, coming into the movie, that the messages of "go green" and "save our planet" would become too overbearing and turn what could be a brilliant story into a fancy political statement. I was completely wrong. The message is there, and is easiest to see, but is subtle enough (except for one scene where it's literally shouted at you) that the finer points of story, character development, and visual effects never take back-stage. The more meaningful messages of the movie are buried deeper, making them harder to find, but more valuable. I'll go into more detail about them in a few weeks, by which time you will have seen the movie and I won't risk spoiling anything for you. There. You have two weeks to see the movie. :)

Let me close with boldness. Pixar is the greatest story-telling production house of all time. They make Dreamworks look like a cheap knock-off. When Pixar gives us a perfectly cooked filet of succulent Kobe beef, other companies bring us a Big Mac.

You deserve something tasty, and Pixar's put it on a silver platter for you.

Go feast.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Holy cow, I found the sun!

For the first half of my day today, things were restful and relaxing. I decided to take it easy this morning and just kicked it in the apartment, got some cleaning done, did some goofin on photoshop and the like. When two o' clock rolled around, however, the beautiful sunny weather was screaming at me to come out and play. I decided I'd go hiking. But rather than shoot around the same familiar hikes I've done millions of times before, I decided to get online and do some investigating. I wanted to find something new and fun.

After a few minutes of browsing, I happened upon this. (Scroll down to where it says "The Diamond Fork Canyon Sun Stone Man")

Well, I thought it would be SO cool to find this, but I had no idea where to begin. I looked for some lead online as to the location of these petroglyphs, but I came up empty. Undaunted, I took off for Diamond Fork Canyon for some hiking, pretty sure I had no chance to find the sun face.

As I drove up the canyon, I admired the red rock outcroppings every few miles and wondered, while passing each one, if that one held the sun face. Pretty soon I came to a small recreation area called Red Ledges. By then, though, I had completely forgotten about the sun face and was only looking to climb on the rocks and get a good vantage point from which to shoot the valley.

I was welcomed by these gorgeous, flowing sandstone ribbons. From there I began my ascent.

I had probably climbed to about 50 feet off the canyon floor, and had just come up through a small patch of scrub oak to a large rock wall and BAM! There it was:

The sun face, and a moon, both carved into the sandstone. The sun face had six rays on it's head, just like the descriptions I'd read about. In fact, from pictures I'd seen, I KNEW this was it. I could NOT believe it! I had found the sun without really thinking about it! : )

Here is a picture I took up close and inverted to bring out more detail. Isn't it cool?

The sun is obviously older than the moon. It's detail has been eroded and lichen now grows over some of the carvings. The moon looks newer, which makes me think it's a hoax. Then again, the sun could also simply be the work of an early settler, and nothing more. But it's fun to think about the possibilities of it being carved by people who occupied these valleys before the Mormon pioneers - especially when associated with some sort of hidden treasure.

I was able to get a beautiful shot of the valley from up there...

And also spotted a small alcove in the rock, which looked promising for treasure, but turned up empty. I thought of crawling inside and taking a picture, but the cliff below it was far enough to kill me if I fell. That wouldn't be good.

On the way down this hummingbird came out of NOWHERE and started darting at my head! It would hover momentarily and then take aggresive swipes at me! It was freaking me out! I thought for a moment that it was rabid, but soon realized why it was freaking out...

It had a tiny little nest in the tree above me!

Here it is up close. I was unable to get my camera high enough to see inside the nest, but it almost looks like there is a little bird in it in the lower left hand corner.

On the way down, nature called and I got to use this out-house. I took this picture to show you how creepy it looked. Yeah, it's clean, but that's a HOLE! There could be a monster down there! *shudder*

No, this is not me straining on the toilet. (My roommate assumed it was, so I thought I'd clarify. Why would I take a picture of that, though? Blech!) This is actually me making my scared face. I'm always convinced in an outhouse that there is some freaky poop man hiding in the darkness below, just waiting... WAITING for the opportunity to pull me down into his filthy bog of waste.

Anyway, that's all!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mexico: Capitulo Dos!

As I promised a few nights ago, here are the pictures from my camera. Together with the pictures from the previous post, you get a better picture of what the resort was like. Sadly, I have no pictures of the beach, but trust me when I say it was stunning!

Two random Mexican guys walking down the side of the freeway.

Yes. That's Bimbo bread.

My eyes are closed. I don't know why.

Nice little shot of the lobby flowers.

Cool sculptures.

A storm was a brewin. Isn't the resort beautiful?

Just me and a fountain. : )

We decided to play some ping pong, so I figured I'd get some pictures. I love that the ping pong ball is perfectly frozen in time here.

And I love Dad's expression here. That man was out for blood!

I was a bit more casual.

This was the tiki hut in which we waited for the train. It's all very exciting stuff.

Lounging near the stores where they charge 30 bucks for a bottle of sunscreen. No lie.

This is a rare shot of dad playing miniature golf in the jungle. I say rare because when he realized he was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, he fled like a man on fire - waving and hollering at the invisible flames (mosquitoes) engulfing his body.

These lizards were AMAZING! They'd get up on two legs and run away when threatened, not unlike little velociraptors. : )

Seriously concentrating.

Here Mom carefully studies the green. We had a great time despite the mosquitoes.

Just an awesome cloud from the window of the plane.

Doesn't the ocean look amazing here? Also taken from the plane.

I took this as we were landing. I had to adjust because the picture was really washed out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mexico! From Dad's Camera

Mexico was GREAT! However, I rarely had a chance to capture it from the lens of my own beautiful camera. The humidity down there caused my d40 to fog up for an hour anytime I brought it outside. So, the following pictures are from Dad's camera. Tomorrow I'll post what few I did take with my own.

Till then, enjoy!

Oh, and yes, I did create that introductory picture. : )

Eating at the buffet, which was really nothing amazing. It was good... but not as good as the food on a cruise.

I was so happy to see my guardian angel.

This one needs a little explaining. Our door stopped working the second night we were there, so I took a picture with Dad and the door. I thought he'd look more angry or sad or something. Instead, he looks like a foreign man who's never seen an electronic hotel door handle.

Mini golf was fun. I had to reach into a little mucky pond to rescue one of the balls, but I figure when you're playing on a course in the jungles of the Yucatan, you have to be prepared to make such sacrifices.

These claws held a wonderful bounty of luscious crab meat. Oh man, they were delicious.

I don't think I was originally meant to be in this picture, but I leaned anyway.

Huh. The Iguana. Yeah, "Huh" is the Mayan word for Iguana, so every time we saw one of these healthy beasts we'd all say, in a trance-like unison, "Huh. The iguana." We stopped after people started staring.

I LOVE this picture. : )

I don't look happy here, but I was really smiling. I promise! I was so content! I think I'm half smiling and half squinting into the sun. Or something. Oh yeah. That lady in the corner? I was paying her to pick up seashells for me.

Not really.

It could have been a really nice picture, had the people shooting been a little more photo-savvy.

I love Ty's thumbs-up here. And I guess I'm bustin a move.

So tomorrow I promise more pictures - the ones from my camera. Adios!


Sunday, June 15, 2008


I was standing on the corner of 200 south and 300 west in Salt Lake City last night and a group of lawless thugs ran up to me and tagged me with their gang signs! It happened so fast that I hardly had time to react. I've now got "West Side Thugs" written - or rather scribbled - across my stomache.

Not really, though.

That would make for an incredible story, but the extent to which I've been tagged is merely in the terms of blogging. Bridgette, over at lifeinredshoes tagged me quite some time ago, so it's high time I do this thing.

Let's begin.

3 Joys

1) Running - It's funny, I never realized how much I enjoyed running and how crucial it had become to my internal well-being (not just a physical thing, but emotionally as well) until I tore my PCL playing football last Thanksgiving. I was out for four months. No running. No sports. Nothing active. And it killed me. I've learned to really love the feeling of pushing myself to the thresh-hold between relaxation and pain - that point where your body is just beginning to groan, but you still feel exhilarated by the fact that you're running. The air swooshes by your face, and you find that perfect posture where the effort-to-speed ratio becomes optimized. Mmmm.

2) Family - Nothing beats spending time with your family. Whether it's spent learning about the "all-important car fluids" with Dad, playing games with Mom, throwing the football and/or shooting hoops with Tyler and Steve, or talking about good and bad design with Shan, I simply love spending time with my family.

3) Hiking - I recently read an article by a professor of film at BYU. He stated that he never feels closer to God than while at a really inspiring theatrical production. I realized as I read this that we all have our "places" where we feel closest to Deity. Mine is on a hike, somewhere far above the expansive valleys, where the air thins away into the endless blue canopy above. I'm no granola head, but I love nature. And the fact that I live no more than 10 minutes from some of the greatest trailheads in the country makes me giddy like a schoolgirl.

I'm going to keep it to one set of three's because I've gotta go finish readying myself for my upcoming Mexican adventure. :) I'll tag a few of you via comments on your blogs, so keep your eyes open! Adios!


P.S. Fun Fact - Adios is derived from two words in Spanish, "a" and "Dios" which is literally translated as "to God". It's their way of wishing you well on your way. :) Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (cue cheesy 80's "The More you Know" theme song)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tanning, the Aftermath.

I know what you were thinking when you read that title. You thought I'd walked away from my first tanning session burnt. Crispy. Crumbly. With skin like flaky layers of baklava.

Okay, forget that baklava comment. That's just horrific. I mean, skin like baklava. Not baklava itself. That stuff is sooo tasty.

Anyway, I didn't burn. In fact, I didn't really tan. But I didn't really expect to get a tan from one tanning session anyways. I did, though, walk away from the tanning salon knowing much more about the actual tanning process than I did before. I shall dispense my newly gained wisdom, so that you can tan with fewer surprises than I.

1) When you tan, you tan naked. They do provide a little towel for if you wanna cover up your... well, you know. There are some places where you don't care to tan. I think you catch my drift. But besides that little towel, and the most minimalist goggles you've ever seen (I thought they were goggles for cats) you're just laying there on the plastic in the buff.

2) You get pretty warm! I guess for some, this might be common sense. After all, you ARE being bombarded with the same radiation the sun gives, so naturally it's going to feel warm. For some reason, though, I didn't even think of that. So, you can imagine my surprise when the lights came on I settled, naked, into my polypropylene cocoon and began to get warm. I looked around, through the darkened lenses of my tiny goggles, as if to ask the bulbs, with my quizzical expression, if this heating was normal. They quickly responded with a calming "yes" and assured me that I had nothing to worry about. Strangely enough, tanning bulbs have British accents. : )

Seriously, though, I kept telling myself that the warming effect was normal. It wasn't really hot... just warm. But a deep, dark part of my mind kept envisioning a news report in which a "young male" would be found "baked in a tanning bed. Crispy. Crumbly. And with a skin not unlike the flaky layers of baklava."

In the end, though, I was only a little sweaty (yay for the little towel!) and generally pleased with my experience. : )


Ohh... and for those of you who might be worried about me developing a tanning habit, I'd like to show you what I hope to become.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Tanning Experiment

Next week I'll be heading down to the land where beaches are beautiful, dogs roam the streets freely, and the food comes cheaper and more mysterious than it does here in the States. Yes, I'm talking about Mexico. I love Mexico, and not simply for the fact that I served my mission there. The country has a dusty, innocent charm, not unlike the happy little kid that gleefully gives you a hug after playing in the dirt. Every time I go to Mexico I feel happy. I'm not sure entirely why I feel happy. I just do.

Anyway, in preparation of the baking I will receive while under the lovely summer sun, I've decided to venture into the land of tanning. Why, you might ask, have I decided to tan? Well, the last vacation that centered around a beach was the cruise my family and I took a few summers ago. We had a blast playing in the crystal blue waters of the Eastern Caribbean, but my virgin skin took a hell of a beating in the first day of sun. My arms and legs are pretty dark, but my chest-al and back-ius areas are as foreign to the warming rays of Mr. Sun as an Amish child is to a microwave oven. This causes said areas to turn red... nay... purple when exposed for more than a half hour or so, EVEN WITH SUNSCREEN! Yeah! I slather on the SPF 50, folks. I baste myself regularly when out in the sun with only the most protective and fragrant of sun blocking creams and oils. And still, STILL, I somehow manage to burn myself to the point of having to wear a t-shirt when I swim. And then I chafe, and this puts a healthy sized raincloud over my parade.

This summer, I'd like to be able to swim without the burden of a large, abrasive t-shirt slowly eating away at my skin. And that's why I've decided to go tanning. I figure with a good base coat of melanin (the pigment in your skin), and a healthy dose of strong sunscreen, I should be able to enjoy the beach shirt free.

We'll see.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Steve Got Married!

Wow. This past weekend was just great! My little brother, Steve, was married! Ashlyn, his wife, is an amazing girl and will make a great wife. It's always a good sign when you like the girl your brother marries. I'm really excited for them. Anyway, in typical Barry fashion I took a million pictures, so here they are for you to enjoy! :) Many of them already appear on my sister's blog - Design Gal and Her Handyman - so if you've read her blog, they'll seem a bit redundant. She's so much better at blogging than me! Always on top of things!

Anyway, without further delay, the pictures...

It's always so wonderful to have family around. Weddings are really great for that. : )