Thursday, October 30, 2008

I got the AXE!

If you read that, and thought about body wash, body spray, or anything else that promises to increase your chances with the ladies, I hate to disappoint. This blog isn't about smelling good (although I do use AXE brand body wash because it smells oh so good.) Nor does this blog pertain to anything related to a weapon of war, or halloween, or any of that. Let's start at the beginning...

So today I'm at work, my fingers dashing around the keyboard like brokers on wallstreet, just working up a storm. It was a good day, money-wise, because the projects I completed were high-dollar accounts. The day was winding down and my boss walks by informing everyone that we have a meeting at 4:45 - just fifteen minutes before work would end for the day.

"What a weird time for a meeting," I thought.

I figured it was going to be one of those all-too-familiar HR meetings where they go over the logistics of treating your cubicle-neighbor with respect, or perhaps the one where they ask you what a "hostile work environment" means to you. I thought they were going to chastise us for bieng too loud, flinging playing cards around like ninja-stars, or throwing paper airplanes as far as we could over the endless rows of cubicles (extra points when you hear an "Ouch!") These were all typical pastimes of the flash team. They could have disciplined us for any number of things.

But instead, they just layed us all off.

Now, in your mind, after reading the previous paragraph, you might be tempted to think that perhaps we were fired for being a bunch of goofballs. I assure you this is not the case - we were no more crazy than the other departments. We were, however, much more fun. Anyway, the reason for which we were layed off is because apparently the company wants to go to all outsourced flash developers. Ya know what, though? I can't blame them. I was making damn good money doing damn good work. And now, they have the priviledge of paying crappy money for crappy work. Why pay good for the good stuff when you can buy crap at half the price? In these tough times, I guess the company had to make a change.

So, I'm not really sad about all of this. I'm a little angry that they didn't give us more heads up. If I were to quit I'd respectfully give two weeks notice. Is it too much to expect the company to reciprocate my generosity? I mean, I'm not in dire straits or anything. In fact, I'm well prepared (financially speaking) for such an occurrance, and I have some really amazing freelancing plans for the very near future. I look forward to being able to get my portfolio website off the ground and develop some personal goals that I've had for quite some time.

The two weeks notice, though, would have been nice for my coworker, "D", who lives paycheck to paycheck and has child support to pay on top of that. Another coworker, "G-Man", has a wife and a little boy to feed. "Master Shak" was just involved in a major car accident and will lose his insurance after the end of the month (tomorrow). You can see that life will be messy for them as they look for a new job and try to figure out how to make ends meet. Throw a poor economy on the pile and you've got a geniune quagmire of worry.

I am quite mad, though, that I won't get to dress up as the joker for work tomorrow. *sigh* I really talked it up, too. People were excited, ya know?

Oh well. The tale of Barry the flash developer who worked at a web design company in an old bowling alley with no windows now comes to a close. (Yeah, entirely devoid of natural light. Some would hiss when they walked out into the sun. *shudder*)

Good night. : )


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Before and After

I saw an ad tonight on a local newspaper's website in which the woman in this picture...

...magically transformed into this picture.

What struck me was not that the results were so dramatic. After all, it does say right on the ad that the results are not typical and that the imagery is simulated. That's fine.

What startled me so much was the amount of fake-baking and hair-dying this 80+ year old woman had obviously endured to create such a ghastly combination of dried leather and haystack hair. In fact, it almost looks like the old lady had the tan sprayed onto her face leaving two very distinct stripes down the middle of her cheek. She certainly doesn't look happy, does she? She looks worried. "Oh, dear... the grandkids said this fake tanning thing was nice, but it sure does sting. I think they sprayed my glass eye!" (Notice her darker, more obtrusive, glass eye on the right side of her face. I'd bet money she lost that thing in an epic bar fight.)

It's always interesting, and often comical, to me to see how a picture of a young woman is transformed into a wrinkly geriatric via the magic of photoshop. Why this particular artist felt like he had to give the old lady a tan is beyond my comprehension. Wouldn't she look older with more pale, translucent skin? Oh, and why remove every trace of wrinkles on the after picture? Said lack of even the natural wrinkles makes this woman's face look puffy - as if her face is a balloon that is just a tad bit overfilled.

Oh, the exaggerated joys of advertising.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Too Nice?

I recently read that women sometimes dump a guy because he's "too nice." What? Too nice? Really? Because I justify breaking up with somebody if they're too mean, too weird, too grumpy, too crazy, too stuck-up, too boring, and too inclined to place "and that's a fact!" at the end of every sentence. Really, I'm fine with that. Because those are obvious flaws that get in the way from enjoying yourself with somebody.

But does being "too nice" get in the way of that? Aren't we taught to be nice? Is it bad to go out of your way to hold the door for somebody now? Or offer a ride when they need one? Call an ambulance when they're bleeding profusely? I don't know. Maybe the more desirable guy smiles and watches her bleed. Maybe he's a little nice, so he tosses her a phone. "Here, babe, call an ambulance. You're bleeding. Oh, and call a dry cleaner as well. You bled on me." Wow. He's a keeper.

When you go out, the more desirable guy refuses to open the door for her. He's a little nice, so he kindly warns her not to get his car dirty. "Babe, I noticed your shoes are dirty. You need to take them off before you get in. I only warn you 'cause I don't wanna have to beat you later." What a charmer!


Okay, so I'm likely going overboard. I know there are people who feel the need to have a bit of a game in the relationship. The game grows stale when your significant other caters to every whim, desire, and thought you have. It's just not fun to have somebody admiring you endlessly. (Not that I know that from experience, but I can imagine it would get tiresome, fast.)

In my humble opinion, though, I don't think you have to sacrifice kindness to keep the game interesting. Straight up breaking up with somebody because they're "too nice" seems asinine. Seriously, folks, there are so many worse traits a significant other could have.


I'd like to invite any women out there (and men, for that matter) to give me your thoughts on this. Is there some strange, evasive creature in the mind of a woman that does, in fact, tire of kindness? I'm all ears...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Costume One: The Joker

I always have the hardest time deciding what to be for Halloween. Come September, I get these grand, overblown ideas that I know, deep down, will never happen. Things like a man with a creature crawling out of his chest, a giant robot, something that flies, etc.

So on the day of a party I'm supposed to dress up for, I end up throwing open a few boxes of Halloween supplies from years past and seeing what I can make. "Let's see here, if I take that skull head, and that indian wig, and the princess dress here, and put them all on... Oh No! Oh! I can't look at myself! ...that's just disturbing."

Luckily, last night I found the make-up kit before I found the other pieces of dismembered costumes from the past. And, after careful deliberation, I decided that the best costume option with a heavy reliance on make-up would be the Joker. (That almost sounds like an Oscar Category, doesn't it? "And now, for the award in best costume theatrics with heavy reliance on make-up, here are the nominees...)

Anyway, I threw open the internet and searched for pictures of Heath Ledger's Joker, in all his ghastly, ghoulish form. Ten minutes later I emerged from the bathroom looking like this:

It turned out really nice. :) I bought some wonderful (overpriced) hair colorant that worked wonders to give me that nice, green look. My favorite part of the whole process, though, was messing it all up - smearing it here and there, streaking the black down my face - to create that truly manic look. If I do it again, though, I'll probably use some liquid latex to get the scarred look. "Ya wanna know how I got these scars?" Also, I'll be looking for a green vest and purple, paisley shirt to complete the ensemble.


A happier picture:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Such a beautiful day. :)

My family and I were at Coronado Beach in San Diego on Friday afternoon. We had visited an aquarium earlier that day and, inspired by the variety of sea life we saw there, decided that some time at the beach would be appropriate and fun. Coronado Beach is ranked 5th on the list of the best beaches in the United States. That list includes Hawaii. So I was extremely excited to get out there and enjoy the waves!

When we got there, the weather was gorgeous. Temperatures floated in the high 80's and the blue sky was dotted here and there with fluffy white clouds. I stripped down to my swimsuit as fast as I could and practically ran out to the water, which was cold, but not so cold that you can't stand it. After a few minutes, I was used to the temperature and began body surfing. I remember looking down into the water to clear seaweed from my feet and spotting, for only a moment, what looked to be a stingray. I thought nothing of it, however, figuring that it was just a cloud of sand embellished by my imagination.

(By the way, if you've never tried body surfing, it's SO much fun! You simply get out to where the water is about chest-level deep, and when you see a wave beginning to form, you swim as fast as you can toward the shore. By the time the wave has reached you, it should be cresting, and as long as you're swimming fast enough, you'll catch the wave and actually surf it for a little while. You do need to keep swimming as this happens or you just end up getting rolled into the wave, which isn't as fun as riding one all the way to the beach.)

Anyway, Tyler and I were out there body surfing for a good 40 minutes or so, just having the time of our life! We had caught some pretty great waves and were waiting for another to come when I stepped back on the sand and suddenly felt a very painful, odd sensation. It was like somebody had shoved a nail an inch or two into my heel and squirted something in there. I knew instantly that I had not simply stepped on something sharp, but that something had stung me.

Now before I go on, let me tell you that I am no stranger to injuries on the beach. A few years back, while on a vacation with my family to Cancun, I swam backward into a jellyfish and received a nice maze of tentacle-shaped welts on my upper arm and shoulder. It stung quite a bit - like a bee sting over your entire arm. On another trip to the beach with the family I was swimming around and happened to kick a hellishly jagged crop of rock, effectively cheese-grating the tops of my left toes. That stung as well.

This most recent sting, however, was in a league of it's own. I ran up to the beach in EXCRUCIATING pain. My entire foot was on fire and the wound was bleeding pretty heavily. I hobbled my way over to the towels and asked Mom for some water to wash it off. She handed me a bottle and I rinsed the sand and blood away to find a small, quarter-inch puncture wound from which a rich, winding river of blood poured easily down my foot. Dad walked out to one of the resort hotels on the beach to ask for a band aid, but apparently, when he mentioned that I had a puncture wound on the bottom of my foot, the people knew instantly that it was a stingray attack and called the lifeguard to come out to where we were.

As you can see, it was bleeding pretty badly. This is after the first washing.

The lifeguard arrived in his jeep and only had to glance at my wound to confirm the truth - I had been stung by a stingray. It obviously wasn't a planned attack, but merely the result of me stepping on the poor creature. I couldn't help but wonder at that time if I had, in fact, seen a stingray earlier in the day, and if, perhaps, it was that exact ray that I stepped on!

Well, the lifeguard wrapped my foot in some gauze to keep sand out, and instructed me to get back to the hotel room asap and submerge my foot in hot water (at least 110 degrees). The ride home was very painful. I honestly can't begin to tell you how much it hurt. Maybe take a bee sting and multiply that by ... like... 200. It's a sharp, deep, stabbing pain accompanied by a horrible burning sensation. Yeah. That's really the best description I can give.

Anyway, when we got back to the room I put my foot into a bucket of hot water and within 20 minutes the pain had subsided to a very reasonable level. After that, my foot only ached a little, and by the next day the pain was practically gone. On occasion, my foot spontaneously bleeds (which is weird) but I'll be fine.

Something like this won't keep me out of the water, but let's hope it's the end of my maritime injuries.

Seriously. So freaking painful.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Kittens

A few months or so ago, my brother in law, Andrew, rescued a little kitten from under a car in the mechanic's shop where he works. Apparently, the tiny thing was perched up on the axle of the car, shivering from fright, and covered in grease. Who knows how long it traveled up there! I can't imagine the horrific journey the poor thing had, but nonetheless, this kitten had no home. Andrew and Shannon already have two grown cats of their own, and they decided that adding a new kitten to the group would be too stressful. So, with some deliberation, it was decided that the kitten would be brought here to stay till they decided what to do with it.

After a few weeks, it became obvious that the kitten would stay. We had all become quite enamored with this new, playful little creature.

However, it became apparent that the creature would forever mercilessly attack our hands without another little creature to keep it company.

So, we got another kitten.

And let me tell you, folks. Kittens are SO much better in pairs for two reasons: they keep each other company, leaving you to enjoy their lovable, cuddly side, without the downside of the crazy, pent-up-energy that a lonely kitten has after a day of sitting alone at home. It's like living in an episode of "Nature" where the bears are always cuddly, and less like "When Good Bears go Bad: 3!"

Anyway, we now have two happy little kittens with us. Shannon has been begging me to take pictures... and I've finally crumbled to the pressure. I figure since they're at the vet now (getting spayed and de-clawed) it's a better time than any to put up some pics.

By the way, I HATE HATE HATE the harsh light that the pop-up flash on my camera offers. You'll notice that the pictures were taken in a tidy little window of natural, wonderful sunlight. Keeping playful animals in that window of light, though, proved very difficult. Nonetheless, I think I shot some keepers.

This is ... well, we don't really have a name for her. We call her "Little".
She's the newest addition. The kitten Andrew rescued is...

...right here. Her name is "Beans."
I'm not sure why we chose that name, but we like it.

Little girl likes to sniff stuff. Most cats do.

Beans likes to stare intently at things...
probably wondering if it's edible and/or something that should be chased.

"Owww!" Actually, little girl wasn't hurt or anything, but it looks like a pretty good slap.

"Whoa, timeout." "I think Barry's camera has a fun looking dangly strap."

Love the paws. (This one used a flash)



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barry, Through the Decades

You ever wonder what you might look like if you spent your wonderful high-school years in another decade? How might the styles, fashions, and fads of that era affect the way you look? Well, thanks to the folks over at, you no longer have to wonder. You can KNOW!

So check me out. In all my timeless glory.

Hmm... 1952 isn't doing much for me. I look like I need a good beating.
Maybe I become a greaser later and redeem myself?

Nope. It's 1960, and I'm still as much a nerd as ever. But baby, I'm makin MONEY! ...workin with the boys down at the nuclear physics lab. Perhaps that money will lead to some sweet fashion in a later decade.

Mmmm, yeah!! 1974 is gonna' be CRAZY!

The 70's were a time of transition, so by 1976 I had ditched the bowtie for a dreamy turtleneck.
"I know you love me, baby. Don't touch my hair."

1986. Brutal. Were the 80's good to anyone?

Hope you enjoyed this. :)


Thursday, October 9, 2008

I ♥ Rap

Those who know me well know that I love rap.

I enjoy the seamless fusion of lyrics and rhythm that good rap exemplifies - the way a great producer can flawlessly mesh every syllable of a word with the parts of the bass line, snare, and instrumentals. Artists like Tupac, Ludacris, Kanye West, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Eminem, Diddy (back when he was Puff Daddy), Coolio, and Jay-Z are some of my favorites and, as such, hold a place in my music folder. Their rap speaks of experience from every season of life, from gang wars in the hoods of LA, to the joy of watching a child grow, to the pain of watching a friend die, to the easy smiles of a backyard party. The rap I own comes in all flavors of languages, too. I've got Mexican rap, American rap, and even a French rap song called "La Belle et le Bad Boy" which tells the story of a beautiful girl who falls in love with a rebellious boy. While they dream of a good life, the crime-laden context in which they find themselves overcomes that dream. It's a tragic love story.

One of my favorite songs ever, "Life Goes On", by Tupac, is a song about mourning. Throughout the song Tupac recalls good times with his friend, Kato, for whom the song is written. The recollections of good memories, however, are interspersed with lyrics that speak of true pain:

"But now your buried,
rest nigga,
cause I ain't worried.
Eyes blurred,
sayin' goodbye at the cemetary.
Tho' memories fade,
I got your name tatted on my arm,
so we both ball till' my dying days.
Before I say goodbye,
Kato, we're meant to rest in peace,
Thug till I die."

While I love rap, I understand that sometimes it's hard to take the messages presented seriously, considering the context. Many people shy away from such songs (including hip-hop) because of themes of murder, lasciviousness, and deceit - all very bad things. Obviously there are some songs I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. I think, though, that there are things to be appreciated in other songs. I try to listen to the edited versions, because I don't particularly like hearing the four letter words.

If you like rap, let me know. If you don't like it, let me know why! And, if you have any favorite songs, let me know about them as well. I'm always looking to expand my library.


One of my favorites

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One Lonely Picture

On Friday night I drove up to Logan to watch my beloved Cougars take on the lowly Aggies of Utah State. I say lowly because they're likely the second worst team in all of college football. Anyway, as I drove up, I took a picture of the wispy, autumn sky. I figured it was the first of many wonderful, football-filled pictures that would be taken during the night. However, when I arrived at the stadium I was confronted by a sign that stated coldly and simply: "No professional cameras. Cameras with interchangeable lenses or with multiple parts are not permitted inside Romney Stadium."

Now, let it be known that I had just walked many miles to the stadium from where I parked and was NOT about to walk back to put my camera in my car. I pretended not to notice the sign and walked up to the girl who was taking tickets. I spoke first. "Hey, am I okay to bring this in here?" Wait, what? Did I actually just ask her that? She obviously had not noticed my camera hanging around my neck. And didn't I want to sneak it by anyway? What in the blue hell had convinced me to ask her if my camera was okay? I was kicking myself!

"Oh. Yeah. I'm sorry, but umm... no, you can't bring professional cameras into the stadium."

I smiled for a moment, flattered that she had called my camera professional.

"Oh, thank you, but this camera is really only an entry level digital SLR." She stared at me blankly. Hell, I might as well have been speaking Japanese to this girl. She was nice enough. Not very good looking, though. And seemed a bit slow. Not mentally challenged slow, just not a very bright girl.

To her credit, I could tell that she didn't want this confrontation. I got the feeling that had I not said anything about the camera, she would have let me pass through unhindered, even if she HAD noticed that I had one of them professional lookin thangs on my neck.

I looked around at the stadium. Not really looking for something to say or an excuse to bring the camera in, but more of the brutal, internal beating I was giving myself for bringing the damn thing up in the first place.

"Look. I parked so far from here. I walked for miles. With a handcart. I don't want to go back to my car. Do you have a place where I can put my camera till the end of the game?" I didn't really mention a handcart.

"Umm.. no. We don't umm... have a place for your camera."

I nodded, considering the fact that I had just driven a hundred and some-odd miles to see the game, arriving near the end of the second quarter, only to find that my kind (people with nice cameras) was not welcome.

"Umm... if you promise not to take any pictures, you can bring your camera inside."

I nodded. "Okay. I can do that." I dismantled my camera and put it all away in the bag while I thought about how I'd get by her, find my place in the crowd and then start shooting away. I thought of how fun it would be to know that I was the rogue photographer in the crowd, shooting without any regard to the stadium's silly rules.

I made my way to my seat and sat down. I glanced at my camera bag, ready to shoot, but hesitated. I had promised her not to take any pictures. Was my integrity worth some pictures? Was this even a question of integrity? I had not promised a dying man that I'd take his heirloom watch to his son. I was not on a battlefield listening to said man's final sputterings of life. I mean, come ON! If you fall through on a situation like that you can just wave goodbye to your integrity. You do something like that and you're a full-fledged, genuine ASS!

I had simply promised not to take pictures.

Battlefield or not, though, I decided not to take the pictures. So, for all of my troubles (and a two-hour long drive) I have one, lonely picture. The Cougars did win, though.