Monday, August 31, 2009

The Big Castle

I realized that I never posted the pictures from the second half of the Bottomless Pit trip. After visiting the pit, Scott and I headed out to a large, castle-looking structure on the west side of the mountains east of Santaquin, Utah. I'd always wondered what it was up on that mountain and since we were out there, we figured we'd check it out.

The entire structure is incredible, with multi-tiered concrete basins jutting out from a maze of chutes and pillars.

The erosion on the rebar was so heavy you could actually smell it. Really. A rich, iron smell hung in the air as if the ruins were actually bleeding.

The graffiti that littered the walls was interesting, but this took the cake. I have to wonder if "lady" saw it.

The view from above was nice. Below are pools of water that are tainted with very high amounts of heavy metals. We spoke to a local who said that the cops are always kicking the Mexicans out because they like to swim here. I smiled, as the scene he described reminded me of my mission to Mexico.

A nice ore sample, marbled with precious metal - probably silver, but maybe gold.

The local guy we talked to out there explained to us that the complex was a smelter back in the day. It serviced mines from the entire Tintic District and when they all went under, so did the smelter. Now it stands as just a crumbled echo of what it once was. Buildings are like wine, though - with age they only get better.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Onto the Roof Again

It's been five days since I last blogged - far too long, in my opinion.

I thought I'd share some random pictures with you that were taken this evening.

It was very dusty today. The valley was obscured with dust and smoke from local fires.

The sunset was spectacular through the grime, though, so I crawled out on the roof to get these pictures:

This guy kept me company:

Thought I'd get a self portrait while I was up there. Setting the timer and running on the apex of the roof was a thrill!

This is actually a composition of two pictures of clouds I took while up there. I thought it turned out really cool, though, so I posted it.

So, yeah, some fun on the roof again. :)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Behold, Our Spoils

Sometimes you find really amazing stuff when you go dumpster diving, but most of the time you find things like this:

One (1) flaming skull painting guaranteed to make the woman of your dreams swoon at your incredible taste. Eight (8) juice cartons that, by the date on the box, are good to drink till March of 2010. And a WWE trading card collection.

My favorite card? This guy:

His face looks like it was photoshopped on, but the beauty of it all is that is wasn't! It's just his awful beard that makes his head look fake. Plus, his pseudo gang sign not only fails to make him look tough, but actually makes it appear, at first glance, that he has deformed mini-hands. Matt Hardy? Pshht. More like Matt Hardly...


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lightning Again

In the wake of a wonderful summer thunderstorm, I crawled out onto the roof of my parents' house to take some pictures of the storm as it traveled across the west side of the valley. My goal was to shoot some lightning, but the flashes were few and far between. This gave me ample time to consider a situation in which a cop might see me up there and ask me what I was doing.

"Oh, just shooting some lightning." I'd reply with a nervous laugh.

"I don't see any lightning." The cop would pull out his maglite and shine it up into my face, blinding me instantly. "Why don't you tell me what you're really doing up there. You like taking pictures of people?"

I'd stumble over, blinded by the light, and fall off the roof, knocking myself unconscious. He's call for an ambulance, and as a crowd gathered to ask what was going on, he'd reply with a casual, "Just another pervert taking pictures of his neighbors."

I'd wake up in jail a few days later with amnesia. And...

Whoa. Was that lightning? I'd missed a perfect shot. This saddened me greatly, but I was satisfied to catch this one a few moments later - my only shot of the night.

(Click on the picture for the larger version)


Friday, August 21, 2009

Two Random Facts


This is easily in my top three favorite cereals. It tastes great, keeps you healthy, and encourages "regularity." Oh, and it has to be Kellog's brand, because they have more raisins and no bitter "Post" aftertaste.


Behold these two photos:



This is living proof that OxyClean does a hell of a job cleaning stains on your carpet that were put there because a very sloppy Chinese roommate would always eat in the front room, allowing the oil from his strange food concoctions to liberally coat the living room floor. GYAAGGHH!! I am so glad he's gone. We've enjoyed three days now of Chinese-roommate-free living.

**Disclosure: I am not assuming that all Chinese roommates are bad roommates. Nor that they are all sloppy eaters.**

Thank you, Shrek, for standing in as the OxyClean mascot. You may return to your place on the fridge.


P.S. ("Cinnamon Toast Crunch" and "Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries" round out the top three cereals.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rejected MTV Music Award Shorts...


Ha ha ha!!! I love it...


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feelin' McGross...

Last night at about midnight I had the late night munchies. I usually satiate them with a bowl of cereal, but when I opened the fridge, to my dismay, there was no milk. I looked through my cupboards and considered a bagel, oatmeal, or even garbanzo beans as alternative options. (Yeah, I don't have much food in the cupboards because we're moving out next week and I don't want to have to move a bunch of food. So I'm slowly working through all the random stuff that has been sitting up there.)

With nothing but lame snacking options in the apartment, I decided to hit up McDonalds. Why McDonalds? Well, I had a coupon for a free fry and drink with the purchase of any Angus burger. I figured I'd give the new sandwich a try. I should have known, though, that ANY McDonalds - Angus or otherwise - is a mistake at 12:00am.

I brought my greasy prize back to my place and ate it while watching a show about what will happen when the sun explodes in ten billion years. That's the history channel for ya. It's all about the sun exploding, or the bible code, or UFO's. I can't blame them, really. I mean, there's only so much history, ya know? After you've covered the facts, you gotta start covering the shady stuff (bigfoot, UFO's, ghosts) and when you've played the hell out of that record, you venture into the future. **End of tangent**

What's funny about eating McDonalds is that your body suddenly realizes that you're trying to kill it. In retaliation, it puts you into an immediate coma so it can sort out the maelstrom in your stomache and vindictively deposit the fat in your _____ (insert fattest body part here.) After the meal I stumbled to the bathroom and brushed my teeth, took out my contacts, and then passed out, only to awaken this morning with what I like to call, "the McHangover." I felt greasy, bloated, and somehow I could still taste the Angus, even though I'd brushed my teeth the night before. I popped a couple of Tums, drank some water, and promptly tore up the other coupon I have sitting on my desk for a free Angus burger.

It'll be a long time before I do that again. I can't say it'll never happen, because, invariably, there will come another time when at 12:00am I'm feeling the munchies and, dissatisfied with my options in my cupboard, I will venture out to eat something I'll regret the next day.

Maybe Betos...?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

District 9

District 9 is the action movie I've been waiting for all summer. It's got big guns, great effects, and suspense that'll make you wish you hadn't downed that 128 oz. Super Cola before the movie started. On top of that, the aliens are incredibly realistic and well animated. Their expressions and mannerisms are very human, which makes the movie.

District 9 transcends other action / sci-fi thrillers of the year, though, in that beneath the grit, grime, and gore the plot tackles a very serious issue - that of man's ceaseless inhumanity to those who are not like himself. These themes are explored primarily through the actions of the main character (Wikus van der Merwe) as we watch him, documentary style, while he goes about his work with a company that has successfully bid for the task of removing millions of aliens from their current slum (District 9) to a "better" camp. Wilkus begins the movie as a very anti-alien, witless human and ends the movie as almost the complete and entire opposite.

The movie's ending makes you doubt whether or not the aliens are even truly aliens... I can't say any more concerning that without seriously spoiling the movie for those who have not yet seen it, so I'll stop there.

Let it be known that this movie is very rated R. I don't recommend taking the kids to see it, nor the squeamish wife. The blood / splatter factor is comparable to a serious war movie like "Saving Private Ryan" with the disturbing hate violence seen in movies like "Hotel Rwanda." Vulgarity is an issue as well, as the f bomb is dropped probably 100+ times. There is absolutely no sex or inappropriate romance in the movie, though, with the exception of a few references to slang terms for sex acts.

With that said, I seriously recommend it to those who can handle it for it's insights into meaningful issues, excellent effects, and realism among other things. It's comparison to movies like "Hotel Rwanda" and "Saving Private Ryan" is fitting in that beneath the excessive gore and violence, there are valuable themes to be studied and lessons to be learned.


Monday, August 17, 2009

If You Could Hike to Kolob...

...Saturday would have been the day to do it.

I went down to Kolob Canyon (the northern entrance to Zion) and just as I was about to pay the twelve dollar entrance fee I was told by the ranger that it was free to enter any national park that weekend. What beautiful words! It was as if I could feel the pent up rage from driving hundreds of miles through work zones just lift from my shoulders! I almost gave him a dollar for being the bearer of good news but decided against this as I realized it could have been construed as a bribe. And if there's one thing I ever learned from scouting, it was this: NEVER bribe a park ranger.

In celebration of my discounted adventure I've decided to post pictures from the trip.... for free!

As you can see, Kolob Canyon looks very much like the more familiar, southern part of Zion National Park.

Green lichen. Red rocks. Blue sky. All tastefully adorned in pastels.

Somebody had carefully set up a bunch of cairns (technical term for "tiny rock towers") at the end of the first hike I did.

All lizards look the same, don't they? I'll bet they say the same about us, though.

I didn't realize it then, but I'd have to scale that distant peak in the latter part of the hike.
Not really, though. That peak was only for decoration.

Petrified Brontosaurus. Died angry, I guess.

This is part of a very old cabin on the trail. I love the contrast of texture and form.

Canyon wall.

This sign clearly states the final destination of the hike. The water stains on the rock resembled a massive pipe organ. The acoustics were incredible, too, with every footstep trembling off the walls in deep echo.

Timer shot from a log showcasing myself and the pipe organ.

Above the alcove, pines peak down from beautifully tiered gardens.

Driftwood cowlick.

Isn't Kolob beautiful?

Taylor Creek - now reduced to a trickle - but still charming.

Awesome rock formation: part one.

Awesome rock formation: part two.

And that concludes the free photo show. :)

After the hike, I drove down to Hurricane and stayed with my wonderful grandparents. I can't say enough how great it is to have them so close. We ate incredible steaks for dinner, watched pre-season NFL football (thank you, God, for this time of year) and an ENORMOUS slice of watermelon for dessert.

An excellent weekend.


Friday, August 14, 2009


I took this a few minutes ago as a storm passed our place...

It's the first picture of lightning I've ever captured. A little lackluster, yeah... but kinda cool nonetheless!


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Check out this clip from!!!

"A serviceman goes for millions..."

Guess we'll find out how much he wins tonight!!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jake Wants to be a Millionaire!

Jake Shaha, one of my close friends from high school, is going to be on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" on Thursday night! I'm not yet sure of how he got on the show, but I'm sure he has a story to tell.

The show airs on Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 7:00pm. It's all part of a 10th anniversary revival with Regis Philbin (who hosted the original show in 1999) returning to the host's seat.

Go, Jake! Woot! Win a million dollars!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jesus and the Dinosaurs

I just found this on a friend's facebook wall and had to share...

"Even though we know dinosaurs survived the flood (on Noah's ark)..."

Oh... Well, yeah! Pshh. Who doesn't know that! (???)


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dirty Black Lexus

Last night I was driving some friends home from a night spent playing Boom Blox. I was dropping off Steve, who lives only a few blocks from our apartment, when a black Lexus SUV raced by us. Immediately afterward we were jolted with a large "BAM!" on the roof of my car. Rivulets of water poured down my windshield and windows - a telltale sign of a water balloon attack.

"Oh, they did NOT just do that!"

"Did they just hit us with a water balloon?" Somebody asked in the back.

"Yeah." I threw the car into reverse. "We're gonna mess their &$%* up." (I didn't actually swear here, but love saying tough-ass things when I have no intentions of doing anything tough)

My Bonneville swung around lethargically, rocking and groaning like an old boat, and as I shifted into drive, I noticed they were already rounding the corner a few blocks ahead. At that moment I realized that old bonnie had no place in this chase. I was a manatee chasing a dolphin. And while that dolphin had just smacked me on the back with it's mischevious little tail, I knew that there was nothing I could do about it.

"Anyone get the license plate number?" Steve asked. Everybody replied in the negative.

I didn't really know why I wanted to catch them. We had nothing to throw at them. I certainly wasn't going to yell at them or be angry about it. To me they were just having a good time. It reminded me of a time when Steve, our friend Brian, and I decided to throw some orange rolls into the back of a Jeep as they passed us in traffic. We'd found the rolls a few hours earlier in the dumpster of the Provo Bakery and didn't know what to do with them. When the gooey, sticky rolls landed in their nice ride, they angrily spun the car around and pursued us in a full fledged rage. I didn't blame them then and I don't blame them now. When your car is bombarded with something foreign, you want to punish the bombarders.

The funny thing about last night is that a few minutes later, after having dropped everyone off, Scott and I saw the same Lexus pass us. I discreetly turned around - laughing at our great fortune - and followed them till we were close enough to get their license plate number. They must have recognized us then, though, because they sped off in a hurry - evasively swerving down side roads until they disappeared from view.

We've got the number though. We'll find the car. Revenge will be sweet. :)


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The best salsa I've had in a long time...

The brand is called "Garden Fresh Gourmet: Jack's Santa Fe Style Black Bean and Corn"

This salsa has a very fresh, clean flavor with no strange plasticky aftertastes like you get from other salsas. The hints of black bean and corn are just enough to make the salsa unique, without overpowering the other ingredients. It's absolutely delicious.

We picked it up at Smith's, though other grocers might also carry it. Scott chose the "Mild" variety, which is really good, but I like my salsa to have a kick so if I bought it again I'd get at least "Medium" heat.

If you get it, let me know what you think!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What the .... !?!?!?

R. Kelly single-handedly ruined his career with this. Oh, wait. No, it was the whole thing with the teenage girls that ruined his career, but this was very much detrimental to it all - the cherry on the top of the metaphorical ice cream sundae.

"Trapped in the Closet" is, well... a unique experience. It's what we refer to as "Hip-Hopera." Yeah. If you've never seen this, sit back, enjoy the show, and wonder why in the hell everyone gets so frantic over nothing. Also, you can try to count how many times R. Kelly pulls out his Beretta. It's quite comical, really. Because it's all supposed to be very, very serious.


*Disclaimer: This video is edited, so you won't hear any cuss words, but you still get the idea of what they're saying. If this bothers you, you don't have to watch it. Also, there's one scene that gets a little steamy. Nothing shown. Just a little steamy. You can fast forward through that one if you'd like.*


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rock Creek

As the grand finale to summer vacationing, my family and I drove to the Sierra Nevada's of California to camp for a week. Rock Creek campground, which lies 40 or so miles south of the famed Yosemite, has been a favorite camping place of ours for as long as I can remember. In fact, my dad camped there as a kid with his parents, and I hope take my kids there someday as well. :)

On the way there, just before coming into Bakersfield, California, the hills are covered with windmills!

When we got there, a small family had just barely finished setting up camp in our favorite spot. We literally missed it by only a few hours. I was so disappointed - almost heartbroken! That spot is where we always stay! It's right on the edge of the forest and closest to the swimming holes. Dad and I talked to them though, and asked if they'd be willing to change spots if we helped them move. They eventually obliged and we got our beloved spot. :) Here you can see our campsite all nestled in amongst our coniferous friends.

This gives you a pretty good idea of what the creek is like. Small and lush, gently cascading over granite as it makes its way down the valley, pausing at times to form clear pools that practically beg you to come swimming.

Here's another shot of the creek. Erosion has left the granite twisted and smooth, as if it were a piece of ancient taffy, pulled by giants and long since hardened.

At night, we were given a full view of the Milky Way. I had no tripod and had a hard time focusing on the stars, but even so I was pleasantly surprised with how this picture turned out.

Pieces of Obsidian are plentiful all over the campsite. This rock was used often by Indians to make arrowheads, knives, and other sharp tools.

Down near the creek, there are many small holes carved into the rock. As kids we always thought these were holes in which the Indians ground their corn. In fact, even the adults thought so. We found out years later, though, that they are only a strange form of erosion. Still cool, though. :)

This tree is absolutely amazing! It's growing from nothing more than a one-inch gap in the rock!

Here's a close-up of the gap at the base of the tree. I know this poor thing doesn't grow much because it's been the same size it is now since I was a little guy. What a testament, though, to the resilience of nature!

In the pool below our campsite, a natural water slide slicks across the top of the granite. It looks really black here because of the exposure of the camera, but it's actually only slightly darker than the surrounding granite, tinged red from algae. It is VERY slippery.

We found a dead guy floating in the water when we came down one day. We had to call the ranger and they brought up a CSI team and ... no... not really. It's just Dad looking into the depths of the pool with his mask.

Dad and I burning down some firewood for coals. We roasted hot dogs over the fire for dinner that night. Mmmm.

One of our adventures was a day-trip to Jackass Creek. One of the lovelier features of Jackass is that the bottom is entirely sandy. No rocks at all. It's not that deep, though. Here, Tyler and Mom enjoy the clear water.

Another view of Jackass creek, looking toward the road that we took up there.

Tyler took this picture of the camp table and I really liked it. You've got the typical camp stuff here - a book to read, a roll of paper towels, scrabble scores, and a carving of a dream-catcher undoubtedly put there by somebody who thought they were doing a spiritual favor to the campsite.

This is the main pond at the Rock Creek campground. At its deepest it's about 9 feet deep. It used to be a beautiful swimming hole, complete with a rope swing but in recent years a large pine tree fell into it and rotted on the bottom, creating a quagmire of pine needles and branches. Fishermen still love it, though.

We went to Bass Lake one day for a picnic and a few hours of swimming. Sadly, this is the only decent photo I took there - one of Mom looking over the lake. The water there is much warmer than that of the creek, but the shore of the lake is very rocky and painful to walk on, so it's a trade off.

It looks like I'm naked, but I assure you I'm wearing a swimsuit.

Tyler's expression says, "Behold! A man and his domain of nature!" I envisioned the woodland creatures scurrying forth to his side, the birds perching on his arms, but it didn't happen. Nature doesn't often do what it's supposed to.

I'm not sure where this rock was before it fell, but it's huge. And I love the tiny plant growing on it.

What better way to end a blog about camping than with a delicious smore. Enjoy.