Monday, November 30, 2009

Red and Blue makes Purple

The rivalry between BYU and Utah is one of the strongest, most emotional rivalries in the country. Anyone who disagrees has either never been to a BYU-Utah football game, or refuses to accept that anything outside the BCS is worthy of national consideration. The vehement fervor with which either side defends their team is borderline fanatical on the strong side and at the very least - intelligently opinionated. With eleven of the past thirteen games decided by a touchdown or less, the atmospheric tension present at the game palpably hisses in the background - a fuse smoldering restlessly into a crate of dynamite. Looking into the eyes of BYU and Utah fans alike, you can almost smell the acrid fury of said fuse, and when the crowd erupts with the game winning touchdown, a very sudden and tangible explosion can be felt.

Moments like these are what make a rivalry great. Emotion stands on the brink of rejoicing or mourning, elation or heartbreak. But with such dedication and enthusiasm comes the ugly face of hatred. Some focus too much on how little they like the fans, players, coaches, etc. of the opposing team, nearly to the point of forgetting to cheer for their own. Some dwell too much on the injustices of the past to the point of clouding their mind of all reason and civility in their interaction with "the enemy." Most, I will say, behave well, act reasonably, and promote good sportsmanship. They throw playful banter back and forth, and place bets that often result in mild, prankish humiliation. Sadly, as is so often the case in life, the good side of things saunters by unnoticed, while the ugly side takes the spotlight.

On Saturday night, Max Hall spewed hatred for Utah after the game, creating an instantaneous rivalry firebomb, and eliciting controversy that has stained the airwaves since. His ill-chosen words were spoken in a moment of passion - something we've all done at one time or another - but unlike the rest of us, his words were immediately branded into rivalry lore - fuel for one side, shame for the other. The worst of this news is that it sparks even more hatred among fans. Even those who try to remain reasonable (like me) find themselves having to take sides in a discussion about whether or not Max's comments were justified, over the line, classless, etc. He has since come out with a revision of/apology for his statement which has quelled most of the fire.

I'm not going to go into my position on his comments. That's all in the past now and I've spent entirely too much time facebooking about it anyway. I only hope that in the future, BYU and Utah fans and players alike can think twice before hurling any hateful comments at each other. Enjoy the rivalry for what it is. Be reasonable about it, though. And above everything...

...don't be a hater. :)

Now, let's all relive that incredible moment wherein the crowd exploded on Saturday night. (Ute fans... better luck next year.)


Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankfulness, continued...

I've not been very good at keeping up with the goal I made of writing a thankfulness blog post every day, so today I've decided to go with a more varied, visual post.

I'm thankful for my body. (Thank you, Slim Goodbody, for standing in for this.) I'm thankful for the mobility it gives us, for the ability it has to heal, and for the incredible strength and resilience it shows. I'm thankful for the way it fights infection and sickness and for the little conveniences it provides like thumbs. The human body is a wonder.

I'm thankful for the unique properties of (water) ice. It is the only known non-metallic substance to expand when it freezes. This is important because it allows ice to float on top of water instead of sinking when it freezes. If the opposite were true, the oceans, rivers, and lakes of the world would freeze from the bottom up and life would very likely not exist. I'm thankful for little quirks like that in the world of physics that make life possible for us.

I'm thankful for dreaming! (And likewise thankful for funny inspirational posters) Really, though. Dreams allow us to experience crazy adventures, thought provoking situations, possible real-life scenarios, all in a vivid realism that is nearly identical to waking life, but without any of the ramifications or consequences of actual living. Dreaming is amazing.

I'm thankful for football! I love the hard hits, the break-aways, and the diving catches. I love the fight songs of college football and the celebrations in the NFL. But more so, I love it because I have so many memories of going to BYU games with Dad when I was only 8 or 9, watching big games with Grandpa and Grandma at Thanksgiving, and getting the family together for a feast of appetizers for the Super Bowl. Also, I love that this week is rivalry week and I'll be so thankful for a win when the Cougars crush the Utes in Provo this year. :)

That's all for now.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Love Nature

I just bought a new plant from ikea. It's a Neanthe Bella Palm. I'd never owned a plant before, which I've come to regret, because plants can liven up a room in a way that is unmatched by even the best decoration. It's so refreshing to see something green and lush and healthy when all that is outside is turning brown and hardening for the winter.

I'm so thankful for nature. As an avid hiker, camper, and explorer I adore the outdoors. Not like a tree-hugging, granola-eating, hippie liberal, wack job does. I certainly don't cry when a tree is cut down, but I've come to realize that - for the sake of my well-being - I need an escape every once in awhile into the twisting vaults of a sandstone canyon, the sparkling turquoise of an alpine lake, or that point where the endless blue of the sky meets the naked peak of a mountain. Nature brings to mind a sense of peace, wonder, and reverence that does wonders for my health, mentally and physically. I'm thankful to live in a state where the landscape is so varied, and I'm thankful to God for creating it all this way.

Here's to exploring National Parks we've never been to, hiking to heights we've never seen, and swimming in water we never knew could be so cold.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yes. I Love Technology.

**As we are now 9 days from Thanksgiving (including today) I thought I'd dedicate each day, from now until Thanksgiving, to what I am so thankful for in my life.**

I love technology. I would never write a song about it. That's just not me. But I did want to dedicate one of my thankfulness posts to technology because of it's far-reaching effects on my life.

Consider the following:

I carry, in the palm of my hand, a device that allows me to communicate instantaneously with anyone in the world who also carries a device of similar craftsmanship. It gives me instant access to a gargantuan database of information - one that holds nearly every answer to every question you could ever ask. It takes pictures, tells me where I am on a map, and stores libraries of music - playing them with clarity that would make Thomas Edison applaud from his grave.

In my home, I have a machine that fits neatly on my desk that effortlessly performs 357,230 operations per second. It calculates incredible mathematical equations in a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the time it takes the average person to do it. It allows me to view news from around the world without the need to subscribe to a paper. With it I can send a letter to anyone I'd like at the speed of light and without the need for a stamp. Through it I can express my creativity with mediums, images, and techniques without ever needing to go to an arts and crafts store. I can acquire an entire song in seconds, view it's waveform, and edit it as I please with a few simple clicks of a mouse. I am no longer limited by my resources, but only by the time and ability I have to learn.

And for that, I love technology. I am so thankful for the ways in which it makes our lives easier, more enjoyable, and more efficient. I'm thankful for the power it gives us to communicate, the ability it gives us to educate, and the quality of health that we enjoy because of it.

Here's to future advances in technology and the accompanying wonders and benefits that it will bring to our lives.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tyler's Birthday

My youngest brother, Tyler, turned 17 today! Aggh! I can't believe how time has flown. I'm so impressed with the person he has become, though. He's an amazing kid.

Tonight we all went up to Sandy for some dinner and cake and presents and such. Ty's dinner of choice was meatloaf, which was excellent. My mom did a stellar job there. After, we watched the Colts come from behind to beat the Patriots! Happy birthday to all of us!

This is what my camera saw.

Tyler blows out the candles while Steve gets WAY into the birthday song. Shannon captures the moment.

Can't remember what Dad was explaining here. Something to do with an old movie, I think.

This cake is full of chocolate and caramel and covered with whipped cream and toffee bars. Tell me that doesn't make you drool just a little bit...

Birthday balloons.

My two handsome brothers. Aww.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Stinky, Empty Box

This is not a picture of this scene, but actually the scene as it runs in real time. You can see them move really slowly if you look carefully for a few hours. The movie is just THAT slow.

Let's say Saturday night rolls around and you want to see a movie. More specifically, you want to see a really slow movie because... I dunno... maybe you have a lot of time on your hands. In addition to this, you want the movie to be filled with really bad atmospheric music - the kind of tinny, headache-inducing crap that tries to convey suspense, but can't because the plot is smoking a joint and can't really see the point of "going anywhere" or "doing anything." Let's assume that on top of this all you don't want to mess with technical things like character development and a well-written script. And as far as actors go, you prefer a pretty face to any semblance of talent. Cameron Diaz and/or James Marsden might fill this role perfectly.

If this sounds like something you're in the mood for, go see "The Box."

Otherwise, avoid it like the swine flu.


Booby Traps

It's fun, when you find the right materials, to set up booby traps in your house. Nothing dangerous or deadly. Just fun things to scare somebody. The other day, for example, I happened to find one of those semi-firework-ish noisemaker things (typically used on New Years Eve and other parties) and decided that I would tape it behind the door in Scott's bathroom. He's got a hook thing on the wall that practically begs to have an explosive device taped to it. I rigged it up so that the string would pull out when he closed the door to use the bathroom, causing the explosion to go off and (possibly) causing an early bowel movement. Once it was all in place I stood there and laughed, amazed by my ingenuity and the hilarity that would surely ensue when he closed the door.

Later that day he walked into the bathroom. I held my breath and waited for the expected BANG, but as he closed the door I heard only the familiar sound of tape ripping away from a failed booby trap. BAH.

Booby traps are still fun to make, even if they don't always work. :)


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hooray for New Cleats

No Halloween make-up here. My new cleats rubbed the back of my feet completely raw.

Painful? Yes. Even more painful, though, was pulling my socks off afterward.

We ended up losing the game to a team we'd previously beaten, so we're out of the playoffs. I had a great time, though. And that, my friends, is what matters. :)


Sunday, November 1, 2009

From American Indian to Zombie

I was recently thinking back on all the things I've been for Halloween and thought it would be fun to share old pictures. As I scoured our old photo albums, I found that not all Halloweens were documented. I don't blame anybody. Taking pictures back then was a lot harder. You had to find the camera. You had to make sure you had batteries. You had to make sure film was loaded. If the moment arrived and one of these ingredients were missing, you were out of luck. We, the children, didn't want to wait for mom to go buy film. It was Halloween! We needed to be on the streets! We had loot to collect!

Nonetheless, I'm very happy to find the pictures I did. Great memories...

Enjoy the pictures...

1983, my friends. What's crazy is that I distinctly remember this moment. I remember the Halloween party I went to. I remember wishing I could keep the present in my hands.

Cottonwood, AZ. 1986-ish. Shannon - a ballerina. Me - a vampire. Steve - an Indian.

Whenever I smell spray paint I STILL think of this costume! Oh, I loved my robot costume.
Also, notice that Steve is an Indian again. This is the first of many "costume repeats" for Steve. :)

Those clown feet were inflatable - awesome, but doomed from the beginning. They lasted all of four houses.

The headless horseman! My favorite costume of all time! My Mom is a genius for putting it together. Notice Steve's repeat of the wolf man. He LOVED that costume.

Shannon as a cat (again), Steve as a vampire, and AYE the pirate. (Get it? Eh?)

Costumes were kept in a box in the basement, so what one person was the previous year, another would be the next year, only with an added touch. You'll notice that Shan's clown costume is much more elaborate. Steve pulls the pirate off, but adds a beard (tough) and a gold chain (meets classy.)

1993. None of us had any idea of how often Steve repeated costumes. This is redicul/hilari ous! Check out my sweet braided leather belt. Damn, the 90's looked good!

And speaking of looking good, that year was Tyler's first Halloween. Isn't he adorable?

Yes, our cloaks were made from trash bags. Genius (and cheap) way to do it, but noisy when you're prowling the night.
One of the last years I trick or treated. I'm not sure what I was going for, but I look like Cramer with an axe. My good friend, Scott Lloyd, is pictured next to me.

This must have been junior year of high school because I'm rockin' my running tights (*shudder*)

Halloween 2004. Steve and I were lumberjacks. We ate at Denny's that night and much to our horror two dudes straight out of the trailer park (NOT DRESSED UP) walk in with their little ones and the little boy asks his dad "Daddy, why are those guys dressed like you?" Aggh!

2007. The Rocker. Confession: I loved wearing eyeliner. It does wonders for accentuating the eyes.

Last night. Took me 40 minutes to do my latex wounds but they looked GOOD!

And there you have it. A tour of Halloween through Barry's life!