Halloween Through the Years

My sister Christie posted something similar to this last year, which served as my inspiration to see what sort photos of Halloween costumes from years past we could dig up.

Vampire (1987)
Those piercing eyes, that porcelain skin, those silky locks. Yes, the truth must come out: I was Stephenie Meyers' inspiration for Edward Cullen.

Astronaut (1988)
I couldn't find any photos of me in the astronaut costume from Halloween, so we will have to settle for when I starred as Neil Armstrong in our school play about the 1960's the next spring (after a bit of a growth spurt as you can see).

Football Player (1989/1992)
For some reason, this is the only photo of Kristen in a Halloween costume as a child, but further proof that we were meant to be.

Grim Reaper (1991)
I don't remember Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey being the inspiration for this costume, but it did come out the same year. Hmm...

Edward Scissorhands (1997)

One of my more ingenious costumes, if I do say so myself. My mom had to be wondering where all her scissors kept disappearing to in the weeks leading up to Halloween. My assignment at our friends' Halloween party that year? Opening bags of candy, of course.

Random Ghoul (2001)

Quite the interesting assemblage of characters we were, getting ready for the Howl at USU. Ghouls have to stay in shape too, as evidenced by my warmup pants and sneakers.

Old Lady (2003)
Kristen's costume for a night of cashiering at Sam's Club not long after we started dating. She came over after work, and my roommate Drew was seriously freaked out when he answered the door. Then we watched the first 20 minutes of Willard. Man, what a movie.

Witch/Clark Kent (2006)

I know what you are thinking: Kristen is very convincing as a witch, and why does Superman have a gut?

And finally, our costumes from last year can be found here.


The Pumpkin King

We carved pumpkins last night. I did Batman (who else?), Kristen did Chewbacca (in honor of Eddie's costume), and Eddie did Jack Skellington. I think you will agree, for a six month old, he is quite proficient with a carving saw.


Stress Dreamin'

In my typical recurring stress dream, which seems to come around every few months, it is my last semester of college and I am set to graduate. The only hitch is, there is always some math and/or science class that I had gotten bored with and stopped attending early on in the semester. Now the final is coming up, and if I can't pass it then I can't graduate on time. It is amazing how many times I have been tricked into thinking this dream is reality, only to wake up in a cold sweat. However, the usual template went out the window for my quarterly appointment with anxiety the other night.

Mrs. Layton's A.P. European History class at Viewmont was infamous for issuing a book report over the summer. You had to read Ivanhoe and write a paper about it, due the first day of school. For procrastinators like me, the worst part about it was having this axe hanging over you the entire summer—three long months to agonize over when to read that stupid book and do your homework at a time when you should be carefree, staying up late, hanging out with friends, etc.

For whatever reason, something in my subconsciousness triggered this unpleasant memory, and I had a dream about it. The Ivanhoe assignment had a slight variation though. Instead of having to read the book and write the paper during the summer, Mrs. Layton gave the assignment during the school year, but only certain class members had to do it. Did she draw names out of a hat to decide? I don't know, my dream didn't go into specifics. In any case, I was one of the unlucky ones that got stuck with having to do it. And of course, the night before the paper was due, I realized I hadn't even started reading the book, and I was freaking out as to how I was going to get it done.

Finally, I kept reminding myself, you are not in A.P. European History anymore, you are not in A.P. European History anymore, and I woke up. But strangely enough, when I fell back to sleep, the dream continued. Only now it was the day the paper was due, and I was questioning classmates whether they had done it or not. Some people seemed certain that it was all a scare tactic, and Mrs. Layton wouldn't even bother collecting it. Others were baffled at my willingness to play with fire. How was I going to throw this thing together? Maybe I could fake it with the Cliffs Notes?

Once again I had to remind myself, you are not in A.P. European History anymore, you are not in A.P. European History anymore. Mercifully, I was soon woken up by my alarm clock, only to realize I had hit snooze twice already, and was now 20 minutes behind in getting ready for work. Of all the things to sleep in for.


Dave's Desert Island Discs

The basic idea for this post has been brewing for a few months now, long enough that Kristen finally beat me to it. Whereas Kristen shared the defining music of her teenage years, I have decided to play the old "what albums would you want if you were stranded on a desert island that just happens to have a stereo and electricity but still no way to contact anyone for help" game. By the way, if any of you out there are short on new post ideas for your own blog, feel free to steal this one.

A few rules that I have decided to impose on myself:

• Only one album from each artist (forcing me to make some tough choices).
• No greatest hits or compilations of any kind (that would be cheating).
• Limit the list to 10 (so as not to bore you all to death with my top 50).
• Ignore the iPod factor since it essentially makes this list obsolete. It's not about the technology anyway, it's about the music! Plus "Desert Island Discs" sounds a lot snappier than "Desert Island Playlist."

Each album has been listed chronologically, not according to when it was originally released, but to when I first discovered it (to the best of my memory). And away we go.

Junior High

1. 1984
Van Halen

Yes, the synthesizers are dated and cheesy. And David Lee Roth's lyrics are incredibly juvenile. Also, there is a baby smoking a marlboro on the cover. But you know what? I really couldn't care less. This is 33 minutes of pure, unadulterated rock 'n' roll bliss, and the quintessential Van Halen album as far as I'm concerned. It takes me back to when Eddie Van Halen was known for being a guitar god rather than for being certifiably insane.
I get up, and nothin' gets me down, you got it tough, I've seen the toughest around, and I know, baby, just how you feel, you've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real // Jump
2. Achtung Baby
// U2

This is one of the afformentioned tough choices I had to make—Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree? What gives Achtung "the edge" in my mind is the fact that the splintered, feedback-drenched opening guitar riff of "Zoo Station" immediately followed the holier than thou pair of Joshua Tree and Rattle & Hum. At the zenith of their power, Bono and the boys turned their signature sound completely on its ear and managed to ascend even higher. Everything you know is wrong indeed.
Time is a train, makes the future the past, leaves you standing in the station, your face pressed up against the glass // Zoo Station
3. Ten
Pearl Jam

While Nirvana got most of the credit for ushering in the grunge era, I was always partial to Pearl Jam. How could I not include Ten on this list? It plays like a greatest hits of the 90's. "Even Flow?" Check. "Alive?" Check. "Black?" Check. "Jeremy?" Check. Something happens to me every time the opening chords of this album roar to life. I become that weird guy walking down the street wearing a flannel hoodie, head down and growling every word.
Is something wrong, she said, Well of course there is, you're still alive, she said, Oh, and do I deserve to be, Is that the question, and if so...if so...who answers...who answers... // Alive
4. The Blue Album

This is one of those trendy albums from the heyday of alternative that has just never gone away, in fact its legend continues to grow. Weezer still releases a new album every couple of years, but they have never managed to totally recapture the geek spirit that pervades their debut from start to finish. As tradition dictated, my friend Spencer and I would listen to the 8 minute epic "Only in Dreams" at the end of every band trip. I am most grateful knowing that my eternal companion also holds this one in such high regard.
I can't confront you, I never could do, that which might hurt you, to try and be cool, when I say, this way, is a waterslide away from you that takes you futher everyday, so be cool // Say It Ain't So
High School

5. Boingo
// Oingo Boingo

Oingo Boingo seemed content perfecting their bouncy, horn-filled sound of the '80s until Danny Elfman fell into film music. I believe that key influence is what led to this, their dark, angst ridden swan song. They sound like a completely different group here. The album, along with the creepy music video for Insanity, became something of a rite of passage for our group of friends. The 16 minute album closer "Change" eventually replaced "Only in Dreams" as the finale of our bus rides.
It hurts my brain to think of all the stupid things I've said, and if I could change the future I would change the past instead // Change
6. Violator
// Depeche Mode

Sure I had been exposed to Depeche Mode by my sisters, but it wasn't until the '80s music renaissance that my friends and I experienced during our junior year of high school that I really discovered them. The culmination of a decade of increasing popularity and musical growth, Violator is where Depeche Mode finally put all the pieces together. It is the career-defining album which all following releases are compared to by critics and fans as their best since, or not as good as.
Vows are spoken to be broken, feelings are intense, words are trivial, pleasures remain, so does the pain, words are meaningless and forgettable // Enjoy the Silence
7. Crash
// Dave Matthews Band

It is a little known fact that I actually hated "What Would You Say" when it first started getting radio play. As "Ants Marching" followed, I grew to tolerate and eventually like Dave Matthews Band. I purchased Under the Table and Dreaming and Crash, but only listened to them casually. Then, fatefully, I saw them live. Their studio albums were suddenly opened up to me. While you have to see them live to truly appreciate them, Crash gets the closest to capturing that loose, improvisational spirit. PS - RIP Leroi Moore.
I say my hell is the closet I'm stuck inside, can't see the light, and my heaven is a nice house in the sky, got central heating, and I'm alright // So Much To Say
8. Whatever and Ever Amen
Ben Folds Five

I can still hear "Brick" playing on the manual dial radio of my '84 Nissan Sentra while driving to Gringo's on cold winter afternoons. The perfect mix of sarcastic piano rock and introspective ballads, the unique approach of Ben Folds Five seemed tailor-made for my peculiar sensibilities. Admittedly, "Song For The Dumped" might not speak to me quite as much as it did when I was a teenage boy disgruntled by the erratic behavior of certain teenage girls, but the rest of the album holds up great.
Come on baby now throw me a right to the chin, don't just stare like you never cared, I know you did, but you just smile like a bank teller, blankly telling me have a nice life // Selfless, Cold and Composed

9. A Rush of Blood to the Head

The dawn of the millennium was a dark time for music, thanks to the reign of disposable pop acts like Britney Spears and NSYNC. I had almost given up on ever liking "new" music again when I began to take notice of up-and-coming Coldplay. While watching the 2003 VMA's, I was immediately impressed by their understated, emotive performance of "The Scientist," which came in stark contrast to the elaborate, superficial acts that had preceded it. Yes, the time had finally arrived to invest in something new.
Look at earth from outer space, everyone must find a place, give me time and give me space, give me real, don't give me fake // Politik
Married Life

10. Plans
// Death Cab For Cutie

Coldplay's emergence cleared the way for a tidal wave of earnest indie bands, many of which I happen to enjoy, but none more so than Death Cab For Cutie. Singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard has perfected the art of being melancholy with a seemingly endless array of metaphors for unrequited love and longing. Aging lovers who have drifted apart like brothers on a hotel bed? Brilliant! It is a toss-up between Plans and the equally great Transatlanticism, but I am once again giving the nod to the album that served as my introduction to the group.
On the night you left I came over, and we peeled the freckles from our shoulders, our brand new coats so flushed and pink, and I knew your heart I couldn't win, 'cause the season's change was a conduit, and we'd left our love in our summer skin // Summer Skin
Honorable Mention:
The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner // Ben Folds Five
Transatlanticism // Death Cab For Cutie
III Sides to Every Story // Extreme
New Miserable Experience // Gin Blossoms
Get Ready // New Order
The Joshua Tree // U2


10 Favorite Albums of My Teenage Years

I just realized it has been exactly a month since I posted anything on this blog... so it's my turn! Here goes...

Dave and I were recently reminiscing about the good old days when you'd have to shell out $15 to buy a CD or you'd have to borrow it from a friend and record it onto a tape if you wanted a pirated copy. Ah, simpler times. Now we don't even own a tape player and the last CD we bought was over a year ago when we were in Florida and desperate for some decent music in our rental car.

While my musical tastes have not changed much in the last 10 years, Dave has helped me branch out a little bit. A few of my former faves have sold out by now, which makes me a little embarrassed to admit to some of these. But I am actually surprised to find how many have held up over the years and are still favorites.

10. Train (Train)
I bought this CD based on the merits of "Meet Virginia," which I learned to love via the radio (another antiquated medium for me). I did come to enjoy the rest of the CD as well. I was disappointed when it was stolen out of my car back in 2004, but not disappointed enough to replace it.

"She doesn't own a dress - her hair is always a mess. If you catch her stealin' she won't confess. She's beautiful..."

9. Fairweather Johnson (Hootie and the Blowfish)
This may have been the first CD that I actually owned. I bought it when I was in the 6th grade. There is just something about Darius Rucker's voice that gets me every time. I think now that Cracked Rear View is the better of the two albums, but Fairweather Johnson will always hold a special place in my heart.

"I thought about you for a long, long time. I wrote about you but the words don't seem to rhyme."

8. Get a Grip (Aerosmith)
Thinking back on this one baffles me. I have no recollection of why I bought this CD, but I remember listening to it a lot. These days whenever Dave and I need a good laugh, we just cue up a little Aerosmith (Bon Jovi works just as well).

"I was cryin' when I met you, now I'm tryin' to forget you. Love is a sweet misery."

7. Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How To Smile (Everclear)
I didn't actually own this album, but when my brother Jason left on his mission, he told me I could borrow 5 of his CDs. What he didn't specify was that I could borrow only 5 total... I took it to mean 5 at a time. This album was one of them. Now I realize that Everclear doesn't have much musical skill, but I still loved this album as a 16-year old... especially "Now That It's Over," which was particularly fitting after breaking up with my boyfriend. I always have liked angry music.

"Maybe we can be friends now that we're older, we can have fun like we did in the early days, now that it's over... Yeah right!"

6. Dizzy Up The Girl (Goo Goo Dolls)
Like every other teenage girl of the late '90's, I loved the song "Iris." Therefore, I loved the Goo Goo Dolls. This was, of course, the beginning of the Goo Goo Dolls' selling-out, but I didn't mind. That Johnny Rzeznik was so dreamy... And what girl has never liked a boy who didn't even know she existed? Ah, those were the days.

"And I don't want the world to see me 'cause I don't think that they'd understand. When everything's meant to be broken, I just want you to know who I am."

5. Yourself or Someone Like You (Matchbox 20)
This was probably my favorite album all through middle school and junior high. When I was 15, Matchbox Twenty released Mad Season, which I immediately bought. The Mad Season tour included the first concert I ever went to. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I had a huge crush on Rob Thomas and even had a picture of him in my locker for years. However, after seeing him in real life at the concert, I simmered down a bit and was able to move past that obsession before he began his illustrious solo career.

"She said I don't know if I've ever been good enough. I'm a little bit rusty and I think my head is caving in."

4. Blue Album (Weezer)
Here is another album borrowed from my brother. Released when I was 9, it seems like this album has always been around. Every song on this album rocks, but "Only In Dreams" was a favorite of my teenage years and still holds up today. So existential. Also, don't be too surprised if we end up with a kid named Jonas, inspired by "My Name is Jonas."

"You can't resist her. She's in your bones. She is your marrow and your ride home. You can't avoid her, she's in the air, between the molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide."

3. Vs. (Pearl Jam)
Just like the Blue Album, Pearl Jam's Vs. seems like it's been around forever. After all, it was released when I was 8. Luckily I found a fellow Pearl Jam fan in Dave and we have quite a collection of their music. I enjoy their other albums, but this one always reminds me of driving around Price trying to explain the merits of "Glorified G" to my boyfriend at the time. My favorite song off this album is "Daughter." Eddie Vedder's voice is the stuff of legend.

"Alone, listless... breakfast table in an otherwise empty room. Young girl, violins... center of her own attention."

2. The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (Ben Folds Five)
Whatever and Ever Amen probably would've made the list if Jason had owned it back in the day. However, he did own The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, so that was the first Ben Folds Five album I fell in love with. There are a few songs on this album that I don't really care for, but the ones I do like make up for it. I liked this album so much that after I started taking piano lessons, I purchased the piano music from the album. Unfortunately, I am not quite as skilled on piano as Ben Folds and can only play "Narcolepsy" (sort of).

"I should warn you, I go to sleep. I know you don't know what I mean... yet. 'Cause I'm not tired, I'm not tired. I just sleep."

1. Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
I'm not sure what first tipped me off that the Chili Peppers are awesome, but I bought this album soon after it was released. This was another of my CDs that was stolen, but thanks to the wonder of mp3, we didn't lose the album. Anthony Kiedis has another one of those voices that I love, and I just can't resist the funk. This album also came around the same time that my family finally got satellite, and thusly, VH1 and MTV. I remember being blown away by the "Otherside" video and watching the premier of the "Californication" video. Of course, I will always have a special place in my heart for "Scar Tissue" because that was my first favorite on the album.

"Soft spoken with a broken jaw. Step outside but not to brawl. Autumn's sweet, we call it fall. I'll make it to the moon if I have to crawl."

Honorable Mentions:
Stunt (Barenaked Ladies)
All the Pain Money Can Buy (Fastball)
...And Out Come the Wolves (Rancid)


(By the way, I am your father.)

My boss recently asked me if I could design a few quick things for his son's Star Wars-themed 4th birthday party. Well, if you recall my "Very Star Wars Birthday" posts (found here and here) from earlier this year, you will know that he came to the right person. After my boss explained that he had rented a full Darth Vader costume to wear for the occasion, I knew what I had to do. Here is the birthday card I came up with.

And on the other side...

When my boss came into my office the next day, I asked how things went. He shared that when he told his son what the back of the card said, he sat quietly thinking for a few minutes before finally asking, "Darth Vader isn't really my father, is he? You're my dad, right?"

Yup, my work here is done.


Instant Halloween Too!

I bet you thought there were no good Halloween songs left after last year's sprawling 32 track tribute. Well, actually that thought crossed my mind as well, but with a little misguided persistence, I managed to scrape together a spooktacular sequel of songs and sound effects. This year's compilation features such memorable tunes as Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon, the theme from The X-Files, and even a little Toccata and Fugue in D Minor action from Johann Sebastian Bach. As with the original, this collection is just the right length to fit on a blank CD.

Click here to download Instant Halloween Too! (75 MB).

I imagine many of you may have missed out on the first Instant Halloween collection since our blog was still in its infancy at the time. The original features Halloween essentials like Monster Mash, Thriller, and heaping portions of Danny Elfman. Luckily, I am a generous guy, and am making it available once again.

Click here to download Instant Halloween! (73 MB).



Apparently everyone else is tired of presidential campaigns too, as this was the lowest voter turnout in the history of the Dave & Kristen Show. So Bono's fashion sense and the names of our fish are vote worthy, but choosing the fake president is not? In the immortal words of Kent Brockman, "I've said it before, and I'll say it again: democracy just doesn't work." On with the results.

3. James Dale - 1 Vote
This just goes to show that even fake democrats can't get votes in Utah.

2. James Marshall - 6 votes
Pundits are speculating that Marshall's supposedly ironclad campaign began to lose some steam in the face of allegations that he murdered his wife. Come on people, everybody knows it was really the one-armed man.

1. Thomas J. Whitmore - 7 votes
I think I can safely say that the American people won't be subjected to any alien invasions on Whitmore's watch. Well, as long as Jeff Goldblum is appointed as his Secretary of Defense in the off chance it becomes necessary to crash superior alien technology with a virus uploaded from his Apple Powerbook. Did somebody say Deus ex machina?

Now it becomes your priviledge to watch Whitmore's inaugural address. Man is this guy one note or what?


Candidates You Can Believe In

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am ready for the presidential elections to be over. The hollow rhetoric, the manufactured scandals, the constant media coverage—it's all too much for me. Honestly, how can a person use so many words without actually saying anything? Sometimes I wish politics were as simple as they are in the movies. In fact, I can think of a few movie presidents that I would rather have running our country than our current candidates. And since we here at the Dave & Kristen Show believe in democracy, you all get a chance to cast your vote.

Republican Party
James Marshall (Harrison Ford, Air Force One)

A decorated Vietnam Vet, Marshall would be happy to arrange a meeting with the terrorists of the world so he could teach them some manners—with his fists.

Campaign Slogan: Get off my plane!

Democratic Party
James Dale (Jack Nicholson, Mars Attacks!)

With Dale as our Commander and Chief, the America people can rest assured that any and all conflicts will quickly come out to very real outcomes.

Campaign Slogan: I want the people to know that they still have two out of three branches of the government working for them, and that ain't bad.

Independent Party
Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman, Independence Day)

Whitmore might have a knack for impassioned speeches, but this former pilot also wouldn't think twice about hopping in fighter jet to help whoop E.T.'s a**.

Campaign Slogan: Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!


Ten Things...

...That Make October the Best Month of the Year

10. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

9. Jacket weather.

8. Colorful fall leaves rustling in the breeze.

7. Pumpkin carving.

6. Crisp, tart apples from our local produce stand.

5. The eerie glow of our Spooky Town Village in the dark.

4. Re-watching all of our Tim Burton movies.

3. Compiling the sequel to Instant Halloween (Coming Soon).

2. Having an excuse to dress Eddie up as a Wookiee and ask for candy from strangers.

1. The Baseball Playoffs - True, things aren't quite the same for me this year without the Yankees. But there are still plenty of teams with feel good stories to root for. There's the Tampa Bay Rays, literally exorcising their demons and making the postseason, winning the AL East, and heck, even finishing with a record above .500 for the first time. Or the unlikely pair of former Yankee manager Joe Torre and former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez uniting to help the Dodgers peak at just the right time. And lest we forget, the Cubbies are staring down 100 years of futility (although currently they are blinking). I am more than willing to temporarily switch my allegiance and cheer on any of these teams. Okay, really I am rooting for any team not from Boston.

You might recall that Kristen and I attended a (Devil) Rays game last September. My oh my, what a difference a year makes.


Cabin Fever

We took a trip up to the family cabin with my friends this past weekend. We all had a good time hanging out and relaxing, at least when we weren't worrying about the canoe potentially falling off our car, or scouring the entire forest for Marc's lost glasses. Here are some photos.

The Gang L-R: Me, Eddie, Kristen, Hali, Calvin, Marc, Lucy, Scott, Lariann.

We had a picnic at Smith & Morehouse Reservoir on Saturday. The changing fall leaves were amazing.

How do city slickers entertain themselves in the woods? Throw rocks into the water. The rocks got progressively bigger as the afternoon wore on.

I couldn't find any of the bigger life jackets with the rest of the canoeing accessories, so our options were between kinda small, way too small (but ninja turtle-themed), or taking a chance with no life jacket at all. Thankfully none of us drowned.

Saturday night we ventured into Oakely to try out the vintage Road Island Diner. Originally built in 1939, It was transported across the country earlier this year and completely renovated. It has been regularly packed since its debut, so we were worried about there being a long wait, but we arrived fairly early (about 5:30) and were seated immediately. It was a fun retro atmosphere, and our teenage waiter was named Elmer, I kid you not.

Eddie was sleeping in his car seat when we placed our order, but just as a I predicted, he woke up in a very foul mood right as our food was arriving. Since the quarters were a little cramped, I took Eddie outside while Kristen ate her dinner, then we switched. My burger was okay, but it was the kind you have to put the fixins and condiments on yourself. If I'm gonna pay someone to make me a burger, I prefer it to be completely assembled when it arrives. Plus it had been sitting there for 15 minutes by the time I go to eat it, so that probably didn't help. On the plus side though, the fries were tasty, and the homemade root beer was excellent—I highly recommend it.