The Bigger They Are, the Harder They Bowl

We spent last weekend visiting family in Logan. On Friday night, after enjoying a peaceful, childless dinner at Cafe Sabor with my brother Rob and his wife Kirsten, we picked up our kids and headed to the Cache Valley Fun Park for some bowling. Unbeknownst to us, it was cosmic night.

This was Eddie's first time bowling. He had a grand time rolling his ball down the ramp (and even ended scoring higher than Kristen). But every once in a while I thought I caught him eyeing that lane with a glint of mischief.

We finished first, and were waiting for Rob's family to wrap up their game. Well out of arms reach, Eddie finally made his move and took off running down the lane toward the pins. My parental radar was on high alert for a moment like this, so I jumped out of my seat without hesitation to chase after him.

I guess I never realized just how well-greased those lanes are. As soon as I crossed over the line (accompanied by an electronic alarm), my feet swung out from under me and I landed hard on my backside. Luckily Eddie stopped to see what had caused the ground to shake. I was a little dazed, but was able to compose myself long enough to grab his arm and retreat.

Back on less treacherous ground I surveyed the damage. The black light was picking up streaks of grease on my body and clothes. The arm I used to break my fall had a bleeding scrape. Rob and Kirsten were making no attempt to hide their smirks. Kristen grabbed our things as I cleaned up in the bathroom, then we made a hasty departure.

There's one thing from this mishap that I don't understand. Eddie tripped over his own feet twice simply walking across parking lot when we arrived, yet he somehow managed to stay upright charging down a lubed-up bowling lane. Why he did it isn't as much of a mystery. I can only assume he wanted to see where the pins go after they get knocked down. If he would have just asked, I could have shown him this clip:


Ten Things...

…Regarding Last Night's U2 Concert

10. After dropping the kids off at my sister's house (thanks again, Cheryl), I asked Kristen if she was more excited to see Bono, or to have a night away from the kids. She answered number two without hesitation.

9. After we got to our seats, Kristen had an insatiable desire for a churro. Unfortunately we were both so winded from hiking across the U of U campus then up to the 61st row of Rice-Eccles Stadium, neither of us wanted to walk back down the stairs to brave concessions then up again.

8. In my post about the Paul McCartney concert last year, I disparaged "all the people who seemed more concerned about getting a lousy photo of the side of the stage with their mobile devices rather than just enjoying the show." But I must admit, last night I was guilty of repeatedly pulling my phone out to take lousy photos like this one on the right.

7. Even though we were only a few rows from the very top of the stadium, it really didn't feel like we were that far away since the stage is so massive. I've watched the Rose Bowl concert blu-ray several times, but that still didn't prepare me for just how imposing "The Claw" is in person.

6. Kristen was in fine form throughout the evening, declaring that all white people look dorky when they dance, even Bono. And everyone looks like an old man when they wear white pants, especially Adam.

5. We also have a running joke that Larry's wardrobe consists of only t-shirts. White, black, sleeveless—you name it, he's worn it, as long as it's a t-shirt. So naturally we were shocked when the band emerged and Larry was donning a loose-fitting collared button-up shirt.

4. The band played two songs in a row off No Line on the Horizon early in the setlist, and I swear I heard a restless fan behind me pull a Homer Simpson by yelling, "Play the old stuff!"

3. Really, restless fan didn't have much to complain about, as it was a pretty even mix of eras. Every album was represented (October and Pop were the most fleeting), and by my count there were 8 songs from the '80s, 9 from the '90s, and 8 from the '00s.

2. I made a joke on Facebook yesterday poking fun at hardcore fans who complain when their favorite band doesn't play some obscure song ("If they don't play 'Elvis Presley and America'… I will renounce my fandom!"). But I thought U2 did an admirable job peppering in deep cuts like "Love Rescue Me" and "Zooropa."

1. I always chuckle when bands incorporate the name of the city into the lyrics and the crowd goes wild. ("OMG! HE SAID SALT LAKE CITY! THAT'S WHERE WE LIVE!") But Bono took pandering to the locals to another level by bringing three sisters up on stage to help him recite the poem "Utah" by Minnie J. Hardy. Hey, that's what makes him Bono.


Cinematic Utah: Back in Business

Previously: The Price is Right

By the end of 2010, I had photographed 17 theaters across the state, including one that has since been torn down (the Cinedome in Riverdale). Now that the winter weather is behind us (mostly), Cinematic Utah is back in business for 2011.

One of the biggest challenges I face with this project is how to deal with the unpredictable elements that I am dealt. Typically I don't have much leeway in when we are passing through these remote areas. Sometimes the sun is at a less than ideal angle. Sometimes it is raining or snowing. Sometimes a crazy guy is talking to himself while pacing in front of the ticket office. You just never know.

In a world where I had no responsibilities, I would spend a few days in each town to capture a wider range of conditions. It would also be fun to meet the owners and get inside to shoot interiors. I could certainly also benefit from a formal photography class or two. Many of the shots in this growing collection feel like rough drafts, which can be chalked up to my limited technical skills.

My ultimate dream of assembling a coffee table book is a long way off, but it's been fun to have an ongoing, purely creative project like this on my plate. Plus, Kristen and I enjoy checking out hidden corners of the state we wouldn't normally see.

Ritz Theatre #1 // Tooele // 4.16.11

Ritz Theatre #2 // Tooele // 4.16.11

Casino Star Theatre #1 // Gunnison // 4.29.11

Casino Star Theatre #2 // Gunnison // 4.29.11


Yard Sale!

Kristen and I participated in our first ever yard sale on Saturday. The following narrative is loosely based on the experience, although I should note that several shoppers were combined into one composite character, and some liberties were taken for dramatic license. Because c'mon, who really carries around a 30 gallon compost bag?

Seller: Good morning.

Shopper: Mornin'. These DVDs are $4 each?

Seller: That's right.

Shopper: Well, a yard sale down the street was selling old Disney movies on VHS for 50 cents.

Seller: Holy crab cakes, that's outrageous.

Shopper: Will you price match?

Seller: Of course not.

Shopper: Very well. How much are these baby clothes?

Seller: $2 for shirts and pants, $3 for complete outfits.

Shopper: That's a little steep. How about I give you $5 and I get to stuff as many clothes as I can into this 30 gallon compost bag?

Seller: We would let you do that for $6.

Shopper: Hmmm, nevermind. So you really think you can get $10 for this rice cooker?

Seller: It seemed like a reasonable price for a perfectly functioning appliance.

Shopper: Well, a yard sale down the street was selling a rice cooker new in the box for $5.

Seller: Did you buy it? By the way, that yard sale down the street sounds amazing.

Shopper: I'm afraid I didn't.

Seller: So you're saying you want this one for $5?

Shopper: Yes, but only as a personal favor to you. Can you break a fifty?

Seller: (Sigh) Look, just take the darn rice cooker.

Shopper: Wow, thanks. You know, that yard sale down the street's got nothing' on you. Hey, can I take this Planet of the Apes DVD too? I just love that Mark Wahlberg.

Seller: I really don't care. All of this crap is going to the D.I. in a few hours anyway.


Family Photos 2011

Last Friday we had family photos done. Since our last few sets of family photos have been in more rustic settings, we determined we wanted something more urban this time around. We eventually realized the perfect location was only a few minutes from our house—Daybreak's own Soda Row. The interesting mix of contemporary architecture was an ideal fit for our modern sensibilities. Of course once we got started, we remembered that it is always windy out here. Combining this with the fact that Eddie was being a diva, and we were just hoping for one decent shot of all of us.

Turns out our worries were completely unfounded. We recruited one of my coworkers, Lindsey Briggs, to run the shoot. She did a bang up job in spite of it all, and we ended up with a plethora of great shots. This is normally the part where I would pimp Lindsey's photo business, but yesterday was actually her last day at Stampin' Up, as she is moving to Colorado next month. So if you want to hire her, you'd better get on it.

It was hard narrowing it down to just these eight, which I retouched in photoshop:



You may have noticed the quantity of posts has dropped off over the last several months. Between a more demanding full-time job during the day, periodic work at night, and another child that requires my attention, the simple truth is I have a lot less blogging time on my hands than I used to.

Often I will jot down ideas for potential posts only to have them get stuck in a time warp and consumed by poorly rendered CG meatballs with razor-sharp teeth (kinda like my ill-fated blog tribute to the 1995 TV movie The Langoliers). Anyway, that's essentially what this post is—a collection of reactions to recent pop culture events and other random thoughts that needed a proper home.

Q: Who came up with the name "Large Hass" avocados?
A: Just some smart Hass.

Q: How did we ever survive without credit card readers in checkout lines?
A: By having awkward conversations with cashiers (shudder).

Q: Speaking of awkward, is there anything worse than getting stuck in an elevator with a stranger?
A: Getting stuck in a bathroom stall with a stranger.

Q: What does NFL draft "expert" Mel Kiper do the other 11 months of the year?
A: Hair like that doesn't style itself.

Q: What's next on America's to-do list now that Bin Laden is dead?
A: Dispatch Seal Team 6 to shoot the economic recession in the eye.

Q: Who would have thought we would end up with five Fast and the Furious movies (and counting)?
A: Surely not Vin Diesel. He had his franchise money on The Pacifier.

Q: What would you do with a time machine?
A: I would go back to 1985 to witness the filming of the lost Eric Stoltz scenes in Back to the Future.

Q: Really, that's all you would do with a time machine?
A: Okay, I would also travel back to 1940 when the first McDonald's opened to see what their food originally tasted like.

Q: Who is the greatest true rock band of the last 15 years?
A: My vote goes to the Foo Fighters, who recently released their seventh studio album, Wasting Light. Their body of work and enduring popularity during this era are unmatched—granted the competition hasn't been particularly fierce.


Self Help Books I Read This Month

I've never been a big self-help reader. Perhaps I never felt like my self needed helping before. But it seems that life (mostly parenting Eddie) has me feeling quite overwhelmed these days, so I have read several recently.

The Five Love Languages // Gary Chapman

For the record, Dave and I have a very happy marriage. We have joked in the past that we are basically the same person. The one area where we differ a lot is on communication, which is why I decided to read this book. It is an interesting take on how people communicate love to each other. It even includes a little quiz in the back to help you and your spouse determine what your primary "love language" is. The most interesting thing that I found after reading it, taking the quiz, and making Dave take the quiz, is that Dave and I have the same love language - Words of Affirmation. So if you ever want to make Dave or I feel loved, just give us a sincere compliment. It was an interesting read and really helped me think about why I am the way I am and to better understand those around me. There is another version of this book directed towards children, but I don't need to read it to know Eddie's primary love language is Quality Time. I can just tell.
I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday.

ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool // Hal E. Runkel

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to parenting a 3 year old boy, I am completely lost. Over the last few months, Eddie and I have been butting heads more and more often (both literally and figuratively). I decided that I need to learn how to be a parent without being angry all the time. That is why I read this book. I enjoyed reading it and a lot of it rang true for me. After finishing it, I have been trying to temper my reactions to the things Eddie does that drive me crazy. I have been working on trying to let a lot of things go and set natural consequences for the things I can't let go. I think that as I am slowly learning to take the emotion out of enforcing consequences, it is helping us both.
The only way to retain a position of influence with our children is to regain a position of control over ourselves.

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys // Stephen James & David Thomas

I just finished reading this book and already want to read it again, but next time I'll take copious notes. It is a great book to read for anyone who has anything to do with boys of any age. I think that is pretty much everyone. But I think it is particularly good for mothers to read, since they have never been a boy themselves. It has helped me understand Eddie better and has actually helped me understand Dave better. And even though I am not a boy (nor have I ever been), it has helped me understand myself better, too. A great thing about this book is that the authors offer real life solutions to help you implement the changes they suggest.
Their dreams need to be encouraged, invested in, and lifted up. And when their dreams are lost or damaged (as they ultimately will be), the need our presence -- not our solutions; they need our care -- not our instruction; and, in time, they need our encouragement to get back up and dream again.

Instinctive Parenting // Ada Calhoun

This book is a sort of the anti-self-help book. Calhoun writes about how people stress and worry too much about parenting methods and instead suggests that parents do what feels right for their own family. I thought it was a fun read, and though I don't entirely agree with everything she wrote, one part really hit home for me: blaming our kids for the things we no longer get to do. Her opinion is that we shouldn't use our kids as an excuse for anything. It made me realize that I use my kids as an excuse for a lot of things. I can't go out because I'd have to load both kids and the giant stroller up. And now I have to plan outings around potty training and our nursing schedule. And soon I'll have to plan them around naps. I can really see her point. If we continue to blame our kids for these things, we would never get to do anything and will basically make ourselves into martyrs for the sake of our kids. And it doesn't really do the kids any good anyway. So now I have something else to work on.
If you let go of some idea of what your life is supposed to be like, of what your life used to be, you can really get into this new life. It's not so hard to feed and clothe and shelter another human being for eighteen years, because love makes you want to do all those things and inspires you to find ways to manage it.


Weekend Diary


8:15 As we prepare to leave the house for a day long car trip eventually ending in St. George, we inform Eddie we are stopping for breakfast. Eddie then informs us that he doesn't need to stop for breakfast.

8:20-8:55 Eddie continues to remind us every five minutes that he doesn't need to stop for breakfast.

9:00 While driving through Utah County, Kristen asks if we are almost to the restaurant. I remind her she is holding the directions in her lap. She soon realizes we just missed our exit and determines, "If you don't expect anything of me, you won't be disappointed."

9:15 After entering Communal in Provo, Eddie announces, "I'm going home," and stands by the window overlooking University Avenue while we eat.

9:40 When Eddie repeatedly refuses to eat the big beautiful biscuit we ordered for him, Kristen and I regretfully slather it with fresh strawberry jam and split it between us.

10:45 We break from I-15 at Nephi for an excursion through rural Utah.

11:30 We arrive in Gunnison amid blustery winds and snow flurries. I brave the less than ideal elements to photograph the Casino/Star Theatre.

12:00 A little ways down I-70, I photograph the Huish Theatre in Richfield while Kristen and the kiddos play at a park.

12:30 We joke about eating lunch at Subway.

12:45 We eat cheeseburgers at Sandi's Drive-Inn. Not the best old timey drive-in we have ever eaten at, but then we did just consume a massive breakfast a few hours earlier.

1:15 Monroe is our last stop heading away from civilization before we start heading back toward it. (Plenty of new Cinematic Utah shots are coming in the next few weeks.)

5:00 We ditch Eddie with his grandparents in Cedar City and head to St. George for an early anniversary getaway.

6:45 After checking in at our hotel, we joke about eating dinner at Subway.

7:00 We enjoy a quiet, coercion-free dinner of panini and cupcakes at TwentyFive Main in downtown St. George.

7:30 Kristen straps Violet into the baby carrier and we walk around the town square in a vain attempt to burn a few of the calories we consumed throughout the day.


10:15 We settle in for brunch at the Bear Paw Cafe. I order apple pie that substitutes pie crust with a belgian waffle. Kristen orders 1-1/2" thick french toast filled with chocolate bruleƩ cream.

10:17 Kristen vows to figure out how to make french toast filled with chocolate bruleƩ cream.

11:15 While shopping at the Outlets at Zion, I realize that rainbow gradients and papyrus will one day be responsible for bringing about world peace. Wait, did I say world peace? I meant the destruction of my eyeballs.

1:00 We joke about eating lunch at Subway a half dozen more times before meeting up with Eddie and his grandparents at Jimmy John's.

1:45 We are mistakenly informed that you have to drive through Gunlock and Veyo to get to the Snow Canyon sand dunes from St. George.

2:30 Eddie has a great time, but Violet decides that windswept sand dunes aren't really her thing just yet.

4:00 Back at the house, Eddie and I swim in the pool. He nervously clings to me and demands I don't let him go.

4:30 I eventually convince him that his life jacket floats. He now demands I don't touch him. He can be kind of demanding pretty much all the time.

6:30 Eddie opens some birthday presents, including his very own pair of cowboy boots. Chocolate cupcakes complete the celebration.

7:00 Someone notices chocolate smeared on some of the toys.

7:02 Kristen catches a glimpse of Eddie's backside and realizes in horror that it wasn't chocolate at all.

7:03 Eddie gets in the bath. His clothes and the toys he was playing with go in the incinerator.


2:30 On our way home we drive through Parowan. Our trip is made complete when we see a bear fighting two elk in someone's front yard.