Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!


I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Please have a safe Holiday.

May 2010 be a fair sight better than 2009.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A Book Lover Speaks Out!


I may sound a little elitist, maybe a little bit like a luddite. But I’ve decided that electronic ebook readers are the mouth breathers of the literary world, used by the mouth breathers of the reading public.
Tell you what… you wanna read a book… buy a book!
And buy it from a local store! Nothing wrong with Barnes & Noble or Amazon… but buy local, it’s just good for everybody.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My New Makeup Site


Many of you know that I do stage makeup from time to time. In an effort to learn more about the craft, I’ve been reading books on makeup and surfing the net for videos that give good advice for design. Now, I’ve found a lot of good information… and I’ve found a lot of crap.
For those who may be interested in learning about stage makeup… or makeup in general, I’ve decided to take my neglected “Revers Ate My Dingo” blog site and use it as a depository for Makeup information.
On it you will find links to useful sites and products, videos that really have good information or ideas in them, and pictures of what I’ve been doing. It’s my blog, so I get to brag on myself… just a bit.
I’m sure that at some point I’ll change the name of the site, even if I can’t change the URL, or not, who knows.
Click Here to Go to the Makeup Site

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Confessions of a Bibliophile

Hello, my name is Murph, and I am a bibliophile.
I haven’t touched a book for 11 hours, I’m a serial reader, I can’t help myself… I love books… carnally.
That sounds gross, but let me explain.
I LOVE books… yes, for the stories they tell or the information they contain… but I love the book itself, its beauty, and the heft of it in my hands or in my book bag. I love the smell of the pages and the crispness of the binding as I gently open it for the first time if it’s new… or the easy “flop” of a book that has known more than a few readers. I worship the pages as they turn before me revealing their secrets.
But with that being said… I defile books. Yes it’s true, for as it is with almost all English majors, I read with a pen. In the pristine margins, I have the audacity to comment, to codify, to annotate, and horror of horrors… I UNDERLINE!
Oh… the ecstasy!
But I am a true lover, for I will never defile the book of another, and no… I… almost never… borrow from the brothel that is the public library. Oh, to read but not comment in the margins, that, my friends, is Hell.
I am a painfully slow reader. My Wife and Daughter can read 4 books to my one. But I savor the experience and enjoy every page the book has to offer. And I almost never revisit a book. No my friends, once I’ve had my way with a book, it is shelved, only to be looked at and possessed from that day on. I guess you could say that I’m the Humbert Humbert of books, for my desire is to possess utterly and forever. And so I have learned, through painful experience, and the loss of an annotated Zamyatin, (sob) to never loan out one of my precious books… oh, the pain and the loss!
I will never understand those who will read without touching, the users of “Kindle” and other ebook readers, those literary voyeurs. You call me demented, then what are they? They are truly the literary perverts.
I have a library, it is small, but it is mine… all mine… It is my favorite pastime to just sit, among my pretties, and just look… to pull a favorite volume and revisit, a passing gesture to be sure, but to briefly revisit a favorite passage, or bit of prose. To let their smell and music and words wash over me in a flood of memory.And yet I am mad?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Running Playlist


I’ve been looking around for the playlists that professional runners and Olympic champions use to motivate themselves to push forward and to keep running. Well, after reading though lists of Lady Gaga and Black Eyed peas, I came to realize that most of these lists were produced by iTunes and probably only approved by the runners themselves. So, I looked on my mp3 player (I don’t have and iPod) to see what music had a good beat, a good message, and what motivates me to drive on over the miles.
So, for what it’s worth, here is my running playlist:

Mike’s Mid-Life Crisis Ragnar Mix

“I Want You to Want Me” Letters to Cleo
“Call Me” Blondie
“Bigmouth Strikes Again” The Smiths
“Bring Me to Life” Evanescence
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” Def Leppard
“Elegy” Leaves’ Eyes
“No One Lives Forever” Oingo Boingo
“Lover’s Wreck” Gaelic Storm
“Wrapped Around Your Finger” The Police
“Angels Would Fall” Melissa Etheridge
“Sweet Dreams” Eurythmics
“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” Blue Oyster Cult
“Pleasure and Pain” The Divinyls
“I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” Cory Hart
“Run Baby Run” Garbage
“The Zoo” Scorpions
“Dead Man’s Party” Oingo Boingo
“Rebel Yell” Billy Idol
“Blue Collar Man” Styx
“Point of No Return” Kansas
“The Great Commandment” Camouflage
“Never Again” Kelly Clarkson
“This Love” Maroon 5
“Read My Mind” The Killers
“Boys of Summer” Don Henley
“Hey Ho Away We Go” Freur
“Fly Away” Lenny Kravitz
“Some Kind of Wonderful” Joss Stone
“Girls on Film” Duran Duran
“Little Lies” Fleetwood Mac
“Spaceman” The Killers
“No More Words” Berlin
“Colorful” Rocco Deluca and the Burden
“Jet Airliner” Steve Miller Band
“Mr Roboto” Styx

I know that’s a big list, but I have all of these on my player, and they shuffle through. I’ve noticed that when I need a good solid beat to keep me on pace, “Mr Roboto” or “Dead Man’s Party” will come up and push my forward. Or, if I need to relax my shoulders and just drift “Boys of Summer” or “Wrapped Around your Finger” will start to play.
I have some dead weight in my playlist as well… some songs by The Corrs and Howard Jones that, while I like them, just don’t do well to pace me, and so I need to drop them from the list, but all in all, I think that I have a winner.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Night Running


I love night running. I don’t know if it’s the smartest thing I do, but it’s gotten into my blood, and I don’t know if I can let it go.
Several months back, I was supposed to run in the Wasatch Back Relay but had to drop out because of a leg injury. Well, when several members of the team decided that they wanted to run the Ragnar Las Vegas, next month (in 2 weeks) I felt that I could train and get healthy enough to run it with them, and so I dumped the treadmill, got out on the street and started running.
There is something about me that you have to know… I’m lazy, way too lazy to drag my sorry carcass out of bed in the morning to go running, and since I’m an asthmatic, I can’t just get up and go like normal people, I’d have to get up, take my meds, wait 30 minutes for them to fully take effect, and then go… that’s just not happening at 6:00 in the morning. Plus, I’m not one of those who can run, get the endorphin rush and then stay pumped for the rest of the day. I run, and then feel tuckered out for the rest of the day. It’s just no fun if I’m whipped while at work, I need to be able to sleep it off… so running at night is great.
Tonight, I didn’t get out the door until 9:00pm. I helped my wife put the kids to bed, kissed her goodnight (she goes to bed early because she gets up really early for work) and then ran out the door with my mp3 player and “Amphipod” reflective vest. When I run at night, I at least wear a white shirt under my Amphipod and my legs are as white as Edward Cullen… so I’m sure that that helps me to be seen. I don’t have a head lamp or butt light yet, but I’m sure I’ll pick one up eventually, because I do worry about getting hit by a car.
But running at night is so peaceful. I turn my mp3 player way down, so that it’s just a whisper in my ears; partly for safety (so that I can hear cars) and partly to preserve the atmosphere. I can hear the rhythm of my shoes on the pavement and the music of my breathing over the thump of the ear buds. On hills, the black of the pavement melts into the black of the starry sky. Not many people in my neighborhood sleep with their porch lights on so the blanket of stars are so bright, but my eyes concentrate on the road watching for potholes and other obstructions that may turn an ankle or over extend a knee.
I know that the neighbors think that I’m odd or even touched in the head for this nightly activity, but I don’t care… I really don’t, because I know that I do this not only for my strengthening heart and body, but for my strengthening soul.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Christianity and Evolution


So, I’m just wondering, do we as Christians lie to our children?

Let me explain…
As Christians, we teach out children about the biblical creation. Six days… garden of Eden… Adam made from the dust… Eve from his rib… Serpent… Apple… Sin… Death… And according to the bible, this all happened some 6000 odd years ago.
Then… we take our children to a museum, or show them a book about dinosaurs… died out some 64 million years ago, or we take them fossil hunting to find trilobites that lived during the Cambrian (about 550 million years ago).
6000 years vs. 550 million years… which is it? Kids can sometimes compartmentalize things like this for a while… (I did until I was about 10) and then eventually, you can’t. For a while I dealt with it by shrugging my shoulders and figuring… I’ll find out the answer after I die. It wasn’t a perfect solution because I knew that I’d have to deal with it eventually. It’s kind of like the power bill that you know is just to high to pay this month, and so you bury it under other bills and you try not to worry about it… right up until the power gets turned off.
Well, my power got turned off at University, while sitting in a paleoanthropology class, and holding the skull of Australopithecus afarensis… well it was a reproduction, but a reproduction so perfect that it can be studied by scientists… a critter that lived some 3.9 to 2.9 million years ago. It walked upright with a human hip and foot… but had a clearly ape-like skull. And suddenly all of the thoughts I’d had about creation and evolution came flooding out of the little mental pile I had built inside my head.

“How does this creature fit into Genesis? How could this critter have lived and died 2.9 million years ago, if death did not come into the world until 6000 years ago? Was there really an Adam? Is the Bible just a fiction of elaborate stories? Or if the bible is to be taken litteraly, where did all the fossils come from? Were they put there by God to decieve us and test our faith? If so… he’s not that holy of a God then is he, because I can’t believe that a perfect God could do such a decietful thing. And if they were just leftovers from other worlds that he had created and destroyed… then why would they still be there? Because he though it would be funny? Because he’s a decietful liar? And as the scriptures say… he made the world from “matter unorganized,” well… isn’t a skull “organized?” What is truth and what is a lie… or can they both be true?”

So to answer my own first question… do we as Christians lie to our children? The answer is… Yes. We’re telling them one thing on Sunday and at Family Home Evening, and an entirely different thing on every other day of the week. It might even be that we teach them both things in the space of one evening… if we happen to go to the Natural History Museum on Family Home Evening.

So what are we to do then?

I actually know someone who said to me… staight faced… that there never has been, nor will there ever be any such things as dinosaurs. When I asked him what the bones were that paleontologists were pulling out of the ground and what made the huge tracks that we find in rocks, he said, “I don’t know, but they sure weren’t animals.” I guess that’s one way of dealing with the problem. If you can suspend all reason and intellegence in hopes that it will all go away.
Or… and here I’m going to get pounded by all the bible thumpers out there… maybe evolution is all a part of God’s plan. Maybe, just maybe the book of Genesis can’t be taken exactly litteral… as a history book. Maybe Genesis chapter’s 1 and 2 are allegory. A story ment to teach us more about God’s plan for us than it was to teach us how the Earth was made and how people and animals were placed upon it.
“In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” The Big-Bang? Science has shown us that the heavens were created by, what we call, the Big-Bang (Inaccurate, but we’ll go with it). If God is all powerful, as I believe him to be, why would he have to be a part of our universe. If he is the creator of our world, why could he not be the creator of our universe as well. The Jews refer to God as “The Master of the Universe” would that not emply that he created it as well?

And if he could create our Universe, why could he not have had Humans in mind, when he created the first single celled organism, so many eons ago, and set it on its way to live, to reproduce, to divide into other forms based on it’s needs as its offspring spread across the whole earth. Why could he not have encouraged those early organisms, to leave the water and to move across the dry land? Why could he have not directed the changes that occurred? I say he did. It was He that directed the early primates to take to the trees, and develop grasping hands, and eyes that see in color and in stereoscopics. And when those, and other changes were complete, he directed those primates down out of the trees, to loose their tails (even though we still have them), and to walk upright and to run from tree to tree instead of swing. Why couldn’t he have commanded those changes? We have so much of the evidence of those changes in our own bodies. The appendix, wisdom teeth, even our own DNA bears witness that we are genetic cousins to other primates.

I don’t even know why I’m writing or posting this, except to put something that’s been rattling around in my head for decades out into the world so that the rest of the Christianity can condemn me to Hell for even thinking such thoughts.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sorry about the Blog... Or lack thereof.

This is supposed to be the Mind of Murph, and I guess there hasn’t been much on my mind… but the real truth of the matter is that there’s been lot’s on my mind, and I just can’t unjumble it all into coherent sentences.

We’re finally back to full work hours at the office… for now.

I’ve just finished my work on 3 plays for this community theater season, and I’m trying to figure out a way to go to IMATS next summer, and along those lines, I want to save for an airbrush… which reminds me… I ordered a couple of foundation brushes a couple of weeks ago… I wonder where they are; I’ll need them for Halloween.

My son just told me that he wants to start Kart Racing out at Larry H. Miller Motorsports Park.

I’m Planning a Pirate Party for September 19th… Yarrr!

My Sister-in-Law just got a divorce and is now living with us.

On, and On, and On…

Ya see?
I just can’t keep my thoughts in line.

But here’s a question I was wondering about, while waiting for my car to get new tires… If a vampire doesn’t cast a reflection, and can’t be filmed… can they be picked up on motion sensors… and if not… what do they do at automatic doors when they go to the grocery store?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Goodby John Hughes

Sorry I haven't posted in a long time, I've been busy with some different Community Theater productions. But I just wanted to post a little tribute to John Hughes, a screen writer & director who shaped so much of my teenage years.

John, we will miss you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Magic of the Stage



About a week ago, while I was at dress rehearsal, one of the cast members, an 11-year-old girl, sat down at my make-up table and asked, “Why do you do make-up?”
My answer to her was, “Because I can’t sing or dance.”
While there is a certain amount of truth to my answer to her, it didn’t quite do justice to the real reason as to why I love doing stage makeup.

I’m currently reading a book titled “Wyrd Sisters” by Terry Pratchett. If you’re not familiar with Pratchett’s work, he’s kind of like J.R.R. Tolkien on crack. His work is very strange, very funny, and at times… very poignant.
The book centers around 3 witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick, who meddle in the affairs of a kingdom… anyway… The story has a lot to do with the theater, which the witches (especially Granny Weatherwax) don’t really understand. Here’s my point… it’s all contained in one paragraph from the book.

“The theater worried her. It had a magic of its own, one that didn’t belong to her, one that wasn’t in her control. It changed the world, and said things were otherwise than they were. And it was worse than that. It was magic that didn’t belong to magical people. It was commanded by ordinary people, who didn’t know the rules. They altered the world because it sounded better.”

I think that… that is why I love doing what I do. It’s worth some of the expense to me to work in Community Theater so that I can partake of some of that… magic. Every night this week, I’ve been able to transform a mailman into an ill-tempered farm hand. No… that’s not true. The actor does the transforming… I just get to help get him started on his journey.

Maybe that’s what the makeup artist does, he takes ordinary people, and gets them started changing. He’s the catalyst… one of the “Spell Components.” Dipping into his bag of tricks, like the witch in Snow White, to transform the actor from the ordinary to the extraordinary… from one form to another.

So that should have been my answer to this young actor. Why do I do stage makeup? Because I want to partake of the magic that is the stage, even though I can’t sing or dance. I’ll just be the wizard behind the curtain.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Marian Call

Marian Call is a singer who does... well... geek music.
My wife and I are going to see her next month... if you'd like to go... email me and I'll give you the website address.
Anyway, I found one of my favorite songs of hers on YouTube.
It's not a great recording... but you should like it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Pox on MacCool's Public House


Most of you who know me, know that I am overly hip to my Celtic heritage. Psychotically hip to it in point of fact. Over the top… you might say. If you put a Celtic knot on something, anything… Mac & Cheese… I’ll buy it, or want to buy it, because it’s “celtic.” When we were at the Renaissance Faire in California, I was introduced to natural resin incense by my cousin, I love incense… and I really love this natural stuff… but I almost bought one called “Celtic Blend,” not because I loved the smell… because I didn’t, but because it was “Celtic Blend.”
So with a minimum of effort, any place billing itself as Celtic, Irish, or Scottish, can pretty much win my loyalty, and I’ll return again and again, and get others to do the same.
Which brings us to MacCool’s Public House at The District in South Jordan, Utah. This place advertises itself as an Irish Family Restaurant. So when I was sitting in the Megaplex Theater, and saw their advertisement while waiting for “Wolverine” to start, I thought “great, we’ll stop in and try it.”
I think that because they serve Guinness and have a very few Irish-ish foods on the menu, they get to call themselves an Irish themed restaurant.
Let me tell you of my experience, and see if I’m over reacting.

When we got there, the place was half empty, and in the reception area there was one other couple who were waiting for a couple of other people to arrive, this seemed to confuse the hostess, because she kept looking at us as if she was wondering if it was ok to seat us since the other couple was there first. So we finally get taken to our table by Stacey, who, we would come to find out, was also out server. Now, did I mention that the place was half empty, because she takes us to this strange little, wobbly table near the emergency exit, doesn’t ask if the table will be ok for us, but does ask if we would like drinks… before we get seated… and well before she gives us the menus.
Now, my lovely bride likes those flavored lemonades that everyone seems to have, and so she asks our serving wench whether or not they have them. Instead of saying “No ma’am we don’t, but can I suggest… blank…” she snarkingly (is that a word?) snarkingly says “This isn’t Chilis, ma’am.” At that point, I should have complained to the manager and high tailed it to Chilis… but no… I was in an Irish place, and I was bound and determined to like it. So then we sit down at our wobbly little table and she gives us our menus. We order some calamari (is that Irish?), and I get the salmon chowder, while my wife orders the grilled salmon. At this point, Stacy disappears for the rest of the night. We did see her wandering around, but never wondering near to our table, well that is until she delivered the bill… but I’ll get to that in due time.
The calamari comes, by someone we’ve never seen before… obviously, not our server… and it was hot, tasteless and rubbery. I know, you're saying… it’s squid! It’s supposed to be rubbery. Well, no it’s not… I’ve had calamari in plenty of places, where it was cooked right. Now the one saving grace to MacCool’s version, is its dipping sauce, which tastes suspiciously like the dipping oil at Iggies… I’m just saying.
Then, our food comes, flopped onto the table by still another person we have never seen… still not Stacey, who seems to be trapped by a group of nice, yet empty, tables on the other side of the room from our crappy little table. So now, this latest mystery server, literally drops the food onto our table, and without saying a word… leaves.
Still wanting to like this place with every fiber of my celtic being, I dig in to my salmon chowder… which is the fishiest tasting thing I have ever put in my mouth.
Now you’re saying “It’s Salmon! It’s supposed to taste fishy.” No. I’ve had salmon at a lot of places, including hole in the wall taco stands, and this is the first “fishy” tasting salmon I have ever eaten. It was so bad, I began to avoid the salmon in the chowder and would just eat the potatoes and soda bread. My wife said that she liked her salmon, but that it wasn’t the best she’d ever had.
But I still didn’t complain to the manager because I was still determined to like this blemish on the Irish heart.
So now, after we had eaten, Stacey reappears with our bill. No offer’s for dessert… not that we would have ordered one, but still. She just drops the bill on the table and leaves. We pay and leave. It wasn’t until I was out in the parking lot that I began to get mad. Here I was trying to like this place… giving it every chance in the world, and all it gave me was a bad taste in my mouth and heartburn.
I was so angry that on Monday, I did something I never do, I wrote a letter to the manager of MacCool’s telling him just what I told you… so far, I’ve heard nothing back… and expect not to.
I will never go back, and advise you to do the same.
A Pox on MacCool’s… the most Un-Cool place around.
Chilis anyone?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Go ahead... call it a skirt... I double dog dare you.



Just a small snippet of news:
Found at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,520454,00.html

“WEST HAVEN, Utah — The principal of a Utah middle school has been asked to apologize for forcing a kilt-wearing student to change his clothes.
Weber School District spokesman Nate Taggart says Craig Jessop has been asked to extend an apology to 14-year-old student Gavin McFarland of Hooper after the school official's comments Wednesday.
Gavin says he wore the kilt twice in the past two weeks to Rocky Mountain Junior High as a prop for an art project. Jessop told the boy that the outfit could be misconstrued as cross-dressing.
Taggart says the district recognizes the kilt as an expression of the boy's Scottish heritage and that the kilt was not inappropriate.
Kilts are traditional Scottish apparel generally worn by men for formal or special occasions.”

Or we wear 'em whenever we bloody well feel like it!

I think that principal should be sent to cultural sensitivity training… The guy’s a know-nothing who needs to be fed a haggis and have cabers thrown at him.
He’s probably French…

And now a little song.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Karma, Vortexes and other things they don’t teach in Sunday School


It wasn’t long ago that I began to believe in karma. As a Mormon, I was taught that it was impossible for the cosmos to align against an individual… and then I met Dan. He and I worked in the same office. He wasn’t a very nice guy, and I started to notice a pattern. If we ordered lunch as an office… his was always the one that got messed up. Wheat bread instead of white, pork instead of chicken…
“I ordered 12 lunches, why did we only get 11?”
“Who’s is missing?”
“Dan’s…”

If a computer was going to get kicked off the network, it was almost always his. Things he would order from the Internet would almost always come in wrong. Medical billing with the insurance company would get messed up in some way. He was always on the phone trying to straighten things out… and was never, ever nice about it.
Then I realized… he’s throwing out bad vibes into the cosmos and bad vibes are heaping up upon him. It’s karma, man… Karma.

So now… I’m starting to believe in vortexes. Little localized events that suck other events to it.
My family and I like to go to renaissance faires and festivals. It’s a thing… I know. Anyway, we’ve been planning to go to Ren Fest in Ogden for about 6 months. and thought that we would be able to choose either of the weekends… that was the case up until last Saturday. Then things started heaping up… dance practice, yard cleanup at Grandma’s, birthday parties, funerals… STOP THE INSANITY!
All on the same weekend!?! Are you kidding me?

I’m telling you folks, there are vortexes in this world, and they center on times that are very important to you and your family…
Believe it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Bards

For those of you who follow my little blog... I am so sorry for my lack of posts.
And even though I have no time to spill the nothingness that is my mind onto this page, I do want to give you something...
And so, I give you the Brobdingnagian Bards... Gee, I hope I spelled that right.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Loss of Geek Cred

I guess it’s time to turn in my geek card ‘cause last night I totally lost geek credit.
So there I was, playing on the floor with my beautiful little niece and my brother-in-law says, “Oh, did you hear that David Arneson died?” He may as well have said, “did you know that Freddy Fleeflicker just died” because I had no fracking idea who David Arneson was.
My first instinct was to say, “Oh that’s to bad” and totally lie, but no… I said “I don’t know who that is.”
Save versus Intelligence because I lost geek cred by the shovel full in an instant.

Yes, sadly David Arneson was the co-creator of that wonderful game: D&D, and the guy credited with the idea of using the d20 for combat.
He and Gary are back together... maybe they'll start a heavenly gaming guild together... I might just have to get in on that.

Yes, I have lost geek cred, but I will gain it back! Somehow… even if I have to join a LARP group… well… maybe I won’t go that far.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Soccer Season is Here!

Yep, you see those clouds over the stadium? They DUMPED on us in about the 75th minute of the game last night.
So yesterday, I turned 40… and to celebrate my down-hill slide into death, my wife bought us tickets to the Real / Columbus game because I love soccer, and I love Real and Columbus, so to see them both play at the same time was a real treat for me. And to see Real tromp Columbus was a very big treat indeed.
And now… my wife is hooked on the game and is really wanting season tickets.
Now my gut says… no. But the Celt in me gives a resounding YAWP in the affirmative.
I think that we’ll pass on the season tickets this season, and just buy some flex passes so that we can take the kiddies.
Ya…

But look at that picture... we had GREAT seats!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shame on you HBO... Shame on you!

Does the “B” in HBO stand for Bigot? Because I’m sure that the “Big” in Big Love does, indeed, stand for Bigot. In a world where almost nothing is sacred, why is it that HBO thinks that smearing the sacred practices of other people all over the airwaves is acceptable? Last Sunday, HBO broadcasted a sacred LDS temple ceremony on its series Big Love… and I say, a pox on HBO and Playtone! A POX!
There are things in this world that are off limits to the prying eyes of the world, and what the LDS people choose to do in their temples is one of those things.

According to the AP:

“HBO said it did not intend to be disrespectful of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and apologized.”

*Cough* Bull-crap!

"Obviously, it was not our intention to do anything disrespectful to the church, but to those who may be offended, we offer our sincere apology," the premium cable channel said in a statement issued Tuesday.
But the ceremony is an important part of the "Big Love" story line, HBO said.”

Do you know what “But” means? “BUT” means “disregard everything that we just said, because it’s a lie intended to make us feel better about being total bigoted scumbags.”
“Important to the storyline?” My rosy white hindquarters it was “important to the storyline.” Do you know why they did this? They figured that it was a great way to tick off some folk they don’t really like anyway, for a couple of extra points in the ratings. Well congrats HBO… ya did it. And it only cost you your souls… if you had any to begin with.

Later in that AP article, they say that HBO went to great pains, and even hired a consultant, to make sure that it was absolutely accurate.
So, who was their consultant? A Temple President? A Stake President? A General Authority? No! They hired some excommunicated slug with a beef against the Church! Ha! Hey HBO! You got ripped! Hope you didn’t pay him a whole hell of a lot… 30 pieces of silver maybe?

So here’s my thing. The Church is not calling for boycotts… but I am!
Tom Hanks (exec. Producer) & Bill Pullman… you are both dead to me, your sucky movies will no longer be allowed in my home. Well, no… Bill’s just some dumb actor who doesn’t know his head from a hole in the ground, and who’s trying to keep his job. So until shown otherwise, I’ll keep Bill around, but Tom… I’ve heard what he has to say about Mormons and I think that he’s one first class bigot… so all of Tom’s sucky movies are going away, ya friggin’ gut slug!
HBO… I don’t subscribe to your service… and never will.
I urge my readers (all two of you) to do the same… pull the plug.
Lets show the scumbags who’s really in charge!

Oh, and if you’re LDS and a fan of the show… Shame on you! For shame…

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Twilight... Ugh... Just so bad.

Saturday my wife and I went to the dollar-flicks to see Twilight.
Oh man! It wasn’t even worth the dollar I spent. Now, granted, I went into it with the lowest of low expectations, but that movie stunk… on a bun… with a side of fries. I am more convinced now, than I was last week, that Stephenie Meyer has never, in her life, ever read a vampire novel or seen a vampire movie… ever!
Now look, I’m not a purest when it comes to Vamps. I love it when authors can stretch the genre. While Bram Stoker’s vamps had some human qualities, they were, for the most part, mindless killers. Anne Rice made huge leaps toward humanizing the vamps, giving them drive and purpose to their extended lives, even giving them guilt and angst for the deeds they’ve done. The Lost Boys, Blade, Underworld, The Anita Blake Series, Fright Night, The Dresden Files, The Rachel Morgan / The Hollows Series, I am Legend, Salem’s Lot, Vampire$, Buffy the Vampire Slayer… All of these books, movies and what not, stretched the vampire legend just a little further… but Meyer seems to have thrown it all out and started over with a very small amount of knowledge.
Plus... Where were the fangs!
Ok, so while we’re on the subject of fangs. Hello? Makeup people… don’t have a budget? 20 bucks from Vampfangs.com will get you a pretty good set, good enough for that movie, anyway. Also… from what I understand, the “vamps” in this movie were supposed to look like they were cut from marble? So, what was with the clown white? Ben Nye and Kryolan make some really good colors… you can mix ‘em too. But no, they went with this weird powdery clown white. And… they couldn’t cover Edward’s 5 o’clock shadow? Come on! I’m an amateur makeup guy and I noticed that one! In fact, I’d say the vamp makeup was so bad, that when the Cullens were facing off against the three hunter vamps, it looked like the battle of the anemics. “Ok, guys, first group to get dizzy and pass out wins!”

So bad on so many levels!

That whole section where Edward and Bella were running up the side of a mountain, and leaping from tree to tree… Ugh! Where do I start? Years and years ago, my friends and I used to rent this martial arts movie called Shogun’s Ninja. It was filmed 1980 somewhere in Japan, with bad voice over work, people flying from tree to tree, jumping off of cliffs, jumping out of road puddles… the whole bit… It was just so bad that it was good. We would watch this thing and just laugh our butts off… well Shogun’s Ninja had better special effects than that section of Twilight.

It was just so bad. I would be embarrassed to have my name even associated with this movie.

Now, to be fair, I have to admit that there were some sections I liked. The graduation caps on the wall was a clever little idea. The fact that Bella’s smell was like a drug to Edward seems to fall in line with prevailing thought in Vamp fiction, and it was played up very effectively. The would-be rapists… they should have been torn into bloody stains by Edward, but his fight to keep from doing that was very will played.

So there were some small highlights in the story… but to little to late. They just didn’t happen often enough to save the movie from sucking… hard. Or, not sucking… since it was a vampire movie that had no sucking in it. So it stunk… it had great odor.

Do you know what the movie said to me? It was as if the producers and the movie company said, “We’re not going to spend a lot of money on this, so were not going to hire the best because no mater what we put on the screen, the sappy fans are going to love it anyways.”

And I guess that they were right. "Suckers!"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Reading Banned Books



I am so proud of my daughter! She’s just awesome! Yesterday at school, in her English (now called “Language Arts”) class they were talking about censorship, and the banning of books. She told me that she was surprised at how many of her friends and classmates believe that schools and libraries should ban books that have “objectionable” content. As she said “Sex and stuff in them.”
So I asked her, “What do you think?”
She said, “I don’t think they should ban any book, you just shouldn’t read the bad ones.”
I tell you, I could not have been more happy if I’d have won the publisher’s clearinghouse while saving a family of ducks from a burning barn.
I said, “ You’re right, did you know that Dr. Suess has a book on the list of banned books?”
“What? Why?” She asked… almost screamed.
“Yep,” I said, “Back in the 80’s, some school thought that The Lorax went against their local values.”
It was actually 1989 in Northern California, they said that it preached against the logging industry, a major industry in that area, and so like all good Nazi’s they banned it.
So, then I explained that Huckleberry Finn, The Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Little House on the Prairie, James and the Giant Peach, Where’s Waldo … even the Bible have all been banned, in the United States, at one time or another, in one place or another. Strangest of all happened in 1992 when a school (Venado Middle School) in Irvine, California censored Fahrenheit 451, a book about the dangers of censorship, by blacking out all of the “objectionable” words (as if Ray Bradbury uses a whole lot of ‘em). It took action on the part of parents and the media to get this one set right.
Now look, I’m not one of those people that believes that Penthouse Magazine belongs in our public libraries because of an absolute freedom of the press. They have their place… that place is at the bottom of a dumpster (in my opinion) rather than on a library shelf… but they have a place non-the-less. Because of the first amendment, I will not infringe, or have others infringe, upon the rights of people to publish whatever they feel is worthwhile. I’ll just have to teach my children to seek out books that are beautiful, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.
And that, my friends, is the only true and good form of censorship. It begins at our own front door and encompasses the walls of our homes. Let no government, large or small, tell you what you can or cannot read, to do so is to place shackles on your mind.
I am very proud to say that many of the books on the banned book lists of the American Library Association are on my book shelves at home, and that my daughter and I have read many of them, because many, many of them have great and worthwhile messages despite having “that word” in them.
Finally, I wish to add a quote from one of my favorite authors:
"And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."
-Kurt Vonnegut in A Man Without a Country
I don't think that A Man Without a Country has been banned anywhere yet, but it does have "that word" in it. ;)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yesterday's Men

So, yesterday, Obama signed the “stimulus bill," and the stock markets across the world excitedly responded by dropping hundreds of points. So, in honor of this groundbreaking piece of… legislation, I give you a song by Celtic Thunder. A group I really didn’t like when I first heard them, but I have grown to really like. I think that this song will gain more meaning as the year wears on…

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stage Makeup... The Update







So the makeup job is coming along. Thursday, I had my first chance to put all of my color, practice and plans together on to the faces of two of the actors. I had budgeted 20 minutes per actor, and it took 35 without doing their hands or hair color. So, I’m going to have to budget several hours for all 30 something actors I have to do. One… the character “Gaston,” I have to do face and arms, from the fingers to shoulder, so I’ll need another 40 minutes for him as well.
The good thing is that most of the actors only need base, eye, and lip color, so that won’t take too long.
I’m really enjoying this little experience; it’s quite a change from doing a haunted house or the kids on Halloween. I hope I get to do more in the future.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Picturing the Past


Ok, so those of you who are “computer savvy” will think that I’m a little slow on the uptake, but you have to remember that I’m an English Major, which is shorthand for “useless.” You know, when you declare your major in college, they really need to have a mandatory disclaimer.
I (the undersigned) do hereby understand that by declaring to be an English Major, I do hereby accept the following:
* I understand that my degree is not worth the paper it’s printed on, and while it does have fancy lettering, correct spelling, and uses proper grammar, you may as well hang it over the toilet for all the good it’s going to do you.
* I understand that my degree will mandate that I use the pronoun “whom” even though the rest of the English speaking world hasn’t used it since the early 1940’s.
* Learn this phrase “Would you like fries with your burger.”
* Learn this phrase “Hey, it is a real degree!”

Ok, I didn’t come here to spout off about being an English Major, again.

(Can you recognize an Iamb when you hear one? I can.)

Anyway, I want to tell you what I found.

(I’m a member of the Professional Organization of English Majors on Facebook, by the way.)

I want to tell you what I found! I hate it when the voices start taking over... Sheesh!

I was entering in some names on my PAF program (the genealogy program I use) and saw over on the right side, a little camera. I've only used this program for a couple of years now... So I clicked the camera button. Did you know that you can attach pictures to the people files in PAF? Of course you did, because you studied real stuff in college. So for the last two days, I’ve been adding pictures to my ancestor files and printing out new family group sheets for my book. This is so cool!
It has totally helped my wife and kids to know who some of these people are. The Porter’s aren’t really imaginative when it comes to names, so we have a lot of William’s. My grandpa, his Father, and his Father after that, on and on… I haven’t found the end yet. So when I find something out about William Leeks Porter, Sr., Terri usually has to ask, “Now which one is that?”
Now, when I can’t find a photo, I try to place a picture of their head stone… when I’ve been able to track those down. I think that it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative, but I’m not sure what to do when I can’t find that… I mean, a lot of them are buried in England, or back east, or in the middle of the Atlantic… Maybe I can use other things, just to fill in the blank spot…


“Hey Dad, did you know that Great, Great Grandpa McLeod looked just like Mel Gibson?”

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I give you the Racist... Dr. Joseph Lowery

So who thought that this “prayer” was completely inappropriate?
I have to admit, there were some fine sentiments in the prayer, but that stupid, racist, finale! Arrrgh! It overshadowed anything of value he had to say.

*sigh*

What would our country be like if we actually went humbly to our creator, said what was in our hearts, petitioned the all mighty in supplication with heads bowed and hearts open?
I dare you to find anyone in that video that was actually bowing his or her head… I found one… CLINTON!!!
This country is in SO much trouble.
That’s all I can say.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Poo Song

So I’m riding home on the bus the other day, and my wife calls me to tell me that she’s watching Scrubs and that they are singing about poo, and since I’m reading a Nobel Prize winning book that seems to mention the stuff quite a bit, I thought that I’d share what she saw with you… my readers… my friends.
Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Tale of Two Degrees

The other day, I was talking with one of the engineers in my office, and telling him that my oldest daughter has the opportunity to graduate from High school with an Associate of Science Degree in general studies, but to do that, she’s going to have to take some night school classes at SLCC and probably have to take some classes over summer breaks, which means that she’ll have very little time for summer jobs, or extracurricular activities while she’s in High School.
He asked me if this was something she was willing to do. I said that, yes, she’s willing to do it, but that she’s frightened by the whole idea. It’s a pretty big decision for a 14 year old to be making.
Then he says to me, “You know, she’s a pretty bright girl, she could forget all of the college courses, enjoy High School, get really good grades, and then go to a real school.”
“Real school?” I asked.
“Yah,” he said, glancing up at the two degrees I have hanging over my desk, “ya know, SLCC isn’t a real college, and frankly, an Associate Degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.”
I ended our conversation at that point, but it got me thinking. I have two degrees, the first is an Associate of Science in Architecture from SLCC, and the other is a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah. The AS degree, I paid for out of pocket, so I owe nothing on it. It currently pays my mortgage, feeds and clothes my children, and provides my family with a few of the comforts of life.
The BA degree… well, it pretty much sits on the couch, eats potato chips, and watches cable all day. And… since I still owe a sizable amount on my student loans, the AS degree pays for the BA’s upkeep as well. Last week it started to demand it’s own room and phone line… I don’t want to know whom he plans on calling… Probably some Whitman Wannabe.
So, when I really take a hard look at it, which of my two degrees isn’t worth the paper?
As for my daughter, well, she’s decided that she’s going to take as many college courses as she can and still be able to have some fun while in High School… as it should be.
I think that with congruent classes and AP exams, she should be able to get out of High School with about 30 college credit hours… which in the long run are 30 really cheep credits as compared to paying full college tuition, despite what the engineer in my office thinks.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

To the Women in our Lives


My wife wasn’t feeling well last night, and I’m afraid that the kids weren’t being much help to her. But it got me thinking about how much our moms and wives do for us. Years ago, I heard a poem about a lanyard that was funny, but also quite poignant, and it really said a lot about the “thanks” we give the women in our lives.
It took some looking, but here it is.

The Lanyard

By Billy Collins


The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.


No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.


I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.


She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light


and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.


Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth


that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

And so, to my Mom and especially to my wife… nothing I could ever give you will ever make us even.

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Banner Year


My thoughts for the New Year…

Last week, I heard some radio DJ say that he was sure happy that 2008 was over because it really sucked. I was inclined to agree with him until I really took a hard look at 2008. Yes, things have gotten a bit more expensive, but I’m really not as far behind on my bills as I was last year, and that has more to do with my lack of budgeting smarts as it does with the economy.
So what good happened in 2008? My son and I wore kilts to our first Renaissance faire, and I was able to put away enough money to buy my own kilt. We went to Disneyland for the first time in… something like… 5 years. I was able to read, review and interview 4 authors for my blog site… and I’ve got to tell you, that was awesome.

So what do I have to look forward to in 2009?

My wife and I are planning to go to a big Renaissance Faire in Irwindale, California with my cousin and her wife. Then, a couple of weeks later, we’ll take the kids to the Utah Renaissance Faire here in Ogden… Then… The Highland Games at Thanksgiving Point to see the Wicked Tinkers perform.
And after all that… I’ll be running in the Wasatch Back Relay.

This is going to be a great year, despite Obama becoming president, and despite my turning 40.

Hold your head up high, folks. Life is what you make of it…
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