Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I don't have much to offer today. I was going to post some stuff about the oil boom in the Americas and an article about pulling out of Iraq, but that is completely unrelated to the holiday at hand. My two favorite days to be driving around are on Valentine's day and Halloween. I love looking in the car next to me and seeing someone in full get-up. It's so fun. This morning while walking to my office I saw a couple of guys, one sitting on the other's shoulders, and they had a long black robe-type thing. The best was that I was approaching them from behind, so I only saw the 11 foot or so long cape draped behind as they were walking on campus. Love this day. Hope you enjoy it, too.

Don't be lame and not dress up or not go out and do anything. At the very least, watch a scary movie, read a scary story, hand out candy and try to scare kids, but just make sure you do something! I was so mad at my roommate's last year when we came back from our Halloween festivities and they were just sitting around on the couch watching The Bourne Supremacy.

Don't be lame. Have fun tonight. Play some tricks or give someone some treats. Don't be dumb.

Have a good one, y'all!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Here Comes Halloween

So what happened? I don't know. I just haven't been much for blogging lately. I am, however, quite disappointed that I haven't done more to honor what's one of my favorite holidays.

We actually haven't even really done much Halloween stuff. It wasn't until last week before we actually did anything at all related to the holiday, and usually I'm quick to post Werewolves of London on here and announce the arrival of the day on the first of the month. I haven't even read a scary novel this month like I've done for the last 3 or 4 years. I know. Something is seriously wrong.

Part of this is because we've been busy. Another part is that my wife and I have different perceptions of what Halloween should be. I like scary Halloween. I like haunted houses and scary movies. Amy likes funny Halloween. So this leads to a clash of what our costumes end up being. I'm learning how to handle it. But don't worry, someday I'll be a mummy, frankenstein, and skeleton. It's inevitable.

I think this is mostly reflected in our upbringings. She grew up in a nice household. Not that mine wasn't nice, but mine didn't have the same standards when it comes to movies and such, nor did she have an older brother 8 years her senior who had her watch all of the scary movies that he would watch. She and I were watching Scream the other night and she was hidden behind her computer screen most of the night flinching at even the sounds of the slasher film, whereas I wasn't phased at all. I don't know. I'm just densensitized in that way, I guess. I was the 10-11 year old kid who reveled in reading the scariest ghost stories I could find alone in the dark in a house by myself. I just loved that stuff. That's where our differences lie. She's nice. I'm the soulless monster who is looking for the scariest thing he can find just so he can feel some kind of emotion, even if it's only fear. That sounds like a scary story right there.

Also, I LOVED the Twilight Zone. Couldn't get enough of it. I would watch the Twilight Zone marathons all day long when it would happen on Thanksgiving and the 4th of July. I lived for that. Which brings me to my next thing: Something Halloweeny that I think is worth reposting is this short story by Jerome Bixby, which Twilight Zone episode had the same name - It's a Good Life.Such a creepy story. Here are the opening few lines:

Aunt Amy was out on the front porch, rocking back and forth in the highbacked chair and fanning herself, when Bill Soames rode his bicycle up the road and stopped in front of the house.

Perspiring under the afternoon "sun," Bill lifted the box of groceries out of the big basket over the front wheel of the bike, and came up the front walk.

Little Anthony was sitting on the lawn, playing with a rat. He had caught the rat down in the basement--he had made it think that it smelled cheese, the most rich-smelling and crumbly-delicious cheese a rat had ever thought it smelled, and it had come out of its hole, and now Anthony had hold of it with his mind and was making it do tricks.

When the rat saw Bill Soames coming, it tried to run, but Anthony thought at it, and it turned a flip-flop on the grass, and lay trembling, its eyes gleaming in small black terror.

Bill Soames hurried past Anthony and reached the front steps, mumbling. He always mumbled when he came to the Fremont house, or passed by it, or even thought of it. Everybody did. They thought about silly things, things that didn't mean very much, like two-and-two-is-four-and-twice-is-eight and so on; they tried to jumble up their thoughts to keep them skipping back and forth, so Anthony couldn't read their minds. The mumbling helped. Because if Anthony got anything strong out of your thoughts, he might take a notion to do something about it--like curing your wife's sick headaches or your kid's mumps, or getting your old milk cow back on schedule, or fixing the privy. And while Anthony mightn't actually mean any harm, he couldn't be expected to have much notion of what was the right thing to do in such cases.

That was if he liked you. He might try to help you, in his way. And that could be pretty horrible.

If he didn't like you ... well, that could be worse.

I'm also more than a little upset that I missed two different zombie runs that are held in the state of Utah. I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of these especially since I am both a runner and a fan of all things Halloween.  Night of the Running Dead is one of them.

Lastly, here is a surprisingly catchy zombie love song a friend of mine turned me onto this morning.

Have a good one, y'all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Throughout the Universe Displayed

I haven't really gotten back into the writing portion of this blog. Not sure why. Anyway, I wanted to make a note about our most recent trip to Havasupai. Well, more the first night of the trip. We arrived sometime around midnight (the last three words are supposed to be sung to the tune of the song with that title) to the Hilltop. It was a weird evening driving through Peach Springs, finding the nearest gas station to the reservation, and then driving into Supai country. I actually wanted to write a short story about the drive, a kind of ghost story. Maybe I still will. Maybe. The parking lot was quiet, and we happened to pull into the area that is designated for tribe members only. The moon waxed that night to nearly being full. It was cold, but camping cold. The kind that you can get away from when you're zipped up in your bag, especially if you're in a tent. Our car didn't bother with the tent, which would have been a mistake except for that when I woke up in the night and stared at the night sky after the moon had set, the sky was still entirely lit up with all of the stars. It was amazing. I have this experience and same line of thinking every time I go camping. The hymn How Great Thou Art floods my mind, I wish that I knew about every star and every constellation and related mythology that litters the sky, and I think about how anyone could ever look at something like that and not believe in God. And every time I start into this train of thought, I think about what it must have been like for Abraham laying down to sleep on a nice summer night in the desert of the middle east, and it seems perfectly obvious to me why he was such a star gazer and how he so easily understood the grandeur of the heavens and man's insignificant place within it all. This time, however, I started to think more about a friend of mine who ended up leaving the Church because he couldn't reconcile his understanding of the world with the gospel and God. He shared with me a story before, probably more faith promoting than historical, about how one of the great scientists of the world, Galileo or someone else, had built a model of the galaxy with the planets and their orbits and such, and left it out for another friend/colleague of his to discover. The friend marveled at the display as he happened upon it, and then asked the scientist where it had come from, to which the scientist replied, 'what do you mean? It appeared here the same way that you assert that the actual galaxy appeared - out of thin air.' The response is meant to be absurd. Of course someone created it. Something that complex doesn't just appear. But my friend has lost sight of that. Having recently read from Alma 30, I thought about Alma's challenge to Korihor to disprove God, and then his statement that "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." It's so true, isn't it? It's funny to me that we're cast off in this lone and dreary world, but then you go to places like that - see the skies, the waterfalls, and the deep turquoise water - it's hard to believe that we were relegated to this space, that this is the least of all the prizes that God has for us. I am glad that Amy's one criterion for our marriage was that we go camping at least once a year. Being outdoors really helps me to get outside of myself and realize how much more is out there. In a funny way, it's nice to be made to feel insignificant like that because it lends truth to the fact of God's existence.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Honeymoon in Cancun (baby!) Video

The clips from this video were taken with the Bloggie (may it rest in peace) that Dave so kindly gave us for our wedding present. If it weren't for that little guy, we wouldn't have any pictorial or video remembrance of our honeymoon, so we're glad that we had it for the amount of time that we did...even if it was only about 9 days.

Anyway, this vid feels very home movie to me a la the Wonder Years where everything is sped up and not the best quality, but fun nonetheless. Here you go.

Honeymoon by silva888

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Havasupai Video

I kind of disappeared there for a bit, eh? We went to Havasupai last weekend and tonight we had a dinner with everyone to swap photos and such, so I wanted to wait to debut this video until I showed it to everyone else. It really is fun figuring this stuff out, and I think with every video I"m learning more about this stuff. I've got myself a fun little project upcoming that will hopefully improve some of the quality of these videos.

Anyway, without further adieu, here it is! Voila!

Havasupai by silva888

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Daily Dozen

I think for almost the last year now I've been looking at Nat'l Geo Traveler's Daily Dozen. They are reader/viewer submitted photographs from around the world, and they have new ones each week. I thought that I used to like photos, and then I met the Walton family, and now my appreciation just doesn't compare.

Anyway, we've had a fun house guest these last few days and he was showing us the other night some of his latest pics. They, of course, are really good. So impressive.

Anyway (again), I came back this week to the daily dozen and some of these I thought were just so cool. Just yesterday we finally got back our GoPro after sending it in for some warranty servicing, and for a moment I actually thought that it might have been lost in transit, but it showed up in our mailbox much to my delight. I'm so excited to have it in Havasupai this weekend.

So this first photo was actually taken from a GoPro sequence. How awesome is this?

The eerie Northern lights:
Although the size of the waves might make you think that these kids are about to get swallowed up and drown in the depths of the sea, you can see from their expressions that those kids are actually playing in the waves:
I'm really excited to be headed down to Havasupai this weekend. We have a fun group, and it's just a good setting for some great photography and videos to be had. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Feels Like the First Time

I heard about this over the weekend, but only just now saw the video. This is probably the sweetest thing you'll ever see.

Here's an article that has a little bit more to say about it. The woman speaks very clearly and in the article she mentions that she's always worked really hard at her grammar and speaking so that she would fit in. It's just such a sweet moment. I dare you not to cry.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Say it Frenchie, "Colmar!"

We left for Colmar, France on Monday morning. The forecast suggested that we pick another day, but with the rest of our week already planned out, there wasn't much maneuvering we could do so we went ahead and made the trip to Colmar.

That was the exact right decision. It turned out to be a beautiful day and although I really did love the rich greens and beautiful mountains and countryside that Switzerland offered us in our weekend there, I really fell for Colmar with its half-timbered buildings and bright colors and canals. The town really does look like an amusement park setting with the buildings slightly leaning slant-ways after having stood for hundreds of years, the building facades shining bright colors, and French youth everywhere. It's just a beautiful little town.

It's in a part of France that sits near the German border, and over the years has exchanged hands between the two countries a number of times so it has characteristics of each country. What's really fun about traveling to all of these places is just the novelty of everything. There's nothing like the "first time" and when it turns out to be something so exciting to begin with, it only heightens the experience.

We spent the day walking through the town listening to Rick Steves' narration. Lunch was served at a little shop with outdoor seating, which is so very typical of European dining, and some partook of some savory sausage crepes while I had a delightful grilled panini. Most of the day was spent walking the streets and just looking around. Rick Steves suggested we visit the Unterlinden Museum as it was one of his favorites. He set my expectations high, and while the museum was interesting, I thought there would be more. More of what, I'm not sure. Just more. It was still good though, but that was towards the end of the day my dogs were barkin'. We met up with the rest of the Johnsons at the park that was situated near where the cars were parked.