Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Spririt of Thanksgiving

Before I brine and roast the 20 lb bird thawing in my fridge, I want to express gratitude for a few of my favorite things. This way, It'll be fresh and real in my mind long before the feeling is drown in gluttonous abandon. I sometimes wonder if we do ourselves a disservice by feasting as we do, since this activity has long since eclipsed the true reason for our holiday, but then I remember the sweet potatoes and Aunt Shana's artichoke dip, and I find the strength to hastily put away such thoughts.

In no particular order

Food: I've read a few novels in the past year that have really put the availability of food in a new light for me. Books that describe poverty in such vivid and horrifying detail, that I've sworn never to complain again. They have also made something of a tyrant of my kids' dad, who is now prone to launch into a sermon whenever they don't eat the crusts of their sandwiches.

70's Folk Rock Revival: It's as if some of the best and undiscovered acts of the mid seventies died and were resurrected in the form of Midlake, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, Bon Iver, and Blitzen Trapper. They have captured something so ethereal and so untrue to this decade, it's hard to believe the sounds they create are so newly crafted. If you have a minute, check out this video of Fleet Foxes making those sounds live and unaided by any intrusive production (you should watch the whole thing, past the song on the grass). This is all, of course, to say nothing of bands like the late Wolfmother and Portugal The Man, who skipped the folk and went right to the rock, in a way that could make Jimmy Page blush.

Apple Computers: Mac users, you know what I'm talking about. We can endure the slings and arrows from our bitter PC cousins, because we know. We just know.

Women: All of them. Because, seriously, what are we without them? This planet owes a debt to women for centuries of being considered the weaker sex. Fairer, I can handle.

Friends: Because, seriously, what are we without them? Wait...

Russian Literature: If you haven't tried, you won't know. But you should. Try.

American Literature: I mean the classics, like Steinbeck, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and the master, Faulkner.

Mature Trees: the driveway of our current residence is lined by the grandest old elms in Oak Hills. It was like fireworks all through October.

The Mission: I've been having mission dreams more frequently these days. Like, once and twice a week, sometimes. I dream I'm going back-- you've had this one too, right? I'm one who can still say, eleven years later, that I really loved my mission. And if they asked me to, I would go back.

Family: last night, while writing in her journal, Jayne found a page where Hazel had secreted a drawing of radiating hearts and the message, "Dad I luv yow."

Target: Freaking Target. I hate to list it, but it's true. I think I find myself in Target at least twice a week. I'm opposed to the whole "box store" thing and what it's doing to local economoies all over the country, but I'll be dipped if there isn't something about Target that gets me coming back for more and more and more. And more.

Old Holiday Movies on YouTube: we spent Halloween watching the old Silly Symohonies and we introduced the kids to Charlie Brown for Thanksgiving. Can't wait to see what we can dredge up for Christmas.

It's nice to be thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Little Culture

Here's a little international culture for y'all

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Goodies

I know. You're like "what's with all the animation, Wells?" And I'm like, "Don't look, then."

Here are two shorts from Carlos Lascano, who I'd never heard of until this afternoon. But when he becomes a major player in the animation world, won't you be glad you were introduced to him here? You can totally lord it over all your friends and family.

A SHORT LOVE STORY IN STOP MOTION from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

The Can from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's been found!

So upon arrival at my parents house this Sunday I noticed that my Mom had dragged a big, holey garbage bag out of the basement and proceeded to instruct me to 'look through it' to see if I wanted anything from within.

I was shocked to find videos of the following:

An old football in suits game. Shot with a single, non-moving camera, not very exciting.

The green show we performed before 'black comedy' (which had a conference session over the last half of it.)

A full copy of 'The Hothouse' (which made my day)

and...wait for it...

The Scarlet Letter Abridged!

I just about peed myself when I saw it.

It's the copy we turned in to Brownie Brown that was shown in class. Since we had no editing equipment (I remember us using two VCR's for the purpose) some of the edits are terrible and many funny images were lost (Rob acting like a baby for example).

Yet, while we were still honing our comedic chops, many funny tidbits remain (A nude Brims at the beginning is just one of them).

Anyone want a copy?

Because Mondays are for Videos

In The Know: Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?

My Dad Would Be Proud

Yesterday in priesthood meeting we were talking about how intelligence is understanding truth, or something to that effect. Someone commented, "So does that mean stupidity is lack of truth?" Following a good round of priesthood belly laughs and chortles I chimed in with, "But can't someone be truly stupid?" which was met by another round of guffaws. Later, as I reflected on this verbal coup de grace, I realized it was just what my Dad would have said had he been there.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Walking Robot

I don't know if any of you saw this, but I've decided that I'm never going to walk on my own again. Or maybe I'll wait until I'm done having kids.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dance with me Chirsy!

As I cast my mind back...

I saw BYU's production of 'Dancing at Lughnasa' last night. For those not in the know it's a play that we performed in 1996 during our junior year at Provo High (and I think Jed might still have video of). Had a few thoughts as I watched and afterword.

1. What a gutsy play to put on in a high school. And at the time we were, as far as I can tell, the first production done in Utah. Pioneer Theater performed the play in '98 with BYU following in '99 (or there abouts) Mrs. Payne had some guts putting it on, with themes in the play that, I wouldn't consider inappropriate, are certainly challenging. I can genuinely not remember a lovelier or sadder production that I've ever been involved with.

2. Having these rose colored-honey drenched memories of our production made seeing the play last night wonderfully nostalgic, and sometimes a bit irksome. When the actor who played Micheal (whom Jed played) came out and spoke in an accent for his monologues to the audience it was TERRIBLY jarring at first. Ultimately Chris (the actor playing Micheal) did a fine job, even though I sort of hated the choice.

3. In our junior year 'end of the year skit' that the RSC boys performed for the drama banquet in '96 (which Jed might also have the video of) we had Mat narrating a la Jed, and crying every time he came to the end of one of his speeches, with Jed becoming enraged and insisting that he only cried once in his performance. The skit also featured Rob playing Arian and dancing... I don't know what kind of dance. I just remember clapping between his legs as he high kicked, and wiggling his hand on his forehead while Mat remarked how 'beautiful' it was. Sometimes I'm amazed at how funny we were back then.

So as I cast my mind the winter of 1996, these are the images that come back to me...(starting to tear up) and these memories are...are...(sobbing) I can't...I can't write this anymore.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

There's Nothing Like a Good Nights Sleep!

I'm grateful to a family member who gave me the heads up about this commercial and for the internet that allowed me to check out one of our own getting a little screen time. Enjoy...

Name That Merchandise Contest

MIRACLE FROM GOD. Have blue print God used to layout all the oil/gas, 200,000. 620-241-0159.

I saw the above in the Hutch News online classifieds. (Hutchinson is called Hutch around here.) 5 golden stars to the foo' that can tell me what exactly is for sale here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Visiting Darkplace

Here are some choice cuts from a brilliant little show from the other side of the pond. I know they ran it on Cartoon Network for a little while, but I don't know if we (here in the States) were justly afforded the chance to see it all (I did catch it all on YouTube, however).

This is one of the better examples of "so bad it's good". They've taken every production value and run it through the muck and the result is glittering. Choppy edits, mismatched sound levels, inflated dialogue, overindulgent acting, and homemade horror effects, all draped in perfect 80's camera, light, costume and make-up (and it was shot in 2004). Why it wasn't a hit over here, I'll never know.

It's set in a Hospital called Darkplace where doctors fight nether worldly creatures and tackle life's toughest philosophical quandaries. For the most part, it's just too good to be true.

Warning: some really silly gore and maybe a bad word here or there. You know how those Brits can be.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Pet Worth Having

Here's a pet worth keeping around!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Who decides what game we get anyway?

Found this article while perusing the NFL game scores.  Now if only we weren't stuck with the Titans vs Bears game!  Good work Kirk!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Christmas Party

Second item of business: lets start planning a Christmas party. When is everyone coming into town? When is everyone who is in town going to be available? Do we want to have a snowy suite football game? Holmes said he can put some doodad on the side of the blog, but lets get some info first.

Here's what we know so far-
Holmes will be here Dec. 22nd through January 2nd.
Duerden will be here Dec. 16th through January 16th.

Roll Call: Where is everyone

Hey guys, Steve Walters here.
As most of you know I am relatively new to this here blog. I was wondering if I could get a roll call of everyone who reads the blog. Where are you living? What are you doing? What are the updates on your families? What are your credit card numbers? You know the important stuff.

During the past couple of years I waffled about trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn't that I couldn't find anything I loved doing. Quite the opposite, I loved almost everything I tried. The problem was that I was never satisfied, I always wanted to do everything. Having had the love of biology most heinously killed while at BYU, I tried my hand at working with troubled youth. I got a job working with my wife at a treatment center for teenage girls. I have worked there off and on again for the last two years. I also at times worked with Duerden's foundation for teenagers. Throughout this time I discovered that I deeply missed photography.

So about a year ago my wife and I moved into my in-law's basement and started saving. A couple of months ago my Kjrstin (my wife) and I both quit our jobs and started a photo company. Now all of our time is devoted to learning the things we know nothing about: business, web design, etc. We even occasionally get out and take a photo or two. We are hoping to have all of the structure done by the new year, so we can focus on photography. Fortunately we are loving it.

Anyway, I am married (as stated above), have no kids, and am currently living in Spanish Fork.

I'd love to hear what is going on with you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's Happening in Lubbuck?!?

I know the election is still fresh on everyone's minds but lets not forget that a pretty amazing football game took place last Saturday in Lubbuck, TX between Texas Tech and Texas. Since I know Benson's a rabid football fan, I think he played defensive tackle at Skyline...I wanted to get his insider take on what Lubbock was like after the game. I think I heard they just burnt down the whole town during the celebration. So Benson how did you celebrate the victory? Were you out hanging on the goal posts, setting random cattle free to run through the streets, etc., etc., just curious.

A new day

Whether or not you voted Obama yesterday, one would have to admit that we took a big step as a nation in electing him in such an unprecedented way. Time will tell whether or not he is a good president, but I wager the distance we've come as a union in making this choice will give needed strength to some of the weaker areas of our being.

I think, in classrooms of years to come, kids should be made to memorize McCain's speech of last night. His humble strength, poise and demeanor was what every American should look to emulate.

It was a good night for this diseased country of ours. Maybe now we can start to heal.

Monday, November 3, 2008

An Interview with Jed Wells

I thought I'd share this little Q&A that I did for a local magazine with very limited circulation. Chances are you would never be able to read it otherwise:

MM: Thanks for meeting with me today. It's a busy time of year and I know you're buried as it is with work and raising 3 kids all by yourself.

JW: Well, I am busy, that's true. But I should give some credit to my wife who really does help a lot with the kids. Just to be fair.

MM: How gracious of you.

JW: Well... (coughs).

MM: So, did you get a chance to see Christopher Clark's stage adaptation of Nosferatu over the weekend over at the UVU?

JW: You know, I did. And it blew the brains right out of my head.

MM: How do you mean? Was it that bad?

JW: On the contrary, it was freaking amazing. One of the most imaginative things I've ever seen in live theater. It was like Michel Gondry live, sans all the idiosyncratic Gondry-isms, making it a little easier to follow. It's a shame, in fact, that it's over since I think everyone should have seen it.

MM: He's a relation of yours, isn't he? Mr. Clark, that is.

JW: He is my wife's cousin, yes.

MM: Isn't this fake interview a shameless rip-off of his recent post about a bat and one of your wife's latest posts on her blog, too?

JW: I don't see how that's any of your business.

MM: Mmm-hmm. New topic.

JW: I'd appreciate that.

MM: It's been rumored that people don't know what it is you do for a living. Care to shed any light on the subject?

JW: My nine-to-five has me titled a Graphic Designer. I work for a company in Provo where I design web pages, banner ads and other mind-numbing shnackle. Sometimes a project will come along that is stimulating in one way or another, but mostly I wade through the drudgery by drawing pictures, watching YouTube, and listening to audiobooks. It's just cozy enough that I feel guilty complaining about it, but it always takes some time for the idealist to die in any artist's soul. At home, though, I get to do some fun work as a freelancer.

MM: Why don't you quit your day job and start freelancing full time?

JW: Why don't you mind your own business?

MM: I've heard you were thinking of voting left on Tuesday. Is that true?

JW: That's the direction I'm leaning, yes.

MM: Isn't it also true that you are a practicing Mormon?

JW: Well, the term "Mormon" is something of a misnomer, but yes, that is also true.

MM: So then, are you going to get in any trouble with your church for voting in opposition to its defined tenets?

JW: Hmmm... I was under the impression that the Church's clearly defined tenet was neutrality in politics.

MM: That's not what I've heard.

JW: Well, I'm sorry to hear that.

MM: I'm sorry to hear that you're going to hell for voting outside of the Church's party.

JW: Yeah, see... I think this is where you've heard wrong.

MM: I'm just saying that it's unrighteous to consider anything other than the currently defined or accepted standard of the conservative view.

JW: I tend to think it's not quite righteous to condemn someone who has carefully, and even prayerfully, investigated another side of an issue that doesn't match your own. Are we not the same group that prays every day that the world will open their minds and hearts to our message which doesn't happen to match theirs?

MM: That has nothing to do with politics.

JW: Maybe not, but it has a lot to do with narrow-- dare I say-- closed-mindedness. And what are we if not the world's largest collection of hypocrites if we are unwilling to open our minds to other views. Is it possible, too, that even if the Republican party traditionally represents the values we espouse as Latter-day Saints, the current candidate chosen by that party may not? Are we then to blindly cast our vote to them because we "feel bad" voting somewhere else? That's not righteousness, that's ingorance.

MM: Are you calling me ignorant?

JW: Not at all, provided you have a reason besides intolerance for voting the way you do. I'm thrilled if you're freaking writing in a candidate so long as you know why. But I will say that a biased, uninformed, self-righteous vote for a canditate that you don't know much about but who fits your ill-conceived notion of what you "should" be doing, is ignorant, and I'm seeing a lot of that here in Utah Valley. I have no party ties and declare no allegiances, but I do think that refusal to reason it out fairly is deplorable.

MM: Well, I think you're ugly.

JW: Duly noted.

MM: New topic. Did "No Country for Old Men" deserve to win Best Picture last year.

JW: Absolutely. It was close to perfect.

MM: Wasn't it sort of violent?

JW: Yes, it was.

MM: I heard you're going to hell if you watch violent movies.

JW: I'm going to hell anyway, so I'll let you know when I get there.