Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's Just Like Riding A Bike

Actually it is riding a bike. Something that I haven't done on a regular basis since serving my mission in Texas. While Andrea is away for the next couple of weeks working at Girl Scout camp, she left her bike here for me to use. Now I haven't owned a bike since mine got stolen on my mission. That was like 10 years ago. That's not to say that I haven't ridden a bike since then, just that I haven't been regular about it. In fact, I don't think I even rode on a bike from the time I was on my mission to living here in Fort Collins. Every time I've been on a bike since it made me just a little bit saddle sore. In fact I feel like I walk like a bow legged cowboy after I finish riding a bike.

This time was no different. Because gas is so expensive, I decided to ride Andrea's bike to our weekly ultimate Frisbee game. And because I'm such a smart guy, I didn't bring any water with me. It's only about 3 miles to the place where we play ultimate Frisbee from my house. But anyone who has ridden a bike for any amount of time know the soreness that accompanies the ride after not being on a bike for a long time.

After playing a game of 4 on 4 ultimate Frisbee and an institute class, it was time to ride home. Something that I was not excited about at all. All I could think about was how after the first day on my mission I couldn't even sit on the the bike seat because it hurt so much. But I had to get home. With more than a little dread I climbed on the bike, turned on my iPod, and started riding. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it definitely wasn't a pleasant experience. The three mile ride home was a lot longer and harder than the ride there. I felt the muscles in my legs getting sore and I was much more winded than I would have liked. I guess I just need to keep on biking around and hopefully I'll get over this soreness.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Like To Say "Quirk". Quirk, Quirk, Quirk, Quirk!

Okay, I know that the title of this post is a rip off of a Calvin & Hobbes quote, but this is my blog and I get to put down what ever I want. And I want to talk about quirks. says that a quirk is a peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality; mannerism. In institute class tonight, the teacher brought a bag of Clementine oranges for the class. They're the really small oranges that are really sweet and super easy to peel. Somewhere between the second and third orange, I realized that I like to peel them all in one piece. I don't like to have a bunch of little pieces of orange peel. One continuous piece is the way that I like to peel my oranges. While looking at the orange peels on the table, I got to thinking about what other kinds of quirks I have.

For one, I only like to eat one box of cereal at a time. If I open another box of cereal before finishing the previous box, I will never finish the first one. I don't know if I could mentally handle having more than one box open at a time. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's not something that I like to do.

Other food quirks:
  • I only like original flavored Starburst and Skittles. None of the wild berry, tropical, or fruit smoothie flavors. I want nothing to do with them.
  • I hate tomato-y (is that a word?) flavored things. Salsa, spaghetti sauce, whatever. If it has a strong tomato taste it's not finding its way into my mouth.
  • Pinto beans are the above all and be all of beans. I know lots of people like black beans, but in my book pinto beans are as good as you can get.
Other general quirks:
  • I hate to be late. That's not to say that I've never been late, but I don't like it.
  • I don't like to be in the water. Showers and baths are okay. Swimming is not something that I enjoy. Probably because I don't know how to do it. I should work on that. But it's more than that. Part of it is the difficulty of breathing from the water pressure pushing against my chest.
  • I would rather fall asleep on the couch than get up and go to bed. I'm not really sure why. I just don't like getting ready for bed. I think because after I get all ready for bed, I'm awake and don't feel as tired anymore.
  • My iTunes music must be labeled correctly with song name, album name, and artist, and album cover. It drives me nuts when it's not organized and I can't find the right album cover.
So as I sit here typing this I realize that I have quite a few quirks, some of which I don't want to name. But how many quirks does a person need to have before then are considered quirky? What are some of the quirks that you have?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

...And I Ran, I Ran So Far Away

Today was my 5K run. I have to say that I was not excited. I had weird dreams the night before about not being able to run and having rubber legs that I had no control over. So needless to say when it was time to go to the race, I was a little nervous. Andrea and I got there about 10 minutes before the race started and made our way to the registration table. They looked me up on the registration sheet, and my free T-shirt and race number was not there. I had to re-sign in so that I could get a new race number. Luckily they didn't charge me again.

As we were lining up to start the race, I heard one of the ladies who was some sort of an official say that there were about 600 people there. That's a lot of people. Here I was thinking this was going to be some small thing with maybe 80 people max. It was huge. There was even a band. I don't remember hearing them play anything, but they were still there set up and ready to play.

After the Star Spangled Banner, the race started. I felt pretty good as the race started. Especially after not keeping up on my training like I should have. I made sure to keep a nice steady pace so that I wouldn't poop out at the end. I didn't really think about much during the race, mostly just putting one foot in front of the other and reciting in my head the words of songs playing on my ipod. I was pretty happy when I came to the 1 mile marker. I had run a mile, and I wasn't even tired. I felt really good. That all changed by the 2 mile marker. There were people out there handing out cups of water to the runners. Just like you see on TV when you watch a marathon. I was still feeling pretty okay, not great, but okay. So I took some water. Drinking while running is an interesting experience. The water got up my nose. The water that I got in my mouth wasn't cold and trying to swallow was hard. In fact it made me feel kind of nauseous. So I quickly threw the cup away. I ended up surprising myself by how far I was able to go without walking. I went just over 2 miles before my body needed a break. So I decided to walk. Oh, did it feel good. I had only walked for maybe 2 or 3 blocks when I came to the 2 1/2 mile marker. The girls at the checkpoint were really encouraging and said that there was only half a mile left. I thought to myself, I can pick up the pace and almost sprint the last half mile. Big mistake! Although my mind said to sprint the last half mile, my body disagreed. I made it maybe a quarter mile while sprinting and then I just felt sick. I have never ever felt that bad before from running. I looked up and there was Andrea cheering me along. Just then, some 10 year old kid passed me with no problem. I was a little jealous of his endurance and energy that he had. Anyway, I gave up trying to sprint to the end and just decided to slow my pace back down to what I was doing before.

I managed to finish the race in a time of 31 minutes and 41 seconds. Not phenomenally fast, but about 10 minutes faster than I thought I was going to finish. I was feeling really good about myself and my performance. Not that I want to run another one tomorrow or anything. But I would like to run another 5k again. My friend Danny mentioned to me that there is another 5k race on Labor Day. So I guess I should keep up with the running so that I can do that race. Maybe I'll even get a better time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chillin' Out Making Chili

Last night on the way home from work, I was trying to decide what I would make for dinner. The only criteria was that there should be left overs for lunch the next couple of days. I'm kind of easy to please like that. As I was talking on the phone (while I was driving, but you should never do) I decided that I would make chili. Now I don't really know a good chili recipe. My mom taught me how to make her chili, but that was years ago and the only ingredients I really remember were beans and ground beef. So I decided to start there and kind of make my own recipe as I went along. I know. This could have turned out horrible and I would have a bunch of gross chili that just sat in the fridge. But it didn't. It actually turned out really well. At least I think it turned out really well. And my roommate seemed to like it too. But I thought I would put the recipe that I made up as I went along to see if anyone else thinks it's any good too. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 15oz cans of beans (pinto, kidney, black,
etc.) rinsed and drained
2 10oz cans diced tomatoes with green
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons hot sauce

Brown & drain ground beef. Combine ground beef, canned beans, tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, spices, and hot sauce in a large pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer covered for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now this recipe is in no way perfected. In fact there are some things that I would like to do different next time. I want to try using steak instead of ground beef, maybe add some flour to thicken up the sauce, and add onions and bell peppers. But in my opinion this first try turned out extremely well and no one is more surprised than myself. Like I said, if anyone decides to make it, let me know what you think by commenting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dark Knight: A Comic Book Movie Pinnacle

I admit it. I'm a comic book geek. And just so you know, the correct term for a comic book geek such as myself, is fanboy. I love comic books. Ever since I was a kid I would read them and enjoy their stories of struggle and heroism. My favorite super hero growing up was The Incredible Hulk. He was big, strong, and could beat up just about anyone. I used to run around as a kid growling like the Hulk from the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno TV show. Sometimes I was even called baby Hulk. So my love of comic books goes back a long way back.

While reading my comic books growing up I would imagine my favorite super heros in live action movies. There was even a make believe casting call in a comic book magazine that would cast real actors in the ideal roles of some comic books. Although the Hulk was my favorite, I would also read Spiderman, X-men, Thor, Avengers, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, Superman, and Batman comics, just to name a few.

As I have gotten older, I have been a pretty stalwart fan of the comic book movies. I absolutely love the Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie. I was so excited for the Spiderman movie that I had butterflies while I was waiting to see it. I love "geeking out" when comic book writer names are dropped into the diologue or when Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance or when there is an additional scene after the credits. I have seen a lot of the super hero movies out there ranging from the bad (Superman 3 & 4) to the mediocre (Daredevil) to the good (Spiderman) to the awesome (The Dark Knight).

If you haven't seen The Dark Knight yet, it is amazing. This is no kiddy comic book movie. In fact, I wouldn't even recommend that kids watch it. It's dark. It's violent. It's intense. It grabs you and takes you in and does not let go. I had the opportunity to see this movie with a group of non-fanboy friends and we all loved it. I remember sitting there and watching the characters on the screen and realizing that they were as dark and life like as they are in the comic books. There was no campy 1960's Batman that was a little pudgy with a side kick that would say "Holy 'fill in the blank', Batman!" This was not the surreal Tim Burton vision of Batman or the dumb cartoony Joel Schumacher version with the "bat nipple" costume. The Dark Knight is an intense and serious movie that almost doesn't fit into the comic book movie category. This is a serious movie with a serious plot, serious (and award winning) actors, and a serious director. It is a movie with good character development and plot progression. Christopher Nolan has taken Batman back to his dark roots when he was created by Bob Kane. This movie may be the perfect comic book movie.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5K Training

The 5K race that I signed up for is coming up this Saturday. I have to say that I'm not really excited about it. I've slacked off on running the last couple of weeks, so I've lost a good deal of running endurance that I had built up. I decided to start running again so I can be marginally ready for the race. I went running last Saturday morning to kind of check my progress. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fun. It was much better than I thought it would be though, so that was a positive.

I went out and I had no desire to even be running. Just to let you know, I absolutely loathe running. Running for the sake of running is just hard. Running while I'm playing a game is easy, because there is a point to it. Chasing down a Frisbee or running with a football is so much more enjoyable for me. But I know that running is important for me to get in shape and lose some weight. So I run.

The nice thing about this running exercising not eating sugar diet thing is that I have lost weight. I've only have about 10 pounds to go until I reach my target weight. And it feels awesome to fit into some of the clothes that I had "out grown". My pants are way more baggy and I feel like I'm drowning in some of the other clothes that I have. I'm going to have to get an new wardrobe so I can have clothes that fit again. But I'll worry about that later.

Anyway, back to talking about the 5K race on Saturday. It starts at 8 am at City Park in Fort Collins. It's called the Run For Hope. It's race to raise awareness about carcinoid cancer. The race is for a good cause and I would invite anyone out to come out and support this organization in their cause. If you want to race, they are accepting entrants up until race day. You can get more information about the race at I'll keep you posted on how I do and let you know my race time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Flash Animation Fun

I found this just surfing around on the internet. It's by the same kid who made the Animator vs. Animation cartoons below. Hope you enjoy.

Pink Army by *alanbecker on deviantART

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Top 5 Fun

My friend Sandy loves to make lists. Lists ranging from favorite movies to favorite karaoke songs. So I thought I would make a few Top 5 lists of things that I enjoy. Keep in mind that these lists aren't set in concrete and more than likely will have changed within a couple of hours of posting this. But as of this moment, these are my favorites.

Top 5 Favorite Movies

5. Braveheart

4. The Matrix

3. 61*

2. Rocky

1. The Godfather

Top 5 Favorite TV Shows

5. The Office

4. Battlestar Galactica

3. Angel

2. Firefly

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Top 5 Favorite 90's Songs

5. Better Man by Pearl Jam

4. Everlong by The Foo Fighters

3. Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind

2. Enter Sandman by Metallica

1. All Apologies by Nirvana

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dating: The Great Mystery Of The Single Person

I have been trying to come up for some good dating ideas for this weekend. In trying to come up with some good ideas I came across this list of dating do's and don'ts from some of the sisters that were in my singles ward. As I have been reading some of the advice and comments from the girls, I was reminded of one of the best dates that I've ever been on. I won't share that experience here. If you really want to know about it, just ask. I wanted to talk more about the perceptions of dating that we have and some of the things that I've learned in the past 15 years or so about dating. These observations are from a male point of view and if I'm way off or don't have a full understanding of what's going on, please comment. After all, I'm no expert. I'm still trying to figure this dating thing out.

1. Even if you have no intention of starting a long term relationship, most girls would still like to be asked out, even if it's just for fun. I have found that most girls would rather go out just for fun than be stuck sitting at home. Very few girls would not want to be asked out at all.

2. If you're asking a person out on a date, it's a good idea to have a plan on what to do on the date when the time for said date comes around. Girls do not like to be asked, "So what do you want to do?" Girls like the effort that guys put in to showing them a good time. If you really want to have the girls input, have a couple ideas ready for her to choose from. But never ever go in with no plan. That is usually not the way to a super fun and memorable date. Okay, it may end up being memorable, but not for the right reasons.

3. A good date is constituted of easy flowing conversation and no awkwardness. Let's face it, we've all been on dates where there is awkward silence and you couldn't think of anything to talk about. Not a fun time. Now I'm not saying that a good date will lead you to your soul mate, but the chances of finding your soul mate from a bad date are significantly less. It's important for the date to feel comfortable and laid back.

4. There are no set dating rules. What I mean is, there is no rule stating that you should call a girl 2 days before you get her number and not a moment before. There is no chart that says by the 3rd date you should be holding hands, by the 5th date there should be at least a kiss, and by the 14th date there should be a marriage proposal. Life rarely, if ever, adheres to such rules. All relationships progress differently because there are different people involved in each relationship. A relationship should progress at a comfortable pace for both people involved.

5. Even if girl is not interested in you, more than likely she will grant you at least one date. So make the most of it. Have fun. Dating is to have a good time and find traits that you like in others. Just because there may not be a romantic attraction, doesn't mean that the person has no redeeming qualities. Go out, have a good time, and you may even find a trait in that "just for fun" date that you want a future girlfriend/boyfriend to have.

6. Be the kind of person that you would want to date. If you want a person that is spiritual or that serves others, you should try to develop those qualities in yourself. The saying "birds of feather, flock together" is a true statement. I was talking to my sister and explaining to her that I wanted someone with a testimony of the Savior, someone that realizes the importance of family home evening, and temple attendance. She explained to me that if I wanted a girl with those traits and attributes, I should work on developing them in myself.

These are just a few of the things that I've learned. If I'm way off, hopefully someone will set me straight so I can get this figured out. Maybe something here will help someone else.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Computers Gone Crazy

I found the first one on a friends blog and then kind of stumbled across the second. I thought both were pretty entertaining.

Animator vs. Animation

Animator vs. Animation II

Road Trips = Road Rage?

I had the opportunity to travel back home to my home town of Montrose, Colorado for a family reunion this past weekend. Seeing the family was great and I enjoyed spending time with some relatives that I hadn't seen a while. But in order to get home to see all of these relatives, I had to drive for six hours to get there. Now a six hour drive normally isn't that bad. In fact, I've driven for 14 hours straight to get to a destination. So six hours doesn't seem like it would be a long time. Except that my car doesn't have AC and it's the middle of July. Not a fun experience. The nice thing was that I didn't have a car trouble, so that was a definate blessing. The drive down to Montrose was really nice. There wasn't anything to slow me down and I made really good time.

It was the trip back that was a little more irritating. While driving along I-70 into Denver, traffic just decided to slow to a crawl. There's no feeling quite like that of going 10 mph on the interstate. I'm still not even sure what caused traffic to slow down. There wasn't any road construction or an accident. It was like some people just decided to go 10 mph and slowed everyone down behind them. So lame. I couldn't believe that I was stuck in a traffic jam on a Sunday afternoon. The same thing happened on I-25 from Denver to Fort Collins. More traffic and going slow for now apparent reason. Argh! So frustrating.

The nice thing about the drive back from Montrose was that I drove over McClure pass on Highway 133. What a beautiful drive. I love going that way. It's so quiet and the beauty of Colorado is so apparent. I love that drive. It's even better in the fall when all of the leaves are changing colors. I included a few pictures from the drive yesterday. Hopefully I'll be able to get over that way again in mid-September to get pictures of the fall colors.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Playing Dress Up At Target 10 Minutes Before Closing

So last night my friend Andrea and I were hanging out after going to choir. As a side note, I don't think I'll be in any more choirs. Turns out I'm tone deaf. After choir we went and delivered some homemade goodies to some of the girls on her visiting teaching route. But none of the girls were home, so we ended up just dropping off the treats and finishing up like at 9:30. After discussing what to do next, we decided to go to Target and play around there. We went and played with with a bunch of the toys in the toy section. We were bouncing balls, making all of the talking dolls talk at the same time, throwing the football around in the aisles, stuff like that. Andrea managed to knock down two display signs and damged one pretty good.

We eventually got tired of playing with the toys and Andrea came up with the idea of picking out outfits for each other to try on. By this time the store was closing in like 10 minutes. So we rushed around and found each other some clothes to try on. I, being a nice guy, chose some shorts, a shirt, and jacket that ended up looking stylishly good (scary that I was able to do that). In fact, Andrea really liked the shorts and wants to go back and buy them. For me she chose a pair of slacks, a t-shirt, and blazer. Not all of them stylish and all of them too small. Now I'm trying to lose some weight, but I'm not quite there yet. I've got a little ways to go. The t-shirt was like trying to pull on a second skin, it was that tight. But I managed to squeeze into everything. Not comfortably, but squeezed in just the same. After getting all dressed up, we got one of the dressing room clerks to take a couple of pictures. I haven't had that much fun on a trip to Target in a long time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Sporting Chance

Growing up, all we ever watched in my house was football. And not just any football mind you, but Denver Broncos Football. My entire family are huge Broncos fans. I remember going to my grandma's house and showing up there with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins all ready to watch that weeks game. There was always lots of cheering for our team. In fact I remember watching John Elway engineer "The Drive" against the Cleveland Browns. I had chicken pox at the time, but I remember mustering up enough energy to actually jump up and down when Elway threw the touchdown pass to Mark Jackson that tied up the game. Football has always been my favorite sport and I have lots of wonderful memories of watching Broncos games with family and friends.

But with in the past few years of my life, I have found and come to love other sports as well. I'm not saying that any of them will have a place in my heart like Denver Broncos Football, but I have grown to appreciate so many different types of sporting events. Within the last year or two I can't seem to get enough baseball. I would have to say that I root for both the Colorado Rockies and the New York Yankees. But my enjoyment of baseball has gone even beyond just watching "my teams". I found myself watching a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox the other day, for no reason other than it was a baseball game. I don't really care for either team and could care less if they win or lose. The only thing that I can figure out as to why I might care is that they are both ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. But baseball has become a wonderful pleasure that I enjoy and I plan on watching many more games, both in person and on television.

Another sport that I can't seem to get enough of is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The first time I saw an MMA match, I was living in Baltimore and a friend decided to order it on Pay Per View. I think it was the second UFC match between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock. I remember thinking that it was incredibly boring. They're were both on the ground and I couldn't really see anything exciting that was going on. So I decided that it wasn't a sport that I was interested in. Flash forward a few years. My roommate had an membership to the local video store to rent as many movies as you wanted for a flat fee. We watched all the movies that we could think of, and then ran out of anything else we wanted to see. That's when we discovered the older UFC fights on DVD. We rented a couple and took them home and were just blown away at the skill, athleticism, and respectfulness of the fighters. After that first DVD we were hooked. We ended up going back to the video store and eventually watched every MMA DVD they had.

I guess I'm just wondering out loud why I have been turned on to so many different kinds of sports when all that was watched growing up is football. I find myself watching so many different sports and I wonder where it started. I'll end up watching professional tennis, and world strongman competitions, Nascar, and even golf. I don't even understand the sport of golf and have never played it, but I find myself watching. Explain that. Heck I even watched the hot dog eating championship on the 4th of July. Although I think I found that to be more novelty and circus side show than sport. But I do enjoy the watching so many sports and I find that I enjoy identifying with a team or individual. I hope to pass a love of sports and respect to my prosperity, especially a love of Denver Broncos Football.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The First Time

So I don't really know what I'm doing here. I guess I just wanted to start a blog about my life and some of my thoughts. Instead of sharing my life story, I'll just share my current thoughts and eventually I'll talk about things from the past that will give a better idea as to who I am.

At the beginning of the summer, I decided that I needed to be more active in my lifestyle. Less sitting around and more physical activities. I decided to do this for a few reasons. First, I love to play sports and games, but I would just get tired running around after about two minutes. Seconds, I kind of freaked out when I saw stretch marks from gaining so much weight. And third, I think I just wanted to feel better about myself.

So I decided that I should start running. Although when I started, I don't think I would have called it running. More like walking with occasional short bursts of speed. I figured that if I really wanted to lose some weight that I should buy a scale so I could measure my progress. I went and got a relatively inexpensive scale and weighed myself. I got on and I thought I had bought a defective scale. I had no idea I weighed that much. Talk about depressing. I was looking for things around the house that I knew the weight of so I could put them on the scale to see if it was really wrong. Turns out it wasn't. I was about 30 pounds heavier than I thought. That's when I decided that I needed to do something about it.

I decided that I'm not eating any more refined sugars. No more cookies, cakes, pop, candy, anything. Anything with high fructose corn syrup or anything else refined was out. I quit it all, cold turkey. Natural sugars like honey and fruit are okay. Then I realized that I needed to stop eating until I was uncomfortably full. Learning to eat only until I am satisfied has been interesting. I've worked hard to make meals with smaller portions. And when I'm not hungry anymore, I stop. Then I set a goal of being able to run a 5K race. Not fast, just to be able to finish it. That's coming up on July 26. We'll see how it goes. I've been at this for about 2 and a half months now and so far I've lost 20 pounds. Hopefully I'll be able to keep losing weight and get down to my target. I'll keep you posted.