Thursday, January 29, 2009

Delicate Arch

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grand Canyon Calling

For those that don't know, Brandi and I obtained a permit to hike the Bright Angel this April. And we're taking the kids! We'll spend the first night at Indian Gardens, then two nights down on the river at Bright Angel, and then the fourth night back up at Indian Gardens. We're hiking the canyons and trails around Moab to get ready. Should be about 25 miles of hiking fun! Or absolutely insane. Hopefully the former.

Our trip got me thinking, and I remembered I had two trip reports published on one of the big Grand Canyon sites. You can read our Royal Arch adventure here. Or you can read about our South Bass/Copper Canyon trip here. If you go to the main page at you can scroll down the right side and see our reports listed there. Good times!

Dave and I are talking about hiking the Little Colorado River Gorge. Years ago, Brett, Daniel, and I hiked the first 13 miles from Cameron before succombing to the heat and ditching all of our food and climbing out an obscure slot canyon and hitchhiking back to the East Entrance of the park. And then a couple of years later, Brett, Eric, and I hiked the lower 40 miles of the LCR and then out the 20 miles on the Beamer/Tanner trail (the famous - Joe got giardia so bad he prayed for death trip). It's a crazy, crazy adventure only a relative few people have accomplished. We're probably shooting for early June. Who's in?
Here's a picture I took two years ago of a Chinese tourist going muley in the Grand Canyon. If he can do it, you can do it. (No wind is gonna blow that hat away. Chin strap? Check. Skidoosh.)

Mmmmm, boy.

Check out this vid.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I sat down to write in my journal last night, and I thought I would write a detailed entry of how my day went - just to provide a glimpse of a typical "Joe" day this year. Then I thought, it might be interesting to post it on the blog. I don't know why, but here goes....

Woke up at 6:50 am to my alarm and Brandi coughing. I got up and showered (the usual long shower), shaved, and dressed in a blue, long-sleeved dress shirt and kakhi pants with black dress shoes. At 7:25, I went into the kitchen and made myself a wheat bagle with light butter (which I ate in the truck on my way to work). I drank a glass of skim milk and made myself my standard lunch (peanut butter sandwich, two oranges, a yogurt, and a bottle of water). Around 7:35, we knelt in family prayer as we do each morning, and I kissed Brandi and the boys goodbye (she reminded me to call the life insurance company today as I left). I put on my winter coat and hat, scraped the windshield on the truck (we've had morning frost for 2 months and I'm ready for it to stop). Annie and Emmy climbed in and we drove the 1.7 miles to the school. Arriving around 7:40am, I opened the office and began checking emails and reading news headlines. After emails I spent the morning doing a variety of things: I called the state office of education about a Title I funding issue; I called DCFS (the child abuse agency) to arrange training for our teachers; I met with a prospective new student and his family in my office explaining the charter school concept and then took them on a tour of the school; I met with a young man in town about to go on a mission who wants to sub; I created 90-day review forms for our non-certified staff, and then I conducted two reviews for our paraeducators - filling out forms and then meeting with the paras for evaluation; I met with a homeless man who dropped off his broken bike last month for our Bike Barn after school program to repair; I met with a student who was sent to my office for repeated bad behavior - I then met with his teacher; I met with the accountant briefly about an issue and signed a couple of checks; I reviewed the report I had my secretary create about the breakfast costs in our federal school lunch program and went over the findings with our Food Services Coordinator; I put the legs on a table we purchased from another charter school in Salt Lake City; I spent some time opening, reading, and responding to our mail. At this point, my day was cut short because I had a chiropractor appointment at 2:00.
I have been having serious problems with my lower legs since beginning my marathon training, so I scheduled a one-hour session with the massage therapist at the chiropractor's office. From 2:15-3:15 I had a "deep tissue" leg massage that felt both painful and liberating (for the first time in a month, I walked out of the house without lower leg pain this morning). After the massage, I had my back adjusted (my back is in a constant state of pain and when it feels like knives are piercing my spine instead of just a dull ache, then I go to the chiro - no exaggeration). Around 4pm, I returned home. Brandi and the kids walked in just after I arrived. I was instructed by the therapist to "not run tonight" and to ice my legs. I sat on the couch from 4-5pm icing my legs and reading Edmund Morris' biography, The Rise of Theordore Roosevelt (I read it 6 years ago, but after just finishing David McCullough's biography of TR called Mornings on Horseback, I decided to read Morris' again - I feel a close connection to TR). At 5pm, Brandi had dinner ready - a hot sub sandwich, apple sauce, and chips. From 5-6 I read some more and iced my legs. Brandi read and the kids played. Around 6pm, we had a psuedo-family home evening. At 6:30pm, I worked on my dissertation for an hour while Brandi and the kids drew pictures at the dining room table. At 7:30, I came out and Brandi was watching American Idol. I made the kids hot vanilla steamers in our new cocoa-latte machine. At 7:45pm we read scriptures as a family (Alma 26) as we do each night. Family prayers, and then the kids went to bed at 8pm, as they do each night. Brandi and I watched 2 episodes of King of Queens on our DVR, and then spent the rest of the night reading. Sometime during the evening, I ate a bowl of graham crackers with milk (I love this snack). At 11pm, I said prayers and turned out the lights.

That's a typical day for me....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

“It is always an honor for the Church to be represented at the inauguration of a new president,” said President Monson. “We send our best wishes to President-elect Obama and pray for the blessings of a loving Father in Heaven to be upon him and his administration.”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Twilight Spoof

If you've read Twilight, you have to watch this spoof....

Te amo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Funny, Funny, and Funny

So, I recently saw two movies and read one book (for which there is a movie I'm told) that were high comedy!

(1) Eagle Eye
Okay, so the acting was great - a little melodramatic but well-done. And the plot was interesting, though it has several holes. So, why was it funny? This movie was comic genius! You watch the entire movie thinking there's this elaborate and complicated plot going on with cyber-terrorists taking over America and plotting to kill the president and his entire cabinet and the terrorists are using some loser to do their bidding and just when everything is building toward the climactic crescendo.....the joke is on you. You find out that the 2 hours of mayhem you just watched is just some government computer trying to coordinate the arrival of a trumpet, a necklace, and the president and his cabinet in the same room at the same time. Whenever the computer wanted someone dead up to this point, she (the computer's name is Aria) simply flicked a red light to a green light and caused a traffic accident, or overloaded a major power line in a cornfield causing it to snap and Kentucky fry an unsuspecting Armenian. I laughed and laughed. 2 hours of insanity to get a trumpet and a necklace together.

(2) The Dark Knight
So, this was my second time seeing this movie, so this time I was able to focus in on Christian Bale's amazing "Batman Voice" the entire movie. This is acting at it's finest. I liked Brandi's suggestion best when she said, "If he couldn't come up with a voice on his own, why didn't they just dub in somebody else's voice in those scenes?" Apparently, Christian Bale's acting talents do not include "Other Voices." (Go here to see a hiliarious spoof of this voice I liked the Joker, although, this movie should be renamed, "How the Joker Can Escape from Any Situation. Ever." A room full of the cities crime lords and their henchmen? Line your jacket with hand grenades. A jail cell? Insult a cop until he comes over to beat you up and then disarm him and take him hostage. In case that fails, before you get arrested, cut open a guys belly who you are sure is going to get arrested and sent to the same jail you are, and put a bomb in his belly. Sew him up and trigger the bomb with your one "phone call." Bruce Wayne's apartment where a party full of the richest people in the world are wining and dining? Knock Wayne's friend off the roof so he has to dress up like Batman and dive off the roof to save her. Don't worry about building security or cops. Apparently, they're not concerned about this building or the party. And apparently, even though Batman has all of the highest tech gadgets, his security system for the building he lives in isn't good enought to stop the Joker. This movie is full of big time laughs. Unlike Eagle Eye, they thread the laughs through the entire movie. My favorite scene, though, is when the Joker is intimidating the room full of crime lords and he actually scares the crime lord from Hong Kong who is actually conducting the meeting via teleconference. He gets so scared, he hurriedly shuts off his camera. My second favorite scene is when the Batman punches the Joker's hand during the interrogation and the Joker doesn't even flinch (see it here on youtube

(3) Twilight (the book)
I really, really, really want to see the movie for one reason: Vampire Family Baseball in the Woods. This book is soooooo funny! Though Vampire Family Baseball in the Woods During the Thunderstorm is probably my favorite part of the book, the Meadow Scene Where Edward Runs in Circles Really, Really, Really Fast and then Unbuttons His Shirt and Lies in the Grass and Then Sparkles Like Diamonds in the Sunlight just to impress Bella is awesome! He also breaks a very large branch off of a tree with one hand and throws it across the meadow. Combine that with a 16 year old girl (Bella) falling in love with a 110 year old man (Edward), and you have teenage America chained to you for at least a 4 and maybe a 5 book series. With movies to follow. The most consistent humor, though, is in the 974 references to Edward's beauty. Edward is mesmerizing. He doesn't just dazzle you with his baseball skills, diamond-sparkles skin, mind-reading, and his awesome ability to drive really, really, really fast and not get tickets (never had one in his life), he is the most beautiful creature to walk the earth. And apparently his smell is intoxicating, too. Bella cannot resist him! You HAVE TO read this book! Honestly, it is the funniest thing I've EVER read. I'm going to give you a taste of the writing - this is a direct quote from the Vampire Family Baseball Game in the Woods chapter (by the way, this chapter comes to a dramatic close when 3 rogue vampires show up to the game and decide they want to eat Bella).

Emmet hit the ball a mile (literally).
"Homerun," Bella murmured in amazement.
"Just wait, " Vampire Mom said, almost in a whisper.
Edward disappeared into the woods and ran back out with the ball in his hand!
"What the?" blustered Bella, eyes wide in amazement.
"Out!" Yelled Vampire Mom.

Freaking awesome.

I'm told the future books have Indians that turn into Werewolves and you learn that giving birth to human babies is child's play compared to giving birth to...... a Vampire Baby!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Before Picture

My friend, Allan Smith, posted a before and after picture with him only in his underwear last year during our marathon training to show the dramatic change in his body by going through the training. He suggested I do the same this year, so here is my before picture.

Marathon Training has entered the second week. I'm running 3-4 days a week with short runs during the M-F, and a long run on Saturday. I always build up toward the May showdown with the Ogden mountains. Here's the schedule of long runs....

Jan 3 - 4 miles

Jan 10 - 4 miles

Jan 17 - 4 miles

Jan 24 - 5 miles

Jan 30 - 6 miles

Feb 7 - 7 miles

Feb 14 - 8 miles

Feb 21 - 9 miles

Feb 28 - 10 miles

Mar 7 - 11 miles

Mar 14 - 12 miles

Mar 21 Moab Half Marathon! 13.1 miles along the Colorado River.

Mar 28 - 10 miles (step back)

Apr 4 - 14 miles

Apr 11 - 16 miles

Apr 18 - 10 miles (step back)

Apr 25 - 18 miles to celebrate 36 years of life of earth!

May 2 - 13 miles (beginning the 2 week taper)

May 9 - 8 miles

May 16 Ogden Marathon! 26.2 miles of pleasure.

In between shorter weekday runs, I cross train with abs, weights, steps, etc. Last night it was 12 degrees outside as I ran my 3 miles. I also had a severe pain in my lower left leg. But it sure felt good to step into a hot shower afterward!