Dec 15, 2009

It's all been done, and I want it back

Last night Tracie and I saw Barenaked Ladies (or Barenaked La- as we called them) up in Salt Lake.

I wasn't too excited as some of you may know (those who read Tracie's blog and have a spectacular memory) their lead singer Steven Page left the band early this year.

It was surprising to hear their guitarist and "other" lead singer Ed Robertson helm a lot of the songs that are so signature Steve.

Here's the story of our concert going adventure. I'm not sure anyone cares, but this is as much for me as it is for you, plus I haven't blogged in AGES, so don't complain! Aw, fine. Complain.

The concert date almost didn't happen, as I had a final that I thought I'd be able to leave early (especially since my teacher said I could leave early) but, I didn't. The concert said it started at 7:30 and I wasn't able to leave class til 7:00. With all the snow and bad weather, I really didn't want to go, but I knew Tracie needed to get out of the house and her parents were watching the baby, so go we did. My fears of getting into an auto accident or missing the concert never happened, and we actually got there just in time to find a place to stand while about 3 minutes later BNL came on.

It was a good concert, but it felt forced, like they were trying too hard (by they, I mean lead guitarist and now-lead vocals, Ed, and drummer Tyler Stewart. The bass player Jim Creegan and keyboardist Kevin Hearn seemed going through the motions, the only thingsweaker than their attitudes was their singing). They sang a lot of the classics, such as:

get in line, maybe katie, one week, it's all been done, pinch me, if I had $1000000, god rest ye merry gentlemen, blame it on me

which are great songs but I realized how essential Steve's voice is to those songs, Tracie and I had many comments to make during the concert, such as
Tracie: it feels like your visiting a divorced parent and you can't have as much fun with just one of them.
Me: It's like chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips.

They're all very talented musicians, and I'm glad we went, it was less than half the price the last time we went to one of their concerts (and there were a fraction of people too, but to be fair, it was a smaller venue and they did sell out) but truth be told, their new songs I enjoyed the best, because they weren't written with another voice and/or instrument, they were written for these 4 talented musicians.

3 out of 5 stars, just because they can't compare with the band they once were, but I'm glad they're being the band they are.

Nov 24, 2009

Armor

Photoshop Assignment: create 5 images around a specific theme.



Can you guess what my theme was?

*Hint: it rhymes with sbarmer.

Nov 3, 2009

New News

No, the news isn't that my blog is now credit card safe, the news is I have a new job! I start tomorrow, and I'm super de duper excited and super de pooper nervous. My time at Heritage (or HIT) was mostly well spent and I wish them well, but I felt that they were promoting people that didn't know as much or weren't as good with people as I was, I wanted somewhere I could be appreciated, somewhere I could make more friends and money, and somewhere closer to home. All of that is at Security Metrics.

I already have a friend there, Brad who told me about the job and pestered my new boss about interviewing me, big great big thanks, Brad!

I'll let you know how it goes after I've been there, but that's my news, now that I've officially quit HIT, I feel it's ok to tell the blogging world!

Look out, Security Metrics Tech Support, here I come!!!

The most adorable calendar countdown ever


True it has a lot of flaws (the design, not the baby) but I was just messing around and thought I'd post it for any NaNo Authors out there. And for funsies.

Oct 26, 2009

You've got a lot of 'Splainin' to do

And not enough time to do it. My poor neglected, cobwebbed and moldy blog. And it's not going to improve much in the near future. I've been very busy with work, school, and family, not that you'd know from my performance in any of them. My life is hectic, probably more than it's ever been before. Next month should be better in some ways, but I will be dedicating every second of my spare time to this year's NaNoWriMo. It will be my THIRD year participating, and if the old "third time's the charm" adage proves true, I will finish it. I've tried to get past the roadblocks I had the first two times I tried and failed, because this year I SHALL NOT FAIL! 50,000 words in 30 days. Not 30,000 words of 2 years ago or 10,000 words of last year, FIFTY THOUSAND! I have my story plotted out, my characters developed, I've been writing every day (almost) this month and most of last month to get into the habit of writing again, I am swearing off video games for 30 days, so if I fail, it's my own darn fault. But, as stated before, I SHALL NOT FAIL!!!

School is all right, I really enjoy my drawing class, I love my computer design class (Photoshop: SO COOL!) I tolerate my Geology class and I sleep through my Physics class while those around me get D's I scrape my A's.

Work is work is work (is a cigar? is a rose?) I just found out they're packing up our department and moving it to another section of the company, which makes me anxious a la Arrested Development. "So when do we get to see our shiny new offices?" "As soon as you get your shiny new jobs."

Moby is I think the cutest darn baby on the planet, even when I try to look at him as if he's not my son, I still wanna eat him up and hug him to death while doing so. In a good way, of course.

Tracie is an amazing mother despite what she thinks, and my biggest regret is not being able to be with them more often. But hey, if I DO write this novel and if it sells and if I make millions I can stay home with my family and write when I want, right? Awful lot of if's there, but I'm learning that if growing up means giving up on your dreams, I'm never going to completely grow up.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a best selling novel to write.

Sep 15, 2009

Starting to really enjoy Graphic Computer Applications

I'm sure I'll look back at this one day and laugh, but right now I'm super proud I did this.

Sep 10, 2009

I told you I have class

So I've been back in school a few weeks now, thought I'd give you a heads up as to what they're like.

Mondays and Wednesdays I have drawing, not learning anything new here, I took Art in High School and Drawing in Virginia, plus I've drawn ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon, marker, penny. I already know what gesture, contour, value, line quality are, I already know most people in my class are better than I am, though, I must admit, several times during critiques people have said they like my drawings the best. A few times it wasn't even me. The teacher I like, she's probably my age, but the older I get the likelier that is to happen. She's smart, enjoys her subject (what drawing teacher isn't going to like drawing?) and is actually VERY helpful when it comes to advice and critique. I've already tackled several subjects I had given up on long ago. (Namely: drapery)

Tuesdays and Thursdays are more difficult. Partially because of the classes, mostly because I don't see my family until after 9:00. I start with Computer Graphic Design Applications, or Adobe Creative Suite class. Right now we're doing Illustrator, and while at first I was so overwhelmed and swept up in the pandemonium and difficulty of something so new and different, after a few classes, I'm getting better and almost liking it. The teacher goes way too fast, but most of the class already know the stuff. Then is Geology, I have to take it, but I enjoy it. The teacher is really funny and likeable, he's a Geology nut, plus he teaches Jr. High so he has to be entertaining or they'd eat him alive. I just wish the class ended sooner.

Saturday I predict will be the most difficult. Not to get an A, but to stay awake. My first day, the teacher reminded me of Professor Binns from Harry Potter. The teacher who was so old he died one day and came to teach class as a ghost just the same. The class is Physical Science, which I again have to take, and I think the teacher was around when science was invented. (That's just mean, we all were.) But, after awhile, you find out he's a funny cute old guy with interesting stories. Then you find out those interesting stories are outnumbered by the irrelevant, boring and rambling ones 7 to 1. But, he brought us donuts last time, so it can't be all bad. Bring me a donut and let me do my homework and we'll get along fine.

Those are my classes, just a small handful left until I get my associates and can focus on the good stuff!

Aug 24, 2009

I have class

In case you didn't know, I'm a classy guy. Especially this semester. I'm taking 4 classes, so I'm officially a full-time student for the first time in years. I won't say how many years, because it's depressing. (7) Now I'm depressed.

The classes shouldn't be too bad, at least they should be tolerable. And I emphasize should. We'll see. I have 2 art classes and 2 science classes: Drawing, Graphic Computer Applications, Physical Science and Geology.

All 4 I have to take, 2 of them I want to take, which is a higher ratio than most semesters. In case you don't know me or you're one of those weirdos who LIKE Science classes (Justin, you freak), I'll tell you, it's the art classes.

Drawing I've taken before, and sort of done independent study for about 27 years, so I don't anticipate it to be too hard or challenging, just time consuming, but there are worse ways to spend your time than drawing.

Geology I'm sort of looking forward to, if for nothing else than the fact that I'll be done with it come the end of the semester.

Same goes for Physical Science, if RateMyProfessor is any indication, then I'll do a lot, learn nothing, and get an easy A.

Computer Graphic or Graphic Computer Application is a class I've looked forward to for a long time. Here I'll learn Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, preparing me for a future in Graphic Design, and where I find out if I like it/am any good at it. Very exciting and nerve-wracking. But what would college be with out a little wrack to your nerves once in awhile?

After surviving (hopefully) this semester, I'll move to working part time (30-35 hours a week, which I call part time) and I'll start taking 5 classes, and (hopefully) still see my family enough so that my son will know who I am.

Aug 20, 2009

The Alchemist redux

After reading on Charlotte's blog that she was considering reading the Alchemist, I decided that I wanted to read it again. So I did. The end.

Wait, I wanted to talk more about it. When I first read it, the book was one of the most inspiring and life changing books I've ever read of the non-LDS genre (scriptures included). It is a beautiful yet simple fable on following your dreams. I've noticed that it's affected my writing even still, with its simple prose and profound truths. (More the simple prose, and less profound truths, but still).

However, on second reading it wasn't nearly as good as it was the first time I read it, and I'm still not sure why. Either the big surprises and climaxes in the book aren't as revelatory (revelating? revelationarytingning?) when you know what's coming, or it could be that I'm just not the same person I was 8 years ago, when I was preparing to go on a mission and had my world before me.

But when I finished, I was still glad I read it, though a bit depressed that it didn't mean as much to me the second time as it did the first. This is because, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "A book that isn't good enough to read twice shouldn't have been read once." Which always annoyed me because how was I supposed to know unless I read the darn thing!

I was planning on suggesting reading "The Alchemist" for my book club book, if we ever start up again, but now I don't think so. Still, a wonderful, gem of a book and has my full recommendation, just don't expect too much if you read it twice. :)

Aug 13, 2009

Where the Heck have YOU been???

And by "you" I of course mean "I." I've helped deliver my son (about as much as a dad who's not a doctor can) I finished summer semester, I've been told I'll be promoted soon more than soon ago and am still not promoted, I've moved into a new condo and collapsed several times with exhaustion. So where do I begin?

Morgan has been a part of our family for nearly 2 months now, and though I can still imagine what life was like without him ("the good old days" or "the days of sleep" or "when we didn't know how good we had it" as it's referred to in our home) I am loving being a dad and marvel at what a good mom Tracie is. And of course what a cutie our little M.D. is. He now smiles at me when I come home, showing me that either a) he recognizes his daddy or b) no matter how many times he sees it, my face really is just that funny. There are lots of new pics on his blog and lots more on our camera, so bug Tracie to put more on since she's the only one who knows how to work our camera.

I finished my "Fitness For Life" class with what I would assume is an "A" since I improved at least someone in every aspect of fitness and got A's on all my tests. I didn't lose as much weight as I would have liked, but to be fair, near the end of the semester I started counting EVERY physical activity as exercise.
"Walking from the car to the house, that's cardio. Rolling down the window as I pull up to the fast food restaurant, that's strength training." I enjoyed it and am glad it's over and I never have to wear shorts that are too short and shirts that are too tight unless I choose to. One thing about it I'll miss is our teacher would have us do cardio after class for an hour everyday, and while the class seemed content to run on treadmills, I would jog/powerwalk around the beautiful (at least in the summer) UVU campus. Guess I could do that anyway... we'll see.

Work is work, I enjoy it, drudgery that it is, but I'm most likely leaving in January anyway since I'll need to start taking morning classes.

We have our new home!!!!! I wanted to do a whole blog post about it, but let's get serious and realize that ain't gonna happen. It's in Pleasant Grove, it's about 70% unpacked, and we'd like to thank everyone who helped us, Brad, Shelly, Jake, Charity, James, Tyler, Cheryl, Tyson, Preston, Trent, Jessica, Tyler and Mike. A special thanks to Cheryl for helping us pack up so much and unpack and clean, and a super duper trooper million thank yous to our super hero mom/ in-law/ grandma Kris. If it wasn't for you, we'd still be in our old apartment packing and cleaning. You made it possibleto move and we thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!

Well, now that I'm back, I suppose I better start reading your blogs to see what I've missed!

Aug 6, 2009

New Pics on the Morgan Blog!

Check it out, and if enough people leave comments, maybe I'll start blogging again!

Jul 12, 2009

Magnum

Oh my. It's ... beautiful.

Our little Morgan Zoolander.

Jun 26, 2009

Nonsmoking, Please


There's no question I'm behind in my blog posts, I have about 6 planned, but I figured I'll just have to break out of chronological order to get any written. Being a parent is awesome, but makes the blog suffer (baby>blog).

So yesterday was Morgan's one week birthday, and I'm already regretting his middle name. Since he's been born, he's had to have his lungs pumped, been on oxygen, had low blood sugar and so he needed an IV, had jaundice and so had to be under the uv lights. And yesterday, we had his first fire.

So I came home yesterday for lunch to my beautiful wife, my adorable son and my lovely mother who's staying with us, helping out with the baby and helping us maintain our sanity. When I came in I smelled a slight odor of smoke, but assumed it was from the construction outside. After a few minutes my mom and Tracie both commented on the smell and haze, as well as a faint beeping. We started to worry that a neighbor's fire alarm was going off. I checked with our next door neighbors and those below them, they could smell the smoke but it wasn't coming from either of their apartments. It smelled like something burning in the oven. The couple in the apartment below us weren't home, but the smell and sound of beeping were loudest when holding my ear up to their door. A little concerned, I called the landlord to tell them we all smelled smoke, they said they'd come check it out. Well, the smell started getting worse, so I called the fire department. They didn't answer the phone. So much for not freaking out. For the first time in my life, I called 911. Even though I wasn't panicky, calling 911 made my heart race, and I gave them our information and the suspected fire. I was impressed with how quick they came here, a cop first to verify the report, and then two fire trucks and 2 ambulances. Our neighbors arrived home and opened the door, allowing smoke to flood out their door. One of them ran in, everyone shouted at him to come out. We waited outside while the firemen went in, some brandishing axes (I don't know why, the door was open.) Morgan slept through pretty much the whole thing. The culprit turned out to be a very blackened pot of chicken, there was no real fire, just an awful lot of smoke that we're still trying to get rid of the smell. Thank goodness everyone was ok and there was no permanent damage. How was YOUR Thursday?

Jun 18, 2009

Birth Day!


After over 26 hours of drug-free labor, Morgan Danger Beckstrom joined our family on June 18, 2009, at 1:46 am. He weighed 7 lb. 14 oz., was 20 and 1/2 inches long, and has a dimple on his left cheek like his mommy.

I am so grateful to and in awe of Tracie for what she accomplished.

Pictures to follow, we remembered our camera and laptop, but forgot the cord to connect the two.

Jun 9, 2009

The Deep Breath Before The Plunge

How it feels to be waiting for a baby who is due tomorrow: Exciting, nerve-wracking, exhilarating, horrifying, wonderful, horrible, wild, structured, fun, boring.

Whenever I call someone now they ask "Are you at the hospital?" "Is the baby here yet?" "Why are you calling me if Tracie isn't in labor! I don't want to talk to you until then!" And so on. It's getting frustrating. (Says the non-pregnant father. I would say I can only imagine what it's like for Tracie, but she keeps me pretty well informed at how much she wants to have the baby right now.) We're excited, we finally have basically everything we'll need for the first little while (a place for him to sleep, a place for him in the car, diapers, lots of cute clothes, diapers, a place to change him, a place to bathe him, and diapers. We just need a pad for him to sleep on in the basinet we borrowed from Trent & Jessica, and a glider for us to rock him in when trying to put him to sleep.

So, we wait. We wait. In limbo. I'm betting on him arriving Friday or Saturday, when do YOU think Mr. Morgan will join us?

Jun 2, 2009

Closed

The Morgan Danger blog is officially closed. If you didn't get an invite, but want one, let me know, and I'll invite you then. If you're lucky.

May 31, 2009

Morgan Danger

Since June will be the month our son Morgan will be born, and since neither of us want our blogs to be overcome by baby talk and pictures and stories, but we don't want to deprive those who want to read them from doing so, therefore we made morgandanger.blogspot.com. If you're interested, let me know and I'll invite you to the blog.

May 28, 2009

The Rumours are true...

We're buying a condo! As Michael Scott said, "There are only two types of people in this world. People who own houses, and people who own condos." Thanks, Michael. We've made our offer, got our loan, and plan on closing on it around June 15, or a week after Morgan's due date. It's about 400 sq. ft. larger than where we live now, it has one more bathroom and one more bedroom, a deck, is on the middle floor in PG Villas (that's Pleasant Grove, not Parental Guidance, and that's Villa, not Nilla Wafer) and we are so excited we're about ready to pop! (Tracie, quite literally. Though, it could be the 9 months pregnancy that's causing the poppage.) The PG Villas are located just off the freeway in Pleasant Grove (fittingly) and it's location means we're about the same amount of travel time from just about anywhere more than a few miles from our old place.

Pros: We're closer to Purple Turtle.
Cons: We're further away from Red Robin.

Yes, I make all my decisions based on the proximity of fast food restaurants named after a brightly colored animal.

It's exciting getting your own place, even if it's a condo. We're thinking about how we'll decorate, all the things we'll get, all the debt it will hold over us, you know, the usual stuff.

The Utah and U.S. governments are giving us a lot of money to get a house right now, so we just had to do it. Plus, after finally getting baby stuff for Mr. Morgan Man, we realize that our current place really isn't big enough for the three of us.

Our contract on our apt right now expires in the end of July, so we'll have a good month and a half to move in, which will help as we'll have a newborn baby boy to deal with.

Everyone is invited over once we move in, though not at the same time. It's bigger, but not THAT much bigger.

Hooray for us! A new baby a new condo, and a new mortgage to go with it! I'm going to Disneyland! Wait, too far, can't afford it, plus with the new baby on the way... I'm going to Lagoon! No, wait, can't afford, plus new baby... I'm going to Trafalga! ... maybe.

May 21, 2009

G.I. Joe- Rise of Cobra




It's coming. My childhood dream of my G.I. Joes coming to life is finally happening. The Real American heroes. And knowing is half the battle. Go Joe.

Joseph Gordon Leavitt from 3rd Rock from the Sun is playing Cobra Commander. My prediction? Either the best surprise super-villain casting since Heath Ledger's Joker, or the worst super-villain casting since Jar Jar Binks as Jar Jar Binks. If they can make a halfway decent movie out of my Transformers, they should do the same with Joes, right? Right??? Besides, George Lucas ravaged my childhood so far beyond recognition anyway, even if the G.I. Joe movie stinks, how will my fractured childhood know? Sienna Miller is playing the Baroness, though I think her promo picture looks more like Sheryl Crow. Dennis Quaid is General Hawk, but one of the Wayans brothers is in it, and we all know he did SUCH a service for the Dungeons and Dragons movie. However, all is forgiven, because Ray Park (aka Darth Maul) is playing Snake Eyes. That's all I need to know. August 7. I'll be there.

American Spectacle Spectacular Season 8

The reason we watch the show. Tonight was the American Idol finale. It's nearly 1 am but I can't sleep, so, until I can, here's my thoughts on tonight's finale. (I'm trying to be as chronological as possible, but it's 12:46 and so here's what I remember:

Duet #1: Lil Rounds and Queen Latifah: Battle of the Bootys. I can't remember why we listened to this woman. She takes a fun song and makes it boring, even manages to suck the fun and talent out of Latifah (or maybe it was Latifah's too-tight spandex number that sucked). Tracie ended up fast forwarding most of it

Random outburst #1: Carly Smithson reporting from San Diego. I wonder where her husband, tattoo-face is? Out covering the rest of his body with more meaningless hideous ink (taking a hint from Megan Joy, whose arm would look more appealing if it went through a wheat-thresher) or perhaps tattoo-face is getting a new extreme tattoo, and becoming the world's first cyborg. But seriously, poor Carly, failed music career, booted off Idol, now reporting (poorly, but still better than the train wreck crazy lady in Kris's hometown) for San Diegans everywhere (but mostly San Diego.) Look closely, Lil Rounds. You'll be lucky to land a gig like this.

Duet #2: Anoop! Noop dog in the house, yo! Singing the most overplayed Jason Mraz song ever. Hey, look, it's Alexis! How fun! Well, if we have to listen to this song, at least we get to hear it done differently. Oh, wait. Jason Mraz is here to sing it like he does on the album, and the radio, and when it sticks in my head for hours. I normally LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Jason Mraz, but that song is SO overdone it's burnt gristle. I wanted to hear new meat and Jason just took over. Oh well, the night is still young.

Award #1: Well, I got to see the creepy guy, the creepy guy, the bad singer, the creepy guy, and Nick/Norman. We all know who it's going to... NICK/NORMAN! I totally called that he had the sparkly shirt on underneath, I hope he gets a job singing in Vegas or on a cruise ship or something. Such a delight and treat to see him again.

Duet #3: Kris and Keith Urban. I don't know who Adam's going to sing with, or who any of the guests are, but this is destined to be the best duet of the night. I was worried about Kris singing country (at first, yo I was like 'what?' but you really can sing, you're a singer!) but wow. It made me want to listen to more Keith Urban, and hope against hope that Kris won. My favorite of the night.

Duet #4: Allison Iraheta and... Cyndi Lauper? While that song is probably one of my favorite duets of all time and as you all know, Allison was my favorite contestant this season from the beginning, who was the genius to pair up cute, amazingly talented underage red-haired teenager with fifty something, sassy, funky has-been? Not my favorite combo by any stretch, it felt awkward. But, they both can sing, as Randy says. That is good Randy. They can sing. Good for you. Eat a cookie. Though who knew Cyndi Lauper could play the zither? Or more importantly, who knew I knew what a zither was?

Award #2: The award for biggest attention whore goes to.... bikini girl! Oh, how fun, she wore a bikini on stage to complement her new boobs. We fast forwarded most of her crap as she deserves even less attention than her master, the attention whore queen, Paris Hilton. Though we did watch most of her duet with Kara, who showed up bikini girl in more ways than one. *I found that the most impressive display of female empowerment through exposing oneself since Brandi Chastain took off her shirt after they won the World Cup. (I'm of course talking about Kara's wardrobe function (not dysfunction, since it seemed intentional) probably the most hilarious and unexpected moment of the night. Up to that point...

Duet #5- I can picture the producers now. Producer A: "Well boys, we need another celebrity- But we want to include more of the losers- I mean runners up. So let's get a celebrity everyone knows, but who can't sing, and then team him up with two contestants who can't sing so they'll sound better by comparison!" Producer B: "Hey, I know Steve Martin!" Producer A: "Can he sing?" Producer B: "Not a word, but he can play the banjo!" Producer A: "What idiot would agree to sing opposite one of the funniest men of last century playing the banjo?" Producer B: "Not just one idiot... but TWO!" I tried my hardest to tune them out and watch Steve play, though it was better than expected. (How can you expect that?) Kudos to SM, probably the second funniest moment of the night and most clever comeback to a stupid Seacrest question. When asked "who do you think is gonna win?" Steve Martin came back with "Well, I know it's a longshot, but I really hope I do." Hi-larious.

Girls sing: Oh, we're singing a Fergie song, eh? Fine, just get it over with, maybe Fergie will show up and show all of you up. She does. And she doesn't. At least she doesn't wet her pants on stage. I wish she was still with Black Eyed Peas. What ever happened to them? Hey, there they are! Awesomeness! The song isn't. Oh well, good to see will.i.am., apl and Taboo, even if I have to witness Fergie's horrible facelift that makes me reevaluate my opinion on the massacre of Meg Ryan's face. Didn't Fergie used to be pretty, or is that just me? Quick, cameraman, pan yet another shot of Janice Dickinson, maybe it will improve Fergie's face. They do. And it doesn't. Well, thanks for trying.

Duet #6: Danny! Hi! I can't believe it's been just one week since you left. Welcome back. Do your traditional Danny thing. You know what I mean. Start out withdrawn and soft, break into your raspy-albeit-predictable belting that we all came for. Ladies and gentlemen, Nicole Ritchie's dad! Watch him outperform me, like everyone else did! Sorry, Danny. You're too easy to make fun of. Now secure that Lens-Crafters spokesman deal before we forget about you.

Duet #7: What. The. Heck. Is. Adam. Wearing? I want to throw him underwater and see if he catches lobster with those shoulderpads. Tracie said he looks like something Kiss would wear. Well, if Kiss replaced their facepaint for a spray on tan that makes Seacrest look pale. Holy Cow! It's Kiss! Well, if you've gotta be theatrical, you've gotta be Kiss. They rock it on the one song of theirs I really like, Adam does a bang up job we all expect him to, and next to Gene Simmon's freakshow tongue, Adam's pink lolling lingua is really not all that bad. The only excuse he could have for wearing those shoulder pads and shoes is if Kiss is hiding somewhere on the stage, or floating above you, Adam. Ok. Good. proceed. Rock the house.

Trainwreck #3: Tatiana. I tried so hard to forget you. Really, I did. At first, I really wondered if she was ignoring the guards, but when they refused to beat her on stage with nightsticks that we all hoped for, I realized the game for what it was. Good for her for learning to laugh at herself. She just joined the millions of us who already are. Come on, security guards, get her! Don't you have any mace or anything? Oh well. Her fifteen minutes just went ding!

Guys sing: If you think I'm sexy? The whitest bunch of Idols ever (I know there was Anoop and Jorge in the mix, but Danny, Michael and Scott bleach it right up) were just not sexy. It didn't stop me from getting up and getting my groove on with a few air gyrations, but Rod Stewart's appearance didn't stop me from gagging, either. No Rod. I don't think you're sexy. Apparently, my mother in law does, but that's a different story, and not one I'm sure she'd appreciate me sharing. You had to be there, I guess. Did Rod seem drunk (-er than usual) to you too? Oh well, whatever works. Just because I don't find you sexy don't mean I don't like you. That raspy voice just plain rules.

Duet-ish #8: Santana! Awesome! This is the best finale ever! Go, Matt! Glad you got some singing time in, before everyone comes to join you. Now everyone shut up for a second and listen to Carlos some more. Wow.

Finale #1: We've had Kiss. We've had Lionel Ritchie. We've had Steve Martin on Banjo for crying out loud. What could they possibly do to top this night? One word: Queen.Freakin Queen. The greatest rock band. Ever. No arguments. No runners up. The only thing that could have topped it was if they brought Freddie back from the dead. But I'm okay with Brian and Roger. I'm de-flippin-lighted. I'm a Queen fan, btw. And the choice of "We Are the Champions" I thought was going to be cheesy, but it was perfect. A perfect end to a perfect night. Well done everyone. You ARE the Champions.

Finale the final: Oh, right. The results. I really didn't care much this time. Both have already won record deals, it's basically who gets the laurels and who has to sing Kara's mediocre song at the end. I knew it would be Adam. Everyone knew it would be Adam. Here comes the British man with the results, bullet proof and record breaking. What record they broke, I don't know. But he's British, so he must know what he's talking about. (Thanks, Idolatry) KRIS ALLEN WINS!!! Wow. Did not see that coming! That's terrific! Underdog! Dark Horse! The person the judges gave the least credit to! America loves its underdogs. But Kris really deserved it. Adam was destined to be a star, and he will be, but Kris really earned this. If Adam hadn't been in the competition, I think Kris' originality and creative risks and payoffs would have been praised much more, rather than the judges eating off Adam's butt and grudgingly throwing Kris a bone from time to time. I was so happy for Kris, but I think my favorite moment of the night was watching the credits roll and see adorable Kris holding his adorable wife adorably and just hold each other and crying. I don't know about you, but I teared up (seriously). It was a moment that you could just see at that instant they were the only two people in the world. Kris showed us something deeply personal and sincere, the only thing he ever shows us. Way to go. Standing ovation to a season well done.

May 18, 2009

If it's Supposed to be Good for Me, then Why Does it Feel So Bad?

Saturday I had my "Fitness for Life" class. It should be good for me, because if I keep it up my life will last a few more weeks. We did all the different body tests, and I learned several things.

* I am in horrible shape.
* I wish I was home sleeping.
* I pushed myself too hard and now I am going to die.
* My goodness, I'm fat.

From walking (as fast as I could. It may sound easy, but you try doing it with one leg) to seeing how many sit ups and push ups in 1 minute I could do (an embarrassing 22 and 32, respectively) only being able to test my core strength for 1 minute, let's just say I think I have the most room for improvement in the whole class. So yipee for me.

The teacher was nice enough to let me walk 1 mile instead of run a mile and a half, and I still got the slowest time, I'm sure. Though my body is achy, I feel better than I have in a long time, though that could be the painkillers and muscle relaxants I'm taking. Are you supposed to combine them? I'm not sure, let me go read the clabmelx dasgsdffdg a..a.sdael jokakejad nvad jajasdtaroack aroiclaje..........................................

Vernal, glorious Vernal!

Never thought I'd say THAT, let alone have it as the title of a blog entry. This weekend, kind of spur-of-the-moment we drove up to Vernal to see HayLee and Justin, Tracie's sister and her husband. (Tracie's sister's husband, not Tracie's husband. That would be me. Try and keep up) We've seen Justin a lot lately, what with him being our Realtor and all, but Tracie hasn't seen her sis in awhile, and there's an old adage that goes something like: "If you keep two sisters apart from each other for too long, the universe will implode." (or something) Wanting to do my part in keeping the universe unimploded, we took the 2.5 hour drive up to Vernal on Saturday evening. On the way, we stopped at Dairy Keen in Heber, (not to be confused with Dairy Queen. So please don't sue them, DQ) and had a DELICIOUS shake, and I ate half of a Jim Gaffigan joke. "Hey, you know what would go good on this burger? A ham sandwich!" Apparently that's what their "Train burger" consisted of. Well, I tried it, and I am no longer laughing. I am no longer walking or breathing without gasping for air either, but I ain't laughing. Yum.

Not much eventful happened in Vernal, we were only there for about 24 hours, but it was good to see HayLee and Justin and their dog, Mocha. Missionaries came over, I left my suit at home, Tracie slept on the beanbag chair while I snored away on the inflate-a-bed (her choice) HayLee and Justin cooked us delicious meals and a good time was had by all.

*As a prank, I wrote "Mocha" in the side of the couch (it's a microfiber couch, so you can write in it by going against the grain) wanting them to think the dog could write his name, but Tracie saw through our deception. Oh well, until next time. Thanks for having us over H&J, we'll see you next weekend!

What did YOU do this weekend?

May 13, 2009

Kris + Adam

Besides the fact that they look like a cute couple, America got this week right. Gokey finally did the hokey pokey off the stagey.

Now all we need is to put a muzzle on Randy and a straight-jacket on Kara.

Who do you think is gonna win? Who do you want to win? Are you upset that Go-go-go Gokey finally left?

May 12, 2009

Gimme a P!

So today at work we had random drug testing. That doesn't make me nervous, as the last time I did drugs it was a) over ten years ago, and b) perfectly legal, they were to treat the cancer.

What made it noteworthy in my opinion was I was an "alternate." Meaning those who were selected to randomly participate in the random drug test randomly received an email stating what time they were scheduled to make their deposit, but at the bottom it said "alternates, some guy and Austin."

At first I was a bit perplexed as to what my alternate status entailed. Did it mean, if someone was unable to pee, then I would jump in and contribute my Olympian-grade number one? Or did it mean, if no one else passed the test, it would fall on me to make things right for the company? Sadly, no. It simply meant that I was a stand in for people who didn't come in today. However, fortunately it also meant that I would be contributing my OWN #1 for my OWN records.

So I patiently waited to see if I was to be called upon, I drank a healthy amount (borderline unhealthy) of water so I'd be sure to make my deposit count. And stay on the clear side. Well, I needed to go around 11:00 when it was scheduled, but I waited, thinking I'd replace someone I knew wasn't in that day. Well, I didn't get called until 12:30, with the pressure rising and my patience wearing thin. And when I was called, they told me my skills wouldn't be required until 1:10. The last 15 minutes or so consisted of me doing the potty dance as it is called in some circles, and I finally made it in time, filled my cup a little past the required line (I'm an over-achiever, what can I say) and felt the relief I haven't felt since I was a child. I can't remember the last time I was so happy to pee.

Gimme an A!

I got all A's this last semester. You know what that means? It means I have some of the most generous and forgiving and easy to please teachers ever! This last semester was one of my most difficult, but I also can honestly say I learned more this semester than I have in any other.

While having 3 classes, working full time, looking for a new home, and caring for an increasingly pregnant wife can cause a considerable amount of stress, I can look back and say "I did it!"

Next semester I have 4 classes, 2 science and 2 art. We'll also have a new baby and more money to pay because of our mortgage.

So I'm REALLY really looking forward to this summer, just one class, 2 credits, it meets once a week, and it should help me get in shape (the class is Fitness For Life, my P.E. G.E. or pege, for short). Also, our little boy is on the way!

Less than 4 weeks left before little Mr. Morgan Danger Beckstrom is due to enter the world! We've finally started ordering things like his changing table, stroller, car seat, crib, diapers, and whatnot. I can't wait to see him, hold him and love him like nobody's business!

May 9, 2009

The Face of a Botticelli

I've always said (and been told by others) that Tracie has the face of a Botticelli. Now I have proof. While in Europe, my parents found this painting that does look quite a bit like my ideal beauty. Aptly, that's the name of the painting: "Idéal féminin" or "Female Ideal." I don't think it looks exactly like my princess, but it looks quite a lot like her for being a painting done over 500 years ago. What do you think?

May 6, 2009

Damn you, American Idol

Damn you.
The only consolation I have is she is this season's Chris Daughtry.

May 3, 2009

Photography Final

I am a very relaxed and laid back person (in my opinion) when it comes to my life. However, when it comes to art and creativity, it is a complete reversal. I must be in control and in charge of whatever I am doing. My reasoning is, if I leave it up to chance, well, I don't have much right calling it my own work. Therefore, my final project for photography was me going in the complete opposite direction. To do something that terrified me. And there weren't any naked octegenarians willing to pose for me.

Instead of choosing the picture, the focus, the view, Tracie took a picture of me. Rather than worry about developing it to a specific time, I chose a completely random development time (to an extent.) I solarized the image, meaning I exposed it to light before the image was finished developing. Finally, I tinted the image, which means I left it in a dish of blue dye until I felt like removing it. I wanted as little control over my image as possible, letting the image somehow "create itself." What resulted is a blue monster, and an A in both Photography and B.S. :)

May 2, 2009

Alan Rickman reads Marcel Proust

Proust Recitation - Alan Rickman
I found this online and think it's absolutely beautiful.



For the hearing impaired, or in the event this website/clip is taken down:

“I think that life would suddenly seem wonderful to us if we were threatened to die as you say. Just think of how many projects, travels, love affairs, studies, it–our life–hides from us, made invisible by our laziness which, certain of a future, delays them incessantly.

‘But let all this threaten to become impossible for ever, how beautiful it would become again! Ah! If only the cataclysm doesn’t happen this time, we won’t miss visiting the new galleries of the Louvre, throwing ourselves at the feet of Miss X, making a trip to India.

‘The cataclysm doesn’t happen, we don’t do any of it, because we find ourselves back in the heart of normal life, where negligence deadens desire. And yet we shouldn’t have needed the cataclysm to love life today. It would have been enough to think that we are humans, and that death may come this evening.”

Apr 30, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRACIE!!!!

Hooray! My wife is 25!~ I love you, Tracie. Hope your birthday is AWESOME, and I'll do everything I can to help it along!

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Tis the end


Yet I have so far to still go.

The semester is OVER!!! Haaaaaallelujah! Haaaaaallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Ha-lehey, lu-jah! I really enjoyed all my classes, very much so, but I'm so glad they're over. No more taking pictures, staying at school til 10 with my hands smelling like developer. No more stressing over group members getting their 10% of our assignment done, (until next time). No more writing about topics I don't find interesting or care about. (My last required writing class, but I plan to take 1 or 2 creative writing electives eventually). So I repeat,
HAAAAAAAAAALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm looking forward to this summer, only ONE class, and it's a P.E. 2 credit get out of jail free class. One day a week, for like 2 months. However, come fall I'll be taking 4 classes, so I'll possibly be LESS sane and MORE busy than you're accustomed to. Not only that, I'll be a DADDY! Morgan is coming in less than 2 months!!!! Aieeeee! I'm so excited to see him and hold him.

But, with less class, I'll probably be blogging more, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, you decide. Nebraska post forthcoming soon, I promise. Proomise.

Hope all is well in your little corner of the world, whether you're done with school, you're kids are done, or both, have a great summer!

Apr 28, 2009

ABC Mee

Tracie facebook tagged me, and I don't know enough of facebook to respond there, plus I've been rather lax at blogging lately.

It's me in ABC's. You can do it too.

A - Age: 27 and 8 days

B - Bed size: queen with a wonderful mattress topper

C - Chore you hate: All of them

D - Dog's name: Never had one. If I did, I'd name him Alouicious. Or Gizmo.

E - Essential start your day item: Shower

F - Favorite color(s): Red

G - Gold or Silver: Gold!!!!

H - Height: 6'1 1/2" (depending on what leg I'm standing on)

I - Instruments you play: Once upon a time, piano, trumpet and french horn. Now, my voice if I'm lucky. Or nothing, if you're lucky.

J - Job title: Technical Support Representative

K - Kid(s): one on the way (6 weeks left!)

L - Living arrangements: fourplex apt (for now)

M - Mom's name: Alice

N - Nicknames: Aust, Ozzie, Austintatious, Awesome Austin

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: the longest was about a month during chemo

P - Pet Peeve: the word "peeve," and people who don't flush after themselves in public toilets.

Q - Quote from a movie: "You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles."

R - Right or left handed: leftopotamus

S - Siblings: 4

T - Time you wake up: 7:31

U- Underwear: clean. magical.

V - Vegetable you dislike: chard.

W - Workout style: walking and yoga

X - X-rays you've had: chest, teeth, leg.

Y - Yesterday's best moment: being DONE with the semester!!!

Z - Zoo favorite: monkeys and snakes

Apr 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!!

I'm back from Nebraska and as spry as ever! 27 years old, and lookin' good!

I found this picture, the 27th on google when I searched for "April 20." I'll have a Nebraska post up soon!

Apr 15, 2009

BRB

I'll be in Nebraska for the weekend. My best friend Justin is getting married and I'm going to help him celebrate, wish him well, etc.

It will be the second time in our marriage that I'll be away from Tracie. :'(

I shall return triumphantly/abundantly on Sunday, hopefully with a post that will knock your socks off. Or at least roll them down the ankles a bit.

Apr 13, 2009

Happy Easter!

The Worst is over, the most work is yet to come

I finally had my human sexuality presentation. The thing I've been procrastinating all semester. The best thing I can say about it is it's over.

So my group decided to do Sexual Humor as our topic, which you'd think would be really funny, right? Sorry, no. I'm so sick of it I don't think I'm going to write much on it, suffice to say I did 80-90% of the work, so I guess I have myself to blame.

I've never done powerpoint before, but the guy who said he would do it bailed out so I figured no better time to learn than the present. I got 50/50 on that, and was rather pleased with myself.

What bugged me was my group either a) copied some jokes and facts off the internet for their part of the presentation, b) bailed on us, c) didn't listen to anything I said and so waited until TEN MINUTES BEFORE CLASS to give me their slides they wanted to talk about, and then proceed to talk for 15 minutes on their topic, that had next to NOTHING to do with sex or humor, and the whole presentation was supposed to be around 15 minutes long. '

Sigh.

Like I said, it's over, and good riddance. Now I just have to focus on writing my English research paper, 10 page rough draft due on Wednesday. Wish me luck, and at least I'll get practice at not sleeping before the baby arrives.

Apr 10, 2009

Nice guys finish Eighth


With the timely removal of my least favorite Idol, I feel ready to post an update on my Idol thoughts and feelings.

For those of you uninterested in my opinions on America's #1 spectacle, feel free to skip it, as those who read this will take a quiz at the end. And if you fail the quiz-- well, you do not want to fail.

Scott is gone, after wowing us with his versatility week after week, has finally gone the way of all the earth, led by Ryan Seacrest, and a special kick in the butt by Simon.

He is a nice guy, I'm not saying he isn't. I'm saying nice guys finish 8th, and when all you can do is sing boring song after boring song, it's time to go home and sing boringly.

And what was with his stupid comment? After Paula (or Paula Jr. I mean Kara) said "who knew you could play the guitar?" Scott responded "I was being Punk rock." That's equivalent of David Archuleta singing one of his heartfelt ballads with a message and then professing that was his take on Death Metal. That may have lost Scotty boy the votes right there. I though Paula was the one who said the stupid lines, so well done, Scotty. Now off you go. No, that way. No. Not there. Someone help him outta here. Theeeeeeeeeerrrrre it is.


My big surprise so far this year has been my transforming feelings towards Adam Lambert. At first, I hated him. HATED. The sound, the face, the demeanor. But he's grown on me week after week (not counting the abysmal Egyptian-stripper rendering of "Ring of Fire") and just keeps getting better.

Danny Gokey peaked too early, he's good, but not improving. He's almost stagnating in my opinion.

Lil Rounds just needs to go. Haul that booty out of there.

Still love Allison Iraheta, hope she gets the judges saving vote if she needs it.

Kris Allen is probably my second or third favorite. He's a complete package artist. And talented too. Plus, the whole neglect by the producers thing seems to be working in his favor.

Matt is good, but not as good as the judges say (no one really is, ok, Lil, Danny and Matt aren't. Adam and Allison are) or as good as he thinks.

Anoop is probably next to go, I'll be sad, but glad Allison has survived another week.

My big gripe this year is there STILL hasn't been a stellar, knock your socks off, icon making moment for anyone yet. No Archuleta "Imagine," no Cook "Billie Jean," not even a McPhee "Over the Rainbow." But, we still got 7 weeks or so left. Let's hope they get their acts together and wow us the way we want to be wowed.

How are YOU liking Idol this year, those of you who watch?

Apr 9, 2009

Das Boot

At our reading group this month, we, as usual, were the last to leave. We stayed over visiting with our friends until almost midnight.

And we got booted.

They live in one of those wonderful apartment building patrolled by those less fortunate than us college students, and booted our vehicle. I knew I should have parked in handicapped.

I was understandably grouchy at first, but then I thought this poor sucker who has to go around booting and unbooting cars probably has it a bit rougher than me, so I decided to be nice to him. (It was a rare moment for me) We visited a little, he told me there are some people who just don't learn, one person he's booted four times this month already.

I'll be parking in handicapped from now on, even if it's further (farther?) away from where I'm going, at least I can't get in trouble. The sole perk of being handicapped: parking.

Still, I've lived in Provo/Orem closing on 6 years now, and it's the first time I've been booted. I'll take that as an accomplishment. Now to make sure it's the last time...

Apr 8, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

I thought this one deserved its own post.

Photography 101

Here are some of the pictures I took for Photography.

Remember the comment I made about what my peers said about my photos? I don't expect you to sing my praises or patronize my pics, but some kind of comment would be appreciated. Try to keep it between "You're the most amazing photographer ever!" and "Wow, you sure held that camera still, kinda! Good for you little buddy!"

Still life photo I took. Inspired by Sermon on the mount. Yes, I'm weird.

Portrait of Tracie. I wanted to convey that she is the light of my life, I think I more conveyed that I'm not the best at developing photos. Beautiful subject though, yes?

We had to take a picture of the way we feel about our lives right now. I was having a bad week at the time, so I walked through some snow for awhile and took a picture of it, trying to show confusion and a feeling of being lost.

Conceptual self portrait. Tracie took the pictures, I developed them. We're studying developing techniques now, as you can see. I'm looking forward to tonight, more than I'm looking forward to finishing my human sexuality powerpoint presentation or my 10 page English paper. Go fig.