Dec 29, 2010

UVU Parking Services

So recently I was ticketed at UVU for parking in a handicapped spot. Some of you may know that I am in fact handicapped, and I do in fact have a handicapped placard. That was hanging on my rearview mirror.

So I sent an appeal to have it removed, as I didn't think I needed to pay a fee to be handicapped. UVU Parking Services responded that it would be dropped and marked as a warning. I thought "Ok, whatever. Don't admit your guilt or apologize, fine." But I wasn't paying the 20 bucks.

Later, I received an email stating that I had to pay the fine or they would drop my classes, punch me right in the testicles, and confiscate my first born son if I didn't transfer ownership of my favorite Andrew Jackson portrait.

Not wanting to escalate the issue further by sending a strongly worded email to them, nor writing the local newspaper a scathing editorial about how UVU is now charging me for being disabled, I decided to go to UVU parking services and clear up the matter once and for all.

So, taking up my luxurious lunch break, I went to UVU parking services. As it turns out, UVU parking services is a tiny shack far enough removed from campus that I wondered if it was in actuality just some random annoying weirdos playing a trick on me. Like on Punk'd. But, not being the celebrity I deserve to be, that wasn't the case. Sigh. Because of the genius of their design, I walked nearly 360° around the place to get to the front door, bringing my cane for both sympathy and guilt. And, if action movies have any real application in life, for backup. Trudging through slippery snow with a cane and evidence of my handicap improving my mood so much, I opened the screen door and saw two rather flustered looking individuals there, I hobbled in as much visible pain I could without moaning and asked "who wants to talk to an angry person?"

I realized then as I realize now that working at UVU parking services most likely all you ever talk to is angry people, but I also knew that I was being inconvenienced and penalized for being handicapped. I was not happy.

I explained that I am handicapped and am not paying a premium for that wonderful yet miraculous opportunity being disabled provides me. No, no, the constant pain is reward enough. They explained that I needed a UVU parking pass anyway, never mind that I've been assured by both UVU parking patrollers and Utah POLICE officers that such is not the case.

After arguing/whining the point a bit, I conceded to pay the fee for the privilege of parking in handicapped, faced with the lame excuse of "blame the people who use their grandparent's handicapped passes and abuse the system." Thanks, Chuck. But I'll blame you if that's all right. Not being privy to the screening process taken to determine whether I'm handicapped or not, but I'm so grateful I passed your test of what constitutes a handicapped person. Yay, me. So I went to parking services to not pay $20 and I ended up paying $80. Yeah, win for me. Moral victory or something.

Pretending I didn't hear them laughing as the door hit me on the way out (which I don't think was possible, it was an inward opening door) is counted as a victory in my book. I don't get to say "UVU hates disabled people," or "UVU is charging me for having cancer," or anything accusatory and fun like that. I don't even get to say "UVU parking services is filled with jerks and morons," which I'm sure would have been very satisfying to say. But I won't say any of those things. Instead I get to have another handicapped pass to keep track of, one that says "I'm disabled, and UVU apparently has the right to decide that."

Dec 27, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everybody! I was unsure how to caption the picture above. I was thinking something along the lines of "What Austin would look like if he could grow hair and hadn't let himself go." or "Way #37 to make your kids afraid of Santa: tell them he used to be a Ginger." or "unable to make a career out of being a red-headed Abraham Lincoln impersonator, older Ron Weasley makes an even more unconvincing mall Santa." But then, that's not really in the spirit of Christmas, is it? I think Calamities of Nature may have gotten it more right than a lot of holiday specials, but alas, they won't allow me to post the picture on my blog, and I'm too lazy to take a screen shot. But check it out.

Seriously, Christmas is more about giving, receiving (well it is) and charity and family. (And charity from my family, as they give up some of their quality time to be with me. And remind me of that very fact, as often as possible.)

I personally think that Christmastime is a special time of year, not least because we celebrate the birth of the Savior of all mankind over 2000 years after the fact and about 8 months too late. But I'm not one (and hopefully never one) to complain about Christmas losing its magic, its focus on Christ, particularly to materialism and commercialism. (I will complain about the family that had a life sized stable with statues of the nativity on their front lawn, complete with life sized Santa and reindeer on the stable roof, but that's more about taste, less about sacrilege.) Christmas IS a time about receiving, (among other things) and that's okay. It's not bad to feel good about getting presents. What is bad is feeling entitled to presents, expecting/demanding more, or only being or appearing good so the gullible old Santa will reward you accordingly.

But I think it's perfectly fine to be happy and grateful to get so much good stuff. True, I was spoiled this year. Arguments can be made for or against whether I deserved what I got. But I had so much more fun buying things for both Tracie and Morgan as well as a few others in my life as well, I'm not sure what I enjoyed more.

In the spirit of receiving, I'd like to announce some of the presents I got from Tracie and Santa and others partially so I can remember what I got this year and partially so you all can be jealous or grateful that you don't have my life, or swag.

* This t-shirt.
* A nice new polo shirt.
*new pjs.
*new slippers (that I'm currently wearing at work trying to pass them off as shoes. Shhhhhh.)
* A book on editing and rewriting fiction, one of my weakest weaknesses as a writer: Revision and Self-Editing.
* Vein of Gold, a book about discovering your own creativity.
* Sex and Humor, a book on an exhibit at the Kinsey Institute, about two of my favorite subjects.
* A car charger for my iPod. (I tried writing ipod, but Apple wouldn't let me.)
* New cologne.
* New deodorant, body wash, face wash and cleaning products. (Someone trying to tell me something?)
* A small transportable tool kit.
* Santa sent the obligatory gummy cokes and orange and chocolate. He better, since that's the only thing keeping me believing in him, and only faith is keeping the old breaker-and-enterer alive. (there's a movie idea for you: Santa is cursed to deliver presents for good children as only their belief in him keeps him alive. Santa's personal Hell. Merry Christmas.)
* very nice checks in the mail from even nicer grandparents.
an iTunes gift card in my stocking,
* an expansion to my possibly new favorite game: Munchkin.
a very nice writing pen. As I'm of the opinion that the better the pen, the better the writing. (At least I'm less frustrated than by a sub-par pen which then can distract and frighten away the Muse of writing, or worse: Terpsichore.)
Special massage oil, I'll let you decide what I mean by that. Special.
* Fanboys
, A DVD I've wanted to see for awhile and now I can.
* Something Something Darkside, The Family Guy take on Empire Strikes Back.
* Unusual soda pop flavors: grapefruit, raspberry, cucumber, etc.
* A Guide on how to be an efficient zombie once you become one.
* Space Ghost Coast to Coast Volume 1. We'll see if it's as funny as I remember.

That's all I can think of for now, partially (completely) because my brain is partially (completely) fueled currently by junk food and candy. Sweet, wholesome, Christmasy candy.

I hope your Christmas was sufficiently Merry and amidst all the giving and receiving you didn't forget the savior, or that it's ok to be excited about all the loot you got.

Dec 23, 2010

A letter to Wal-Mart, Target, Macey's, Smith's, Harmons, Walgreen's, Honk's, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree

Lots of people apparently like candy cane kisses and mint M&M's. Especially around Christmastime. You would think to stock more of them around this time of year. You would sell more, and therefore make more money.

And I wouldn't be so bitter about not buying them earlier.

Dec 22, 2010

If This Were A Virus You Would Be Dead Now

Fortunately it's not. It's me talking about "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson.

I was going to call it a review, but it's probably more of a gush and recommendation for you to read it.

It's a post-cyberpunk story published in 1992 that predicted a whole lot of the way things are now. The main character is named Hiro Protagonist, he's last of the freelance hackers and the greatest swordfighter in the world. It says so on his business card. He also delivers pizza. It's the only book I know of with a hacker who carries and uses a samurai sword. That alone would be awesome enough, but I haven't gotten to Raven.

All you need to know about Raven is he rides around on a motorcycle with a nuclear warhead in the sidecar and a tatoo on his forehead that says "Poor Impulse Control."

Anyway, it's a story of the internet and computer viruses and Sumerian legend and pizza delivery and the Mafia and the church of Scientology and it's just awesome.

I haven't read anything like it, it combines computer detail with humor with action with mythology with language with in case you didn't notice, these are all Austin's favorite subjects.

The book has flaws but its strengths far outweigh any flaws or weaknesses of the book. If you're looking for an exciting ride and want to laugh and feel your mind expand, read it. That is all.
five out of four stars.

Dec 21, 2010

End of Year Goal

I'm going to try to post at least once a day until the end of the year so I'll hit 100 posts for the year. I've already got nearly double last year, and if my calculations are correct (they're not) I will have double last year by the 31st.

Only problem is, I'm not sure what to blog about. But when has that stopped me before?

I find it strange that I'm working 40 hours a week and feel like I'm on vacation. It's been nice to come home at 4-5, instead of 8-9. Although I AM looking forward to next semester, I am not looking forward to what it is going to do to my sanity/schedule. Hopefully work will die down, meaning I won't have to work so hard or so frequently, but we shall just see.

Stay tuned for more upcoming GlassofRandom posts, as some of you may know I'll be in a creative writing class next semester, and hopefully will write a page or two of something I don't mind sharing.

I got my sketchbooks back but not the grade. However, the teacher left a note at the end of the sketchbook saying "I love looking at your drawings. -Don" which made me very happy.

Almost all my Christmas shopping is done, just a few more things to tell Santa to get for Tracie and Morgan's stockings. I told myself not to wait til the last minute, but that's what I'm apparently doing.

That's about all I can think about blogging for now, maybe tomorrow I'll talk about last weekend or finally do my review of "Snow Crash."

Dec 20, 2010

Tabernacle 0, Fire 1, Jesus wins

Something quite extraordinary came out of the tragic fire of the Provo Tabernacle. A giclee print of the Resurrected Lord was completely burned, except for the image of the Savior.

I am not one to believe that a piece of toast that looks like Mother Teresa or a twinkie that looks like John the Beloved's pinkie toe is anything more than a delicious coincidence, but you have to admit that this is cool, no matter what the significance or coincidence it is.

Dec 14, 2010


I've contended with Tracie over the past few months about putting Morgan in Nursery. He isn't 18 months old until the 18th of this month, and it didn't seem right to put him in Nursery when he's too young.

The real reason of course was I wasn't ready to let him go to Nursery. But, this past Sunday, I agreed that it was time. Taking him to Nursery, he practically leapt into the arms of one of the adults in Nursery and started playing with the toys, not even bothering to look back at mom and dad. He appeared quite content and all but proclaimed the Nursery workers 'new mom and dad.' I felt a bit hurt and abandoned, something I thought/secretly wanted Morgan to do. But then we went to Sunday school. And actually were able to listen and participate. And then I went to Priesthood. And actually was able to listen and participate.

During Sunday school the Nursery workers brought Morgan back to me to change his stinky ways, and Morgan seemed indignant and frustrated. As if I was the one responsible for the inconvenience of dragging him away from his grand old time in the Nursery.

Apart from the poopy interlude, Morgan seemed happy, I was able to stay in class longer than 3 minutes and actually pay attention, and it gave me time to miss him (not that I'm looking for more time to miss my family, but still). I am glad our son is now 18 months and for the WONDERFUL blessing that is Nursery.


I finished my 200 page 1/2 hour a page sketchbook for "Drawing for Illustration." This meant skipping most of work today and only getting about 2 hours of sleep last night (by last night, I mean 9 am-11 am) but I finished it! Now that I'm done with that infernal sketchbook (technically 2 sketchbooks) I don't know what to do with myself. I'm currently at work so sleep is out of the question, (my manager is lenient but sleeping at work is a bit too lenient.) I'm too tired to read much but apparently blogging takes less brain cells because here I am!

I haven't felt this tired in awhile, I was actually mildly hallucinating at one point, and all my dreams involved drawing. It was a great class, I thought it would be my easiest this semester, but it turned out to be the most work, probably more than any other class combined. However, it was also the most rewarding, funny how that works. The only exception is that I don't think I'm going to want to doodle or draw for awhile/a few more years.

My skill has visibly improved over the semester, at least in my opinion. The sketchbooks have been turned in and I can go get them after December 20. (This is me making a mental/bloggal note of when I can pick them up.)

I am sleepy. A part of me is worried (the very small conscious part) that I think I'm typing coherently but when I come back to reading this blog I'll see yhsy o etpyr s;; yjr eptfd eoyj ,u jsmfd pmr lru yp yjr tohjy/

Now I've got another hour and a half of work to do, and a lot of caffeine to drink so I can do it. But HALLELUJAH that notebook is done.

Dec 8, 2010

So Close. So very close.

My semester is almost over! Just finals tonight and next week. This picture has little to nothing to do with the post, but isn't it awesome? (Unlike this post, some of you may say.)

I am so very glad it's over. One of the best semesters I've ever had both gradewise and learningwise, but also one of the most strenuous. I'd like to give a big thank you to Tracie for her patience and understanding, and to my employers for their not firing me and understanding I need time off to do schoolwork or rest or whatever.

After this semester, I just have like 4 or 5 more! That's awesome and hugely depressing, but at least I'm finally going to take Graphic Design classes! Let's hope I like it!

What I'm really looking forward to is the bread and circuses of Christmas vacation. Instead of leaving and going to work and school and any errands several times throughout the day, It's in at 7 and out at 4.

And now that the semester is practically over, I can talk about what classes I'll be taking NEXT semester! Hooray!

I'll be taking Typography and Layout again, hopefully from a less evil and incompetent teacher than I had before, Mr. Wormwood was his name. Unfortunately, from several friends who have taken THIS teacher say he's more of a Mr. Screwtape. Just as evil and more malevolent, albeit less incompetent.

(500 Narnia bucks to whoever gets that reference, and/or its relation to this one.)

I needed an extra art class so I chose "Rendering The Human Head" even though it's by the same teacher (Staff) as the one I dropped this ending semester. But, I hope to improve my human head rendering capabilities, which will do me well when I finally get that job as a caricaturist at the carnival.

Interactive Design is next, I'm hoping has something to do with designing websites or at least something more interactive than "I've become the painting." Though that may be cool too.

Thursday evenings I'll be attending art lectures, which I'm looking forward to and dreading as it's supervised by the same Professor Wormwood we've discussed before. But, I'm nothing if not forgiving (I am nothing) and I need to take the lectures to graduate anyway, so here I come.

The last class and sadly the one I'm looking most forward to is the one completely unrelated to my major, even more than rendering the human head. My last class is English 3420: Intermediate Fiction Writing. That's right. I'm intermediate now. The teacher I wanted has her class all full, but they opened a new one and I am taking it from a teacher I've met before, but never taken a class from. But I love writing and no one can take that away from me, not even a hockey-mask-wearing-psycho wielding a hand-cutting-off-machete. That's right, I'm not even afraid of you, Guy Hebert.

That's my school life, stay tuned for the next time I post, probably when this semester is over!

Dec 1, 2010

Wake Me Up When November Ends

One of the downsides to not blogging in November is when you try to sum it up you think "What happened this month?"

Like any other month, I played too much video games and didn't get enough sleep. I worked and went to school most of the time, unlike other months we had 2 lovely Thanksgiving dinners and I nearly completed my sketchbook. It will still be a mad dash to the end, but it's doable. I may post some sketches I did, I may not.

For my Ethics class I was in a group where we taught a class period about Deaf Culture. I mostly led a discussion on Ethical issues such as Cochlear implants, raising deaf children to be hearing or to be Deaf, as well as applied different Ethicists' systems to the above issues. I think it was fairly successful, the teacher called it "Excellent," which from what I understand, is a good thing.

My Digital Imaging class I did about 14 pages of a children's picture/activity book and now I have another 14 pictures to do for my final. I can't catch a break.

For work I was worried about being fired as my performance has been very subpar in my opinion, only to have my manager today take me away from my desk to have a talk with me and tell me he thinks I'm doing great and am going to make my bonus this month. I need to work on my opinion of myself, or at least continue this masquerade of productivity I seem to be exuding.

All in all in all, November has been a busy but fun month. (Tracie may tell you differently.) Morgan has finally learned how to climb out of both his play pen and crib, is learning more words and does more "tricks" like pointing to his mouth for food, nodding, shaking his head, becoming a better dancer, and playing "Greensleeves" on the panpipes. Ok, I made up the last one. It's "What Child is This."

We went to the release party for "Touchstones" the school literary journal that published my story and saw Heather, the woman who taught our "Birthing From Within" classes. As Tracie said, it was a pleasant surprise that transformed a potentially tedious evening into a delightful one.

This month (November still) we bought a new tv, a 50 inch plasma, as well as a bunch of cheap stuff we didn't really need but it was so cheap we bought it black Friday deals.

Next month (December, technically this month) I hope to finish all my classes, pass all my classes, and blog more, as I've missed it. Work out more, as I need it. And play with Tracie and Moby more, as I love it.

I plan to blog much more this month as I'll have much more time in about 2 weeks with school being out for a few weeks.

Here's to hoping December is a month filled with adventures and love and stories and fun and happiness, and lots and lots of blog entries.

Nov 23, 2010

How Michael Caine Speaks

Who do you think does it better?

Nov 8, 2010

Morgan at the Park

When Life Gets Tough And Nothing Can Cheer You Up...
Think of Moby At The Park-
and smile.

(more pictures at

Nov 3, 2010

Wandering while Wondering

Or is it Wondering whilst wandering? I haven't had a rambling post in awhile, mostly just tidbits, bittids, and pictures.

I got a rejecting letter of my submission to "Warp & Weave," the Sci-Fi/Fantasy magazine at school. I was surprised, as it was one of my favorite things I've ever written. (Seducing the Seductress for those of you in BTBL.) But, I guess it was too advanced/dirty to be included in the school magazine. And to be honest, it's quite a narrow genre. It's a fantasy/comedy/sex story. Not necessarily in that order. I knew it was dirty, or at least more "adult" than my other submissions, but I've read previous issues of Warp and Weave and didn't find it worse or more mature than anything else. I'm interested in why it was passed on, but oh well. They accepted two of the weakest things I've ever written, which tells me I have a skewed opinion on my abilities as a writer.

My Ethics class is fascinating. Today we talked about the Function of Education, interesting topic, no? It reminded me of two of my favorite quotations, the first is from Mark Twain, the other is from an unknown author, meaning I am too lazy to find out or the author is too smart to accept credit.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." -Mark Twain
"I had a class assignment to write 'what do you want to be when you grow up.' I wrote 'happy.' The teacher said I didn't understand the assignment. I said they didn't understand life." -Author Unknown to me.
Next week we'll be discussing Aesthetics, which I've been looking forward to since the beginning of the semester.

Digital Imaging is still a lot of fun, I'll let you know how my picturebook project progresses as it... um, progresses.

Illustration still the favorite, Finance, not so much. But, the semester is halfway over, and I already have my classes planned out for the next.

Work is finally slowing down again, which is good news for my homework.

We are starting up our book club again, the first book is "A Catcher In the Rye" which I've always wanted to read, and now I have an excuse/goal to.

As you can see if you scroll down slightly, Tracie and I have started a new fitness for life program. I'll let you know how it goes as it progresses.

Morgan is still the cutest and greatest source of aggravation and joy in our lives, just as he should be. He laughs at the weirdest things and already has an attitude when he doesn't get his way. I'll post more pics and videos on his blog when I remember to bring my memory card to school.

That's about it for now, stay tuned for more fun as always.

addendum: I don't think this merits a new post, but the other day Morgan sent a text message on my phone to an invalid number. The message?


This is probably only cute to me, but there it is anyway.

Better Already

Some of you may know, we recently started a new fitness program. Some of you may be on the same program.

Basically, instead of "lose weight fast" this is more geared towards living more healthily, healthier, healthy living.

You get points every day for doing something. For example, 20 points for exercise, 10 points for avoiding fast food and junk food, 5 points for eating fruits and veggies everyday, etc.

It started on Monday and it's amazing how much better I already feel. I've always said it's better to be healthy than skinny. As I've gained weight, I've said it more frequently. But now that I'm working towards living healthy instead of "well, I only bought one double cheeseburger instead of three, so that's like healthy right there! I'm not gaining weight, so it's okay to have the supersized shake." etc.

Now that I'm refraining from fast food and garbage food, drinking more water than none in a day (64 ounces and counting), getting exercise and all that fun stuff, I am amazed at the energy I already have! And I'm 50 pounds lighter than yesterday! Ok, that last one isn't true, but I feel great and encourage you if you're not happy with your health to give it a try!

Nov 1, 2010

Goodbye October, Hello November

October 2010, or 10-10 is gone.

That month I didn't manage to read anything not assigned to me, I am 25 pages short of my goal in my sketchbook, I turned out some great drawings in the 75 pages I did do, though. I ate a lot of candy, although I blame the lazy kids for that, no one came to our house trick-or-treating yesterday or Saturday. October was the month where winter showed it's cold cold head, it snowed the one night I didn't park the car in its new carport/covered parking area thing, although Morgan did a whole bunch of cute stuff, I'm getting closer to being able to put my own socks on again, we're starting a new exercise program on Tracie's side of the family, and I find myself wishing it was 2011 already.

November I hope to do almost double the drawings I did in September and October, I am forsaking NaNoWriMo for that reason, I expect to see more snow and less reasons to get away with wearing sandals. On a more time wasting note, I plan to buy a new TV, finish watching "Pushing Daisies," and find a new show that was canceled way too soon to get obsessed with. My oldest brother will turn (I'll let him tell you if he chooses to), I hope we'll be able to go to Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving. This month it will be my 1 year anniversary at Security Metrics. I'll be one month closer to the end of the semester which means that much closer to graduating. If I have time, I'll work on the project I'm excited about but don't feel like sharing in case I don't have time to do it. Until then, goodbye, October, bring on the November!

Oct 31, 2010



We are pleased to inform you that we have accepted your piece "Origin Of A Crazy Cat Lady" for publication in the fall 2010 issue of Touchstones. We would like to invite you to attend My Word, the Touchstones release party, where you may receive your complimentary copy of this issue. My Word is at 7 pm on November 30 in the UVU Student Center, rooms 206 a & b. Congratulations.



Oct 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

From the Rubbles to you.

Oct 28, 2010

Morgan: the Destructor

That's it. Our TV (heretofore known as "baby #1") has given up the ghost. It is no more. It has ceased to be. And I can't help but feel Morgan had something to do with it. Mostly because he had something to do with it.

It's not like we loved baby #1 more than he. He spent time watching the Wiggles and other kids shows on it. Even as a brand new baby, he seemed interested in things like Food Network. When he got older and learned to "use" the remote, (meaning point it at the tv and push a lot of buttons,) he showed a preference for the Spanish channel. I thought "great, baby #1 is teaching Morgan a new language! It's fun and educational!" But all that time with the remote and tv, Morgan was just researching its eventual demise.

It's been dying for months. The line of static at the top has been getting lower and lower. It's taken longer and longer for it to turn on, it doesn't shift through channels, but it still worked.

I don't know exactly how he did it, but Morgan broke our tv. One day it was working fine, the next day: nothing. I tried everything, even unplugged it and plugged it back in a few times.

The good news is we now need to buy a new tv. The bad news is we have to buy a new tv. To tv #1: so long, old friend. We had some good times, we had some bad times. I promise to buy a large, flatscreen hi-def replacement to ease the loss of your glowing goodness.

I'm glad that baby #2 (hereafter known as "Morgan") was the one that came out the victor in that deathmatch. He's cuter, I feel less guilty spending my time watching him, and I've spent more time and money on him.

Oct 27, 2010


For my photo class, now we're working on images for children's picture books. The group I'm in chose to do a picture book/section on Fall.

A good idea, until it snowed today. Fortunately, I got some pictures before the snowfall. These aren't done or submit-worthy, but this is what I'm up to.

I'm a fan of fall. It's not my favorite season (I'm a spring man) but it's probably second favorite. I for one enjoy the cold air, the changing colors, and of course, the pies. What do you love about fall?

Oct 25, 2010

The Halloween Twist

My latest Illustration assignment was a creative self-portrait with a Halloween twist. After a few (20 or so) preliminary sketches/thumbnails, I thought of the pumpkin shaped trick-or-treat bucket, and thought what if my head was the pumpkin, and the bucket was my head? That idea eventually became a skeleton in a big spiderweb/muscle-looking cape holding my head with candy in it. And the pumpkin is filled with eyeballs. Hope you enjoy it, it's probably my favorite drawing I've done in awhile.

Oct 19, 2010

Deciding to Draw

No Nanowrimo for me for 2010. I have 150 more 1/2 hour sketchbook drawings to do before December, so I'm going to spend my spare time doing that instead of writing a story. This will be the first time I've not attempted NaNoWriMo in 3 years.

So, to my writer friends, you have to do Nanowrimo for me. No excuses, unless they're as good as mine.

Oct 12, 2010

Caffeinated Sprites

Our assignment in Drawing for Illustration was integrate fantasy creatures with modern objects. I had fairies drinking soda, or as my cousin Carrisa pointed out, Sprites drinking Sprite.

Oct 11, 2010


I got my light painting assignment back, and the teacher gave me 100%!

He also wrote:

As Mae West once said, "Too much of a good thing... is wonderful!" Nice job with the light painting and exploring the process!

Earlier I got my in class essay back in Ethics, something I was very worried about, I told myself I'd be happy with a C, as I overheard several others in the class complaining about getting D's, and I got an A! (This is the same teacher I wrote this paper for. I followed my advice and it paid off!)

Also, I made a new Che Morrison image I'm happier with. For those of you who saw that I posted it but then took it down, it was because it didn't look right. This isn't perfect, but it's better. Let me know what you think. It takes Che Guevara, Jim Morrison, and the Obey Giant into a unified, ripping off whole. I think I'm going to get a t-shirt of it made.

Call it a "Hunch"

What hump? In addition to walking with a limp, over the last 2 days I'm developing a hump. (Not really, let me continue.)

The 3D Design class make-up project I'm doing involves a lot of bending and leaning over. This wouldn't be too much of a problem, but I spent about 3 hours yesterday leaning over, trying to turn cardstock and hot glue into an angular lemon. That's not a euphemism, (though, to conjure up Dave Barry, Angular Lemon would be a pretty sweet name for a rock band) it's what the assignment actually is. Turn a fruit or vegetable into a planar sculpture. I'm less than half way done, and might just take half the grade for half the lemon.

Because when I tried standing up, I found that I couldn't. My back is questioning why I would be so cruel do it, and to show its disgust is now causing me to post like a question mark. My brother-in-law Taylor cracked my back and aligned about 27 of my vertebra, (vertebrae? vertebray? vertabooraheyohah? I can never tell.) but I still felt a lot of pain. I've been in pain before (shocking, I know) and I thought a good night's sleep was all I needed.

It wasn't. As this morning it took me about 15 minutes to get out of bed, which is a lot. About 13 1/2 minutes longer than usual. And I don't mean 15 minutes of hitting snooze. I mean 15 minutes rocking, jumping, twisting and kicking to stand up. Once I had finally stood up, it took me longer to remain standing.

I'm now at work, cane in hand, painkillers in body and heat pack on back, in not quite enough pain to justify going home to lie down, but enough pain to be a bit of a grouch. Okay, a huge grouch. On a pain scale of 1-10, with 8 being enough to go home, I'm about 7 1/2. So I'm hoping to either get worse so I can go home and rest, or get better so I won't be worried about tearing any heads off, any more anyway.

Oct 7, 2010


Dear Spammers,

I don't need Canadian Pharmaceuticals, I don't need a bigger penis, cheaper Viagra, or rolexes of any kind. I don't need to hear your great business opportunity, my name is not Osteen, Ustin, Aston or Austen. I'm not interested in a mail order bride, a male order bride, Russian or Polish or any other. It's only kind of funny that google keeps thinking I want a recipe for Spam burritos because of you. But not anymore. Please leave me alone.

Dear Pam,

I don't know who you are, but please stop sending me messages on something called "Speed Date" that's appearing in my spam folder. I'm very happily married, and no offense but I can do better than you anyway.

Dear Work,

I love working here. But could you not have the air conditioner on full blast 24/7? I had to wear my winter coat in the summer, otherwise I couldn't feel my fingers.

Dear Stomach,

Why are you so hungry all the time? Do some work and eat the excess fat in my belly/butt/thighs. Stop growling, it's ridiculous.

Dear Leg,

I get it. You're hurting. Get over it already, it's getting very tiresome.

Dear Blog Readers,

Thank you for taking the time to read my random posts. I'll write a good one again someday to make it up to you, I promise.

Oct 6, 2010

The What If Game

As you get older, it gets easier and easier to play the "What If Game." I am mostly happy with the life I have now, but it makes me curious to know what would be different and what would be the same if things were altered. If I made different choices in my life, or different things happened to me. Such as:

What if I had never gotten cancer?
-This is probably the biggest what if. Would I have gotten into sports in high school instead of homeschooling, would I have had different friends, done better in school, gone to a more prestigious/accredited college? Would I be the same person I am now?

What if I hadn't gone on a mission?
-I was told by my Stake President that, because of my health circumstances/situation/cancer-survivoriness, I was exempt from the 'requirement' of serving a mission. I (gratefully) chose to go anyway, though I often wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't. Would I have as strong of a testimony? Would I have graduated college already? Would the people I taught still have joined the church?

What if I hadn't come to Utah after my mission?
-I prayed asking where to go after my mission, and Utah, Idaho, and Virginia all seemed like viable options. I chose Utah because there was a girl here I wanted to date, but I ended up marrying a different one. If I hadn't gone to Utah, would I have met Tracie some other way? Where would Tracie and I be today if we'd never met?

There are lots and lots of other what ifs, like what if I hadn't worked at iArchives? (the place I met Tracie), What if I chose something else as my Make-A-Wish? (Instead of painting in Italy) What if I had been called to a foreign speaking mission? What if my brother Aaron was still alive? What if we never moved from California? What if we didn't have Morgan? As I said, getting older begs you to ask these questions about the seeming endless possibilities of life and how you managed to take your own path for better or for worse, and not see any other way you would have rather gone.

Think about how many occurrences and choices sculpted you into the person you are living the life you now have. How easily such a tiny choice can affect so many people.

In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

These are indeed exceptions; but they show
How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow
Into the arctic regions of our lives,
Where little else than life itself survives.

I am grateful every day for the choices I made, the things I chose and did and the things I chose not to do, what happened and what I made happen, for they all made me who I am.

Oct 5, 2010

Picdump 204- with comments!

The Awesomeness can hardly be contained.
check out the left hand. he killed my father!
Thank you, random person. This has been bugging me forever.
jesse eisenberg is the poor man's michael cera.
As true as it gets.

The princesses when no one's looking.
or when no one cares.
The world itself couldn't contain their combined awesome for too long.
especially when one is a bisexual and another an alleged pedophile.
Now you know.
-what the other half of the battle is.
Star Trek doesn't need J.J. to be awesome, it just needs Joss.
the first time I want to watch star trek.
I am so going to get this t-shirt.
what? i am.
I will not get this shirt.

Despite the fact that I probably needed this explained to me, it's funny, trust me.
and Big Bang Theory, not so much.

Textures Assignment

In Photoshop, (Digital Imaging) our assignment was to use textures to add, well, texture to our pictures. As well as creative borders. Here's what I did. Still not professional caliber, but it's fun to see myself getting better. No, it's true. I am.

Oct 4, 2010

Ol' Bessie

Some of you may know that my leg (or "Ol' Bessie" as she prefers to be called) can predict the weather. I don't mean to say that I have a fifth sense or that I have ESPN or something, and only sometimes can she tell that's it's already raining.

What I mean is that my leg aches and my scar itches before it rains. This first occurred shortly after my first surgery. My leg hurt and my scar itched like the dickens, and the next day it rained. This happened a number of times before I connected the two- pain and itching followed by rain. (As usually, pain and itching is followed by a trip to the doctor and a rather uncomfortable conversation about creams and ointments and who you got it from.)

I used my power of weather prediction only for good (most of the time) and used it to advise family members on whether they should take a jacket with them, and to know exactly where lightning would strike, and manipulate my enemies into standing in that exact spot tomorrow.

Though, some time after my mission, the power seemed to change. My weather prediction seemed off. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized it was then predicting the rain two days in advance, rather than the previous one. I used this power again for the force of good, and to make lame weather-related puns (do you know what happens to a Toad when it gets struck by lightning?) Those not in awe of my awesome weather manipulation were found lightning-struck atop a pile of extra-crispy enemies of Austin-man, or have their perms ruined and clothes made soggy.

Recently, I've thought my powers waning. It was three days ago that I first felt the itching and aching. I made sure my anti-fungal cream prescription was up to date, and expected it to rain. Nothing. Then I expected it again the next day. Not a drop. Then, today it's raining cats, dogs, hamsters, bunnies, men and an ocelot.

Have my powers of perception slowly decreased, that instead of the next day forecast it has to take 3 cycles of the earth for it to come to pass, or have I become so sensitive to the changes in climate and weather that I can tell nearly half a week in advance of oncoming precipitation? The implications are dire. Either way, fear me! Fear me future enemies and minions! Fear me you all!!!!

Sep 30, 2010

So Long, September

You were a very nice September, but truth be told I have had better. I'm sorry, but you said you wanted me to be honest with you. You knew what this was. For the first time in my life I've taken photos that I think are halfway decent (though tools in Photoshop and Adobe Bridge help considerably), I've expanded my mind and solidified my Ethical beliefs, I finished reading "Snow Crash" like I said I would (yesterday), I don't think I'll ever be successful as an Illustrator but that doesn't diminish my love for drawing in any way, and I still don't like the class Personal Finance, but I like the teacher so that's at least something.

We went to the zoo, had a lot of friends and family over, not as much as I'd like, but more than usual. I submitted some writing to the school literary (cough) magazines and have started keeping track of 3 stocks, all my expenditures in a little black book, and will hopefully never have to read "The Richest Man In Babylon" again. I gained a new literary crush, it's been 3 years this month that I started this wacky blog, And something like 6 years this month since I first met Tracie. I rekindled correspondence with a dear friend and am still staying on top of all my homework. Housework, that's a different story. That's a goal for October.

Speaking of the tenth month of the tenth year of this millennium, let's get to October goals. First, I apologize to anyone if this is tedious or annoying, as I realize it's very journalistic, but it's good for me to look back on the past month and look forward on the next. So, here goes.

I've been reading scriptures every day for the past 2 weeks or so, so the goal would be to continue.
I've been slacking a bit again on my church attendance, so the goal is to stop slacking and go every week again.
I've finally finished Snow Crash, the next goal is to read another book. (In the time it takes Tracie to read seven).
I've started meditating again and am already feeling more peace and center in life. Goal=Keep it up.
My exercise routine has suffered but I blame Morgan. My goal for October is to stop blaming Morgan and start blaming Austin, then start working out again in 2011. (the most realistic goal on this list. It will be the most realistic goal ever if I include that I stop exercising shortly after January 2.)
Big goal I want to focus on in October is keeping the house clean. Tracie and Morgan can only do so much, and Morgan is working double time in his contribution of messing the house up. He's a prodigy. My goal is to keep the house clean and unembarrassing to visitors and unpainful when walking around. Wish me luck on that one.
Keep up on homework, finish the 2 assignments I have for 3D Design and step up on my sketchbook for my Illustration class. I need to be at 100 pages of drawings by the end of October, and I'm at page 42 or so now. Not terribly behind, but still behind.

I know these are pretty much the same goals I always have, but they're all important to me, and if I don't write them down, I won't ever get them done. I appreciate your listening, hope you had a great September and if not are glad that it's over! Bring on the October! (btw, anyone else find it strange that "oct-" is a prefix for "eight" but it's the "tenth" month of the "year?"

Riddle Me This

I have some questions for you. That's right, you!

It's the last day of the month, and I'm feeling introspective again. I think I'm going to post a goodbye September post (aren't you lucky?) like I did last month. Would you like it if I did a goodbye month post every month? Your opinion does matter to me, though in all honesty I won't likely listen to it and do what I want anyways. Still, let me know, whether you like the idea, dislike the idea, don't really care what I post as long as I post, or do really care what I post and are disappointed with the declining quality of my blog since late 2007.

Next month is October (no, really it is, I looked it up) which means at the end of the month, we'll get together with family and friends and dress up and eat and all will all around have a good time. But we're not sure what we should dress as for Halloween this year. Last year Tracie and I were Princess Leia and Han Solo while Morgan was an Ewok, the year before we were the Dread Pirate Westley and Princess Buttercup, we've also been an angel and a devil, a pair of vampires, a Greek God and Goddess, a butterfly and a butterfly catcher, and basically all our Halloween's have been as a couple, or since we had Morgan, have had a theme. My idea is Morgan be Superman, Tracie be Lois Lane, and I be Lex Luthor. I think it's a cute idea, but flawed in that Lois Lane doesn't really have a costume, and I have such precious little hair I'm not sure I want to shave it all off. I did that in High School and it didn't grow back for almost two years. In fact, it still hasn't grown all the way back. So what suggestions do you have for our Halloween this year that doesn't necessarily involve me saying goodbye forever to my diminishing locks?

I finally finished reading "Snow Crash" and really really very very quite a lot loved it. It took me several months. Not that it was terribly long, but I have been terribly busy. I plan to post about that as well, but in the meantime, I'm torn as to what to read next. I spoke with my brother yesterday who gave some very good suggestions, but this is a question post and I needed another question. Any recommendations for me? Besides Twilight or Hunger Games? Ammon, you already gave me your suggestions and I have "Anthem" on hold, have looked up Malcolm Gladwell and just might give him a try, as well as short stories by G.K. Chesterton and J.L. Borges, J.I. McMillan, thank you as well. I'm open to other suggestions, however.

Finally unless I can think of another question before finishing this one, Who suggested the tv show "Better Off Ted" to me? I thought it was my brother, but it turns out he's never heard of it, then I thought it was a work friend but he's only seen an episode, so who was it? Netflix has been suggesting it for awhile, but, while I love Netflix, it's kind of like a former-hippie parent. It usually provides me with what I need, but most of its advice and suggestions turn out to be stupid and based on someone who does a lot more drugs than me. But "Better Off Ted" is one of the funniest shows I've seen since "Arrested Development," and like "Arrested Development," got canceled way too soon, this one with only 26 episodes. But, if you haven't already, check it out and love it and then you'll know who recommended it to you. Austin. Austin recommended it to you. But if you were the one who recommended it to me, I'm sorry for forgetting, and thank you for suggesting it.

Any other questions you want to ask me or have been dying for me to ask that I haven't? Let me know, I might just do it, then you can tell everyone I listened to you! You'll be the envy of them all!

Sep 27, 2010

By Popular Request

One of the disadvantages of having such a cute baby is everyone wants to see pictures of him. This weekend I was going to post a bunch of pictures of Morgan, but all the ones I wanted to post have been posted to facebook.
So, to get some of you off my back and to attempt to tease you into coming to visit, I posted a handful of pictures from my camera of Morgan eating and at the zoo with his parents. (He wanted to go alone, but we wouldn't let him.)

So check it out and leave comments. The more comments received on the Morgan blog, the more I'll post in the future.

Sep 23, 2010

Wiser than Socrates

Socrates has been called one of the wisest men who ever lived. Why? Was it because he influenced human thought more than perhaps anyone prior? Was it because he died for his convictions, being the first martyr to the cause of independent thought? Was it the beard? Maybe it was the beard, but most scholars agree he was wisest because he only knew one thing: nothing.

That being said, I have to disagree. Except for the beard. That thing is epic. As I've gotten older and have been in school since before I can remember, I find I know even less than nothing, and no one is praising my wisdom or knowledge. True, I never ate hemlock, but I did have some bad enchiladas one time, those almost killed me.

I'm nearly ten years older several people in my drawing class. I love drawing and have been doing it since I could hold a crayon (and slightly before that, so I'm told.) Yet, these people, only eight years older than my leg, make my drawings look like they were done by an enthusiastic six year old. (Granted, my drawings themselves make them look like they were done by an enthusiastic six year old, but it isn't so glaringly obvious when compared to nothing.)

I've had my job for nearly a year, and there are so many things I don't know. Now that I'm one of the most senior scan technicians, (senior=being here the longest) a lot of people are coming to me for answers I don't know. How do I close out of a telnet line? I don't know, I just close the terminal. How do I test for an information disclosure vulnerability with a Domino Server? I don't even know what that is! Ask a manager. True, at least I know more than I did when I started, but most of my knowledge is from memorization, nothing I have really internalized. I know a customer needs to increase their cipher strength, run their TFTP in a chrooted environment, but I don't know how, or even why. (FYI, this is me complaining. You don't need to explain these to me, those of you (Ammon) who are more technically minded than me).

My other classes are just as bad, if not worse. Finance? I'm almost 30 and don't know how to manage money. I know I should invest it, but what does that mean? Where do I invest it? My teacher is going on about protecting your capital, and I'm like I don't have capital! Do I? How can I protect my money when I have so little? How about I stop paying my HOA so much for doing so little? That seems like a smart idea, but everyone tells me that's bad.

Ethics and Values, I feel like a psycho-heretic for having views contrary to happy valley. Not that I'm some Nihilist or (shudder) liberal, but I just think I know a bit more than some, and often have a contrary view. Case in point. We're studying Immanuel Kant and Kantian ethics. (Named after guess who). Long story short, Kant was religious and tried to align religion with logic and principles. Kant said (among other things. Holy moly that Kraut was verbose) doing something selflessly for someone else has no moral worth. In other words, you shouldn't help others to feel good about yourself. Someone asked "How could he be a Christian? Aren't we taught 'men are that they might have joy?'" I raised my hand and explained that first of all, that quote is from the Book of Mormon. True? Absolutely. Available to Kant, who died in 1804, a year before Joseph Smith was even born? Probably not. The classmate then said "Well, the Bible teaches the same thing." I'm sorry, have you read the Bible? Christ's ultimate teaching and rule: love. True. But the Bible doesn't really teach that men are that we might have joy, it teaches exaltation through suffering, growth through tribulation. Kant was expressing that the reason for helping others isn't to feel good, it's because of a duty inherent in all of us. We should do good because it's good, not because we get good feelings because of it. Everyone looked at me like I was from Kolob or something and I actually heard someone gasp when I said I too was Mormon. I wasn't saying Kant was right or wrong, I was just explaining what he was saying.

Austin, according to his Ethics classmates.

Ok, that last paragraph isn't so much about what I don't know (or is it?) than about what other people don't know.

Sometimes you gotta vent. People often tell me I'm a gifted writer. No, it's true, they do. I just submitted a bunch of my writing to the school literary magazine Touchstones and I already think I'm going to get rejected, as I did a few years ago.

I'm just complaining right now, thanks for listening. I just feel not only the older I get the more I realize there is I don't know. I am also realizing the older I get the less I know than people younger than me. And that's sad. Maybe that's what Oscar Wilde meant when he said "the old believe everything, the middle aged suspect everything and the young know everything."

That's right. I just can't end a post without quoting Oscar Wilde. At least I know him better than most people, Richard Ellman excepted.