30 December 2008


So I bought my Sugar Bowl ticket several weeks ago. Because I do not donate a cent of money to the University of Utah, I did not have even the least bit of priority for seats. The ticket I received was in the upper rows of section 614. It is nearly impossible to get much further away.

During my trip to Salt Lake I attended church in my parents' ward. During priesthood I began talking with an old friend about Utah Football and the Sugar Bowl - this guy is as big a Ute fan as I am. My mind quickly shifted focus from the lesson of faith, hope, and charity to enjoy a much more provocative discussion about the thrilling Ute season - especially the final victory of the season over the hated rivals from the south! Sadly, discussing how the Utes would fare against the Crimson Tide interested me much more than Moroni 7. I know, I know... perhaps I need to adjust my priorities.

During the course of our conversation, my friend indicated that he had an extra ticket that no one had claimed. He said I was welcome to come sit by them for the game. When he brought the ticket to the house after church, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that instead of sitting in section 614, I would now enjoy the game on the 20th row in section 116! How about that!? Lower bowl... 20th row... 35 yard line... It will be awesome!

I begin my drive tomorrow after work. I just applied a new sticker to the back window of my car - the beautiful drum and feather U logo. Additionally, I have one of those small flags to attach to my car door - also adorned with the drum and feather (compliments of Chris Eyring).

Tomorrow I will drive to Memphis, Tennessee where I plan to enjoy the New Year celebration on Beale Street. While there, I intend to try some of the famous Memphis barbecue - apparently they cook ribs with a dry rub instead of the more traditional BBQ sauce. I am anxious to try it.

Then on 1 January I am on to New Orleans. GO UTES!!!

10 December 2008

Road Trip!

2 January 2009! The #6 ranked Utah Utes will face the #4 Alabama Crimson Tide!

New Years Day falls on Thursday this year. The following day is my day off. I therefore have a four day weekend. What better way to celebrate than to venture to the Big Easy to watch the Utes play in the storied Sugar Bowl?

I spent quite a bit of time checking flights for the trip. But I have decided to make it a road trip through the deep south. I always enjoy seeing new parts of the country. This will give me the opportunity to see parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.


05 December 2008

"Is there some sort of similarity there...?"

I could not resist responding to Jamie's blog post.
Or else she might become large and bumpy and unattractive when she does grow old.

22 November 2008

BCS... BCS... BCS...

How about a few numbers...

Score: 48-24
Interceptions: 5
BJ's TD passes: 4
Record: 12-0
BCS appearances: 2

I taste a bit of sugar in my mouth.


02 November 2008

Boston bound... barely!

Trent has run two Boston-qualifying marathons this year already. Wanting to join him in Bean Town next spring, I was in Indianapolis last weekend for the inaugural Monumental Marathon. I was shooting for the 3 hour 10 minute marathon required to qualify.

I did not have a strong start to the race. By mile 8, I was behind my time by 2 minutes. It took me the next 8 miles to make up the lost time - putting me right on pace at mile 16. Infused with some confidence with making up the time, I pushed a bit harder between mile 16 and 18 - picking up another 45 seconds. However, I paid for this a bit later in the run. At mile 21 I made a turn onto a 4-mile straight away leading back to downtown Indianapolis. This turn took me into a headwind with my feet feeling like 12 pound cider blocks. Somehow I was able to maintain my pace for the final 5 miles of the race. When I came around the final corner of the race to see the finish line only 100 yards away, the timer read exactly 3:09:00. My official chip time: 3:08:50. I cut it close, but I made it nonetheless!

And so I am already looking forward to a trip to Boston:
Fenway park...

The famous el guapo burger...

And the 113th Boston Marathon!

30 October 2008


I filled up my car today - 13 gallons of gas. I only paid $1.99 per gallon!!! How long do you think the low prices will last?

02 October 2008

Beware of nuclear fallout!

Yesterday at work we were fitted for respirators. The hospital's policy is that they must have on hand respirators for all employees in case of any type of pandemic. Once a year they fit us to be sure they have enough of each size so that everyone is covered.

To test the fit of the respirators they put this yellow bag on our head. They then pump a gas into the hood. If we pass out, then they know the respirator does not fit properly and they try a different size. I am only joking. The gas they pump into the bag is simply a sugary substance. If the mask does not fit snugly, we are apparently supposed to taste a sweet odor.

My boss, Rick, took this picture. Don't you think I look a bit like Sponge Bob?

27 September 2008

From down south

I must give credit where credit is due. Bronco Mendenhall has had a successful stint as coach of the Cougars. I cannot argue with three and a half years of an impressive win/loss record. However, I think I would go crazy if I played for the guy:


At least he stopped using scriptural analogies to describe his team at press conferences .

22 September 2008

As requested

I had some requests for pictures I framed on my wall. Here they are:

During the short time I lived in The City, New York made an indelible impression in my memory. In my final weeks there I decided that I wanted to keep these memories close to the surface even while living in St. Louis. I thought the best way to do this would be to frame a few pictures of the city and hang them on the wall in my living room. For anyone who has visited New York, you well know that on nearly any street corner you can buy famous, well-recognized photographs of city landmarks - the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Flatiron Building, Wall Street, etc. However, as I looked around for pictures I simply could not find the images which captured my experiences the great city of New York. I was looking for a more intimate portrayal of the city. I was not looking for a grand skyline panorama or an impersonal snapshot of an iron and cement building. Rather, I wanted images which highlighted a simple life in the big city. The images I see in my mind when I remember the city are not grandiose views atop large buildings. No, I see and hear street performers on the Subway platform as I wait for my ride home from church. I see a quiet pathway in Central Park during an early morning run. I see quaint restaurants and neighborhood grocers lining the bustling street as I walk home from a long day at school. These images capture the character of New York - a city which remains very close to the heart.

Note: The top picture was taken by my former roommate in New York who happens to be a professional photographer (Mark Hedengren). The bottom two pictures I took myself.

19 September 2008


My Saturdays are officially booked between now and the end of the college football season.

My Saturday ritual begins with a long morning run. I am sure to make it back to my apartment in time to clean up, don my crimson red Utah shirt, and begin making lunch before the main events. Perhaps my biggest meal of the week is Saturday's lunch. I throw my own little tailgating party. Featured at last week's meal: pulled BBQ pork sandwiches, Amy's famous pink salad, Krunchers Potato Chips (the best potato chip ever made), lemonade-flavored Gatorade, all finished off with a root beer float. Highlighting this week's meal are hot bratwurst topped with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard. Chips and salsa will serve as a fitting sidedish. While Heidi's delicious peanut butter squares will round out the tasty meal as dessert.

There are only two matters of interest the remainder of the day: 1) cheer for the Utes and 2) cheer against the Cougars. Living in a television market where demand for these games is low, at times I must settle for radio broadcasts of these events. Fortunately with the internet I can get streaming audio of both KALL 700 to listen to the Utes and KSL 1160 to listen to the Cougars (I just hate listening to Greg Wrubell). I am lucky this week in that Versus has picked up the Utah vs. Air Force game - my cable provider carries Versus (but not The Mtn.). I will just catch snippets of Wrubell's call of the BYU vs. Wyoming game this week because they will be playing at the same time as the Utes.

If anyone happens to be in the area, let me know and I will have a brat waiting for you.

Go Utes!!! Go Cowboys!!!

14 September 2008

Free time

I awoke this morning at 7:00 to prepare for the day. I usually do not listen long to the clock radio when it sounds each morning. Today was no exception. However, it was on long enough for me to hear the D.J.'s mention the severe rain we are receiving. I arose and looked outside to see the remnants of Hurricane Ike pouring down upon us. Of course, it is not a hurricane anymore. In fact, the storm now consists of very little wind - there is just so much moisture still caught up in the depression that it needs to get rid of it somehow.

It is now 8:15 a.m. I just returned into my apartment from my car. Just as I was pulling out of my parking lot I received a phone call from the Elders Quorum President informing me that church is canceled today. The weather service has issued flood warnings for several counties throughout the region. Several of the main roads commonly used to travel to the chapel have been closed by local authorities. It has been raining very hard for quite some time now, and apparently it is to continue for a good while.

Do you ever see those meteorological radar maps displaying the regional precipitation? You know, the severity and degree of rainfall is color coded. Light green patches signify drizzling rain, dark green suggests a steady rainfall, yellow indicates an intense storm with significant rain, orange shows sever precipitation, and red... well red suggests such a heavy rainfall that there is really no way for any more water to fall from the sky. Right now the local radar shows a big red patch passing over the top of St. Louis. Immediately surrounding this storm center is a significant amount of orange - covering several counties. And the yellow and green areas reach from western Missouri all the way over to central Illinois and on up toward Chicago. It is quite a storm.

Anyways, now I need to figure out what I am going to do cooped up in my apartment all day today. In all my life I do not think I have ever had church canceled before. I put a roast in the crock pot when I awoke, looking forward to a good meal this afternoon when I was to return from church. Now I will be teased all morning with the familiar aroma of a pending Sunday meal.

12 September 2008

Memory lane anyone?

Last month, I spent the first two hours of my flight to Las Vegas with my mind wrapped up in a sudoku puzzle (I still struggle with those). Needing to give my brain a rest, I glanced out the window of the airplane. I did so just as as we began crossing the Colorado Plateau. My attention was quickly diverted as I saw mountains for the first time in months. I stared in fascination at the array of geological formations passing beneath us - from the high Rocky Mountains to barren desert mesas to deep red-rock canyons.

My excitement level jumped significantly when I saw the deep navy blue waters of Lake Powell on the horizon. We flew over the souther edge of the lake - providing a great view of the Glen Canyon Dam an Page, AZ.

Memories flooded back of childhood summers spent vacationing with family at this Southern Utah destination. Bear with me as I jaunt down memory lane:
- "Man over board!!!"
- Simon and Garfunkel; Neil Diamond; John Denver
- Carp feeding frenzy at Dangling Rope Marina
- the Cookie Jar in Padre Bay
- San Juan day trip
- Page Boy Motel (do you think they have installed A/C yet?)
- Trent and Bill sleeping in the boat to prevent theft - yet the cooler is still stolen
- Skinny dipping
- "Jake, if you play with that window thing you are going to break it... Jake, please don't play with that... Jake, don't touch that... Jake... Jake... What did I tell you?"
- Dad sets up his daily deli in the boat cabin (pita or regular? ham or turkey? mustard? salt and pepper?)
- Mom forces us kids to eat the air puff cereal Trent and Bill bought while they are out in the boat chowing down on Cocoa Pebbles
- Ice cream at Dangling Rope
- Cliff jumping
- A day trip to Utah Lake turns into a weekend at Lake Powell (I can't believe we did that to Bill's date)
- Trent's infamous F-bomb after being forced out of the boat by Dad and Bill during a man over board
- Mom warming meat using the Suburban heater
- Sitting on the front of the house boat on the way back to Bullfrog Marina during a storm as waves repeatedly splashed up all over us
- How many of Bill's girlfriends did we scare away? (Andrea was never subjected to this harsh initiation - maybe that was for the best)
- Leaving Bill and Trent in the boat on the lake after breaking down while the rest of us were taken back to the marina by a ranger (was this the event that convinced Dad to finally sell the Sea Ray?) - we later learned of their dangerous encounter with man-eating cows
- Endless games of Phase 10 in the cabin of The Love Boat (that was a lame name for a boat)
- Shooting water balloons off of the boat with a slingshot
- Catching lizards
- A sick bat hanging on the front of Trent's swimsuit
- Dad's heinous waves while we rode the water weenie or the tube
- 7-hour road trips in a Suburban with 10 people and gear
- J.B.'s in Richfield, UT

Jamie's additions:

- learning to slalom (sp?) and Dad honking the horn of the boat when I finally earned my new ten speed.
- Singing "The big red letters stand for the Jello family..." while on the water weenie
- Buying sweatshirts and the Polo outlet in Page. (I know, dumb memory)
- Exploring random little canyons
- Seeing the naked man who was sunbathing when we drove up a canyon.
- Brooke almost drowning
- Sun burns
- That forever long hike to "waterfalls" that we never found. I hated that.
- Laying by the speaker so I could hear Simon and Garfunkel on our way to San Juan.
- The bumpy ride up to San Juan.
- Your face plant into the water while cliff jumping.
- Riding on Bill's shoulders while he was skiing.
- Sun burns.
- Falling off the ski and thinking a shark was going to come eat me while the boat was turning back around. (I know, another dumb memory)
- Heidi's stinky sandals (Heidi, don't hate me that I remembered that one).
- Indian poop
- Pretending to sleep in the boat cabin so I wouldn't have to do a Man Over Board.
- Sun burns
- Mom and Dad trying to make us play the Quiet Game on the way home.
- Mountains of laundry in the washroom.
- The boys wearing bandanas on their heads. Didn't we all want to be just like Bill?
- That huge sand hill just past the Wauwep (sp?) marina.
- Waving to all the people on the tour boats.
- Mom's sunglasses she found in the water, then continued to wear them for the next year.
- Glass water at San Juan.

Heidi's additions:

-Skiing and letting go by the shore so we could coast in.
-Being bounced around on the tube with to many of us on.
-Trying to see how long we could get away with out wearing our life jackets.
-The big sand hill in that took all we had to climb up and then run down into the water.
-I have to add Gordon Lightfoot to the list of music. I think it was only one song that really sticks out.
-Thinking it was so odd that dish soap was used to get your foot in the ski.
-Finding the tour boats to follow the massive waves.
-Being totally oblivious to the mass amount of noise and confusion that was us kids.

Trent's additions:

- Air Supply, The Allan Parson Project, and ABBA.
- The smell of dads tool box (It still smells the same. It is at the cabin now).
- Dragging Jill down the rock on her knees.
- Dr. Jensen's First Aid Kit (and the countless injuries is soothed)
- The box of snack food in the cabin (Party Mix, The beef jerkey in the individual wrappers, Hot Tomalies, and taffey cookies.
- Sleeping on top of the houseboat.
- Drunk Indians.
- Changing propellers.
- Hoping hot chicks showed up at the hotel hot tub.

Feel free to add to the list. I am sure there is much I have overlooked. In any case, I wouldn't trade our time on the lake for anything. Maybe we can make it back there some day.

10 September 2008


I mentioned in my previous post that two weeks ago Jill visited my stompin' ground here in the midwest. Part of our festivities included a visit to the famed St. Louis arch. Before we made the journey to the top of the arch, we decided to watch a short documentary about the building of the monument. We bought our tickets and made our way to the theater.

Waiting at the door to the theater was a middle-aged man outfitted in his dapper park-ranger uniform with stiff hat and all. He pleasantly greeted us, asking how we were enjoying our morning. I offered the cordial but slightly reticent programed response: "we are well. And you?"

I later made light of his response to this question. He quickly and brightly responded, "I'm livin' the dream!"

Perhaps the fact that I found this response so humorous and even shameful speaks a bit of my own insecurities. My initial thought was, "Wow, you need to dream a bit bigger buddy... here you are in the latter years of your career stamping movie tickets while wearing a goofy outfit and you claim you are 'living [your] dream' ?"

Later in the trip an encounter with another gentleman helped me think a bit differently about this response. In Chicago, we toured the city on a boat - floating out on Lake Michigan, then up the Chicago River. For the duration of the hour and a half tour, the guide (also middle-aged and dressed a bit strangely - although this time it was a skipper's outfit) educated us regarding the history and architecture of this thriving city. The tour was fascinating and enjoyable. At the conclusion of our boat ride, the guide thanked us for joining him and said, "As you can tell, I love my job. I hope you all enjoyed it too."

Lesson learned: Dreams are not some great and imaginary end, rather there is so much immediately and presently surrounding me which can fulfill beyond what I can ever possibly dream.

02 September 2008

More travels

I apologize that my blog has morphed into a shameless travelogue. I can fairly confidently promise that this will be the last post of my travels for quite some time. Unfortunately, I do not have any more trips planned in the near future.

Once again, you will notice what I love to do in life by how I spend my vacation time (family, food, sports...).

Jill flew into St. Louis last Wednesday evening to kick off a Labor Day weekend full of fun! We awoke Thursday morning and visited the trademark of St. Louis - the Gateway Arch.

For lunch, we ventured to Alton, Illinois where we enjoyed a delicious (and cheap) meal at Fast Eddie's. This joint is quite famous around here. It is a biker bar that serves up some delicious food from the grill at an amazing price: 1/4 pound burgers - $0.99, bratwurst or hot dogs - $0.99, basket of fries - $0.99, pork kabob - $1.29, steak kabob - $2.99. They pride themselves on maintaining the original price tag on all their food since they began grilling over 15 years ago.

In the background you can see the line forming. We arrived a half hour before they opened at 1:00 p.m. By the time they opened their doors, there were probably over 60 people in line.

Our next stop was another hallmark of St. Louis - the Anheuser-Busch brewry. They give free tours (I am all about free stuff).
They even give out free drinks at the end of the tour. We opted for Pepsi instead of their featured malt beverages on tap.

Thursday evening my former roommate Chris Eyring flew into St. Louis, and early Friday morning we were on the road headed for Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan.

In Detroit we met up with my good friend Brent Thurgood who had flown in from New York earlier in the day.

Of course, anyone who knows me well can guess where I head first when I visit a new city - the local ballpark. The Royals of Kansas City were in town playing the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Brent, Jill, Me, and Chris at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. They had a spectacular firework show after the game.

Saturday was the main event of the weekend. We made the pilgrimage to Ann Arbor, MI to see the mighty Utah Utes take on the Michigan Wolverines in the Big House (AKA Michigan Stadium). The Michigan fans were absolutely incredible. They were welcoming and hospitable. They understand the game of football and support their team faithfully. I will cheer for Blue for many years to come.

Fortunately we won, but just barely. Actually, I really do not feel comfortable claiming that we won the game. Rather, it is more accurate to say that we did not lose.

We finished of our Labor Day weekend with a trip to the windy city. Mom flew in to meet us on Sunday - it was sure a treat to spend time with her.

No trip to Chicago is complete without enjoying their authentic stuffed pizza. I cannot visit without a stop at Giordano's

23 August 2008

What I love most

Is it time for a new post? I fully admit that my efforts have been wanting for the past month. I partially blame my indifference on the seeming lack of excitement in my life. However, much of the problem is attributable to laziness on my part. I extend my sincerest apologies to all.

With all the fun I had during the past week, I have little excuse to procrastinate another post.

I had a conference in Las Vegas running from Tuesday to Friday of this past week. I figured since I would be so close to St. George, I would extend my trip a bit and drive up to see Brooke.

I flew in to Vegas last Friday (15 August). I rented a car and made the short drive up I-15 to St. George. Mom, Dad, and Jenny decided to join us from Salt Lake for a weekend of fun.

This was my first chance to check out Mom and Dad's new digs in Washington - very impressive! Hopefully I will have the opportunity to enjoy this purchase with the family often.

We had all sorts of activities planned for the weekend:

We did a bit of shopping
Unfortunately we did not buy any T.V.'s

Dad and I made it out on the golf course twice...
As always, I showed Dad a thing or two about swinging the clubs. I outscored him by 30 strokes.

We ate at In-N-Out Burger
Good, but not as good as b.good!

Brooke and I made our way Zion National Park to hike Angels Landing.
Check out all the switch-backs!

I've always wanted to be Superman

A breathtaking view from the top

Did you know they made red asphalt?

There was an activity of which I do not have any pictures. Such an event is fully appreciated only from first-hand experience. It was an early-morning run through the red-rock country of Southern Utah. When I began, the sun had yet to give evidence of its impending rise. Yet, the desert landscape glowed softly beneath a waning full moon. My run took me above old-town St. George on Red Hills Parkway. The rugged cliffs and harsh vegetation served as a calming backdrop on the solitary road. Half way through my run the slowly rising sun enlivened the vibrant auburn colors of the unique desert rock formations. I finished the 16 mile jog feeling refreshed and grateful.

My days in St. George included a bit of everything I love most in life:
- Ample time with family (specifically, family meals accompanied with enjoyable conversation)
- Time in the outdoors hiking to a new peak
- Running
- Good food
- Relaxing time watching a movie

On Monday 18 August I drove back to Las Vegas where I spent the following days in the Las Vegas Hilton. Once again, I received exceptional treatment with my hotel room. I had a small kitchenette by a large sitting area - including a sofa and chair with an ottoman - in front of a 46" flat screen TV. The bedding included soft sheets with a down comforter. It was all topped off with a jacuzzi in a large, ornate bathroom. It is great getting paid to travel.

Brooke decided to visit me in Vegas on Tuesday evening. She brought Ben along and we spent a casual evening on the Strip.

We enjoyed dinner at The Cheesecake Factory


The rest of the week was quite a bit of work. It was good to return home last night.

21 July 2008

Red Birds

My apartment is right in the heart of downtown St. Louis. I am only a short 10-minute walk from Busch Stadium. When I am out and about during the evenings, I nearly always end up passing the Stadium as I return to my place. Each and every night when I see the lights blazing down upon the field, I wish I were at the game. If I had my way, I would attend much more often.

I must credit the St. Louisians for their affection and loyalty to the home-town team. The fans here are dedicated, educated, and unfailingly supportive. They are a fun group to live amongst.

18 July 2008

The Family Man... before the 'glimpse'

Instead of a silver Ferrari, I drive a white Mazda. Instead of a luxury Manhattan penthouse, I reside in a comfortable one-bedroom apartment in a lower-income area of St. Louis. I cannot boast a lavish CEO income of a Fortune 500 company, but I earn enough to pay the bills. I do not wield the power to broker billion-dollar business deals that send waves through the financial community, yet I have a job I enjoy.

Minus the ravish embellishments in the movie The Family Man, I sometimes feel I live the life of Jack Campbell - before his life-altering 'glimpse.' I am well-taken care of. My needs are met. My time, my job, my home, my finances, my diet... so much of my life is very neat, tidy, and organized - in both a literal and figurative sense. The unfortunate detail is that everything is I, my, and mine instead of we, our, and ours.

11 July 2008

A visit to D.C.

Well, I arrived back in St. Louis early this morning. My flight was scheduled to depart Dulles Airport at 10:25 p.m., but we did not get out until after midnight - I am not a United Airlines fan. I have only flown with them a couple of times, but my worst experiences with air travel have been due to their mismanagement.

My time in the nation's capitol was quite enjoyable. I was there for an I.T. conference put on by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

My first stop after arriving and checking into my hotel was Arrlington National Cemetery.

It is a sobering experience to walk these grounds where so many of our honorable veterans are buried. Throughout the cemetery can be found burial plots of soldiers who fought in every major American conflict dating back as far as the Civil War - including WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and even the most recent theaters of battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. I spoke with one security officer on duty at the cemetery. He said that during the worst time of the Iraqi conflict, active duty burials topped 30 per day at Arlington alone.

The Tomb of the Unknowns. Interred in this tomb is a soldier from World War I whose identification is unknown. Also, added later in front of the tomb are three unkonwn soldiers from World War II and The Korean War. The Tomb is guarded by a platoon from the army 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Their watch has continued uninterrupted since 1937 - regardless of weather or any other inconvenience. It is quite a sight to see the honor these men take in their duty.

The Marine Corp War Memorial. This statue meant a bit more to me since I have read the book Flags of Our Fathers which details the lives of each of the men captured in the photograph from which this statue was inspired.

A beautiful view of the sunrise over the Potomac River from my hotel room.

I cannot visit a new city without taking in a game at the local ballpark. This is the first year the Washington Nationals have played in their new stadium - uncreatively named Nationals Park. Unfortunately, this park is wanting on all counts. In a city with such history and tradition, I expected a unique integration of America's capital with our favorite pastime. Regretfully, the ballpark was generic and bland. Great parks must have character. Who fails to recognize Fenway's Green Monster, Wrigley's ivy wall, or Yankee Stadium's upper-deck white arches? Other clever efforts to tie the ballpark into its city's culture include Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati - which sits on the Ohio River - where they built a riverboat replica in the outfield. Whenever a Red hits a home run, fireworks shoot out of the boat's smokestacks. In Denver (the Mile High City) they have a row of purple seats in the upper deck indicating exactly 5,280 feet above sea level. The St. Louis franchise wisely positioned their ballpark such that in straightaway center field the stadium grandstands frame a beautiful skyline of downtown St. Louis - featuring the famous St. Louis arch.

Unfortunately, Nationals Park did not measure up to my high expectations.

This is the problem with traveling alone - I always end up with a lot of self-portraits. The National Mall was my last stop before heading to the airport.

07 July 2008

Alexandria, VA

It is sure nice to travel on someone else's dime! Over the past several months it has been my privilege to visit many new places and see many new things. However, I am a cheap traveler. Where do I stay? Motel 6. Unless I am feeling a bit extravagant, then I will step up to a Super 8 Motel. Or if I am really living it up, maybe a Comfort Inn.

Well, I arrived in Washington DC this morning and checked into my hotel in Alexandria, VA - a small colonial town just south of the metropolitan DC area (hometown of General George Washington). When I walked into my room, I was floored by the niceties of the accommodations. The spacious king bed is dressed in soft, pure white linens accented with a olive-green checkered duvet - and I think I have seven different pillows to choose from tonight. The remainder of the room is furnished with elegant, chestnut furniture - including a desk, armoire, two night stands, and even a little ottoman/bench on which I can sit when to put my shoes on tomorrow morning. I enjoyed a movie this evening on the 36 inch flat screen television. The far wall of the hotel is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window looking up the Potomac River with a view of the Capital Building in the distance. To top it all off, when I returned to my room this evening after seeing some sights I found my bed turned down with a little "sleep soundly" packet. Included in the packet are an eye mask, earplugs, lavender linen spray, and a CD with doctor prescribed tips on how to get a better night sleep. How is that for royal treatment?

Stay tuned for pictures of some of my sightseeing...

05 July 2008

The New York Experience

This is just a replica of the sidebar I have had on my blog for the past year. I want to delete it from the sidebar since I no longer live in New York. However, it will be here and available to anyone who may want to use it for a reference in the future.

Done (activities):
- Midnight run in Central Park
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

- Empire State Building observation deck
- Rockefeller Center during Christmas
- Run from 125th Street to South Ferry Station along the Hudson River
- Staten Island Ferry
- Broadway shows: Wicked, Les Miserables, Hairspray, Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins
- The Cloisters Museum
- The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
- Shopping for contraband on Canal St.
- Grand Central Station
- Run across the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey
- Halloween Extravaganza at St. John Cathedral
- Toys'R'Us in Times Square during Christmas (not recommended, but I did it - 3 times!)
- Visit Columbia University's Campus
- Run in Riverside Park
- New York City Public Library
- MACY'S - the world's largest department store (34th Street)
- Roosevelt Island
- South Street Seaport
- Wall Street (really not much to see)

- Run from 120th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge along the East River.
- Charging Bull

- Flatiron building
- Battery Park
- SYMS - my favorite store to buy ties, socks, shirts, etc.
- Gay Street in Greenwich Village
- Hang out with a homeless guy
- See the sunrise while running around The Reservoir in Central Park
- See the Red Sox play the Yankees at Yankee stadium
- Eat Nathan's Hot Dogs while watching a Mets game at Shea Stadium
- Ground Zero - not much here but a construction site
- North Cove Marina - if timed right, you can see some amazing yachts here!!!
- Knicks game at
Madison Square Garden
- Road
trip to Boston
- Symphony at Carnegie Hall
- Ride the ferry across the East River for fine dining at
Waters Edge Restaurant (beautiful views of Manhattan!)
- See the United Nations headquarters
- The Met... if you are into art
- Watch the sunset over the Hudson River from
Riverside Park

- Bronx Zoo
- Top of the Rock Observatory
- See an opera at the Metropolitan Opera

Done (food):
- Street vendor food - pretzels, kabobs, hot dogs
- Lunch at
Gray's Papaya (72nd Street)

The Burger Joint (Parker Meridien hotel - 56 Street)
New York style pizza!!!
- Breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner at a sidewalk cafe
- Street fair food - sausage, kabobs, pitas, crepes, popcorn, etc.
- Lunch at
Subs Conscious - the best sandwiches in town (two locations: Amsterdam at 120 St and Broadway at 109 St)
- Brunch at
Cafe Fresh (121 St. and Amsterdam)
Joshua Tree - American grill (366 W. 46 St)
Patsy's - Italian (61 W. 74 St)
RUB - Bar-B-Que (208 W. 23rd St)
Indus Valley - Indian (Broadway at 100 St)
Capri - Italian (358 W 46 St)
Tom's Delicious Pizza - best pizza in New York!!! (3161 Broadway)
Stone Street Tavern - traditional American/Irish (52 Stone St)
Charm - Tai (Amsterdam and 95 St)
Max Brenner, chocolate restaurant - everything on the menu is chocolate! I want to go back (841 Broadway).
Mama Mexico (Broadway at 102 St)
Grimaldi's Pizzeria (across Brooklyn Bridge)
Waldy's Wood Fired Pizza (800 6th Ave)

- Experience the various eateries on Restaurant Row (46th St)

To do:
- New York Marathon
- Museums - MOMA, Natural History
- Sample the various pastries at local bakeries
- Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Eat on Indian Row (East Village)
- See Coney Island
- Road trips: Washington DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Ivy League campuses (Yale - CT, Princeton - NJ), LDS historical sites (Palmyra, etc.)
- See a taping of
The Late Show

29 June 2008


There seems to be considerable interest in my living arrangements. Many have asked for pics of my apartment. Well, this is my pad...

I now have a place to park my butt when I watch sports.

I have some ideas for wall decorations... those will come when the budget allows.

My current bedroom is slightly bigger than my previous one in New York. Actually, my bed alone would not have fit in that room. Now I have space for a good sized bed, dresser, and even a home office in the corner.

For those who visited my New York apartment, you will recognize an appreciable increase in closet space as well.

And, of course, the ever-generic water closet.

25 June 2008

Coors, Driving, and Rotten Pizza

I finally had the cable guy over yesterday evening to get me wired for the basic electronic necessities to survive in the world today. I considered discretely slipping him $50 for a bit of extra service, but when he introduced himself as Chip Douglas, I thought it would be wise to forebear.

Now I must return to last Tuesday to complete my travelogue. There was only one thing of interest to me when I arrived in Denver - a game at Coors Field! It was a beautiful evening for a game. The Rockies handled the visiting Cleveland Indians. The highlight of the game was in the bottom of the third inning when Rockies first baseman Jeff Baker hit an infield-the-park home run.

If you enlarge the picture, you can see a row of purple seats in the upper-deck. That row is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level (mile high). Awesome!

I hit the road early Wednesday morning anticipating a long day traveling from Denver to St. Louis.

I saw a whole lot of this during my drive - flat, empty plains

I made one significant stop along the way. Considering the recent National Championship won by the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, I thought it would be a good use of time to visit their campus. In Lawrence, Kansas I was able to gain access to KU's two major venues...

The famed Allen Fieldhouse (a classic arena)

And UK Memorial Stadium

To provide the details of this final picture, I must revert back to Friday 30 May (two and a half weeks ago). It was on this date that that Trent and I arrived in St. Louis after our road trip from New York. After four days on the go, we just wanted to rest at my place the last evening of our trip. We ordered some pizza, rented a movie, and just relaxed all evening. Early the next morning - before 5:00 - a taxi picked us up to take us to the airport to catch a flight to Salt Lake. Just before we arrived at the airport, I turned to Trent and asked, "did we throw the leftover pizza away?" We both realized that the remaining pizza was left sitting upon my countertop.

The whole time I was in Utah I worried about what would become of the pizza. Certainly it would not keep for such a duration. Would it mold to the point of attracting every rodent within a one mile radius? Would flies find it and turn it into a maggot breeding paradise? Would I need to hire a fumigating company to return my place to livable conditions?

Fortunately none of this happened. Yes, it did mold. But for the most part, it just dried out - no extremely foul odors to worry about (fortunately).

19 June 2008

I am not in Kansas anymore... Thank goodness!!!

I arrived in St. Louis late last night. It was a rough day of driving from Denver. I would argue that the wrong adjective was chosen when deciding on the name "Great Plains."

I will include a more elaborate post when I have a decent internet connection that allows me to upload pictures. Look for it on Monday evening.

17 June 2008

Out west

Greetings from Denver!

My two-week stint in Utah is now over. I had so much to do, I did not even make time to post my many activities.

I went from one activity to the next...

- Annie's blessing
- Camping with Aiden, Andrew, & Trent
- Wyoming shooting trip with the boys
- Bought a car
- Family picnic at Sugar House Park
- Campfire with some old friends
- Bear Lake race

I do not have pictures for all of the events, but here is what I have:

Shooting trip...

On our way to Wyoming to help some farmers care for their land

Aiden and Andrew liked to see the bloody "squirrels"

Bear Lake race...

It was a beautiful evening when we picked up our race packets

The CHAMPION!!! - winner of the 1st Annual Bear Lake Marathon

Now I am on my way to the Midwest. With all the flooding, I hope I have a home when I arrive in St. Louis.

I departed Salt Lake on Monday morning. I drove for about eight hours and found a campground where I spent the night just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado.

Chillin' by Shadow Mountain Lake before heading to bed

I had a beautiful morning run around the lake. I then used the lake for a brief bath (brief because the water was ice cold) before heading on my way.

Rocky Mountain National Park would be a great place to spend several days. There are hikes everywhere. Unfortunately, my schedule did not allow me to hang around for too long.

The road through the park climbs to over 12,100 feet above sea level.

Between the park and Denver, I stopped in Boulder to see Colorado University - a beautiful campus. Here is a picture of Folsom Field.