Saturday, May 30, 2009

There Are Certain Things In This World That Should Not Be

And a wispy, blond mustache on my upper lip is one of them.

So I shaved my month long beard yesterday. But I couldn't bring myself to let that blank canvass go unused. So I left myself a nearly invisible Larry Bird. (It's there, I promise.) Now there are a lot of guys out there that can rock a good mustache. Tom Sellick, Ned Flanders, The Brawney Man, my uncle Bill, Kurt Russell in Tombstone. But I am not among them.

Seriously, this thing is visual equivalent of a toxic fart cloud, lingering in the air. You don't know that it's there until you get kinda close and then the sheer offensive nature of it punches you right in the face. Last night I went to a party at my friend's house. People would come up to say hello and then recoil in horror. "Hey Brian, how are y. . WHOAH! When did you grow that thing?" The facial expression of recognizing an ugly blond mustache is the exact same as being assaulted by someone's invisible flatulence. (Pretty sure that was my first fart joke.)

A couple of years ago, I grew a four month beard. It was glorious. I didn't touch it. Didn't trim it, didn't tighten it. I just liberated my manliness. I looked like Hamish from Braveheart, except not filthy. When I finally decided to break out the hedge clippers and shave the thing, I again kept the mustache. This one was similar to my current stache, but even nastier.

Well, later that day I got my oil changed in my car. While I was waiting, I went across the street to Rubio's there in Sugarhouse to have myself a fish taco. It was the lunch rush, so I ended up waiting in line for a fair amount of time. There was a young mother in line ahead of me with a little girl who was probably 5 or 6 years old. The little girl was bored in line and started hopping on the different colored tiles on the floor. She would only step on the red ones that were spaced far apart from the other green tiles. I remember think that it's so interesting how little kids can make a game out of anything. Here we are stuck in a line. We're hungry and impatient and she finds a way to have fun while I just get aggravated by the slow service. It was a nice, innocent observation.

It was at this time that the mother noticed me and immediately corralled her kid so that she was in between me and her daughter in a defensive motion. I had totally forgotten that I had shaved that morning. So there I am, some giant creepy looking guy with a dirty, wispy mustache smiling at her five year old daughter. I scared the hell out of that poor woman. I shaved it off the second I got home.

Lady, you did the right thing. I am absolutely not any kind of threat, but your instincts are well honed. Needless to say, I haven't hung around any playgrounds today. I was tempted to catch a matinee of "Up", but I figure it would be best to shave before I go to a darkened room filled with children for two hours. I don't need the Chris Hansen from Dateline busting me in the parking lot.

"So what are you doing here?"

"I was just watching the movie." (Cameras come out of no where to surround me.) "Seriously, I never have a mustache. It's just a joke!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Post Where I DON'T Sound Like Comic Book Guy

I just reread my "Summer Movie Failures" post from last Friday. Dude, I totally sounded like Comic Book Guy in that one. It was a little disturbing. Look, I am not one of those guys. You know the ones. The guys who express their misplaced scorn for disappointing movies as they type out their anger with Cheetos stained fingers. "Everything I don't like sucks and if you disagree, you are stupid. Bla bla bla." As if piling on the crappy "Phantom Menace" ten years after it came out will compensate for their lives being complete failures.

Worst. Movie. Ever.

The internet is a big place and there are plenty of those guys out there. And I am not one of them. Am I? No. I'm not. Seriously. Now, I will grant you that there might be some superficial similarities between myself and Comic Book Guy. Some of those may include the following:

- I am sarcastic. (Are you the creator of Hi and Lois? Because you are making me laugh.)
- I have a snotty blog. (Rest assured I was on the internet within moments, registering my disgust throughout the world.)
- I currently have a terrible looking beard. (Woman: Brush the Sweet Tarts out of your beard and you're on. CBG: Don't try to change me, baby.)
- I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I'm nowhere near as fat as Comic Book Guy. (Oh, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix.)
- I know way too much crap about trivial garbage that has absolutely no value. (I do not need this, I have a Masters Degree in Folklore and Mythology.)

But I am not Comic Book Guy. (The more I repeat it, the more you'll believe it.)

Often I feel like I am too negative. Not just on this blog but in general. It's not that I'm afraid of hurting anyone's feelings. I wouldn't flatter myself to believe that I am of enough consequence to hurt anyone's feelings. No one takes this shit seriously. However I am somewhat self conscious of how I portray myself. And I really don't want to be some cynical complainy pants who blathers on and on about all the things in the world that displeases him. And now to illustrate my untamable foundation of positivity, allow me to post a list that is the polar opposite of my snarky bitchfest from last week.

Pardon me while I overcompensate.

So here is a quick list of 5 summer movies that I expected little from, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked them. These aren't the best summer movies of the recent past. They are five pleasant surprises.

5. "Terminator 3", 2003

This was a movie that definitely benefited from my own low expectations. It was generally considered a flop and I never heard anything good from any of my friends who saw it. That's because it's not a great movie. Certainly a let down from the massive T2. I think I rented it like two years after it came out. But I thought it was solid. Granted, there was no good excuse for it not to have Sarah Connor. I mean, why would they have her die from cancer? What a lame way to go for such a badass chick. (Seriously, what the hell is Linda Hamilton doing?) And I will agree that Arnold slept through this movie as he was eying the Governor's Mansion. But how could you notice?

But I still liked this movie. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I have a thing for Claire Danes. She's not amazingly hot like Megan Fox or anything. In fact in this movie she looked like a 35 year old soccer mom, not the 20 something year old sex interest of John Connor. It's the haircut. But it worked for me. I liked that they did all they could to prevent Skynet from taking over and the world still blew up. I guess that makes the first two movies a little less relevant but so what. Like I said, not a great movie, but better than what I expected. Although, it could have used some Guns N Roses in the soundtrack. "You Could Be Mine" playing while the kid with the ratty mullet road the dirt bike was the best part of the T2. Ah, 1992. A good year.

By the way, it totally looks like Axl and Arnold are about to make out at the end of that video.

4. "The Island", 2005

Michael Bay has a reputation for making bad movies that look really good. I trashed on "Pearl Harbor" last week. It's a great example. Fantastic battle scenes. Terrible characters and story. Beautiful lighting and innovative blending of CGI and live action. But terrible characters and story. The same goes for "Armageddon". As laughably stupid as that whole movie is, it really is sharp looking.

He struck a pretty good balance with "Transformers", two years ago. A fun, brainless movie that sure was shiny. But I liked "The Island" quite a bit more. I rented this movie about a year after it came out, knowing nothing about it and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

My affection for this film is probably mostly due to the massive boner I have for Scarlett. Damn it, she is hot in this one. She was rocking that white jumpsuit. But beyond that, the story is very interesting. It's a pretty standard Sci-Fi plot device that it was really well done. If you haven't seen it, put it in your Netflix cue and save it for a slow Friday night. The less you know about the story, the better.

3. "Iron Man", 2008

"Iron Man" came out just a year ago and everyone saw it and everyone liked it, so there's no real need to rehash it all again. But I will point out three elements that made this movie totally work. A: Robert Downey Jr. B: John Favreau. And C: The Dude.

A. I am not a big comic book fan. I never read them as a kid. And I didn't really like any of the Spiderman movies or the Hulks or Superman. With the exceptions of the first two X Men films and the Christopher Nolan Batmans, comic book movies just don't do it for me. So I figured I wouldn't like "Iron Man", even though the rest of the world was jumping up and down with excitement over it. But, I'll tell you this; that Robert Downey Jr is one charming son of a gun. He doesn't always make great movies, but he is always entertaining in the ones he's in. "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" is a great example. Not an amazing movie. But I would totally recommend it just to watch his smart ass wit for two hours. It also has Val Kilmer, who needs to be in way more films. You can't go wrong with Doc Holiday.

B. I didn't know that John Favreau directed "Iron Man" until I the opening credits of the film. That was the first time I let myself buy into the high expectations for this movie. John Favreau is the fat headed guy you see in the background of a lot of popular movies. He and Vince Vaughn started their careers together in 1996 with "Swingers", which is just a perfect movie for insecure guys who don't have the balls to go after the girls they want. It was written by Favreau. Actually, they were both in "Rudy", years before that but it was "Swingers" that put them on the map.

John Favreau directed "Elf". That's all you need to know about him.

It was Favreau's touch that allowed "Iron Man" to be fun, light-hearted escapism even though it dealt with terrorism, IEDs blowing up US troops in Afghanistan and the military industrial complex. Those are some pretty heavy handed subjects, considering the times. In lesser hands, this film would have been self righteous, self loathing bullshit. But Favreau hit all the right notes. It has enough substance that grounds it but in the end it's a far fetched, savior fantasy that just makes you feel good.

C. And finally, it has The Dude. A bearded, bald Dude. So that's what you call him. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

2. "Pirates of the Caribbean", 2003
How is it that a movie that is based on a ride at Disneyland and starred the feminine elf from Lord of the Rings and whose main character wore mascara the entire film, wasn't awful? I mean this thing had "marketing cross over, cash grab" written all over it, along the same lines as "From Justin to Kelly". And yet, it was one of the best summer movies I've ever seen. Why?

Johnny Depp.

Yes, Johnny Depp. The guy that has caused most heterosexual men to have the following uncomfortable conversation with themselves. "Do I like this guy a little too much? Should I be concerned? Is a lifetime of lusting after boobs being threatened by Jack Sparrow? I mean, it's not like I want to make out with the guy or anything. And yet I can't stop looking at him. If my girlfriend made out with him, I wouldn't even be that upset. In fact I would probably give her a high five. Is this a problem?" Guys, you know what I'm talking about. Right? Right!? I'm the only one who has had these thoughts? Oh.

"Edward Scissorhands", "Gilbert Grape", "Ed Wood", "Donnie Brasco", "Fear and Loathing", "Blow", "Once Upon A Time In Mexico". He carries everyone of those movies. They're all pretty good on their own, and most of them have solid performances by supporting actors. But he owns those films. Hell, I even liked "Chocolate". That's right, I call it Chocolate, not "Shocula" or whatever.

By the way, I am really getting geared up for "Public Enemies" in a few weeks. Oh baby, that's gonna be good.

1. Star Trek, 2009
Now, I may have this a little too high. I've only seen it once. And I often see a movie I liked, then get really excited about it, tell everyone how amazing it is and then see it again only to not like all that much the second time around. So I reserve the right to dial back my enthusiasm when I get around to seeing this one again.

That said, this was one hell of an enjoyable movie. Star Trek has long been my Green Eggs and Ham. A long time ago, I decided that I didn't like it. I didn't want to like it. And that's the way it was always gonna be. And yet somehow I love William Shatner. Weird.

But upon walking out of the theater a few weeks ago, I have come to acknowledge that I in fact do enjoy Star Trek. In fact, I have since found myself watching the original series online. And even though the acting and the fight scenes are beyond cheese, it's really good. "City On the Edge of Forever", "The Menagery", "Tomorrow Is Yesterday". It's great television.

But this is the last thing I need. Man, I'm already a 31 year old virgin that has at one point made his own Light Saber replica. (Don't ask.) But if you add a Spock fetish on top of that then I'm doomed.

"Ooo, fat, sarcastic Star Trek fan. You must be a devil with the ladies."
"I must hurry back to my comic book store where I dispense the insults rather than absorb them."

One more Comic Book Guy quote for the road: France has launched a nuclear bomb heading for Springfield. Comic Book Guy is walking down the street reading a comic while eating a chili dog.

"But Aqua Man, you can't marry a girl with no gills! You're from two different worlds!"
(Sees missile heading straight for him.)
"Oh, I've waisted my life . . ."

Seriously, I'm totally different from him.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Remember the Part Where Will Smith Said, "Ah, Hell No"? That Was Awesome.

Memorial Day Weekend. Always a nice time of year. If you're at all like me, early summer is synonymous with a tempered anticipation for the upcoming high budget, star studded blockbuster that features familiar story lines, green screens and shit getting blown the hell up. All in all, it's not a bad way to spend eight bucks on a ball sweating July day. The air conditioning is also nice.

We've all had that experience of having our high expectations dashed by lazy, stupid, audience insulting movies. It is a strange feeling of betrayal. It's not just that you've wasted your money and your time. You've been swindled. You allowed the Hollywood marketing machine to fool you into expecting something good, when you should have known better. And like any victim of a con, you blame yourself. "How did I not see this coming? 'Men In Black 2'? Why did I think that would be good? And yet I was stupid enough to fall for the hype, once again." It can really mess with your self esteem if you're not careful.

So in honor of our fallen soldier's, I present a Memorial Day list of five summer movies that I thought/hoped/ needed to be good but ended being a festering pile of lazy, formulaic shite. This isn't a list of bad movies. It is a list of bad movies that some strange part of me needed to be good. And when they sucked, it led to a soul crushing realization that I am far more susceptible to manipulation than I like to believe. And at times, a beloved franchise was tarnished forever.

I really hope the new Terminator movie doesn't qualify as one of these. But since it is written by the screenwriters of "Catwoman" and directed by the guy who did "Charlie's Angels 2 Full Throttle", my hopes are not high for John Connor.

5. "300"

Holy balls, this movie was crap. Dimwitted, cliched, homo erotic crap. It should have been obvious to me going into the thing. But I really liked "Sin City". And since this was also a Frank Miller adaptation, I was happy to give it the benefit of the doubt. Also, I had heard the story of 300 Spartan soldiers holding back the Persian Army at Thermopylae years ago. Probably from an eager football coach psyching us up to "battle with our brothers" or some bullcrap. So I was excited to see that story portrayed on film.

And you gotta admit that the trailer looked bad ass.

But we ended up getting a dumber than dirt movie. I love how the evil politician, (played by McNulty from The Wire) was smart enough to carry the bribe of Persian money with him to the Senate floor so it could conveniently spill out, exposing his betrayal. Also, brilliant tactic by the Queen. "McNulty has slandered my husband, forced me to have sex with him and is now calling me 'Queen Whore' to usurp my husband's power. However shall I retort? A rousing, climactic speech inter cut with battle scenes to emphasize the principles of democracy that our army is dying for? Na. I'll just stab him right in front of the Senate."

Subtle. Well done, "300". Thank you for not demanding much from your audience.

4. "Pearl Harbor"

Movie trailers are one of the most impressive forms of deception. It's been 8 years since this movie came out and I know full well it sucks. But watching this trailer again still gives me those "fist pumping, flag waving, Toby Keith listening, WWII winning, U-S-A!" kinda chills. Seriously, America deserved a better film. Shame on you, Michael Bay.

There was a time when I didn't hate Ben Affleck. "Good Will Hunting" was a damn fine movie. Although I'm still convinced he didn't write one bit of it. But whatever. If you gotta ride your buddy's coattails to an Oscar, it's not the worst thing in the world. And to be fair, Ben Affleck's character is one of the best parts of that movie.

"Good day, gentlemen. And until that day comes, keep your ear to the grindstone."

But his giant head and pompous charm started running pretty thin by the summer of '01. Do you remember the hype of this movie? It successfully tapped into the "Saving Private Ryan, romanticized World War II glory" brand of patriotism. They held the premier on a Air Craft Carrier. That one clip of the Japanese bomb as it dropped onto the US ship was in every Memorial Day news story. PBS, Discovery Channel and the History Channel all aired documentaries about Pearl Harbor. If you didn't stand in line to see that movie, then it's clear you hate America.

But my hope for an American version of "Braveheart" (both written by the same guy) was destroyed by ham-fisted apple pie Americana schlock, a nonsensical love triangle, historical ignorance and Cuba Gooding Jr. I really wanted this to be a good movie. How do you go wrong with a historical backdrop like Pearl Harbor? But they did go wrong. Terribly wrong. And it turns out that two and half hours is too long to handle Josh Hartnett's squinty "Ah shucks." facial expression. (How does he see? Seriously. How can light enter through those eyebrows and into the tiny slits between his eyelids? One photon at a time, I suppose.)

Also, why is Kate Beckinsale only in terrible movies? She's gorgeous. She's clearly talented. But she has piddled away her career on the "Underworld" series and "Van Helsing". " Snow Angels" was her artsy fartsy attempt at legitimacy but that movie was irredeemably depressing. Kate, find a happy medium between brainless, CGI crap and pretentious, suicidal despair.

If you want to see a truly great WWII film set in the Pacific, I recommend Terrence Malick's "Thin Red Line". That's a movie that will blow your hair back.

3. "Matrix Reloaded"

Do you remember how amazing "The Matrix" was in 1999? It totally came out of the blue. No one saw it coming. It was stylized and original with just enough substance that make it worth thinking about. And it starred Ted Theodore Logan! Who hell would have thought? Somewhere the guy who played Bill S. Preston Esq. is crying himself to sleep surrounded by Matrix posters with his face pasted over Neo's.

Look, the sequel wasn't terrible. But it wasn't worth it. It demanded a lot of attention and thought from its audience. But in the end it just wasn't worth the effort of deciphering what the hell they were talking about. All the asinine dialogue("Ergo! Vis a vis! Concordantly!"), the useless plot twists (Neo is The One, but there have been a million Ones before him? And the Oracle is now part of the Matrix?), the bullshit pseudo philosophy ("Cause and effect.") and all the endless fights that never lead anywhere because no one ever lands a damn punch. It all added up to confusing, overdone fluff. I actually fell asleep when I watched this for the first time. I never sleep in movies. I woke up during the weird, sweaty, oily orgy scene. It was very disturbing.

Again, not a terrible movie. It's the least bad of any on this list. But it was definitely a let down.

2. "Indiana Jones and the Ridiculous Alien Bullshit"

I'm not going to bother posting a clip of the trailer. It's best to pretend it never happened.

Nineteen years. That's how long we waited for the next chapter of Indiana Jones. That's fine. I'm happy to wait. But Lucas and Spielberg waited two decades for this crap? I remember hearing rumors that M. Night Shamalamanamlanamlan had written an Indy script shortly after "The Sixth Sense" and that it was rejected because it wasn't good enough. Apparently M. Night received his script back from George with red marker on it saying, "Not enough ridiculous alien bullshit. Also, it needs CGI monkies that intuitively attack Russians."

Harrison Ford just might be the coolest actor since Steve McQueen. Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan, Richard Kimball and a lot of lawyers. But he hasn't done a good movie since "Air Force One" and that was over ten years ago. Now, he's good in every movie he's in. But he has chosen some real stinkers. Actually, the Russian sub movie might be good. I never bothered to see it. But my point is, he's a guy that deserves a good role. You could tell that Harrison Ford knew this Indy movie was crap while he was making it. He rolls his eyes while delivering every one of his lines.

A nuclear bomb proof fridge? F*ck! What in holy hell were you thinking, Spielberg? You know better than anyone how to make a good summer movie. And you thought Shia LaBouf was a good idea?

"Raiders Of the Lost Ark" was a perfect movie. Perfect. " Temple of Doom" was just as good. A lot of people bag on that one, but watch it again. It's solid. " Last Crusade" was nearly flawless. A little too much slapstick for my taste but a classic nonetheless. But I can't think of a positive thing to say about this last debacle. It felt like a cheap rip off of "The Mummy", which was nothing but a cheap rip off of "Raiders Of the Lost Ark". "Indiana Jones and the Ridiculous Alien Bullshit" is "Godfather III" times a thousand.

Imagine for a second, if Lucas and Spielberg had stuck with their original plan and continued the Indiana Jones serial with a new installment every couple of years. Their intent was to have a James Bond type of franchise. In 1993, four years after Last Crusade they would release "Indiana Jones and the Legend of Excalibur". It takes place in London during the blitz in 1940. Although previous Indiana Jones movies have involved Nazi's, none of them have actually taken place during WWII. Indy is teamed up with Abner Ravenwood and working for British Intelligence as consultants on the Arthurian legend. The Nazi's have launched a covert mission of German commandos into England to capture the fabled artifact. Come up with a reason for them to have a shootout at Stone Henge, then lead them across the channel to Paris so Indy has to work with the French resistance. Paris in 1940 would be a great backdrop for an adventure movie. Throw in some fake history, a hot British chick and some kind of supernatural climax and there you go.

Three years later in 1996 they would come out with "Indiana Jones and City of Atlantis." This one takes place 1943. Indy is an enlisted member of Patton's Calvary as they roll into Sicily. In an ancient Roman ruin he finds some crucial artifact leading to the location of the city of Atlantis, which is the mythical homeland of the Aryan race. He is captured by Mussolini's soldiers and is then delivered to a Nazi team of archeologist who commandeer him to lead an expedition to Greece to locate Atlantis. Eventually he is rescued by his father as Sean Connery reprises his role. Again, add some fake history involving Plato, a sexy local Italian girl that eventually betrays him and some spooky ghosts at the end and you have another classic.

In 1999 the release "Indiana Jones and the Samaria Tomb" set in the Japanese Empire just after their surrender in 1945. Indy has to . . .hell, I don't know. But they keep coming out with another chapter every three or four years. Once they get through WWII, they have the entire Cold War to play with. It wouldn't be hard to combine Indy's quest for a mythical archeological site with pivotal historical events. Searching the Caribbean for the Fountain of Youth in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example. There is no end to the material. Granted, at a rate of one movie per three years, some installments wouldn't be as strong as the others. But given the massive volume of Indiana Freaking Jones, we the audience would be quite forgiving of any missteps.

Eventually Harrison Ford would get tired of playing the same role, so he retires. They then cast Tom Sellick to play Indiana in the seventh or eight one. (He was the original choice to play Dr. Jones but turned it down to be Magnum.) And the same way James Bond did just fine with Roger Moore, the franchise just keeps on moving whether Spielberg directed them or not.

But no. Instead we wait nineteen years for this. It took me five minutes to think up those fake movies. And yet it took them almost two decades to crap out the festering turd that is the Crystal Skull. I blame it all on George Lucas. Which brings me to . . .

1. "The F*cking Phantom Menace"


I mean was there any doubt which movie was going to top this category? Look, there is no shortage of dorks like me in their early thirties whining about how bad Episode 1 was. "Lucas raped my childhood." is a hyperbole that is often tossed around. Frankly, it's not quite as bad as everyone remembers. It's a better movie than the last Indiana Jones, that's for sure. But the insanely high expectations of this movie cannot be overstated.

George Lucas accidentally created the single most anticipated movie ever and by doing so pretty much secured his own failure. By starting in the middle of the saga, finishing to the end and then waiting 16 years to start at the beginning, Lucas created the ultimate case of nerd blue balls. The movie could never have lived up to the hype. We had heard references to the Clone Wars, to Anakin Skywalker, to the Sith. But the original movies gave us very little information about them. But after aching for our entire lifetime to know more, what did we get?

Midichlorines and Jar Jar F*ckin Binks. What's even worse is that we also got one of the coolest movie villains since Darth Vader, but we only got him for like 10 minutes of screen time. Then he got cut in half. I guess they had to make more time for Jar Jar's hilarious antics. Man, Lucas gave us blue balls and then kicked us in the crotch. Not cool.

I'm still open to the idea that this movie was a massive Andy Kaufman style practical joke played by Lucas on his fans. If it was, he's a comic genius. But it wasn't. It was just a really bad movie.

If you've seen the new Star Trek movie, go with me on this one. Imagine if JJ Abrams directed made "The Phantom Menace". Imagine a Star Wars Prequel that was as fun and exhilarating as the new "Star Trek". The reason "The Phantom Menace" will forever suffer is because it will always be compared against the movie it should have been.

I like Patton Oswalt's take on it. Fair warning: this clip has a lot of swearing as well as a reference to John Voit's balls. Of course, I think I have referenced balls like five times in this post. So if you've made it this far, you probably won't mind.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Few Photos From the Weekend

I went to the San Rafael Swell over the weekend and ticked another slot canyon off my list. Baptist Draw and Upper Chute Canyon were fantastic. Narrow, dark and a little spooky at times. These canyons are located in Middle-of-Frigging-Nowhere, Utah in a place known as Sinbad Country. I of course wore a windbreaker track suit the whole trip to pay proper tribute to the great and mighty comic. It's the very least I could do.

It was a pretty simple Canyon with optimal conditions. The sun was warm but not hot and thankfully there was no stinky water to wade through. However, Baptist Draw is a canyon with some pretty nasty history. Just a week ago a team went down this canyon. They must have been the first people to descend this canyon in a few months because they sadly came upon the body of a deceased woman. She was alone with no gear. Probably a lone hiker that just got lost. I’m glad they found her and not us. We had a great time but that solemn reality hung over our whole trip. As fun as these canyons are, they can kill you if you’re not prepared and exercise an abundance of caution.

And now to lighten it the hell up, let me share one of the funniest / grossest stories I have ever heard. My friend Katie just finished Med School at the U. She relayed this experience to us in the car while we were driving through Price. Katie, I hope my retelling of this does not violate your Hippocratic Oath. If this blog post winds up ruining your medical career, you have my apologies.

That said, here it is:

A massively obese woman came to the ER complaining of skin irritation and an unbearable odor. Now, we're talking fat here. Not "she has a big butt and unfortunately emphasizes it by wearing stretch paints" kind of fat. 400 pounds plus kind of fat. Katie did an exam that involved rubber gloves, a pen light, several tongue depressors and dozens of bottomless folds of doughy, flabby skin. Talk about a slot canyon! (Rim shot!) After navigating her way across vast trenches of flesh, Katie discovered lodged deep in a sweaty crevasse several rancid Chips A'hoy cookies. The cookies had been there long enough to have rotted the woman's skin. Upon discovery, the patient sheepishly admitted, "Sometimes my boyfriend and I like to play hide and seek and I guess I just forgot about those."

Aren't you glad you checked this blog today? Now you'll be cursed with the image of the stinky fat woman and her rotten sex cookies for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.

Shaky Cam view of walking through the bottom of the slot. A guy slightly fatter than myself would have a bit of a problem wiggling through this bad boy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alright Oil Companies, Enough Is Enough

It may seem a little strange for me to be griping about oil companies when gas is cheaper than it's been in almost a decade. But let me take a stab at it anyway.

Actually, this doesn't directly relate to big oil, but it sure is fun to demonize them. Why in holy hell do gas stations get to charge their customers to the tenth of a penny for a gallon of gas? I filled up today at Maverick for 2.079. Actually, they go to the trouble of making it a fraction. So it was 2.07 and 9/10. Look it's an obvious gimmick to make their gas look a cent cheaper than it is. The same way 99 cents is really a dollar. But since when was a tenth of a penny a viable unit of currency? Isn't that a pence? Or a shilling? A shekel? We do not live in Dickensian England. And yet gas stations are alone in their ability to incorporate this stupid little pricing trick.

I realize that since we buy gas by the gallon and we seldom buy less than about 15 gallons at a time. This makes gasoline the only product whose price consumers care about to the penny. If one gas station is two cents cheaper a gallon than the one across the street, that means a tank is about 30 to 40 cents cheaper. I'm going to the cheap one. Also the profit margin on gasoline for those gas stations is close to zero. So gas stations utilize any obvious means of deception they can. But I say, no more tenth of a penny incrementation. In fact, let's go a step further and say no pennies period.

No disrespect to Abe intended but pennies are nothing but garbage. Ugly, dirty garbage. Every time I get change from a cashier, I pick out those damn pennies and throw them away before they get a chance to stink up my hand. Do you know why the dollar coin has never caught on in America? Because we have been conditioned to think that a pocket full of change is made up of pennies. And who the hell wants pennies?

So I say get rid of the one cent denomination of our currency all together. Have all retail prices remain the same and then just round up or down. In the case of gasoline, the final amount would be rounded up or down, not the per gallon price. And your jar of pennies would still have the same monetary value when you decided to change them in at the Coin Star machine. Although this does raise the question of what will High School students in Utah do to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation? Those penny drives are a yearly cash cow. "A million pennies" is a fun way to say ten thousand dollars. "Two hundred thousand nickels" just doesn't have the same ring.

There you go. Trivial, whiney and not at all interesting. I achieved the "crappy blog trifecta". I am very proud.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More Than Words . . . Five Badass Instrumentals

This post has nothing, repeat nothing to do with Extreme. But I just wanted to post that album cover anyway. Nothing says musical credibility like sour faces and poofy mullets with headbands. I love the angry guy on the right in the non-ironic Nigel Tufnel skeleton shirt. He's driving the ladies wild by flashing us a little ankle skin above his gigantic white basketball shoes. And is his friend in the yellow next to him cradling his knee? I think he is. Extreme was a very sensitive band. I mean what would you say? If I took those words away? Then you couldn't make things new. Just by saying I love you. La da de da. More than words. Sensitive and brilliant.*

But onto the show. Just about every band that has released three or four albums has at least one instrumental on their set lists. It gives the lead singer a chance to get a smoke break (blowjob) when they play concerts. But there is a difference between a really thoughtful instrumental and the lyricless filler that many of them are. One trusts its audience as it builds a mood and develops over time. The other is just a sloppy jam session that includes an obligatory and tedious drum solo. Now I have nothing but love for a good drum solo, but by definition, a good drum solo cannot last any longer than 20 seconds. I'm talking to you, Neil Pert.

Though a fair amount of sloppy instrumentals exist, the good ones deserve a spotlight. So here are five, cool instrumental songs from various musical genres.

The Ox by The Who - 1965

Keith Moon, you magnificent bastard. This video is a tribute to The Who's bass player, John Entwistle nicknamed the Ox. But it's the drums that make this song. Loud, fast paced, relentless and angry. Just the way Rock and Roll is supposed to sound.

Ghost Riders In The Sky by Dick Dale - 1963

Surf Rock is so damn cool. Let's hope the Black Eye Peas leave their greedy little hands off the rest of Dick Dale's catalog. This is one of the best covers I have ever heard. It stays true to tone of Stan Jones' original classic, but it totally reinvents it.

Man, it would have been nice to have been in your early twenties in Southern California circa 1963ish. It wasn't crowded or over priced, yet. No angry hippies burning draft cards. No race riots, yet. You just spend your day surfing (very slowly) on those gigantic surf boards, eating tacos, smoking weed and listening to Dick Dale. Yeah, that's the good life. (I'm joking about the weed, Mom.) Yeah, nothing at all to worry about. Except the constant threat of nuclear inhalation and a dead president. Funny how nostalgia can gloss over those little details.

To make one important point; The Beach Boys are not Surf Rock. They are Surf Pop. There's a big difference. Now I have nothing but love for the Beach Boys. Pet Sounds, Smiley Smile and Wild Honey are some of the best records from that decade. But Surf Rock is almost exclusively instrumental. To make that Surf Rock sound, you need to begin by turning the reverb on you Strat up to eleven. Then you need a cool tenor sax to counter the melody of your guitar. You then play a miseginated blend of Rock and Roll crossed with Flamenco with a little Mariachi mixed in over Polynesian rhythms. Add some Greek and Turkish Folk with a little twang of Old Timey Country and that's when you start sounding like Surf Rock. That doesn't sound anything like Surfin' Safari.

Like most people my age, I discovered Surf Rock in 1994 when Quentin Tarantino used Dick Dale's Misirlou as the main theme for Pulp Fiction. That soundtrack included several other badass Surf Rock songs. It's a genre that is often minimized by being associated with Gidget reruns and a dancing Pee Wee Herman. Block out any preconceived associations you may have and focus on the music alone. This is a genre that is very worth investigating. I have a ton of cool Surf Rock that I would be happy to lend out. (I love my bittorrent.)

Some other badass surf instrumentals include: Pipeline, Rumble, Walk Don't Run, Bullwinkle Part II, Bombora and Bustin Surfboards. I realize many of those are also from Pulp Fiction but they were the only ones I could find on Youtube.

Pretty, Little Ditty by The Red Hot Chili Peppers - 1989

So have you ever heard a song that you instinctively knew you were supposed to hate, and yet there was a quiet, shameful little part of you that kind of liked it? I'm reluctant to admit that this is how I felt about Crazy Town's stupid Butterfly song. You know the one. (Seriously, what a bunch of chodes.) When I first heard that song, I was deeply conflicted. Every music loving instinct I had cried out, "These guys are tools! Do not fall for that cool hook at the beginning. They suck!". And yet, I secretly really liked that dreamy guitar work. Then about three years ago I listened to the Chili Peppers' album, Mother's Milk in its entirety. I know, I was about 15 years late on that one. It is a tragically overlooked record. Well, to my endless relief, I discovered that the dreamy guitar hook that I was so conflicted over was the work of Hillel Slovak, the Chili's original guitarist. All hesitation left me when I got to the tenth track called Pretty Little Ditty. I was incredibly relieved. The reason I liked that damn Crazy Town hook was because it was ripped off of a really cool song from a truly great band.

By the way, Crazy Town are a bunch of frauds. They didn't cover that hook. It's a straight sample. They recorded it directly from Mother's Milk. You can hear Flea's trumpet in the background. Which is fine. I guess. I'm not a huge fan of sampling but whatever. But watch their video again (for as long as you can stand it). You'll note the shirtless, tattooed dildos pretending to play the guitar and bass. Shenanigans! They are lying!

Look, if you're going to sample a hook, a DJ does it while you rap over it. Those are the rules. You don't pretend to make the music that you are stealing. Did you ever see Puff Daddy pretend to play the hook from "Every Breath You Take" on an unplugged guitar? Did Vanilla Ice ever pretend to play Queen's baseline? No. This means Crazy Town are a bigger bunch of ripoff liars than Puff Daddy and Vanilla Ice combined. Ouch.

Sabrosa by the Beastie Boys - 1994
Be careful to not strain your neck while listening to this bad boy. For some reason I want to grow a dirty mustache, feather my hair and deliver a pizza. If you catch my meaning. That is the undeniable effect of a good wha pedal. By the way, it is really weird that the members of the band that sang "Fight For Your Right To Party" are all in their mid forties. Sunrise, sunset.

First Breath After a Coma by Explosions in the Sky - 2003

This is a song that takes its sweet time in developing. But man is it worth it. This is classified as Space Rock or Post Rock. I think. I actually don't know much about this kind of music, but I know I really like this song. Let it run in your headphones while you check your email today. It will not disappoint.

*We really need to figure out a universal "sarcastic" font. It never really comes through in regular in old Times.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Random Cullinery Observation

Earlier in the week, I celebrated my deep and proud Mexican heritage* para Cinco De Mayo. How did I do this? By driving a beat up, uninsured pickup with 12 people in the back? By making someone else's bed? By striking a pinata of Lou Dobbs with a sledge hammer? By wearing an over sized T shirt covered with that Gothic print that no one can read? By working way too hard for not enough money? (I think the one sympathetic hypothetical cancels out the racist ones.) No, I celebrated Mexico's victory over the crappy French Army by doing what the rest of us lilly-white Americans did; I put on my blue Mexican Barber shirt (a guayabera to the nongringo) and ate some Fajitas deliciosa. Not sure if that's an actual Spanish word, but it seems to work.

Now to get the marinade right, I had to squeezed the juice out of several limes. That presqueezed crap in a green bottle that looks like a lime is no substitute for the fresh stuff. As I quietly wept from the pain of my burning cuticles, it occurred to me that limes are superior to lemons in every way. Now I like lemons just fine. But everything that they are good at, limes do better. Observe:

Lemon Meringue pie; delicious. Key Lime pie; much better. (By the way, why doesn't anyone ever make Orange Meringue Pie? It would taste like a creamsicle. I'm gonna tinker with that idea.)

Lemon squeezed over grilled chicken; good. Lime squeezed over grilled chicken; far superior.

Lemonade; refreshing and tasty. Limeade; the greatest beverage mankind has ever conceived.

Lemon Starbusrts; disgusting. Lime Starbursts; pretty good but still not as good as the orange and cherry ones.

Lemon in Coke; kinda gross but my dad swears by it. Lime in Coke; tolerable.

Lemon in ice water; nice in a "wedding reception in the Cultural Hall" kind of way. Lime in ice water; invigorating in a "deep sea fishing off the coast of Cabo" kind of way.

Lemon on fish; essential. Lime on fish; well, next time you grill up a salmon fillet, squirt a little lime over chop up some fresh basil and sprinkle it on that bad boy. It will blow your mind.

Was it worth all the good-natured racism** for such a mediocre post? Probably not.

*Whiter than white. But I did take two years of Spanish in Junior High and I have mowed a ton of lawns in my day.
** Seriously, I have nothing but love and respect for our south-of-the-border friends. Except Carlos Mencia. He sucks.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

BYU Rugby Beats Cal 25 - 22 To Win The National Championship

This is a pretty long one. And it's pretty personal, but I feel like saying it. So you're gonna have to indulge me a little, here.

On Saturday, BYU won the Rugby National Championship. I'm going to pause for a little while that sinks in. Actually, I've been letting it sink in for the last couple of days and I still find myself walking around all day, grinning like an idiot.

This is massive.

This is the culmination of a struggle that has lasted for almost thirty years. Up until five years ago, BYU was unable to compete for a national championship. For over twenty years, the Collegiate National Championship (which is not associated with the NCAA but is its own inbred entity) held its title game as well as other qualifying playoff games on Sunday. The BYU athletic department has a strict policy of not competing on Sunday for obvious religious reasons. And so, we were frozen out. I played for the Y for five years and in that span, we lost a total of four games and won probably close to a hundred. In 2003, Air Force won the National Championship. We beat Air Force by 40 that year. And yet, due to the obviously (intentionally?) unfair scheduling, we were excluded from competing for a National Title.

However, we did play one playoff game during my time as a player. It was a bold, defiant move by our coach David Smyth, that set the foundation of the change that would come years later.

My involvement with BYU rugby began ten years ago in January, 1999. I had just gotten off my mission and lived with my older brother Alan in Provo. It was a really crappy time in my life. Returning home from a mission is always a weird transition. Even though you've been looking forward to it for the last two years, you just don't really know what to do with yourself. I went from having a meaningful purpose and a ton of good friends that knew me well and understood me to being very much alone. And it's one thing to feel alone in a crowd (we've all been there) but it's another thing to feel alone in a crowd full of goofy, dorky, cheesy, happy, denim shorts wearing, ever smiling BYU students. (Don't know who those guys are, but they fit the bill. Yes, those are IBC root beer bottles.) It's a strange brand of alienation.

You see, BYU is like no other place on the planet. It is an island without water. Now that's not a bad thing. But there is an adjustment period for any new student that needs to be accounted for. There is a certain segment of people that check into Helaman Halls their freshman year and fit in perfectly in this unique world. Like a foot sliding into a well worn shoe. And since this world is like no other place on the planet, that means that these people who instantly find a home here are people who have never fit in anywhere else before.

Meanwhile, the rest of us (non nerds) need about six months of awkward confusion to adjust to the crazy little subtleties of this strange place where people ride unicycles for no good reason, and spar in their medieval costumes by the library. And where girls go out of their way to dress themselves up to be ridiculously hot (in that overly made up, phony sense that I don't really love, but I'll take it) but then stare daggers at you like you're a registered sex offender if you get caught looking their way.  Or maybe that was just me. It is essential that you find like minded people, who can appreciate the absurdity that surrounds you. And really, all I need to be happy is four or five good friends that understand and appreciate my paradoxical ways and 20,000 people to make fun of.

 BYU is perfect for that.

Now if I'm telling this story, I need to include this next part, even though it is a downer. Added to the standard "get off the mission, get released, get your classes, buy normal clothes, go to school, make a few friends, summon the courage to ask out that one cute girl but then puss out and never actually do it" kind of BYU student anxiety, there was also the harsh reality that at this exact time my little brother was dying.

Yeah. Total downer, right?

I've written about Cam before. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer about two years previous and after all the chemo and radiation and bone marrow transplants, the cancer had at this time spread to his brain stem. This completely paralyzed him with the exception of his eyelids and the right corner of his mouth. In mid January, the doctors sent him home with enough IV fluids to last him about a week because he wasn't going to need anymore than that. So everyday, I would come home from my stupid general ed classes with the expectation that there would be a message on the phone telling me and Al that Cam had died. Like I said, it was a crappy time.

Well, a week came and went and Cam just stuck around. And then a month came and went, and instead of dying, Cam started to get the feeling back in his arms and legs. And then one day, he started talking again. By May, he was almost walking. He ended up living long enough to go to his senior prom, graduate high school, have his 18th birthday and be ordained an Elder. He died in August of that year, after living ten months longer than anyone else who had been diagnosed with his particular kind of cancer. As horrible as the circumstances were over those months, each day was filled with genuine joy that truly felt like a miracle.

But that January sucked.

Throughout this time, I was playing on BYU's Rugby team. I had played rugby in high school, where I learned the very basics of the game, but I didn't really understand the sport until I played for BYU. A daily two hour practice session was the exact therapy I needed at this point in my life. We would spend the last 45 minutes or so at the end of every practice and scrimmage. I was a freshman, so I played on the 2nds team as we provided opposition to the starters. The tackling, the hitting, the violence and the physical exhaustion was the perfect release for the powerless rage that I had quietly concealed throughout my day. Running till my lungs burned on Steeler Field in West Provo on frozen grass as the winter sky turned dark purple was the only place I really felt like I belonged throughout that entire semester.

Early in January, we had a road trip to Tuscon and Tempe to play U of A and ASU. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had been named to the travel team. One of twenty players out of about fifty. I never really considered myself to be a very good athlete. I'm tall with a pretty large frame, but I'm also slow, clumsy and generally nonathletic. I never had any high school delusions of playing college football anywhere and my friends still make fun of my complete absence of pectoral muscles and my propensity to throw a ball like a nine year old girl. (Seriously, I can't hit the cut off man in softball. It's pathetic.) But here I found myself wearing a dark blue track suit that said "BYU Rugby" on it, with a matching blue travel bag, boarding an airplane with 20 other guys dressed the same all of which was sponsored by the university I had always loved. Why? Because I was a real life college athlete. I can't tell you how good that felt. Now, rugby was pretty low on the totem pole of the BYU athletic department and I was quite aware of that. But it still felt good. And that was a time when I really needed a reason to feel good.

As the season progressed, I worked my way into the starting lineup as a lock, along side my older brother who was a starting flanker. This was the only time we had ever played on the same team in any sport. I got in better and better shape and realized that unlike high school, I had a pretty good physical advantage over most of the opposing players. Instead of being the 6'5'', 180 pound beanpole (nicknamed Gumbi) that I was in high school, I had filled out to a trim 230. It turned out, that I was a pretty good. Again, this sort of validation was something I really needed at the time.

The starting lineup for this '99 team was mostly made up of seniors that had played together for a long time. As such, they were damn good. The forward pack (Myself, Jared McInelly, Vinny Rowe, Heath Ewyer, Brent Callister, Dave Maughn, Alan Westenskow and Brian Clegg) and the backline (Jeff Bradshaw, Glenn Hubert, Sean Brown, Lincoln Nadauld, Eric Oh, John Blaser and Dave Wheeler) of that team was really something to behold. I always felt privileged to have played along side them. About every two weeks, we would go on a road trip. In addition to Arizona, we went to Denver, San Diego, San Fransisco and Seattle where we would play various teams, beat the crap out of them, have a great time and continue to build the reputation of BYU rugby.

Now as I explained earlier, we were all very aware that the finals were played on Sunday and that was the way it had always been. All the wins, all the great play was really somewhat futile. Every year, BYU would lodge a formal complaint and every year we would receive the same disingenuous response from USA Rugby. "What do you mean we don't let you compete? We invite you to the tournament every year and you refuse to play. It's not us, it's you." So, given the strength of this particular team, our coach David Smyth (a jolly Irishman) decided to call their bluff. That year, when we were "invited" to the round of 16, we accepted. We then made it perfectly clear that if we were to win our first round game against Arizona (a team we beat by 30 earlier in the year) which was held on Saturday, we would pull a Chariots of Fire and forfeit the round of 8 game that was scheduled for that next Sunday. This was our act of defiance. Our collective middle finger to an organization that preferred that we just go away.

I remember very well that April, having to miss the bus we chartered to drive to Colorado Springs because I had a final that I couldn't reschedule. So I drove out the night before the game with my dad to the Air Force Academy, where the tournament was being held. On the morning of the game, there was three inches of fresh snow on the ground and two games that were scheduled to be played on that field before ours. This meant that by the time we kicked off, there was about an inch of standing water on the field.

When we beat Arizona a few months earlier, we had done so with the speed and agility of our backline. That advantage was pretty much nullified by the field conditions. If you were to try to place a strategic grubber kick, instead of the ball bouncing back up into your arms, it would just lay there dead in a puddle on the field. So it became a forwards game. A sloppy, muddy, brutal forwards game of short runs, endless tackling and tons of scrums. For a tight five forward like myself, this game was very physically demanding.

After 80 minutes of slow, hard play, the game ended in a tie. I don't remember the score. But it was low. So we went to a 20 minute overtime. They scored a try early. But we answered with one just before the end of OT. This sent us to a second twenty minute overtime. This one ended without a score from either team. So we then went to a third overtime of sudden death. If we were to lose this game, we lose our chance to make any kind of meaningful statement. Any leverage we may have had would have been lost. Our case of " we're a top rugby team that is denied a chance to compete" simply turns into "we're a team that lost to Arizona". We wouldn't make a ripple.

And at the moment, it appeared that the rugby cupboards were pretty bare for BYU. I think 11 of the 15 starters were graduating that year and there was no way to know at the time if we would ever get that caliber of team back. (We did restock, in a big way. Kimball Kjar, Pierre Fourie, Salesi Sika, Taylor Nadauld, Ned Stearns, Kalum Nordstrom, John Blaser, Jared Kirkwood, Mike Myers, Mike Poelman, Cam Coop, Chris Miller, Kevin Vest to name a very few.) But at this moment, it felt like it was now or never. If we lose this game then nothing will ever change.

I had been playing for about 130 straight minutes. I don't know that I have ever been that exhausted in my life. Arizona had a scrum about 30 meters out of our end zone, perfect position to set up a game winning drop goal. As I was in the middle of that scrum (the 500th of that game) driving with freezing cold, noodle legs, I heard cheering. I pull my head up and see our scrum half, Jeff Bradshaw running 70 meters for the game winning try. He had picked off the pass to the Arizona fly half. My brother Alan, was right beside him in support. The Arizona defense collapsed in exhaustion and we won the game.

Knowing that this was the best victory we could expect, we celebrated hard. This victory was well earned. A lot of guys would line up on the goal line, sprint and belly slide in the mud. That was the last thing I wanted to do at the time.

Smyth approach the coach of Army (our scheduled opponent for the Sunday's game) and asked if they would like to play on Monday instead. As expected, they were happy to take the free trip to the final four so they politely refused. We showered, got on the bus and drove home, forfeiting the next day's game.

This stirred up a huge storm in the USA Rugby front office. They then passed a rule that stated if a team has no intention of playing the games they are assigned, they cannot go to the tournament, which officially banned BYU from competing for a national title.

Years later, this very rule would be the basis on which BYU would threaten to file a lawsuit claiming an unconstitutional rule that discriminates against a team for practicing their religion. The NCAA has a rule in place allowing BYU to schedule non-Sunday playoff games for this reason. USA Rugby finally conceded in 2005, rescheduling the tournament to a Friday / Saturday format.

Since then, BYU has been to the final four every year. We have lost in the finals the last three years. But it wasn't until last Saturday, after coming back from a 12 point second half deficit, when Shawn Davies kicked the go ahead penalty kick with less than two minutes remaining that BYU finally realized its dream. We had won the National Title.

I helped coach BYU for the two years previous to this one, so I know most of the guys on this team. Steve St Pierre, Sam Thorely, Dan Paul, Vito Qaqa, Viliami Vimahi, Dylan Lubbe, Manti and Mikey Su'a, Shawn Davies (again, to name a very few), it couldn't have happened to a better bunch of guys. And I also couldn't be happier for the hundreds of BYU rugby players that never had the chance, who now get to enjoy this as their vicarious championship.

It's been a long time coming.

After we beat Arizona, Alan and I drove back to Provo with our dad in his green Acura. I remember driving I-70 through the Colorado Rockies listening to The Beatles' White Album on a sunny, brilliant day. I remember getting intermittent cell coverage on one of those big, 1999, flip cell phones and talking to my brother Cam, who had just recently regained the ability to speak as we drove through Vale. We talked about the White Album, actually. He could hear it playing in the car. It was one of his favorite records. And I remember arriving back in Provo and pulling into our apartment on condo row, feeling that I was going to survive the "adjustment phase" of BYU just fine and end up having a great time there. I remember feeling for the first time in a very long time, that life really is good.

The fact is, playing rugby that winter semester of '99 played a huge part in surviving a very painful period of my life. It prevented me from sitting in my apartment alone thinking about how unfair it was that my 17 year old brother was struggling to live. Or how stupid everyone around me was. You never want to be that guy. It was the coaches, team mates, my brother Al and the game itself that bailed me out of a life of isolated bitterness. But even more than that, it was being part of a cause. And there's probably a better way to put that. But there was great satisfaction in being a part of changing things for the better, even if I didn't personally get to enjoy the benefits of that change. At the time it felt like we were fighting the good fight. That's totally cheesy, I know. But it's true.

Now, winning that game against Arizona was a small part of what occurred to get the format changed. David Smyth, Kimball Kjar and Justen Nadauld are the real heroes behind the rule change. And certainly, it was the tenacity and the massive balls of the guys playing last Saturday that won the Title. But I am convinced that without the team of 1999, there would be no National Championship in 2009.

Congratulations fellas. We finally did it.