Archive for February, 2011

16. Go into one of the Sorority houses
17. Kiss a girl who smokes
18. Get a picture with Big Blue


Not much to say about this one. After senior night we went down on the court to watch the net cutting (props to Fafner for getting his share) and Big Blue was nicely standing in a corner taking pictures.

Interested note, if you look at where blue’s eye-holes are, he’s only got a couple of inches on me.

This was my last home game in the Spectrum as an undergrad and potentially ever. It was a very bittersweet moment for me. I remember before the game started looking around at the crowd cheering the Scottsman thinking “this is it for me, I’m finished here.” While I didn’t expect to get emotional I did, especially after the half when Idaho took their first free throw and the whole front row got “Wild”ed up. Nice one guys!

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I’ve been putting this off for a long time. The festival ended weeks ago and in theory I was hoping to write capsule reviews of each film I saw but the very idea proved to be just, too, daunting. So, time slipped away and here we are, a month later and a few bucks short. So, in lieu of a review-bonanza I thought I’d just post some of the pictures.

BTW, if you are interested in some reviews I wrote for The Satesman, go here.

A Huntsville sunrise. I was only able to attend the festival on the weekends which meant making the most of my days. Typically I was in the car heading to Park City at 6:45 a.m. and back in my car heading home to Huntsville at about 1 in the morning. I may have been dog tired, but that didn’t change the fact that the sun coming up over the Wasatch Back is absolutely stunning.


Robert Redford at the opening day press conference in the Egyptian Theater. While I was in line I chatted with two nice reporters from Australia and a man from BBC.


Director Drake Dremus speaking about his film “Like Crazy,” the first movie I saw and also this year’s winner of the Grand Jury prize. Just over his shoulder are stars Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Terminator Salvation) and Felicity Jones (British and crazy hot).


The cast of “My Idiot Brother” (including Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel) at a Q&A following a screening of their film. This was also the last movie I saw and one of my favorites.


Director Gavin Wiesen discusses his film “Homework” starring Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, August Rush) and Emma Roberts (It’s Kind of a Funny Story). This was a hard one for me to get into, but after loving It’s Kind of a Funny Story I was interested in seeing what else Roberts had to offer. IKOAFS excelled, but Homework wasn’t bad although it was strange to buy ‘lil Freddie as her love interest.


Festival Director John Cooper at the closing day event “Film Church.” Immediately after this panel I got in my car and headed away from Sundance for the last time. In all it was a surreal, amazing, and eye-opening experience. For two weeks I had my run off the town and even though I was just a punk student reporter, I was treated equally alongside seasoned veterans from USA Today, The New York Times, The Salt Lake Tribune and everything in between.

I have loved movies for so long and Sundance is the closest I have ever come to Hollywood. I’ve been to Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame but I mean REAL Hollywood. Here were people talking about Harvey Weinstein being a cup of crazy with the kind of jovial nonchalance that you would use to refer to an old roommate. Here were people who barely noticed when James Franco was out in the theater lobby. I remember walking down Main Street and seeing a group of 4 high school age girls squealing and pointing saying “Is that Colin Farrell?”

It wasn’t, I had just seen him an hour before. I had just turned down the opportunity to sit in on a round table with Morgan Spurlock. Seeing those girls go ga-ga over someone who “might have been” a celebrity reminded me that I had been waist deep in celebrity for 2 weeks and already it had stopped fazing me.

I also realized that I don’t need that life. I would be so content to get a solid job at a city paper and just live out my days in relative anonymity. Of course I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to work for EW, interview starlets and industry movers and shakers, but in the end I’d probably be better off just starting a family and getting a job that pays the bills and allows me to be with the people I love.

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Dream Team Productions’ frontmen Tyler Barlow and Benjamin Wood confirmed Monday that work has begun on the second installment of their Fringe Film Festival series. While the details were vague, Executive Producer Benjamin Wood let slip a few hints at what this year’s entrance will bring us.

“Our current project is NOT a sequel to Great Expectations. Tyler and I looked over our options and decided that it was best to go in a new direction.”

What direction might that be? It is assumed that this year’s project, tentatively referred to as “Fringe 2” will bring DTP’s signature melancholy-romantic-dramedy style, especially given this year’s Festival theme of “Twitterpated.” Director Tyler Barlow is reported to be looking for a male and female lead but as yet, there is no word on whether Barlow and Wood will reunite with their stars David and Meredith Ingram, who were married after filming wrapped on Great Expectations.

“Dave and Meredith are phenomenal actors and close friends,” said Director Tyler Barlow. “We welcome the thought of working with them again but as yet no roles have been cast and the script is still taking shape.”

Festival insiders have been hush hush about who we can expect to make a repeat performance. Many of last year’s top prizewinners — including “Blinked” writer/director Pete Smithsuth — have since relocated to overseas markets. Wood said he is excited about the changes made to this year’s festival and looks forward to using Fringe 2 to try new things.

“We learned a lot last year,” Wood said. “We put together a great film and took home one of the audience awards but there’s always improvements that can be made. This year’s festival, with the films screening at the Logan Arts Cinema and with one more year of experience behind us, all I can say is you’re going to be blown away.”

(above image: The cast and crew of “Great Expectations” at the film’s premiere. Great Expectations won 2nd Place Audience Choice at the 2010 Fringe Film Festival.)

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Midnight Ramblings: The Villain


Sympathy is such an easy thing to come by. Especially in today’s high-speed, full disclosure world of social networking, all it takes is for someone to put as much as a frowny-face emoticon as their facebook status to receive an outpouring of well-wishers and pats on the back.

Remind yourself, at times, of the examples that your own life, and the lives of your closest friends, has shown you. The difference between victim and villain is seldom decided by right and wrong, but more by the hand that writes the history books. Too often have I watched as the labels are reversed (on the surface, mind you) by an expertly placed plea for pity.

Yet while the ignorant masses may swarm around you, eager to show their alms for your affection, there is one constant truth that the effected parties will always know. One of them, beneath all the convenient tears, is a monster.

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I could never declare one song as my “favorite,” but it seems like there’s one song that I repeatedly turn to on Grooveshark after a long day at the office.

Matt Dusk, “Two shots of happy, One shot of sad”

For those of you who don’t know Dusk, he’s a card-carrying member of the neo-jazz singer club (a la Michael Buble) only he hasn’t quite cashed in on the bubble gum fame that Buble is currently enjoying which gives Dusk, in my opinion, a slightly more real sound. In a nutshell, I believe him more.

I first came across this song in 2004. It was the theme song for a reality show called “The Casino” which, in my opinion, was tragically underrated and short-lived. This was back in the glory days of Reality Television when ideas were still new and the mirror we hold up to society hadn’t shatterd. This was the prime days of Survivor, Fear Factor, The Mole etc.

Over the years, it’s become my go-to song for melancholy. And more and more frequently, I seem to need it at the end of the day.

Check it out, and feel free to disregard the video. I actually watched it for the first time while writing this post and in typical Vegas Lounge Singer style it has it’s fair share of scantily-clad women.

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13. Get into the police blotter
14. Become an ULTIMATE Aggie
15. Go through the tunnels

It occurred to me the other day that I have about 10 weeks of school left and about 20 items left on my bucket list. As such, I decided that I needed to start doing at least one item per weekend – many items are weather exclusive and will have to wait till spring.

So, it’s 2:00 a.m. Saturday night and I’m driving home and I realize that I failed to complete an item when all of a sudden I come to the intersection of 10th north and 8th east. For those of you unfamiliar with the Logan area, that intersection is guarded by a 10 foot tall statue of a bull with the letters “Meet the Challenge” inscribed on it’s podium.

I got to thinking. The reason that so many people get caught becoming an Ultimate Aggie is because they attempt it in large groups, at too early hours, during times when it would be expected. Here I was, alone and thus able to complete the task in a matter of moments, 2 in the morning when there was little activity, game night so there were plenty of other cars in the parking lot to not arise suspicion and it was February so the authorities wouldn’t be patrolling the area as heavily – after all, who would be dumb enough to sit naked astride a giant metal statue of a bull in the middle of winter? Me, I am that stupid.

So I did. I undressed in the car down to nothing but my p-coat. Made my way to the base of the beast, shed my loins, clambered up there, got comfortable, and enjoyed the feeling of pure freedom of sitting naked atop a giant bull under the stars. It wasn’t even cold until I got down and made my way back to my car a natural. By then I thought I had lost my toes for good and it took about a half hour before my feet thawed.

No pictures though, I’ll have to go back and get documentation.

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I took a fiction writing class last semester. Essentially, each student had to write 2 short fiction stories. Each story was then subsequently read and critiqued by the entire class mean in 15 short weeks I read 40 short stories written by amateur writers. Yes, it sucked.

So, after the first round of 20 stories I was a little tired of reading about young love, suicide, and daddy issues. With that mentality, I set out on my second story to write something completely and utterly different from what I had been reading. This was also around Halloween when I was preparing my Professor Plum costume AND when I was in the throes of a turbulent existential crisis that is just now starting to wear off. So, without further ado, here it is.

The Game

The four men met at a circular table in the center of a dark room. A single light hung from the ceiling, illuminating the green felt surface and the four stools placed around its edge but not quite arriving at the walls beyond.

They appeared in unison, materializing out of the surrounding darkness, and took their seats. Mr. Wood unbuttoned his blazer, exposing a grey cotton shirt. Benjamin removed his suit jacket entirely, slinging it over the back of his chair, loosening his tie and unbuttoning his collar. B.W. produced a deck of cards from the pocket of his worn denim jeans and faced the group with a grin.

“What’s the game, boys?” he asked.

“Hold ‘em,” Ben, the fourth, and barely visible from the darkness in his black shirt and dark denim pants, replied in a gruff, dismissive tone. “What else?”

B.W. smirked and looked around the table. “Wood, you mind dealing?”

“My pleasure,” Mr. Wood replied, taking the cards. He was slightly older than the others, or at least the graying of the hair at his temples and his posture suggested an advanced age. With the deck in hand, he split the cards with the silent precision of a surgeon, tapped the halves against the felt with two staccato strikes and folded them into one mass with a singular, flawless flick of the wrists.

B.W. let out a long and high-pitched whistle. “You’re getting good at that Woody.”

Mr. Wood smiled without looking up. He quickly dispatched the cards to each player and laid the flop down on the table.

“You’ve got the small, Ben,” B.W. said. Compared to the others, B.W. had a boyish quality about him. His hair was clean cut, but received no other attention than what gravity and a drying towel would provide.

The four men had met in college, thrown together haphazardly by fate rather than pure choice. Years had passed since those days, but they still met from time to time. For tonight’s first hand, the flop held little comfort: a jack for a tease and the 8 and 4 of diamonds. Ben popped the cap off a bottle of Guinness Stout against the table’s edge and let it fall to the floor, sending a tinkling echo through the quiet, empty darkness. He took a long, slow draught and wiped some foam from his lips.

“Not much love on the table.”

“Yeah, Wood,” B.W. said, “you deal pretty but you still give me the same crappy cards as always.” Mr. Wood chuckled and arranged the cards in his hand. “Then again,” B.W. started again, “you never played much with us back in the day. All you ever wanted to do was read.”

“And all you ever wanted to do was drink,” Mr. Wood said.

B.W. laughed. He sat back in his chair and looked upwards as if a film of their lives were playing overhead. “Yeah, that’s about right,” B.W. said, then sat silently for a few moments while the betting rounded the table. “But once you got that girlfriend of your’s, you really disappeared. What was her name? The brunette? Jane?”

“Janet,” Ben cut in without lifting his gaze from his cards.

“Bullshit,” Mr. Wood said with mock offense, “it was you three who disappeared.”

“Janet, that’s right. Whatever happened to her?” B.W. asked.

The room fell quiet with a forceful silence. Most of the men did not move but Ben, ever so subtly, stole two quick glances; first at Mr. Wood, then at Benjamin.

“She met me,” Benjamin said, leaning slightly forward and bringing his pale face into the light, “and didn’t come around much after that.”

Benjamin clicked a lighter and drew a cigarette to his mouth. He inhaled, sucking his body forward through the breath and coming to rest with his elbows on the table.

The game progressed in silence. Bets were placed with only the slightest gestures to move things along. Shortly after the turn, the betting came to Benjamin. “I’ll raise,” he said, sending a cascade of chips onto the pile.

Ben slapped his cards down on the table. “Really? You’re gonna’ have us chasing that much money on the first hand?”

Giving no heed to the outburst, Mr. Wood calmly tossed his chips onto the table, Ben followed with a grunt and lastly B.W with a quiet chuckle.

“I call,” B.W. said leaning back and folding his arms across his sweater.

The three men looked at Benjamin, who gave a nod of his head and smiled, showing his teeth. Mr. Wood reached out and set one card aside, then placed the river down on the table: jack of hearts. Each man straightened up, adjusting the cards in his hand. Benjamin scanned his friends over the top of his cards, extended his hand and knocked on the table, passing his bet.

Mr. Wood stopped, ran a hand over his goatee and pushed a pile of chips into the center of the table. “I’ll raise,” he said. Ben and B.W. folded their hands in quick succession.

Benjamin turned towards Mr. Wood with a purposeful shift. The attention of B.W. and Ben were fixed on Benjamin, waiting for some unknown but anticipated action. Mr. Wood, meanwhile, remained slowly scratching the hair on his face and staring fixedly at his cards.
Benjamin adjusted his tie, reached into his slacks and produced a small pistol. He raised his hand, aimed at Mr. Wood’s temple and fired.

In a single, fluid movement Mr. Wood toppled over into the darkness. A faint trickle of smoke curled upwards out of the gun’s extended barrel, which Benjamin soon matched with a puff of smoke from the cigarette in his mouth. He returned the gun to his pocket, took a long drag on the cigarette and flicked it away over the now-empty seat.

B.W. stared at Benjamin wide-eyed. Ben took another swallow, seemingly indifferent to what had just taken place.

“Was that necessary?” B.W. asked, annoyed.

Shrugging his shoulders, Benjamin began collecting the pot. “He was bluffing.”

Ben grabbed the deck and placed it roughly down in front of B.W. “Deal,” he said, demanding, then sat back and folded his arms across his snug-fitting T-shirt. B.W. looked shocked for a moment, then shrugged it off and took the cards.

“No sense letting that ruin a good game.”

B.W. dealt out a new hand to the three men and placed the flop down on the table. Ben opened another bottle of Guinness and hastily pressed it to his lips.

“Do you guys remember when we started playing?” B.W. asked as chips starting landing in the center of the table.

“Junior year,” Ben said in his customary monosyllabic style.

“Right, but it was after you stopped waiting tables.”

“Right,” Ben said, more in a guttural noise than an actual word.

“He didn’t stop,” Benjamin said. There was a melody in his tone and both his mouth and eyes had a hidden gleam. “He was fired.”

“I quit,” Ben said, suddenly animated. “I told that asshole off and walked out the door.”

Benjamin didn’t respond, he merely took a drag on his cigarette. He folded his cards and Ben, with a sigh, did the same. B.W. gave a soft “woo-hoo” and began collecting his winnings.

“Well, well. Don’t mind if I do,” he said.

“Shut up,” Ben snarled.

B.W. dealt out two cards to each man and laid out the flop: 2, Queen, Ace. “Oh, that’s more like it,” he said, flipping a chip onto the table. “I’m always lucky with a lady on the table.”

“Shut up, man,” Ben said, noticeably agitated.

B.W. shot him a sideways glance and returned to his cards, tsk-tsking in disapproval. “Can’t say if this is the one, though. I don’t like what I’m seeing here,” he said, then turned to Ben with a big, sloppy grin.

“Hit me!”

The blow came suddenly. B.W. was still smiling like an idiot when he was struck just above the right eye, sending him over the back of his chair and into the darkness. A soft thud registered the contact of his body with the floor.

Ben withdrew his fist and began rubbing his knuckles with his other hand. “Wrong game, asshole,” he muttered under his breath.

Benjamin chuckled and placed his chips on the table. Ben took a swig of Guinness and matched the bet.

Both men stopped, eyeing the deck of cards sitting lifelessly in front of an empty seat. Then, in unison, their gaze left the cards and fell on each other. After a moment passed, Benjamin broke the silence.

“Relax,” he said, flashing a blinding smile of sharp white teeth, “I’ll do the honors.” He set one card aside and then placed the turn down on the table: 2, clubs. With an exchange of glances, neither man raised the stakes and Benjamin moved on to the river: 10, diamonds. Five fingers clutched a pile of chips and sent them crashing onto the table. Ben responded with a loud snort.

“You keep betting like that and we’ll only have two or three hands,” he said.

“You know what? You’re right,” Benjamin responded, and leaning forward pushed the remainder of his chips into the center of the table. He sat back, leaning his chair onto its hind legs, interlocking his hands behind his head and taking a long drag through upturned lips. The two men studied each other. There was a slight shake in Ben’s fingers and a soft glow began to show on his brow.

“Tell me,” Benjamin said, taking the cigarette from his mouth and speaking slowly as though the words were slipping through his teeth, “what are you going to do when this is all over?”

“It’s never over,” Ben said timidly as though the words caused him some physical pain. “You know as well as I do we’ll all be back here in a couple of days.”

“Maybe not. Maybe this time, finally, when I shoot you, you stay down.”

Both men sat frozen, then in one motion Ben clasped the edge of the table, flung it across the room and dove across the space. Benjamin pitched forward, reaching his hand into his pocket but was too late, he was struck and the two men toppled backwards into the dark.

For a few brief moments there was the sound of rustling, quick-drawn breaths and the muffled thuds of contact on flesh before two shots rang out of the darkness and brought a hushed silence.

A minute passed with nothing but a single light suspended in the air and illuminating a circle, empty except for 4 stools sitting askew. Slowly, a shape materialized. Two arms reached down and placed an upturned stool on its feet. A hand reached out, took hold of a jacket that was slung over the backrest and, tossing it over the white shoulder of a collared shirt, reached up and took hold of the gold chain hanging down from the light. Then with a sharp click, there was nothing.

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