Thursday, May 31, 2007


Best first date EVER! (I know you're reading this.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You can forget all your troubles; forget all your cares and go...

Downtown SLC
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Yesterday, since I didn't have to work and everyone else did, I decided to head down to SLC and just walk around the downtown area. There are tons of galleries and shops and interesting things to see. I parked at the north end of the city, and set off on foot for several hours.

Downtown SLC
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
I saw some great art, and picked up a couple t-shirts at a random store owned by the guy who was working there. I also hit up some cool antique and quirky retro shops. Then, I had a very late lunch with Katie and Ryan at little underground (both figuratively and literally) sandwich place called Boston Deli.

Boston Building
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
The weather has been a little cooler the past couple days, so walking around downtown was perfect. Warm in the sun with a cool breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. Walking around all those city blocks, I couldn't help but smile. What a great day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Me and Snoop Go Way Back

This is inventive and amusing. For an example of the wax with street cred, go here. Holla!

The Devil's Workday

Utilities Shop
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
My long work-end is over. I now have the next two days off.
I know I made it sound absolutely horrible, but working this weekend wasn't all that bad. But it was pretty boring. So boring, that I decided to take pictures of work. This is my shop. Normally, all the trucks aren't around because they're out on jobs.

Utilities Interior
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
This is the inside of my shop.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
This is one of many wells on base, and one of my major responsibilities. It doesn't look like much, but it goes into the ground about 700 feet. It's a great job made even better by working with a great crew. The absence of my co-worker is what made this weekend so dull. A lesser man would have taken extra-long lunches and surfed the internet during downtime. Yes, I am that lesser man.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memory Gospel

My Dad is a Vietnam Veteran. He served in the Air Force as an F-4 mechanic from 1965 to 1969. Though he did spend a good amount of time in Vietnam, most of his time overseas was spent in the Phillipines. When I was growing up, he rarely talked about his experiences over there. I saw a few pictures and heard a few stories, but most of them were rather lighthearted or humourous.
When I was 15, my parents and I took a summer vacation to Washington, DC. It was my first time there, and we were typical tourists, taking in as many historical attractions as we could. The day before we left, we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I couldn't believe how big it was, bearing the names of all those people who died. There were several visitors that day, and the three of us got separated for a few minutes. I was wandering around, reading names, and looked up to see my Dad a few yards away. As I walked toward him, I saw his head was down. A big knot formed in my stomach. It was the only time I've ever seen him cry.
Being only 15, I didn't really know how to react. I just stood there, dumbfounded, and waited until Mom walked up. If I could go back to that time and place where my Father and I stood before that Wall, I would have hugged him and comforted him and held him until he stopped weeping. Even now, when I think about it, that same knot still forms in my stomach.

My Dad is also a big biker. Every year, he rides in a rally called Rolling Thunder, where bikers from all over the country ride to Washington, DC for Memorial Day weekend for various services, events, and a big parade. This year was no exception. He still has a hard time going to the Wall. He knew those men. They had families and hopes and dreams and lives. It doesn't matter anymore why they were there. Their names represent a wound in our history that is slowly healing. Just like my Dad.

That's My DJ!

After the exhibit yesterday, I had dinner with Jonathan at a great little vegetarian Chinese restaurant. We then met up with Carrie, Emily, Tara, Chris, Taylor, Marty, and Gideon for the Girl Talk show at the Urban Lounge. I was a little reluctant to go to another late show since I've been working all weekend, but if you know anything about Girl Talk, you know it's not a show to be missed.
The opening act was a local band called The Vile Blue Shades, an 11(!)-piece band which included three drummers and a dancing girl who wore nothing but a fishnet body stocking and well-placed blue rope. They didn't come on until 11, but their blend of experimental punk and progressive dance made me not even care about work today.

Girl Talk
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Girl Talk is actually just one guy, Gregg Gillis. He played the Coachella festival a few weeks ago, and I'd read that his set blew everyone away. The only thing on the stage was him and two lap-top computers, and as soon as the first beat dropped, people stormed the stage to dance all around him. Normally, bands wouldn't permit something like this, but Mr. Gillis welcomed it. His music isn't made up of his own music. It's mash-ups of tons of different artists, but he puts everything together so well, he makes it his own. Plus, there's a new sample every few seconds and it really keeps you on your toes. Few people could mix Fleetwood Mac with Paul Wall with Steve Winwood with Britney Spears with The Smashing Pumpkins and make it sound even remotely danceable. But he did it. The whole dancefloor was completely packed, and not a single person stopped dancing the whole time. About halfway through, he brought his set-up to the middle of the dancefloor, so the entire stage could be used for dancing and everyone could see better. He had to end his set at 1 AM, and by the time we walked outside, I'd traded sweat with half the crowd.
By far, the best line of the night was early on, when we were having a pre-show party at Chris's place. Gideon walked in the door and...
Gideon: Man, I'm pretty drunk already.
Carrie: When did you start drinking?
Gideon: When I was 17.
I laughed and laughed and laughed again.

Create to Destroy

Project 337
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
After work yesterday, I showered and headed straight down to SLC to check out the 337 Project building. We didn't have any luck getting inside last Friday, so I wanted to make one final attempt before it's demolished.

337 Screen
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
The wait this time was only an hour, and there was plenty of stuff on the outside to make that time fly by. What I realised this time was that even the outdoor exhibits were something from inside the house. Most of the interior doors were removed and used as canvases. The window screens. Parts of the plumbing. Everything.

337 Truck
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

337 Wall
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

337 Tagger
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
This artist was still doing some work outside, painting ceiling tiles.

I only waited about 45 minutes before my ticket was called to go inside, and what I saw was completely indescribable. Each artist collectively made this structure into a living, breathing artwork. Sometimes entire rooms had a theme, while other rooms were tagged by several different people. I saw it all. Real and surreal. Dark and humourous. Sensual and spiritual. Political and environmental. Social and personal. Audible and silent. And everything inbetween. It was so fascinating to see all these different people's inspirations and perceptions of life.

337 Room
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
I took pictures, both inside and out. They just don't do it justice. Nothing could really capture how wonderful this project is, and it's sad that it will all be torn down in a few weeks; but the artists feel the only way to fulfill their dream is to demolish the whole thing.

337 Room
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

337 Room
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

337 Mirror
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

337 Bathroom
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

337 Room
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
This room was probably my favourite. I wish there were some way to post a 3-D picture. It was very haunting.

337 Entrance
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
I got the chance to talk with a few different artists. They all had different stories and motivations and visions. It made me feel so lucky to live in such an interesting world full of such beautiful people.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Nobody should ever have to get up this early on a weekend. Ugh.

Lonely Weekend

It's gonna be a long weekend. It's bad enough that I'm working all weekend. What's worse is that I'll be the only one in the shop. All by myself. Luckily, the boss is giving me even more comp time next week. And I'm never one to turn down extra days off.
For my exciting Friday night, I think I'll make a trip to the supermarket; and, if I'm feeling really frisky, I might even rent a movie. Does the excitement ever end?

Friday, May 25, 2007

We Had Some Massive Nights

The Urban Lounge is a little hipster bar in SLC. It's small and dark and smokey, and the perfect venue for a band like The Hold Steady, who played there last night.
The opening band was The Heartless Bastards, a indie-blues-garage band from Cincinnati, fronted by Erika Winnerstrom, whose voice was as sullen as Beth Orton and as gravelly and commanding as Patti Smith. Their songs had simple melodies that really stuck, and I was a little disappointed they only played for an hour.

The Hold Steady
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
The Hold Steady are one of those bands that are really amazing, but since they don't get any play on the radio, then nobody really knows about them. They're from Brooklyn and play alt-bar rock that's reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen or The Afghan Whigs. That's not normally my type of music, but what sets apart The Hold Steady are their superb lyrics, telling stories of relationships and alcohol. Combine that with catchy melodies and driving guitars, and it's a formula for an album that ended up on several "Best of 2006" lists last year.
The only drawback about shows at The Urban Lounge is that they start so late. The Heartless Bastards didn't take the stage until 10, so it was after 11 by the time The Hold Steady came out. It's not so bad on the weekends, but when you have to work the next day, it's draining. However, I was so into the show I didn't care at all. Craig Finn's voice is very distinct and on stage, he's very animated, which is odd considering how the music is so laid back. You can feel his pain when he sings, "I've had kisses that make Judas seem sincere," and you know he means it. The entire band had a great vibe, and I feel lucky to have gotten to see both bands in such a small venue.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Utopia Parkway - Mad Props #2

Mad Props to Adam Schlesinger. You may not have heard his name before, but chances are you've heard his music. He's the pop mastermind behind the bands Fountains of Wayne and Ivy. FOW, most famous for their hit "Stacy's Mom," produce some of the best power-pop out there. Each of their albums combines catchy melodies with painfully humourous lyrics, creating addictive songs you can't help but sing along with. Ivy, however, is a much more mellow lounge-pop band fronted by Dominique Durand, whose voice is equal parts Nico sultry and Edie Brickell laxness. When an Ivy song comes up on my iPod, it's suddenly a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park.
Besides writing songs and playing in these two bands, Schlesinger also writes songs for such movies as "Josie and the Pussycats," "Music and Lyrics," and "That Thing You Do!" even earning an Oscar nomination.
Most recommended are FOW's "Welcome Interstate Managers," and Ivy's "In the Clear." Though both albums are totally different, you'll be able to hear Adam's presence on both. And chances are, you'll be addicted immediately.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fire Water Burn

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
As if I didn't get enough camping during the exercise last week, I went again last night; but this time there was beer. Thaddeus is in town for a few days, so he, Caleb, Josh, Zack, and I went camping at a place called Northfork.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Northfork is only about 45 minutes away, and it's a gorgeous area. The campsites were well-maintained and secluded.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
And there were silkworm cocoons everywhere.

Josh, Thaddeus, & Zack
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Caleb & Zack
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We made hobo dinners that tasted great.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After the sun went down, the temperature dropped quite a bit. But the fire kept us plenty warm. We roasted marshmallows, and Josh roasted a Twinkie. He said it was pretty good, but I wasn't about to try it.

In the Rain
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We woke up this morning to a familiar sound - raindrops on the tent. I don't think I've ever gone camping where it hasn't rained at least once. It didn't stop us from having a good time, though.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

All the Drama You've Been Craving

Last night, Scott, Mark, Brian, and I went to the 4th Annual SLAM. This is an event put on by the Plan-B Theatre Company where five 10-minute plays are created, cast, rehearsed, and performed in a 24-hour period. The titles are drawn out of hats and the actors are distributed at random. All the details are left to chance, and it's the job of the troupe to bring it all together. Most of last night's plays were closer to 15 minutes, but they were all great. Some were funny, some dramatic, some tragic, some a mixture. I found it amazing that the actors could even learn their lines in such a short period of time. It's been a long time since I've been to the theatre, and I'd forgotten just how much I love it.

Me & Amy
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After the play, we headed to John's house for a little party where I met Amy, with whom I am totally smitten. Definitely the coolest girl I've met in a long time.

Hangin' at John's
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
John was just going to have a small gathering, but word travels fast and there ended up being quite a few people there. Far more than I've ever seen at his house before.

Mikey & Floyd
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Mikey, Floyd, Kyle, & Jeff just got back from Florida, and they were all tan and stuff. Plus, today is Mikey's birthday, so he was doing some extra celebrating.

Ryan, Me, & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
My alcohol intake has been rather low lately. I had some bourbon last night, and I was surprised at how fast it hit me. I didn't get sloppy drunk, but it was just enough to make me extra social. Thanks to John for his hospitality and to Paul for letting me crash at his place.

Painted By Numbers

A couple years ago, Doug bought a house in a really great location in SLC. He's slowly been making different improvements on it, and finally decided to make the most drastic and important one yesterday. Painting it.

Doug's House - Before
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
You can see why it needed to be painted. I mean, pink isn't exactly the most attractive colour for a house, unless you're Elton John. I love projects and was happy to help out.

Doug & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We started around 11 AM, and painted all afternoon.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Doug's House - After
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We painted everything but the rear wall, and, as you can see, it's a vast improvement. The hardest part was getting inbetween all the bricks. We finished around 6 PM, and gave ourselves much-deserved pats on our backs. It makes me feel good to help people, especially when they buy me beer.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Artful Dodgers

Gallery Stroll
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
One thing that surprises a lot of people about Salt Lake City is the amount of culture and art in the area. There are several great theatre programs, an accomplished symphony, a world renowned ballet company, and the theatre study at the U of U is one of the top ten in the nation. One of the coolest things is a monthly event called the Gallery Stroll, sponsored by the Salt Lake Gallery Association. The third Friday of every month, all the art galleries in the downtown area stay open late so people can come browse. They serve wine and cheese, and it's a great opportunity to see new pieces from local artists.

Mike, Jake, Christina, & Chad
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Chad has invited me to the Gallery Stroll several times, but I've never really had the opportunity to go. So last night, I made sure I was free to join him, Christina, Mike, Jake, and Jeff for the festivities.

Rio Grande Hotel
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We walked around for two hours and saw only a fraction of what was available. But every gallery had something cool and unique.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
One gallery had watercolours from children in an underpriveleged school district. They each painted pieces based on famous artists, and used the proceeds to help their school. It was adorable.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I saw so many great pieces, and never before have I been so desperate to have several thousand dollars in my wallet so I could take a few things home.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

One reason I wanted to make it a priority to go last night was to see Project 337. It's an old building scheduled for demolition next month, but before it's destroyed, 137 local artists have turned it into a big canvas and painted every square inch of it. Last night was the first night it was open. When we got there, the wait to go inside was three hours, but we looked around at the exterior, which was pretty spectacular in itself. There were tons of people there, and it seemed everyone was unique in his or her own way. We never made it inside, but luckily, it will be open the rest of the weekend, as well as next weekend, so I'm definitely going to make an effort to see it.

Jake & Chad
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
One thing I haven't mentioned is how drunk everyone was before I even made it down to SLC. I stayed sober the whole night, but watching every elses antics was quite amusing.

Jake, Christina, & Jeff
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After the Gallery Stroll, we went to eat at The Red Iguana, which is some of the finest Mexican food in the Salt Lake Valley. Then we headed back to Mike's place for a few more drinks.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Despite the appearance, Chad didn't pass out. But he does have two different shoes on. Somewhere along the evening, he and Jeff traded one shoe. Those artsy people always have to be different.

SLC Skyline
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Mike has a great apartment downtown at the Gateway. This is the view out his window. Last night made me realise how much of a city boy I really am, and how great it would be to live in a downtown area surrounded by all the diverse people and culture and architecture. Salt Lake City really is a great town.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Give and Take

There used to be three people working my job on my shift, but Jim is now working in the training office, leaving just Johnny and me. Hence, when either of us wants time off, we have to make sure the other one will be present. Johnny has been planning a trip over Memorial Day for a long time, so it looks like I'll be working all weekend long. I had the last long weekend, President's Day, off, so it's only fair. I'll have to miss the big annual Moab camping trip; however, I'd rather work over Memorial Day in order to have Labour Day off.
As compensation, the boss gave me Monday and Tuesday off. So, if anyone wants to party early next week, give me a call.

Roughing It

Whew! So, that happened. I spent the last 48 hours practicing field exercises, and all I have to show for it is dirt-clogged pores and sore muscles. Luckily, they gave us tomorrow off to recover. I could describe all the fun things that went on, such as convoy training, defensive fighting positions, and troop movement, but I'm sure you'd rather pry out your toenails with a crowbar. I will now proceed to Roosters for a much-deserved beer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Out of Breath

Yesterday was exhausting, and when I went to bed last night, it was still light outside. And after rolling around on the ground with an M-16 all day today, tonight will probably be the same. But the worst part of this training, by far, is having a lead instructor who really, REALLY likes to hear himself talk. Tomorrow night, we're staying out in the field, so I won't be back until Thursday afternoon, no doubt with dirt rubbed into my skin and a sweat-soaked uniform. This weekend can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


There's yet another exercise going on this week, the third one in which I've participated since I got back from Iraq. This one focuses on field training (tuck-n-roll, weapons, defensive fighting positions, etc.) instead of the usual chemical warfare crap. And Wednesday, we even get to have a sleep-over at the exercise play area. This is the stuff that makes me want to cross-train to a nice office job.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Bees vs. Sounds
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Last night, John, Ryan, Nick, Nick, and I went to the Bees game. They played the Nashville Sounds, and, after 11 very exciting innings, the Bees won 9-8.

John, Ryan, & Brian
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After the game, we went to Brian and Ryan's house. Brian's sister, Leslie, and her husband, Jeff, were visitng from Dallas for the weekend, and they were super-cool. The weather was great, and we spent most of the night socialising on the porch.

Me, John, & Jeff
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Leslie & Nick
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Nick has the funniest stories, and an amazingly low alcohol tolerance. When the two are combined, the laughter doesn't stop for hours.

Leslie, Brian, & Ryan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
It was a nice, mellow evening, and I consumed the perfect amount of alcohol. Thanks to Nick for driving, and, as always, thanks to Brian and Ryan for their endless hospitality.