Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Notes on a Rhythm #5 - Mood Music

The great chanteuse Madonna once sang, "Music makes the people come together." I couldn't agree more. "Music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel," she continued. Huh? That doesn't even rhyme, but that song sure got me shakin' my ass.
I dance at home. I dance at whatever club we go to. I dance in my truck. I dance at work when nobody is looking (and sometimes even when they are). No matter my mood, if a really great dance tune comes on, my feet are moving. My Mom taught me to swing dance when I was little, and I remember not wanting to leave my first high school dance because I was having so much fun.
I think that's the best thing about music. It can change my mood so quickly and so drastically. If I'm hyper and I want to mellow out; if I'm down and I want to cheer up; if I'm angry, and I want to get over it, I can find something to satisfy me. When I'm feeling romantic, I queue up Jill Scott's "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat). When I want to rock out, I put on "Coral Fang" by The Distillers. When I'm feeling dark, I listen to "Is This Desire?" by PJ Harvey.
Sometimes songs have different effects on me, depending on when I listen to them. One time, I started crying when "Holiday" by Green Day came on. It's such a powerful song, not just sonically, but the lyrics really hit me.
But there's really nothing like a perfect pop song. And not just "pop' in the sense of Britney or Justin. I'm thinking "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure, or "Runaway" by Del Shannon or "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor or "Lithium" by Nirvana. Those songs may not sound anything alike, but they're all so instantly recognizable and totally irresistable.
Every genre has its good and bad; but it's all distinct and relevant and important (yes, even country). I can't explain why music has such an influence on me. It's in my genes, and it's there to stay. And I don't know what I'd do without it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Notes on a Rhythm #4 - Video Killed the Radio Star

I grew up in a very small town. So small, in fact, that our cable company didn't even offer MTV! (How did I ever survive?) Arriving at college, I got my first real taste of MTV, and, as crappy as it was, I watched it as much as I could. I never really got the chance to see it in its heyday. You know, when they played videos.
To me, music videos are like underwear. You don't really need them, but they can certainly enhance things.
Nowadays, MTV has been rendered rather irrelevant, as far as music videos go, thanks, in part, to the internet. You can find just about any music video online, and there are some pretty good ones out there. I've collected a few I find extra special. Hope you enjoy them, as well.

Best Summer Video:

This video makes me wish it were summer all year long. Bonus points for the nods to Schoolhouse Rock.

Best Dream-like Video:

Michel Gondry is an awe-inspiring director.

Video Most Likely to Give You Nightmares:


Most Surreal Video:

Madonna was at her creative peak in the 90s, and this proves it.

Best Subtitled Video:

Like I said, Radiohead are the masters.

Best Video That Makes Death Seem So Beautiful:

I'm not a MCR fan, but this song is an exception.

Best Video That Makes Me Cry:

I totally lose it at the end.

Best Live Performance Video:

PJ Harvey AND Bjork! I would have given anything to be there.

Best 80s Video:

This one really set the standard for non-performance videos.

Best 80s Nostalgia Video:

Those outfits and the robot moves make it just like 1985 all over again.

Best Hip-Hop Video:

I wish she'd come out with some new stuff, because her first album was amazing.

Best Absurdly Hysterical Video:

It's all about the moose.

This list isn't very thorough, and there are several glaring omissions; but if I were to put up all my favourite videos, this post would last forever. Hopefully, you'll see a few you've never seen before.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ill Communication

My apologies for neglecting the wax for the past couple days, but I've been kinda sick. Not projectile-vomitting-sick; more like so-weak-I-can-barely-move sick. I somehow made it to work Thursday and Friday, but left early both days, and went straight to bed, sleeping for 14 hours Thursday night. It's been a great weight-loss program, as my diet has consisted of half a granola bar and a piece of toast. I'm feeling somewhat better today, and hope to resume normal posts tomorrow. Take care.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cheers, Beers, & Pioneers!

Yesterday was Pioneer Day, the biggest holiday in Utah. Most people are off work, and since I had a couple comp days coming, I took off Monday and Tuesday. Brian also took some time off, and our initial plan was to go camping. But the forecast didn't look good, so we decided to stick around the local area.

Causey Reservoir
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Monday afternoon, Brian, Caleb, and I made the 30-minute drive up to Causey Reservoir to do a little swimming and cliff-jumping. The water was perfect--cool and clear.

Causey Reservoir
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Some of the cliffs we jumped off were around 40 feet up. The longer we stood at the top looking down, the harder it got to jump. But the sensation of falling is so exhilarating.

Tuesday, after lunch and shopping and a movie, we all went to Brian's house for a Pioneer Day campaign fundraiser. I had a bit too much bourbon and took tons of pictures, mostly of Kate, Brian, and myself.

Brian, Kate, & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Me & Kate
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Is this girl not adorable?

Kate & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Tyler, Nick, & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Brian lives adjacent to Liberty Park, where the big fireworks show is. We walked down and watched the whole thing, but that's where the night got a little fuzzy for me.

Brian & Kate
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Thanks to Brian for taking care of me. I drove home at 5:30 this morning, and work today was quite a struggle. Thankfully, it's a short work-week, as I plan on using next weekend for recovery.

Notes on a Rhythm #3 - Words And Guitar

One of the greatest things is when you hear a really catchy song, and the lyrics are amazing, and they fit well with the mood of the song, and it's just one great package. But unfortunately, so many times crappy lyrics can ruin a potentially great song. And sometimes, they make a bad song even worse.
Cases in point:
"I wish that I could fly/Into the sky/So very high/Just like a dragonfly."
--"Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz
"What can we do?/What are we gonna do?/Roses are red/And violets are blue."
--"Now That We Found Love" by Heavy D & The Boyz
Did these guys get second graders to write for them? Thankfully, there are lyrics out there consisting of some of the most beautiful poetry ever put to music. Some really straddle the line, and could easily sound like drivel if delivered by a different artist or in a different fashion. I'm glad there are artists out there who know their audience and their limitations, and can write accordingly.
Here are a few examples of, in my opinion, great lyrics:
"I'm makin' my move/Lettin' loose like a belt/Little worse for wear/But I'm wearin' it well"
--"Elevator Music" by Beck
The great thing about Beck is how his lyrics flow so effortlessly, especially with his super-funky tunes.
"In your endless summer night/I'll be on the other side/When you're beautiful and dying/all the world that you've denied/When the water is too deep/you can close your eyes and really sleep tonight"
--"Boys On The Radio" by Hole
In 1998, I was in a hard-core Hole phase (which has never really ended), and I used to write out Courtney's lyrics. That sounds so highschool girl-ish, but I think she writes beautifully.
"You can feel her from the palm/that you're holding on your arm/Cool hands from the get-go/Can you feast on the real one?/Don't be in love with the autograph/Just be in love when you love that song on and on/Free"
--"Free" by Cat Power
Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall) has such a sultry, lazy voice. Her words just float over her music, whether it's the mellow, acoustic songs for which she's known, or even the more upbeat stuff.
"Not a day goes by I don't think about you/You left your mark on me/It's permanent, a tattoo/Pierce the skin and the blood runs through/Oh, my baby"
--"Right In Time" by Lucinda Williams
Lucinda's warm, sincere alt-country has really gotten to me over the years. So much emotion is conveyed in her deep, gravelly voice. She's a perfectionist, and it shows.
"A heart that's full up like a landfill/A job that slowly kills you/Bruises that won't heal/You look so tired, unhappy/Bring down the government/They don't, they don't speak for us/I'll take the quiet life/a handshake of carbon monoxide/No alarms and no surprises, please"
--"No Surprises" by Radiohead
Thom Yorke really is the master. Radiohead has never made a bad album. They continue to expand their sound, both lyrically and musically. They take chances, and have yet to disappoint.
"Is there splendor?/I'm not ashamed/Desire shoots through me like birds singing/The way you move/No ocean's waves were ever as fluid"
--"Get Up" by Sleater-Kinney
You know I couldn't write this without mention of my favourite band ever. This is one of their more mellow songs, but still one of their best.

I'm not a poet, by any means, but I can tell good writing from bad. The first time I was in Iraq, I had a two-hour discussion with my friend Heath on the lyrics to "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I love it when the mood of a song is juxtaposed by the lyrics; or when girl punk-rockers sing from a male point-of-view; or when, even after I've heard a song a hundred times, something about the words clicks and I get a whole new perspective on it. It used to bother me when artists didn't include lyrics in their albums, but thanks to the internet, it's not such a big deal anymore. Lyrics are a crucial part of a song, and truly have the power to make or break it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Notes on a Rhythm #2 - Delayed Gratification

Music takes up a decent-sized portion of my annual budget. Most of the records I buy are by artists I already admire, but the ones I pick up from new artists are usually based on things read and comparisons made. I try to give everything a fair chance, but sometimes, music gets put on my iPod and is soon forgotten until it comes up on shuffle four months later.
A few albums have made the jump from "forgotten" to "favourite," meaning I bought an album, forgot about it, and then somehow rediscovered it where it became a staple of my collection. A prime example is "Hope Is Important," the first full-length album from Idlewild. I bought it in 1998 based on reviews ("...a clever mash-up of Kurt Cobain and Michael Stipe," said one), but it didn't really resonate with me. I guess I didn't learn my lesson when their second major LP, "100 Broken Windows" was released in 2000, and it's a good thing. Following the herd of more glowing reviews, I picked up this album and instantly fell in love with it. Consequently, I began listening to "Hope Is Important" again, and discovered what a brilliant album it really is. This is but one example from a list of several, including The Rapture's "Echoes," Interpol's "Turn On the Bright Lights," Kanye West's "The College Dropout," and many, many others. And not always because I bought subsequent albums by the same artist. Sometimes it's just dumb luck.
Another reason this happens is sometimes I buy two albums at the same time, and one eclipses the other. I purchased The Good, The Bad & The Queen around the same time Modest Mouse released "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank." MM's record still plays at least once a week in my truck, while GBQ is just now starting to emerge, nearly four months later, mostly on Sunday afternoons.
A similar phenomenon often occurs with individual tracks on an album. What happens most often is I buy a record and fall in love with the first five or six songs, and end up listening to the first half of the album for weeks on end. Eventually, I'll get to the latter part of the album, only to discover how many wonderful songs are hidden somewhere toward the back. It's almost like finding an album you didn't know you had. Or getting another one, altogether. Prime examples include "No Girl So Sweet," track 11 on PJ Harvey's "Is This Desire?" or "The Air Near My Fingers," track 12 on "Elephant" from The White Stripes.
Maybe this only happens with me, but I'm glad it does.
Still, there are just as many albums that stay hidden in the back, never to live out their true destiny, blaring from the speakers in my truck. (Sorry, Hipsters, but I just can't get into Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.) It's kinda sad. I try to leave things on my iPod as long as possible, but due to lack of space, sometimes things must be deleted. Before I part with something, I make sure I have a hard copy, just in case; and I always give it one final listen before I hit the 'delete' key. I feel a certain attachment to these words and melodies I hear, and tossing something out is always a last resort. Unfortunately, yesterday saw the demise of The Like's "Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?" It wasn't a bad album, but it just didn't click with me. I gave it a few final listens in different environments (i.e. at the gym, on the way to the grocery store, before bed), so don't think I didn't try. Sometimes you just gotta let go. (And I should probably let Norah Jones know that things aren't looking so good for her latest album, either.) Plus, there are a few legendary artists that I'll be really determined to get into, but as much money as I spend on their albums and as much time as I devote to listening to their records, it just doesn't connect with me. I really appreciate you, Bob Dylan and U2. Some of your stuff I kept, and I'd even be willing to see you live, but I just can't refer to myself as a fan.
But for every instance of The Like, there's usually two Idlewilds, which is why I take so many risks in music purchases. Good music truly is the voice of God, and even the bad stuff deserves a listen every so often. (I think we all know Paris Hilton has done a little time on my earbuds. And I have no shame admitting that.) One of the best feelings ever is when I pick up a random album, and within a week, I can sing it through (i.e. Amy Winehouse, Elliott Smith, Peaches, et al). And this is what keeps, and will always keep me coming back for more.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Notes on a Rhythm #1 - A Melody Softly Soaring Through My Atmosphere

This month is the four-year anniversary of the purchase of my first iPod, so I've decided to devote a few days to something that means very much to me.
This series will be known as "Notes on a Rhythm."
I can't remember a time when music didn't have some impact on my life. Even when I was two, I remember singing along with my Mom in her little orange Honda hatchback. "New Kid In Town" by The Eagles still takes me back to when we used to go shopping with Mary, the lady who lived next door to us.
Several of my toys were music-related, and when I was seven, my parents got the notion to giving me piano lessons. I was overjoyed. My first piano teacher was Mrs. Berry, and she was the nicest lady in the world. I played "Chariots of Fire" for my first recital, and boy, was I nervous. Eventually, I moved on to other, more strict teachers; and in high school, I took lessons from Rita Butturi, who gave me exactly what I needed to prepare me to major in Piano Performance at Kentucky Wesleyan College. That's where I first fell in love with Mozart, Debussy, and Gershwin. I excelled in music theory and eartraining, but found music history boring. After four years, I was so burnt out, I never wanted to see a piano again for the rest of my life. But after joining the Air Force, I found myself playing once again, mostly at Church and for fun. And that's the way I like it.
I think spending so much time learning about music has enabled me to appreciate it more. When I hear songs on the radio, I pick out chord progressions, harmonies, and time signatures. I make comparisons to other songs and sometimes, to pieces I remember from college. If you've never taken any kind of music classes, you should think about enrolling in a music appreciation course. It will definitely help deepen your understanding of where composers and songwriters are coming from, even if you don't like what they've written.
Hearing old songs takes me back to different times and places, forming a nostalgic soundtrack of sorts. And when I hear a new song, I wonder if one day, I'll hear it again and it will bring me back to this place. It's haunting and exhilarating, enigmatic and euphoric, emotional and animated. Great music is truly the voice of God, and it's presence in my life is something I could never fully explain. But I'm grateful for it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


"...it's unbiblical, naive, unhelpful and arrogant for anyone to label THEIR particular way of resolving ambiguous social and political issues as the 'Christian' way. What makes a person 'Christian' is NOT that they have (or think they have) better moral intuitions or more political insight than other people. What makes a person 'Christian' is that they are 'Christ-like' in their willingness and capacity to BLEED for others."
--Greg Boyd

I've been listening to podcasts from Mars Hill Bible Church lately, and they're interesting and very challenging. I love when teachers bring a practical view of Christianity to their listeners.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Took the Night Off

There was a lot going on last night. The gallery stroll. The improv show. A Raptors game. But after an exhausting day at work, I didn't feel like doing anything at all. I sat home and read and wrote and was in bed by 9:30. It was great. Now I understand why God designed weekends with rest in mind.
Of course, I was awakened at 1 AM by Roommate Ryan who, along with Reese, was a little inebriated and needed a ride home. But that didn't bother me at all. I'd much rather lose out on some much needed sleep than let them attempt to drive somewhere in that condition. I know he'd do the same for me.

Finding Her Voice - Mad Props #4

One of my favourite programs on NPR is The Diane Rehm Show. It airs here in Utah from 9 to 11 AM, Monday through Friday on KUER. Johnny doesn't really like talk radio, so I don't always get to listen; and even when I do, it's sporadic since I'm always getting in and out of the truck. But I still appreciate Diane's direct and insightful questions and comments. She always has guests representing all sides of whatever issue she's covering. Plus the calls and e-mails from listeners can be quite, um...interesting. (Today, there was a caller from Henderson, Kentucky--the town where my parents live.) The best day to listen is Friday, when they have the Friday News Roundup. Diane and her panelists discuss, debate, and analyze everything that's happened within the past week, but without a bunch of bullshit. Her thirst for knowledge makes me want to stay informed about what goes on in my country and the entire world. Mad Props to you, Diane Rehm.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Ears Are Bleeding

Normally, I work by myself on Thursday and Friday, as those are Johnny's days off. But today, I had a passenger. One that likes to talk. A lot.
And my remark, "I'm not really into gaming," didn't prevent him from giving me a 45-minute discourse on his hundreds of classic Nintendo game cartridges and how much each one is worth. Or how he's going to build a half-pipe in his backyard when he gets to Alaska. Or how he's REALLY into indie comics. Or about how his next major purchase is going to be a Fry Daddy.
Thank you, God, for giving me the patience and good manners to smile and nod and say things like "Yeah," and "Uh-huh," for eight hours instead of, "Would you mind if neither of us said anything the rest of the day? 'Cause that would be so great."

A Woman Is A Sometime Thing

Last night, Brian and I went up to Logan (a delightful little town) to catch the Utah Festival Opera Company production of Porgy and Bess. We had front row seats, and I couldn't have been more impressed. I'm already a huge Gershwin fan, but I've never seen any productions of his work. But from the moment the curtain rose and Clara sang the first line of "Summertime," I knew we were in for a treat. It depicted a romantic slice of Depression-era black culture, and the music and cast were absolutely wonderful. If you ever get a chance to see (or hear) anything by Gershwin, don't hesitate.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Come and Knock On Our Door

Roommate Ryan applied for an Air Force program called Palace Chase a few weeks ago. This is when an airman on active duty transfers to Guard or Reserve duty. Normally, when someone does this, he signs up for double the time he has left on active duty. For example, Ryan has four years left, so he would devote eight years to the Guard. The reason Ryan was so eager to apply was because they are having a one-for-one deal (like a used car dealer or something), meaning he would only have to stay in the Guard for four years.
If this would have went through, he would be leaving in September, leaving me without a roommate for five months until I leave for Italy. My other option would be to put most of my stuff in storage and crash with a friend for a while, which was actually rather tempting.
Ryan found out yesterday that his application wasn't approved due to low manning in our job. He didn't seem too upset about it. I was happy because it makes things easier on me. Now instead of having to move all my stuff myself, the Air Force will do it for me. But mostly, it's nice to have a great roommate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Breathing Freely Again

If the purpose of exercises is to make us all wear our gas masks for hours on end, while not simulating anything remotely real-world and making us all a little claustrophobic and slightly disgruntled, then this one was an overwhelming success! And the Cheese Award goes to whomever decided to play "God Bless the USA" over the loudspeaker when we ENDEXed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Simple Pleasures

We're having an exercise this week, which began with a recall at 5:30 this morning. Luckily, this one is lasting only two days, so it's more of an inconvenience. And if my timing is right, I shouldn't have to wear my chem gear at all.
As sort of an entertaining distraction, I've signed myself up for a Twitter account. I'm going to use it as kind of a mini-blog within the larger blog. I've added a link in my sidebar if you'd like to check it out. If any of you decide to start one up, let me know. Of course, this may end up similar to my two-month foray into myspace, but it will be fun while it lasts.

In Circles

What must have been going through the head of the guy who pulled into the gym in front of me:
"I'll just drive around the parking lot over and over again so I can find a closer parking space. That way, I won't have to walk as far. To the gym."
I parked in the very last spot, and by the time I walked to the front entrance, the guy was just pulling into a space. At the GYM.

Monday, July 16, 2007

In a Flash

What a weekend! There was so much going on, including the first ever SLC Fashion Stroll (where locally owned boutiques stayed open late Friday night), delicious food from The Bakery, dancing at the W Lounge, Hot Fuzz at Brewvies, a failed bowling attempt, some brief karaoke, more dancing, and swimming here:

Originally uploaded by currtdawg

I feel like I've been going non-stop since Thursday, but it's definitely been fun. I stayed in SLC all weekend, which made things much easier. I can't believe I have to go back to work tomorrow. Where does the time go?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In the Army Now

Sam & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Sam has finally returned after 14 weeks of Army basic training. I went over to Caleb and Tanya's last night for dinner with the Wendt clan. It was really great to see Sam again and hear all his stories. He leaves in a week to head to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky for further training; and next year, he'll be deploying to Afghanistan. He really likes Army life and is looking forward to his trip across the globe. We'll be praying for you, Sam. Take care.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fair Balls & Fun People

Johnny, Sara, & Nick
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Last night, I went to an Ogden Raptors game with Johnny, his wife Sara, and Nick. This was the first time I've really gotten to talk with Sara, and she's totally adorable.

Ogden Raptors
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Unfortunately, Ogden didn't fare so well against the Idaho Falls Chukars. The Raptors lost 14-5, but it didn't stop us from laughing and having fun, especially when I was walking up the bleachers and fell and nearly spilt my beer. Thanks to Sara for scoring free tickets. It was a blast!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Oh, Those Summer Nights

Brian's birthday was Saturday (7-7-07!), but since he went on a gambling spree in Wendover, we hung out Sunday instead. This included going to see Once (Brilliant and charming with a beautiful soundtrack!), beers on the patio at Squatters, and then a trip to Sugarhouse Park for barefoot frisbee in the grass until the sun set. It was the kind of evening that reminded me of summers when I was a kid, playing in the grass after dusk as the air got cooler until my Mom told me to come inside. Weren't those great times?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Miles Per Gallon

I've gotten in the habit of taking an overnight bag with me any time I go to Salt Lake City on the weekends. It's only about 30 miles away, but when you figure in the return trip plus any driving around the city, it can add up. It saves me lots of time and money. Plus, it's nice not to have to worry about making any bad decisions if I happen to drink too much. I'm lucky enough to have friends who are more than willing to let me crash on their sofas. Thanks, you guys!

On the Spot

Last night, I went to an improv comedy show in Ogden. I'd heard about it before, but what prompted me to finally go was Adam, who I met on Wednesday at Drew and Becky's house. He's a member of Off The Wall, the troupe that performs every Friday night.
It was similar to Who's Line Is It Anyway?, in that there was lots of audience participation. It was very family-friendly, and there were several sketches that had me in stitches. It only cost $5, and it lasted nearly two hours (much cheaper than a movie and more entertaining). It's definitely something I'll see again in the future.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Rockets' Red Glare

Adam & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Yesterday, Drew and Becky had an Independence Day barbecue. My mission was to bring the beer ball. It was over five gallons of beer, and we finished it in just over two hours. Mission: accomplished!

Jo & Becky
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Several from Becky's family were there, including her Mom, Jo, who had, by far, the best line of the day when she asked Adam, "Are you screwing my daughter?!?!"

Toby & Brian
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Ryan, Kyle, Becky, & Adam
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Waste not, want not. Right, John?

Ryan & Ryan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Kyle & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
One of the many phases of John's drunkenness is when he likes to head-butt things. Here is Kyle fighting back.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Jen & Kaysie
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
You know it's a good barbecue when the girls get all grabby with each other.

John, Kyle, Becky, & Toby
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Poor Ryan gets caught in the crossfire of John and Becky flipping each other off, while Toby goes for the popcorn.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
We eventually got around to setting off some fireworks. The roman candles were tasty, but they gave me some serious heartburn.

John, Toby, & Drew
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
I'm not going to get into what John was doing to Toby, but here's a hint: it's illegal in 47 states.

Kyle, Becky, & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Sparklers are always my favourite!
I can't remember when I've had as much fun at a barbecue. Well, except the last time Drew and Becky had a barbecue. There were tons of people there, including many I met for the first time. A huge thanks to Drew and Becky for opening up their home and reminding us that getting drunk is what independence is all about.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

My former supervisor, TSgt Collin Adams, leaves today. He's been tasked for a 365-day tour in Iraq. He will be embedded with the Army, so before he even gets to Iraq, he has to endure three months of battle/convoy training. So basically, he's giving up 15 months of hugging his wife, playing ball with his son, and drinking beer with his friends--the very things we'll all be doing on this Independence Day.

The One to Hope - Mad Props #3

A few weeks ago, Brian introduced me to Feist, someone who I'd read about, but, for some reason, resisted buying her albums. But after hearing just a few songs in his car, I fell in love. Her voice is powerful, yet delicate, and each multifaceted song is crafted so wonderfully. It's smooth and mellow without being dull and sleepy. I can't help but feel a sense of warmth and love, especially when I see videos like this:

Not only is it amazingly cute, but it's all one big continuous take. How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Don't Look Back

Me & Lt White
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
It is finished. I took the oath at 10 AM this morning, and gave another four years of my life to the US Air Force. Lt. White gave me the oath (from memory!) while my entire shop looked on. I chose Lt. White because, not only is he one of the coolest LTs in my squadron, but I am forever indebted to him for introducing me to Yuengling, one of God's greatest creations, during our Eagle Flag exercise last year.

Taking the Oath
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
This was one of the last requirements for me to receive my official orders for Italy. I spent the rest of the day running around base getting final signatures and turning in paperwork. But I'm not totally out of the woods, yet. I still have some security clearance paperwork for which I received an extension. I'm hoping to have it turned in by the end of the week, but since Wednesday is a holiday, I bet all the desk jockeys on base will be moving at a glacial pace. Luckily, the folks in the Outbound Assignments office are pretty cool.
So, yeah, after this enlistment, I'll have just over 15 years in active duty. It's easy to say it's all downhill from here, but I'm going to Italy. It's gonna be an adventure!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Twenty-Five Candles

Ryan, Ryan, Becky, & Nick
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Today is John's birthday, so to celebrate, we all went to dinner last night, followed by a party at his place. Drew and Becky even came in all the way from Tooele.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
It was the perfect mood for a great party. Not too rowdy, and still enough people for some good socialising.

Jen & Nick
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
There hasn't been a single time where I've hung out with Tall Nick that he hasn't made me totally crack up at least twice.

Ryan & Drew
Originally uploaded by currtdawg

Ryan, Nick, Becky, Brian, & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
I don't know what's better: the fact that Ryan has his hand on Becky's ass, or the crazy maniacal look in his eye. This is one of my favourite pictures EVER!

Brian & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
One of the people in this picture is really drunk. The other one is Brian.

I really can't say enough good things about John. He's at the center of the social wheel of Salt Lake City, and because of him, I've met so many great people and had an immeasurable amount of fun. He's kind and loving and makes me laugh till it hurts. Happy birthday, John!

Natural Ingredients

Farmers Market
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Pioneer Park, in downtown SLC, is best known as the place where all the homeless people hang out all day. But every Saturday morning in the summertime, they have the Farmers Market. It's big enough to take up most of the park, and there were tons of people there. It seems like a big undertaking to have it every week, so it must be pretty profitable.

Farmers Market
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Most of the booths were primarily for fruits and vegetables, breads, jams, and other homemade foods from local vendors; but there were also plenty of booths featuring crafts and hand-made furniture and clothing. Plus, there were...

Juggling Hippie
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
street performers! This guy was juggling fire sticks and telling the funniest bad jokes I've ever heard.
The only thing I bought was some almonds, but I think I might be going back next week to pick up a few other things. It was a fun morning strolling through the park and watching the diverse groups of people coming out for such a great event.