Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's All Have Some fun.

Format lovers, come one, come all, and see the new band fun.
Former Format singer Nate Reuss's new project "fun." is officially in full swing with the release of their first studio album Aim and Ignite on tuesday.



Sorry, just audio for now, official video's haven't been released so there's nothing but amateur crowd-cam garbage.

I'm not a prophet but I'm here to profit, and frankly I am absolutely jazzed about this band. Check out the new cd streaming for free on myspace/fun and head over to my brother's blog Woody Style in the next couple days for an album review.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

So Long Sweet Summer

This post comes to you from Boise, Idaho where I'm spending the last weekend of summer in a Best Western waiting to suit-up and head to the temple (and D$#! do I look good, I get a tux later). Summer has officially come and gone, school starts on Monday, and on a sad note I've already spent all the money that I made working for the last 4 months (on the brighter side, I am basically rent-free now).

Looking back over the summer there have been some really good times. I made some new friends, played a lot, laughed, lived, and loved. Here's a sampling of the highlights.

Honorable mention: girl problems. I won't go into detail, but this summer was interesting.

5. Notch Lake Back-Packing Trip


We took a two-mile trip into the Unitas in July and relaxed our faces off. I took my hammock, read East of Eden, floated on a raft for a couple of hours, did some cliff jumping, and sat around a campfire for three days.

I love camping. I love waking up in a tent with the sun in my face and that cold chill in the air. Alpine meadows, endless horizons, and good company; taste it. love it. crave it.

4. Ultimate Frisbee


It took Trevor and I about a month to get a solid frisbee game going, once it came together we had ourselves a weekly dose of frustration-venting ambrosia. We had some epic games, some sloppy garbage, and even a few glow-in-the-dark bonanzas, and like all good recreational activities we almost killed Dave.

Frisbee was probably the most memorable event of the summer, it completely changed my social scene and even now I find myself explaining to people "oh, we met through frisbee." Hopefully, this weekly tradition won't be destroyed by school.

3. Jardine Juniper/Tony Grove

I had heard about this trail for years. Any search for the "must-ride" bike trails of utah will include this little Cache Valley gem. I hit this bad-boy twice and even with Dave slowing me down it melted my face. Straight up one way; straight FREAKING down the other and one heckuva mangled tree at the top.
After that me and a group of mostly beginner bikers got our butts kicked by the bunchgrass trail at Tony Grove. You know you're not having fun until you draw blood from the torso; check.

2. Logan Arts Activities


Me and Dave drank Italian Sodas and danced in the street with hippies. I heard a bell choir, a glee club, and sand in the Tabernacle. I wandered around looking at arts and crafts at the fair, I bought a muffin and drank mushroom tea while Dave got a henna tattoo at the farmers market. We even made 15 bucks playing music on Main Street, and had some epic jam sessions in the USU amphitheatre with Akshay the Indian drummer.
Summer in Logan was awesome. Once the rabble clear out you're left with a chill, down-to-earth artsy intermountain scene.

1. TwiCon

Free shows in downtown SL,UT. Black Keys rocked, M. Ward melted my face, and Iron & Wine soothed me into a deep submission. I even got a taste for my biweekly dose of second-hand weed buzz. I've always been a sucker for live music, and TwiCon delivered.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Word on Lawsuits and Death, unfortunately.


Much is speculation but at least this much is fact: last semester Michael Starks died at USU; as part of a Sigma Nu Fraternity initiation he was picked up by members of the Chi Omega Sorority and taken to a location where a sufficient amount of alcohol was presented to and consumed by Starks resulting in his death.

I've been around this story for months now; as a student at Utah State, as a resident of Logan, and as a member of the USU press. Be that as it may I had, until tonight, avoided it to the best of my ability. 12 members of USU's greek row were charged with felony hazing in relation to Starks's death and on August 5 the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the last four remaining hazing charges had been dropped. A few students were sentenced to lesser charger but for all intents and purposes this sad chapter in USU's history appeared to be over.

Nope.

The Starks family this week entered into a lawsuit against USU itself claiming negligence. It is the opinion of the Starks family that the University turned a blind eye to a history of lewed conduct, reckless behavior, substance abuse, and other offenses.

I'm sorry for your loss, but shame on you.

These are fraternities that we're talking about, and to be fair I doubt that anyone will argue that UTAH-BASED fraternity shenanigans pale in comparison to the national scale. These are groups of college-age young men and women, characteristically known for their partying, drinking, and raucous behavior.

Following the incident, Utah State wasted no time in closing the doors of both Greek chapters and creating a task force to investigate the circumstances of Starks death, and create changes to stop further occerences from happening. It is also interesting to note that even though only 1% of USU students are Greeks (Salt Lake Tribune) the bulk of ASUSU--Utah State's governing student council--hails from greek row.

Now, let's talk about Starks. Since the story broke there has been a two-sided tap dance concerning the young man's character. His family adamantly supports that he was nothing short of a good-natured religious young man with no history of drinking that would never stoop to such juevenile activities like those that took place on the night of his death if her were not forcefully compelled to do so. On the other side, court testimony and witness accounts describe a energetically party-crazed free spirit who needed little more than an open bottle to willfully drink himself to death. Again, much of this is speculation, but it's hard for me to beleive that he was emaculately straight-laced when he was pledging for a frat in the first place.

This is what frat's do. They drink and party; done. If you want to join one, then logic would imply that you also enjoy drinking and partying, and if not, you shouldn't be surprised when you find yourself in a room full of people drinking and partying. To hold the University explicitely responsible for what goes on is as unfair as it is naive. If I'm jogging around campus and I slip and break my arm, I wouldn't expect President Albrecht to foot the bill, or take the blame. Simply, and sadly, adult supervision can not be present 100% of the time, that's just part of college; scratch that, that's just part of life.

The Starks family pointed the finger at 12 USU students and charges were, for the most part, dropped. Now the Starks family is pointing the finger at USU.They are out for blood. I hate to be cold, but there's only one finger to point, and that is at the young man who ran head-first into a bad situation, grabbed hold of a bottle and drank until his heart stopped beating. Call me old fashioned, but when did litigation take the place of heartache. When did mourning move aside for advocacy. Isn't it time that we let this battle go and begin to heal?

My heart goes out to the Starks family. I can not even begin to understand what you're going through right now, but no amount of lawsuits is going to bring back your son.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Wave

I'm a biker. Actually, to avoid confusion let's say that I'm a cyclist. It is a time-honored tradition that when two bikers (motorcyclists) pass each other they give the Bikers Wave, two wheels down, similar to an inverted peace sign and pictured above. Growing up in the Ogden area it was not uncommon for me to receive the wave while I was cycling (from both bikers and cyclists). As I matured the event became so commonplace that as I passed anyone on two wheels there was an exchange of waves.

It's one of those minute things in life that you grow to love. Every time I gave and got the bikers wave I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself, some sort of elite club of non-automotive travelers. My dad has even commented that at times he'll get the wave while he's out jogging. Whenever I see a cyclist my hand instinctively drops to my side, like a signal between family.

Somehow, however, Logan Utah has never gotten the memo about the bikers wave. For whatever reason the wave doesn't seem to include cyclists here in Cache Valley; ironic to me, considering that Logan is such a heavily biker-populated community. Every day riding to work I pass dozens of cyclists and my hand merely dangles lifeless at my side in unanswered sadness. If I'm lucky my wave is reciprocated by the Frat Boy Head Nod; which is totally lame, at best.

Wake up Logan. There's a whole world of comradery knocking at your door. We are bikers. We are fit. Share the road. Wave back!

Fired Up


I remember when I first saw the trailer for Fired Up--a couple of laughs, some scantily-clad cheerleaders--it wasn't enough to get me to the theater but I remember putting it on the mind-shelf for a rainy day. Later my brother told me that it was a good time, and since he has decent street-cred in the surprisingly funny movie category, it was only a matter of time.

Well, that day of rain came a couple of weekends ago. Trev, Cody, Spence and I decided to RedBox Fast and Furious to boost our testosterone levels. The box didn't have F&F but as we had searched alphabetically Fired Up was right there, friendly, and inviting. I remembered my brothers advice, recomended it to the boys, typed in a promo code (breakroom) and off we went.

Fired up is a comedy about two over-sexed high school football stars (Heroes's Nicholas D'Agosto, and Dumb and Dumberer's Eric Christian Olsen) who decide to attend chear camp in an attempt to pick up girls.



There's nothing groundbreaking about this movie. Truth be told it is predictable in its pacing, cliched in its storytelling, and shallow in its character developement; but Fired Up revels in these qualities, and we laugh as it laughs at itself. The movie is built on a foundation of crisp one-liners ("That's the way I like 'em, ancient and regretful.") and repeated jokes (Every time the male "villain" Dr. Rick appears he's listening to a one-hit wonder from the mid-90's. "Chumbawumba, soundtrack to my life.")

It's hit and miss; but when it hits, it hits hard. The seemingly improvised banter between D'Agosto and Olsen is fresh and at times brilliant; and the on-screen antics of Christopher Guest Alumnus John Michael Higgins are nothing short of legendary ("you're sloppy like the kiss of a mid-shipman").

So, if you're bored and need a laugh, especially a juevenile male-humor laugh, and aren't above jokes at the expense of female "athletes." Then bust out the "breakroom" and Redbox Fired Up for free. You'll be laughing, you'll, you'll be laughing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Serenity Now

I just got home from a midnight iPod walk in Logan. I do this often, and I'm not alone; my friend Cody recently mentioned this same activity on his blog, paper badge, stating that logan is perfect for this ("great scenery. low crime rate" Titmus 2009). For me, I always end up at the same location: USU campus.

Let me back up. Today was a crappy day. It's funny to me how inactivity can at times be your best friend, and other times a cruel mistress. On Sunday after church I napped for 3 hours and felt all the better for it; refreshed, energized, and ready to kick butt and take names. Today after work I watched TV and surfed the web for three hours and have felt like a vagrant bum ever since. Immediately before my campus stroll I had come home, hung out with my neighbors, had to defend my intelligence from four hostile verbal attackers (and people call me argumentative), and then sat down on my porch chair for a bit of light reading.

I felt like garbage. It had already been a crap day, I was upset at myself for falling into the trap of the just ended jeuvenile inquisition of my idiocy, and I had litterally taken out the garbage, so it didn't take long before I started walking, book in hand and music in ear, up the hill.

It is a common escape mechanism for me, I have many. Ever since freshman year on particularly melancholy evenings (weather permitting) I crank the tunes and head to old main. I've always felt a special connection to USU's campus (one of the defining reasons that I came to school up here) and in my hours of dark, bemused reflection she has been mother, lover, and friend. I remember even in Brazil, after an especially difficult day on the mission (read: every day of my mission) I would close my eyes and imagine myself sitting in the middle of the quad looking up at the shining white A. Sometimes I saw the red and yellow fall leaves, other times the sparkling Logan snow, I was usually alone but occasionally the grass was littered with students relaxing on a warm afternoon.

Tonight, I found a bench between Washington's and Lincoln's heads and read a chapter of East of Eden. Two star-struck lovers were sitting on The A and I could hear their giggling over Thriving Ivory. Someone had placed a lawn-flamingo in the ground and every so often the wind would carry a cool spray from the sprinklers across my face.

After that I made my way around Old Main and sat beneath the american flag. Only a soft glow of city lights was visible through the trees. I read another chapter and Steinbeck's words mingled in my mind with the poetry of Maria Bethania pouring into my ears.

Before heading home I wrapped around the building one more time and passed through the TSC courtyard. I tell you, there is no better time to sit by the fountains than at 11:30 p.m. on a summer evening. The only sound is wind and the gurgling of water over stone, reflecting a hazy yellow from the dim bulbs. One last chapter while Carbon Leaf played.


With each step I was closer to home, my bed, my life, and morning. The distant cries of another day were gone, the decisions made and consequences waiting to be revealed. I stood on my front porch for a moment, not wanting to go inside. All around me were the cold faces of sleeping life. My logical mind was already regaining control; there was no reason to be outside, no reason to even be awake, I have meetings and work tomorrow--get to it.

Creeper Lagoon was playing as I turned the knob, stepped inside, and broke the spell.

"three times done and you're gone, and you're gone
you are free, you are free it's a long way home
what have we done? was it wrong, was it wrong?
was it me? can't you see? it's a long way home."


Goodnight.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cute as a Button

I love Utah State's campus: green space, fountains, hills to sled on, and, as of late, pictures of Alexis Bledel. That's right, Alexis Bledel a.k.a. Rory Gillmore, a.k.a Cutey McCuteFace.
Bledel's new move "Post Grad" has made it's way to the coveted spot on the Utah Statesman Bins, peppering our already picturesque landscape filled with this picture.


Giggidy.

Just in case you didn't catch it, look at how blue her eyes are.



Now, in case you've ever found yourself wondering "Gee, a wonder what Benjamin Wood's perfect girl is like." The answer, Alexis Bledel. Or, to be more specific, Rory Gilmore. She's smart, beautiful, funny, up to speed on her pop culture references, and if it weren't were that one issue of her being a home-wrecker I would have no problem taking her home to meet my mother. If it were possible to marry a fictional character...well, I think you already know.

I know what some of you (men) are thinking. Something like this: "Bro, she ain't that hot." And to that I tell you that the word Hot is one of the most subjetive on the planet; and quite often doesn't encompase enough facets of a human being. I also tell you, this:


Giggidy

I was discussing this with my cousing the other day. We were talking about a girl he used to dayte, I made a comment about her being insane and he quickly replied with "dude, she was way hot."

"Hot" is pure danger, a rag-tag quagmire of teeter-on-the-brink despair. I prefer cute, cute as a button girls. Smart, dependable girls, with good old fashioned sass. Like.


That's right, Emma Watson, heart and soul of the entire Harry Potter franchise...Cute as a Button.

Or:

Dulce Maria, member of the Mexican pop-band Rebelde...Cute as a freaking Button.

You're probably thinking "what's his point?" Frankly, after looking at those pictures I've somewhat lost track of what my point was: but Cute is better than Hot; Alexis Bledel is Cute; and walking around campus is now more enjoyable than ever. Just for good measure, we'll end with one more.


Read me sweet nothings from classic literature Rory Gilmore, we can go antiquing and spend our saturday mornings at local farmer's markets. We'll stargaze snuggling in hooded bleach-stained sweatshirts...mmmmmmm.

Giggidy.